Top 5 Camping Generators. Definitive Quiet Generator Buying Guide
When you are enjoying the outdoors, a camping generator can bring a taste of the indoors to your campsite. Modern camping generators can be used to power all of your camp necessities and more, opening the door to endless comfort and safety in the outdoors.
Shop Solar Kits is passionate about innovations in camping generator technology alongside our commitment to green energy adoption. If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to small-scale energy storage, feel free to read our complete solar generator guide!
Camping Generator Options
Let’s talk about your camping generator options. The overwhelming majority of camping generators can be broken down into two specific categories: gas and electric. Although the most popular portable generators in recent history have typically been gas or diesel powered, electric generators have recently become much more practical and affordable.
When looking at the two options head to head, it starts to become very obvious that electric generators are much better for camping than gas generators. Electric generators can be called many different names such as portable power packs or battery powered outlets.
Gas Camping Generators
Gas-powered generators are cheap to adopt and are no stranger to campgrounds across the country. For decades, adventures in cars, vans, RVs, school buses, and more have used gas-powered generators to electrify their camping experience. Although they are a convenient way to generate a large amount of power, gas generators come with a few distinct setbacks:
- They can be very loud, disturbing your group as well as other campers
- They emit harmful emissions, and cannot be used indoors
- And fuel must be purchased and stored for continuous operation.
In some campgrounds, generators have been banned or set to specific hours due to excessive noise pollution. RV owners typically store their gas generators and fuel in an exterior compartment, away from the main living area.
Electric Camping Generators
Today, fully-electric generators have solved many of the problems associated with gas-powered camping. Electric generators are designed for silent (or near-silent) operation so as not to disturb the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. They also do not emit any harmful toxins when in use and can therefore be used both indoors and around camp.
Of course, to be considered a “generator,” a device must be able to produce electricity, rather than simply just store it. With this in mind, top-tier portable power banks are equipped to receive inputs from many different charging sources including solar, wind, AC, and DC power.
What can you power with a camping generator?
Depending on its power and storage capacity, camping generators can be used to provide electricity for practically any consumer appliance or product. With a large inverter in tow, camping generators can safely power anything in a home or workshop. Most commonly camping generators are used to power:
- Lights (interior and exterior of an RV)
- Rechargeable lanterns
- Cellphones, laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.
- CPAP machines and other medical devices
- Televisions and gaming equipment
- Electric stoves
- Coffee makers
- Electric blankets
- And more
How to Choose the Best Electric Generator for Camping
Although we may be a bit biased, we are very stern in our opinion that solar generators are the best way to bring electricity to a campsite. If you want to set out for an extended adventure into the great outdoors, we strongly recommend exploring solar generator options. With a few PV panels, solar generators can provide electricity for endless camping experiences.
First and foremost, battery storage is one of the most important factors to consider when determining which solar generator is best for you. Battery storage is measured in watt-hours or amp-hours and typically has a direct relationship with a product’s price (i.e. more storage is more expensive). Today, lithium-ion batteries are generally seen as the premier technology for both short and long-term electricity storage.
Without getting too technical, it is very easy to estimate a reasonable battery storage capacity for your estimated electricity demand. If you are only concerned with keeping the lights on (as well as few cell phones and emergency equipment), then you will not need an expensive home-sized battery. Simply multiply the wattages of your electronics with their approximate runtime to get an idea of how many watt-hours your camping trip may require (see our solar load calculator).
Battery Longevity (# of Lifecycles)
Battery longevity is the second most important attribute to consider when evaluating a camping generator. Oftentimes, cheap generators are cheap because they are not built to last. If you are looking for a long-term solution for reliable electricity in an RV, it is important to acquire a camping generator that will not need to be replaced every few years.
To put it in numbers, many small capacity generators have life cycle counts of around 500. With daily use of the battery’s capacity, that generator will need to be replaced in less than 18 months.
For long term return on investment, it is always wise to consider a camping generator's lifespan. Even better, it is good to seek one with a good warranty, after all, it can get hairy out there!
Next, power inverters capacity measures the maximum continuous wattage output a camping generator can provide. Typically, this is not an issue for most campers running energy-efficient equipment in small doses. Inverter capacity is critical, when considering medical devices, however. If you are purchasing a camping generator to power a CPAP machine, be sure that the equipment is sized appropriately.
Charging Options (Power Input)
When camping, convenience is king. Therefore, the more charging options a generator has, the better. Portable generators with different inputs come with the added convenience of charging at home (AC wall outlet), on the road (DC car input), or at the camp itself (with solar panels). Besides electricity type, it is also helpful to purchase a unit with a high input capacity for faster charging.
Outlet Variety (Power Output)
On the other end, outlet variety is very important for an optimal camping generator experience. Camping generators typically come with a combination of AC, DC, and USB outlets at different quantities and output limits. While more is almost always better, it is good to take stock of your own devices and try to find a generator suited to power them.
Size, Weight, and Noise
Last but not least, consider the generator as simply a physical object. Solar generators are silent, which makes them perfect for camping, but high-capacity systems can also be quite heavy. Thankfully, there are many great portable power options designed for easy transportation and storage, built to withstand years of outdoor adventure.
Top 5 Camping Generators
Alright, enough chit chat, let’s get to it! Here are our top 5 camping generators.
The EcoFlow Delta solar generator is one of the most advanced solar generators on the market and is perfect for RVs and camping trips. With its rapid <2hr AC charge time, you can even plug in the Delta at home after work and it will be fully charged by the time the car is packed. With our quad kit, 4 100 Watt solar panels maximize its continuous power potential.
EcoFlow Delta Specs:
- [Battery Capacity]: 1260Wh (350Ah,3.7V)
- [Compact Design] Dimensions: 15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6in (40 x 21 x 27cm)
- [Light Weight]: 30.9lbs (14kg)
- [Works in all Weather] Charge Temperature: 32-113℉ (0-45℃)
- [Discharge In Freezing Temperatures]: -4 -113℉ (-20-45℃)
- [Testing and Certifications]: UL, CE, FCC, RoHS, PSE
- [Cell Chemistry]: Lithium-ion
- [Shelf Life]: 1 Year (after fully charged)
EcoFlow Delta 1800W / 1300wH Power Inputs:
- [FAST AC Charge Time]: 90 minutes from 0-100% Charge, X-STREAM Charges @ 1200W max
- [400 Watt of Solar Input] Charge Input: 400W 10-65V 10A max
- [Car Charger Included] Charges: 12V/24V 10A max
EcoFlow Delta 1800W / 1300wH Plugs/Outputs:
- [TONS Of Power]: 6 x AC Plug, Pure Sine Wave Inverter, 1800 Watts continuous (Surge of 3,300 Watts), 120V 60Hz.
- [2 x USB-A Ports]: 12W per port, 5V 2.4A max
- [2 x USB-A Fast Charge Ports]: 28W per port, 12V 2.4A max
- [2 x USB-C Ports]: 60W per port, 20V 3A max
- [1 x 12V (Car Cigarette Type) Ports]: 108.8W, 13.6V 8A max
Pros of the EcoFlow Delta
In terms of convenience, it’s hard to beat the Delta. Fast AC charge time, DC car charging, and a large amount of solar input makes it easy to keep the battery constantly charged. Plus, it has a large inverter and plenty of power outlets, designed to handle any camping electrical demand.
The Delta comes at a surprisingly affordable price, especially when considering its 1260Wh capacity and one-year shelf life. At just 30 pounds, the Delta is incredibly convenient to transport in and around camp, for large loads of low-noise electricity, even in cold weather conditions.
Cons of the EcoFlow Delta
As a camping generator, there are very few drawbacks to the EcoFlow Delta. Although it may be a little oversized and overpriced for minimalist campers, those with absurdly high demands (like ongoing power tool use), can also find the 1800W inverter limiting.
Beyond this, the Delta’s high powered system may be a bit noisier than other solar generators. The unit’s internal fans work hard and can occasionally be heard running (like a computer or ceiling fan). So although it is still quieter than a gas generator, CPAP users may prefer a lower performance source of power.
What can the EcoFlow Delta 1800 Actually Power?
- Large Fridge 15-18+ Hours
- Lights (10W) 36+ Hours
- Coffee Maker 50+ Cups
- Circular Saw 1+ Hours
- Laptop 27+ Recharges
- Electric Vehicle 3-5 miles (5-8 km)
- CPAP Machine 20+ Hours
- Air Conditioning 0.8+ Hours
- Electric Blanket 25+ Hours
As a strong runner-up, the Lion Safri ME is a great camping generator with tons of electrical storage. The Lion Safari ME’s modular design makes it perfect for transportation and storage and its impressive solar charging can keep the good times going. For a little bit or a ton of power, happy campers can enjoy reliable electricity with this generator.
Lion Safari ME Specs:
- Output - AC [Standard Wall Plugs]: 2 (Easily split these with a surge protector or extension cable)
- Output - USB: 2 USB-A & 2 USB-C
- Rated Battery Capacity: 922wH + 2,048wH = 2,970 watt hours
- Battery Type: Lithium
- Inverter: 2000 Watt Continuous / 4000 Watt Surge - Pure Sine
- Fastest Solar Recharge Time: Under 2 hours
- Lifecycles: 2,000
Pros of the Lion Safari ME
Above all, Lion Safari’s stackable battery packs make it easy to never run out of power while camping. The generator itself has nearly 1,000 wH of capacity built-in, and additional batteries can be purchased and stored for later use. If you are camping in cloudy areas like the Pacific Northwest, extra batteries are perfect for days when solar generation is not efficient.
With that being said, the ME has one of the fastest solar recharge times on the market, making it perfect for camping in all seasons. Even if you are not in the deserts of Utah or Arizona, it is still incredibly easy to capture 2 hours of direct sunlight for a full ME charge.
Cons of the Lion Safari ME
Unfortunately, despite its smart design, the Lion Safari ME is actually a bit bulkier than most other top-tier solar generators. The main unit is 40 lbs, and additional batteries double this weight. As a heavy appliance, the ME may lower a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and also be more difficult to store and transport to where power is needed.
What Can The Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Gold Kit Actually Power?
- Full Size Fridge (120W) - 25+ Hours
- Phone Charging (5W) - Charge up to 200+ times
- Laptop Charging (56W) - Charge up to 50+ times
- 55" LCD T.V (75W) - 38+ Hours
- LED Reading Lamp (4W) - 720+ Hours
- Hot Plate (500W) - 5.8+ Hours
- Air Conditioner (500W) - 5.8+ Hours
- House Fan - (50W) - 60+ Hours
- Microwave - (1k) - 3+ Hours
- Electric Blanket (50W) - 60+ Hours
- CPAP Machine (90W) - 28+ Hours
Next, the Bluetti AC200P is one of the best long-term camping generators in the world. From the reputable manufacturer MaxOak, the AC200P is a high-powered, long-lasting source of power ideal for full-time campers and weekend warriors alike.
Bluetti AC200P Specs:
- 2,000wh High Capacity Lithium Battery (LiFePO4)
- 2000W Inverter for Continuous AC Power
- 6 x AC (Wall) Outlets
- 1 x 60W PD 2.0 USB-C
- 4 x 5V/3A USB-A
- 1 x PV 35-150V/12A
- 1 x 12V/25A Output
- LG premium electric-vehicle battery cell
- 3500+ Charge Cycles
- MPPT Charge Controller
- 2*15W Wireless charging pads
- Intelligent temperature-controlled cooling fan
- Smart touchable LCD control panel
- 24 Month Warranty
Bluetti AC200P Inputs
- DC Solar Charging- 700W/35-150V DC Maximum Solar Input (7 x 100-watt solar panels would be the max)
- DC Car Charging 12V-30V, Minimum 120W
- AC Charging Adapter: 58.2V/500W Limit (Charging from the wall in your home)
Bluetti AC200P Charging Speeds
- Solar Charging - Fully Charged in 3.5 hours with 700W of Solar Input
- DC Power - Car Charging - 15 hours+ driving
- AC (Wall Outlet) Charging - About 4 Hours
- Gasoline Generator with Power Adapter
- Lead-Acid Battery Recharging using Clamp Adapter
Pros of the Bluetti AC200P
More than anything, the Bluetti AC200P is renowned for its impressive 700W of solar input. While our quad kit includes 400W of input (which is usually plenty), high electricity users have the freedom to install 3 more 100W panels on their camper for maximum solar charging.
With 2000Wh of capacity and 3,500 charge cycles, the Bluetti AC200P can store tons of power over its long product lifetime. It also comes with a gasoline generator power adapter, just in case you need to tap into the electricity from your noisy neighbors.
Cons of the Bluetti AC200P
Like the Lion Safari ME, the Bluetti AC200P is held back a bit by its weight. Although it works great permanently installed in an RV, the Bluetti AC200P is 55 lbs, which may be much too heavy for small, overnight camping trips.
What Can the Bluetti AC200P Actually Power?
- Cellphone (6 W): 250+ Hours
- Light (10 W): 150+ Hours
- GoPro (18 W): 90+ Hours
- Camera (25 W): 60+ Hours
- Laptop (50 W): 30+ Hours
- CPAP Machine (60 W): 25+ Hours
- Flat Screen TV (110 W): 13+ Hours
- Large Fridge (150 W): 10+ Hours
- Coffee Maker (600 W): 2+ Hours
- Electric Grill (1650 W): About 1 Hour
- Electric Vehicle (1800 W): 3-5 Miles
- And more
From the same company, MaxOak also produces the EB240, which is another great long-term camping generator. The EB240 is lighter than its AC200P counterpart, but still comes with all of the premium features that make it great for continuous outdoor and RV electricity.
MaxOak Bluetti EB240 Specs:
- Battery Capacity: 2400Wh (Watt Hours)
- Battery Chemistry: LG Li-ion battery cells (Lithium)
- AC Input: 7.9 x 0.9mm DC, 42V/160W (Wall Charger)
- Open Circuit Voltage: 16V~60V /Max. 10A (For Solar Panel Charging)
- AC Output: 110V, Max. 1000 Watts (Pure Sine Inverter)
- CarPort (Cigarette Lighter): DC 12V/9A
- USB Ports: 1 x 45W USB-C (5-20V) & 4 x 5V, 3A USB-A
- Solar Charge Input/Mode: MPPT Charge Controller
- Efficiency: 99.5%
- Exact Size of Generator (Dimensions): 19.4 x 6.5 x 14.4 inches
- Weight: 48.5lb
- Warranty: 2-Years
Pros of the MaxOak Bluetti EB240
First, the EB240 has a 2400Wh battery bank, which is absolutely massive. Running a CPAP machine, the EB240 could power you through 80 hours of peaceful sleep in your RV or tent on one single charge. Despite its large capacity, the EB240 still comes at a reasonable price, with great long term return on investment.
Cons of the MaxOak Bluetti EB240
The largest drawback of the Bluetti EB240 is its 1000W inverter, which is the lowest capacity on this list. However, campers running lights, laptops, medical devices, and fridges will rarely reach this capacity, even with many devices plugged in at once.
Aside from this, the Bluetti EB240 is also limited by slow AC and car charge times. However, campers looking for continuous solar power (like with our Quad kit) will enjoy the device's capacity for continuous solar production.
What Can the Bluetti EB240 Solar Generator Actually Power?
- Fridge/Freezer (100 watts): 24+ hours
- 50" TV (65 watts) : 37 hours
- LED Lights (6 watts): 400 hours
- House Fan (50 watts): 48 hours
- Smartphones (5-7 watts): 400+ hours
- Tablets (25-40 watts): 80+ hours
- Laptops (50 watts): 48+ hours
- Electric Blanket (Queen Size, 75 watts): 32 hours
- CPAP Machine (30 watts): 80+ hours
Lastly, the Titan solar generator is the ultimate device for high-powered camping adventures. The Titan can power a house, so we’d like to think that even the most demanding campsites (i.e. Burning Man), will find it fully capable.
The Titan Specs:
- Battery: 2000wH Lithium-Ion
- Inverter: 3000W / 7700W Surge
- 2 MPPT Charge Controllers
- Charging Options: Solar panels, AC, & DC
- Outputs: 6 AC wall outlets, 4 DC (12V) ports, 1 RV Plug (30amp), and 8 total USB ports
- Shelf Life: 3-6 Months
- 2-Year Warranty
- Weight: ~35 lbs. (plus batteries)
Pros of the Titan Solar Generator
The Titan’s advantage’s can be summed up in one word: power. The generator is designed to produce, store, and discharge massive amounts of power from AC, DC, and solar. Like the Safari ME, the Titan is modular and users can add multiple battery packs for unlimited storage potential.
Cons of the Titan Solar Generator
The Titan is one of the highest performing generators on the market, and therefore may be oversized for the occasional camping trip. Start up costs are quite high, and the system is fairly bulky. Knowing this, the Titan is most valuable in large RVs and off-grid cabins.
What Can the Titan Solar Generator Actually Power? (Per battery pack)
- Smartphones (5-7 watts): 330+ hours
- Tablets (25-40 watts): 66+ hours
- Laptops (50 watts): 40+ hours
- Electric Blanket (Queen Size, 75 watts): 26+ hours
- 50" LED LCD TV* (65 watts) : 30 hours
- Refrigerator (55 watts): 36+ hours
- Chainable USB LED Lights (6 watts): 330+ hours
- CPAP Machine (30 watts): 66+ hours
Best Camping Generator Conclusion:
We hope this article helped you figure out what generator makes the most sense for your camping needs. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out and we'd be happy to help further.
Planning to get a solar generator for camping? Then consider checking - How to Make a Silencer for a Generator.