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Best Generator for Van Life

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Last Updated on November 25, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine

When you’re out living the dream of the van lifestyle, you’ve got to have the best generator for van life, so you never run out of power.

The best generator for van life is the one that allows you to not worry about fueling up and that is why I recommend that you get a solar generator or a quiet generator.

Here are the solar generators I would recommend to you for van life below.

Great Quiet Camping Generators for Van Life

  1. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
  2. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start

    This generator saved us from burning due to lack of air conditioning or not being able to cook quite a few times. Works great.

    Pros:
    • Nice run time
    • Dual-fuel
    • Great brand name
    • Lightweight enough for the watts
    • Parallel capable
    Cons:
    • Not totally budget-friendly
    Check Price on Amazon Read Our Review

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  3. Honda 663520 EU2200i
  4. Honda 663520 EU2200i
    $1,199.00
    • 2,200 Watt
    • Co-Minder
    Pros:
    • Trustworthy brand
    • Advanced carbon monoxide detection system
    • Connects to app with Bluetooth
    • Lightweight
    • Compact
    Cons:
    • Bluetooth connection can be glitchy
    • Only uses gas for fuel
    Check Price on Amazon

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    01/30/2023 05:29 pm GMT
  5. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
  6. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
    $429.99
    • 2000-Watt
    • Gas Powered
    • CARB Compliant
    Pros:
    • Clean energy
    • Quiet
    • Lightweight
    Cons:
    • A little on the tall side
    Check Price on Amazon

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    01/30/2023 12:01 pm GMT
  7. YAMAHA EF2000iSv2 Inverter Generator
  8. YAMAHA EF2000iSv2 Inverter Generator
    • 1600 Running Watts
    • 2000 Starting Watts
    • Gas Powered
    Pros:
    • Super quiet
    • Well-known name brand
    • Easy-to-read fuel gauge
    • Fuel line on and off ability
    Cons:
    • Only gas powered
    Check Price on Amazon

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  9. Westinghouse iGen2200 Inverter Generator
  10. Westinghouse iGen2200 Inverter Generator
    $500.71
    • 1800 Rated & 2200 Peak Watts
    • Gas Powered
    • CARB Compliant
    Pros:
    • Super quiet
    • Budget-friendly
    • Starts right away
    Cons:
    • Sometimes has issues out of the box
    Check Price on Amazon

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    01/30/2023 07:29 am GMT

Great Solar Solutions for Van Life

  1. MAXOAK Generator Portable Power Station
  2. MAXOAK Generator Portable Power Station
    • 200Wh
    • Pure sinewave
    • 110V AC outlet
    Pros:
    • Secure power solution
    • Multiple output options
    • Offers clean solar power
    Cons:
    • Maximum solar charge is limited to 60-65 watts
    Check Price on Amazon

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  3. BLUETTI Portable Power Station
  4. BLUETTI Portable Power Station
    • AC200P
    • 2000Wh
    • LiFePO4 Battery Backup
    • 6 2000W AC Outlets
    Pros:
    • Plenty of capacity
    • Strong inverter
    • Efficient recharging rate
    Cons:
    • Doesn't include solar panels
    Check Price on Amazon

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  5. Jackery Portable Power Station
  6. Jackery Portable Power Station
    • Explorer 500
    • 518Wh
    • Lithium battery pack with 110V/500W AC outlet
    Pros:
    • Long lasting
    • Plenty of capacity
    • Supports pass-through charging
    Cons:
    • Not as powerful as some people would like
    Check Price on Amazon

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Do You Need a Generator for Van Life?

Before you go out and spend money on a generator, keep in mind that you might not even need one.

If you plan on staying at campgrounds and resorts a lot, it is rare that you will ever need to use a generator. We usually camped at RV parks but there was the rare occurrence that the power might go out and a generator can save you.

Types of Generators to Use for Van Life

If you want to know what all of your options are when it comes to the best generators for van life, then you need to know the different types of generators you can use for camping in your van.

  • Diesel Generators
  • Propane Generators
  • Solar Generators
  • Gas Generators

Diesel Generators

If your van takes diesel then you might want to go with a diesel generator. You may even want to build it right into your van instead of using a portable generator for camping.

One of the good things about diesel generators is that they don’t take as much fuel to run as gas generators take. A couple of other things to note are that they last a lot longer and diesel isn’t flammable like gas is.

On the flip side, you will find that diesel generators weigh more and put out more noise.

Propane Generators

For all of you fueling your vans with propane, a propane generator for your van would be the best bet in my opinion. For the same reason as listed above, it’s a lot better to have the same fuel source if possible.

If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll also love propane since it is better for the environment than diesel or gas.

What we found when using the propane on our generator was that we did have to refill it more than we did when we used the gas option on our dual fuel generator. Super annoying but not that big of a deal.

Solar Generators

Solar generators are super cool because you’re able to use them without always worrying about how much fuel you need to purchase. However, if you run into a long week of rain or clouds, that is a problem.

If you want a quiet option when you’re camping in your van then this is definitely an option you should consider.

For those of you that need a lot of extra wattage, this might not be the perfect option. However, for those of you that don’t need massive amounts of juice, this is a simple option.

Gas Generators

Gas is often cheaper than using other sources of fuel and that’s why a lot of people like using it. They also aren’t difficult to maintain, they give you a lot of power to work with and you can find them just about anywhere.

The carbon monoxide they produce is the only real downside of these generators. If you want to use gas some of the time and not the rest of the time, you could try the dual fuel generator we used while RVing. It was awesome.

RV Idiots' Top Pick
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start

This generator saved us from burning due to lack of air conditioning or not being able to cook quite a few times. Works great.

Pros:
  • Nice run time
  • Dual-fuel
  • Great brand name
  • Lightweight enough for the watts
  • Parallel capable
Cons:
  • Not totally budget-friendly
Check Price on Amazon Read Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Should I Have a Portable Generator or a Built-In Generator?

If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to get a portable generator or get a built-in generator, you have to think about the cost. A built-in generator costs a lot more money than if you were to buy a portable generator.

You can also decide to take your generator with you if you want to go tent camping for some reason if you get a portable generator. Having a built-in generator limits you and how you can use your generator.

Built-in generators do make it convenient because they’ll use your van’s fuel source. But on the other hand, if your generator messes up, you’ll have to take your whole van into the shop. It’s no fun if you have to find another place to stay while you take your van into the shop so I wouldn’t personally want to give another reason that this might happen.

Generators vs Inverter Generators

I would always recommend getting an inverter generator. Inverter generators are much quiet and they give you the ability to plug your sensitive electronics into the generator. Charge your phone, laptop, etc.

With an inverter generator, you can get the power you need without worrying about super loud sound ruining your camping experience.

Keep in mind that you are going to have to think about a higher price tag when it comes to buying an inverter generator over a standard generator.

Choosing the Right Size of Generator for your Van

Not all generators are created equal, so make sure you do your research before buying a generator. There’s no reason to get one that is super big if you don’t need it. But you also want to make sure you don’t go too little.

You can use our generator wattage calculator to check and see what size you need for your van.

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