Modern camping is electrical device heavy. This is especially true for RVs, camping trailers and caravans. We structure our journeys around our electrical appliances, relying on a power source to keep them working.
The downside of losing power in the middle of nowhere varies from inconvenience to genuine risk to life and limb. Ready access to power not only keeps you rolling but also solves countless problems.
When you’re camping off the grid there’s no better source of power than a quality camping generator. In this guide, I’ll review the 10 best camping generators for Australia so you can get equipped with camping’s most reliable power solution.
My Review Process
Around 10 years back, I borrowed a mate’s old Honda geni for a remote trip. It was the best peace of mind I ever had – zero worries about dead batteries, dead appliances, or losing power.
I haven’t had to buy one yet because I’ve been borrowing my friends’ generators for the last decade – yes, I’m that guy. But it’s allowed me to compare a heap of camping generators for different camping styles and power demands.
A good camping generator should be a pure sine wave inverter. Generator power needs to cover simultaneous running and start-up of your critical appliances. A good-sized fuel tank is important, as is low noise operation.
Look for at least one 240V AC outlet, plus 12V DC, with USB outlets as a bonus. For those going off-road, robust construction is a must.
The Yamaha 2400W ticks every box and then some. This is a powerful unit with a continuous output of 2000W. It’s ideal for large families camping in large caravans, camper trailers and big RVs, but I’d recommend it for all Australian campers with a vehicle.
You can power TVs, air conditioning systems, and kitchen appliances. It’s ideal for charging critical 12-volt batteries. Plus, it delivers a pure sine wave so it can be used for sensitive electronics like phones and laptops.
This Yamaha generator is a super quiet unit, registering just 59dB when running at full load. At a 1/4 load in eco mode, it’ll run for 9 hours.
It’s the most compact generator in its class, and the ergonomic handles make it easier to lug around. I recommend the Yamaha 2400W generator for all campers who need a plentiful supply of reliable power.
The Cromtech 2400W Inverter Generator was close to winning pole position because it’s user-friendly and costs less than half as much as some generators in its class. There are 2 15A AC outlets, a USB charging port, and a 12V DC charging port. I like the power indicator, overload, and low oil warning. In addition, it’s a practical-sized generator for the average camper.
The Cromtech will power most types of RV aircons and every kitchen appliance you could imagine. It will charge your 12V battery banks with ease and keep your tech gadgets charged without fear of dirty power damage.
It’s highly compact and very quiet, delivering between 5 to 20 hours of continuous running time. This is a fantastic option for the majority of camping styles.
Brilliant for tent or camper trailer adventurers, the Yamaha 2000W Silent Inverter Generator is one of the smallest in its class. With a 1600W continuous output, it can easily cover small aircons, heaters, and most kitchen devices. Clean electricity ensures all your sensitive electronics are safe when charging.
The generator produces a super quiet 51.5 dBA of noise thanks to a new muffler and noise suppression. Running continuously for 10 hours at ¼ load, you’ll save plenty of fuel. This is great for remote camping where fuel resupply options are few and far between.
With 12V DC and 240V AC plug-and-play outlets, the Yamaha packs plenty of power into a small package.
When a compact and quiet generator matters most, the Westinghouse iGen 1200 is top of the list. Weighing in at only 15kg, this generator is ideal for smaller camping setups running fridges, lights, and numerous low-wattage kitchen devices. It’s very quiet at only 51dB, making it a good choice for camping in more populated areas.
The generator delivers 1000W of continuous power and up to 15 hours of continuous run time. Outlets include 12V DC, 240V 15A AC and USB fast charge ports. Clean, mains-style power is safe for all electronic equipment.
The iGEN 1200 is great for charging the 12V deep cycle batteries you rely on so heavily. It’s also Ideal for generator novices thanks to the plug-and-play design. Just open the box, add fuel, and pull the ripcord.
The AIMTOM Portable Solar Generator is perfect for campers wanting ultra-compact, fuel-free clean power generation. The multi-port power system has an outdoor 240V AC outlet, 3 12V DC outlets, and 3 USB ports.
It’s suitable for running your camping fridge and charging laptops, cameras, and phones. One of the quietest camping generator options around, I especially recommend this for campers who sleep with CPAP machines.
The integral 42000 mAh battery is huge and will run multiple devices at once. You can recharge via AC mains, your car, or solar panels. Highly affordable, this generator offers ingenious power support for all camping styles.
The Yanmar Diesel generator offers heavy-duty power generation for experienced generator users. It’s more fuel-efficient than gasoline-powered generators and is highly robust. The Yanmar will suit remote adventurers and can be used to power larger commercial tools and power-hungry appliances.
While this generator works well for large camping groups, it’s not recommended for powering sensitive equipment such as computers. Voltage surge and fluctuations are normal in standard (non-sine wave) generators such as the Yanmar, and this can damage sensitive electronics.
However, you can use the Yanmar to charge 12V vehicle batteries and use them to charge your sensitive devices.
It’s built to last a lifetime in the harshest of Aussie conditions on the toughest of journeys.
The Gentrax Inverter 800W (700W continuous power) is compact, lightweight, and affordable. It will suit the majority of weekend and holiday campers. It’s perfect for charging sensitive devices, powering low-wattage kitchen appliances, and charging 12V batteries.
Highly fuel efficient, the Gentrax will run up to 5 hours on one tank of fuel. With overload and low oil protection built-in, it’s very easy to use. Overall, I recommend this generator for minimalist campers with limited packing space.
Looking like tech gear straight out of a space shuttle, the Gentrax Super Supreme portable generator is anything but complex. Charging your 12V battery banks and sensitive electronics is quiet, fast, and easy for beginners. It’ll run your fridge and is great for powering lighting.
This lightweight and compact generator is perfect for campers travelling light. Rated to deliver 700W of continuous power, there are 240V AC, 12V DC and USB ports. The outlets are seated in a highly functional and user-friendly control panel. With a runtime of 6 hours, this generator is as efficient as it is compact.
The Briggs and Stratton Q6500 delivers 5000W of continuous power - the most of any inverter generator I’ve tried. It’s one of the best options for powering full-size fridges, washing machines, clothes dryers, large microwaves and aircons. If you’re a big family touring in a large RV, 5th wheeler or converted bus, this is the generator for you.
The Briggs and Stratton is equipped with advanced monitoring and fail-safe mechanisms. It has a large fuel tank, offering a running time of 14 hours at ¼ load. I consider this generator a great option for mains-style clean power designed for an explorer’s home on wheels.
The Engel R3000IE is my generator choice for long-term 4WD adventurers. It’s one of only a few generators that can handle the remote tracks that only the experienced dare attempt. Being an Engel, it’s completely reliable and built tough to handle the jarring of heavy off-road travel.
Despite being tough as nails, the R3000IE is perfect for powering delicate electronics as well as all standard home kitchen appliances. You can even use it to power portable desalination plants and power tools such as small air compressors.
Backed by a 4-year warranty, this is affordable top-shelf quality and is a great option as a caravan generator.
How To Choose The Best Camping Generator
With a grasp of camping generator lingo and some generator basics, you’ll be well placed to choose the right generator for your needs. Let’s get generator savvy.
One of the first things you’ll notice about camping generators is the huge variation in prices. This is driven in part by power output, but also by quality and features.
Solar and mini generators range between $375 and $500. Popular 1200W to 2400W budget units average around $550, with premium units starting around $1,000 and pushing beyond $2,600.
Budget 3000W to 6500W generators can be as little as $650, but premium units cost as much as $4,000. Allow $1,600 for a quality 3000W generator and in excess of $4,500 for a premium 2400W diesel generator.
To understand the power output you will need from a camping generator, you first have to understand the power draw of the appliances you will be using. You will also want to know how many appliances you want to operate simultaneously. This will determine the generator output or wattage you’ll need.
800W is good for charging delicate electronic devices and 12V batteries. With 1200W of power, you can add a camping fridge or a small TV.
With 2400W, you can run a variety of household entertainment and kitchen appliances. With 3000W to 6000W, you’re powering everything you would at home, including air conditioners and a wide range of power tools.
Maximum Power vs. Continuous Power
Generators will advertise a maximum output and a continuous output. For example, a 1200W generator will list its max power as 1200W. However, it cannot sustain this power for more than a few seconds. it can only run continuously with a load of, say, 1000W.
The maximum power rating is important when starting up appliances. Most appliances take more power when they’re first starting up. For example, an electric saw that draws 500W when running may draw 900W on start-up. Your generator needs to be able to handle this peak power demand.
I strongly recommend portable pure sine wave generators for camping. They generate the same quality of power that comes from mains power at home.
Only pure sine wave generators are suitable for charging phones, laptops, and any other device that has a computer chip inside it. Generators that don’t generate pure sine wave power can damage these sensitive electronics.
Camping generators have noise levels ranging between 50dB and 75dB. To put these numbers in context, normal conversation is about 60dB and a petrol lawnmower is 90dB. It’s best to choose a generator that makes as close to 50dBA as possible for comfort and the consideration of other campers.
Size And Portability
Petrol sine wave camping generators weigh between 8kg and 65kg and will fit easily into the boot of the majority of cars.
Popular 2400W generators average around 20kg, measuring around 52×44×46cm. They’re very portable and easy to move about.
Small solar generators can weigh as little as a couple of kilograms and fit in a large backpack. Diesel generators start around 45kg and sit easily in the back of a ute.
Runtime is the amount of time your generator will operate continuously on a tank of fuel. Runtime will vary depending on the load, fuel tank capacity and engine efficiency.
Most generators will quote runtimes based on continuous quarter or half loads. Expect runtimes of 5 to 9 hours, with some models running as long as 14 hours.
I’ve picked the Yamaha 2400W as the overall best camping generator because it’s user-friendly, portable, and powerful. It comes with a 4-year warranty and it’s suitable for most camping trips.
The Engel R3000IE is the camping generator going in my truck because it delivers 3000W of power, a 4-year warranty, and a tough design. For those looking for outstanding value, the Cromtech generator is a great option.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.