If you’ve ever wanted to hit the open road and live on your terms, van life is a great option. No mortgage, no rent – seriously, what more could you want? The only thing that brings many people back to reality is the daunting task of figuring out how you’re going to power those shiny new solar panels.
We know it can be tricky, so we have put together this great post about some of the best van life generators on the market. We hope our list helps, and you are soon on your way to living free from the constraints of the corporate world.
What Portable Generators Do
When you’re living out of your van, having a generator is essential. It’s what keeps the lights on, and the AC is running during hot summer days. These generators are also used in emergencies to help people who have lost power during storms or natural disasters.
Portable generators have been around for years, and they have evolved from primitive power sources to machines that can provide you with green energy in minutes. Some versions can be placed inside your home, while others need to stay outside for safety reasons.
The Features to Look for in a Portable Generator
While you’re looking at these generators, you’ll want to consider the power required. While some models can provide enough electricity for an entire household, others may only supply enough energy to a tiny house or run a small space heater or two lights.
Look for a generator that can supply the amounts of power needed depending on your use. You’ll also want to be sure your chosen generator will be able to provide you with enough power for several different uses so you don’t overload it.
There are various types of portable generators, mainly depending on the application. For example, a gas-powered generator is best should you plan to use electricity regularly during power outages.
Some generators even come with backup batteries to provide power in an emergency, so keep that in mind when shopping for your ideal generator. It’s also essential to find a model with an inverter if you plan on running sensitive electronics such as electric stove, electric kettle, computers or laptops and televisions.
Inverters are also necessary if you’re hoping to run several different appliances at once. They regulate the flow of energy to ensure that your devices will run without generating excess heat or causing damage to electrical components.
Types of portable generators
It is one of the most popular types of portable generators available, and they are a good option if you want to power a small home during an outage. They produce electricity by burning gasoline, but they are also known to be quite noisy.
Condensing gas generators
These generators use up to 35% less fuel than traditional gas generators, making them a good option if you don’t want your generator using up all of your gas supplies. They can be a bit louder, and some models may have trouble keeping up with your power demand.
If you plan on running coolers, these are ideal. They use very little fuel, and they also operate quietly. However, these models are not as powerful as other types of portable generators. They produce a lot of heat during use, so try to avoid using them if you have sensitive electronics in your van.
These models use propane as a fuel source, making them extremely popular. They are known for being one of the most efficient portable generators available, and they are also able to produce a great deal of power. These models can be very loud, though, and they can also be very dangerous if misused.
While they are not the most popular option, battery-powered generators are a good choice for those who don’t want to be affected by power outages or brownouts. These models are also said to last longer than other types and models of portable generators.
How to Determine A Good Generator For Your Van?
You need to understand what you’re looking for in terms of a great generator. Energy-wise, there are two things you should look out for:
LOW NOISE LEVELS
Running a generator in your van can be boisterous, so the quieter, the better.
It refers to the amount of power a generator produces and how much fuel it needs to produce that energy.
MULTIPLE COOLING SYSTEMs
The most popular models on our list include a built-in cooling system that keeps the internals as cool as possible. Check out each product for more info.
Running a generator inside your van can be a nightmare. Make sure your generator is made to fit in the space you have available.
If you are running an extensive system, a high-capacity generator is worth the investment. It will make sure you won’t run out of power under heavy use.
EASY TO USE
You don’t want to be baffled by a complicated system that you have trouble using. Look for something simple that will work well in a pinch.
No matter your situation, you should find an option that fits all of your needs. It might take some research and comparison shopping to land on the perfect product, but the effort will pay off.
Generators Used in Van Life
There are many generators on the market, so how do you decide which one is right for your needs?
We have broken down the generators into four different categories to help you find the best one for you.
These are great systems for those who don’t need a ton of energy or only need it for short periods. Starter systems are small and quiet, making them perfect for those looking to live out of their van full-time.
Planning/General Use Systems
These systems are what most people think of when they hear the term “generator.” They are powerful enough to power a home but quiet enough to be used in a well-ventilated space.
These systems are perfect for those who need a lot of energy all the time. They can power up to 1000 watts and produce thousands of watts at once. This type of generator will make sure you never run out of juice.
This category is reserved for systems that take their power from the sun. These systems are designed to power your van and other systems, such as a water purifier and your fridge.
These generators can be used in different ways, but they all bring you the same great benefits:
- A quiet generator that produces a lot of energy without using too much fuel.
- A compact generator that won’t take up your entire van or truck bed.
- A generator that won’t break the bank.
- A generator that won’t give you a ton of trouble.
Finding the Best Generator for Your Needs can be Tricky.
But we have brought together a list of some of the best generators on the market today. We have broken down each product to highlight some of its great features, and we hope our list will help you find the best van life generator for your needs.
Renogy Phoenix Solar Generator
The Renogy Phoenix Solar Generator is one of the best van life generators you can buy. An optimized solar generator system runs at 2000 watts for those who want a lot of energy without buying another power system. The unit uses a built-in battery that charges using the sun and can be used for a variety of different applications, including:
- Running fans and lights
- Charging your gadgets
- Running small appliances
- Generating energy for your home
The generator runs at a deficient noise level so that you can use it just about anywhere. It is also lightweight, making it perfect for those who travel often and are on the go. Another attractive feature of this generator is that Renogy offers a five-year warranty with this product, giving you peace of mind.
Yamaha EMAX XT 1034E Portable Generator
The Yamaha EMAX XT 1034E Portable Generator is one of the most popular generators on the market today. It is one of the small generators on our list and only weighs 30 pounds, so it is ideal for those who do not want a vast generator taking up space in their vans. You’ll find that it’s easy to use and offers a ton of different features you’ll love, including:
- Low oil alert
- Fuel gauge power meter
- USB port to charge your electronics
The generator produces 880 watts simultaneously, making it perfect for those who don’t need too much energy. It is quiet, perfect for those who are sound sensitive, and lasts a long time on just a single tank of gas. The product from Yamaha is backed by a 2-year warranty, which shows its durability.
DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
The DuroStar DS4000S is ideally suited for people who need a lot of power. It is one of the best generators on the market for off-grid systems and can generate up to 4,000 watts continuously at once. It is perfect for powering laptops, fridges, freezers, and more. The unit is sound quiet and has a low oil alert system that lets you know when to change the oil. With a warranty of two years, you can rest assured you’re getting a top-of-the-line product.
Maxxeon Portable Generator
The Maxxeon Portable Generator and Inverter TM Generator is one of the most popular generators on the market today, mainly because of its immense power capacity. It can produce up to 11,000 watts simultaneously, making it perfect for those who need a lot of energy. It is a sound generator for camping and is built to withstand the elements. Some of its best features include:
- 6-gallon gas tank with petcock
- Overload protection system
- Low oil protection, warning light system, plus low oil auto-stop function
This product has a reputation for being reliable and easy to use. It also comes with an excellent warranty policy. Unfortunately, it is one of the heavier generators on this list and weighs in at 89 pounds.
TaoTronics TT-EG006 Portable Generator
The TaoTronics TT-EG006 Portable Generator is perfect for those who want a generator with a big power capacity. It can produce up to 8,000 watts, making it one of the most popular generators on the market. It is perfect for people who need a lot of energy, such as off-grid systems or construction work. Some other great features include:
- Low oil shutdown function
- Overload protection system
- Protection against low voltage and high voltage and automatic restart function when the power recovers after fault conditions clear up.
This product is very quiet and comes with a 1-year warranty from TaoTronics. It is also lightweight and easy to carry around. However, it does not come with a manual and has a 1-year limited warranty, so you will have to be prepared to read through the product’s user guide.
Bosch 7500 PSI Portable Generator
The Bosch 7500 PSI Portable Generator takes the number one spot in our best generator reviews due to its powerful power capacity. It can produce up to 8,000 watts of energy, making it perfect for construction and other demanding outdoor activities. It is also very cost-effective and can be used for up to 24 hours on a single tank!
It can handle a high load, thanks to its robust engine. It also comes with a lot of great features that make it one of the best generators in the market today:
There is an inverter technology and LCD that makes this generator very easy to use. Users will not have issues setting it up and using it either. There is also a power indicator that will let users know when to recharge the battery.
This generator also comes equipped with a built-in AC charging cord. That makes it very easy and convenient to use this product indoors. It also comes with a 12V adapter that will let users connect their other electronics and appliances to the generator for an uninterrupted power supply.
Lastly, there is also an optional DC light kit that you can purchase separately. Bosch is an excellent brand in the generator industry and makes many generators for different needs.
Trilliant TS-4500E Portable Generator
The Trilliant TS-4500E Portable Generator is one of the most durable generators on our list and one of the most affordable. It can produce up to 4,500 watts simultaneously, making it perfect for those who need a lot of energy. It is an excellent generator for camping trips and emergencies. Some of its best features include:
- Overload protection system
- Low oil shutdown function
- Low oil alert system to let you know when you need to change the oil
This generator has a lot of great reviews, both from customers and other users. It is also very lightweight, comes with a 1-year warranty, and comes with a small remote control, making it very convenient. It is also tranquil so that it won’t disturb anyone in the area. Its ratings are practically perfect, with a 4.1-star average on Amazon with over 80 reviews.
DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator is among the most influential models on our list and generates up to 4,400 watts of energy at once. It is perfect for off-grid systems as its inverter technology will let users use it indoors without any issues. It also features an LCD that can show the charging system, hours of operation, and more.
This generator also comes with a remote start feature that will let users control it from up to 30 feet away. Its low oil shutdown function means you don’t have to worry about shutting down in the middle of a job or activity. Here are some more great features of this generator:
It has an overload protection system that will alert users when pushing this unit too hard and ruin it together. Additionally, an automatic shut-off feature will allow the generator to self-protect in the case of an overload.
This product features many accessories, including a battery tender kit (an optional accessory), wire harness, and hardware package. Customers have left great reviews about this generator, saying it is easy to set up and use and has a great design – no weird or awkward parts that are hard to fit together. Most reviewers have also said that you can power several things at once without any issues.
Whether you’re looking for a general-purpose generator for your van, a portable solar generator designed for off-grid setups, or one that will work well on your camping trips, there are plenty of choices out there to help you out and sustain your van life power needs.
As you can see, it isn’t an exhaustive list, and we are always open to new products being added. Ultimately, you have to find the generator that works best for your needs and lifestyle.