Portable Power – Small, Quiet Generators for Camping

small quiet generators for campingIn just a little over a century, electricity has gone from the subject of fantasy novels to being considered a necessity. This is true for campers. Our rig might have a dozen electrical appliances. We like our conveniences. When we are not near shore power it is good that we can have small, quiet generators for camping.

This article is going to look at small, power inverter generators. We will look at generators that are rated at 2000 watts. We will compare two such generators, the Honda EU2000I and the Yamaha EF2000IS.

The small power inverter generator has revolutionized portable power for campers and other users of portable electricity. These devices can even help out (granted, just a little) in an emergency, like a storm or blackout.

For some campers, electricity is a necessity. For instance, campers with health issues may need air conditioning, or refrigeration. Electricity makes camping accessible to some with special needs. Others need electricity to charge their phones, computers and to run their appliances.


What is a Power Inverter Generator?

Honda first introduced the power inverter generator. The older type generators are loud, fuel inefficient, and produce electricity that is unsuitable for powering today’s electronic devices like TVs, Computers, and other similar gadgets. The older type generators are not well suited for camping.

The power inverter generator produces electricity with a pure sine wave. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, your electronic appliances do, and they like them.

The older type of generator operated and burned fuel at the same rate regardless of whether you were running a single light bulb or a heavy-duty motor. Power inverter generators have the ability to sense when the load is reduced and reduces the speed of the engine thereby saving fuel.

The downside: power inverter generators are not cheap. The two covered in this article retail at over $900. The price range of these generators is from $500 to over $1,200.

That’s why I am presenting products from Honda and Yamaha. These two companies have a track record for building quality products. I am confident, with proper care and maintenance, these units can give you years of reliable service.


Some Considerations

laptopThe type of generator you need depends on how you are going to use it. If you are carrying a generator planning only to use it in a dire emergency, the lower end units might fill the bill. Remember though, campgrounds have been known to max out on power distribution during peak camping times. You might use that generator more than you think.

Speaking of campgrounds, some RV, State and National Park campgrounds have restrictions on when you can run your generator. You may have to shut your generator down at sundown or whenever “quiet time” begins.

These new generators are said to be quiet, but that is a relative term. Both of these generators are rated as operating under 60 decibels at 25% load. 60 decibels is the sound of human speech. That’s not loud, but ask yourself this, “would you want someone talking outside of your RV all night long while you were trying to sleep?

You have to place your generator somewhat away from your (and your neighbor’s) rig. Generators, like all gasoline motors, emit carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an odorless gas that can kill you and everyone in your rig. If you have an RV, you should have a working CO detector. ‘Nuff said.

For the placement of your generator, read and follow the manufacturers instructions.


What are the Specs and What Do They Mean?

Unless you are a technician, you may look at the specs (specifications) and go, “say, what?” Here is an explanation of the terms, what they mean and why they are important. If you are looking for a small, quiet generator for camping, consider the following features.

  • Rated AC output / Maximum AC output. Some appliances need extra power when they start up, then they level off. The rated AC output is the power the generator will produce over time. Maximum AC output is the extra power the generator can supply when an appliance starts up.
  • CARB Compliant. CARB is CARB is California Air Resources Board. Generators (and other fossil fuel burning appliance sold in California must be CARB compliant.
  • Weight. Given in pounds.
  • Noise Level in decibels (db) unit for measuring loudness.
  • Running time. How long will it run on a full tank of fuel? The fuel consumption rating assumes a 25% load. A higher load will result in shorter running time.
  • Fuel consumption. How much fuel is consumed in an hour (at 25% load)

Honda EU2000I

  • 1600 Watt Rated AC Output (13,3 amps) / 2000 Watt Maximum A/C output (16.7 amps).
  • Weight: 45.6 pounds.small quiet generators for camping
  • 2 120 VAC outlets and 1 12 V DC outlet.
  • Noise Level: 53 db @ 25% load; 59 db @ rated load.
  • Fuel Capacity: 0.95 Gal
  • Running time @ 25% load: 8.1 hours
  • Fuel consumption rate @ 25% load: 0.12 gal/hr
  • CARB compliant: Yes
  • Warranty 36 mos.

Yamaha EF2000IS

  • 1600 Watt Rated AC Output (13,3 amps) / 2000 Watt Maximum A/C output (16.7 amps).
  • Weight: 44.1 pounds.small quiet generators for camping
  • 2 120 VAC outlets and 1 12 V DC outlet.
  • Noise Level: 51.5 db @ 25% load; 61 db rated load.
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.1 Gal
  • Running time @ 25% load: 10.5 hours
  • Fuel consumption rate @ 25% load: 0.12 gal/hr
  • CARB Compliant: Yes
  • Warranty: 36 mos Limited Warranty,

User-Friendly, Practical Features

Both models have a manual pull recoil start, they are easy to start and operate. Both units have low oil level warnings this helps you to know when to add or change the oil. Both models have overload protection. This means you don’t have to worry about damaging the generator due to overload.

Both models offer you the option of parallel operation. You can configure your generator with a second, identical model and double the output capacity.

Small, Quiet Generators for Camping – Electricity Where You Need it

These two inverter generators are fairly evenly matched. As of this writing, the Honda model is slightly less expensive than the Yamaha. However, the Yamaha should be slightly less expensive to operate over the course of its expected life.

These two small, quiet generators for camping should give years of reliable service. If you this type of generator, you will probably be happy with either of these.

Do you have a generator you just love? Or, maybe one you can’t stand. Let me know. If you have a question, I’d be glad to answer it.

Leave a message in the comment box below.

Happy Camping





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Camper Joe


  1. This is extremely useful article! This coming summer we are planning our first RV trip, and source of power is a bog question, and you’ve cleared a lot of things for me I had no idea about. Thank you for explaining all the specifications, this really helps! How to decide between these 2 generators?

    • Hi Soby, A good generator will definitely come in handy. When I am ready to buy my next generator, I will most likely buy the Honda. That decision has a lot to do with product familiarity. I have owned several Honda products and the service at the local Honda dealership is excellent. They sell much of the Honda product line, not just cars. However, both generators enjoy excellent reputations for reliability and durability. What you could do, is when you are ready to buy, check both generators, perhaps one of them will be offering a sale. Check back here, this Spring I will be reviewing the latest and best generators of 2018. 

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