Do fifth wheels have a generator? (how to choose the best)

In this short guide, we will answer the following question: Do fifth wheels have a generator? We will explain how a motorhome generator works and why you may need one in your fifth wheel camper. 

Do fifth wheels have a generator?

Fifth wheels do not have a generator as a standard option. You may, however, choose it as an optional upgrade when buying a new camper. If you have a second-hand fifth wheel in your garage, it is still possible to buy a generator and install it in your camper. 

Here are our top tips for choosing the best generator for your fifth wheel:

  1. Choose a portable model or one with a handle. Not only to be able to easily transport or remove your generator from the place of life but also to be able to fix it to an anti-theft device during the night. All security is good to take in nature.
  1. Think about the volume of the tank. The larger the capacity of the tank, the less you will need to refill it. This reduces the number of operations, the risks when filling, splashing in the middle of the night.
  1. Choose a model from a brand that has proven itself. A good brand will guarantee you good reliability of your generator as well as sufficient after-sales service to replace a defective part.

Choosing the right generator for your fifth wheel

Owning an electric generator to cover your energy needs during our wilderness getaways is a choice that is often controversial and divides. Some campers who love the great outdoors will tell you that camping is knowing how to do without the superfluous. We could actually say that Mother Nature has so much more to offer than our vacuum cleaners and our hair dryers. 

On the other hand, many travelers are in favour of long-term autonomous housing. Many people choose a nomadic adventure to discover the world and are in dire need of energy to stay connected and perform all the functions of their living space in the van.

Here is our guide to help you make the right choice of generator whether for use in a fifth wheel. 

How to choose the power of the generator for your fifth wheel?

The electrical output power is one of the most important criteria to evaluate when choosing your generator.

To know exactly what your electrical needs are when you travel in a motorhome or van, it would be ideal to list all the devices to be used. Unless you are an experienced backpacker, you don’t really know what devices or tools you will be using. We are going to simplify things and distinguish 2 types of use:

  • 1000W: A generator delivering 1KW is sufficient for a large number of camping travelers and those who prefer to do without certain energy-hungry devices. If you are not using a vacuum cleaner or grinder, a small model will suffice and will save you fuel! With a 1000W model, you can, for example, use your refrigerator, 12v lighting and charge your laptop.
  • 2000W and more: The more powerful models bring you undeniable comfort, especially if you are traveling with the family. You can, at the cost of a higher consumption, enjoy a small oven-baked gratin, a hair dryer or an auxiliary forced-air heater.

The power chosen ultimately corresponds to your vision of camping, and your travel lifestyle.

Other questions you may be interested in

Can a Honda Ridgeline pull a 5th wheel?

Are gooseneck 5th Wheel Adapters safe?

Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California?

Should you invest in a soundproof generator set for your fifth wheel?

There is a category of so-called “soundproof” generators which are specially adapted for camping or any type of autonomous habitat.

These generators are, in fact, covered with a hermetic shell which considerably reduces the noise emitted by the engine. Most soundproof models do not exceed 80 dB, which is less noisy than a mower.

The sound level of your electric generator for a motorhome or van must be taken into account in your choice. This should be kept out of the way out of respect for the neighbourhood. It is important to adopt a civic attitude here so that the camping experience is enjoyable for everyone.

The best soundproof generators for fifth wheels are:

Honda Single-phase 4-stroke generator, equipped with Inverter technology,

  • HONDA 2.2 kVA EU22i
  • SDMO Generator, Inverter Pro 2000
  • SDMO 2kW INVERTER PRO 2000

Among the users of generators in motorhomes and vans, the models of Honda and SDMO are known to be the most reliable, even “indestructible”.

These models provide 2200W for Honda or 2000W for SDMO allow you to quite comfortably enjoy small appliances or any extra lighting system. The inverter technology makes them compatible with your connected devices such as PCs, televisions… Quiet and portable, they are ideal for use in caravans or any autonomous habitat.

Why choose an Inverter generator for your fifth wheel

If you are looking to equip yourself with an electric generator in order to be more independent when travelling, whether, in a motorhome, caravan or van, Inverter technology is a must.

This technology allows your generator set to provide a reliable and stable current to which you can plug sensitive devices. We are talking about the use of laptops, laptop chargers, electronic devices, etc.

In addition, the inverter makes it possible to adapt the rotation frequency of the motor according to the power requested. The generator will therefore vary its engine speed depending on what you are going to connect. This avoids constantly running at full speed and saves significant fuel consumption. Noise reduction is also a plus!

Should we choose a gasoline or diesel model for a fifth wheel?

Again the choice of fuel depends a lot on how you plan to use your electric generator.

In general, it can be said that gasoline generators are more expensive to use: they consume more fuel. On the other hand, they have the huge advantages of being quieter and more versatile. In addition, they have a slightly lower purchase price than diesel models.

Advice: Always favour a 4-stroke engine model.

Diesel generator sets are generally noisier, keeping them away from leisure or travel use. They still have the advantage of cheaper long-term consumption.

The bottom line

The generator in an RV basically consists of an electric winding driven by an internal combustion engine, diesel, gasoline or gas, capable of producing alternating current. The type of fuel will be determined primarily by the fuel used in your vehicle’s main engine. In the case of fifth wheels, a very popular option is those fueled by propane gas.

You may be wondering: Do I really need a generator for my fifth wheel? The answer to this question is quite personal, as it will depend on what your intentions are, but also on how much energy you are going to consume. Our last tip is to sit and try to understand what your needs are and whether you will manage without a generator on the board of your fifth wheel.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Do fifth wheels have a generator?

Can you plug the fifth wheel into a house outlet?

To plug the fifth wheel into a house outlet you will have to connect your RV to the house’s electrical system. 

Where can I plug in my motorhome for free?

You can plug your motorhome for free in community parks, churches, terminals with camping permissions and RV dealers. 

How to install a motorhome power supply?

The safest and simplest way to install a home connection for a recreational vehicle or RV is to use a power pedestal manufactured for this purpose. Power pedestals are similar to the hookups in most campsites, usually made with a built-in 50 amp outlet and a 30 amp outlet and one or two 20 amp outlets. 

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