Updated: May 18

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What Size Generator Do I Need To Run My Caravan Aircon? – A Simple Guide

Wondering what generator size you should get to run your caravan air conditioner?

An air conditioner is one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances you own. That is why you have to get the right generator size to start and run it.

In this article, we will discuss exactly what size of generator you should be getting as well as some tips to make sure you get the right one. We will also look at the power consumption of different brands of air conditioners as well as other appliances that you might own.

What Size Generator Is Needed To Run A Caravan AC?

Generally speaking, you need at least a 2,400W - 4,000W capacity generator to start and run your caravan aircon comfortably. The reasonably wide range here is due to the wide variety of air conditioning units out there and their varying degrees of power consumption.

However, choosing a generator in this size range will usually will give you enough power to run your air conditioner simultaneously with other home appliances.

Sure, you can choose an even more powerful generator, however, you have to take into account the amount of space a large generator is going to take up in your caravan.

Caravan Air Conditioner Power Consumption

Your air conditioner most likely has the biggest power consumption out of all your appliances. With that in mind, most caravan owners choose a generator based on the consumption of their air conditioner.

On average, caravan air conditioners consume between 1,000W - 2,000W when running. Some models may consume less depending on their efficiency.

Here’s a list of the approximate power consumptions of some popular air conditioning units.

Air Conditioning Unit

Type

Approx. Power Consumption

Truma Aventa Compact Plus

Roof-mounted

1.0 kW

Truma Aventa Compact

Roof-mounted

0.6 kW

Truma Aventa Comfort

Roof-mounted

1.0 kW

Dometic Harrier Plus

Roof-mounted

0.4 - 1.9 kW

Finch Australia

Under Bunk

1.0 kW

Saphir Comfort RC

Under Bunk

1.0 kW

Saphir Compact

Under Bunk

1.0 kW

The table above lists the power required to run the generator after it has already been started.

However, when choosing a generator, you also have to consider the power required to start the air conditioner which usually ranges between 2000-3000W depending on the size and brand of the air conditioner.

For example, if an air conditioner runs continuously on 1,250W but needs 2,400W to start, you’ll need a generator that’s capable of at least 2,400W to start and run that caravan air conditioner.

This information is not readily available on most air conditioning units and you may have to contact the manufacturers for this info. You may also like to ask the air conditioner manufacturers about their recommended generator size for their unit.

Truma Aventa Compact Plus Roof Top Air Conditioner

What Type Of Generator Is Right For Running Caravan Air Con?

Inverter generators are the best type of generators to run a caravan air conditioner. Although they are generally more expensive than other types of generators, there are a lot of benefits to owning an inverter generator compared to other types.

  • Safe for all types of electronics - Inverter generators produce sine wave power which is safe for all electronics
  • Fuel-efficient - Inverter generators are generally more fuel-efficient than other types of generators because they automatically adjust their engine throttle depending on the power demand and the load.
  • Quiet - Because they don’t need to throttle up on low loads, inverter generators are quieter than other types of generators. In addition, they usually have low-tone mufflers and soundproof casings which drive down the noise even more. Most inverter generators run at 54-68dB which is only as loud as a normal conversation.
  • More portable and easy to store - Inverter generators are smaller and lighter than other types of generators which allows you to carry and store them easily. It’s perfect for caravans and RVs because it doesn’t take up much space.
Yamaha 3000w Inverter Generator

How Much Power Do Other Appliances Use?

Another thing you should consider when buying a generator is the power consumption of your other appliances.

Aside from your air conditioner, you most likely have other appliances to power through your generator. That said, knowing how much power other appliances consume can help you choose the generator that’s right for you.

Here’s a list of some common motorhome appliances that you might own and their start-up and running wattage.

Appliances

Start-Up Watts

Running Watts

Television

150-500W

150-500W

Laptop

200W

100W

Microwave Oven

1400W

1400W

Blender

850W

400W

Electric Fan

600W

200W

Small Refrigerator

800-2000W

600W

Vacuum Cleaner

750-1800W

600-1500W

Hair Dryer

N/A

300-1200W

Coffee Maker

600W-1500W

600W-1500W

Choose the items that you own and add their total power consumption with your air conditioner. Their total running watts must not exceed the rated continuous power output of your generator.

In addition, consider the start-up power consumption of each appliance. If the start-up watts of an appliance are higher than its running watts, make sure the total watts do not exceed the rated maximum power output of your generator.

Caravan Appliances

Important Things To Consider When Choosing a Generator

Aside from the rated maximum and continuous power output of the generators, there are also other important things you should consider when choosing a generator.

Size and Weight

Consider the size and weight of the generator relative to its power output. Smaller and lighter generators have an advantage in terms of storage and maneuverability.

Brand

In choosing a generator, consider buying a trusted brand that has a track record of producing high-quality generators for many years.

Some examples are Yamaha, Honda, DeWalt, and Engel generators.

Price

If you have the budget to get some premium brands like Yamaha and Honda, then go for it. If not, there are some good and reliable generators that aren't as expensive.

Engel and DeWalt generators, for example, are a good and reliable option in the mid-range class.

If you’re looking for cheaper options, Cromtech and GenTrax are some of the cheapest generators in the market.

Conclusion

You need at least a 2,400W to a 4000W capacity generator to start and run your air conditioner. But before you buy, consider the power consumption of the air conditioner you own in addition to any other appliances that you expect to run at the same time.

It is best to ask the manufacturers what generator size they recommend before making a purchase.

In choosing a generator, consider the size, weight, brand, and price of the generator. There are a variety of good options spread over different budget ranges.


This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.


This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.

Louis

While Louis does most of his trips near his home in south-east Queensland, he has been camping as far afield as South America and Africa. He loves researching, testing and experimenting with camping gear whenever possible.

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