What Size Generator Do I Need for 50 Amp RV?

Being an RV user I observed the deficiency of 50amp service in most of the RV parks, especially those which are in rural areas, well I mostly use a 50amp generator of 15000 watts for operating my power-hungry appliance.

In this article, we are going to provide some detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions like what size generator for 50 amps RV? What actually a 50amp service is? and how to choose the right size 50amp machine.

Without further wasting time let’s dive in;

What Size Generator for 50 Amp RV?

What Size Generator Do I Need for 50 Amp RV

For a normal consumer who only wants to run some normal power equipment like refrigerator, microwave, Lights, Fans, etc. we recommend to get at least a 4000-watt machine, however, if you want to operate central Air-condition, Electric water heater and other power-hungry equipment make sure to get between 10000 – 15000 watts unit.

From the above quick answer, you may have noticed that the size of a 50 amp generator is pretty subjective, some users only want to operate normal wattage equipment and they don’t have to spend more on a bigger unit because they will not only waste some bucks initially but also will waste continuously in terms of high fuel consumption, higher maintenance, etc.

What Is a 50 Amp Service?

A 50amp plug can draw 12000 watts of power that can be sufficient for even huge RVs and can operate your essential power-hungry tools or appliance like a central AC unit.

Below is some calculation to clarify your concept.

Since a 50amp outlet has dual hot wires of 120V and the formula for calculating the wattages is:

(Amp x Volts = Watts)

So you will have 50×120 = 6000 watts from each hot wire, however, from both, you can draw 12000 watts which is technically written as 120/240V.

How to Choose the Right Size Generator for a 50 Amp RV?

Before getting to the other things we have to figure out what appliance can a 50amp generator runs.

Determine the Power Needs of Your Appliances and the Whole RV

Before getting a 50amp generator you have to determine what appliances you are going to use and what will be their wattages.

We have listed some of the essential RV appliances with wattage ratings make sure to skim them.

What Can a 50 Amp Generator Run?

AppliancePeak wattsRunning watts
A standard fridge1200200
electric tankless water heater70007000
Microwave oven10001000
Refrigerator or Freezer7002200
Coffee maker600600
Dishwasher 7001400
AC (10,000) BTU44003000
AC (24,000) BTU87503800
Printer600600
Computer250250
Incandescent lights300300

NOTE:

  1. Starting wattage is crucial for initial startup; however, the running wattage is the wattage an appliance needs for constant running.
  2. Always select a unit with 10 – 15% increased wattages.

How Many Wattages You can draw from a 50amp outlet?

Here we can get benefits from the formula for calculating the wattages.

(Amp x Volts = Watts)

Since a 50amp plug has two hot wires of 120V and 50amps we have to calculate the wattage ratings of each hot wire

One hot wire = 50×120 = 6000 watts

Two hot wires = 50×240 = 12000 watts (Technically written as 120/240V)

Hence a 50amp service can supply a maximum power of 12000 watts, which is pretty decent to run central air conditioning units, Tankless water heaters, and other higher-wattage tools or appliances.

We also have written a guide about the top RV generators currently available in the market, let’s have a look.

Can I Run My 50 Amp RV on 30 Amp Generators?

Yes, it is possible to run a 50 amp RV with a 30amp generator by using a 50amp female to 30amp male electrical adopter (known as DogBone). Though this will not hurt your RV and the generator, still you will face some limitations like you can’t operate higher-wattage appliances.

As per my experience, I tried to operate two Air conditions of my RV simultaneously with a 30amp shore power but it didn’t work, however with a single Air conditional unit it worked like a charm.

50 Amp vs 30 Amp RV Service

50-Amp-vs-30-Amp-RV-Service

The following are the main differences between a 50 and 30-amp outlet.

  • A 30amp plug has 3 prongs – A hot wire of 120V, a neutral wire, and a ground, in the case of 50 amp you will have 4 prongs – Two hot wires of 120V, a neutral wire and a ground. Both outlets are equally important for RV the 30amp outlet is used for small campers and RVs however 50amp is being used for bigger ones.
  •  A 50amp service can draw 12000 watts of maximum power; however, a 30amp can draw about 3600 watts, that’s why 50amp is considered a great source of powering higher wattage appliances.

What Size Generator for RV with 2 AC Units?

It Depends on the size of air-conditioning units, suppose you are going to operate two central units with 3500 watts each you have to get a unit with at least a 9000-watt generator with increased starting watts as well.

In case you are going to operate some of the lower wattage window ACs of 900 – 1400 wattage you can go with 4 – 5kw generators.

Final Words

Before getting a 50 amp generator you have to figure out what appliances you are going to attach? and what wattages you are going to draw simultaneously?.


If you are going to draw 4000 watts simultaneously with appliances ranging from 100 – 3500 watts you have to get a 5000-watt generator, however, if you have to draw 8000 – 11000 watts with some of the heavy appliances like the electric tankless water heater, central AC, etc, you should go for a 12000 watts unit.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run a 50 Amp Camper?

Yes, if a 5500w generator has a 50amp it can power some part of your RV but don’t expect that it can run higher wattage appliances like an electric water heater, central AC unit, etc. we always encourage our users to get a higher wattage unit to get proper benefits from a 50amp service

Will a 4000 Watt Generator Run a 50 Amp RV?

Like a 5500w watt generator if a 4000w unit has 50amp it will work for you but there are restrictions.  You can’t draw higher wattages for operating some power-hungry appliances.

Is a 50-Amp RV Plug 110 or 220?

No, a 50amp plug is neither 110 nor 220V, since a 50amp outlet has two hot wires of 120V, technically we called it 120/240V means you can draw 120 or 240V for operating some of the heavy machines.

How Many Watts Does It Take to Run a 50 Amp RV?

We recommend you to purchase a 50mp generator with at least 4000 watts for a small camper or RV, however, for a medium or large size RV, we recommend getting a 10000 – 15000 watt generator depending on the need.

As an Energy and environmental engineer, I worked in eco bottle manufacturing for the last three years. Currently, he is the leading engineer in a Lithium Iron phosphate battery manufacturing company.

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