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The Best Camping Generator, Australia 2020

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Best Camping Generator Australia 2020With the best camping generator Australia has available, you have quick and easy access to 240V AC power no matter where you are.

Most people love them, others less so; but one of the handiest items you can have in your camping trailer or RV is a camping generator.  There are restrictions on where you can run them in close proximity camping grounds and holiday parks; and that varies from ‘no generators’ to restricted times and sound levels.  Which is understandable.

There’re quite a few camping generators out in the Australian market place; some are good, some are not.  Here we want to help you find the best generator for camping that works for you. 

Here we have done some detailed and extensive research (so you don’t have to 😊) based on our own experiences and those of others to bring you these independent camping generator reviews.  We won’t focus on bigger gen sets; but more the portable camping generator reviews.

Benefits of Owning the Best Camping Generator, Australia

Let me start by saying we always carry a small camping generator (around 2kVA) whenever we’re heading into more remote areas.  But more on that later.

Around a remote campsite, a portable camping generator can power a charger for topping up a solar deep-cycle battery when it’s been cloudy for a few days, running some small 240V AC appliances/tools and even using it as a small power source around your home. Its uses are limitless, really.

Again, thanks to the ongoing march of technology, in 2020 the best small generator for camping has the following important things going for it.

  • Ready Supply of High Quality 240V AC Power – most of the smaller, modern generators are called ‘inverter generators’, which is a more sophisticated way of producing a pure sinusoidal AC output. The voltage/current coming out of a power point in your home is a pure sinusoidal AC supply. 

This is a superior quality output, and does not impact the operation of sensitive electronic equipment in devices such as laptops, mobile phones, modern camping fridges that have electronic/micro-computer thermostat controls etc.

  • Portable 240 AC Power – you can have 240V power at any campsite or remote location. Just bring it with you.  The units are relatively small and lightweight, and can be integrated into a camping trailer or RV; or operated standalone.
  • Power at the Press of a Button with Remote/Electric Start – this is a great innovation coming into the small camping generator market. Remember the good old days of pulling on a starter cord?  Well, that’s starting to disappear, to be replaced by you pressing a button.
  • Quiet Operation – inverter generators tend to be much quieter than their bigger cousins. You can hear them, but it’s more like a soft purr rather than the roar/whine of the old-style generator in the still of the night.

Our Pick of the Best Camping Generators, Australia for 2020

If you don’t feel like reading this entire guide on what are the best generators for camping in 2020, here are our pick.

All major generator manufacturers offer a wide range of power outputs from their various models and types.   We’ve focussed on inverter generators in the range of 2kVA – 3kVA for this buying guide, as they offer the best mix of power output, weight, low noise and power quality.

So here are our best inverter generators for camping. 

We’ve picked two.  Both are excellent products, and they’re in the more affordable price bracket. 

The main players like Honda, Yamaha do produce excellent products, and we’ve reviewed them here. But they can be pricey!

However, for a generator to be in the ‘best generator for camping’ bracket, it must represent value for money.  RV’ers and campers don’t often want to shell out big dollars. After all, it’s rarely a tax deduction for us.

  1. Cromtech Outback Inverter Generator (2.4kVA) – Overall this is an excellent unit. What’s there not to like about it?

best camping generator AustraliaIt’s easy to start (first pull), quiet (52dBA on light load), extremely lightweight (20kgs), pure sinusoidal output (good for phones, laptops and anything with an electronic control unit in it), reliable and DC/USB outlets.  It also has pretty good after sales support. RV’ers love them, as it runs their air-con units with ease.

If there is a minus, it has a 1-year warranty.  But that’s it.

It’s our recommendation for the best quiet portable generator for camping on the market in 2020.

Click here to check out the Cromtech Outback Generator.

  1. Gentrax Inverter Generator with Electric Start (2.2kVA) – We own an earlier Gentrax model (2.0kVA); and it’s never given us a problem over the past few years. cheap generator for campingThis newer model has an electric start in addition to the recoil start, sine wave output (low distortion), parallel capability, quiet (~59dBA @ 7 metres) and weighs in at 24.5kg.

Reasonable, basic, cheap camping generator that matches the bigger players at a much lower price point.  Well worth a look.

Click here to check out the Gentrax Inverter Generator.

The Best Camping Generator Australia, 2020 – Comparison Table

 

ProductMaximum RatingPros (+)/Cons(-)Price
Cromtech Outback Generator2.4kVA+ Easy start, quiet, lightweight, reliable, value for money, all round great unit!
- 1 year warranty.
Check Price
Gentrax Camping Generator
w/ Electric Start
2.2kVA+ Solid unit, quiet, electric start, well priced.
- Lesser known brand, 1 year warranty.
Check Price
Genforce GT4000 Generator2.7kVA+ Has a bit more grunt, quiet, good reputation, value for money.
- Lesser known brand, 1 year warranty.
Check Price
Yamaha EF2400iS Generator2.4kVA+ Very well engineered, built to last; however...
- Heavy and expensive.
Check Price
Briggs & Stratton Camping Generator2.2kVA+ Good unit, well engineered.
- Continuous rating a bit low at 1.7kVA.
Check Price
Honda EU22i Generator2.2kVA+ Has a very good startup capability of 4.2kVA, popular with RV'ers.
- Continuous rating a bit low at 1.8kVA.
Check Price
Adventure Kings Generator2.0kVA+ A sound product, cheapest in this range.
- Noisier and lower output capability than competitors.
Check Price

What to Consider When Looking for the Best Camping Generator

Here are some important technical considerations when choosing a camping generator.

Load Capability Considerations

kVA vs Real Power

Load capability is how much power the generator is expected to deliver.  Typically, the maximum size of generators is quoted in kVA.  Voila le formula!

kVA = Voltage (Volts AC) X Current (Amps AC) ÷1000

where AC stands for Alternating Current.

However, the load of many appliances and equipment is quoted in Watts or real power.  But the load may require a higher kVA due to a little issue called ‘power factor’.   Just a quick dip into electrical engineering; the rule of thumb for most loads that have electrical motors is around 0.8.  So, the kVA rating gets multiplied by 0.8 to show what real load it’s capable of powering.

If you have a generator driving a motorised load that’s rated at 800 Watts, you will need 1000VA or 1kVA of capability – 1000VA X 0.8 = 800W.

Maximum Rating vs Continuous Rating

Pretty much all of the generators available quote their output as a ‘maximum rating’.  This is typically not sustainable for the unit over any length of time.  Always check the ‘continuous rating’ when calculating how much power your particular load requires.

Maximum rating relates to short peaks in load, and becomes important when a motorised appliance is turned on while connected to the inverter generator. For example, an air-conditioning motor can draw up to twice its normal running current on start-up.  See the next section on ‘Inrush Current’.

Inrush Current

Ever plugged a power saw into your generator and pressed the trigger and the generator trips off on overload? Even though the rating of the generator should be enough to power the saw? This happens with any motorised appliance being connected to a generator; and it’s caused by start-up or inrush current.  A surge of power to get the motor turning and up to speed.

It isn’t such a big issue with portable camping generators, because of the smaller loads involved with camping equipment (eg camping fridges and lighting).  But if you are also using it in an RV and want it to drive the air conditioning unit, it may well be an issue.

When you size up what generator you think you’ll require, you need to take these factors into consideration.

Parallel Capability

This is a capability that a growing number of modern inverter generators can support.  It allows two inverter generators of the same make/model to have their outputs connected together to double the power delivery.  A specific ‘Y’ electrical wiring connection makes this possible, which is a separate purchase.

If you and your mates are camping, and you have the same generator; then you can get a lot more capability than two running separately.

Quality of Output

We can’t stress this enough with choosing the best generator for camping.  Almost everything these days has some sort of sensitive electronics/micro-computers in them.  They require ‘clean power’; and that’s electricity with a pure sinusoidal waveform; just like the power coming out of the power points in your home.

The best technology for this is an inverter camping generator.  Older styles of generators just don’t make the cut anymore.

The inverter generator achieves this by a multi-stage process of converting the generated AC output into DC and then converting it back to a pure sinusoidal AC output.

A measure of how pure the output is called total harmonic distortion (THD), and this should be 5% or less. High THD is the equivalent of being at a noisy party.

Fuel Efficiency/Fuel Tank Capacity

Modern camping inverter generators are typically pretty fuel efficient.  It’s best to check the manufacturers stated hours of running on a single tank to determine what is best for you.

Weight/Portability

Ideally, the weight should be in the range of 20kgs – 25kgs.  The heavier the unit, the more effort required to move it around.   If it’s built into a trailer or RV, not so much a problem.  However, the big advantage of camping generators is you can put them away from your camp to some degree to manage any engine noise from the unit.

Engine Noise

They really do need to be as quiet as possible! All well designed portable camping generators operate in the range of 50dBA to 60dBA; the best quiet generator for camping preferably closer to 50dBA.

Additional features to look for which help to keep the noise down are:

  • Integrated silencer muffler
  • Noise level suppression
  • Totally enclosed casing
  • Rubber isolation feet
  • Quality construction and materials

For comparison, here are some typical sound levels from every day.

Sound SourceTypical Level
Breathing10dBA
Gentle breeze rustling leaves20dBA
Quiet Room, like a library40dBA – 50dBA
Inverter camping generator50dBA – 60dBA
Normal Conversation60dBA – 65dBA
Heavy Traffic85dBA
Petrol Engine Lawnmower90dBA
Indoor Rock Concert120dBA+

Safety Considerations

There are some basic, common sense safety musts when dealing with petrol engine generators.

  • Don’t operate them in an enclosed space – avoid the build-up of toxic exhaust fumes.
  • Keep them away from moisture/rain – electricity and moisture are not a good mix.
  • If running it as a backup household supply in the event of a blackout, you must have an isolation switch in your fuse box. Otherwise 240V AC can be fed back onto the mains supply and seriously injure utility workers. 
  • Remember, this is a piece of kit that delivers power at mains voltage. It is, after all 240V AC, which can kill.

Power Limitation of Inverter Generators

If you require a lot of power from a gen set, then a conventional generator is the better choice.  The maximum power possible from an inverter generator in 2020 is around 6.5kVA; anything more and you’re looking at a direct alternator/generator.

Camping Generator Reviews, Australia 2020

Cromtech Outback Inverter Generator (2.4kVA)

best camping generator Australia

This one is in the category of best small generator for camping and RVs.  We like it.

Extensive buyer feedback shows it’s very easy to start, quiet, lightweight, runs RV air-conditioning units with ease, has dual USB outlets, reliable and really does represent real value for money.  It also has an extensive dealer support network around Australia.

What more can we say?

Click here to read heaps of good reviews and to check the current price.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.4kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 2.1kVA
  • Weight: 20.0 kg
  • Noise Level: 52dBA (light load) – 59 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 8Amps + 2 @ 5V USB
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 51.2cm (L) X 31.5cm (W) X 44.7cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 5 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Yes
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Buyer Rating: 4.9/5 (131 Reviews)

Gentrax Camping Inverter Generator w/ Electric Start (2.2kVA)

cheap camping generator

These are a lesser known brand, but are fully-featured, well-made inverter generators that match the bigger, better known players in the market at a fraction of the cost.

Quiet, twin 240V AC outputs, DC outputs, electric start, ability to parallel up two units to increase output, overload/engine protection.

They utilise an enhanced sine wave inverter technology; so are safe for all sorts of power quality sensitive appliances and devices such as laptops, medical equipment and phones.

The big plus with these is the electric start capability on the front panel.  The larger Gentrax inverter generator models also offer a remote start/stop unit, which is impressive.

As mentioned above, we have the slightly smaller 2kVA model of the Gentrax inverter generator range, and it’s been very reliable.  No issues whatsoever.

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.2kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 2.0kVA
  • Weight: 24.5 kg
  • Noise Level: 59 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 5Amps + USB charging port
  • Starting System: Electric + Recoil
  • Dimensions: 55.5cm (L) X 32.0cm (W) X 46.5cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Yes
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Buyer Rating: 4.3/5 (141 Reviews)


Genforce GT4000 Inverter Generator (2.7kVA)

small quiet generator for campingI’ve put this one forward because it has a bit more output capability than the other inverter generators in this camping generator reviews buying guide.  Pretty sure they come out of the same factory as the GenTrax. 😊

This is a basic unit that has a maximum output capability of 2.7kVA and is priced very competitively at less than $700 + Delivery.

It’s a ‘no-frills’ portable camping generator that has reasonable user feedback.  It comes with two 240V AC outlets, 12V DC outlet, runtime about 5 hours on full load, lightweight and is quiet at 58dBA.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.7kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 2.5kVA
  • Weight: 22.0 kg
  • Noise Level: 58 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 8Amps
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 54cm (L) X 29cm (W) X 46cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 5 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Yes
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Buyer Rating: 4.7/5 (21 Reviews)

FYI: They also have a newer release GT6000 rated at 3.7kVA (max) with an additional dual USB socket.  Price increase over the GT4000 is $100.  It’s 6.5kg heavier, which is not a lot, but comes with a hi-tech fuel-injected motor.  Worth looking into as well, if you’re after a bit more grunt.

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

Yamaha EF2400iS Inverter Generator (2.4kVA)

portable generator reviews australiaThe unit is well-engineered all round, with a lot of features that make it a good portable generator for both camping and RVs.  It has two large, top mounted carry handles to make moving it around so much easier, easy access for changing oil and filters, low exhaust emissions, quiet, comprehensive control panel including fuel gauge and 12Volt/8Amp DC outlet.

The big plus with this particular unit is it’s pretty much a one pull start every single time.

Being rated at 2.4kVA means it has the capability to deliver that extra power to run small air-conditioners, fridges and appliances. 

Yamaha use high performance inverter generators and put out an almost pure sine wave.  This means you won’t have any issues with running sensitive micro-computer controlled electrical appliances.  Which is just about any modern electrical appliance, either household or camping.

It also has the capability of running in parallel with another EF2400iS using their ‘TwinTech Parallel’ system to deliver around 3.8kVA. 

It is pitched at both the camping and RV market, but is particularly popular with RV/caravan owners because of its ability to run small air-conditioning units.

The only downsides are price and weight.  It’s not cheap and it’s damn heavy at 32kgs!

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.4kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 2.0kVA
  • Weight: 32 kg
  • Noise Level: 54dBA (light load)/ 59 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 8Amps
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 52.7cm (L) X 41.9cm (W) X 46.1cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 6 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Smart Throttle
  • Warranty: 4 Years Manufacturer
  • Buyer Rating: 5/5 (10 Reviews)

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

Briggs & Stratton P2200i Camping Inverter Generator (2.2kVA)

Briggs and Stratton GeneratorThis unit is also popular with the RV market, being able to run most caravan appliances, including a range of air conditioning units. 

The unit is quiet, and at the sound levels specified meets Australian National Parks noise limitations.

Like most inverter generators, it has the capability to run in parallel with another compatible unit to increase overall output.

Overall, a well-made unit that should serve you well.  The only issue is the continuous rating is 1.7kVA, which is a bit on the low side for a unit billed as 2.2kVA.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.2kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 1.7kVA
  • Weight: 24.0 kg
  • Noise Level: 58 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 5Amps
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 53cm (L) X 33cm (W) X 44cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.7 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Has a ‘QPT’ mode. See video for details.
  • Warranty: 3 Year
  • Buyer Rating: 5/5 (12 Reviews)

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

Honda EU22i Inverter Generator (2.2kVA)

Honda Camping Generator

It is the replacement model for the EU20i, so the unit now delivers an extra 200VA of power.  Honda have upgraded to a larger motor that runs at lower revs with more power output.

At the time of writing, this unit is being delivered with 12V charging leads, a tool kit along with the ‘guarantee’ to run any RV air con unit or your money back.

It has a strong load start-up capability of 4.2kVA, which Honda is basing its ‘guarantee’ on.

It is very quiet at low loads (~53dBA) due to Honda’s eco-throttle mode, but picks up in noise as the load increases; but nothing too dramatic at 59dBA.

Honda has produced excellent products over the years; you know what you’re getting.  This unit is fuel efficient, lightweight, portable and is easy to start.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.2kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 1.8kVA
  • Weight: 21.0 kg
  • Noise Level: 53dBA (light load) – 59 dBA (full load)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 8.3Amps
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 51cm (L) X 29cm (W) X 42.5cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Eco-throttle mode
  • Warranty: 4 Year Manufacturer
  • Buyer Rating: 5/5 (24 Reviews)

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

Adventure Kings 2kVA Enclosed Generator

Adventure Kings Generator

4WD Supacentre has become a major player in the 4WD/Camping/Outdoors space.  This is one of their ‘Adventure Kings’ branded portable camping generators.

Their strategy is to always position their Adventure Kings products at the lower end of the pricing band.  Their gear is reasonable; however, sometimes the quality of individual components could be better.

For example, we bought our camping solar system from them, and then upgraded the solar regulator to an MPPT unit.  They had provided a very basic PWM unit; no idea why as basic MPPT regulators are not that much more expensive and give far better performance.

The unit puts out 1.7kVA continuous, which is at the lower end of the output power capability in this class of camping generator.

It is not as quiet as the other units described in the portable camping generator reviews in this buying guide.  Just ticking over it runs at 58dBA, and you can add another 6 – 8 dBA on top of that for running under full load.  That’s starting to get noisy if you’re looking for a silent camping generator.

For those on a tight budget, by all means check it out.  It will perform well enough.

Main Features

  • Maximum Rated Output: 2.0kVA
  • Continuous Rated Output: 1.7kVA
  • Weight: 24.0 kg
  • Noise Level: 58dBA (*no load*)
  • 240V AC Outputs: 2
  • 12V DC Outputs: 1 @ 8.0Amps
  • Starting System: Recoil/Pull
  • Dimensions: 52cm (L) X 33cm (W) X 46cm (H)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 4 Litres
  • Eco Mode: Yes
  • Warranty: 2 Year
  • Buyer Rating: 4.7/5 (41 Reviews)

Click here to read more reviews and check the current price.

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