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Find out what RV appliances and devices use unusual amounts of power so you can make the right preparations for your camping trip.
Before going into the examples, it is worth noting that your actual device brands can have different power needs (in both directions).
These examples are good inspiration for where to start looking for exceptions but ideally, you would check the actual power needs of your RV gear. With that in mind, here are the RV appliances with surprising power needs.
Even if a full electric stove does not fit in your RV, small models with two ceramic cooking tops can already use up to around 1800 watts (1).
Similarly, induction cooktops with only one top can sometimes require up to 1800 starting watts and 1400 running watts.
In simpler words, many people will prefer cooking with their pots and pans on a gas stove on RV trips.
At the same time, you could still prefer electric RV stoves for certain reasons.
For example, if electricity is included in your camping fee, using an electric stove is just a bit more budget-friendly than a gas model.
At least if this camping electricity source is strong enough for your electric stove and some of the other power-hungry RV appliances you may be using.
If not, you can also consider providing some extra power for your cooking sessions yourself.
Some devices that can help you with this include a portable generator, RV solar panels, and/or a power station.
More experienced RV campers may not find RV air conditioners an unusual option but this example can surprise people who are considering an RV AC for the first time. 13.5k BTU and 15k BTU are two of the most common RV air conditioner sizes.
These can require up to 2900 peak watts (and 1350 running watts) and 3500 peak watts (and 1500 running watts) respectively.
If you are at an RV park with 30 amp or even 50 amp service, you should be able to run your RV air conditioners throughout the night without too many issues.
Especially considering you are (likely) not running any electric stoves, stereos, and hair dryers at night.
At the same time, you might still need some extra power on a hot day.
When it comes to boondocking trips, you will definitely need something extra to get and keep your RV AC going.
Due to the high amounts of peak watts ACs require, small camping solar generators and power stations are often not strong enough.
In simpler words, if you don't have access to a power grid, you will typically need an RV generator to be able to enjoy the more reasonable temperatures an RV AC offers.
Hair dryers are often not the most essential RV gear and that is a good thing if having enough power is a concern.
Some hair dryers require up to 1900 starting watts (and 1800 running watts) which is slightly more than the electric stove from before.
Choosing between dry hair and a belly full of warm food is likely not necessary if you have access to an RV park power grid.
However, you may still need to time your usage of these devices to get the benefits of both.
Especially if you also want to enjoy some of the other power-hungry RV equipment on this list.
If you do happen to implement suboptimal timing when it comes to using RV appliances, a power station could replace a generator for at least one hair-drying session.
You do want to remember to recharge your power station after that so you don't lose your quiet electricity backup.
A hot cup of coffee or tea can really make the morning of an RV trip but you do want to keep the power needs of electric kettles in mind.
More specifically, some of the bigger electric kettles can require up to 1500 watts to warm up your water.
Even smaller models can require up to 800 watts which is a lot more reasonable but still a nice amount of electricity.
For the coffee enthusiasts, it is worth noting that using a coffee maker is generally the more energy-efficient option.
Bigger coffee makers can use up to around 600 watts so you might want to leave the electric kettle in the RV cupboard or at home.
At the same time, while the power needs can be surprising, the few minutes electric kettles have to work will likely not be the end of the world.
Especially if you have the luxury of a good RV park power grid.
Air fryers may be more energy-friendly than a full electric convection oven but their power needs are still above average when it comes to RV appliances.
Individual models can vary but it is fair to say that you want to reserve around 1600 watts for air fryer use.
This is another example of an RV appliance that should not be too much of a problem in itself at a good RV park.
On the other hand, using a few different devices like this at the same time adds up quickly. Some “power budget preparation” might be necessary.
Especially if you are boondocking with somewhat weaker electricity sources like power stations or solar panels.
A good RV generator should be able to handle at least an air fryer.
However, again, combinations of a few power-hungry RV equipment options can really add up.
It might be necessary to keep those delicious air fryer recipe plans at home.
Most of the RV devices on this list were surprising in terms of how much power they use since these are more important to prepare for.
However, there are also examples of devices like a satellite dish and receiver that use surprisingly low amounts of power.
These specific devices should not use more than 50 watts.
That means you can stay connected to the world with minimal power source preparation.
Even some of the weaker power stations, solar panels, and if you really want, RV generators, can work.
On the other hand, a satellite dish and receiver do take away some of the charm of RV trips (especially boondocking) so not everyone will be interested in these.
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