Not so long ago, wind generator technology was still in its infancy and wasn’t seen as a safe and reliable option for RVs.
In recent years advancements in green energy, technology has helped wind generators become more viable for RV use. A high-quality RV Wind turbine that is properly installed and maintained can help with things like maintaining the charge on camper house batteries, power lights, and recharge devices.
Though you might be wondering if RV wind generators are still worth installing on your RV?
You’re right to be skeptical, as not all the wind generators sold at the retail level have what it takes to withstand the rigors of RV life. Though there are a few like the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit 400W and the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit 800W that keep proving their viability for RV adventurers.
To help you understand if a wind turbine is worth the investment in your RV, and what some of the best wind generators to power your RV.
What Is An RV Wind Generator?
Also known as a wind turbine, they look a lot like a scaled-down windmill that you might see on a farm for pumping water to a field.
Though the modern materials that RV wind generators are made from that give them far greater production and durability than the squeaky old hunks of tin sitting over a sterile field of crops.
The best RV wind generators have large blades with a special profile to them that makes them turn almost effortlessly when the wind blows over them.
As the angled blades rotate around the center, they transform the kinetic energy of the wind into an electrical charge.
How Much Electricity Can An RV Wind Turbine Produce?
A lot of the wind generators that are suitable for temporarily mounting on an RV will produce around 250 to 600 Watts of electricity.
Though models with a 400 Watt maximum output are the most common.
Just keep in mind that the wind speed needed to produce that maximum charge is a factor.
In general, higher output wind generators generally tend to need a more significant wind to produce an appreciable charge.
How Much Wind Does An RV Wind Generator Need To Power Your RV?
There are a few key terms to know when it comes to determining the performance of an RV wind generator.
What Are The Drawbacks Of An RV Wind Generator?
There are a few different cons to installing a wind generator for your RV. You should consider each of them strongly before you buy one.
Smaller wind generators have a lower cut-out and furling speed, which means they can be ineffective in high winds.
Not to mention the risk of them being damaged beyond repair by a strong storm in the middle of the night.
Since they tend to be relatively delicate, they are easy to damage and nearly impossible to repair.
Wattage Potential & Terrain
When you compare them to a solar panel, you need a significant wind generator and just the right wind conditions to equal what a large solar panel of the same size can do consistently.
If you are going to be camping in windy areas like Wyoming, the big sky country of Montana, or West Texas, where the consistent, modest wind is common, you will get more consistent power production, than if you prefer to camp in forested areas.
Worrying About Weather
The threat of severe damage from bad weather and high wind will ultimately require you to pay very close attention to the weather forecast.
This also means looking up things like “Gust” potential, as all it takes is one very powerful straight-line wind in the middle of the night to destroy your wind generator investment.
Risk Of Overcharging Batteries
The excess heat of overcharging can damage the internal components of a lead-acid battery.
In the extreme it can even cause a battery seal to fail, spilling dangerous battery acid into your RV battery bank compartment.
So, if you are going to invest in any sort of green energy power system, like an RV wind generator, then you need to be mindful of overcharging or invest in a device to prevent it.
What To Look For In An RV Wind Generator
There are a few key engineering features, and terms to be mindful of when shopping for the best RV wind generator to meet your needs.
The maximum wattage is a key factor. Ideally, you want a model that is rated to produce at least 400 watts, which allows it to be more productive than a typical RV solar panel.
Startup or Cut-in Speed
Some manufacturers use this term interchangeably. This is the wind speed where the blades start turning and producing power.
Ideally, you want to prioritize an RV wind generator with a low start up speed of 5 miles per hour or less.
Survival Wind Speed
Ideally, you want a survival wind speed that is as high as possible.
A rating of 100 miles per hour or more reduces the risk of furling, which lets the wind generator remain productive at high speeds.
It also reduces the risk of damage from high winds and severe weather.
You can’t permanently mount a wind generator on your RV, which means you have to take put it up and take it down every time you set up camp, or fear a wind storm.
A lightweight model under 20 pounds is easier to hoist into position and easier to safely take down when necessary.
5 of the Best Wind Generators For An RV
If you’ve weighed the risks versus the benefits, and you have come to the conclusion that an RV wind generator meets your travel style, then you will be blown away by the options.
So, we decided to take a closer look at some of the best RV wind generators on the market. We kept an eye out for important things like wattage production, as well as engineering design, and durability.
1. Dyna-Living B07MDB2KJG 400W DC 12V Wind Turbine
The Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit is one of the most popular wind generator models for RV use.
It is designed to be incredibly durable, while still being lightweight. This makes takedown and set up very easy compared to heavier models with roughly the same 400 wattage range. Not to mention it has a very friendly price point.
The start up speed for the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit is very low at just over 4 miles per hour.
Yet it also has an impressively high 111 mile per hour rated survival wind speed.
This will let you sleep a little easier at night, without having to worry about whether or not a strong storm is going to damage your investment.
If there is a minor complaint with the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator, it’s that it can be a little fiddly to install.
It also has a knack for wobbling a little in the flange in strong winds.
One way to get around this is to use some sort of shim, such as a folded heavy-duty aluminum foil to lock it firmly in the mount.
2. SHZOND B0792RS9BW 3 Blades 20A Wind Generator
The SHZOND Wind Generator is another lightweight RV wind generator that is rated to produce up to 400 watts of peak production.
It has a start up speed of 2 meters per second, which equates to 4.4 miles per hour.
Its power curve has ideal production at 12 meters per second, which is 26.8 miles per hour, which will give you about 200 to 250 watts.
One thing to be wary of with the SHZOND Wind Generator is that the manufacturer does not specifically mention the furling wind speed or the survival wind speed.
This usually means that the model was not wind tested in a wind tunnel.
If there is a forecasted storm with straight-line winds of 60 miles per hour or more, you should err on the side of caution and take it down, just to protect your investment.
With proper care, the manufacturer notes an expected lifespan of up to 15 years.
3. YaeMarine B081RKZBY3 5 Blade Wind Turbine Generator
The YaeMarine Wind Turbine Generator is an impressively light 5-blade wind generator that was designed for camping, boats, and RVs.
The fact that it only weighs 13.6 pounds makes it easy to transport and put up.
It has a start up speed of 4.4 miles per hour, which is on par with most 400 Watt RV wind generators.
Its ideal rated wind speed is 25.7 miles per hour, which will produce around 200 to 250 watts in its power curve.
The survival wind speed of 45 meters per second translates into a flat 100 miles per hour, which will endure most in-land storms and straight-line winds, which gives you some added peace of mind that it won’t be killed by a thunderstorm in the middle of the night.
4. Dyna-Living 500W DC 12V Wind Turbine Motor
Taking a step up in performance this Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit is rated to produce up to 500 watts at maximum output.
This does move the power curve up a little bit, with a startup speed of almost 5 miles per hour and an ideal wind speed of 29 miles per hour.
It also has a survival wind speed of up to 111 miles per hour, and a dual bearing system for longevity.
5. Dyna-Living 800W B07RF4VSP2 Wind Turbine Motor
Dyna-Living is a leader in the wind generator industry, so it only makes sense that they would have multiple models with different maximum wattage output ratings.
Though one of the great things about this model is that it has an impressive maximum output of up to 800 Watts, yet it still has a reasonably low start-up speed of 4.5 miles per hour.
This RV wind generator kit also comes with a charge controller. This is a special electronic device that pulls double duty by ensuring that your turbines don’t overcharge your batteries.
At the same time, it also limits how fast speed the wind turbine blades can spin when the batteries are full or in high wind situations.
Combined with a 111 mile per hour survival wind speed, it gives you peace of mind that this wind turbine will give you a robust return on your investment.
Which Is Better Solar Panels Or A Wind Generator?
When you just measure the value in kWh production, wind generators tend to have a slightly higher potential production, but they need ideal conditions with wind speeds that are strong, but not too strong.
Solar panels tend to be cheaper than wind turbine generators in up-front costs, and solar also costs less when it comes to long-term maintenance because wind turbines will require more upkeep due to the lack of moving parts.
How Do I Mount A Wind Generator To My RV?
Most of the small-scale wind generators that are mounted on RVs use a temporary mounting system with some type of bracket affixed to the RV’s exterior shell.
Though some have their own free-standing base with wires that run directly to the RV’s house battery bank.
Permanently mounting an RV wind generator to the exterior of a motorhome or travel trailer is a bad idea.
If you happen to be driving into a headwind, the speed of the vehicle and headwind combine, which could go beyond cut-out and furling speed to exceed the rated survival wind speed of the blades and hub.
Can A Wind Generator Over Charge My RV’s House Batteries?
If you directly connect your wind generator to your RVs house batteries and leave them to run all day and all night in high wind conditions, it is possible for the excess charge to overheat your RVs house batteries.
The best way to prevent this is to invest in a power charge controller to go with your RV wind generator or prioritize a model that has one included in the purchase.
You might also want to invest in an inexpensive charge monitor, which lets you know how much charge your RV’s house batteries are holding.
Some of the best models can be set up to send wireless alerts when your batteries reach 90%. It’s a good investment for any RV with a green energy system on board.
How Much Power Will I Really Get Out Of An RV Wind Generator?
You might look at the specs for an RV wind generator and be impressed by the maximum wattage output rating. Though bear in mind that this is the maximum potential output.
In the real world, you should be able to get between one-half to two-thirds of this maximum rating from a sustained wind of 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Are RV Wind Turbines Worth the Investment?
RV wind generators aren’t for everyone, though they can be a real godsend if you like to boondock off the grid, and you are mindful about how to deploy them.
Fortunately, recent advances in modern materials and engineering have helped lower the start-up speed and heightened the survival wind speed of the best RV wind generators.
If you are looking for a well-designed model in the 400 watt range, then the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit 400W or the YaeMarine Wind Turbine Generator, 400W might be the best RV wind generator to meet your needs.
Both are lightweight, and easy to deploy, with low start up wind speeds and a high survival wind speed of 100 miles per hour or more.
If you have a larger RV house battery bank, and you prioritize high production, then the Dyna-Living Wind Turbine Generator Kit 800W might be the best RV wind generator for your rig.
Not only does it have a maximum output of up to 800 watts, but it also comes with a charge controller to reduce the risk of accidentally overcharging your RV’s house batteries.