The Top 6 Wind Turbine Generators for Home, Boats, and RV’s

When it comes to van life, we’re big on renewable energy – and a wind power generator is just about the most eco friendly way to generate electricity you can get. But is it right for you? And how much electricity can a wind turbine ACTUALLY generate?

We should start by saying that wind generators are not the perfect fit for camper vans, unless you are only setting them up when stationary (it’s not like you can drive around with them mounted on your roof, as tempting as it may be). However, these simple little machines are perfect for boating/marine use, as well as RV-ers who might stay in one place for extended period.

We’ll walk you through the top options on the market, ranked based on affordability, energy output, and ease of setup/installation. But first, a little education (skip this section if you know your stuff).

How a wind turbine generates electricity

While it’s not necessary to understand how these “power pinwheels” actually work, it does help to keep a couple specifics in mind which might affect which wind turbine kit you choose. Here’s a good example of some of the definitions and terminology of a wind generator’s energy performance. Should also give you an idea that there is an “optimal zone” of wind in order to create the most efficient power output.

wind turbine output graph

Best Small wind generator

Just like Solar panels or any other piece of gear that is meant to make your adventures more comfortable, we should start by saying that its always better to have too much energy, rather than not enough. However, if you’re on a tight budget and just need to charge a cell phone or some bluetooth speakers, these compact 12v wind turbines might be just enough for your needs.

smallest wind generator 12v

Weight: 1.9 lbs
Max output: 15 Watts
Cut in wind speed: ~7 mph (2 blade), 5 mph (5 blade)

Cutting Edge Power Mini Wind Turbine

If you’re familiar with the foldable solar panels for camping, we think the use case and output of the Cutting Edge Mini Turbine is very comparable to them. In other words, this little guy is best used as a “recreational” or “hobby” wind turbine that can give you a bit of power to charge a small device or two. It’s fine for a windy day at the beach, maybe a tailgate, or to set up on a weekend camping trip.

Similar to solar panels, the larger the surface area (generally), the more torque and power you’ll generate. And being the “Mini Wind Turbine”, you’re sacrificing power for portability, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Besides, it’s also the most affordable wind turbine on the list, at around $130. The setup is the easiest we’ve seen, and depending on the mount you choose, is as simple as placing it on the end of a PVC pipe.

The downside is that at maximum output (i.e a very windy day), really only kicks out around 15 watts (we saw 14.2 on a particularly blustery day the beach). If you keep reading, you’ll find that you can get a much better product for just a couple bucks more.

Why buy this: You’re interested in wind energy and want a fun little product to see it in action.

Best Home wind generators (residential)

mid-tier wind turbine for battery banks

Weight: 17.9 lbs
Max output: 400 Watts
Start-up Wind Speed: 2.5m (5.6mph)
Blades: 3

SHZOND Wind Power Generator (400W)

For practically the same price as the small wind generator above, you can get this more robust Shzond 400W generator, assuming you don’t mind that it’s about twice the overall diameter in size.

Because this little windmill isn’t as small as the first, you can expect significantly better performance– the rated power is a whopping 400 watts, with a stated start speed of 5.6 mph. Although there’s some debate about this.. you should expect a little higher.

Unlike the “hobbyist” wind generator above, you’re getting the real deal here. It includes battery overcharging/discharging protection to keep your 12V battery system healthy and safe. And speaking of battery banks, this unit comes with a charge controller if you don’t already have one, which is commendable.

With that controller and a 12V female plug splitter, you can merge this right into an existing solar panel setup, which is handy for cloudy days.

This is better suited for land applications (if you’re looking for a marine wind generator, keep scrolling down), and will require mounting it on a sturdy setup. It includes the mounting flange

Why buy this: You need a more robust wind generator setup, but don’t want to fork over a lot of cash. Ideally, you live/travel in fairly windy areas. Good choice for RVs or remote structures that need a bit of power.

wind turbine for boats or homes

Weight: 16.5 lbs
Max output: 400 Watts
Start-up Wind Speed: 2.5m (5.6mph)
Blades: 3

Dyna-Living 3-Blade 400W DC 12V Wind Turbine w/ Controller

For just around $150, this Dyna-Living wind turbine is a great option.

After inspecting, it seems radically similar to the SHZOND model above. We’ll note that it’s possible the SHZOND also has this feature, but the copper “sleeve” that connects the blade housing to the body of the turbine is a nice touch, and would theoretically ensure that it doesn’t get warped/wobbily over time.

Definitely looks well built, but we wouldn’t use this in a marine application. Instead, this would be a suitable and affordable windmill generator for the roof of your home, cabin, or gazebo.

The manufacturer (Dyna-Living) mentions repeatedly the ability for this model to withstand both high and low ambient temperatures. To be honest, we don’t live/travel in either of these extremes, but if you do, this might be a selling point for you.

Why buy this: Same reason as the turbine above, but you err on the side of caution and dont mind spending $10 extra bucks for something that might hold up better in extreme temperature conditions.

high quality home windmill generator

Weight: 13 lbs
Max energy production: ~40 kWh/month at 13.4 mph winds
Start-up Wind Speed: 7mph

Primus Air 40 Wind Turbine

Primus wind power generators are among the top of line, and the price reflects that. But if you’re looking for a long-term power solution for a remote cabin or off-grid living, you’ll appreciate the longevity and reliability of this 24V wind turbine (important to note).

Primus clearly builds these with more stringent quality control, and it just feels like it will spin for decades (many customers have reported its continued energy production for over 10 years straight). It also has an integrated controller, which you may or may not like. Less clutter, but we suppose might be a slightly larger hassle if the controller needs to be fixed – although we can’t forsee a reason why that would happen.

If you get an average of 13 mph winds, you can expect the Primus to crank out around 40kWh per month, which is nothing to scoff at.

Why buy this: You’re looking for a long-term wind generator for your home, and don’t mind paying for the peace of mind and reliable energy output.

Best Sailboat wind generators (marine use)

If you own a boat, you already know that most marine-related purchases are going to be unexplainably more expensive. So let’s just recognize that, accept it, and move on. Generally, a wind turbine generator will see better performance due to the fact that one is likely to experience more effective wind on the open ocean. However, if your boat’s in a slip or docked, it can still run to top of your batteries when you’re stationary.

marine wind turbine for sailboats

Weight: 13 lbs
Max energy production: 90amp – hour, per day, at 12mph
Start-up Wind Speed: 7mph

Primus Silentx Marine Wind Turbine

Like the Air-40 listed above, this 24V Primus model is very similar in trusted quality and performance, but with a few modifications that make it suitable for the wet and salty conditions of life on the water.

It has increased corrosion resistance, marine-grade connections and seals, and stainless steel fasteners.

The 3-blade setup is made from carbon fiber and is extraordinarily quiet at any wind speed you throw at it. Also comes with a 5 year warranty, which is great peace of mind.

Why buy this: You need something high quality for your sailboat, and prefer a 24V setup.

Best Wind Generator Kit – Complete Setup

For those starting from complete scratch, let this be a reminder that you’ll need a controller and a suitable battery bank for most of these windmills. To save some cash and ensure that you have components that work well together, you might consider a whole wind turbine kit!

wind and solar combo kit for off grid

Weight: 17.6 lbs (wind turbine component)
Rated power: 400W + 100W solar
Start-up Wind Speed: 5.6mph

ECO-WORTHY 195W Monocrystalline Solar Panel / 400W Wind Turbine 195W Combo

If you haven’t realized by now, wind-only power generation is not always a guarantee, especially if you often see wind speeds in in the 2-10mph range. The best way to ensure your battery bank is always charging is by installing a complimentary system like this Solar/Wind Turbine Combo Kit.

Considering its a 195W Monocrystalline panel, this price is actually a damn good deal, and the 400W windmill that’s included seemed very close in quality and reliability as the Sunforce Wind Generator listed up the page, which, alone, is more expensive than this whole kit.

Why buy this: You don’t have a solar panel setup yet, but want one. This wind turbine/solar combo can save you the hassle of finding compatible components separately, and likely even save you money as opposed to buying them peice meal.