What Size Portable Generator Do I Need?

With all things considered, it might be a little annoying, but the answer to the question “What size portable generator do I need?” is not a simple and clear cut one. The fact is that the size of the generator depends on a number of factors, which you need to consider when buying one. But, by the time you are done reading, you will have a fairly good idea. And once you are done, check out our reviews on the top portable inverter generators out there. If you are looking for more details on what an inverter generator is, have a look at this article.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

How many appliances do you need to power?

The first and the foremost factor that you need to consider is how many household appliances you will be using the generator to power. If you are interested in running basic appliances like a few lights and a refrigerator unit, you can settle with something small. A smaller portable generator will give you the wattage you need to power some of the basic things in your home.

If you are considering using more powerful appliances, however, you need a larger model. An electric heater, an air conditioner or other energy-hungry appliances require more energy than what a small portable generator can produce.

How long do you need to use it for?

Another important factor to consider when thinking about what size portable generator you need is the amount of time you will need it. Are you facing frequent power outages? Are you expecting to use it for a long time? The duration your generator runs for depends on the fuel consumption, the power and tank size, among other factors.

The maximum wattage of the devices you want to power

You need a generator that can match the wattage requirements of your home and the appliances you use.

Figuring Out What Size Portable Generator You Need

Selecting what size portable generator you need is a matter of 5 simple steps:

1. Consider all the devices you need to power simultaneously

Let’s say that you want to run a freezer, a stove and an air conditioning unit all at the same time. These are all the essentials along with a few lights you need running on a minimum.

2. Measure the wattage that each of them will use

Measure the running and surge wattage of each of these appliances. These values are written in the manuals or on the labels of the appliances themselves.

3. List down the total running watts of all the items

Basically, you need to add all the values of the running wattage for the appliances you want to run at the same time.

4. Choose the item with the highest starting wattage requirement

Typically, appliances like the air conditioner require the highest amount of surge wattage or starting wattage.

5. Add the item’s surge wattage to the total running watts

Now that you have all the running watts, add the surge wattage of the appliance with the highest starting requirement to that number.

The value that you get at the end will help you determine what size portable generator you need because that will be the maximum you will need. The surge watts are only required when a device is starting up so you do not need to add all those values – just the value of the highest one.

Final Thoughts

Determining the size of portable generator depends mainly on the aspect of the total wattage for all the items you know will be running simultaneously on the generator. Now, one last thing you should know is that having a generator that offers more power than what you need is better than having a generator that produces just enough.

If you run your generator on excessive capacity, it can damage your generator and possibly your appliances as well. A large portable generator can handle the load a lot better. Be careful when you are considering buying a new portable generator. Make sure that whatever power you have calculated, your generator can provide more and you will be alright.

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