How Many Watts Do I Need For a Portable Generator?

Do you want a generator to power the fridge?

Do you need a portable generator to meet the camper AC watts requirement?

Or are you looking for a generator to power your lights and fans in the house?

Well, you can power almost every appliance or device in your house. However, it would be best if you considered the watts you will need to power your home. The portable generator comes in different sizes, specifications, and features. You must consider your requirements and needs before choosing a generator. Hence, calculate the number of watts you will need to power your house.

Read further to learn what you need to do to choose the ideal portable generator for your home sweet home.

Learn About Generator Sizing?

You need to measure generator power output in watts. But there are two different power outputs that decide how many watts your generator can provide. You need to know these terms while buying a generator to make the right choice: Maximum or surge power and Continuous power rating.

Continuous Power Rating

Continuous power rating is also known as running watts. This is the amount of power that your portable can deliver to run your AC, refrigerator, and other appliances. You need to check the running watts before purchasing the AC to ensure your appliances can work efficiently.

Maximum or Surge Power

Some might even call Surge power starting watts. This is the additional wattage your generator can provide for the short time to help an appliance starts. The starting watt of the appliances is usually higher than the running watts. Therefore, you need to make sure that your generator can deliver the starting watts necessary to easily start your appliances.

These two power output plays a great role in understanding the efficiency of your portable generator. Also, if you are planning to run particular appliances using your generator, check both power output figures of the generator before buying to ensure it can start the appliance you want.

Also, your generator needs to be powerful enough to power your house’s essential appliances. This means that you need to calculate the required power of each appliance to get a figure before making any decisions. Therefore, you can use a portable generator calculator. These calculators can help you understand what generator will work best for your house.

Related: Best Powerful Generators for Home | Generator Accessories Everyone Must Have

How many Watts Appliances Need to Power Portable Generator?

Different appliances need a different amount of watts. Here we have mentioned some common appliances that you might want to run through your generator to give you an idea of how many watts they need.


Of course, if you become the target of the power outage, you will need a refrigerator to provide you with cold water and prevent your food from spoiling. So, you need to choose a portable generator to run your refrigerator. Generally, a refrigerator requires 150 to 400 watts to run. Considering the size of the refrigerator, you should get a generator that doesn’t have to face any problems during a power outage.


If you can’t spend a few hours without an AC, then you need a generator to run AC. An AC can require between 1000 and 4000 watts for a cold and comfortable environment, depending on the. Note that AC is something that needs more energy than any other appliance in your house. Finding a quality portable generator to run your AC is difficult. Therefore, look for credible and reliable brands that show the exact watt figures to make the right decision.


Since working from home is a new trend and has become necessary, you will need to use your laptop during office hours. But what happens if there is a power shortage in the middle of the day? A portable generator can save you from this problem. Depending on the type of laptop you have, it could require 100 to 150 watts to charge.

Expert Tip

Smaller generators are more portable, more affordable, and quieter. Keep in mind that you don’t have to run all of your tools and appliances at once when determining the amount of generator required for your home.


A good microwave is an everyday essential since you might just want to heat up some food quickly. However, not being able to use a microwave during a power outage can leave you having to spend time cooking something during your busy day. If you don’t want to be cooking during a power outage, you need to choose a generator that can deliver power to your microwave. So, keep in mind that a microwave requires 900 to 1600 watts when you’re purchasing a portable generator.

Coffee Maker

The coffee maker is another essential appliance that you need to use whether or not you have power at your home. These appliances comparatively require fewer watts than others, around 800 to 1300 watts. So, make sure to add this figure to your portable generator watt calculator to know the number of watts your house needs.

Can a Generator Power Your Whole House?

Well, this greatly depends on the size of your property and what appliances you want to run through it.   Many people struggle to find portable generators that can deliver power to every electronic device and appliance. There is also a cost problem because higher power generators cost more and generally burn through more fuel. Therefore, your budget will also decide on what type of generator you need to get.

If you need a generator to power the fridge, microwave, and lights, you should find one that can output between 5,000 and 7,000 watts. However, if you need to use the AC, water heater, and other appliances that require higher power, you need to purchase 10,000-watt generator models.

Also, when considering the generator size to run the house, decide whether you need gasoline, diesel, or a dual fuel generator. All of them work efficiently but can cost more. We recommend you do plenty of research, find a couple of options, and choose the one that meets your requirements.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, you need the right generator size to run your house depending on the appliances your use. Generally, houses require a 5,000 to 10,000 watts generator to easily run all of their essentials. So, consider factors like size, budget, and efficiency before investing in a generator.

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