Tips and reviews for Portable Generators

A portable generator is inevitable for your home when temporary or remote electric power is needed

Portable generator load calculator

Generac XP Portable Generator

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To purchase the right generator for home , work or camping, you’ll need to know the wattage of the all appliances you plan to run. First, verify the owner’s manual and serial plate on your appliance for the wattage (or watts) rating. If wattage is not listed, find the amperage (amps) and voltage (volts) ratings on the same plate. Multiply amps by volts to get the wattage.

If the rated/running watts are not on appliance, you may estimate using the following equation: WATTS=VOLTS x AMPS.

Only motor-driven items will have an additional surge requirement. The additional surge watts required may be estimated at 1 – 2x the rated/running watts.

Unlike rated watts, surge watts are only needed during the first few seconds of operation. In most cases, only one item will start or cycle at the same time, therefore this is the most accurate estimate.

The table below shows you rated and surge watt totals separately to help you determine which tool or appliance represents your total wattage requirement.

Determine power generator

  • To determine your needs, total the watts for the items you would like to run simultaneously. This provides you with the number of continuous or running watts your generator must supply.
  • Now select the largest number of starting watts assigned to the items you wish to use.
  • Total these two numbers and this will indicate the size generator required to meet your needs.
Light Bulb – 75 Watt 75
Deep Freezer 500 500
Sump Pump 800 1200
Refrigerator/Freezer 800 1600
Water Well Pump 1/3 HP 1000 2000
Space Heater 1800
Table Fan – 14″ 200 400
Ceiling Fan 800 1200
Furnace Fan Blower 1/2 HP 800 1300
Window AC – 10000 BTU 1200 1800
Window AC – 12000 BTU 3250 3950
Central AC – 10000 BTU 1500 4500
Heat Pump 4700 4500
Space Heater 1800
Microwave Oven – 1000 Watt 1000
Coffee Maker 1500
Electric Stove – Single Element 1500
Dishwasher – Hot Dry 1500 1500
DVD/CD Player 100
VCR 100
Stereo Receiver 450
Color Television – 27″ 500
Iron 1200
Washing Machine 1150 2250
Clothes Dryer 5400 1350
Personal Computer
with 17″ Monitor 800
Fax Machine 65
Laser Printer 950
Inkjet Printer 80
Copy Machine 1 600
Security System 180
AM/FM Clock Radio 100
Garage Door Opener – 1/2 HP 480 520
Hair Dryer – 1250 Watt 1250
Electric Water Heater -40 Gallon 4000
Quartz Halogen Work Light 1000
Airless Sprayer – 1/3 HP 600 1200
Reciprocating Saw 960
Electric Drill – 1/2 HP 1000 1000
Circular Saw – 7 1/4″ 1500 1500
Miter Saw – 10″ 1800 1800
Planer/Jointer – 6″ 1800 1800
Table/Radial Arm Saw 10″ 2000 2000
Air Compressor – 1 1/2 HP 2500 2500

Data listed above are estimates only. Verify your tool or appliance for exact wattage requirements. The wattages listed in our reference guide are based on estimated wattage requirements.

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