How Much Power Is Enough?

Choosing the Right Generator for Your Needs

From 4,000 to 12,000 watts, gas, dual fuel or inverter generators, at A-iPower we offer a wide range of portable generators. There’s a lot to choose from but how much power do you need and which generator is right for you? Whether it’s for use at home, work or a recreation, we want to help ensure that you get the A-iPower generator that best suits your needs. 

First, a few basic facts you should know to help you better understand your power needs. There are three figures to keep in mind when calculating your power needs; starting watts, running watts and surge wattage:

  • Starting watts: the amount of power the device needs to start up. Devices with a motor require more wattage when starting up. If it is not listed in the manual, starting wattage is generally 3X of running watts.
  • Running watts: sometimes referred to as rated watts. This is the number of watts the equipment needs to run after the initial startup.
  • Surge wattage is the most power you can get from your generator. 

To calculate your needs, make a list of all the devices you want to run and then add up all of the running watts you’ll need and add the highest starting watt number. For example:

  •         Total Running Wattage (R) = 1,000 watts
  •         Highest Starting Wattage (S) = 2,200 watts
  •         Total Wattage (R + S) = 1,000 + 2,200 = 3,200 watts

Tip: Buy an A-iPower portable generator that offers slightly more watts than you need. It’s always better to have a few hundred extra watts available than have your generator shut down because it is overloaded. Also, constantly running a generator at full load can shorten its lifespan.

With that in mind let’s take a look at the most common places where people use an A-iPower generator and the power needed for each. For an exact wattage number, consult your appliance and systems manuals.


At Home

With more storms hitting an ever-aging power grid, power outages have become a regular occurrence for many people. While candle light and eating dinner straight out of a can may seem like an adventure, the romance soon wears off. Add in the financial loss of an entire freezer of spoiled food and not being able to work from home and the fun runs out pretty fast.   

The solution? Get the lights back on, the fridge running and the internet flowing as soon as possible. To do that you need a generator, but which one. How much power will you need to get by comfortably while your local power company fixes the lines? To help you choose the right A-iPower generator for you, here are some of the most common domestic electronic devices and the running wattage they use:  

  •         Refrigerator/Freezer: 600 - 800 
  •         Electric Range, one burner: 2,500
  •         Electric Oven: 5,000 
  •         Toaster: 1,100 – 1,700 
  •         Microwave: 1,200 
  •         Coffeemaker: 400 - 750
  •         TV: 100 - 350 
  •         PC: 500 – 2,000 
  •         Space Heater: 1,,300 
  •         Lamp: 150 
  •         Electric Furnace: 5,500 – 25,000 
  •         Central AC: 2,000 – 4,000
  •         Window Air Conditioner: 600 – 1,500 
  •         Water Heater: 3,000 – 4,500 
  •         Water Pump: 1,000 – 2,000 
  •         Sump Pump: 1,500 

On the Job Site

Every contractor knows that getting a job done right requires a lot of power. From a small home renovation to building an office complex each job has its specific requirements. Do you just need to power a few tools or a crew and an entire temporary building for the construction workers?  No matter what challenges your next job brings, we have the A-iPower generator to help you get it done fast and efficiently. Here is a list of some of the equipment, machinery and buildings found at many job sites and the running wattage they use:

  •         Drop lights: 200
  •         Electric heaters: 2,000
  •         1/3 HP Airless Sprayer: 600
  •         Reciprocating Saw: 960
  •         1/2" 5.4 Amps Electric Drill: 600
  •         Hammer Drill: 1,000
  •         Circular Saw: 1,400
  •         Miter Saw: 1,800
  •         Planer/Jointer: 1,800
  •         Table Saw/Radial Arm Saw: 2,000
  •         Belt Sander: 1,200
  •         1 HP Air Compressor: 1,600

For Recreation

From an afternoon picnic too an extended tent camping trip, having some power can make a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment levels. Don’t fall into the RV trap of thinking that having simple fact of having an RV means you always have all the power for all your camping needs. This is not true. Many times you will find yourself with no electrical hookup and the RV battery will only last so long. You need a generator to provide power for your all of the electronic appliances in your RV like air conditioner, TV, microwave, refrigerator, lights and outlets.

To make your picnic, tailgate, tent or RV campsite as comfortable as possible here is a list of some of the most common electronic devices used while camping and the running wattage needed to power each:

  •         Electric Grill: 1,600
  •         Camp fridge: 80
  •         Small oven: 600 – 800
  •         Phone Charger: 10
  •         Small heater: 1,500
  •         Small coffee machine: 800
  •         Radio: 100
  •         String of lights: 30 – 40
  •         Small TV: 30 – 40

Power for your entire RV (Max)

  •         Class B Van – One AC unit: 3,600
  •         Class C RV - One AC unit: 4,000
  •         Class A RV - Two 15,000 BTU AC units: 8,000 watts

 Note: All of the above wattages are estimates, always check the exact wattage requirements for your specific device.