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How to Choose Right Portable Generator

How to Choose Right Portable Generator: Generators can power spaces and devices during blackouts or in areas without standard electrical service. There are a wide variety of portable generators available, and they range in power from 800 watts to more than 500,000 watts.  This guide will help you decide what size generator you need when the question “What size generator do I need?” arises. 

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Do you need a lot of Generator Power?

Do you wonder what the right size generator is for me? You should determine how much power you need from the generator or how much total wattage you need. Check out the list and choose the appliances and systems you want to power to determine the best generators for home use. Consult the manuals of your appliances and systems for the exact wattage number.

Using the formula below, you can calculate the total wattage of an appliance with a motor in a Portable Generator:

Total wattage required = Running wattage (R) + Starting wattage (R x 3) 

For each appliance with a motor, you can use this formula to estimate the total wattage required. It is not necessary to boost the power of items like light bulbs and coffeemakers when they are turned on. The running wattage is all that matters for these items. 

To find out what size of portable generator you need, you need to add together the wattages of the items you wish to power and the amount of power they require. You will need a bigger generator if you want to use more appliances. 

The following table gives a rough idea of what various household appliances consume in terms of wattage:

  •     Refrigerator/Freezer: 600 – 800 
  •     Electric Range (one element): 2500 
  •     Toaster: 1100 – 1700 
  •     Microwave: 1200 
  •     Hot Plate: 1250 
  •     Coffeemaker: 400 – 800 
  •     Electric Oven: 5000 
  •     Television: 100 – 350 
  •     Personal Computer: 500 – 2000 
  •     Hair Dryer: 1200 – 1500 
  •     Vacuum: 700 – 1400 
  •     Space Heater: 1250 
  •     Table Lamp: 150 

The following is an approximate list of HVAC and system power requirements:

  •     Electric Furnace: 5000 – 25000 
  •     Heater (radiant): 1300 
  •     Central Air Conditioning: 2000 – 4000 
  •     Water Heater: 3000 – 4500 
  •     Water Pump: 1000 – 2000 
  •     Window Air Conditioner: 600 – 1500 
  •     Outdoor Lighting: 500 – 1000 
  •     Sump Pump: 1500 

In this guide, there are some examples of power requirements that can be used only as a guideline and cannot be used to calculate specific requirements. If you are unsure of the power requirements for your appliances and tools, please refer to their user manuals.

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Safety is a Priority in Portable Generator

If CO levels in an enclosed space reach dangerous levels, Consumer Reports recommends using portable generators with an automatic shutoff sensor.

As with any generator, the exhaust must be directed away from your home, any windows, doors, air conditioning units, and other structures whenever you operate any generator.

Wattage at Startup, at Runtime, and during Surges of Portable Generator

The amount and type of items or equipment you intend to run will determine how much power your portable generator needs to provide. A basic understanding of starting wattage, running wattage, and surge wattage are necessary before calculating your needs. 

Runaway wattage describes how much power your device requires to run. You need a certain amount of electricity to start a device, so your starting wattage is what you need. Typically, you need three times as much power to start a device as you do to keep it running. Surge wattage refers to the amount of power generated by a portable generator at one time. Having a good understanding of wattage will help you determine what size portable generator is best for you.

Make sure you have a circuit breaker protecting your portable generator and home. The portable generator will eventually overheat if it is not covered by a circuit breaker. When the generator becomes overheated, it may catch fire if not turned off. 

Calculating Portable Generator Size

In most portable generator owners’ manuals, you will find examples of structures and devices that can be powered. You can, however, calculate generator sizing yourself using this example.

Consider this example: you are looking to power a small refrigerator with a portable generator. According to the owner’s manual for the refrigerator, 350 watts are required to run the device.

Running Wattage (R) = 350 watts

Wattage of the starting station (S) = 350 x 3 = 1,050 watts

Total Wattage (R + S) = 350 + 1,050 = 1400 watts

Small refrigerators require 1400 watts of power to run, so you would need a generator that can provide that much power. 

For the best results, always choose a portable generator that is capable of handling all your power needs while not exceeding 90 percent.

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Portable Generator Types

The wattage of generators varies. It is not uncommon for portable generators to run on propane, natural gas, or diesel fuel, however, there are also solar and battery generators.

Camping, tailgating, and other outdoor events can be powered by portable generators. Their portability and affordability make them ideal for just about anywhere. In the event of a storm or blackout, they can also provide emergency power.

Compared to other generators, inverter generators provide electricity with less noise and greater fuel efficiency. RVs and battery-operated devices benefit from inverters because they convert AC power to DC power. 

In case of a blackout or storm, whole house portable generators provide backup power for your home. You have to hardwire them into your home. By using automatic generator transfer switches or manual generator transfer switches, they can quickly provide the power your home needs in the event of a power outage.

It is recommended that you never use a portable generator inside your garage, home, or other structure, even if your windows and doors are open. The danger of carbon monoxide is that it is virtually undetectable and extremely dangerous.

If you know what size portable generator you need, you can answer the question “what size generator do I need? by doing some math and determining what you need to keep your life running. Having an answer before an emergency demands it is the best course of action.

Are Portable Generators Waterproof?

Generators do not have waterproofing. It is not safe to mix water with electric-powered generators, even if some models claim to work in all weather conditions. In bad weather, your generator poses a dual risk of harm to you and your generator, but there are steps you can take to ensure its safety.

Most Fuel-Efficient Portable Generator

Sale
Matler Generator Outdoor Storage Cover for Honda Eu2000i Eu2200i to Protect Against Dust, Debris, Rain Weather*
  • ★【HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL】Made of polyester fabric construction with a PVC coating.Effective waterproof.Super durable with strong toughness.Long-lasting protect your valuable Honda Generator.
  • ★【FIT】Honda generator model EU2000i.( Not for EU3000i or EU1000i).
  • ★【USAGE】Using the refined sewing process for reinforcement, this Honda generator cover is silver coated finish. And the front and rear bottom parts are made of stretchy rubber band, which are effective for wind prevention. It is a necessary accessory to protect your generator against dust, debris, rain and weather.

Last update on 2022-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The most commonly available fuel for portable generators is gasoline. While generators are useful for emergency power, their infrequent use can present some issues. The first is that in the event of big, catastrophic storms and extended power outages, local gas stations may be unable to meet demand and long lines may form. Secondly, backup generators are infrequently used, which may sit for months to years before they are used again.

What is the Most Reliable Portable Generator?

Portable Generator by Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment

This portable generator is heavy and expensive, but it is built to last. There are never-flat wheels and a hardened steel frame with a foam handle. Powered by a 7,500-watt engine and a fuel tank of 6.6 gallons, the unit can run powerful appliances and devices for up to 11 hours.

Key Features

  • Gas power source
  • 6.6-gallon fuel tank
  • 7,500 running watts
  • 11-hour runtime
  • 196 pounds
  • Three-year warranty

Who Makes the Best Portable Generators?

Honda:

Sale
Matler Generator Outdoor Storage Cover for Honda Eu2000i Eu2200i to Protect Against Dust, Debris, Rain Weather*
  • ★【HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL】Made of polyester fabric construction with a PVC coating.Effective waterproof.Super durable with strong toughness.Long-lasting protect your valuable Honda Generator.
  • ★【FIT】Honda generator model EU2000i.( Not for EU3000i or EU1000i).
  • ★【USAGE】Using the refined sewing process for reinforcement, this Honda generator cover is silver coated finish. And the front and rear bottom parts are made of stretchy rubber band, which are effective for wind prevention. It is a necessary accessory to protect your generator against dust, debris, rain and weather.

Last update on 2022-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In addition to exceeding the listed qualities, this generator powered tools and appliances that caused the Other generator to overheat. Unlike the other generators, this power generator is distinguished by its Honda engine, a high-quality engine. When it comes to turning on a generator, it can be very frustrating, and this is one of the principal reasons people don’t buy one, but the EU2200i turned on at a single pull every time we tested it. In an odd circumstance, you can easily operate the Honda Eu22001 generator by using Bluetooth technology with the Honda EU2200i.

You should determine your lifestyle or project’s usage and wattage before choosing the right size generator.

Hope this guide helped how to choose right portable generator you’re looking for? Also check: Top 10 Best Portable Generators of 2022

FAQ about Portable Generator

How does the Portable Generator work?

An on-board alternator generates electrical power by turning a gas-powered engine that drives the generator. You can plug electric appliances, tools, and extension cords into power outlets on the unit.

Can a portable generator power entire house?

You can connect portable generators with a transfer switch or interlock device to your home’s circuit breaker panel, so that the generator can power an entire circuit.

How long can a portable generator power a house?

In average, a standby generator can power a medium-sized home for up to 3,000 hours, but it is not recommended that you run one continuously for more than 500 hours.

Are portable generators worth it?

In an occasional power outage, portable generators can provide limited power, and they also run on gasoline, like many standby units. Due to the fact that portable generators must be operated by hand, you lose some convenience in exchange for saving money.

Can I leave a generator running all night?

Running a generator all night is a serious health hazard. When the engine of a portable generator is turned on, carbon monoxide is released.

Do portable generators last for a long time?

It lasts about 2,000 to 3,000 hours to run a portable gas generator in an emergency. The lifespan of these small generators is generally a decade or more, compared to diesel generators’ 20,000 to 30,000 hours.

Can a generator run in the rain?

Moisture entering the outlets or seeping into the engine of a generator can cause an explosion or electrocution. Portable generators should not be allowed to get wet or run uncovered in the rain.

Can I run a portable generator without a load?

Therefore, generators follow the same rule as internal combustion engines – they must be powered by a certain amount of load to function properly. Inefficient generator operation or complete failure can result from operating generators at low or no load.

What are the benefits of owning a home generator?

It is typically more beneficial to invest in a standby generator than in a backup generator. As well as improving safety and security, home backup generators are convenient and efficient. Additionally, if you own a home and leave for long periods of time, it saves you money in the long run.

Can a generator run in the sun?

It is important that your generator is installed in a protected, well-ventilated area, no matter whether you are having one installed or you already have one. Generators can overheat and break down when exposed to direct sunlight and poor air flow.

What can portable generators power?

Portable generators from Generac can power your house’s essentials when the power goes out. A refrigerator, a freezer, a sump pump, a light, an air conditioner, and more are included in this list. You won’t have to worry about interruptions to your lifestyle.