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What Size Generator Do I Need?

It’s not something weird to ask ‘what size generator do I need’ when you decide to buy your first generator. To say it brief, it’s a normal thing to do, and it can even be a compulsory thing before proceeding to buy one. Getting the right generator will not only make you able to save money, but also save the vacant space to store it. You know, oftentimes bigger wattage comes with bigger dimension of the generator. If you are confused about what generator size should you pick, this article is a good pick for you.

What Size Generator Do I Need

How to Determine What Size of Generator You Need

To know ‘what size generator do I need’, first you have to know these things:

1. Where are you going to use the generator?

Where will you place the generator? Is it a generator used to power up your house in times of power outage?

Aside from having the generator to light up your house during a power outage, generators are widely used to power up RVs and worksites. More often than not, generators for RVs have smaller wattage compared to houses or worksites generators. The dimension is also smaller and does not take up much space. In contrast, generators for worksites are bulkier and produce wattage several times bigger. House’s generators are just placed in-between in terms of wattage produced.

2. What appliances are you going to cover?

The next consideration before getting the answer of ‘what size generator do I need’ is by knowing the electrical appliances you will light up using the generators. Generators for RV purposes may light up different appliances than house generators, let alone the appliances in worksites.

Since there are more appliances needed to light up in the house, such as fridge, lamps, and water heater – then it’s required to choose a generator with larger wattage than the one for RVs.

Count your need of wattage meticulously. You can use online generator wattage calculator to help you know what kind of generator you will need. You may count it manually too to get a rough estimate of your wattage need.

Counting Your Wattage Need

As mentioned earlier, the question ‘what size generator do I need’ can be answered if you already know how much wattage you will need your generator to back up. Therefore, there is nothing other than counting the wattage that will reveal the total wattage you will need while using the generator.

Aside from getting it done with the help of generator wattage calculator, which you can find it online, you can count it yourself. To estimate your energy needs, you can do these steps below.

List down the devices you want to turn on while using the generator

List all critical electrical appliances you need to run during a power outage. Most people will include their lighting circuits, refrigerator (freezer, too), and AC. If you want to add more, the choice is all yours.

Get to know how many watts do these appliances need to run

Regarding wattage, there are two terms related: starting and running (rated) wattage. Typically, appliances that own motor have a different amount of starting and running wattage. This is because appliances with motor need more energy to kick off and start the machine.

For motor appliances, note down both starting and running wattage. If there is no information regarding starting/running wattage, then write down the only wattage information shown. Typically, wattage information is written on the manual book or on the appliances’ body.

Count your total wattage need

Once you know the wattage used by your owned appliances then sum it up. If your appliances have different starting and rated wattage, then count the sum in both versions. When choosing a generator, it is important that you pay attention to both wattage numbers.

Choosing the Right Generator for Any Purpose

In order to pick the rightest generator that suits perfectly for your needs, you have to do those aforementioned aspects. However, although you have done all we mentioned earlier, you may still get it wrong due to this and that things. So, what should you do?

1. Pick a generator that suits your wattage needs

In choosing a generator, to be said ‘suitable’ isn’t the same as ‘equal’. Let’s say that your total wattage need is 2,400 watts. Then you cannot just pick a generator with that number as the maximum load.

There is this rule to underline: it is better to have a few hundred extra watts available (for both starting and running wattage) than ending up having a generator which shuts off frequently due to overloading. Having your generator works in 100% load will bring you drawbacks as follows:

  • Running your generator in 100% load may shorten its lifespan significantly.
  • More noise is another downside of having your generator emptied up the lot for free wattage.
  • Frequent kick-off to start the generator after the shut-offs may reduce the generator’s quality.

2. Budgeting comes next

Once you have got the generator that is accordant to your need, then you can compare the generators within your range of budget. Have a survey to know how much does your ‘dream’ generator cost. Then, limit up your choices to several brands.

3. Have a little research to compare the qualities

The last thing you should do is to conduct a little research. This is carried out to compare several generators apt with your need. It is useful to conduct a little research on which product you should choose by looking at people’s review online. Through the online world, you can have a new insight to answer ‘what size generator do I need?’ too. Internet has a lot of answers for your questions, and to get it done, you can have it as easy as typing it on your search engine, and pressing enter.

To sum it up, there are three steps to choose generators which help you to answer ‘what size generator do I need’. First, you need to specify where you want to place the generator and what appliances to back up. Continue by totaling your wattage need. For the last step, choose generator that suits your need in terms of wattage need, budget, and quality. 

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