What Can I Run With a 5000 Watt Generator?

What Can I Run With A 5000 Watt Generator?A generator of 5,000 watts will be able to run almost anything in times of blackouts or power outages. Such generators have one engine, typically use gas, sometimes propane or diesel. You will also be able to find a few outlets and usually feature circuit breakers. The circuit breakers are there to protect the engine from damaging due to overload. Such generators will also be able to run several appliances at the same time. However, don’t expect it to do so permanently.

Power Requirements

Before getting to know what appliances you can run, you also need to know the power requirements of them. Most appliances have that information on their power cords and you will find them in watts. Other times, you will find the specifications in amps as well. If you want to convert from amps to watts, you need to multiply amps by the voltage on which the appliance runs. It should be either 120 or 240 volts.

The ones that run on 240 volts, like water heaters, naturally require more power. So, keep in mind, that sometimes such appliances are so power hungry that they will demand all the power output from the generator.

The Start-up Power

Appliances like refrigerators usually need more power to start up. Those appliances cycle on and off. That power can sometimes be three times larger than its running power. One such example is that if a fridge needs 600 watts to draw while it’s running may need 2,200 watts to even start. Those notes should be kept in mind because it is very easy to forget. Also, if you don’t remember, the circuit breakers will start tripping.


If you know what appliances you want to run, you need to add up the watts. It’s important to remember you need to add up the start-up ones. Once you add it up and if it results in less than five thousand watts, you don’t need to worry about overloading a generator. However, if it exceeds five thousand watts, you will still be able to run all the appliances. But, you can only do that if the ones that you are using at the moment are less than five thousand watts. Also, be sure to add 10% of uncertainty factor when you add up the power requirements.

Sample Application

There are a few things to be taken into consideration if you use the 5,000 watt generator in winter. One thing that is recommended is operating a furnace. The size of the fan motor depends on how many watts it needs to cycle on. In estimate, it will require around 2,200 watts to cycle on. If you decide to power a fridge (which requires the 2,200 watts), you will also have leftover power in the generator.

With that leftover power, you will be able to run a TV, radio, a few lights, and some kitchen appliances like a blender. Instead of the refrigerator, you can even use a washing machine, electric range or even a microwave. However, chances are the generator won’t be able to run two of these appliances at the same time.

Tools You Can Run With a 5000 Watt Generator

Toasters can run on a 5000 watt generator1. Small Kitchen Appliances

One of the several things you can run with one such generator are small kitchen appliances. If you don’t know, those include a microwave, a toaster oven as well as a coffee maker. Just make sure that the total wattage of these appliances isn’t higher than 5,000 watts. You will be able to find an applicance’s wattage or amperage on its power cord. One of the safest ways to do it is to run one appliance at a time. This way, you will surely avoid any sort of overloading problems.

Oven2. Large Kitchen Appliances

Devices that go into the large kitchen appliances category are a washing machine, refrigerator and a freezer. Of course, don’t try to run them all at the same time. There is even a higher chance of the generator overloading due to the appliances demanding more power. Usually, a refrigerator and a freezer needs 3,000 watts to start and 1,000 watts to run. When it comes to a washing machine, you need 3,500 watts for it to start and 1,000 watts for it to run. If you want to run a dryer, you will need 5,750 watts to start. So, you can’t plug the dryer in a 5,000 watt generator.

3. Small Electrical Appliances

With a 5,000 watt generator, you will be able to run: a lamp, fan, radio, a TV, water pump, hair dryer, electric heater as well as an electric blanket. Any of those appliances can be run by a 5,000 watt generator if their wattage is lower than 5,000. If you want to power a computer, you will need a power inverter. That is for protecting the engine from overloading and with the power inverter, you add extra protection. Older generators have a direct current (DC) instead of alternating current which may pose as a problem too.

4. Power Tools

With a 5,000 watt generator, you will be able to run any sort of power tools. Such tools include air compressors, circular saws, electric sprayers, grinders and even power frills. Always keep in mind that the total wattage needs to be less than 5,000 watts to avoid overloading.

5. Electric Water Heater

With a 5,000 watt generator, you will be able to run an electric water heater. Don’t try to run it if its wattage is more than 5,000 watts. For an electric water heater to start, 4,500 watts is required and 3,500 watts for it to keep running. If overloading happens, however, the circuit breakers will turn off both the generator and electric water heater.

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Hopefully you have found this article informative in regards to what devices one can run with a 5,000 watt generator.

Related content:

What Can A 4000 Watt Generator Power?

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