Power Inverter, Generator, and Appliance Wattage Chart

In emergencies and other off-the-grid situations when the electric power is provided from batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and inverters and/or power stations and generators, knowing actual appliance wattage requirements can be of great help in avoiding additional power issues.

Also, when going camping, fishing or simply going outdoors with your RV, boat, truck, etc. it is of vital importance to know how much power and energy one has and what devices can and should be powered and for how long.

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Little Bit of Theory

When powering various appliances using inverters, power stations, and/or power generators, there are few very important things to consider:

- Running vs Starting Watts: when some appliances start, they require more power, especially appliances with electric motors and similar inductive loads. Thus, inverters, power stations, and generators feature running watts (normal power output) and starting watts (short burst of power), required to power devices while operating normally (again: Running Watts) and when starting (again: Starting Watts).

- Power Stations vs Power Generators: power stations use built-in batteries to provide energy, while power generators burn fuel (most commonly gasoline, propane, natural gas, diesel, etc.) using internal combustion engines that power an onboard electric generator.

While power stations do NOT release any fumes (at least not while operating normally) and can be used indoors, they have a rather limited amount of stored energy, at least, when compared with the chemical energy of the fuel. But, power generators release large amounts of fumes, including dangerous carbon monoxide (CO), and should be used only outside, several yards/meters away from the object, preferably down the wind.

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Note: permanent power generators may be stored and used indoors, but their exhausts must be outside and the area where they are stored and used must have very good ventilation combined with carbon monoxide (and carbon dioxide and oxygen) alarms connected to the generator's automatic power shut off system. Also, a fire alarm is often required (state/country dependent) - nonetheless, it is highly recommended. For short: don't do it on your own, hire certified professionals for installations like that ...

- Power Stations vs Power Inverters: if the energy stored in the power stations' batteries is not enough, one may/should opt for a power inverter combined with the deep cycle AGM/Gel-Cell/Lithium batteries.

Having separate batteries from the power inverter, allows the user to have much larger batteries that being able to store much more energy than the compact and lightweight, but relatively small lithium-ion batteries found at power stations.

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Also, such batteries may be connected to the MPPT Charge Controller and be charged using solar panels, wind turbines, mains power, power generators, etc.

Note: Some companies offer all-in-1 solution in the form of devices that combine features of inverters and charge controllers, simplifying installations very much.

Home, Boat, Camping and RV Appliances Wattage Charts

Now, when knowing the most important details of how to power various appliances when mains power is not present, it is important to know actual power requirements of the most commonly used appliances - appliances wattage requirements are given in the following charts:

Home

Appliance/Tool Running Watts Starting Watts
Aquarium 200 250
Blender 300 800
Ceiling Fan 100 300
Central AC 10.000 BTU 1500 2400
Central AC 24.000 BTU 3800 5000
Central AC 40.000 BTU 6000 7500
Clothes Dryer - Electric 5000 7000
Clothes Dryer - Gas 700 1800
Coffee Maker 1000 0
Curling Iron 1500 0
Deep Freezer 500 1500
Dishwasher 1300 1800
Electric Can Opener 170 220
Electric Grill 1.6 kW 1600 0
Electric Stove 2kW 2000 0
Electric Water Heater 4 kW 4000 0
Food Processor 400 0
Furnace Fan 1/3 HP 700 1400
Furnace Fan 1/2 HP 800 2350
Garage Door Opener 1/2 HP 900 2400
Hair Dryer 1.5 kW 1500 0
Heat Pump 4700 5500
Humidifier 13 gal. 175 0
Iron (Clothes) 1500 0
Iron (Waffles) 1200 0
Light Bulb 60 W 60 0
Light Bulb 75 W 75 0
Light LED Bulb 10 W 10 0
Microwave Oven 600 W 600 0
Microwave Oven 1000 W 1000 0
Refrigerator/Freezer 700 2200
RV Roof Top Air Conditioner
13.500 BTU
1600 2500
RV Roof Top Air Conditioner
15.000 BTU
1700 2700
Security System 500 0
Space Heater 2 kW 2000 0
Sump Pump 1/3 HP 800 1300
Sump Pump 1/2 HP 1050 2200
Television 27" 500 0
Toaster 900 0
Toaster Oven 1200 0
Vacuum Cleaner 7 Amps 850 1300
Vacuum Cleaner 12 Amps 1440 2500
VCR 100 0
Washing Machine 1200 2300
Well Pump 1/2 HP 1000 2100
Window AC 5.000 BTU 600 900
Window AC 10.000 BTU 1200 1800
Window AC 12.000 BTU 1500 2300
Window AC 15.000 BTU 1900 2900
 

Job Site

Appliance/Tool Running Watts Starting Watts
Air Compressor 1/4 HP 900 1600
Air Compressor 1 HP 1600 4500
Airless Sprayer 600 1200
Belt Sander 1200 2400
Circular Saw 7 1/4 inch 1400 2300
Electric Drill 3/8 inch 4 Amps 450 700
Electric Drill 1/2 inch 5.4 Amps 600 900
Halogen Work Light 300 W 300 0
Halogen Work Light 500 W 500 0
Halogen Work Light 1 kW 1000 0
Hammer Drill 1.2 kW 1200 3500
Miter Saw 10 inch 1800 2500
Planer/Jointer 6 inch 1800 2500
Reciprocating Saw 900 1300
Table Saw 10 inch 2000 2800

Office

Appliance/Tool Running Watts Starting Watts
Copy Machine 1600 0
Fax Machine 70 0
Inkjet Printer 80 0
Laptop 200 0
Laser Printer 900 0
PC w/21" Flat Screen 800 0

Recreation/Outdoor

Appliance/Tool Running Watts Starting Watts
AM/FM Radio 100 0
Box Fan 20" 200 0
CD/DVD Player 100 0
Cell Phone Charger 25 0
Electric Trolling Motor
12V 30 lbs
400 600
Electric Trolling Motor
12V 55 lbs
800 1300
Hedge Trimmer (Corded, 4 Amps) 500 900
Inflator Pump 50 150
Mower (Corded, 14 Amps) 1700 3000
Outdoor Light String 250 0
Outdoor LED Light String 35 0
Stereo 250 0
Treadmill 1.5 CHP 1200 1800
Treadmill 3 CHP 2300 3500
X-Box, Wii, Playstation 40 0

westinghouse wh2200ixlt w300pxThis list should be used only as a general guide.

The best practice is to take every individual appliance and check the label (usually found at the bottom or at the back) stating actual running and perhaps starting watts - write down power requirements of every device You think You should need during a power outage (or while being off-the-grid for other reasons) and plan ahead required power of your power source(s).

When choosing a power generator strong enough for your requirements, it is a good practice to pick one that is 'parallel ready' - if/when required, it may be connected in parallel with the compatible power generator to increase (often double) output power.

Note: this 'double requirement' happens very often ... :)

Whatever You do, stay safe - power generators are not toys...