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.
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.
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.
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:
This 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...