Boat, Camping, RV, and Household Appliances Wattage Charts
When powering home appliances using power generators and power stations, it is of utmost importance to know how much power our appliances require in order to operate properly and to avoid issues of overloading the power generators and power stations.
Our appliances chart includes the most common appliances, tools, and gadgets used at homes, RVs, on boats/yachts, camping, etc.
Updated: March 31, 2023.
Intro To Power Sources In Emergencies
Before listing how many watts appliances actually need, it is important to explain a few things first:
Running Watts vs. Starting Watts
Every power generator (usually powered by gas, diesel, propane, or natural gas) features both running watts and starting watts.
Running watts are watts that the power generator is able to provide continuously, while starting watts are the power that the power generator is able to provide for short periods of time, preventing power issues when spikes occur.
Starting watts are very important when powering appliances and tools with electric motors - when starting, electric motors require more power than during normal operation.
Power Generators vs. Power Stations
Power generators feature internal combustion engines which burn fuel (gas, diesel, propane, natural gas, etc.), converting chemical energy into mechanical energy and then using alternators/dynamos ('electric generators'), they convert mechanical energy into electric power, which is then filtered/converted using onboard electronics into the actual electricity with stable voltage and as little distortions as possible (THD preferably less than 3%).
On the other hand, power stations use onboard batteries (mostly lightweight but powerful lithium-ion batteries) and electronics to convert chemical energy in the batteries into electric energy.
Outdoor vs. Indoor Power Generators
There is no such thing as an 'indoor power generator'. End of discussion.
In order to generate energy, power generators use oxygen from the air and burn fuel, creating fumes rich in carbon dioxide and containing other gases, including very dangerous carbon monoxide (no smell, no taste, no color ...).
Some power generators feature an option of connecting their mufflers with longer exhaust tubes for extracting fumes directly outside, but if there is any issue with such systems, exhaust fumes can quickly fill the room and harm (and kill) everybody inside. This is a serious warning!
If you need a power generator during really bad weather, take your power generator outside and protect it from the elements like rain, snow, wind, and similar. And if the indoor power source is absolutely required, use lithium-powered power stations as indoor power sources.
Appliances Wattage Charts
Here is the list of most common household appliances, tools, and gadgets, often powered by home, RV, camping, boat, etc., power generators.
Note: for actual power requirements of your devices, the best practice is to check the device itself - power requirements are usually written using 'small' letters on the back or at the bottom, usually in the form 'Running Watts/Starting Watts' (both values given in Watts), or just 'Running Watts' (shown in watts).
Note: power requirements change over time - some appliances/tools/devices get stronger, while others become more efficient.
Again, it is the best practice to check the power requirements labeled directly on the appliance/tool/device.
When calculating what appliances and tools your power generator may run, always use the worst-case scenario, just in case.
Power generators feature many safety systems, including overload protection, but abusing the overload protection system may result in a damaged or even destroyed power generator - not to mention possible issues due to the lack of electric power for the most important appliances that satisfy essential human needs, especially during blackouts, natural disasters and similar.
How Do I Calculate The Required Wattage During The Blackout?
If You want to calculate the required wattage for your next blackout, list the devices and appliances You want to run, and add some extra watts for safety.
For example, You want to run:
- Medium Size Refrigerator: 400 Running Watts, 1500 Starting Watts,
- 8 (eight) 8W LED light bulbs: 64 Watts,
- 10000 BTU AC: 1200 Running Watts, 1800 Starting Watts,
- Ceiling Fan: 100 Running Watts, 300 Starting Watts,
- Small Laptop: 100 Watts,
- Medium Size Desktop: 400 Watts,
- Few USB Chargers: 100 Watts.
The total wattage requirement, in this case, is ~2400 Running Watts, with an additional ~1000W required for starting various devices.
Note: You never start two devices at the same time, only one by one.
Also, You would like to periodically turn on the microwave oven (1000W), toaster (1000W), and iron (1500W), but only one of these at the same time. Since iron requires the most (1500W) of these three, the required total Running Watts are ~4000W and Starting Watts ~5000W.
Since You also must calculate some power reserve for safety reasons, your best solution would be a power generator with ~5500-6000 Running Watts and ~7000 Starting Watts.
This looks like a big generator, but don't forget that AC units are energy much more efficient than electric space heaters. Also, just in case, when making lists like these, always check your devices and their actual power requirements - if You need a power source for 30-60 minutes, do You really need an AC unit, refrigerator, and iron?