Will a 2000-Watt Generator Run an Air Conditioner?

Many people wonder what is the required size of the power generator in order to run an air conditioner without any power issues.

2000-watt inverter generators are popular, compact, and affordable portable units that are used in many situations, leading to the question, will a 2000 watt generator run an air conditioner in the case of a power outage?

homelabs 10000 btu window ac 300px

Air Conditioner Power Requirements

Air conditioners are coming in various sizes, cooling/heating technologies, efficiency classes, etc.

Most popular units that are often powered by power generators, inverters, and even sometimes with power stations are window air conditioners and RC air conditioners.

The following charts list the power requirements of various home appliances, tools, gadgets, and other devices that are often powered by portable generators:

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 Air Conditioner
7.000 BTU
900 1700
RV Air Conditioner
10.000 BTU
1200 2000
RV Air Conditioner
13.500 BTU
1600 2500
RV 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 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 55 lbs
800 1300
Electric Trolling Motor
12V 30 lbs, Kayak
450 700
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  
X-Box, Wii, Playstation 40 0

As one can see, most common AC units require:

- RV Air Conditioner 7.000 BTU: 900 Running Watts, 1700 Starting Watts,

- RV Air Conditioner 10.000 BTU: 1200 Running Watts, 2000 Starting Watts,

- RV Air Conditioner 13.500 BTU: 1600 Running Watts, 2500 Starting Watts,

- RV Air Conditioner 15.000 BTU: 1700 Running Watts, 2700 Starting Watts,

- Window Air Conditioner 5.000 BTU: 600 Running Watts, 900 Starting Watts,

- Window Air Conditioner 10.000 BTU: 1200 Running Watts, 1800 Starting Watts,

- Window Air Conditioner 12.000 BTU: 1500 Running Watts, 2300 Starting Watts,

- Window Air Conditioner 15.000 BTU: 1900 Running Watts, 2900 Starting Watts.

Few notes:

- these are just wattage general values. As the AC units are improved, so is their efficiency - for example, there are many 10.000 BTU window air conditioners that require less than 900 running watts (value of 1200 Watts is listed in the table). To be absolutely sure about the wattage of your AC unit, the best thing to do is to check its label/documentation - if such information is not present (it should be!), contact the manufacturer directly.

- Running Watts vs. Starting Watts: when AC units start, they require more power in the first few moments (Starting Watts), after which power requirement decreases to the normal value (Running Watts).

Most Popular 2000-Watt Portable Generators

The following chart lists some of the most popular 2000-Watt portable inverter generators and their most important features, including Running Watts, Starting Watts, and Runtime on the single full gas tank:

Model Running Watts
Starting Watts
Runtime Noise Receptacles Amazon Link
A-iPower SUA2000iV 1600W
2000W
4h @100%
7h @50%
58 dB @50%
68 dB @75%
AC: 120V 20A 5-20R port, 120V 30A L5-30R
DC: 12V
A-iPower SUA2000iV
Briggs & Stratton
P2200 PowerSmart
1700W
2200W
8h @25% 59 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V, USB Adapter
Briggs & Stratton P2200
Briggs & Stratton
P3000 PowerSmart
2600W
3000W
10h @25% 58 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Quad, 120V 30A L5-30R
DC: 12V, 1x USB
Briggs & Stratton P3000
Champion 2000W
Model #73536i
1700W
2000W
9.5h @25% 53 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V
Champion 2000W Model 72536i
Champion 2000W
Model #100692
1700W
2000W
11.5h @25% 53 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V 
Champion 2000W Model #100692
Champion 3100W
Model #75537i
2800W
3100W
8h @25% 58 dB @25% AC: 120V 20A Duplex, 120V 30A L5-30R
DC: 12V, 2x USB ports
Champion 3100W Model 75537i
Generac 7117 GP2200i 1700W
2200W
10.75h @25%
7h @50%
? AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V, USB 5V/1.5A
Generac 7117 GP2200i
Generac GP3000i 2300W
3000W
4.5h @50%
5.8h @25%
? AC: 120V 20A Duplex, 120V 30A L5-30R
DC: two USB ports (5V/2.1A, 5V/1A)
Generac GP3000i
Honda EU2000i 1600W
2000W
8h @25% 50 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V
Honda EU2000i
Honda EU2200i 1800W
2200W
3.2h @100%
8.1h @25%
48 dB @25%
57 dB @100%
AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V 100W (8.3 Amps)
Honda EU2200i
Honda EU3000IS 2800W
3000W
20h @25% 50 dB @25% AC: 120V 20A Duplex, 120V 30A L5-30R
DC: 12V (12 Amps)
Honda EU3000IS
WEN 56200i 1600W
2000W
9.4h @25% 51 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V (8.3 Amps), USB 5V
WEN 56200i
WEN 56225i 1800W
2250W
6h @50% 53 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
2x USB 5V
WEN 56225i
Westinghouse
iGen2200
1800W
2200W
12h @25% 52 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
2x USB 5V 
Westinghouse iGen2200
Westinghouse
iGen2600
2200W
2600W
10h @25% 52 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V, 2x USB 5V
Westinghouse iGen2600
Westinghouse
WH2200iXLT
1800W
2200W
13h @25% 52 dB @25% AC: 20A 120V Duplex
DC: 12V 
Westinghouse WH2200iXLT

Note: Amazon affiliate links open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.

2000 watt power generator mAs one can see, most of these power generators are strong enough to comfortably provide power to the 10.000 BTU RV Air Conditioner and to the 12.000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, with some generators being able to support even larger AC units.

Again, check the actual power rating of the AC unit you have - there are many AC models, AC efficiency classes, features, etc. leading to different power requirements.


For short: Will a 2000 watt generator run an air conditioner? Generally, YES, just be sure to check the actual power requirements of your AC unit and only then choose strong enough power generator.

Note: just in case, 'Parallel Ready' is a great feature of most modern power generators, allowing two units to be connected in parallel for doubling the output power - can be of great help. Or, if You need even more power, consider stronger portable generators.