In the past year, there has been an increase in the demand for a consistent electricity supply at home. Several companies and businesses have shifted to a work-from-home setup. Most employees of these companies need to have interrupted power to meet their deliverables on time. Some people working from home cannot afford to miss that important virtual meeting with the client. It pushes them to look for backup power options.
The increasing number of brands that manufacture and sell electric generators has made them more accessible and affordable. Several years ago, owning one cost so much that it did not make sense to most consumers. Today, brands that sell these machines have a great lineup that caters to the different needs of customers. Some people in the market might only need 2,200 watts of capacity. Getting one that is way more than their needs may not make sense and could be expensive long term.
In this article, we will be discussing electric options from various capacity ranges. We have classified them into four main categories. The lowest category is 1,000 – 1,500 watts, with the second-lowest being 2,000 to 2,500 watts. Then comes the category of 8,000 to 8,500-watt generators. Finally, there’s the category of 9,000 to 9,500-watt generators.
How does it work?
Most people know that electric generators provide electricity. What most people do not know is how it does the work. These machines do not create electricity. They convert energy into electrical energy, usually chemical or mechanical.
Electric ones observe the electromagnetic induction principle, wherein a copper coil rapidly rotates in the poles of a horseshoe-type magnet. The armature connects to a shaft, which is the source of mechanical energy. Finally, the mechanical energy it requires comes from engines on petrol or natural gas. It can also come from other fuel sources such as diesel or renewable energy sources such as solar.
The magnetic field gets interrupted when the coil rotates, resulting in an electric current flowing inside it. We understand that this could be a lot to take in for most people, so you may want to look at some of the best mini metal lathes available in the market.
Industrial Class and Residential Classes
The two main classes are industrial and residential. By now, you may already have an idea of which class you need. You need a residential-class one for users who intend to use theirs at home. They come as either a stationary and standby one or a portable model. Units belonging to this class typically have a capacity of 2,000 watts or less for recreational units. Up to 50,000 watts is common for standby units.
On the other hand, industrial-class models have a capacity that ranges from 20,000 to 3,000,000 watts. Businesses typically require higher capacities because of the number of devices to supply power. Most of these units use a three-phase motor to deliver higher results. Some businesses may require an industrial-class model, like shopping malls and living centers. Other examples are manufacturing sites and office buildings.
What capacity do you need?
The capacity that you will need depends on a few factors. First, you will have to consider how many appliances will need power. Plan to run basic appliances such as a few ceiling lights and your refrigerator. You might be able to work with a smaller model. Suppose you will be powering appliances that consume a bit more power, such as air conditioners and heaters.
You will need one with a larger capacity. Second, you should look into the maximum wattage of all the devices you plan to use. Once you have this value, look for one that can handle these appliances and devices’ requirements. It means their maximum surge and running watts. You will learn more about these two things in the following sections. Lastly, find out the length of time you will be using the generator. How long it can run will depend on a few factors, such as fuel consumption and tank size. Check with the manufacturer and model for these specifications.
These are only some of the factors to consider when picking one. Consult with a licensed electrician for better knowledge and understanding of which capacity you will need. May may not be comfortable determining your requirements after reading this article. Ultimately, it comes down to your requirements. How many different appliances are you hoping to run if there’s an outage? Keeping all the lights and various electrical devices going will require a more powerful piece of equipment. If you are hoping to keep your refrigerator and freezer going if there’s an outage, your needs are very different.
Surge and Running Watts
There are two important things to consider regarding the watts of appliances that include surge and running watts.
When a device or appliance initially starts or runs, it requires a surge of energy to kickstart the motor. It requires surge watts, which are typically higher than the running requirements for a device or appliance. On the other hand, the running watts are the value required for a device when running. For example, a 60 watts light bulb will consume 60 when running.
Below is a table of the most common appliances you can find at home and their corresponding surge and running watts. Take note it may vary depending on the manufacturer and model. It is still best practice to check the specifications sheet before purchasing.
|Electric Stove Burner||0||1,500-2,500|
|12,000 BTU window aircon||1,800||1,200|
|Garage door opener||600||480|
|60-watt light bulb||0||60|
The table above shows that some devices do not require surge watts because no motors require electricity to start. If you refer to the table above, the devices that do not require surge watts are the water heaters and light bulbs. Electric stove burners also do not.
The running watt is around 90% of the generator’s surge capacity in most cases. It means a 1,200-rated model can provide about 1,080 watts of capacity and about 1,200 surge capacity.
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How to determine the capacity you need?
Without any guide, determining the capacity you need can seem overwhelming. With these five easy steps, you can estimate how much capacity you need.
List the devices that needed to be powered.
Let’s assume that you want to power one stove burner and an air conditioner. You also want a few light bulbs and a refrigerator with a generator. Using these devices in case of power interruption ensures your comfort and safety.
Specify the surge and running watts for each device.
One stove burner requires about 0 surge and 2,500 running watts. A refrigerator typically needs 1,200 surges and 800 runnings. A 35-watt light bulb requires 0 surges and 35 runnings. Lastly, an air conditioner needs 1,800 surges and 1,200 running watts.
Sum the requirements
The sum of the running watts is 4,535 in this example.
Determine the device with the highest starting requirements.
With the devices listed in step one, the air conditioner requires the highest starting watt at 1,800.
Add the highest starting with the running total.
Let us add the numbers together. 4,535 is added to the highest starting of 1,800. The sum of these two is 6,335 watts, which is the total requirement. With that said, you need one with a surge capacity of at least 6,335.
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What are the available capacities in watts?
There are several available models with varying capacities in the market today. Picking the right one for your needs can be tricky. Keep in mind that this is only a guide and that you should consult a licensed electrician before purchasing a unit.
Below are some of the most common capacities available in the market. You can go through each one or use your browser’s search functionality to skip to the part that interests you. Before proceeding, you need to keep in mind that the cables you will be using come in different sizes. You can refer to 20 – 60 amp wires and 70 – 600 amp wires here.
1,000 – 1,500 watt generators
Some brands that offer 1,000 – 1,500 watts models are Sportsman and Powerpro. You’ll also find great ones from Yamaha and Honda.
The first one worth mentioning is the Sportsman Gen1000I gas-powered model. This model offers 1,000 surges and 800 running watts. It has a 1.3 HP 4-Stroke gasoline engine, which can power your devices. The engine is rated to run for 6.3 hours at 50% load. In terms of fuel capacity, it comes with a 1.7-gallon fuel tank. When planning to use it at a high altitude, we do not recommend 3,000 feet above sea level. The Sportsman Gen1000I may not work correctly at this height. For best performance and output results, use this generator below 3,000 feet. For any warranty claims, the unit comes with a one-year limited warranty.
The Honda EU1000I 120V model is ideal for small power tools and electric fans. It can also be used for lights and televisions at home. Honda claims this product is super quiet with a noise level of only 50 dB at the rated load and only 42 dB at 1/4 load. The Honda GXH50 is the engine that powers the EU1000I. It can run up to 6.8 hours on a 0.55-gallon of fuel. Weighing at only 29 lbs, it is portable and lightweight.
The next one is the Honda EX1000, providing a great entry-level model. This specific model works great for powering fans and laptops. Mobile phones and lights are also ok. Using a three-prong AC outlet, you can plug two power wires into the side of the unit. The 0.82-gallon gas fuel tank allows for up to 8 hours of use. The EX1000 does not get loud, with only a 64 dB noise level. In case of voltage overload, the AC circuit breaker automatically stops the engine from running to prevent damage from happening. This model can handle up to 2,000 watts.
2,000 – 2,500 watt generators
Champion and Predator are some notable brands in the 2,000 to 2,500 watts range. Westinghouse and Pulsar deserve to make a list as well. If we didn’t mention Workzone and Honda, our list wouldn’t be complete. Finally, there is Wen and Ryobi. This section will take a closer look at the Honda EU2000I and the Wen 56200I.
The Honda EU2000I 120V inverter generator is ideal for televisions and refrigerators. To provide consistent power to the connected devices, the EU2000I uses inverter technology. At only 48 to 57 dB, this unit is super quiet. It is ideal for supplemental RV power and other activities that require minimal noise. Its weight of only about 47 lbs. It makes it very portable and lightweight.
On the other hand, the Wen 56200I inverter generator is a close competitor of the Honda EU2000I. It is great for use on construction sites and campgrounds. It generates a running power of 1,600 and a surge rating of 2,000. One of the notable selling points of the Wen 56200I is its low harmonic distortion. At under 0.3% at no load and 1.2% at full load, it is safe to use tablets and other electronic gadgets with it. Should you need more than 2,000 in the future, you can link two Wen units using the Wen Parallel Kit.
8,000 – 8,500 watt generators
The 8,000 to 8,500 watts range belongs to the higher end of the spectrum. Ones rated at this capacity often support more than one appliance of the same type running together. Depending on the size of the house, a model in this range may work well for you. Some notable brands to consider are Briggs and Stratton. Consider a Honda or Generac for great performance and durability. Finally, we’ll mention Troybilt and Gentron. Oh, and Champion. If you think an 8,500-watt generator is not enough, then you may want to consider a model in the 9,000 – 9,500 range.
9,000 – 9,500- watt generators
Generators in this range are probably the most expensive than the other models mentioned in this article. 9,000 to 9,500-watt generators are typically ideal backup power sources for large homes. Unless it is a need or you have the extra money to spend, we do not recommend getting one in this range. When looking to purchase, some brands to consider are Honda and Generac. Champion and Predator should also be on your list.