Everyone who has ever endured a long, dark and stormy night understands the value of a good generator. When you can get the lights on and your home back up and running with the flip of a switch, that is great capability.
Or maybe you just need to power a lot of demanding tools on a remote jobsite. In any case, for heavy-duty jobs a big generator is required.
One of the most common in the category for such work is a 7,500 watt generator. Just how much can these generators run?
A 7,500 watt generator can run quite a lot when used for household or jobsite power, including multiple high drain tools or appliances (freezers, refrigerators, ovens, washers, dryers, lights etc.)
All these and many other lower-drain devices can all function off this class of generator, though not necessarily at the same time.
Understanding exactly what you generator can handle, and for how long, is critical to operating one safely and correctly.
A 7,500 watt genny can handle a lot, but they aren’t invincible, and you’ll definitely need to plan your startups if you are going to be running multiple high-drain appliances.
Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
What Appliances Can a 7500 Watt Generator Run?
A 7,500 watt generator can run many appliances or tools at once, and many of them at full capacity.
In an at-home scenario, your lights, coffee maker, refrigerator/freezer, radio, microwave, television and computer can all be going at once with no problem along with a smaller air conditioner.
You might not want to start up the washing machine or dryer while everything else is running, as that could cause a dip in power that could make things go out, but other than that you should have plenty of capacity.
On a jobsite, you can run drills, grinders, saws and other tools that require a lot of juice to get going.
You can also keep your crew’s laptops, phones and other devices charged while they are working. If you need to power a small air conditioner or space heater, you can do that as well.
In general, this category of generator is one of the most common for providing a house with backup power and running lots of tools on jobsites.
A 7,500 Watt Generator Can Run Nearly Any Single, Common Appliance
If you have more specific requirements, or want to run something with truly serious power demands, like a dryer, central air, electric furnace, electric water heater and so on, you can take heart knowing your genny can handle most common ones just fine, though it won’t have too much capacity left over.
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to start and run any common household or jobsite appliance with a 7,500 watt generator, as long as it is the only thing running.
Larger central or commercial air conditioners will also work, but you’ll need to start them up one at a time or else cycle them on and off to give the generator a break in between starts.
Don’t Forget to Factor in Startup Power Requirements
One of the most important factors for effective and safe use of a generator is also one that is commonly overlooked by those who have little experience with electrical devices.
All appliances, whether they are tools or devices in your home, have what is called a startup power requirement.
This is the amount of electricity required to get them going, and it can be significantly higher than the amount of power they require to keep running continuously.
For example, a fridge with freezer might have a startup requirement of 2,200 watts, but only need 800 watts once it is up and running.
A washing machine might have a startup requirement of 2,100 watts but only need 1,150 watts to keep going.
Your Generator Might be Able to Handle Running Power, but not Surge Power
What this means for you is that you need to take care when starting up multiple high-drain appliances on your generator at the same time.
If you try to start up too many all at once, you could easily overload the system, causing a dip in power that could make things go out or, even worse, cause damage to your generator.
The best way to avoid this is to start up appliances one at a time, giving the generator a few seconds to stabilize between starts.
You can also try staggering starts by starting up one appliance and then waiting a minute or two before starting up another. This will give the generator time to get back up to speed after each startup.
Of course, the best way to avoid all this is to buy a generator that has more than enough power for your needs.
That way you can start up whatever you need, whenever you need it without having to worry about overloading the system.
Typical Appliance Power Requirements are Only Guidelines
Another thing to remember: the typical guidelines you see for appliance power requirements, both startup and running, are exactly that- guidelines. This includes my examples above.
It is up to you to know exactly what your appliances require in order to avoid damaging your generator or being stuck with insufficient power.
Every appliance is different, and the only way to know for sure what your particular appliance will need is to look at the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
The manuals will usually list both startup and running power requirements in watts (W) or amperes (A), or both.
If you can’t find this information, you can try contacting the manufacturer directly. They should be able to give you the info you need.
Also there are easy to use and reliable conversion apps and websites that can help you convert all power requirements to wattage to reduce confusion.
How Can You Choose the Right Generator for Your Needs?
Now that you know a bit more about how generators work and what they can (and can’t) do, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for your needs.
The first step is to figure out exactly how much power you will need. Make a list of all the appliances and tools you want to be able to run at the same time and look up their power requirements.
Once you have that information, add up all the watts to get your total power requirement. Remember to pay attention to startup watts, too.
You should also take into account any additional devices you might want to run off of your generator, such as lights or a TV.
These usually don’t require much power, but it is still a good idea to factor them in.
After you have your total power requirement, you can start looking at different generators to see which one will best suit your needs.
Look for a genny that will support your needs plus about 10% capacity over that as cheap insurance.
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to buy the most powerful generator out there. If you only need a small amount of power, there is no sense in spending way more than you need to run a few basic devices. As always, your requirements should dictate your purchasing strategy.
Common Purchasing Mistakes When Shopping for a Generator
There are a few common mistakes people make when shopping for a generator. Buying too small, overlooking maintenance and operation requirements and discounting noise considerations are probably the top three.
1. Buying too Small
Probably the most common mistake people make when buying a generator is not getting one that is powerful enough to meet their needs.
This generally happens because people underestimate their power requirements or don’t factor in all the devices they want to run at the same time.
As I said before, it is always better to err on the side of caution and get a generator that is a little too powerful than one that isn’t powerful enough.
2. Overlooking Maintenance and Operation Requirements
Another mistake people make is not considering the maintenance and operation requirements of the generator before making a purchase.
Generators require regular maintenance, such as oil changes and air filter replacements, to keep them running properly.
Make sure you are willing and able to do the necessary maintenance before buying a generator.
Additionally, generators need to be used properly in order to avoid damaging them or causing accidents.
Read the owner’s manual carefully and make sure you understand how to operate your generator safely before using it.
3. Discounting Noise Considerations
Some people discount noise considerations when buying a generator, but this is a mistake. If you are going to be using your generator regularly, you will quickly get tired of the noise it makes.
In a long term emergency situation, loud generators will easily attract thieves and lookey-loos, problems you don’t want. Look for a generator that is relatively quiet and won’t disturb your peace and quiet.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.