Generator Sizing Guide
Choose the right generator for you using Uncle Bob's general generator sizing guide.
Generators are used from the smallest scale on camping trips (gotta have that coffee in the morning) to the larger units helping keep hospitals and casinos running constantly and even larger ones include projects such as full nuclear power plants and government bases. Finding the right generator for you is going to depend on several variables. Frequency of use, area of use, and expected workload are a few of those variables. Let's discuss some of your options in this handy little generator sizing guide.
The three main categories that electric power generators fall into are recreational, emergency and professional. What style generator are you looking for? Is this for outdoor use such as camping trips or parties? Is this going to be used as a backup generator for power outages? Or are you trying to find an alternate power source on a professional scale? The answers to these questions will provide you with which category to begin your search.
Recreational- Small portable generators provide one or two thousand watts. They're best suited for camping trips or other outings that won't require too much power. A 1000 watt generator will give you enough wattage to power up a coffee maker OR a toaster or other small appliances individually. A 2000 watt model can give you more flexibility.
Emergency- These types of portable or standby generators generally range from 3000-10000+ watts. 3000-6000 watts (priced anywhere from $750-$1100) will supply enough power to keep the basics running during a power outage (a fridge, one room window air conditioner/heater, a few lights etc.) A 7-9000 watt generator ($1100-$15000) will give power to several rooms at a time 10000+ ($2000-$2500) can run your entire apartment or small house even some central air units, though you'll probably need at least 15 KW to run a standard ac unit. (I say generally because if you so choose, you can get a nice 30 kW unit to run your entire home, but it will probably cost you about $8500. I guess emergency is a relative term.)
Professional- (15000+ watts) These units are used to backup large businesses, hospitals, and government areas that cannot tolerate a moment's loss of electricity. Systems such as life support and dam control are equipped with professional electric generators.
Once you've found that, you can ask more questions to narrow down to the specific brand or model that best suits your needs. For example, let's say you want this for something recreational. Now, are you going to be hauling this thing around on your back across a wooded stretch? Do you have a car at your service? Is this being used for an RV? Again, the answers to these types of questions will help navigate you properly within these general categories.
Finally, use our buying guide or our features feature to help you figure out exactly which generator is right for you. At the end the end of the day, you'll be most comfortable going down to a hardware store and asking for a demonstration. For online shopping, or for general clarity and narrowing down the choices, these articles are sure to be helpful to you. So read up, and never get left in the dark again.
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