So, if you are like me, the idea of buying a generator is exciting and brings thoughts of freedom from ‘the plug.’ It is the final link from truly going unplugged. After all, we have holding tanks, we have fresh water tanks, why not have the trifecta and have portable power too, right?!? However, when you start trying to figure out which generator to purchase, reality sets in. Generator Wattage? Dual Connection Kits? Now you have to figure out what size generator from the max wattage to running wattage, what fuel source is best, and maybe the most important – how loud?
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After doing a lot of research, I hope the following makes it easy to at least narrow the field down for you.
First things first, you need to figure out what are the “must have items” in your rig you want to to run, and which you can live without. In most cases the air conditioning is the best place to start as it will require the most wattage to run. Next, add up the other items you want to have power and you will start narrowing it down. The following is a guide to get your started with the most common starting and running wattage:
|Item||Approximate Starting Watts||Approximate Running Watts|
|A/C 13,500 btu||2800-3000W||1300-1800W|
|A/C 15,000 btu||3300-3500W||1500-2000W|
|Electric Grill (Counter-top)||1700W||1700W|
|Small Flat TV||120-200W||120-200W|
|Small Tube TV||300W||300W|
|Lights||See Light Bulb||See Light Bulb|
Want to keep this in your camper or RV? Use the form below to download our FREE Printable Wattage Chart. We suggest printing a few and taping them to the inside of your bathroom cabinet, the bunkhouse and the kitchen so you don’t tax your generator wattage!
To start the A/C, you would need upwards of 3,500 watts.
Once the air conditioner was started, you could run the refrigerator and television with a running wattage of approximately 2,800 watts.
2,000W A/C + 600W Fridge + 200W TV = 2,800W
In this example, you would have enough power left over to run 700 watts of additional electronics.
3,500W minus 2,800W = 700W
This should be plenty left over to run your lights, radio, or plug in your cellphone/laptop. It may also be a good idea to purchase a unit that can run in parallel (hook two units together to double the power) in case you need to increase the power down the road.