To choose a generator that is right for your needs, consider if you need backup power for: home, business, camping, recreation or jobsite.
Portable Generators: Most portable generators run on unleaded gas and can be used for limited home standby power, portable jobsite power or recreational power. If you plan to transport your generator regularly, you should consider weight, dimensions, wheel type and handle style to determine ease of mobility. If you need your generator to run for extended periods without refueling, such as overnight or through full work days, look for a model with extended run time in addition to a fuel or hour gauge.
Power Requirements: Overtaxing a generator reduces fuel efficiency and in some cases can damage the generator and connected equipment. It's very important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning for running a few smaller items if need be. If you have the owner's manuals for the appliances and equipment that you want to run, find and add up the start-up wattages for each item. Otherwise, use the chart and formula below to estimate your power requirements.
|Central Air Conditioning||2,000-4,000||Planer||300-900|
|Coffeemaker||400-800||Sanders (belt, disc, orbital)||250-1,500|
|Drills (depends on size)||250-1,200||Shop Vacuum||700-1,400|
|Electric Furnace||5,000-25,000||Space Heater||1,250|
|Electric Range (oven only)||5,000||String Trimmer||600-1,100|
|Electric Range (one element)||2,500||Sump Pump||1,500|
|Hair Dryer||1,200-1,500||Table Lamp (tri-lite)||150|
|Hedge Clippers||300-1,000||3/4 HP Paint Sprayer||1,800|
|Leaf Blower||1,000-1,400||Water Heater||3,000-4,500|
|Miter Saw||500-1,000||Window Air Conditioner||600-1,500|
* This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliance's owner's manual for exact wattage.
Total Your Power Requirements
1. Total your equipment's wattage requirements from the chart above
2. Multiply the total wattage requirements by two** to determine the wattage necessary to start equipment with motors
3. Select the generator that fits your needs
** Start-up requirements may be as high as three or four times the running requirements, so it's best to check owner's manuals for exact wattages; portable generators offer a higher surge wattage to help accommodate start-up requirements
Automatic Standby Generators: Automatic standby generators provide 24/7 blackout protection whether you’re home or away. It automatically supplies power within seconds of a utility outage. After power returns, the generator shuts itself off and awaits the next outage. Automatic standby generators are permanently installed and operate on an existing fuel supply – usually either natural gas or liquid propane gas.
• Decide whether you want to back up a few essential circuits or your whole house or business. The number of circuits you back up and the power requirements of the items on those circuits will determine which generator you need.
• An automatic weekly self-diagnostic test will validate that the unit is working properly
• Select models feature Quiet Test ™ technology or operate at lower RPMs for reduced noise levels
• Galvanized steel or aluminum construction for superior corrosion resistance
• Pre-wired and pre-packaged transfer switches allow for easy and cost-effective installation (models 8KW – 17KW; 20KW comes pre-packaged with 200 Amp load shedding transfer switch)
Automatic Transfer Switch: An automatic transfer switch will sense when your power goes out and turn your generator on for virtually uninterrupted power. When power is restored, the automatic transfer switch turns the generator off. This prevents back feed into the power grid which could cause fatalities.
Automatic Voltage Regulation: If you may be powering a computer, home theater components or other sensitive electronics, you should consider a unit with automatic voltage regulation. This feature stops voltage fluctuations that may harm electronics and is available on portable and stationary models.
Automatic Safety Shutdown: Some generators automatically shut down in event of low oil pressure, low oil level, low coolant level, high temperature and other unsafe operating conditions.
Circuit Breakers: Circuit breakers help prevent damage to connected equipment by shutting down the flow of power if there is too much current passing through.
Liquid Cooling: Liquid cooling allows generators with very high wattages to run more quietly and reliably.
Wheel Kit: Add mobility to your portable generator with a wheel kit that allows for easier maneuvering and transport to and from the jobsite.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many watts does it take to power basic items in an average size house?
In a typical home, essential items will average 5,000 to 7,000 watts of power to run.
What is the difference between running watts and starting watts?
Running or rated watts are the continuous watts needed to keep items running.
Use the professional installation services of The Home Depot to get your standby generator set up and ready to spring into action the next time you experience a power outage.
Pair your portable generator with the appropriate outdoor extension cords to run from the generator to the appliances and equipment you wish to power.