What appliances will a 3500 Watts generator run?

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When deciding whether you want to buy a 3,500W portable generator to run your appliances during a blackout or to use it while away from your house’s power grid, it is always a good idea to figure out what this generator is capable of.

A 3500W portable generator is a very popular choice for those buying a generator for the first time. These generators are quite affordable yet powerful, and they do not consume a lot of gas like their bigger counterparts. That’s why you might be wondering if you can run all the appliances in your household from a single 3,500 Watts generator.

While a 3,500 Watts portable generator is very affordable and popular, you might need a bigger one if you’re running lots of appliances all at the same time or if you’re running a bunch of highly demanding electrical devices.

Before we go to some specific examples, I would like to give you a broad idea of some of the popular appliances that you can run from a 3,500W almost always.

What appliances can a 3,500W generator run?

A 3500 Watt generator should be able to run most of the conventional home appliances, including:

  • a fridge
  • a microwave
  • a TV
  • a laptop
  • a portable heater
  • a coffee maker
  • a toaster
  • electric stow (those below 3.5 kW)
  • a hair dryer
  • a vacuum cleaner
  • a blender
  • a slow cooker

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of appliances. The most important factor is the actual power draw of each of the appliances and their total wattage. It is always a good idea to check the owner’s manual of an electric device that you want to feed from a generator.

Besides the normal power consumption (so-called “running watts”), many appliances, especially those with an electric motor or a compressor, also have “starting watts”. The latter is the most important characteristic. The thing is, you won’t be able to even start up appliances that exceed 3,500 starting Watts. The good news is, all modern portable generators do provide higher starting Watts than running. This means, that a momentary surge that a 3,500W generator can provide will always be higher than 3,500 Watts. For example, a Champion Power Equipment 100522 3,500W generator can start up an appliance that requires up to 4375 starting Watts.

Do not be afraid to cause damage from overloading your generator. Modern portable generators have overload protection features that will just cut down the electricity and prevent them from being damaged.

Just keep in mind, once you are already running some other electrical devices from your portable generator, you must subtract their running Watts from the total amount of power available from a generator. For example, if you are running a fridge that draws some 700W, you will only have 3,500 – 700 = 2,800W remaining capacity that your 3,500W generator can provide.

How many appliances will a 3500 Watt generator run?

The wattage of the appliances and the combined power needs of all the appliances you’re trying to run simultaneously will determine how many of those a 3,500-watt generator can run. A 3,500-watt generator can typically power a variety of devices, from small ones like a refrigerator, a TV, laptops, and lights to bigger ones like a microwave, sump pumps, and electric stoves.

You must total up the power demands of all the appliances you want to run in order to estimate how many can be operated simultaneously with a 3,500-watt generator. It is crucial to remember that some electric devices, namely those that use electric motors or compressors require almost twice as many Watts for an initial start versus their advertised wattage. You must keep that in mind when calculating the total draw of all the appliances you’re trying to run from a single 3,500W portable generator. You can usually find the starting Watts rating in your device’s manual.

To give you a starting point, here is the example configuration of multiple appliances that a 3500 Watt generator will run without any problems altogether:

  • one household fridge (780 running and 1560 starting Watts)
  • a microwave (maximum of 1000 Watts)
  • a vacuum cleaner (800 Watts on average)

The above sums up to 1560 + 1000 + 800 = 3,360 Watts. This, of course, is a bit exaggerated as a fridge requires just 780 Watts (or even less if it is a new power-efficient model) most of the time, and only a few seconds during the start it requires 1560W.

You will likely use a different combination of appliances and will be able to run more of them of a single 3,500W generator if you mostly use smaller appliances like TVs, toasters, or hair dryers, in contrast to larger ones from the above example. Just remember to always add up the wattages of all your appliances to find out the total consumption. In any case, most modern portable generators come with built-in protection against overload so you will know right away when there is too much load on your generator.

How much gas does a 3500 Watt generator use?

Generally speaking, depending on the load on the generator, a 3,500-watt generator will consume between 0.6 and 1.2 gallons of gas every hour. For instance, the generator may use around 0.6 gallons of gas per hour if it is operating at half of its capacity. Around 1.2 gallons of gas may be used each hour if the generator is operating at maximum capacity.

It’s vital to keep in mind that these calculations are approximate and could change based on the individual generator model you’re utilizing. It is usually preferable to refer to the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s specs for more precise information on the fuel consumption of your particular generator.

For example, a Champion Power Equipment 100522 3,500W is advertised as a very efficient model that only consumes around 0.4 gallons of gas per hour when operating at 50% of the load. I haven’t used that specific generator from Champion, but, I tend to trust them as I used their older models and they happened to stick very close to what was advertised.

Can a 3,500 Watt generator run a washing machine?

Yes, a 3,500W generator is able to run most washing machines. On average, a residential washing machine has a Wattage rating of 400 to 1,400W per hour. Doubling these numbers yields 800 to 2,800 startup Watts, which is much less than a typical 3,500W generator can produce.

Of course, you must always refer to your washing machine’s manual to find out the exact power consumption. Overall, in most cases, you would be fine feeding one washing machine from a 3,500 Watt portable generator.

Will a 3,500 Watt generator run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner?

Yes, a 3,500 Watt generator can absolutely run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner. The thing is, an average 13,500 BTU aircon requires 1,250 running Watts and 2,750 starting Watts. If you’re running a BTU alone, with no other appliances plugged in, a 3,500W generator will easily run such an AC.

In addition to that, a 3,500W generator can even run a bigger AC with a 15,000 BTU.

Will a 3,500 Watt generator run 2 refrigerators?

Yes, in most cases, it is possible to run 2 refrigerators with a single 3,500W portable generator. On average, a refrigerator requires from 600 to 1,200 starting watts. This means the total power consumption of those fridges at any given moment will not exceed 2,400 Watts.

However, you must always refer to your owner’s manual for specific fridge or freezer requirements. Besides that, you must take other appliances’ power draw into calculation if they are also connected to the same generator.

Will a 3,500 Watt generator run a window air conditioner?

Yes, a 3500W portable generator will easily run a window AC, as most such air conditioners come from 5,000 to 12,000 BTU. The latter is the most popular size. In order to run a 12K BTU window AC you need just around 1,200 running and 2,400 starting Watts. That means, when using a 3,500W portable generator that usually provides 4,000+ starting Watts, you’ll have more than enough power for your window AC.

Will a 3,500 Watt generator run a Well pump?

Yes, a 3,5000W portable generator can usually run a Well pump that uses a maximum of 1HP. By “usually”, I mean that your generator should provide at least 4,000 starting Watts of power to be able to start up a 1HP well pump.

Not every generator brand is capable of that. For example, all 3,500W portable generators from Champion or Westinghouse, among other generators from trusted brands are able to deliver more than 4,000 start-up power.

Larger pumps require 5,000 and more startup Watts, which a 3,500 Watts generator can not provide.

Will a 3,500 Watt generator run a welder?

Yes, but only a small 120V welder that has a power draw of just 25 amps. This is because a more powerful welder that requires 30 and more amps will require a 3,600W portable generator. So, a recommended generator for a welder should ideally be 5,000W and more. Not to mention your specific welder that can also require 220V and therefore a bit more consideration of what size of a generator is needed to run it successfully and safely.

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