what will a 10000 watt generator run?

There are dozens of reasons you might need a generator: from emergency preparation to recreational entertainment. What will a 10000 watt generator run? Do you need that much power? A quality generator investment can be the difference between surviving and thriving in many situations. 

What to Look for in a Generator

A generator can be a very spendy investment, so it’s essential to your budget to understand what you need from your generator. Take a look at what you’re getting the generator for, and. Will you use it for emergency preparedness, running power in an outbuilding, or recreational comfort for camping or travel?

Once you’ve decided what you want to run on your generator, you can calculate how much power it will need to run all of them at once. If you’re running close to capacity, you may need to manage use around your needs. For example, when you’re baking something in your oven, avoid using the heating system simultaneously. We will discuss overload below.

Dangers to Consider with a Generator

You’ll want to ensure that whichever generator you choose is adequately maintained and kept far enough from your home to avoid harming and poisoning your family. When you are mindful of safety during the initial setup, you have less to worry about when the power goes down. Most people opt for a portable generator, while others make a permanent installation.

Generators are run on propane, diesel, or gasoline, producing carbon monoxide. If you’re running a generator regularly, it must be kept in a safe and well-ventilated space. Never use your generator inside, in a garage, or in a tent. 

Another consideration to keep in mind is that of overloading your generator. To avoid this, you need to ensure that at no point do you try to run too many appliances or tools on the generator at any given time. Modern generators will shut off when overloaded as a safety precaution, and however, this hasn’t always been the case. 

Generators in the past have caused structure fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other dangerous, sometimes lethal results. Running your generator into the house or RV power grid on its sub-breaker will add an extra layer of protection to your electrical safety. You will need to hire a licensed electrician to handle installing your generator on your power box.

What Are Surge Power Requirements

When calculating your power consumption, don’t forget your surge power requirements. Surge power, also called start-up or peak power, is the extra wattage used to start motors in appliances. They will run at a lower constant, but a higher power is used to get going. Devices such as refrigerators and heating systems have a significant surge in power requirements. 

How Do You Calculate Your Wattage Needs?

Once you’ve decided what appliances and other resources will be drawn from your generator, write down a list, and research the power draw on each item. Add these together to calculate your wattage needs. Add in your surge power differences and decide if that generator you’re considering will be able to do what you need. 

How to Identify and Handle Overload on Your Generator

When your system has too much drawn from it, you can be at risk of overload. Modern generators are designed with a failsafe; if overloaded, it powers down until some load is removed. Older generators were known to cause fires from electrical shorts when overloaded. 

What Appliances and Tools Can a 10,000 Watt Generator Run?

A 10,000-watt generator will be able to run very nearly any electric appliance, tool, or medical and office equipment you need. While you may not be able to run everything at once, you will be able to thrive comfortably, so long as you can maintain fuel levels. With adequate advanced prep, you won’t miss a thing when your power goes down, or you’re off-grid.

Below, we discuss some of the power needs of common appliances that a 10,000-watt generator can run. This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, but it will give you an idea of what you’ll be able to run if you purchase the extensive generator options. GreenGear is a great resource to help you figure out your wattage use. 


  1. Fridge/Freezer: A standard fridge with freezer, chest freezer, or upright freezer uses approximately 700 watts, with an additional 200 for the startup. 
  2. Electric Stove/Oven: This takes about 2100 watts for the startup and sustained running.
  3. Window AC Unit: A 10,000 window AC uses 1200 watts for regular operation and up to 3600 at startup. 
  4. Small Kitchen Appliances: These appliances can include a microwave, kettle, coffee maker, toaster, and similar devices. They use 650-1200 watts, with little surge power output. 
  5. Hair Dryer: This simple tool of aesthetics runs about 1250 watts. 
  6. Small Medical Equipment: Small equipment like a CPAP machine draws surprisingly little wattage, drawing only 30-60 watts.
  7. Water Pump or Sump Pump: These tools work hard to keep a house running. They draw between 500-1200 watts and nearly triple that for surge power. 


  1. Halogen Work Lights: These essential tools draw 300-1000 watts, depending on size. 
  2. Hand Tools: Tools like reciprocating saws, power drills, and similar tools use between 400 and 1000 watts, with some needing surge power of an additional 1000 watts. 
  3. Air Compressor: Many tools are run by the typical air compressor. The air compressor runs between 1000-1600 watts, up to four times for startup. 
  4. Circular Saw: The circular saw comes in a few different forms. The average wattage drawn is about 2100, and startups can see up to three times that. 


  1. Computer with Monitor: Our lives are changed irrevocably with computers. If the power goes out, you’ll only need 800 watts to get your system up and running. 
  2. Laser Printer: A laser printer only uses 600 watts of power, with no surge to start up. 
  3. Wireless Router: Less than 20 watts stands between you and a world of knowledge. 
  4. Fax Machine: 65 watts is all you’ll need to send a fax with your generator. 


  1. RV Appliances: RVs are intended to be run on a generator, and these appliances work on far less than most of our household appliances.
  2. Phone Charger: a phone charger takes just 10 watts to bring your phone back to full charge. 
  3. Electric Grill: An electric grill brings a large amount of food to hungry mouths and only takes 1650 watts to fire up.
  4. Gaming System: Not that your latest Xbox system will bring you the joy of the outdoors, you can run it with your TV on just 540 watts. 
  5. Radio CD Player: you can get your favorite tunes on about 100 watts. 

When Would You Need a Generator That Powerful?

There are several periods in which you may find a helpful generator. Not all of them can be fully prepared, but having access to power will make the rest of the process much less unpleasant. 

Inclement Weather

For most people, having reliable electricity is something they take for granted. Every year in the US alone, millions of people go without power for periods of 24 hours or longer due to natural disasters, displacement, and bad weather. Many people don’t think about their household electricity requirements to run through their daily routine.

Natural Disaster

During the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and countless other natural disasters, private generator owners set up their systems with power strips on fences so that strangers could charge their phones and try to reach family or friends. People pulled out their generators and cooked food that would have otherwise spoiled to feed their neighbors. 

Off-Grid Travel

You might also find that you use a generator regularly when you’re traveling with an RV or camper. With an RV, you can enjoy the outdoors without losing the creature comforts. RVs with generators will help you achieve that balance. This is the favorite option for those with medical needs who want to enjoy the outdoors but have needs that require electricity. 


Many people find themselves relying on their generators for daily survival. Some are houseless or lack the resources to keep their power on, and others choose to live off-grid as much as possible and use generators to keep everything moving and functioning as it should. 

Tips for Keeping Your Generator Ready for Emergencies

  • Keep your generator storage space clear of debris, and never stack things up on top of your generator.
  • Ask around, your friends and family will have the best reviews of any products, and you’re more likely to get trustworthy observations. 
  • Keep fuel and other needed supplies on hand. Storing a can of gasoline isn’t the best option for everyone. Ensure you have a carry can, and know where the closest gas station is. 
  • Keep the generator in a well-ventilated place to avoid inhaling exhaust fumes all day. 
  • Conserve power. Unplug things when you’re not using them, and avoid leaving things plugged in and drawing power when you’re not actively engaged in them.
  • If you live in a place that sees frequent natural disasters, such as the forest fires on the west coast, tornados in the central US, snow and ice storms in the northeast, or hurricanes in the southeast, it’s best to run a yearly or twice yearly maintenance on your generator, so you know it’ll be there when you need it.

The Right Generator for You

Choosing the right generator for you and your family is important to the overall success of what you’re trying to achieve. Once you’ve chosen the generator that works best for you and your family, take care to keep it maintained and in working order at all times, so it is ready when you need it. 

We hope these tips, tricks, and bits of shared wisdom can help you prepare for your power needs in advance of any situation where you’ll need that knowledge. Please consider sharing the knowledge and resources with your friends, family, and other networks. 

Leave a comment below to let us know what you think about this info, and share your own experience with running appliances and other equipment on a new generator.

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