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What Appliances Can A 1,000-Watt Generator Run?

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A 1,000 watt generator is one of the smallest and most economical types of generators, but what can a 1,000 watt generator run? 

1000 Watt Generator

A 1,000-Watt generator can run several small appliances, such as lamps, laptops, coffee makers, dishwashers, and even a slow-cooker. They can run some refrigerators, small power tools, and even a flat-screen tv. A 1,000 watt generator probably won’t run a large refrigerator or window air conditioner. You need to know your appliance’s startup watts and running watts to determine if your small generator can handle its needs. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at just what a 1,000 watt generator can run. We’ll discuss the difference between starting watts and running watts.

We’ll also talk about how to manage the power usage of your small generator. But first, we’ll a look at some of the reasons you might want to have a 1000 watt generator. 

Quick Generator Size Comparison

Really quick before we get into the specifics about the capabilities of an 1,000 watt generator, here are similar articles that you may also want to read about various size generators, so that you can compare.

So you can get an idea of the price ranges for a 1,000-Watt generator, check the prices of this TogoPower 1,000-Watt Generator and a Honda 1,000-Watt Generator.

You might also want to consider a backup Solar generator. Here is my review of the best, the Titan “Titan Solar Generator – My Review!” And you can get even more information and purchase a Titan here: Titan Solar Generator.

What’s the Purpose of a 1,000 Watt Generator?

A 1,000 watt generator has several purposes.

  • Emergencies
  • Recreation
  • Camping
  • Off-grid living

Emergency Use

 One of the primary purposes of a 1,000 Watt generator is to keep it on hand for emergency backup use. Since these generators are small and don’t take up a lot of space, they’re great for an occasional emergency when you just need to get by for a little while.

For example, if the power will be out for a day or two and you want to provide your family with a few comforts, such as lights in the evening and coffee for breakfast, then a 1,000 watt generator is a great idea.  

Recreational Use

Some people use their small generators for recreational use. For example, maybe they want to power a flat-screen tv in their backyard for a SuperBowl party or set up some lights out in the field for a late-night bonfire. This is also a great way to use your small generator.


You could also take a 1,000 watt generator camping to run your camp fridge and some lights. Their small size makes them portable to take along.

However, suppose you take your small generator camping. In that case, you might want to use it to power up a battery bank and run your fridge off the battery overnight so the generator noise does not disturb the people around you

Off-Grid Living

If you are very resourceful, a 1,000 watt generator might be enough to cover some basic needs for off-grid living, as well.  Off-grid, you might cook over fire but just want a few lights in the evening to read, or perhaps you want to charge up a small battery bank from time to time. 

As you can see, even 1,000 watt generators can serve a variety of needs. To figure out what works for you, you’ll need to know the difference between starting watts and running watts. 

What is the Difference Between Starting Watts and Running Watts on a 1,000 Watt Generator? 

First, you need to understand what a watt is. A watt is simply a measurement of power. For example, a 75 watt light bulb requires 75 watts to light up.

You’ll find this information on the box of the appliance you own, in the owner’s manual, and probably somewhere on the appliance itself. Now that you know what a watt is, you need to understand the difference between starting watts and running watts.

Running Power or Continuous Power

All generators have two power ratings. The first is the running power or continuous power. Continuous power is the amount of power that your generator can provide continuously. In this case, your running power should be 1,000 watts. 

Starting Power or Surge Power

The other rating is the surge power or starting power. Starting power is a higher output of watts typically used for a few seconds to start motors. You’ll find this information on the box of the generator you are purchasing and in the owner’s manual. 

Some motors will require anywhere from two to five times extra power to get started, so you need to make sure that the generator can handle the startup surge of your motor or appliance without being overloaded. 

How Do You Know If You’re Generator Has Enough Watts?

If you want to make sure that your generator can easily handle the load, it’s a good idea not to run it continuously at more than 90% capacity.

If you want to run several items at once on a 1000 watt generator, make sure the sum of the watts of those items doesn’t add up to more than about 900 watts.

Here are some examples of watts required by basic household equipment: 

ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts 
Light Bulbs75 watts (available in various amounts)N/A
AF/FM Radio100 Watts 
Laptop250 to 500 wattsN/A
Desktop600 to 800 wattsN/A
Small Coffee Maker600 wattsN/A
20-inch flat-screen tv120 to 150 wattsN/A
Dishwasher500 to 600 watts  
Slow Cooker170 to 300 watts 
Refrigerator1200 Watts (depending)1200 Watts
Oven2000 Watts2000 Watts 
Hot Water Heater3000 Watts3000 Watts
Small Window Air Conditioner1500 Watts2200 Watts
Sump Pump 1/3 Horsepower800 Watts1300 Watts
Water Well Pump1000 Watts2000 Watts
Cordless Drill25 to 100 WattsN/A
Corded Drill800 to 1200 WattsN/A
Camping Fridge100 WattsN/A

As you can see from the chart, a 1,000-watt generator can run several small appliances. However, it won’t have enough power to run an average refrigerator or air conditioner unit. Remember, any device with a motor will require extra startup watts. 

If you want to power an 800-watt sump pump with your 1,000 watt generator, you’ll be able to do so if the starting watts of the sump pump doesn’t overload the generator’s surge watts.  

If you want to power an appliance with higher starting watts than your generator can supply, you’ll need a more powerful generator. This is true even if the running watts are enough to meet the appliance’s power needs. 

How to Manage the Power Usage of Your 1,000 Watt Generator

You can run multiple appliances on a 1,000-watt generator, provided they add up to less than 1,000 watts. You could efficiently run a 75 watt light bulb, 100-watt radio, and a 250-watt laptop at the same time because that would be a total of 425 watts.

However, you wouldn’t be able to run your 600-watt coffee maker and 600-watt dishwasher at the same time because that would be 1,200 watts, which is more than a 1,000-watt generator can supply. If you wanted to use both appliances, you would have to use one and then the other.  

Your 1,000-watt generator will run several small appliances, such as coffee makers and laptops, but probably cannot run all your small appliances simultaneously. Larger appliances will require larger generators. 

What Can’t a 1,000 Watt Generator Run? 

Your 1,000 watt generator can’t run anything that requires a continuous wattage of over 1,000 watts. For example, you won’t be able to run any of these appliances with your small generator: 

  • Large Refrigerator
  • Oven 
  • Home Air Conditioner 
  • Hot Water Heater 

Always follow safety precautions and don’t overload your small generator. 

Related Questions

What happens if I overload my 1,000 watt generator? 

If you overload your generator by using too much power at once, a few different things could happen. If you’re lucky, it simply won’t make any more power than it is able to, which will cause a ‘brown out’ of your appliances. Overloading the generator could damage sensitive electronics. The generator could shut off if it has a built-in circuit breaker or overheat and cause a fire. 

Is a 1,000 Watt Generator noisy?

A 1,000 watt generator can be noisy. They can generate upwards of 60 to 90 decibels of sound when running, so you may not want to run yours late at night. Angle your generator away from your campsite or home to make it seem quieter.  

How Much Does a 1,000 Watt Generator Cost?

You can purchase 1,000 Watt generators from big-box stores for as low as $150. 

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Hi! I’m David. For most of my life I have been interested in emergency preparedness. Over the many years things have changed a great deal. From freeze dried food, to LED lanterns, preparing for an emergency has never been easier. The continual research I have done over the years has become the basis for this website. Now it is one of the most trusted sources to learn about emergency preparedness.