What Appliances Will a 5000 Watt Generator Run?

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A 5,000 watt generator is handy for use during a power outage or on a camping trip.

A 5,000 watt generator provides electricity to appliances and tools in the event your home's electric is temporarily out of service or shut off. The devices contain a single engine, use gasoline, propane or diesel, and contain electrical outlets and a circuit breaker that protects the generator in the event of a power overload. A 5,000 watt generator is capable of powering several household appliances, but it is not designed to power appliances on a permanent basis.


Small Kitchen Appliances

A 5,000 watt generator is capable of running small kitchen appliances, such as a microwave, toaster oven and coffee maker, as long as the total amount of wattage being used does not exceed 5,000 watts. Each appliance contains a label stating the amount of wattage the device requires. If powering a small kitchen appliance with a 5,000 watt generator, turn on and use one appliance at a time to avoid overloading the generator and tripping its circuit breaker.

Large Kitchen Appliances

A 5,000 watt generator is capable of powering a clothes washer, a refrigerator and a freezer, but not all at the same. A typical refrigerator and freezer require 3,000 watts to power on and 1,000 watts to continue running; an average clothes washer requires 3,500 watts to power on and 1,000 watts to continue running.


A typical electric clothes dryer requires 5,750 watts to power on, so it will not work with a 5,000 watt generator.

Small Electrical Appliances

A 5,000 watt generator is capable of running a lamp, fan, radio, television, water pump, hair dryer, portable electric heater and electric blanket. The generator is able to power any small appliance with a wattage rating below 5,000 watts. Note that certain devices, including computers, may require a power inverter to provide an additional layer of protection from electrical overloads or if you are using an older generator that uses direct current (DC) instead of alternating current (AC).


Power Tools

A 5,000 watt generator is also capable of running power tools, including air compressors, circular saws, electric sprayers, grinders and power drills, with a wattage rating below 5,000 watts.

Electric Water Heater

A 5,000 watt generator generator is capable of running a electric water heater, but caution should be taken not to exceed the generator's total 5,000 wattage rating. A electric water heater needs 4,500 watts to start the appliance and 3,500 watts to continue powering the heater. If you exceed the generator's total wattage rating, the generator's circuit breaker will automatically shut off the generator and electric water heater.


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Nick Davis

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.