What Can You Run on A 2000-Watt Generator?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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2,000-watt portable generators have become popular power supply resources, all thanks to their unique functionalities. They are convenient, compact, and can provide sufficient power for most electrical devices. The consumer market is nowadays packed with different generator brands, which offer a quieter, lighter, and more efficient user experience than other brands.

While a 2,000-watt generator seems somewhat small, particularly when compared to giants such as 10 watts brands, they are still perfect for basic power supply applications. In fact, the latter brands are often suited for large scale applications such as use in organizations and companies.

So, what, can you run on a 2000-watt generator? Well, there is no specific answer to this question because it relates to various factors. You will have to determine various factors before you can use the generator. These include the power rating of your devices and checking whether they meet the specific metrics of your chosen generator brand. Plus, most generator brands have specific insights into making the most of their products. 

The following guide goes in depth into some of the things to expect when you need a powerful generator for your needs.

Usually, it a rating that might refer to either the rated power or surge power. 

The rated power refers to the amount of energy the generator can produce continuously for your devices. The total wattage of any device and appliances you connect to the generator must be less than its power rating.

The surge power is a higher power rating, which the generator can produce for a few seconds. It’s a power rating level required to start devices such as fridges, lawn equipment, freezers, and more.

Remember that the total of the wattages you have connected to the generator plus the startup wattage of the motor must be less than the surge wattage level. A convenient approach to manage this issue is to connect motor-driven tools first. This way, you can address their power supply requirements before placing another load on your device.

Wattage Requirements of Common Appliances

The power supply requirements of specific devices vary significantly. Being aware of these requirements can help save your generator and devices from electrical damage. A good example would be that the difference between an EnergyStar-rated fridge and a traditional fridge can average in the hundreds of watts.

That said, here are the common power supply requirements for most generators:

  • Dishwasher – 250watts
  • Toaster – 700watts
  • Coffee maker – 750watts
  • Laptop – 150watts
  • Electric stove – 1400watts
  • Small AC unit – 1,100watts
  • Phone charger – 6 watts

Example Cases When Using a 2000-Watt Generator

To help you get a better perspective of what you can power using your 2,000-watt generator, its good to look at the conventional application methods. Using a generator is pretty straightforward, provided that you have the correct information. These use cases will help you adjust to specific settings in which you require to power your devices. They include

Outdoor Generator Uses

For instance, when you are outdoors cooking, and you need electricity to keep your yard lit, and power a few cooking supplies.

To light up the yard, you may need a few lamps or lanterns, especially if you play on going all through the night. If you have two lights that are 100 wats each, and a few string lights, then your setting might only use 250 watts.

You could also use the generator to charge your smartphone or perhaps a laptop. Together, these devices will need an average of 200 watts of power. 

Also, your kitchen will require more power, especially when you have large appliances such as microwaves and fridges. For instance, when you want to use a stovetop that uses 1,500 watts and a microwave that uses 600 watts, you will have to make a trade-off? Why, because the total average power consumption power of these devices surpasses that of the generator.

RV Trip Generator Needs

RVs provide you with ample space for large appliances, including air conditioners and freezers. Furthermore, a 2,000-watt generator might not be suitable for applications such as a luxury RV trip.

If you have massive power devices such as fridges in the RV, you probably want it running when the generator operates as well. On average, a refrigerator will consume 650 watts of power, and a surge power level of 1,000 watts when you first plug it in. 

You might think that a microwave or air conditioner might also run at the same time with your generator. However, you may have to unplug your fridge, because the devices mentioned will consume well over 2,800 watts of power. 

However, with your fridge or AC plugged in, you could charge your laptop, run some lights and even use your phone.

Power Outage When at Home

The inevitable. Whether it’s a storm or perhaps a breakage in a power supply line that caused it, power outages are unavoidable. Owning a convenient generator at such a point in time can be highly convenient for your needs. If you want to deal with a power outage, a 2,000-watt generator is ideal for running your primary electrical devices,

To start, you can keep the fridge and freezer running, such that your food never goes bad. You can also leave your lights on, but consider using a few lights to help conserve power.

However, if you want to use large appliances or microwaves, you are going to have to be more careful. At such point, you may have to turn off the fridge and use either the AC or the microwave first. The only time you can plug back the refrigerator to the power is when you are done using either of these devices. 

Alternatively, if you have the lights off, you can still operate some other crucial home tools. Usually, a sump pump will use about 1,200 watts of power, which your generator can accommodate with your fridge. 

Never expect to operate your resources as you would when there is a power outage. In fact, resources such as dryers and washers will require well over 2,000 watts of power. Furthermore, running several lights on such a small power supply unit, along with such tools, is not reasonable.

Generator Safety

A portable or permanently installed generator can be useful for addressing both your short- and long-term power supply needs. That said, if you fail to use these resources correctly, a lot can happen. Consult with a qualified user before investing in a proper generator for your needs. Also, before using the generator, ensure that you adhere to the specific instructions of the manufacturers.

If you are planning on using a permanent generator, consider getting a transfer switch. It will help stop energy from leaving the generator and travelling back to the electrical utility equipment. This can be dangerous to the users of the generator, and any power lines closeby, and its referred to as a “back feed.” Consider consulting with an electrician to help you with the installation process.

The following are some tips to help you use generators safely:

  • Use the generator outdoors in a space with optimal ventilation. Avoid using it indoors or in an area such as a garage. These are machines that produce carbon monoxide, which is harmful to your health
  • Never connect a generator into the wall to avoid any backfeed issues. Use the correct extension cord to connect the generator to the power outlet
  • Turn on the generator before connecting any devices to it. Once the generator is in operation, turn your lights and appliances on one at time. This way, you never overwork the generator, and you also get adequate time to correct the power rating.
  • Generators can pose electrical issues, primarily when used in delicate settings. Use a generator only when it's essential, and ensure you practice optimal safety. Also, protect the generator from damage by using it under an open and canopy-like space, where it's free from water.
  • Turn off the generator and let it cool before recharging it
  • Keep pets and children away from the generator. Some components might heat up, or it might even pose an electrical threat.

How Much Power Do I Need?

Power management is an excellent way to manage the efficiency of your generator. Using power management has benefits, such as being able to use small generators effectively. Power management is ideal because of one underlying factor: it is not required to operate all your devices simultaneously. Changing from one appliance to another will help reduce the amount of power necessary to run your devices. Consider the following:

  • What devices require the most energy?
  • Do you need to run it at the same time?
  • Never operate the generator and other tools at the same time? 


Being aware of the type of device you can power on your generator is essential. It helps you avoid damaging your generator or your electrical appliances. What can you run on a 2000-watt generator? Well, it all depends on your machine and your priorities. For instance, you won’t be able to run an AC and microwave together on such a unit. However, it is possible to use a set of yard lights and still power your fridge at the same time. 

You might have to do a tradeoff when it comes to powering large devices such as fridges. Just determine the power rating, and check whether it's compatible with your generator.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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