What Appliances Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run?


I did a lot of research when trying to choose a new generator to replace my old one.  I ended up purchasing a Honda 2200eu Generator because it was affordable, dependable, quiet and could power almost anything I asked of it, in moderation of course.

A 2000 watt generator is able to power just about every appliance in the house including small air conditioning unit, washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, hotplates, blow dryers, various power tools, water pumps and more.  Only limit is how much a 2000 watt generator can run at once.

Watts are a way that we measure electrical output. If a generator produces 2000 watts of power, it can only handle 2000 watts worth of appliances.   You can power one hundred 20 watt light bulbs and a 1500 watt air conditioner with a 2000 watt generator, but you cannot do it at the same time.

It can get a little confusing, so letʻs dive a little bit deeper into all of this.

What Can A 2000 Watt Generator Run

There is a rule of thumb when it comes to generators is that you only want to run them up to 90% capacity.  That means that we only want to utilize 1800 watts out of the 2000 watts the generator produces.  This keeps us from potentially damaging our generator.

With that in mind, hereʻs a list of common appliances that a 2000 watt generator can power.

Household Appliances (Energy Efficient)Starting WattsRunning Watts
Air Conditioner1800650
Heater01800
Refrigerator1200200
Dishwasher15001500
InstaPot01000
Washing Machine1900800
Water Pump, ½ hp2000900
Computer0300
Light Bulbs020
Hair Dryer20001250
Phone Charger010
Iron01200
Television0350
Coffee Maker01200
Toaster01200
Power Tools
Sawzall9600
Chop Saw16001800
Drill440600
Angle Grinder20001450
Compressor, 2 gal18001300
Shop Vac1800800
Sander12001200
Circular Saw14001950

What Can A 2000 Watt Generator NOT Run

The list on what a 2000 watt Generator CAN run was a long one.  Needless to say, a 2000 watt generator can power almost anything that you need it to, except for a few things.  But do not worry, there are ways to get around having to need any of the following energy hogs.

Household ApplianceStarting WattsRunning Watts
Electric Range03000
Electric Dryer20005400
Electric Water Heater04500
Table Saw45001800

You wonʻt see any of the above appliances in my off grid home.  Instead, we use propane for our oven/stove as well as to heat water through our battery operated on demand water heater.  If you have your own woodlot, you can use firewood.  As for drying clothes, we use cutting edge technology in the form of a solar powered clothesline.

My Honda EU2200i Generator can run everything I need it to.  Itʻs the perfect backup to my off grid home.

How Many Appliances Can I Plug In At The Same Time

The only drawback with a 2000 watt generator is how many appliances I can actually run at the same time. 

I use my generator mainly as a backup charger for my batteries when the solar panels donʻt cut it.  Because of this, I can run every appliance in my house at the same time because they are actually working off of the 3500 watt inverter I have installed with my solar power system.

If I were to run these same appliances straight through my generator, the story would be much different.

Suppose I plug in both my Washing Machine, which uses about 600 watts, and my Chop Saw, which uses 1800 watts, into the same generator I would blow a circuit.  That would be 2400 watts of power that Iʻm trying to run through a generator that only puts out 2000 watts of power.

This is something you should try to avoid.  Overworking your generator can lead to maintenance issues and a shortened lifespan.  Consider getting a larger generator if you are concerned that this might be a problem for you.

If you are looking for an exact number of appliances that can be plugged into a 2000 watt generator at the same time, Iʻm here to tell you it canʻt be done.

You can run one hundred 20 watt lightbulbs, or you might only be able to plug in a fridge and washing machine.  It all depends on how many watts a device uses.

The Difference Between Starting Watts and Running Watts

There is a very important issue I havenʻt quite covered yet and may dramatically affect how many appliances you can use with your 2000 watt generator.

Some appliances require higher wattage upon start up, then drop to a smaller load while running continuously.

The average home refrigerator uses about 100-200 watts while running continuously, but when a refrigerator kicks on, it can use as much as 700-1200 watts!  That is a huge difference.

It is important that the generator has enough wattage available to account for the increased watt demand for when the fridge starts up.  Even though a fridge runs at 100-200 watts, you need to save 700-1200 watts of space for start up.

In other words, use the starting watts instead of running watts to determine how many appliances your generator can handle.

My Favorite 2000 Watt Generator

I have been using a 2000 watt generator as back up to my solar power system and as my main power source to power up all my construction tools for the past 20 years.  By far my favorite is the Honda EU2200i.

You heard that right, the new Honda 2000 is now 2200 watts.  Itʻs nice having the little extra wiggle room.

I had a Honda 2000 for 15 years before I switched to a Honda EU2200i.  I used that generator all the time.  It probably had 1000ʻs of hours put on it over that time, rarely got maintained, left out in the rain and started up on the first yank of the pull cord everytime.  Until it didnʻt.

After 15 years of reliable startups, I decided it was time for a replacement.  I didnʻt go blindly into getting the Honda EU2200i, I did ask my friends what generator they were using and their thoughts on it.

The results were pretty overwhelming.  The majority of my off grid friends say the same thing, get the Honda EU2200i.  So thatʻs what I did.  Once again, Iʻm happy I did.

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Sean Jennings

Sean has been living simply Off-Grid in Hawai'i for over 18 years. He lives debt free on Hawai'i Island with his family and over 40 chickens. When he's not tinkering around the homestead, he's off exploring the shorelines for fish & surf.

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