What Appliances Will A 4000-watt Generator Run?


Living off grid doesnʻt mean you have to go without lifeʻs modern conveniences. I’ve been doing this for years, and while I mainly rely on solar panels and natural light, I have a backup generator to power some must-have appliances, just in case.

A 4000 watt Generator can power almost all home appliances such as a refrigerator, washing machine, water pump, lights as well as traditional energy hogs such as an electric water heater or well pump.

But just because a 4000 watt generator can power these appliances, doesnʻt mean it can handle them all at the same time.  You canʻt run anything else when using an electric stove.

Want to know how to calculate wattage use? Keep reading to make sure you don’t burn out your generator.

List Of Appliances a 4000 Watt Generator Can Run

A 4000-watt generator is a powerhouse. To give you an idea of what sort of appliances it can run at once, I’ve listed the wattage of common household machines.

Keep in mind that these are running watts and not starting watts. I’ll get into that afterward so that you can make an accurate estimate of how many watts you’ll need.

Less than 100 watts:

  • Light blub
  • Cell phone charger
  • Laptop
  • Small LED TV (under 50 inches)
  • Ran Radio
  • Continuous running of the freezer

Less than 500 watts:

  • Large Screen LED TVs (50 -80 inch)
  • Water Pump
  • Desktop Computer
  • Rice Cooker
  • Blender
  • Continuous running of Refrigerator

Less than 1000 watts:

  • Printer
  • Toaster
  • Waffle Maker/Panini Press
  • Washing Machine
  • Vacuum
  • Refrigerator

Less than 2000 watts:

  • Small air conditioner
  • Printer
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Clothes Iron
  • Microwave

Less than 3000 watts:

  • Radial arm saw
  • Steam iron

Approximately 4000 watts:

  • Electric water heater
  • Well pump

How to Calculate Wattage

When calculating how many watts your appliances will use, it’s important to factor in starting watts.

Running watts – This number is often small and refers to how much power your appliances use over long periods.

Starting watts – The second number is often significantly larger than the running watts number and refers to the most power your machine will use in a short period.

What are My Wattage Requirements?

Before purchasing your 4000-watt generator, figure out how many appliances you’ll be running at once.

  1. List all the machines you want to run when you’re using your generator.
  2. Check the labels to see what the running and starting watts are for each appliance.
  3. Add all the running watts together.
  4. Take the highest starting watts number and add it to the sum of the running watts.

This will give you an idea of how many starting watts, or maximum output, your 4000-watt generator will use.

How Many Appliances Can I Plug In At The Same Time?

Still confused? We’ll run through this together.

You’ll likely want to run multiple appliances using your 4000-watt generator. Remember that you shouldn’t run numerous large appliances, but one bigger machine and several smaller electronics will be easily powered with a 4000-watt generator.

It’s simple to figure out how many appliances you can plug in at once. Simply add up their wattage, and if the number is under 4000, you should be good.

For example, if you’re using 3 60-watt light bulbs, 1 phone charger, 1 computer charger, a small fridge, and a small TV, the math would look something like this:

3(60) + 25 + 50 + 700 + 85 = 1040 running watts.

Then you’ll find the highest starting watts number. In this case, it would be the refrigerator. The starting watts are 2200 watts (once again, check your own appliance first).

So, 1040 + 2200 = 3240 watts. Your 4000-watt generator is the perfect size for your needs.

You can see that you can run many appliances at once without using all of your generator’s capacity. 

This is dependent on how many watts your own appliances consume. Make sure to check the packaging to be sure.

Be careful to leave a buffer. You never want to use all 4000 watts at once because you could permanently damage the generator with a miscalculation. The maximum amount you should use is 3800 watts to ensure your 4000-watt generator lasts for a while.

How Do I Find the Running Wattage?

Not all appliances provide their running watts. You can either estimate with an equation or purchase an appliance load tester from Amazon.

The equation is: 

Watts (W or kW) = Volts (V) x Amps (A)

Amps (A) = Watts (W or kW) / Volts (V)

Or you can avoid physics and purchase the tester.

What Appliances are too Big for a 4000 Watt Generator?

Although a 4000-watt generator will power most things, it’s not big enough for some energy-sucking appliances.

If you need to run these things on your generator, you’ll need to buy one with greater capacity.

  • Clothes dryer, over 5000 watts
  • Central air conditioners
  • Most electrical ranges

How Long Will A 4000 Watt Generator Last?

How long your 4000-watt generator will last depends on how often you use it. The lifespan of generators is calculated by hours of operation and not years.

Check your generator to see how many hours your generator advertises. Many generators have around 3000 hours of running time.

I only use my generator as a backup, so it’s not on constantly. I prefer using solar power and minimizing my energy consumption throughout the day.

I use my generator around ten hours a month, so it should last me almost ten years. If you use it more often, such as 3 hours a day, it’ll last for less than 3 years.

My Favorite Generator

I’ve been using generators for decades now, but it wasn’t until I started using Honda Generators that I found something that stood the test of time. I’ve now been using Honda Generators for over 20 years.

Here are some of the reasons I recommend you purchase a Honda EG4000 Generator:

  • Advanced inverter technology
    • This safety measure protects your technology devices, such as your computer, from power surges when connected to the generator.
  • Carbon Dioxide detection
    • There are always risks to running generators, but this one gives me peace of mind. This feature is great for home use, especially if you have kids or pets. An integrated detection system monitors CO2 output and shuts off the generator if it detects too much carbon dioxide saturation.
  • Fuel-Efficient
    • One fill-up is enough to run this small generator for a long time! Despite its small size, it can provide power for almost 20 hours continuously (for as long as you require it to run)
  • Quiet
    • While it’s not silent, it’s quieter than any other generator I’ve seen of this size.
  • Straight-forward use
    • Although this generator does not possess a remote start, it is easy to start by pulling or cranking.

You can purchase one here. https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/eg4000

Happy Homesteading!

Homesteadinhawaii.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

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.

Recent Content