Power play
A crucial step in choosing a generator is ensuring that you get a model that will supply enough power for your home. Our calculator, which provides an average wattage rating for most common electricity-using household appliances and devices, will help you tally your needs. Remember that when you've lost the power at your home, you probably will not run every appliance or device--generators are intended to temporarily provide for your basic needs during an emergency situation.

Note that the figure generated by the calculator includes 20 percent more watts than the actual total. This addition compensates for differing wattage ratings among appliances and device; it also accounts for the fact that the circuit breakers on a generator tend to shut off power before maximum load is reached, a move designed to protect the wiring.

Don't be surprised if the initial wattage total you get seems high. You might need to run the calculation two or even three times before you arrive at a figure that more accurately matches your essential requirements.


Household appliance Wattage
5,000
1,000
Clock radio 10
Coffeemaker 1,050
Clothes washer 425
Clothes dryer (electric) 3,400
Dishwasher 1,800
Dehumidifier 785
Electric blanket 80
120
150
750
500
Freezer (stand-alone) 600
Hair dryer 1,600
Heating 1,125
400
1500
1125
Clothes iron 1,400
100
25
Microwave oven 925
Personal computer
& Monitor 125
25
Stereo 250
Range (electric) 4,500
Refrigerator 725
Sump pump 600
65
110
250
340
Toaster 1,100
Toaster oven 1,225
VCR/DVD 25
Vacuum cleaner 1,225
Water heater (electric, 40-gallon) 5,000
Well pump (deep well) 700
Total Wattage: