Generator Starting Watts Vs Running Watts

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Generator starting watts, also known as surge watts or peak watts, is the amount of power the generator can briefly produce.

Generator running watts, also known as continuous watts, is the consistent amount of power the generator can produce.

These extra peak watts are useful for starting up motor-driven appliances and tools like air conditioners, refrigerators, or sump pumps.

Once you get these devices going it requires less power to keep them going. Similar to pushing a car.

To find the starting watts and running watts of your generator and devices you need to check your user manual or measure the power requirements.

What does starting watts mean on a generator?

Starting watts on a generator means the size of the brief burst of power your generator can produce.

This option is there thanks to the ability of the generator engine to run at higher intensity for a short amount of time.

However, the generator is not built to keep up this load for extended amounts of time. The generator’s peak watt capacity is lower because of this.

How to find the starting wattage of devices?

To find the starting wattage of devices like a refrigerator you check the user manual, read the label on the device itself, or measure its power draw when starting up.

Additionally, your generator should be able to produce slightly more power so you have a margin of safety.

What does running watts mean on a generator?

Running watts on a generator means the amount of power the generator can consistently produce over time.

After you start your devices your generator will also need the capacity to keep running your home appliances and tools.

Generator and device running watts are also important for figuring out what size generator you need.

How to find the running wattage of devices?

To find the running wattage of devices you need to check your manual, read the device label, or measure the power draw while the appliance or tool is running.

Reserving a safety margin for generator running watts is smart to avoid overloading the generator, prepare for wear and tear, and be able to take care of unexpected power needs.

How do you calculate starting watts from running watts?

You can not calculate starting watts from running watts with one standard conversion rate. Not for generators and not for appliances or tools.

There are tendencies for ratios in starting vs running watts in generators and devices but ultimately different brands and designs can vary.

You want to check the wattage needs and capacities on a case-by-case basis since these are so important.

If you don’t do this, you could overload your generator or find out your refrigerator full of food will not be able to run after all.

What is the difference between starting watts and peak watts?

There is no difference between starting watts and peak watts. Peak watts are the same as starting watts. Their names are used interchangeably.

Peak watts and starting watts are both the brief burst of power generators can produce and certain appliances and tools need to get started.

For example, the quietest 2000 watt generators typically have both 2000 starting watts and 2000 peak watts.

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Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.