How Many Watts Does A TV Use On A Generator?

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A 20″ flat screen will typically use around 120 running watts on a generator whereas a 46″ flat screen will use around 190 running watts on a generator.

Besides some extent of energy loss getting the power from the generator to the device, a TV uses the same amount of watts as usual.

In turn, a relatively small inverter generator with only 500 running watts could be enough to run a TV.

That being said, you likely want a more powerful model so you can also run other appliances and tools if needed.

You also still want to keep the more general and small-electronics-specific safety guidelines like using clean low THD power in mind.

What size generator do you need to run a TV?

To run a TV you technically only need a 500-watt inverter generator.

The first step to figuring out what size generator you need to run a TV is looking at the watts devices in this category use.

Ideally, you would check the watt needs for your specific TV model but some rough general guidelines according to Honda are:

  • Flat screen (20″): 120 watts
  • Flat screen (46″): 190 watts
  • Tube types: 300 watts

If you would really only want to run a single TV, you would theoretically only need a 500 running watt inverter generator.

That being said, you likely also want to be able to run other things. Even if these are just TV-related things like the internet for streaming services and/or a game console.

In simpler words, it may be smart to go for an inverter generator with more than 1000 running watts to run a TV or even more depending on your other energy needs and TV size.

This and the next estimations also do not take any energy loss that can come from getting the power from the generator to the TV into account.

What size generator do you need for a refrigerator and TV?

To run a refrigerator and TV you want at least a 2500 peak watt generator.

The exact amounts of power you need to complete the entertainment of the TV (and avoid spoiled food), will depend on your appliances.

However, a medium to large refrigerator needs around 2200 peak watts and 800 running watts after starting up.

After adding a margin of safety you can see you need a 2500 peak watt generator for a refrigerator and TV.

What size generator do you need to run a TV and lights?

To run a TV and lights you need at least a 550 running watt generator size.

According to Honda, incandescent light bulbs will often use around 60 watts a piece but LED lights tend to use less energy.

In case you want to run a 46″ flat screen TV and six light bulbs you would need an inverter generator with at least 550 running watts.

To figure out what size generator you need to run a TV, lights, and more, you want to check out an appliance wattage sheet and/or the manuals of your specific devices.

Is it OK to run a TV off a generator?

Yes, it is OK to run a TV off an inverter generator if the machine is strong enough and you follow the typical safety guidelines.

These guidelines include running the machine far enough away from your house and yourself.

On the other hand, it is not always OK to run a TV off a regular generator.

With a machine like this, you need your own inverter or other way to get “clean” low THD power. Otherwise, you risk damaging your TV and other sensitive electronics.

Getting an inverter generator is the simplest way to be able to run your TV off a generator.

This method has the additional benefit of being relatively quiet.

Since generators can typically run a lot more than a TV, they should not have a problem with this appliance alone.

However, you need to check your generator power capacity to see whether it can run a TV in combination with your other appliances.

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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.