What Can A 3500 Watt Generator Run?

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Before investing in a model or to make the best use of your current one it can be helpful to know what a 3500 watt generator can run.

When it comes to individual devices, a good 3500 watt generator should be able to run an electric grill, 10k BTU window air conditioner, or bench grinder separately.

You can also use your machine to run multiple smaller appliances and tools together.

An example of a combination a 3500 watt generator should be able to run together is a refrigerator, 10k BTU window air conditioner, and coffee maker.

It is important to note that these are rough general estimations. Your device brands could have different power and specific THD level needs.

This article will also go over more general watt requirements and how to figure out what a 3500 watt generator should be able to run at once.

What electronics will a 3500 watt generator run individually?

Before going to the helpful table with things a 3500 watt generator can run individually below, you want to know a few details.

The first one is that different 3500 peak watt generators can still vary in terms of running watts and THD levels.

These things will influence what appliances, tools, and other stuff you can safely power.

For the table below, I will assume your 3500 watt generator is an inverter with at least 3000 running watts (although there are weaker models too).

The second detail is that while the table below is helpful, the device brands in your house or workshop could have slightly different watt needs.

Lastly, it is worth briefly noting that your 3500 watt generator will not be able to run all of these devices together at once.

If you want to safely run different appliances and tools together, you need to follow the steps in the next section of this article.

Appliance Or ToolRunning WattsAdditional
Starting Watts
Starting Watts
Coffee Maker600 Watts600 Watts
Incandescent Light Bulbs60 Watts60 Watts
Refrigerator800 Watts1400 Watts2200 Watts
800 Watt Microwave Oven1300 Watts1300 Watts
Electric Frying Pan1500 Watts1500 Watts
Electric Grill1650 Watts1650 Watts
Slow Cooker270 Watts270 Watts
Toaster1200 Watts1200 Watts
Blender400 Watts450 Watts850 Watts
Air Fryer1600 Watts1600 Watts
Pressure Cooker1200 Watts1200 Watts
Window Air Conditioner
(10,000 BTU)
1500 Watts700 Watts2200 Watts
11,000 BTU RV Air Conditioner1010 Watts590 Watts1600 Watts
Sump Pump (⅓ HP)800 Watts500 Watts1300 Watts
Flat Screen TV120 Watts120 Watts
Dishwasher220 Watts320 Watts540 Watts
RadioUp to 200 WattsUp to 200 Watts
Portable Fan40 Watts80 Watts120 Watts
Laptop250 Watts250 Watts
Printer600 Watts600 Watts
Garage Door Opener720 Watts720 Watts1440 Watts
Cell Phone Charger25 Watts25 Watts
Radiant Heater1300 Watts1300 Watts
Hair Dryer1800 Watts100 Watts1900 Watts
Vacuum Cleaner1400 Watts1400 Watts
Iron1200 Watts1200 Watts
Electric Drill600 Watts300 Watts900 Watts
Bench Grinder1400 Watts1100 Watts2500 Watts
Circular Saw1400 Watt900 Watts2300 Watts
Appliances and tools 3500 watt generators should be able to run

How much can a 3500 watt generator run at once?

3500 watt generators are not the strongest options out there but they are at the power level where you can run certain devices together.

To figure out how much you want to take the following steps:

  1. Write down all the appliances and tools you want to run with your 3500 watt generator.
  2. Find out how many starting and running watts all these devices need. You can get a rough idea with the table above but ideally, you want to check or even measure this for the brands you have.
  3. Add all the running watts together. If this is over the running watts of your 3500 watt generator, you already know you won’t be able to run these devices together (or need to get a stronger generator).

After these initial steps, there are two ways you can go to figure out what your 3500 watt generator will be able to handle.

The first step sequence is more accurate but also requires a bit more calculation effort:

  1. Rank all the electronics on your list from highest to lowest total starting watt requirements.
  2. Imagine that you turn on each device and calculate the total starting and running watt requirements in each step.
  3. If you go over what your 3500 watt generator can handle, you will have to power fewer appliances and tools at the same time.

You can also take an easier approach where you potentially leave some of the potential of your 3500 watt generator untapped:

  1. Add up the running watts of all the devices on your list.
  2. Add the highest amount of starting watts to this sum.
  3. If the result is more than 3500 watts, you will need a stronger generator or run fewer devices at the same time.

With these steps, you would get that a 3500 watt generator should be able to power a coffee maker, refrigerator, 1/3 HP sump pump, and laptop at once.

Keep in mind that combinations like this can require a certain startup order and that certain device brands require more power than usual.

Is a 3500 watt generator enough?

By now it should be clear that whether a 3500 watt generator is enough depends on the specific devices you want to run.

From a high-level view, 3500 watt generators will often be enough for reasonably sized RV and camper trips.

Additionally, these machines should offer enough power to run certain small to medium essentials like a refrigerator and a window air conditioner in case of a power outage.

On the flip side, 3500 watt generators tend to be lacking for bigger AC systems and running a good amount of medium appliances and tools at the same time.

FAQ about devices a 3500 watt generator can run

The table above is thorough but you may wonder about certain other devices or simply want to see certain appliances and tools discussed separately.

You can find some frequently asked questions about what 3500 watt generators can power below.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a home air conditioner?

While something like a smaller window air conditioner should work, a 3500 watt generator will often be too weak to run a “real” home air conditioning system.

Can a 3500 watt generator run a washing machine?

Washing machines will typically need less than 1500 watts to function.

In turn, a 3500 watt generator will generally be able to run one of these.

Will a 3500 watt generator run 2 refrigerators?

Refrigerators will often need around 2200 starting watts and 800 running watts after that or less.

In turn, you can say that a 3500 watt generator will generally be able to run 2 refrigerators.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a camper or RV?

Whether a 3500 watt generator will run a camper or RV depends more on your adapters and the devices inside of the RV.

That being said, 3500 watt generators often have a 30 amp outlet to make connecting easier and offer a nice amount of power.

In turn, a 3500 watt generator will be able to run a decent amount of small to medium devices inside of a camper or RV.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a well pump?

Since well pumps often require 240 volts, the average 3500 generator will often not be able to run a well pump. Even though it offers enough watts.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning there are 120 volt well pumps too. A 3500 watt generator should be able to run these.

Will a 3500 watt generator run an RV air conditioner?

Something like an 11,000 BTU RV air conditioner will often only need around 1600 watts to start and 1010 watts to keep going so a 3500 watt generator should be strong enough for this.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a house?

With the right adapters, a 3500 watt generator can run a few smaller appliances and tools like a coffee maker and refrigerator in your house.

On the other hand, there is still a limit to how many devices 3500 watt generators can run. Especially with the energy loss involved in getting the power inside and around.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a welder?

While size influences this a lot, many welders will need more than 3500 watts to get going.

In turn, generators with this many peak watts will often not be able to run a welder.

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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.