What Can a 2000 Watt Generator Run?

What can a 2000 watt generator power?  There’s no one fitting answer to this question.

But let’s take a look at some arbitrary scenarios.  2,000 watts doesn’t sound like a lot but it can power a lot of household equipment like your freezer, fridge, Laptop, microwave, and some extras like smartphones, and Pc. 

Larger appliances like a Sump pump, electric heater, the Air conditioner would require a larger generator. Say the 10,000 watts or 8,500 watts would perform well.  It doesn’t mean these larger electronics can’t be powered by the 2000 watt generator.

But you’d have to sacrifice for example running your fridge, freezer, microwave, and other small gadgets to run say an Electric heater.  Remember the 2000 watt generator should be the running watt, not the starting (surge watts).

Ensure that the generator you purchase has a surge watt of 2200 to 3500 watt.  To this effect, we have curated the top 2000 watt generators currently on the market in 2020. 

Best 2000 – 3,500 Watts Generators – Our Top Picks 


Why It is Important to Know Starting and Running Watts 

Unless you want to purchase a generator that can’t power as much as a toaster and Tv, you don’t want to make the mistake of ignoring these terminologies. 

Starting Watts – Also known as surge watts is the amount of power required to power an appliance. Most appliances that need surge watt to power consume considerable power. Small gadgets at home mostly don’t require the starting watt. 

Running Watt – Also known as continuous watt is the amount of energy needed to safely run the appliance or generator as the case may be.  We’ve selected the top rated generators at the 2000 watt range to help you skip the hard work of sifting through the hundreds of reviews to find the best generator. 


In the FAQ section. We will answer a lot of questions that people often ask me via the contact form. And surprisingly, similar questions keep getting asked.

So I thought it better to make an FAQ section that outlines most of the already answered questions.  I hope you find it helpful. If unclear, please you can use the contact page to reach out.

I will be glad to help you the best I can. Another important note you should remember is when using the generator is to make sure the appliances you are running do not exceed the power rating of the generator (Starting and running watt). As recommended by professionals, the generator should not perform above 90% of its power rating. 

What Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run In a Home? 

The table below contains appliances can you can run and the starting and running watt needed to safely run. 

Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run A Space Heater? 

This is an estimated wattage requirement of a space heater. Check-in with the manual to get the actual wattage rating.  1800 running watts and 0 starting watts.  If you remember earlier I mentioned the starting or running watt not exceeding 90% of its power rating. It can run a space heater, but only a space heater. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run A Microwave? 

A typical example of the power needed to run a microwave is roughly 1000 running watts. It requires 0 surge watts to power the motor. In that case, you can safely run a microwave and get a pass to charge a laptop and smartphone. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run A Sump Pump? 

Sump pumps are categorized under the larger appliances that consume power. If it’s not important I advise you to avoid running the sump pump completely.  However, there are small sump pumps (1/3 horsepower) that require about 800 running watts and 1300 starting watts.

A ½ Horsepower needs 1050 running watts and 2100 starting watts.  The starting Watts as you can see requires considerable power. You must ensure the generator starting watts exceed 2100 watts. If you are yet to buy the generator, we have made a list of the best 2000 watt generators on the market. 

For larger appliances like the sump pump, ensure you have a 240 V outlet on the generator. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run A Central Air Conditioning? 

A 2000 watt generator is not efficient to run a standard central air conditioning unit. This is a result of the starting watts which a standard AC will require more than 90% power rating of the generator to run.

If you still ignore the warning, you risk breaking your generator or burning the AC motor completely. There generators out there that require less than 2000 watts to run central AC but I recommend you contact the manufacturers to be on the safe side. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Require A Transfer Switch? 

Make no mistake of directly connecting your generator to the main electrical system of your house. Larger appliances utilize 200 – 240 volts which could damage appliances or fry your electric lines. 

Use a transfer switch to connect your generator for safe use. A transfer switch is of paramount importance, it’s a matter of life and death if you don’t use it. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run A Refrigerator/Freezer? 

A typical refrigerator/freezer requires a minimum of 1200 surge watts to kick start the motor while it steps down to 200 running watts. This is on the condition your refrigerator does not fit in 10 sized adults inside (Pun intended).  Still, this is a rough estimate.

You can check your refrigerator or freezer’s power rating by reading the manuals or contacting the manufacturers.  Ensure your fridge is plugged into a stabilizer. This will help in mitigating the risk of damaging the high total harmonic distortion. 

Will A 2000 Watt Run A TV? 

Yes, a 2000 watt generator will run any type of TV. A Television no matter how large would consume no more than 400 running watts and 500 starting watts.

So there you have it, you can run three TVs on the generator with little trouble. 

Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run A Welder? 

It’s a bit tricky when it comes to using a 2000 watt generator to run a welding setup. In this case, you should contact your brand’s manufacturer. 

There’s an article where we discussed the best welder’s generator activities. The products mentioned in the article have been tested first hand by welders, a guarantee that you have the best generator for the job. 

Will A 2000 Watt Generator Run An Air Compressor? 

Well, it depends on the Air compressor’s horsepower. A ¼ would efficiently run on a 2000 running watts generator.

But if compressors are different and you must check the manual to know the running and start watt of the appliance.  You can expect a rough estimate of wattage from the following horsepower;  ½ horsepower – Requires 980 running watts and 1600 starting watts  1 horsepower – requires 1600 running watts and 4500 starting watts. 

Most Quiet 2000 Watt Generators? 

The table of the top 2000 watt generators is judged on quiet function, dual fuel options, running time, and efficiency. So if you looking for the quietest generators, you can’t go wrong with any from the list.

Will a 2000 Watt generator Run My Rv?

Yes, a 2000 watt generator is a good option and an affordable option for your RV. However, you have to deal with noise. If you are irked by the noise then you will need a quieter option in an Inverter. Read our top inverter generator reviews.

Inverter Generators run silently and are known to emit less carbon into the atmosphere. If the sound is not a problem then refer to our best 2000W generators.

How long does a 2000 Watt Generator Last? 

The life of your generator depends on how you manage it.

How well do you service it?

Does it have an enclosure to protect it against harsh weather? These are questions you need to ask yourself.

If you can manage your generator well enough, then you can use it for a decade.

What power tools will a 2000 watt generator run?

A 2000 watt generator can power the following power tools

How Many Amps Can A 2000 Watt Generator Handle?

A 2000 watt generator provides about 16 amps, in case of 120 volts or 8 amps in case of 240 volts

How To Determine Your Wattage Requirements 

Determining your wattage requirement is not rocket science. I know most people would love to skip this part but please don’t. It’s simple as adding your fingers together, well it’s not that easy but you get the point.  I will make this into a step by step list to ease you into the whole process of estimating how much watts you will need. 

  1. Make a list of all the appliances you want to run. You can check the list of wattage estimates below or check your manual. 
  2. Write down the starting and running watts into a table 
  3. Add the running watt required to run the electronics on one side and the starting watts on the other. 
  4. The total number of starting watts and running watts from each side will determine the size of the generator you should buy. 

Don’t be bent on buying a 2000 watt generator, your needs might surpass it. Even if you are looking for a generator during a blackout you shouldn’t panic. Here’s how to calculate the wattage requirement. If your requirements greatly exceed the generator, you can check other options in the range of 5500 watts or 10,000 watts depending on the appliances you want to run.  

Appliance(s)Running (Continuous Watts) Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Lamps (3 light-bulbs) 225 0 s
  Microwave 600 0
Central AC 12,000 BTU 3250 9750
Refrigerator/Freezer700 2200
  Laptop 300 0
Total Watts4375W11950 W

As you can see from the table above if you add the Running watts altogether is; 225W + 600 + 3250W + 700W + 300W = 4375W

Starting watts = 0 + 0 + 9750 + 2200 + 0 = 11950 W 

From the above Math, you can see the starting watt and running watt required to power your appliance is well beyond 2000W.

This doesn’t mean you can’t power some equipment at different times. It simply means you can’t run the electronics simultaneously.

In fact, for a large appliance like an AC, I seriously doubt a 2000W generator can power it even if you don’t connect other electronic appliances. 


Estimated Wattage

Kitchen Electronic applianceRunning (Contiguous Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Coffee Maker10000
Electric Can Opener1700
Deep Freezer5001500
Food Processor4000
Electric Stove (8" Element)21000

EntertainmentRunning (Rated Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Video Game System400
VCR/DVD player1000
Security System5000

Heating/Cooling Appliances Running (Rated Watts) Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Light Bulb 60 Watt600
Space heater18000
Furnace Fan Blower 1/2 HP8002350
Furnace Fan Blower 1/3 HP7001400
Window AC 10,000 BTU1200 3600
Window AC 12,000 BTU 32509750
Central AC 10,000 BTU15004500
Central AC 24,000 BTU380011400
Central AC 40,000 BTU 600018000
Heat Pump45004700
Well Water Pump 1/2 HP 1000 2100
Garage Door Opener (1/2 HP) 875 2350

Laundry Appliance(s)Running (Continuous Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Iron 12000
Curling Iron 1500 0
Washing Machine 1150 2250


Wattage Estimate

Tailgating/Camping ApliancesRunning (Surge Watts)Additional Starting (Surge watts)
Electric Grill 1650 0
AM/FM Radio 100 0
CD/DVD Player 100 0
Box Fan - 20" 200 0


Wattage Estimate

Office AppliancesRunning (Continuous Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Personal Computer w/17" Monitor 800 0
Fax Machine 65 0
Laser Printer 950 0
Inkjet Printer 80 0
Copy Machine 1600 0