what can a 5500 generator run

What Can a 5500 Watt Generator Run?

A 5500 Watt Generator is in between the mid-range generator and high-end generators in terms of power rating. 

It’s a sweet spot for an emergency generator. In terms of a blackout, you can get it up and running to power your whole house and the basic electronic appliances. 

Do not underestimate this generator as it can power many larger appliances like your water well pump, electric heater, refrigerator/freezer, and even smaller appliances like your smartphone, laptop, iron, Television, microwave, etc. 

While the 5500 Watt Generator has enough strength to power larger electronics, you can’t run all the appliances mentioned above all at once. 

You first have to understand some basic concepts about how to sizing your generator using the starting and running watts. 

Starting and Running Watts What Do They Mean? 

You need to understand the basic concept of sizing a generator before you go ahead to purchase one or run your appliances through. 

So here’s a layman way of describing starting watts and running watts. 

Starting Watt – This is also known as surge watts is a measure of power required to turn the motor an appliance. 

Running Watt – After an appliance is powered, the running watt is what ensures it remains running. 

Surge watts are higher than the continuous watt which why it is important that the power rating of generators is rated with running watts. Per experience, the starting watt is about 6200 to 6800 watt depending on the model.  

These two power ratings combine to help you decide what kind of generator you need to buy and how many electronics you should run. 

Below we’ve handpicked top generators under the 5500 Watt Category. 

Best 5500 Watt Generators – Our Top Selection In 2020 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

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. 

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 Technicians, the generator should not perform above 90% of its power rating. 

What Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run In a Home? 

You can run many appliances with a 5500-watt generator. It depends on the number of appliances you want to run at the same time. 

To be more specific, a generator can power Laptops, Smartphones, Electric Oven, Refrigerator/Freezer, Microwave, etc. Even larger electronics can be powered, provided the power rating does not exceed the starting and running watts. 

Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run A Space Heater? 

This is an estimated wattage requirement of a space heater. Check-in with the manuals 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, and still, have enough power for other smaller appliances easily.  

Will A 5500 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 and even plug in a microwave, Tv, and ice maker. It can power the lights in your house as well. 

Will A 5500 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 the running watt watts. For larger appliances like the sump pump, ensure you have a 240 V outlet on the generator. 

Will A 5500 Watt Generator Run A Central Air Conditioning? 

A 5500-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 are generators out there that require less than about 5500 watts to run central AC but I recommend you contact the manufacturers to be on the safe side. 

Will A 5500 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 5500 Watt Generator Run A Refrigerator/Freezer? 

A typical refrigerator/freezer requires a minimum of 1200 surge watts to kick start the motor before 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 freezers’ 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. A 55000-watt generator will be able to run three big refrigerators easily. 

Will A 5500 Watt Run A TV? 

Absolutely! A 5500-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 more than 3 TVs, microwave, Freezer, and other small gadgets all at once. 

Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run A Welder? 

Welding can consume ample power. A 5500 watt generator to run welding should be sufficient. Also, remember that you can’t run other appliances when you are using a 5500 generator for welding. 

There’s an article where we discussed the best generators for welding 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 5500 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. 

But 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.

From the above, you can see that if the Air compressor is less than one horse then it can run the generator. 4500 starting watts is enough but would likely make your generator perform at more than 90% of its capacity.  

Most Quiet 5500 Watt Generators? 

The table of the top 5500 watt generators is judged on the quality of 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.

Contact us via the contact page if you still have problems picking the perfect brand for your needs.

Will a 5500 Watt generator Run My Rv?

Yes, a 5500-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 produced then you will need a quieter option in an Inverter. Check our top inverter generator reviews.

How long does a 5500 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 5500 watt generator run?

A 55000 watt generator can power the following power tools

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. 

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.


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

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