what can a 6000 watt generator run

What Can a 6000 Watt Generator Run? Find Out Now

What Can a 6000 Watt Generator Run? A question that comes up every time people discuss generators. 

What Size of generator should I buy?

What can a 6000-watt generator run in a home? 

Can it power appliances on a worksite/camping/RVing? 

These questions get asked a lot than you can imagine. I assume it is rocket science for some, however, when you understand how to size your generator, only then can you decide if a 6000-watt generator will fit your needs. 


The answer depends on the following;

How many appliances you need to power – If you are interested in powering some basic electronic devices like a couple of lights, fridge/refrigerator, microwave, and even power-sucking systems like air conditioners, heaters, a larger unit is more suitable. 

Depending on what you want to power, a 6000-watt generator should be able to power an Air conditioner, Microwave, Dishwasher, Lights, and a couple of small electronic appliances. 

Generators have their limits, you can’t run all appliances without properly sizing your generator and the systems you are running. 

How do you do that? We will talk more about it in the following Paragraphs below; 


Understanding The Starting and Running Watts

Starting Watts – Also referred to as surge watts is the power required to start an electronic. Surge watts are high initial energy that kick-starts the motor in most cases of a larger electronic appliance. 

Running Watts – Referred to as continuous watts are required for an appliance to keep running after it has been turned on.

After understanding the basic concept of Starting and running watts, you will need a generator that can handle both (surge and continuous watts). 

We will explain further in the next section. 


How to Calculate Maximum Wattage of All Your Devices? 

To fully understand the size of the generator that you’ll need, you must first calculate the running and surge watts.  

List the Running watts and surge watts of each device; 

Appliance(s)Running (Continuous Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Refrigerator/Freezer 700 2200
Water heater 45000
Central Air conditioner 10,000 BTU1500 4500
Total 75106700

From the above estimates, you would notice that some devices like the larger systems need surge watts compared to light devices like laptops, smartphones, and television. 

Add the running watts on one side and starting watts on the other. From the table above the total running watts = 7510 Watts and the Starting Watt = 6700 Watts

As you can see the Running Watts of the appliances exceed that of the generator. In that case, you have to sacrifice a device, you can take turns charging the device but not all simultaneously.

What Will a 6000 Watt Generator Run In a Home? 

You can run many appliances with a 6000 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 as I’ve mentioned above. 

Will a 6000 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 6000 Watt Generator Run A Microwave? 

Simple answer a 6000 Watt Generator will run more than 5 microwaves at the same time.

The power needed to run a microwave is roughly 1000 running watt. 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, TVs, and ice maker. It can power the lights in your house as well. 

Will A 6000 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 6000 Watt Generator Run A Central Air Conditioning? 

A 6000 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. 

There are generators out there that require less than about 6000 watts to run central AC but I recommend you contact the manufacturers to be on the safe side. 

Will A 6000 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 6000 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. A 6000 watt generator will be able to run more than 4 refrigerators easily. 

Will A 6000 Watt Run A TV? 

Without a doubt! A 6000-watt generator will run any type of TV. A Television no matter how big would consume no more than 400 running watts and 500 starting watts. So there you have it, you can run more than 8 TVs on the generator with little trouble. 

Will a 6000 Watt Generator Run A Welder? 

To be very honest Welding consumes huge power. A 6000 watt generator to run the welding should be sufficient. 

Also, remember that you can’t run other appliances when you are using the generator. Do your homework by checking the starting and running watts to ensure you can safely run other devices. 

There is 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 welding job. 

Will A 6000 Watt Generator Run An Air Compressor? 

It all depends on the Air compressor’s horsepower. A ¼ would efficiently run on a 6000 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.  

Will a 6000 Watt generator Run My Rv?

Yes, a 6000 watt generator is good but it’s not affordable. You also have to deal with noise. If you are irked by the noise produced then you will need a quieter option in an Inverter. I believe most Rv users will opt for a quieter option that will power the basic systems they will need.

How long does a 6000 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 6000 watt generator run?

Work Appliance(s)Running (Continuous Watts)Additional Starting (Surge Watts)
Quartz Halogen Work Light300 300
Quartz Halocen Work l.iqht, 500 500
Quartz Halogen Work Light, 1000 1000
Airless Sprayer - 1/3 HP 600 1200
Reciorocatinq Saw 960 0
Electric Drill-3/8 ", 4 Amps 440 600
Electric Drill-1/2 ", 5.4 Amps 600 900
Hammer Drill 1000 3000
Circular Saw - 7 1/4 1400 2300
Miter Saw - 101800 1800
Planer/Jointer - 61800 1800
Table Saw/Radial Arm Saw 102000 2000
Belt Sander 1200 2400
Air Compressor - 1/4 HP 975 1600
Air Compressor 1 HP 1600 4500

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 however 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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