Buying A Generator? Learn How To Know Which Size To Purchase

If you're considering purchasing a generator to have as a backup power supply when severe storms or hurricanes knock out your power, you might wonder if any size will do. To save money and to make sure you'll have room to store the generator, you'll want to do a little calculating first. This guide explains how to decide which size generator to purchase.

Step 1: Make a List

Grab a notepad or use your smart phone to jot down the appliances that you'll want to use during a power outage. Generators come in all sizes and if you're planning on operating several appliances at once, you'll need a bigger unit. Some important items to have on this list include

  • refrigerator
  • television
  • lamps
  • electric stove
  • blow dryer
  • radio

If you live in a hurricane or blizzard zone, keep the fact that these storms can sometimes knock out electricity for days in mind. Additionally, if you are having work done on your home and new workers are installing new electrical wires, you may be without power for longer than an average power outage. If you fall into any of these situations, consider adding these items to your generator list:

  • washing machine
  • dryer
  • HVAC unit

Step 2: Add Up the Wattage

Go through the list of items you want the generator to operate and look at each one to find its power requirements and wattage. Write these numbers down.

Add up the wattage for all the appliances you think you might need during a power outage.

Step 3: Purchase Your Generator

Take these numbers to a professional, such as Phillips Electric, and ask the associate to help you pick out your generator. Your options include a portable generator that you can move to different areas around your home, and a stationary generator that will rest in one spot for the duration of ownership.

Stationary generators cost more than portable ones because they are normally larger in size and wattage capacity. Typically, generators range from 3,000 to 15,000 watts.


If you want to power your entire home, you'll need its square footage along with the wattage of the appliances to ensure that you're purchasing the correct unit. Hire a professional electrician to have this type of generator installed.

Choose your generator with care and with all the things that you'll need during a power outage in mind. Think about items that you can do without during these minor inconveniences to save some money and space. Remember that a smaller generator can do well if you plug in one appliance at a time.