Portable generators are invaluable tools for providing power in various situations, from emergency outages to recreational outings. They come in different sizes, each suitable for different applications. In this post, we’ll explore the various sizes of portable generators, what they can power, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Small Generators (1,000-2,000 Watts)

Small portable generators are lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for camping trips, tailgating, and other outdoor activities. Despite their small size, these generators are quite capable:

  • What They Can Power: Ideal for powering small appliances like portable TVs, slow cookers, radios, and light bulbs.
  • Common Uses: Best for outdoor recreational activities or powering a few essentials during a power outage, such as charging cell phones and other small electronics.


Medium Generators (3,000-5,000 Watts)

Medium-sized generators offer a balance between portability and power, making them a popular choice for homeowners during power outages.

  • What They Can Power: These units can handle larger appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, space heaters, and sump pumps. They can also power several lights and a computer or two.
  • Common Uses: Ideal for home use during emergencies to keep essential household functions running smoothly. Also good for small businesses that need to maintain power during outages.


Large Generators (6,000-10,000 Watts)

For those needing to power multiple large appliances or even entire small homes, large portable generators are the way to go.

  • What They Can Power: Capable of running most home appliances, including central air conditioning systems (with soft-start installed), water heaters, and electric cooktops. They can also support power tools and large construction lights.
  • Common Uses: Suitable for use in larger homes or small to medium businesses. They are also ideal for use on construction sites and in heavy-duty applications.


Extra-Large Generators (10,000+ Watts)

Extra-large portable generators are robust and are typically used in more demanding situations.

  • What They Can Power: These generators can easily handle running multiple large appliances simultaneously, entire home systems, and extensive job site tools.
  • Common Uses: Perfect for large homes with high power demands, extensive outdoor events, or as a temporary power source for small to medium businesses during extended outages.

Choosing the Right Generator

When selecting a portable generator, consider the following:

  • Power Needs: Calculate the total wattage of all devices you plan to power simultaneously. Always choose a generator with a higher wattage than your total calculated need to avoid overloading.
  • Portability: If you need to move the generator regularly, look for models with built-in wheels and handles.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Consider how long each generator can run on a full tank of gas or another fuel type. Longer run times can be more convenient and cost-effective.


Portable generators are a versatile solution for power outages, recreational outings, and work sites. By understanding what each size can handle, you can make an informed decision about which generator best fits your power needs. Always operate generators in well-ventilated areas and ensure they are properly maintained for optimal performance and safety. Whether you’re preparing for emergency power needs or planning your next outdoor adventure, there’s a portable generator that’s right for you.