What Will A 1000 Watt Generator Run? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Power outages can throw a wrench in your plans and create a potentially dangerous environment at home. Generators can give any homeowner peace of mind when the power goes out to know that you can still run an important appliance. With that said, what will a 1,000-watt generator run?

A 1,000-watt generator will run lights, computers, refrigerators, and televisions. Small devices and appliances such as toasters run with a resistive load and require a low starting wattage. A 1,000-watt generator can run small window AC units, but it isn’t enough to run your main AC unit or even most microwaves.

Pay attention to the difference between running and starting wattage. It takes more power to start an appliance than run one, so a 1,000-watt generator may not always work for devices that are 900 watts or even lower. Follow along as we explore the appliances that a 1,000-watt generator will run.

What Will A 1,000-Watt Generator Run?

A 1,000-watt generator isn’t as powerful as modern generators come, but they are a lifesaver when the power goes out. They allow you to run certain important devices and appliances that can make your house more comfortable when the power goes out.


Blackouts can be dangerous because you’ll have a hard time seeing where you’re going. Thankfully, 1000-watt generators can power the lights in your home. You can even keep the lights on in several different rooms with a 1,000-watt generator in most cases.

Most lights require 100 watts or less to run, so a 1,000-watt generator can run lights without a problem. Some light fixtures may not work at first, so you can swap out the problematic bulb with a 60-watt bulb.


A 1,000-watt generator can run a laptop or desktop computer when the power goes out. Laptops generally only run at 450 watts, so a 1,000-watt generator can easily run one. Even desktop computers rarely run at more than 600-800 watts.


You can run small or medium-sized refrigerators with a 1,000-watt generator, but it isn’t enough to run most large refrigerators. However, many small refrigerator-freezer combos run on 800 watts or less.

It is important to check your refrigerator’s wattage before you try to run it with a 1,000-watt generator. Blackouts that only last for a few hours should not pose a threat to your food. Try not to open your refrigerator during a blackout until you turn on your refrigerator or your food may spoil.


TVs aren’t exactly essential appliances, but you will need them running if you’re hosting a viewing party or just want to avoid boredom in a blackout. A 1000-watt generator should be more than enough for a TV. Even a large television only needs around 300 watts at most in many cases, but you should check its wattage before you try to run it.


A 1000-watt generator can be a fantastic purchase, but even it has its limitations. As we noted earlier, you cannot use 1000-watt generators for many of your power tools, and some of your appliances remain off-limits too.

Another notable limitation of 1000 watt generators is that they don’t really offer the full 1,000 watts for you to use. Allow us to explain why.

Running Watts Vs. Startup Watts

Any appliance that you use runs with a unique electrical load that it requires to operate properly. Appliances generally require a different electrical load to run continually than it would to start up. Running watts are also known as rated watts, and it refers to how many watts a device require to stay on.

Starting watts refers to the watts that a device requires for the first few seconds after you start an appliance. It often takes more power to start an appliance than it does to keep it on while it runs. For example, an appliance may take 1,000 watts to run, but it may take 2,000 watts to start it.

A 1,000-watt generator has a running power of 1,000 watts, but it could take up to 2,000 watts to start it up. Appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters require power to start up for the first 3 seconds because they create a resistive load.

Harmonic Distortion

It is dangerous to push a 1,000-watt generator to the limit, and it can lead to harmonic distortion. Harmonic distortion occurs when a generator runs at 75% of its total capacity, and it can damage the appliances that you power.

Small devices like televisions are at a high risk of harmonic distortion. That’s why it’s important to find out the wattage before you try to run an appliance with your generator. It can even be dangerous to run a 1,000-watt generator past 50% of its capacity. Electricians recommend that you don’t exceed 500 watts between one or several devices when you run a 1,000-watt generator.

Even running your 1000 watt generator past 50 percent capacity is not recommended. That’s why the combined electrical load a 1,000-watt generator should carry must not exceed 500 watts.

Will a 1,000 Watt Generator Run an Air Conditioner?

You cannot run an air conditioner with a 1,000-watt generator. It takes a 14KW-20KW generator to run an air conditioner depending on the size and amperage of the unit. A 40-amp air conditioner requires at least a 17KW generator to run.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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