Call our Helpline:
Antipodes Power logo

Smart Power. Smart City.

what size generator do i need for household

What size generator for a house do I need?

So your power has gone out again, and you’re tired of being left in the dark. You’re ready to invest in a generator to keep your home up and running during an outage but you aren’t sure what size you need.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The last thing you want is to end up with a generator that’s too small to power essentials like your refrigerator, furnace, and medical equipment or so huge it can run your whole neighbourhood.

This guide will walk you through determining the right size generator for your home’s needs so you end up with a reliable backup power source whenever the lights go out.

Calculate Your Household Appliances Energy Needs

To choose the right size generator for your home, you’ll need to figure out how much power you actually need. The average house requires at least 5,000 to 10,000 watts to run essentials during an outage, but you’ll want to determine your specific needs.

First, make a list of what you want powered – things like lights, a refrigerator, medical equipment, and the furnace. Then, find the wattage of each device, usually printed on a label or in the owner’s manual. Add up all the wattage to determine your total power needs.

For example, you may have:

• 10 LED light bulbs at 10 watts each (100 watts total)

• 1 refrigerator at 1500 watts

• 1 furnace fan at 750 watts

• 2 medical devices at 300 watts each (600 watts total)

That’s a total of 2950 watts to keep basics running. Double it to 6000 watts for a generator that can handle surges and start-up loads.

A 5,000 to 7,500-watt generator should work well for a typical home. But if you have an electric stove, water heater or well pump, you’ll need at least 10,000 to 15,000 watts or more. The bigger the generator, the more fuel it will consume, so only get what you need.

Once you know how much power you need, you can choose a generator that will keep your home comfortable during an emergency. And don’t forget a transfer switch so that you can power essential circuits directly. Your generator will be ready to supply backup power whenever the need arises.


Choose Between a Portable or Standby Generator

A portable generator is a good option if you only need backup power occasionally or want flexibility in where you can use it. Portable models range from small ones that can power essential circuits to larger ones for your whole house. The downside is that you have to start it and run extension cords to appliances manually.

A standby generator is permanently installed outside your home and connects directly to your electrical system. It kicks on automatically when the power goes out, so you have an uninterrupted emergency backup for your entire house. Standby generators typically run on natural gas or propane since they need a constant fuel source. They do cost more upfront but provide the most convenience and coverage.

To determine the right size for your needs, estimate how many essential appliances and devices you want to power. Things like fridges, heaters or pumps, medical equipment, and so on. Then, check the wattage or amperage of each item and add them up. For example:

  • Refrigerator (1,200 watts)
  • Furnace fan (1,500 watts)
  • Sump pump (1,000 watts)
  • Freezer (1,000 watts)
  • Lights, small appliances, etc. (2,000 watts)

Total: 6,700 watts

So, in this case, you’d want at least a 7,000 to 8,000-watt portable generator or a similar-sized standby model to handle the critical loads. For powering most or all of a typical house, a range of 10,000 to 30,000 watts is common. The specific size within that depends on the size of your home and what you include in your backup power plan.

Think through your needs carefully, so you choose a generator that will keep your essentials up and running during an emergency. And for the greatest peace of mind, consider installing a standby generator for automatic backup power for your entire house.


Consider Important Generator Features

When choosing a generator for your home, some of the most important features to consider are:

  • Size: Get a generator that can handle the amount of power you need. The size is measured in watts or kilowatts. Think about running essential appliances like your refrigerator, some lights, a fan, and medical equipment if needed. For a typical household, a 5,000 to 10,000-watt unit should work well.
  • Fuel type: The two most common types are gasoline and diesel. Gasoline models are more portable and often cheaper, but diesel is more efficient and better for long-term emergency power. Propane generators are also popular since propane has an indefinite shelf life. Consider your needs and what fuel sources you have available.
  • Outlets: Choose a generator with enough outlets for your essential items, including a transfer switch to power hardwired appliances. Get a combination of 120V household outlets as well as RV-style outlets for powering heavy-duty devices.
  • Noise level: Pay attention to the decibel rating. Quieter inverter generators are better for residential areas but often cost more. For a balance of performance and cost, look for a generator around 60 to 70 decibels.
  • Additional features: Some useful extras include an electric start, wheels for portability, a fuel gauge to monitor your gasoline level, overload protection, and an hour meter to track runtime.
  • Price: Generator prices vary widely based on the power output and features. You can find good, reliable generators for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Buy the highest quality generator you can afford for the power you need.

By evaluating these key factors, you can choose a generator that will keep your most essential items powered during an emergency. Make sure to follow all safety precautions since portable generators can produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas. With the right generator and careful use, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can provide backup power for your home when needed.


Compare Generator Size, Brands and Models

When shopping for a generator, you’ll have to choose between different generator sizes, brands and models. The right generator for your home depends on how much power you need and your budget.

Size Matters

First, determine how much power you require. The generator’s wattage rating indicates how much power it produces. For a small home, a 3,000 to 8,000-watt portable generator can power critical circuits. A whole-house generator starts at 10,000 watts and can power all appliances during an outage.

Think about what you want to run, like the furnace, refrigerator, lights, TV or computer. Add up the wattages of essential items – you’ll want a generator with at least that amount of power. It’s also a good idea to get a generator with some extra wattage for future needs or short-term power spikes.


Look at highly-rated brands. Consider factors like engine type (gas, propane, diesel), noise level, fuel efficiency and warranty. A generator with an OHV engine and inverter technology will be more fuel-efficient and quieter. Look for a brand that offers service in your area.

Safety and Convenience

Look for safety features like low oil shut-off, overload protection and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). An electric start, hour meter, fuel gauge and wheels for portability are convenient extras. For home backup, look for an automatic transfer switch that can detect a power outage and switch on the generator.

By determining your needs, comparing brands and models and checking for key features, you’ll find a generator that will give you peace of mind in any power outage. The right size and type of generator for your home can make a stressful situation much more comfortable. With some planning, you’ll be prepared for the next time the lights go out.



You’ve now got all the information you need to choose a generator that will keep the essentials running when the power goes out. Don’t forget that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in this case. Buy a generator that’s sized for your actual needs, and you’ll save money, fuel, and frustration.

Nothing’s worse than a generator that’s too small or too loud. Do some quick measurements, determine what you really need to power, and choose a generator that will get the job done without breaking the bank.

With the right emergency power backup, you’ll be ready for whatever comes – storms, outages, or zombie apocalypse! Stay safe out there, and happy generator shopping.

Visit our shop page now to find the perfect generator for your power needs!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *