What Can You Run On A 3,500 Watt Generator?

You can run an average-sized home with appliances such as a refrigerator, a television, a washing machine, microwaves, and other similar appliances. You can also run power tools such as water pumps on a 3,500 Watts generator.

A few years back, I moved up north and set up a small of-grid cottage. One of the most significant considerations was what generator would be best when my solar grid was inadequate. I settled on a 3500 Watt generator which is pretty sizable but not overly large. Since getting it, I have had smooth sailing, and I have found that it comes in handy, especially in the winter.

A 3,500 Watt generator is engineered to provide 14.4 Amps for 240V and 29.2 Amps for 120V. This, in essence, translates to a decent amount of power that will have your home or RV well-lit and multiple appliances running simultaneously.

Below is a breakdown of some appliances and power tools you can run on a 3,500 Watt generator.

Appliances and Tools you can power on a 3500 Watt Generator


With as large a generator as a 3500 Watts machine, you will have enough power to run a large generator of up to 650 Watts. There, however, is a catch. A refrigerator comes with two wattage requirements; starting wattage and running wattage.

Essentially, this appliance needs more power to start than it does to run. To start, it needs 2,000 Watts, and once it attains optimum temperatures, this reduces to a running wattage of 650 Watts. Either way, you can comfortably run a large refrigerator on this generator.


With such a generator, you will be able to run a 65-inch TV with ease. This size of TV mostly falls in the 160 to 180 Watts category.

Washing Machine

A washing machine runs on the same principle as a refrigerator. It comes with both starting and running wattage. An average 8 Kg washing machine has a surge wattage of 1,600 Watts and a running wattage of 800 Watts. Once it reaches optimum operation, it cuts consumption by half.

Dish Washer

This appliance only requires running wattage, and with the average dishwasher requiring up to 1,500 Watts, you will have no trouble running it on a 3,500 Watt generator.


Since microwaves have an average wattage requirement of 800 watts, you can run one on a 3,500 Watt generator with no trouble.

Water Pump

If you have a well at home from which you draw water from time to time, you can use a 3,500 Watt generator to run it. A small water pump for a well requires an average of 1,000 Watts.

Small AC Unit

If you are running a small window AC unit, you can stay well below the 1,500 Watt range, proving easy for the 3,500 Watt generator.

Other tools and appliances you can run on this generator include;

  • Pressure cooker
  • Ceiling fan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bench grinder
  • Hammer drill
  • Laptop
  • Espresso machine
  • Radiant heater
  • Steam iron

So, can you run all these appliances and tools on a 3,500 Watt generator at the same time?

No, you cannot. When a generator comes with a wattage of 3,500, it means that 3,500 watts is the maximum output. For this reason, it is crucial to determine which appliances to run at any given time to avoid overloading the generator.

For instance, running a refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, and water pump simultaneously is not recommended since their wattage requirements exceed what the generator can produce.

To determine whether or not a 3,500 Watt generator will be sufficient for your appliances and tools, you must map out your home’s power needs, including such items as light bulbs, instant showers, and other appliances you may not have accounted for. List them all down and write how much power they require, which will let you know whether this generator size will do.

As you are unlikely to have all appliances and tools running simultaneously, go ahead and determine those that require to be on most of the time; refrigerator, heater, fan, TV, and others. If their combined wattage requirements fall below the 3,500 Watts mark, the generator will be a good match for your home.

Below is a tabulated representation of major household appliance wattage requirements for a 3,500 Watt generator.

Appliance Running Watts Starting Watts
Refrigerator 650 2,000
AC Unit 1,200 0
TV 160 0
Light Bulbs (3) 210 0
Laptop 50 0
Total 2,270 2,000
4,270 Watts

From the calculation, it is clear that the overall requirements exceed the generator’s maximum output. However, if the fridge is turned on before the AC unit is, it can be allowed time to reach an optimal temperature to balance out the power needed. Once the said temperature is achieved, its overall consumption will go down by almost ¾, and the AC unit can then be powered up.

This way, you will not overload the 3,500 Watt generator and have a good number of appliances running throughout your home.


If you are looking to purchase a 3,500 Watt generator to run an average-sized home, the chances that it will be sufficient are very high. Most appliances and tools fall well below the 1,000 Watts mark, and those that exceed it do not require to be running most of the time. Be sure to do a comprehensive map of your home to see whether or not you will require a little more.


How long can a 3,500 Watts generator run on one gallon of gasoline?

Around 9 hours, and 10.5 hours when fueled by propane.

Are 3,500 Watt generators loud?

This is dependent on the manufacturer of the generator. Some are made quiet, while some can be a little noisy.

Can I run an air compressor on a 3,500 Watt generator?

Yes, you can, but seeing as most small air compressors require 3,000 to 4,500 Watts, you may not be able to power anything else while the compressor is on.

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