Part of preparing your home for an emergency is being ready for power outages.

Especially during cold weather, you don’t want to be caught unawares if rain, sleet, or snow knocks out power lines in your area. Aside from having flashlights and extra batteries, a generator can help you avoid inconveniences such as spoiled food, flooded basement, being unable to work.

Choosing the right generator size, however, is a common concern for homeowners. Is bigger or smaller better? What’s more cost-effective, buying a single generator or getting two or more to split the burden?

Read on for a simple generator sizing guide that can help you choose the best one for your power needs.

Understanding Sizes of Generators

Sizing for generators isn’t about physical dimensions. It’s based on how much power they generate or their electrical output. For residential use, your options range from 800 watts to over 500,000 watts. 

When buying a generator, you risk overloading it if it’s too small. An overloaded generator can self-destruct and also destroy your appliances.

Meanwhile, a generator that’s too large isn’t just expensive to buy. It will also cost more to run it.

An Easy Way to Calculate the Right Generator Size 

How many appliances do you plan to power? List them all and find out each one’s starting and running wattage. 

Starting wattage (SW) refers to what an appliance uses when you turn it on while running wattage (RW) is what it needs to keep operating. Check appliance labels for these numbers, or if you’ve lost them, there are wattage estimation guides online. 

Next, get the total wattage. That means adding up all starting wattages and running wattages. The resulting number with an allowance of 10 to 20% is the generator size your home needs.

Single vs. Multiple Generators

As long as you know your estimated total wattage, you have the option to buy a single generator or get 2 or 3 to share the electrical load. This is called paralleling.

Of course, a single generator will be less expensive, but in the long run, 2 or more units have a better lifespan. Since there’s a lower risk of overburdening each unit, you can expect them to function longer.

Bonus Generator Buying Guide Tips 

Choosing the right generator also depends on how often you experience power outages. If you have them frequently, your best options include a home standby, portable generators, or a large inverter.

For occasional power outages, a recreational inverter or a mid-sized one may be enough. Another thing that can help you decide is to read online reviews. For example, if you’re looking for a reliable portable solar generator, you should check out Titan solar generator reviews.

More Power to Your Home

Now that you have an idea about the best generator size for your home, are you ready to buy one (or more)? Before you place an order, try to review what we’ve discussed here about generator sizes.

If we’ve piqued your interest, check out our other posts! You might also enjoy our other sections, including tech, entertainment, travel, and money.