Determine the size of generator needed for your home by making a list of the appliances you wish to operate, determining the wattage for each appliance and totaling those numbers up. If the operation of electric stoves, dryers or central air and heat is needed, choose the bigger size generator.
Find the wattage and power requirements of each appliance on the faceplate or in the owner’s manual. Generators can operate several items at once, or just one item at a time. Determine if a long-term power outage is expected, or if it’s expected to be brief. Power outages of longer durations require a larger generator, which allows connectivity of more than one appliance, or can provide electricity to washers and refrigerators.
Generators come in various sizes and portability options. A small portable generator powers the basic home appliances, small stationary and midsized portable generators power more items, including a computer and more lights. As the sizes get bigger, the more they can power, and the more they cost. Stationary generators are always ready to turn on if needed and they stay in one spot. Typically, a stationary generator costs twice as much as their portable counterparts. Generators range in wattage from 3,000 watts to 15,000 watts.