The Rookie’s Guide to
Just scroll down the page to get all the info you need
on portable generators.
Find your perfect generator.
Find the item with the most Maximum Power (aka Starting Watts). Then add that number (2,300 W) to the Continuous Power (Running Watts) from all the other units (100 + 1,200 + 1,000). For this example, the total is 4,600 W. So you’ll need a generator with a Continuous Power rating of at least a 4.6 kW (4,600 W).
Note: only equipment with electric motors requires more power to start than run.
How is a
portable generator rated?
All portable generators have two power ratings:
Continuous Power (aka Running Watts) and
Maximum Power (aka Starting Watts).
Running Watts are what the generator can produce continuously while it’s running.
Starting Watts are what it can produce for a short time to help start
motorized electrical tools like drill machines, circular saws, nail guns, etc.
Starting Watts: 3,000
Running Watts: 1,000
Circular Saw (7 1/4 in.)
Starting Watts: 2,300
Running Watts: 1,400
Air Compressor (1 HP)
Starting Watts: 4,500
Running Watts: 1,600
Starting Watts: 2,400
Running Watts: 1,200
Quartz Halogen Work Light (1,000 W)
Starting Watts: 1,000
Running Watts: 1,000
What’s a Watt?
If you can’t find the wattage amount, don’t worry. All you need to know is the volts and amps of your product. To calculate the wattage, simply multiply volts X amps. So a circular saw that operates on 110 volts and consumes 20 amps needs 2,200 Watts to run and requires a generator with a Continuous Power rating of at least 2.2kW (2,200 Watts).
How to use it properly
Portable generators should ONLY be used OUTSIDE, never in enclosed areas. They should be used far away from windows, doors and vents. The exhaust from the equipment contains carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas that you cannot see or smell and can kill you in minutes.
For safe operation, follow the steps below.
Read your owner’s manual before using the generator.
Follow all instructions in the manual.
Read and follow all safety labels and instructions.
Read and follow all labels and instructions before using the generator.
Only use OUTSIDE in a well-ventilated area.
Make sure your portable generator is located outside in a well-ventilated area and is not in contact with any flammable structures. Only use it outside and far away from windows, doors and vents.
Clear any nearby debris.
Make sure the area is free of debris and is compliant with all local ordinances regarding placement near a building or residence.
Use properly grounded power cords.
Make sure all wires are properly grounded and insulated and that your connections are secured.
Turn off before you refuel or repair.
When it’s time to refuel your tank or repair your unit, you must turn off the unit and wait until it has cooled down prior to refueling or repairing it. Refueling or repairing the unit while it is running or hot is a fire hazard and may result in serious injury.