What Can You Run On A 3500 Watt Generator?

If you are Looking for the best 3,500-watt generators, you are at the right place.

3500-watt generators are most popular in the class of portable generators. This Machine of 3,500 watts offers more possibilities of watt range than the 2,000-watt generator. It also comes with a bit more increase in noise and fuel consumption than the smaller generators.

It has more fuel consumption than a smaller generator but provides extra energy than a 2000 watt generator. A 3500 – watt generator is one of the best options for emergency backup electricity as it can supply energy to run several medium-sized household appliances simultaneously.

In this article, you will know what can you run on a 3500 watt generator.

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Is a 3,500-Watts Generator the Right Choice for Your Power needs?

The answer to this question is very easy and simple. It’s very useful to compare what you plan to power your things and what power a 3,500 watts generator can provide.

This article will discuss how much wattage your common appliances and tools need in daily use, with some highlighted examples and scenarios that will help you know/sense exactly what you can run on a 3,500-watt generator.

Most people think generators are only for the backup power for your home in case of power blackouts, but there are so many good things other than that.

Having a portable generator can allow you to keep the comforts of your home far beyond your home’s power outlets or to power up your tools and devices in your yard or on a work site or a small gathering or a camping trip.

You all know that generators are reliable; no matter where you go, you can get power from your generator.

In this informative article, we’ll discuss almost everything you need to know about generators. From choosing your portable generator that can cover and fulfill your power needs and portability requirements and how to set up and maintain your generator for optimal performance, we’ll get you covered.

Here are the buying guides for each generator type; you can find some here:

Understanding Generator Wattages

It is very important to recognize that there are two types of ratings on the generator. These two ratings involved: the surge wattage and the rated / continuous wattage.

The surge power rating is the number of watts that a generator can generate for you to put on a generator for a few seconds. This is also called starting watts. Usually, the surge power rating is important because motor-driven appliances like refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners use extra power to start up. Surge power also helps you to use generators outdoors for tools like lawnmowers, chainsaws, and table saws, etc.

The other is the running power Wattage, which is the amount of power your generator can put on itself continuously as long as the generator is out of fuel. This is also called running watts. After adding a load of any appliance after the initial load, it will be running on less wattage. It is the wattage that is noted on most of the appliances.

Tip: Never exceed the running wattage rating, or else your generator will overload.

Just keep in mind that the 3,500-watt rating on a generator may be the surge or the continuous wattage. You’ll need to do your homework for the surge and continuous wattage capacity of the generator you need.

Inverter Vs. Conventional 3,500-Watt Generators

All 3,500-watt generators use conventional open-frame motors. Until thankfully, inverter generator technology has come so far enough that there are now plenty of 3,500-watt inverter options available.

Inverter generators are more expensive than conventional. Still, these are more efficient and have low noise and less fuel consumption but can safely power your sensitive electronics like smartphone, computer, laptop, or television in addition to your standard home appliances.

Information: Inverter generators also can connect two in parallel with the parallel connectivity kit.

It means if you buy two 3,500 watt inverter generators, you can connect them and get 7,000 watts of power from both of them.

Tip: If you want to connect two inverter generators in parallel, you have to use a parallel kit and use both generators of the same model and make.

The inverter generators use the batteries to invert 12V DC to 120V AC.

When it comes to inverter generator vs. standard generator operation, the real difference comes with overall efficiency. Standard generators can work at constant and are reliable. These speeds are not adjustable, thus produced more noise and fuel consumption, and exhaust output while the Inverter generators set with speed on the power you needed. Not making too much noise and with less fuel consumption.

Example Scenarios

To illustrate what exactly you can run on a 3,500-watt generator in different scenarios, let’s take a look at some common places where they can work.

Power Outage at Home

The first thing most people worry about when they experience a power outage is how they’ll power their refrigerator and freezers, as food doesn’t stay fresh for long when it’s not being properly stored.

The 3,500 watts is good enough to power up your essential appliances in the blackouts. Many homeowners want to run a refrigerator, freezer, lights, and fans that can use up to 1,200 watts of energy.

If you are using it for your home, including the kitchen, you have plenty of power left. You can use and power up your microwave and an electric stove, and if still some are left, you can charge your phone or a laptop.

Keep in mind that just run all your available essentials on 3,500 watts, while in the summer or winter, you may need to run the air conditioner or the heating unit to keep your home temperature suitable. 

Central furnaces typically use less than 1,000 watts, and a normal window air conditioner uses 1,200 watts on running mode, but large air conditioning units can easily run over 2000 to 2400 watts.

In addition, if you want to run a good pump or sump pump. These have high starting power, over 2,000 watts each, so that you can run one or the other on a 3,500 watts generator.

If you want to run a pump and the air conditioner simultaneously on a 3,500-watt generator, you will exceed the surge power limit of the generator. A 3,500-watt generator is not enough for the use of both the pump and air conditioner.

So, a 3500-watt generator is perfect for home use if you only need to run small appliances and the important things. If you need to run an air conditioner pump, you need to do some calculations to figure out whether your 3,500-watt generator is enough for you.

For reference and the calculations, here are some appliances and estimated wattages:

  • Air Conditioner – 1,000 to 4,000 watts, depending on size
  • Coffee Maker – 800-1500 watts
  • Deep Fryer – 500 watts
  • Electric Fan – 200 watts
  • Fluorescent Light – As Stated
  • Hair Dryer – 300-1200 watts
  • Iron – 1200 watts
  • Light Bulb–standard – As Stated
  • Microwave Oven – 700 watts
  • Refrigerator (small) – 600 watts
  • Rice Cooker – 200 watts
  • Tape Deck / Recorder – 30 watts
  • Television – 300 watts
  • Dish Washer – 300 watts
  • Toaster – 1000-1600 watts
  • Vacuum Cleaner – 600-1500 watts
  • VCR – 50 watts
  • Video Games – 20 watts
  • Washing Machine – 500-1200 watts
  • Water Heater – 3000-4500 watts
  • Water Pump – 500-1000 watts
  • Laptop – 300 watts
  • Dryer – 3000 watts

Tips:  Incandescent vs. LED Bulb: Incandescent bulbs can use over 60 watts each; you can use LED bulbs instead to drop down energy as LED bulbs use 12 watts each.

Keep in mind that these are the estimated wattage. The wattage will be different for different models and sizes of the appliance. So, be careful when putting the load on your 3500-watt generator as the wattage of your home appliances.

Work Sites

Some of the work sites frequently use 3500-watt generators without dedicated power lines. These generators are more than powerful enough to handle most common power tools; examples are you can run a circular saw on just 1,400 watts with the starting power of 2,300 watts and an air compressor with just 1,200 watts.

A 3500 watts generator is not powerful enough with multiple people or tools working on the same worksite. Multiple people are working with different tools simultaneously. For example and reference, you will need more power to run an air compressor, two or three drills, and a nail gun while adding a saw with all of them; without a saw, you can run all of these tools at the same time.

So, the 3500-watt generator is best for work sites that only have three to four people working simultaneously.

For reference and the calculations, here are some appliances and estimated wattages:

  • Table saw – 1,400 watts
  • Portable air compressor – 1,500 watts
  • Electric drill – 600 watts
  • Chainsaw – 1,500 watts
  • Electric leaf blower – 1,000 watts

RV Trip

A 3500-watt generator is usually more than enough to power an RV trip. Many of the appliances you need to use in an RV are similar to those you need to run at your home during the power blackouts. Even these appliances in an RV trip are smaller and optimized to take less power.

For example, the air conditioner system on most RVs is small and uses just 1,200 watts after starting. It means you can use the freezer, air conditioner, and lights all at the same time. Some extra power remains to run small appliances like a coffee maker, microwave oven, or stove.

So, you need to balance the power within 3,500 watts. Remember that if you add more products to a generator, it will make more noise at the campsite. If you buy an inverter generator, it will be the best option to use at a campsite with low noise.


You can use a 3500-watt generator when tailgating, and it has plenty of power for your tailgate party. You can use television, lights, laptops, and a sound system; they all use around 1,200 watts. You can add a mini-fridge on the generator and get your drinks chilled instead of coolers.

If you want a bar-b-que in your tailgate party, you can also skip/swap the gas or charcoal grills with the best electric grill, and it will add around 1,200 to 2,000 watts.

You can do much with the extra left power of your 3500-watt generator, you can use extra power for charging your smartphones, or even you can bring a powerful fan or the disco lights at night parties. And you can add popcorn machines and electric nacho cheese machines to impress your friends and party members.

Is 3500-Watt Generator The Right Size For You?

3500 watts is a versatile and good amount of energy or power, and you can run all your essential appliances and tools for work.

It cannot power up all the things at the same time, but some basic appliances and tools would be good enough for the time being.

While if you plan for a tailgate party or a camping trip on an RV, a generator with a 3500 watts capacity is more than enough to empower your electricity needs.

In offices, homes, or worksites, you need to check the capacity you want to run on a 3500-watt generator. Make sure you’ll not exceed the surge power or the running power wattage.

Tip: Always add heavy surge wattage appliances and tools first on your generator, then the other small appliances. It will make sure you will not exceed the surge power limit of the generator.

Imagine you are running a washing machine, microwave oven, freezer or refrigerator, and want to turn on the central air conditioning unit. It will exceed the limit of your generator at the surge wattage. This scenario happens in all locations, worksites, RV trips, and in Tailgating.


What can you run on a 3500 watt generator

A 3500 – watt generator is one of the best options for emergency backup electricity as it can supply energy to run several medium-sized household appliances at the same time.

What appliances will a 3500 watt generator run?

The 3,500 watts is good enough to power up your essential appliances in the blackouts. Many homeowners want to run a refrigerator, freezer, lights, and fans that can use up to 1,200 watts of energy.

What can you run on a 3000w generator?

A 3,000 – watt generator can run a large range of home appliances, including heavy-duty things such as a refrigerator, an electric furnace, a microwave, and a television.

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