FAQ: What Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run?

Do you consider getting a 5500 watt generator but you are not sure what appliances you can run on it? Then you have landed on the right website as our Generatorist team will try to give you every piece of information you are looking for.

There are two main wattage output numbers characterizing the amount of power each portable generator can produce at one time.

The first, smaller number, refers to rated (running) watts – the amount of power your machine can produce over longer periods of time. The second, larger number, refers to the surge (or starting) watts – the maximum power your machine can produce over a short period of time.

By a 5500 watt generator we refer to a machine that is able to produce 5500 running watts. Its starting watts will vary depending on the brand and model of each generator, but based on our experience the range is somewhere between 6500 – 7000 surge watts.

In layman’s terms, a 5500 watt generator can run almost any essential household appliance, including:

  1. Small window AC unit
  2. Fridge with a freezer
  3. Microwave oven
  4. TV
  5. Sump pump
  6. Small heating system
  7. Computer
  8. VCR / DVD Player
  9. All smaller electric appliances
  10. A couple of power tools

To learn, whether you can run all these at the same time you need to know the power consumption of each appliance in your home. Also, you need to know whether your generator has the correct number and type of outlets as some higher wattage appliances such as AC units may need different outlets than some low-wattage appliances.

Just don’t expect to run your whole house on this machine simultaneously as this will require a lot more power than any 5500 generator can provide. If you need an energy backup for your whole house without any limitations, you may consider getting a stand-by unit instead of a portable one.

Usually, these are much more expensive and need to be installed by a professional electrician.

Determining your

wattage requirements
If you want to learn what electronic appliances will a 5500 generator run, you need to get ready to do some math. Don’t worry, it will be a very simple process of adding up several numbers. To determine what appliances you can run on this type of generator at the same time, you need to follow these steps:
  1. List all electronic appliances in your home you want to keep running in the case you are out of power (here is a great list full of appliances you might use)
  2. Write information from their name tags on required running and starting watts into a table (see examples below)
  3. Then you need to add up all the running watts required to operate your appliances
  4. The next step is to find the item with the highest additional starting watts
  5. Then add this number to your total running watts
  6. The final number represent the amount of starting watts your generator needs to provide
Here is a good example of calculating wattage needs for a generator. We have decided that in case of a weather-caused blackout, we would need only essentials such as refrigerator with a freezer so our food will be safe, a lamp that will serve as an emergency light source, a small window AC unit to keep the temperature under control, a toaster, and a laptop.
Selected Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Starting Watts
Toaster 850 W 0 W
Refrigerator / Freezer 700 W 2,200 W
Laptop 300 W 0 W
Lamp (2 Lightbulbs) 150 W 0 W
Window AC (10,000 BTU) 1,200 W 3,600 W
TOTAL 3,200 W
6,800 W

As you can see in our example above, if we add up all running watts of our appliances we get the number 3,200 – so we are well within the 5500 running watts limit (850 + 700 + 300 + 150 + 1,200 = 3,200).

However, we would need a generator that is capable of producing at least 6,800 surge (starting) watts to power all these appliances (3,200 + 3,600 = 6,800).

Just keep in mind that some electric appliances in your home may not have running watts provided on their data tags. If this is the case, you can estimate the running watts required thanks to the following formula:

Watts (W or kW) = Volts (V) x Amps (A)
Amps (A) = Watts (W or kW) / Volts (V)

So, as long as you have required Volts and Amps, you can easily convert them into an estimate of required running watts. Maybe you remember that this equation represents the Ohm’s law from High School physics.

Luckily, there is a device called “appliance load tester” that you can get to determine how many watts each your appliance takes. You can easily get one from Amazon and avoid all that physic´s equation.

If you need general estimates of wattage consumption for the most common electronic appliances, then take a look at our tables below. Just take these numbers as rough estimates. You need to check each appliance / power tool in your home individually to see the precise wattage requirements.

How much can a 5500 watt generator run? Check out the wattage of the most popular appliances below to discover answer to that question.

Household Appliances

Estimated wattage
Kitchen Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Toaster 850 W 0 W
Microwave 1,000 W 0 W
Refrigerator / Freezer 700 W 2,200 W
Coffee Maker 1,000 W 0 W
Electric Stove (8" Element) 2,100 W 0 W
Deep Freezer 500 W 1,500 W
Electric Can Opener 170 W 0 W
Dishwasher 1,500 W 1,500 W
Food Processor 400 W 0 W
Essential Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Electric Water Heater 4,000 W 0 W
Well Water Pump (1/2 HP) 1,000 W 2,100 W
Window AC (10,000 BTU) 1,200 W 3,600 W
Window AC (12,000 BTU) 3,250 W 9,750 W
Central AC (10,000 BTU) 1,500 W 4,500 W
Central AC (24,000 BTU) 3,800 W 11,400 W
Sump Pump (1/3 HP) 800 W 1,300 W
Sump Pump (1/2 HP) 1,050 W 2,150 W
Furnace Fan Blower (1/3 HP) 700 W 1,400 W
Furnace Fan Blower (1/2 HP) 800 W 2,350 W
Garage Door Opener (1/2 HP) 875 W 2,350 W
Common Light Bulb 75 W 0 W
Space Heater 1,800 W 0 W
Laundry Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Washing Machine 1,150 W 2,250 W
Clothes Dryer (Electric) 5,400 W 6,750 W
Iron 1,200 W 0 W
Hair Dryer 1,250 W 0 W
Entertainment Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Laptop 300 W 0 W
Television 500 W 0 W
Stereo 450 W 0 W
VCR / DVD Player 100 W 0 W
Video Game System 40 W 0 W
Other Appliances Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Clock Radio 50 - 200 W 0 W

Printable Chart

power tools & machines

Estimated wattage
Power tools Rated (Running) Watts Additional Surge Watts
Radial Arm Saw 2,000 W 2,000 W
Circular Saw (7.25") 1,400 W 4,200 W
Air Compressor (1/4 HP) 975 W 1,600 W
Air Compressor (1 HP) 1,600 W 4,500 W
Miter Saw (10") 1,800 W 1,800 W
Reciprocating Saw 960 W 0 W
Electric Drill 600 W 900 W
Belt Sander 1,200 W 2,400 W
Bench Grinder 1,400 W 2,500 W

Printable Chart

Printable Chart

Looking for a 5500 watt generator?

5500 Generator FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Because we got a lot of questions over the time with regards to 5500 watt generators, we have decided to add this FAQ section where you can look for helpful information.

If you have questions that are not answered here, feel free to contact us or leave your question in the comments section available at the end of this article.

In general, this type of machine can run almost any essential household appliance, including:

  1. Small window AC unit
  2. Fridge with a freezer
  3. Microwave oven
  4. TV
  5. Sump pump
  6. Small heating system
  7. Computer
  8. VCR / DVD Player
  9. All smaller electric appliances
  10. A couple of power tools

To learn, whether you can run all these at the same time you need to know the power consumption of each appliance in your home. Also, you need to know whether your generator has the correct number and type of outlets as some higher wattage appliances such as AC units may need different outlets than other low-wattage appliances.

Just, don’t expect to run your whole house on this machine simultaneously as this will require a lot more power than a 5500 generator can produce. I have provided tables with rough estimates for individual electric appliances in this article.

If you need to provide an energy backup for your whole house without any limitations, you may consider getting a stand-by unit instead of portable one.

Usually, these are much more expensive and need to be installed by a professional electrician.

In general, a 5500 running watts generator should provide enough power to run a small well pump. Sadly, answering this question is really hard without knowing the exact running and starting watts required by your water pump.

I have found rough estimates for different types of pumps:

  • 1/3 Horse Power – It takes 750 running watts and 1500 starting watts.
  • 1/2 Horse Power – It takes 1000 running watts and 2100 starting watts.
  • 3/4 Horse Power – It takes 1500 running watts and 3000 starting watts.
  • 1 Horse Power – It takes 2000 running watts and 4000 starting watts.
  • 1 & 1/2 Horse Power – It takes 2500 running watts and 5000 starting watts.

As you can see in the estimates above, the issue is not running watts but starting watts. To get the precise numbers, you will need to find the voltage (120 or 240) and horsepower information on the info-plate of your pump.

Then, all it takes to learn required wattage is to apply this equation:

Watts (W or kW) = Volts (V) x Amps (A)

Although theoretically, you could run a very small central AC (that is modern and power efficient) with a 5500 running watts generator, we would rather go for an emergency window AC unit as 5500 generators may have too little starting power.

However, the answer to this questions really depends on the number of running and starting watts your AC unit requires.

Obviously, these numbers vary from one unit to another and are based on cooling ability of individual models and brands. That is why you need to look for this data at the name tag of your central AC:

  1. LRA (Locked Rotor Amps) – This number represents the current you can expect under starting conditions when you apply full voltage.
  2. RLA (Rated Load Amps) – This number represents the maximum current a compressor should draw under any operating conditions.
  3. FLA (Full Load Amps) – This number represents the same as the Rated Load Amps.

Just note that you need to take into consideration the amps for both the compressor and the fan unit. To determine, if your 5500 generator can run a central AC, please consult the manufacturer or a professional electrician.

Keep in mind that a typical central air unit runs on a 208/240 volts and is often permanently mounted and hardwired into the electrical system of your house. That is why to safely run this electric appliance you need to connect your generator through a transfer switch.

Actually, you should always connect your generator through a transfer switch if you don’t want to damage your appliances or endanger people who may be working on electric lines in your neighborhood.

In general, a 5500 watt gasoline generator has a 4-stroke engine. If this is the case, you will need to use either SAE 30 (if you live in a hotter climate) or a SAE 10W-30 if you are going to use it in a colder climate.

However, there are many things you need to consider while choosing the oil for your machine:

  • Whether you got a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke engine
  • Starting and operating temperatures
  • Type of fuel your machine runs on
  • Certifications and classifications of the oil
  • Reputation of the brand and company behind the oil

If you need to learn more information on how to choose the best oil for your generator, then consult our guide that is available right here. We provide you also with a list of best brands in various categories of oil.

In general, a 5500 watt generator provides approximately 45 amps, in case of 120 volts or 23 amps in case of 240 volts. To learn more, you should check out the owner´s manual to the machine you want to buy.

Actually, identifying how many amps there are in a 5500 running watt generator is a very simple process. All you have to do is to apply the following formula:

Amps (A) = Watts (W or kW) / Volts (V)

You need to divide the wattage by the voltage. So, in this case you need to divide 5500 by 120 or 240 to get the correct numbers.

Although this question doesn’t have an universal answer as each generator has unique fuel consumption and capacity of the fuel tank, based on our database an average 5500 generator runs for approximately 11 hours on a 50% load.

This number is a median that we got after looking at the run time of over 30 generators that provide 5500 running watts.

There is not a single correct answer to this question. Actually, there are several features of your 5500 generator you need to consider while choosing your transfer switch.

We will be doing a guide on choosing the best transfer switches soon but in the meantime, consider this guide from Electric Generators Direct.

Looking at the whole spectrum of generators providing 5500 running watts, we have selected three budget-friendly options:

  1. Ryobi RY905500
  2. Predator 5500/6500
  3. PowerMate CX5500

Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for. These are affordable machines but lack some of our preferred features.

Our advice is to choose a machine that is powerful but still quiet. Ideally, go for an inverter such as Yamaha EF6300iSDE or a Honda EU7000iS.

Based on our database of 5500 running watts generators, there is not a single machine that would be “RV ready” as none has an 30 amp or 50 amp RV outlet built into the panel.

Luckily, you can get a necessary set of adapters (also called dogbones) to easily connect to any machine on this list through either a 20 or a 30 amp outlets.

So pick a generator that fits your needs the most and don’t forget to get the correct RV adapter.

Finding a reliable information on the “noisiness” of generators is a tough job to do. However, based on our findings, we can list the following machines as “quietest”:

  1. Honda EU7000iS
  2. Yamaha EF6300iSDE
  3. Honda EM6500S
  4. Wanco WI6000

In general, if you want a portable generator that is powerful but also quiet at the same time, then go for an inverter. Sadly, these machines are much more expensive than regular generators.

If you are looking for a 5500 running watts generator that offers the most comfortable electric start, then we can recommend you the following machines:

Both Honda and Yamaha are well known brands in the industry. They produce high quality machines that have one big downside, they are very expensive. That is why we have listed WEN generator as an option for those on a tight budget.

While going over our database of 5500 running watts generators, we have identified only one generator that runs on diesel. It is the DuroStar DS7000Q.

It’s a well made generator that offers a remote electric start. Sadly, it’s quite heavy with its 305 pounds (138.34 kg) dry weight. However, if you are looking for a diesel powered 5500 option, then DuroStar DS7000Q is a good choice.

We have found only one 5500 generator that runs on propane. It’s PowerMate PM0135500. Sadly, it has already been discontinued.

If you still need a propane powered generator, you would need to either increase or decrease the running watts category:

If you don’t insist on the propane, then our recommendation would be the Winco HPS6000HE/I. It is a Dual Fuel 5500 generator that runs on both gasoline as well as natural gas.

If you are looking for the best inverter generator that provides 5500 running watts, then go for either the Honda EU7000iS or the Yamaha EF6300iSDE. Just keep in mind that inverter generators are on the expensive side.

Getting a generator for a construction site? Then look for these features:

  • A lot of starting power
  • Covered outlets to avoid getting the dirt into them
  • Automatic voltage regulation or an inbuilt inverter for clean power
  • Quiet machine if you are working in a noise restricted area
  • Portability kit included
  • Steel fuel tank

Based on these criteria, we have identified the Westinghouse WGen5500 as the best 5500 generator for a construction site that won’t ruin your budget. It is quite affordable and has a sturdy design.

There are also more premium, quieter, high-quality machines that provide a little bit more starting watts such as Honda EU7000iS, but these don’t have covered outlets.

Are you looking for the best 5500 generator that has a plastic gas tank? There are not many options to choose from but definitely the best generator is YAMAHA EF6300ISDE.

recommended readings

About the author

Matthew

handyman, loves science

Hands behind everything you see around. Matthew is the ultimate handyman. He is the expert to all things related to generators. 

When he compares the machines, he uses his comprehensive research skills combined with attention to details. If you need to pick new generator, he is your man.

4 thoughts on “FAQ: What Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run?”

    1. Hey Jeffrey, I am glad you liked our FAQ article.

      We are going to expand our FAQ section soon, so stay tuned for more tips on portable generators.

      Matthew 😉

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