What Can a 1200-Watt Generator Run? – Discover The Limits

This article is all about answering your burning questions like “What Can a 1200-watt Generator Run? How many appliances can I run simultaneously and will it be enough for my household or camper?

A 1200-watt generator is ideal for running the essentials of a campsite or small campers including the lights, small fans, charging devices, small stoves, small space heaters, blenders, laptops, slow cookers, etc.

What Can a 1200-Watt Generator Run

Understanding the Wattages of a Generator

Every generator comes with two wattage ratings one is starting and the other is running.

Starting/Peak Watts: Number of wattages a generator could draw for a short time to power up motorized appliances. Starting wattage will always be higher compared to running wattages.

Running/Rated Watts: The number of wattages a machine could provide for a long time to run an appliance in a stable condition. Running wattages will always be lower compared to the starting watts.

NOTE: Power ratings (starting and running wattages) can be found in the specification section of the generator.

What Appliances Can a 1200-Watt Generator Run?

ApplianceStarting WattsRunning Watts
75 Watt Light Bulb075
String of outdoor lights040
Cell Phone Charger025
Coffee Maker0800
Powered Drill Cordless0100
Light Bulbs020
Camping Refrigerator500350
Power Drill Corded0800-900
50 Inch LCD TV0150
Phone Charger010

Recommended Read: What Can a 1500-Watt Generator Run?

How Many Appliances Can a 1200-Watt Generator Run Simultaneously?

It depends on the wattage ratings of the appliances you are going to use, e.g. if you are going to power up an appliance of 1kw, you don’t have access to plug another one, however, if you have 5 appliances with 150 – 200 watts you can plug them all simultaneously.

The bottom line is you should know the wattage rating of the appliance before powering it. The best method of determining the wattage rating of each appliance is mentioned below.

How to Determine The Powering Needs?

  • List down the appliances you are going to run with their starting and running wattages, you can find the power ratings of the appliance from the energy labeling.
  • If the power ratings are in amps, make sure to convert the power rating of the appliance to the wattages or the wattages of the generator to amps. you can make a conversion with the help of Ohm’s law.

Ohm’s Law: W (watts or kilowatts) = Amps (amperes) X V (volts)

E.g.: An appliance consumes 5 running and 6 starting amps at 120V.

W (watts or kilowatts) = Amps (amperes) X V (volts)

Running watts = 600 watts

Starting watts = 720 watts

  • Sum up the starting and running wattages of the appliances and keep them In a separate Column.
  • Now compare the sum of starting and running wattages with the generator you are going to purchase.

Practical Example:

AppliancesRunning wattsStarting watts
50” LED TV150N/A
Camping Refrigerator350500
2 X 75 Watt Light Bulb1500

From the above calculations, we got 1125 running and 1000 starting watts, hence a solid 1200-watt generator would be enough for this quotation.

NOTE: We recommend keeping a margin of 10 – 15% load so that the generator could run efficiently without extra effort. The small margin will not only keep your generator away from overloading but also saves your future cost of repairs, maintenance, fuel, etc.

Will a 1200 Watt Generator Run a Fridge?

Yes, a normal fridge of 600 – 1000 watts wouldn’t be a problem for a 1200w generator, however, if you want to power up a jumbo refrigerator/freezer of 1500 – 2500 watts you may have to consider a bigger machine of 3500 – 4000 watts (what can a 4000 watt generator run?).

Recommended Read: what appliances can a 3500-watt generator run?

How Long Can a 1200W Generator Run?

It depends on the fuel tank size, efficiency, and how much load you are pulling from the machine. Typically a brandable generator like Pulsar 1,200W should provide at least 4.5 – 5 hours with a single tank of fuel at 35 – 40% load.

How Many Amps Is a 1200-Watt Generator?

At 120V a 1200w generator is providing 10amp.

How Many Volts Is 1200 Watts?

Because of the lower wattages Most of the 1.2kw generators only have 120V outlets and it makes sense since they aren’t made to operate the higher wattage appliances.

Will a 1200 Watt Generator Run an Air Conditioner?

No, a 1200-watt machine isn’t enough to run even a split air conditioner. Don’t be fooled by the low running watts as a normal air conditioner needs at least 1500 – 1600 starting watts to fire up the compressor.

What Is a 1200-Watt Generator Good For?

A 1200-watt generator is ideal for camping, small campers, tailgating, etc. to power up the lower wattage appliances like cameras, drones, laptops, camping refrigerators, lighting, fans, etc.

In case you are going to use it for the house you may have to compromise on multiple appliances like microwaves, ACs, Sump pumps, Freezers, Heat pumps, space heaters, etc.

The bottom line is 1200 watts is not enough for even a small household.


A 1200w generator is ideal for camping and tailgating because of its portability, quietness, and efficient fuel system.

On the other hand, a 1200w machine isn’t considered an ideal choice for household and job sites because of the lower wattages.

The bottom line is you have to calculate your power needs and choose the one accordingly.



Kashif has been a valuable asset to the electric generator industry for over 5 years. Now, As a skilled energy engineer, he’s been on the front lines of diagnosing problems, fixing broken parts, and performing routine maintenance tasks to keep generators running smoothly.

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