What Size Generator for a Tiny House: Powering Your Compact Abode

Typical tiny houses often use generators with a power capacity ranging from 1,000 watts to 4,000 watts.

The important things to consider when sizing a generator for your tiny house are your specific power needs, including the wattage requirements of your appliances, and accounting for surge power during startup. Additionally, it’s crucial to plan for future expandability and consider the size and capacity of the generator that can comfortably handle the peak load of your tiny house.

In this article, we will delve into the details of determining the appropriate generator size for your tiny house, taking into account your power needs, surge power, future expandability, and more.

Understanding Your Power Needs

To accurately determine the size of the generator you need for your tiny house, it’s important to understand your power needs. Consider the appliances and systems you plan to use and their respective power requirements. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Make a Comprehensive Appliance List: Create a detailed list of all the appliances you plan to have in your tiny house. This includes lighting, heating and cooling systems, kitchen appliances, entertainment devices, and any other electrical devices you intend to use regularly.
  • Research Power Consumption: Look up the power consumption specifications for each appliance. This information can typically be found on the labels or in the user manuals. Note down the wattage or amperage required for each device.
  • Determine Simultaneous Usage: Consider the number of appliances you are likely to use simultaneously. This will help you calculate the peak load your generator should be able to handle.

Pro Tip: To easily determine the power consumption of an appliance, multiply the voltage (V) by the amperage (A) to obtain the wattage (W). For example, if a device operates at 120 volts and draws 5 amps, the wattage would be 120V * 5A = 600W.

Calculating Generator Size

Once you have gathered information about your power needs, you can proceed to calculate the appropriate generator size. Follow these steps to determine the ideal power capacity for your tiny house:

Step 1: Calculate Total Power Consumption

To get started, add up the power consumption of all the appliances in your tiny house. This will give you an estimate of the total load your generator needs to handle. Take into account both the running wattage (power required to operate appliances) and the starting wattage (power needed when appliances initially start).

For example, let’s consider a tiny house with the following appliances:

ApplianceRunning Wattage (W)Starting Wattage (W)
Lights (LED)150

In this case, the running wattage is 1150W, and the starting wattage is 1800W.

Step 2: Account for Surge Power

Some appliances require a surge of power when starting up, which can be significantly higher than their running wattage. To ensure your generator can handle these surges, multiply the starting wattage of each appliance by a factor of three and add it to the total power consumption from step 1.

Using the previous example, we calculate the surge power as follows:

ApplianceSurge Power (W)
Lights (LED)

In this case, the surge power is 5400W.

Step 3: Consider Future Expandability

If you plan to add more appliances or expand your tiny house in the future, it’s wise to choose a generator with a slightly higher power capacity. This ensures that you have enough power to accommodate any future additions without overloading the generator.

Step 4: Find the Appropriate Generator Size

Based on the total power consumption and surge power calculations, you can refer to the following guidelines to find the appropriate generator size for your tiny house:

Generator SizePower Capacity (W)
Up to 2,000 Watts2,000
2,000 to 4,000 Watts4,000
4,000 to 8,000 Watts8,000
8,000+ Watts8,000+

Consider your specific power needs, the size of your tiny house, and any additional energy-intensive appliances or equipment you plan to use. It’s crucial to choose a generator that can handle the peak load comfortably.


Are there any noise concerns with generators in a tiny house?

Yes, noise can be a concern, especially in the compact space of a tiny house. If noise is a priority for you, consider investing in an inverter generator, which operates more quietly compared to conventional generators. Additionally, proper insulation and soundproofing techniques can help minimize noise levels.

Can I connect my tiny house generator to the main power grid?

It is possible to connect your generator to the main power grid using a transfer switch. However, this setup typically requires professional installation to ensure safety and compliance with electrical codes and regulations. Consulting an electrician is recommended for such installations.

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