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You are watching: Can you run a stick welder on a generator

What dimension generator carry out I have to run a welder?

I gain asked that a lot.

There are an excellent reasons why it provides sense.

You should repair a gate that’s not close sufficient to household powerA friend’s van is broken down the end on the trailYou want to develop a greenhouse in your garden

But if it’s as well small, you can damage or kill your high value welder.

Too big, and also it may expense too much to run, be tough to move, and also take increase too much room.

How to figure Out What dimension Generator For her Welder

This concern usually takes among these forms, because that example:

What size ggenerator execute I require for a 180 amp welder?Will a 7,000-watt generator run a welder?How huge of a welder can you run v a generator that X size?

These room actually all the same questions. You’re simply asking it from various viewpoints.

This Is just how You perform It

Generators, like welders, come in lots of various sizes. There space a lot of of attributes and choices available. And also you’ll should decide if you desire 120-volt output, 240 volts, or both.

The trickiest point to watch the end for is that generators space rated in full WATTS of strength output, however welders are rated for calculation AMPERAGE.

That means you require to number out how plenty of watts a welder requirements to develop its rated amps.

How many Watts Does your Welder Use?

There’s a very simple math equation to move earlier and forth in between volts, amps, and watts:

Volts x Amps = Watts

Volts: The technical an interpretation is “a measure of the distinction in electric potential in between two points.”

Think the volts in the same way you think of water pressure. It’s the obtainable “push” that gets the power going.

Amps: Amperes space a method to measure up the flow of electrical current.

Keeping through our water supply analogy, think of amps together the price of flow in the pipes, fast or slow.

Watts: A watt measures warm energy. As electrons circulation through the circuit, friction makes heat, measured in watts.

So what you require is the voltage the welder uses, multiplied by the intake amps that the welder.

Find her Welder’s entry Power

Step 1: uncover the strength & present levels

First, you require to know what power and also current levels your welder requirements to run. A popular to discover this information is in the manual.

Here’s an instance from the manual for the PrimeWeld stick 160.


Checking the specifications, when again, there space numbers here for “Current Input”. This label is much easier to work-related with than some due to the fact that it gives both entry voltage and the input current needed through the welder.

It’s easy to figure out how much power you need in watts from a generator for her welder. Because that the 140-amp version, multiply:

120 volts intake x 23 amps = 2,760 watts

That’s just the an easy number, however. The characteristic of power tools to use much more power to start than it takes to save them running.

Generator equipments advise adding up to 30 percent come the running watt to account for starting devices.

2,760 watts x .30 = 828 watts

Add this 30 percent safety and security margin to the simple running number of 2,760 watts:

2,760 + 828 = 3,588

This amounts to 3,600 watts. This welder will need a generator rated in ~ 2,800 operation watts, through a height rating of 3,600 watts.

Take far notes:

DON’T FORGET to add specified tolerance, favor our example was add to or minus 15 percent. ALWAYS add THE yongin IN.REMEMBER to ADD 30 percent come your total wattage come cover the starting surge. The exemption to this ascendancy is if you’re making use of a value known as “I1max“. Check out the next section for more information.Input Values can Have other Names too

Sometimes over there are numerous different species of electrical ratings. You may not have a rating top top the brand that’s specifically called “input voltage” or “input current,” however there are various other names for them.

No must be confused, however. Check for values through these surname instead:

Input VoltageMax PowerMax VoltageV max or VmaxU max or UmaxU1maxInput CurrentMax AmperageMax CurrentA maxI maxI1max

Note that an option 5 in both cases has a notation the 1max. This name specifically shows main intake power.

I2 or I2max method output power.

The I1max rating is already changed for surge or beginning watts. If girlfriend calculate v I1max, you already have her maximum beginning watts rating there is no a need to include 30 percent.

Another unit you periodically see top top a generator because that welders is the Kilovolt Amp or KVA.

For this unit 1,000 volts x 1 Amp = 1 KVA, the very same as 1 Kilowatt (Kw).

Remember: Volts x Amps = Watts

Because 1 KVA = 1 Kw, a generator that renders 6 KVA of peak power is likewise rated in ~ 6 kW.

Power it is provided Differences in between Inverters & Transformers

One important selection is whether her welding maker is it is provided by a transformer or is an inverter welder. This matters due to the fact that with generators because that welders, over there is a quality called “dirty power.”

“Dirty Power” means small and also repeated fluctuations in the strength level as the engine runs.

These fluctuations in strength are dubbed “harmonic distortion” and measured in devices of complete Harmonic Distortion, or THD. That presented together a percentage, because that instance, “5 percent THD.”

Transformer-powered welders are rather forgiving the dirty power from a generator. Nearly any modern generator can run a transformer-powered welder.

The problem is through inverter-powered machines. Commonly called IGBT and MOSFET welders, castle have problems with dirty power because their control circuits are easily damaged by harmonic distortions in the strength supply.

Without acquiring too technical, these designs use capacitors come filter out distortion, smoothing the strength supply. An additional benefit of inverter power is the welder itself have the right to be lighter.

A lot of modern generators space designed with inverter filters, do them safe for inverter-powered welders.

If you have actually a transformer-powered welder, THD no a problem, yet if you want to operation a computer, noþeles digital, or one IGBT or MOSFET welder, you have to be below 6 percent THD.

Other factors Affecting her Choice

High Altitude Issues

At high altitudes, there’s much less oxygen. Gasoline, diesel, and propane engines run less efficiently, making much less power. Her welding generator will make less wattage in ~ high altitudes 보다 it would at sea level. Generator machines advise planning on a 3.5 percent strength loss because that every 1,000 feet that elevation.

Depending top top the elevation, it can be barely noticeable, or it might be a lot much less power. Generator equipments offer high-altitude kit to help.

Extra Tools and also Equipment

If you should run extra tools like saws, grinders, drills and also the like, you need to include at least one more 2,000 watt to the capacity because many grinders and also reciprocating saws take it as lot as 1,800 watt to operate.

Also, consider fans, heaters, and lighting. It may actually be cheaper come buy a smaller sized generator because that these accessories than one huge one to operation both her welder and also extra tools.

Here’s a partial list of common devices and their strength demands:

ApplianceRunning WattsStarting Watts
Coffee Maker17500
625W Microwave625800
Single 60W identical CFL bulb150
Room wait Conditioner: 10,000 BTU15002200
Small Appliance2001700
8in. Bench Grinder14002500
Pressure Washer: 1 HP12003600
7-1/4in. Circular Saw14002300
Electric Chain Saw: 14in. Bar, 2 HP11000
10in. Table Saw18004500
Drill: 3/8in., 4 Amps440600
Drill: 1/2in., 5.4 Amps600900
Portable Heater (Kerosene, Diesel Fuel): 90,000 BTU500725
Battery Charger: 60 Amp v 250 Amp Boost1500/57500
LCD computer system Monitor250
Inkjet Printer150
Cell call Charger100

How long Is the run Time?

This is just how long a generator can run at full demand, through a complete tank the fuel. Some deserve to run as long as 8-10 hours, if some big generators might only last a pair of hours in between refills if they’re working hard.


Generators room loud, although typically not together loud as part tools and vehicles are. Over there are likewise exhaust fumes come consider, with the hazard of carbon monoxide. You can’t placed a generator within safely, and they all have actually labels telling you not to execute this.

You have to make certain it’s ventilated well, safeguarded from collisions or reduce items, cords deserve to reach your occupational area safely, and noise i will not ~ be a difficulty where that sitting.

Check its dB rating to see how loud it is. Anything end 90 dB is damaging come hearing. 120-decibel ratings and over are indistinguishable to literally deafening sounds choose drag racers, artillery, jet aircraft, and also hunting rifles.


This chart offers some National electric Manufacturers (NEMA) references on expansion cord length. Whenever possible, plug tools directly right into the generator.

Your coffee an equipment can brew till you take it a break, climate you can pour a cup once you to walk over and also shut turn off the generator.

Total Wattage10 gauge cord12 gauge cord14 gauge cord16 gauge cord
2,400250 feet150 feet100 feet75 feet
4,800125 feet75 feet50 feet25 feet
7,20060 feet35 feet25 feet10 feet
9,60030 feet15 feet10 feet0
12,00015 feet000

Generators with 4Kw or much more running wattage can quickly weigh over 2 hundred pounds. Wheel kits, wheelbarrow-style handles, and also lifting bales for hooks room all items that make things a lot less complicated when placing such a heavy piece of equipment.

Related: What size Wire for Welder expansion Cords?

Generator Sizing Chart for Welders

Here’s a quick reference table I placed together to offer you one idea that what size generator you should be aiming for, depending on your welder’s present level.

Welder current LevelMinimum Generator SizingRecommended Generator Size
Up to 160A7kva 0r 7000 watts8000+ watts
180–200A8kva or 8000 watts10,000+ watts
210-250A13kva or 13,000 watts15,000+ wats

Best Generators because that Welders

I’m walking with an extensive portable generators here.

You don’t desire your generator working also hard, running flat out. It’s simpler on your new power tree if it’s no breathing hard to obtain the project done.

See more: Red Speckled Chicken Sea Of Thieves, Sea Of Thieves: Chickens, Pigs

Cleaner and an ext consistent power, much less wear, and also longer life are the rewards of a little extra investment.