What Solar Generator to Run Small Medium Wattage Appliances

Small average-wattage appliances typically require around 100 to 400 watts of power to operate. These include devices such as desktop computers, televisions, gaming consoles, microwave ovens, small refrigerators, and power tools. They are commonly used in households for everyday applications. 

In this article, we cover what solar generator you can use to run small appliances in a home. How to calculate runtime and we also recommend the best one you can use. 

What Size Solar Generator for Small Medium-Wattage Appliances

To choose the appropriate size solar generator for an appliance you need to match the power rating of the appliance to the inverter rating of the solar generator. You also need to consider the capacity of the solar generator as it will determine how long it will run your appliance. 

Inverter Rating 

The inverter rating of a solar generator is crucial in determining its capability to run small- medium-wattage appliances. In order to run appliances between 200 and 400 watts you’ll need an inverter with a power rating of 300 watts and 500 watts or over. This ensures optimal performance. 

Therefore you’ll need a 300-watt solar generator or a 500-watt solar generator to run a small-medium-wattage appliance. 

Jackery 500W Solar Generator Power Station

Capacity Rating

While the inverter rating gives the capability of running an appliance the capacity rating is also important as it determines how long you can run an appliance. The capacity of a solar generator is given in watt-hours. The watt-hour capacity represents the total energy storage of the solar generator. 

Solar generators with a balanced design will a have 1:1 power to capacity ratio. For example, a 500-watt solar generator should have a 500-watt-hour capacity, and a 300-watt solar generator will have a 300-watt-hour capacity. 

How Long Will a 500-Watt Solar Generator Run an Appliance?

Electricity is typically measured in watt-hours (Wh). To calculate the watt-hours used by an appliance, you need to multiply the wattage of the appliance by the number of hours it is used. For example, if you have a 400-watt blender and you want to use it for an hour you’ll need 400 watt-hours

To calculate the runtime, divide the solar generator’s watt-hour capacity by the power consumption of the appliance. The capacity is also multiplied by a factor of 0.85 to factor in efficiency losses. 

For example to get the running time for a 400-watt blender

= (500*0.85)/400

= 1.06 hrs

A 500-watt solar generator will run the blender for around 1 hr.

WattageRuntime (Hrs)
200W2.1 hrs
300W1.41 hrs
400W1.06 hrs

You don’t have to run a device for over an hour you can also choose to run your appliance for short periods of time. For example, if you running a 400-watt device for 10 minutes 66-watt-hours. This will allow you to run several small appliances over a day for short periods of time. 

For more capacity, you’ll need a bigger solar generator to run the appliance for longer. For example, you can 400-watt refrigerator on a 500-watt solar generator however you only have the capacity to run it for an hour. In this case, a refrigerator is a small-medium-wattage appliance however, you made need a solar generator for medium-wattage appliances or higher. 

The good news is that you can also add capacity via a solar panel. We cover this next. 

How Long Will a 500-Watt Portable Power Station Last with a Solar Panel?

The recommended solar panel for a 500-watt solar generator is a 200-watt solar panel. This may vary depending on the power ratio that we discussed earlier. Different manufacturers will have different recommendations depending on the BMS and Charge controller components of the solar generator. 

A 200-watt Solar panel can fully recharge charge the solar generator’s battery in around three hours. This will depend on the availability of sunlight. 3 hours of sunlight in an ideal situation should provide 600Wh enough to recharge the solar generator. But because of efficiency losses and overcast periods, this can take longer. 

With a solar panel you have extra 200 watts going to the solar generator adds to the capacity of the solar generator.  A solar generator that supports pass-through charging will enable you to use it as you are charging.  

With a 200-watt solar panel hooked to the solar generator, you can run a 200-watt appliance without denting the capacity of the solar generator.  You can also run a 400-watt appliance like your blender for 30 minutes without using the capacity of the battery. 

How Long Will a 300-Watt Solar Generator Run an Appliance?

A 300-watt solar generator is also an option when running small appliances in your home. This includes devices that require 200 watts or less. 

For example, if you have a 100-watt tv you can run it for 

Working Time =  Solar Generator Watt-hours x 0.85/ operating power of the device 


= 2.55 hrs

How Long Will a 300-Watt Solar Generator Last with a Solar Panel

A 100-watt Solar panel can charge the solar generator in around 3 hours. This will depend on the availability of sunlight. 3 hours of sunlight in an ideal situation should provide 400Wh enough to recharge the solar generator.  However, in bad times this can be four hours. 

With the power coming in from the solar panel you can run a 100-watt appliance without depleting the solar generator’s capacity. 

With the availability of sunlight, you can run the TV for four hours and up to 6 hours from the solar generator. 

Other Charging Options

In addition to solar panels, there are other options to charge solar generators. These include using AC power outlets, car charging ports, or utilizing a generator as a backup power source. Having multiple charging options adds versatility and ensures an uninterrupted power supply.


The Maxoak 500W Portable Power Station proves to be a reliable and versatile companion for those in need of portable power. Its robust power capacity, generous battery life, and 120W solar panel makes it suitable for a wide range of applications. With its portability, durability, and safety features, the Maxoak 500W Portable Power Station ensures peace of mind during outdoor adventures, emergencies, or any situation that demands portable power. Paired with a 120W

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