What Are Portable Generators Used For?

Portable generators can be used for just about anything. They are an extremely versatile tool, and as you guessed it, they are portable. That means that they can be taken anywhere with you as long as you have the space in your truck, car, or trailer. You are able to retrieve power and electricity rather you are stuck at your home during an ice storm or you are way out in the wilderness on an extended camping trip. The need for power could be getting back the use of a luxury item or it could mean having air conditioning during one of the hottest days of the year. Regardless of your need, generators can solve it.

Camping & Outdoors Usage

From my experience there are two main applications that people use these generators for. The first is the outdoors, camping, and RVing. These types of generators are smaller in watts and are towards the lower end in price. I picture these being used for a camping trip where someone needs to work on their computer, they need to charge phones, or they just want some flood lights up around the campsite during the night. Whatever the reason is, these generators will be able to provide it. All you will need to do once the unit is setup is occasionally refuel it with gasoline. Our ToughAssTool product pick is the WEN 56200i 2,000 watt generator. This product gives you the power you need during your camping trip while also not weighing too much and being difficult to carry around. (This model comes in at around fifty pounds.)

A friend of mine hosts an annual Fourth of July party on some land that they own south of the city. Each year, I swear, the party gets bigger and bigger. They typically have it an large open field with no buildings within sight. As the sun begins to set the area gets pitch black, or country dark, as we call it out here. To solve this, they brought out their portable generator and installed some flood lights around the buffet, seating area, and play area for the kids. The lights made this empty field look bright as day and allowed us to enjoy the night way into the evening all without having any power lines or homes nearby. This was all done by their portable generator. This is a great example of a camping or outdoors usage.

Another great example of these being used are in campgrounds and RVs. Now, depending on where you are you’ll find that some campgrounds do not allow generators to be run. This is mainly due to the noise that some models can make. They feel that it disturbs the tranquility of the nature environment. (I would agree with them there.) But, if you do find that you are in your RV and you need some extra power a generator may be right up your alley. Some of the nicer RV models out there have what’s called an auxiliary power unit, or APU, that accomplishes the same thing but not all of us can afford the top of the line models. A generator will give you the same results without having to buy the Cadillac model.

Westinghouse WGen5500
Westinghouse WGen5500

Home Usages

The other main usage that we see for portable generators are for your home. I don’t care where you are in the country, most everyone has experienced a prolong power failure in their lifetimes. The longest I had to suffer through was just a few days. My wife was telling me the other day where she had to go through two weeks without power as a child. I can’t even imagine that in today’s world. The cause of these power outages vary. They could be tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards, or even hurricanes.  Regardless of how it happened, power is needed back in your home rather it be for your refrigerator, your furnace, or even for medical equipment for an ailing family member.

Portable generators can solve this issue for you by offering you a power source while you wait for your power to be turned back on. One thing to mention though is as you get into powering your home or portions of your home the wattage needed will increase and increase. A typical campground generator may be a few thousand watts whereas a home unit may need five-thousand watts or more. I have included in this article a short guide below to help you determine what sized watts you need for your generator.

Here at ToughAssTools’ our product pick for your home portable generator is the Westinghouse’s WGen5500 generator. This product comes with a six gallon gas tank and an estimated thirteen hour run time. That means that you only have to refuel the thing twice a day. That’s a hell of a selling point when you are dealing with inclement weather and you dread having to go back outside to refuel your system.

Determining Watts

Now, the best way to determine the right wattage requirements for your needs is to simply add the watts of each appliance/product that you want to use during your power outage. If you go this route, please be aware that some products have a cycle on process when being turned on. During this cycle on they may need additional wattage and then cycle back down to their normal watt usage.

To make things simple we’re going to give a quick estimate of watts and what can be used. Please note that this is an estimate and it is best to add your wattage like we mentioned above.

  • 2,000-3,000 Watts – This is enough for a refrigerator, a computer or two, some lights, and a few phone chargers.
  • 4,000-5,000 Watts – Along with what we mentioned above you can also add a clothes washer and dryer.
  • 6,000-8,000 Watts – Along with what we mentioned above you would have enough power to turn on your furnace.
  • 9,000 Watts & Up – Here is where we move out of the portable generator territory and head over to the standby units. Most people won’t need a size this high, especially if they are just getting through a couple of days while their power comes back on.


Alright folks, so now you have a good idea what these portable generators are used for and what benefits they have to offer. One last note that I want to mention before you finish reading this article is that before setting up your generator you should read our safety guide to ensure everything is setup correctly and safely. Safety is paramount when it comes to generators as if used incorrectly they can cause injuries or even death.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful to you,

Alec Johnson


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