How to calculate kva required for a generator

Written by mark falcon
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How to calculate kva required for a generator
When power needs to be portable, a generator is required. (power image by Jörg Weidenbach from

A generator is tool for the creation of electrical power. Most generators are designed for temporary use and are portable, either by hand or vehicle. Calculating the kVA power requirements of a generator is an important step before purchasing or renting the equipment, both to reduce the risk of underpowered equipment but also to avoid a piece of equipment that is too large and unwieldy.

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  1. 1

    Write down a list of all the electrical equipment you want to power at a given time.

  2. 2

    Write down the following numbers from the equipment or from the equipment manual: watts (if given), volts and amps.

  3. 3

    Calculate the wattage of each piece of equipment, if it is not listed, by multiplying volts by amps.

  4. 4

    Calculate the total watts of all equipment that will be running at the same time. This will give you the total watts required. This figure can also be described in the more common term "kilowatts" (kW) simple by dividing by 1,000.

  5. 5

    Divide the kW by 0.8. This is the kVA figured required for your generator.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are unsure about the wattage of an appliance, have an electrician measure it for you.

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