Can You Run A Washing Machine On A Generator?

A washing machine can be run using a generator. However, you need to make sure that the generator is properly grounded, or else you could risk damaging the machine or even causing an electrical shock.

Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that the generator has enough power to run the washing machine.

Furthermore, as a safety precaution, avoid using an extension cord to connect the washing machine to the generator. The added resistance could cause the cord to overheat and lead to a fire.

So, if you reside in a region that frequently experiences power outages or if you want to go camping in a remote place, or when traveling by caravan, you can use a portable generator to power a washing machine.

Key Takeaways

  • Washing machines require a lot of power to operate, so it’s important to make sure that your generator can provide enough power for your washing machine.
  • Some generators are powered by gasoline, while others use diesel, natural gas, or propane. When using a generator to power a washing machine, it’s important to follow all the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • A generator that produces approximately 2000 watts of power should be sufficient to run a standard-sized home washer.
  • Ensure that the installation is carried out by a professional.

How does a generator power washing machines?

If you’re considering using a generator to power your washing machine during an outage or at a place where there is no electricity, then you need to know a few things about how they work.

Generators may be used for a range of tasks, including powering construction equipment on a job site or supplying backup power during a power outage.

In many cases, a generator is the most practical solution for meeting your power needs, including your laundry.

There are different types of generators available, and not all of them are suitable for powering a washing machine.

A generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy using fuel.

The most common type of generator is an internal combustion engine (ICE) that uses gasoline, diesel, or natural gas to turn a shaft that drives an electrical generator.

The most common types of generators are petrol, diesel, and gas generators.

Petrol generators: They are typically the most affordable option, but they can be noisy and produce fumes that can be harmful to your health. 

Diesel generators: They’re a bit expensive, but usually quieter and more fuel-efficient.

Gas generators: This is an expensive option, but gas generators are the cleanest when compared to their counterparts. Plus, it is also the most efficient.

Can you run a washing machine on a generator?

Most of us probably don’t think about the washing machine until it’s time to do a load of laundry.

But what if the power goes out? 

In such a case, if you own a generator, you will have to rely on them to run the washing machine to complete your laundry.

So, yes, you can use the generator to run a washing machine with the right setup.

To avoid electrocution, the generator needs to be grounded properly. If you are unsure about the amount of power your generator offers, then simply call a professional electrician.

Do not use non-suitable cable cords to hook up the washing machine to the power outlet. Doing this can lead to serious damage to the washer.

Just remember that generators can be dangerous if they’re not installed properly, so always exercise caution when using or installing one on your own.

What are the pros and cons of powering washing machines using a generator?

Just like any other appliance or electrical equipment, generators have their pros and cons.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using generators to power washing machines.


  • The main advantage of running a washing machine on a generator is that you can wash your clothes even when the power is out.
  • It is suitable for remote areas where there are frequent power cuts.
  • You can use a portable generator on caravans for laundry.


  • The major con is that the generators can be expensive to operate. It uses fuel to generate power that can hit your pockets hard.
  • Generators can be noisy and cause pollution, so you may not want to use one if you have small children or pets in the house.
  • It may be expensive to maintain.

How to choose the right generator for your washing machine?

It can be quite frustrating when the power cut happens in the middle of your laundry.

But if you have a generator, then you can easily get over this problem.

However, using the generator for powering a washing machine is not as simple as just connecting it and forgetting about it.

You need to select the right generator that can efficiently power your washing machine.

To help you out, we’ve listed a few things that you need to keep in mind while choosing a generator for your washing machine.

The wattage of the generator

The wattage of the generator is an important factor to consider. You need to make sure that the generator can handle the wattage of your washing machine.

Ideally, you should look for a generator that can offer at least 2000 watts of power.

However, you may need higher wattage if the size of your washer is large or if you’re running other appliances along with the washing machine.

Just check the care label or user manual, and instructions on the packaging to figure out the required power to run your washer.

The runtime of the generator

The runtime of the generator is another important consideration.

The type of fuel and the size of the fuel tank will determine how long the generator can run.

You need to make sure that the generator can run for at least 3–4 hours at a stretch. This will be enough to complete a full load of laundry.

Surge Wattage

Surge wattage simply means the ability of the generator to deal with temporary spikes in power demand.

Ensuring that the generator can handle these varying wattages is crucial for optimal performance.

Usage Frequency

It also depends on how often you’ll be using the generator.

If it’s only going to be for occasional outages, you don’t need to spend as much money on a high-powered model.

The warranty and service

Warranty and service are two important factors that you need to consider while choosing a generator.

It is always better to go for a generator that comes with a good warranty. This will ensure that you can get it repaired or replaced in the event of any problem.

It is also important to check the service options before buying a generator. You should opt for a generator that can be serviced easily.

The noise level

If you’re planning to use the generator indoors, then you need to make sure that it doesn’t produce too much noise.

Read the reviews

Make sure to read the reviews before making your purchase and always remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your generator.

How much power does a generator need to run a washing machine?

You can easily run a standard-sized washing machine on a generator that produces at least 2000 watts of power.

Most small-sized generators produce around 3000-5000 watts of power, so they should have no problem supplying adequate power to the washing machine.

Minimizing Risks and Ensuring Safety

Safety considerations extend beyond power specifications.

Here are a few tips and best practices that you can follow in order to be safe:


Grounding the washing machine is an imperative measure to reduce the risk of electric shocks.

This involves connecting the machine to a grounding wire, diverting any potential electrical leakage harmlessly into the ground.

Proper Generator Placement

Place the generator outdoors to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.

A minimum distance of 10 feet from residential structures is recommended, and exhaust should be directed away from living spaces.

Secure Generator Positioning

To prevent accidents caused by generator movement, secure portable generators on smooth surfaces to avoid slipping.

Additionally, attaching a warning label to the generator can help prevent inadvertent damage.

Moisture Protection

Protecting your generator from moisture is extremely important.

Stagnant water poses electric shock hazards and can lead to faulty generator performance.

Keep generators away from areas prone to water infiltration, and ensure a dry and safe environment.

Preventing Overloading

Overloading a generator can result in overheating, short circuits, and damage to both the generator and connected appliances.

It’s crucial to calculate the total wattage demand of all connected appliances, including surge wattage, to avoid overloading.

Operational Tips for Efficient Washing Machine Use

Eco-Cycle and Cold Water Use

Opt for the eco-cycle setting on your washing machine to minimize power consumption.

Additionally, washing clothes with cold water can reduce energy usage, making the most of the available generator capacity.

Load Optimization

Maximizing each load’s capacity can significantly reduce the number of cycles you need to run.

However, avoid overloading the machine, as it can lead to decreased cleaning performance and strain on the generator.

Prioritize Essential Loads

During a power outage, it’s essential to prioritize essential loads.

You might want to avoid running the washing machine simultaneously with other power-hungry appliances to prevent overloading the generator.

Pre-Sorting and Pre-Treating

Pre-sorting your laundry by fabric type and color can help you optimize each load’s efficiency.

Additionally, pre-treat stains before starting the cycle to avoid the need for additional wash cycles.

Unplug Unused Appliances

To further reduce strain on the generator, unplug other non-essential appliances when running the washing machine. This action frees up additional power capacity for your laundry needs.

Regular Drain Checks

Periodically inspecting and clearing the washing machine’s drain can prevent clogs and ensure optimal water drainage, leading to improved performance.

Inverter Considerations

Inverters offer an alternative power source during outages.

However, selecting the right inverter depends on the wattage demands of your washing machine and other appliances.

Adhering to safety guidelines is crucial when incorporating inverters into your setup.

Final Thoughts

You can run a washing machine on a generator, but it is not recommended to do it all the time.

Also, before installing the generator, make sure you correctly asses the power requirement of your washer, the run time, and the usage frequency.

Furthermore, you need to keep in mind that portable generators are usually not powerful enough to run a washing machine, so you’ll need a larger generator to power your washer.

So, if you are thinking of a portable generator, it’s better to drop that thought as it may not be sufficient.

Lastly, make sure to connect the generator to the washing machine using the correct type of cord, and never operate the washing machine without proper ventilation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a 3500-watt generator run a washing machine?

Yes, a 3500 watts generator is more than enough to run a washing machine.

How long will a 5000-watt generator run a washing machine?

The runtime of a 5000-watt generator completely depends on the type of fuel it uses and the capacity of the fuel tank. For example, a 5000-watt generator filled with 1 gallon of gasoline may be able to run for approximately. 7 hours whereas a generator that uses propane gas may run only for 5 hours approx. with the same amount of fuel.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)