30 amp vs 50 amp Generators [+Comparison +FAQs] 2023

Are you considering a generator for backup power in a power outage? Are you confused about choosing a 30 amp vs 50 amp generator? Those with electric water heaters and stoves are more concerned about running out of natural gas than how long the power will be out. If you have a gas line, consider a smaller 30 amp generator.

A 30 amp generator consumes less fuel than its 50 amp counterpart, providing more hours of backup power for your home. Smaller electric water heaters, stoves, and well pumps are much less affected by a short power outage than that of a more extensive system in your home.

Generators are stocked with 30 amp and 50 amp generators, depending on your needs. Whether you need to power a compact refrigerator or want the extra capacity for running a central air conditioning unit or well pump. So, our 50 amp vs 30 amp generator comparison review is below to assist you in choosing the right generator for your power needs.

Why 30 amp or 50 amp Generators?

Both models will run an average fridge, furnace, and lights. Both units can be run simultaneously or one after the other.

However, the choice of generator size is based on the maximum demand you will use. The maximum demand is the amp output of the appliances running at a given time.

For example, suppose the washing machine load is 1/2,000 amps, and all of your lights (excluding refrigerator/freezer) are 1/2,000 amp running simultaneously. In that case, you will draw 1/4,000 amps or 25% of your generator’s capacity.

A 30 amp generator requires approximately half the fuel of a 50 amp generator when both are running under load, making it easier to transfer what little fuel you have during an emergency power outage into electricity.

The differences between 30 amp vs 50 amp generators will be discussed throughout this article.

Comparison –  30 amp vs 50 amp Generators 

Features30 amp generator50 amp generator
CapacitySmaller electric water heaters, stoves, and well pumps are all much less affected by a short power outage than that of a more extensive system in your homeGive power a compact refrigerator or want the extra capacity for running a central air conditioning unit or well pump
Fuel Tank demand3.9 gal to 6 gal 6 gal to 8.3 gal
Fuel consumptionA 30 amp generator consumes less fuel depending on your needs. Moreover, a 30 amp generator requires approximately half the fuel of a 50 amp generator50 amp run for a long time, consuming more fuel than 30 amp. Some people use 50 amp generators which burn twice as much fuel as a 30 amp generator.
Backup powerThe 30 amp unit has a smaller backup battery (12V/8A).50 amp counterpart, providing more hours of backup power for your home
Budget-friendlyYou can save money by purchasing the 30 amp generator.It demands time significant investment
Power output (Wattage)A 30 amp generator is 1/2 of the wattage as 3,600 watts at 120v of a 50 amp generator.(120 volts x 30A)A 50 amp generator is 2x of the wattage as 12,000 watts at the same voltage, so any load you can throw at it.(2 x 120 x 50A)
Fuel TypeDual fuel generator as Gasoline, PropaneGasoline, Propane
Time for runningThe 30 amp model can keep a small house running moderately for two days.The 50 amp model can keep a small house running continuously for three to five days.
Weight (lbs) Lightweight as 55 and 70 pounds200 – 269 pounds
Reliance ControlsThe 30 amp switches are cheaper, but they also take up more space. the 30 amp has Q310A and 31410CRK Transfer Switches50 amp generator has Q510A and 51410C Transfer Switches
Engine192cc to 210cc420cc to 457cc
WarrantySome issues cover not under warrantyTwo years to three years
Starting Watts2250 – 4500 (gasoline), 3060 (propane)10000 – 12000  (gasoline), 8000 – 11400  (propane)
Type of outlets30 amp outlets have three prongs and have only one hot wire of 120v.On the other hand, a 50 amp outlet has two 120v hot wires with separate feeds and four prongs as well
Best pickWestinghouse iGen 4500DuroMax XP12000EH

Final words – 30 amp vs 50 amp Generator 

The world has changed, and you may need a newer unit or have an older unit. Generators that use a gasoline engine have been around for a long time. Now we are seeing more modern replacements appear. Many units today are battery-powered. DC Generators need not be plugged into an AC outlet to be used. Thus, the 30 amp vs 50 amp generator has excellent features, but both vary according to your usage demand. 30 amp is best for small houses with 3500 watts usage need. On the other hand, 50 amp generators are best for large houses or small commercial areas with 12000 watts usage.

FAQs: 30 amp vs 50 amp Generator

What is the difference between 30 amp and 50 amp generators?

When shopping for a generator, you may have noticed amps listed on the generator specs. Amps refer to the current that the generator can deliver. The amount of amps a device requires is measured in watts multiplied by volts. Watts times volts equals amps.

Well, the volts in a home household electrical system are typically 120 volts. This means that the maximum amps a domestic household outlet can deliver is 20 amps. This is where 30 amp generators differ from 50 amp generators.

It is possible for a 30 amp generator to provide 16 amps when the voltage is 120 volts and 8 amps when the voltage is 240 volts. By contrast, a 50 amp generator at 120 volts can deliver 16 amps, while at 240-volt generator can deliver 33 amps.

So, what does this mean for you? If you plan on using large appliances like a water heater, air conditioner, heater, refrigerator, etc, you will need a 50 amp generator. On the other hand, if you plan on using smaller appliances like  TVs, computers, lights, etc., a 30 amp generator will work fine.

How big of a generator can I run on a 30 amp breaker?

A 30 amp breaker can accommodate a generator up to 3600 watts.

How many watts can a 30 amp generator cord handle?

A 30 amp generator cord can typically handle approximately 7500 watts. Please, note that this is only an estimate and your specific generator may have a higher or lower wattage limit.

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