Can You Run A TV On A Portable Generator (What You Need To Know)

Generators are some of the most convenient and useful tools at our disposal when it comes to getting power in an emergency situation or on the go, however, there are several drawbacks that can mean generators aren’t suitable for use with certain electronics, particularly those which are sensitive and expensive.

Can You Run A TV On A Portable Generator (What You Need To Know)

While generators are incredibly useful, they are no substitute for quality mains power and are prone to issues such as stalling and surging as well as uneven power output which can seriously damage or totally break certain electronics. 

The quality of different generators of course varies widely, but most garden variety portable generators are not going to be safe for use with sensitive electronics such as TVs, laptops, or other such appliances.

The main reason for this is that the power provided can be uneven and sporadic, which can fry sensitive electrical circuits.

The danger of this increases when generators start to run out of fuel or if they stall, as the power output will start to decrease or stop entirely and this can lead to surges and other uneven power outputs that are really bad for your electronics.

However, all is not lost and there are alternative generators you can look for that will provide a cleaner and more stable type of power for situations like this.

While they are more expensive, inverter generators are electronically safe and most good brands provide a guarantee that their generators will be suitable for use with sensitive electronics such as televisions and computers, as well as other various appliances.

The higher quality electricity these generators produce makes them unnecessary for more robust uses such as garden use or for simple electronics, however, for in-home use or on a camping trip inverters bring a ton of benefits and are also often much quieter than traditional generators too.

Of course, there are other even more expensive and more permanent options open to homeowners who want maximum peace of mind, and one of these options is to install a standby home generator, which is a fixed generator that is installed into your home and that is connected to your gas line or a large propane tank and is wired into your main home electrical panel.

These systems use automatic transfer switches that are highly convenient and can detect when your main power has been cut off and will switch on to power your home within minutes.

The system will then also turn off automatically once it detects the main power supply has returned.

The benefits of this system are obvious, and it can be really useful for people who want maximum efficiency and convenience.

These systems are of course rated to provide high-quality electricity as it is wired directly into your home, and these systems come in various sizes to suit various homes, and of course the bigger the generator the larger the home it can power. 

Some users will only install a small system capable of powering essential appliances and important safety features, while others install huge generators capable of powering the whole home as if the power had never gone off at all.

These generators have other advantages too, such as not having to find and set up the generator in the dark when the power goes out as well as not having to worry about fuel management or storing fuel on your property which can be expensive and dangerous.

It also provides great peace of mind to be able to know that even if you’re away from home and the power goes out, your home still has power, and your food stores in the refrigerator and freezer won’t thaw and become useless, saving you a huge amount of worry and stress.

The drawback is that the cost of these systems far outweighs the cost of an inverter, and for simply running a TV, they would be massive overkill unless you want to power your whole home too.

The best option for running a TV or other sensitive electronics safely would be to get an inverter generator from a reputable manufacturer and make sure that the wattage of the inverter exceeds the wattage requirements of the TV and other electronics you plan to use with it.

It’s also worth noting that if you want to use more than one electronic device at the same time as a generator you will need to get a generator with a wattage larger than the combined wattage requirement of the electronics you plan to use with it.

It's also important to note if your electronics have a surge wattage, as sometimes this can be higher than the stable wattage of the device and will mean that your generator may not be able to provide enough power to turn devices on.

Surge wattage is something that some electronics require, and is essentially an initially higher amount of wattage requirement when the device is turned on to start it up, before reducing it down to its standing wattage.

Inverters come in very portable and quiet packages of 1000W all the way up to 6500W so you will be able to find a package that suits your needs exactly, providing stable and clean electricity for your TV while also being much safer and quieter than a standard generator, and being much more cost-effective than a home standby generator system.

I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.