Skip to Content

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a Welder? (Explained)

A welder is an essential tool to attach different steel parts together. It uses electricity to do this kind of work. So, this machine requires electricity from a source to operate.

You may wonder what size generator you need to run a welder. You may also ask if you can even use a generator to run a welder or not. Let us answer these facts for you and help you understand the points that you may look for regarding this matter.

Generator size to run a welder:

Depending on the welder output and voltage, you may need a generator that is sized between 4500 – 15000 watts. The actual size of the generator that you may need will vary based on the specification of the welder that you are using. Based on this information, you may find the actual size.

A welding machine requires a high amount of electricity to operate. This electricity can be provided directly to the machine when you are near a direct power source that is connected to the grid. 

But sometimes, you may need to use a welding machine in a place where you may not have direct access to an electrical source.

In that case, you can use a generator to power the equipment. The size of the generator is a significant factor when choosing it to run a welding machine. According to expert welders, the size of a generator to run a welding machine would be around 4500 – 15000 watts.

Welding machines that have a welder output of around 130 – 160 amps may require a small generator. The size of the generator would be around 4500 – 6500 watts. 

But for, welding machines that have a welding output of around 180 – 250 amps may need a bigger generator to operate. In this case, the size of the generator would be about 7500 – 15000 watts.

It can be said that the size of the generator increases as the welder output of the welding equipment increases. The bigger the welding output, the bigger the generator has to be. 

It has to be kept in mind that when choosing a generator for your welding machine, you need to have an extra starting capacity for the startup voltage.

The startup voltage is important as it can trip your generator fuse if you do not count it. Usually, you need to choose a generator size that is 30% more than the calculated welding machine requirement. This is a must or your welding machine may not start at all. 

It may also trip the fuse of the generator.

You may want to know the amount of electricity usage of a welder. You might also want to know the factors that determine how much electricity a welder uses. Let us provide you with the necessary answers for the following facts.

Amount of electricity usage of a welder:

The electricity usage of a welder is around 5000 – 15000 watts per hour, depending on the size of the welder machine. The amount of electricity that your welder may need depends on the actual size of the welder machine. 

Small welder machines tend to use around 4500 – 7500 watts per hour.

On the other hand, bigger welder machines can use around 7500 – 14500 watts on average. The amount of electricity your welder may require depends on the output voltage and current. It also depends on the efficiency as well. 

Based on these, the welder may use the following amount of electricity.

Factors that determine how much electricity a welder uses:

There are few factors that generally determine the electricity usage of a welder. Such as –

Welder output current:

Welder output current is one of the critical factors in determining how much electricity a welder uses. This is also known as ‘Output Current’. This can be found in the specification sheet of your welder. 

You can also find it in the specification tag on your welder.

This output current is usually between 100 – 450 amps. The bigger the welder machine, the higher the value of the welder output. Higher welder output means that the working capacity of the welder is high as well.

Welder output voltage:

The welder output voltage is also an essential factor in determining electricity usage. This can be found on the welder specification sheet and specification tag on the welder machine itself. 

This is important to calculate the amount of electricity that is required to run the welder.

The efficiency of the welder:

The efficiency of the welder is another crucial fact in determining the amount of electricity that is required to use the welder. The efficiency is the amount that represents how much electricity is properly converted by the welding machine. 

This value is different for almost every welding machine. The highest value of this can be.

Welder OutputSuggested generator size
125 amp5750 Watts
140 amp6500 Watts
180 amp7500 Watts
200 amp8000 Watts
220 amp10000 Watts
400 amp15000 Watts

Is it safe to run a welder on a generator?

Yes, it is safe to run a welder on a generator. A welder may need to be used in various places where you need to weld various steel parts together. In some places where you will be using this machine, you may not find a direct source of electricity. 

In that case, you would need to arrange an alternative source of electricity to run the machine.

A generator is an ideal alternative to running a welder. A generator can be taken anywhere required. So, it can be taken in places where the welder needs electricity. It is a comparatively compact machine to carry.

It comes in different sizes, providing different amounts of electricity to run the welder machine without any hassle.

Will these generators run a welder?

Here we have discussed a few different capacity generators, bear with us and find out if they are capable to run a welder or not, also the welder capacity –

2000 watt:

This generator can run a 70 – 85 amp welder. This kind of generator is used with stick welder machines.

3000 watt:

85 – 95 amp welder output welding machines can be run on this generator. Another ideal generator size for small stick welders.

3500 watt:

A 95 – 105 amp welding machine can be run efficiently by a 3500 watt generator. This generator runs flux cored welders.

4000 watt:

A 400 watt generator is ideal for running 100 – 105 amp welding machines. Wire electrodes and flux cored welders are used by this generator.

5000 watt:

This generator can run a 110 – 120 amp welder. This is ideal for running a MIG welder.

5500 watt:

A 5500 watt generator can run a 125 – 135 amp welding machine. Another ideal choice is to run a MIG welder.

6500 watt:

135 – 145 amp welding machines can run on a 6500 watt generator. Used for thick welding by MIG welding machines.

7000 watt:

160 – 170 amp welders can run properly on this generator. MIG and wire electrode welders can use this.

8000 watt:

A 800 watt generator can run welders of around 195 – 210 amp current output. This is the ideal generator size for MIG welder machines.

9000 watt:

200 – 215 amp welders are ideal for a 9000 watt generator. This generator is perfect for MIG, wire electrodes and gasless flux cored welders.

Tips to properly use a welder with your generator:

The following tips will help you to properly use a welder with your generator –

Choose the correct generator size:

It is crucial that you choose the correct generator size for your welder. If the size of the generator is correct and has a 30% overhead over the required current, the welder will run properly. 

But if the size of the generator is smaller than the required current, the welder may not turn on. Even if you use a generator that has the required current, it may not run properly without the extra headroom needed for the welder. 

If the start-up current is not calculated with the required welder electricity usage, your generator may blow a fuse when the welder is starting.

Fill up the generator fuel tank:

If you want to ensure the proper operation of your welder, you need to fill the tank of your generator. Ensure that the tank of your generator is filled up to at least 90 percent. 

If the fuel tank is not filled, the welder machine may start acting weird as the generator may face current fluctuation.

Use a good welder and generator:

A good welder and generator are necessary to work properly. A good welder is said to be that which has the highest efficiency. This welder can provide the maximum output by using the whole provided electricity. 

A good generator does not provide any dirty electricity. This is how the welder can operate properly without any shortage of electricity.

Final thoughts

The size of a generator would be around 4500 – 15000 watts to run a welder. The appropriate size of the generator would be based on the welder output current, voltage and efficiency. The welder start up voltage is another important factor in the size of a generator that will run a welder.