What Size Generator Do I Need for a Food Truck?

Generators are highly important for businesses that need backup power. However, as you consider the size of your generator, you need to make sure that you are getting it right. You will not want to get less size. If you do that you will be sabotaging your business. Even the best food truck generators won’t be able to hold up if you underestimate the power you need.

On the other hand, getting the generator of excessive power might be far from economical.

It is indeed important that you know what it takes to get the right size generator for a food truck. And in this article, we will help you to understand the factors you need to consider when determining the size generator for your food truck. And eventually how you can determine the right size.

Yet, the use of generators applies to many sectors. But the purpose of this article will bother food truck owners. As a food truck owner, you can cater to client services. In such a case, you might not need a generator since the client would most likely provide electricity.  However, when you’re catering for your own business, the responsibility of power is solely on you, and you will most likely need to run your generator constantly or throughout.

But why would you even need to consider your size generator in the first place? well as a food truck you would have different appliances that you make use of. These appliances would vary depending on the kind of food service you render. This means you cannot just go about asking anybody what generator size they use and then get the same for your food truck.

What do we mean by size generator?

Since generator size depends on your appliances then there has to be something common to the appliances and the generator which is power. Your generator size is its power. And it is calculated in Watt. So if you know the total watt power of all your appliances, determining your size generator would not be a big deal.

How to determine the right size

To determine the right size generator you need to sum up your appliance’s power. Get to know the total wattage of all the appliances you want to power with the generator. A simple addition calculation would see you through. Sum up all of the appliances and you’re one step closer to getting the right size generator.

Factors to consider when it comes to deciding the size

Yet there are other factors to consider. See, the generator size is directly proportional to the power of the generator and some factors need to be considered to determine the overall generator size that you need. Appliances typically fall under two categories when it comes to determining what size generator you need. This is how it is; some appliances have resistive loads while others are reactive loads.

So what appliances will you be running? You should make a list of all the appliances that will run on your generator. This would help you determine what size generator you need to run the food truck efficiently. We will make a list of likely appliances that will run on a generator and go on to do a sample calculation of the power these appliances would require.

Deep Freezer — 750W (Starting watts)

Blender — 500W (Starting watts)

Sandwich Maker — 600W

Electric Oven — 3000W

Electronic Bulbs — 168w

Extraction Fan — 60W (Starting watts)

All appliances are not made equal and there is a difference in how appliances with reactive and resistive load work.

Types of Load

You already know that there are two types of load. However, for the inquisitive folk, you’ll want to know what makes it so that reactive load is different from a resistive one. And here it is; the reactive load is that of an appliance whose current is not in phase with its voltage. Therefore it needs a higher power to start than run.  Typically appliances that have rotors are reactive, for instance, blenders and refrigerators.

On the other hand, there is the appliance with a resistive load where the current and voltage are in the same phase. The same power starts and runs the appliance.

Sample Calculation of the Total Power of Appliances


Type of watts to consider


Starting Watts Running Watts  
Extraction Fan 60   60
Deep Freezer 750   750
Blender 500   500
Sandwich Maker   600 600
Electric Oven   3000 3000
Light Bulbs (4)   168 168




Based on the table above and the calculations in it, a food truck with those appliances would require a generator of over 5078 watts.

At the end of the day, you would realize that when we say generator size it is all about the power of the generator. And getting one that will suit you means that the sum of the power of all your appliances falls within a range that the generator can easily carry.

It is important to always consider starting power over running power for reactive load appliances. This is a must since they have a higher wattage for starting. Age matters too because your generator’s power will decline over the years. Take the size generator you want to consider buying up a notch.

Even if you can’t go through the calculations of watts, you can get an expert. Also, you now have an idea of what it takes to get the best size generator for your food truck.

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