A PRO “Pick” on the Best Portable Generator to Run Central Air Conditioner

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For those that want facts not have to’s or need to’s, a good quality 5500/6500 generator can run your AC. Heck, I have seen lesser number run air conditioners!

Personally, I have seen my neighbor run his 4-ton central air, refrigerator freezer, TV, and several ceiling fans on a 5500/6500 Onan portable generator set. All he did was shut off the hot water!

Yes, the gen would strain when the AC kicked on but the breakers held and nothing was damaged on the 6-hour run.  I won a cheap 5000/5500 cheap China gen set which ran my same 4-ton AC and some lights during some blackouts with no issues.

I’m not recommending either of these but it does work!

PS: You don’t need to have a 12 to 15 KW generator just to start a 4-ton AC alone! B.S.

Best Portable Generator to Run Central Air Conditioner

I am a retired Cummins/Oman mechanic and here are some of my recommendations:



  • Westinghouse Portable Generator
  • DuroMax XP13000HX
  • Generac 7127 iQ3500
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  • Westinghouse Portable Generator

This is one of the best higher end generator models that I have seen that checks all the box. I am impressed, and trust me that hardly happens.

This is one of the few portable generators that can run portable central air conditioner with ease. When I first got It I experienced difficulty starting my AC so I installed a “hard start” on my AC and it kickstarts without fail now.


It’s a 3&1/2 ton unit. Based on the electrical load I read, I discovered it was running it at about 75% of its capacity.

When on a 50% load, you can get 14 hours run time but I ran mine at 75% load and I enjoyed 9 hours and 45 minutes on a single tank.

This means you will need 16.25 gallons to run it for 24 hours at 75% load. I’m a strong believer of off-grid living and this is why I always purchase 115 gallons of fuel at the beginning of summer and after a hurricane season, so I can use it up in our rides.

What makes this generator so different from the rest?

Bigger 12k/15k generators out there typically consume about 1 gallon per hour at 50% load. At 75% load this 9500/12500 generator uses about (.67) gallon per hour.

Plus, larger generators don’t offer a backup pull start. They are usually electric start only.

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With all its fancy features, this generator still has a pull start and manual choke. Plus, a simple drain and fill oil change without using oil filters.

Bigger gen’s use automotive style oil filters and electric only choke. You don’t need to worry about losing power again.

Plus, it’s worth adding that I used a 50 AMP plug and got some wires from the hardware stores. I bought a long durable chord for around 200 bucks (at an RV center).

Big box hardware stores won’t carry the gauge wire you need to make a long chord. Hope this review helps.

  • DuroMax XP13000HX

The instructions in the manual on assembly are quite easy to follow.


Upon set-up, I added engine oil and fuel into the generator and followed the instructions on starting it. I discovered that it fired up right up and ran smoothly.

It powered my essential equipment and accessories including the air conditioning unit. For the power it supplies, this unit is a very good buy.

This is an amazing back-up power source.

  • Generac 7127 iQ3500

Without a doubt quieter and better than a Honda portable gen. It starts on first pull.

This best portable generator to run central AC is a bit heavy, but the quietness and quality are well worth it.

It performed excellently running my friend’s air 15,000 BTU air conditioner and microwave without issue. I love the digital gauges as well. My fix for the weight was a small foldable dolly that made it much easier to cart around. Plenty of power for it all.

  • DEWALT PD532MHI005

This will run your whole house including 3-ton A/C.

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I wouldn’t recommend running A/C at the same time as your electric water heater, dryer, or stove. (note – anything with a heating element draws a LOT of current – ex. toaster, iron, hair dryer, curling iron, heater fan).

It’s big, heavy, and it isn’t very quiet. It’s a workhorse for the heavy duty job site or to run the house. It does have idle control so it’s a bit quieter when not fully loaded, but it’s not the little kitten purring behind your tent at the campsite that some of the smaller more insulated units are.

Can A Portable Generator Power Your Central Air Conditioner?

Yes, it will. Forget te rubbish most people on the internet spew.

The protable generators recommended above in this post will conveniently run your central AC with no lag whatsoever.

Will A 6,500 Watt Generator Run Central Air?

Yes, it can.

My 5,500 runs my central ac with ease.

We’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Do have a nice day!

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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