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What Size of Generator Do You Need for Food Truck?

First and foremost, the size of the generator you need to run a food truck will depend on a few very important factors. However, to run a food truck, you are looking at a minimum of 3000 watts or 25 amps to run basic equipment such as fridges, blenders, or microwaves.

It is suggested you get a generator with a bit more power, of between 4000-7000 watts, if you intend to run multiple appliances, to give you that extra bit of capacity. Since food trucks tend to fully rely on electricity to run their businesses, it is absolutely necessary that your food truck has a proper generator in case something happens.

Even if the venue offers a power source, there is no guarantee that it won’t short out or sputter during the event. A generator can only produce a certain amount of electricity so it is very important that your generator can handle your daily power needs.

Aside from the fact that proper power allows you to cook your food fresh, it also ensures that certain ingredients don’t spoil. When you work with chicken, fish, pork, or beef, you need to maintain certain temperatures for your raw products.

To have a better understanding of everything that goes into picking the perfect generator for your food truck, here are few factors to consider.

Factors to Consider When Picking the Perfect Generator for Your Food Truck

  1. Loads

Note that the size of the generator you choose for your food truck will depend on the type of electrical appliances you intend to use in your food truck business. Understanding the different loads will be very helpful. It will help you in determining the amount of power your generator needs to run your food truck business. The 2 different types of loads are:

  • Reactive Load: Reactive Load refers to when the current is not in phase with the voltage. This also entails that the electrical appliance needs a higher power to start in comparison to the power it uses when it is running.
  • Resistive Load: Resistive load is when the current is in phase with the voltage. This means that the electrical appliance starts with the same power and remains running on the same power.

Electrical appliances that have a reactive load are usually appliances that have an electric motor installed. Examples are air conditioners, blenders, and refrigerators! Meanwhile, the resistive load is found in electrical appliances that generate heat such as microwaves, light bulbs, and toasters.

  1. Number of Appliances Needed/Used

The type of food truck business that you plan to run and manage determines the type of food and drinks you sell, and that determines the type of electrical appliances that are needed and used. Therefore, you want to make a list of electrical appliances that your food truck needs.

Then the next thing you want to do is understand the power or watts needed to operate these electrical appliances. Here is an example of commonly used appliances in electrical appliance average watts:

  • Blender: 500-850
  • Coffee Pot: 850-1150
  • Microwave: 750-1100
  • Light Bulbs: 13-100
  • Fan: 11-165
  • Refrigerator: 450-1100

It is necessary to note that, the power requirement for electrical appliances is more or less listed in amp while generators are listed in watts. So, in order to calculate the required power, you want to convert everything into the same power unit (watts). The formula for that is Watts = Voltage x Amps!

  1. Requirement Power

Once you have gathered all the electrical appliances required and listed all the needed power. The next thing you need to do is to just add them all together and you will get the amount of output power your generator needs to draw. Some Required Electrical Appliances to Operate a Food Truck:

  • Refrigerator – 1250 (Starting Watts), 192 (Running Watts)
  • Freezer (Small) – 550 (Starting Watts), 350(Running Watts)
  • Blender – 650 (Starting Watts), 250(Running Watts)
  • 6 Light Bulbs – 350 (Running and Starting Watts)
  • Toaster – 250 (Running and Starting Watts)

Overall required power = 1,250 + 550 + 650 + 350 + 250 = 3.050 watts

Owing to the above example, the required power output that a generator needs to produce would be 3,050 watts. However, you don’t want to get a generator that outputs the exact amount of power needed. Note that as the electrical appliances get older, the more inefficient they will get.

This simply means that the same electrical appliance from 5 years back may need more power output to run now (slightly). Therefore, get a generator that is higher than the required power. It also depends if you have plans to maybe expand your menu.

Note that if you are planning to do so, and thinking of bringing in more electrical appliances in the future, then you would want to get a more powerful generator so that you don’t need to replace it with a new one after 1 year or so. Alternatively, if this is just too overwhelming to do yourself, note that you can also consult an expert to get a recommendation.

  1. Emission Standards

If you are using a generator that pulls the fuel from an onboard fuel tank, then it is okay to use a standard gas-fuelled generator. However, if the generator that you use has its own dedicated fuel tank, then you have to install an EVAP generator.

Notably, the best generator for your truck will entirely depend on your needs. If you need more flexibility with power outlets, then find a parallel capable inverter generator so that you can link another same unit to drive more power as well as get more power outlets.

But if you own a big food truck with different appliances to run, then you must need high surge power, and a single large conventional generator can only help you with this.