Unless you want to end up with hundreds of dollars in spoiled groceries, your fridge is the most important appliance to plug into a generator in the event of a power outage. But when hooking a refrigerator to a portable generator, be aware that this large appliance requires more power at start-up than it does once it's up and running. Make sure your generator has the wattage for starting the refrigerator, not just running it.
Unless you don’t mind eating cold canned foods, cereals and other items that don’t need to be cooked, you’ll want to connect your microwave to your portable generator. A microwave will use less wattage than an electric stove yet allow you to enjoy warm meals during a power outage. Plus, if you have a wall-mounted microwave, you can turn on the counter light to give your kitchen some illumination.
Nobody likes to sit in the dark. It’s not only frustrating, but also potentially dangerous. Fortunately, even a small portable generator can power lights with minimum effort and wattage expenditure. Run as few lights as possible to ensure that you have enough wattage for any other appliances you need to run simultaneously.
In a situation like a hurricane or earthquake, when power outages are common, people usually crave information. Thus, you might want to plug in a television, radio or even a computer. But sensitive electronics can be damaged by even minor wattage fluctuations that commonly occur with portable generators. Thus, you’ll want to get the best quality portable generator available if you plan to use it to run sensitive electronics.