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Load-shedding is an unfortunate reality for South Africans. Businesses and households are looking for alternative power sources to get them through the current “dark ages”. Many look to buy generator units.


Buying a generator is almost like buying a car, there are many aspects to take into consideration, including examples like what size of generator is required, how to maintain the generator, noise levels of the generator, after-sales service etc. It can be quite daunting for buyers.


The Power Product division at Agrinet has put together a HOW TO guide based off frequently asked questions and advice, to help resellers and end-users select generators to suit their needs.


Step 1: Know what your power usage needs are

The first step in selecting a generator is to understand what level of power usage you will need. It is important to note the altitude at which the generator is used, affects its KVA rating. (the higher the altitude, the lower the KVA rating)


Below is a list of the most commonly used products as a starting reference point. Please note that this chart is intended as a guide line only and actual consumption may vary by product and manufacturer brands. Please refer to various product manuals to establish exactly what power usage is required.


It is important to note that the KVA ratings referred to in this guide are at sea level.

Household Usage:
Product Category Product Description Running/Rated Power In Watts Additional Starting Power in Watts Total Power Required From Generator to Start and Run Product In Watts

Light Bulbs



40 0 40

Light Bulbs



60 0 60

Light Bulbs



100 0 100
Kitchen Refrigerator/ Freezer 1000 2000 3000
Dishwasher 1500 3000 4500

Microwave Oven


625 0 625

Microwave Oven


1000 0 1000

Coffee Maker

1000 Watt

1000 0 1000


2200 Watt

2200 0 2200


850 Watt

850 0 850

Food Processor

400 - 600 0 400 - 600

Electric Griller

2200 Watt

2200 0 2200
Laundry Washing Machine 1200 2400 3600
Tumble Dryer 1500 3000 4500


1200-1600 Watt

1200 - 1600 0 1200 - 1600
Family Room LED TV 47" 300 - 500 0 300 - 500
DVD Player 150 0 150
DSTV 150 0 150


9000 BTU

1500 3000 4500


12000 BTU

1800 3600 5400


18000 BTU

2500 5000 7500


24000 BTU

3800 7600 11400

Fan 20"

200 0 200
Work/DIY Usage
Product Category  Product Description Running/Rated Power In Watts Additional Starting Power In Watts Total Power Required From Generator to Start and Run Product in Watts
Electrical motors that use brushes will have a coefficient of approximately 1.4. This means that the start-up power must be multiplied by the coefficient, for example, a 500-watt power drill will require an additional 700 watts of start-up power, therefore, the total required power to operate the drill is 500W + 700W = 1200W
DIY Power Tools

Rotary Drill 


550 770 1320

Impact Drill


850 1190 2040

Multi Sander


160 224 384

Orbital Sander


200 280 480

Belt Sander 


710 994 1704

Angle Grinder


850 1190 2040

Angle Grinder


2200 3080 5280

Mitre Saw


2000 2800 4800



500 700 1200



620 868 1488
Asynchronous motors (squirrel cage type) will have a coefficient of approximately 2. This means that the start-up power must be, multiplied by the coefficient, for example, a 2200-watt air compressor will require an additional 4400 watts start up power therefore the total required power to operate the air compressor is 2200W + 4400W = 6600W.
Air Compressors

Air Compressor

200LT - 2200W

2200 4400 6600

Air Compressor

24LT - 1100W

1100 2200 3300
Office Computer Monitor  300 - 500 0 300 - 500
Copy Machine 1500 - 2000 0 1500 - 2000
Lazer Printer 800 - 1200 0 800 - 1200
Wattage = AMPS x Voltage Ampere = Wattage/Voltage
Amps per phase = (kVA x 1000) / 658
Step 2: Match your power usage needs to the output of various models.
General Guideline per model:

Please see below a few typical scenarios to serve as a guideline when selecting the appropriate generator for your requirements. You will need to match the power usage with the generator's output.

SRGE2500               2060W =

SRGE3500E                               2560W =

SRGE65000D            4560W =

SRGE8500D             5710W =

Step 3: Select the appropriate generator and start using it!


It is very important to always read the instruction manual carefully before setting up any generator unit.  Like any other piece of machinery, like a car for instance, a generator needs to be monitored and serviced after a prescribed amount of time to ensure the long-term performance of the product.


Below are some common service, maintenance and running tips regarding generators; 


- Before starting your generator, always ensure that there is sufficient oil and fuel in the machine. Generators generally do not come with oil already filled. Only use SAE30 graded oil and unleaded petrol (for petrol models) and low Sulphur diesel (for diesel models). This is the most common mistake new generator owners make.
- Do not use dirty fuel or oil in your generator.
- Always place your generator on a flat surface when pouring in the oil and fuel.
- If you have an electric start generator, check that your battery is fully charged before starting.
- Ensure that the choke is on when starting your generator, once started, switch the choke to the ‘off’ position.
- Never connect your appliances before starting your generator, always start your generator first, and then connect one appliance at a time.
- Disconnect your appliances before switching off your generator.
- Switch off the fuel tap prior to turning off your generator, to allow the fuel in the carburettor to be used.
- It is recommended that your first service should be after 20 running hours and thereafter at 50-hour intervals.
- Always operate your generator in a well-ventilated area, as toxic fumes are emitted
from your generator.


It is important to note that the KVA Ratings provided in this guide have been measured at sea level, and will drop the higher the altitude.  Please consult a technical expert if there is any uncertainty around selecting an appropriate generator.


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