How Big A Generator Do I Need To Run A 5000 BTU Air Conditioner? (Calculated)

Without access to a power grid, the 2nd best option to run an air conditioner is by using a generator.

Many people have recently asked us how big a generator do they need to run an air conditioner with a certain capacity (be it 5000 BTU, 8000 BTU, 10,000 BTU, or even 15,000 BTU air conditioner).

Camping, tents, and RV usually need a power generator to run a portable air conditioner.

Here’s how we can answer how powerful a generator we need:

  1. Figure out how many watts does your AC unit runs on. You can check our article about air conditioner wattage to figure that out.
  2. Get a generator that can deliver that kind of power.

What Size Generator Will Run A 5000 BTU Air Conditioner?

People who go camping most often inquire about 5000 BTU units. That’s because those are commonly thought of as the smallest AC units.

Here is how big a generator 5000 BTU air conditioner need:

  • Low-efficiency units (EER rating 8) need a 625 W generator.
  • Standard efficiency units (EER rating 10) need a 500 W generator.
  • High-efficiency units (EER rating 12.5) need a 400 W generator.

Most of the 5000 BTU air conditioners will need a 500 W generator. Something like Jackery 500W generator would be ideal.

jackery 500w generator
Jackery 500W is the most popular generator for 5000 BTU air conditioner. You can get it here.

Will a 500W generator run every 5,000 air conditioner?

In most cases, it will. Just check that the EER rating of the 5000  BTU unit is 10 or above.

#1 Option For Camping: Battery Powered Air Conditioner

For camping or tent cooling, a generator is only the 2nd best choice.

The old-school way of cooling down a tent looks like this:

5000 BTU Small Portable + Generator

You basically have to get two devices (which is not ideal). You’re looking to pay about $500 for each device, and you have to transport and deal with both of them.

There is a better solution, however.

The 1st choice for camping are the new-age battery-powered air conditioners. The best – and most popular one – is the Zero Breeze Mark II battery-powered air conditioner:

smallest battery powered air conditioner for very petite rooms
Zero Breeze Mark II is the best 2-in-1 air conditioner. It can generate 2300 BTU of cooling power; more than enough even for a big tent (up to 115 sq ft). You can get it here.

The battery is enough for 5 hours of intense cooling, and the whole thing weighs less than 20 lbs.

You will notice that the price of a battery-powered AC unit is a bit higher than a small 5,000BTU AC unit + 500W generator. That’s because of the upgraded new-age technology of the 2-in-1 unit. However, it’s much more convenient because it’s both portable and easy to handle; with a certain aesthetic appeal, a brute-force generator doesn’t have.

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