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:
- Figure out how many watts does your AC unit runs on. You can check our article about air conditioner wattage to figure that out.
- Get a generator that can deliver that kind of power.
What Size Generator Will Run A 5000 BTU Air Conditioner?
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.
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:
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.