RV users and homeowners usually rely on an AC system to keep them cool during the hot summer days, and warm during long and cold winter nights. A 15000 BTU system pulls upwards of 4000 watts of electricity when starting up, so you will need a powerful generator to run the AC system properly.
Since there are so many models on the market, it is hard to pick the best generator for a 15000 BTU air conditioner. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve reviewed only the best models on the market.
Our Top Picks for 2023
1. Champion Power Equipment 7500-Watt Dual Fuel
Champion made its name thanks to its selection of high-quality power generators, designed and manufactured in the USA. Local manufacturing comes at a hefty cost, but it ensures better quality control; you don’t want to be stuck with a faulty generator during an emergency. The 7500W model will provide you with enough electricity for AC and other home appliances.
Our favorite feature is the dual-fuel system, enabling you to power this generator with either fuel or propane. This is especially important if you need a generator for emergency backup power, as propane is cheaper and more available during shortages. When using fuel, you get 9375W of starting power and around 7500W of running power. Propane will give you a bit less power, with 8400W of starting power and 6750W of running power.
You won’t need to break your back pulling the crank, as this generator has an electric start. The tank holds 7.7 gallons of fuel, which will get you about 10 hours of run time. A standard 20-pound propane tank will keep this generator running for about 5.5 hours. A 6 foot LPG hose is included, so you won’t have to source it yourself. Cold start technology will ensure a quick start during the winter. There is no fuel gauge, which is a bit of a letdown at this price point. But there is Intelligauge, a screen which will provide you with some basic stats.
- Dual-fuel system
- Electric start
- LPG hose included
- Cold start technology
- No fuel gauge
2. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
If you’ve been shopping for a generator in the past, you are likely already familiar with Westinghouse. Their generators are known for durability, low fuel consumption, stability, and low noise levels. All that stands true for their latest model, the WGen7500, making it a worthy alternative to the Champion 7500-Watt Dual Fuel model.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the power ratings. With a peak power of 9500W and 7500W of running power, it makes it one of the most capable models on the market. AC systems pull a lot of electricity during their startup, and 9500 peak watts will leave you enough headroom for the rest of your home appliances.
This model is CARB compliant, making it legal in California. Fuel consumption is decent, considering the amount of power that this generator provides. The 6.6-gallon tank will keep running for up to 11 hours on a full tank, making it much more fuel-efficient than the Champion generator. The data center will provide you with plenty of important information.
- CARB compliant
- Good fuel efficiency
3. WEN GN625i 120V/240V
While the WGen7500 and Champion 7500 generate the most amount of power, they consume a considerable amount of fuel and cost a lot of money. If you want a slightly less powerful generator and prefer the reliability of the crank, the GN625i might be the right choice for you.
The 301cc four-stroke engine will provide you with 6250W of surge power, and up to 5500W of running power. This generator will effortlessly power all of your home appliances, whatever you are getting a generator for an emergency source of power or to power your RV
The first thing you notice on the front panel is the big screen, which will display your generator’s runtime. There are three diagnostic lights, which will warn you if you overload the generator or run low on oil. Choke is also located on the front panel, as this model doesn’t have an electric start system. Eco mode is a welcome addition, and we recommend you always leave it on, as it improves fuel efficiency and reduces engine wear.
- Plenty of peak power
- Info screen
- Diagnostic Lights
- Crank operated
4. Ford 5250W Dual Fuel
The more powerful generators offer extra stability and leave plenty of extra headroom for other appliances, but they cost extra money and use considerably more fuel than the less powerful models. Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel will provide you with plenty of stable and clean power at a fair price.
5250W is just about enough startup power for a 15000 BTU air conditioner, with 4250W of running power. You will have to keep in mind that propane will give you less power, with 4750W of starting power and 3800W of running power. You will still be able to use your AC on propane, but you will need to turn off other power-hungry appliances for a moment.
Unlike the more expensive models, it has a simple display that will tell you the current runtime in hours. But Ford gets bonus points for including an electric start. There is also an included remote control, so you won’t have to leave your RV to start the generator. It has a 4-gallon tank, which will give you 11 hours of usage at half-load.
- Dual-fuel system
- Electric start
- Remote control
- Good fuel efficiency
- Lack of fuel gauge
5. Durostar DS5500EH
With a bit more starting power and a more affordable price, the latest Durostar generator is a worthy alternative to the Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel.
The dual-fuel system lets you run this generator with gasoline or propane. It provides up to 5500W of starting power, and up to 4500W of running power. While most generators provide considerably less power when using propane, the DS5500EH will provide you with 5250W of starting power and 4250W of running power. If you plan to run your generator on propane, you should seriously consider this generator.
There is no information screen, but at least you get a voltmeter and low oil light, so you can monitor your oil levels and the battery voltage. The battery is used for the electric start, which is always a welcome addition. We also liked that they included 12v terminals, so you can hotwire this generator with your car/RV; this can be a life-saver if your battery goes flat or dies. The 3.9-gallon tank will be enough for 9 hours of runtime.
- Dual-fuel system
- Low oil indicator
- 12V terminals
- Fuel efficiency could’ve been better
6. Powermate P0081300 Gas Generator 4500 Watt 49 ST
We love everything about the latest Powermate generator. It has all the latest features you’d expect from a modern generator, and it will keep your wallet happy, with an affordable price point and low fuel consumption.
With 4500W of starting power and 3600W of running power, it will effortlessly power a 15K BTU air conditioning system. But there won’t be much headroom left, so make sure you turn off all the power-hungry appliances before starting your AC unit. It sports a big 5-gallon tank, with an impressive runtime of up to 20 hours.
We liked the addition of the push to start button, which works similarly to the one you might find in your car; just push the button and the generator will start. It’s nice to see an info screen at this price point, but it is a fairly simple one, it will display only the runtime. The low-oil shutoff will turn the generator off in case you forgot to fill the oil, which can prevent damage.
- Up to 20 hours of runtime
- Push to start
- Low-oil shutoff
- No propane option
7. A-iPower SUA4500 4500 Watt
The A-iPower SUA4500 is one of the cheapest models on the market, perfect for users who are on a tight budget. It can power an AC system, but if you go with this generator, we advise you get a soft start circuit.
If you don’t mind pulling the crank, you can save a considerable amount of money, as an electric start system adds a lot of the final cost. Regardless of price, many users still prefer a crank-powered generator, as it is considered more reliable than the electric start system.
The 223cc engine will provide you with 4500W of starting power, and up to 3500W of running power, similar to the previously reviewed Powermate generator. But it’s a bit less fuel-efficient, the 4-gallon tank will be enough for 11 hours of runtime. The front panel is straightforward, with a screen that displays runtime, and a low-oil light.
- Low-oil indicator
- Crank operated
- Low fuel efficiency
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best generator for 15000 BTU air conditioner is the amount of starting power. There are plenty of cheap generators on the market, but they are likely to overload during a big power surge. Unless you want to fiddle with soft starters, we recommend getting a generator with at least 5000 watts of starting power.
Let’s face it, most people will power their generators with gasoline. But the price of gasoline can hike up during natural disasters and emergencies, and shortages are also common. Propane is cheaper and more available during emergencies, as propane supply lines aren’t as easily disrupted.
While gasoline used to be cheap, prices have been hiking up during the past couple of years, so fuel economy is more important than ever. Always make sure to check the fuel consumption; it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Some models even have an eco mode, which will further improve the fuel economy.
While most models have an electric start, some generators also include a remote control. During cold winter months, you will be grateful for the remote control, as you won’t have to leave the comfort of your home to turn the generator on.
Will a 3500-watt generator run a 15000 BTU AC?
While 15000 BTU air conditioner consumes only about 1500W of power, it will need a lot more power when starting up. Most 15K units need about 4000W of starting power, but most of them will start with a bit less power. So 3500 watts is just barely enough to start an AC system, but you will have to turn off all the other appliances. There’s always an option to install a soft starter, which will work perfectly for 3500W generators
How many watts do you need to run a 15000 BTU air conditioner?
A 15000 BTU system consumes about 1500W of power, which is not a lot. But during the startup, it will need at least 3500W of surge power, which means you will need a pretty powerful generator. While you could get away with a 4000W generator, it is always better to have extra headroom for other appliances.
Can I run the air conditioner with a generator?
Yes, you can, as generators are meant to power multiple power-hungry appliances. If you got a smaller AC unit, most generators will work. But if you got a powerful system, you will need a capable generator with at least 5000W of surge power.
What appliances will a 3000 watt generator run?
A 3000W generator will be plenty for all of your RV appliances, such as the oven, microwave, television, refrigerator, sound system, etc. You will be able to use multiple appliances simultaneously, but watch out for power-hungry appliances, as they might overload your generator.
We’ve reviewed some of the best models on the market, which should help you choose the perfect portable generator. If you need a power source for your RV, you should pick a model with good fuel economy. Many people live in their RV, and the cost of fuel can quickly add up if you don’t pick the right model. If you are in the market for an emergency power solution, you should choose a reliable model with plenty of power, preferably with a dual-fuel system.
If these weren’t enough, check out some other picks from Amazon also: