Can You Run A Stick Welder On A Generator

We generally use electrical power outlets to operate our stick welders. But if there is any power cut or your electric receptacle, you may feel the necessity of using a generator.

Can you run a stick welder on a generator? Yes, you can operate a small stick welder easily with a generator.

It just needs to have a compatible output. Let’s dive into more details!

Can You Use Generator To Power Welders?

A generator might be the closest alternative you are looking for if you don’t have the accessibility of using primary electrical power. Unfortunately, not all generators can power welders.

A generator must have the minimum level of power to operate the machine. Inverter welding machines are highly sensitive. A poor or unstable power supply can damage these machines.

Can You Use Generator To Power Welders

You can use a generator to power welders if it supplies adequate power to operate the machine. But make sure its power supply pattern is smooth and clean.

Running a welder using a generator requires you consider the maximum current draw of the welder.

For example, if your welding machine needs around 30 amps of power, you can choose a generator with 60 amp power.

Can You Run A Stick Welder On A Generator?

Compared to typical welders, stick welders require a little bit more power. Hence, an electric arc welding machine will extract extra power from the power source.

Running a stick welding using a generator requires you consider the compatible output wattage of the generator. It must be suited to the arc welder.

For example, if your stick welder needs 160 amps at the maximum level, choose a generator that has a minimum of 7kva rating.

A generator will need around 8kva power for a stick welding machine that needs 180-200 amps output at the peak point.

Extremely powerful stick welders will need approximately at least 13kva rated generators.

So, considering a stick welder’s maximum power requirement is vital.

What Features A Generator Must Have To Run Stick Welder

You can’t avoid some crucial points when choosing a generator for a stick welder. 


The first and most important thing is to consider the power of a generator. For instance, if your stick welding machine has a 180 amp rating, choose a generator with a minimum 180 amp rating.


The size of a generator determines the amount of power you need to run the machine. A larger size means more capacity.

For example, if you only handle small welding projects, you can choose a generator with a 5000 watts capacity. This appears enough to handle all the tasks.

Run Time

How many hours are you going to do stick welding every day? Stick welders come in various types.

They will consume a different level of power depending on their wattage. Hence, you can run higher wattage welding machines for more hours than lower wattage.


Generators are a little bit noisy. But it should not prevent you from concentrating on the work. Try choosing generators that have less than a 90 DB rating.

It won’t be a deafening sound. However, the initial sound might be a little louder. It decreases over time.


Maintaining a proper distance between the generator and your welding machine is necessary. Generators create a detectable level of sound.

Hence, the extension cord length of a generator plays a key role. It can be anywhere from 15 feet to 250 feet, depending on the gauge and wattage.


Ensuring working safety is vital while powering a stick welder from the generator. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is highly hazardous that may be produced by your welding machine.

Keep your generator always moisture-free and far away from wet locations.

Fuel Capacity

Our welding projects vary from each other. Continuously working for hours means you need a more large-capacity fuel tank.

Plus, refilling the tank is necessary when it goes to the bottom level. After all, generators may consume fuel quickly when you are handling heavy jobs.


Sometimes, you may need to move the generator from one place to another. If it is heavy and has no wheel at the bottom, you may need a helping hand to move it into another location.

Additional Features

Some generators come with many useful features such as automatic voltage regulators (AVR), Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection, Automatic idle control, etc.

This gives you extra convenience to control the machine efficiently.

How Do I Determine the Right Size Generator For My Stick Welder?

Unless you choose a perfect-sized generator, your stick welding performance won’t be up to the mark. Here are some common factors you should not overlook.

Consider the wattage of the generator

A generator wattage output is one of the most important things you need to consider for your stick welder. But there is a direct connection between voltage and wattage.

For instance, a generator with a 5000 watts rating is capable of providing up to 180-200 amps at a 240-volt. However, two output ratings are available for generators: running watts and peak watts.

Running watts are generally lower than peak watts. There can be around a 30% gap between them. Peak watts are necessary to handle rapid output increment after starting the machine.

Consider the wattage of the stick welder

The second job is figuring out the highest level of wattage your stick welding machine can handle. You can easily know them from the brand’s official website or physical shop.

Sometimes, it might be included in the instruction manual. If not, you can multiply its maximum amps and volts to get the maximum wattage level.

For example, if it has 50 amps and 260 volts, your generator has a minimum rating of 13000 watts or more. Otherwise, the machine won’t work efficiently. You may get poor weld quality.

Any other things to keep in mind?

Have you decided to use the generator power to use other machinery or tools apart from a generator? Then, you must consider how much power they will consume.

It is better to choose a higher wattage generator to avoid hazardous situations. Regardless of the condition, never use lower wattage generators that can’t provide sufficient power to all.

Besides, use higher altitudes for generators when the air is thinner. This will ensure a stable welding performance. But make sure the altitude kit is compatible with your generator model.  

How Do We Weld Using A Generator?

So, you have already learned how to choose a compatible generator for your stick welding machine. But how about learning how to use a generator for your stick welder?

Step: 1 —Checking the Fuel Level of the Generator Tank

First, inspect the fuel level of your generator tank. Make sure it has an adequate amount of fuel to run the machine.

You don’t want to stop in the middle of the welding job. It will affect your welding quality. This will also waste your time.

Step: 2 —Running the Generator

Once you ensure enough level of fuel, run on the generator. Make sure you have not still connected the welder to the generator. You should plug in it only after starting the generator.

Step: 3 —Keeping the Welding Plug on the Right Side

Keeping the welder outlet next to a generator is a good rule of thumb. But if there is no scope for keeping it, you can look for the best alternative. But make sure it is safe.

Step: 4 —Starting the Welding Machine

The next task is turning on your stick welder. Then, adjust the setting of your welding machine according to the generator capability and your welding project.

Make sure to choose the right level of amps and voltage. This will help you to get your preferred outcome. If you are working a low-powered generator, don’t exceed the maximum wattage.

Step: 5 —Turning Off the Welder and Generator

 Once you have completed your welding task, switch off your welding machine and generator. It will save energy, power, and fuel.

If your generator becomes too hot in the middle of the working, keep it a few minutes break. This will help you to ensure optimal safety.

For More Info Check This Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many amps does a stick welder use?

Most professional stick welders need a stick welding machine with a 200 to 300-amp rating. You may need to go for several passes when handing more than 3/8 inch thicker materials. 

Can I plug my welder into a generator?

Yes, you can plug your welder directly into your generator. But it is uncertain how much safety your generator can provide for your welding machine. Make sure to read the instruction manual to become 100% sure about it

Will a 7000, 5000, & 2000 watt generator run a welder?

Yes, a 7000, 5000 & 2000 watt generator can run a welder. But higher wattage generators will take more time to heat p. But don’t use any welder that passes the generator wattage rating.

Last Words

Stick welding involves handling thicker materials. You need a sufficient power supply to weld different types of items. Unless your generator has the right power level and is compatible with the stick welding machine, you can’t run it conveniently.

When choosing a generator for your stick welder, you need to consider amps, volts, and overall wattage. Ensure its wattage power is equal to or more than the welder peak wattage.

Hopefully, the question of “Can you run a stick welder on a generator?” got cleared.


  • James Smith

    This is James Smith, a Hobbyist welder, welding since my 15th birthday. My father was a professional welding mechanic at a garage and used to take me to garage. My love for welding started then and I learnt basics from my father. At my 15th, my father gifted me a stick welder and my journey to become a welder began. Gradually I accustomed to welding and mastered at tig welding.

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