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2000 watt inverters can run most household appliances easily, but what about tools like saws, drills and sanders? In this guide we will look at the most commonly used power tools and find out what the inverter can and cannot run.
A 2000 watt inverter can run several tools including circular saws, belt sanders, drills and routers. Any power tool that needs less than 4000 starting watts and 2000 running watts will work with this inverter.
Calculate Power Tool Inverter Requirements
The calculations seem simple enough. If the tool uses less than 2000 watts, the inverter should be able to run it. But there are two factors that you need to account for, the surge/starting watts and the inverter efficiency.
For these calculations we assume you have a good 2000 watt inverter already set up. If not, we recommend the GoWISE 20002 Pure Sine Wave Inverter as it is built for use with power tools.
Now to the colocations:
Power tool watts x inverter efficiency = watts used
Whether it is a circular saw, grinder or any other power tool, it has two power requirements, running and surge watts.
- The surge watts is the power required to initialize the tool.
- The running watts is the power used by the tool after it has started.
- The surge watts is 2 to 3 times higher than the running watts.
For example, a router might use 600 watts to run, but when you start the tool, it requires a surge of power around 1200 to 1500 watts.
Inverter ratings are usually given in running watts. Their surge watt capacity is often twice that. A 2000 watt inverter has a 4000 surge watt capacity. If a power tool requires less than 2000 running watts and less than 4000 surge watts, it can run on the inverter.
Almost all power tools have surge and running watts, so make sure your inverter can handle it. If you want to check what power tools your inverter can run, use the two tables here as a guide. But before you do, we need to talk about inverter efficiency.
How Inverter Efficiency Affects Power Consumption
Inverters have efficiency ratings like 85%, 90% etc. This indicates how much power is lost during the current conversion process.
A 2000W inverter with a 90% efficiency rating uses 10% more watts than its load. If you load a 1200W circular saw on a 90% efficient inverter, the system uses 1320 watts.
1200 x 110% = 1320
if the inverter is 85% efficient, the total watt usage is 1380 watts.
1200 x 115% = 1380
But if you have a 2000W inverter with a 93% rating, the power consumption is 1284 watts.
1200 x 107% = 1284
This is the reason why you should not load inverters at the maximum capacity. Due to inefficiency, the power load could exceed the system capacity.
Take a disc grinder that needs 2000 running watts and 4000 starting watts. On paper this should work with a 2000 watt inverter.
But as we showed, low efficiency ratings lead to higher power consumption. If you run a 2000 watt disc grinder on a 2000 watt inverter with an 85% efficiency, the system will use 2300 running watts and 4300 surge watts.
The higher the inverter efficiency rating, the less power is wasted. This is good not only for the inverter but also your battery bank and will keep the inverter fan running.
What Power Tools Can a 2000 Watt inverter Run?
This table shows the starting and running watts required by various power tools. These figures are based on their average output, but you should check your tool user guide for the exact power consumption.
|Tool||Starting Watts||Running Watts|
|Worm drive saw||3100||1500|
Power Tools a 2000 Watt inverter Cannot Run
This table lists tools that a 2000 watt inverter cannot power. Note that some of these need less than 2000 running watts. But their starting power requirement is more than 4000 watts.
|Tool||Starting Watts||Running Watts|
|Electric lawn mower||4300||1500|
|Electric pressure washer||4000||1300|
Some of these power tools may have smaller or lightweight versions that can run on a 2000 watt inverter. Some of them may also have a 4000 watt surge requirement, but due to inverter inefficiency, the system will likely overload.
How Long Can a 2000 Watt Inverter Run Power Tools?
The runtime will depend on its power source. The other factor is how much power the inverter uses based on its efficiency.
If you live in a grid tied home, the inverter can run the power tool on solar or AC power. Grid tied solar systems store excess solar power in the grid, so there is no need for a battery bank.
As long as there is solar or AC power, the tool can run continuously on a grid tied inverter. If the power goes out, you won’t be able to use any tools unless you have a backup energy source.
If you have an off grid mobile home, an inverter battery bank is required. The battery is going to power the inverter so it can run tools or whatever else you load on it.
The power tool runtime will depend on its usage and how many batteries are installed. So if you want to run any power tool in an off grid system, make sure the battery bank is sufficient.
How Many Batteries Do I Need to Run Power Tools?
Off grid solar inverters are usually powered by a battery bank. How many batteries you need depends on how long you intend to run the tool.
A 12V 200ah battery and a 2000W inverter can run a 12 inch concrete cutter for an hour before it is almost fully discharged. You need a heavy duty lithium battery for power tools, so the ExpertPower 200ah 12V LiFePO4 should be a good choice.
Battery capacity is measured in amps. Multiply the battery voltage by its amp capacity to find its watts.
Suppose you have a 1500W worm drive saw and need to use it for two hours. How many batteries do you need?
At 1500 watts, the drive saw should require 3000 surge watts. Your inverter has a 4000 surge watt capacity so it is not a problem.
To supply the 3000 surge watts, the inverter needs a 24 volt 125 amp battery.
125 x 24 = 3000
You want to run the 1500 watt drive saw for two hours. That is 3000 watts or 125ah, exactly what you need.
A 24V 125ah battery can run a 1500 worm drive saw for two hours. Increase the battery capacity to 24V 250ah to prevent a full discharge.
A full discharge means completely emptying the battery bank. We do not recommend that for lead acid deep cycle batteries because their DOD rate is 50%.
if you want to fully discharge the batteries, better buy a lithium battery. For AGM and gel batteries, keep the DOD rate to 50%. Some AGM batteries might be usable up to 70%, but check the manual to be certain.
Is a 2000 Watt Inverter Enough?
The easiest way to answer this question is to use the tables given earlier as a guide. If the running and surge watt requirement is within the inverter capacity, then yes, the system is enough. If the power exceeds 2000W running and 4000W surge, then it is not enough.
You also have to consider the efficiency rating we explained earlier. If you have 93% to 95% rated inverter, you can load a tool close to the 2000 watt limit without a problem.
But if your inverter has a low efficiency rating – 85% or less – limit the power tool load to 1700 watts. That low rating means the inverter will waste 200 to 300 watts.
These numbers assume you will use only one power tool at a time. A 2000 watt inverter cannot run multiple power tools. If you have a solar powered shed with lots of tools, you need more power. A large solar array and battery bank is required. You might also consider a solar or gas powered generator.
Tips For Using Power Tools with an Inverter
- Check the running and surge watts for the inverter before buying. Do the same for the tools.
- Make a list of all the power tools you regularly use. Note their starting and running watts.
- Are you going to put any other load on the inverter? If so, it will reduce the power available for your tools.
- Do not load the inverter to maximum capacity. Close to 2000 watts is fine, but leave some reserve power.
There are several types of power tools, so you need to check its spec sheet to ensure it is compatible with your 2000 watt inverter. As long as the power source is sufficient the tool will run properly.
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