How Long Will A 100Ah Battery Run An Appliance That Requires 400W?
When I first saw this question my first reaction was to create a 100 Ah battery discharge calculator for appliances that require 100W to 1000W, but there’s a problem.
The word ‘appliance’ indicates something we would use in the home, so it would be AC and 120 volts (US) or 220 volts (EU). In this case an inverter is required, which also takes a little power.
What if it’s for an RV or boat? Then the 400W would be a direct DC load and could be 12, 24 or even 48 volt. Let’s assume for this post that the 100Ah battery is 12 volt leadacid deepcycle type (this one).
An answer to the question would need to contain details of what kind of appliance load we are talking about, if it’s going to have any meaning and be useful.
For example:
A 100Ah 12 volt deepcycle leadacid battery can run a 400W continuous DC load for 1.5 hours with the recommended 50% Depth of Discharge. A 100Ah 12 volt deepcycle leadacid battery can run a 400W rated AC fridge for 15 hours at a rate of 40 watts per hour.
Video – Factors affecting 100Ah battery runtime
How do you calculate how long a battery will last?
All batteries have a rated capacity in amperehours (Ah). This is really convenient when you have a DC load and you know what the current draw is in amps.
In this case how long a battery will last in hours can be found by a simple formula:
Hours left in battery = battery capacity in Ah / current draw in amps
In AC circuits it’s not so simple. The battery DC voltage needs converting to AC and stepping up to either 120 volts or 220 volts, depending on location.
To make things worse, for some appliances, like fridges, freezers and air conditioning, the relationship between voltage and current isn’t constant. In these cases, another method of calculating battery drain is needed.
How to calculate battery drain
There are two basic kinds of leadacid battery in common use:
 auto batteries for cranking car engines
 deepcycle for RV and marine use
Car batteries can deliver hundreds of amps for a short time and should never be discharged more than 20%. Normally this isn’t an issue as the car engine charges the battery back up after starting.
Deep cycle batteries, like the ‘leisure‘ batteries used in RVs, can deliver medium level currents for much longer periods and can be discharged 50% to 80%, although 50% is recommended to ensure long life.
Marine batteries can be dualpurpose. They can crank a boat engine and also power lights and other equipment when the engine isn’t running, like an RV leisure battery.
Everything I’m talking about on this post assumes a 100Ah deepcycle leadacid battery is being used.
Are lithium batteries better than lead acid?
IMO lithium phosphate batteries are better than lead acid in all respects, except price. They are naturally deepcycle and can be discharged up to 95%.
This is important. With a 100Ah deepcycle lead acid you only have 50Ah available (50% discharge recommended). With a 100Ah lithium phosphate battery you have 95Ah!
Table – Compare Lithium Iron Phosphate With Lead Acid
Lithium Phosphate 
Lead Acid 

Number charge/discharge cycles 
2000 (80% discharge) 
500 (80% DOD) 
Weight 
60% less than Pb 

Deep cycle? 
Inherently deep cycle 
Special batteries 
Cost comparision 
$$$ 
$ 

Renogy Leadacid Prices 
How long will a 100ah battery run a fridge?
A conventional AC refrigerator is difficult to assess for battery drain. With a straightforward DC load, it’s a simple calculation using watts, volts and amps.
With a fridge we can’t do that – this is very detailed post I published explaining why in detail.
The biggest problem is that refrigerators have compressors run by motors. Sometimes they run and sometimes they sit idle waiting for the next cycle.
This mean that for a certain percentage of the time the fridge draws no current, then a motor starting current and then a motor running current. The cycle might look like this:
 Compressor idle – 60%
 Compressor starting 5%
 Compressor running – 35%
A motor start current, or surge current, is about 3 times the running current. An average current is needed to work out how this type of appliance would drain a 100Ah battery.
How many watts does a refrigerator use per year/month/day?
Source: euenergylabels.com
The best way to assess the energy consumption of a fridge is to use the manufacturer’s data. Each fridge label carries an estimate of the energy it will consume on average over the year in kilowatthours (kWh).
Let’s say the average amount is 350kWh/yr. The first step if to work out how much energy it takes per hour:
 Daily fridge energy consumption = 350kWh / 365 = 958 watt/hrs
 Hourly fridge power consumption = 958 / 24 = 40 watts
So now we know that our 100Ah battery has to deliver 40 watts every hour on average, but the energy used isn’t the same day and night – more energy is used in daytime when the door is opened regularly.
Let’s go with the average of 40 watts per hour. How does this relate to battery amphours?
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How to calculate watt hours of a battery
For an appliance such as a 400W refrigerator, we can equate the hourly watts used to battery capacity by converting amphours (Ah) into watthours (Wh):
Battery watthours = amphours x voltage
How many kWh in 100Ah battery?
For a 100Ah battery we have 1200Wh, but remember we can only discharge a deepcycle battery 50%. Really, we only have 50Ah available, or 600Wh.
How long will a deep cycle battery run a fridge?
I’ll ignore the inverter losses to keep it simple:
Running time in hours for 400W fridge fed from 100Ah battery = 600Wh / 40W = 15 hours
A word of warning: Look at the chart below and you’ll see that the battery volts goes down as it discharges.
Once discharge approaches 40% to 50% the compressor surge current may pull the voltage down too much and trigger the inverter lowvolts alarm.
Because of the above, I would revise the comfortable running time down to 10 hours.
How to measure amp hours in a battery
How do you know how much capacity is left in your 100Ah battery? There is a rough relationship between leadacid terminal voltage, at least, good enough for an estimate of how much power you have left.
Table – 12V Lead Acid Battery Capacity Vs Terminal Volts
Percentage State Of Charge (12 V LeadAcid Battery) 
Battery terminal volts 
100% 
12.73 
90 
12.62 
80 
12.50 
70 
12.37 
60 
12.24 
50 
12.10 
40 
11.96 
30 
11.81 
20 
11.66 
10 
11.51 
How Long Will A 100Ah Battery Run An Appliance – 100 watts to 1000 watts? Battery Discharge Calculator
The calculator below finds the run time for appliances running on 12V DC supplied from a deepcycle 100Ah battery. Enter the wattage and see the run time:
If you prefer, simply look up the load in watts on the table below:
Hours Run Time 12 volts 100Ah deepcycle leadacid battery (50% recommended discharge) 

Load supplied in watts 
Run time in hours 

DC Load 
AC Load (inverter losses subtracted) 

20 
30 
28.5 
40 
15 
14.25 
100 
6 
5.7 
300 
2 
1.9 
500 
1.2 
1.14 
600 
1 
0.95 
1000 
0.6 
0.57 
1500 
0.45 
0.427 
3000 
0.2 
0.19 
Battery discharge time calculator – 100Ah battery with AC loads + inverter
Calculating run time for AC appliances is a bit more complex, because an inverter will be used and also some AC appliances have compressors installed.
The calculator below doesn’t account for refrigerators and similar appliances (freezers, air conditioning, heat pumps) as I covered that quite extensively earlier on in the post:
Table: Running times for various AC loads
If you prefer, simply look up the load in watts on the table below to see the run time:
100Ah deepcycle leadacid battery with AC loads with inverter – 50% recommended discharge 

Load (watts) 
Run time (hours) 
100 watts 
5.16 hours 
200 
2.58 
300 
1.72 
400 
1.29 
500 
1.03 
600 
0.86 
700 
0.74 
800 
0.65 
900 
0.57 
1000 
0.52 
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How long will a 200ah battery run an appliance that requires 400W?
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A 200Ah 12 volt leadacid deepcycle battery will run a 400W DC load for 3 hours at 50% Depth of Discharge. A 200Ah 12 volt deepcycle leadacid battery will power a 400W AC fridge for 30 hours, drawing power at a rate of 40 watts per hour.
Other questions asked about 100Ah batteries:
How long will a fridge run on a 100AH battery?
A 100Ah 12 volt deepcycle leadacid battery can run a 400W rated AC fridge for 15 hours at a rate of 40 watts per hour. The average energy consumption of a refrigerator is 350 kilowatthours/year.
How long will a 100Ah battery run an appliance that requires 600w?
A 100Ah battery will run a 600W DC appliance for 1 hour. An AC appliance rated at 600W will only run for 0.86 hours because of the losses in the DC/AC inverter needed for the battery.
How many solar panels does it take to charge a 100Ah battery?
A 100 watt solar panel using an MPPT solar charge controller will charge up a 50% discharged 100Ah 12 volt battery in 15 hours.
How long will a 100Ah battery run a trolling motor?
A 100Ah lead acid deepcycle battery will run a 30lbs thrust trolling motor on Speed 4 for 4 hours.
What does 100Ah mean on a battery?
It’s often said that a 100Ah (amphours) battery can deliver 1 amps for 100 hours or 100 amps for 1 hour. This is not really an accurate description of battery operation.
Batteries should never be discharged completely so the rated capacity isn’t available for use. A deepcycle battery should only be discharged between 50% to 80%, only that percentage of the total capacity is available for useful power.
When higher currents are drawn the battery capacity reduces significantly, so the amps vs hours relationship isn’t linear at all.
Key takeaways about running a 400W appliance from a 100Ah battery using a power inverter
Any type of battery benefits from a full charge and cycling to maximize battery life. A 100 amp hour battery is a good size for running most home appliances and provides up to 1200 watts of power.
IMO lithium phosphate are better than lead acid batteries, with a higher discharge rate, better power output to weight ratio and is fast becoming a common battery type.
Are AGM batteries any good?
An AGM battery is very robust and used for many static and mobile applications, such as mobility scooters. it depends how much battery power you need.
Heavy current applications ten to use a higher volt system to account for voltage drop when high currents are drawn. AGM and lithiumbased batteries are both deepcycle batteries, same as an RV battery.
How many batteries do I need?
It depends of whether running a small water pump or a bitcoin mining rig! An ordinary car battery won’t run anything for very long as it isn’t designed fro that kind of sustained load. A decent battery bank also needs high watt inverter to convert to AC if powering a household appliance as all batteries store and deliver direct current.
A 12v battery can be connected to similar batteries in series or parallel. Series connection doubles the terminal voltage, while parallel connection doubles the available current. Both methods double the power available but a 100 amp battery battery is still a 100 amp battery.
A good size inverter is important for correct operation of appliances and pure sine wave is one of the important factors: it’s a good idea to buy the best quality you can afford. It’ll last a long time.
What is a marine battery?
Marine batteries are often 24 volt batteries with a dual function. A 100 amphour battery of this type may have the same watts of capacity as a deepcycle battery, but can deliver high starting currents and also deliver sustained power for lights and other small appliances.
They can either be leadacid or lithium ion batteries but they are always classed as deepcycle. Camper batteries can be marine type, but usually have a normal deepcycle for the living space and an auto battery for starting the engine.