It is possible to have many of the standard household appliances on-board your canal boat or narrowboat providing you can generate the power required to run them (if you are not connected to shoreline power). Here is an overview to the power draw of common household appliances.

Built in gas hob and cooker with microwave on a narrowboat
It is possible to install a washing machine and a tumble dryer on a narrow boat with the right power supply
Oil-filed electic radiator could be used on a narrowboat if you can generate sufficient power

Power Considerations… How Many Watts?

Living on a narrow boat does not always mean you can’t have the same appliances as you have in a domestic home. If you are moored in a marina, with shoreline power, your main restriction is often simply space. However when cruising or without shoreline, you need to take careful note of how much power each appliance will use and whether you can sufficiently generate that level of power before you flip the switch!

Conducting a power audit is a useful exercise when considering which appliances are required. https://www.thefitoutpontoon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/power-audit.pdf

The table below details some common household appliances and how much power they require. This is intended as a guide only and you should always consult your own appliance for exact details.

Appliance Average Energy Consumption (watts)
Fridge 150 - 400
Freezer 150 - 400
Washing Machine 1200 - 3000
Tumble Dryer 2000 - 4000
Dishwasher 1900 - 2400
Microwave 600 - 1500
Toaster 800 - 1700
Iron 1000 - 1200
Vacuum Cleaner 200 - 700
De-humidifier 165 - 500
Oscillating Desk Fan 10 - 25
Portable Heater 1500
Oil Filled Radiator 1000 - 2000
Slow Cooker 180 - 250
Hairdryer 2000 - 2500
Coffee Machine 800 - 1400
Kettle 1800

Power Considerations… Narrowboat Friendly Alternatives

 Stove Top/Gas Kettle

Camping and outdoor retail shops will often be a good outlet to source a gas kettle which can be used on your hob or stove (always check manufactures guidelines for suitability). These will often be lightweight and compact as they are designed primarily for camping trip.  If space is invaluable on your narrow boat and you would prefer to store your kettle away when not in use, a collapsible kettle may meet your requirements, which collapses down to a mere 2in high!

12v Coffee Machine

In addition to domestic coffee machines, you can also obtain a 12v version which is ideal for canal boats with no invertor. They are not full size but generally have 625ml capacity (approximately 3 decent mugs of coffee!). Manufactures claim they draw around 16A at 12V so should not place a great strain on the canal boat batteries. Similarly you can also purchase a 12V ‘pod’ style coffee machine for those requiring their daily fix of espresso!

Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

There are many options now available which work using rechargeable batteries which have a low power draw compared to a traditional vacuum cleaner plugged in to 230v. Average running time from a full charge is 20-40 minutes, which is ample for use on both narrowboats and widebeam boats.

Power Considerations

Not what you're looking for? Try some other items within this chapter...