How Many Watts and Amps Does A Refrigerator Use?

Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Without a refrigerator, no kitchen is complete. But did you realize that your refrigerator could be racking up a large electricity bill? It may come as a shock to learn how much it costs to keep your food fresh. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to improve the energy efficiency of your refrigerator.

It’s vital to know how many watts your refrigerator uses in order to understand how it affects your electric bill and what you can do to save money.

How Many Watts Does A Refrigerator Use?

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A typical household refrigerator consumes 350 to 780 watts.

Refrigerator power consumption is affected by a variety of factors, including the type of refrigerator you have, its size and age, the ambient temperature in your kitchen, the type of refrigerator you have, and where you put it.

You can calculate how much it costs to run your refrigerator once you know how much power it requires. Because power is sold by the kilowatt-hour, you must convert watts to kilowatt-hours in order to calculate your operational costs.

What is the average refrigerator wattage?

The answer varies depending on the size of the refrigerator, but the typical wattage ranges from 100 to 400 watts. The anticipated energy use per year in dollars is usually listed on the EnergyGuide sticker that came with your fridge.

 It will also keep track of the fridge’s annual kilowatt-hour usage. Keep in mind that these stickers are based on estimates, so they could be somewhat off.

Manufacturers calculate these numbers using national averages, as well as local energy costs and temperature settings. Refrigerators with a starting wattage of 800-1200 watt-hours/day are common.

Related: 7 Refrigerator Brands To Avoid and 5 Most Reliable Brands

How Many Watts Does a Mini-Fridge Use?

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A mini-wattage fridge varies based on its cooling capability and manufacturer, although most versions need between 50 and 100 watts.

The power consumption of your mini-fridge, like that of other appliances, will be indicated in your owner’s manual (in watts). Newer versions, thanks to technological advancements, can keep food and drinks frozen while using less energy than those on the market a few years ago. 

This is why most compact refrigerators only run for eight hours per day, or one-third of the day. But how much power does a tiny fridge consume? This will be determined by how frequently you use the mini-fridge and how long you leave it plugged in. 

The majority of small refrigerators today, on the other hand, use 310 kWh or less. If you use a mini-fridge for temperature-controlled storage instead of a larger appliance, you can expect to save money on a yearly basis.

How many watts does a full size fridge use?

Older, larger systems needed up to 700-1000 watts of continuous power and 2000-3000 watts to start.

Check the energy star rating of your large home refrigerator/freezer if it consumes 500 watts or more; buying a new, more energy efficient equipment may result in significant energy (and money) savings over time.

The following are typical requirements for a modern refrigerator/freezer:

– Big house refrigerator: 200-400 watts running, 1000-1200 watts beginning

– Typical residential refrigerator: 100-250 watts of running power, 700-1000 watts of starting power

How many amps does a refrigerator use?

The electrical run rate is calculated using an amp. Electrical codes determine the chain and course top sizes based on the root of amps. The entire amount of electricity used by a refrigerator compressor to chill the compartment is measured in refrigerator amps.

The amount of electrical current used by a refrigerator’s compressor to chill its compartment is measured in amps. When the voltage is 120, the amperage for typical residential freezers ranges from 3 to 5. A dedicated circuit of 15 to 20 amps is required because of the significantly higher in-rush amperage.

The average amperage is lower because the compressor isn’t running all of the time; this is often stated in kilowatt hours KWH.

What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator?

You’ll need a generator with a mid-range output to run a decent-sized refrigerator. This will be determined by the model of your refrigerator and whether you want to power any extra appliances.

Almost all 2,000-Watt gas generators can power most family refrigerators. You might not have enough power for larger refrigerators if you look at smaller 1,000 Watt generators.

Here are three excellent gas options for almost any household refrigerator:

1. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

2. Generac GP3300 Portable Generator

3. Briggs & Stratton P3000 PowerSmart Series

A common portable generator — such as a gas generator – may produce up to 10,000 watts. This is more than enough electricity to run a refrigerator.

If you have a backup generator, which is a generator meant to power a home or company in the case of a power outage, it can often deliver up to 15,000 watts. This is more than enough to run a refrigerator.

How to estimate your refrigerator’s power consumption

The power consumption of the fridge is listed on the energy guidance label in both watts (W) and kilowatts per 24 hours (kWh/24h). Use the kWh/24h figure of your refrigerator to get a more accurate estimate of its power consumption.

To get the kWh/24h, simply divide the power by 1,000 and multiply by 24 hours

This formula does not include compressor cycles and other variables that significantly affect power consumption. You’ll need to know your fridge’s typical operational wattage to get an accurate result; if you use the rated wattage, you’ll get a grossly inflated result.

Finding the daily or annual kWh rating and using that as a baseline for your computation is one technique to get the actual running wattage. If the annual kWh rating is 875 kWh, divide that by 365 days to get 2.4 kWh per day, implying an average wattage of roughly 100 watts (accounting for all considerations).

Monthly Cost of a Refrigerator

A normal refrigerator uses about 1.25 gallons of water each day. 1.4 kilowatt-hours each day, or 41 kilowatt-hours per month This equates to about 500 kWh each year.

The higher consumption level of Energy Star certified top mounted freezer refrigerators is 500kWh per year. Smaller compact refrigerators use less energy (between 150 and 350 kWh per year), whereas larger side-by-side American refrigerators use more (approx. 600 to 800kWh per year).

Older refrigerators can use a lot more energy, with a typical 20-year-old refrigerator using roughly 2,000kWh per year.

We can simply calculate the monthly operating cost by using the typical power ratings from the refrigerators stated above and the average cost per kWh in the United States, which is 13 cents.

  • Average top freezer refrigerator: $5.42
  • Typical efficient compact refrigerator: $2.17
  • Modern large side-by-side refrigerator: $8.67
  • Older large refrigerator: $21.67

Related: Why Is My Refrigerator Leaking Water? (Here’s How To Fix)

Energy savings tips for your refrigerator

energy refrigerator saving tips

Refrigerators run continuously, making them one of the most energy-intensive appliances on the market. Here are some energy-saving techniques to help save money.

1. Purchase an energy-saving appliance.

The energy efficiency of a refrigerator is clearly indicated by the information on the energy label. The general guideline is that the more + signs after the A, the more energy efficient and cost-effective the device is.

3. It is vital to select the appropriate location.

Avoid placing your refrigerator near a heat source, such as an oven, and keep it away from direct sunlight.. Whether you have a freestanding or built-in refrigerator, make sure it has enough ventilation so the compressor does not have to operate constantly.

3. Close the door as soon as possible.

Cold air exits and warm ambient air enters every time the refrigerator door is opened. The refrigerator must subsequently expend energy to cool down in order to compensate for the temperature increase in its inside. Always try to avoid opening the door unnecessarily and for an extended period of time.

4. Only keep cold foods in the fridge.

Warm food should never be placed in the refrigerator since it will heat up the inside and other stored meals. Always allow hot food to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.

5. Check the door seals on a regular basis.

The rubber seal acts as an insulator, preventing heat transfer between the refrigerator and the surrounding air. It is critical to inspect the seal on a frequent basis to ensure that it is totally intact and properly sealed. If this isn’t the case, replace it right away! Also, double-check that all stored objects are in good condition.


Here are the frequently asked questions.

Can a portable power station run a refrigerator?

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Portable power stations have lithium batteries and power inverters built in, as well as 1-2 110V AC outlets and USB charging connections.

For up to 1 hour and 35 minutes, a 500W portable power station with at least 500Wh of stored energy can operate a 250W home fridge (or any similar appliance) for up to 1h and 35 minutes, while a 1000W portable power station with 1000Wh of stored energy can easily power a 250W appliance for up to 3 hours, depending on the size and energy class of the refrigerator.

In addition, depending on how the fridge is used and the temperature differential, the electric motor may run continuously or on/off, with the Off period frequently being much longer than the On period – in this case, portable power stations may power such appliances for much longer periods of time.

Can a 2000 watt generator run a refrigerator?

When it comes to dealing with a power loss at home, a 2,000-watt generator can keep the minimal necessities going.

To begin, keeping the refrigerator and freezer running to prevent food from spoiling is possible with a 2000 watt generator. You can also switch on the lights, though you should use them more sparingly than usual to save fuel and power. If you keep the lights off, you can power some other critical home appliances. 

A sump pump consumes roughly 1,200 watts, which your generator and refrigerator can handle. If you have more than one refrigerator or freezer in your home, you can keep one of them operating.

Can a 1200 watt generator run a fridge?

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An 1200 watt generator is a sort of power source that may be used to power a variety of devices. One approach to offer emergency electricity to your home is using a 1200 watt generator. What is the maximum output of a 1200 watt generator?

Install the power cord from the target device to connect the 1200 watt generator to your home. This way of generating electricity is ideal for devices such as televisions and refrigerators. You can also install electrical wiring in your home and then use this method to start the generator.

The latter is available for major items like ovens and pumps, and a 1200 watt generator, as well as properly handled safety issues, is required.

However, because most refrigerators have a maximum starting watt of 1200W, any generator with a power rating of 2000W or above should suffice. You can do so with confidence, knowing that you will not risk overworking the machine.

If you can’t locate the Watts on your refrigerator, all you have to do is multiply the volts by the amps, which will give you the wattage. This information is usually written someplace on the fridge itself, usually on the back.

When a generator is overloaded and a refrigerator is linked to it, both the refrigerator and the generator may be damaged.

Is it safe to run a refrigerator on a generator?

It may appear straightforward to connect everything to a generator, and as long as the generator has fuel, it should function, right? This isn’t always the case, however. Before you go out and buy a generator, think about what you’ll be using it for.

When it comes to running a refrigerator, it usually takes a lot of energy. Is it safe to use a generator to power a refrigerator?

Running a refrigerator on a generator is entirely safe as long as the generator’s watt allowance is greater than the refrigerator’s initial watt consumption. A generator with a capacity of 2000 watts is suitable because the average starting watts of a refrigerator are between 800-1200 watts.

While most generators have built-in safety safeguards, there are a few things you should avoid doing. Running a generator inside the house is one of the most crucial things you should never do. Carbon monoxide and other gases, especially in tiny areas, can be extremely deadly.

How long will a 12 volt battery run a refrigerator?

In general, a 12V-50Ah battery can power a 2 cubic foot 12V refrigerator for 35 to 50 hours before it needs to be recharged. A 10 cubic foot RV refrigerator can only run for 10 to 15 hours on the same battery.

It’s worth noting, though, that:

  • Batteries should not be discharged completely.
  • Discharge depths that are permitted for different battery chemistries are variable (DoD).

A 100Ah lead-acid battery, for example, can only provide roughly 50 Ah of energy without diminishing battery life. A 100Ah lithium battery, on the other hand, can provide 80Ah.

When a battery is entirely depleted, it will have fewer charge/discharge cycles, reducing its overall capacity. Consider the life and lifespan of the battery when determining how long your battery will run your refrigerator.

There are a few things you can do to save energy and maybe extend the refrigerator’s useful life:

  1. Insulation and shade
  2. Before connecting the fridge to the battery, let it cool down.
  3. Allow at least 2 inches of space on either side of the refrigerator.
  4. Fill your refrigerator with food.
  5. Consider utilizing solar energy.

How much electricity does a 3 star refrigerator use?

The Energy Star label on a refrigerator is a government-backed, reliable emblem of energy efficiency that helps us save money. On the other hand, the energy-efficient refrigerator and habits assist in safeguarding the environment.

A refrigerator with no stars spends 1000 units of electricity each year, according to calculations. A 3-star certified refrigerator, on the other hand, uses only 626 units of electricity each year, saving 44 percent of your electricity use and, consequently, your electricity cost.

After conducting extensive investigation, experts calculated the power usage of each star-rated refrigerator. However, it may vary depending on the Government of India’s capacity chart, which changes every year. When purchasing a refrigerator, make an effort to thoroughly understand all of the model’s advantages and disadvantages.

How big of a generator do I need to run a refrigerator?

Each refrigerator and freezer is distinct and requires a different amount of power. The owner’s manual contains this information. This information is typically available on the manufacturer’s tag.

Two metrics in particular should be noted: running watts and starting watts. The amount of electricity necessary to turn on your refrigerator and freezer is known as the starting wattage, also known as surge wattage.

The running wattage of an appliance, also known as rated wattage, is the amount of power it requires to run continuously after it has been turned on. Depending on the size, home refrigerators require between 1000 and 2000 watts to start.

The fridge and freezer will be powered by a generator capable of producing at least 2000 watts of starting power. To protect your safety, experts advise that you get a slightly larger generator. You’ll have extra power to run other household appliances like lighting as well.

Experts propose the following three inverter generators for refrigerators and freezers.

  1. The Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter generator has a starting power of 3400 watts and a running power of 3000 watts.
  2. The WEN 56380i is a low-cost, high-reliability 3000-watt generator that can power your refrigerator and freezer.
  3. The Briggs and Stratton P3000 watt inverter generator is an excellent choice for both home backup power and RV and camping adventures.

What size solar panel do I need to run a refrigerator?

You may ask whether using solar power instead of standard electricity is more cost-effective after installing a solar panel system at your home. Because the electricity bill accounts for such a large portion of your monthly expenses, you are likely to be aware of where the money goes.

To power an average refrigerator, three or four standard solar panels are required. The power output of typical household solar panel systems ranges from 1 KW to 4 KW. Refrigerators of various sorts and sizes require varied quantities of solar energy.

The amount of solar electricity you’ll require depends on how long you need the refrigerator to run. Some of you may choose to stay at home and use the refrigerator more regularly and for longer periods of time. Others may primarily visit offices or schools.

The first step in determining how much solar power you’ll need to run your refrigerator is to figure out how much energy it consumes. And there are several ways to obtain this value.



Refrigerators are unquestionably a crucial device in any home. It’s easy to take the convenience of having cool, fresh food in the house and not having to run to the grocery store or a neighboring restaurant for it for granted. When it comes time to pay the monthly electricity bill, however, we are reminded of the expense of this comfort.

It’s easy to imagine that you have no control over the electrical expenditures of this enormous device, which is continually plugged in and operating. However, there are always methods to save energy in our homes, and figuring out how many watts a refrigerator needs is one start in the right direction.

It might surprise you how much it costs to keep your food fresh. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to boost your refrigerator’s energy efficiency. It’s vital to know how many watts your refrigerator uses in order to understand how it affects your electric bill and what you can do to save money. Being informed, asking questions, and educating oneself about important matters that concern you might just be the first step.