How Many Watts Does It Take To Run A Refrigerator?


How many watts does it take t run a refrigerator
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Wondering if you have to pay twice as much for power if you purchased a new refrigerator? Or you’re generally just curious about how much power a refrigerator needs to run? Stay on this ride with us as we’ll be addressing how many watts it will take to run a refrigerator.

Typically, it takes about 350 watts to run a small refrigerator and about 780 watts to run a bigger refrigerator.

But first,

What Does The ‘Watts’ Of A Refrigerator Signify?

Watts, as you may already know, is the unit used to measure power. And the power of an appliance can be defined as its ability to do work. It is also the rate at which energy is used.

Assuming an appliance runs on 500 Watts, this means that it uses 500 joules of energy per second. So you see why different appliances have different power ratings? Do you now understand why an air conditioner drains more energy compared to an electric shaver?

If you do, then…

How Do You Determine The Wattage Of An Appliance?

Most times, the wattage of an appliance is usually not indicated on it, so we have to determine it. And trust me when I say it’s easy, almost as easy as ABC!

All you need to do is to find the voltage of the appliance, its unit is in Volts which is denoted by V. Then, find the current of the appliance, whose unit is in Amperes, denoted by A.

Next, you determine the value of the product of both quantities, that is, the current and voltage. What we’re trying to say is that the product of the voltage and current quantities of the appliance gives the power in watts.

For example, an appliance with a voltage of 100V and current of 10A would have a power rating of 1000W (1KW), simply put. And how did we achieve this great feat? Simply, 100 × 10 to give a thousand!

Meanwhile, you can check out our post on how many amps a refrigerator uses if you want to know how much your fridge draws.

Want to be able to monitor the energy consumption at any given time in your home? We recommend getting energy usage monitors like the one below.

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What Makes Power Ratings Differ In Refrigerators?

As I stated earlier, the power rating for a small refrigerator is different compared to a bigger one. This is due to a number of reasons.

i. Remember how to determine the power of an appliance where two quantities are multiplied? Now, the power of an appliance depends on these two quantities, the current and voltage. And since most appliances tend to have different values for their current and voltage, the power ratings are usually not the same.

Then, considering two refrigerators…

ii. For a bigger refrigerator, a larger volume of items has to be cooled. A bigger refrigerator would definitely have more space, meaning large quantities of food can be stored in it. Unlike a small refrigerator which probably doesn’t have so much space and doesn’t work as much to cool as much as a large refrigerator is required to cool.

iii. Another factor that contributes greatly to the power rating difference between refrigerators is the components of the fridge.

Due to the fact that a big refrigerator would be cooling a large amount, the components that would be selected need to withstand that amount of load. The compressor, for example, is an important component of the refrigerator, and it also comes with its own power rating. The compressor that would be used in a small refrigerator will have a higher power rating when compared to a small refrigerator.


Check out these other in-depth articles/reviews…

Chef Base: A Complete Buying Guide

Commercial Refrigerators: How To Buy The Best

How To Buy The Best Freezerless Refrigerator

Under-counter Refrigerators — How To Buy The Best For You

Ivation 8-Bottle Wine Cooler with Wooden Shelves — Extensive Review

Whynter 24-Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler — In-depth Review



How Many Watts Does It Take To Run A Refrigerator — Bottom Line

Basically, small refrigerators use up less energy, which is about 350 watts or Joules per second, while larger ones use about 780 watts.

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So now we leave you to decide.

Would you rather have a small refrigerator which would consume less energy, but wouldn’t be able to store so much food items and perishables? Or you’d rather go for a bigger one, meaning increased energy bills, but more storage in the long run?

You can also check out this video to learn how many watts an RV residential refrigerator uses:

Related FAQs — How Many Watts Does It Take To Run A Refrigerator?

How many watts does a refrigerator-freezer use?

The freezer is designed for cooling, freezing, and also for storing frozen food items at medium and low temperatures.

On average, a refrigerator-freezer uses 150-300 Watts per hour.

The energy consumption of a refrigerator freezer depends on the type, volume, number of food items, and environmental conditions. For modern freezers, they have a high class of energy consumption because they are more economical.

So, it is important to look out for the type of refrigerator, as well as the other specifications above to make the best choice when it comes to energy consumption.

What affects a refrigerator’s energy use?

The amount of energy a refrigerator consumes is dependent on the following factors:

  • Type. Note that a commercial display refrigerator will use more energy than a bar refrigerator.
  • Size. Refrigerators with really large volumes, like side-by-side refrigerators, use more energy.
  • Temperature. The factory setting might keep the refrigerator cooler than necessary.
  • Position. Keeping a refrigerator in a warm position, or poorly ventilated, will use more energy.
  • Usage. If the door of the refrigerator is opened regularly, the compressor will need to work more than necessary to keep things cool.

What are the ways to cut a refrigerator’s energy consumption? 

  1. Make sure that the refrigerator is properly ventilated. Most times, refrigerators are squeezed in between wall cabinets, thereby causing a significant increase in energy consumption.
  2. Merge the number of refrigerators being used. If you have an extra refrigerator somewhere in your home that is hardly in use, empty it and switch it off.
  3. Check and adjust the temperature settings, especially freezers as they are repeatedly set far too cold. You can use a thermometer to check and change your settings.
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Is my refrigerator consuming energy an issue?

Remember that refrigeration is only responsible for about 10% of energy usage in most homes. Meanwhile, it can be much higher in businesses like clubs and restaurants.

Therefore, a refrigerator consuming energy is not an issue.

But if you want to cut the energy consumption of a refrigerator, refrigeration seems like the best place to start. Other ways include upgrading all your lights to LED (especially the tube lights in the display refrigerators) and switching to more practical forms of heating and cooling.

What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator?

One of the crucial signs of modern refrigeration units is the amount of power it consumes.

This determines the operating costs and the value of your electricity bill. The costs of its everyday operation are responsible for more than 30% of all the electricity you consume in your home. So, it is important to know how much your refrigerator consumes when choosing a refrigerator.

On average, a generator of about 1000-2000 starting watts is needed to run a refrigerator.

Meanwhile, a generator with at least 2000 starting watts can run both the refrigerator and the freezer without any problems. 

However, it is better to get a rather large generator to be on a safer side. 

Can a 2000 watt generator run a refrigerator? 

A refrigerator is one of the most common appliances that you’ll likely be able to power, whether in your home or anywhere.

A 2000 watt generator can run a refrigerator – a mid-sized refrigerator.

This is possible as long as the refrigerator is energy-star rated and uses about 1200 starting watt power. After that first surge, the refrigerator will notably drop down to just 200 watts. At this point, you can use a smaller home appliance, such as a microwave, if you want to.


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