How Many Watts Does a Fridge Use?

EnergyCalendarFebruary 19, 2019

Life without a fridge is hard to imagine. There’s no need to run to the grocery store every day to prepare for dinner — your fridge keeps the veggies crisp, the cheese cool, and the meat fresh and at the ready all week long. 

As with many helpful home appliances, the convenience is so standard that we hardly notice it anymore. We also might not even think about how much power a fridge uses.

What about a mini-fridge? How much power does that use?

In this post, we’ll show you a simple formula you can use to find out exactly how many watts your fridge or mini-fridge uses. We’ll also give you some tips on how to save power. 

How Many Watts Does a Fridge Use? 

The basic formula for finding wattage is volts x amps = watts.1

You can see how many volts and amps your fridge uses just by looking inside. There should be a sticker on the inside wall of the fridge near the front with its technical specifications. 

Amps will be listed as amps, but volts might appear as VAC. This stands for “volts alternating current.” Alternating current is the type of electricity we use to power our homes.

As an example, let’s say you have an older fridge that lists 115 VAC and 7 amps. 

115 VAC x 7 amps = 805 watts 

Many newer fridges, especially Energy Star-certified models, only use between 100 and 200 watts.2 So a new energy-efficient fridge is worth the investment. 

Believe it or not, your mom wasn’t wrong when she told you to close the fridge door. Wattage use for a regular-size fridge can skyrocket up to 1,200 watts while the compressor kicks in, or in “starting wattage.”3

Here are some tips for reducing your fridge’s energy consumption. 

  • Place a fridge away from any heat source, such as the oven or a sliding glass door where the sun can shine in 
  • Open the fridge door, grab what you need, and close the door
  • Fill up the freezer to about ¾ full so it’s not working extra hard to cool empty space
  • Only put room temperature or already cool items in the fridge

How Many Watts Does a Mini-Fridge Use?

Wattage use for a mini-fridge can be found with the same formula. Lower-wattage models can range between 85 to around 100 watts while running.4 But many mini-fridges can go up to 250 watts.5

Here are some tips for keeping your mini-fridge’s compressor from turning on too often and boosting the starting wattage. 

  • Place a mini-fridge in the open, not in a cupboard 
  • Place a mini-fridge away from any heat source, such as a space heater or a window where the sun can shine in 

You’ll most likely get more bang for your buck by simply using a regular-size fridge. You can keep more things cool and the wattage difference is minor between new regular fridges and mini-fridges. 

For more on home appliances and energy usage, read this article on how much electricity a dryer uses.

 

Endnotes:

1 https://www.voltagevalet.com/pages/modifying-electricity
2 https://reductionrevolution.com.au/blogs/news-reviews/57784517-fridge-power-consumption-can-the-star-rating-be-trusted
3 https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/generator-wattage-estimation-guide
4 https://www.newair.com/blogs/learn/does-a-mini-fridge-use-a-lot-of-electricity
5
 https://www.hardwarecentral.com/forum/threads/amps-on-a-mini-fridge.166540/

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