How Much Electricity Does a Refrigerator Use?


On average, refrigerators consume between 300 and 800 watts of electricity, depending on the age of the model. Most refrigerators use between 3 and 6 amps and operate at around 120 volts. In addition to being one of the largest appliances in your home, your fridge is always on, making energy efficiency a key factor to consider.

If you want to reduce your electric bill or estimate how many solar panels you need to power your home, understanding how much energy your appliances use, like your refrigerator, can be helpful. It can also help to see how much energy is used when it comes time to select your preferences for battery backup solutions. Let’s start by reviewing relevant terms.

Watts, Amps, Voltage, and More: What Do They Mean?

There are several terms that are commonly used to describe the flow and usage of electricity by appliances. Here are a few definitions we’ll refer to throughout this post:

  • Volts (V): Volts are a measure of electrical pressure differences, or the speed at which electricity passes through a circuit.
  • Amps (A): Amps, or amperes, are a measure of electrical current, or the amount of electrons (which make up electricity) flowing through a circuit.
  • Watts (W) and kilowatts (kW): The wattage of an appliance is calculated by multiplying its volts by its amps. Watts represent the rate of electricity consumption, while a kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts.
  • Kilowatt-hours (kWh): Kilowatt-hours are a measure of electricity consumption over time, and are often used to bill for electricity usage.

Understanding electrical terms can be easier by comparing them to water flowing through a pipe. Voltage is similar to water pressure, amps represent the amount of water flowing past a point, and wattage is analogous to the overall rate of water flow through the pipe. Understanding these concepts can help you better understand how electricity works and is used by appliances.

How Much Electricity Does a Refrigerator Use?

Generally, refrigerators consume 300 to 800 watts of electricity, depending on how old they are. In this post, we’ll focus on combination fridge/freezer products, which typically use between 3 and 6 amps and operate at around 120 volts. It’s worth noting that both the fridge and freezer sections of these appliances tend to use similar amounts of energy, despite the fact that freezers require more energy to maintain a lower temperature. This is partly due to the fact that freezers take up less space overall.

It’s important to note that refrigerators tend to have a lower “running” wattage than their stated wattage, as they cycle on and off throughout the day. As a rule of thumb, you can divide the wattage of your refrigerator by 3 to estimate its actual energy usage.

Annually, a fridge might add approximately $208 to your annual electricity bill, or around $17 per month. Your electricity usage and billing are typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), which measures wattage over time. One kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1,000 watts (W), so it takes about 4 kWh of electricity to power a typical refrigerator for one day.

In this article, we’ll mostly be discussing the electricity usage of refrigerators in terms of kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is because your electric bill is typically measured in kilowatt-hours and you’re charged based on the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity you use each month.

How Much Electricity Does a Mini Fridge Use?

On average, smaller mini-fridges can use between 50-100 watts of electricity, or approximately 310 kWh per year. However, it’s worth noting that this can vary significantly depending on the age of the mini-fridge and whether it’s kept plugged in.

How Many Volts and Amps Does a Refrigerator Use?

An appliance’s wattage is calculated based on its voltage and amperage. One way to find this information is to refer to the yellow EnergyGuide label on your fridge, which should include the volts and amps that it uses.

How Much Does it Cost to Power a Refrigerator?

When you receive your monthly electric bill, it can be difficult to determine how much each appliance contributes to your total charge. However, based on an average running wattage of 167 W for refrigerators (equivalent to 1,463 kWh/year) and using state average electricity rates, you can estimate the cost to run a refrigerator over the course of a month and a year.

How to Calculate How Much Energy Your Refrigerator Uses

Determining the electricity usage of your refrigerator can be useful for managing your energy consumption and budget. Remember the yellow Energy Saver badge that we previously mentioned?

One way to estimate this is to calculate the refrigerator’s estimated yearly electricity consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You can then multiply this number by the average electricity rate in your area to get an approximate annual cost to power your fridge. To estimate the monthly cost, divide the yearly estimate by 12.

How Many Solar Panels Does it Take to Run a Refrigerator?

Refrigerators on average use between 300 and 800 watts of electricity to function. Most solar panels have a rating of around 350 W, which means that you’ll likely need one to three panels to power a typical fridge. It’s worth noting that refrigerators don’t always use this much electricity, but in order to power the appliance during its highest usage times, you’ll need to design a solar system that can handle the increased demand.

How Much Electricity Does a Home Use?

On average, American homes use about 10,715 kWh of electricity per year, or around 893 kWh per month. If you own a refrigerator with an average running power rating of 167 W, this appliance is likely to account for approximately 18% to 20% of your total electricity usage. However, it’s important to note that this percentage can vary based on factors such as the season, region, and other variables.

Frequently Asked Questions About Powering a Refrigerator

What’s the Best Time to Run a Refrigerator?

If you’re on a time-of-use (TOU) rate plan for your electricity, you may be charged different rates for electricity depending on the time of day. In general, it’s typically more cost-effective to use appliances during “off-peak” hours, which are often overnight.

What Size Battery Do You Need to Back up a Refrigerator?

Most popular home batteries are capable of powering a fridge with a power rating of 4 to 5 kW or higher, and at least 10 kWh of usable capacity. Most refrigerators use between 300 and 800 watts (0.3 to 0.8 kW) of power at any one time, and about 4 kWh over the course of a day. This means that most home batteries, such as the Tesla Powerwall or SunPower SunVault, should be sufficient for backing up your fridge.

What are ENERGY STAR appliances?

ENERGY STAR is a program backed by the U.S. government that certifies the energy efficiency of appliances. If an appliance is more energy-efficient than the average appliance in its category by a certain amount, it is considered ENERGY STAR certified. These appliances tend to be more cost-effective to run, as they are more efficient in their use of electricity and can help reduce your carbon footprint.

How Much Money Can Solar Panels Save You?

The potential savings from using solar panels can vary significantly based on factors such as electricity usage, location, electric rates and plans, and more. However, homeowners in California can generally expect to save between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of a system. These estimates may vary based on your specific circumstances, but overall, solar panels can be a cost-effective option for reducing energy costs and increasing energy independence.


To determine if a home battery is right for your home energy needs, our certified Solar Technologies representatives can answer all your questions. If you’re ready to change the way you power your home and start saving more with solar, contact us today for a free customized quote.


Related Links:

15 Energy Saving Strategies for Your Home

What You Need to Know About Energy Storage and Solar Batteries

Best Energy-Efficient Refrigerators

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