Small kitchen in an apartment.

How Much Power Does A Refrigerator Use?


Electricity rates are going up across much of the United States. In 2021, the average cost per kilowatt-hour was nearly $0.14, but it has gone up to almost $0.15 in 2022 so far as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

As a result, many households are looking for ways to reduce their power consumption and gain a greater understanding of their home energy use. Because they are always plugged in and run throughout the day, refrigerators are one of the larger electrical devices in the home. The good news is that many appliances, including refrigerators, are more energy efficient than models from a couple of decades ago.

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How Many Watts Does A Refrigerator Use?

An average-size refrigerator uses 300 – 800 watts of energy per day. Because refrigerators are all made differently, this number can vary based on factors such as the age, type, size, and temperature.

However, refrigerators cycle on and off as needed, so they do not continuously consume power. When a refrigerator is not running, it will consume no power or 0 watts.

How Many Watts Does A Small Refrigerator Use?

The average wattage for a small refrigerator, like one you may find in a hotel or dorm room, uses about 300 watts. However, if the unit doesn’t properly seal or it is relatively old, it could consume more electricity by running for longer periods.

How Does This Compare To Other Appliances?

Now that we know where the average refrigerator stands, how does it compare to energy used by other common appliances? Keep in mind, many appliances are typically used for only a few minutes per day, such as a blender, microwave, or toaster. Other appliances may run for longer, like an air conditioner or a clothes dryer.


Number of watts(daily)


300 – 800

Plasma Television (30” to 50”)


LCD Television (30” to 50”)


Household Fan




Electric Water Heater


Window Air Conditioning Unit




Air Purifier


Coffee Maker


Clothes Dryer


Number of watts (daily) based on information from the EIA and Actual wattage use differs by brand.

How To Calculate The Average Refrigerator Wattage: 3 Methods

There are three simple ways to determine the energy use of a refrigerator.

Look At The Volts And Amps Sticker

Appliances commonly have a sticker on the back displaying information about the voltage and amperage of the unit. To calculate watts, simply multiply volts times amps.

For example, if your fridge has a sticker that shows voltage to be 117 and amps to be 3.3, you could estimate that it uses 386 watts.

Use The Energy Star Rating

Energy Star labels contain helpful information related to the electricity use of appliances. More efficient models will consume less power and result in lower electricity bills. This is also an excellent way to analyze how an appliance's energy use compares to other similar models.

Purchase An Energy Meter

These units measure the amount of power consumed by a particular device, which is plugged directly into them. Typically, they have a couple of different modes and can measure total energy use over time in kilowatt hours and consumption in the moment in kilowatts. Energy meters differ from an in-home energy display, which usually measures total home energy use and are not device-specific.

7 Tips For Running A More Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

There are many simple ways to reduce the energy consumption of your fridge. For more ideas on how to promote home energy efficiency, consider getting a home energy audit.

1. Keep Away From Warm Areas

Locating your fridge in a cooler area of the kitchen or home will help it to run less. For example, locate it away from the stove and windows that get direct sunlight. Often, homeowners will locate a second refrigerator in the basement, which tends to be cooler and, therefore, more energy efficient.

2. Avoid Leaving The Door Open

Leaving the door open allows warm air to enter and increases your electricity use. When you are done getting what you need from it, close the fridge door right away.

3. Adjust The Temperature

Finding the ideal temperature setting is a bit of a balancing act. If it’s too high, it will encourage the growth of microorganisms like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. If it is too low, you will consume more energy than is necessary to keep your food cool, and items may even freeze. The Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping the temperature below 40° Fahrenheit.

4. Clean The Coils Regularly

Cleaning your coils every six months to a year or more if you have shedding pets is critical for keeping the fridge running efficiently. The location of the coils depends on the model and is either in the back of the unit or across the bottom. If in the back, you will need to pull out the unit and even unscrew a cover. Many people use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust.

5. Wait For Your Food To Cool Down

If you put hot food in the fridge, it will warm up the inside. When putting hot items inside, first wait for them to cool off.

6. Check Your Seal

If the gasket doesn’t properly seal around the door, it will allow warm air to enter. To determine if your gasket is sealing properly, take a piece of paper or a dollar bill and close the door with half of it hanging out. Now, pull the rest of the bill out. If you feel some tension, you know the refrigerator is sealing properly. If not, the seal is not working properly. If there is an issue, you may be able to repair or even replace the gasket, which will cost far less than replacing the unit.

7. Unplug If Not Needed

Many households have a second fridge for entertaining. However, it may mostly contain non-perishable items like sealed beverages and isn’t needed all the time. Determine if it's needed and turn it off if possible to save power. 

The Bottom Line

Although your refrigerator may use a decent share of your household power, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your power consumption and keep it running efficiently. If you’re looking to decrease your overall electricity bill further, consider adding solar panels to your roof. Find out how much you can save by going solar!

Energy Bills Stink

Looking to go green in 2023? Let's talk solar.

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