How Many Watts Does a Mini-Fridge Use? – Updated 2021

By: Jan Hajek | Date Posted: April 29, 2018

Choosing between a mini-refrigerator and a single-door refrigerator for your college-bound child isn’t as easy as picking the cheapest one available. Some college dorms already provide mini-fridges, but not all rooms have this amenity. Before shopping, check with the college for any rules regarding appliance specifications; many restrict devices to 120 volts and under two amps to save on electricity. Not all mini-fridges list this information, so you may need to research before buying.

How Many Amps Does A Mini Fridge Use?

As the world is advancing in technology, everything is evolving to become better and more convenient. Mini fridges, also known as compact refrigerators are mainly used for storing food and beverages. Mini fridge requires only a small limited space that provides you with the convenience to place one in your bedroom, home offices, garage, kids room, or wherever you want.

You may be surprised to learn that mini-fridges use less energy than conventional refrigerators, simply because they are smaller. When you think how many watts a mini fridge uses, logic says it should be small. But that is not always the fact.

mini fridge

The difficulty in estimating the energy of the refrigerator is that, although the refrigerator is always “ON” it is not always “working”. The compressor in the fridge goes on and off, and there are many factors that affect how often this happens. Setting the temperature in the fridge, the amount of food inside, the frequency at which the door is opened, and even the room temperature makes the compressor stop and start the cooling cycle.

Compact refrigerators, or mini-fridges, are primarily used to store foods and drinks in dorm rooms, game rooms, home offices, garages, and like. Thanks to the fridge’s humble profile, they have a very limited space requirement so you could conveniently place them anywhere you see fit. Nonetheless, you are in for a surprise if you assume that mini-fridges use less energy compared to standard fridges simply because they are smaller.

Want to know how many watts a mini fridge uses? Then you could find the answer right down below along with a couple of important information on the side.

What is the cost of running the average mini fridge?

Here is an interesting fact: For most of the time, mini-fridges actually use more electricity per cubic foot than other standard-size fridges. The cost of running a full-size refrigerator is only about twice as much as a compact fridge one-quarter of its size. As a result, a 4.4-cubic-feet compact refrigerator could cost you $27 a year while a much larger 20.6-cubic-foot fridge only costs you $47 in the same time period.

There are two reasons behind this: First, there isn’t a lot of room for insulation. Second, mini-fridges have considerably more area per cubic feet to accommodate food and beverages which require additional electricity to keep everything cool. Of course, there are many other contributing factors too such as the unit age, the room placement, the defrost setting, and so on.

In general, provided that the setting is similar, mini fridges would have lower energy efficiency compare to full-size refrigerators. Most people don’t notice the slight difference in their utility bills though because compact refrigerators often cost you well below $5 per month. To have cold snacks and beverages in your hand while watching sport or playing games could easily justify the less than ideal efficiency.

You should be able to find an eye catchy yellow and black Energy Guide Label somewhere on the fridge body. It would tell you the estimated amount of energy the refrigerator could use in a year along with its projected c cost. Products with an Energy Star rating on their label tend to consume less energy compared to other models.

How many amps does a mini fridge use?

The refrigerator ampere is often listed in the manual or on the fridge front/back labels, you could even look for it online. It’s also simple to manually calculate the ampere of a mini-fridge, you only need to use this formula: Amperage = Watts/Volts. For example, if you have a 120 Voltage and 240 Wattage then your mini-fridge shall have an Amperage of 2.

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use

Most mini-refrigerators typically require around two amps, making them acceptable appliances in most colleges. If you’re unsure about calculating the amps your mini-fridge needs, consult its manual, where this information is usually provided at the beginning or end. Alternatively, the box may also display this information. For second-hand mini-fridges without the box or manual, you might find the amp requirement on the fridge compressor via a sticker. If you’re still uncertain, seek recommendations from your college.

How many watts does a fridge use?

Refrigerators rank second in energy consumption among household appliances, following air conditioners. The US Department of Energy states that a typical refrigerator uses around 725 watts of electricity and between fifteen to twenty amps, accounting for about ten percent or more of most electric bills. Due to this, universities often impose restrictions on the types of appliances allowed in dormitory rooms, especially refrigerators.

The wattage used by a refrigerator depends on its usage, model, size, and age, resulting in varying electricity consumption levels. To determine the wattage of a freezer, you can refer to technical specifications and manually assess the product, as explained by Tom Hanson, editor of Understanding an appliance’s electrical requirements and conditions is crucial when purchasing the right mini-refrigerator.


The wattage calculates the rate of energy that gets turned into electricity, typically per hour. A mini-refrigerator ought to have a label on it that states its energy consumption rate in wattage. This wattage gets calculated in Watts, which can be used to determine a mini-refrigerator amperage.


Once you know the fridge’s watts, it’s possible to determine its amperage.  The amperage is equal to the appliance’s wattage divided by its voltage, via this formula: Amperage = Watts/Voltage. Voltage is regulated in the United States and every house comes with 120 voltage.

Considering the reality that every house in the US runs on 120 volts, any type of mini-refrigerator that has wattage going up to 240w falls into the less than two amps limitation the majority of universities have. The majority of mini-refrigerators have Energy Star technology. This is a type of technology that saves energy and thus lowers the power usage of the mini-refrigerator.

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use

In general, the energy used by a mini-fridge is measured in watts. Most fridges use almost 80 to 100 watts per operating hour but it can vary depending on its brand, size, and many other factors. If a fridge consumes 80 watts in an hour and runs 8 hours a day, then it will use almost 640 watts every day. As residential electricity consumption is measured in kilowatts, it will be 0.640 kW per day and 234 kW per year. The average electricity cost is considered as 13 cents per kilowatt which will result in a $30 annual cost of running a mini-fridge.

Keep in mind that price can vary greatly depending on the local electricity rates as well as individual preferences. It is recommended to compare different brands and choose the best one for your house or office. There is a comparison of two brands that are just examples, there are more manufacturers in the market to choose from. This comparison will help you get an idea about some top brands and the energy consumption of their fridges depending on their size.

Haier Mini Fridges

Haier is considered the best option in 1.7 cubic categories because it only consumes 200 kilowatt-hours which only costs $24 annually. A 3.3 cubic mini-fridge costs $31 annually with a yearly consumption of 272 kWh.

Igloo Mini Fridges



A 1.7 cubic Igloo mini fridge consumes an estimated 318 kilowatt-hours per year resulting in a $34 annual cost. This consumption becomes 332 kilowatt-hours per year and $35 annual cost for 3.3 cubic mini-fridges.

It is also recommended to compare the running cost of a mini fridge with standard fridges, which will provide you with a better idea of whether it is suitable for you or not.

New vs Old refrigerator

Opt for newer refrigerators with Energy Star technology as they consume less energy compared to older models. Smaller refrigerators are also more energy-efficient, and regular defrosting helps maintain their performance. Avoid placing the refrigerator in direct sunlight and ensure it’s on a level surface to optimize its energy usage. Limiting how often you open and close the door further reduces energy consumption.

Mini-refrigerators typically have minimal impact on electricity bills, costing around five dollars per month.

Do remember that the cost could vary a lot in reality, depending on the local utility rates as well as individual preferences. The products down below are simply examples, there are more products on the market for you to choose. Nonetheless, these examples should offer you a general idea of what to expect when it comes to mini-fridges electricity usage, operation cost and Fridge repair.

1.7 cubic refrigerators

  • Galanz fridge: 230 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $28
  • Haier fridge: 200 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $24
  • Igloo fridge: 318 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $34

3.2/3.3 cubic refrigerators       

  • Igloo fridge: 332 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $35
  • Haier fridge: 272 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $31
  • Frigidaire fridge: 220 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $26
  • Danby fridge: 266 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $28

4.5 cubic refrigerators

  • GE fridge: 332 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $35
  • MicroChill fridge: 259 kWh/ year with a yearly cost of $28

Mini Fridges Consume Less Energy than Kitchen Refrigerators

A mini-fridge can reduce energy consumption if you are in the habit of opening the kitchen refrigerator for every little need. When you open a mini-fridge door it loses much less cool air than a kitchen refrigerator because of its small size. 2.2 cubic feet is the average size of a mini-fridge. Compare this to a standard kitchen refrigerator that ranges from 18 to 27 cubic feet. A kitchen refrigerator loses cool air to many folds as compared to the mini-fridge, it not only affects the performance of the refrigerator but will also result in more energy consumption.

How many watts does a mini fridge use? There are many factors that affect energy consumption. The most important factor is how you use it because if you use a mini fridge more often and run it all the time, there are chances that you will pay more than the average cost. If you use the mini fridge efficiently then it is surely the best option.

There are additional methods of controlling how much electricity a mini-refrigerator or any other kind of refrigerator if you are attentive and learn to use the refrigerator correctly. For instance, don’t ever let your refrigerator stay turned on if it’s empty. This doesn’t just waste energy, if the refrigerator is full it also uses less power. That’s because all the food in the refrigerator blocks the cool air from getting out when the refrigerator is opened. Then it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep everything cold.

Opened Fridge

How many watts does it take to run a refrigerator on a generator?

As a rule of thumb, the generator wattage must be 1.5 times higher than the refrigerator running wattage to start the unit. This is due to the fact that the fridge requires an extra jolt of electricity to jump-start its compressor motor. Take a good look at the output rating of the generator in order to make sure it can handle the fridge’s electricity requirement.

Factors that Affect Energy Consumption

Although mini-fridges use less energy, some factors can lead to excessive consumption and can affect its performance as well. These factors include:

  • The frequency to which the door is opened.
  • Outdoor temperature.
  • How long the mini-fridge is being run?
  • How high do you set the cooling temperature?
  • Whether it has manual or automatic defrost.
  • Room placement.
  • The quality of the components used in manufacturing the mini-fridge.
  • The technology used in it.

How to Improve the Performance of a Mini Fridge?


If the “How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?” question really concerns you, below are some tips that can help you to improve the performance of the mini-fridge which will ultimately lead to less consumption of electricity and will increase its life.

  • The fridge should be kept away from direct sunlight and the sources that produce heat.
  • Don’t store a lot of things in the mini-fridge because it will leave no room for the cool air to circulate and cool foods and beverages.
  • While turning the mini-fridge on for the first time, it is recommended to keep it on a medium cooling temperature for almost a day.
  • Clean the fridge every month and vacuum its coil to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • If you plan to leave for a few months, get rid of all perishable stuff.
  • Unplug the fridge if it is empty.

How to take care of your mini-fridge?

  • It’s recommended that you keep the fridge away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • When you first plug in the fridge, set it in a medium-cold setting.
  • Don’t try to squeeze too many things into the fridge. That would leave no room for the cold air to circulate and chill the items.
  • Clean the fridge and vacuum its coil on a monthly basis to maintain ideal performance.
  • Get rid of all perishable items if you intend to go away for a couple of months.

Final Words

A mini-fridge is the best option when you need a refrigerator but you want to save space and electricity consumption. It is specially designed for the rooms and kitchen to lessen the burden of a big fridge. It is energy efficient if you want to store plenty of drinks at once. Although it requires less space and energy to run, it provides just as much cooling power as large refrigerators.

And that is most of what you should know about running mini fridges and its related issue, pretty simple to absorb, right? “How many watts does a mini fridge use?” It’s not easy to figure out the answer when you don’t know much about the fridge characteristic. But with the help of the article, you should have no trouble obtaining the wattage of any compact refrigerator you could find.

If you found this article helpful, you might be interested in reading the articles below:

How Many Amps Does A Dryer Use: A Comprehensive Analysis

Does It Cost to Remodel a House?

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use? – FAQs

  1. How much power does a fridge use per month?

    It depends on the age of the refrigerator. Old fridge needs a lot of energy, the modern refrigerator consumes much less KWH.

  2. Should a fridge run all the time?

    If you want to save your products, then it should be, but need to know that the more time it works, the higher the chance that it will break.

  3. Should a fridge be loud?

    Your fridge might be silent or hum but if you hear a strange sound like a knock or something else not standard need to call a master.

  4. Is the mini-fridge safe?

    Yes, it’s safe, but make sure that the fridge is in a safe place where it can’t fall.

  5. Can a mini-fridge go outside?

    Yes, it can. Just probably will use more energy than if the fridge were inside your home.

Thank you for reading!

Jan Hajek

I am an experienced writer. I write about home improvement topics such as construction, electrical work, plumbing, security and safety, interior design, exterior design, tools and woodworking, gardening, and garage organization. I love helping people improve their homes and make them more enjoyable places to live.

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