How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

We analyzed mini fridge power usage data from the U.S. Dept. of Energy and ENERGY STAR® for 1,349 mini fridges to find the average daily and hourly watt usage and then categorized the results by features and size.

Key Findings About Mini Fridge Energy Use

  • On average, data showed that mini fridges use 652 watts per day (27 watts per hour).
  • A typical mini fridge requires between 350 and 1,200 starting watts, depending on the mini fridge’s compressor size, efficiency, and age.
  • How many watts a mini fridge uses varies greatly by size, features, and age of the unit. Frequency of use and the environment where the fridge is located are also factors.
  • Knowing your mini fridge’s starting and running watts will help you pick the right size portable power station or solar generator to keep your mini fridge running in the event of a power outage, tailgating, or camping.
HiSense mini fridge on display at local appliance store.

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

The average mini fridge is 3.6 cubic ft. in size and uses 675 watts per day, about 28 watts per hour.

Similar to full size refrigerators, mini fridge energy usage varies based on several factors including its age, size, features, frequency of use, and the surrounding environment.

Below is a table summarizing average mini fridge power consumption. A more detailed Mini Fridge Wattage Chart is further down the page.

Average Mini Fridge Power Consumption by Type & Size

Mini Fridge TypeAverage Size (cubic feet)Average Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h)
Manual Defrost3.021458624
Partial Auto Defrost4.231486136
Automatic Defrost4.124868028
All Types3.624667528

How to Find a Mini Fridge’s Wattage

Your mini fridge should come with an energy rating that will include an estimate of its yearly energy use. In the U.S., this is called an ENERGY STAR® rating.

ENERGY STAR® provides the estimated yearly electricity use information for mini fridges, refrigerators, freezers, and other household appliances.

With the Estimated Yearly Electricity Use rating from the ENERGY STAR® label, we can do some easy math to find the average daily and hourly watt usage of your mini fridge model.

Haier Model HC27SF10RB Energy Star Energy Guide showing that this unit uses 238 kWh annually.

Example: How to Calculate Mini Fridge Daily & Hourly Wattage

My 2.7 cubic ft. mini fridge has an estimated yearly electricity use of 238 kWh, so let’s use that data and find my refrigerator’s daily and hourly power consumption.

  1. Multiple kWh by 1,000 to get Watts.

    238 kWh x 1,000 W/kW = 238,000 Wh

  2. Next, divide watts (W) by 365 days, to get watts per day.

    238,000 W / 365 days = 652 W/day 

    This is the average amount of electricity used per day.

  3. Last, divide watts/day (W/day) by 24 hours, to get watts/hour (W/h).

    (652 W/day) / (24 hours/day) = 27.2 W/hour

    This is the average amount of electricity used per hour by my mini fridge. Now let’s find out how much it uses in real life.

How to Measure Mini Fridge Watt Usage

The best way to measure how many watts your mini fridge uses is to plug it into an electricity usage meter. They’re inexpensive and super easy to use.

Just plug your mini fridge into the meter and plug the meter into your wall outlet. You’ll be able to see how many watts, volts, and amps are being used in real-time and track electricity consumption over time.

Electricity Usage Monitor

Example: Measuring Mini Fridge Wattage

I plugged my 2.7 Cu. Ft. Haier mini frdige, Model No. HC27SF10RB into my electricity monitor for 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours, my fridge used a little 2.12 kWh of energy, or about 44 watts per hour on average.

Side Note: An electricity usage meter is handy to have when you’re trying to choose the right size portable power station, solar generator, or backup generator because you can easily measure the watt usage of the 110-120v plug-in appliances that you want to power.

Haier mini firdge electiricyt monitor reading of 2.12 kWh over 48 hours

How Many Starting Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

A typical mini fridge will require between 350 to 1,200 starting watts. Exactly how much depends on the size and efficiency of the compressor motoro in the mini fridge.

Starting watts are sometimes referred to as surge watts but the technical term is locked rotor amps (LRA or LRa).

Locked rotor amps are the amount of power required to start the moving parts of a motor when it is first turned on. Once the compressor is running under normal operation, which usually takes less than a second or two, the energy needed to run the compressor drops to the running watt requirements.

How to Calculate Mini Fridge Starting Watts

To calculate the starting watts of your mini fridge you need to know the required voltage and starting amps of the compressor motor in your refrigerator.

You can find this information on the manufacturer’s label which is usually found inside the mini fridge food compartment but it can also be on the outside of the unit on the back, or on the label on the refrigerator’s compressor.

Depending on the manufacturer, the label may read Rated Current, Start-up Watts or list the starting watts in a line of other information.

(Figure 1) The Haier mini-fridge label shows the start-up amps required for this refrigerator to start would be 6.3 A (amps) on a 115V circuit.

You can also find the starting amps, or locked rotor amps (LRA), on the mini fridge’s compressor.

  • This requires removing the back cover of the fridge so it is not the preferred method, but if you can’t find the label in the refrigerated compartment area this may be a workable alternative.
Haier Mini Fridge Label showing starting amps of 6.3 amps.
Figure 1

Example: Calculating Starting Watts

To calculate the starting watts of a refrigerator, multiply starting amps by the voltage.

Starting Amps  X  Volts  =  Starting Watts

For example, my mini fridge is plugged into a 120 volt circuit and it takes 6.3 amps to start the compressor and begin to cool down the refrigerator.

6.3 starting amps  X  120 volts  = 756 starting watts

This means my refrigerator needs at least 756 starting watts of power to start the rotor in the compressor motor turning. Once the motor is up to speed the amount of power it needs to keep running will decrease.

Starting watts are typically not an issue if you’re connected to the grid because there is essentially limitless power to draw from.

But that’s not the case if you get disconnected from the grid by a blackout, load shedding, or just want to go off grid altogether.

What Size Portable Power Station to Run a Mini Fridge?

There are three factors you will need to be able to determine the right size portable power station to run your mini fridge.

  • How many watts your mini fridge uses per hour.
  • How long you would like to power your mini fridge for.
  • How many starting watts your refrigerator requires.

For example, if there is going to be a 10-hour power outage and I’m at risk of the food in my freezer spoiling. To overcome this, I want a portable power station that can run my fridge for at least 10 hours.

We already know that the average wattage used by my mini fridge is 27 Wh/hour (see above). Next, we need to know how many watts I need to power my refrigerator for 10 hours.

To find watt hours needed, use the formula:

Watt hours/hour  X  hours you want to power your appliances  =  Watt hours needed

To run my refrigerator for 10 hours I’ll need:

27 Wh/hour x 10 hours = 270 Wh

The calculation above shows that I need a portable power station that can provide a minimum of 270 Wh of electricity.

However, the lithium-ion and LiFePO4 batteries that are used in most portable power stations like Jackery and Anker output on average about 85% of their rated capacity.

In other words, I really need a portable power station with at least 317 Wh of output capacity

270 Wh / 85% = 317.6 Wh

Next the power staion will enough surge capacity to start my refrigerator’s compressor. From the above example we see that my refrigerator requires 756 starting watts.

So, the portable power station I need to run my mini fridge for 10 hours needs to have 270 Wh (Watt hours) or more of power capacity and provide starting watts above 756 watts.

Mini Fridge Wattage Chart – Average Watts Used by Features & Size

Mini Fridge by Features & SizeAverage Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h)
Manual Defrost (All)21458624
1 to 1.9 cubic ft.20054723
2 to 2.9 cubic ft.21358324
3 to 3.9 cubic ft.21458724
4 to 4.9 cubic ft.22862426
5 to 6.5 cubic ft.24867828
6.6 to 7.6 cubic ft.26071230
Partial Automatic Defrost (All)31486136
2 to 2.9 cubic ft.31686636
3 to 3.9 cubic ft.30182534
4 to 4.9 cubic ft.32388537
5 to 6.5 cubic ft.33892639
6.6 to 7.6 cubic ft.34494239
Automatic Defrost (All)24868028
1 to 1.9 cubic ft.23865227
2 to 2.9 cubic ft.22361125
3 to 3.9 cubic ft.25469729
4 to 4.9 cubic ft.26071430
5 to 6.5 cubic ft.25269029
6.6 to 7.6 cubic ft.25068529

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the electricity cost to run a mini fridge?

The average mini fridge uses 675 watts per day, which when converted to kilowatts, equals 0.675 kW per day. The national average cost of a kilowatt is $0.15/kW. Multiplying kW/day times cost/kW equals electricity cost.

Can you run a mini fridge on a solar generator?

Yes, you can power a mini fridge with a solar generator if it outputs enough power. A solar generator is essentially a portable power station that can be recharged via a solar panel(s). See What Size Portable Power Station to Run a Mini Fridge?

How many watts does a mini fridge use in 24 hours?

The average mini fridge uses 675 watts in 24 hours. Which works out to 28 watts per hour on average.