We analyzed refrigerator energy usage data from the U.S. Dept. of Energy and ENERGY STAR® for 3,279 residential refrigerators and refrigerator/freezers to find the average annual, daily, and hourly wattage they use and then categorized the results by refrigerator type, features, and size.
Key Findings About Refrigerator Electricity Consumption
 How much power a refrigerator uses varies greatly by the type of refrigerator, its size and features, age, frequency of use, and the environment where it is located.
 Knowing your refrigerator’s running and starting watts (surge watts) will help you pick the right size portable power station or generator to keep your fridge running in the event of a power outage.
 On average, data showed a singledoor refrigerator, the type without a freezer, uses 804 watts per day (34 watts per hour).
 On average, data showed that refrigerators with freezers (all types) use 1,429 watts per day (60 watts per hour).
 Common residential refrigerators can use between 350 and 1,200 starting watts, depending on the refrigerator’s compressor size, efficiency, and age.
Table of Contents
Related Articles
How Many Watts Does a Refrigerator Use?
The average refrigerator freezer uses 1,429 watts / day. Or, about 60 watts per hour to run.
Appliance power consumption often varies by the size, age, features, frequency of use and surrounding environment and refrigerators are no exception.
Below is a table summarizing average fridge power consumption across all sizes and features. A more detailed Refrigerator Wattage Chart is further down the page.
Average Refrigerator Power Consumption by Type & Size
Refrigerator Type  Average Size (cubic feet)  Average Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)  Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)  Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h) 

Refrigerator w/ Freezer  All  20  522  1429  60 
Bottom Freezer  20  547  1499  62 
SidebySide  24  657  1800  75 
Top Freezer  16  361  989  41 
Refrigerator w/o Freezer  16  293  804  34 
How to Find a Refrigerator’s Wattage
Your refrigerator 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 refrigerators, freezers, mini fridges, 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 refrigerator model.
Example: How to Calculate a Refrigerator’s Daily & Hourly Average Wattage
My 27.7 cubic ft. GE refrigerator’s estimated yearly electricity use is 724 kWh, so let’s use that data and find my refrigerator’s daily and hourly power consumption.
 Multiple kWh by 1,000 to get Watts.
724 kWh x 1,000 W/kW = 724,000 Wh  Next, divide watts (W) by 365 days, to get watts per day.
742,000 W / 365 days = 1,984 W/day
This is the average amount of electricity used per day.  Last, divide watts/day (W/day) by 24 hours, to get watts/hour (W/h).
(1,984 W/day) / (24 hours/day) = 82.6 W/hour
This is the average amount of electricity used per hour.
How to Measure a Refrigerator’s Watt Usage
The best way to measure how many watts your refrigerator uses is to plug it into an electricity usage meter. They’re inexpensive and super easy to use.
Just plug your refrigerator 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 realtime and track electricity consumption over time.
Example: Measuring Refrigerator Wattage
I plugged my 27.7 cubic ft. GE bottomfreezer refrigerator, Model No. GFE28HSHGSS, manufactured in 2016 into my electricity monitor for 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours, my fridge used a little over 4 kWh of energy, or about 84 Wh (watt hours) 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 110120v plugin appliances that you want to power.
How Many Starting Watts Does a Refrigerator Use?
Refrigerators require between 350 to 1,200 starting watts. Exactly how much depends on the size and efficiency of the compressor in the refrigerator.
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 power needed to run the compressor drops below the starting watt requirements.
How to Calculate Refrigerator Starting Watts
To calculate the starting watts of your refrigerator 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 or on the label on the refrigerator’s compressor.
 Open the door(s) to your refrigerator and look for the manufacturer’s label. Depending on the manufacturer, the label may say Rated Current or just list the starting watts in a line of other information.
 (Figure 1) The Samsung label shows the Rated Current, or starting amps, required for this refrigerator to start would be 5.0 A (amps) on a 115V circuit.
 (Figure 2) The label for my older GE refrigerator has the amp requirements on a single line, along with volts and hertz. Figure 2 shows that this model of fridge requires 9.5 amps on a 110 to 127 volt circuit for the compressor to start.
You can also find the starting amps, or locked rotor amps (LRA), on the refrigerator’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.
 (Figure 3) The label on the compressor for my GE fridge shows a 9.3 LRA and 115 to 127 volts.
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 fridge is plugged into a 120 volt circuit and it takes 9.5 amps to start the compressor and begin to cool down the refrigerator.
9.5 starting amps X 120 volts = 1,140 starting watts
This means my refrigerator needs at least 1,140 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 Refrigerator?
There are three factors you will need to be able to determine the right size portable power station to run your refrigerator.
 How many watts your refrigerator uses per hour.
 How long you would like to power your refrigerator.
 How many starting watts your refrigerator requires.
For example, let’s say there’s going to be a 6hour power outage and I don’t want the food in my refrigerator to spoil. To overcome this, I want a portable power station that can run my fridge for at least 6 hours.
We already know that the average wattage used by my fridge is 84 Wh/hour. Next, we need to know how many watts I need to power my refrigerator for 6 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 6 hours I’ll need:
84 Wh/hour x 6 hours = 506 Wh
The calculation above shows that I need a portable power station that can provide a minimum of 506watt hours of electricity.
I also need enough starting watt capacity to start my refrigerator’s compressor. My refrigerator requires 1,140 starting watts.
The portable power station I need to run my refrigerator for 6 hours needs to have at least 506 Wh (Watt hours) of power capacity and provide starting watts above 1,140 watts.
Refrigerator Wattage Chart – Average Watts Used by Fridge Type, Features, & Size
Refrigerator w/ Bottom Freezer By Features & Size  Average Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)  Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)  Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h) 

Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Without: Icemaker (Overall)  426  1,167  146 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  373  1,022  128 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  444  1,216  152 
20 to 24.9 cubic ft.  493  1,351  169 
25 to 30 cubic ft.  535  1,466  183 
Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Icemaker (Overall)  563  1,542  193 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  475  1,302  163 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  528  1,446  181 
20 to 24.9 cubic ft.  583  1,598  200 
25 to 30 cubic ft.  612  1,676  210 
Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Through Door Ice Dispenser (Overall)  670  1,835  229 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  621  1,701  213 
20 to 24.9 cubic ft.  673  1,844  230 
25 to 30 cubic ft.  692  1,897  237 
BuiltIn, With: Automatic Defrost, Without: Icemaker (Overall)  382  1,047  131 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  368  1,008  126 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  484  1,325  166 
BuiltIn, With: Automatic Defrost, Icemaker (Overall)  545  1,494  187 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  437  1,196  150 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  542  1,486  186 
20 to 24.9 cubic ft.  604  1,654  207 
SidebySide Refrigerator Freezer by Features & Size  Average Annaul Energy Use (kWh/yr)  Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)  Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h) 

Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Icemaker  
25 to 29.5 cubic ft.  653  1789  75 
Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Through Door Ice Dispenser (Overall)  618  1694  81 
19.3 to 24.9 cubic ft.  598  1639  81 
25 to 29.5 cubic ft.  659  1805  71 
BuitIn, With: Automaic Defrost, Icemaker  
25 to 29.5 cubic ft.  711  1947  75 
BuitIn, With: Automaic Defrost, Through Door Ice Dispener  
25 to 29.5 cubic ft.  776  2127  89 
Refrigerator w/ Top Freezer by Features & Size  Average Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)  Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)  Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h) 

Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost (Overall)  342  938  39 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  300  821  34 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  354  969  40 
20 to 24 cubic ft.  394  1080  45 
Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost, Icemaker (Overall)  452  1237  52 
9 to 14 cubic ft.  404  1108  46 
14 to 19.9 cubic ft.  445  1220  51 
20 to 24 cubic ft.  477  1307  54 
Single Door Refrigerator w/o Freezer by Features & Size  Average Annual Energy Use (kWh/yr)  Average Watt Hours Used / Day (Wh/day)  Average Watts Used / Hour (W/h) 

Free Standing, With: Manual Defrost  
20 to 23.8 cubic ft.  331  907  38 
Free Standing, With: Automatic Defrost (Overall)  335  916  38 
16 to 19.9 cubic ft.  303  830  35 
20 to 23.8 cubic ft.  338  927  39 
BuiltIn, With: Automatic Defrost (Overall)  280  767  32 
7.6 to 11.9 cubic ft.  248  680  28 
12 to 15.9 cubic ft.  272  745  31 
16 to 19.9 cubic ft.  301  824  34 
Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the electricity cost to run a refrigerator?
The average refrigerator uses 1,429 watts per day, which when converted to kilowatts, equals 1.429 kW per day. The national average cost of a kilowatt is 15 ¢/kW. Multiplying kW/day times ¢/kW equals electricity cost. (1,429 watts x 0.15 cents = 0.21 cents per day)

Can you run a refrigerator on a solar generator?
Yes, you can power a refrigerator with a solar generator. Just be sure to choose one that can provide enough AC current to start and run your fridge. There are many on the market with solar inverters that cannot provide the starting watts needed. Choose wisely.

How many watts does a refrigerator use in 24 hours?
The average refrigerator uses 1,429 watts in 24 hours. Which works out to 60 watts per hour on average.
Wrap Up
Knowing your refrigerator’s power consumption is vital if you need to power it with a portable power station or generator.
Refrigerators without a freezer use around 804 watts per day, while those with freezers consume around 1,429 watts daily.
You’ll also need to consider the starting watts needed to initiate the refrigerator’s operation, which can range from 350 to 1,200 watts.
Before purchasing a power solution, consider checking the appliance’s ENERGY STAR® rating and use an electricity usage meter for more precise measurements. Understanding these details will enable you to make an informed, energyefficient decision.