If you’ve been looking into getting a mini fridge, you’ve probably wondered how much electricity a mini fridge uses. Since it’s smaller than a regular fridge, it has to waste a lot less energy, right? Today, we’re answering all your burning questions, starting with “how many watts does a mini fridge use?” The answer could surprise you.
What Is Wattage? And How Does It Work?
Before we go any further, we have to talk about the elephant in the room: what is a watt? What does it tell you? Don’t worry, we won’t go into detail or use any complicated language.
Put simply, watts are units of measurement for electricity. They tell you how much power a machine uses. Every appliance in your kitchen likely has a sticker indicating their wattage power.
Watts are also the basis for calculating your energy use. When you get your power bill at the end of the month, you’ll see kilowatt-hour (kWh) written on there somewhere. The larger the appliance, the higher the wattage. This is what tells you how much you’ll have to pay per year or per month.
Mini Fridge Wattage
On average, the common mini fridge uses between 50 and 65 watts. But this isn’t as straightforward as it appears to be. Some models may use less than that while others can go over that range. In fact, some models can use as much as 100 watts!
Different Models, Different Wattage
There are a lot of factors that influence how many watts compact refrigerators use.
For starters, fridge size matters, as larger models use more watts than smaller models.
Secondly, the quality of the insulating system on your compact refrigerator also affects the model’s energy-efficiency. If your fridge is good at trapping in the cold, it will use less power.
Thirdly, older models are more wasteful (higher wattage) than newer ones. That’s why it might be worth spending a bit more on a more modern and more energy-saving appliance.
Lastly, how you stock up the compact fridge matters too. Overcrowding it puts a strain on the motor, making the fridge work overtime and spend more power.
How Many Watts Does My Mini Fridge Use?
If every mini fridge is different, how can you tell how much power your compact refrigerator is using? It’s simple and there is no guess-work involved.
Start by looking inside your fridge. There should a sticker plastered on one of the side walls with technical information written on it. We’ll be looking at those numbers.
You should see a number for “volts” and another for “amps.” Multiply the two and you’ll have an exact wattage number. Voilà.
Alternatively, you could go through the user’s manual (if you still have it). You’ll quickly find everything you need to know in there, including wattage.
Mini Fridge vs Full-Sized Fridge: Energy Consumption
As you can imagine, full-size fridges has a higher power consumption than mini fridges. That’s mainly because of their size.
While the average refrigerator is around 23 cubic feet in volume, mini fridges tend to usually be around 3 cubic feet. It’s this big difference that explains why fridges run, on average, between 100 and 250 watts.
Are Mini Fridges Energy-Efficient?
When compared them to full-size fridges, mini fridges are a lot more energy-efficient. They can keep things chilled at more or less the same temperature but while using less power.
That said, not all models are exactly energy-efficient. The newer ones made by reputable manufacturers can save you a pretty penny per year. But low-quality appliances can end up draining your wallet if you’re not careful. Look for ones that have an Energy Star certificate.
How Much Does It Cost to Run a Mini Fridge?
Once you know how many watts your mini fridge uses, you can also calculate how much you’ll be paying to use it. But once again, we don’t have a straight answer for you.
The reason why is that mini fridges don’t run all day. They’re not wasting power 24/7. Instead, they work in bursts. The engine runs until the temperature inside the fridge gets low enough and then it turns off until it needs to chill the fridge again—and so on. That means that, on average, your mini fridge will likely run for a third of the day.
So, multiply your mini fridge’s wattage by eight hours (a third of one day) and you’ll have a wattage-hour number.
Then, you’ll divide that number by 1000 and you’ll have kilowatt-hours, the golden measurement for calculating electricity costs.
Multiply it by however much is your local kWh price and you have a daily cost of running your mini fridge.
Let’s put it into simpler terms by going over an example.
Imagine you have a mini fridge that runs on 100 watts. If it runs for eight hours per day (a third of a day), that means it has a power consumption of 800 watt-hours. That equals 0.800 kilowatt-hours. Given that the average kWh cost in the United States is of 13.31 cents, running this mini fridge would cost you $3.20 per month. That’s around $38.4 per year!
Top Tips for Lowering Your Mini Fridge Power Bill
Luckily, there are things you can do to further lower your mini fridge’s power bill. Spoiler alert: they’re likely the things your parents told you to do when you were younger.
Keep the Door Closed
Every time you open the mini fridge door you are raising its internal temperature. To counteract that, the engine starts working overtime, thus using more energy. This then reflects on your power bill: the more energy used, the more you’ll have to pay.
If you want to stick to a lower budget and lower power consumption, try to resist the temptation of constantly checking what’s inside your mini fridge.
Don’t Leave the Doors Open for Long
The same thing happens when you leave the doors open for too long: you’ll end up paying more money per year for a higher energy consumption. This is why the most modern mini and regular-size refrigerators now beep if you leave them open for too long.
Stack Items Efficiently
Putting your food and drinks away in a well-organized manner is a great money-saving idea. For starters, you can easily and quickly find what you’re looking for. Secondly, the cold air inside the fridge can circulate more freely, cooling down every shelf evenly. This prevents the engine from going into overwork-mode to bring down the temperature inside the appliance and lowers the energy consumption.
Defrost Whenever Needed
You may have noticed that sometimes there’s ice build-up on the shelves and walls of your mini fridge. It’s normal, but you have to deal with it. If you don’t, the engine will (you guessed it!) work more than usual to bring down the temperature everywhere inside the mini fridge.
Luckily for you, we’ve already explained in detail how to defrost a mini fridge in just one day!
Keep It Away from Heat Sources
Another money-saving tip is to keep your mini fridge away from hot areas of your house or office. If the outside temperature is high, the mini fridge will try to offset it by working harder (and wasting more energy and money).