How Many Amps Does A Refrigerator Use? (According To Its Size)

Kirstin Harrington
by Kirstin Harrington

When you become a homeowner, you’ll quickly find out that there are a lot of things you didn’t know. Whether it’s how to fix something, how to install an appliance, or how to winterize a house, there’s always something new to learn. Knowing these things can help keep your home safe and sound.

A standard fridge uses between 3 and 6 amps and up to 300-600 watts of electricity. You can determine how many amps your fridge uses if you divide the watts by 120. Your fridge is 3.3 amps if it runs at 400 watts.

Today we’re going to dive into everything there is to know when it comes to energy consumption in the kitchen. Knowing this information can help you save money and reduce the amount of electricity you use. Let’s first touch on how you can learn how much amperage your specific fridge uses.

How to Determine the Amperage of Your Fridge

When you want to reduce power consumption in the home, one of the appliances you can start to assess is your refrigerator. Oftentimes, your fridge has one of the highest power consumption ratings, especially if you own an older model.

To find the amperage of your refrigerator, you’ll need the total wattage and voltage. Take the wattage and divide it by the voltage. All American households have 120v available, so you can divide the wattage by 120.

Wattage, however, varies from one appliance to another. It measures the amount of energy that gets converted into electricity per hour. The lower the wattage, the less energy your refrigerator will require to function properly.

So, to find out how much energy your refrigerator is using, you need to determine how many amps it uses over time. There are a couple of different methods to go about finding out this information:

Method #1: Use the Refrigerator’s Energy Star Rating

The easiest way to find out your fridge’s amperage is to simply type your refrigerator’s model number into google and see if it has an Energy Star rating listed online. If so, you’ll usually find the estimated yearly electricity usage.

For example, if the energy consumption is 227 kWh per year (or 227,000 Watts hours per year), you will divide 227,000 by the number of days in a year (365) to give you approximately 621.91 watts hours per day. Then, divide 621.91 watts hours by the number of hours in a day (34) to yield 25.91 average running watts.

Finally, dividing the running watts by the voltage gives you the fridge’s amperage. Since most refrigerators in the United States operate on 120 volts, you will take 25.91 average watts and divide by 120 volts to determine that your fridge averages .21 amps.

Method #2: Use an Energy Meter

If your fridge does not have an energy star rating, you can try contacting the manufacturer or purchase a KWH meter. These energy meters are a simple, effective way to determine the power consumption of your appliances. It’s also going to give you the most accurate answer. The meter you purchase will typically come with detailed instructions.

However, most work by simply plugging the meter into an outlet and then plugging the refrigerator into the meter itself. The meter will then calculate the amount of power the unit uses over time.

Method #3: Calculate Using the Nameplate Amperage

Another method you can try is to use the nameplate amperage. Nameplates on refrigerators provide helpful information about the appliances and will generally list the amperage, labeled in as “Amps” or simply “A”. Though, when using the amperage rating on a refrigerator nameplate, it’s pretty much an educated guess that is based on an estimated duty cycle.

Your fridge’s compressor does not run constantly, it actually cycles on and off. So, the percentage of time that the compressor is operating is known as the duty cycle. The amperage on the nameplate is the number of amps that the appliance pulls when the compressor is running. Though, because of the duty cycle, the average amperage of your refrigerator will actually be much lower than this value.

Learning the Terms

The above calculations can quickly become confusing if you don’t know the different terms associated with electricity. Knowing what each of these things means can help you find a refrigerator that fits your needs. Let’s take a look.


The wattage of your refrigerator is directly linked to the amperage. This means that if one is higher, so will the other, and vice versa. I know this can be frustrating, especially if you struggle with math, so let me make it easier for you.

Let’s say your refrigerator is 400 watts. You’ll take 400 and divide it by 120 if you live in America. This will give you a total of 3.3 amps, but what’s an amp?

An amp is what’s used to measure the amount at which electricity flows. It can vary depending on things like wires and the size of your circuit breaker. It’s essential to make sure you know your appliances amps to ensure you won’t blow a fuse.

While we’ll discuss it more later in this article, it’s a good idea to put your refrigerator on its own circuit. A dedicated circuit will help to avoid an overload and lowers the risk of a house fire.

When you’re shopping around for a new fridge, you’ll often find them with wattage ranges between 360 and 600. This gives an amperage range of three and five. Washing machines and dishwashers are the appliances with the highest amperages.


As we talked about at the beginning of this article, wattage gets divided by voltage. All homes in the United States have 120 Volts. If you’re outside of the U.S., you’ll find that voltage may vary from one house to another.

Daily Kilowatt Hour

Another common term you’ll hear when it comes to the energy consumption of your refrigerator is “Daily Kilowatt Hour.” You can find out what yours is by taking the wattage of your refrigerator and multiplying by 24. If you don’t keep your fridge plugged in all the time, multiple it by the average number of hours it’s in use.

Take the number you get and divide it by 1,000. This will tell you how much you pay on average. It might change slightly during extreme weather or if you’re using your fridge a lot. Let’s look at a comparison chart to give you an idea of what you might be paying to keep your fridge running.

UnitAverage Energy Usage Average Energy Costs
Refrigerator (frost-free), 15 cu. ft. (1996 unit)150 kWh per month$19.50 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator, 14 cu. ft.34.5 kWh per month$ 4.49 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator (frost-free), 17 cu. ft.35 kWh per month$ 4.55 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator (frost-free), 19 cu. ft.46 kWh per month$ 5.98 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator (side by side) 21 cu. ft.51 kWh per month$ 6.63 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator (frost-free) 24 cu. ft.54 kWh per month$ 7.02 per month
ENERGY STAR Refrigerator (side by side) 25 cu. ft.60 kWh per month$ 7.80 per month

Saving Energy

If you live in an eco-friendly household or you’re just on a budget like the rest of us, there are things you can do. To reduce the energy consumption your refrigerator generates, consider purchasing a smaller fridge.

There are plenty of newer models that have energy-saving modes that make it easy. If you don’t want to spend a ton on a new fridge, you can buy a used one that doesn’t have fancy features, like an ice maker or water dispenser.

Types of Amp Breakers

You’ve read a bit about how dedicating a circuit for your refrigerator is a great way to prevent short-circuiting. Circuit breakers help to interrupt the flow of electricity from certain areas of your house. In short, they prevent the system from overloading and causing a bigger issue.

There are two main types of circuit breakers available: single-pole circuit breakers and double-pole circuit breakers. The more appliances you have, the more likely you’ll want to use a double-pole circuit breaker.

If you use a single-pole one, you’re making your home more susceptible to fire hazards. A circuit breaker can only work properly if you get the right type. I suggest that everyone use a double-pole unit, as it can help save you money when it comes to your electric bill.

Factors that Affect Your Refrigerators Energy Consumption

There are a handful of things that can change how much or how little energy your fridge uses. Let’s take a look at the most common ones to give you a better idea of what can influence energy consumption.


Many homeowners don’t know that the location of the refrigerator greatly affects its performance. The further you put your fridge away from the oven, the less energy it uses. This is because there isn’t a lot of ventilation in that area, and the oven releases heat, causing the fridge to work harder.


This one is a lot more obvious; the bigger the fridge, the more energy it uses. Consider how big your family is now and how much space you actually need. You may be able to get away with a smaller fridge than you may think.


How you use your refrigerator also plays a role in energy consumption. For example, it can be easy to forget to close your fridge completely after opening it. When this happens, the seal isn’t locked into place, and the compressor has to work harder to cool the inside of the appliance.

It’s also important to note that the less you have in a fridge, the more it has to work. Keep your refrigerator and your freezer well-stocked to avoid excessive energy consumption.


Something else to consider is the age of your appliance. The older the fridge, the most energy it likely uses. While new units with a ton of fancy features use a ton of energy, the majority of modern refrigerators are energy-efficient.


It’s a good idea to keep your refrigerator set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and it will have to use more energy to keep cool. Your freezer should be set between zero and five degrees Fahrenheit.

Related Questions

Do refrigerators need to be on a dedicated circuit?

It’s a good idea for most homeowners to put their refrigerator on a dedicated circuit. The majority of fridges run between three and six amps but can peak at around 15 amps. This makes it crucial to give the appliance its own circuit in lieu of fire safety precautions. Depending on where you live, there might be a code in place that requires the refrigerator to be on a dedicated circuit. Make sure you look up the codes for your area to make sure you’re following the laws.

Can you plug a refrigerator into a regular outlet?

Most standard refrigerators will connect perfectly fine in a regular outlet. It should provide 120 Volts of electricity to the appliance. If you’re working with a mini-fridge or an industrial-size refrigerator, you may need a unique outlet. 

What height should a refrigerator outlet be?

If you’re building your own house, an outlet for a refrigerator should be about one foot from the bottom of the box. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s a good idea to put receptacles no higher than 19 inches from the center of the receptacle.

Kirstin Harrington
Kirstin Harrington

Kirstin is a passionate writer who loves helping people learn new things when it comes to home improvement. When she's not behind a keyboard, she enjoys DIY projects, crafts, spending time with her pets, and making videos. She hopes that with all she writes, someone is finding a solution to their home improvement needs.

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