How Much Do Mini Fridges Cost to Run?

Mini Fridge next to kitchen worktop

Being energy efficient is important, but with a lot of appliances found in most Americans homes, it’s not exactly an easy thing to guarantee you’re going to have a miniature carbon footprint compared to your neighbours.

Mini fridges run off of standard 110V outlets, but how much power do they actually draw, and what does it all mean?

Mini fridge power usage is just like your standard refrigerator – always running, always drawing power. It’s not like your phone or laptop that lock automatically and cuts battery usage into a fraction.

We’re going to go over some energy ratings, and compare a mini fridge to a standard fridge.

How Much Electricity Does a Mini Fridge Use?

A mini fridge uses 65 watts on average when running. How long it’s running per day will determine the daily energy consumption. For example, if your mini fridge runs for 10 hours per day, this equals 650Wh per day.

How Is Electricity Consumption Measured?

Your electricity consumption is measured in watt hours, or kilowatt hours. A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, so if you use ten separate 100 watt devices all at the same time, for one hour, you will run 1,000 watts, or 1 kilowatt of electricity.

The more kilowatt hours on your bill, the higher it’s going to be. A mini fridge may use as little as 1 kilowatt hour in an entire day, provided that the conditions are right.

Look at the watts that your unit consumes, and then look at the volts that you’re plugging it into. You will either have a 110V/120V outlet, or a 220V outlet.

Watts x volts = amps. Many homeowners look to lower their total amp use, because some utility companies may charge you a small fee if you go over a certain number of amps per month.

How Many Amps Does a Mini Fridge Use?

fridge label

Assuming that your mini fridge runs on a 110V electrical connection (not a dedicated circuit), and it uses 80 watts, you’re looking at about 0.7 amps of energy usage.

However, this isn’t going to measure on your electric bill the same. For that, the utility companies use kilowatts per hour, which is why the benchmark you want to look at during purchase is the wattage.

Mini fridges run on 110V/120V wall outlet plugs, while many residential refrigerators run on a dedicated 220V. The higher the voltage, the more dangerous it is, and thus requires a dedicated circuit unlike the outlets all throughout your home.

Mini fridges are popular for dorms, apartments, and even RVs because they use less power in general. If you plug in a residential refrigerator that has 21 cubic feet, all the bells and whistles, and runs on a 250 watt connection at 220V, you’re looking at about 1.13 amps of power.

The disparity from 7.0 to 1.13 doesn’t sound big, but it is. That’s about three times the wattage (and therefore three times the cost) of a mini fridge.

Energy Consumption: Mini Fridge vs. Regular Fridges

mini fridge with beverages

If you’re living alone or you just don’t use the full capacity of your residential refrigerator, then the cost difference alone is enough of a reason to switch to a mini fridge instead of running those high bills.

The average residential refrigerator has about 19 cubic feet of space (usually between 15 and 25 depending on the model), which requires a lot of power to keep going.

If you pay attention to your electric bill, you’ll see that you have kwh, or kilowatt hours, which is how your utility bill is measured. The more watts you use (or that an appliance uses), the more kilowatt hours you will use in any given month or billing cycle period.

Typically, a mini fridge uses about 80 to 100 watts to keep running. Many full-size refrigerators, depending on their energy efficiency rating and overall size, can run as low as 100 watts, but as high as about 250 watts. In short, you run the potential of running up 2.5x more of a bil with a full-sized refrigerator.

how much do mini fridges cost to run?

The annual estimated cost of your electricity usage in a mini fridge is about $60 up to $80, or between $5.00 and $6.67 per month to run.

A full-sized residential refrigerator is going to take anywhere from $90.00 to $200.00 per year to run, which is between $7.50 and $16.67 per month to run.

Some things are unavoidable, though. If you have a large family or your girlfriend/boyfriend just moved in with you, a simple mini fridge might not cut it anymore. It might get hectic to try and stash everything in there.

On the lower end of that refrigerator cost spectrum, you have apartment refrigerators, as well as RV refrigerators (which can be used in the home). These are about six to ten cubic feet, providing enough space for two to three people comfortably.