How much electricity does a mini fridge use

A lot of people use mini fridges because they are compact in nature, do not consume too much space, and most importantly have multi-purpose usage. You can easily keep it under your office desk, inside a dorm room, or even in your car (limousine to be exact). However, if you have not used a mini fridge before you will obviously need an answer to the question: how much electricity does a mini fridge use?

In this article, we will discuss the total electricity consumption of a mini fridge, how much it would cost you monthly, whether it will have a significant impact on your utility bills, and if the energy generated through solar panels would be enough to power up your mini fridge. 

What is the wattage of a refrigerator?

Before we go on to discuss how much electricity a mini fridge uses it is important to consider the wattage used by a normal refrigerator so that we can differentiate between their energy consumption. On average a normal refrigerator used for residential purposes can consume around 350 watts to 780 watts. 

However, you also need to consider the fact that the power consumption of a refrigerator depends on multiple factors including its model, size, age, room temperature of the kitchen, and the area of placement.

The power consumption of the refrigerator also changes according to its type. For instance, if you are using a new Energy Star-certified refrigerator it will consume 9% less energy in comparison to other refrigerator models. This also makes a significant difference in your monthly electricity bill. 

Energy consumption of a mini fridge

The energy consumption of a mini fridge is less than that of a normal refrigerator and most mini fridges use from 50 watts to 100 watts of electricity. If you want to know about the power consumption of an individual mini fridge model then you can check out its manual. Mini fridges function eight hours a day which is good enough to keep your food and drinks chilled for a long time. 

As mentioned above the energy consumption of mini fridges depends on various factors that include their overall size, model, manufacturing materials, etc. In general, if we look at the reports provided by the consumers then the annual operational cost of a 4.5 cubic foot mini fridge is $27. In comparison, a regular refrigerator of 20.6 sizes can cost you $47. 

Conventional refrigerators can utilize 420 kWh of energy annually whereas the energy consumption of mini fridges remains between 233 kWh to 310 kWh per year. However, you should note that mini-fridges use more energy on a per-volume basis. A mini fridge with a 20-liter volume can consume 50 kWh, a 40-liter volume can consume 70 kWh, and a 60-liter volume can consume up to 100 kWh. 

Due to its on-and-off cycles, you will not be able to accurately predict the electricity consumption rate of a mini fridge but you can make a rough estimate depending on the factors that can increase your utility bill. Generally, you can expect at least a $20 to $50 increase in your utility bill every year while using a mini refrigerator. 

To understand how the calculation works let us have a look at an example. Suppose you have recently purchased a  4.4 cubic ft. mini fridge with a freezer that has a 1-star energy rating. If we look at the specifications of this mini fridge then we will find out that its yearly electricity consumption is 240 Kilowatt Hours. 

As of April 2022, the electricity cost in a country like the United States (on average) is 10.42 cents every kilowatt-hour which means if anyone residing in the United States uses this mini fridge then they will have to bear a yearly cost of (240*10.42) / 100 = $25.008. On a monthly basis, you will have to spend an extra $2.084 on your utility bill for the mini-fridge.

In comparison to the cost of a mini fridge, if you consider a standard refrigerator with 600 kWh annual electricity usage then you will have to spend at least $5 extra on your utility bill. 

AspectMini FridgeRegular Refrigerator
Energy Consumption50-100 watts420 kWh annually
Operational Cost (4.5 cu. ft.)$27 per year$47 per year
Energy Consumption Range (per volume)20L: 50 kWh, 40L: 70 kWh, 60L: 100 kWhN/A
Rough Estimate of Utility Bill Increase$20-$50 per year
$5 per year

Ways to optimize your mini fridge to reduce energy consumption

Through proper maintenance, you will be able to successfully decrease the amount of energy used by your mini refrigerator. You may also need to change some of your habits to receive optimal results. Let us have a look at some of the effective and proven ways to reduce the electricity consumption of your mini fridge:

Keep the fridge door closed

The first step you need to take in order to reduce the electricity consumption of your mini refrigerator is to keep the door of your fridge closed as much as possible. Don’t open the door of the mini-fridge for a long period of time and stare at the drinks as well as snacks in order to pick one. 

When we open the fridge door the cold air from the refrigerator comes out and warm air goes in. In this scenario, the air compressor of the mini fridge needs to work hard in order to bring down or maintain the temperature of the appliance. 

Maintain the mini fridge coils

A lot of times the condenser coils of the mini refrigerators get clogged because of dust, debris, etc. Due to the same reason these coils may need to work harder than normal in order to keep your refrigerator functioning. As a result, your mini refrigerator may consume more electricity than actually required and that is why you should keep the dust out of the coils. 

Use an Energy Star-certified mini fridge

If you have not purchased a mini fridge yet then you should consider it carefully. Right now, there are multiple efficient mini refrigerators available in the market, and using them will help you maintain your electricity bill. These Energy Star-certified mini-refrigerators will consume less electricity in comparison to any other mini refrigerators available in the market. 

Optimization Tips
Keep the fridge door closed
Maintain the mini fridge coils
Use an Energy Star-certified mini fridge

Final words

You can accurately estimate the electrical energy consumption of a mini fridge because the value changes depending on the model, features, etc. However, if you purchase an energy-efficient mini fridge and use it wisely then you will be able to save a lot of money on your utility bills.

Although the energy consumption of a mini fridge is not similar to that of a normal fridge or air conditioner, you can certainly use it if you have a solar system at your home. All you need to do is to calculate the yearly energy consumption of the mini fridge based on the model and compare it with the yearly solar energy production through your solar system. With this method, you will be able to find out if your solar system can supply enough energy to your mini fridge.

Frequently asked questions

How much electricity does a mini fridge use per month?

If you are using a mini fridge that ranges between 1.7 to 4.4 cubic feet with a manual defrost then it will deplete around 239.42 kilowatt-hours annually and in case you have opted for the automatic defrost version then it can take up to 318.4 kilowatt-hours every year. 

Does a mini fridge save electricity?

Due to its compact nature, a mini fridge usually takes up less energy in comparison to a refrigerator. Especially if you constantly open up your fridge to grab a drink or any other food items then a normal fridge will consume lots of energy to maintain the temperature.
Mini fridges are smaller in size and that is why less cold air gets released and the compressor of the refrigerator won’t have to work rigorously to maintain the temperature. 

Should I leave my mini fridge on all the time?

Yes, you should keep your mini fridge on all the time because these small fridges come with a thermostat which makes the compressor shut down when the desired temperature of the refrigerator has been reached. 
However, you also need to note that in case your mini fridge is a non-frost one then you will have to manually remove the ice that will build up in your mini fridge, else your compressor will continue to run for a longer period which in turn will reduce its lifespan.

What is the best size for a mini fridge?

Although the size of your mini fridge will differ according to your use case and preferences, ideally most utilized mini-fridges come with a width of 18 to 24 inches, a depth of 19 to 26 inches, and a height of 30 to 35 inches.

Can you store food in a mini fridge?

Yes, mini-fridges function similarly to a refrigerator but the space inside the mini-fridge is highly compact. The temperature of the mini fridge also remains constant and you can keep any type of food and drinks inside the mini fridge. If the mini fridge comes with a freezer then the temperature inside it remains below 0 degrees.

In this article, we have first compared the energy consumption between a normal fridge and a mini refrigerator so that the readers can understand the difference between energy consumption levels. Later on, we discussed how they can calculate the annual energy consumption of a mini refrigerator and the ways to keep their utility bill in check while using the mini fridge. 

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