How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use? (5 Ways to Find Out)

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“Close the fridge door – you’re wasting electricity!” You’ve probably heard this phrase before and for a good reason. Refrigerators use a lot of energy, and leaving the door open for long periods only adds to the consumption.

So, how many amps does a refrigerator use?

The average fridge uses between 6 and 10 amps. Yet, this can vary depending on a few factors, including the model of the refrigerator, its size, any special functions or features, and its age. 

Knowing how to calculate the amperage of a specific fridge is always a good idea. It can help you understand if it’s optimal for your household and personal needs. 

In this article, I will answer all your questions about fridges and their electricity usage! Plus, I’ll give you 5 of my favorite ways to save energy with your fridge. 

How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use?

A standard refrigerator typically uses around 6 amps or 720 watts of energy, but larger models can use up to 10 amps, while smaller options may use as low as 1 amp

Unless your machine runs continuously, you can typically divide the standard amperage by three to determine actual energy consumption.

Likewise, if fridges have special features, they may require extra energy to run those functions. Ice makers and cold water dispensers are notorious for demanding higher amps because they have to bring in additional water and cool it down. 

Yet, other features may not be so obvious. I, myself, was surprised to learn that my fridge, which has multiple doors and temperature-controlled compartments, added to my fridge’s amperage.

Interestingly, even if a fridge is small, old models can still use a significant amount of electricity. These fridges may still function relatively well, yet they may have outdated parts; since this is the case, they often end up being less efficient and require increasing energy to keep the interior cold.

Fortunately, modern, energy-efficient refrigerators often use between 1.5 and 6 amps. Manufacturers incorporate advanced features to help control temperatures and lower consumption when the fridge is adequately cooled. 

Ultimately, this helps reduce energy bills and positively impacts the environment.

How to Calculate Amps Usage of a Refrigerator

Since fridges have such a large range in potential amperage or wattage, finding the exact energy consumption for a particular unit is essential. 

Accordingly, you can make excellent decisions about your energy consumption and costs. 

I’ve outlined the top five ways to determine the exact amperage, starting with the easiest methods!

Ask the Manufacturer

If you want to figure out your amperage, contacting the manufacturer is one of the simplest ways. You might find this information inside your owner’s manual, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve likely misplaced that manual ages ago. 

There is no need to worry, though; you can always call the manufacturer’s customer service line and ask about your specific model. 

The representatives will be able to look up your unit in their system and provide you with the details you need.

Check the Appliance Label 

Most refrigerators have a label either on the back or inside the unit. Look for a label that lists the manufacturer, model number, serial number, rating, and other essential details. 

Right next to the rating, you should find the energy consumption in watts or amps.

Look for the Energy Star Rating 

Energy-efficient fridges have a convenient yellow sticker stuck to the outside of the unit; in other parts of the world, such as Canada, this sticker is often blue and white. 

It is an Energy Star or Energy Guide label, showcasing that the refrigerator meets national energy efficiency standards. The sticker should list annual energy usage (kW/hr) and the estimated operating cost.

Use an Energy Meter 

If you still cannot determine the refrigerator amperage, using an energy meter is your best option. It is also ideal with an older unit, as it may use a different amount of electricity than it did in its original condition. 

An energy meter is a tool that calculates the exact amount of electricity consumed by your fridge. It is also pretty simple to use and to quickly calculate the number! 

You can plug the energy meter into a wall socket and your refrigerator into the meter. It will display the number immediately on its small screen.

Try a Clamp Meter

Let’s say you cannot find an energy meter; there’s no need to panic! You can also use a clamp meter to calculate how many amps your refrigerator uses. 

A clamp meter is a specialized tool that attaches to power cords, reading the electrical current. All you need to do is put it on the cable running from your fridge to the outlet, then wait for it to display your amps rating. 

How to Convert Different Power Measurements to Amps

I know how confusing it can be when you come across different power measurements, such as watts or kilowatts instead of amps. 

Luckily, converting these units to amps is a simple calculation. 

You can use an online electrical calculator or take advantage of the equations below.

Watts and Volts to Amps

It is common to find watts when you are looking for energy consumption listings. When converting watts to amps, you simply need to divide the watts by the volts. 

For example, a fridge with 750 watts and 120 volts would have 6.25 amps

Kilowatts and Volts to Amps

Energy Star Rating labels tend to list annual energy consumption in kilowatts. If you want to find the amps from this reading, you will also need the voltage on the appliance label. 

To find the amps, you must divide the kW/hr by the volts

For example, a refrigerator with 640kW/hr and 120 volts would be 5.33 amps.

5 Ways to Save Energy with Your Fridge

5 Ways to Save Energy with Your Fridge

Once you calculate how many amps your refrigerator uses, you may be surprised by the answer. 

When I figured out that my fridge used a staggering 10.5 amps, I knew it was contributing significantly to my high household electricity costs. 

Luckily, I discovered many great ways to reduce energy consumption, cut utility bills, and help the environment. 

If you’re also curious about how to save energy, here are 5 of my favorite ways to do so! 

Setting the Right Temperature 

If you are like most fridge owners, you may believe that your fridge and freezer need to be in the coldest settings. 

However, your ideal refrigerator temperature is between 35-40°F, and the optimal freezer temperature is 0°F or slightly lower. 

When you go above these settings, your fridge may need more energy to reduce and maintain unnecessary temperatures.

Related >> Is 45 Degrees a Safe Temperature for a Refrigerator?

Cleaning Your Fridge Regularly 

It may be a chore to clean your fridge regularly, but any dust, debris, or ice build-up leads to the appliance working overtime. 

Therefore, cleaning your refrigerator every few months is a good idea. It will keep everything running smoothly!

Defrosting Your Appliance Annually

My refrigerator tends to build up ice in the freezer, which can cause the drain line to become blocked. It makes the fridge work harder to maintain its temperature. 

To prevent this from happening, I make sure to defrost my fridge every year and give it a deep clean. As a result, my appliance begins to function like it’s brand new!

Place Your Fridge in an Ideal Location

It’s important to be aware of where you place your fridge in your home. 

Many people unknowingly place their fridge next to a strove, causing the appliance to have to work harder to keep the interior cool. 

Additionally, if your fridge is too close to the walls, it may not have proper airflow and can overheat.

Related >> Refrigerator Next to Kitchen Door/Doorway – Good Idea?

Upgrading Your Refrigerator 

If your fridge uses too much energy for your tastes, it may be time to find a smaller or more energy-efficient model. 

Recent refrigerators have state-of-the-art technology and high-quality parts that keep energy consumption and costs low. 

As a perk, you can keep helpful features such as an ice machine without adding to power needs. 


How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use When Starting Up? 

When you plug in a refrigerator, it will use more amps than when running continuously. It may require between 10 to 18 amps during startup and then fall back to the average of 6 to 10 amps.

How Many Refrigerators Can Be on a Regular Circuit? 

An average household circuit is 15 or 20 amps, handling between 12 and 16 amps, respectively. Since this is the case, it is wise to only plug one refrigerator into a circuit unless they are mini-fridges.

How Many Amps Does a Small Refrigerator Use?

A small refrigerator may use between 1 and 6 amps of power. Mini-fridges are well-known for using minimal energy, often below 2 amps. 

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Niels Joensen is the founder and chief editor at Niels is a professional painter who runs his own painting company. When not painting he likes to write about home renovation and appliances.