Does a Mini Fridge Consume a Lot of Electricity?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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How much electricity does a mini fridge use? This is the first question you would ask if you consider purchasing one. It is standard procedure before acquiring any appliance. We all want an appliance whose electricity costs are minimal.

Mini fridges come in handy when sprucing up small spaces, such as guest rooms, game rooms, student accommodation, or personal spaces. It is, therefore, important for you to be well-informed about its energy consumption. This article will do just that.

How Much Electricity Does a Mini Fridge Use?

Example of mini fridges

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Understanding refrigerator energy consumption requires you to first learn the difference between these two terms, namely: power usage and energy consumption. Power usage is the rate at which a fridge utilizes electricity. It is measured in watts or kilowatts. Energy consumption, on the other hand, refers to the actual amount of electricity a mini fridge consumes over a period of time. It is measured in watt-hours or kilowatt-hours.

The formula for energy consumption = Power consumption (watt) x Duration of use (hours)

The amount of electricity mini-fridges consume depends on several factors that we will discuss later on in the article. Nevertheless, a mini refrigerator will consume between 55 to 85 watts per hour. To calculate the total wattage, determine the number of hours that the refrigerator was in use.

Factors Affecting a Mini Fridge’s Energy Consumption

Small refrigerator with the door slightly opened.

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The amount of energy a mini fridge consumes is influenced by several factors. They include:

1. Age

Mini fridges of older models are less energy-efficient. New models and designs are more energy efficient because they are manufactured using recent technology. Additionally, most of them have an Energy Star rating of A++. Therefore, if your mini fridge’s power consumption is high, you need to upgrade it.

2. Model

The design of your fridge and the materials used to manufacture it determine the energy it consumes. Some models have an Energy Star rating to show that they are energy-efficient mini-fridges. Those with an A++ rating are more energy-efficient fridges than those with an energy rating of B or less. Always check the Energy Star score on a mini fridge before purchasing. Furthermore, a quiet refrigerator will consume more electricity because the technology runs throughout.

3. Size

Even though a mini fridge is smaller than a regular refrigerator, the sizes among these small fridges continue to vary. They differ in the length, width, and height. The cubic foot occupied by each mini fridge also differs. Larger fridges will offer you more space, but the daily energy consumption is high.

Also, some mini fridges have a freezer compartment which automatically increases the electric bill. A small and simple mini fridge would reduce energy consumption.

4. Usage

If your mini fridge door remains open most of the time, the food and drink will likely be much warmer. Thus, it will be more engaged in producing cold air. The mini fridge’s power consumption will be higher. Consider keeping your fridge door shut to save on energy.

5. Settings

Factory settings on your mini fridge can increase the annual cost. For instance, the thermostat settings can tell you the actual energy consumption of the appliance. Therefore, checking the settings can greatly affect your annual running cost.

6. Location

Where you place your mini fridge determines how much energy it consumes. If you place your mini fridge in a warm area or near a heat source, it will be required to work harder to produce cold air. Hence, consider keeping your mini fridge in a cooler and darker region to function efficiently.

7. Season

Every refrigerator has a high energy consumption rate during the summer season. The warmth affects the appliance’s cooling capacity. Your fridge’s compressor has to work extra hard for you to get your refreshing ice-cold beer. Therefore, expect a higher electric bill during this period.

How Much Will It Cost to Run a Mini Fridge?

Mini refrigerator fitted correctly in a room.

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It is possible for you to estimate the annual energy cost of your mini fridge. You can do this by:

i) Determining your refrigerator’s wattage. A sticker inside your fridge tells you how many amps and volts the fridge uses. When these two are multiplied, you get how many watts your small fridge used.  

Watts = volts x amps

ii) Multiplying the wattage by the number of hours the fridge runs. This gives you daily energy consumption.

iii) Divide the energy consumption by 1000. This will convert the watts to kilowatt-hours.

iv) Check how much you pay per kilowatt hour in your area and multiply with results from step iii). This will give you the electricity cost per day.

v) Multiply it with 30 days to get monthly cost and 365 days to get annual electricity consumption.

You can add any other costs incurred, such as the cost to clean the coils or have your mini fridge checked out in case of anything. This figure will give you the total annual operating costs.

Alternatively, you can use a power meter to measure how much power your mini fridge consumes. This device measures the average speed of electrical energy flow in watts. It displays the results in real time. With this, you can estimate the electricity costs for that month.

Furthermore, there are more innovative models that can estimate the amount you will spend based on the energy consumed. The meters are readily available and affordable. They are a great investment if you want to monitor your energy consumption.

Tips to Help You Lower the Running Cost of Your Mini Fridge

1. Position of The Mini Fridge

Your mini fridge will be more efficient if placed in a cool place. If you place it next to other appliances such as a cooker, it will use a lot of energy trying to make. Moving the fridge to a cooler place will ensure it operates efficiently.

2. Distance Between The Mini Fridge and Wall

When positioning a mini refrigerator, always leave some space at the back. The fridge will emit heat from the back. The space will facilitate the heat to escape. Without space, the heat will affect the fridge’s cooling ability.

4. Clean The Coils

Compact refrigerator compressor coils

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Always ensure that the condenser coils are clean. They often trap dust, and if it is not wiped off, they will work harder to ensure your fridge is cooling your beverages well. Hence, more electricity will be used. When cleaning the coils, first unplug the fridge. Use a vacuum clean to remove the dust. Then use a refrigerator coil cleaning brush to clean the rest of the dirt.

5. Ensure The Temperature Is Right

The recommended temperature on any refrigerator is 36°-37°F. Anything above this temperature will see your fridge consuming more power. Therefore, to ensure that your mini fridge is running at this temperature, use a thermometer to measure accurately.

6. Minimize Closing And Opening The Fridge Door Too Often

Leaving the fridge door open allows for warm air. The compressor will have to work harder to ensure the fridge returns to its normal temperature. For this reason, avoid leaving the door open for a long time. Also, take the items you require from the fridge simultaneously. Do not take too long to decide what you want from the fridge while the door is open.

Empty mini fridge.

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It is also advisable to turn off your fridge when it is not in use. Sometimes, no guests are in your home, or you have traveled. Turning off your appliance ensures that it works well and saves you on daily energy consumption.

7. Energy Star Rating

When purchasing a mini refrigerator, get an energy rating of A++. Like any other energy-efficient appliance, it will run efficiently and help you save on costs.

Frequently Asked Questions on Mini Refrigerators’ Electricity Usage

1. Will a Mini Fridge Increase My Electricity Bill?

Yes. Buying a compact refrigerator will increase your electricity bill by a few dollars. This is obvious when you get any additional gadgets into your home. Nevertheless, installing this appliance may lower the energy usage for other gadgets, such as air conditioners, since it expels warm air.

2. Are Mini Fridges Worth It?

Yes. Mini fridges are worth it because they are expensive, require small space, and are low maintenance. They also carry a large capacity that can serve a single household. What is more, they do not use a lot of electricity compared to other smart appliances in the home.

3. Does a Mini Fridge Save Electricity?

Yes. A mini fridge saves electricity since its annual energy consumption is 310 kWh or less. With this kind of electricity usage, you will save significant operating costs annually. You cannot compare this with the amount of energy consumed by full-size refrigerators that would provide similar services.

4. How Long Can a Mini Fridge Last Without Power?

A small fridge can last about four hours without power if it is unopened. Additionally, if the fridge has a freezer, it will maintain the temperature for 48 hours if it remains closed.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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