How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

Whether you are a college student looking for something small and compact to store your food and drinks in, in the safety of your own room or someone who wants easy access to drinks and snacks in the tv room, then a mini fridge is a great choice. One of the things that puts some people off buying a mini fridge for their home or dorm room, however, is uncertainty over mini fridge electricity costs. Many people want to know how many watts a mini fridge uses in order to work out whether a mini fridge is a financially sensible thing to buy.

Electricity is expensive, and in hot weather, you are already dealing with the costs of running your full-sized kitchen refrigerator, air conditioning, fans, and a wide range of other possible cooling devices. So is a mini fridge a sensible addition, or is it just going to use too much electricity and cause your bills to rack up far higher than you want?

Types of mini fridge

Mini fridges are exactly what they sound like: small refrigerators designed to hold drinks or small amounts of food. There are a number of different types of mini fridge available, however, and each one operates slightly differently, which means that they have slightly different electricity consumption levels and cost different amounts to run.

The first type of mini fridge you should be aware of is the thermoelectric mini fridge. These work by using a pump to transfer heat from one side of the fridge to the other, pumping heat from the inside of the fridge to the outside, typically via the back wall of the fridge. These are relatively quiet, as they run a fan rather than pumping cooling liquid around, but as they pump out hot air, they can increase the strain on whatever you are using to cool your room down.

Compressor fridges function in the same way as most full-sized kitchen fridges. These use a cooling liquid that is vaporized and pushed through a range of tubes and coils with a fan. These make a moderate amount of noise, but they are not recommended for use in bedrooms or near to where anyone sleeps for safety reasons.

The quietest type of mini fridge is the absorption mini fridge, which does not feature a motor at all. These are often found in hotels and are generally a good option for use in bedrooms and dorms thanks to how exceptionally quiet this type of mini fridge is. Absorption mini fridges are also a low power consumption mini fridge choice that works well for keeping your mini fridge energy consumption to a minimum.

How Mini Fridges Save Electricity

If you often open up your full-sized refrigerator to grab a cold drink, then a mini fridge can actually save you energy. Every time you open your fridge, cold air spills out, and that means that the fridge has to work overtime to cool down again every single time you open the door. A mini fridge is much smaller than a full-sized refrigerator, with most mini fridges having a volume of around 2.5 cubic feet in volume. Compare that to the average refrigerator, which has a volume of around 23 cubic feet, and you can see that there is a lot less air in there to cool down. This means that you lose much less cold air when you open a mini fridge, which takes less electricity to replace every time you open the door.

What are Watts?

Watts are a simple measure of electrical power. The wattage of any electrical system or appliance is found by multiplying the voltage and the current together, giving a total power output in watts. This is the best way to work out your energy consumption, as overall energy consumption is generally measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Kilowatt-hours are used to measure the energy consumption of your home and are an easy number system to use. In order to work them out, you are going to need to follow a few steps. To start with, you will need to work out how many hours per day your fridge is actually running for. Multiply that number of hours by the wattage of your mini fridge, and you will have a number of watt-hours per day. But home electricity consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours rather than watt-hours, so we are going to need to convert watt-hours into kilowatt-hours.

Converting watt-hours into kilowatt-hours is an easy process. All you need to do is to move the decimal point three places to the left. So, using this system, 650.0-watt-hours would be equal to 0.650-kilowatt-hours. Once you have worked that out, you can use that number to work out how much a mini fridge costs to run.

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

It is impossible to predict exactly what the power consumption of a mini fridge is, as these electrical appliances are not actually running constantly. Once the inside of your fridge is at the right temperature, the fridge actually stops running until the temperature rises and then the fridge starts up again in order to drive the temperature back down. This means that a mini fridge runs more when you open the door often than when you just leave it closed for a long period of time.

The other thing that affects mini fridge energy consumption is the insulation of the mini fridge itself. There is no power consumption number that can be used for all mini fridges, as every style and model of mini fridge has a different level of insulation. As a general rule, the more protected the interior of your mini fridge is from the hot air outside, the less energy is required in order to keep the food and drinks inside cold.

In general, the power wattage of most mini fridges ranges between 50 watts and 65 watts, depending on size and insulation levels. That is not an enormous range, although there are some models of mini fridge that run at power wattage levels that are either above or below that rating. Knowing the precise wattage of your chosen mini fridge can help you to work out how much it costs to run by calculating the kilowatt-hours (kWh) of your mini fridge.

How Much Does a Mini Fridge Cost to Run?

Adding a mini fridge to your home or dorm room will add to your electricity bill, but not by as much as you might perhaps be expecting. Depending on your energy provider and exactly which model of mini fridge you are using, you are probably looking at a daily electricity cost of about $5 to $10 to run your mini fridge. If you are running it at a lower temperature or using it constantly, that cost might rise a little, but if you are using it minimally, you might be able to run it for a lower daily cost.

In order to work out exactly how much your mini fridge costs you to run, you will need a couple of bits of information. You’re going to need to know how much your electricity provider charges per kilowatt-hour used, and you’re going to need to know the wattage of your mini fridge. Using the method we discussed above, work out how many kilowatt-hours your mini fridge uses per day, and you should be able to translate that to a daily cost to run a mini fridge.


There’s no single answer to questions such as “how much power does a mini fridge use?” or “how much does a mini fridge cost to run?”, as there’s a relatively wide range of different power consumption levels between different models of mini fridge and everyone uses their mini fridges slightly differently. In addition to this, the cost of electricity is going to depend on which electricity provider you use.

Our guide above, however, should give you a good sense of roughly what you’re looking at in terms of mini fridge watt usage and will equip you to work out the precise answer for your particular mini fridge. Knowing how much your mini fridge costs to run is a very important piece of knowledge!

© 2019 OHK