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How Many Watts Does a Fridge Use?

Posted on by Everything Energy 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Generally, refrigerators are the fourth-highest energy-consuming appliances in homes. They come in behind space heaters, water heaters and air conditioners, running 24/7, and performing a very important function in our lives. So, it’s natural to wonder, how many watts does a fridge use?

In this article, we’ll explore refrigerator wattage and how much energy an average fridge uses.

What is a watt?

Before diving into fridge wattage, let’s take a step back and answer the question, what is a watt?

A watt (W) is a unit of power that shows the rate at which energy is consumed. A watt is pretty small, so we often discuss power in terms of kilowatts (kW), which is equal to 1,000 W.

A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy expended by 1 kW in an hour. Your electricity bill shows your electricity usage in kWh.

Learn more about calculating watts and kilowatts here.

How many watts does a fridge use?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey, refrigerators account for nearly 4% of all residential energy use in the nation.

In 1947, the average refrigerator energy usage was less than 400 kWh per year. By 1974, this number had shot up to over 1,800 kWh per year. An energy crisis in the 1970s and related legislation were catalysts for manufacturers to make the appliance more energy efficient.

Since then, the average fridge wattage has improved significantly. A new fridge today uses about 75% less energy than its 1973 counterpart — and it has 20% more storage capacity.

So just how much power does a fridge use? Wirecutter’s top four 2024 refrigerator/freezer models all came in with an average energy usage of under 700 kWh per year. Three of those four models used less than 650 kWh per year. That means if you pay 16 cents per kWh for electricity and your fridge uses 650 kWh per year, it will cost you about $104 to run the appliance annually.

You can estimate how much your current refrigerator uses by checking for the yellow Energy Guide label. If your fridge has this label, it should show you an estimated annual yearly consumption of the appliance. You can take this figure and multiply it by your electricity cost per kWh to find how much it costs to operate.

For more ways to figure out your refrigerator’s energy usage, see the formulas from energy.gov.


Now that you know the answer to how many watts does a fridge use, you can start calculating how much your own fridge is costing you per year to operate. If that amount seems quite high compared to today’s energy-efficient models, it may be time to start thinking about a replacement.

Another way to combat a higher-than-average refrigerator operation cost is to find a lower electricity rate. Everything Energy can help you make apples-to-apples comparisons of the energy plans in your area to find the best fit for your lifestyle and usage habits.

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