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How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use? Factors, Tips, & FAQ

a mini fridge with food and water

Refrigerators are known as power hogs because they run 24/7, but what about mini fridges? They’re a more affordable and portable way to store snacks, drinks, and small amounts of food. Most mini fridges on the market use 55–85 watts of power.

Like a full-sized refrigerator, mini fridges are always running. It’s also important to note that mini-fridges today are also more energy efficient than the ones available 20 years ago.

A standard 65w-watt mini fridge would use 1.56 kWh, or kilowatt-hours, per day. That doesn’t sound like much, but you also have to factor in the cost of power in your area to see how much that costs. Let’s assume a national average rate of $0.12 per kWh for our estimates below.

Cost of Running a Mini Fridge:
  • Per hour: $0.01
  • Per day: $0.31
  • Per week: $1.35
  • Per month: $9.49
  • Per year: $113.89

In the short term, mini fridges are financially insignificant, but they add up a bit over the course of a whole year. If possible, use your full-sized fridge to store food so you can simply unplug the mini-fridge.

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Factors That Impact Mini Fridge Energy Efficiency

Mini fridges don’t work in a vacuum, and various factors can impact how energy efficient they are. Let’s go over some of the most relevant factors below and why they’re important.

Factors That Affect Mini Fridge Energy Efficiency:
  • Ambient Temperature: if the air is cooler, the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard, and vice versa
  • Insulation: if the room is well-insulated, the mini fridge will be more efficient, and vice versa
  • Usage: it will cost much less to only use a mini fridge part of the year than to run it 24/7
  • Age and Model: older mini fridges are less energy efficient, and they also become less efficient over time
  • Settings: default fridge settings are typically less energy efficient
  • Season: mini fridges work harder in the sweltering summer heat
owner opening his mini fridge
Image By: Surachet Jo, Shutterstock

What Do Other Appliances Cost to Run?

It’s difficult to truly assess how energy-efficient mini fridges are without taking a look at how expensive other appliances are to run. Refrigerators, dryers, and washers are a few big energy hogs, but let’s include some other items in our list too.

Appliance Annual Costs
Refrigerator $189.24
Washer $43.80 (4 hours of use per day)
Dryer $262.83 (2 hours of use per day)
Cell Phone Charger $0.66 (3 hours of use per day)
Electric Furnace $1,576.97 (2 hours of use per day)
Electric Stovetop Oven $210.26 (2 hours of use per day)

How to Save Power With a Mini Fridge

It seems counter-intuitive that a mini fridge would save power, but in many cases, it can. Stocking your mini fridge with drinks, snacks, and other items you frequently need can cut down on opening your full-sized fridge. This helps the big fridge not work as hard. To help the mini fridge be more efficient, the best thing you can do is to keep the door closed when you’re not using it.

Another handy tip is to not overload the fridge with food or drinks, which will make it work harder to keep your stuff cold. If possible, let hot leftovers sit out until they’re at room temperature before refrigeration.

Finally, you can save money on electricity by choosing an EnergyStar-rated mini fridge. EnergyStar-rated appliances are developed with a focus on energy efficiency and have easy-to-read labels detailing how much the appliance will cost in energy.

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Mini fridges are very convenient and typically use much less power than a full-sized fridge, but different variables will determine your final costs, like the climate, model, and how much you use it. To help cut corners, you can opt for an EnergyStar-rated mini fridge that draws less electricity, and keep the fridge unplugged when you’re not using it.


Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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