Last updated: April 17, 2023.
How many amps does a mini fridge use? Find out below from the most comprehensive mini fridge amp draw study. Plus, you’ll find the most standout low amp mini fridge models.
This article focuses on the mini fridge amp results from our power consumption study of over 1,494 mini fridges.
- The average mini fridge amp draw is 0.26A (DC mini fridges average 3.3A);
- The most common listed amperage of a standard mini fridge is 1.5A (6.5A on start-up), but the actual amp draw is most commonly 0.23A;
- AC mini fridges draw less amps than DC mini fridges over longer periods of time;
- Mini fridges use 6.24Ah per day, on average, from an AC power supply; and
- Standout low power consuming / low amp mini fridges with different characteristics and use cases include: Dometic HiPro Evolution C40S, Black + Decker BCRK17, Subcold Pro4, and Smad XC-60A.
Continue reading to see how many amps a mini fridge uses by storage capacity, and don’t miss the 5 general factors you should know about mini fridge amps.
Note: similar to market availability and popularity, most (over 80%) of mini fridges in this study were conventional AC units. As a result, the combined AC and DC insights closer reflect the current drawn by AC models (AC results from DC models that offer dual supply options were captured). And, in cases where DC is not specifically noted, assume the amp draw refers to AC models.
To demonstrate that insights in this article are based on a comprehensive study, this short video shows sample data used in our analysis.
Just so we’re on the same page about the term “mini fridge,” here’s a quick run down (skip the dropdown if you already know the nuances).
Mini fridge amps
The most common mini fridge amperage is 1.5A (6.5A on start-up). But the actual amp draw of a mini fridge is most commonly 0.23A. DC mini fridge amps will be higher, however, there’s typically no amp surge on start-up.
Understanding mini fridge amps is important for safety, efficiency, and maintenance purposes.
This is because knowing how many amps a mini fridge uses helps ensure you don’t overload a circuit (which creates electrical and fire hazards) and helps ensure effective operation.
Mini fridge amp draw varies, and depends on many factors including the cooling system type, cooling stage, and refrigerator size.
But, there are general amperage factors that are common across all mini fridges.
Here are 5 general factors you should know about mini fridge amps:
- The cooling system type impacts amp draw. Small mini fridges and DC units tend to have different cooling systems compared to conventional AC models. AC mini fridge components (e.g. condensers and compressors) create surges in amp draw, while DC mini fridge components (e.g. thermoelectric modules) result in a more stable amp draw.
- The listed amperage is not the actual amp draw. The manufacturer’s listed amperage (1.5A is most common) is the maximum current draw expected under “normal” operating conditions. Mini fridges very rarely operate at their listed amperage – their actual amp draw can be as low as 0A (when idle) to several times the listed amperage during startup / when active cooling initiates.
- Mini fridges can create surges in amp draw. On startup, when conventional AC mini fridge components enter active cooling, a surge in current tends to be drawn. The general rule of thumb is to expect 3 times the power draw, but some manufacturer’s do specify this in the specs under “Start-up Amps”. The most common listed start-up amp result for a mini fridge is 6.5A. Standard household circuits, and the mains power system, cater to these surges. It’s a much more important consideration for those running a mini fridge from a battery / DC supply.
- Their average actual amp draw is quite low. Averaging the daily amp draw of an AC mini fridge, which includes idle and start-up currents, results in a relatively low amp draw. 0.26A is the average amp draw of a mini fridge.
- Amp draw increases with storage capacity. Generally, as expected, the larger the mini fridge, the larger the amp draw. However, there are many exceptions. Less efficient mini fridges can draw considerably more amps than their larger more energy efficient counterparts. Related: see the most efficient mini fridges by size.
Mini fridge specs, including the listed amperage and voltage, can be found at the back of the appliance.
For example, the image below shows the specs (with the listed amperage and start-up amp draw figures highlighted) of an AC mini fridge.
Mini fridge manufacturers also specify electrical requirements in the instruction / user manual. In terms of circuit amperage (incl. fuse / breaker size), a 15A or 20A requirement is most common, followed by 10A. 10A is generally the minimum requirement.
The common household circuit (120V AC, 60Hz) caters to standard AC mini fridge power requirements.
However, DC mini fridges typically require a 5V, 12V or 24V DC supply, although there can be outliers.
The typical listed amperage for a DC mini fridge is 5A.
Before we dive deeper into the actual amp draw of a mini fridge, let’s take a look at the results for the listed amperage along with the size range captured in the study.
The table below shows the listed mini fridge amperage results, and storage capacity range, split into AC and DC power categories.
|Power supply||Typical mini fridge amperage||Storage capacity range|
|AC (110V)||1.5A (6.5A on start-up)||1 to 7.6 cu ft (28 L – 215 L)|
|DC (12V)||5A||0.14 to 0.7 cu ft (4 L – 20 L)|
Now that we’ve covered their amperage, and have a solid understanding of the general factors affecting mini fridge amps, let’s take a closer look at how many amps they actually draw.
How many amps does a mini fridge use?
Mini fridges use 0.26 amps, on average. Overall, based on power consumption test results, mini fridges use 0.11A to 0.5A.
These figures are based on the 110V AC models in our study of over 1,494 mini fridges.
The average amp draw of DC mini fridges is 3.3A.
Amp draw, via DC, is higher primarily due to the lower voltage supply, and different cooling system type.
The most common mini fridge amp draw is 0.23A.
This specific result combines the actual amp draw from all AC and DC models.
As mentioned previously, most mini fridges captured in this study were conventional AC models. As a result, the most common mini fridge amp draw closer reflects the current drawn by AC models.
The table below lists how many amps mini fridges use, on average, for each power supply option.
|Power supply||Mini fridge amp draw (average)||Storage capacity range|
|AC (110V)||0.26A||1 to 7.6 cu ft (28 L – 215 L)|
|DC (12V)||3.3A||0.14 to 0.7 cu ft (4 L – 20 L)|
As you can see, the actual amp draw (on average) is considerably lower than the listed amperage figures in the previous table.
The current drawn from a DC mini fridge, that offers and uses an AC (110V) running option, tends to have a higher but more stable average amp draw due to the cooling system type.
Because of their popularity, and given they form the majority of models captured in the study, let’s take a look at AC mini fridge amp draw in more detail – specifically by storage capacity.
The table below lists how many amps a mini fridge uses, by size, on a 110V AC supply.
|Mini fridge capacity||Average amp draw||Most common amp draw|
|1 to 1.9 cu ft (28 L – 55 L)||0.21A||0.22A|
|2 to 2.9 cu ft (56 L – 83 L)||0.23A||0.22A|
|3 to 3.9 cu ft (84 L – 111 L)||0.26A||0.23A|
|4 to 4.9 cu ft (112 L – 139 L)||0.28A||0.24A|
|5 to 5.9 cu ft (140 L – 168 L)||0.26A||0.28A|
|6 to 6.9 cu ft (169 L – 196 L)||0.27A||0.30A|
|7 to 7.6 cu ft (197 L – 215 L)||0.35A||0.36A|
These results capture start-up amps and the current drawn during idle mode.
As you can see, in general, mini fridge amp draw increases with storage capacity.
There are some less energy efficient outliers that bring up the average in each size range.
You can find the most energy efficient mini fridges here.
Next, let’s briefly take a look at how many amps mini fridges use over time.
Mini fridge amp draw per hour
Mini fridge amp draw per hour typically ranges from 0.11Ah to 0.5Ah, with 0.26Ah being the average and 0.23Ah being the most common.
These results are based on the 110V AC models in our study of over 1,494 mini fridges.
The figures are similar to the section above because we’re working out the amp usage for just 1 hour, from the average amp draw.
So we just need to multiply the average by 1.
The same can be done for each result above to get the hourly amp usage by storage capacity.
For longer periods, simply multiply the amp draw by the number of hours. The formula is simply:
Amp-hours = Amps x Hours
For those that don’t want to do the math, let’s take a quick look at the daily amp-hour results.
How many amps does a small refrigerator use per day?
A small refrigerator (i.e. a mini fridge) uses 6.24Ah per day, on average, but 5.52Ah is most common. Overall, small refrigerators typically use between 2.64Ah and 12Ah per day.
These results assume the mini fridge will run continuously for 24 hours (standard cycling on and off during different cooling stages are captured), and the figures are based on the 110V AC models in our study of over 1,494 mini fridges.
Using the manufacturer’s listed amperage, like many other online resources do, will result in an overestimation of actual amp usage.
To get a more accurate estimation, it’s important to measure the actual amp draw of the appliance.
A clamp meter, multimeter, some plugin wattmeters and energy monitors can be used to measure the actual amp draw of a mini fridge.
The figures above are based on actual amp draw results.
The other actual amp draw results from this article can be used to estimate the daily amp draw of different small refrigerator sizes.
Simply multiply the actual amp draw result by 24 to get the daily usage estimation.
Next, let’s take a look at some standout low amp mini fridges identified in the study.
Low amp mini fridge
A low amp mini fridge has a listed amperage of less than 1.5A, and has an actual amp draw less than 0.26A on average (using 120V AC power supply).
A low amp DC mini fridge has a listed amperage of less than 5A, and an actual amp draw of less than 3.3A.
These amp figures are considered low because they’re less than the typical and average results from the study of over 1,494 mini fridges.
However, this may be an oversimplification.
The term “low amp mini fridge” is actually more nuanced due to the many interpretations.
For example, “low amp mini fridge” may be used to refer more specifically to a mini fridge that has:
- A low amp draw during start-up;
- A low stable amp draw;
- A low amp draw, on average, over a long period of time; and
- A low listed amperage.
And also, some confuse the term “low amp” with “low power consumption” and even “energy efficiency.”
So, the term low amp mini fridge can mean different things for different people, and can depend on the power supply in question.
DC mini fridges offer low amp start-up, but generally draw more current than AC mini fridges over longer periods of time, despite the surges in amp draw.
So, this is not a one-size-fits-all case.
As a result, it’s difficult to highlight a single standout mini fridge based on amp draw.
But, to be of some help, below you’ll find standout low power consuming / low amp mini fridges with different characteristics for different power supplies.
|Low amp mini fridge||Note|
|Dometic HiPro Evolution C40S||Lowest wattage mini fridge at 45W (AC)|
|Black + Decker BCRK17||Standout low wattage mini fridge with freezer (AC)|
|Subcold Pro4||Small 20W countertop mini fridge (DC)|
|Smad XC-60A||Larger DC mini fridge with 3 power options (DC)|
Again, “low amp” can mean different things in different cases and to different people. These units may not suit your needs (e.g. storage capacity) or power supply / electrical requirements (e.g. 240V AC, 24V DC).
In all cases, be sure to confirm compatibility.
Now that you have a good understanding of mini fridge amps, and how many amps they actually draw, you don’t want to miss:
- Mini Fridge Wattage [Most Efficient Revealed]; and
- Mini Fridge Sizes [Smallest & Most Efficient By Size].
Also, this 6 Quick Wins Cheat Sheet can help you reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint, fast:
Mini Fridge Wattage [1,494+ Units | Most Efficient Revealed]
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Mini Fridge Sizes – 1,494+ Studied [Smallest & Most Efficient 2023]
What is the smallest size mini fridge, smallest mini fridge with freezer, and most eco friendly mini fridge? Find out here based on the most comprehensive study into mini fridge sizes and efficiency.
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James F (not to be confused with ECS co-founder James) is our lead author, content & website manager. He has a BSc. in Digital Marketing, and a Diploma in IT. He became a qualified electrician while studying electrical engineering part-time.
From wind and solar photovoltaic installers, James F worked with many certified energy practitioners and energy consultants before joining the core ECS team. He also helped build the most downloaded energy saving app while working with a leading utility company.
Read more about James F or connect directly on LinkedIn, here.