How Many Watts of Electricity does a Refrigerator use?

Real power-use measurements from a refrigerator.

How Much Power does a Refrigerator use

Refrigerator: 171 Watts


  • refrigerators work by compressing air or fluid into a small space and then letting that air or fluid expand into another space. Compressing the fluid makes it give off heat, which happens in the back of the fridge. Letting it expand causes it to draw in heat, which happens inside the refridgerated box. They run in cycles, triggered by a thermostat inside the fridge.
  • varies zero watts with the door closed, no compressor running, to 35 watts with the door open, to power the lights in there. The compressor uses 171 watts.

Power Use

  • Watts: 171
  • Kilowatts: 0.171 Kw.

Operation Cost

  • cost per minute: 3 hundredths of one cent (0.03 ¢)
  • cost per hour: 2.1¢
  • cost per day: 16¢
  • cost per month: $3.12

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Power use of these items was actually tested. Individual items will vary, but these are the actual measurements.