Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by Tom
Mini refrigerators are gradually gaining popularity because of their smallness and convenience, but exactly how much electricity does a mini fridge use? Energy efficiency is one of the top reasons consumers look for an appliance.
A mini-fridge is similar to a regular refrigerator; always running to maintain a standard temperature. It’s not like your phone or laptop; stop running when you turn them off. Knowing how it works will help you buy the right model that will keep your beverages fresh while saving some costs.
How Much Electricity Does A Mini Fridge Use?
The actual energy consumption depends on the models, sizes, materials, and insulation levels. In general, a mini-fridge uses between 55 watts and 85 watts per hour when running. Note that, the numbers may vary on different models, especially if they come from different brands.
Power consumption in a mini-fridge is measured in watts and must be converted to kilowatt-hours (kWh) to see how much you need to pay your bill. There are several factors that influence your energy consumption such as room temperature, internal temperature settings, how often you open the door, or whether or not your refrigerator is full, and so on.
Basic Mini Fridge Power Consumption Calculator:
As said above, you need to convert your watts into kilowatts and it can be done by using a simple calculation below:
- Wattage (W) x Hours Per Day (h) = Watt-hours per day
- Watt-hours / 1000 = Kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day
Is That A Lot Of Electricity?
In fact, mini-fridges lose less cold air when opened than regular refrigerators. This is because mini-fridges have a smaller volume; their capacity usually falls between 1.7 and 4.5 cubic feet. On the other side, a standard refrigerator capacity ranges between 9 and 30 cubic feet.
Looking at the size, we can easily see that if you open the mini-fridge 7 times a day, compared to the same amount of openings of a typical refrigerator, you will save more cold air. The smaller capacity stores less food and drinks, but in return doesn’t generate as much electricity as a full-sized refrigerator needs to keep all your beverages fresh.
Energy consumption varies in size, function, and materials used in mini-fridges. According to Consumer Reports, the running cost of a 4.5 cubic foot mini fridge is $27 a year while a 20.6 regular refrigerator costs about $47. This is understandable because mini-fridges consume 233 kWh to 310 kWh per year compared to 420 kWh in a year for conventional refrigerators.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the smaller the device, the less energy it consumes. In fact, smaller machines use more energy per volume, that means you pay more cubic foot for cooling space, as follows:
- 20 Liter Volume: 50 kWh / $6.00
- 40 Liter Volume: 70 kWh / $8.40
- 60 Liter Volume: 100 kWh / $12.00
That said, for an annual fee, a mini-fridge costs more than half when compared to a normal refrigerator. If used inefficiently (like the factors below), you may end up paying more than you need to.
Things That Affects Mini Fridge Power Use
There are a few factors you need to consider when buying a mini-fridge:
- Model: Some models are more energy-efficient than others due to the materials they use and receive an A ++ Energy Star rating. You can check the rating on the label and if one gets a C or a D rating, then you know it’s not a good option to consider.
- Size: They come in a variety of sizes, in length, width and height. Larger sizes allow more storage but also consume more energy, especially when they come with a freezer compartment.
- Age: Models that have been in production for a long time will be less efficient than newly manufactured ones because the new ones incorporate modern technology.
- Settings: Pre-set settings may impact energy consumption higher than it should be.
- Location: As a rule of thumb, fridges located in warmer environments tend to work twice as often as they should: to provide the necessary cooling power.
- Usage: If you open the door too often or leave the door open for a long time, more air will be released and the compressor needs to work harder to maintain a cool temperature.
- Season: Similar to a warmer location, refrigerators in the summer use more electricity than in other cooler seasons.
How Much does it cost to run a mini fridge?
It’s nearly impossible to predict how much electricity does a mini fridge use because the device turns on and off in cycles, meaning they don’t consume energy all the time. With an estimation, it can increase your bill from $20 to $50 annually. However, taking into account the list of things that affect your energy consumption can give you a rough idea of how it works.
The best advice, in this case, is to carefully analyze each factor before buying and monitoring your habits of using, and the cost you pay each month. Over time, you will learn what causes your temperature to rise, how many times you open the door in a day, and even how much food, especially hot items, is in your fridge. That’s when you can find a pattern and develop a plan to use it more efficiently.
How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?
Compared to full-sized refrigerators that use 100 to 400 watts per hour, mini fridges consume between 55 watts and 85 watts. Watts is a measurement that shows how much electricity you use per hour, day, and month.
Let’s say your device runs 80 watts per hour for 8 hours every day. To get the total watt-hours used in a day, multiple 80 by 8 = 640 watt-hours. Now, to find the kilo-watts, simply divide 640 by 1000 which equals 0.64 kWh.
That means your monthly electricity consumption is 19.2 kWh while your annual consumption is 233.6 kWh. Take the average of 12 cents per 1 kWh used in the US and multiply 0.64 kWh by 0.12, then you need to pay $0.0768 per day. If you want to go a little further, multiply $0.0768 with 30 (1 month) or 365 (1 year) to get $2.3 and $28 respectively – the total cost you need to pay in the long run.
How Many Watts Does A Wine Cooler Use?
In terms of watts, the average wine cooler uses 90 watts but this depends on the size as well as the cooling technique it uses. For example, a 28-bottle thermoelectric cooler uses 70 watts while a compressor unit of the same size requires 85 watts. On the other hand, in the 32-bottle wine cabinet, the compressor uses 85 watts but the thermoelectric needs 140 watts on average.
Thermoelectric refrigerators use more energy than compressor refrigerators because they operate continuously. That explains why the thermoelectric cooling system of the 32-bottle size consumes 140 watts because it uses more Peltier modules to run the machine. A small thermoelectric wine cooler if used efficiently will only cost you about $40 per year while you will need to spend around $100 on a large compressor cooler.
There are few things you can do to reduce your electricity costs:
- Use a small thermoelectric cooler
- Keep the fridge in a dark and cool place; avoid warm places at all costs
- A freestanding unit needs some space between it and a wall: proper ventilation is required
- Only open the fridge door when needed (look through the fridge door as wine cabinets are made of glass, and see which bottle you want before opening the door)
Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption at home
- Appropriate Ventilation: While it can fit in tight places, don’t place your mini-fridge too close between the cabinets. It needs a proper space around it for heat to dissipate, otherwise, it will work harder and use more electricity.
- Set A Timer: You can set how long the refrigerator needs to turn on to cool the food. This way it doesn’t have to run all day and can save you some cash.
- Change The Temperature: Usually, mini-fridges are pre-set to temperatures that exceed the average cold. Using a thermometer will help you measure and change the temperature.
- Clean The Condenser’s Coils: Dust and debris can get trapped inside the coils as air is drawn through them. Regular cleaning by using a clean cloth or a small vacuum cleaner will increase the cooling capacity of your fridge.
- Reduce The Number Of Openings And Closings: Think of what you need before opening the door. You may use a tray to carry multiple items. This way the compressor doesn’t need to work hard to maintain a standard internal temperature.
Know Exactly How much power does a mini fridge use or consume
How much electricity does a mini fridge use is unknown, but you can certainly use a device called a power meter for exact measurement. It measures the average speed of electrical energy flow in watts and gives you real-time information on its display. Power meters are affordable these days so it’s well worth the investment if you really care about the energy consumption of your mini-fridge.
In addition, there are advanced models that tell you how much you will have to spend based on the recorded energy consumption. This way you don’t have to do the calculations yourself because the information is already provided. Therefore, with the help of an electricity meter, you can easily monitor the amount of electricity your mini fridge has used and can adjust the temperature if needed.
Things To Consider When Buying A Mini Fridge
The first important factor to consider is how long you will be using the mini-fridge and the current price per 1 kWh. When searching for a device, look for a description that shows how much energy will be used each year and use the formula above to calculate the costs involved. You can try this on multiple mini-fridges to see which one best suits your needs.
You may need to think about whether you need an indoor or outdoor device. This is because outdoor machines consume more energy, but they are made of materials that can help them withstand inclement weather. Also, knowing how much space you have and typical temperatures where you live can help you choose a smaller or larger size.
You can also pay attention to the volume of food, suggesting how much fresh or frozen food can be stored. Another thing is the noise level – to see how much noise it produces is an additional factor when buying a mini-fridge.
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Are Mini Fridges Worth It?
Ranging in sizes from 1.7 and 4.5 cubic feet, mini-fridges can be located anywhere due to their compactness – you can locate them in your dorm, your office, on a van for camping, or even the barbeque area in your backyard. Besides their small size, they are inexpensive and require low maintenance, which is suitable if you are thinking of using them for a long time. Mini-fridges typically have a capacity of 60 liters or less, which is nice for a single household or serves as a smaller version for storing drinks, food allergens, or any kind of purpose.
A loud compressor may outperform a quiet fridge in terms of energy efficiency. It doesn’t operate at regular intervals that generate large amounts of noise as people usually think. On the other hand, you can use a quiet refrigerator in your bedroom or home office if you want that noise-free environment.
Wine Cooler vs Mini Fridge: What’s Difference?
The biggest difference between them is that a wine cooler’s temperature falls between 41°F (5°C) to 65°F (18°C) while a mini-fridge ranges from 35°F (1.7°C) to 42°F (5.5°C). Wine coolers are designed to preserve wine so it lowers the temperature slowly and maintains the humidity. While mini-fridges are used to store common food and drinks, they tend to fluctuate the temperature and reduce humidity at the same time.
The second discrepancy is the level of vibration. Wine coolers either use advanced compressor-based cooling or thermoelectric cooling that emit little or no vibration. However, mini-fridges produce a constant vibration as the compressor compresses the refrigerant gases.
The third difference between them is the interior layout and the shelves. Conventional refrigerators often have pre-installed shelves that cannot be adjusted while wine coolers have designated shelves so that bottles of wine can be kept in a safe place. Keeping the bottles in place can make the aging process much faster and more efficient.
You can’t use mini-fridges for wine storage due to improper temperature, humidity, and constant vibration. Again, these are the factors that disturb the sediment in your wine. However, you can use wine coolers to store carbonated drinks, apples, pears, chocolate, cheese and cure any semi-dry meat for short periods of time.
Mini-fridges are popular because of their compact size and ability to save electricity and money. This article has discussed how much electricity does a mini fridge use, what affects its power consumption, how to get the exact measurement by using a power meter, and things you can do to minimize the energy usage. Understanding the basics will equip you with the skills you need to buy the right one based on your preferences.