What is the best Energy Star Refrigerator Wattage? Domestic fridge power consumption is typically between 100 and 250 watts. Over a full day, a fridge is likely to use between 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh). This translates into a running cost of about $150 per year per fridge. Before you think “okay great – now I know how much power my fridge uses” – sorry to say, but it’s not quite that simple! In the following post, I’ll outline how you can gain a complete understanding of your fridge or freezer’s power usage.
To qualify for an Energy Star rating, refrigerators must be 20 percent more efficient than non-rated brands. In dollars and cents, looking for the Energy Star logo when you shop will result in an energy savings to you of at least $165 over the life of your refrigerator. That’s just when choosing one model over another. When you change-out a refrigerator from the 1970s for a new model, you could net an energy savings of as much as $200 a year by opting for updated equipment.
You’ll not only save money, but also help the environment. The energy required to run older appliances contributes to greenhouse gases being emitted into the environment.
There are a couple of other things to consider. Your refrigerator is one of the hardest working and most expensive appliances in your home. If it’s old, it may be running more inefficiently than the statistics suggest. Dirty condenser coils, a deteriorated or dirty door gasket or a location near a sunny window or hot stove can all contribute to additional energy waste.
Energy Star Refrigerator Wattage
What Affects Fridge Power Use
The actual energy consumption of your fridge or freezer will depend on many factors. These include:
- Type. For example, a commercial display fridge can use ten times more than your bar fridge at home.
- Size. Anything with a larger volume, such as side by side fridges, use more electricity.
- Location. If the fridge is in a warm position, or poorly ventilated, it will use more power.
- Season. All refrigerators use more power in summer than in winter as the ambient temperature is higher.
- Usage. If the fridge door is opened frequently or held open, the compressor will need to work harder to keep things cool. Also, an empty fridge may need to work harder than a reasonably-stocked fridge because more ‘cool air’ is replaced with ‘warm air’ each time the door is opened.
- Temperature set point. The factory setting may keep the fridge cooler than is needed in your home.
- Age. Old refrigerators are usually less energy efficient than new high star rated fridges.
- Condition. If the seals are in poor condition, your fridge will be less efficient.
So, How Much Power Does a Fridge Use?
For a quick check of fridge wattage, find the compliance plate and make some quick calculations. The compliance plate is usually located inside the fridge.
The fridge compliance plate is a useful first approximation of power usage. In this case, it indicates the fridge uses 130 Watts when on.
For example, for my refrigerator, the numbers are:
- Refrigerator wattage = 130 Watts
- Estimated usage = 8 hours per day (33% duty cycle)
- Total energy = 130W x 8h = 1040Wh = 1.04kWh/day
- Total cost = 1.04kWh/day x 365 days x $0.25/kWh = $94.90/year
Basic Refrigerator Power Consumption Calculator
To summarise the above calculation, we have:
- Fridge Wattage x Hours Per Day = Watt-hours per day
- Watt-hours / 1000 = kWh per day
The above fridge power consumption calculator is not very accurate because the fridge may not consume its rated wattage. Also, the compliance plate does not account for all the other variables that affect power usage. For example, your fridge may have a fault or other issue causing it to operate for 16 hours per day, not 8. That alone would double its usage!
Better Fridge Power Consumption Calculator
To find out the actual wattage of your refrigerator, you need to use a power meter. Our Plug-in Power Meter is the most popular and cheapest option. The Power Mate Lite is our highest accuracy option, often used by professional energy auditors.
Use a plug-in power meter to check your fridge’s power consumption.
These devices have the benefit of measuring rather than estimating. You can plug your fridge in for a full 24 hour period and see how many kWh it uses. More importantly, you can make some changes and see if you can reduce your energy consumption.
Want to check your whole property’s power usage, not just the fridge? See our range of wireless energy monitors.
What About The Fridge Star Rating?
Energy efficiency ‘star ratings’ are a great buying guide. But because of the variable factors described above, the only way to know how much power your fridge is really consuming is to use a plug-in power meter.
Fridge Wattage of Other Fridges
Using a Power Meter, I found that the small fridge in our office used between 90 and 100 Watts when the compressor was running. That resulted in 0.6 kWh used over 24 hours, or around 221 kWh per year. The Power Meter showed that the fridge was drawing power for only 6 hours and 10 minutes in 24 hours.
Commercial refrigeration is more complex to measure, but the opportunities for energy savings are much greater. Some of the businesses for which I have completed business energy audits initially spent well over half of their electricity costs on refrigeration. This is one reason why refrigeration makes number six in our top 10 causes of high power bills.
Check out this commercial refrigerator which is almost empty and still burning through over $1,000 per year in electricity costs!
Four Ways to Cut Fridge Power Consumption
1. Ensure fridges are well ventilated. Often fridges are jammed in between wall cabinets which makes their power consumption increase substantially.
2. Consolidate the number of fridges in use. If you have a spare fridge in the garage and only partially fill it, empty it and switch it off.
3. Use timer switches on drinks fridges and bar fridges. This way, any fridge that does not contain perishable food is only on when it’s needed.
4. Check and adjust the temperature settings. Freezers, in particular, are often set far too cold. Use a thermometer to check and change your settings. For domestic refrigeration, 4˚C for the fridge, and -15˚C for the freezer is sufficient and safe.
Is Refrigeration Power Usage Even an Issue?
Don’t forget that refrigeration is only responsible for around 10% of energy usage in most homes. Although it can be much higher in businesses like cafes, clubs, and restaurants. So, if you want to cut your energy usage refrigeration is an excellent place to start, but I also recommend:
- Installing a wireless energy monitor to see your entire home or business power usage in real-time.
- Upgrade all your lights to LED – particularly those tube lights inside display fridges.
- Switch to more sensible forms of heating and cooling.
- Use these energy-saving devices to reduce the energy usage of other appliances.
What type of fridge do I want?
Stylewise, you’ve got four options to choose from, and each comes with its own pros and cons. Figuring out which one is best for you is the first, most obvious step toward making a final buying decision.
When I say the word “fridge,” chances are good that this is the style that pops into your head. With the bottom two-thirds dedicated to fresh-food storage and the freezer unit sitting on top, most of us probably struggled to reach the Popsicles in a top freezer unit when we were kids, or maybe we used one in our first apartment.
Tastes have moved on since then, so if you’re looking for something modern, high-end and feature-rich, then a top-freezer model probably isn’t for you. If style isn’t as much of a concern, however, you’ll find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus, there are still enough being made to offer a solid variety of choices.
Price: $479 to $2,199
Average dimensions: Width: 29 inches; depth: 31 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 58 inches; height: 66 inches
Best suited for: Bargain shoppers who aren’t looking for anything too flashy.
If you’re looking for something on the simpler side, and would enjoy slightly easier access to your fresh foods, then a bottom-freezer unit might be right for you. Bottom-freezer units aren’t much different from top-freezer units except for the fact that the freezer is located — you guessed it — on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to hunch over while rooting around for commonly used ingredients.
Of course, this also means that frozen foods will be located down around your ankles — though a majority of models now come with drawer-style freezer doors, which can make getting the ice cream out a little easier. Bottom-freezer units tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there’s also less variety of models to choose from.
Price: $999 to $1,899
Average dimensions: Width: 29 inches; depth: 32 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 59 inches; height: 67 inches
Best suited for: Home cooks who don’t mind bending over to get into the freezer.
Side-by-side units split your fridge right down the middle, offering you frozen foods on the left and fresh foods on the right. Some models offer equal real estate for both sections, but most allocate an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for an especially narrow freezer section, so frozen-pizza aficionados might want to consider something a little less limiting.
Side-by-side units come in a wide variety of models and tend to showcase more features than their horizontally minded top and bottom freezer counterparts. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also don’t need as much clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow kitchens. Due to the vertical split, you’ll probably want to go with the widest model that will fit into your kitchen, and your budget.
Price: $1,149 to $3,099
Average dimensions: Width: 35 inches; eepth: 30 inches; eepth with door open 90 degrees: 45 inches; height: 71 inches
Best suited for: Space-conscious consumers who still want a feature-rich fridge.
Highly popular, French-door models combine the drawer-style freezer of a bottom-freezer unit with the low-clearance doors of a side-by-side unit. This means that you’ll have a full-width, double-door fridge with plenty of storage space. With your refrigerator door effectively split into two, it also means that you won’t be letting quite as much cold air out when you’re opening just one door to grab the milk.
With the high demand for French-door refrigerators, you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top-of-the-line smart features you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your fridge to match your kitchen or even get one that camouflages itself entirely among your cabinets, but be aware that you’ll likely be tacking a few thousand dollars onto the already steep price.
Price: $1,599 to $3,999 ($4,500 to $8,000 for a built-in cabinetry appearance)
Average dimensions: Width: 35 inches; depth: 29 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 48 inches; height: 68 inches
Best suited for: Fashionable homeowners who want lots of space for groceries and the most advanced features available.
Selecting the style that’s right for your kitchen is half the battle, and should give you a much clearer idea of what you want from your new refrigerator. But don’t run off to the department store just yet, because you still have some very important questions to ask yourself, including:
How big do I really need my fridge to be?
The bigger, the better, right? Not necessarily!
REFRIGERATOR CAPACITY RANGES
- Top freezers: 14.5 – 24.0 cubic feet
- Bottom freezers: 19.0 – 24.9 cubic feet
- Side-by-sides: 20.0 – 29.0 cubic feet
- French doors: 18.0 – 32.0 cubic feet
- Compact models: 9.9 – 12.0 cubic feet
It varies, but a general rule of thumb is that you’ll want 4 to 6 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of refrigerator space per adult in your household, along with a little bit of extra contingency room. With full-size refrigerators ranging from 10 to 32 cu. ft., this means that a family of four probably won’t want anything much less than 20 cubic feet, and might prefer something even roomier.
Of course, the biggest limiting factor is your kitchen, so be sure to measure to see how much width, height and depth you’ve got to work with before you start shopping around.
All of that said, a bigger fridge means a bigger energy bill, so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you aren’t actually going to need. You’ll be paying more both upfront and down the line as you continue paying the power company to refrigerate that wasted space alongside your food.
If you’re looking for something on the small side, you’ll probably want to stick with a top or bottom freezer, as none of the other types of refrigerators come in sizes much smaller than 20 cu. ft. If your kitchen is particularly cramped, or if you’re just looking for something small for a garage or a back room, you’ll find compact models in both styles, too.
Do I need a counter-depth refrigerator?
You’re likely to hear this term quite a bit as you shop around. As the name suggests, “counter-depth” refrigerators are simply refrigerators that are designed to align perfectly with the edges of your countertops, leaving only the refrigerator door sticking out. This gives your fridge the appearance of an expensive, custom-designed unit that’s built directly into your kitchen’s cabinetry — without anything actually being custom-built.
Since they shave a few inches off the front of the fridge, counter-depth refrigerators are slightly less spacious than their normal-size counterparts. They also tend to cost a little bit more. Whether or not you’re willing to sacrifice that space and pay extra for a more fashionable fridge is totally up to you, but for my money, it’s a feature you should consider skipping.
And hey, while we’re on the subject of features…
Watch this: Five fridge features you won’t want to miss out on 2:21
What features should I look for?
Refrigerators have come a long way since the debut of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days, you’ll find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionality to your fridge. With the endless parade of trademarked names and bold claims, finding the features you actually want can quickly become overwhelming. So, which ones are worth it?
Take care of the foods you love
First, think about the things you like to cook and/or eat, then look for features that take really good care of those things. It’s a safe bet that those are the features you’ll enjoy using the most. Are you a devoted foodie who always wants a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your fridge or even dedicated, temperature-adjustable drawers. Do you live off of TV dinners and frozen leftovers? Look for advanced defrosting features designed to help eliminate freezer burn. Love a nice glass of pinot grigio? Look for a fridge with a built-in wine rack.Enlarge Image
This Frigidaire’s top shelf slides in and folds up to make room for large items.Tyler Lizenby/CNET
Get sneaky with your storage space
If you’re constantly rearranging things in your fridge to make space for groceries, then look for storage-minded features designed to give you a hand. Shelves that slide in or fold up will make it a lot easier to make room for tall items, and the increasingly common door-in-a-door feature can transform your in-door shelves into a makeshift mini-fridge for kitchen staples like beverages and condiments.
One storage consideration you might not have thought of: the ice maker. Some fridges situate it up on the top shelf — the ice drops down through a chute in the door into your waiting glass. That’s all well and good, but the icemaker eats up some obvious space inside of the fridge, and the bulky overhang of that in-door chute will tend to block off the in-door shelves underneath it.
That’s why I tend to prefer fridges that squeeze the entire icemaker into the door. They tend to make less ice, but they’ll also give you more usable space inside of the fridge. That’s a fair trade-off in my book.
Watch this: Avoid these five overrated fridge features 2:14
Consider the water dispenser
One trend that we’ve seen over the past few years: creativity from the water dispenser. GE has been leading the pack here, with French-door models that can serve the exact amount of water you want, and even ones capable of shutting off automatically once they detect that your glass, pitcher or pot is full. You’ll even find nifty features in GE’s less-expensive top-freezer models — most notably, ones that come with an Autofill Pitcher that’ll fill itself back up whenever you place it back in the fridge. Samsung’s in the mix now, too, with an autofilling water pitcher of its own in its higher-end French door models.
This GE fridge comes with a special pitcher that fills back up with water whenever you dock it in place.Chris Monroe/CNET
The brand’s Cafe Series line of fridges can dispense hot water at a variety of temperature settings. The newest models even add in a mini K-Cup brewer that’ll let your fridge brew up a quick cup of coffee on demand. It’s a surprisingly sensible addition, given that refrigerators have dedicated water lines — that means you won’t ever have to worry about keeping a reservoir full.
Of course if you keep shopping around, you’ll also find refrigerators with touchscreens and built-in Wi-Fi, and plenty of bold manufacturer claims about smartening up your kitchen — which brings us to one last question:
Do I need a smart refrigerator?
You can certainly live without one, if that’s what you’re asking, particularly if affordability is your chief concern. Simply put, smart fridges don’t come cheap, and whether or not the extra cost is worth it is really up to you.
For some, smart technology gives refrigerators a whole new cool factor, and the fact that we use our refrigerators every day makes these features a sound investment. For others, “smart” just seems like another word for “gimmicky.” If this includes you, then spending an extra $1,000 or more in order to have a cutting-edge kitchen probably seems like a waste of money.
Watch this: LG’s see-through smart fridge takes the CES stage 1:02
That said, don’t be too quick to slam the door on so-called “smart” features, because there are plenty of them that live up to the name, and a growing variety of options to choose from, too. In 2017, LG even went so far as to say that it plans to start putting Wi-Fi radios into each and every refrigerator that it manufactures.
In other words, we might be quickly approaching a point where smart refrigerators are the norm, not the exception.
So what do smart fridges actually do?
Glad you asked. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s currently out there:
- Energy monitoring: More and more, we’re seeing connected refrigerators that are capable of syncing up with the smart grid in cities where it’s available. Fridges like those can automatically schedule costly defrost cycles for the times when energy rates are at their lowest. One model from Whirlpool will even sync up with the Nest Learning Thermostat ($287 at Amazon) to take advantage of Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards feature, or send your phone an alert if the power ever goes out.
- Smart multitasking: Some smart fridges aim to make your kitchen routine more efficient. That K-Cup-brewing Cafe Series fridge from GE includes Wi-Fi now, which lets you tell it to start heating the water up remotely, from your phone.
- Voice control: Smart fridges are also trying to take advantage of the current surge in popularity of smart-home voice control platforms. GE’s smart fridges offer their own Alexa skill, which lets you ask Amazon’s voice-activated assistant to make a quick temperature adjustment, or let you know if the water filter needs replacing. Samsung and LG have each gone one step further, building voice control directly into their flagship smart fridges. You’ll find native Alexa controls in LG’s Smart InstaView refrigerator, while the Samsung Family Hub fridge offers voice controls through Samsung’s own Bixby voice assistant. It’s not hard to imagine HomeKit-compatible refrigerators that work with Siri in the near future, too.
- Kitchen command centers: Speaking of Samsung and LG, both brands envision their smart fridges as the central command centers for the connected kitchen, if not the entire smart home. That’s why each one has a huge touchscreen on the door, complete with its own set of fridge apps. Whether you want to set a cooking timer, follow along with a recipe, update your family’s digital calendar or just stream some music while you cook, smart fridges like these want to handle all of it.
- Fridge cameras: We’re also seeing more and more fridges that feature built-in cameras that’ll let you check what’s inside remotely, from your phone. You can also typically drag little countdown timers over the top of your food to help keep track of expiration dates, which is a surprisingly nice little feature. Moving forward, manufacturers like Samsung plan to make use of artificial intelligence to teach these smart fridges how to identify foods on their own without any input from you.
Best Places to Buy a Refrigerator in 2021
If you’re shopping for a refrigerator, consider all of your buying options before you invest in a new appliance. Some of the best places to buy a refrigerator include major retail chains, online retailers, and direct from manufacturers like Samsung.
This major appliance is also often a major investment, so you want to make sure you find a refrigerator that is reliable, efficient, and within your budget. Other top considerations include product selection and availability, delivery fees, plus warranty coverage and return policies. Not sure where to look? Start your search with one of these top online retailers.
A one-stop-shop for most things home-related, Home Depot is a great place to buy appliances. The selection is vast, and the online site is easy to browse.
Shop refrigerators based on style, features, finish, brand, or price. Home Depot carries the major brands you’d expect to see—like Whirlpool, GE, Samsung, and Bosch—along with budget brands like Amana and Frigidaire.
The retail giant makes it easy to shop in-store or scroll through the selections online and Home Depot will price match competitors. For the greatest savings, look for items with the ‘Special Buy’ designation that often reflect savings of 25 percent or more. Delivery is free on appliance purchases of $396 and up—which is most models of refrigerator carried by the retailer. However, note that if you’re hoping to get rid of your old refrigerator at the same time, a $20 haul-away fee applies.
Look to Lowe’s if you want to find a wide selection of refrigerators from a big-box retailer with a price match guarantee. Similar to other sites where you can shop refrigerators online, Lowe’s guides you through the available models based on the type of refrigerator, door configuration, problem-solving features, and more.
You’ll find the major brands well-represented, including mainstays like Maytag, Whirlpool, GE, and KitchenAid. But Lowe’s also offers some brands not as common at other major retailers, such as Fisher & Paykel and Haier.
The chain offers free local delivery on appliances priced $299 and up. Delivery service includes unpacking, leveling, and connecting the refrigerator, but to take away your old fridge you’ll need to pay another $20.The 9 Best Refrigerator Brands of 2021
If you’re interested in a refrigerator with high-tech features, go straight to the source by shopping Samsung directly. The tech giant offers fancy fridges loaded with features like Wi-Fi, touchscreens, flex zones with convertible temperature settings, and more.
There are also more basic refrigerators available, like simple French door models or traditional top freezer configurations. However, you won’t find bottom dollar budget models, since Samsung specializes in shiny stainless steel models and smart home appliances (check out more of our favorite smart home devices here).
Shopping directly with the manufacturer may yield special incentives not found elsewhere, like a free Samsung SmartThings Hub or a discount when you buy a package of four or more appliances. All orders with Samsung ship free and financing is available through the website. https://79c42ba0d8143bc9dc3b673fd23c45ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
AJ Madison offers an expansive selection of refrigerators, including many of the top brands and models, along with a sizable selection of specialty refrigerators such as built-in and panel-ready models.
Whether you’re looking for a basic model or a gourmet refrigerator, chances are good that AJ Madison will have the best refrigerator for you. However, the site isn’t as intuitive to shop as some other online retailers. You’ll need to do a considerable amount of filtering to narrow down the vast selection. One search function you’ll appreciate is the Savings section—filter by Instant Savings, Mail-in Rebates, Free Delivery, and more to find the refrigerator deal that is right for you.
Expect shipping to take 1 to 2 weeks, which is a bit longer than some big-box retailers. Like many other sites, AJ Madison doesn’t accept returns on installed or plugged-in appliances.
Carefully inspect the unit upon delivery. Returns are subject to a restocking fee that can be up to 30 percent of the appliance cost, so research first and buy wisely.https://79c42ba0d8143bc9dc3b673fd23c45ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
For the latest and greatest fridge, check out Best Buy’s selection of makes and models. Refrigerators at Best Buy range from basic top freezer models to advanced models with built-in Wi-Fi and other smart home features.
If you’re interested in shopping for refrigerators by type, the site makes it easy with standard categories like French door refrigerators, side-by-side refrigerators, and counter-depth models or bottom-freezer models. But since this is Best Buy a focus on technology and features is to be expected; it’s fulfilled with a section where you can shop by ‘Refrigerator Innovations.’ You’ll find options like connected appliances and models with quick access doors.
Best Buy offers free in-home delivery services for refrigerators priced $399 or more. An interesting alternative is free, same-day warehouse pick-up on in-stock appliances. This makes Best Buy a good option to shop for a refrigerator you need right away if you have transportation and live in close proximity to a warehouse pick-up location.The 7 Best French Door Refrigerators of 2021
With a wide selection of all things home-related, Wayfair also sells home appliances including refrigerators. For major brand names, the selection is more limited in comparison with big-box retailers.
However, Wayfair also offers specialty brands not seen everywhere else—you’ll find luxury European refrigerators from names like Smeg, Bertazzoni, and Blomberg. If you’re looking for a colorful fridge or high-end model that adds character and style to your gourmet kitchen, Wayfair is a good site to shop for a refrigerator.
Shipping is free on most models, and room of choice delivery is available for a small fee. Just be sure to inspect the unit carefully before installation, since returns aren’t accepted once it’s installed unless the unit is defective.
If you’re looking for a mini-fridge or compact model for your apartment, dorm room, or office, Amazon is a great option.
The online retailer has a very limited of full-size refrigerators to choose from, but plenty of compact models at budget-friendly prices. You’ll find a mix of brand names like GE, Frigidaire, and Danby, along with some less recognizable but super affordable options. Look for models that offer free shipping to make the most of your online refrigerator shopping experience.The 6 Best Mini Fridges of 2021https://79c42ba0d8143bc9dc3b673fd23c45ca.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Not just for buying bulk quantities of your favorite home products, Costco also sells appliances, including refrigerators. Unlike their supersized product selections, the available models of refrigerators range from compact to large capacity.
Costco lands on our list of best places to shop for a refrigerator thanks to its easy delivery process, extended warranty coverage, and club member pricing benefits. Most appliances are delivered for free—with basic installation and haul-away of your old refrigerator included. Costco also offers free tech support and a 90-day return policy (most major retailers don’t offer a return window on large appliances). If certain conditions are met, you can even score an additional two years of warranty coverage on your refrigerator through Costco.
If you’re making a major investment in your refrigerator and don’t mind shopping the more limited selection of appliances available at Costco, this is an option to consider for the perks and peace of mind. Even if you’re not already a member of this club retail chain, the under-$100 membership fee is a bargain for the savings you’ll find there.