What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a Refrigerator? – Size Matters

A refrigerator is one of the most basic appliances in your home. It’s what keeps your food cold and is a necessary tool for your everyday life. You don’t want to have to worry about your food spoiling while you are away, so a refrigerator is what you need to keep your food fresh.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How cold does my refrigerator need to be?” “What size generator do I need to run my refrigerator?” “How much power does my refrigerator use?” These are all questions that you need to be answered if you are to choose the right refrigerator for your home.

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a Refrigerator?
Generator size for a refrigerator is usually a non-issue since almost any portable generator produces more than 1000 watts of power needed to power a refrigerator. Such a generator will prevent your food from spoiling during a power outage.

You can choose to keep the refrigerator running in case of a power outage if you have the right size generator. This article will help you choose the right size generator for your refrigerator. You will also find out how much power your refrigerator uses.

What You Need to Know?


First, let’s define some terms. A “generator” is a device that converts mechanical energy (from its engine) into electrical energy. As such, a generator doesn’t have a size, it has a power rating.

A generator’s power rating is measured in watts or kilowatts. The power rating of a generator is the maximum amount of power the generator can produce and determines how many watts to run a refrigerator is needed.

Fuel-Powered vs Gasoline-Powered Generators

There are two types of generators, fuel-powered and gasoline-powered. The first ones are more expensive than gasoline-powered ones, but they are more efficient and run cleaner. Gasoline-powered generators are less expensive and are popular among the average homeowner.

Generators come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a few kilowatts to thousands of kilowatts. The size of the generator you should purchase depends on the amount of electricity that will be needed.

The Generator Requirements of a Refrigerator

Pentucket Medical

Generator requirements are often misunderstood. They can vary significantly depending upon the type of refrigerator that you own. Generators that have a larger capacity than needed to run the refrigerator will run for a few minutes after the utility power is restored. Generators that have a smaller capacity than needed will not run the refrigerator at all.

Generator capacity is always measured in kilowatts (kW). To be able to use the generator for the refrigerator, you need to know the refrigerator’s wattage rating. The refrigerator power rating is normally located on a label on the back of the refrigerator.

Typically, you will need to add around 20% to the refrigerator’s wattage rating to allow for the wattage that is needed by the refrigerator to start up. For example, a refrigerator that has a wattage rating of 2000 watts will typically need a minimum generator size of 2400 watts.

What Size Generator Do I Need To Run My Refrigerator?

The size of the generator you need to run your refrigerator will depend on the size of your refrigerator. If you have a small refrigerator, such as one that is under eight cubic feet, you will need a smaller generator than someone who has a big fridge.

Here’s the equation that you can use to calculate the minimum size generator you need to power a refrigerator: (0.0035 x Volume of Refrigerator) / Number of Hours You Plan To Run The Generator = Minimum Wattage Of The Generator You Need To Power The Refrigerator.

Let’s look at an example to make this equation easier to understand. For this example, let’s say that you have a refrigerator that is 1000 cubic feet, you plan to run it for 10 hours per day, and you are using propane to run the generator.

If you plug all of these numbers into the equation, you will get a minimum wattage of the generator you need to power the refrigerator. In this case, the minimum wattage of the generator you need to power the refrigerator is 0.4 kW.

If you plug a generator that is 0.40 kW into a 100 cubic foot refrigerator, it will be able to keep the temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit as long as you run the generator for at least 10 hours per day.

Here’s the thing: you have to make sure you get a generator that is at least as big as the minimum wattage you calculated using this equation. If you get a generator that is smaller than the minimum wattage you calculated, it won’t be able to keep your food cold.

How Much Power Does My Refrigerator Use?

The size of the refrigerator will determine how much power is needed to run it. You can figure this out yourself by using the following equation. (Size of the refrigerator in cubic feet x 24 hours in a day x 1.5 kilowatt-hours per hour) This will give you an idea of how many watts to run the refrigerator you need.

Your refrigerator will use about 1.5 kilowatts per hour. There are 1,440 in a day, so the total number of kilowatts used is 2,880. This is the total amount of power your refrigerator will use over a period of 24 hours.

Freezer Wattage

A freezer uses around 200 watts per hour, so a 1,000-watt generator will run a freezer for around 10 hours. However, because a freezer will use more energy when it is below freezing, a generator with a higher wattage is needed. A 2,000-watt generator will run a freezer for around 14 hours. This is because the freezer will use more energy when the temperature drops below freezing.

The deep freezer wattage is an estimate, as there are a number of factors that can affect how many watts it uses. They include the size of the unit, how often it is opened and closed, if it is in a warm environment, how often you put food in and take food out, etc.

What You Should Know About Watts And Amps?

Power generation is measured in Watts (W), while power consumption is measured in Amps (A). Here is an example that will make it easier to understand:

  • A 200W light bulb will use 200W of power or 0.2A.
  • A 1.5A light bulb will use 1.5 x 0.2 = 0.3A or 300W.

The appliance that uses the most power in a household is the refrigerator. It consumes 6 to 10 amps or 0.6 to 1.0A. A refrigerator can be connected to a generator using a small generator.

The problem is that the generator manufacturer will specify the maximum current that can be drawn from the generator.

The fridge will draw 6 to 10 amps, so the generator could be overloaded if connected directly to the fridge. This will result in overheating of the generator and burning of its windings.

Generator Safety Tips

While generators can offer a convenient source of emergency power, they come with some risks. Generator safety involves learning about the generator itself as well as the dangers that revolve around using the generator.

  1. Read the owner’s manual.
  2. Know the fuel source location and how to turn it off.
  3. Read and follow the warnings and installation instructions on the generator.
  4. Test the generator monthly to ensure it is working properly.
  5. Keep it in a well-ventilated, dry area.
  6. Keep the thing away from combustible materials, gasoline, etc.
  7. Connect the generator to the circuit panel before connecting to appliances.
  8. Make sure the appliance is properly grounded.
  9. Don’t run the generator in a garage or any other enclosed area, even if the doors or windows are open. The toxic fumes can accumulate and become deadly. If you must use the generator in an enclosed area, run it for no more than one hour at a time.
  10. Make sure that all electrical connections are well insulated and that all safety devices are in place and working properly. Never modify or disable safety devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Honda generator before Refrigerator

In this section, you can find the answers to the most popular questions about generators for refrigerators. Read on!

How to calculate what size of a generator is best for my needs?

The size of a generator may be determined by its peak output, which is the maximum output it can produce at a given time. The peak output can be determined by multiplying the load by the voltage. A generator’s load is the amount of power being used at a given time and is measured in kilowatts (kW). It is important to consider the length of time that the generator will be used each day since the peak load must also be calculated in terms of time. For example, if a generator is to provide power for a 24-hour period, the peak load must be calculated in kilowatts per hour (kW/hr).

Generator output can also be determined by multiplying the voltage by the amperage. However, this method is more commonly used for calculating a load of a generator, not the size of it.

Simply put, the size of a generator is determined by how much power it can provide at a given time. The prescripts below will help you determine how big of a generator you will need for your needs.

What size generator to run the refrigerator and freezer do I need?

If you are running a freezer and a refrigerator, you will need a generator with at least 10,000 watts running time.

How many watts does it take to run a refrigerator?

A refrigerator is one of the biggest energy users in your home, using approximately 100-150 watts per day.

Can I use an inverter generator to run a refrigerator?

While you may be able to use an inverter generator to run a refrigerator, you may not want to. Inverter generators are meant to operate at a 55% duty cycle. That means that they should run at no more than 55% of their rated full load for a duration of at least 15 minutes.

If you run your refrigerator off of the inverter generator and then shut it off, you should allow it to cool down for at least 15 minutes before restarting it. Doing otherwise can shorten the life of the generator.

Can a 2000 watt generator run a refrigerator?

A refrigerator is typically a 1200-watt appliance. So, a 2000 watt generator is capable of supporting a 1200 watt appliance and higher.


There are a lot of variables that go into the decision on what size generator you need to run your refrigerator. The refrigerator backup power system you need to operate your refrigerator when the power goes out is dependent on three things: how much power your refrigerator uses, the length of time you want it to run, and the temperature you want it to maintain.

Most people will use a larger size generator than they need resulting in higher generator fuel consumption.
If you have any comments, questions, or information you would like to add to this article, please post a comment.

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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