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What Size Generator To Run Refrigerator And Freezer

By August 10, 2022Hurricane
A mobile generator for any emergency situation.

When it comes to owning a home many things can happen. It is important to expect the unexpected and prepare your home for safety and longevity. No one expects that their home will become damaged from natural disasters, floods, fires, or other events. However, the homeowners that prepare for the loss of electricity can end up saving a lot of money on food replacement. Getting a portable generator, inverter generator or even an installed generator that connects directly to the home is a great idea. As a homeowner, you will want to keep your refrigerator and freezer running as well as your AC. What size generator to run the refrigerator and freezer? Every refrigerator size requires a different generator wattage to function properly.

Let’s take a look below at what the recommended generator watts are for a refrigerator and freezer.

A refrigerator and two freezers in the home may require a different size generator.
A refrigerator and two freezers in the home.

How Many Watts Are Needed

Believe it or not, the watts needed to start a refrigerator and freezer will differ from the watts needed to run the refrigerator and freezer. Let’s break down the variations of refrigerators and compare their running vs start-up watts.

  • Mini fridge – starting watts are 127 – 150 W and the running watts are 85 – 100 W.
  • Smart fridge – starting watts are 375 – 750 W and the running watts are 250 to 500 W.
  • Under counter fridge – starting watts are 120 – 210 W and running watts are 90 – 140 W.
  • Modern fridge – starting watts are 150 – 600 W and running watts are 100 – 400 W.
  • Side-by-side fridge – starting watts are 1,188 W and running watts are 792 W.
  • Old style fridge – starting watts are 300 – 1,200 W and running watts are 200 – 800 W.
  • Mini glass refrigerator – starting watts are 210 W and running watts are 140 W.
  • Mini freezer – starting watts are 52 – 75 W and running watts are 35 – 50 W.
  • Deep freezer – starting watts are 525 – 750 W and running watts are 350 – 500 W.

With this information in hand, you have an idea of what size generator can run a refrigerator and freezer. There are a variety of brands available to every homeowner, so make sure that you choose one that typically runs around 2000 watts.

A stationary generator for powering up your entire home's electrical system.
A stationary generator to power the home.

What Kind Of Generator

If you aren’t sure exactly which kind of generator to purchase, you can read up on the manufacturer’s power requirements for the refrigerator or freezer. You will want to ensure that you purchase the type of generator that fits the size of the refrigerator or freezer that you have in your home. Let’s take a look at the main types of powered generators and the styles of refrigerators or freezers that they would work well with.

  • A 1,000 W generator works well with eco-friendly refrigerators and freezers, as well as mini-fridges.
  • A 3,000 W generator will work with all standard refrigerators and freezers. This is also the most commonly used generator.
  • A 5,000 W generator is typically used for very large refrigerators and freezers. The larger the appliance the more energy is needed to keep it functioning properly.

How Much Does It Cost

Generators can be rather expensive. The cost of the generator will vary depending upon the size of the watts that it can generate. The higher the wattage output the more expensive the unit. The national average cost range for a generator is $200 to $20,000. This includes the installation of a whole house unit or the cost of a portable generator.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have a great idea of how many watts each type of refrigerator or freezer uses you might also want to understand how many amps they use. Getting the full breakdown of amps and watts usage by your appliances can help you better understand your electric bill.

Next, get to know the circuit that your refrigerator works off. The electrical outlet might look different than a standard outlet plug. However, knowing if the refrigerator works off a dedicated circuit is important. It helps the homeowner to know how that circuit powers the refrigerator before plugging a refrigerator into a gas-powered generator.

Lastly, while you are looking into the watts needed to run your appliances such as a refrigerator or freezer, read up on the service and maintenance of your HVAC system. You might like to install a whole home generator system that can power a fully functioning HVAC system. This is very important if the power goes out during hot months and you need AC or cold months and you need the heater to work.

What size inverter generator can you use to run your refrigerator and freezer?
Power up the refrigerator and freezer with an inverter generator.

When Do I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with electrical systems and how to keep them functioning if your home loses power, it’s a good idea to call on a professional. Most homeowners forget to consult the manufacturers’ recommendations for powering up their appliances during the time of a power outage. Call on your local home inspection team to come out and assess your electric system and appliances. They can inspect both and recommend the size generator to run your refrigerator and freezer. They can also recommend a reputable whole home generator sales and installation team.


Before you consider purchasing a whole house generator, portable generator, or portable inverter generator, have your electrical system and appliances inspected. Additionally, keep in mind that each appliance will have different electrical power needs. The HVAC system requires more power than your refrigerator.

So, if the intention is to have all systems functioning during a power outage, purchase a whole home generator that can supply the correct power. Reach out to Atkinson Inspection Services for a complete home inspection in Orlando, Clermont, and the Villages