Mini fridges are great compact refrigerators, perfect for use in small spaces! Many people love investing in mini fridges for spaces like dorm rooms or offices. Before they invest though, they might be curious about how much a mini fridge might cost to run.
By figuring out a mini refrigerator’s energy consumption, you can easily estimate how much a mini fridge’s cost to run will be. Let’s get started!
How Much Electricity Does a Mini Fridge Use Per Month?
The average mini fridge uses anywhere from 55 to 85 watts of power for every hour they operate, meaning they use around 13.1 kWh per month in energy.
It’s important to note that this energy consumption number can vary depending on the specific brand of mini fridge you use, its energy efficiency level, and other factors. (We’ll get more into that below.) The cost to run will also vary in this way, depending on where you live, and the type of energy you are using.
How Much Does a Mini Fridge Cost to Run Per Month?
At a minimum, a mini fridge will cost around 12 cents for every 1kWh of use in the US. With this number in mind, we can estimate the potential monthly/yearly cost that mini-fridge can add to an electric bill if it’s using 12.1 kWh per month.
With an average monthly usage of 13.1 kWh in energy usage a month, you can expect a cost of around $1.5-4 per month on your energy bill, equating to an extra $19-$29 per year in annual energy costs.
Again, this number can vary based on a number of factors, from local energy cost to your specific fridge wattage. You can look at your mini-fridges exact specs to get a more accurate view of a fridge’s electricity consumption, and additional cost.
What Affects Mini Fridge Running Costs?
Let’s explore some of the factors that can affect a mini fridge’s electricity consumption, and as a result, overall running costs.
The size of your fridge will impact how much electricity it will need to stay cool. When it comes to fridges, having more space means it needs more power to keep it cool, meaning more energy consumed and higher costs on your bill.
A glance at the cubic feet of any fridge, whether it’s a mini fridge or a large fridge, can help you determine how much energy they need to operate.
The exact model of your fridge will determine if they cost more or less to run.
If you want an energy-efficient fridge with lower running costs, look for fridges with a high energy star rating. Energy efficient mini-fridges use less energy on average and thus cost less to run.
Where you place your mini fridge can also impact its running costs. Mini fridges placed in the sun, or areas that are not properly ventilated, will need to use more power to run and stay cool.
By keeping the fridge in a cool place, you can lower its operating costs, as it won’t have to work nearly as hard to stay cool.
Mini Fridge Usage
The amount you use a fridge can also impact its costs! A mini fridge runs best when it isn’t opened and closed super frequently. This is because the more you open the fridge increases the colder air you let out, making your fridge much hotter.
We know it’s tempting to rely on a mini fridge for cold drinks at a party, but if you reach for an ice-cold beer every 5 minutes, they won’t stay cold drinks for long. A mini fridge loses temperature faster than a large kitchen fridge, so try to limit the number of trips you take for your next cold drink.
Mini Fridge Age
The age of your mini fridge can also impact your fridge’s running costs. It can be tempting to shop for an older mini fridge model to save on costs, but it can end up costing you in different ways in the long run.
Older mini fridge models are often not energy efficient and have cooling systems that require much more power than newer models. Even if you save on overall costs when your purchase an older model, it can end up costing you more over time as it consumes way more energy to operate efficiently.
How to Lower Mini Fridge Running Costs
Here are some things you can do to keep a fridge’s energy consumption, and your energy bill, a little lower:
Store Away from Sun
Keeping your mini fridge in a cool space away from direct sunlight is a great way to lower its electricity usage.
Sunlight and heat sources can cause your fridge to work overtime to stay cool, running constantly to maintain a safe temperature. Keeping your fridge cool makes it run more efficiently, putting less stress on the cooling system, and using less power to operate.
Regularly Clean and Defrost
Keeping a fridge clean and defrosted can also help it run better and use less energy. Not cleaning your fridge can lead to a buildup of condensation that can cause ice buildups, which can negatively impact your fridges operating power.
Ice buildups can cover fridge vents and restrict airflow, causing cooling systems to work even harder to keep things cool. By keeping a fridge clean and ice buildup free, you can easily lower energy consumption and operating costs.
Buy an Energy Efficient Fridge
Buying a mini fridge that is made to be energy efficient is a great way to lower its impact on utility bills. Energy-efficient models are built to use less power, lowering their annual cost. These fridges offer some peace of mind, as you know they won’t use much electricity to run.
Use Timer Switches
Using a timer switch can be helpful in lowering the annual operating costs of any appliance! These are handy tools that can be used on your outlets to turn a fridge on and off periodically.
A mini fridge can safely keep things cool for 2-3 hours once off if it remains closed. If you have a fridge in a room, consider scheduling some short periods of off time during your hours away from home to lower your fridge’s energy consumption.
This won’t save a ton of money on an energy bill, but it can make a slight difference! This is especially true for older fridge models that need more energy than newer models.
Dust Off Condenser Coils
When people think about cleaning their fridge, they often only think about wiping down the door and fridge interior. It’s equally important to look behind and underneath your fridge, particularly at the fridge condenser coils.
Over time lots of dirt and debris can get under your fridge, particularly dust, which can insulate the coils as they expel hot air. Regularly vacuuming or dusting these coils can keep them cooler and allow your fridge to operate more efficiently.
Cleaning this way also keeps your fridge safer, too! Built-up dust on an electrical appliance can pose a fire hazard, especially when left to build up over a long period of time.
Open and Close Less Frequently
Reducing how often you open and close a fridge can also help out your utility bill, by helping your fridge stay cooler, easier.
The more you open a fridge, the colder air gets out, meaning your fridge is going to have to work harder to stay cool. Help your fridge consume energy less by reducing how often you go into the fridge. This will let a lot less cold air out, giving your mini fridge an easier time.
Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions people have about mini fridges:
Do energy-efficient mini-fridges cost less to run?
In most cases, an energy-efficient mini fridge will have lower running costs than other mini fridges. By using less energy, there will be a lower impact on your electric bill.
How long can a mini fridge be without power?
Most refrigerators can be without power for 4 to 6 hours and still maintain a food-safe temperature. However, this becomes compromised if you open and close the fridge during this time, or if the fridge is near a heat source or in direct sunlight.
Can you use solar power to power a mini fridge?
Yes, you can use solar power to run a mini fridge! For an ideal level of operation, try to find solar panels that can provide 100-200 watts of power per day. This should be enough to sustain most mini fridges.
Can I plug a mini fridge into an extension cord?
No, you should not plug a mini fridge into an extension cord.
Appliances like mini-fridges, full-size refrigerators, and even toaster ovens, all operate best when plugged directly into an outlet. Using an extension cord is a fire hazard and can increase your risk of electrical damage to your unit and the cord.
We hope that you now know more about the potential running costs of a mini fridge! As you can see, all mini fridges will have an annual energy cost in the long run. A mini fridge consumes energy, so it will inevitably impact your bills.
However, this impact is often minimal, especially when compared to larger appliances like a full-size kitchen fridge or stove. If you want a mini fridge, you can get one knowing it shouldn’t have a massive impact on your bills.
Plus, you can use the tips we provide here to hopefully lower running costs and keep your mini fridge running as energy efficient as possible!
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!