How Much Do Mini Fridges Cost to Run?

Compact refrigerators are commonly known as mini-refrigerators or fridges. They are smaller in size and usually placed in dorms, game rooms, guest rooms, home offices, etc. The purpose of the compact fridge is to reduce the burden on kitchen refrigerators.

Most people assume that mini-fridges use less energy as they are smaller in size, which is not the case. The power consumption of a refrigerator varies as per its size, features, use, clothes dryer capacity, and build quality. To understand the energy consumption of a mini-fridge, we need to look at various factors contributing to its running costs.

Understanding Refrigerator Energy Consumption

When it comes to the energy consumption of a refrigerator, it’s tough to predict its running cost accurately because a fridge doesn’t consume energy constantly. The fridges stay turn on until the temperature is maintained and then turn off.

They run more when you are using them more frequently. When you open its door more often, place warm items, or increase the cooling settings, its running time increases. The amount and quality of insulation also contribute to its running time.

Some mini fridges are more energy efficient as compared to others. Some mini fridges come with the latest advanced inverter technology, which is exceptionally efficient. With these different factors, you can clearly understand why it is hard to predict its exact running cost. Let’s move to the next step.

How Much Do Mini Fridges Cost to Run

Understanding Energy Units

You are probably wondering, how many watts does a fridge use? Most manufacturers list the consumption of a refrigerator in watts. Most  mini-fridges consume 80 to 100 watts per hour when running. Let’s suppose a fridge runs 8 hours a day at 80 watts. Let’s multiply 80 with 24, and it is 640 watt-hours in a day.

The residential electricity consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours. To convert our calculation into kilowatts, we need to divide it with 1000. It will be 0.640 kWh. Now, you need to find out your electricity price to measure the estimated running cost of your fridge.

To narrow the estimate of the running cost of a mini-fridge, we take the average cost of electricity in the United States, which is 13 cents. If we multiply 0.640 to 365 to get the annual electricity consumption of your mini-fridge, the answer is 233.6.

To get the annual energy cost of a mini-fridge, you need to multiply it with electricity cost, which is 13 cents per kWh. The answer is US$30. The running cost of a mini-fridge is roughly US$30 per year. This is much less than the running cost of a water heater.

But hold on just a second! Before you get excited and decide to buy it, it is better to compare the running cost of a mini-fridge and a kitchen refrigerator which will give you a better idea regarding whether you want it or not. Also, it will provide you an idea of whether you need another kitchen fridge to fulfill your needs or you should buy a mini-fridge.

Comparison of Energy Consumption With a Kitchen Fridge      

The size of a mini fridge is usually between 1.7 to 4.4 cubic feet. According to energy star, a mini fridge consumes anywhere between 233 kWh to 310 kWh. As per Consumer Reports testing, the annual cost of a most energy-efficient 4.4 cubic feet mini fridge is US$27.

The size of a kitchen refrigerator varies a lot, but we assume a larger version at 18.2 cubic feet. This fridge consumes 420 kWh in a year. As per Consumer Reports testing, the annual cost of a 20 cubic feet refrigerator is US$47.

Factors Contributing to Excessive Consumption

Now, we know the average running cost of a mini fridge, but can it cost more? Yes, there is a chance that your mini fridge might consume more or less than the average power per month. What are the factors that affect power consumption? Here are few of them:

  • Frequency of door opening
  • Age of mini fridge
  • Manufacturer
  • Quality of the mini fridge
  • The technology used in the mini fridge
  • Outside temperature
  • Cooling settings

These are the main factors that affect power consumption. The most crucial factor is how you use a mini fridge. If you use it more often and make it run all the time, there is a chance you will pay more than the average running cost. However, if you use it efficiently, it will not cost you much power per month.


So, how much do mini fridges cost to run? The main point of this article is that running a mini fridge costs nearly half when compared to a regular-sized kitchen fridge. However, if you don’t use it effectively, you might end up spending a lot more than an average user.

Should you buy a mini fridge? The answer to this question boils down to what your needs are and how it will fit into your lifestyle. If your current refrigerator is always full and you feel helpless and frustrated with warm drinks, you may want to buy a mini fridge and store drinks and fast food items in it.

However, if you are trying to buy your first refrigerator and are confused about which one to buy between a full-sized kitchen fridge and mini fridge, go with a regular refrigerator. It gives you more space and uses less energy as compared to mini fridge in terms of area versus power consumption.

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Annual operating costs of less than $40 are pretty affordable, but if you’re deciding between whether to use a mini fridge or a full-size fridge in a particular space, it’s worth comparing the operating costs. Full-size refrigerators tend to consume around twice as much energy as compact models, but they may have six to eight times as much cooling capacity. So while mini fridges are still cheaper to run, you’re paying more per cubic foot of cooling space.


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