How Many Amps Does A Freezer Use? (By Size And Type)

Image of a woman placing food in a freezer

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A freezer is an appliance that we have all come to expect in our homes for long-term food storage. When you are implementing solar or alternative power sources, you need to know every bit of energy usage in your home. A freezer is an appliance for which it’s difficult to pin the exact energy numbers since it’s an on/off appliance, and how hard it works depends on where you place it. So how many Amps does a freezer use?

A medium-sized freezer will use between 0.8 Amps and 1.5 Amps of current. This would be the current draw of the compressor while it’s running. Each time the compressor starts, it has a startup draw of between 2 to 3 times its running amperage. Larger freezers will comparatively draw more current.

It isn’t easy to quantify the electricity usage of a freezer. It depends on factors such as the environment the freezer is in, how frequently it is opened, and the internal capacity of the freezer. The amps that a freezer will use are typically indicated on the specifications panel on the back of the appliance. Still, there are other aspects of the compressor’s power usage that you need to consider.

How Much Power Will A Freezer Draw?

The amount of current or Amps that a freezer will draw will depend on several factors that determine how hard the unit will work and the space it needs to cool.

The following factors contribute to the power consumption of the freezer unit.

  • Capacity of the freezer: The larger the freezer is, the larger the space it has to cool down inside the unit. This requires a larger compressor, which will increase the energy usage of the device. To minimize power consumption, choose the smallest freezer that meets your frozen food storage needs.
  • Surrounding environment: A freezer located in a hot room or against a wall that receives a lot of sunshine will work harder to maintain cold temperatures inside the unit. The freezer compressor will switch on more frequently during the day, increasing the amount of power the unit consumes. Locating your freezer in a cool place that has little temperature fluctuation will keep the power consumption to a minimum.
  • Frequency of opening and closing: Opening the freezer frequently during the day will cause the compressor to kick in for dropping the temperature inside the freezer. Plan your meals and only open the freezer as little as possible for retrieving food during the day.

A freezer compressor will have different phases of operation, during which it will use different amounts of power.

The initial startup phase will draw a spike of power consumption on the circuit, lasting about 10 seconds.

This Amp draw will usually be more significant than the Amps indicated on the specifications plate of the device.

After the initial spike of electrical current draw, the compressor will enter its running phase, during which it will cool down the air inside the freezer compartment.

In this operation phase, the compressor will use electricity closer to the number indicated on the specifications plate.

The actual Amps that your freezer will use should be retrieved from the specifications plate. But as an estimate, most medium-sized freezers will use between 0.8 Amps and 1.5 Amps.

Using the formula Watts = Amps X Voltage, you can work out the Watts of power your freezer will use.

If your freezer runs on 120 Volt power, the Watts it will use are as follows.

  • 120 Volts X 0.8 Amps = 96 Watts.
  • 120 Volts X 1.5 Amps = 180 Watts.

This gives a range of 96 Watts to 180 Watts in the running phase of the compressor at 120 Volts.

If the freezer is running on a 240 Volt circuit, you will have to replace the 120 Volts in the equation with 240 Volts to get a range of 192 Amps to 360 Amps.

A larger freezer of 20 cubic feet or more can draw a current of up to 5 Amps.

When the Wattage is calculated at 120 Volts, we get 600 Watts, which shows a substantial difference in power consumption of a larger freezer.

Once again, we stress that these numbers are examples, and you should get the exact numbers from your freezer’s specifications plate, usually located at the back of the device.

If the specifications plate is no longer there, you can find the information by searching the manufacturer’s website for the correct model.

Recommended Further Reading:

How Many Amps Does A Freezer Use On Startup?

As we have mentioned already, the compressor on the freezer has two phases of operation: startup mode and running mode.

The freezer will draw different amperage depending on its phase of operation.

The startup power surge that your freezer draws will once again depend on the size of the compressor.

The larger the compressor on the freezer, the larger the initial startup power draw will be. As a rule-of-thumb, you can calculate the startup current draw at 2 to 3 times the running current draw of the compressor. A freezer with a running amperage of 1.5 Amps can draw up to 4.5 Amps on startup.

While the startup surge can last anywhere from a split second to 10-seconds, you need to consider this current draw in your calculations for the circuit you will install it on.

If you are installing a solar solution, it’s even more important to know this information for sizing your solar system appropriately.

How Many Amps Does A Mini-Freezer Use?

Mini-freezers are smaller models with comparatively smaller compressor units to power the freezer.

You can get these miniature versions in a variety of sizes, depending on the intended use of the freezer.

Smaller freezers are designed to be countertop or floor-standing, with the countertop units being the smaller versions.

A 3.5 cubic foot freezer such as the Midea Freezer has a compressor that draws a running current of 0.83 Amps, and at 120 Volts gives a power consumption of 100 Watts.

How Many Amps Does A Refrigerator-Freezer Use?

If your cooling unit is a refrigerator-freezer combination, you can expect it to draw more current because of the dual function that the unit is expected to perform.

A refrigerator-freezer will draw about 1.5 Amps to 2 Amps, translating to 180 Watts to 240 Watts of power consumption at 120 Volts. The freezer is usually only of the capacity of a mini-freezer. It’s more energy-efficient to have separate refrigerator and freezer appliances.

If you are counting your pennies for a solar installation and need to be as energy-efficient as possible, a refrigerator-freezer combo is not the best appliance.

Separate refrigerator and freezer appliances will use less power for the storage capacity they offer.

Interesting Further Reading:

How Many Amps Does A Commercial Freezer Use?

The principles of electricity consumption of commercial freezers are the same as that of domestic-use freezers.

The larger the freezer, the larger the compressor needs to be for cooling the area to the desired temperature.

Large commercial freezers like walk-in freezers can have a compressor that draws from 6 Amps to 8 Amps. This is for the compressor and doesn’t account for accessory circuits such as evaporation fans and internal lighting. These typically require their own circuit, separate from the compressor.

Commercial freezers come in various sizes, from larger versions of the domestic-style freezers to large, room-size walk-in freezers.

These industrial freezers are crucial for keeping food stocks at the correct temperature to prevent them from spoiling.


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