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How Many Amps Does a Mini Fridge Use?

BougeRV’s Compact 12v Mini Fridge Can Run on BougeRV’s Portable Power Stations and Portable Solar Panels for Camping

When it comes to keeping food and drinks cool during camping, RVing, road tripping, overlanding, or outfitting a dorm room, office, or cozy kitchenette, a mini fridge is an ideal solution for chilling your beverages and small food items. 

However, one important aspect to consider before purchasing a mini fridge is its electrical requirements, specifically how many amps it uses. Understanding the amperage of refrigerators can help you make informed decisions about energy consumption, safety, and cost-efficiency for this convenient appliance.

In this blog, you'll discover just how many amps a mini fridge uses, learn tips for saving energy while keeping things cool, and find some energy-efficient mini fridges you can upgrade to! Dive in and uncover these insights now!

What Are Refrigerator Amps?

A Young Lady Camping With BougeRV’s Colored Mini Fridge and the BougeRV’s Colored Fridge Green Mini Fridge Can Run on BougeRV Battery for Mini Fridge

The ampere, or amp, is a unit of electric current, and when we talk about refrigerator amps, we're referring to the amount of electrical current that the appliance draws from the power source to operate. Knowing the number of amps helps to ensure that the circuit isn't overloaded, which can cause breakers to trip or, in worse cases, lead to electrical fires.

How Many Amps Does a Mini Fridge Freezer Use?

Compared to full-sized refrigerators, mini fridges use less electricity due to their smaller compressors and cooling systems. They are designed for efficiency in smaller spaces and don’t pull a lot of electricity under normal use conditions. Generally, mini fridges draw between 1 and 2 amps while running, with an average of around 1.5 amps at the standard voltage of 120 volts in the United States.

However, mini fridges come in various sizes, and their amperage can vary depending on the model, design (thermoelectric or compressor-based), and features. A 1.6 / 1.7 cubic feet mini fridge typically uses less than 1 amp when connected to a 120V outlet. Thermoelectric coolers generally use less electricity than compressor-based mini fridges, often drawing less than 1 amp. However,compressor-based units, tend to be more efficient at cooling and maintaining temperature in varied environments.

To find the specific amperage for your mini fridge, you can find the amperage details on the mini fridge's label, usually found at the back of the unit, or in the the user manual. If this information isn't available, you can estimate the amperage using the formula: 

Amps = Watts / Volts. For instance, a 60-watt mini fridge running on a 120-volt system would use 0.5 amps (60 / 120 = 0.5).

How Many Amps Hours Does a Mini Fridge Use in a Day?

As mentioned, a mini fridge uses 1~2 amps, so it typically uses about 1 to 2 amp-hours per hour. To calculate daily usage, multiply the amp hours by the number of hours in a day. So, if you have a mini fridge that uses an average of 1.5 amp-hours per hour, you would multiply that by 24 hours to calculate the daily usage.

Here's the math:

1.5 amp hours × 24 hours/day = 36 amp-hours/day. 

That means your mini fridge would use approximately 36 amp-hours in a 24-hour period. Please note that actual usage can vary based on the specific model, its efficiency, and how often it's opened and filled.

9 Valuable Energy-Saving Tips

A Group of Friends Gathered on a Luxury Boat at Sea, Using a Colorful BougeRV Mini Fridge

To reduce energy consumption: 

1. Keep your mini fridge full, as a stocked fridge retains cold better than an empty one.

2. Ensure good ventilation around the coils and avoid placing the fridge in direct sunlight or near heat sources.

3. Minimize door openings and ensure the door seals are clean and tight.

4. Use power-saving mode or eco mode if your mini fridge has one, especially if you’re going away for a few days and the fridge isn’t full.

5. Set the right temperature. Typically, maintain your mini fridge at around 35-38°F. Freezers should be set to 0°F. Setting the temperature lower than necessary can lead to excessive energy use. 

6. If your mini fridge is old, consider upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model. Newer fridges generally run much more efficiently due to advancements in technology.

7. Only store things that need to be refrigerated. Don’t use the mini fridge as an extra storage space for items that are fine at room temperature. 

8. Keep liquids covered and food items well-wrapped. Uncovered items can release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder.

9. If you use mini-fridges in settings like dorm rooms or offices where constant cooling isn't required (such as overnight), consider using a timer to turn off the fridge during certain hours to save energy.

Cost-Effective Ways to Power Your Mini Fridge

Cost-effective powering involves:

  • Consider renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and portable power stations, to run your mini-fridge in off-grid situations. When you're camping or RVing for extended periods, investing in portable solar panels and a portable power station can provide not only a reliable backup battery for your fridge but also power your phones, laptops, portable air conditioners, small space heaters, and more.

A couple RVing using a BougeRV mini fridge, portable air conditioner, portable CIGS solar panel, and portable power station

  • Use a smart plug or an energy-efficient setting if available.
  • Choose an Energy Star-rated model for better overall efficiency.

Upgrading to a Greener, Energy-Saving Mini Fridge!

If saving on electricity costs is a priority, investing in an energy-efficient mini fridge can lead to significant cost savings over time, thanks to its optimized performance and lower energy consumption. 

At BougeRV, we offer a wide selection of durable and long-lasting 12V mini fridges to meet your needs. Whether you require a compact and energy-efficient mini fridge for camping or a model with a larger capacity, we have you covered. All are designed with smart temperature control to prevent overcooling and save on electricity. Moreover, BougeRV mini fridges feature eco-mode settings that help reduce energy consumption when full cooling power isn't necessary.

Our mini fridges are tightly sealed, constructed with robust hardware, and feature good insulation to efficiently retain cold temperatures. Each of our 12V mini fridges is equipped with an efficient compressor that cycles on and off less frequently, enhancing energy savings and preventing the draining of your car battery when used in a vehicle.

1. BougeRV 12V Mini Fridge 23 Quart with ECO Mode $239.99

BougeRV 12V mini fridge with energy-efficient ECO mode

BougeRV’s colored mini fridge with ECO mode uses 360Wh a day. Featuring a 15-minute fast cooling design, our colored fridge can rapidly chill your food. It does more than keep your food fresh; it can also freeze your goods without the need for ice.

This fridge can be charged via 12V/24V DC car charging, an AC wall outlet, solar panels, and portable power stations, ensuring that it’s ready to preserve your food wherever you go. Enjoy cool drinks on the boat, at home, in your car, or your van. Check out for more details!

2. BougeRV 12V Portable Fridge 30 Quart $299.99

A man takes food out of a BougeRV 12V portable mini fridge during an overloaded camping trip

The BougeRV 12V portable fridge is the perfect companion for your road trips, camping trips, and any week-long outdoor escapades. Thanks to its advanced compressor cooling technology, you can count on it to keep your snacks and drinks chill. Plus, with the LED display, tweaking the temperature is super simple. It runs whisper-quiet, so you can kick back and enjoy the great outdoors without any annoying buzz in the background. 

This nifty 30-quart mini fridge isn't just versatile in keeping your goodies cold; you can power it with your car battery, plug it into AC power, or even hook it up to a portable power station. Need something a little more snug for your space? We've got you covered with our 23-quart model too. Swing by our site for all the deets!

3. BougeRV ASPEN 40 PRO Dual-System IceDrive™ Fridge with Wheel 43Quart $509.99

BougeRV’s ASPEN mini fridge with wheels and ECO mode

BougeRV ASPEN mini fridge comes with the world's first dual system—we're talking a regular dual zone setup paired with an awesome IceDrive™ system. It means you can keep your ice cream stash solidly frozen below 0°F without breaking a sweat, while also having room for all your other freeze-worthy treats. 

And because it's got portable wheels, it’s easy to move it around. Whether you're hitting the road in your RV, setting up camp, or just chilling outside, heading to the beach,  this fridge is your new go-to. Pop over to our site and get the full scoop!

4. BougeRV CRPRO25 26 Quart 12V Portable Car Fridge Freezer White 289.99$

BougeRV's 26 Qt CRPRO25 mini fridge, fully packed with water bottles

The BougeRV CRPRO25 has got your back for those solo camping trips. It's roomy, reliable with its efficient cooling system, and runs on 12V DC power – so hooking it up to your car battery or any other 12V source is a breeze. Plus, if you're into saving energy (and who isn't?), this mini fridge comes with an ECO mode to keep the electric bill in check. Hop over to our site to get all the deets!

5. BougeRV CR55 Portable Fridge Freezer 59 Quart $539.99

BougeRV CR5s mini fridge with ECO mode and Max mode

This BougeRV CR55 12V portable fridge is the ultimate multitasker with two separate compartments you can control independently. It's like having a fridge and freezer rolled into one, so you can keep your drinks cold and your meat frozen at the same time. And get this – in ECO mode, the BougeRV CR55 runs on less than 45W. Even when you crank it up to MAX mode, its smart cycle operation sips less than 1kWh per day. Pretty cool, right? Head over to our product page for all the nitty-gritty details!

The options listed above are some of our energy-efficient 12V fridges. Looking for more mini fridge options? Dive into our full selection of 12V mini-fridges right here!

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, mini fridges – perfect for camping or cozy living spaces – usually use just 1-2 amps. These little chillers keep your snacks and drinks cool without overloading circuits or hiking up energy bills.

Take hold of those cost-saving tricks and power your fridge in an eco-friendly way with portable power stations. Plus, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model for the best performance, like BougeRV's 12V mini-fridge. It's a smart move for anyone mindful of space and savings! 


1. Can I Run a Mini Fridge on a 15-Amp Circuit?

Yes, a mini fridge can typically run on a 15-amp circuit as long as there aren't too many other high-draw appliances on the same circuit.

2. How Many Amps Is a Small Fridge?

A small fridge usually draws between 1 and 2 amps when running, excluding the initial surge at startup. However, the exact current draw can vary based on the model and specifications of the refrigerator.

3. How Many Amps Does a Fridge Use?

A typical full-size refrigerator uses about 3 to 5 amps when running, although startup amps can be significantly higher, similar to mini fridges but with larger overall consumption due to bigger size and capacity.

4. How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

A mini fridge typically uses 50 to 100 watts when running, depending on its size and cooling technology. BougeRV's mini fridge uses 36–45 watts when set to ECO Mode, and 45–60 watts when set to MAX Mode.

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How Many Amps Does a Mini Fridge Use?