Finding the Ideal Generator Size: What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a Refrigerator?

By James Robert

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run a Refrigerator

Running essential appliances like refrigerators during power outages can be crucial. To ensure uninterrupted power supply, it’s important to select the right generator size. In this article, we’ll discuss how to determine the appropriate generator size to run a refrigerator efficiently and avoid any potential issues.

Understanding Power Requirements of a Refrigerator

Power Consumption of a Refrigerator

Refrigerators have varying power consumption levels based on factors such as size, efficiency, age, and additional features. Typically, a standard-sized refrigerator requires around 1200 to 1500 watts of power to operate.

Factors Affecting Power Consumption

Several factors can affect a refrigerator’s power consumption, including the refrigerator’s age, energy efficiency rating, door seal condition, ambient temperature, frequency of door openings, and the temperature setting.

Determining Generator Size for a Refrigerator

Step 1: Determine the Starting (Surge) Power

When a refrigerator starts, it requires a higher surge of power to kick-start the compressor. This starting power is typically higher than the running power. Check the refrigerator’s specifications or label to find the surge power, often mentioned as “starting watts” or “peak power.”

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Step 2: Calculate the Running (Rated) Power

The running power, also known as rated power, is the power consumption of the refrigerator when it’s running normally. This information is usually listed as “running watts” or “rated watts” on the refrigerator’s label or in the user manual.

Step 3: Consider the Power Factor

The power factor represents the efficiency of the electrical load. For refrigerators, the power factor is often close to 1. Consider this factor when calculating the generator size to ensure accurate power supply.

Step 4: Selecting the Right Generator Size

To determine the appropriate generator size, add the surge power (starting watts) and the running power (rated watts). It’s recommended to choose a generator with a capacity slightly higher than the combined starting and running power of the refrigerator for optimal performance and to avoid overloading the generator.

Other Considerations

Backup Power for Other Appliances

If you plan to power other appliances simultaneously, consider their power requirements when selecting the generator size. Ensure the generator can handle the combined power needs of all appliances without exceeding its capacity.

Noise and Emissions

When choosing a generator, consider noise levels and emissions, especially if you plan to use it in residential areas or during outdoor activities. Look for generators specifically designed to operate quietly and meet environmental regulations.


Selecting the right generator size is crucial for running a refrigerator during power outages. By understanding the power consumption, surge power, and other factors, you can determine the appropriate generator size to ensure the smooth operation of your refrigerator. Remember to consider the starting power, running power, and power factor when making your calculations. Choosing a generator with slightly higher capacity than the combined starting and running power of your refrigerator is recommended.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a generator of any size to power my refrigerator?

It is essential to choose a generator size that can handle the starting and running power requirements of your refrigerator. Using an undersized generator may lead to power issues or damage to both the generator and refrigerator.

How do I find the power consumption details of my refrigerator?

Check the refrigerator’s label, user manual, or manufacturer’s website for information on power consumption, starting watts, and running watts.

Can I power other appliances with the same generator?

Yes, you can power other appliances, but make sure to consider their power requirements along with your refrigerator’s power needs. Ensure the generator can handle the combined load without exceeding its capacity.

Are there any noise restrictions for using a generator in residential areas?

Yes, noise levels can be a concern when using a generator in residential areas. Look for generators designed to operate quietly, and be mindful of local noise regulations.

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