What Size Generator To Run Refrigerator And Freezer? – Best Choice 2023

What size generator to run the refrigerator and freezer? It’s a common question when looking for an alternative power source during blackouts where you need to keep your food from spoiling. Although selecting the correct generator size may appear an easy task, in reality, the decision may be complicated. The surge power in starting the electrical appliance should be considered. This is the starting wattage that is needed every time the refrigerator is started up. The surge wattage is usually around 2 – 3 times the running wattage of a refrigerator. So let’s learn more about the specifications of the refrigerators and freezers.

How Many Watts Do A Refrigerator And Freezer Use?

Apart from the cooling ability, power consumption is another equally important factor in a refrigerator. The power requirement of appliances varies with the newer technology using lesser power. New energy-efficient models use half the power consumed by older appliances. If you don’t size your generator correctly to suit your power requirement, you will end up spending a lot on something you don’t need. This could mean excessive power generated in vain. If the generator is undersized, it may not work at all due to stalling caused by the overload of the appliances. 

The amount of power consumed by your refrigerator and freezer can be found easily as it is indicated on the appliance. The refrigerators usually have a sticker inside the door, indicating the power requirement. If the wattage is not indicated directly, you will find the full amperes load given on the sticker. You can find the power consumed using the following equation.

For a refrigerator with a current requirement of 6.5 amps running off a voltage of 120 V,
Power=120V×6.5A=780 watts

But when the compressor of the refrigerator starts, it requires more power than the rated wattage given above. This is known as surge power and is usually 2 – 3 times more than the average running power. In this case, the minimum surge power could be around 1,560 W. Therefore, the minimum size generator required for this refrigerator will be 1,560 watts.

The running watts of the refrigerator and freezer can be between 50 W to 1500 W while the starting wattage could be anywhere from 200 W to 6000W. Here are some examples of various types of refrigerators and their respective wattages.

Type of FridgeRunning WattsStarting Watts
Mini Fridge85 – 100 W127 – 150 W
Smart Fridge250 – 500 W375 – 750 W
Under-Counter Fridge90 – 140 W120 – 210 W
Old Fridge200 – 800 W300 – 1200 W
Modern Fridge100 – 400 W150 – 600 W
Side-by-Side Fridge1000 W4000 W
Mini Glass Refrigerator140 W210 W
Mini Freezer35 – 50 W52 – 75 W
Deep Freezer350 – 500 W525 – 750 W
Countertop Fridge160 W240 W
Refrigerator Showcase210 W315 W

What Size Generator Do I Need To Run A Refrigerator And Freezer?

When determining how many watt generators to run a refrigerator, you must focus mainly on the starting wattage rather than the running wattage. Considering this, you will need the following sized generators for the respective refrigerators and freezers.

  • Mini fridges and eco-friendly freezers – 1000 W generator
  • Standard refrigerators and freezers – 3000 W generator
  • Very big refrigerators and freezers – 5000 W generator

1000W and 3000 W generators are used to power up the refrigerators and freezers most of the time. Find out more about this: What can you run on a 3500-watt generator?

Determining The Generator Type

The generators are mainly categorized based on the type of fuel they use. This may be gasoline, propane, diesel, natural gas, or battery where solar power is used. The ideal type of generator can be selected by reviewing the pros and cons of each type. Let’s have a look at each of these fuel types.

Type of FuelProsCons
Gasoline Easy-to-use inverters can regulate the speed of the engine to reduce noiseLoud and noisy 
PropaneA popular choice for both portable and stationary generatorsQuieterCleaner due to less emissionComplicated mechanics and difficult repairs
DieselMotors are large and powerful ideal for rural areas without gas linesVery noisy and may not be the best option for residential needs

Too large for only supporting a refrigerator
Natural GasIdeal for permanent installations can power up more than just the refrigeratorA gas line needs to be installed in the house
Battery GeneratorThe only type of generators that can be installed indoors

Can be installed easily and recharged with utility or solar power
The batteries should be changed about every four years

Considering the technology of generators, selecting inverter generators will be a better idea as they are quieter. You can learn more about this before deciding on the type of generator. Are propane generators quieter?

Generator Installation

Refrigerators can be plugged into portable fuel-powered generators using an extension cord running outdoors. But if it is a permanent installation, you may need to connect the generator directly to the panel so that you can power up the refrigerator and freezer using the wall outlet. You need a transfer switch to alter between the utility power and generator, which should be installed correctly by a licensed electrician. 

When installing generators powered by batteries, the refrigerator can be plugged directly as these generators are installed indoors. So you don’t need extension cords or other costly electrical work. The generator can be placed next to the refrigerator or freezer. In case more than one generator is needed to power up the freezer, the battery generator can be hardwired to multiple outlets. Through this, you can supply power to 2 or 3 appliances simultaneously.

4 Best generator for a refrigerator or freezer

The following are some of the best generators to power up your refrigerator and freezer. You can select one from these depending on your personal requirements.

1.Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter Generator

This is a quiet and compact generator ideal to power up your refrigerator or for other daily needs. You can use this generator even in compact spaces without being too loud. This generator can be moved around easily with the built-in handle. It has a running wattage of 1700 W and a starting wattage of 2200 W rated 120 VAC and 14.1 A. It has a fuel tank of 1.2 gallons that can run up to 10.75 hours with a 25% load.

The startup procedure is simplified through the integrated Off/ Run/ Choke knob. The LED status lights indicate power, low oil level, and overload. The parallel kit (model 7118) is sold separately in the market which you can use to connect two inverters parallelly. The excellent fuel consumption is another advantage in addition to increased efficiency, making it an ideal generator for refrigerators.

2. WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator

This will be another good choice for anyone looking for the best generator for a refrigerator or freezer. It is because this generator produces stable power which can be used to operate sensitive electronic devices, including phones, TVs, computers, and other communication tools. The WEN 56200i 2000-Watt generator has two 3-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and a 5V USB port which can be used for powering up your appliances.

This generator is comparatively less noisy with a noise level of 53 dB when operating. The rated wattage is 1600 W and has a surge watts of 2000 W which can power the refrigerator without overheating. In addition to power outages, this generator is also ideal for camping, construction sites, and tailgates. This generator produces clean power with very less emission of toxic fume. 

3. Champion Power Equipment 2500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

The Champion Power Equipment 2500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is very light when compared to other generators, weighing only 39 pounds. Hence, it is considered to be one of the lightest 2500 W generators that you will ever come across. The quiet operation of 53 dB makes this the ideal generator for camping, tailgating, and other outdoor activities. It has a running wattage of 1850 W and starting watts of 2500 W.

The run time may extend up to 11.5 hours. The output power can be doubled by connecting this generator to another identical generator with the optional clip-on parallel kit. Another specialty of this type is the clean power with less than 3% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). This gives you the advantage of connecting sensitive devices safely with very less potential for damage. You can also get a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support from professional experts.

4. Pulsar G2319N 2,300W Portable Gas-Powered Inverter Generator

This is another reliable inverter generator for a refrigerator with 2300 peak watts and 1800 running watts. It has a capacity of up to 4.8 hours of operation at 50% load and 1.18 gallons of fuel. This generator can be handled easily due to its compact design and weight of 47 pounds. As it uses stable sine wave technology, the power generated is safe to charge your sensitive communication devices, including mobile phones, laptops, TVs, etc. All your small 120 V appliances necessary for camping and tailgating can be powered up easily using this portable generator.

The LED indicates the mode and fuel level in hours so that you can decide on adding more fuel before it stalls. You can power up your refrigerator and freezer easily with this generator during any blackout or emergency to keep your foods and drinks in good condition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

what size generator to run refrigerator and freezer

Can an inverter generator run a refrigerator?

An inverter generator can run a refrigerator but more power will be used than what the refrigerator normally uses. Therefore, using an alternator generator will be a better idea. 

Will a 750-watt inverter run a refrigerator?

A 750-watt generator will not be able to run a refrigerator. This is because the starting power of a fridge is always way more than 750 watts which is beyond the capacity of this inverter.

Can a 2000 watt generator run a refrigerator?

A 2000-watt generator can run a refrigerator, but to work it will have to be on for 16 hours at least. This is in contrast to the popular idea that a 2000-watt generator cannot power a refrigerator for 24 hours.

How long can you run your refrigerator without electricity?

A refrigerator can last up to 12 hours with generator power without electricity off the grid. But this may vary depending on the size of your refrigerator and how often you open and close it. If the fridge is filled with food, this time may even be shorter as more power is required in keeping them cool. 

Will a 5000-watt generator run 2 refrigerators?

A 5000-watt generator can run almost any household appliance. You can run a fridge with a freezer of around 700 – 1000 watts easily with this generator. Even a small window AC unit of 1200 watts can be powered up with a 5000-watt generator.

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Run A Refrigerator?

One solar panel would be enough to power up a refrigerator, but it needs to have direct sunlight all the time. However, a solar panel of 100 W may not be enough for this. A solar panel of at least 250 – 500 W is necessary for this.


You might have gained sound knowledge on what size generator to run the refrigerator and freezer. The average size of a generator for powering up a refrigerator is usually around 2500 watts. This may vary depending on the size and power consumption of the fridge. You can also get the benefit of pairing up two generators to gain more output power. You can select the best option out of the given recommendations based on your requirements. You are also encouraged to go through reviews and user feedback on each model to make the best choice.

You will also find it useful to know: What size portable generator to power 200 A service?