How Many Amps Does a Refrigerator Use?

Refrigerators are such an important component of our lifestyle that you will hardly find a home without one. No matter where you are or what kind of space you live in, chances are you would …

how many amps does refrigerator use
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Refrigerators are such an important component of our lifestyle that you will hardly find a home without one. No matter where you are or what kind of space you live in, chances are you would want to invest in a good quality refrigerator.

Even more so if you live in an RV, whether you are camping out or traveling or stationed in an RV park for a while, a good RV refrigerator will make sure you and your RV are in good health.

As you can understand, the quality of a refrigerator, therefore, is extremely important. When you are buying a refrigerator, checking certain factors like size and storage, and preservation capacity can seal the deal for us. But something you should also look at is “how many amps does the refrigerator use.” After all, the refrigerator amp draws, or the amount of power a refrigerator uses determines how useful it is- especially in the case of RV refrigerators, where the supply of power is not always available. 

What Are Amps? Where Can I Find It?

Before learning how many amps your refrigerator draws, it is important to know what ‘amps’ are. An amp or ampere is a unit to measure electrical current. In refrigerators, amp refers to the amount of electrical current the compressor of the refrigerator uses to cool its compartment. Amp draw is also known as amperage. 

Usually, the number of amps, along with the voltage used by a particular refrigerator, is mentioned in the label that comes with it. If you have a damaged label, you may also look for this information in the manual. However, if you have a second-hand model of a refrigerator and therefore don’t have the manual, you can find this out using the product serial number on the website of the manufacturer.

How to Calculate How Many Amps a Refrigerator Uses

Knowing how much amp your refrigerator draws determines how much wattage your refrigerator uses. This basically means that knowing how many amps a refrigerator draws can help you figure out how much power it uses when it runs.

You will be surprised to know how accessible this information has always been. Turns out all you need to figure out how many amps your refrigerator uses is the voltage. 

You can use the following equation:


How Many Amps Does an RV Refrigerator Use? With examples

Different kinds of refrigerators use different amounts of amps. The number of amps drawn by a refrigerator also depends on how long it runs and what it runs for. Other factors also affect the number of amps used by an RV refrigerator. However, it can be estimated that, on an average, a running refrigerator draws about 7 amps while starting up and uses about 3 amps when it runs. Some of the factors affecting how many amps an RV refrigerator uses are given below:

Run Time

The longer the run time for a refrigerator, the more amps it draws and the more power or watts it uses. In a similar way, the different operations of a refrigerator also determine the amp draw. This basically means that a refrigerator draws different amounts of amps for different functions, which can be more or less than each other. For example, a refrigerator draws more amps while starting, whereas it uses a smaller number of amps to defrost. An average RV refrigerator uses about 6-8 amps during starting up, 2-4 amps during other times, 1-2 amps during defrosting, and 0.5 amps when only the evaporator fan is running.

Model And Brand of The Refrigerator

The refrigerator amp draw also depends on the brand and model of the refrigerator. Some models may use a smaller number of amps to run, whereas some may use more. However, since a refrigerator is such an important part of our lives, it is best not to compromise on quality to save amps. The smarter option would be to figure out ways in which you can use less amps. Norcold and Domestic are the foremost brands that manufacture RV refrigerators. Most standard RV refrigerators from both these brands use about 5 amp of power with exceptions depending on size and model.


It is also true that the age of your refrigerator can also determine how many amps your refrigerator uses. The older your refrigerator is, the more amps it consumes.


Additionally, the size of the refrigerator also determines how many amps it uses to run. Bigger refrigerators will use more amps to run, whereas smaller refrigerators will use fewer amps.

Why Should You Check How Many Amps Your RV Refrigerator Draws

why should you cheak how many amps your RV refrigerator draws

You should know your RV refrigerator amp draw as it helps you figure out how much power you need to save. After all, you want your refrigerator to run if it can.


  1. A higher amp means that you overuse the limited amount of power you have.
  2. A higher amp also means that your RV refrigerator can drain your battery.
  3. High amp usage can make your generator malfunction, and replacing a generator in an RV can be a complicated and extremely expensive affair.

What Are the Alternatives to Power Your RV Refrigerator

Maintaining an RV refrigerator comes with its set of problems. What if the RV refrigerator model you have draws more amps? What if your older refrigerator consumes more electricity? Replacing or repairing such a refrigerator in an RV can be challenging.

So, if you find that your present RV refrigerator arrangement uses up many more amps than you can afford, you can try other alternatives. But you must keep in mind that these alternatives also come with their own set of risks. Some of those alternatives are listed below:

You Can Run Your RV Refrigerator on Batteries

Running an RV refrigerator on batteries is suitable when you are traveling. But batteries mAh are not powerful enough to run the refrigerator for long. On average, a 12V battery will power your refrigerator for about 10 hours. If you are traveling with no destination or boondocking, propane gas may be a better alternative to power your RV refrigerator.

You Can Run Your RV Refrigerator on Propane.

Using propane gas to run an RV refrigerator is the most suitable choice for most. It ensures that your RV refrigerator can run for a long time. Plus, it is also inexpensive and more easily accessible than the rest of the alternatives.

You Can Run Your RV Refrigerator Using Solar Panels

If you want to run your RV refrigerator on solar panels, there are some things that you should consider. It does seem like the better alternative because it allows you to run your refrigerator all day. However, the only catch is the money to get it installed. Installing solar panels can be expensive. However, given the long-term benefits that it provides, it can be seen as more of an investment.

RV Refrigerator Amp Draw

How many amps your RV refrigerator draws determines how much power you end up using. When you are living in an RV, that is obviously something that you must be careful about. You don’t want your refrigerator to use up most of the power or drain out your battery. You need to save enough for the other appliances in your RV which are equally important, like your RV air conditioner, TV, or coffee maker. Therefore, the amperage of your RV refrigerator will determine your lifestyle, food habits, and storage and preservation practices, and knowing how much you spend or must save can help you immensely.

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