Power outages are more common in some parts of the world than in others; nonetheless, we all must be prepared for it. During these power outages, we must still keep our refrigerator on so that our food doesn’t get spoiled. However, getting a generator with a random rating might not be suitable to run your refrigerator, and it might even cause an accident.

This might lead you to wonder, what size generator do I need to run a refrigerator? Luckily, you’re in the right place because we will be giving you all the important information you need to know before buying a generator to power your refrigerator.

Generator Size You Need to Run a Refrigerator:

To understand what size generator you need for your fridge, you have to do a few things and keep some things in mind. So, let’s check them out below:

Check the Wattage Rating

The very first thing you should do when you decide to buy a generator for your refrigerator is check the ratings on your refrigerator. If you still have the sticker or label on the refrigerator, note what wattage rating it has, and if you have thrown it out, you could simply look up the model online to know the wattage ratings.

Another place where you are very likely to find the ratings is the user manual of the refrigerator

Calculating the Wattage Rating

Oftentimes the wattage rating isn’t directly written on the sticker or label. Instead, they write the voltage and amperage ratings.

This means you will have to do simple math to know what the wattage rating of the refrigerator is. All you have to do is simply multiply the voltage rating with the amperage rating, and then there you have it, the wattage rating. For example, your refrigerator at home is labeled with a 6.5 A current rating, and it plugs into a regular 120 V A.C. outlet. So, the average running wattage will be 6.5 A X 120 v, which is 780 Watts.

Why You Should Use a Generator with a Higher Wattage Rating

In order for your refrigerator to run smoothly when using a generator, you have to ensure that the wattage rating of the generator is AT LEAST equal to the wattage rating of the refrigerator. However, using a generator that has a power rating just equal to the refrigerator is highly discouraged because appliances usually use up a bit more power than they say on their rating. Especially as appliances begin to get older, they start to suck more power than they say.

Therefore, the rating of your generator must be greater with a decent gap than the rating of the refrigerator. In this way, you can avoid any sort of accidents and use your refrigerator without stressing. For context, if the wattage rating of your refrigerator is 1000 Watts, then it is best if you get yourself a generator with a 2000 W.

Additionally, if you use your generator at maximum load at all times, then the lifespan of the generator will be substantially reduced. This means you will have to replace it much quicker. If those weren’t enough to convince you to get a bigger generator, then you should know when a generator runs at 100% capacity, it makes a lot of noise which is very annoying, to say the least.

Start and Running Watts

In wattages, there are two different ratings; one is called the start watts, which is the power the appliance needs to turn on. Then there are running watts which is the power your appliance will need to run properly after being turned on. Generally, the start watts are greater than the running watts, so after a few seconds of being turned on, the appliance’s power requirement drops from the start watts to the running watts.

Generators also have a start wattage rating and a running wattage rating, so when you’re buying one, make sure both the latter and former are greater than the respective wattage rating of your appliance.

What Size Generator To Run Window Unit And Fridge?

If you live in a very hot climate, then you will need a generator for more than just keeping your food cool at all times. You’ll also need to keep yourself cool. Finding a generator to power your refrigerator is simple, but when you also need it to run your air conditioner, things get a bit more complicated.

The 5000 BTU air conditioner is a very popular type of air conditioner, so let’s take it as an example. So, how big of a generator would you need to run a 5000 BTU air conditioner? The starting wattage of this type of air conditioner is around 625 Watts, and then after a few seconds, it drops down to the continuous running watts, which are approximately 500 Watts.

Therefore, if you need a generator to power your refrigerator and your AC, make sure that the starting wattage of the generator is greater than the sum of the starting wattages of the two appliances, and the running wattage is greater than the sum of the running wattage of the two appliances.

Now, if you were wondering what size generator do I need to run my whole house, then the answer will be that it varies. The starting and running wattage of that generator must be greater than the sum of the starting and running wattages of all the appliances in your house. Therefore, you will need a much larger generator to power your whole house than the generator you would need to just your refrigerator.


In this modern-day and age where everything is run by using electricity, power outages are no less than nightmares for many. Hence, you should always keep a generator to run your refrigerator and at least some essential appliances. Regular people don’t deal with electrical ratings usually, so it’s natural of you to be confused about what size generator do I need to run a refrigerator.

We hope we were able to give you a clear guide on how to decide how big of a generator you will need to buy to run your refrigerator!

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