What Size Generator To Run Refrigerator And Freezer? (+ Best Ones For You)

The use of generators is becoming more common due to overpopulation and the ever-increasing demand for more electrical current. With so many recent power failures, people wonder what size generator is needed to run a refrigerator and freezer.

Refrigerators and freezers require a constant and reliable power source. They require constant and surge power. Due to the surge power refrigerators and freezers need, we have to get a generator that will be able to handle the load. A 3250-watt generator is sufficient.

For this post, we will look at the following key topics :

  • How much power do a refrigerator and freezer need?
  • The advantages of running a refrigerator and freezer from a generator.
  • The disadvantages of running a refrigerator and freezer from a generator.
  • The types of generators to run a refrigerator and freezer.
  • Choosing the most suitably sized generator to run a refrigerator and freezer.

The ability of a generator to power a refrigerator and freezer does not only lie in size, so read on for more.

Range of 18 different types of refrigerator

What Size Generator For Refrigerator And Freezer?

The size of a generator for the sole purpose of running a modern refrigerator and freezer should be nothing smaller than 3250 watts. The running watts of these appliances are only 1500watts, but the surge power is 3100watts.

The running watts of appliances like refrigerators and freezers are much lower than the surge watts because the appliance needs a much bigger current when starting up. Here is a table of the running and surge wattages of these appliances.

ApplianceRunning powerSurge power
Modern refrigerator500 watt1500watt
Modern Freezer500 watt1600watt
Power and surge for modern refrigerator and freezer

When running these appliances from a generator, one can hear the generator straining as it tries to provide the needed current when the appliance needs to start up(surge power). The compressors of refrigerators and fridges need to start up numerous times during a 24-hour cycle.

It is the main reason why a strong generator is needed to supply a constant electrical current.

Do not forget to refill the fuel tank now and then, as it might cause damage if you keep running the generator close to empty.

Do Older Refrigerators Or Freezers Affect Size Of Generator?

Older refrigerators or freezers will definitely affect the size of the generator that is needed to power them. Parts that wear out with time, like compressors or thermostats, could also cause these appliances to become more power-hungry.

While modern refrigerators need only 500-watts for a running current and 1500-watt for a surge current, it is a completely different story for an older refrigerator.

The same goes for a freezer; a modern freezer requires 500-watts for a running current and 1600-watts for a surge current. So just how much more current do older appliances use?

ApplianceRunning powerSurge power
Older refrigerator700 watt1700watt
Older Freezer700 watt1800watt
Power and surge for old refrigerator and freezer

In the table above, we can see that the usage in watts has gone up. We would need a more powerful generator with the older refrigerators and freezers. It is also the reason why calculating the current is so important.

Do Brands Of Refrigerator/Freezer Affect Size Of Generator?

So far in this post, we have seen that it is extremely important to calculate the running and surge wattages of refrigerators and freezers with different brands; this is still true.

Generators will run the appliances as long as it stays within the sized capacity.

Different manufacturing brands of refrigerators and freezers use materials that have different specifications. However, these specifications may change as most modern refrigerators and freezers have only small variations in power usage.

The need for energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators or freezers forces manufacturers to compete with each other, which in turn means that the variations in power usage are not that significant.

Some brands tend to focus on manufacturing even more power-efficient appliances, which is why it is always best to do the calculations yourself.

There are labels indicating info on the inside and outside of refrigerators and freezers.

Pros Of Running Refrigerators And Freezers From A Generator

There are several advantages of running refrigerators and freezers from a suitably sized generator; here are a few of those advantages:

  • As long as a generator has fuel in its tank, it will supply adequate power to a refrigerator and freezer according to its size.
  • When running refrigerators and freezers from a suitably sized generator, the contents remain cold, frozen, and safe for consumption.
  • The medication stays cold and remains usable when stored in a refrigerator or freezer running on the right size generator.
  • Less wastage of food rotting when stored in a refrigerator or freezer running on a suitably sized generator.
  • A refrigerator or freezer can run from a suitably sized generator wherever it is located because of its mobility.

Cons Of Running Refrigerators And Freezers From A Generator

There are also disadvantages of running a refrigerator or freezer from a suitably sized generator; here are a few of those disadvantages:

  • It is advisable to use a suitably sized generator to power a refrigerator and freezer but not permanently because they can be noisy.
  • The fumes from generator exhaust systems are toxic so running a refrigerator and freezer from a suitably sized generator requires extension cords so that the generator can stay outside.
  • Suitably sized generators running refrigerators or freezers need fuel or propane gas to operate so that it may have unwanted cost implications.
  • Any machinery requires maintenance, so when using a suitably sized generator to power a refrigerator or freezer, you need to be aware of service intervals; otherwise, the generator can break down.
  • The cables that are laid between a fridge or freezer and a suitably sized generator could cause injuries, so it may be time-consuming to make it safer.

What Size And Model Of Generators Run A Fridge Or Freezer?

A refrigerator and a freezer draw 3100watts of power which means the generator size needs to be sufficient to carry the load. The running current of the generator should always be more than 3100 watts regardless of the make and model.

Ensure that the generator can supply the proper current, especially when the compressor of the fridge or freezer kicks in and needs more power (surge power).

The following section of this post is about the range of Generator models and sizes capable of running a refrigerator and freezer. All these generators are sized over 3250-watts.

Generac 3500-watt Generator

The Generac 3500- watt generator is suitable in size to run a refrigerator and freezer and even an air conditioning unit at 15,000 BTU. Plus it has two USB outlets.

Some of the main key points of this generator are:

  • Its dimensions are 19 inches X 16.9 inches X 16.4 inches making it a good option for small spaces.
  • It weighs 74.3 pounds and runs on gasoline and 25% lighter than normal powered generators.
  • It is a mobile generator, so it can be moved around and is available at most hardware stores.
  • It has been designed to be much quieter than standard genreators being 50% less!
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter...
3,991 Reviews
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter...
  • PowerRUSH Technology - Delivers over 50% more starting capacity-allowing you to do more with less
  • Up to 50% quieter - ideal for noise sensitive environments/ up to 25% lighter - for improved portability
  • True power technology - clean power for sensitive electronics

Champion 3250-watt Mobile Generator

The Champion 3250-watt generator is suitable in size to run a refrigerator and freezer with a surge power capacity of 4000-watts.

Some o the main key points of this generator are:

  • Its dimensions are 26.3 inches X 23.7 inches X 22.5 inches making it a good option for small spaces, although it is slightly bigger than the Generac.
  • It weighs 102 pounds and runs on gasoline. The fuel tank takes 3,4 gallons of fuel.
  • It is a mobile generator so that it can be moved around, and it is available at most hardware stores.
  • This generator is less noisy than the Generac 3250-watt generator, but it will be more expensive than other generators in the same class.
Champion Power Equipment 100554 4375/3500-Watt RV...
336 Reviews
Champion Power Equipment 100554 4375/3500-Watt RV...
  • Start and stop with ease from up to 80 feet away with the included wireless remote key fob – push-button power and convenience like never before
  • Trust the reliable 208cc Champion engine with its battery-included electric start featuring a 3-way ignition switch, plus built-in Cold Start Technology for easy starts in cold weather
  • At 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts, enjoy up to 12 hours of run time on a full tank of gasoline with a noise level of 68 dBA from 23 feet

Westinghouse WGen3600v Mobile Generator

The Westinghouse WGEN 3600V generates 3600 Running Watts and 4650 surge watts, which makes it suitable in size to run a refrigerator and freezer.

Some of the main key points of this generator are:

  • It supports Recoil Start. With a 4-Gallon Fuel Tank and gasoline gauge.
  • WGen3600v ensures a run time of up to 18 hours per full tank.
  • The generator features a TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle,  a 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, as well as an L5-30R 30 Amp Receptacle.
Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator 3600...
2,705 Reviews
Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator 3600...
  • 3600 Running Watts and 4650 Peak Watts; Recoil Start; 4 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge; Up to 14 Hours of Run Time Per Tank
  • Features One 5–20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle, One RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Receptacle, and One L5-30R 30 Amp Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
  • Plug-and-Play: Comes With Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)

Westinghouse I4200 Mobile Generator

This generator is rated for 3500 watts of continuous power or 4200 watts of surge power, so it is suitable in size to run a refrigerator and freezer.

Some of the main key points of this generator are:

  • The generator is extremely fuel-efficient at half load and takes just 2.6 gallons of gas to run for up to 15 hours.
  • This generator is not that noisy, with levels between 52 and 59 dB depending on the power draw.
  • The generator does not have an electric start, one of the biggest complaints from customers. However, it has an Led panel that shows the wattage being drawn from the generator and the remaining runtime.
Westinghouse iGen4200 Hybrid Open Frame Inverter...
133 Reviews
Westinghouse iGen4200 Hybrid Open Frame Inverter...
  • 3502 Rated Watts and 4200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD – Gas Powered – Unique Open Frame Inverter Generator Hybrid Technology for Durability and Maximum Fuel Efficiency
  • Features a 5–20R 120V Duplex Household Outlet, an RV-Ready TT-30R 30 Amp Outlet and Two USB Outlets – Great Choice for Travel Trailers or Home Use – Strong Enough to Run All Your Essentials
  • Powered by a 212cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine for Up to 18 Hour Run Time on a 2. 6 Gallon Gas Tank – Low Volume: As Quiet As 64 dBA – Features “Economy Mode” for Maximum Fuel Efficiency

Selecting Suitably Sized Generators For A Fridge or Freezer

Making a choice between all of the above options for the size of generator to run a refrigerator and a freezer could be a difficult task; researching the following will make the decision easier:

Pricing On Suitable Sized Generator To Run Fridge/Freezer

It is common knowledge that you would pay more for a bigger-sized generator to run a refrigerator and freezer. When going smaller, the price will also decrease, but remember to keep the calculations of power needs in mind.

People tend not to think of possible shortfalls when trying to save money, so it is a good idea to select a generator with slightly more capacity to run a refrigerator and freezer. As long as you do not go into a purchase blindly, things will work out in your favor.

The most suitable size generator to run a refrigerator and freezer needs to come at the correct price. Most people do not mind paying for a product if it offers value for money, but they also do not want to overpay.

Pricing, however, is not the only point to consider; we will discuss the quality of the product next.

Quality Of Suitable Sized Generator To Run Fridge/Freezer

The quality of a suitably sized generator to run a refrigerator and freezer plays an important role in selecting the most suitable generator. Cheap and untrustworthy components will lead to unwanted breakdowns of the generator.

If the generator breaks down because of poor quality, it will mean that everything in the refrigerator and freezer will spoil.

Unplanned expenses are not good for any budget, so it is best to pay a bit more for decent quality the first time around.

Warranty Of Suitable Sized Generator To Run Fridge/Freezer

The warranty of a suitably sized generator to run a refrigerator and freezer is another important factor to consider in choosing or selecting a generator. Warranties show consumers that the manufacturer has faith in their product.

It is always a good idea to ask about the warranty as this will give you an idea of what to expect from a certain product; it is also good to look at reviews done by trustworthy sources.

A good warranty for a suitably sized generator to run a refrigerator and freezers should be between 3 and 5 years. It will be different from different manufacturers, so make sure of this before selecting a generator.

Resources: