Freezer amp usage -
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How Many Amps Does a Freezer Use?

This is a question that has been asked by many people over the years. This post will help you determine how many amps your freezer uses, and it should give you some more insight into what type of appliance you are dealing with.

Let’s start off by answering the question: how many amps does a freezer use?

How many amps does a freezer use?

When it comes to measuring how much power a freezer needs, we refer to this as amp draw. Typically, the larger your freezer, the more amps it will draw. The smaller your freezer, the less amps it will draw.

How many amps a freezer draws strongly correlates to its size and its temperature changing performance. 

Below is a table of the different types of sizes you’ll find that a freezer comes in. Standard sizes of freezers are measured in cubic feet.

Freezer size vs amp draw

Mini freezers usually fall along the lines of a compact or small freezer. These are either 5 cubic ft or anywhere between 6 and 9 cubic feet respectively.

Compact freezer amp draw

In regards to the compact 5 cubic feet freezer at startup, the compressor will likely run at about 4 to 5 amps for about 10 seconds and then it will running mode while drawing about 1 to 1.5 amps.

Small freezer amp draw

Freezers that are considered small with a capacity of 6 to 9 cubic feet Will startup drawing 3 to 4.5 amps while running at 1.5 amps.

Medium freezer amp draw

Then you have some medium freezers they have capacities around 12 to 18 cubic feet. These freezers start up and draw about 4.5 to 6 amps but they run at around 1.5 to 2 amps.

Large freezer amp draw

Freezers between the range of 15 to 20 cubic feet are considered a large freezers. These start up and draw about 6 to 9 amps while running at around 2 to 3 amps.

Extra large freezer amp draw

Finally, we have extra large freezers which are the massive freezers that are either 20 cubic feet or bigger. These freezers will draw about 10 to 15 amps on start up and run at 4 to 5 amps.

Below is a table to see the difference.

Freezer typeFreezer size (cubic feet)Start up (amp)Running (amp)
Compact54 to 51 to 1.5
Small6 to 93 to 4.51.5
Medium12 to 184.5 to 61.5 to 2
Large15 to 206 to 92 to 3
Extra Large2010 to 154 to 5
This table compares the differences in freezer size to the startup mode amp draw and the running mode amp draw.

What are the factors that determine freezer amp usage?

Whether the freezer you’re using is an energy sipping compact or a power hog extra large, there’s a few other factors that may come into play when owning one.

Freezer capacity

Large freezers require large compressors. Larger compressors are power hungry and will consume much more power. For example, a compact freezer that’s about 5 cubic feet will start up amp draw around 4 to 5 amps and run at 1 to 1.5. But, an 18 cubic feet freezer will start up amp draw between 6 and 9 amps and run at 2 to 3 amps.

Opening and closing the door

Opening your freezer door will let off the cold from the freezer. This will force the compressor to kick start to lowing the temperature back to the freezing temperature again.

When you open the freezer door, you’re going to let some finite amount of cold air out. That also means the environments warmer air will travel its way in. In order to keep the temperature at the right degrees, your compressor we’ll keep running to get it back to the right temperature.


When the seasons change from hot to cold and cold to hot, this affects the freezer’s temperature as well. There are a few things you can do to save on the power usage. We recommend keeping your freezer in a dark and cool environment. Never leave it near a window where direct sunlight can shine on it.

How many amps does a freezer draw on start up?

Now, one thing that’s interesting is that when freezers start up for the first time. It takes a little extra power.

A freezer has 2 phases that its compressor runs at: the start up and the running mode. During these modes, the freezer will require different amp draws.

Again, the larger the freezer, the more power it will need during the start up and the running mode.

It’s been calculated that during startup, a freezer’s compressor will draw 2 to 3 times more amperage compared to when it’s running.

Fortunately, it only takes about 10 seconds for the start up phase to complete. Afterwards, it moves on to running mode.

Do freezers need a dedicated circuit?

It’s recommended that you create a dedicated circuit for your freezer since it’s one of the major household appliances that draws up a lot of power from the house.

Most freezers will require a 15 to 20 amp with a dedicated circuit of 120 voltages.

Avoid sharing these outlets with any other appliances because it can potentially cause an electrical overload or drop in amp may cause a lost in performance and electricity supply.

A few problems could happen if not enough electricity is drawn to the freezer.

  • It could underperform and require that you crank up the compressor’s gauge to high
  • Cranking up the compressor will likely use up more power
  • Your frozen food might not be sufficiently frozen
  • Your freezer could fail eventually

Can you plug two freezers into a single outlet?

Having two freezers share one outlet is usually not recommended. A freezer should have its own dedicated outlet. The power consumption and requirements of two freezers may trip the breaker depending on the power capacity that the outlet can handle.

In many residential cases, a dedicated circuit would only be enough to handle one freezer.

Can I plug a freezer into an extension cord?

It is not recommended to use an extension cord to power a freezer. Even if the extension cord is directly connected to a dedicated circuit, the likelihood of the extension cord becoming a safety hazard is likely high.

Many extension cords are not built up to standards and may increase the risk of overheating and damage when an unsupported amount of electricity is run through them. You may experience in electrical short circuit or an even worse electrical shock that ends up as a fire hazard.

Can you plug a freezer into a surge protector?

It’s not recommended to use a surge protector on a freezer. The reason behind this is due to how sensitive the compressor may be too certain internal temperatures inside your freezer. If there are any electrical overloads, the compressor will try to restart itself.

The problem is having a surge protector is going to override this method and cause problems in the future. Once you have a power surge, the surge protector may prevent your freezer from restarting and turning back on. Ultimately, this could spoil all the food in your freezer.

Why is my freezer tripping the breaker?

The most common reason why your freezer may be tripping your breaker is due to electrical overloading. Electrical overloading is when the appliance uses too much electricity. This happens when there is a problem with the wiring or faulty equipment.

This can also occur when there are too many appliances running at the same time connected to the same outlet.

When this happens, the breaker will trip and shut off the power to the entire home. If the breaker trips again, then you’ll know that there is a problem with your home’s wiring.

If you notice that your freezer keeps tripping the breaker, then you should first check whether your wiring is safe. If everything looks fine, then you can try checking your freezer’s settings.

In order to avoid something like this from happening, make sure that all of your appliances are using less than 10% of the total available power.

Try spreading out your electronic devices two other outlets in other circuits. You can also unplug your electronic devices and only when you need them do you plug them in.

If you’re still having issues after trying to fix it yourself, then you should contact an electrician right away so they can help you find out what the issue is.

How to calculate how many amps a freezer requires

In order to calculate the energy requirements of your freezer, you’re going to need to know what the estimated yearly electricity use is in kilowatt per hour.

You’ll usually find these big yellow and black rectangular stickers on your large kitchen appliances labeled energy guide. Somewhere on this label, you’re going to find the estimated yearly electricity use number. It’s based off of kilowatts per hour.

So hypothetically, let’s say your freezer uses 300 kilowatts per hour per year. That translates roughly into 300,000 Watts per hour per year.

Next, you’re going to need to figure out how many watts per hours per day that the unit uses up. You do this by dividing 300000 Watts buy 365 days which ends up being about 822 Watts per hour per day.

Now you’re going to need to refine it down a little further into the hours in a day. Now there are 24 hours in a day. So you going to have to divide 822 watts per hour per day by 24 hours. This ends up being about 34 watts per hour per hour.

Now, in order to find out the amp draw from your freezer, the final step is going to require the voltage use. Most refrigerators in the U.S. run on 120 Volts.

The simple formula is Watts/Volts = amps. If you plug your findings into the equation (34 Watts/120 Volts = Amps) and solve for amps, you’ll find that it results in 0.28 amps.

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