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

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

Keep in mind that refrigerators and freezers are inductive load appliances. It means that they need additional wattage from a generator during their initial start. While their initial load lasts for mere seconds, it should be considered when choosing a suitable generator.

What size generator do I need to run a refrigerator and freezer? If these are separate units with each one having a starting wattage of 1,200 watts, get a 2,500-watt generator. But if it’s a two-in-one appliance with a starting wattage of 1,200 watts, choose a 1,300-watt generator.

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These numbers are obviously estimated, so there’s a need for detailed calculations. Read on and find out more about calculating a suitable generator for these kitchen appliances. 

Determine The Total Power Requirement

Of course, likely, it isn’t just the refrigerator and freezer that will be hooked up to a generator. But just for discussion, let us assume that these are the only appliances that will be plugged in. 

Your first step is to determine the total power requirement of these appliances expressed in starting wattage and running wattage. You can check the manufacturer’s tag or the owner’s manual for the information.

The starting wattage, or surge wattage, is the amount of energy needed to start the kitchen appliances. The running wattage, or rated wattage, is the amount of power required to operate them after the initial startup continuously. Both of these numbers are crucial in determining the amount of wattage needed in a generator. 

The running wattage is lower than the starting wattage. Depending on its size, residential refrigerators and freezers have 1,000-2,000 starting wattage and 400-600 running wattage. 

Choose A Generator With Higher Power

As mentioned above, let’s assume that your refrigerator and freezer are separate appliances. Each one has 1,200 starting wattage and 400 running wattages. Both will be connected and turned on at the same time, too.

In this case, you will need a generator with at least 2,500 watts. Just add the starting wattage of these appliances, thus, 1,200 + 1,200 = 2,400 watts. But don’t choose a generator with the same watts.

You’re well-advised to choose a generator with a slightly higher capacity than the starting wattage of the appliances plugged into it. There are several reasons for it despite the extra expense.

First, it’s advisable to have a generator with excess capacity than one with less capacity than necessary. Otherwise, it can suddenly shut off because of overloaded. Think of it has had extra juice for more appliances for plugging in. 

Second, it isn’t a good idea to run a generator at its maximum load. Doing otherwise will increase its wear and tear, resulting in more repairs and shorten its lifespan. It isn’t surprising as its parts are being unduly stressed. 

Third, it tends to be noisy. You don’t want a generator that sounds like a helicopter preparing for take-off.

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

Going back to the example, the Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter is the right choice since it has 3,400 starting watts and 3,000 running watts. The WEN 56380i is more affordable, but it’s a reliable generator with 3,000 watts. 

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


When it comes to choosing the best size for a generator, it’s best to go for a slightly bigger one in terms of wattage. This way, you won’t have overloading issues, and your kitchen appliances will run smoothly.