Battery Equivalents and Replacements

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

During blackouts and in emergencies, running most essential appliances like refrigerators and freezers is important for keeping the food fresh and edible until the blackout is over.

A large enough generator can power not only refrigerators and freezers but other home appliances including lights, TV, communication devices, and similar, helping people endure the emergency more easily. But, how large generator is large enough?

Published: January 25, 2022.

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Refrigerator and Freezer Power Requirements

Power requirement of refrigerators and freezers depends on their size and age - newer, energy star compliant units, require less power to operate than the older units. For example, a modern refrigerator/freezer typically requires:

- large home refrigerator: 200-400 running watts, 1000-1200 starting watts,

- average home refrigerator: 100-250 running watts, 700-1000 starting watts,

- small home refrigerator: 75-150 running watts, 400-600 starting watts,

- compact home/RV refrigerators: 40-50 running watts, 80-120 starting watts.

On the other hand, older energy star non-compliant units require up to 700-1000 running watts and 2000-3000 starting watts.

Note: even if You don't have issues with the mains power, blackouts and emergencies, if You have an older refrigerator (with or without a freezer), consider replacing it with a new, energy much more efficient unit.

In order to figure out the exact power requirements of your refrigerator, check its documentation or label that can often be found at the backside of the fridge (or on the doors, or similar places).

Running vs Starting Power

Refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, drills, fans, and similar appliances and tools feature electric motors that require much more power when starting.

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For example, if an average energy star compliant home refrigerator and freezer requires 250 watts continuously, it requires at least 1000-1200 starting watts - such power surge can be strong enough to overload the generator, causing its safety system to disconnect the generator from the external load, essentially powering off the refrigerator and other loads, if present.

This can be avoided by using a large enough power generator and connecting the external loads in a specific order - refrigerators and other loads with electric motors first, and only then other loads like TV, lights, multimedia, communication devices, and similar.

Before buying a suitable generator, it is a good idea to make a list of required home appliances and other loads that must operate during the blackouts - for safety reasons, always go for a somewhat stronger generator.

For most homes, smaller closed-frame quiet power inverter generators with the output power in the 2000-4000 Watts are the most suitable units:

Model

Running Watts

Starting Watts

Runtime Noise

Receptacle

Review

A-iPower SUA2300i

1800W

2300W

6.5h @50% 52 dB @25%
58 dB @50%

AC: 120V 20A 5-20R, 120V 30A L5-30R; DC: 12V 8.3A, USB 5V

-

Champion 2000W Model #100402

2000/1800W

1600/1440W

11h @25% 53 dB @25%

AC: 20A 120V 5-20R Duplex; DC: 12V 8A

-

Champion 2000W Model #100692

1700W

2000W

11.5h @25% 53 dB @25%

AC: 20A 120V 5-20R Duplex; DC: 12V 

-

Energizer eZV2000P

1600W

2000W

11h @25% 50 dB @25%
56 dB @75%
60 dB @100%

AC: 20A 120V 5-20R Duplex; DC: 12V 5A

-

Generac iQ3500

3000W

3500W

8.9h @50%
14.1 @25%
45* dB

AC: 120V 20A Duplex 5-20R, 120V 30A L5-30R; DC: two USB ports (5V/2.1A, 5V/1A)

Review

Honda EU2000i

1600W

2000W

8h @25% 50 dB @25%

AC: 20A 120V Duplex; DC: 12V

-

Honda EU2200i

1800W

2200W

3.2h @100%
8.1h @25%
48 dB @25%
57 dB @100%

AC: 20A 120V Duplex; DC: 12V 100W (8.3 Amps)

Review

Honda EU3000IS

2800W

3000W

20h @25% 50 dB @25%

AC: 120V 20A Duplex, 120V 30A L5-30R

-

WEN 56203i

1700W

2000W

10.8h @25%

7h @25%

51 dB @25%

AC: 2x NEMA 5-20R; DC: 12V (8.3A), 2x USB 5V (1A, 2.1A)

Review

WEN 56235i

1900W

2350W

10.5h @25% 51 dB @25%

AC: 15A 120V NEMA 5-20R Duplex; DC: 12V, USB 5V (2.1A, 1A)

-

Westinghouse iGen2600

2200W

2600W

10h @25% 52 dB @25%

AC: 20A 120V Duplex; DC: 12V, 2x USB 5V

Review

Westinghouse iGen4500

3700W

4500W

18h @25% 52 dB @25%

AC: 120V 20A 5-20R Duplex, 120V 30A TT-30R; 2x USB 5.0V (2.1, 1.0 A)

Review

Yamaha EF2000iSv2

1600W

2000W

10.5h @25% 51.5 dB @25%

AC: 120V Duplex; DC: 12V 8A

-

Yamaha EF2400iSHC

2000W

2400W

8.6h @25% 53 dB @25%

AC: 120V Duplex; DC: 12V 8A

-

Note: Amazon affiliate links ('Model' Column) open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.

A power generator with a noise level of below 50 dB when running @25% is considered a quiet unit, but some of these units are so quiet that, when not heavily loaded, one must come close to the unit to verify if it is running or not. 

Generator Types

There are several generator types that are suitable for powering refrigerators and freezers, but other home appliances as well - just be sure to start the units with electric motors first.

Power Generators

honda eu2200i mPower generators burn fossil fuels and emit dangerous fumes that contain Carbon Monoxide (CO) and MUST be operated outside, at some distance from home, down the wind - before running any power generator, be sure to read its Owner's Guide thoroughly, especially safety features, issues, and procedures.

Power generators may use gasoline (gas), LPG (Liquid Propane Gas), natural gas, diesel, or a combination of two or more fuels.

Having a dual-fuel or tri-fuel power generator allows the user greater freedom in finding suitable fuel for the power generator, which can be an issue in emergencies when gas is usually the first one to be sold out.

But, when the fuel tank is empty or the propane bottle is empty, all the user has to do is to fill the gas tank or connect a new propane bottle and the power generator can resume its operation.

Solar Generators/Power Stations

bluetti ac200p mSolar generators, also known as Power Stations, convert the energy stored in batteries (DC power) to provide AC power for external loads.

Unlike power generators, solar generators may operate safely indoors since they don't emit any fumes or gasses. Also, solar generators are very quiet during operation.

When the batteries are discharged, they can be recharged using mains power, solar panels, or - a power generator.

Many advanced models of solar generators support so-called pass-through charging - the unit can be recharged, for example with solar panels, and can provide power to external loads at the same time.

Obviously, both power generators and solar generators have their pros and cons - in many cases, having both of them can significantly ease the crises when the power is gone for a longer period of time.

Note: Large Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units can also be used to power refrigerators and freezers during emergencies - essentially they are very similar to solar generators/power stations, except UPSs are larger units usually placed on the fixed positions at homes with an automatic switch from the mains power to the battery.

Also, some solar generators/power stations can be used as small, portable UPS units, blurring the borderline between UPS units and solar generators/power stations. 


Few Final Words

mini fridge w150If You are looking for a generator to power your refrigerator and freezer during blackouts, go for a strong enough power generator and/or solar generator.

And when connecting and turning the units On, always first start units with electric motors (refrigerators, washing machines, fans, air conditioners, etc.) to prevent overloading the generators - if they are overloaded, their safety systems disconnect external loads, practically shutting them off.

Note: again, never operate power generators indoors - they must be operated outside, at a certain distance from home. On the other hand, solar generators may be operated indoors - in unsure, always read the manuals first!

 

Amazon Search:

- Inverter Generator

- Portable Inverter Generator

- 2000W Inverter Generator

Note: Amazon links open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.