Can A Portable Generator Power A Fridge? – What You Need To Know

You may be wondering:

Can a portable generator power a refregirator?

If you are trying to decide if your current generator can provide the needed power or you are shopping around for a new generator, the most important thing to look for is starting watts.

Starting watts refers to the wattage demand that is needed to initially start your fridge.

This demand is usually much higher than the actual wattage needing to keep it running, known as running watts.

The average consumer usually has no idea what the wattage demands of their fridge is, but the information is easy to find.

You can check the manufacturers tag or owner’s manual to find this information.

Average Refrigerator Wattage?

With the many different refrigerators available on the market, the wattage demands for each are going to differ depending on options and sizes.

Average household refrigerators usually need in the range of about 2000-2500 starting watts.

It is very important to have a generator that can support this need as a power spike that it cannot handle can seriously damage your generator.

While there is not an industry standard or a one size fits all answer, you can easily find out how many watts your refrigerator needs by checking the manual or manufacturer’s tag.

Spend a little extra time researching if you need to as incorrect guesses could be a costly mistake.

Which portable generators are powerful enough?

To power a decent sized fridge, you are going to need a generator that is in the mid-level ranges.

This will all depend on your exact fridge and whether or not you are wanting to power any other additional appliances. Here are three good options:

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Since most refrigerators need around 2200 starting watts and 700 running watts, having a generator that produces more is always a good safe haven just in case you need to power anything else.

This generator features dual fuel capability allowing it to run on gasoline or liquid propane gas.

This is a great feature to have during a natural disaster where gasoline may be scarce.

At 500w, it will run for approximately 11 ½ hours on a single tank of gas.

If you refrigerator needs 700w, you can expect to get around 9 hours of run time.

My favorite part, and most likely why it’s a consumer favorite, it the integration of an electric start.

Most portable generators utilize a pull cable recoil start which can be hard for those with mobility issues.

At only 59 dBa, this generator is one of the quitest we have seen which makes it great for residential and overnight use.

Generac GP3300 Portable Generator

Making only 100 watts less than the Champion, the Generac GP330 portable generator actually comes in at half the price for those looking for a more budget friendly generator.

With 3750 starting watts and 3300 running watts, you can easily power a refrigerator while still supplying power to smaller appliances.

A fuel gauge and low oil shut down feature help you easily keep your generator running properly of years to come.

At half-load, you can expect to get just a little over 10 hours from a single tank of fuel which can be especially helpful for blackout lasting all day.

This generator is full of safety features which allow you to stay safe even if you are inexperienced with generators.

A series of breakers are built into the main board and are design to trip in the event of an overload.

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series

If you are looking for more options to plug in multiple appliances at once, look no further than this Briggs & Stratton 3545 P3000 generator.

Featuring 4 household outlets, a 12 volt locking outlet and a USB port, this generator supplies 3000 starting watts and 2600 watts to many different appliances at the same time.

The integrated LCD screen allows you to easily read the important performance metrics on the go.

The 10 hour run time at 25% load will allow you to get things done without having to worry about constantly filling up your generator with fuel. 

This amount of power would be good if you need to power up an outdoor refregirator. I used it to run the bull outdoor refrigerator at bestoutdooritems at an event.

This generator is extremely quiet as well producing on 58 decibels at 25% load making it a great generator for residential use.


Overloading your generator can put you at risk of damaging your generator and could cause a fire or bodily injury in extreme cases. We highly suggest to never guess the wattage and to take the time to research your specific model number for the correct wattage.

Protecting your food during a blackout is usually priority number one and with a portable generator, you can easily keep your food safe.

Having a portable generator that adequately supports your refrigerator running watts and starting watts is going to be the biggest factor when choosing which generator to use.

It is always a good idea to find a generator that can support your refrigerator’s power needs plus a little extra just in case you need to power anything else in the meantime.

A refrigerator can easily be powered by an adequately equipped generator, it just takes a little research on the wattage demands of your fridge and the wattage boundaries of the generator.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about powering a refrigerator with a portable generator!

Before plugging in your refrigerator, ensure that your generator can handle the starting and running watts of your fridge.

10 thoughts on “Can A Portable Generator Power A Fridge? – What You Need To Know”

  1. I’ve been using a 2000 watt generator to power a refrigerator and a small freezer during power outages in Puerto Rico for about ten years now. No problems ever. After Hurricane Maria I used a pair of 2000 watt generators (one at a time) to power my house, and never had a problem. Typically, I would have the fridge, freezer, a few lights, computer an a television going at once, all on one 2000 watt generator. And I would get 9 – 10 hours of run time on one gallon of gas.

  2. Very well written, easy to understand language. I highly recommend this article to anyone who has purchased or is thinking about purchasing a generator for running household appliances in the event of a power outage.

  3. I’m currently looking at my freezer to search for watts and I can’t find a figure. But can try to give description of freezers. I want to buy generator that can pull 5 double doors SAB Freezers 1200Liters

    • Hi Tjothopa, that seems like a lot, you should get to know the running and starting watts for these refrigerating units. If you have the exact model name you can google it and try to find the manual.

  4. Can modern fridge, freezers and back up UPS units be used with generators that provide current to them with or without inverter technology? Or it must be only from a generator with inverter technology?
    Thank you

  5. So if I’m using a generator as a back up energy supply for power outages, does it have to be able to support the mini-fridge’s starting watts or would that not count as having to turn the fridge on since it’s just carrying on from the normal power supply?

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