Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Scott
You may be wondering:
Can a portable generator power a refrigerator?
If you are trying to decide whether your current generator can meet your power needs or are shopping around for a new generator, the most important thing to look for is starting watts.
Starting watts refers to the wattage demand 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 has no idea about the wattage demands of their fridge, but the information is easy to find.
You can check the manufacturer’s tag or owner’s manual to find this information.
Table of Contents
- Average refrigerator wattage?
- Which portable gas generators can power a fridge?
- Which solar battery generators can power a fridge?
- Battery Powered Generator Options for powering a refridgerator
Average refrigerator wattage?
With the many refrigerators available on the market, wattage demands differ depending on features and sizes.
Average household refrigerators usually need in the range of 800-1,200 starting watts. My fridge / freezer is a 6.5 AMP fridge from Amana that is 18 cu ft. in total capacity and I’ve seen it spike to 1200 watts starting, but usually just in the 700-800 range. When both the fridge and freezer are in high gear, it pulls about 800 watts. This allows me to use one of the larger solar battery generators as a backup, since they have models rated over 1000W sustained now!
It is very important your generator can support this need as a powerful power spike could seriously damage your generator.
While there is no industry standard or 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; an incorrect guess could be a costly mistake.
Which portable gas generators can power a fridge?
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 want to power any additional appliances.
Here are three good gas options that will power nearly any household refrigerator:
1. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
Since most refrigerators need around 2,200 starting watts and 700 running watts, having a generator that produces more is always a safe bet 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.
- Dual Fuel – Operate your 3400-watt portable generator right out of the box on either gasoline or propane, plus the unit holds 0.6-quarts of oil (recommended 10W-30) and has a low oil shut-off sensor
- Convenient Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch – Battery included, plus Quick Touch Panel allows you to access all your controls in one spot.Noise Level :59 dBA at 23 feet. Frequency 60 Hz
- Ultra-Quiet Operation – 59 dBA is perfect for RVs, tailgating, your next project or backup power for your home, featuring 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts with up to 7.5 hours run time on gasoline
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 likely why it’s a consumer favorite) is the integrated 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 quietest we have seen, making it great for residential and overnight use. Click here to read my full review of the Champion 3400W Dual Fuel
2. Generac GP3300 Portable Generator
Producing only 100 watts less than the Champion, the Generac GP330 portable generator actually comes in at half the price, a great selling point for those looking for a budget friendly generator.
With 3,750 starting watts and 3,300 running watts, you can easily power a refrigerator while still supplying power to smaller appliances.
A fuel gauge and low oil shut down feature will help you keep your generator running properly for years to come.
- Generac GP Series 3
- 300 Running & 3
- 750 Starting Watt Portable Generator
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 blackouts that last all day.
This generator is full of safety features that allow even the inexperienced to work with them safely, plus a series of breakers are built into the mainboard and are designed to trip in the event of an overload.
3. 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 3,000 starting watts and 2,600 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.
- Run time: Up to 10 at 1/4 Load
- Running Amps 21.7A
- Alternator: Permanent magnet
Ten hours of run time at 25% load will allow you to get things done without worrying constantly about refueling your generator.
This amount of power would be useful to power up an outdoor refrigerator.
This generator is extremely quiet as well, producing 58 decibels at 25% load, making it a great generator for residential use.
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Which solar battery generators can power a fridge?
I have tested two larger solar battery generators that can power my household fridge / freezer without an issue: The Jackery 1000 and the EcoFlow Delta 1300. The Ego Power would likely work as well, but I have not tested that specific generator yet.
Battery Powered Generator Options for powering a refridgerator
In my review of battery-powered generators, the top 2 wattage picks might be able to power your fridge on just batteries. It will depend on your wattage of course, but these two battery banks output the most watts for the longest amount of time: The EcoFlow Delta 1300 is the best overall large battery-powered generator. It can output 1,800W continuously. Watch the EcoFlow Delta 1300 handle the startup surge of my fridge / freezer with no problem:
- 【6x 1800W AC OUTLETS & 1260Wh CAPACITY】Equipped with large invertor load, which can power most home appliances and heavy duty DIY tools under 1800W (3300W Surge, PURE SINE WAVE) : like TV, Fridge, Coffee Machine, Microwave Oven, CPAP, Drill and Saw. With 1260Wh capacity, EFDELTA can be truly a backup generator that keeps the lights, fridges running for hours.
- 【RECHARGE FROM 0% TO 80% WITHIN 1 HOUR】EFDELTA can be recharged from 0% to 80% in 1 hour and to 100% in 1.6 hours. X-STREAM TECHNOLOGY: ECOFLOW patented X-Stream Technology empowers EFDELTA recharged at 10 times the speed of most portable power stations in the market with just a standard AC cable. (NO HEAVY, BULKY ADAPTOR or BRICK).
- 【FASTEST RECHARGE BY SOLAR AND CAR】EFDELTA MPPT Controller guarantees faster recharge rate of solar and the wider compatibility with any solar panel: Open Circuit voltage(OCV): 10-65V/ 10A max, 400W Max Input. (MC4 to XT60 Solar Cable Included). SOLAR RECHARGE TIME: EFDELTA can be fully recharged by solar panel in about 4 Hours . CAR RECHARGE TIME: it can be fully charged through a 12/24V car port in 10-12 HOURS.
The Jackery 1000 can also handle most fridges, as it has a surge Watt rating of 2000W and a sustained of 1000W. Check out my Fridge test on the Jackery 1000:
The Ego Power can output 2,000W but has a much lower capacity (depends on the number and capacity of batteries you plug into it). Both of these could power most fridges on battery power alone.
- 3000-Watt peak 2000-Watt continuous
- Three 120-Volt A/C outlets, 4 USB ports
- Quiet clean power for indoor and outdoor use; Battery powered alternative to gas generators.
Check out all the Solar Generators that can power a fridge here.
Overloading your generator can put you at risk of damaging it and could cause a fire or bodily injury in extreme cases. We highly suggest you never guess the wattage and 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.
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.
Before plugging in your refrigerator, ensure that your generator can handle the starting and running watts of your fridge.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about powering a refrigerator with a portable generator!
Last update on 2020-08-03 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API