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How Many Amps Does a Freezer Use? (Running, Surge,…)

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how many amps does a freezer use

Everyone and their grandma owns and operates a freezer nowadays, so it’s a given that people ask “how many amps does a freezer use?” regularly.

If we’re only considering running amps in a 120V circuit, know that freezer amp draw can go as low as 0.5A, especially for the latest, highly-efficient models. The ceiling can be anywhere between 3A and 6A for most.

However, counting the surges that happen when starting the appliance, freezer currents may reach 7A to 16A, which is why it needs to have its own 15A or 20A circuit.

How Many Amps Does a Freezer Pull?

freezer-amp-draw

It’s important to remember that the present amps for freezer are affected by how often you open it, its capacity, and even the general environment it’s put in. Obviously, we also can’t get the exact amperage without knowing the voltage and wattage of freezer.

A 20 cubic foot freezer will inevitably draw more current than a smaller 5 cubic foot freezer (around 15 vs 3 amps).

I can say the same if you have a habit of opening and closing the appliance (i.e. forcing the compressor to start and maintain the cool temperature) and the freezer is situated in a relatively hot or warm spot on your property.

In short, regardless of the figures mentioned above, don’t expect the current to be static all throughout its operation time. Expect the amp draw during startup to be x2 or x3 the usual running amperage.

In order to get a more accurate figure, I suggest you use a clamp meter on the circuit when turning on the freezer. You have to be quick, though, as these surges only last up to 10 seconds in most models.

With all those things said, the best we can arrive at is a range. If you want to get a general idea of freezer amperage draw, with running amps and startup amps covered: it’s 0.5A to 20A.

Let’s Test the Range

Naturally, we want to be as sure as possible with the figures we’re suggesting. So, let’s take a small chest freezer from Amazon as an example. For instance, this 7 cubic foot freezer by Smad Chest Freezer 7.0  guarantees an exceedingly economical power consumption of just 250 kWh/year.

If we’re going to get the watts per hour of such an appliance, we’ll get exactly 28.3 watts. Of course, that’s not counting start-up watts and times when the motor is not running.

In reality, if the motor runs half of the time, then it could be consuming twice that amount, or 57 watts, specifically.

If we multiply that figure by 3, we’ll get 171 watts, so let’s use that as an example for start-up watts.

Now that we’ve got our wattages, assuming freezer voltage is 120 volts, let’s start calculating using the formula Ampere = Wattage / Voltage.

57W / 120V = 0.5A (rounded off) Running Amps

171W / 120V = 1.4A Start-up Amps

These figures fall well within the range I mentioned, proving freezer power usage can, indeed, be this low. It also goes to show that there are considerably efficient freezers you can buy that won’t add much to your total power consumption per day and, ultimately, per year.

If the manufacturer can supply the actual wattage rating of the product, then you can easily start doing these calculations yourself. Even better if you have a wattmeter or multimeter on hand that you can use to measure the wattage in real-time.

Types of Freezers

1. Chest Freezer

chest-freezer-amps

This type’s lid opens up, so you can’t get any more straightforward with how this freezer is named.

This is arguably the most popular type of freezer. I am not entirely shocked that it’s the most sought-after because it’s also the most economical of all.

Moreover, some models are power-efficient, managing to keep their contents fresh for a long time even with no power. Certain designs can also be capacious, such as a 15 cubic foot freezer by General Electric.

Chest freezer amps rarely exceed 4 amps and can go as low as 2 amps. They consume between 200W and 400W.

2. Deep Freezer

wattage-of-freezer

This is more of a broad category that can include both chest and upright freezers, which are generally considered the two main kinds of freezers.

There’s a common misconception that it’s called a “deep” freezer because you have to reach deep into its freezing compartment to get to all of the goodies inside.

In truth, a deep freezer is simply a stand-alone freezer that does not have a refrigerator box situated below it or side by side.

Since it’s an umbrella term, you can expect deep freezers to have the amperages and wattages I already mentioned above.

3. Upright Freezer

Also referred to as a stand up freezer, they’re favored by people who want more organizational and convenience perks when freezing their food and drinks.

You won’t have to stoop down just to get them, as opposed to a chest freezer. Being upright also means they don’t take up much space.

Certain GE freezers have a standard 5 amp draw, which doubles during start-up. They draw more watts as well, with an average of 51W.

4. Mini Freezer

15-cubic-foot-freezer

Although doubtlessly diminutive, these mini appliances can still manage to get the job done. Due to their portability, they’re a crowd favorite among campers and RV dwellers.

A few span just 1.1 cu ft, but still manage to satisfy the sweet and frosty cravings of a foodie while others such as this Midea 3.5 cubic foot freezer are a god-send for space-challenged folks.

Mini-freezers don’t take too much current from your circuits. More than a handful don’t go over 1A or 2A.

5. Refrigerator Freezer

A fridge freezer contains both a refrigerator compartment and a freezer compartment. In most cases, the freezer is located at the top. One advantage of a side-by-side variation is that it automatically means more freezer capacity.

On the whole, these essentially fall under the standard refrigerator category. Still, that doesn’t mean that it pulls more watts and amps.

I once measured the power consumption of my 31 cu ft Samsung refrigerator freezer, and it peaked at 550W when the compressor kicked in. That’s exactly 4.6A.

On the other hand, running amps only hovered at 0.7A with an average of 83 watts.

6. Commercial Freezer

Needless to say, having the “commercial” tag readily implies heavier-duty performance. True enough, these freezers often incorporate far more powerful compressors than their residential counterparts.

Commercial freezers are another broad term that can include chest, upright, counter, and low varieties. You can see them utilized in restaurants and other food-related businesses.

They can be as big as 47 cu ft and can be rated for as high as 10.7A, such as Omcan 54-iches Freezer. Their wattages can exceed 1,100W at 110/120V.

What Are the Factors That Determine Freezer Amp Usage?

Besides the voltage and wattage, once the compressor starts to cool and freeze the contents, it will inevitably start pulling more amperage. Amp draw is also dictated by the freezer’s capacity (represented in cubic feet) and the temperature of the location it’s in.

The freezer’s type may also play a minor role, since larger commercial freezers tend to come with more power-hungry compressors.

FAQs

Can I run a refrigerator on a 15 amp circuit?

Yes, especially if it’s a 15A circuit dedicated to the fridge alone. You have to make sure that the fridge’s power rating is low enough to the point that it draws less than 15A all throughout its operation.

Always account for possible surges and ask the manufacturer to confirm the figures.

What size breaker do I need for a deep freezer?

A 15A or 20A breaker will suffice on a standard 120V dedicated circuit. Even if your freezer is rated for lower ampacities, don’t overlook power surges when the compressor starts.

Can you plug two freezers into a single outlet?

I wouldn’t recommend it at all, since freezers count as a major appliance. Anything that falls under that category requires its own circuit and, hence, outlet.

You never know when the two freezers will start their compressors at the same time. Once that happens, a standard 15A or 20A breaker will likely trip due to the excess power draw.

Conclusion

To wrap up the answer to “How many amps does a freezer use?” take heed of these pointers:

  • Running amps swing between 0.5A to 6A, depending on the model and type. Amps during start-up can reach as high as 15A to 20A.
  • If you have measuring tools like clamp meters, multimeters, ammeters, and wattmeters available, feel free to use them to get more accurate figures.
  • Calculate for amperage using the formula shared here.
  • Take note that the freezer’s type may also dictate the amperage draw.
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