How much power does a fridge use?

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How much power is your fridge churning through each year, and just how much is it really costing you?

Is your refrigerator running? Then you better catch a glimpse at these usage costs before your next energy bill arrives! As a household staple, the low hum of a fridge is never far off, and with it usually always switched on, you’ll want to know how much these cooling devices are costing you.

We’ve crunched the numbers to figure out what you can expect to pay to keep a fridge running in Australia. You’ll also see if switching to a more energy-efficient model could save you a few dollars, plus we list some quick and easy ways to reduce fridge power usage.

How much electricity does a fridge use each year?

A fridge is normally one of the only household appliances that is constantly switched on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means a fridge consumes a lot of electricity over the course of a year, and if you have more than one fridge in operation, it can add big bucks to your energy bills.

The exact amount of power your fridge will use each year though will vary depending on the size, capacity and energy efficiency of your model. There are other smaller factors such as the type of fridge (e.g., top mounted or French Door), and the temperature setting that may also impact the yearly power consumption of your fridge.

As a general guide however, we have listed the average annual electricity usage of refrigerators in Australia based on the litre capacity below. As you might expect, it is the fridges with larger capacity sizes that typically use the most power within a year.

Average annual electricity usage of refrigerators in Australia

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Fridge Capacity (L) 300-400L 400-500L 500-600L 600-700L
Average Annual Usage (kWh) 339kWh 383kWh 447kWh 513kWh

Source: www.canstarblue.com.au – 21/04/2022. Average Annual Usage based on the average usage of refrigerator/freezer models listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database.

How much does it cost to run a fridge in Australia?

Running a fridge in Australia can cost anywhere from $72 to $161 in energy costs each year, depending on the size of the fridge and the household’s location. South Australians typically pay the highest electricity rates, so running a fridge in Adelaide will likely be more expensive than in Melbourne. As such, residents in Victoria, south-east Queensland and Tasmania usually pay the least in refrigerator running costs.

Annual estimated electricity costs for refrigerators per capital city

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300-400L 400-500L 500-600L 600-700L
Melbourne $72 $82 $95 $109
Brisbane $74 $83 $97 $112
Hobart $75 $85 $99 $113
Canberra $81 $91 $106 $122
Sydney $83 $94 $110 $126
Darwin $91 $102 $119 $137
Perth $99 $112 $131 $150
Adelaide  $106 $120 $140 $161

Source: www.canstarblue.com.au – 21/04/2022. Estimated Cost based on average electricity usage costs – 24.5c/kWh in Sydney, 21.3c/kWh in Melbourne, 21.8c/kWh in Brisbane, 31.4c/kWh in Adelaide, 22.1c/kWh in Hobart, and 23.8c/kWh in Canberra. Except for Perth which based on the usage rate of the Synergy Home Plan of 29.3c/kWh, and Darwin which is based on the Jacana Energy Everyday Home usage rate of 26.7c/kWh. Average usage rates based on single-rate electricity plans on Canstar’s database from the appropriate distributor, based on annual usage of 4,200 kWh.

Can I save money with a more energy-efficient fridge?

When it comes to energy-efficient appliances most of us probably recoil at the higher price tag, but it’s often the case that these types of appliances have some long-term benefits. According to the latest Canstar Blue survey, Aussies reported that their fridges lasted an average of nine years, meaning a more energy-efficient model could save dollars in the long run.

The following table shows the difference in yearly fridge running costs between models with varying energy-efficiency ratings.

Annual estimated electricity costs for refrigerators per star rating

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300-400L 400-500L 500-600L 600-700L
2 Stars $118 $132 $145 $159
3 Stars $89 $104 $117 $132
4 Stars $73 $83 $89 $101
5 Stars $62 $72 $80

Source: www.canstarblue.com.au – 21/04/2022. Total Cost based on the average usage of refrigerator/freezer models listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database, and average usage rate of 24.4c/kWh; based on single rates available for an annual usage of 4,200kWh on Canstar’s database, excluding solar only plans.

Even switching from a two to a three-star rated fridge could save you between $27 and $29 a year in energy running costs, depending on the size of the model. The larger the fridge size, the more there could be to save on usage costs too, with our calculations showing a 500-600L refrigerator could cost $65 less a year to run with a five-star rating as opposed to just two stars. While it may not seem like a big individual saving over a year, these costs can quickly add up, especially if you’re running two or more fridges in your home.

Cheap Electricity Deals

If you’re on a dud energy plan, reducing your fridge’s running costs will only do so much for your bills. That’s why it’s important to regularly compare the cheapest electricity deals in your neighbourhood. For a range of quotes specific to your area, it’s best to use our free comparison tool.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

How can I reduce the cost of running my fridge?

It’s fair to say that most Australians own a fridge that’s constantly running, so it’s nearly impossible to reduce operational costs. That being said, there are some minor changes you can make with your fridge habits to help reduce some of the running costs.

Man holding power cord to fridge

  • Ensure your fridge is well-ventilated: Most of the time fridges are placed within tight spaces, surrounded by walls and cabinets. This kind of confinement may mean your fridge has to work harder to maintain airflow if the space it is in is restricted.
  • Keep an eye on temperature settings: It’s quite easy to accidentally nudge the thermostat on your fridge, which means it could be running at a temperature far colder than it needs to be. It pays to check on your thermostat every once and awhile. According to the CSIRO, the ideal temperature for a domestic fridge is three degrees Celsius, however, anything under five degrees is acceptable.
  • Check sealing and conditions: If a fridge is poorly sealed, cold air can easily escape, meaning the fridge will have to work much harder to keep perishable items at an optimal temperature.
  • Don’t stand with the fridge door open for too long: Similar to sealing, keeping the fridge door open for long periods of time will mean more energy will be needed to replace the cold air that has been lost. This might be worth noting if you have a nosy housemate, child or sibling that can’t keep their head out of the fridge for longer than three seconds.
  • Consider consolidating fridges: According to recent Canstar Blue research, 30 per cent of Aussies have a second fridge in their home. This means that almost a third of households are paying double in running costs. If both fridges aren’t stacked to the max, it may be worth consolidating to one fridge and switching the other off.

What is the best type of fridge to buy?

Choosing the best fridge for your home will ultimately come down to a number of factors, from the lifestyle you live to the climate you reside in. That being said, there are some things you should consider when purchasing a new fridge, such as the type of fridge you actually need, the energy-efficiency rating, budget and any additional features you may seek – i.e., smart controls.

If you’re unsure where to start, our refrigerator buying guide sets out all the spics and specs involved with fridges in Australia. Alternatively, you can also visit our most recent refrigerator ratings below and see which brands Aussie consumers rated top-notch for overall satisfaction.

Fridge Reviews & Ratings

Image credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.com, LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

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