Isn’t it frustrating when you want to stash up on your frozen food supply only to find out that your fridge’s freezer is too small? Adding a separate freezer into your kitchen or pantry sounds tempting, but you might wonder how many amps the appliance uses and whether it needs a separate circuit. Let’s shed some light on the matter.
The amount of amps a freezer uses depends on its size, brand, and age. A mid-size (15 cubic feet) freezer, for instance, requires six to nine amps of surge power and uses about two to three amps when running. Modern appliances generally use fewer amps.
2 Major Types Of Freezers
When looking for a standalone freezer, the choices come down to two major types: chest freezers and upright freezers. Each comes with its own pros and cons, but is there any difference in the amp usage?
The most economical freezer type, the chest freezer, is called this way because it looks like a chest. It has a horizontal design with a top opening and offers an incredible amount of storage space. The main drawback is the lack of shelves or drawers, meaning that you’ll have to rummage through layers of frozen goods until you reach the foods stored at the bottom of the freezer.
That said, most chest freezers nowadays are compartmented and come with baskets or racks that make it easier to keep things organized.
Chest freezers range in size from small, portable models with a capacity of five cubic feet or less to industrial-size freezers with over 40 cubic feet of space.
How many amps does a chest freezer use?
Domestic chest freezers use about 0.8 to 1.5 amps on average while running and about 2-3 times that amperage of surge power.
Surge power refers to the amperage drawn when the compressor starts cooling the interior of the freezer, whereas running power refers to the amperage the unit uses when it’s plugged in. Other appliances that require surge power include your fridge/freezer, washing machine, and vacuum cleaner, to name just a few.
Upright freezers are more similar to a fridge in design. They have a vertical layout divided by shelves or drawers.
Upright freezers with drawers are slightly more practical, giving you the possibility to organize your frozen goods better. However, the drawers take up some of the space inside the appliance, so you’ll be able to store more things in an upright freezer with shelves.
The main advantage this type of freezer brings is easy access to your food. You won’t have to dig through piles of frozen bags and can place the things inside the appliance based on their expiry date.
Most upright freezers have an auto-defrost function for easier cleaning (ice won’t build up on the appliance’s walls or drawers).
Like chest freezers, upright freezers come in a variety of sizes, but you may not be able to find many portable options in this category.
How many amps does an upright freezer draw?
There is no difference between the amps used by a chest and an upright freezer. Thus, the average is still 0.8 to 1.5 running amps and up to three times that of start power.
Amp Draw According To Size Of Freezers
As mentioned above, the actual amount of amps each freezer uses depends on its size. By size, we refer to capacity, calculated in cubic feet. Check out below the amp requirements for the most common chest and upright freezer sizes.
5 Cubic Foot Freezer
Compact and often portable, 5 cubic feet freezers are an excellent choice for people living in smaller homes, apartments, or even for your RV. An appliance this size generally needs up to 1 running amps and about 4 to 5 amps upon start-up.
7 Cubic Foot Freezer
Slightly larger than the 5 cu. ft., 7 cubic feet freezer only requires a bit more power. A typical freezer this size uses about 1-1.5 amps when running and 3 to 4.5 surge amps. With this amperage, this kind of freezer is still suitable to install in an RV or tiny home, but it can hold food for a larger family or more days on the road.
10 Cubic Foot Freezer
Ten cubic foot freezers are the most popular for small, 2-people households. They aren’t small enough to install in an RV or studio apartment (the vast majority, at least), but they can fit seamlessly in a smaller kitchen. Depending on the freezer’s age and brand, you can expect it to use between 1.5 and 2 running amps. For start-up, account for 4.5 to 6 amps.
15 Cubic Foot Freezer
Larger households with four to six members may benefit from a larger freezer. The 15 cubic feet is one of the most popular mid-size options, giving you plenty of storage space without eating up too much space in your kitchen, pantry, or basement. At this size, you can expect the appliance to use about 2 to 3 running amps and 6 to 9 amps of surge power.
20 Cubic Foot Freezer
Large families or smaller eateries may benefit from a 20 cubic feet freezer. The appliance requires about 3 to 5 amps of running power and 10 to 15 amps upon start up.
Does A Freezer Need A Dedicated Circuit?
You could get away without a dedicated circuit if you only need a small freezer and the circuit has enough amps to support it.
However, it is generally recommended to have a dedicated circuit for all appliances that require surge power, especially if they need more amps. For instance, a 15-amp circuit is only barely enough for a 20 cubic-foot freezer. In fact, you’ll likely need a 20-amp circuit for a freezer that size.
A dedicated circuit eliminates the possibility of current overload, so you won’t have the troubles you’d have if two or more appliances start running on the same circuit at the same time.
How Many Watts per Hour Does A Modern Freezer Use?
Like most modern appliances, modern freezers are very energy-efficient. The actual amount of watts per hour it uses varies based on size, efficiency (Energy Star rating), and indoor temperature, but most appliances won’t require more than 150 watts. On average, you can expect your new freezer to use about 30 to 100 watts per hour.
Finding out how many amps and watts per hour a freezer uses can help you decide whether you should buy the appliance or make do with the tiny space your fridge/freezer provides. However, you may have other questions, too. Find out the answers below.
Can you plug a freezer into a regular outlet?
Yes, you can plug a freezer into a regular outlet, but you must make sure the outlet is connected to a grounded circuit breaker and that it is installed on a separate circuit.
Can you plug two freezers into the same outlet?
Freezers, much like refrigerators, should have their own dedicated circuit. That said, you can plug two freezers into the same outlet as long as their combined surge draw doesn’t exceed the capacity of the circuit.
In other words, you can plug two 10 cubic feet freezers (or smaller capacity) into the same outlet installed on a dedicated 15-amp circuit, but you can’t plug two 20 cubic feet freezers into the same outlet.
Can a refrigerator be on a 15-amp circuit?
Yes, a 15-amp circuit provides sufficient amperage for most freezers and refrigerators. However, if you want a large capacity appliance that requires 15 amps of surge power, you should opt for a 20-amp circuit instead.
What size breaker do I need for a deep freezer?
Upright and chest freezers require a 120 volt, individual, properly grounded branch circuit with a 3-prong grounding-type receptacle, protected by a 15 or 20-amp circuit breaker or time-delay fuse.
Modern freezers are very energy efficient and don’t require too many amps to run properly. However, you should still install a dedicated circuit for them if you don’t have one already. We hope this guide can help you figure out whether you can add a new appliance to your home or if you should upgrade the electric part first.