Many experts would classify a mini fridge as a heavy-duty appliance. That automatically makes the mini fridge a threat where power strips are concerned. But again, a mini fridge has a lower electrical draw than a full-size fridge. You can safely run it on a power strip if you match their ratings.
You only have three considerations of significance:
1). Starting Wattage
This is where many laypeople fail. They don’t realize that a mini fridge uses more power when it cycles on. That initial surge doesn’t last. The appliance’s wattage stabilizes after a few seconds. But that shouldn’t put you at ease.
Mini fridges don’t work constantly. They raise the internal temperature to the required threshold before switching to standby mode. Once the temperature drops, probably because you keep opening the door, the mini fridge will generate another surge as it cycles back on.
This can happen several times a day. And if the power strip cannot withstand the strain because it has a lower rating than the mini fridge’s starting wattage, a fire will start.
2). Cable Length
The power strip’s rating is vital. It determines whether or not a power strip can run a mini fridge. However, the cord length is just as important. The power cord on a mini fridge is roughly five feet and for a good reason.
The resistance increases with the length. Longer wires have higher resistance. This is a problem because it elevates the heat a current generates as it flows through a conductor. The voltage drop will also rise.
This forces the mini fridge to work that much harder to pull the current it requires. Even when the power strip’s rating matches the mini fridge’s wattage, the cord can catch fire if it’s too long.
Can the mini fridge plug enter the power strip’s outlets? This could be the biggest barrier because you can’t force a plug to enter a slot when their configurations don’t match. An adapter can bridge this gap. But many consumers prefer to replace the mini fridge plug or the entire power cord.
Things To Consider While Using Mini Fridge With Power Strip
While power strips are hazardous, you can deploy them safely, even with a mini fridge, if you take the following into consideration:
1). Power Requirements Of A Mini Fridge
Mini fridges have lower power requirements than full-size fridges. The mini fridge utilizes 100 watts or less. Keep in mind that a full-size fridge is 20 cubic feet while its mini fridge counterpart is 1.6 – 4.5 cubic feet.
That difference in size works in your favor because you don’t need a heavy-duty power strip to operate the mini-fridge. To put things into perspective, that 100W equates to 0.833 amps. The average household circuit is 15A – 20A.
Finding a power strip capable of withstanding 0.833 amps is easy. The following factors may influence a mini fridge’s overall power consumption:
- Habits – Some people forget to close the door. They don’t realize that opening the door forces the mini fridge to expend more energy to keep the temperatures below the correct threshold. You will hear the compressor straining. This is why broken seals are so dangerous. They allow the cold air to escape even when the door is firmly shut.
- Size – Mini fridges use less power than full-size fridges because they are smaller. However, even among mini-fridges, the sizes tend to vary. The larger the mini fridge, the more energy it takes to cool the interior cabin and the more power the device will expend.
- Model – How come some mini fridges use more energy than others even though the size is the same? The model is the deciding factor. The features and functions tend to vary with each model. For instance, a side-by-side appliance uses 16 percent more energy than a fridge with a bottom freezer.
- Age – Older appliances use more energy because they are less efficient.
- Weather – The mini fridge will consume more energy in the summer because it keeps fighting against the rising ambient temperature.
2). Power Strip Capacity And Rating
You select a power strip by looking at the rating. But first, you must determine the mini fridge’s wattage. You get that information from the nameplate or manual. Use the voltage to convert the mini fridge’s wattage into amperage.
Common sense will tell you to find a power strip whose rating exceeds the mini fridge’s amperage. However, you must keep the starting wattage in mind.
A mini fridge with a low running wattage can overload a power strip if the starting wattage is higher than the power strip’s capacity.
3). Compatibility Of mini Fridge With Power Strips
Mini fridges and power strips are compatible so long as the power strip has a higher amperage than the mini fridge’s starting amps. Otherwise, the power strip will overload. Surge protection gives some people pause.
This is because some power strips with surge protection have a breaker that trips when it encounters a surge from the mini-fridge (when it cycles on). But if you match the appliance to a power strip of the appropriate rating, this shouldn’t concern you.
How To Use a Mini Fridge With A Power Strip?
- Get a heavy-duty power strip whose amperage exceeds the mini fridge’s starting power.
- Give the mini fridge a dedicated power strip. Don’t share the power strip with other devices.
- Don’t daisy-chain power strips to increase the length.
- Use UL-certified power strips.
- Don’t use the power strip as a permanent measure. It can serve your needs temporarily until you install a wall outlet within the mini fridge’s vicinity.
- Replace damaged power strips.
- Abandon power strips that feel hot.
- Keep the mini fridge’s door closed. Replace damaged door seals to reduce the appliance’s energy consumption.
- Keep the mini fridge away from heat sources. Find a cool spot away from direct sunlight.
- Use the settings recommended in the manual. Extreme temperature settings will increase energy consumption.
- Get a power strip with a short cable.
- Use a grounded power strip.
Best Power Strip For Mini Fridge
This 120V power strip comes with 12 outlets, an 8ft AC power cord, and a flat plug that fits small spaces. For instance, you can connect it to a wall outlet behind furniture. Expect diagnostic lights, 2880-joule protection, and an automatic shutoff mechanism that responds to the compromised protection circuit.
This is a compact 125V 1875W extension cord with rotating outlets and a cable management system that allows you to maintain a clutter-free environment. Although four of the outlets are stationary. Only eight outlets rotate. The manufacturer provides a $300,000 connected equipment warranty.
This device has twelve AC outlets, three USB ports, and a 6-foot power cable. The 1875W power strip offers 4000 joules of surge protection. Anker’s PowerIQ technology guarantees faster charging, saving roughly an hour of your time. The manufacturer offers a $300,000 connected equipment warranty.
You can get this device in six, eight, ten, and twelve feet. The 120V, 15A/1800W power strip offers 4,500 joules of surge protection. The on/off switch has a 15A overload breaker. The green LED will let you know whether the surge protection is active or not. The outlets are widely spaced. They also include sliding covers.