How Long Will An RV Residential Fridge Run On Battery?

How Long Will An RV Residential Fridge Run On Battery

Published Date: September 22, 2020

Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by Camper Front

How long will an RV residential fridge run on battery? On average residential fridges tend to run for up to 12 hours on battery.

First of all, residential fridges operate way differently compared to RV fridges. For one, they are only powered by AC power, and using an inverter, the DC from a battery can be converted into AC and then power the refrigerator.

This is unlike traditional RV fridges that come with propane and DC battery as a source apart from the AC power source. The fact that residential fridges have only one source of power, it is crucial to know how long an RV residential fridge run on battery.

This will enable you to make the necessary arrangement for the next power-up.

How Long Will An Rv Residential Fridge Run On Battery?

While 12 hours might be the average length of time, a residential fridge can run on a battery; this time frame can be reduced or increased by some factors.

The type of battery your RV is equipped with, and its battery rating will enable you to calculate the exact amount of hours your refrigerator will run. Some RVs are equipped with a single 12-volt battery, while others might make use of two 6-volt batteries.

Suppose you have a 12-volt battery with a rating of 100Ah or amp-hours. This simply means that the battery will give out five amps per hour for 20 hours before being completely drained.

But if you go ahead and plug a 240-watt inverter into this battery, this will cause the battery to last for a fourth of its usual time or 5 hours.

To get the numbers, you have to divide the watts by the volts to get the number of amps needed per hour, which will be 240W/12V equals 20A because this will be four times the demand as the battery.

Let’s paint a more realistic picture, let’s say you have a residential fridge that consumes around 150 running wattage, and you are making use of a single 12-volt battery.

This fridge would be drawing about 12 amps per hour from the battery (assuming you only have the fridge running and nothing else in the RV). In this scenario, the battery will be able to power the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 hours.

While this might seem like a short amount of time, you have to note that different factors like having more numbers or batteries or having a small fridge will all help in increasing that time frame. A small fridge consuming only 70 watts can last longer than 30 hours.

How to Calculate your Residential Fridge Consumption

How to Calculate your Residential Fridge Consumption

To be able to get the actual figure, you need to turn off every appliance that is powered by the battery and let the fridge run solo. Then use a meter reader to check how many amps are being drawn by the fridge per hour.

As like I’ve stated earlier, the size of your fridge is also a determinant of how many amps it draws per hour; the type and age of the fridge also factor in.

If you have features like climate control on your fridge, this also increases the amps it draws, using your fridge frequently also factors in. You want to use your fridge as little as possible with little or no features at all.

If you want to be able to power your fridge for a long time on batteries, you will have to give up some other amenities as running many appliances on your battery at once will lead to quick draining of the battery.

On average, an RV residential fridge would draw around 150-180 watts while running, and they have pretty high starting watts also, but that will not be factored in as it is a one-time consumption.

Defrosting your fridge also consumes watts, Yep! You read that right, although that also happens once in a while; after all, you definitely need your fridge to be frosted, I mean, that’s the point of it.

Anyways, if you are dry camping or boondocking, with no access to electricity, you have to rely on your batteries and maybe your solar power, and you really need to make some necessary calculations to avoid being in the middle of nowhere with a fridge full of perishable food with no power, nobody wants that.

A refrigerator is a must for you to camp. So, there is no question that you won’t have one in your RV. Unlike an air conditioner or a television, a fridge needs to be working all the time.

You can’t keep it off; maybe some people can, but if you have perishable foods, it’s best you don’t; for your food to remain good, the temperature has to remain low.

Now, that’s a serious consumption when you talk about 150-180 watts. An RV, when parked in a campsite with a direct electrical connection, will have no problem running the refrigerator.

The question is when you are dry camping or even when traveling. How do you utilize your dc battery plus inverter combo to fulfill the needs of a refrigerator? You will have a limited supply, and thus you need to be careful about how much power is being absorbed by this cooling machine.

We say, on average, it would take up to 150-180 watts, but what if your model is just not the one that fits this average? Not all refrigerators would be working that efficiently. It depends on the make, model, and age of the refrigerator.

Packing Extra RV Batteries

It is basically what it sounds like if you plan on going off the grid where there are no electrical outlets, you need to get prepared, so as you do your grocery shopping, you might want to do some battery shopping. But the trick isn’t in having multiple batteries, it’s in the connection itself.

Connecting batteries in series increases the voltage but not the amps. For example, if you connect two 6 Volt batteries in series, then that will give you 12 V, but the amps won’t increase.

To increase the amps, you have to connect the batteries in parallel. Connecting two 12 volts batteries in parallel will provide you with more than 150 amps.

You need to calculate the usage of all your appliances and then configure the batteries. You can use multiple batteries and connect them in series or parallel combinations to get the required 12 Volts and sufficient amps for all your appliances.

This trick alone will enable you to run not only your fridge but other useful appliances you will definitely need while camping.


There has always been a heated debate between residential fridge users and RV fridge users. The former only runs on DC power while the latter uses other sources of power like propane.

To this, I say, “all man to his own.” If you are a residential fridge owner knowing how long will an RV residential fridge run on battery will enable you to make all the necessary adjustments and plan ahead to be able to power your fridge with your batteries as long as possible.

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