12V Fridge and Freezer power consumption

We’ve long been a bit sceptical by figures given by the manufacturer. Whether its fuel consumption, solar panel wattage, towing capacities or fridge/freezer power consumptions nothing beats real life testing.

In this post, we cover how much power our fridges and freezers use, and under what conditions.

Knowing exactly what your appliances uses allows for the right sizing of your solar panels and battery system, and that’s pretty important when you are in the middle of no where, with no plans of driving to charge the batteries up.

Fridge power consumption
How much does a fridge and freezer really draw?

85L Bushman Upright Fridge

Our 85L Bushman upright 12V fridge has a 6L freezer which is fixed, and the rest is a giant fridge. Whilst travelling through South Australia, I’ve kept a pretty keen eye on what battery power we consume, and when its just the fridge being run,

I can see that our solar puts back about 20aH every day, giving a power consumption average of 0.85aH.

Now, you should know our Bushman Upright lives a pretty good life. It’s in a tall canopy, that is white and really doesn’t get very hot inside at all. It also has no box that its mounted in, with almost full ventilation around the rear of it, so it should use about as little as it could possibly.

We run it on setting 1 to 2.5, depending on the ambient temperature, and what we have in the fridge. As it frosts up (which it does a lot) we have no choice but to turn the knob up a bit, until its really frozen and then we defrost it.

Upright fridge access
Our 85L Bushman Upright lives a pretty easy life

82L Evakool Freezer

In conjunction with our Bushman Fridge, we run an 82L Evakool Fridge Freezer, but keep it in a freezer configuration, and its usually kept at -20 degrees (as low as it goes), as the items in the freezer won’t freeze if you go to a warmer temperature.

I want to make it very clear that the location of this freezer is less than ideal, especially when you leave camp and have to lock up. Our hybrid camper is black, and if you lock it all up, the little compartment that the freezer lives in gets really warm, and struggles badly.

When we are at camp I open a door or both and let the air flow through (if the sun doesn’t shine on it), and this helps a lot.

We also make a habit of leaving the freezer out on its slide all night if its safe to do so, and there’s no rain forecast. This helps immensely to get the temperature down where we need it too.

Often in the mornings it will be at -18 or -19, and on a really hot day we’ve seen it get to -10 degrees without opening it much, and it running flat out, all day long.

Looking at our Renogy DC home app, I can see that the freezer is using about 60 amp hours every day, and averaging 2.5aH.

EDIT – this was on its way out, and the cooling eventually declined to the point where it wasn’t suitable. We had it repaired, and you can read more here – Evakool Fridge Repairs.

Tow ball mass
We try and give our freezer as much air flow as possible, but its hard when you lock up and leave

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