Energy Consumption of Freezers

Photo of a freezer


Key facts

  • Upright freezers grew in popularity from 1990 to 2015. Their average annual UEC improved the most during the period.
  • Compact chest freezers remained popular in 2015 and consumed the least amount of energy, compared with full-size chest and upright freezers, because of their small size.

For more information
  • To learn more about purchasing an energy-efficient freezer for your home, please visit our ENERGY STAR freezers page.

Average annual unit energy consumption

Over the past 24 years, the average annual unit energy consumption (UEC) of freezers has fluctuated between 350 and 400 kWh/yr, as consumers shifted from one type to another (i.e., chest vs. upright vs. compact). This fluctuation was observed especially over the last four years.

Check out our publication Choosing and Using Appliances With EnerGuide (PDF, 934 KB) for more information.


Average annual UEC of freezers, 1991–2015 (kWh/yr)

Average annual UEC of freezers, 1991–2015 (kWh/yr)

Text version

Average annual UEC of freezers, 1991–2015 (kWh/yr)

Model year kWh/yr
1991 444.7
1992 449.3
1993 401.7
1994 389.2
1995 381.6
1996 376.7
1997 376.5
1998 381.5
1999 383.4
2000 390.9
2001 383.9
2002 367.7
2003 369.1
2004 372.7
2005 385.6
2006 379.6
2007 384.0
2008 374.8
2009 356.3
2010 365.5
2011 390.3
2012 362.3
2013 376.2
2014 355.5
2015 313.2
Note: The vertical lines shown in 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2008 refer to the introduction of and subsequent amendments to the MEPS for freezers.

Freezer type

The type of freezer affects how much energy it consumes.

Upright freezers with automatic defrost (Type 9) and upright freezers with manual defrost (Type 8) consumed the most energy (they lose more cold air because it flows down and out of the freezer when the door is opened). However, the average annual UEC of upright freezers improved the most during the study period, following the introduction and amendments to the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). These freezers accounted for a growing segment of the freezer market.

Chest freezers (Type 10) are generally more energy-efficient because only a small amount of cold air flows out when opened. Compact chest freezers (Type 18) consumed the least amount of energy, due to their small size.


Average annual UEC of freezers by type, 1991-2015 (kWh/yr)

Average annual UEC of freezers by type, 1991-2015 (kWh/yr)

Text version

Average annual UEC of freezers by type, 1991-2015 (kWh/yr)

Type 8 (upright with manual defrost) Type 9 (upright with automatic defrost) Type 10 (chest) Type 18 (compact chest)
1991 706.4 1068.0 412.4 339.8
1992 670.4 1078.0 421.1 337.8
1993 581.3 863.3 385.1 287.8
1994 535.9 846.1 379.1 292.4
1995 508.9 817.1 371.1 282.0
1996 502.9 820.7 368.1 279.4
1997 494.8 823.7 362.4 278.7
1998 496.0 829.6 360.2 278.2
1999 493.1 838.6 353.2 276.3
2000 494.8 839.4 354.0 277.1
2001 456.9 740.5 345.1 275.7
2002 412.7 674.2 316.7 267.7
2003 414.8 665.4 317.8 268.3
2004 412.0 595.9 344.1 271.1
2005 420.8 650.1 351.8 269.1
2006 431.8 664.2 335.8 265.0
2007 432.9 654.1 337.6 265.7
2008 449.8 644.5 334.1 263.3
2009 438.9 622.7 348.4 243.7
2010 432.8 621.7 294.6 256.6
2011 431.2 629.5 331.6 244.1
2012 420.6 636.2 316.6 234.7
2013 428.3 630.3 325.3 241.9
2014 400.3 586.2 306.3 229.3
2015 326.8 458.3 293.0 229.1
Note: The vertical lines shown in 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2008 refer to the introduction of and subsequent amendments to the MEPS for freezers.

Annual energy consumption per volume

As of 2002, standard-size freezers relied on less energy per volume for cooling purposes. However, the increasing popularity of upright models over the last few years has caused a slight increase in shipments in the higher energy category.


Distribution of standard-size freezers by average annual UEC per cubic foot, 1991-2015 (%)

Distribution of standard-size freezers by average annual UEC per cubic foot, 1991-2015 (%)

Text version

Distribution of standard-size freezers by average annual UEC per cubic foot, 1991-2015 (%)

20–29.9 kWh/cu. ft. per year 30–39.9 kWh/cu. ft. per year 40–49.9 kWh/cu. ft. per year
1991 0.0 58.2 41.8
1992 3.9 23.5 72.6
1993 18.3 63.3 18.3
1994 17.2 43.7 39.1
1995 13.6 42.4 44.0
1996 13.8 45.0 41.2
1997 13.3 42.0 44.6
1998 12.4 39.1 48.5
1999 12.0 47.0 41.1
2000 11.2 42.3 46.5
2001 19.0 39.5 41.5
2002 27.0 47.9 25.0
2003 28.8 47.8 23.4
2004 28.9 48.8 22.3
2005 29.5 45.2 25.3
2006 34.8 40.4 24.7
2007 26.7 47.5 25.9
2008 28.9 47.5 23.6
2009 24.2 43.9 31.9
2010 25.5 42.5 32.0
2011 27.6 44.8 27.6
2012 26.1 42.4 31.5
2013 28.5 39.3 32.2
2014 34.3 40.2 25.5
2015 49.8 27.3 23.0
Notes: The average annual UEC is not shown for 1990 because the data for this year are based on a small number of shipments and may be unrepresentative of the actual market.
Compact freezers (those with a volume of less than 7.75 cu. ft.) data are not included in this analysis, due to the supplementary compact freezer data received for 2009 onward and the impact on data for previous years.