Bar fridges

bar fridges
Can’t work out their power consumption
Some brands state 3kw others 5kw on same size fridge. This this make all the

Welcome @Dani to the community.

Does your enquiry concern a much larger commercial grade fridge? They are not a product the average consumer would be purchasing.

Most of us think of a bar fridge as a small fridge, freezer optional such as those in motel and hotel rooms. What size/capacity in litres are the bar fridges you are looking at?

For consume grade household fridges. Energy consumption is usually measured in kWh/year (kilo Watt Hours). If you can check the numbers, and product specifications the estimated annual energy consumption should be provided. It’s the basis of the energy star rating.

For similar size fridges, the model with the lower energy consumption would be preferred, all other specifications being similar.


Maybe but maybe not. A bar fridge usually does not need to keep foods fresh like ‘the fridge’ since it is populated with cans and bottles and perhaps quickly used snacks, so different needs.

It might need sufficient reserve cooling capacity for when the contents are turned over quickly, eg a party where a few slabs of product might be used in a few hours. If it was in the al fresco area to serve the family, small dinner parties, and casual small groups that would matter much less. Reserve capacity might be included in ‘specifications being equal’ but it is not usually one specifically called out.

Good party planning would put reserves on ice but if there was a large esky full of ice, bottles, and cans, the bar fridge would be for convenience or show and reserve capacity less important.


Hi @Dani, welcome to the community.

The energy star rating attached to (bar) fridges at the point of sale provide a comparison between different models to the annual electricity use. They will look something like:

For the above fridge, the total electricity usage would be about $30-40 per year (total consumption x average kW/hr power cost).

The star rating provides a visual presentation of the energy efficiency of a fridge (appliance) to one can use in making a purchase decision.

Generally fridge/freezer type bar fridges aren’t terribly efficient, as they are designed for a small space and often the amount of insultation is proportionally less than larger fridges (this is done to maximum fridge volumes). We have been looking at a replacement bar fridge ourselves lately, and the best star rating is a 3.5 for common available fridges.

If you want to compare the energy efficiency of bar fridges available in Australia, they can be found here:

You will need to go to the fridge section and select the relevant parameters (all models, fridge or fridge/freezer and size less than 120L).


Things called “bar fridges” for domestic use range from around 30 litres to 300 litres with corresponding variable powered motors. Commercial types can fill a whole wall. It might help if you give some more details so we have some idea what your needs and issues are.


I’m looking at 3 door 330lt bar fridge
Trying to compare 3kw to one that is 5kw in same size. Does this really make all the difference. It’s purely for drinks outdoor.
Does the kw determine a lot of the power usage or would it be more based in the compressor, fullness of fridge etc.
Should the kw be the main factor in my choice?

I would consider the chassis build since it will be exposed to the elements, and especially humidity (could be more or less important depending on your locale). I would also be looking for a good reserve capacity (sometimes referenced as recovery - eg ability to handle temperature swings). Unless you are from certain countries you probably prefer cold beer :wink:

Reliability, resiliency to temperature changes, and build quality would be my top considerations. My suspicion is planning an outdoor bar fridge suggests an annual difference in running costs of $30-50 might not be a deal breaker?


Similar to one of these
Rhino 3 Door Outdoor Glass Door Alfresco Bar Fridge Energy Efficient
And brochure:

Note the brochure in this example indicates an energy consumption of 2.29 kWh per 24 hrs use. It is not the power rating of the fridge. The fridge with the larger number assuming it’s also really the energy used in kWh may be less efficient, but as @PhilT suggests the difference in running cost is not the only factor. One unit is not necessarily more powerful than the other.

The marketing sheet has erroneously left the hours symbol from the spec sheet. Two similar fridges can have very different estimates. One model may be better insulated. How each manufacturer rates their fridge may differ if the units are commercial and not consumer rated. The type of compressor and refrigerant gas used can also make a difference.

You can enquire if there is an energy star rating for the products. Being commercial products there may not be.


These are possibly more a commercial type product, than a retail product.

Is that the power consumption over a 24 hour period or set period (are the units the same)? Looking on line, there doesn’t appear to be any 3 door 330L bar fridges which have a rated power consumption of 3kW or 5kW. These would be very energy inefficient for a 330L fridge.

Do you have the make and model number of the ones you are looking at so we can comment in more detail?


For clarification the type of bar fridges being considered appear to fall outside the energy efficiency rating system, because they are not household refrigeration. Despite being used by homeowners the principle market is for businesses including restaurants, food outlets and liquor service.

Refrigeration - Domestic | Energy Rating

In respect of the electrical power of the installed compressor, as noted by @phb 3-5kW seems high. The rated power of the installed compressor in a 330l fridge will be closer 0.15kW (150 watts) than the power suggested. The daily power consumption estimate will include an allowance for powering the circulating fans, lighting (LED?) and electronic controller with display. The compressor will cycle on and off as necessary, or adjust to the load if an inverter design. Rather than focus on the power figures, I’d suggest the longer the warranty on the refrigeration components in a particular product the better the quality.

It may be productive asking several different suppliers to provide contacts for local businesses with the same model products under consideration. Hopefully there are other happy owners.

The purchaser is solely reliant on the suppliers estimate of total power consumption. Real world experience may differ for many reasons, including in side by side comparisons.


Looking at
Airflo AFF333
Artusi 307lt AOF3S &
Borrelli BC-320H-SS-E

Wanting opinions on which is better choice

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It would be appropriate to put in writing as many details concerning where the unit is being installed. You are then able to ask each supplier by email to respond in writing accepting the product is ‘fit for purpose’ based on those installation and operating conditions. ‘Fit for purpose’ is defined in Australian Consumer Law. Assume this is not a commercial application. One of the products on offer indicates it is not suitable for commercial use.

It’s worth asking for the supplier to confirm the warranty period and service arrangements. You would also want on site service to be available in your location.

You could also ask how many years the cabinet is expected to be serviceable for in your outdoor environment, (reasonable life). You should also ask what is a reasonable life for the compressor and refrigeration equipment in that environment.

Add to the list of information requested any other details that you require to make a better decision. I found the brochures and online content varied between products. It’s insufficient based on our past experience working with similar equipment in a business to make a decision of one over another. If it was a business decision I’d look to buy from a local well established supplier as a priority.

For a home install, perhaps warranty and access to support is not such a concern. Ultimately it’s your decision on what is most important, and which most appeals to your needs?

Note it may be useful to consider:
As the unit is going outside, and do you live in a coastal or humid environment? @PhilT suggested looking at Stainless Steel construction.

Do you live somewhere that gets very hot or cold in winter? You could put your temperature profiles in writing to each supplier and ask if their unit is suitable and warranted for that service. Note one product is designed for outdoor temperatures of no more than 32C. For some I’ve looked at it’s 40C.