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A Guide to Energy Saving Fridges in Kenya

So as much as the initial cost of a fridge is a constraint, make energy efficiency a priority and you just might compromise enough to find the perfect balance. In this post, we are gonna explore the main topics on fridge energy subject.

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In summary, energy efficiency matters in saving you money,(over time) and also saving the world(environment) like an avenger.

There is nothing like “energy saving refrigerator brands”, you should look at the star rating for each individual models; since most brands stock both high efficiency and low efficiency models.

Understanding Energy Efficiency

In the simplest terms possible; the energy efficiency of a fridge, is how little electricity it uses compared to other fridges of the same size. 

Why is energy efficiency crucial for fridges in Kenya?

Well well well, the electricity prices have been going over the roof and doubled in just two years, this is all thanks to the tariffs and charges introduced in the time period. A KSh 200 electricity purchase will just give you 7KWh or (7 units). The amount used on electricity for this case is KSh 117 and the remaining KSh 83 is all charges. I just love this country.

Now with those scary prices, you might wanna consider efficiency if it was not your thing. Doing your research well will just save you a lot of money in years to come that you can use on other expenses such as buying small appliances

How to calculate the electricity consumption of your fridge

Some fridges come with stickers estimating the annual kWh usage in running the appliance, however, some don’t have that and you might wanna do it by yourself.

  1. Check the power rating of your fridge, usually indicated on the internal; either on the side or on the back of the unit; for either location, the sticker is at the top parts for ease of readability. The rating is either in Watts(W), or Kilowatts(kW). Note:1kW=1,000W
  2. Determine the operating time, some people power fridges for a specified amount of time while others leave it running 24/7. I would recommend running the unit continuously (keep reading to find out why) 
  3. Now calculate energy consumption by multiplying the power rating in kW by hours. If your rating is in Watts, convert it to kW by dividing by 1000. Now you have kWh usage by day which corresponds to the number of units. 
  4. From the daily estimate, you can calculate your monthly usage and annual if needed. Keep in mind that the usage will vary on the basis of factors that will be discussed later in this post.

Note: The figure you will find will be an overestimate since fridges run in cooling cycles. Even when powered on, the thermostat will shut down the fridge when the desired cooling is achieved, and kick back on when the temperature drops.

Factors Affecting Energy Efficiency

Manufacturer’s Technology

If you have read the previous posts, we have discussed that different manufacturers use their custom trademarked technologies on their brands to offer even better than standard efficiency. Big manufacturers like Samsung, Bosch, and LG have numerous of these, and smaller brands just can’t keep up.

Size & Capacity

For the same build quality and technology, it is obvious that a smaller refrigerator will use up less power since it cools a small area.


New models of fridges tend to get more efficient since standards improve. Also, it doesn’t mean a 20-year-old fridge will be as efficient as it was when brand new. Wear and tear compromises efficiency. For instance, door seals may be worn out, thus your cold air escapes making the compressor work harder to reach optimum temperature. More energy is used to cool and that means higher bills that you dread

This is what should deter you from buying a used refrigerator, always get a new one if possible. Or if you must get a used unit, check and make sure it is in good condition.

Energy Rating

Energy rating directly correlates with efficiency. Energy rating is a  measure used to quantify the energy usage of appliances relative to other appliances of the same size and make. A higher energy rating indicates better energy efficiency which means less energy consumption

Energy Efficiency Ratings and Labels

There are two main efficiency ratings; Star Energy Rating, and European Energy Rating, both serve the same purpose but serve in different regions of the world

a) Star Energy Rating

Energy Star is by EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) in the USA. It is a labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products. The Energy Star label is typically found on a wide range of appliances. The label signifies that a particular product meets certain energy efficiency standards set by the EPA. More stars typically indicate higher energy efficiency.

Energy Star rating currently is at 6 stars for the most efficient appliances

b) Kenya Energy Label

Kenya Energy Labels EPRA
Kenya Energy Labels

I would say this is the conventional star rating above but tested for the Kenyan market by EPRA(Energy & Petroleum Regulatory Authority). Just like above, the more the stars the more the savings thanks to the lower bills. 

Energy use by an appliance will differ from one region to another this is why it is necessary to have a Kenyan Standard. For instance, humidity and temperature differ a lot when you compare Kenya to North America.  Fridges will consume more energy in hotter regions as they need to cool more.

The Kenyan Energy Label simplifies everything and gives the approximate usage in kWh/ year or units the appliance is estimated to use in a year.

c). EU Energy Labels

EU New Energy Labels
EU New Energy Labels

This might be relevant if you are getting an ex-UK appliance. Mmmh, but the UK is not part of the EU? I don’t know, that is a difficult question. 

The new energy rating took effect in 2021. An appliance is rated using letters of the alphabet from A to G. A is the most efficient while G is the least efficient. Not just limited to A for the most efficient, there is A+, and even A++, then A+++ 

 A+ indicates 10% more efficient than standard A efficiency, A++  means the fridge is 20% more efficient, and so on. Read More

Why buy an Energy-Efficient Fridge?

Below is a study between a 2-star and 6-star refrigerator of the same capacity 540L. (Figures are for illustrative purposes only)

a) 2-star refrigerator

Initial cost: KSh 140,000

Electricity usage: KSh 24,600(Per Year)

b) 6-star refrigerator

Initial cost: KSh 240,000

Electricity usage: KSh 6,470(Per Year)

The difference in prices of both fridges is KSh 100,000. The more efficient fridge saves KSh 18,130 annually, which is approximately KSh 1,500 monthly.

The time taken to regain the difference if you got a more efficient one; KSh(100,000/18,130)= 5.5 years

A fridge is a lifetime appliance so 5.5 years is a really good recoup time. Anything less than 10 years is commendable. Most refrigerators are designed to last you 15 to 25 years, so by going the efficient route you will save KSh 362,600 which is more than enough to buy you another fridge when you will be having a mid-life crisis.

Energy-Saving Practices

Energy efficiency is not only limited to the unit and how it is built but also according to usage patterns and behaviors as discussed. You can care for and maintain your fridge  efficiency by adhering to the following guidelines

  1. Temperature settings: Keep your fridge and freezer at optimum temperatures at all times. 3-5°C for the fridge and -18°C for the freezer. When adding leftovers make sure they have cooled down.
  2. Location: Your fridge shouldn’t be located in a hot area, e.g. near the cooker, or in the window with direct sunlight. Also, make sure your fridge is well-ventilated all around especially at the back to allow for flawless air exchange. Placing your fridge against the wall causes overheating and it will operate louder than usual, hot air accumulation reduces efficiency, and ventilation is necessary to dissipate the heat
  3. Defrosting: Defrost your freezer once there is a buildup. This won’t be a problem if you have a frost-free unit. Frost insulates the fridge making air exchange with the food items difficult, and the fridge will have to cool more to attain the same results compared to a defrosted or frost-free fridge.
  4. Usage Habits: I personally plead guilty to this habit of opening the door every 5 minutes, even tho I know there are no good snacks in the fridge, I usually hope they magically appear. Now this frequency in opening throws out the cold air that cools your food items, it is replaced by warm air from outside which the fridge needs again to cool. Doing this multiple times makes the fridge work more thus using more electricity. Just open your fridge whenever necessary, and don’t keep it open for long.
  5. Cleaning & Dusting: Dust accumulation especially at the compressor and the condenser filaments reduces cooling efficiency. Dust is a poor heat conductor so heat exchange will be compromised making your fridge work extra hard and use more energy. Frequent dusting is advisable before a build-up.
  6. Stocking: Does a fully stocked fridge consume more energy? Yes. Does an empty fridge consume more energy? Also yes. Okay, that is confusing, for the best efficiency keep your fridge 1/2 to 3/4 full. A full fridge means limited air circulation and the fridge has to cool longer per cycle. An empty fridge will cool in a shorter cycle, yes, but the frequency of the cycles is more. Upon opening an empty fridge, the cool is in the air and not the food so it is all lost on opening. A moderately stocked fridge will store some of its cooling in the food thus not a lot of cool is lost in the event of the same.

Impact of Efficiency on the Environment

Efficient fridges or general appliances use less energy, meaning they rely on fewer natural resource use. This will help conserve more in the future as petroleum and coal used sometimes are not renewable or infinite. This is sustainability.

Also, it will mean lower greenhouse gas emissions to produce the lower demanded energy to power our efficient appliances


Just prioritize efficiency when purchasing a fridge, for your own savings on bills and to protect the environment too. Yes, efficient models are more priced, but in comparison to the running costs in the long term; they are actually cheaper. The only compromise is paying more upfront.


Which fridge consumes less electricity in Kenya? This can be answered by a series of facts; size, efficiency, inverter technology and brand reputation

LG and Samsung fridges generally have a good reputation on efficiency, meaning they will consume less electricity compared to other brands. Check for star rating a fridge with 5 stars will consume less than one with 4, 3 or 2 stars.

How can i reduce electrity usage of my fridge? This is achieved by good practises discussed. Making sure your fridge is ventilated is the most signgificant one, leave some space between it and the wall for good air circulation. This will dramatically reduce your electricity use!

Do fridges use alot of electricity? Average mid sized refrigerators use between 1 and 1.5 kWh (units) per day on the higher end this is like KSh 45 per day or KSh 1,350 per month

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Related Links to Fridges

Chill Out; Your Guide to Buying the Perfect Refrigerator

The Best Fridges for Every Budget in Kenya

Review: The Best Fridge Brands in Kenya for 2023

Small Cooking Appliances You Need for Your Kenyan Kitchen

Buying Guide: 10 Food Preparation Appliances

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