OBJECTIVE Computed tomography (CT)-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA) results in a high radiation dose. This study aimed to assess low-dose CT protocols for guiding RFA and oncologic outcomes for the treatment of small renal cell carcinoma (RCC). MATERIALS AND METHODS Between December 2011 and December 2014, CT-guided RFA was performed in 31 patients with 31 biopsy-proven RCCs (median, 2.1 cm). RFA included planning, targeting, monitoring and survey phases. The dose length product (DLP), CT dose index volume (CTDIvol), effective dose, number of scans, scan range, tube current and exposure time of RFA phases were compared. The 3-year recurrence-free survival rate was recorded. Nonparametric or parametric repeated-measures ANOVA with Dunn's or Tukey-Kramer multiple comparisons and Kaplan-Meier analysis were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS The median total DLP, CTDIvol and effective dose of CT-guided RFA procedures per session were 1238.8 mGy (range 517.4-3391.7 mGy), 259.7 mGy (10.7-67.9 mGy) and 18.6 mSv (7.8-50.9 mSv), respectively. The median DLP, CTDIvol, effective dose, number of scans, tube current and exposure time during the targeting phase were higher than those during the other phases (p < 0.001). The scan range in the targeting phase was the same as that in the monitoring phase (p > 0.05) but smaller than those in the planning and survey phases (p < 0.001). The 3-year recurrence-free survival rate was 96.7%. CONCLUSIONS Low-dose CT protocols for guiding RFA may reduce radiation dose without compromising oncologic outcomes. Reducing the number of scans during the targeting phase contributes to dose reduction.