Power Inverters : Power Inverters are a low cost Power Backup Solution. They are usually powered by Car or Truck Batteries and are often referred to as Car Inverters or Truck Inverters.
If you find yourself spending a lot of time on the road, you will love a Car / Truck Power Inverter. Read on to discover the Best Power Inverters for your home, car or truck.
Best Power Inverters : For those who like to cut to the chase : here are the nominations and winners for the Best Power Inverters in many different categories such as Car Inverters, Truck Inverters, Solar Inverters, Home Inverters and more.
About Power Inverters : For the more curious folks ,continue on to the Inverter Primer to read beyond this list for lots more information on Power Inverters. This will help you make a knowledgeable Power Inverter Purchase decision for many different uses such as for Home or for a Solar System or for your car or truck.
Who Needs a Car Power Inverter?
When you are on long road trips, whether for business or if you are a trucker or if you love the RV and camping life, then the Car Inverter is a perfect tool for you.
You will be able to use all kinds cellular phones, laptops and music boomboxes etc by connecting them to the 110 V outlets on your Inverter. The Car inverter connects into the 12v plug or the cigarette lighter or accessory jack.
Larger Car Inverters connect directly to a fuse or the battery.
Best Value Car Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) : BESTEK 300 watt Power Inverter
Great value. 300 watts output which is enough for most electronic office appliances. Fast 2.4 Amp dual USB chargers. Modified Sine Wave Output.
- BESTEK Advantage: America's leading power inverter brand. Provides 300 Watts continuous DC to AC power and 700 Watts instantaneous power, featuring 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports for multi-purpose charging
- Fast Charging: two 110V AC outlets for charging larger devices such as laptops and tablets, 2 USB charging ports (2.1A & 1A) for powering USB compatible devices
- Ultra Compact and Lightweight: iPhone-sized design ideal for use on vacations, work trips, and camping. 24 inch cigarette lighter plug makes the power inverter can be plugged into almost any vehicle
- Mufti-Protection: built-in 40 amps fuse to protect your device. Safe charging design provides protection against, overheating, under and over voltage charging, short circuiting, overloads, and overcharging
- Durable metal housing provides advanced protection from drops and bumps. Integrated cooling fan helps reduce heat and prevents shortages. 18-Months Warranty
Best Value Car Inverter (Pure Sine Wave) : BESTEK 300 watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter
If you want to spend a tad more to protect your electronics, this 300 watts pure sine wave output power inverter will take super care of all your electronics. Fast 2.4 Amp dual USB chargers. Modified Sine Wave Output.
- BESTEK Advantage: America's leading power inverter brand. Provides 300W continuous DC to AC power and 700W of peak power with 2 AC outlets and 2 USB charging ports
- Smart Charging: the power inverter is equipped with 2 Smart USB charging ports, automatically detect your devices to deliver its fastest charge speed up to 2.4 amps per port/4.8 amps max
- Most Compact and Lightweight: travel-sized and smart cooling fan makes it silent when running. The 26 inch cigarette lighter plug is convenient for you to plug directly into a cigarette lighter socket
- Mufti Protection: built-in 40 amps fuse and full-protection with short-circuit, low-voltage, over-charge, over-voltage, over-load, over-temperature protection
- What You Get: BESTEK 300W Power Inverter, User Manual, Our 18-month warranty and friendly customer service
Best Value Truck Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) : POTECK 1500 Watt Truck Inverter
This modified sine wave output Power Inverter is good for most mobile applications. It outputs 1500 watts on a continuous basis and is able to generate a 3000 watts surge.
Great value pricing and excellent consumer feedback. 2 110V AC outputs and dual USB charge outlets. Connect directly to your Truck Battery and NOT through 12V or cigarette charger.
- Potek 1500W DC to AC car power inverter provides 1500 watts continuous DC to AC power and 3000 watts of peak power
- Dual AC outlets and Dual USB charging ports perfect for charging your TV,game player,laptop, lights, microwaves, power tools, and other electronics
- This power inverter has over voltage, overload, over-current, under-voltage, overheating, short circuit protection
- Built-in cooling fan only starts working when temperature is over 104℉ and 6 internal fuses makes it safer when using the Power Inverter, ideal for use on road, at campsites, remote job sites or anywhere AC power is needed
- What You Get: 1x 1500W Power Inverter, 2xCar Battery Cables, 1xUser Manual, Our 24-month warranty and friendly customer service
Best 12V Power Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) : POTEK 750 watt Car Inverter
This 750 watt continuous and 1500 watt surge powered modified sine wave output Power Inverter is a good combo of power and value.
With 2 110V AC outputs and a single USB charge outlet, and the flexibility to connect via the car’s cigarette lighter charger or direct to the battery, this unit is on the money.
- Potek 750W DC to AC car inverter: Provides 750W continuous DC to AC power and 1500 watts of peak power,comes with battery clamps and cigarette lighter adapter.
- Dual AC outlets and One USB charging ports:Perfect for for charging laptop, kindle, digital camera,TV,cell phones, lights, power tools,and so on
- Ultra compact and lightweight design:Extremely portable and lightweight,perfect for vacations, work trips, and camping or anywhere that power is needed.
- Multi-protection: Over voltage, overload, over-current, under-voltage, overheating, short circuit protection
- What You Get: 1x 750W Power Inverter, 1xCar Cigarette Plug, 2xCar Battery Clip, 2xFuses, 1xUser Manual, Our 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
Best 2000 watt Power Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) : AMPEAK 2000W
With 3 110V AC outputs and a single USB charge outlet, this 2000 watt continuous output and 4000 watt surge capacity Power Inverter is great for the RV or Camper.
- High Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter- Provides 2000W continuous DC to AC power output, 4000W surge capacity (Please confirm your device is in 2000W continuous power)
- More Widely Used Than You Thought - 3 AC outlets and 2.1A USB Ideal for use anywhere that AC power is needed. Charging cell-phone, laptop, electric light, digital camera, Videocon, TV, electrical fan, electrical tools, freezer, flood lights, microwaves, and other electronics
- Advanced Protections with Audible Alarm - Built-in 10 x 35A Mini Slip Fuse & 3 Cooling Fans & Audible Alarm to against Over voltage / Low voltage / Overload / Short circuit / Over heat. Applies the technology of ABS crashworthiness, robust, as well as good electrical insulation
- Car Using and Home or Outdoor Using - Just need a 12V battery system to connect with it to power your device for Emergency, Hurricane, Storm, Snowstorm, Outage. (High power inverter requires big capacity battery.)
- What You Get - All our inverter have ETL certification. We provide 18-Month Hassle-Free Warranty, 24-hour friendly customer service and 100% customer satisfaction
Best 3000 watt Power Inverter (Modified Sine Wave) : POTEK 3000 Watt Power Inverter
With 4 110V AC outputs and dual USB charge outlets, this 3000 watt continuous output and 6000 watt surge capacity modified sine wave Power Inverter is great for all kinds of jobs including construction and camping outdoors.
- High Power Inverter : Provides 3000W continuous DC to AC power and 6000 watts of peak power
- Multifunctional Power:Designed with 4 AC outlets and 2 USB charging ports,perfect for varieties of electric conversion,such as water dispensers,air compressor,refrigerator,coffer maker,electric motor saw,etc
- Multi-protection: It has under-voltage protection, over-voltage protection and over-temperature protection, safe for your equipment and batteries
- Intelligent Cooling Fans: To keep the inverter cool,the fans speeds up when temperature is over 104℉.The fan do not run when the inverter is turned off.
- 100% Money Back Guarantee:Every Potek product comes with a 18-month warranty.If you're not completely satisfied with the unit,return the power inverter for a full refund!
Best 3000 watt Power Inverter (Pure Sine Wave) : POTEK 3000 Watt Power Inverter
This is an ETL certified 3000 watt pure sine watt inverter. 2 AC outputs and 1 USB port. Great Reviews and performance.
- Ideal use in cars, vessels, and for power failure emergencies and guarantees maximum efficiency with computers, sensitive equipment, and more
- Equipped with 2 AC sockets, 1 USB port 5V, and Hardwire Terminal
- Powers up to 3000W continuous power with a 6000W surge power
- Designed with 5 protection features including overvolatage protection, thermal protection, overload protection and more.
- Comes with a black and red cables, remote switch, and a detailed instruction manual
Best Solar Inverter (Pure Sine Wave) : GoPower Weekender Solar Inverter Kit
Solar Inverters and Solar Kits have special requirements and this is an excellent combo kit with a Power Inverter that produces 1500 watts of pure sine wave output.
- Complete kit includes everything you need to hook up solar and inverter system
- No fuel, no maintenance and no noise
- Completely green power solution
- Great for power usage on weekend and long weekend trips
- Run your TV and other AC appliances anytime day or night without the noise of a generator
Best Power Inverter for Home (Modified Sine Wave) :
This 10,000 watt Monster Inverter is a great choice as your whole home Power Inverter. At just 21 pounds the Inverter is extremely portable as well.
- 10000W max continuous power
- Modified sine wave with Pulse Width Modulation technology (soft start)
- Volt meter on front panel to monitor your battery voltage. Dimension: 21.37 inch L x 7.87 inch W x 6 inch H
- Amp meter on front panel to monitor your current consumption
- Dual cooling fans thermally controlled
The Inverter Primer (FAQ for Power Inverters)
Here is a complete primer of information for your to buy a Power Inverter – Car Inverter, Truck Inverter, Solar Inverter or Home Inverter. Let’s start with the basics :
DC to AC Inverter (What is a Power Inverter?)
All Power Inverters, whether a Car Power Inverter or a Truck Power Inverter or a Home Inverter or Solar Power Inverter, are electronic devices designed to convert Direct Current ( DC) to Alternating Current (AC).
Direct Current ( DC) is the power that comes off any battery viz a car or truck battery, a golf cart battery or a deep cycle battery, AGM battery etc.
Alternating Current (AC) is the power you get from the wall outlets in your home or office. Anything you plug in to the wall needs AC current to power them. For example a heater, or the microwave or your laptop etc.
Some devices like a phone charger or car GPS system are plugged into the cigarette lighter charger outlet of your car. In some of the swankier new cars you could even plug them into a built USB port in the car.
The cigarette lighter charger or the USB port in your computer or car are sources of DC power. So your phone needs DC to charge, same with your car GPS.
And if you are wondering, what about the USB charger I plug into the AC wall outlet?
The answer is simple, you put your USB cable into an adaptor that gets plugged into the AC wall outlet. That Adaptor is actually converting AC power into DC and that goes on to your phone to charge it.
So, yes for the discerning, that small wall adaptor you use to charge your phone – that is a small power inverter.
What are Car and Truck Power Inverters?
Car and Truck Power Inverters are a special class of Power Inverters which are dedicated for in vehicle use.
In the earlier sections we talked about the USB and the cigarette lighter power outlets in your car or truck. These are sources of DC power. They work fine to charge phones, GPS etc.
Car Inverters and Truck Inverters come in very handy when you want to use AC devices like your TV, or your Boom Box or a Power Tool or anything else that is plugged into the wall socket.
All Car Inverters and Truck Inverters work to convert the DC power coming from the car or truck battery into AC power. Bingo, with your new Power Inverter you are ready to plug in any office or home electric device and start using your vehicle.
What devices can I run on my Car or Truck Power Inverter?
This discussion can get very technical with specifications of your car’s alternator, the current output at idle RPM speed for the car engine and more complications. So let me give you the short answer first.
Car or Truck Power Inverter that plugs into a Cigarette Lighter or 12 V Charging Outlet : If your power inverter plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet, then you can power devices which consume 10 amps or less.
So , we are talking Laptop, Television, Game Console etc. Just make sure that the device is rated at 120 watts or less.
Car or Truck Power Inverter that connect directly to the Battery : These Power Inverters can power larger appliances like a Fridge, a Catalytic Heater, Cooking Equipment or Power Tools.
However, you have to be careful as many larger appliances need a lot of power to start up ( generally known as the starting watts) and then settle down to using less power (Running Watts).
You should be fine if your appliances use 1500 or less watts of starting power and 1000 or less watts of running power.
For larger power inverters you need to make sure your battery and alternator are adequately powered. See the next section.
What numbers should I look at while sizing a Power Inverter?
It is best practice to make sure your Inverter has the rated power capability to run the appliances you plan to use.
Next you need to maker sure the Alternator in your vehicle can take the load.
If you are not careful you could run down your car battery or blow up the Alternator. The Alternator is the device in your car’s engine which keeps your batteries charged and topped up.
Finally, your car or truck battery should have enough capacity to take on the additional loads.
If you use the Power Inverter to power too many tools for example, the Alternator may not be able to keep up and you could end up with a discharged battery.
Power Inverter Load on your Car or Truck Alternator (What do the numbers mean?)
If you want to be absolutely certain that your car or truck alternator has the juice to support your inverter, you should look at the Alternators specs.
Your car or truck alternator has a rating specification which usually looks like this
What this is telling you is that your Alternator produces 50 amps of current when your engine is idling. Idling engines are usually operating at about 1500 RPM. At that RPM your car’s alternator will produce about 50 Amps of current at 13.5 volts
The 120 Amp rating shows the maximum power generated by the alternator at a high engine RPM of 6000 or more. Now these figures are ideal figures and the real world outputs will differ.
Thus, if your Alternator is producing about 6000 watts ( 50 amps x 12 volts) of power when it is idling. This is enough to power all the electrical systems of your car and you can safely siphon off about a 1000 watts to your devices through the Power Inverter.
If you have a higher rated Alternator producing more output, then its possible to divert more power though the inverter to larger appliances.
If your Power Inverter is connected to the batteries via the fuse panel or directly, you have to be careful to ensure you don’t overload it and run down your batteries.
What Precautions must you take while using Power Inverters?
Power Inverters with higher power outputs which are normally directly connected to your car or truck batteries need to be handled with great care. There is a danger of sparking and fire when you overload the power inverter or have it operating in poorly ventilated spaces or exposed to water or the rain.
Its super important not to overload the power inverter or the battery beyond their stated capacities. Even with in-built safety fuses or dedicated circuits for the Power Inverter, it is vital to use additional external fuses to avoid a potentially hazardous situation.
What are different applications of Power Inverters?
The next section we look at different applications of Power Inverters :
Home Power Inverters
Homes Power Inverters are typically the larger variety of Inverters. They are designed to support multiple appliances and have higher outputs. Most 3000 watt or higher powered Inverters are classified as Home Inverters.
Home Power Inverters are a low cost alternative to having your own Home Generator. Another option for those looking for Home Power Inverter Solutions is the Solar Generator which you can read about here.
Solar Power Inverters
Solar Power Inverters are a special class of inverters used with Solar Panels. Solar Panels are very like Batteries in the sense that they produce DC current by converting the energy from the sun.
The DC power output of the solar panels is then converted by your Solar Power Inverter into AC Power. Solar Power Inverters have some additional electronics to compensate for the intermittent nature of the DC power being produced by the Solar Panels.
Clouds or Rain or Trees often obscure the sun and result in the DC power output from the panels fluctuating significantly. This is very different from the steady nature of DC power produced by Batteries.Solar Power Inverters are normally only used with Solar Panels and are the most expensive variety of Power Inverters.
You could use regular power inverters with solar panels, but this usually leads to significant inefficiency with a lot of wastage. It is important to match your inverters with your solar panels. If you plan to use Batteries along with your Solar Panels, then you would need another component know as a Solar Charge Controller.
How Do Power Inverters Work?
Power Inverters have an in-built unidirectional DC power source. Oscillators rapidly switch the direction or polarity of the DC current to mimic an alternating current (AC) source.
This high speed oscillation creates square wave Alternating Current that is unlike the true Sine Wave shaped Alternating Current we use from our wall outlets.
Additional electronic components then convert this square wave AC current to either the Pure Sine Wave we are used to or a close approximation called Modified Sine Wave AC. Which is why we have two types of Power Inverters : Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters and Pure Sine Wave Power Inverters.
What Are the Different Types of Car Inverters / Power Inverters ?
There are a number of different types of inverters, but the two main types that you’ll find in automotive applications are:
Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters
Modified Sine Wave Power Inverters are the more affordable variety.
Modified Sine Wave Inverters use low cost electronic components like thyristors and diodes to convert the square waves to a more rounded version that is a rough approximation of the pure sine wave AC.
The AC power produced by these inverters mimics the AC output that we get out of our wall AC outputs, but they are not a perfect copy.
This imperfect AC power is called a “modified sine wave” and works fine for most consumer appliances and electrical devices. However, they sometimes cause glitches and problems with electronic or microprocessor based equipment.
Pure Sine Wave Power Inverters
These types of Power Inverters are slightly more expensive.
They have transformers and electronic circuitry to convert the square wave into the varying alternating current which is very similar to the genuine sine wave AC power normally supplied to our homes.
If your plan to is use your Power Inverter to power an uninterruptible power supply or you have high end consumer electronic products, then it might make more sense to invest in a a pure sine wave power inverter.
Inverters for Home Solar Systems
There is a lot of information about Central Inverters and other specialized solar inverters. Here I will give you information that is based on my real world experience.
As a Solar Energy Professional, I buy Solar equipment for a living. I am distilling my learning here for you to take a short cut to buying the best possible solar inverters for your home solar system.
IMPORTANT : This section is only applicable for Solar Inverters for HOME SOLAR Systems. Not for Solar Panel Kits or DIY Solar Projects. Strictly for whole home solar systems.
Just follow these two basic rules while buying Solar Inverters :
a) Dont Buy a Central Inverter based system.
b) Choose either Enphase MicroInverters or Solar Edge Optimizers
Thats all. You can do tonnes of research on solar inverters for home solar systems and you will come to the same conclusion.
The Solar Edge folks will push the Optimizer over the MicroInverter and the Enphase folks will push the MicroInverter over the Optimizer. They will present research papers and efficiency numbers to make their case.
They are both right. In the real world solar systems that I see day in and day out, they are both magnificent and their real world efficiencies are negligibly different.
They are both excellent technologies, both offer panel level monitoring and optimizing – just go for the best deal.
And while you are here, you might want to read about all the other types of Inverters available : car and truck inverters are really useful gadgets. Click here to see more on Inverters.
There is plenty more to see in the solar world. Check out these articles. Thank you for visiting MySolarHome.us.
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Best Power Inverters
Last update on 2018-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API