Car batteries work on direct current so they are unable to run most electrical appliances. This is where a car power inverter comes in that converts a direct current to alternating current enabling you to use this power for any electrical purpose.
That said, not all power inverters are created equal. A great device is one that is powerful, portable, safe and easy to use. With so many models available on the market today, you may get confused especially if you don’t have a proper knowledge of the product.
Best Car Power Inverter Reviews in 2018
This post will cover everything you need to learn about power inverters. We also provide you with our top 5 picks for the best power inverters for cars. Take a look at the features of each product below and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Best Car Inverter With Ample Power
This dual power inverter comes with installation kit and remote control included. For a reasonable price, the inverter provides a peak power of 3000 watts with plenty of safety features.
Best Value for Money
Best Power Inverter for Travel
This is an ultra compact, light-weight inverter that provides 700W peak power, featuring 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports, fast charging, MultiProtect Safety — all for less than $30.
This inverter can provide 1500W continuous power and 3000W instantaneous power. The product comes with a wired remote control plus an LCD screen to display input voltage and output wattage with battery level.
It features two standard AC outlets and two 2.1 USB charging ports. The package also includes 3ft battery cables, ANL Fuse Kit and USB cables with tablet chargers. The in-built fan offers ultra silent operation and protects the product from getting overheated.
In terms of safety features, the KR1500 has an in-line fuse to protect it from overload, overcharging and over discharging. The item has been tested, validated and approved by Metlab under UL std 458 and CSA std C22.2.
This inverter is powerful enough to run televisions, gaming consoles, microwaves, and other home electronics. The manufacturer offers 3 years parts and labor warranty.
- 1500 watt of continuous capacity and 3000W Peak
- Input Voltage: 12V DC, Output voltage: 110V~120V
- Dual USB with 2.1A shared
- LCD Display: Input Voltage / Output Wattage / Battery Level
- METLAB Approved for both its safety and performance
- Quality build with exceptionally quiet performance
- Great value for money
- Excellent 3-year warranty
- The watt meter is not always accurate
This inverter comes with two 110V AC outlets and two USB ports providing 500W rated, 600W maximum, and 1000W peak power. The AC outlets are suitable for most of the electrical appliances such as lights, laptops or motors, while dual USB ports can charge most phones and tablets simultaneously.
It has a built-in cooling fan to protect against over-heating. The fan, however, only works when theoutput power is over 200W to ensure quiet performance. The product also has safety protections in place for over/low battery and short circuit.
The product is light-weight, portable easy to store. The package also includes cigarette lighter adapter and car battery clips. Whilst driving, you can plug it into cigarette lighter and can draw up to 150 watts of continuous power. When connected to the car battery directly, it will provide up to 500 watts of continuous power.
The unit is covered by 24 months manufacturer warranty and 24-hour friendly service.
- Power (2 AC Outlets): 500W Rated, 600W Max, 1000W Peak
- USB output: DC 5V/2A
- Input Voltage: DC 12V(DC10-15V)
- Output voltage: AC 100V-120V
- Output wave: modified sine wave
- Dual AC outlets and dual USB ports
- Digital and illuminated display
- Ultra-portable and travel kit
- The plastic body of the unit is kinda cheap
BESTEK is renowned for its high quality and durable power inverters in the US, and this product is no exception. It delivers 300W continuous DC to AC power and 700W peak power with two AC outlets for charging devices such as laptops and tablets.
The product also features Smart Charging with two USB charging ports. The tech is designed to automatically detect your devices and deliver its fastest charge speed up to 2.4 amps per port.
This power bank has an ultra compact and light-weight design thanks to its solid aluminum enclosure. Further, the 24-inch cigarette lighter plug makes it convenient for the power inverter to be plugged into almost any vehicle.
The device features Mufti-Protection that includes a built-in 40 amps fuse and safe charging design to protect against short circuiting, overloads, and overcharging. There is also an integrated cooling fan that reduces heat and prevents shortages.
Last but not least, the BESTEK 300W power inverter comes with 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
- Power (2 AC Outlets): 300W Rated, 360W Max, 700W Peak
- Input Voltage: 12V DC, Output Voltage: 110V~120V
- Dual USB Port Output: DC 5V, 4.2A rated, 4.8A Max. Auto 0~2.4A*2
- Indicator: Green-operation, Red-shutdown
- Over Voltage Shutdown: DC 15V-16V, Low Voltage Shutdown: DC 10V-11V
- Dimensions are: 4.92 x 3.39×1.93 inch
- Dual AC outlets and dual USB ports
- Top speed charging
- MultiProtect Safety
- The fan can noisy at times
- The unit becomes a bit hot at 110V
UFire isn’t a specialist when it comes to power inverters, but it’s one of those Chinese brands that manage to do pretty much everything. What’s special about this UFire device is that it offers a lot for the price, and that’s why it has made it to our top 5 list.
The inverter delivers continuous DC to AC power of 500W and peak power of 750W. It is designed for multi-purpose charging with 2 AC outlets and 4 USB ports allowing you to charge 6 devices at the same time.
The LED screen displays the temperature of car compartment after 5 seconds of applying the power, then displays voltage 5 seconds later. Similarly, when charging with USB, the LED screen displays the voltage of USB first, and then displays its current 5 seconds later.
The product also uses Smart IC technology that automatically detects your devices to provide its fastest charge up to 9.6 amps. It comes with cigarette lighter adapter and car battery clips included.
The built-in cooling fan protects the unit from over heating while operating at quiet levels. Further, the unit has safe charging design to provide protection against under and over voltage, short circuiting, overloads, and overcharging.
- Total Power: 500W continuous DC to AC power and 750W of instantaneous power
- Input: DC 12V
- Dual AC Output: 110V±10%/60Hz±1%
- 4 USB Output: DC 5V/2*2.4A
- Indicator: Green-operation, Red-shutdown
- Efficiency: 90%
- Dimensions: 8.66*4.05*2.28inches(220x103x58mm)
- Dual AC Outlets and 4 USB Charging Ports
- Surprisingly inexpensive
- Fuse & Full Protection
- Installation is somewhat complicated
- Not a pure sine wave
This is a heavy-duty power inverter that provides 2300W continuous power and 4600W peak power. The device can be plugged directly into a 12V direct current battery and can power up TV’s, laptops, game consoles, and other electrical equipment off your car.
The PW2300-12 features dual 3-prong AC outlets, with 19.2A and a no-load draw of < .45A. The inverter is made of an anodized aluminum case that provides outstanding durability. It also has an LED display that indicates input and output wattages. Further, there is an internal 30A fuse, an overload indicator and a built-in cooling fan to prevent overheating. Another great feature is the audible low-voltage alarm that will shut down in case of overload, thermal or short circuit problems. Product Specification:
- 2300 watt of continuous capacity and 4600W Peak
- Input Voltage: 10-15V DC, Output voltage: ~120V
- Dual AC Outlets
- Provides 19.2 Amps
- LED Display- Input Voltage/Output Wattage
- Optimum efficiency: up to 90%
- Dimensions: 18.25 x 12.25 x 6.5 in
- Dual 3 Prong 120 volt AC outlet
- An audible alarm for low voltage
- Power On/Off Switch
- Not as efficient as other models on the list
- Cords sold separately
1. Modified Sine Wave: As the name suggests, this type of power inverters produce modified sine waves. They basically try to clone pure sine waves by making voltage go straight up and down. These power inverters are mostly suitable for running simple household appliances.
2. Pure Sine Wave: These devices produce sine waves that are closer to the alternating current produced at home. There are numerous electronic items, including medical equipment and upscale sound systems, that are sensitive to power spikes and need continuous power supply. Pure sine wave inverters are, however, costlier than modified ones.
Multiple Outlet Inverters: These units have multiple outlets that enable you to charge multiple electronic items at the same time. They are larger, more expensive and offer higher continuous current capacity than single outlet inverters.
USB Outlet Inverters: The inverters with USB ports offer their users an added benefit to power up gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, and other USB capable devices. A USB port would consume the same amount of power as a standard outlet.
If your power inverter can plug into the cigarette lighter output, then you can use it to power devices that consume 10 amps or less. These include smartphones, laptops, game consoles, televisions etc. Just make sure that the item you’re going to plug in is rated at 120 watts or less.
The power inverters that connect directly to your car’s battery can power larger appliances such as a fridge, cooking equipment, and even a number of hand power tools. These appliances should be rated at 1500 or less watts of starting power and 1000 or less watts of running power.
Output wattage of the inverter: Of course, you’re going to need a power inverter with high continous power of at least 1500W if you plan to run bigger appliances.
Number of outlets: Depending on your needs, make sure to check how many outlets the power inverter features before making a purchase.
Safety Features: Choose a power inverter that offers protection against short circuiting, overheating, overloading and over charging. There are some models that have displays to indicate input and output wattages with battery level. Some even have the capability of shutting down automatically before it reaches the overload point.
Price: How much a power inverter costs is an important factor in determining the best unit for your needs. Weigh each product’s pros and cons, relate its features to the price and then pick the one that benefits you the most.
Of course, you can. But, keep in mind that car batteries are designed for light operations and need to be kept full most of the time. Powering an inverter could drain your car battery by a considerable amount, so this is usually not suggested.
If you want, you can use Deep Cycle Batteries for this purpose as they guarantee longer life cycles. However, be aware of the fact that lead-acid batteries are not sealed and might spill the acid.
How long can I run an Inverter off a Car Battery?
This depends on two factors: the power you’re using (wattage of your device) and the capacity of your battery. Here’s the formula to calculate this: Time = (10 x (Battery capacity)/ Load)/2
How long does a car power inverter last?
As mentioned above, this depends on the load you’ve attached to the inverter. If you’re using the entire wattage of the battery at once, then you can get the lasting time for inverter by dividing the wattage of the load attached by the voltage of the battery.
It’s worth mentioning that 100% efficiency is practically impossible to achieve so the actual run time of your battery will be a little less than calculated.
Does a car inverter drain battery?
This will depend on whether the engine of your car is running. If the engine is kept running, then the inverter will not drain the battery, but if it’s not, the battery will run down. So it’s advisable to stop using engine before shutting down the engine.
How much power does a power inverter draw?
You can calculate the power drawn by an inverter by dividing the load watts by 20. This will give you the total number of amperes that a power inverter draws.