Want to charge your laptop, play a portable stereo or watch TV in your car? You should invest in a car power inverter. A power inverter allows you to have an AC outlet in your car that you can use anywhere you want. These inverters come in handy, especially when you are tailgating, camping, or on a long road trip. These simple devices can be charged much faster compared to a car battery charger and are incredibly convenient to hook up and use.
The best thing about them is that they aren’t much expensive and you can easily afford one for your car. In short, when this thing is installed in your car and switched on, you can run pretty much all sorts of home electronics in your car.
In this article, we will provide you helpful information about these amazing devices for your car. Once you are well informed about them, you will know exactly how to go about shopping for the best power inverter for your car. Let’s get started.
How Do Car Power Inverters Work?
If you are a bit of a technical person, you will know the fact that DC power doesn’t generate a high voltage that can run electric appliances. This is where a car power inverter comes into action – it goes through two processes as the DC energy runs through it.
First, it boosts the voltage of the incoming electricity to make it to the range that is better suited for running AC devices. Once the voltage of DC input is increased, it is then converted into the same AC power that your home runs on.
After these two steps are completed, a power inverter can then supply AC voltage to any electronic device you want.
Benefits of Owning Car Power Inverters
- You can easily run a TV, electric kettle, portable stereo system, or other electronic appliances in your vehicle.
- When you are going on tailgating or camping, you can bring along your laptop, computer, or portable fan and never worry about charging them.
- It provides a decent emergency power backup option to run important electronic devices after a storm or other unfortunate event that causes power loss.
- A perfect choice for road truck drivers to install in their rigs.
- An ideal option to equip your boat with an AC power outlet to run all sorts of home electronics.
- Types of Car Power Inverters
Types of Car Power Inverters
1. Modified Sine Wave Inverters
This type of power inverters uses a relatively simpler process to generate the sine wave. During this process, the efficiency can sometimes be reduced remarkably with cheaper models as their sine waveform is more of a square than smooth.
However, using modified sine wave power inverters to power sensitive devices, such as your laptop, might ruin its efficiency over time. These power inverters shouldn’t be used with devices that use AC motors or are controlled by microprocessors as they could overheat.
2. Pure Sine Wave Inverters
Also known as true sine wave inverters, they can generate the same quality of Alternating Current as power grids or generators. Although this type of power inverter is a little more expensive, it is designed to generate smooth sine waves that the former type cannot. Following are some benefits of pure or true sine wave power inverters for your car:
- Electronic appliances that run on pure sine wave inverters produce a lot less noise.
- Sensitive devices such as smartphones and laptops are safe from overheating or other damages that might occur.
- Minimal chances of sudden shutdown or errors.
- AC motors of appliances run without overheating.
Want to know which one to get for your car? Well, the answer depends on your requirements and why you need a car power inverter in the first place. If you want to run a variety of electronic devices or expensive gadgets with motors, you should definitely invest in a pure sine wave inverter.
Things to Consider When Buying a Car Power Inverter
Price shouldn’t be a huge factor in the decision when buying a power inverter because most of them are pretty affordably priced. However, you will get what you pay for. This means getting a power inverter made by a renowned brand is much better than buying a cheaper one that might damage your electronic devices.
- Power Output
Not all the power inverters are designed the same way when it comes to supplying power. You should make sure that the power inverter you are buying meets all your demands for portable AC electricity. This means if you are planning to run your TV, laptop, and electric fan all at the same time, you should invest in a power inverter that can supply enough power output.
The rule of thumb here is adding up the total wattage of the electronics that you want to run off your car’s power inverter. The estimate wattage will help you decide which power inverter to buy.
- Number of Outlets
Not only should you consider the output of your car’s power inverter but also the number of outlets it has. Most of them only come with one or two outlets.
- Build Quality
You don’t want to invest in a power inverter that is made of flimsy and cheap materials that would give up sooner rather than later. Always remember that they will be working in a pretty harsh environment, and they might get very hot while they are converting DC voltages into AC. You need a power inverter that is made of solid materials and have a robust build quality.
- Safety Features/Device Protection
To make sure you don’t get your devices damaged, you should look for safety features and built-in protections in a power inverter for car. It should be equipped with things such as fuses, low battery shutoffs, and overheating protection. Plus, it should have overload and overcurrent protection.
Last but not least, the warranty should not be taken for granted. Although these are affordable devices, they aren’t disposable, and you won’t be buying them frequently. So, make sure the power inverter you like also comes with a decent warranty.
Our Top Picks
This power inverter by Foval is made for powering up light-duty AC electronics. It can supply up to 150 watts only to the product plugged into it. This is a pretty decent output for running or charging a laptop computer. It comes with one standard household electrical output and two USB charging plugs. The device is equipped with several safety features, so you shouldn’t worry about burning or damaging your devices.
Plus, the device is pretty lightweight (9.9 ounces only) and portable (measuring 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches). Although this power inverter is good enough to run more than one electronic appliance at a time, it only comes with one built-in household electrical outlet. Plus, users have also complained about it getting warm to the touch quite quickly. However, it is backed by an 18-month warranty.
Bestek is considered America’s number 1 power inverter brand. This power inverter by Bestek is made to supply 400 watts of continuous DC to AC conversion along with having 1000 watts of peak rating. The best thing is that it provides more than enough power supply to run several appliances, and it comes with dual 110V household electrical outlets.
It features four USB ports to charge all your digital gadgets easily. What we like the most in this power inverter is that it has two built-in replaceable 30A/32V fuses for enhanced protection. To make sure the inverter runs cool and doesn’t overheat, there is a fan installed in it. Additionally, it has overload, overcurrent, overvoltage, and short circuit protection as well. The package also contains a 2.3ft cigarette lighter plug and two 2ft black/red battery clips.
The product is backed by an 18-month hassle-free warranty.
Tripp Lite car power inverter is a durable, compact, and lightweight option. You can easily carry it place to place without worrying about finding the right place to put it. The included 3ft long cigarette lighter cable makes it easy for you to install it. The device can supply up to 375 watts to power your electronics without running low on output. It features two household AC outlets, providing you more options to run two different appliances at a time.
The best thing is that there is a suitable option available for everyone – means this power inverter comes in different power outputs, such as 150W, 375W, 750W, 1000W, 1500W, 2000W, 2000W/4 AC Outlets, and 3000W. You can get one according to your power requirements.
This power inverter is backed by a 1-year warranty.
If you want nothing fancy but a simple power inverter that can recharge and easily run low wattage devices, such as charging your laptop or running a small light, then this one is a great option to go for. It can supply 500 watts of continuous power to any device you plug into it. It features four USB charging ports of 2.4A (each). You can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter port or just attach it directly to your car battery.
It is equipped with an ultra-silent thermal fan that doesn’t let the inverter overheat. It is tested, validated, and approved by METLAB for both performance and safety. The inverter comes with a 2-year warranty on parts and labor.
The Kriëger car power inverter can supply 1,100 watts of continuous power and has 2,200 watts of peak rating, making it a great option to run several devices. It is an all-in-one gadget that comes with a 3ft long battery cable, remote control, and a fuse kit. On top of everything, this power inverter also offers built-in protection features that will protect your devices from sudden overload, overheating, and short circuits.
Additionally, it is equipped with an LCD that shows the input voltage, output wattage, and the battery level. It supplies enough power to charge your smartphones, iPads, tablets, and any other USB-powered gadgets. It also comes with a 3-year warranty on parts and labor.
A car power inverter comes in handy when camping, tailgating, or on a long road trip, especially if you want to make it a very special one. With a power inverter, you can charge your laptop, smartphone, watch TV, and play games – all this in the comfort of your own car. Most importantly, you can charge your portable air pumps in case of an emergency.
In short, you won’t regret investing in a power inverter once you start enjoying its advantages.