Best RV Inverters: Power Up on Your Road Trip
Get connected while you’re on the road with an RV power inverter.
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RVs bring people closer to the great outdoors because of the level of luxury they provide. Instead of hunkering down in a small tent, you can end your day of hiking, swimming, and outdoor activities by relaxing in the RV and tuning in to your favorite streaming network. If you’re new to RVing, you might wonder how that’s possible. A piece of technology essential to powering those creature comforts is an RV power inverter. These devices invert the 12-volt DC power supply into the 120-volt AC power our household devices rely on. While it might seem complicated, picking out a suitable inverter is easy once you get a general understanding of its function. Don’t worry. Our guide includes some suggestions to make your search easier.
AIMS 5000 Watt 12 Volt DC Power Inverter
This modified sine wave inverter supplies your RV with 5,000 watts of power. It serves as a perfect example as to of why modified inverters are growing in popularity.
- 5,000-watt power supply
- Competitively priced
- LED performance monitoring
- Can power most devices with no issue
- Loud fan
- Remote issues are common
KRIËGER 1100 Watt 12V DC Power Inverter
An affordable inverter that still performs as needed. This model features a 1,500-watt power supply making it ideal for those who spend little time on devices but still rely on essentials.
- Excellent price point
- Compact size
- Abundant features despite pricing
- Low power supply
ENERGIZER 3000 Watts Power Inverter
With a 3,000-watt power supply, this is a fantastic option for those who need a middle-of-the-road option. The renowned quality and reliability offer peace of mind to all RVers.
- Respectable power supply
- Competitive price point
- Respectable performance and features
- Sizable model with less power than typical for its dimensions
Benefits of RV Inverters
- Use electronics on the go. The obvious benefit of a power inverter is that they allow you to enjoy modern devices out in the wild. Inverters are designed to invert the 12-volt DC power coming from the battery to 120-volt AC power that televisions, microwaves, hairdryers, coffee makers, and so on rely on to operate.
- Connect to shore power. Shore power is the power that's already available from batteries. Power inverters allow you to tap into that source without the need to run a generator. Doing so will enable you to save the fuel generators need to run. It also allows you to enjoy the luxury of an RV with no annoying background noise.
- Keep your devices charged. Perhaps this piggybacks off the first benefit, but charging devices is extremely important. After all, you are out in the woods, and you never know when you'll need to make an emergency call or text. Also, your phone and laptop being charged up allow you to stay in touch with work or update your friends on how good life is via social media.
Types of Inverters
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An older type of power inverter is called a square wave. Newer technologies have mostly replaced this method, but they are occasionally still available due to the low cost. These inverters can power small appliances or power tools, but overall they are limited in what items they can sufficiently run.
Pure Sine Wave
Pure sine wave inverters are the premier option. Even if they're usually the most costly option, they're exceedingly popular for a reason. That reason is that they provide the cleanest source of power to your devices and often can support more of them. In short, this is the option for those looking to have devices run as they would at home.
Modified Sine Wave
Modified sine wave inverters often get a bad rap. They consume more energy from the batteries, devices might not run quite as well on them, and the low price tag leads many to believe that they're just junk. The fact of the matter is that they are growing in popularity. That's because advancing technology allows them to be more efficient as time passes. Still, it's worth being aware of the common issues and reading into the model you purchase to ensure it will run as you need it to.
This privately held corporation is based in Bradenton, Fla. PowerMax has been supplying battery chargers, DC inverters, and generators for more than 15 years. The company has a great reputation for customer satisfaction. The owner attributes this success to their advanced Quality Control program that evaluates pieces throughout the manufacturing process—focusing on every aspect such as incoming parts, works in progress, and completed products.
AIMS Power is focused on developing off-grid and renewable energy. The company got its start in 2001 when its founder created his first power inverter in a garage located in Reno, Nev. The company has since grown and now offers 95 products, including the 8000 Watt DC to AC Power Inverter. AIMS is now a global company that provides products to organizations like NASA and is working to improve or sustainable energy resources.
WindyNation is a small company in Ventura, Calif. It is best known for manufacturing wind and solar generators with a focus on DIY builders. One of the most popular and helpful offerings from the company is its community forum, where customers offer each other tips and ideas on how to implement clean energy solutions. WindyNation produces a popular solar-powered RV inverter for renewable and off-grid living.
Xantrex is one of the most successful brands of onboard AC power. It produces technology for RV, marine, military, construction, EMS, and commercial vehicles. The brand is owned by Mission Critical Electronics, which is headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif. One of its most popular products is the PROWatt 2000 Inverter.
RV Inverter Pricing
- Under $150: Smaller RV inverters can cost around $100. While this investment is the best price-wise, they generally have less power output and fewer options compared to premium models.
- $150 to $300: Some of the best RV power inverters land in this middle price range. These are usually 3,000-watt RV inverters and 2,000-watt inverters for RV use, and typical features include larger batteries, higher power output, and multiple outlets for easy use.
- $300 and up: This premium price point is where you’ll find the best pure sine wave inverter for RVs. These inverters can run your entire motorhome and include helpful features like cooling protection, easy installation tools, or even solar panels.
Having a power inverter that can't handle the devices you want to use is a waste. The first thing you need to know is how much power you'll actually be using. For example, do you simply need to charge your devices or does the entire kitchen in your RV need electricity? It’s essential to look at the devices you are powering to find out how many watts each uses and then add it up to determine which inverter will support them. Your inverter needs to have a constant output that is above the amount of watts you expect to use but isn't producing so much extra power that it ends up being a waste of money.
There are several potential issues that your inverter can run into, so having a device with built-in protection is very helpful. The most significant worry is overheating. RV power inverters produce a lot of heat while running, so it's crucial to find a product with cooling fans. Other electrical safety features include overload protection, an over-voltage alarm, under-voltage alarm, high-quality power surge protection, and a short-circuit prevention system.
Make sure you get an RV inverter that you can hook up yourself. There are several different ways to hook them up, and some need to be hard-wired. Some of the easiest to set up models are inverters that can plug directly into a 12V port with battery cables. You should also keep in mind where the inverter will go and whether or not the device comes with brackets.
- Size. Some of the most expensive RV inverters are incredibly large and heavy. This is important to consider before you make a purchase because you'll want to plan out where the device will fit and if it is too bulky to be worth the price.
- Price. Most of the time, inverters will be priced based on power output. However, this isn't the only important factor, and spending more money for extra power may not always be worth it. Consider your expected usage and what features are most important to you.
- Remote Control. Some RV power inverters come with a remote switch, both wired and wireless. While it may not be necessary, think about where your device will be placed and whether or not it will be easy to reach the manual on and off switch.
Best RV Inverters Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This is an inverter that covers all the bases and is a suitable choice for most RVers. What makes this model so great is the supply of 5,000 running watts that’s suitable for many folks spending more time outdoors than cooped up inside the RV. It’s also priced perfectly for someone looking for a more capable unit without taking out a small loan to power up their phone and TV. That said, this is a modified sine wave inverter, but it serves as an example of how good this type can be. Despite the sine wave, this model still does a great job with power tools, pumps, and other products with motors that tend to struggle when running on this type of power supply. And if you are wary of placing too much stress on this inverter, it features LED indicators that work to monitor its performance.
As for the drawbacks, this model is louder than others, and its remote control seems to be its major weak point. For the most part, you will be able to work around these issues, but they are worth being aware of.
When it comes to smaller and less-expensive options, the best inverter for camping is the KRIËGER modified sine wave inverter. While this option has fewer watts than the others on the list, it's important to remember that the extra power may not be necessary. If you don't need to run all your appliances at once, it might be worth saving money with this capable little device. The overall size of the KRIËGER is a huge selling point. Power inverters can be bulky and take up a lot of your already limited space in an RV. This inverter has two USB ports, two AC outlets, an included remote switch, and an LED screen that displays battery power, wattage, voltage, temperature, and warnings. This product also comes with a three-year warranty, which is the longest on the list.
Despite being the best travel trailer inverter, the KRIËGER misses the mark in a few key areas. Most notably, this inverter has the lowest power output of any product on this list. Anyone looking to power several appliances at once shouldn't get this device. Also, this inverter can be prone to overheating.
Another great RV power inverter that gives you a wide variety of device options is the Energizer modified sine wave inverter. This device comes in various sizes. This one offers 3,000 watts of continuous power, with 6,000 watts of peak power.Energizer's 3,000 Watt 12V Power Inverter is a good alternative to the AIMS model because it shares a lot of similar features, but this is a cheaper product. This inverter can convert 12 volt DC power to 120V AC Power. The fan on this product is also much quieter than most RV inverters, and the device has a remote switch.
Easiest to UseGiandel Pure Sine Wave InverterCheck Latest Price
The Giandel Pure Sine Wave Inverter features 1,200 watts of pure sine wave output power and 2,400 watts of peak power. It has a 12-volt input, two AC outlets, a 2.1A USB port, and battery cables. It can provide continuous power for items such as air compressors, CPAP machines, fans, freezers, refrigerators, and medical devices. It's made of high-quality aluminum alloy for durability. Safety features protect the unit from over voltage, low voltage, overloading, short circuiting, overheating, and reverse polarity. The unit also has a soft start and auto restart function. It's simple to control the inverter using the wired remote control. The device also has an easy-to-read LED screen that displays the input voltage and output power. The cooling fan minimizes heat and keeps shortages from occurring. The manufacturer also provides an 18-month warranty.
The biggest complaint about this product is that the included cable is not very good quality and a little small. Also, while it shouldn't overheat up to 1,200 watts, it may start doing so at 1,100 watts.
The Giandel heavy-duty power inverter features an isolated input and output design. It provides 5,000 watts of continuous power and 10,000 watts of peak power. It converts DC 12V to 110-120VC AC. It has four AC outlets, an LCD display, a USB port, and a remote control with four pairs of AWG cables. The display allows you to check battery voltage, AC voltage, and inverter protections. It's constructed of durable aluminum alloy and has a cooling fan to reduce heat and avoid shortages. Like the other Giandel model on this list, it has several safety features to avoid problems associated with overheating, over voltage, low voltage, overloading, and short circuiting. It has low interference technology and comes with product liability insurance supplied by AIG. Users like that the unit disconnects the power flow to protect items plugged into the system due to issues such as low voltage. It also runs a lot of different appliances.
There have been some complaints that it's a little noisy and can emit a high-pitched sound when in use. The instruction manual is also a little lacking.
Honorable MentionAmpeak 2000W Power InverterCheck Latest Price
The Ampeak 2,000-watt power inverter provides continuous DC to AC power output with a peak power of 4,000 watts. It includes three AC outlets and a USB charging port that converts 12V DC battery power to standard 110V AC power. You can use it on a variety of devices and appliances, including TVs, laptop computers, DVD players, and smartphones. Features include a smart digital display, cooling fan, and audible alarms. The inverter provides protection and will shut down if it experiences over voltage, low voltage, overloading, short circuiting, or overheating. It has a strong ABS shell and insulated terminal cables for better protection. You simply need a 12-volt battery to provide power during a storm, power outage, or other emergency. Each unit is ETL certified and backed by an 18-month warranty.
Unfortunately, this is not a pure sine wave inverter, so you can't connect it to appliances such as compressors, refrigerators, and microwaves. There have also been some complaints that the fan in the device is a little loud.
Honorable MentionKrieger 2000 Watt Power InverterCheck Latest Price
Krieger makes its way to our list with yet another affordable model. Only this time, it’s a little more robust. The primary difference between this and our first is the fact that it has a 2,000-watt power supply. That might not seem like much more, but it can be the defining difference between whether either model is suitable for the consumer. The good news is that the boost in power doesn’t drive up the price much as this is still a very cost-efficient model. Many of the same features and benefits carry over. It’s compact, which is another major consideration often left off the table. It has all of the same digital performance monitoring and outlets you would expect. And it even has that same three-year warranty. Therefore, it’s basically just the ramped-up version of our pick for Best Value.
Unfortunately, it has the same issue as the other. It’s still fairly underpowered compared to the average entry. You can move up to a more powerful version, but the price nearly doubles when you do.
Honorable MentionPOTEK 5000W Power InverterCheck Latest Price
This POTECK inverter is a little more expensive than its counterpart, but it packs a lot more punch. It provides 5,000 watts of continuous power and 10,000 watts of surge power, allowing users to charge several devices at once. It has four AC outlets and two USB charging ports, so you can power everything from an air compressor to a coffee maker or electric saw. What's nice about this inverter is it has a Bluetooth wireless remote control system. If you download the proper software, you can control the unit up to 33 feet away. When the temperature is 104 degrees or higher, the cooling fan starts to operate. It also has six internal fuses as well as over voltage, under voltage, overload, over current, overheating, and short-circuit protection.
Some users, however, have complained that it makes a high-pitched buzzing sound while in use. The voltage range may not be as high as you'd like, and it doesn't have a warning light.
Honorable MentionGoWISE Power 1000W Pure Sine Wave InverterCheck Latest Price
The GoWISE pure sine wave inverter provides 1,000 watts of continuous power and 2,000 watts of surge power for 12V DC to 120V AC power. It includes cables with ring terminals, a remote switch, three output sockets (two AC and one USB), and detailed instructions. Designed for use during power outages or in vehicles, it can power sensitive equipment, including computers. This product provides protection against overload, overheating, over voltage, under voltage, and has a low voltage protection alarm. It comes with a temperature control cooling fan and features soft start low interference technology. The device has an LED light that alerts users to any issues. GoWISE also provides free lifetime support should you experience any problems. It provides good power regulation, is reliable, efficient, and automatically turns back on following a loss of power.
One downside is the cord supplied with the unit may be a little short. Also, the remote isn't wireless, so it's a little inconvenient. In addition, the mounting screw on the back of the unit isn't in the best spot and doesn't allow easy screwdriver access.
Honorable MentionEDECOA Pure Sine Wave Power InverterCheck Latest Price
The EDECOA pure sine wave power inverter has a continuous power output of 3,500 watts with a peak power output of 7,000 watts. It's designed for use during camping, boating trips, and in areas in which there's no accessible electricity. The inverter connects to a battery and the electrical appliance to provide power. The device features four AC outlets, one hardwire terminal, a remote control, and an LCD screen that displays battery pattern, voltage, and power; voltage display; and inverter output voltage. During protection mode, the device will flash. For added protection, the unit comes with intelligent fan control, intelligent power management, and automatic voltage regulation. Users like that it's easy to install and provides clean power.
One problem is the user's manual is not very good, and there's no information online. It can be difficult to get in touch with customer service. Also, the wiring to the block can make it hard to read the display.
- Inverters draw power — even in standby mode. If you know you don't need it to invert power continually, you should turn it off. Otherwise, you should invest in a robust battery system to prevent draining the power supply entirely.
- Modified sine wave inverters produce enough power to run appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and air conditioners. However, modified sine inverters are less efficient and won’t power anything with an electric motor to its full extent, so depending on your appliances, a pure sine inverter may be required.
- Be aware of your RV battery’s amps per hour as this will determine how long your inverter can run on the battery without draining all the power.
- Inverters draw constant power, and one way around this is to run a generator to charge the batteries continuously. Another alternative is to invest in solar panels that achieve the same goal without burning fuel or creating noise.
- Power inverters and power converters are two different things. An inverter essentially changes DC power to AC power, while a converter does the exact opposite. It's essential to understand which devices need so that you can properly power them.
Q: What does an RV power inverter do?
A power inverter takes the DC (Direct Current) electricity from your RV's battery and converts it to AC (Alternating Current) power. This allows you to power your regular devices and household products with the RV battery.
Q: Is there a difference between an inverter and a converter?
Yes. While an inverter changes electricity style from DC to AC, a converter changes the form in the opposite direction (AC to DC).
Q: How do I use an RV power inverter?
A great thing about power inverters is that they're very straightforward to use. After the initial setup (as required by your specific product), all you have to do is turn the inverter on and plug in whatever needs power.
The best RV power inverter overall is the AIMS 5000 Watt 12 Volt DC Power Inverter. This device is the answer to the demand of most RVers on account of its useful power supply and affordable pricing.
If you don't need all that power and want a more affordable product, the KRIËGER 1100 Watt 12V DC Power Inverter is your best choice. This model is great for smaller power needs and still has some high-quality features.