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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PUBLISHED ON September 18, 2019
Traveling can be a great adventure, and taking a trip in a motorhome can be very memorable. These days we have so many devices that run off of electricity, it's hard to imagine staying away from entertainment options as well as modern appliances. Luckily, you can use a trailer power inverter so that you never need to go without these products. Keep reading for some in-depth RV inverter charger reviews and our top three picks.
- Best OverallAIMS 8000 Watt Continuous Power InverterSummarySummaryThe 8,000-watt AIMS inverter is a great choice for powering your RV appliances, thanks to its power and features.ProsProsThis inverter has 8,000W of continuous power, 16,000W of peak power, overload protection, thermal shutdown, voltage protection, and short-circuit protection.ConsConsThe AIMS converter is the most expensive option, and the fan is noticeably loud.
- Best ValueKRIËGER 1100 Watt 12V DC Power InverterSummarySummaryWhen it comes to 1,500-watt inverter reviews from customers, KRIËGER is the most popular option.ProsProsThis inverter is compact, has two USB ports, two AC outlets, an LED display, a three-year warranty, and is the least expensive option.ConsConsThis RV power inverter has the least amount of power output and tends to overheat.
- Honorable MentionENERGIZER 4000 Watt 12V Power InverterSummarySummaryEnergizer makes a great RV inverter that comes in a variety of sizes, including a 100-watt powerpoint inverter.ProsProsThis product has 4,000W of continuous power and 8,000W of peak power and includes two USB ports and four AC outlets. It converts 12V DC power to 120V AC power.ConsConsThe Energizer converter has less power than the AIMS but takes up just as much space.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of RV Inverters
- Use electronics on the go. One of the biggest advantages of using a power inverter is being able to use your electronics while camping. This includes the appliances in your motorhome and even some luxury items like your TV or computer. Traveling and relaxing with entertainment options is the best of both worlds
- Connect to shore power. A power converter makes it simple to use shore power when available. Typical inverters give you easier access and convert from DC to AC power. This will give you the opportunity to use devices with regular plugs.
- Keep your devices charged. While escaping the regular everyday city life, you still want to keep your devices charged, whether it's your phone for an emergency, a laptop to check in on work, or even a GPS to get to your next location. RV power inverters give you regular AC plugs and sometimes even USB ports to keep your devices charged.
Types of Inverters
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.
The most common type of motorhome inverter is called a sine wave (sometimes called a true sine or pure sine inverter). The best RV inverters use this technology because it is the strongest and most advanced design. Sine wave inverters work with almost all appliances, making them ideal for mobile home use. While these inverters are great for their maximum power capabilities, they are also the most expensive.
Modified Sine Wave
Modified sine wave inverters have grown in popularity. These devices can effectively power most of your devices and appliances, and modified sine wave inverters are much less expensive than pure sine wave power inverters. The drawback is that these converters consume more battery power and don’t put out nearly as much power.
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 focussed 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.
- Over $300: 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 products 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? Your inverter needs to have a constant output that is above the number 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 Inverter Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: AIMS 8000 Watt Continuous Power Inverter
The best power inverter you can buy is the AIMS modified sine DC inverter. One of the best features of this product is that it comes in multiple different sizes—from 1,250 watts to 10,000 Watts. For the purpose of this AIMS inverter charger review, we'll be focusing on the 8,000-watt model as it has the best balance of features.
This unit manages to pack a lot of power into a relatively small product. The AIMS inverter gives you 8,000 watts of continuous power and offers 16,000W of surge power. The device has built-in overload protection, thermal shutdown, a reverse polarity indicator, high-voltage protection, low-voltage protection, and a short-circuit transfer switch. Its 66 amps can work with appliances and power tools, and this converter's performance can be monitored via the LED lights. One stand-out feature of this model is the light-weight construction. It’s also the easiest to set up.
Overall this is the best RV power inverter, but the AIMS model does have a few drawbacks. The biggest issue is that this is the most expensive option on the list, so someone on a tight budget should look for a different inverter. Also, the large fan used in this device is pretty loud compared to others.
Best Value: KRIËGER 1100 Watt 12V DC Power Inverter
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.
Honorable Mention: ENERGIZER 4000 Watt 12V Power Inverter
Another great RV power inverter that gives you a wide variety of device options is the Energizer modified sine wave inverter. This device can be ordered in a 100W size—which plugs into a vehicle's powerpoint—and the largest model is a 4,000W inverter (which is the model we’re focusing on in this review).
Energizer's 4,000 Watt 12V Power Inverter is a good alternative to the AIMS model because it shares a lot of similar features, but this a cheaper product. This inverter can convert 12 volt DC power to 120V AC Power. The fan used for this product is also much quieter than most RV inverters, and the device has a remote switch. You can power several devices at once with the two USB ports and four AC outlets. Energizer uses a built-in LED display to help you monitor input and output as well as emergency notifications and a battery indicator.
The biggest reason this product is not the number-one pick is that the AIMS converter outperforms it. The Energizer inverter is just as bulky as the AIMS inverter, while only producing half as much power. It is also much more expensive than the KRIËGER inverter.
- Most likely, if you are hooked up to shore power, you can turn your inverter off. Most shore power comes through as AC power already, so the inverter isn’t necessary. This is not the case, of course, if the shore power you’re using is DC power.
- 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.
Q: What does an RV power inverter do?
A: 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?
A: 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: 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 8000 Watt Continuous Power Inverter. This device has the most options with the highest power output without being too bulky.
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.