A car power inverter is a simple device that uses the power of car battery to run electrical appliances such as chargers or laptops.
These automobile inverters provide you the ability to charge your laptops, tablet, iPhones, etc while you are traveling in your car. So, the next time while you are on your camping trip, carry these devices to stay connected with your family back home.
The power generated by a car engine is DC voltage and the inverter converts it into AC voltage so that electronic devices can use it efficiently and thus, these are called AC inverters. (Source)
- 1 Best Power inverters for Cars 2018
- 2 1. BESTEK 300W Power Inverter- Best Power Inverter
- 3 2. POTEK 500W Power Inverter
- 4 3. Topper-E 150W Converter
- 5 4. KRIEGER KR1500
- 6 5. KRIEGER KR2000
- 7 6. Power Bright APS600 – Best pure sine wave inverter
- 8 7. Enkey 150W Car Power Inverter
- 9 8. BESTEK 1000W Power Inverter
- 10 9. Whistler Pro800W 800-W Power Inverter
- 11 10. Xantrex Technologies Prosine 1000 Power Inverter
- 12 Understand the functioning of Car Power inverter
- 13 How to choose the right car inverter
Best Power inverters for Cars 2018
1. BESTEK 300W Power Inverter- Best Power Inverter
This is one of the America’s leading power inverter brands. It takes DC power supply from the car lighter socket and converts it into 2 AC outlets. The product is ideal for charging o laptops, phone chargers, iPads, Kindel and game consoles.
This smart in-car power charger is made for vehicle travelers, campsites or road travelers. This compact design, light-weight inverter comes in a solid aluminum enclosure.
This power bank is compatible with most of the modern electronics you may require throughout your long journey. It works well with most of the major brands of notebooks, tablets and PCs. It has a long power cord and can be easily placed on the backseat.
It has a dual color indicator (Green-operation, Red-shutdown) and comes with an 18-months manufacturer warranty.
The product has a 40 amp fuse and a built-in fan. It protects power inverter from producing heat and shuts down if over-heated. It also has a low-battery alarm.
Some advantages of using Bestek Inverter are highlighted below:
1. Bestek has earned itself as the undisputed power inverter supplier which provided inverters from 300 Watts to 750 Watts featuring 2 AC outlets multi USB ports which can be used for laptop charging and other things.
2. Lightweight: If you are planning to go on a road-trip then these power inverters will sneak into any small space for your little smoke breaks and all.
- It provides quick and efficient power results.
- It offers three outlets: 2 AC sources and one 3.1 USB port.
- It can power up devices while doing car tasks.
- The fan of the car makes some noise that can be irritating at times.
- When 110V plugged-in, the unit becomes a bit hot.
- High voltage products like hair dryers cannot be used.
2. POTEK 500W Power Inverter
This must have product is devoted to provide best power solution while on road trips, vacations, camping, emergency kits and more. It has 2 power AC outlets: 500W rated, 600W maximum and 1000W at peak. The working of this power inverter is based on the modified sine wave. It is suitable for most of the electrical appliances such as lights, television or motors. With the USB power outlet it can make your trip more enjoyable.
The fan of this best power inverter starts working at 200W. This in-built fan protects the product from over-heating. An audible sound alarm rings when battery becomes low and it automatically turns off after some time. The product has 24 months manufacturer warranty and 24-hour friendly service.
The product is very light-weight and portable. It is easy to carry, space-saving and easy to store.
Another great thing about this inverter from POTEK is that it is provided with a cigarette lighter adapter and car battery clips. Whilst moving you can connect it with cigarette lighter adapter and can draw up to 150 W continuous powers. When you are at the campground you can directly connect it with the battery of car with the help of car battery clips it will deliver 500 W continuous power.
- It charges mac book pro like a champ.
- Dual AC outlets and one USB port makes your journey comfortable and easy.
- The plastic quality of this product is very cheap and looks like it can crack anytime.
- It has some loose screws.
3. Topper-E 150W Converter
This super compact inverter is quite light-weight and is crafted with aluminum shells which is perfect for any car. It is ideal for electric products such as lamps, phone or laptop chargers, tablets and digi cams.
This TOPPER converter has 1 AC power outlet and 2 USB ports for small lamps and chargers and comes with 2 years manufacturer warranty. The customer service is available for 24-hours and is user-friendly. The product comes with an inbuilt fan which runs on two levels. This is to protect it from over-heating. When the inverter gets warmer the fan runs on the second level to avoid any kind of risk and has an built-in fuse to protect the device. Its 24-inch lighter plug is compatible with most of the cars.
The compact size of the power inverter allows you to place it comfortably on backseat. You can take it to remote job sites, camping sites or long travelling jobs.
- It provides 2 USB charging ports.
- It is compatible mac-book series and almost all laptop brands.
- The product heats up quite easily.
4. KRIEGER KR1500
This powerful product can provide the continuous power of 1500 W and peak power of 3000W. It has an LCD display that displays input voltage and output wattage with battery level. The modified sine waveform power inverter has an ultra silent inbuilt fan. It protects the product to get overheated. It also has an inbuilt fuse to protect it from overload, overcharging and over-discharging.
The power inverter has two standard AC outlets and two 2.1 USB charging ports. It comes with a 3 Ft battery cables and wired remote control. ANL Fuse Kit is also included in the product. The USB cables are compatible with tablet chargers.
The product comes with a 3-year of parts and labor warranty and connects directly with the 12V lighter plug. Televisions, gaming consoles, home electronics and small appliances can easily run on this power inverter. The product never left you out of battery. The item has been tested, validated and approved by METLAB.
- The product is a wonderful power solution.
- It has sturdy looks and is worth for every penny.
- Excellent three-year warranty for peace of mind.
- The watt meter of this power inverter is not much accurate.
5. KRIEGER KR2000
If you never want the power to go out of your belt, here you go. It is meant to meet all your demands. You can run anything and everything on it including microwave ovens, hair dryers, chest freezers, and the list is on. The full output power of this modified sine wave power inverter is 2000W and peak power is 4000 W.
It directly converts 12V DC power to 120V AC power. It has 2 AC power outlets and 2 USB charger points. A wired remote control comes with the product and allows you to adjust various settings. The status of the inverter can be seen on blue LCD screen. Warnings like overload, temperature, and short circuit can be seen on the screen. If input voltage increases than 16 volts DC or decreases than 10 volts DC, the inverter automatically shuts down. Also, if the internal temperature increases the particular parameters, it shuts down. It is known as thermal shut down. The in-built safety purpose fan is ultra silent. This heavy-duty product has 2 years warranty of parts and labor.
- With this product you will never go out of power.
- It has 2 year warranty of parts and labor.
- This product is quite expensive.
6. Power Bright APS600 – Best pure sine wave inverter
This 600 watt power inverter can be directly plugged into cigarette lighter plug. The working of this inverter is based on pure sine waves. There are quite a few sine wave based inverter and this one outshines them all. The power supplied by sine wave inverters is identical to the continuous power supply at home or even better than that.
It has an anodized aluminum case which provides durability and maximizes heat dissipation. The product has an overload indicator and a built-in fuse and cooling fan. The fuse and cooling fan protect the product from over-heating. The product comes with a low-level voltage indicator and low-level cut-off alarm.
It has 2 AC power outlets. If you have a limited budget, this product is a very good option. It can reliably run your personal equipment like game console, laptops, phone chargers and desktop PC etc. The product has an overload indicator and a LED display which displays input voltage/ output wattage.
- This product fits in budget easily and is a successful value for money item.
- It has a power On/Off switch.
- The fan of the inverter makes unnecessary noise.
- It does not have a USB outlet.
7. Enkey 150W Car Power Inverter
This car power inverter is the best travel companion. It takes power directly from 12 V DC cigarette lighter plugs. It comes with the power cord of length 16 inches and can be easily placed on the rare-seat. This power inverter can be used for outdoor purposes like vacations, remote job sites, camping, and vacations.
The product comes with a 24 months warranty and a very friendly email customer care support. This premium quality product is made up of cutting edge technology and is available at very affordable prices.
It has a smart cooling fan and it runs faster when the inverter gets warmer. The built-in fuse keeps it protected from short-circuit , low-voltage, over-charger, over-voltage and over-temperature. The inverter has 2 output USB ports which enable you to use phone chargers, laptops, tabs and lights while traveling.
- It charges your phone with faster speed.
- No con is known yet.
8. BESTEK 1000W Power Inverter
This product converts 12V DC voltage into AC Power source. The Brand is America’s leading brand and provides 1000watts continuous DC power. The peak power it provides is up to 2400 watt. This is ideal to run a DVD player, laptop, TV, game system, microwaves, pumps etc.
The rugged construction of the inverter allows it to stand in harsh environments and makes it perfect for campsites, remote job sites or on road. This power inverter indicates overload and has low-battery shut down features to protect all the connectedequipments. It has 3 external features and a built-in fan to protect it and cover up all the risks. The power inverter comes along with the battery clamps and cigarette lighter adapter.
The company provides 18-months manufacturer warranty and customer-friendly easy-to-reach service. It is advised to attach inverter with 12V DC voltage outlet if you are using an appliance of power less than 150 W. If power of the appliance is more than 150 W, attach inverter directly with battery using battery clamps.
- The product can withstand any environment and conditions and literally never go out of power.
- No major con is known about this product.
9. Whistler Pro800W 800-W Power Inverter
This amazing product converts 12V DC voltage into 120V AC power. It offers 800W of continuous power and 1600 Watt of peak power. It provides 2 AC power outlets and 1 USB power outlet. The product has five separate points of Electronic Circuit protection for safety. It has in-built cooling fans which does not let it heat above a certain point.
The product has an On/Off switch and ground fault sensing. This lighter and compact product is quite easy to handle and can be easily placed on the back seat of the car. The product has high surge power and comes with direct wire cables with clamps and should be directly wired with batteries for better results. The product is originally designed to handle high start-up loads.
- This product is value for money. It easily fits into your budget. Its price sets it apart from the competition.
- It is mountable, practically at any surface.
- It does not connect with the lighter plug. You have to connect it with battery directly.
10. Xantrex Technologies Prosine 1000 Power Inverter
This power inverter produces true sine waves and thus generates 120 AC power. The input power should be 10-16 V DC. It produces sine waves with less than 3% harmonic distortion. The product was originally created for recreational and industrial applications as its output power is capable of taking both heavy and light loads. It has a backlit LCD display and can be mounted on a unit in four positions. These inverters are lighter and more compact and are ideal for handling sensitive loads.
This power inverter generates 1000 Watt continuous sine waves and surges to 1500-Watt peak sine waves. It has high-frequency switching technology. The product can be charged on a multi-stage level. The product comes with a manufacturer warranty of 2 years. The power saver mode of the inverter draws only 1.5 watt under no load.
The inverter has in-built fans which protects it from getting heat. In-built fuses are present for over-voltage and under-voltage. You can run lamps, DVD players, laptops, televisions and audio systems.
- Light-weight and compact design.
- Efficient built-in fans keep it cooler.
- Finding a replacement for its fuses is very tough.
Buyer’s Guide: Before buying a product kindly look for these particular points.
- Type: Whether it is pure sine wave or modified sine wave product.
- AC ports and USB ports: It should have at least two AC outlets and one USB port.
- It should be directly connected to 12V DC cigarette lighter plug.
All these points along with the above reviews are sufficient to choose the best power inverter for car that can meet your requirements.
Understand the functioning of Car Power inverter
Before you can understand the functioning of the car power inverter, it is necessary to understand the AC and DC power and the difference between them. The power what you get from the outlets of your home is AC power and that you get out of the batteries is DC power. Car batteries provide low-voltage DC power. If you want to use the consumer electronic devices on the road which work on AC voltage, you have to install the equipment that is known as car power inverter. The power inverters convert direct current (DC) into alternative current (AC). This will help to use electronic devices in the car.
- Essential factors
In case of using car power inverter, the critical factors that should be kept in mind are the capacity of the car battery, output wattage of the inverter, and rated output of the alternator. The battery can provide service until it goes dead. So based on these factors you have to determine which portable devices you can safely use in the car. The devices like cell phones and laptops work fine using with the 12V attachments like cigarette lighter adapter.
Inverters work by using the unidirectional DC power to mimic the AC power source. Modern inverters are made with transistors or semiconductors. This inverters act as oscillator switching the polarity of the DC power source rapidly to create a square wave which is not like smooth, round perfect sine wave. Alternating current or AC forms a sine wave. Some devices like audio or video equipment, navigation devices or sensitive scientific equipment are inherently sensitive to the signal generated by an AC wave.
Most consumer electronic goods require something nearly to a pure sine wave. The inverters are mainly of two types, one that generates a modified sine wave and the other which creates a pure sine wave. The extra components required for cleaning up the sine wave are a series of filters, inductors, and capacitors and thus create either a modified or a pure sine wave. The inverters with modified sine wave are affordable but have little or no filtering. This works fine with the devices like a coffee maker with the simple electric motor. Where the devices require smoother sine wave, you need the inverter that does filtering better. The inverters with pure sine wave are expensive. If your budget allows, you can definitely go for AC car power inverter that creates perfect AC sine wave. As the devices that you require to use in the car are dependent on the functioning of car power inverter, try to install the one which suits the best as per your requirement.
If you want to find the best power inverter for the car then you need to keep a few points in your mind. Capacity of the car battery, rated output of the alternator and output wattage of the inverter are few vital constraints to take care of.
- We know that inverters produce heat and need ventilation. Some inverters have in-built fans but they consume electricity in order to run it. So kindly take care of the temperature in which you are using a power inverter.
- The battery of the car should be able to keep up and hook up power for the inverter.
- Power inverters hook up a larger amount of power. If the car engine is running and inverter is consuming power then it is okay. But if the inverter is hooking up power while the engine is off, it can over consume the power of car battery.
The requirements of power inverter:
If someone is constantly traveling or spends most of his time on road, power inverter can be quite useful. It is specially designed for corporate people who need to travel a lot, truck drivers or people who are camping.
Though electrical devices like laptops and phone chargers can be directly used with 12v attachments that plug directly into the cigarette lighter jack. But there are devices which can run only on AC input. Some examples of such devices are:
- Video games and Game systems
- Video cams
- DVD Players
- Cooking equipment
Types of Car inverters:
Based on their working, power inverters can be basically divided into two parts:
- Modified Sine wave: This powerful power inverter produces modified sine waves which is suitable for most of the consumer electronics. These kinds of inverters are affordable of the two.
- Pure sine wave: This kind of inverter produces pure sine waves. Pure sine waves are very much closer to the actual AC power available at our homes. There are devices which only work on an uninterrupted power supply and hence sine waves are required. This kind of inverter tends to be expensive.
How to choose the right car inverter
There are plenty of car power inverter brands available in the market ranging between hundreds to thousands dollar. You have to choose the best power inverter for your car, and it is essential to select the right size. But it is dependent on how do you want to use the inverter. You have to decide certain things like:
- The number of inverters you would like to use. The inverters come with 1-3 outlets, so you have to choose the right size as per your needs. You have to decide on using cigarette lighter adapter for flexibility and portability or the hardwired permanent installation. The thumb rule is that with the loads more than 150 watts you require a direct battery connection.
- How much current the equipment will draw that you use in the car. Small appliances can run using any inverters, but the heavy appliances require inverter with large capacity and direct connection to the battery.
- Domestic User and Outdoor worker
For the regular domestic user, the car inverter with the maximum power limit 200 watts is more than sufficient. The majority of family cars with 12v secure current supply that is less than or equal to 20A is fit to use appliances that are approx. 230watts. The old cars also have the supply of 10A, so you don’t require the inverter with high capacity. In this case, the cigarette lighter adapter can be used for the appliances below 150 watts. For the outdoor workers who need to use electrical devices with high power, need to have inverters directly connected to the battery. This battery connected inverters can supply power 500 watts or more to drive small motors as well as higher power devices with 1000 watts or more.
- Modified sine wave and pure sine wave
There are two types of car inverters in the market for sale, one with a modified sine wave and another with a pure sine wave. These inverters have a big difference in performance. The price is higher for a pure sine wave, but the performance is outstanding. The output quality is much better than the regular AC grid power. The use of high-end devices like video, gaming or navigator devices requires inverter with the pure sine wave. On the other hand, there are cheaper inverters with a modified sine wave. The guarantee of stability can be given in most cases for these inverters, so it is cost-effective to the buyers.
Above all, the maximum allowable current for the fuse of automotive 12v DC power supply should be kept in mind as that cannot withstand high power. So do not buy the high power inverter blindly or use the electrical appliances of high power. In that case, you will burn the fuse of the car, and instead of having any benefit it will cost more.