The necessity to power appliances while driving or camping can easily be accomplished using an auto power inverter. But before deciding on which one to buy, you need to check the list of features that make a particular brand or model the best auto power inverter for the money.
Best Auto Power Inverters Reviews
With an output of continuous 4000 watts, the Kriger auto inverter is the most potent inverted for cars on sale. It is capable of supporting a peak of 8000 watts for a short period of time.
Is comes in 5 power configurations, from 1100w up to 4000w. Due to its maximum 4000w output, it can be used to power even power tools, and there is almost no limit to the appliances it can support.
Kriger is ideal for those situations where you need lots of power. It can be used to replace the national grid when there are blackouts due to storms or other natural disasters.
It comes as a ready to install kit; all the accessories needed to install it is included. The kit consists of the wired remote control, fuse kit, and the cables required.
Installation is simple, hook the cables to the battery terminals, and you are ready to go. Regarding safety, the kit is approved by UL and meets all the CSA standards, making it completely safe.
It features an LCD that lists the parameters of the power inverter. The input voltage, output wattage, and battery level are all displayed on the screen.
The limited number of 120v standard outlets is one of the biggest cons in the case of Kriger power inverter. It would’ve been nice if there were 3 outlets instead of just two. Less powerful models feature 3.
The fan used to cool the kit down is really silent, almost you can not hear it. During high peak usage, it starts to be louder, but only then.
Kriger’s power inverter is the best auto power inverter for the money. The high output and quality components make this model one of the smartest purchases.Check on Amazon
Bestek is a slick-looking power inverter capable of delivering up to 300w at 120V AC. The cool case is predominantly black with some red inserts, having it in the car will most likely make it look like a space ship.
While the design of the case is incredibly good looking, the maximum power is a little bit disappointing but logical. The lower power is justified by the ease of installation. The installation takes literally 5 seconds, all you have to do it to connect it to the cigarette lighter socket.
Bestek power inverter is advertised as being able to power hairdryers and electric irons but in reality, the 300w maximum is not enough for these appliances. But, the maximum power is still enough for most appliances that don’t require more. For charging multiple phones and tablets it is more than enough.
For a short period of time, it is even capable of reaching 700w maximum. Using it beyond the limit is not recommended as it may overheat and result in a fire or ruining the electrical wiring in your car.
This Bestek inverter comes with 2 USB ports and 2 outlets. The USB ports can deliver 2.4 amps but can go to 4.8 for fast charging phones/tablets.
The internal heat is easily dissipated with the smart fan and vents. The fan speed is automatically adjusted depending on the internal heat.
The power inverter comes with a 40 amps fuse. For us, the large fuse seems like a marketing gimmick as the maximum power delivered by it is only 700w at peak usage. A smaller fuse would have been more than enough for it.
Overall this Bestek inverter is great and deserves the second place in our list due to its intelligent construction and quality.Check on Amazon
We’ve finally reached the 3rd position on our best car power inverter list. Ampeak is a great choice due to its 3 AC outlets. While most of the car power inverters on the market only have 2, it’s really good to find one to have 3.
The fact that is has 3 outlets makes it easier to connect multiple phones/tablets. The 2000w is more than enough to power a microwave or even small to medium power tools like circular saws or drills.
The Ampeak is really well built, with lots of safety measures implemented to keep everything in check. Most notable safety features are overload and short circuit protection, overheat, and low/high voltage protection. All these safety measures guarantee a safe experience, without worrying that something may go bad.
To install Ampeak 2000W power inverter you need to connect the wires included to the terminals of the car’s battery. The wires are long enough even if the battery is in the front or the back of the car.
The peak surge capacity is up to 4000w but it’s better to keep it to the maximum designed power at 2000w.
The case is built from ABS and it’s resistant to shocks. If you plan to leave the power inverter on the back so the kids can charge their electronics, rest assured that it will handle the abuse.
Support for it is 24h a day so any question or issue you might encounter, they are ready to answer them or to help you.
Ampeak is a great choice for people who require 3 AC outlets and 2 USB ports.Check on Amazon
Auto Power Inverters Guide
How does it work?
The car’s alternator generates all the electricity in a car. When the engine is running, the alternator generates 12V DC electricity that is used or stored in the car’s battery. While there are appliances designed for solar power, most of the products are designed to handle the national grid that delivers 120v AC.
To be able to use the 120V, you need something to raise the voltage from 12V to 120V and convert it to AC. And here is where a power inverter comes in. A power inverter is basically a transformer that does just that. Without a power inverter, you would not be able to power the 120V AC equipment.
How to install it?
Based on the model and brand, and especially the power output of the inverter, it can be installed in two ways.
The most simple inverter can be connected to a USB port of the car. While it is the most straightforward installation, it delivers the lowest power output.
The more powerful but complicated way to install it is to hook it up to the car’s battery. Physical installation depends on the manufacturer; all you need to do is to follow the instructions and be really careful, as something done wrong can start a fire. The process is a little bit more complicated, and it requires changing a fuse, drilling holes in the car for the wires.
How to use an auto power inverter
If everything is done correctly, you need to connect the appliance to the output of the inverter. That can be done in two ways. Trough an output socket or a USB port.
How to choose the best auto power inverter
Choosing an auto power inverter can be done only after you made a list of requirements that need to be fulfilled for your consumption requirements.
Make a list of everything you want to power. Find the largest consumer and that’s gonna be the starting point. If you want to power multiple at once then you need to add the watts of all of them.
As a good general rule, when choosing a car power inverter based on consumption, try to add 30% to the requirements as a safety measure. Let’s say you want to power a laptop, a fridge, and a tv at the same time. We are gonna use average consumption requirements for those items, yours may require less or more:
- average laptop – 50watts
- NewAir portable fridge – 100watts
- average tv – 100 watts
Adding the required watts we get 250 watts and adding the safety 30%, we get 325 watts. We are gonna look for an inverter that can deliver a minimum of 325 watts.
Figuring the power requirements we can move to the next criteria, which is the outlets. If we want to connect all of the above, then we need 3 outlet outputs. But some laptops can be powered using a USB cable so we could choose a power inverter that has only two outlet outputs and a USB output. Two outlet outputs are the most common.
The budget dictates what quality we’re gonna get for our money. While cheaper power inverters do not have a high quality built, they still can be used safely. Be sure that the power cables are thick enough and the fan is cooling the inverter properly.
Auto power inverter – Pros and Cons
The biggest pro is it gives the possibility to power 120V appliances. You are not limited to the 12V DC anymore. You can hook a TV and PlayStation in the back without any problems. The only limit being the inverter’s power output.
The biggest con is the difficult installation. The more powerful inverter requires a lot of work. If it is not done properly, the car will catch fire. While this can be done as a DIY project, for people not experienced it would be better to take the car to a mechanic and let him do all the work.
Auto Power Inverters for Cars FAQ
Q: Are inverters for cars safe?
A: Typically, car power inverters are safe. You have to be sure that the inverter you buy follows all the safety regulations that exist. All power inverters made in the USA are safe.
Q: Does a inverter drain the battery?
A: If the car is not powered up or running, yes, it will. To not drain the battery, the car’s engine needs to run. Without the car’s engine running, the alternator is not working, and electricity can not be generated.
Q: Can a car power inverter run a refrigerator?
A: Yes, it can. The rule of thumb is to check the wattage of the inverter. Pick one that is appropriate for the consumption requirements of your refrigerator.
Q: Can a car power inverter run a space heater?
A: In theory, yes, but in practice, it’s not efficient at all. A car’s inverter is capable of delivering a maximum number of watts, not enough to support the high consumption of a space heater.
Q: Can a car power inverter run a sump pump?
A: Sump pumps can be powered using a car’s power inverter. A piece of good advice would be to look for an efficient sump pump with a low power requirement.
Q: Can an auto inverter power a tv?
A: Modern TVs do not require a considerable amount of energy as they use LEDs. They can be powered without any issue using an inverter, but to be sure, check the manufacturer’s sheet first to find the required wattage. But on average a LED TV uses between 50 and 80 watts.
Q: Is a power inverter capable of running power tools?
A: Most of the corded power tools require vast amounts of electricity, but battery-powered does not as they are optimized differently. A better approach would be to use the power inverter to charge the power tool’s battery.
Q: Can an auto inverter power laptops?
A: Yes, without any problem. Laptops can be successfully charged with a car inverter. They do not require lots of energy; on average, a laptop uses 50 watts. Almost any kind of office accessories can be powered by it.
Q: Can I use a microwave with an auto inverter?
A: It is possible, but it depends on the brand and model of the microwave. Generally, microwaves require from 500watts up to 900watts. It would be better for you if you purchased a microwave designed for RV’s. They are designed to work with lower amps.