The Best RV Inverters/Chargers in 2020
Comparison, Guide, and Full Reviews
RV power inverters convert 12 volt direct current power from the RV’s “house” batteries and turn it into 120 volt alternative current that can be used by many household appliances used in the modern RV. RV inverter chargers both perform this classic “converter” function and have the extra ability to charge various devices. The best RV inverter is one that delivers the power you need when you need it while meeting other performance specifications you have.
Top 7 Best Power Inverters for RV use - Comparison
WZRELB 8000 Watt Max Continuous Power 16000 Watt Peak Pure Sine Inverter
4.8 out of 5
Go Power! GP-SW3000-12 3000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
4.7 out of 5
Xantrex Technology Inc, 81-2022-12 Inverter/Charger Freedom 458
4.6 out of 5
VertaMax Pure SINE Wave 1500 Watt (3000W Surge) 12V Power Inverter
4.5 out of 5
AIMS PWRI200012120S Pure Sine Power Inverter, 2000 Watt Continuous 4000 Power
4.5 out of 5
GoWISE PS1004 3000W Continuous 6000W Surge Power Pure Sine Inverter
4.4 out of 5
AIMS PICOGLF12W12V120AL Green AIMS 1250 Watt 12VDC to 120VAC Power Inverter
4.3 out of 5
What is An Inverter Actually?
Inverter chargers are showing up in newer RVs in place of the standard inverter, but fewer people know what they are. An RV inverter charger is essentially power converter with an extra power storage capacity and plugs that let you use it as a charger.
RV inverter chargers double as chargers, whether they can charge batteries in your smart phone or provide extra power stored up in its own battery. Some inverter chargers combine both the converter and inverter with transfer switches, fuses and electrical safety components. There are several different types of RV inverter chargers.
Note that not all inverter chargers can act as a source of backup power or as an uninterruptible power source giving you a few minutes to run everything when you lose shore power.
Here are the Top 17 Best RV Inverter Full Reviews
After completing a great research, our experts listed the top 10 RV inverter products and explained why they're the different from others. Also, they revealed the reasons for keeping them in the top list. We hope- our time and pain will guide you to choose the right decision. Let start reading reviews one by one...
01. VertaMax PURE SINE WAVE 3000 Watt Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.6/5
This inverter puts out 3000 watts of continuous power. It is capable of handling up to 6000 watt surges, so it could handle the load of turning on two or three major appliances at once.
You could turn on both a TV and gaming console or two computers simultaneously without shorting something out. Each outlet, too, can handle the whole load, a plus if you want to pull in one energy hog. It comes with three different grounded AC power outlets for 115 volt AC power.
Each AC power outlet has a circuit breaker to protect everything else plugged in in case there’s a power surge. This unit has a variety of protective measures built-in. For example, there is reverse polarity protection, over-heating protection, short circuit protection and warnings for both high and low voltage. This unit has a one year manufacturer warranty.
It puts out power more like a modified sine wave inverter than pure wave, and the voltage is sometimes lower than the official 115 volt rating. That hurts efficiency and eventually hurts your appliances. Don’t try to use it with sensitive electronics like smart phones or printers.
- Good base load and exceptional peak load capacity
02. Power TechON 3000W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
This unit is moderately high priced but not the most expensive in its class. If you pay more, you can get a hardwire terminal with it, and then the package costs as much as the most expensive RV inverter charger on this list.
The best inverter comes with five different protection systems. Thermal protection shuts things down if it overheats. That is aside from the built-in fan.
Overload protection protects connected devices if something overloads. It has both over-voltage and under-voltage protection.
The TechOn inverter has an alarm for low voltage situations. It also has a 3000 watt base load and 6000 watt peak load. Where this unit stands out is the excellent power quality.
The TechON inverter charger has less than three percent total harmonic distortion, making it ultra-safe for sensitive electronics. It has three AC power sockets and a USB port. The USB port can deliver up to 5 volts and 2000 mA. The package includes both cables and a wired remote control.
The unit has a basic one year warranty. Getting service for the RV inverter charger either in warranty or out of warranty is nearly impossible. These RV inverter chargers can work for years, but a few do conk out after a year or two of constant use.
03. Go Power! Model GP 3000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
The GoPower inverter charger (model GP-SW3000-12) is designed to put out 3000 watts of pure sine power. While it can in theory handle 6000 watts of peak load, the voltage will sag when heavy “load” is sustained. This could trip the lower voltage threshold on the unit.
This is the most expensive RV inverter charger on this list. It is a pure sine wave inverter, so it gives you high quality power. You get a minimal two CFCI outlets.
The protective measures are standard: over-voltage, under-voltage and overload protections. The manufacturer provides a two year warranty. The company’s tech support can be reached but is of limited use.
You can’t get the unit repaired after the warranty period, though the company may offer a discount on a replacement if it fails within or just after the warranty period. For example, if the GFI won’t reset, they’re likely going to send a replacement and often without any money out of pocket on your part.
A design bug is the fact that it is hard to reach the grounding lug screw, and the instructions are now help in this area.
04. Aims Power 3000 Watt 12 vDC Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.3/5
The AIMS brand inverter charger is surprisingly affordable. This is in part because it is designed for a 3000 watt continuous power draw. It has a 9000 watt surge capability;
though this is extremely high, it can only be sustained for 20 seconds, so trying to start up a microwave and AC or two other big appliances could trigger the safeties.
This RV inverter charger doesn’t have good power quality. It sometimes suffers a voltage drop that is low enough to affect appliances plugged into it.
The unit keeps its cool. The Aims Power Inverter has thermal fuses, a conductive aluminum case and rather quiet cooling fan. It has over-temperature protection and over-load protection.
It's not going to overheat to the point of shutting down or ever catch fire. This unit has an UL listing; it is designed for power backup systems. You can minimize energy loss by putting it in a 25 watt hibernation or power save mode.
The manufacturer has poor customer service. They require you to send the item back for diagnosis and/or replacement, and they may charge you for shipping it in for diagnostics. Sometimes they send it back to you without having fixed anything.
05. Ampeak 2000W Power Inverter Charger
Editor Rating: 4.2/5
We recognize that not everyone will need 3000 watts of power. That’s why we’ve included a review of the Ampeak 2000 watt RV inverter charger. It generates 2000 watts of continuous power. In theory, it has a 4000 peak load but often shuts down at 3000 watts.
This inverter charger is cheap, even given that it only puts out 2000 watts. That is in part because it is a modified sine wave inverter. Use this inverter for your rugged appliances like toasters, vacuum cleaners and swamp coolers.
Don’t expect to use it for smart phones, TVs or other devices unless you have extra protection on the connecting wires to ensure high power quality. It does have ten small built-in fuses, over-voltage and under voltage warnings and various alarms.
However, that just protects against surges and wild power fluctuations, not the minor variations that can still damage your laptop’s CPU. A side benefit of the smaller capacity is its much smaller size; this unit will fit in storage areas the larger 3000 watt power inverters on this list could not. A minor issue with this model is the fact that it buzzes or hums when in use.
06. Xantrex 81201012 Power Inverter/Charger
Editor Rating: 4.1/5
The Xantrex model 81201012 inverter puts out 2000 watts. It stands out for its exceptionally high surge capability.
Conversely, it can carefully charge your batteries, manipulating the power levels it sends based on the outdoor temperatures.
This inverter is expensive, and it costs more than some 3000 watt inverters on this list.
At 55 pounds, it also weighs as much or more than other inverters.
It is designed for plug and play with Freedom remotes by Xantrex and Link 1000 power panels. It has two outputs. This inverter can be used as a replacement for the obsolete Freedom 10/1000 watt inverter.
Xantrex offers a 30 month warranty, though getting the warranty honored after you’ve used the unit for a while is low.
07. POTEK 2000W Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
This 2000 watt power inverter by Potek is one of the most affordable on this list. Yet you get an RV power inverter with three AC outlets plus a USB port.
This is the best inverter for those with multiple small items that need AC power. One of the benefits of this model is the set of car battery cables that come with it.
This model has 2000 watt continuous output power and 4000 watts of peak power. You could run a small fridge or low power microwave off of it.
The unit’s load monitor gives you a clear visual indicator of how much power you’re using, so that you know when you’re close to max before the warning alarms go off.
The unit comes with several built-in fuses to avoid overloading it and anything plugged into it. The fans automatically kick in when the unit is over 100ºF. It is small and lightweight; it comes in at just over ten pounds.
The manufacturer offers a 24 month warranty. Getting service under the warranty is a challenge if you’ve used it for a month or two before it died.
The downside of the cooling system is how loud it is. Note that it does not put out the tightly controlled power that you need for sensitive electronics.
08. GIANDEL 1600W Power Inverter for RV house use
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
This is another affordable inverter charger. This is in part of a 1600 watt continuous power source, while it can generate 3200 watts of peak power. It provides 2 alternating current power plugs and a single USB port.
Unlike many other units in this price range, it has a remote control and connecting cables. It is shipped with mounting feet to minimize how much the body vibrates against the floor or wall where you mount or store it. This may reduce the risk of a spark created by such metal rubbing on metal.
One of the reasons this model made this list is the fact that it is designed to be plugged into a 300 watt solar panel directly. The excellent energy efficiency allows many people to use fewer solar panels with this to power their mobile lifestyles.
The Giandel power inverter charger comes with a variety of built-in power features. For example, it has the standard over-voltage, low-voltage and overload protection. It has short circuit protection. And unlike even other inverter chargers on this list, it has polarity reverse protection.
This is the best power inverter for those who don’t know how to otherwise monitor and manage it. It has soft start tech to reduce the strain on your plugged in motors. It has an auto-start, too. The manufacturer has an 18 month warranty.
09. Wisess Power Inverter 2500W/5000W Peak 12V/24V DC to 120V/220V AC 60HZ with LED Display and Dual AC Outlets
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
This car power inverter by Wisess is powerful, literally. It can support a 2500 Watt continuous load, but it can meet 5000 Watt peak loads. This means it won’t die because you turned on the air conditioner and several other appliances at the same time.
This is a multipurpose device. You can use it as a marine power inverter, an industrial inverter or vehicle power inverter. Yet it is small and light enough to take camping.
One point in favor of this inverter is the sheer variety of protective mechanisms built into it. It has both over-voltage and under-voltage protection.
When the unit senses falling voltage, it issues an alarm. It has overload and over-current protection. Also, It has short circuit protection, as well. It shuts down when it is overheating, too.
This means it will never pose a fire hazard. That protective measure is in addition to the cooling fan inside of it. This is on top of serving as a great surge protector.
How much features are in the Wisess Inverter?
The unit has both AC and DC terminals. The DC terminals can handle higher current input than prior models. It can handle both 12 volt and 24 volt input voltage. Output AC voltage can be 100 to 120 volts and 220 to 240 volts. This means it can supply power to your industrial appliances like refrigerators and ovens or power tools.
It can support both 50 and 60 Hertz power plus or minus three Hertz. It isn’t going to shut down due to poor incoming power quality. However, it delivers moderately high quality power, so it is safe for your laptops and sensitive electronics. It has a pure sine wave output.
The model has a universal output socket and comes with a cigarette lighter plug. You could charge it from your car engine while you’re driving. It also comes with a set of cables. You have everything you need out of the box.
One downside of this model is that the company hasn’t been in business long. It is hard to find replacement components online. Nor has the reliability of the product been established.
- Long term reliability and maintainability uncertain
10. EDECOA Power Inverter 2000 Watts for Auto use
Editor Rating: 4.2/5
This RV inverter charger by Edecoa is designed to put out 2000 watts of continuous power. It can handle 4000 watts of peak power for a fraction of a second.
So it can only handle heavy starting loads for one efficient appliance at a time. This unit stands out for its low cost relative to power output.
It is a modified sine wave power inverter, so don’t expect to use it with your sensitive electronics unless you have protective buffers on the circuit. Conversely, it has a compact space-saving design and is easy to plug in devices.
One benefit of this model is the fact that it has not only 3 AC outlets but a remote control and an LCD display.
The LCD display allows you to clearly see the battery voltage, battery power, voltage demand and any warnings. The unit itself has automatic voltage regulation, intelligent power management and fan control. The remote control has limited range.
- Decent protective measures given its price point
- Too short peak power to be practical, might as well not exist
11) Aims Power 3000 Watt 12 vDC Power Inverter ETL Certified to UL 458
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
This inverter by Aims is designed for a continuous load of 3000 watts and 40 or so amps. It can handle a surge of up to 9000 watts for up to twenty seconds.
This inverter has decent over-temperature and overload protection separate from the surge protection. That is aside from the built-in fan to help it keep cool.
This is the best choice for those who put a premium on safety. It has a UL 458 rating; it has been tested to make sure it won’t catch fire or pose a hazard to its owners.
For example, it has a built in GFCI outlet and a direct AC terminal block. The GFCI outlet protects people from shock. Each of the plug-ins are rated for twelve and a half amps each.
The power inverter can be used as a battery bank, so it is suitable for connecting to solar panels by day and meeting the base load of your RV at night. A periodic complaint of this model is the fact that it drops into idle mode to save energy, and this can make it hard to get the unit to ramp back up to full power.
This can cause appliances to not come on because the unit can’t upshift fast enough. Customer service from Aims is weak. Compare the amps it can deliver to the power you need – it won’t be able to support high draw appliances like a washing machine.
12) KRIËGER Brand 3000 Watt 12V Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
This sine wave inverter can convert 12 volt power to AC power. This unit has two 110 volt AC outlets. There are also two USB power ports, though they draw from the same circuit, so it can really only fully charge one USB plug-in at a time.
The Krieger brand power inverter not only has standard protective measures like short circuit protection and overload protection, but it has an LCD to show you the state of the inverter.
The screen tells you how much voltage is coming in, how many watts are going out, and the battery level. A perk of this model is the all-encompassing kit. It comes with battery cables, remote control and a fuse kit. The remote lets you turn it on and off at the push of a button - and not a button on the chassis.
If you factor in the value of the extras with the cost of the unit, this is the perfect inverter for the money. The company provides a three years part and labor warranty.
However, the company usually makes you pay for shipping it back to them for repair. There are reports of it dying after only a few days or weeks of use.
- A minority of units fail and you pay to send it back
13) Peak Model PKC0AW 3000-Watt Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
The manufacturer says not only can this RV inverter turn 12 volt power into 3000 watts of AC power, but it can deliver the heavy load required when major appliances start up.
If you want to be able to start up a refrigerator on inverter power, this is the best model on our list.
However, it cannot support a microwave, though the manufacturer says it could. It is closer to 2000 running watts than 3000 watts.
The unit comes with standard protective measures in case of short-circuits, over-heating, high and low voltage.
It has a low-battery shut down. There are reports of units not working right out of the box. This is occurring for a small fraction of the units but noted even in newer lots. You have to pay to ship defective units back for repair or replacement. Customer service for defective units is abysmal.
14) Power Bright Brand Model PW3500-12 Power Inverter 3500 Watt Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
This RV inverter by Power Bright can convert 12 volt DC power to 110 volts AC. The inverter can deliver 3500 watts of continuous power, and the built-in inverter can meet the peak load of 7000 watts.
This is the one of the best modified sine wave inverters for those who routinely turn on everything in the RV, pushing the limits of their inverters.
The unit has a variety of notifications, warnings and safety features.
Its LED display shows you the input and output wattage. It will warn you when voltage is low. Also, It automatically cuts off when voltage is too high, typically 15.5 volts. It can meet a constant load at 29 amps.
The Power Bright inverter has several built-in fuses to protect against overload. On top of that, it has an overload indicator. It comes with four 120 volt AC outlets, all of them with three prongs. You can plug in almost anything that needs AC power except sensitive electronics in need of recharging.
For example, you could power a vacuum cleaner or electric heater, but it doesn’t have the ports to charge your smart phone and the power quality isn’t good enough to safely do so unless you have a separate filter between the outlet and the device.
The poor power quality also creates a lot of interference for wifi and stereo speakers. The on/off switch lets you minimize the downstream draw through the RV inverter. Its own load draw is less than two amps.
At twenty pounds, it isn’t the lightest or heaviest model on the market. It has a basic cooling fan, but performance deteriorates when temperatures are high.
15) Xantrex Freedom XC 2000 Model 817-2080 Power Inverter
Editor Rating: 4.3/5
This is another best solar inverter for those with solar installations, since it is designed to be compatible with them. It is made to work well with lithium batteries.
The xantrex inverter is advanced enough to recharge dead batteries and restore many of them to serviceability. It often cannot do an equalization charge after you’ve customized the charge voltage.
At sixteen pounds, it isn’t light or heavy. At 14” by 10” by 4”, it is rather small. The only downside is the installation. You cannot plug it into the 12 volt breaker box directly.
Instead, the 12 volt connection will connect to the battery bank while the 120 volt connection plugs into the AC distribution panel.
A major point in favor of this RV power inverter is its ruggedness. It can run continuously though temperatures are -4°F or 104°F. This is one of the few power inverters that work as well in a frozen RV as a broiling one.
The Xantrex power inverter comes with two parallel 150 amp fuses. The downside is that the unit can’t work well with certain GFCI. The fan runs continuously whether it is hot or not, making it noisy if not turned off.
A minor strike against this unit is the power saving features built into the LCD control screen and remote control. The remote turns off after thirty seconds, though the sheer number of menu choices means it may turn off the screen displaying the menu before you’ve finished reading it.
The customization options mean that it is complex to configure if you aren’t going to run it in one of the default modes. The intelligence means it can give you error codes to diagnose an issue, but if you don’t have the manual, troubleshooting it is a pain.
Nor are error messages that tell you to contact customer support much use if you’re camping off the grid.
16) Bear Claw Industries 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter / 12VDC to 110VAC
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
This 2000 watt inverter delivers decent power quality. It comes with a number of built-in safety features like over-voltage protection, short circuit protection, reverse polarity protections, low voltage protection, over temperature protection and overload protection.
It automatically shuts down if voltage hits 9.5 volts but the alarms go off at 10 volts. Over-voltage alarms kick in at 15.5 volts DC. The maximum operating voltage is 15 volts.
The unit is 15” by 7” by 5.5”. It is smaller than some of the others on this list. At 2000 watts, it isn’t going to deliver as much power as others on this list. The unit is more efficient than average. At 11 pounds, it is one of the lighter power inverters on our list.
One point in favor of this unit is its incredibly wide operating temperature. The manufacturer states it can run whether temperatures are -10°C or 50°C. This is the best pure sine wave inverter for sitting in a freezing storage unit or Arizona summer without AC.
In fact, it can resume operations when stored in temperatures as low as -30°C and as high as 70°C. Another unusual feature is the working humidity range.
While it isn’t made to get wet, the unit can safely work when humidity is as high as 90%. You could have this RV power inverter work though you’re driving through fog or running a swamp cooler inside the RV to keep cool.
It comes with four standard AC plugs. It can’t give you high power quality, just a steady stream of power for running basic appliances. There are at least eight plugs inside the unit, but these may burn out during a power surge and be hard to replace.
A periodic complaint is that the unit stops working because something burned out, and you have no idea what to do except replace the inverter.
17) Xantrex PROWatt 2000 Inverter, Model 806-1220
Editor Rating: 4.4/5
The Xantrex model 806-1120 power inverter puts out a steady 2000 watts. It has a built-in display to show you incoming direct current voltage and the output power.
One point in favor of this unit is the built-in USB port made to meet the stringent UL458 standards. This is the best RV inverter for safely charging smart phones and laptops.
Yet its heavy duty terminals mean it can work with everything from commercial trucks to boats and supply power to everything from variable speed power tools to microwave ovens. The only issue is that it provides 2000 watts of constant power and doesn’t have a great surge capacity.
It has basic safety features like low voltage warnings, low voltage shut down and over-voltage protection. The dual GFCI receptacles add an extra layer of protection from power surges.
It comes with a remote switch that unusually comes with ignition lockout. Prevent the kids from turning it on and off, draining your batteries while they play with the remote control.
The unit is roughly 17” by 14” by 7”, so it isn’t the smallest on our list. However, at 9 pounds, it is the lightest.
Different Types of the RV Inverter Charger
01) Pure Sine Wave Inverter
Pure sine wave inverters cost more than modified sine inverters. These inverters create a smoother, cleaner power supply for your RV. This is essential for sensitive electronics like smart phones, laptops, big screen TVs and anything “smart”.
The advanced electronics can’t function without the high power quality that comes from a pure sine inverter; you risk frying them if you connect them to a modified sine wave inverter. Delicate medical equipment like CPAP machines or oxygen concentrator must be connected to a pure sine inverter. If you want to run a variety of devices off of one best inverter, get a pure sine inverter charger.
You can use a modified sine wave inverter with a radio. However, the stuttering of the power supply creates something similar to static. For that reason, you may want to use a pure sine wave inverter with radios, ham radio equipment and similar devices.
02) Modified Sine Wave Inverter
These types of inverters are cheaper than the comparable pure sine wave inverter because they don’t add in extra components to create a smooth “pure” sine wave for the AC. Modified sine wave inverters are fine for basic mechanical devices like drills, blenders, pumps and air conditioners. However, the somewhat stilted power delivery can cause fast-spinning devices like blenders and vacuums to stutter during operation, causing them to wear out faster.
For example, you can run a refrigerator or compressor with an AC motor off of a modified sine inverter, but over time, the less smooth power will interfere with its efficiency and shorten its operating life. The lower operating efficiency of the AC motor can generate more waste heat that could damage the equipment, too, so you don’t want a modified sine wave inverter used in any system that’s not heat-tolerant.
The Benefits of the Perfect RV Inverter
What are the benefits to using an RV inverter? Why would you want to pay more for the power inverter over the standard inverter? Let's read the details...
A. The Ability to Use Standard Devices
When you live off of DC power from a battery and lack an inverter, you’re left looking for the few mini-refrigerators and other household appliances that can run off of direct current power.
You’ll typically pay more for that privilege or resort to manual alternatives. If you have the best RV inverter charger, you could use the same can opener, blender or fan as you use in your home.
You can find replacement appliances and handheld tools at your next stop.
B. The Ability to Use Luxury Items
If you want to power luxury items like computers, air conditioners, microwaves and TVs, you either need shore power or an inverter. These items can’t run off of the battery or solar panels alone.
A direct benefit of having the inverter is the ability to use these “luxury” items when you’re off the grid.
C. The Simplicity
If you’re using just an inverter, you have to manually track what alternating current you have available. When you have an advanced inverter/charger with various protections built-in, you don’t have to worry about that as much. If you have a separate converter, you have to make sure it is never powered by your inverter or else you’ll drain the batteries even faster than they would be otherwise.
A side benefit of the advanced inverter/chargers is the built-in monitoring and adjustment features.
D. You Can Use Shore Power when Available
One of the disadvantages of living on batteries is that you’re living off of batteries. You have to pay attention to their charging and power levels. You may not really be able to use shore power because everything in your home is designed to run off of 12 volt power.
RV inverter chargers can deliver power to the AC devices, so it is fine to have them in the RV. The end result of this lifestyle shift is that you can switch to shore power when you’re able to connect to the grid.
Now you don’t have to draw down the batteries to power everything in your life.
E. You Might Be Able to Charge Other Batteries Conveniently
If your RV inverter charger combination comes with battery ports, you could charge everything from smart phone batteries to laptops through the inverter charger.
Then it isn’t necessary to find other ways to charge these devices, whether you’re trying to charge the smart phone via its own wall outlet charger for the brief time you’re in a restaurant or adding to your load by carrying solar panels for charging mobile devices.
Nor will you risk drawing down the battery bank as quickly by charging the devices through an inverter/charger, since the inverter/charger is more efficient.
In many cases, the greater efficiency means you’ll charge the smaller devices more quickly.
F. Extended Operating Life of Appliances
We already addressed the fact that pure sine wave inverters deliver higher quality power that doesn’t cut into the operating life of various devices. This means your air conditioner, microwave, vacuum cleaner and blender motors last 10% to 30% longer.
You’re either going to save on repair costs or replacement costs of these items. And when it comes to devices like air conditioners and other motor-dependent items, they’re less likely to fail at the most inopportune time.
What to Consider to Choose the Right Inverter for RV?
It's an important question where doesn't have any doubt. What should you consider when looking for the right RV inverter charger for your application? Which factors do you need to take into account? And what shouldn’t affect your selection? To know the right answers, Let's continue your reading ...
1. Available Amount of Battery Power
You can find significant variation in RV inverter charger power even among units of the same size. There’s also a difference between operating loads and starting loads that they can handle.
You’ll need an inverter generator that will support, at a minimum, the base load you want to run.
That can be determined by adding up the number of watts you expect to connect to the inverter.
If you want to run power-hogs like hair dryers, washers and microwaves, you’ll want a 2000 watt inverter, while a 3000 watt inverter would be better for those who want to run multiple appliances.
Depending on how many items you may want to turn on at the same time, you may need a starting or peak power of 3000 to 5000 watts.
You can get around this hurdle by starting items one at a time while being careful not to exceed the peak load the inverter can deliver. If you exceed it, you’ll shut it down or risk blowing a fuse.
2. The Size of the Inverter Charger
Inverters come in a variety of sizes. Small portable ones could be plugged into your car cigarette lighter or USB port. Larger ones could fit inside the RV and rival the size of a small generator.
Size is roughly correlated with potential power output, so a small portable RV inverter charger could give your phone enough power to call for help but won’t let you watch a movie on the same device.
If you want to be able to charge a phone, power a laptop and run a couple of small appliances at the same time, you’ll need a larger RV inverter charger.
One issue buyers need to consider is space. Space is at a premium in RVs. If you’re planning on installing an RV inverter charger in the RV,
You may want to find a unit that is at least as small as the current converter in the RV, such as the unit that was provided with the RV upon purchase.
The alternative is finding one that you can install in the storage compartment and then wire into the existing system. If you already have an inverter charger in the RV, you may prioritize a unit that fits the space you’ve already set up for it and/or uses existing hardware.
3. Waveform Output (Pure/Modified Sine)
There are two main types of inverters. There are true or “pure” sine wave inverters, and there are modified or quasi sine wave inverters. Pure wave inverters use transformers to create smooth alternating current that resembles the power delivered to our homes. They cost more, but you get higher power quality.
Modified sine wave inverters are cheaper because they use diodes or thyristors to create a squared off wave when delivering a form of AC power.Modified sine wave inverters can power large electronics like a microwave or toaster oven.
They can power electronics that can handle the poor power quality like vacuums and blenders, though the variable power will run down the equipment faster than a pure wave inverter.
If you’re dealing with sensitive electronics like smart phones, laptops or anything “smart” with a microchip in it, you need a pure sine wave inverter charger. If you’re charging camera batteries or laptop batteries, you’ll extend their life by charging them via a pure sine wave inverter.
4. Operating Period/Time
If you’re going to run the inverter for very long periods of time, the waste heat production of a modified sine wave inverter makes it a poor choice. This could be offset by having a built-in cooling fan.
Another variation of this is how long the inverter charger itself is expected to last. Units that will last several years may be worth the extra cost over a unit with similar capacity but half the operating life.
You can use warranties as a proxy for its expected operating life, but that isn’t a guarantee. Research how well the manufacturer honors the warranty in case it fails unless you’re buying a unit so cheap you don’t care if you have to replace it.
5. Inverter's Efficiency
Modified sine wave inverters end up generating more waste heat than pure wave inverters, because they’re less efficient. If energy efficiency is essential, you need a pure sine wave inverter.
Efficiency matters, too, when you rely on renewable power to recharge things. If you use a pure sine RV inverter charger, you’ll need fewer solar panels to meet your needs.
If you’re travelling or off the grid, you’ll need fewer batteries to power the inverter charger, as well.
One factor to consider is how efficiently you want it to be when it charges your batteries. Inverter chargers that are “smart” can recharge your house batteries and control the power delivery to the house batteries so that they’re always topped off without sending power that gets wasted, potentially overheating the batteries to the point they explode.
Other inverter chargers can manage a variable power load from solar panels and house batteries, balancing tasks like charging batteries and powering appliances while minimizing wasted energy.
Dumber inverter chargers may just run the appliances and send excess power to the batteries without every fully charging the house batteries.
There are a few other factors that may matter when you are looking for a RV inverter charger. Many people value having multiple USB ports so that they can charge several devices via USB charging cables simultaneously.
Others want multiple AC outlets. Determine the typical mix of products you want to connect to the inverter at the same time and select the inverter charger that provides the power connections you’d want.
Safety features vary between models. Over-voltage shutdowns and low-voltage shutdowns are not universal.
Depending on how much experience you have with batteries and inverters, you may want to have a reverse-connect protection built into the unit so that the inverter is safe even if you connect the positive and negative connections incorrectly. If you’re afraid of the inverter or batteries overheating, then a unit with thermal shutdown would be appropriate.
An RV inverter charger’s maintainability may matter to the buyer. For example, how easy is it to replace a burned out fan or fuses?
FAQ'S About RV Inverter/Charger
Q. Is 12 volt appliances better in RV than 110 volt with Inverter?
You can get power two different ways in the average RV: 12 volts direct current and 120 / 110 volts alternating current. You can look at the 12 volt power system as what run necessities like the water pumps that pump water from the tank to showers and faucets, lights, warning devices and the blowers.
Depending on how old your RV is, the 12 volt system may run your refrigerator. The 120 / 110 volt system runs extras like the roof AC, your TV and any appliance that came from your home.
Direct current power from the 12 volt system is better for powering items that need to be ready and/or running all the time like clocks, motion sensors and cordless phones.
The 120/110 volt systems are better for appliances only really used when you’re running the household during the day.
But you can find some appliances in both forms, able to run on 12 volts and 110/120 volts via an RV inverter charger. Which is better?
In general, appliances like circulating pumps, evaporative coolers, and rechargeable chargers for small handheld devices are more efficient if they’re running off the 12 volt system. This is especially true for rechargers that could charge up off of either 12 volt or 110/120 volt inverters.
Q. Which Inverter is better, a Pure Sine or Modified Sine?
All power inverters turn direct current from batteries into alternating current power. There are two main types: modified sine wave and pure sine wave inverters. Which one is better? If you’re dealing with heavy duty equipment that doesn’t care about power quality, the modified sine wave power is fine.
Modified sine wave power is fine for running vacuums, ceiling fans, light bulbs, hair dryers or water pumps. People typically have modified sine wave inverters because they’re cheaper or just because they’re what was standard years ago.
Devices like printers, HD TVs, computers, satellite receivers, and CPAP machines must have the best pure sine wave inverters.
Variable speed power tools and blenders may have trouble running or run less efficiently and wear out faster.
Q. How many watts do I need for an RV Inverter?
The answer will depend on how much power you plan on drawing from it. For example, cell phones generally draw 50 watts, fans 75 to 120 watts, LED lights around 25 watts, computers somewhere around 125 watts. Satellite receivers draw 10 to 25 watts, while a stereo pulls around 250 watts. Toasters pull 800 to 1500 watts, while toaster ovens pull up to 3000 watts. Total up how many watts you’d like to draw from the inverter to know how much power it will need to supply.
Q. How can I run my RV roof ac using a power Inverter?
There are days when you find it is just too hot to stay in the shade. This is where people find they must run an air conditioner. The challenge is that RV air conditioners pull a lot of watts at startup and use moderately high wattage while operating.
Most house battery systems can’t meet the demand of the AC when using an inverter.That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. For example, you could use a combination of power from house batteries and solar panels.
This is where you’re running the AC off of both solar power and stored energy in the house batteries.
Can you run a roof AC off of just solar power? The answer is: probably not, because most people can’t fit that many solar panels on their roof.
Q. Can you hook up an Inverter to your panel box in RV?
Inverters are typically installed between the outside source of power and the AC breaker box, somewhere dry with good ventilation and as close to the batteries as possible. This last detail minimizes voltage drop. Do not put the inverter in the battery compartment unless you have gel or sealed AGM batteries.
The acid from flooded lead acid batteries creates hydrogen gas that an inverter could spark and create an explosion. Suppose you’re ready to hook up the inverter.
The first step to doing this is to disconnect outside power. You shore power cord has to be disconnected from the AC breaker box, then connected to the smaller AC breaker box inside the RV. This secondary breaker box carries outside power that comes in on the hookup cord.
Connect the inverter to the batteries. Install the transfer relay (if the inverter doesn’t have a built in transfer switch) and CFCI wiring. Test the system by connecting to shore power and switching the inverter on. Then draw power from it by plugging in appliances.
If you aren’t familiar with electrical systems, hire a professional to install your RV inverter charger.
Don’t buy the cheapest inverter and hope it works. The best power inverter is one that will save you from yourself while protecting your RV’s electrical system. The perfect RV inverter for your situation will deliver the power you need with the necessary level of power quality.
Understand how much power you need to run through it, the type of inverter that works best for your appliances and electronics and the safeguards you want. Not everyone cares about low voltage or making mistakes wiring things up.
Size and weight depend on your RV’s space; if you’re trying to replace an existing RV inverter, check the dimensions and how much space it needs to function properly.
Plug-and-play capability with an existing RV system and the ability to use a remote control depend on your personal preferences and the model of RV inverter you buy. You typically have to pay extra for features like that.