Top 8 Best Power Inverters
By | Last updated: November 23, 2021
best power inverters

To address the demand for electrons, carmakers have been busy stuffing their machines with USB ports and 120V “household” outlets. Not every car gets it right, with some offering up only a single USB port to placate the yowling masses or placing the outlet in a wholly inconvenient location.

Or, simply, your ride is old enough not to have any of these gee-whiz conveniences. Those of us choosing to roll around in an ’96 Town Car will find it difficult to plug in, as will gearheads who take their cherry 1970 Chevy Chevelle to the local car show. Even those with an Integra Type R in their garage must do without mobile power.

Power inverters have been around for years, long before smartphones were surgically attached to us all. Back then they were largely the domain of people who spent a lot of time on the road. Today, with all hands looking for a place to plug in – and not all cars providing the tools to do so – we thought it a good idea to round up a few examples of the best power inverters.

1. Editor's Choice: Jackery Portable Power Station

Your author is placing this unit at the head table for a several reasons, not the least of which is this type of power inverter is the same one on which he relies for his own use. The crew at Jackery have introduced several new battery sizes to their lineup, up to 1.5kW, with this 200W unit marking one of their entry-level offerings.

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It isn’t a power inverter in a totally traditional sense like others on this list. Rather, think of it as a portable power bank or small electric generator that can help keep your electric tools or tablets powered while you’re on the move. It can be topped off using a car’s 12V system (there’s the inverter part of its equation) or via Jackery solar panels. Owners can also plug it into a household outlet before they hit the road.

Pros/Pure sine wave output, ample portable power, solar capabilities
Cons/Bulky compared to small inverters, larger upfront cost
Bottom Line/Editor's Pick for best Power Inverter for your car (or home)

2. Heavy Duty Option: Kinverch 2000W Continuous/ 4000W Peak Power Inverter

This brute of an inverter provides 2000W continuous and 4000W peak DC to AC power, making the thing perfect for vacations, road trips, or even a spot of camping. With 3 AC outlets and one 2A USB charging port, there are plenty of opportunities to plug in.

Eight internal fuses and a pair of cooling fans should help this unit from going pop, while the included wiring should be more than enough to get the party started. It isn’t clear if the optional Bluetooth controller consumes the sole USB port, however.

Pros/Plenty of power
Cons/Only 1 USB port
Bottom Line/No shortage of juice with this inverter

3. Budget Choice: soyond 1 Red 150W Car Power Inverter

If all you need is a quick hit of power, this cheap inverter may be just the ticket. Priced at just over fifteen bucks, this diminutive 150W unit promises to charge up items via two USB ports and an AC outlet. Also of note: its 12V power cord, through which it draws its power from a cigarette lighter, is long enough to run towards the rear of the car to placate backseat urchins.

A built-in fuse and integrated low-noise cooling fan prevent short circuits, allegedly protecting the thing from overheating while also extending the inverter’s life. Your author is always wary of buying any electronic device that is the cheapest in its class – I prefer not to set my own car on fire – but user reviews are positive based on an acceptable sample size.

Pros/Affordable, smaller than a pack of smokes
Cons/Don’t forget to unplug when it’s not in use
Bottom Line/Best option for those shopping on a budget

4. BESTEK 300Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter

There’s plenty of debate as to whether sensitive electronic equipment need a pure sine wave inverter instead of a traditional modified sine wave unit. What we can tell you is this: it never hurts to have an extra ounce of prevention. Pure sine wave units allege to provide a more stable source of power, free of the bumps and surges which accompany the power production some other inverters. We’ll leave that bit of research up to you.

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The USB ports on this unit are said to heave out a notable 2.4A, meaning there should be no problem if youngsters choose to have their device plugged in while using it (draining a battery faster than it is being replenished is a very real possibility with some chargers). Heat dissipation is mentioned several times in the bumf, with the company stressing its built-in 40A fuse and ‘smart’ fan design.

Pros/Quick charging, good brand name, convenient placement of ports
Cons/"Auto-detect" USBs may not put out power if your device is completely flat
Bottom Line/If you want to brag about having a pure sine wave power inverter

5. POTEK 750W Power Inverter

Even if its brand sounds like the surname of a Star Trek ambassador, this unit promises a big punch. It can be connected to a car using either a cigarette lighter adapter or the included alligator clips. Those latter units are super handy, meaning this inverter isn’t bound to the confines of a modern car.

A built-in fuse protects your device, while the USB port keeps people happy when trying to charge a smartphone. There are also two traditional house-type outlets for plugging in a laptop or your margarita maker (just kidding: don’t use that on the road – it’ll make a mess).

Pros/Big power output, fusable links, alligator clips
Cons/Not the cheapest option
Bottom Line/Versatile and lightweight

6. BESTEK 150W Power Inverter

This option looks hella inappropriate for those of us with juvenile minds. That, erm, appendage sticking straight up is the power point itself – meaning there are no cords to run between the inverter and your car’s 12V lighter socket. This can be good or bad, depending on the location of that socket.

There are two USB ports, one promising a 2.1A fast charge and the other being a standard 1A plug. There is also an AC 110V port for laptop chargers and the like. Despite its small size, the seller asserts there is actually a cooling fan built into the thing to help the works from getting too hot.

Pros/Extremely compact, no messy cords
Cons/Useless if the car's 12V port is in a weird sport
Bottom Line/Measure twice, buy once

7. Giandel 5000W Heavy Duty Power Inverter

If the 2000W unit at the top of this post is a heavy duty unit, then this 5000W bad boy can be classified as the super duper inverter on our list of the best power inverters. It is connected directly to a 12V battery, so be sure to invest in heavy gauge wiring if you need more than what’s included in the kit. There is also a weirdo remote ‘on/off’ switch that physically connects to the unit. Imagine this inverter being mounted out of sight under a workbench in a panel van and the remote placed within easy reach in the truck cab to get a visual of why this is important.

There are four AC outlets but only a single USB port. Given this unit’s intended purpose, that’s probably okay. Be forewarned that this Giandel weighs 22 pounds and well over a foot in length, longer than the entire cord on some portable units.

Pros/Great for heavy electrical demands, good reviews about both product and service
Cons/Heavy, bloody expensive
Bottom Line/Who needs a 5000w power inverter? You do!

8. BESTEK 300W Power Inverter

Rounding out this octet of power inverters is this 300W unit from a familiar brand. For many, selecting an inverter which is neither the smallest nor biggest is a smart move, especially if one is unsure of their future power needs. Road trips? Camping? This inverter will likely do the trick with breathing room to spare.

Two 110V AC outlets are present for charging larger devices such as laptops and tablets, while a pair of USB charging ports rated up to 2.4A take car of USB compatible devices. Its footprint is about the size of a big iPhone, though the inverter is much thicker. A 40 amp fuse and durable metal housing should keep the thing robust enough to survive even the most, erm, active of families.

Pros/300W output in a small package, affordable
Cons/A unit this size should have more than 2 USB ports
Bottom Line/Covers all your bases for a good price


Which brand of power inverter is best?

There are various manufacturers who produce decent-quality car inverters. However, the noteworthy point here is, some brands are good at manufacturing small power inverters, whereas the others do best with the big ones. A couple of recommendations are listed below:

  • Energizer – Its 4000-watt power inverter has received some decent reviews from the users
  • Krieger – Its 1100-watt power inverter is considered to be the best in the segment
  • Bestek – This brand is good at making 75-watt to 300-watt power inverters

Depending on your usage, and the power you want to have from your inverter, you can choose any from the above list.

Are power inverters bad for your car?

No, they are not. However, there are certain things that you must keep in mind while using a power inverter, such as:

  • Check and confirm that the car’s battery voltage is equal to that of the inverter’s input voltage
  • Check if the output power is more than the input power of the inverter
  • Always keep or install the inverter in a dry and well-ventilated place
  • Keep the inverter away from direct water exposure like rain
  • Avoid exposing the inverter to the direct sunlight
  • Make sure not to charge your AC appliances or use other electrical products for too long when the car engine is off
  • Have a sufficient amount of battery backup. This is most helpful with the inverters that can be connected directly to the battery
  • If unsure about using an inverter, strictly follow the user’s manual, and work accordingly
  • Avoid using the inverter when the engine is not running

You should keep the above points in mind while using a power inverter to make your overall journey comfortable and enjoyable, without doing any harm to your car or its battery.

Do power inverters drain your battery?

Yes, they do as long as they are in use while with the car engine turned off. That said, it is strongly advised NOT to use the AC appliances like laptops or cameras for more than one hour when using an inverter without turning on the engine.

To elaborate, an inverter is merely a device that transforms direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The direct current that an inverter receives as input is sent to it from the battery. Therefore, it is recommended to have a sufficient amount of battery backup with a power inverter.

How do I choose an inverter for my car?

The answer majorly depends on what devices or appliances you want to connect to it, and for how long. For example, if you want to charge your mobile phones, laptops, connect a portable refrigerator to keep your beverage cans cool, etc., a small power inverter of 300-watt to 350-watt should serve the purpose.

On the other hand, if you want to use some power-intensive appliances like a coffee machine, air conditioning, etc., you should go for the big ones with the potential of around 2500-watt to 3000-watt. Simply put, these big inverters are good for any item that requires more heat or motion while functioning. However, with inverters of this caliber, it is imperative to have a significant amount of battery backup so the electrical equipment can work properly. In general, the longer you want to use the appliances for the more battery backup you need to have.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: admin_design / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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