Best Car Power Inverter - Top 5

Power inverters for cars, what are they for? The technical answer would be to transform the car battery 12V DC to 110V AC. 

So why is that useful? An AC power source gives you the freedom to use all sorts of appliances while on road trips, camping and tailgating at events.

One of the best power inverters you can buy today is the Bestek 300W Power Inverter. Check out the detailed review below, along with nine of the other top power inverters on the market today.

Best Power Inverter For Cars - Detailed Reviews


'Best Multi-Purpose Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 18:02 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Provides 300W Continuous Power
  • 2 AC and 2 USB Outlets
  • Small Design with safety protection against overheating

The BESTEK 300W Power Inverter offers a great balance between power output and value. It's small, making it a great portable solution for providing power when on road trips, vacations and camping.

What Makes It Special?

This BESTEK Power Inverter is finished in a high-quality all aluminium case. It features internal electronics that provide protection from overheating, short circuits and voltage overloading.

It's capable of providing a continuous supply of 300 Watts of power, and an initial 700 Watts if needed. You can use it to run larger devices such as tablets and laptops, and there are two USB ports for charging smaller devices too.

This is a great value power inverter for your car that will keep your electronics topped up whether on vacation or in an emergency.

Technical Specifications

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 700 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 300 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 2.4A (each)
  • AC outlets: 2
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable, cigarette lighter DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for charging USB phones and tablets and casual laptop usage.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Aluminium covered compact design
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    4 ports for charging different types of devices
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    Integrated safety features offer peace of mind
Cons
  • Slight humming noise when in use
  • Not suited to charging higher powered laptops

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 18:02 UTC Details

Main Features
  • 150W output to 2 USB ports and 1 AC Port
  • Silent cooling fan and overload protection
  • Small in size, dimensions of only 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches 

The Foval 150W Power Inverter is a premium ultra-compact unit that delivers safe and reliable power output for most on-the-road needs. It's lightweight, with a durable design and small enough to fit in the armrest or under the seat in your car.

What Makes It Special?

When talking about Foval 150W Power Inverter the first thing to notice is its size. The ultra-compact design makes it perfect for storing it on your car without taking much space. Its 150 watts power output is enough for many basic off-road duties like charging your phone or tablet or even plugging in a game console or DVD player to it.

The aluminium housing is strong and durable, and should withstand the odd drop or bump. There's also a fan built in to help keep it running cool over an extended period.

Finally, there's some built-in safety protection to help prevent overloading or damage from overheating or short circuits. 

Technical Specifications

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: N/A
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 150 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 3.1A (shared)
  • AC outlets: 1
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable, cigarette lighter DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for charging USB phones and tablets and light AC loads.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Small but powerful output
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    Sturdy aluminium protective casing 
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    Charge a laptop and smartphones together
Cons
  • Not suitable for heavier charging
  • Fan makes a humming noise when running
  • Can get warm, can't lock away in the glovebox

'Best Power Inverter for Mid-level loads'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 17:25 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Provides 1000W of continuous power
  • Digital display showing Voltage and Wattage
  • Intelligent fan that speeds up and slows down

The POTEK 1000W Power Inverter is the first product on our list to featuring a high power output. This inverter is ideal for camping or off-road usage. If you need a higher powered inverter for your next adventure then this one is worth checking out.

What Makes It Special?

This inverter from Potek has all of the usual electronic safety features like protection from short circuits, overheating and overcharging.

It's also very capable of providing enough power for many off-road applications like charging tablets, phones, powering LCD TVs, laptops, medical devices, BBQ equipment and more.

For extra peace of mind, it features an LED display that shows you exactly how much voltage and wattage of connected devices. It will also generate up to 2000 Watts of peak power if needed.

This is an ideal choice for people looking for a high power output inverter, especially if you are a camping enthusiast as it will easily handle all of the usual camping AC accessories and peripherals. 

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 2000 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 1000 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 3.1A (shared)
  • AC outlets: 2
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable/Stationary, battery cable DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for mini fridges, electric tools, laptops, camping equipment.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    High powered and able to handle multiple devices
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    LED display shows you exactly what power you are using
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    Includes battery cables for direct connection to battery
Cons
  • Not as portable as other power inverters
  • No mounting brackets included 

'Best Portable Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 18:02 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Provides 200W of continous power (500W Peak)
  • Power up to 7 devices at once
  • Built in fuse and cooling fan

The BESTEK 200W Power Inverter is another great model from BESTEK, this one aimed at people that need a power inverter small enough to carry anywhere yet powerful enough to charge multiple devices.

What Makes It Special?

This compact power inverters from BESTEK has a plastic case and has dimensions of only 6.22 x 3.26 x 1.45 inches. 

To help keep it cool, it incorporates a silent fan that helps keep a stable voltage. Whilst it's not a pure sine wave AC power inverter, it's great for powering devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops.

It comes with 3 AC outlets and four USB ports and a power toggle switch that allows you to kill the power without having to plug it out.

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: N/A
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 200 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 2.1A (each) + 2 x 1A (each)
  • AC outlets: 3
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable, cigarette lighter DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for trips, light loads, tablets, phones.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Connect up to 7 devices at once
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    Small in size for extra portability
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    Includes a low battery alarm and low battery shutdown 
Cons
  • Plastic casing not as bump resistant as aluminium
  • Not a pure sine wave power inverter

'Best Value Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 18:02 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Provides up 320 Watts of Continuous Power
  • Connect up to 5 devices at once
  • Draws power from 12V lighter socket or directly from car battery

The Duracell DRINV400 is another high spec mid rang car power inverter. It provides up to 320 watts of continuous power with the option of charging up to five devices at once.

What Makes It Special?

This power inverter from Duracell has a neat design that incorporates three AC outlets and two 2.4 Amp USB ports. It's capable of handling power tools, TVs, DVD players, video consoles along with portable devices like tablets and smartphones. 

In the box you get two three foot power cables for connecting the inverter to either a 12 socket (if you are using up to 175 Watts of power), or directly to the battery for higher demand applications.

This inverter is perfect for powering 115V AC tools and appliances when camping, on vacation or tailgating at football games.

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 400 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 320 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 2.4A 
  • AC outlets: 3
  • Power Inverter Class: Medium, cigarette lighter DC input + battery clamps
  • Typical Applications: ideal for trips, medium loads, tablets, phones.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Power and charge up to 5 devices at once
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    Connect directly to the battery using supplied cables
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    2.4 Amp USB ports perfect for fast charging small devices
Cons
  • Not as portable in size as other power inverters

'Best Mini Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 18:02 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Ultra Compact And Lightweight
  • Rotating cigarette plug for more flexible fitment
  • Includes Smart IC charge Detection up to 3.1 Amps

This  BESTEK 150W Power Inverter is what you were looking for. This palm-sized power inverter can be easily mistaken with a common phone charger.

What Makes It Special?

You won’t find a smaller power inverter than the BESTEK 150W Power Inverter. However, not let its size fool you. BESTEK used top quality electronics to make that this miniature be able to deliver 150 watts of continuous AC power. That’s more than enough for light loads on the road. Charge your tablet or phone while having the convenience of a 115AC outlet at your disposal.

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 360 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 150 watts
  • USB ports: 1 x 2.1A + 1 x 1A 
  • AC outlets: 1
  • Power Inverter Class: Ultra-Portable, cigarette lighter DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for trips, light loads, tablets, phones.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Ultra compact design makes it extra portable
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    Great for charging small devices such as smartphones
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    Aluminium casing and fan helps to keep it cool
Cons
  • Won't fit all cars due to built in plug
  • Not suitable for heavier usage or high power needs

'Best Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 14:25 UTC Details

Main Features
  • 1200 Watt Pure Sine Wave Output 
  • AC Pass through For When Hooked Up To AC Power
  • Hardwired Input/Output Terminals

The AIMS Power PWRIX120012S is a high-load inverter capable of delivering 1200 watts (continuous) of pure sine AC current. It's aimed at the RV/Motorhome market where a more permanent power solution is needed. 

What Makes It Special?

Unlike most other small power inverters, the AIMS Power PWRIX120012S can deliver pure sine AC current. It doesn't comes with a standard AC outlet or USB port though. Instead you’ll have to connect to the hardwire terminals for both AC input and output. There's a continuous running fan to keep everything cool, and you can also get a remote switch for turning on and off.

The 1200W output should be more than enough to run a few small appliances in any RV. If you have access to AC current, the internal 10A switch will automatically transfer over to the AC supply and switch back to battery when needed.

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: N/A 
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 1200 watts
  • USB ports: none
  • AC outlets: none
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable/Stationary, battery cable DC input and battery cable AC output.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for mini fridges, electric tools, laptops, camping equipment.
  • AC Output Wave Form: pure sine wave
Pros
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    Flexibility - 1200 W output with AC pass through
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    Powerful enough to run RV appliances such as TVs and refrigerators
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    It is permanently hardwired, so no messing around with cables when you want to use it
Cons
  • Needs to be installed by electrician or competent DIYer
  • The fan runs continuously when it's powered up
  • You need to keep it hooked up to a battery when using the AC pass through

'Best Mid-Level Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 14:25 UTC Details

Main Features
  • 1100W continuous output, 2200W peak power
  • Includes 2 USB ports and 2 AC outlets
  • Connects directly to 12V battery using the included cables

The ENERGIZER 1100W Power Inverter is a robust product bringing a modern look that includes an LCD display. Its dual 2.4A USB ports and dual AC outlets can easily handle medium to large loads such as power tools, home electronics like microwaves and more. 

What Makes It Special?

The ENERGIZER 1100W Power Inverter is not only approved by METLAB for its performance but also comes with a handy LCD display that is very useful to check battery level, output wattage, and warn you about high/low voltages as well as voltage overload. With it's 1100W output, this is an ideal inverter for camping and outdoor activities. 

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 2200 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 1100 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 2.4A (each)
  • AC outlets: 2
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable/Stationary, battery cable DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for mini fridges, electric tools, laptops, camping equipment.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Powerful enough to run small appliances continuously
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    Easy to install with included battery cables
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    The 2.4A USB sockets will quickly charge most small devices
Cons
  • Output's a modified sine wave so it's not going to run all types of appliances
  • Not as portable as some other inverters so not really suitable for in car usage
  • No 12V cigarette lighter plug 

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 14:25 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Rugged Mountable Casing 
  • 1100W continuous output to 2 USB and 2 AC power outlets
  • 3 Foot battery cables, remote control and fuse kit included

The KRIËGER 1100 Watt Power Inverter is another 'ruggedized' product ideal for trailers or off-road adventures. It's a mid-powered inverter, that is great for camping or other road trips as it's 1100 Watt power output can easily run most small appliances.

What Makes It Special?

The KRIËGER 1100 Watt Power Inverter includes an LCD display very useful for keeping you informed of things like voltage, wattage and battery level. What makes this unit special is its heavy-duty design and in the box you'll also find everything you need to hook it up and start using it straight away. 

The 1100W continuous output means you can charge up to two USB devices while simultaneously running another two AC appliances. While the built in near silent fan keeps everything cool.

Just like the Energizer power inverter, this one has also been tested by METLAB and comes with a host of safety features. These include protection from overload, high temperature and short circuits.  So overall this is an ideal power inverter for camping trips and other vacation activities.

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 2200 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 1100 watts
  • USB ports: 2 x 2.1A (shared)
  • AC outlets: 2
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable/Stationary, battery cable DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for mini fridges, electric tools, laptops, camping equipment.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    Heavy duty casing can be mounted
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    You get everything you need to use it in the box (cables, fuses, remote)
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    LCD screen is good for keeping track of power usage and battery condition
Cons
  • It's not a pure sine wave power inverter
  • No 12V cigarette lighter plug
  • Not portable so more suited to being mounted in the truck or an RV

'Best High-Output Power Inverter'

Amazon.com prices as of  2019-03-23 at 14:25 UTC Details

Main Features
  • Up to 2500W Continuous Power Output
  • 3 AC sockets with 1 USB socket 
  • 5 levels of Built-in protection  

Our final review is of the Cobra CPI 2575 Power Inverter. Rated at 2500 watts (continuous power) this inverter should easily power a number of small appliances at the same time. It has three AC power outlets, so you can connect more devices at once, making it ideal for use in an RV or when camping.

What Makes It Special?

This high powered inverter is a great alternative to a backup generator. With dimensions of 3.3 x 11 x 9.6 inches, it's fairly big but well built inverter that can be permanently mounted in your truck, RV etc.

The high power output makes it more useful than lower powered inverters, especially when you need to run multiple devices at the same time. Because of its bigger power output, it should be installed by an electrician or competent DIYer. You'll need to hook it up to the battery using heavy gauge wiring (not included) with an inline fuse.  

Technical Specifications:

  • Instantaneous Peak Power: 5000 watts
  • Continuous DC/AC Power: 2500 watts
  • USB ports: 1 x 2.1A 
  • AC outlets: 3
  • Power Inverter Class: Portable/Stationary, battery cable DC input.
  • Typical Applications: ideal for mini fridges, electric tools, laptops, camping equipment, and large load applications.
  • AC Output Wave Form: modified sine wave
Pros
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    It has 3 AC outlets 
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    Can deliver a large 2500 watts of continuous power
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    Can be mounted and wired in permanently to your Truck or RV
Cons
  • Only one USB outlet
  • You may need to connect it to more than one battery to get the full output

Best Car Power Inverter Buying Guide


Before buying a power inverter it’s a good idea to consider several factors that may affect your final decision.

  1. Power Output: this may be obvious, but before choosing any power inverter you should plan ahead the amount of electrical load (total power consumption) you will need. This value is not obtained simply by adding the individual power consumption of each appliance. You need to rationally calculate how many appliances will be working simultaneously. In other words, if you are buying a power inverter for camping, and want to power up a small TV, four light bulbs, and one coffee machine, you should know that you don’t need to everything working at the same time. Depending on your expectations, you may decide that if the TV is on everything else should be off.
  2. Security Features: always prefer power inverters with overload protection, circuitry protection, over temperature protection, and short circuit protection. All the units mentioned in this guide come with all the necessary protections. 
  3. Number of USB ports: before making your purchasing decision check the number of USB ports of the unit. Keep in mind that tablets and some high-end phones require 2.1A USB ports (in contrast to normal 1A ports). Power inverters like the BESTEK 200W come with four USB ports, the absolute winner in that sense. Others like the DURACELL DRINV400 only include one 2.1A USB charging port. The decision of how important is this factor only belongs to you and the intended usage of the power inverter.
  4. AC Outlets: unlike USB ports, the number of AC outlets is not that critical because you can always use a power-strip (as long as it does not exceed the inverter amperage limit per outlet). However, not all power inverters come with AC outlets. Larger units like AIMS Power PWRIX120012S need hardwire terminals for AC input/output. That’s not necessarily a disadvantage, but could be an inconvenience if you don’t have at hand the necessary outlet distribution in place.

How Does A Power Inverter Work?

The name “inverter” derives from the electrical principle behind its operation.

Direct current (DC) always flow in one direction, by convention, that direction is from positive to negative battery terminal. As its name implies, alternating current (AC) constantly changes current flow direction, it alternates between positive and negative. 

By using a combination of inductors, capacitors, and transformers the DC current direction can be inverted from positive to negative at the same frequency used by the AC current, which is 60/50 cycles per second.

The resulting wave pattern will resemble the sinusoidal AC waveform. Depending on the quality of the electronic circuitry involved, power inverters are classified as pure sine wave inverters (PSW) or modified sine wave inverters (MSW). 

PSW inverters like the AIMS Power PWRIX120012S are best suited to power delicate electronic equipment, such as laptops, smart TV sets, and any other sophisticated appliance.

MSW inverters are safe to use on less advanced applications like light bulbs, refrigerators, power tools, etc. 


Useful Tips For Using A Power Inverter

No matter how small or big is your power inverter it’s a good idea to follow some basic guidelines to guarantee they will work properly but also to prevent unwelcome incidents.

  • If your intention is using the power inverter as a stationary unit then screw it to a solid surface. Avoid using large units without a proper subjection, especially if the vehicle is moving. The larger the power inverter the higher the risk of a short-circuit even a fire.
  • Most power inverters (especially larger ones) come with a ground terminal. It’s a good idea to connect that terminal to a known ground to avoid unnecessary risks. 
  • When using USB charging ports double check its power output. Tablets won’t charge or will charge very slowly on 1A ports because they are meant to use 2.1A+ ports. That also applies to some smartphones with fast charging technology.
  • Never use the power inverter without proper ventilation. Large units come with active cooling (internal fans) but for best results, they should have enough airflow around them.
  • Energy efficiency matters. An old TV set that uses cathode ray tubes (CRT) consumes huge amounts of current when compared with modern LCD or LED models. The same applies to incandescent bulbs vs LED variants. Always prefer appliances with the best energy efficiency, that will allow you to increase the number of accessories you can use.