Power inverters are a helpful addition to your vehicle if you spend a significant amount of time on the road.
Enjoy using household equipment in the comfort of your car. Power inverters convert DC power from car batteries to AC household power, that’s usable by lots of home gadgets. Whether you are taking a road trip in a family SUV, or you are a truck driver making many stopovers along your lengthy journeys, fight the boredom by conveniently installing the handy home appliance.
With different brands readily available in the market, knowing the inverter to go with could be a bit tricky, if not hectic. Considering the inverters come with varying capacities of power and power types, it’s good you do your homework thoroughly before rushing to purchase any.
Power inverters convert 12V direct current to 120v alternating current. All these processes take place in two steps.
To ensure you make the right purchase of an inverter for your auto, here is a list of helpful tips.
Inverters come in various sizes. It would be beneficial to have a specific inverter size in mind. However, don’t jump into picking any size. Analyze your situation thoroughly. Think about the type of devices you need to power and proceed from there.
Though sometimes you may think that big inverters will always work out perfectly, that’s not the case anyways. Depending on what you settle for, you’ll be able to pick from a 300-watt cigarette lighter plug-in inverter to 5,000 units one. The latter, however, requires a special installation to function.
If your power needs are minimal, save yourself the struggle and expenses incurred during the process of installing a huge inverter. Most important is you acquire an inverter that will be up to the task.
For ease in determining your power requirement, let’s do some simple math.
Check for a wattage number on all the devices you need to power. For instance, you may find television is only 250 watts, whereas a heater is 1000 watts.
To determine the amount of continuous power needed, add up together the wattages. To the total, add 20% for contingency purposes.
From the example we picked, the figure could be around 1700 watts. With an 1800 watt unit, the job will be done.
Now let’s move a step away from the amount of power you need. How easy or difficult will it be to install the inverter? These may prove vital if you are probably the one doing the installation, and your experience in the electrical field is minimal.
Inverters above 300 watts require to be hard-wired and adequately fused. Not forgetting that proper location for the inverters is vital, due to heat dissipation and to prevent moisture contact.
Simple inverters may not cause you many problems, though while using ensure not to overload them. If you are not very confident with your installation skills, leave it to the experts.
To be safer, it’ advisable you purchase an inverter offering a warranty. This is in case anything happens. Ensure the warranty is as long as possible and one that renders comprehensive coverage. Having an inverter with a good warranty will always give you some peace of mind.
Let’s not damage the battery. It’s proper to find out if the unit you choose has shore power options. It allows you to run all your gadgets on the inverter without draining your car battery but instead charging it. Save yourself the costs of having to purchase a new battery for your machine now and then. That’s a good thing!
What’s the quality of the unit? Be on the watch out for ‘Regulatory Listed’ approval such as ETL with UL458 rating. This way, you’ll be sure of high-level quality and reliability.
Getting to know that the unit you are setting up in your car has been well-inspected and tested, then finally approved by a trusted agency will give you confidence. Remember we are dealing with electricity and you know if mishandled, it can be detrimental.
Reliability is key. You don’t want an inverter to fail you once you are in the middle of a road trip having the time of your life. Do you feel that? Imagine it happening. Under such circumstances, you can’t compromise on reliability.
Safety issues also matter a lot. A good and reliable device will always auto shut down during problematic situations, while any harm is about to occur. Superb brands will always alarm you with an error message informing you about what went wrong. An unreliable device could tremendously fail you when you need it the most.
The type of power an inverter output is very vital since it determines the types of devices you run on the unit. Let it be a unit outputting modified wave or pure sine.
Sine inverters are highly preferable choices. The sine wave is usually the best for powering sensitive devices. Since sine wave is the exact type at home, you can comfortably use your home devices in your car, with the inverter.
Such inverters maintain consistency in voltage. Spikes or drops in voltage may harm an ultimately render your electrical device useless.
Though you’ll pay extra for a sine inverter, it’s worth investing in.
A car inverter can be placed in various locations. Some of the locations include:
Once you know the specific place to install your inverter, it’s now easy to purchase one. In case you wish to install the inverter in an open area, picking an inverter with a fan is not a regrettable option. Just ensure the place is free from airflow blockage.
What’s the difference between the continuous and peak power output of your inverter?
Simply put, peak output is the wattage an inverter will readily supply for short periods in case of demand spikes. On the other hand, the continuous output is the limit for normal operations.
Let’s say your devices draw a total of 600 watts. It means you’ll be required to purchase an inverter with a continuous output rating of 600 watts. Be cautious about this.
You’ll probably find most power inverters costing above $200. Inverters costing below this price are usually smaller and are not long-lasting. For supreme performance, consider an inverter priced above $200. Though, this doesn’t mean that you get careless and pick any inverter surpassing this price. This is just a simple expert tip.
However, since most car inverters are affordable, the price should not be a mountain issue while planning to buy an inverter. If you are lucky, you may come across discounted sales and be in a position to close a deal cheaply.
As they say – experience is the best teacher. Look for individuals who have purchased inverters before and find out the ratings they award each inverter. What are the pros and cons of a specific inverter? Are the pros more, compared to the cons? You may find out from buyer reviews, that an inverter performs better than you expected. Take your time and acquire an asset to serve you as long as you need it.
For the sake of protecting the devices being powered up, power inverters need to have robust built-in protection. Any unit worth purchasing should have features like fuses and heat protection. Also, don’t forget to check for overload protection.
Apart from producing enough power to supply, an inverter should have sufficient outlets as well. Let the inverter supply power for all your device needs. Also, ensure all the outlets are the same.
Several car inverters can be controlled with the help of remote control. Especially if they are hooked up to the battery of a car, this makes them stupid easy to use. Since many power inverters lack an automatic shut off switch, it’s possible to shut off their power from a distance using a remote control.
Another tip, though easy to ignore is the presence of special instructions. Car inverters may seem simple to use, however for first-time users, this is not the case. To avoid damages and complications, follow the instructions that come with the inverter. It costs you nothing, but it saves you a lot. So before investing in a unit, check for detailed instructions.
Car power inverters are handy devices, and you may not afford to miss owning. By simply hooking them up to the car battery or plug into the power port of the car, you’ll use them without any hustle. The above tips will help a great deal as you decide on the best inverter to pick for your vehicle. Take your time, research, consult, and finally pick what meets the inverter that meets your needs.