When you are out adventuring in your RV, the fact it is a simpler life can be one of the best things about the whole experience. It’s just you and your family getting back to nature and living a life free of distractions and worries.
That is until your kids can’t charge their cell phones. Or you wife can’t dry her hair, and you can’t even reach for a cold one from the fridge because, oh yeah, fridges need electric to run.
Whatever you are using your RV for, an RV inverter could be one of the best investments you ever make. The best RV inverter will work to transform the RV’s DC electric supply into the AC style needed to run or charge just about any electrical item you can think off. In this guide we’ll take a look at some of the best inverters out there on the market.
The Best RV Inverter
We’ll kick off the list with this entry from Power Bright. This is one of the smaller sized inverters out there today, and it is quite a simple design. That said it is still bursting with useful features and good design points.
First off this is designed for plugging into a standard 12DC port in a vehicle, RV or boat. This means the installation of this device is very impressive, because… well there is no installation! Plug it in, turn it on, away you go. Some plug and play models can be a little underpowered but that is not a concern here with 2300 Watts of continuous power and up to 4600 Watts peak power.
The design itself is sound too. The outer case is anodized aluminum, which makes for a very rugged and protective construction. There is 2x AC 3 prong outlets built into the front of the device right next to a very useful LCD screen that highlights wattage input and output. A built in cooling fan and well-designed overload protection provide protection for the inverter and any devices that are attached.
2300 Watt Output
Rugged Anodized Aluminum Shell
Built in Cooling Fan
- BrandPower Bright
- Weight11.85 Lbs
Peak are the manufacturer of the next product to make our list. It has been designed to provide maximum power, at least for its size, whilst also being extremely easy and safe to use.
The device is designed for direct connection to the vehicle battery. To this end it does come with a useful mounting bracket (very handy!) but it is going to be a little more time to set up than a plug and play option as we saw above. This RV power inverter is ETL certified for a device that is extremely safe in operation.
Built in overload protection is there for your devices whilst a low battery auto cut off prevents a battery being accidently drained. The product also comes with a very useful remote control that attaches to the unit with a 10ft cable. This power inverter is small, neat, easy to use and has a very reasonable price tag too.
3000 Watt Output
6000 Watt Surge Output
Built in Overload Protections
Automatic Low Battery Shut Down
- Weight17.4 Lbs
The big stand out feature with this power inverter from Kreiger is the size. It is one of the smallest 3000 watt output inverters on the market, the result of more than 5 years of research and development. Just because it’s small though doesn’t mean that it’s not packing a load of great features too.
This is a hard-wired connector inverter, and comes with everything you need to make that connection. A built in LCD screen allows you to monitor input and output. An internal fan works to keep temperatures under control and unlike many fans, is nice and quiet too.
Power output is 3000 Watts as discussed above. This can be delivered through 2x 3 prong outlets, as well as a pair of USB points too. There is a remote on/off control too, which is always handy.
It is worth noting this is a modified sine wave inverter. Not sure what that means? Check out our buying guide below!
3000 Watt Output
Wired Remote Control
Very Quiet Fan
- Weight14 Lbs
This little red box from Bestek contains the 4th power inverter to make our list. It is one of the smallest and cheapest models to make the list, but there is still a lot to like with this rugged little product.
Yes, it is only kicking out 2,000 Watts so do bear that in mind- you may not be able to power your tanning bed and your chest freezer at the same time. That said though this power is delivered through 3x AC power outlets. That is pretty useful as is the fact it comes with a set of battery clips for easy connection.
In operation 6 external 50A fuses are mounted for device protection. There is also an audible overload alarm and a very good built in cooling fan. This device is much simpler than many others on the list and lacks a few of the bells and whistles you will find on more premium devices.
If you want a product that is very cheap but still pretty effective though, you should take a closer look at this inverter.
3x AC Outlets
6x External 50A Fuses
Audible Overload Warning
- Weight10 Lbs
This is another smaller size inverter, weighing a little under 9 Lbs. Again this lower weight translates to a lower output of 2,000 Watts. Unlike the RV inverter we looked at above though, this product is packing a few more premium features.
Chief amongst them is the small but still useful LCD Screen. Just as when it is found on other models it allows you to accurately monitor input and output. The safety features present in this model are also extremely impressive. We are talking a bank of 10x 35A fuses and no less than 3x built in cooling fans!
There is also an audible alarm that sounds in the case of over heating, low voltage, overload and over heating. The outside of the converter is made of sturdy ABS plastic to protect the internal workings of the device. This is another simple but effective inverter, slightly more expensive than the one we just looked at but then it is packing a few more features.
3x Power Outputs, 1x USB Outlet
10x 35A Fuses
3x Cooling Fans
Modified Sine Wave
- Weight8.8 Lbs
We are over half way through the list, but we are now looking at a model from the very top end of the range now. This is a premium level inverter, but be warned that it has a premium price tag going with it too.
What makes it a premium model? Well there is range of high-end features to be found here. But the stand out one is the fact this is a Pure or True Sine Wave inverter. We’ll get into this a bit more in the buying guide below but essentially this means that the electricity delivered through this device comes as a constant wave with no increases or decreases in power. That makes it ideal for powering the widest range of electrical goods including sensitive ones likes TVs, games consoles and laptops.
This is a commercial grade power inverter too. That means it is designed for high drain operation over a long period of time. Add in the fact it can be hard wired into the RV’s power system and you have a device perfectly designed for long term, everyday use on a RV that is moving around a lot, or otherwise away from shore power for prolonged periods.
A Universal Protection Circuit does exactly what it says and protects against all manner of things like low voltage, over load and short circuit. Add in the fact it is designed for extreme efficiency and you have a very, very high grade RV inverter here.
Pure/True Sine Wave Inverter
2000 Watt Output
Universal Protection Circuit
Can be Hard Wired
- BrandSamlex America
- Weight17.2 Lbs
Our next RV inverter is from Xantrex. Like the model we just looked at, this is also a Pure or True Sine Wave inverter. So again that makes it ideal for use with domestic products and sensitive electrical items in the RV.
This is very much a model to consider if you use your RV in the same way as your home. By this we mean if a refrigerator is plugged in and always running, and you want to flick on the TV whilst making coffee in the kitchen. All those sudden demands of power can stress a lesser inverter, but that is not something to worry about here. This product is designed with exceptional high surge capability to match the sometimes uncertain demand levels produced in domestic living.
The device itself is very compact and easy to install, whilst heavy-duty terminals are supplied for trouble free connection to the battery. As another premium product this is certainly coming with a high-end price tag. If you can justify it though it is certainly a very impressive device.
2000 Watt Output
True Sine Wave Power
High Surge Capability
Heavy Duty Terminals
Over Load Shut Off
- Weight8.82 Lbs
The next inverter for you is this model from Power TechOn. Stupid name admittedly but another very well designed, high end product. This is the third RV inverter in a row to make our list that is a True Sine Wave inverter style.
This is also a very powerful model, capable of generating 3000 Watts continuous and 6000 Watts peak power. That is a level of electrical power suitable for even the most power hungry RV set up. It also comes with very sturdy ring style battery connectors and a remote switch with a nice long connector cord.
There are also no less than 5 levels of built in protection. The device is set up to protect against over and under load and thermal damage amongst others. Excellent built in fans are also present to control operating temperatures. To match the extra power you get more output ports as well, with 3x standard AC outlets and a very useful 5V USB port for quick charging portable electrical devices.
True Sine Wave Inverter
3x AC Outlets, 1x USB
3000 Watt Continuous, 6000 Watt Surge
Excellent Built in Protections
- BrandPower TechOn
- Weight9.9 Lbs
First things first, this is probably the ugliest looking RV converter on the list. Sorry AIMS, but it’s true! It is also something of a beast, weighing in at around 50 Lbs! So it’s going to take up a fair amount of space in the RV and it looks like it belongs in a science lab. What is the point of this device then?
Well for one thing this is a very high-grade power inverter, yet another of the True Sine Wave inverter models designed to deliver the best quality power supply. That means it is the forth such device to make the list though, so what’s special about this one?
It charges batteries too. This is what is known as an RV Inverter Charger. That means that whilst is it capable of putting out the 2000 Watts of continuous power you need to operate electrical goods in the RV, it is also capable of charging batteries with a built in 70A smart battery charger.
Pure Sine Power Inverter
2000 Watt Continuous
6000 Watt Surge
Built in 70A Battery Charger
Industrial Grade Construction
- Weight49.5 Lbs
We’ll finish up with this device from VertaMax. This is another high end RV Inverter that is packed with interesting features. Probably the stand out is the fact it is another Pure Sine Wave inverter.
Aside from that there are number of other features to like. The fact that each AC outlet operates on its own individual circuit breaker is particularly impressive. The device itself is quite small and thin, meaning it is easy to mount without taking up huge amounts of space. It can also be hardwired directly into the RV Electrical system.
The fact it is kicking out 3000 watts of high quality pure sine wave electrical power (with up to 6000 Watts kept in reserve for surge power) means this device is perfectly suited for domestic appliance use in an RV parked up away from shore power. That fact it is small, has excellent built in protections and can be hard wired also make it ideal for this task.
Pure Sine Wave Converter
3000 Watts Continuous
6000 Watts Surge
Individual Circuit Breakers per Outlet
Can be Hard Wired
- Weight15.4 Lbs
Best RV Inverter Buying Guide & FAQ
In our buying guide, we’ll take you through the features that you should keep an eye out for when picking out the best RV Inverter for you. After that, we’ll take a look at how best to use your new tool and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely useful product.
Things to Look For When Buying an RV Inverter
- Power Output Put simply, the purpose of an RV inverter is to supply power inside the RV. Whether this is just to charge batteries or to power a full suite of kitchen and entertainment electrical goods, make sure that the inverter you invest in has the output (in constant Watts) that is more than enough to power what you need.
- Size Inverters can be quite heavy and bulky. Again, just bear this in mind when selecting your model. You don’t want an RV inverter that is so big it takes up too much room to be truly useful.
- Cooling & Protection RV power inverters can get very hot whilst in operation. Make sure that the model you pick is well equipped with cooling fans to control this heat. You should also make sure it is packing high-grade protection against over and under voltage, overheating and power surges.
- Installation Finally you should consider the installation of the device. Simple inverters can be plugged into a 12V port, which will provide the easiest installation. More complex, True Sine Wave inverters may need to hard wired directly into the RV’s electrical systems. Deciding how often you will use the device, and how much power you require, can have an impact on the installation that would be best for you.
Why You Should Use an Inverter in Your RV
- Use Regular Electrical Goods Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to using an RV power inverter lies in using regular electrical goods in your RV. So this means that when you are parked up you can flip on the TV. In your kitchen you can have a refrigerator running, and you can plug in the coffee maker whenever you like. When you out motoring in the wilderness in your RV, things like this can really be luxuries!
- Easy Connection to Shore Power Being able to use your regular electrical goods also makes it easier to plug into and use shore power when it is available. That is because shore power will come in as a regular AC, all ready to be used by the items in your RV.
- Charge Batteries It may be a simple function but it can be a very important one too. Even the simplest RV inverter can be used to charge the batteries of electrical devices like cell phones, Sat Navs and tablet computers. Again, when out in the wilderness, this can be extremely useful!
Different Types of RV Inverter
There are actually quite a few different styles of RV power inverter, something that you should bear in mind when selecting the right one for you.
For one thing there is the power level. If you want an inverter that is going to power everything in your RV, then you need to be looking for one with the wattage output to take care of this.
There is also the matter of the way in which the power is inverted, and there are two types of inverter out there, the Modified Sine Wave style of inverter and the Pure (or True) Sine Wave style of converter.
- Modified – This style of inverter is easily the cheaper of the two. It doesn’t deliver the power in a smooth way however, with a power supply that peaks and troughs very rapidly. This doesn’t make a big difference with things like charging cell phones or using pumps and power tools. It can have an effect on your TV and other more sensitive electrical items however.
- Pure (Or True) – You will sometimes see this style of inverter referred to as Pure or True, so we’ve listed it under both names. It is a way more high tech, premium style of electrical inverter. Because of this it does carry a far higher price tag. For that money though you are getting a product that supplies the electricity in a steady state with no oscillation. That makes it ideal for higher end electrical products like Flat Screen TVs, games consoles plus electrical goods in the RV kitchen like refrigerators or ovens.
RV Inverter Installation
Installing an RV inverter can, depending on the model you select, be extremely simple or quite complicated. So on the simpler end of the spectrum, products like the very first item on the list, by Power Bright, are plug and play style models. As the name suggests, you plug it into a 12V outlet in the RV and it is installed and ready to go.
The next level will involve battery clips, either clamp or O ring style. They need a little more installation, as they need to be hooked up directly to the RV batteries, but are still relatively straightforward.
Finally there are the styles of RV power inverter designed to hard wired, of which there are a couple of examples in our list above. They are designed to be hooked directly and permanently into the RV electrical system and as such do require more installation. It could be a good idea to bring in a professional to install these styles of inverter.
Best RV Inverter FAQ:
Got a question about RV power converters? You’ll probably find the answer here…
Q: How does an RV Power Inverter work?
A: Put simply, an RV power inverter works to convert the DC (Direct Current) style of electricity that your vehicle or RV battery system uses into AC (Alternating Current). By converting the electric supply in this way, you are changing it into a supply that household electrical products can use.
Q: What size of RV inverter do I need?
A: There are actually two different answers to this question.
(Sorry but we like to be awkward sometimes!)
There are two answers to this question because it really depends on what you mean by size. Are you talking in terms of the size of the RV power inverter itself, or it’s size in terms of electric capacity?
When it comes to the size of the unit, do bear in mind that inverters can be bulky beasts. If you are looking for a unit that puts out around 2,000 Watts then expect it to weigh in the region of 10 Lbs. As the power output increases, so to does the weight. An inverter that generates 3,000 Watts of output, for example, is probably going to weigh around 15Lbs.
In terms of actual output from the device, just make sure you are buying an inverter that can generate the power you need for the devices you want to hook up to it. If for example you just want to charge your electrical devices like cell phones and tablets, a simple 2,000 Watt device will suffice. If you want to run a refrigerator and a TV in your RV, then you may be better served by going for a more powerful model of inverter.
Q: How do I use an RV inverter?
A: One of the big appeals of an RV inverter is that they are very simple to use – after they have been installed of course! You can read more on how to install your RV Power inverter above. Once it is in place simply turn it on, plug in the devices you wish to power and away you go!
Q: When should I turn my inverter on/off?
A: You can turn it off when the RV is hooked up to shore power as this will (or at least should) be coming in as AC electricity anyway, so anything plugged into the power outlets on the RV can use this power without running it through an inverter first.
Our Top Pick
Tough pick this time, as there were a lot of fine products on our list – as you would expect! But for us, the gold medal has to go to the Power Bright PW2300-12 power inverter.
Yes there are more powerful models on the list. But none are quite as simple to use as this little device. It has no bells and whistles true, but it is well designed and well built. It should provide years of useful and effective service and all for a very, very reasonable price too.