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Published Dec. 31, 2018

When you are adventuring in your RV, the fact that 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 reach for a cold one from the fridge because, oh yeah, fridges need electricity 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 take a look at some of the best inverters on the market.

The Best RV Inverter

This powerful unit is the ultimate gateway to a whole lot of power. At the forefront, it offers up 3000W of continuous power. But the great thing is that it does this with a whopping 6000W surge. The AIMS 3000 Watt Continuous 6000 Watt Surge Power Inverter is suitable thanks to a wide range of unmatchable features. This lightweight and portable device is overload protected to ensure durability. It also runs a wide range of appliances for user convenience. All in all, this is a long-lasting option that offers up good, clean power.

Key Features
  • Offers  up 3000W max continuous power with a 6000W surge
  • Fitted with a direct connect AC terminal block
  • Has a 20 amp GFCI outlet which can reset for safety
  • Compact and lightweight 
Specification
  • Brand AIMS Power
  • Model PWRINV300012120W
  • Weight 8.38 pounds
PROS

It is incredibly easy to set up

Runs a wide range of appliances

It is quiet; the circuits do not produce a loud hum

CONS

Users complained that the power is dirty

The fan poses a serious concern

A handful of units have been reported to spontaneously shut down

Genuine pure sine energy is hard to find. So, when you come across a product like this hold on to it tight. What’s even better is that the VertaMax Pure SINE Wave 1500 Watt (3000W Surge) 12V Power Inverter comes with everything you need. Not only is installation a breeze, its convenient. Thanks to this handy device, users can power all sorts of appliances from office to household items. All in all, this is one sturdy piece of equipment equipped with all the protection required for it to last.

Key Features
  • Comes stocked with everything from battery cables to fuse holders
  • Comes with 3 grounded AC outlets
  • Equipped with thermal shutdown and reverse polarity protection
  • Can power anything from computers to Air Conditioners
Specification
  • Brand WindyNation
  • Weight 11.4 pounds
PROS

Comes with all the needed accessories

It is quiet

Delivers clean power

CONS

Has a faulty meter

The accompanying cable is too thin

Durability is a concern

This little red box from Bestek 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 only kicks out 2,000 Watts, so do keep that in mind – you may not be able to power your tanning bed and your chest freezer at the same time. That said, 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.

Key Features
  • 2000 Watts
  • 3x AC Outlets
  • 6x External 50A Fuses
  • Audible Overload Warning
Specification
  • Brand Bestek
  • Model BHBUSAZIN029910
  • Weight 10 Lbs
PROS

It has three outlets instead of two

The fan is quiet

It is easy to change the external fuses when the need arises

CONS

It doesn’t have an LCD Digital display

Numerous complaints about blown fuses

It is underpowered

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!

Key Features
  • 2000 Watts
  • 3x Power Outputs, 1x USB Outlet
  • 10x 35A Fuses
  • 3x Cooling Fans
  • Modified Sine Wave
Specification
  • Brand Ampeak
  • Model IVUFA2000
  • Weight 8.8 Lbs
PROS

Fitted with a handy LCD screen

It has three ports to plug into for power

It is easy to use

CONS

Durability is a concern

It does not come with any installation hardware

Wattage is quite low

This is a premium level inverter, so be warned that it has a premium price tag with it. What makes it a premium model? There are a range of high-end features. But the standout one is the fact this is a Pure or True Sine Wave inverter. 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.

Key Features
  • Pure/True Sine Wave Inverter
  • 2000 Watt Output
  • Universal Protection Circuit
  • Can be Hard Wired
Specification
  • Brand Samlex America
  • Model PST-2000-12
  • Weight 17.2 Lbs
PROS

The fans are quiet

It comes with an extensive user manual

Has remote switching abilities

CONS

Temperature sensor issues

Poor component selection

Durability is a huge concern

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.

Key Features
  • 2000 Watt Output
  • True Sine Wave Power
  • High Surge Capability
  • Heavy Duty Terminals
  • Over Load Shut Off
Specification
  • Brand Xantrex
  • Model 806-1220
  • Weight 8.82 Lbs
PROS

It offers up clean power

Can power a wide range of devices

Great value for the money

CONS

It does not come with vital accessories

Some units do not produce a pure sine wave

Durability is a concern

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.

Key Features
  • True Sine Wave Inverter
  • 3x AC Outlets, 1x USB
  • 3000 Watt Continuous, 6000 Watt Surge
  • Excellent Built in Protections 
Specification
  • Brand Power TechOn
  • Model PS1004
  • Weight 9.9 Lbs
PROS

Great value for money

The fan is quiet

Barely gets overheated

CONS

The remote switch is bulky

The cables are inconveniently short

Durability is a concern

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?

Key Features
  • Pure Sine Power Inverter
  • 2000 Watt Continuous
  • 6000 Watt Surge
  • Built in 70A Battery Charger
  • Industrial Grade Construction
Specification
  • Brand AIMS
  • Model PICOGLF20W12V120VR
  • Weight 49.5 Lbs
PROS

It is well-built

The installation process is straightforward

It is durable

CONS

It is incredibly heavy

It draws a substantial amount of idle power

Constantly overheats

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.

Key Features
  • 3000 Watt Output
  • LCD Screen
  • Wired Remote Control
  • Very Quiet Fan
Specification
  • Brand KRIËGER
  • Model MR1500
  • Weight 4.52 pounds
PROS

The unit is portable

It offers up nice, clean power

The inverter is well-built and durable

CONS

Glitchy remote switch

The fan is noisy

It heats up quite easily

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.

Key Features
  • Pure Sine Wave Converter
  • 3000 Watts Continuous
  • 6000 Watts Surge
  • Individual Circuit Breakers per Outlet
  • Can be Hard Wired
Specification
  • Brand VertaMax
  • Model 3000w
  • Weight 15.4 Lbs
PROS

The unit is portable

It offers up nice, clean power

The inverter is well-built and durable

CONS

Glitchy remote switch

The fan is noisy

It heats up quite easily

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.

Key Features
  • 3000 Watt Output
  • 6000 Watt Surge Output
  • Built in Overload Protections
  • Automatic Low Battery Shut Down
Specification
  • Brand Peak
  • Model PKC0AW
  • Weight 17.4 Lbs
PROS

Good value for money

It is very easy to install and set up

Has a handy remote switch

CONS

It is sub par when it comes to power conversion

Requires additional batteries for adequate use

A lot of defective units in the mix

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.
Laptop on the motorhome table

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.
Woman looking at the laptop near RV

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?

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?

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?

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?

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

Made with customers in mind, this high-quality unit offers up a versatile and convenient way to get power. As a unit itself, it can easily offer up a full 3000 watts to a single source. That can be credited to the presence of a direct connect AC terminal block.

In addition to this unique feature, it is compact and lightweight thereby helping users economise space. This does not take away from the fact that it comes in a highly durable and functional design. Altogether, users just keep winning when it comes to this top-notch inverter.

Sources:

  1. Inverter Installation – HowStuffWorks
  2. How Inverters Work – HowStuffWorks

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