Setting up a car with a power inverter is easy to do and is a nice feature to add to any vehicle. Adding a 110/120 AC power outlet is useful for for many situations from traveling to simply recharging a laptop.
Inverters have different Amps and Watts they can supply depending on the unit bought.
Since cars use a 12 volt battery don’t expect it to crank out enough amps to run power tools or anything similar.
To get the Wattage needed for a electronic device the Amps are multiplied by the Volts.
For example the Watts for a 1.5 Amp cellphone charger can be calculated with, 1.5 Amps X 120 Volts = 180 Watts
The most common method is to calculate the Watts that will be needed and than add 10-20 percent more.
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Our Picks for Best Car 12 Volt to AC Power Inverter
- BESTEK 300W Power Inverter
- Energizer EN100
- Cobra CPI2590
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter
This unit from BESTEK is a mid-range low cost budget option.
It can only supply up-to 300 Watts so it is only good for supplying power to low power devices such as smartphones and laptops.
It has two AC power ports and Two USB charging ports.
It plugs into a cigarette lighter or can connect with clips directly to the battery.
Energizer EN100 Ultra Compact DC to AC 100W Direct Plug-in Power Inverter
The Energizer EN100 is a very low Watt unit, so it can only power very low wattage devices such as a smartphone.
It is a small unit and is good as a emergency phone charger or someone needed extra charging ports.
Cobra CPI2590 Gray 2500W 2.1A USB 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC Power Inverter (2,500 Watts)
The Cobra CPI2590 is a 2500 Watt inverter that can peak out for short times to 5000 Watts.
2500 Watts is high usage and any device that uses this many Watts will drain a 12 volt battery quickly.
If it is needed than be sure to keep your car running.
It has three AC outlets, USB port, and a digital display.
This high Watt unit is likely not needed for the average car owner looking to charge small electronic devices.
When using a inverter hooked to a car battery it is never a good idea to use it for very long without the vehicle running as it will drain the battery.
Keep in mind some electronics mainly with motors or pumps will require more Amps when they first start and than level out.
The initial spike from some electronics should always be thought out as even if a device is rated to run at a certain Amp rating it may require more to start runing.
Units that use the cigarette light can not pull high amps as most cigarette lighters are not built for high amperage draw.
Units that are high Watt inverters will need its own wires run to the battery or the battery clamps used.
Having a AC power outlet in your vehicle has many advantage simply be sure to know what the wattage is on the devices you will be powering.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.