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 for sizing an inverter is to calculate the Watts that will be needed and add 10-20 percent.
There are many good units available with some of our favorite picks below.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best Car 12 Volt to AC Power Inverter 2021
- BESTEK 300W Power Inverter
- Energizer ENK Series
- POTEK 2000W
- Cobra CPI2500W
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.
Energizer 500 Watt Power Inverter 12V DC to AC Plus 4 x 2.4A USB Charging Ports Total 9.6A
The Energizer ENK Seriesis 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.
POTEK 2000W Power Inverter 12V DC to 110 V AC Car Inverter with 3 AC Ports and USB Port
The POTEK 2000W is a high-output inverter that can power microwaves, small refrigerator, and other electronics.
It connect directly to a battery and is for a very serous user that need a lot of amps.
This of course will drain the battery quickly when under a full load.
A combination of a vehicle running and a deep cycle battery should be used with any high capacity inverter.
Cobra CPI2500W Portable Power Inverter – 2500 Watt Car Charger, 4 Grounded AC Outlets, Remote (CPIALCDG1) Compatible and 2 Fast Charge USB Port, Black
The Cobra CPI2500W 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 four 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.