At the most basic level, car inverters are devices that can convert power from the battery of your car into usable power for your appliances, commonly by plugging into the cigarette lighter. On the other side (that is not plugged into the cigarette lighter) lies an outlet that will support any standard electronic device, from phone and laptop chargers to unconventional devices such as coffee machines and even small ovens. There are several different kinds of car inverters, although a typical vehicle on the road can only support 150-watt – 300w auto power inverters. This is enough to support most household electronics that you would want to plug into the inverter. Some devices come with AC outlets, as well. The main features you will want to look for in a car inverter include safety features, watt ranges, design, voltages, sizes, feature sets, and support.
The watt range is one of the most things to keep in mind when searching for a car inverter. You will most likely want to look for inverters that range from 150 to 300 watts since that is what most cars can support if the inverter is running at 90 percent capacity. Other things you might want to consider are how many outlets are offered. If you have a large family or plan on plugging in multiple devices, it may be more important to you to have more outlets. You will also want to look in to the safety features available- you will want the inverter to shut down if it is getting too hot or using too much power in order to protect your car battery. The customer service options (i.e., warranty) and the usability of the device are other things you may want to consider, as well.
BESTEK is one of the top power car inverter brands and appears more than once on our list. It has 2 AC outlets and 2 USB charging ports, as well as 300 watts of continuous power. The USB ports are equipped with smart charging so they can immediately detect your device and then deliver the fastest charging speed. It has a lightweight and compact design that makes it easy to travel with and the cigarette lighter plug measures at 26 inches. It comes with several safety features including a 40 amps fuse, a cooling fan, in addition to a low battery alarm, low battery shutdown, overload protection, and short circuit protection. It comes with a user manual to provide easy instructions on how to use the device and an 18 month warranty with customer service to assist you when needed. The input voltage is 12V DC. It is important to remember not to leave this device on while your car is off and that it is not compatible with high power electric devices such as hair dryers and curling irons. Using these devices can damage the inverter and your battery. This product received great reviews on amazon and is offered at a fairly low price of $30.99. You also have the option of purchasing an additional years of warranty protection for an added cost.
The Whistler Inverter XP200i is our number two pick for several reasons. It offers 200 watts of continual power and 400 watts at peak power. Additionally, it has one AC outlet, as well as 2 USB ports that can accommodate most of your electronic devices including laptops, cameras, and cell phones. As for safety features, it has a built in cooling fan that will prevent it from overheating and damaging your battery or devices. It also has electronic circuit protection including smart surge control, voltage protection, short circuit protection, and a thermal cutoff. It has a 12V cord and the direct wire cables are included. All of this is offered at an extremely affordable price of $25.99 and the inverter has great customer satisfaction. It is possible to request a manufacturer’s warranty for this product. It is a rather small inverter at 11 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches and weighing 6.8 pounds, making it both convenient and useful.
This Maxboost power inverter offers 300 watts of continuous DC to AC power and 700 watts of instantaneous power. It has 2 110V AC outlets and 2 USB charging ports, so it is possible to charge four devices at the same time. The USB ports are equipped with a mSMART chip that detects the type of device that is plugged in to provide the optimal output and fastest charging. Similar to the other inverters on our list, it is small and compact for convenience when traveling with a 24 inch long cable to plug into the cigarette lighter. It also has the standard safety features including short circuit protection and over charging protection, as well as a fan to prevent overheating. It has a heavy duty outer casing to protect against damage after being dropped or knocked around. This product comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer. The standard price for this inverter is $39.99, which is slightly more expensive than some of the other options listed. However, some sellers may offer this product on sale and you’ll be able to get it at a discounted price.
This BESTEK inverter is best for those who are looking for a smaller device and do not require multiple outlets. It has 150 watts of continuous power and 360 watts of peak power. It has 1 AC outlet and 2 USB ports so you can power three electronic devices at the same time. It has a longer cigarette lighter cable than some of the other inverters on our list at 30 inches and only costs $13.99. It has a 20 amps fuse and safety features such as low battery alarm, low battery shut down, and overload indicator to protect your car’s battery from depletion or damage. However, the one safety feature this inverter is missing is the fan to cool it down and prevent it from overheating. It comes with an eighteen month manufacturer’s warranty and easy to reach customer support. This is the cheapest option on the list but you are still able to power up three electronics at once with a compact, convenient device that is perfect for traveling.
Although this inverter only offers one AC outlet and two USB ports, it made the list due to its convenient design. It is made to specifically fit into your car’s cup holder. None of the other inverters are able to fit into such a useful location. It offers 200 watts of continuous power and 400 watts of peak power. For only having one outlet and one USB port, this particular inverter is on the more expensive side at $38.99. It also has a cooling fan to prevent overheating. However, in our experience using this inverter, the noise created by the fan was a bit loud- some may find that annoying; others that drive with music on or enjoy white noise won’t find it troublesome. The convenience of the cup holder design, particularly for travelers would probably be the top reason to pick this model over some of the others in the list.
This is another smaller option that might fit more easily in your car on a road trip. It only comes with one AC outlet and one USB port, so you would only be able to charge two devices at a time. This device might be more appropriate for those who prefer a small, compact design to several outlets. It has several safety features including a cooling fan, a shut down feature when your car battery is low and an auto reset short circuit protection. The thermal cutoff ensures that the device will automatically shut down when it reaches an internal temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It has 150 watts of continuous power and 450 watts of peak power. It is covered by a one year limited warranty and there are toll free customer service numbers and email addresses provided by the manufacturer on their website. The cigarette lighter cable is only a few inches long, so it is slightly shorter than some of the other inverter cables on the list. The Wagan Tech device will cost you about $26.59. Some users have stated that it overheats easily.
This Power Bright inverter also offers a very sleek and original design. It offers 175 watts of continuous power and 350 watts at peak power. This device has most of the standard safety features including temperature and battery protection. If it becomes too hot and the internal temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the device will shut down automatically. Additionally, this inverter will protect your battery if the car is not running. If the voltage input from the battery to the inverter falls below 10.5 volts, it will sound an alarm. If it falls below 10 volts, the inverter will shut down automatically to preserve the battery. It also has a built in cooling fan. The manufacturer offers a one year limited warranty and there is a customer service number listed on their website that you can use to contact them during normal business hours. The price for this inverter is $25.38. The innovative carbon fiber design of this inverter is what really makes it stand out. It is extremely lightweight and comes in a variety of colors. In addition, you can purchase a gel cover that comes in nine different colors.
The Duracell brand is extremely reliable and user friendly which is one of the reasons this inverter made our list. It does only have one AC outlet and USB port for the price of $39.99. However, many people are willing to pay for the trustworthiness of the manufacturer and brand. It offers 175 watts of continuous power. It comes with a fan to prevent overheating, but the high quality cooling technology reduces the noise of the fan by up to 50 percent in comparison with other manufacturers’ inverters. It is one of the slimmest and sleekest inverters on our list, which makes it extremely convenient for traveling in the car. It comes with a user replaceable 8 A slow blow fuse, in addition to several safety features including automatic shutdown from electronic overload, low battery voltage shut down, shutdown from overheat protection, output short circuit protection, and high-input voltage protection with automatic shutdown. The measurements of the inverter are 6 x 6 x 6 inches and it only weighs 13.6 ounces. It also comes with a three year limited warranty, which is the best warranty protection of any product on our list.
Although all of the products on our list would be a good choice if you are looking to purchase a car inverter, there are a few that stand out a bit more. The top pick would be the BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC as it offers two AC outlets and two USB ports for the affordable price of $30.99. It offers several safety features, a compact design, and cord of 26 inches so it can stretch to the back seats. It has all of the features you should be looking for in a car inverter. The best bang for your buck product would be the BESTEK 150W Power Inverter DC. It is only $13.99 but still offers an AC outlet and two USB ports, with multiple safety features and a 30 inch cigarette lighter cable. If you are looking for an innovative design and an inverter that comes in multiple colors, the PowerBright XR175-12 might be the best product for you.