Whether you’re loading up your RV for a weekend away or starting a van life adventure, pure sine wave inverters help us create our home away from home. If you need to keep something ice cold in a freezer or nuke it in a microwave, a pure sine wave inverter ensures that your devices will work safely. Inverters provide clean, smooth, safe energy to your appliances and reduce the noise associated with running electronics directly from a power source. I’ve created a buying guide so you know what to look out for before picking the right inverter for you. You’ll also find a list of all the best inverters on the market ranked under various categories below.
To choose the best pure sine wave inverters on the market, I employed The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology and evaluated dozens of inverters before choosing the top contenders. Although I haven’t personally tested these products, my selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and my institutional knowledge of the automotive industry.
I visited the Car Talk and Van Dwellers subreddit to get a more informed opinion of what automotive enthusiasts felt about the products on the market.
Some brands are already well-established in this niche, and priority was given to their products. However, other lesser-known brands were also evaluated. The main features taken into consideration were continuous power wattage, peak power wattage, power sources, power outlets, warranty, price, and reliability. Inverters were immediately disqualified from consideration if they were unreliable or had faults that made them dangerous to use.
Best Pure Sine Wave Inverter Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Pure Sine Wave Inverters
I’ve chosen the Renogy 1,000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter as the best overall pure sine wave inverter. This model has plenty of power without being overkill, and it’s as reliable as they come. If you’re on a tight budget, check out the value option, the Bestek Power Inverter 1,200W.
What to Consider When Buying a Pure Sine Wave Inverter
There are plenty of features to consider before picking the right pure sine wave inverter for you. I’ve put together a buying guide detailing the different types, features, and brands to consider before making your purchase. Keep reading to find out what features matter to you.
Types of Pure Sine Wave Inverters
Pure Sine Waves
Pure sine waves have a smooth and continuous wave-form with a uniform phase angle that allows for constant and clean output voltage, which rises and falls evenly and instantly changes polarity as it crosses the zero-volt line.
Modified Sine Waves
These sine waves are choppy, and their voltage rises and falls abruptly. Phase angles are sharper and less uniform, causing a rougher, less predictable delivery of voltage. Changes between polarity at the zero-voltage line aren’t instantaneous, but take some time to occur, leaving gaps in the delivery of power to your electronics and appliances.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter Key Features
The most important thing to consider when buying a pure sine wave power inverter is its continuous power output. The continuous power output should be double what your appliances draw. For example, if you want to run a 150-watt TV, then you’ll need an inverter that’s at least 300 watts. If you plan on using multiple devices simultaneously, then you’ll need to add up the total draw and multiply it by two to see how much continuous power you’ll need.
Continuous power relates to long-term normal wattage operation, while peak power relates to the maximum wattage output that an inverter can supply for a very short period. Many power inverters have a peak power rating, also called peak surge power, which is double the figure of their continuous power output. So, for example, a 3,000-watt inverter could have a peak power output of 6,000 watts. An appliance where peak surge power could be an issue is a refrigerator. To continuously run a refrigerator, you need around 800 watts but, once the compressor starts, it requires another 1,200 surge watts. So an inverter running a refrigerator like this would need a peak power output of 2,000 watts.
Different pure sine wave inverters will have different power outlets. So you’ll need to think about what kind of devices you usually power and what outlets they require. For example, some models will have three standard American outlets but only one USB port, whereas other inverters might have more USB ports but fewer standard outlets.
The whole point of using a pure sine wave inverter is to safely power your devices. These products come with a host of safety features to keep your devices safe. Here are the most important protective features to look out for: thermal, overload, over-voltage, under-voltage, low-voltage, and short-circuit protection.
The majority of pure sine wave inverters come with cables that connect directly to your battery terminals. But some, usually smaller, inverters come with a cable that allows you to draw power from your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket. So, if you plan on using your inverter while you’re in the car and on the move, you should make sure it comes with a cigarette lighter socket connection.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter Brands
Renogy started as a small project by students at Louisiana State University and was founded in 2010, although it manufactures its products in China. The brand produces a range of products and specializes in the renewable energy niche. The pure sine wave power inverters this company makes are high-end and reliable but come with the kind of price tag associated with such qualities. Renogy specializes in relatively large inverters, making them best suited for people who need a 1,000- to 3,000-watt model.
Bestek was founded in 2007 and is based in Paris, France. The company produces a range of electronic devices but specializes in power inverters. It has one of the widest range of power inverts in the industry, as it produces models ranging from 75-2,000 watts. Inverters from this brand are great for anyone who needs a low-power model, like an inverter you’d use with your cigarette lighter socket. Bestek inverters are great value for money, but the brand never compromises the build quality of its products.
Krieger manufactures under its own brand name products and produces private label products for various accounts located in areas such as the USA, UK, France, Portugal, Australia, Israel, and South Africa. This brand’s inverters are high-end, and their high price tags reflect this, but they all come with a five-year warranty, so you can buy with confidence. Krieger only produces inverters ranging from 1,100-4,000 watts, so it’s not the brand for anyone who wants a low-power model.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and pure sine wave inverters. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- The cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle is probably only set up to deal with 150-watts. So, if you need more wattage than that, you’ll need to draw power directly from the battery.
FAQs on Pure Sine Wave Inverters
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q: Do you really need a pure sine wave inverter?
A: If the device or appliance you’re using uses an AC motor then you should probably use a pure sine wave inverter. Examples of devices that need a pure sine wave inverter are refrigerators, compressors, and microwave ovens.
Q: What size pure sine wave inverter do I need?
A: You need a pure sine wave inverter that will cover your appliances’ peak and continuous power needs. Your inverter needs to have a continuous power output that’s double the amount that appliances draw from it. For example, if you use an appliance that continuously draws 200 watts, you’ll need a pure sine wave inverter that has a 400-watt continuous output.
Q: Should I leave my inverter on all the time?
A: Some inverters can be left on at all times, while others should be turned off when they’re not in use. Check what the manufacturer recommends for your particular model. But, even if you can leave your inverter on all the time, it’s good to switch it off from time to time to give its components a rest, especially its fans.