These days most newer vehicles have a USB port or two for charging smartphones, but that’s about it. And whether you have USB ports or not, most don’t put out enough power for bigger accessories. So, if you want to charge multiple devices at a time, run a laptop, or even power a fridge to live that vanlife, these are the best power inverters for your car.
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Getting a power inverter for your car is a pretty straightforward task. While the name sounds scary, it’s simply a device that converts your car’s DC electric power into AC electric power. Then you can use that to power or charge phones, laptops, game consoles, and all types of accessories or even small appliances.
An inverter is not a portable battery, and you do not have to remember to charge it before use, as they don’t hold a charge. Instead, it converts your car’s power into usable energy for plugs, USB charging ports, and more to power other things.
What you look for and ultimately buy depends on your needs.
- Features: If you only need a USB port or two, or a more powerful USB, a simple inverter will be plenty. However, if you need an AC outlet to run a laptop, fridge, compressor, or other accessories, choose something with more ports and options.
- Power: What you want to power will determine how big of an inverter you buy. Even a small 200w power inverter with an AC wall plug and some USB ports will easily power and charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro, as they typically come with 85w chargers. A Dometic fridge will need more power, and something like a 600w microwave needs around 1000w from start to finish.
- Price: For under $100, you can run hundreds of items with an inverter. If you only need a little power, an affordable $25 inverter will be plenty. Read on to see our recommendations.
Our top pick goes to Ampeak, which offers inverters of all different shapes and sizes. The Ampeak 2000w is a great choice as it’s more power than most people will ever need, packs three AC outlets, a USB port, and a digital display showing usage. With this, you can run a fridge, an electric chainsaw, and much more with ease right from your car. You’ll have to wire it to the battery, but you’ll have constant and stable power at your fingertips.
Ampeak 2000W Power Inverter 3 AC Outlets DC 12V to 110V AC Car Converter 2.1A USB Inverter
With 2000 watts of constant power, this inverter can run hundreds of tools, accessories, or gadgets with ease.
In terms of overall usage and value, the Bestek 300w is perfect for the price. Instead of wanting to power a chainsaw, we’re assuming the average person wants to charge a few laptops, a tablet, maybe some DJI battery packs, and keep their phones topped off. If that’s you, the 300 watt output is the perfect solution with two AC outlets and dual USB ports.
Quickly plug this into the 12V cigarette lighter, and you’re all set for camping, road trips, and more.
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter
This little inverter is perfect for a family needing a little more power in the car, or a weekend warrior traveling with extra gear.
If you’re looking for something a little more portable and versatile than the Bestek in our last recommendation, consider the Energizer 500w dual power inverter. You can plug this into the cigarette lighter or clip it to the battery terminals, giving you more usage options. Not to mention it offers two AC outlets and four USB ports, capable of running (or charging) six devices at a time. Keep in mind the 12V cigarette lighter plug only delivers 120-160 watts. To get the full 500w for power-hungry devices, you’ll need to connect it to the battery.
Energizer 500 Watts Power Inverter w/ 48 Watts USB Ports, Modified Sine Wave Car Inverter, DC to AC Converter with Dual 110 Volts AC Outlets and 4 USB Ports 2.4A ea - METLab Approved Under UL Std 458
The Energizer 500w inverter offers dual power options and six ports for charging, making it super portable for any situation or device.
Most people don’t need a ton of extra power in their vehicle, which is why this little compact cup holder power inverter is perfect. The Bestek 150w doesn’t offer a ton of juice, but you get two USB ports and an AC outlet to power laptops or game consoles. It’s just enough to give you more options while you travel or make an older car feel new.
BESTEK150W Socket Cigarette Lighter Distributor Power Adapter car Inverter Dual 2.4A USB Single American Standard Socket Suitable for Mobile Phone GPS Driving Recorder PC Portable Coke Cup
This compact power inverter fits snugly in a cup holder while delivering dual USB ports and an AC plug for other accessories.
Last but not least is the insanely huge Energizer 4000w pure sine wave power inverter. This delivers 4000w of continuous power for medical equipment, a fridge, power tools, DJ speakers, and more—plus it can offer 8000w of peak power.
While this car power inverter isn’t loaded with tons of ports and options, you get two AC outlets and two USB ports along with steady stable power from a brand everyone knows and trusts. In the box, you’ll get both a 12v wiring kit to hardwire it permanently to your car battery and quick battery clamp alligator cables, which is nice. It’s expensive but packs an insane amount of power and is METLab approved for emergency use.
Energizer 4000 Watts Power Inverter, 12V to 110 Volts Modified Sine Wave Car Inverter, Dual AC Outlets, 2 USB Ports 2.4A ea and Hardwire Kit, Battery Cables Included - METLab Approved Under UL STD 458
The Energizer 4,000 watt power inverter for cars is your ultimate power delivery device for those in need or doomsday preppers.