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RV Inverters: A Boondocking Necessity

If your idea of camping and enjoying the great outdoors is going off the grid and forgoing the conveniences of a campground, then you'll have to consider how you're going to power your much-loved and much-used RV appliances and hand-held devices. Sure, most of them have batteries, but they won't last for long. If you're planning to park your rig in an off-the-beaten-path location and enjoy uninterrupted tranquility, you'll want to invest in an inverter that changes DC power to AC power so you can use your microwave, TV, laptop, cellphone, and other things for extended periods of time while not connected to shore power. Let's take a look at RV inverters—a boondocking necessity—to help you determine which type and size is right for your RVing needs.

Inverter Types


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There are two types of inverters: true/pure sine wave inverters (PSW) and modified/quasi sine wave inverters (MSW). PSWs use toroidal transformers (donut-shaped) and electronic circuits to transform direct current into a smoothly varying alternating current, one that resembles the genuine sine wave normally supplied to our homes. These are great for charging TVs, computers, gaming consoles, and stereo systems. MSWs, often less expensive but more efficient, use cheaper electronics like thyristors and diodes to produce a more rounded-off square wave that doesn't resemble a sine wave quite as much. These can power large electronics, like a microwave, but they can damage smaller, more fragile electronics or devices, like a laptop or TV, that includes an electronic or microprocessor controller. Also, since they send more power to the appliance than a PSW does, you run the risk of overheating when using an MSW.

Inverter Sizes


RV inverter size differences
Just like RVs, inverters come in all different sizes. You can purchase small, portable ones that plug right into your car or RV's cigarette lighter, or you can purchase a large one that you install inside your RV. The size that is right for you depends on what type of camping you do and what appliances you'll want to charge with it. If your style of camping is more weekend warrior than full-time RVer, you might be just fine using small, portable inverters. As a weekend warrior, you're not going to be working on your laptop for 8 hours or watching a whole season of your favorite show on DVD. You're most likely going to be exploring the beauty around you and enjoying the flickering lights from your campfire, not from your RV. But when you do want to watch TV, charge your camera or cell phone, or use your laptop, simply plug in a portable inverter to your car or RV cigarette lighter, plug your appliance into the inverter, and turn it on. Based on online customer reviews, we suggest you check out these portable inverters for your RV: BESTEK 300W Power Inverter:
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter


  • Has 2 AC outlets (300W rated, 350W max, 700W peak)

  • Dual USB port output (DC 5V, 3.1A rated. 2.1 A & 1A)

  • Over-voltage shutdown

  • Low-voltage shutdown

  • Indicator lights (green-operation, red-shutdown)

  • Input voltage (12V DC); output voltage (110V-120V)

  • 18-month warranty

  • Highest average review rating of any power inverter brand!

  • Around $30


SNAN 300Watt DC 12V to AC 110V Car Power Inverter:
SNAN 300Watt DC 12V to AC 110V Car Power Inverter


  • Has dual AC outlets and dual USB charging port 4.8A max with smart identification technology

  • Smart cooling fan makes it ultra silent when operating

  • Includes battery clamps and cigarette lighter adapter

  • Stronger reversing system keeps power inverter safe even when there's a positive and negative connection error

  • Ideal for laptops, cell phones, GPSs, MP3 players, power tools, and more

  • Protection against short circuit, reverse-connect, over charge, over voltage, under voltage, overload, over temp

  • 18-month warranty

  • Around $20


Now if you're a full timer and need the ability to use your appliances and devices quite a bit, then you'll want to consider installing an inverter that is wired directly into your RV's AC wiring system. At the very least, you'll want to install a 2,000 watt inverter to ensure that you can freely use your RV's lights, microwave, TV, laptop, vacuum, hairdryer, and even a washer & dryer as often as you want and need. We recommend checking out these larger inverters that have received good reviews from customers: POTEK 2000W Power Inverter:
POTEK 2000W Power Inverter


  • Has 3 110V AC outlets

  • 2000 Watts of continuous DC to AC power and 4600 Watts peak power

  • Has 6 external 50A fuses for added safety

  • Audible overload alarm with LED light

  • Power switch

  • High-speed cooling fan

  • Soft-start, surge protection

  • Input & output isolated system

  • Battery clamps and cigarette lighter adapter included

  • 18-month warranty

  • Use for flood lights, TVs, refrigerator, rechargeable devices, and more

  • Around $150


VertaMax 3000 Watt 12V Pure sine Wave Power Inverter:
VertaMax 3000 Watt 12V Pure sine Wave Power Inverter


  • Has 3 grounded AC outlets (115 AC for USA household devices)

  • Includes a hard-wired terminal block for permanent AC connections

  • LED display that shows DC battery voltage and Watts to monitor power usage

  • Thermal shutdown

  • Short-circuit protection

  • Over-voltage protection

  • Low-voltage shutdown

  • Low/high voltage alarm

  • 1-year warranty

  • Use to power laptops, TVs, gaming consoles, cellphone chargers, microwave, A/C, and more

  • Around $400


Go Power! GP-SW2000-12 2000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter:
Go Power! GP-SW2000-12 2000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter


  • Has 2 GFCI protected outlets and hardwire port

  • 2000 watt continuous pure sine wave inverter 12 volt input

  • 4000 watt surge

  • Over-voltage protection

  • Under-voltage protection

  • Overload protection

  • 2-year warranty

  • Around $800

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