Welcome to our ultimate guide to the best campervan inverters you can buy! Whether you want a simple inverter you can plug into your 12v cigarette lighter or want a more robust inverter connected to your battery bank, this expert blog post will help you find the best inverter for your van.
Just because you’re traveling off the grid in a van doesn’t mean you have to stay away from electronics completely. There will inevitably be times where you need to power certain appliances, like your cell phone, your campervan fridge, or even your toilet!
An inverter converts your van’s 12v DC current into AC power, allowing you to use appliances or devices that would normally plug into your standard wall outlet at home. If you’re only charging one or two devices through a USB port, then you might be able to get by with just a 12v DC power charger (via your cigarette lighter).
But if you plan to hookup anything that requires AC power, then you will absolutely need a durable power inverter for your van.
In this article, we’ll help you decide which type of inverter is best for your camper van conversion, while also sharing a list of some of the best inverters on the market today.
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
RENOGY 1000W 12V DC TO 120V AC PURE SINE CONVERTER
RENOGY 3000W 12V DC TO 120V AC PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER
XANTREX 806-1220 PROWATT SW 2000 CAMPERVAN INVERTER
WAGAN 3720 BLACK 1000W SLIM LINE AC TO DC INVERTER
BESTEK 300 WATT PURE SINE WAVE POWER INVERTER CAMPERVAN ADAPTER
AIMS POWER 2000 WATT PURE SINE INVERTER CHARGER
AIMS POWER 5000 WATT MODIFIED SINE POWER INVERTER
GO POWER! GP-ISW1500-12 INDUSTRIAL PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER
BAPDAS 150W CAMPERVAN POWER INVERTER DC
KRIËGER 1100 WATT 12V POWER INVERTER
The Best Campervan Inverters
It can be difficult to decide on which inverter is the best for your van, especially considering how many styles and brands there are to choose from.
We looked at different features like wattage, price, durability and efficiency to create the following list of the best inverters available for van life living.
Renogy 1000W 12V DC to 120V AC Pure Sine Converter
Renogy is one of the biggest names in the van life community, and for a good reason. They produce some of the highest-rated solar panels, battery chargers, and controllers for camper van and RV owners. So why wouldn’t they also make some of the best power inverter chargers too?
The Renogy 1000W Pure Sine Converter is one of the best campervan pure sine wave inverters we’ve seen. It produces up to 1000W of continuous power and a whopping 2000W of peak/surge power, which should be more than sufficient for handling most mid-size appliances within your van conversion.
Not only is the unit quiet (it comes with a cooling fan), but it also has an ECO-saving mode to reduce power consumption when nothing is plugged in. If you live off-grid or rely on a small battery, this ECO-saving mode is a lifesaver.
And it can be controlled via Bluetooth through the Renogy DC Home App. This is more efficient compared to other inverters, which need to be stored somewhere where you can access the on/off switch. But this feature allows you to keep the inverter anywhere you want inside your van.
|* Reliable brand|
* Eco-saving power mode
* Bluetooth connectivity
|* More expensive price point|
Don’t forget to use “VanLifeTheory” at checkout on the Renogy Site for 10% off all Renogy Products!
Renogy 3000W 12V DC to 120V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter
The Renogy 3000W Inverter may not be the cheapest 12v campervan inverter on this list, but it’s easily the most robust. Providing an astonishing 3000-watt continuous output with 9000W surge power output, this pure sine wave inverter has a 90% efficiency rating, making it one of the most powerful models on the market.
It comes with a built-in LCD screen, so you can easily program and monitor its usage. In addition, it’s loaded with safety features like overload, overcharge, over-discharge, short circuit, and over-temperature protection.
And unlike other top-rated inverters on this list, the Renogy 3000W is compatible with camper van lithium batteries.
The two biggest downsides for us are 1) the price and 2) the wired remote. Smaller, less powerful Renogy models have a Bluetooth connectivity option, which is mysteriously lacking in this more expensive product.
But if the price isn’t a concern and you need an inverter that can handle multiple sensitive products, then the 3000W model is a no brainer.
|* Robust and efficient for all power needs|
* Easy-to-read LEC screen
* Reputable brand
|* Very expensive|
* No Bluetooth remote for connectivity
* Heavy (60+ pounds)
Don’t forget to use “VanLifeTheory” at checkout on the Renogy Site for 10% off all Renogy Products!
Xantrex 806-1220 PROwatt SW 2000 Campervan Inverter
Boasting 1800 watts of continuous pure sine wave power, the Xantrex Prowatt 806 inverter is a solid choice for your van conversion. The peak power also clocks in at 3000 watts, which may be lower compared to other power inverters of this size.
However, it should be more than capable of powering demanding electrical loads like microwaves, power tools, and other high voltage devices. And 85% – 90% efficient rating means you’ll waste less free electricity.
You can upgrade your inverter by purchasing the optional remote switch which shuts down the inverter’s output when the ignition is not turned on.
It would be nice if the remote was included automatically with the unit, especially considering the inverter is already on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Xantrex is a reputable brand in the RV and van world, and their top-notch customer service is one of their biggest selling points. If you need to exchange the unit under the company’s impressive 2-year warranty, then you can easily reach them through phone or email for your replacement.
If you’re looking for a campervan power inverter with lower wattage, Xantrex also makes a 540W pure sine wave inverter or a 900W model.
|* High-efficiency rating|
* Reputable brand
* Top-notch customer service with a 2-year warranty
|* Must purchase remote control separately|
* Low surge watt compared to other inverters
Wagan 3720 Black 1000W Slim Line AC to DC Inverter
If you only have to charge a few simple appliances with your battery, then you might consider the Wagan Slim Line 3720. It is a modified sine wave inverter, so it won’t be able to handle valuable devices such as laptops or complex power tools like the best 12-volt pure sine inverters.
However, it still offers 1000W of continuous power and 2000W of surge power that you can use for other appliances you might need in your campervan.
It comes with three AC outlets and two USB ports, so you’ll have no problem hooking up multiple devices to the power supply. And to help you monitor the power status, this inverter also has a low battery alarm, automatic shutdown, and power and fault lights.
One of the best features of the Wagan 3720 is the size (after all, it’s called a Slim Line for a reason). At 10 x5.17 x2. 4 inches, it’s one of the smallest 12v 1000 watt inverter chargers for van life living.
Considering its compact size and low-cost, the Wagan 3720 is a great option for first-time camper van owners.
|* Small and compact|
* Affordable price
* Decent wattage
* 24-month warranty
|* Not suitable to use with high-power appliances|
BESTEK 300 Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter Campervan Adapter
You’d be hard-pressed to find a durable pure sine inverter as cheap as the BESTEK 300 W Campervan Adapter. But don’t let the price fool you – this inverter charger is one of the most popular options for RV and camper van owners.
As it can be plugged/unplugged into your cigarette lighter it does not need to be hard-wired into your house battery. It only provides 300W of continuous power and 700W of peak power, so you can’t expect to connect larger appliances or complex tools.
However, it should have more than enough power to charge your laptop, speaker, cell phone, or tablet device that you need while on the road.
The BESTEK comes with 2 AC power ports and 2 USB port connectors so you can charge multiple devices simultaneously. And as a safety precaution, it also comes with a built-in 40 amp fuse that provides protection against overheating, under and over voltage charging, short-circuiting, overloads, and overcharging.
The voltage protection feature will shut off the inverter before depleting your van battery, which will save you a lot of headaches if you’re traveling off the grid.
If you need an inverter that doesn’t completely drain your wallet or your van battery, then consider the light and compact BESTEK 300 W Campervan Adapter.
|* Best budget to power pure sine waves|
* Safety protection features
|* Low wattage|
AIMS Power 2000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter Charger
The heavy-duty AIMS Power Pure Sine Charger is an inverter, shore power battery charger, and AC auto-transfer all in one. It provides a 2000 watt continuous charge and a surge capacity of 300% (6000-watt peak power), making it one of the most robust campervan products for 12 volt DC to AC power.
Despite its hefty appearance, this AIMS inverter is surprisingly easy to set up and use. The LCD screen monitors battery voltage, AC input and output voltage, frequency, and load percentage.
At the same time, the attached remote allows you to turn it on and off without accessing the unit itself. It’s also compatible with eight different types of van batteries (including lithium), so it’s a suitable option for most camper or van types.
The high price point might deter some campervan owners from buying, but it’s worth the investment to purchase from a reputable company such as AIMS.
And in the rare chance that something does go wrong, you can rest assured that you’ll be backed back their best 2-year warranty.
If you’re happy with the AIMS brand but not looking for an inverter with such a large power supply, then you can also purchase their 600W, 1000W, or 1500W pure sine inverters.
|* 3-in-1 inverter, battery charger, and AC auto-transfer|
* Reputable company and 2-year warranty
* Easy to read LCD display
|* Heavy (48 pounds)|
* High price point
AIMS Power 5000 Watt Modified Sine Power Inverter
AIMS also makes some decent 12v modified sine wave inverters in addition to their lineup of pure sine wave inverter controls. The Power 5000 Watt model is one of the best and provides a powerful continuous flow of current that works with most motors, pumps, compressors, and other high voltage appliances.
Keep in mind that because it’s a modified sine wave inverter, you shouldn’t connect sensitive electronics such as laptop computers or anything in your van that requires a more constant charge.
At only 18 pounds, the Power 500 Watt is considerably light for its size. And it’s just 17 inches long, so it can easily squeeze into most tight spaces in your small campervan or RV.
It’s easy to install and safe to use, with monitoring lights, over-temperature controls, and even high/low voltage protection. The voltmeter on the front of the unit also allows you to see your voltage at all times, so you can monitor your current consumption and to prevent battery drain and burnout.
While the Power 5000 Watt is on the pricey side for a modified sine wave power inverter, the impressive wattage and portable size makes it a great option for anyone who needs to use simple devices and appliances.
|* Small and lightweight (only 18 pounds)|
* High voltage (5000 watts)
* Reputable brand
|* Expensive for an MSW van inverter|
* Does not come with remote switch
Go Power! GP-ISW1500-12 Industrial Pure Sine Wave Inverter
Go Power! is considered one of the best inverter manufacturers for RV and van life. The GP-ISW1500-12 model is an industrial-style 12v inverter ideal for heavy-duty power appliances or larger loads like TVs, laptops, and stereos.
Not only is it incredibly efficient (some users report a 91% efficiency rating), but it also has a low draw when not in use, which makes it the best economical alternative to traditional electrical system types. The entire unit can also be connected to shore power if you don’t want to rely on a battery charge.
It only comes with two outlets of AC power, so don’t expect to charge more than two appliances at the same time. However, the 1500 watts of electrical charge should be sufficient for most of your battery power needs.
One of the biggest complaints with the Go Power! GP-ISW1500-12 is the noise. With a unit this powerful, the ventilation fan can be quite loud (although all battery inverters inevitably make some sort of noise). However, this shouldn’t deter you from purchasing this powerful 12v van inverter.
|* Reputable brand|
* High-efficiency rating (90%-91%)
* Power saving mode
|* Noisy fan|
* More expensive than some PSW inverters
Bapdas 150W Campervan Power Inverter DC
Not sure if you really need a power converter for your van battery? Why not pick up the Bapdas 150W Campervan Power Inverter to see if it’s something you’d use on your trip? For under $20, you can snag this low voltage inverter from Bapdas.
It plugs right into the 12v cigarette lighter of your campervan and provides 150 watts of power through the USB ports and AC outlets.
It’s super lightweight and compact (3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches and only 8 ounces), making it no larger than the size of a credit card. It’s the perfect travel companion for campers or those living in small campervan vehicles.
Although it’s one of the smallest and more affordable inverters on this list, it still comes loaded with several safety features, like short-circuit, low-voltage, over-charge,over-voltage, over-load,over-temperature protection. The Bapdas is a great low voltage power inverter to help you test the waters before making a big investment.
|* Very affordable|
* Small and compact
* Many safety features
* 18-month warranty
|* Only for low voltage appliances|
KRIËGER 1100 Watt 12V Power Inverter
Installation doesn’t get much easier than with the Kriëger 1100 Watt 12V Power Inverter. This compact modified sine wave inverter comes with everything you need to make sure you can get up and running with AC power in just a few minutes.
The all-inclusive installation kit comes with battery cables, ANL inline fuse, and a high quality wired remote control, which ensures a seamless installation.
There are two AC outlets and two USB ports, which both use the 1100 watts of continuous power output. It also has the best smart chip protection, which protects against high/low voltage, overloads, short circuits, and high temperatures.
You can monitor each of those safety precautions with the warning notifications on the illuminated LCD screen.
We also love that the cooling fan is ultra quiet, which is great if you’re traveling in a an with light sleepers. And while we don’t anticipate anything going haywire with the best Kriëger product, you can still rest easy knowing you have a 3 year parts and labor warranty.
|* Installation kit included for easy setup|
* Great 3-year warranty
* Quiet cooling fan
|* Cannot power sensitive electronics|
Choosing the Best Inverter for a Campervan
Types of Inverters
When looking at different types of inverters for your campervan, you’ll probably come across two main types: pure sine wave (PSW) and modified sine wave (MSW).
The science behind each type of technology can be tricky to understand, although you don’t necessarily need to dive too deep to decide on which inverter charger is right one to use for your campervan.
A pure sine wave inverter produces the cleanest, smoothest, and most reliable wave of current. PSW power is identical to what you would get at home or through an electrical grid, which means they are able to run any type of AC device. If you have a 110/240-volt appliance or something sensitive that requires high-quality power, then you’ll want to use pure sine wave inverters.
A modified sine wave inverter produces waves that are stepped or squared (compared to the smooth waves produced by a PSW). These waves do not have a constant flow of electrical power, making your devices noisier, hotter, and less efficient by up to 30%.
READ MORE: Don’t miss our ultimate guide to the best campervan accessories! Click here to read the post!
For this reason, there are certain products that cannot be hooked up to an MSW power inverter, including battery chargers, induction cooktops, microwaves, audio equipment, and even some TVs and laptops. However, MSW inverters are great for converting electricity for simple appliances like space heaters, toasters, or water boilers.
The other main difference between pure sine wave and modified sine wave inverters is the price. PSW products are significantly more expensive than MSW ones, which can be a big factor in your decision-making process.
If you only have a few simple appliances that don’t need complex power, you can probably get away with using a low-cost MSW. But if you need to power more complex items inside your van, then you’ll need to use a PSW inverter.
When shopping for inverters, you’ll probably see the amount of power listed in two different numbers. For example, 200/400. This is the size of the inverter, which is calculated using two different measurements: continuous watts and peak/surge watts.
Continuous watts refer to how much power the inverter has on a running basis. If you are looking at a product that has a size of 1000W, then that means it can provide 1000 continuous watts of power.
Peak/Surge watts, on the other hand, refers to the maximum power outlet the inverter can process in a short period. Although your appliance may have a continuous running power of 300W, it might require 500W just to start when turned on.
If that’s the case, then you’ll need to look for an inverter that can handle that number of peak or surge watts.
The no-load consumption rate is the amount of power used by the power inverter when there is no load connected to it. This generally isn’t too high (just a few watts). But the best inverters have an eco-mode or stand-by switch that saves even more battery power when it’s not in use.
Whenever you convert DC to AC power, you will inevitably lose some electrical current during the process. The efficiency rating of an inverter explains exactly how much power is lost during the conversion.
For example, an inverter with a 90% efficiency rating means that 10% of the DC power is lost when converted to AC power.
Generally speaking, most inverters will be within the 80% to 90% efficiency range.
It’s crucial that you look for an inverter that has a higher number of watts than your appliance needs in order to account for the loss in efficiency. That means your inverter should accommodate 10% to 20% more wattage than your appliance needs.
So, if you require 500W of power, then you should buy an inverter that has a minimum of 600W or 700W of continuous power.
With a wide range of available campervan power inverters, you should have no problem finding something that falls within your budget.
Low-cost modified sine wave inverters hover around the $50 to $100 price range. While these types can work for some RV and van owners, they usually have less power compared to larger models.
You can also get some of the best 12v inverters (PSW or MSW) for anywhere between $200 and $400. These types might not have the highest power, nor will they have high tech features like a wireless remote control, but they’re sufficient enough for more leisurely van life travelers.
It’s also possible to find power inverters from $500 to $1,000. A pure sine wave inverter with 2000 to 3000-watt output power that can charge your sensitive electronics will be on the higher end of that spectrum.
Generally speaking, the more powerful the inverter, the more space it will take up. While space might not be an issue for larger motorhomes or RVs, it can be a problem for anyone traveling in a small camper van.
It’s important to have enough space in your van not just for the unit itself, but also for ventilation. The inverter needs space to breath, or else it can overheat and break down.
Battery Bank Capacity Needs
Having the biggest, most powerful van inverter won’t matter unless you have an equally big and powerful electrical system to support it. If your van battery can’t fully support the number of appliances the inverter is converting, then you run the risk of draining your battery or even worse, killing it.
Flooded Lead Acid batteries and AGM batteries can only handle a small number of watts per amp hours. On the other hand, Lithium batteries can handle a higher wattage per amp-hours, which means they’re more efficient at charger devices with a higher voltage.
It’s important to calculate how many watts you need for your appliances, and if your battery and electrical system is large enough to support it.
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