Best Power Inverter For Car 2017 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

A car power inverter is your ultimate solution towards a more productive driving.

Gone are the days you have to wait for your phone to fully charge in your home outlet before you can drive.

Now you can charge your devices while on the go! With that in mind, investing in the best power inverter for car could be the wisest choice you can do today.

What is A Car Power Inverter?

1. How does it work?

This device plugs into your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter outlet. A car power inverter works as an AC / DC inverter – it significantly amplifies the current supplied by the cigarette lighter to provide electricity in a larger, more usable level.

From the name itself, this device converts DC current (around 10 to 15 volts) into an AC current (measured in watts). 

2. What’s the use of such device?

A car power inverter has a single or multiple pronged outlets at the other end. Some models even have standard USB ports.

This device allows the user to power or charge typical electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, power accessories, and even some household electronics right inside the car. 

3. Can it drain my car battery?

Using a car power inverter can, of course, drain your car battery if the engine is not on.

However, some devices are already equipped with safety features that halts power consumption when it reaches critical levels.

Related: Best Car Battery Charger

4. Why should we use it?

A car inverter is perfect for people who are on the road a lot. This allows you to refill your phones, GPS trackers, and other electronic travel essentials.

This device makes it possible for passengers to work on their laptops continuously during extended travel hours.

A car power inverter can also keep your children entertained in movies.

What Is The Best Power Inverter For Car in 2017?

With dozens of possible options on the market today, it would be too hard to scrutinize the items one by one.

Good news is – we have already done the job for you. Here are three of the best car power inverters you can buy today:

1. Best Value - Foval 150W Car Power Inverter

The Foval Car Power Inverter is a premium 150watt device that features a single outlet and two USB ports.

This is an ideal power inverter since it features multiple ports; meaning you can power your devices simultaneously.

The AC outlet can charge laptops, DVD players, small TVs, kindle, game consoles, tablet PCs, lights, and other electronic devices.

It can also power other essentials like nebulizers, CPAP machines, and breast pumps.

One impressive thing is its size. The Foval Car Power Inverter is so small that it resembles a typical credit card! The dimensions being 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches is small enough that you can store the thing almost anywhere. It saves you more space for easy storage.

Further, the device is also lightweight at 8 oz, and undeniably portable. The aluminum shell design also contributes to the small weight.

The Foval also has multiple safety features. The device is designed to withstand under or over voltage charging, overheating, overloads, short circuit, and overcharging. 

The unit is made of aluminum – a sturdy metal housing crafted to withstand bumps and drops. What makes it even more attractive is the integrated cooling fan.

It effectively prevents shortages and significantly decrease heat while operating very silently at the same time. The fan is also smart enough to spin faster when the device gets warmer.

It also has an LED indicator – operating is green, while failed is red. You’ll also be glad to have the 16-inch long cable with the cigarette lighter at the other end. The chord is long enough that people in the backseat can charge their laptops without hassle.

The 150-watt power is also enough to efficiently power most electronic devices. Your travel emergency kit will not be complete with this Foval Car Power Inverter.

Pros

  • One outlet; Two USB ports
  • Very compact size; similar to the size of a credit card
  • Very compact size; similar to the size of a credit card
  • Quite portable and lightweight; convenient storage
  • Aluminum shell; robust housing with advanced protection
  • Safety features against all kinds of mishaps
  • Intuitive Cooling Fan; spins faster when it becomes warmer

Cons

  • It may have a dual USB cord but it only has one AC outlet, meaning you can only charge larger devices one at a time. This is the sacrifice you have to make for the compact, card-size design.

2. Best Brands - BESTEK Car Power Inverter

Now this one’s another best-seller and it’s not surprising why lots of people applaud this.

The BESTEK Car Power Inverter is dubbed by its manufacturer as the “leading” in US. 

This device can provide up to 700 watts of instantaneous power.

It also gives 300 Watts of continuous DC to AC conversion – this is the more important part. 

What makes this one more appealing is the multiple ports – it has two AC outlets and another two USB ports. 

The two 110V AC outlet is capable of powering larger devices like tablet PCs and laptops. USB-compatible devices will also find their place with the dual USB ports – iPhones, game consoles, smartwatches, little fans, and more.

Despite having more outlets, the device is still pretty small. The BESTEK is similarly sized to a mere iPhone when you look it at the top. This makes the device ideal from daily trips to occasional camping and long travels.

Another attractive aspect is the 24-inch lighter plug. This makes charging at the backseat more convenient because passengers won’t have to adjust from their seats just to have a good range.

More importantly, the BESTEK car power inverter is packed with lots of safety features that keep all potential hazards at bay. The 40 amps fuse guards your device against under / over voltage charging, overheating, overloading, short circuits, and overcharging.

Like the previous model, this one has an advance metallic housing that makes the unit tough enough to withstand harsh driving conditions. The BESTEK can handle accidental drops, providing you with more confidence when using this one.

The BESTEK is ideal for any owner who wants a reliable charger on the go. It provides safe and stable current conversion to conveniently accommodate your needs. It has a total of four ports without having to sacrifice space.

Pros

  • A reliable charger on the go
  • 2 AC outlet; 2 USB ports
  • Can charge more electronics at the same time
  • Can power large laptops
  • Can charge all types of USB-equipped devices
  • Still has a compact design; similar to an iPhone
  • 24-inch cord for more convenience
  • Packed with all safety features you can ask for

Cons

  • Always unplug your car power inverter when done using. The USB ports can still consume the car battery’s juice even if the power button of the device is turned off. This means you can eventually drain the battery if you’re not able to unplug the inverter.

3. Best Choice - POTEK Car Power Inverter

Now make way for this giant! This POTEK Car Power Inverter can provide up to 500 watts of continuous DC-AC operation; while the maximum peak current is up to 1000 watts.

However, the more important factor is the operational 500 watts continuous current capacity. 

The unit has two AC outlets capable of charging large laptops and some household devices. You can even bring your breast pumps on the go.

Your smartphones will also be grateful with the USB ports. The same port can power any item that is USB-equipped. 

It has a built-in fan that is designed to work without noise; it will not activate unless the power output exceeds 200 watts. This feature provides you a quiet travel environment while on the road.

The thing that makes this unit stand out is the illuminated digital display. This keeps you constantly updated with the inverter status – the output watt along with the input and output voltage.

Another plus factor is you can connect this one DIRECTLY to your car battery. This makes it more convenient during camping and other outdoor activities.

The POTEK is also lightweight and exceptionally portable despite all the functions packed in it. This a must-have in every travel and emergency kit albeit being slightly bigger than its competitors. 

It also comes with pretty standard safety features such as short circuit and overload protection. Importantly, it has a battery-protection feature - your battery is guarded against unwanted power drainage.

Pros

  • Direct connection to car battery; convenient outdoor use
  • Powerful 500-watt inverter
  • Digital Display for precise monitoring of the device
  • SMART cooling fan; will only work when needed
  • Cooling fan works quietly
  • Packed with standard safety features
  • Can charge almost anything

Cons

  • There is virtually no downside with this product except quite a few customer claims. The manufacturer is always ready to replace the product with a new one should you encounter something that is covered by the warranty. 

Car Power Inverter Categories

Some power inverters only has one outlet while others have up to three. Some power inverters only have USB ports while others have combinations.

There are various types of power inverters but they can usually be categorized into two:

1. Singe outlet inverters

This type only has one standard, three pronged outlet to power one device at a time, hence single outlet inverter.

This type is relatively simple, and is therefore lesser expensive than its counterpart. However, it can still offer the necessary power you need. Single outlet inverters can provide between 150 and 200 watts of continuous current.

Primary advantages of this type is extreme portability – more compact and smaller, yet still powerful.

You can also be confident enough that you are far from overloading your system because it can power only one device at a time.

Single outlet inverters are ideal if you usually travel alone and doesn’t need extra outlets for the while.

2. Multiple Outlet Inverter

Understandably, this type is fairly more expensive than the other type. Most models feature two outlets while there are also some that feature up to three; with the latter having a higher continuous wattage capacity.

This type makes it possible to charge several electronics at the same time. Simultaneous operation means a more productive time.

However, you must always monitor the devices you use the inverter with. It’s important not to exceed the maximum prescribed continuous current. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself in danger.

Multiple outlet inverters are ideal if you usually travel with your family or when you often have other people pooling with your car.

This is also practical for an Uber driver – you can offer your passengers a chance to charge their devices while riding with you. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Car Power Inverters?

1. Single outlet inverter

Advantages:

  • Low chances of power overload
  • Fairly powerful wattage capacity
  • Can be stored in virtually all spaces
  • Least expensive type
  • Compact and quite portable

Disadvantages:

  • Can only power one device at a time
  • Impractical if there are multiple people on board

2. Multiple Outlet Inverter

Advantages:

  • Saves ample amount of time
  • Highly productive; can charge multiple devices simultaneously
  • Up to three devices at a time

Disadvantages:

  • Higher chances of a power overload
  • Not all models have safety features

3. USB Port Inverter

Advantages:

  • Compact and small similar to single variants
  • Can power multiple devices simultaneously
  • Can be used by multiple devices in a small space
  • Almost all devices are USB equipped making this one quite functional

Disadvantages:

  • Can only charge USB equipped devices like smartphones, iPads, and a range of gadgets
  • Not usable for household electrical items that needs a standard outlet
  • There is also a risk of overloading due to multiple ports

How to Choose the Best Power Inverter For Car?

You can refer to this reliable buying guide towards making the right decision in choosing one or two from the featured products above.

1. Number of Outlets You Need

Do you often drive alone? If so, you will only need a single outlet inverter. This type is highly useful when you go to work early in the morning and you just realized you haven’t charged your phone last night. Plug your smartphone right inside your car.

Do you travel with your family? If you have kids in the backseat, it’s best to keep them busy with their gaming consoles to keep them from being bored. Allow them to charge their devices without having to decide who comes first with a multiple outlet inverter.

You may be interested in: Car Summer Maintenance Tips Before Have A Long Journey

Do you travel with only your latest handheld devices? A USB type may be the right one for you. It saves you space while being versatile at the same time. This type allows you to charge most of your techies simultaneously.

Do you travel with your laptops? You may need a combination. Some power inverters have both standard outlets and USB ports. All the products featured are combination inverters – they both have USB ports and AC outlets.

2. Current Capacity

The fundamental rule is the higher the better. Make sure that you purchase a model that has large capacities; these models can accommodate you better without putting you at high risk for overloading.

Aside from the continuous current capacity, you should also look out for the maximum peak current capacity. However, you should base on the CONTINUOUS current capacity and NOT the maximum peak.

Note: Be careful when reading labels. Some products are advertised with ‘maximum current capacity’ when in fact it’s the peak current volume.

Don’t confuse the two. Continuous current is the maximum current the device can deliver on a continuous basis; while peak current volume (sometimes labelled as max current capacity) is the maximum or critical amount of current the device can hold before it is overloaded.

3. Safety Features

Going beyond the ‘peak volume’ will cause the circuit to cut out. This is why it’s important to have safety features – to protect you against possible dire scenarios.

A car power inverter with a safety feature will automatically cut out when it detects a critical internal temperature, avoiding a possible overload. This will keep your devices along with the inverter itself from acquiring damages or being burned out.

Also, it’s good to find a model that cuts the power if it detects a potential overload. This safety feature is called a surge protector.

If you are fond of charging your devices while your car is off, it’s best to have an inverter that shuts itself off when necessary to prevent the car battery from being dead. This is handy because you wouldn’t want to get stranded with a dead battery.

Note: You can recharge your battery by turning the ignition and idling for about ten minutes. 

​Conclusion

Getting the best power inverter for car is highly advisable if you want to get at the front-row of a fast-paced lifestyle.

You don’t have to wait for your smartphone to fully charge; just resume charging while on your way to work. Further, this is the ideal device to power up the entire family during long travels. 

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