Before you head out on your epic overlanding trip, you should make sure you have appropriate gear for the journey. Being able to power your electronic devices out on the trail can be a lifesaver when you need to charge your phone, camera, or even power your laptop. For that, you need an inverter.
What’s the best power inverter for overlanding? It is a good rule of thumb to have at least 120v of power, but it really depends on how many devices you need to run. If you don’t have many devices, you can get away with less power.
Be wary, an inverter won’t power everything. They’re made for small appliances that don’t use too much power. If you want something to power your entire campsite, you’ll need a generator. But for basic needs a general power inverter will do the trick.
There are a lot of options out there and in order to avoid being overwhelmed, here is a list of the top 5 best power inverters for overlanding.
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Best Power Inverters
- How To Choose The Best Power Inverter for Overlanding
- What Is The Best Size Inverter For Overlanding?
- Recommended Best Power Inverters For Overlanding
- How Do Power Inverters Work
- Benefits Of An Inverter
- Stay Powered on the Trail
Top 5 Best Power Inverters
|Krieger Modified Sine Wave Inverter 12V to 110V||1100 – 4000 watts||3 Years||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Ampeak Power Invertor with Remote DC 12V to 110V||1000 – 2000 watts||18 Months||4.4/5||Check Price|
|GIANDEL Sine Wave Inverter 12 Volt DC to 110V 120V||2000 watts||18 Months||4.5/5||Check Price|
|BESTEK Power Inverter 3 AC Outlets DC 12V to 110V||2000 watts||18 Months||4.4/5||Check Price|
|Energizer Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter 12V to 110V Modified Sine Wave||100 – 4000 watts||2 Years||4.5/5||Check Price|
No matter your destination, the wrong gear can mean disaster. Here’s how to choose the right inverter to suit your overland setup.
How To Choose The Best Power Inverter for Overlanding
As you begin the search for your new inverter, there are a few things that you need to consider to make sure you make the right choice for your needs:
Do you just need something to charge your cell phone, or do you need a multi-port power bank that can power several electronics at once? Inverters come in several shapes, sizes, and configurations. Think about what you’ll need the inverter to do and how many appliances or devices you need to run, and choose one to fit your needs.
Not only do inverters come in a wide range of configurations, you can find them with different power capacities as well. Inverters typically range anywhere from 300 to 3,000 watts. Of course, the more power it can support, the larger, heavier, and more expensive the inverter will be.
The best way to choose the power capacity of an inverter is to think about everything you need it to power and choose a model that can support slightly more wattage than that. After all, it’s better to have too much power than not enough!
Another caveat to buying an inverter is to make sure that you buy the correct voltage size for your battery. For instance if you have a 24V battery, you should look for an inverter that converts 24V power.
In an overland rig, portability is everything. You want an inverter that’ll fit nicely for your setup. Think about where you’ll store the inverter in your rig and choose one that fits those dimensions.
Many inverters have an internal battery pack and can be taken away from the power source (aka. Your rig). If you decide to leave the confines of the vehicle and stretch out in a glorious meadow or sandy cove to sleep, having the ability to take power with you is highly recommended. Make sure the inverter fits in your packs and isn’t too hefty to carry around.
What Is The Best Size Inverter For Overlanding?
To choose a correct sized inverter, you’ll need to know which devices you want to power on your journey. A few items that always make the overland list are:
- Climate Control
When the sun goes down, you’ll need light. Not just a few flashlights, either. You might want some large spotlights to illuminate the campsite or a set of LEDs that can be arranged depending on the camping situation.
For smaller setups a little lamp and stand-by spotlight are likely all you’ll need. Larger campsites and rig layouts might require a little extra juice. If you plan to be traveling at night, having extra power for heavy-duty spotlights isn’t a bad idea. Prepare for the unexpected when you start on your overland adventure.
If you’re one of the lucky people who have telework jobs, having a way to communicate and turn in assignments could be a big part of your power needs. An inverter will be able to power all your electronics like your laptop and mobile internet connection. Plus, if it rains and you’re stuck inside, it’s always nice to be able to open the laptop and watch a movie.
When powering your sensitive electronics, watch out for power surges. They can happen on an inverter just like they can on your outlets at home. Choose an inverter with a built-in surge protector, or at least use an external one when charging your electronic devices.
It can get hot (or cold) out on the trail. A fan is wonderful for cooling off on hot, humid nights, and a heater will make cold evenings more tolerable. Make sure you choose an inverter that’s powerful enough to run your climate control equipment. You might not be able to run a massive air conditioner, but at least you can power some fans or a small electric heater.
Just be careful. If you run fans and heaters overnight, it could drain the battery in your car. Only run devices overnight if your inverter has a battery backup or you have a dual battery setup in your rig.
Recommended Best Power Inverters For Overlanding
There are a lot of choices out there. Here are our Top 5 recommended best power inverters for overlanding.
Krieger Power Inverter
The line of Krieger inverters and pure sine wave inverters are some of the best on the market. They range from 1100 to 4000w of power and are only between 11 and 15 inches tall. This model runs continuous power and has anywhere from two to four AC outlets and USB ports. Kreiger uses a special microchip design that makes their inverters run cooler and for longer periods.
Ampeak Power Inverter
Ampeak is an excellent option for those looking for a smaller inverter. Their highest rated model serves 2000 watts and comes with a wired remote to switch the machine on and off. One of the neat options on this inverter is the alarm. It makes a noise if the inverter is having issues or close to failing. Having a heads-up before the power goes out is a plus, no matter your situation.
Giandel Power Inverter
Like the other companies, Giandel makes a brilliant product that’s efficient and comes with a low price tag. Their models can run at peak and continuous power, depending on your needs. The aluminum alloy housing cools the internal wiring faster and does a good job of protecting it. What’s best about the Giandel is the cooling fan on the inside. The twin fans cool the inverter extremely well.
Bestek Power Inverter
Bestek is an American company that makes a series of inverters that would be a great addition to any overland rig. Backed by an eighteen month guarantee, Bestek modified sine wave and pure sine wave inverters have a series of fuses that prevent surges from harming your electronics. A handy carrying handle means you can take this model anywhere and convert from any 12V or 24V battery, depending on the model you choose.
Energizer Power Inverter
Energizer should concentrate less on the bunny with the drum and more on telling the people how awesome their line of inverters are. Their 12V inverter can produce as many as 8000W and has a very useful LCD screen. Weighing just under 12 lbs, the Energizer is only 15 inches long and 8 inches high, meaning you can conserve the all-valuable space in your rig.
How Do Power Inverters Work
The primary purpose of a power inverter is to convert DC power from a battery to AC power, or alternating current, you can use in devices and appliances. AC is the kind of energy that comes from your outlets at home.
When we talk about overlanding, we aren’t just talking about the power to charge your phone or run a power saw. An inverter for overlanding needs to be a jack of all trades. When shopping, create a list of all the devices and appliances you need to run. Prioritize the cooking and survival items above your music and entertainment.
Many overlanders choose to have their inverters wired directly to the vehicle battery. This wiring will drain the power from the vehicle, but it’ll recharge as you drive. Others can plug into the car’s power ports (or as some might remember it: the “cigarette lighter”).
Benefits Of An Inverter
Most of the time, taking a massive generator for your overland trip is overkill. Inverters are a much more mobile-friendly way to power your devices, but they’re not necessarily the perfect source of energy either. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to using an inverter:
- Efficiency – Just plug in the inverter and you’ve got power. It’s as simple as that. No need to fumble with gas or pull-start generators.
- Sound – The standard generator runs at 3600RPM to maintain power. Inverters are basically silent, except for one tiny fan that you likely won’t even notice.
- Portability – Inverters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to throw into a backpack and carry with you. When every inch of space is essential—like in an overland rig—the portability of an inverter is hard to beat.
- Parallel – If you need some extra power, many inverters can be run in parallel to double their output. Of course, this drains power at twice the rate, so only do this if you need a quick boost.
- Surge Protection – Most inverters come with built-in surge protection to keep your devices safe. You won’t have to worry about your devices getting fried.
- Lack of Power – Inverters won’t generate enough power to run all your appliances all day. Even a top-of-the-line inverter won’t be able to power a modest sized air conditioner. Plus, most come with only two ports, so you’ll have to pick and choose which appliances and devices you want to power at a time.
- Connected to Rig – Most inverters run off your vehicle’s battery, whether directly to the battery or through the cigarette lighter. While it’s not a problem if your rig is running, it could quickly turn into a problem once you turn it off. If your battery dies from running your mini fridge too long, you’ll be stuck out in the middle of nowhere (but at least you’ll have cold food for a while!). When you use an inverter, you need to be careful about power consumption to make sure your car will start once it’s time to move on.
Are Power Inverters Bad For Your Battery?
No, power inverters are not bad for your battery. They can run down your battery if you are using them heavily without your vehicle running. You can prevent most wear and tear on your battery by following these tips.
- Don’t use a power inverter while the vehicle is off.
- Don’t use an inverter to supply power to a high-power appliances frequently
- Don’t use a power inverter in high temperature environments. We recommend using it at temperatures under 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40c)
What is the Best Battery To Use with a Power Inverter?
The best battery to use with a power inverter is a deep cycle battery. They will give you several hundred charge and discharge cycles and are recommended if you will be using your inverter daily. A standard vehicle battery will work fine if you are only using a power inverter occasionally.
Stay Powered on the Trail
Just because you’re away from civilization doesn’t mean you want to avoid all the modern comforts. A power inverter is a great addition to any overland setup to provide power for all your devices and appliances. They’re much more portable than a generator but still pack enough punch to keep you connected in the middle of nowhere.