Looking for the best inverter charger for RV use? Most RVs these days come with battery banks and a power inverter to drive electrical outlets in the RV’s living space. This means that everything electrical inside the RV runs on just one electrical circuit. You wouldn’t be able to run the microwave and the hair dryer at the same time. For this reason, our homes have multiple AC lines and circuit breakers, so that the microwave in the kitchen and the hair dryer in the bath or bedroom run on different circuits. That’s also why it’s so useful to add an inverter charger to the RV.
An inverter charger is a power inverter that has electrical outlets built-in.
Our Picks: Best Inverter Chargers For RV
How much power do I need?
The reason for having an inverter charger on top of the RV power inverter is not necessarily to power big power-hungry equipment. With a separate inverter charger, we’ll be able to run all sorts of electrical and electronic devices, while also powering appliances through the RV’s built-in electrical outlets. Now, we can always go for a big 1000W inverter charger and use the microwave and the hair dryer at the same time (with the hair dryer running on the RV’s electrical system since most hair dryers draw more than 1000W). Or, we can go for a smaller inverter charger that can be plugged into the cab’s cigarette lighter port (if we so desire).
Should I spend more for the pure sine wave inverter?
An inverter charger converts the battery’s 12V direct current (DC) to 120V alternating current (AC) for use with electrical equipment. The AC is a wave that alternates between the positive and the negative, of which the sum is zero so its propagation losses are much smaller than DC. A pure sine wave inverter replicates the AC’s sine wave perfectly, while a modified sine wave inverter uses small steps to simulate the curves of the wave.
As we know from plotting a graph, we can create a pretty good curve if we have enough data points (or steps). This is why a modified sine wave inverter can trick the power supply of most (but not all) electrical gear to run on its generated AC. If you have high-end audio/video components with really sophisticated power supplies, you might have to cough up the extra cost of a pure sine wave inverter charger.
Is it reliable and easy to install?
The smaller inverter chargers can be plugged into the cigarette lighter port in the RV cab. Alternatively, you can also hook one up directly to the RV’s battery banks like you would do with a high-power inverter charger. All of them come with protective fuses that will blow and disable the inverter if it’s overloaded.
Renogy Inverter Charger (1000W or 2000W)
This is an example of an inverter charger that does a lot more than meets the eye. You hook it up to the RV’s battery banks like you would any high-power inverter charger. In addition, the Renogy inverter charger also has a built-in AC-to-DC charger for charging the RV’s batteries. Possible AC sources for charging batteries include shore power, regular home outlet, generator, and even solar panels! The Renogy inverter charger comes in two sizes: 1000W and 2000W.
- Pure sine wave inverter means it will work with all electrical devices, tools, and appliances.
- 2000W surge rating (or 4000W surge rating for the 2000W model).
- 20A maximum bypass current (or 30A for the 2000W model).
- 8 preset battery voltages.
- 4-stage battery charger.
- Power saving mode.
- Expensive compared with modified sine wave inverter chargers.
You simply can’t go wrong with the Renogy inverter charger. Spend your money on the 2000W model, and you can even replace the inferior power inverter that comes with most RVs. The option of using everything electrical in an RV is the very definition of luxury. Add a 1000W Renogy inverter charger to the RV’s existing electrical system, and it’s time to kick back and enjoy the ultimate luxury of having two electrical circuits in the RV.
Aickar 300W Inverter Charger
One really does not have to spend more than $100 for an inverter charger, and what’s better to prove the point than the Aickar inverter charger. Yes, it’s only 300W but that’s enough for everything that matters to modern humans, including smartphones, laptops, PlayStations, and DVD players. This is a modified sine wave inverter but we found it worked with all electrical gear we tried. Not all modified sine wave inverters are built equal. Some generate AC in such fine steps that the sine wave is virtually pure.
- Super compact and solid build.
- The modified sine wave AC output is good enough for all low-power electrical equipment.
- Two AC outlets and two USB ports can power up to 4 devices at the same time.
- Rated up to 240W for cars with 20A lighter, or 120W for cars with 10A lighters. Hook up directly to the battery for higher power.
- Protection circuits against over-heating, under/over voltage, short circuit, reverse connect, and overloads.
- Not very powerful (but affordable).
- Designed for cars instead of RVs.
The Aickar is compact and built like a tank. It is designed for cars but we found it equally suitable for RVs and motorhomes. The Aickar is a hidden gem for your beloved RV.
Tripp Lite 400W Inverter Charger
The Tripp Lite inverter charger is a bargain hunter’s delight. Tripp Lite is a top name in surge protectors so you would expect the company to know a thing or two about AC power, and this 400W Tripp Lite inverter charger delivers in spades. The price is an absolute steal! What’s more, it’s designed for more than just cars and is also great for RVs, boats, and trucks.
- Attractive contoured chassis.
- Spacious configuration of the 2x AC sockets and 2x USB ports.
- 800W peak power with 40A fuse protection.
- 1-year warranty.
- This is a modified sine wave inverter so it will work with most but not all electrical equipment. It will definitely work with all laptops though since the outboard switching power supplies of laptop are not very exacting.
This 400W Tripp Lite inverter charger is very popular so you know it must be doing something right. In fact, 81% of reviews on Amazon give it 4- and 5-stars. Tripp Lite is a top name in surge protection so you can rely on the fuse to protect against under and over voltage, short circuit, overloads, and overheating.
An inverter charger is an inverter with a built-in charger. The best use of an inverter charger in an RV is for adding another electric circuit to the RV on top of the RV’s built-in inverter and electrical outlets. For low-power electrical gear in the cab, we can totally go bargain hunting for something really affordable. A high-power inverter charger like the 2000W Renogy can even be used to replace the inverter that comes with the RV. So we consider this model to be the best inverter charger for RV use.