The Best Car Power Inverters to Keep Your Tech Running on the Road
A car power inverter can turn a vehicle’s 12-volt direct current power supply into an 120-volt alternating current found in household grids. In simple terms, this allows you to charge a wide variety of your devices using your car. The exact charging capacity of an inverter is determined by the wattage specification set by the manufacturer, with more expensive models generally supplying more watts.
What to Consider
As we mentioned, wattage is very important, so be very aware of what your power needs are when purchasing an inverter. Drawing excessive power from your inverter can cause blown fuses or electrical failures. Also keep in mind that when you plug in multiple devices that the wattage adds up. Things like phones and camera chargers pull minuscule amounts of power, while TVs and computers can use around 50-100 watts apiece. Space heaters and power tools can even pull over 1000 watts on their own.
You’ll also want to keep your engine running for devices over 100 watts, as they will drain your car battery over time. Look out for the number of outlets available on a device, and its power source. Small capacity inverters plug conveniently into any automotive 12-volt outlet, while larger ones may need to connect directly to the battery.
How We Selected
Popular Mechanics has picked these products at a variety of price points using a combination of hands-on experience, and research conducted through sources like Autoguide, CNET, and Consumer Reports.
Run phones, computers, even small appliances right from your vehicle.