What is a Power Inverter? + more!

What is a Power Inverter? + more!

Justin G2/14/19

by Justin Gray

power inverter construction

What is a power inverter?

In the simplest of terms, it is a device that takes DC power (like your car’s battery) and converts it to AC power (like the wall outlet in your house).


wagan tech pureline 400 inverter

What do the numbers on the inverter mean?

There are a few numbers printed on the inverter: Input voltage, Output wattage, and Peak wattage (aka Peak Surge).

• Input Voltage: this is the DC current that the Inverter requires to operate. Most cars run off of a 12 volt DC (12V DC) electrical system. For this application, you will need a 12V inverter.

• Output Wattage: this is the maximum wattage that the inverter can carry under normal loads.

• Peak Wattage: this is also known as “Peak Surge” and is the amount of wattage that the inverter can handle for < 1 second. Large appliances (Air compressors, Power  Tools, Ovens, Heaters, Large Fans) will often have a “start-up surge” where the device requires a large current to start.

• Continuous Wattage: Usually not printed on the inverter, but a very important number for people using their inverters near maximum load. See this BLOG for more information on Continuous wattage.

 battery connectors - wagan tech

How do you use a power inverter?

There are two main types of power inverter connections, “plug-and-play”, and hard-wired.

• “plug-and-play” type inverters are the simplest to use. Simply plug them into your vehicle’s DC Socket (aka: Cigarette lighter plug/Accessory Socket), then plug in your device.

• Hard-Wired/Hard-wiring: this is the best way to connect large inverters. In this case, you will run battery cables from the battery directly to the inverter.


Are Inverters hard to use?

Power inverters are actually quite simple to use. All you need is a stable power source (such as a battery or battery bank) and the inverter itself. Once you connect the battery to the inverter (using battery cables), it is ready to be used.


What battery cables should I use to connect my battery to the Inverter?

See this BLOG, it will explain what you need to correctly and safely connect the battery to the inverter.


What inverter do I need?

Take a look at this BLOG. The inverter size (output/wattage) you will need is based upon the electronics that you need to power. Basically, add up the wattage requirements of the appliances, add 20% to that number, and you will have the approximate inverter size you need.


Are there different voltage inverters?

Yes! We manufacture inverters that have an input voltage of 12V, 24V and 48V. Standard vehicles are all 12V!

 proline 10Kw Inverter

What is the largest size power inverter?

We manufacture power inverters from 80W all the way up to 10,000W!


What is Modified Sine Wave?

Modified Sine Wave or MSW is a “manufactured” sine wave. This allows inverters to be manufactured in a less-expensive way allowing consumers to have an inverter at a lower price. Also known as a “Square Sine”, this is a less-expensive alternative for powering your appliances.


What is a Pure Sine Wave?

A Pure Sine Wave or PSW is the same type of electrical power that comes out of the wall outlet in your house. It is the cleanest, smoothest, and most reliable waveform and will power 99.99% of all appliances. PSW is also known as: Sine, True Sine, Natural Sine , and True Wave.


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