The Best Power Inverter For Cars and Trucks

Power inverters for cars and trucks are becoming increasingly popular due to the large number of devices and gadgets that must be powered or at least occasionally charged while in the car.

As such, car power inverters should feature a car cigarette lighter adapter plug (12V DC) providing high-speed charging for smartphones, tablets, cameras, drones, but also for laptops and similar devices. However, due to the power limitations of the car cigarette lighter adapter, the output power of car inverters is also limited.

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bestek 300w w150pxIntro to Car Power Inverters

The Best Car Power Inverters

Few Final Words 

Intro to Car Power Inverters

Car power inverters are connected to the car's 12V DC electric system via a car cigarette lighter adapter using the required car cigarette lighter adapter plug.

The nominal voltage of the car's electric system is 12V, but in reality, the actual voltage is a little bit different - if the engine is turned ON, one may expect voltage in the 13.5 and 14.5 volts range. However, if the engine is OFF, the car cigarette lighter adapter voltage is usually around 12.8 and 13.2 volts - if the engine is OFF and the voltage drops below 12V and especially below 11V, the battery is discharged and the next cranking is questionable.

Another limitation is the maximum current that a car cigarette lighter adapter can provide and which is usually limited to 10 Amps - if the power inverter draws more than 10 Amps, the car circuit breaker/fuse will disconnect the car cigarette lighter adapter from the rest of the electric system.

For short, car power inverters using car cigarette lighter adapter are limited to 120-150 watts, while power inverters that feature battery clamps usually feature 300-500 watts continuous and 500-1000 surge watts.

Note: some vehicles have car cigarette lighter adapter maximum current above 10 Amps (15 Amps), but that is not very common.

car power inverter 1

Car power inverters are connected to a car cigarette lighter adapter or directly to the car battery and they convert 12V DC power into 110V AC and 5V DC (USB) power using 1-2 110V AC ports and 1-4 USB 5.0 DC ports.

Note: even when the engine is ON, battery connected power inverters may surge enough power to decrease the voltage, causing the car's electric system to detect a 'false positive' charging error - this happens rarely when power inverters up to 300-500 watts are connected to the car battery directly.

Safety Features

Car power inverters come with a set of safety features, including overload protection, temperature protection, short circuit protection, over-voltage protection, low-voltage protection, etc.

Again, even though some units come with low-voltage protection, if the engine is OFF and the power inverter automatically turns itself OFF due to the low battery voltage/charge, that doesn't mean that the battery is strong enough to crank the engine one more time - if possible, use car power inverters only when the engine is ON.

And when the car inverter is connected to the car cigarette lighter adapter and if it is not in use, turn it OFF - if possible, plug it out. Better safe than sorry.

Just to be sure, when your new car inverter arrives, be sure to read the manual thoroughly in order to get accustomed to your new device.


The Best Car Power Inverters

Car power inverters are rather affordable and reliable devices that are manufactured by many brands and are available in hardware shops, gas stations, online shops, etc.

With so many models on the market, it is kind of hard to say exactly which one is 'the best'.

But, there are for sure several models that have distinguished themselves from the 'crowd'. Here are several models with their most important features and specifications.


BESTEK 300W Power Inverter

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BESTEK 300W Power Inverter features maximum continuous power of 300W and maximum surge power of 700W - when not limited by car cigarette lighter adapter circuit breaker/fuse.

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter comes with two USB 5.0V 2.1 Amps (4.2 Amps total) charging ports and two 110V AC ports for powering larger devices.

In order to improve efficiency, BESTEK 300W Power Inverter comes with an intelligent cooling fan that is turned ON only when the internal temperature starts to rise or when the output power is 70W or more.

Also, it features metal housing to protect the unit from mechanical impacts and vibrations.

Safety features include built-in 40Amps fuse, temperature protection, short-circuit protection, under-, and over-voltage protection.

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter comes with 18 months limited warranty.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the BESTEK 300W Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Foval 150W Car Power Inverter foval 150w w300px

Foval 150W Car Power Inverter is rather compact, lightweight, and in the end, very affordable car power inverter.

It features physical dimensions of 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches (~8.1 x 6.4 x 3.8 cm) and it weighs ~8 ounces (~230 grams), but it comes with two USB 5.0 charging ports (3.1 Amps max total) and one 110V AC port.

Foval 150W Car Power Inverter comes with several safety features, including built-in fuse, short circuit protection, over-voltage protection, over-load protection, over-charge protection, temperature protection via built-in cooling fan, and low-load protection.

The body is made of durable metal, protecting the unit from drops, vibrations, and other mechanical impacts.

Also, the unit comes with 18 months limited warranty.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Foval 150W Car Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


BMK 200W Car Power Inverter bmk 200w w300px

BMK 200W Car Power Inverter features physical dimensions of 5.9 x 3 x 1.3 inches (~15 x 7.6 x 3.3 cm) and it weighs 10.3 ounces (~290 grams).

BMK 200W Car Power Inverter features two 110V AC ports and four USB 5.0V charging ports (6.2 Amps max total).

Also, the unit features a display showing battery voltage, and USB total charging current.

BMK 200W Car Power Inverter comes with several safety features including temperature protection via smart cooling fan, under- and over-voltage protection, short circuit protection, overload protection, low-load protection, overcharging protection, etc.

Also, it comes with a 15A fuse.

BMK 200W Car Power Inverter features 2-year limited warranty.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the BMK 200W Car Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Foval 200W Car Power Inverter

foval 200w w300px

Foval 200W Car Power Inverter features physical dimensions of just 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches (~8.1 x 6.4 x 3.8 cm) and it weighs ~8 ounces (~230 grams), but it comes with two 110V AC ports and four USB 5.0V charging ports (4x 2.1 Amps, 6.2 Amps total).

Safety features include a built-in fuse, overheating protection (very quiet cooling fan), under- and over-voltage protection, short circuit protection, overload protection, and protection from overcharging.

The aluminum body is very sturdy, protecting the unit from mechanical impact and vibrations.

Foval 200W Car Power Inverter comes with 18 months limited warranty.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Foval 200W Car Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter

bestek 500w w300px

BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter comes with both cigarette lighter adapter plug and battery clamps.

When the unit is connected to a cigarette lighter adapter, it should be used to power devices up to 120-150 watts. However, if required, it can be connected to the battery directly, using battery clamps, allowing the unit to power devices up to 500W continuously.

As such, BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter features pure sine wave output with very low THD (Total Harmonic Distortions) and is able to power sensitive devices as well, via its two 110V AC ports.

Also, it features two 5.0V 2.4 Amps (each) USB ports for charging tablets, smartphones, and similar devices.

Safety features include two external replaceable fuses, combined with over-voltage protection, under-voltage protection, overheat protection, overload protection, reverse polarity protection, and short circuit protection.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


POTEK 500W Car Power Inverter

potek 500w w300px

POTEK 500W Car Power Inverter features continuous output power of 500W and surge power of 1000W. Considering its output power, the unit is rather compact, with physical dimensions of 6.7 x 4.1 x 2.2 inches (~17 x 10.4 x 5.6 cm).

POTEK 500W Car Power Inverter comes with two 110V AC ports and only one 5.0V 2.0A USB charging port.

Unit can be connected to the car cigarette lighter adapter (keep the connected devices up to 120-140 watts) or directly to the battery via battery clamps.

Safety features provide protection against overload, overheat, low-voltage, high-voltage, and short circuit.

POTEK 500W Car Power Inverter comes with externally replaceable fuses - no need to disassemble the unit in order to replace the fuses.

For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the POTEK 500W Car Power Inverter Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


optima redtop 35 mFew Final Words: Car power inverters can be very helpful when traveling, camping, being off-the-grid, and similar.

Just be aware that the power inverter with 100W of output power drains the car's battery with ~8-10 Amps and if the engine is not running, the car's battery is discharged at a rate of 8-10 Ah per hour.

Such discharge rate may quickly discharge the battery too low for it to be able to crank the car's engine safely.

And if the car power inverters are connected directly to the car's battery, and they power load of some 400W with 85% efficiency, the car's battery is being discharged at a rate of almost 40Ah per hour.

So, just to be sure, connect your car power inverter to the car cigarette lighter adapter and use it only when the engine is ON. For powering anything stronger than 140-150W, use larger, deep cycle or dual-purpose batteries, and let the car's battery do what it is designed for - to safely crank the car.