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5 Best Campervans Power Inverters in 2022 + Complete Buying Guide

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Your RV inverter is essential for running your household appliances from your camper’s battery bank. It doesn’t sound like an exciting gadget but seriously, when it breaks down, and you have no way to charge your laptop, and you can’t switch on your induction hob, you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for inverters in double-quick time.

Of course, transforming your battery’s DC power to bring AC electricity into your camper or replacing the inverter in your campervan brings up a whole new issue: deciding which 12v inverter is best for your setup. Aren’t they all basically the same? Does it really matter?

The answers to those questions are “no” and “only if you care about having enough power to keep your regular refrigerator running,” respectively. To that end, we looked at the best RV power inverters on the market today to see which one is deserving of a spot in your rig.

We judged them on things like brand reputation, customer service, size, sine wave technology and safety protection features, and more. In the end, we crowned the Renogy range of RV inverters as our champions.

If you want to see what makes the Renogy inverters such a great range — as well as learn which other products make it onto our top 5 picks of the best inverters for RVs — read on.

At A Glance: 5 Best RV Inverters for Campers

  1. Best All Round RV Inverter: Renogy 3000w 12v Inverter
  2. Top Of The Range RV Inverters: Samlex 3000w – PST-3000-12
  3. Best RV Inverters for Extended Warranty: Victron Phoenix 1200VA
  4. Best RV Inverters For The Money: AIMS Power 3000w Power Inverter
  5. Best RV Inverters for Car Camping: Bestek 2000w inverter
Table of Contents show

1. Renogy Inverters – Best All Round RV Inverters 

Renogy is an American brand that started as a small project at Louisiana University in 2010. With the help and support of the Business and Technology Center in Louisiana, it grew from a “small project” into a thriving company. 

They command a high market share on the RV solar panel market and expanded from there. Today, Renogy manufacturers all the necessary components for a mobile living electrical system, including, of course, pure sine wave power inverters. 

Renogy inverters start at a relatively big size – 700w – so if your electrical needs are small, you’d be better off with a Bestek 300w inverter or one of Victron’s small inverters

Because of Renogy’s position selling solar panels, they focus on selling kits, so you can be sure you’ll find a compatible solar panel kit for one of their inverters. That saves a lot of head-scratching when it comes to buying electrical components for your campervan conversion.  

Renogy inverters can cope with a power surge of twice their continuous running power – so a 2000w inverter can cope with an appliance that needs up to 4000w on startup. And because they’re over 90% efficient, they’re pretty economical on the battery bank.

The entire Renogy range of pure sine wave inverters includes a wired remote control, so you can locate them out of the way and still easily turn them on and off on demand. 

They all have a USB port and, depending on the model, 2 or 3 AC sockets, so if you want to set it up directly from the battery bank, you don’t need to run extension cables unless you want to. 

Their compact size makes the Renogy inverters perfect for small campers, so you don’t have to give over too much valuable space to these electrical components. 

The inverters have two high-speed ventilation fans to maximize the heat dissipation, almost noiselessly. They work with all battery types, and the easy-to-use LED light indicates if the device is operating correctly. Unfortunately, aside from the LED light, the Renogy range of inverters doesn’t have any power displays or Bluetooth modules, so you won’t be configuring your setup from your phone.

What We Liked

  • Large-sized inverters are ideal for RV living
  • Easy to find compatible solar kits for each inverter
  • Excellent reputation at an affordable price

What We Didn’t Like

  • No small inverters (less than 700w) available
  • Some customers have reported a poor customer service experience
  • No power display or Bluetooth module

Best Renogy Inverters for Campervans & RVs

Renogy inverters are available from Amazon or Renogy direct. Enter coupon code MowgliAdventures for 10% off at Renogy.

700W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Renogy 700W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 12V DC to 120V AC Converter for Home, RV, Truck, Off-Grid Solar Power Inverter 12V to 110V with Built-in 5V/2.1A USB Port, AC Hardwire Port, Remote Controller image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
700w Continuous
1400w Surge
<0.8A Idle 
ETL Listed
1 yr warranty

1000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter with Power Saving

Renogy 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 12V DC to 120V AC Converter for Home, RV, Truck, Off-Grid Solar Power Inverter 12V to 110V with Built-in 5V/2.1A USB Port, AC Hardwire Port, Remote Controller i

Pure Sine Wave
1000w Continuous
2000w Surge
0A Idle 
ETL Listed
1 yr warranty

2000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Renogy 3000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 12V DC to 120V AC Converter for Home, RV, Truck, Off-Grid Solar Power Inverter 12V to 110V with Built-in 5V/2.1A USB Port, AC Hardwire Port, Remote Controller image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
2000w Continuous
4000w Surge
<2A Idle 
ETL Listed
1 yr warranty

3000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Renogy 3000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 12V DC to 120V AC Converter for Home, RV, Truck, Off-Grid Solar Power Inverter 12V to 110V with Built-in 5V/2.1A USB Port, AC Hardwire Port, Remote Controller image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
3000w Continuous
6000w Surge
<2.5A Idle 
ETL Listed
1 yr warranty

Samlex America Inverters –  Top Of The Range RV Inverters

Samlex America is another trusted brand, and they have the benefit of a long track record. Born out of a garage in 1991, Samlex America is a global manufacturer of power inverters, battery chargers, solar panel kits, and more.

The company has a market footprint covering over 90 countries. In the beginning, Samlex America built commercial products and a small line of power inverters. They later expanded to include battery chargers, converters, and power supplies.

In 2009, they started serving customers with power needs in the marine, RV, and off-grid systems. Samlex power inverters are a solid choice. 

Easy to install and use, they provide continuous pure sine wave power for use in your RV or campervan. Their range includes power inverters from 120w to 3000w of pure sine wave AC power. They are ideal for powering sensitive equipment and household appliances.

The brand’s remote controls are pretty nice, and they show frequency, power factor, current, volts, and real-time watts. Unfortunately, the remote control isn’t included as standard, so you’ll need to purchase that separately if you want it. 

Although Samlex inverters are priced at the high end of the brands on our list, their quality products are excellent, have some of the lowest no load rates on the market, and offer a cracking 3-year warranty.

What We Liked

  • Large-sized inverters are ideal for RV living
  • Easy to find compatible solar kits for each inverter
  • Excellent reputation at an affordable price

What We Didn’t Like

  • No small inverters (less than 700w) available
  • Some customers have reported a poor customer service experience
  • No power display or Bluetooth module

Best Samlex America Power Inverters

1000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter – PST-1000-12

Samlex Inverter PST-1000-12 PST

Pure Sine Wave
1000w Continuous
2000w Surge
<0.8A Idle 
ETL to UL Standard
3 yr warranty

3000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter – PST-3000-12

Samlex PST-3000-12 PST Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter - 3000 Watt

Pure Sine Wave
3000w Continuous
6000w Surge
<1.6A Idle 
ETL to UL Standard
3 yr warranty

Victron Inverters –  Best RV Inverters for Extended Warranty

Victron is THE big name brand in the world of campervan electrical components.

Victron Energy, the manufacturer behind Victron inverters, is a Dutch company in the game since the mid-1970s.

With a track record stretching back almost 50 years, it is little wonder they’re a leading brand in the off-grid, battery-based power system market. And for campervan conversions, van-lifers, and RVers, that expertise is exactly what we need. 

Their support is highly rated, too, and many campervan converters, especially in Europe, wouldn’t choose any other brand for their electrical setup.

Many of Victron’s inverter ranges are hybrid products, meaning they perform multiple functions. For example, the Victron Multiplus range and the massive Victron Quattro are inverter chargers with transfer switches for shore power; or the EasySolar range combines an MPPT Solar Charge Controller with an inverter charger.

This article will focus solely on their inverters, but we’ll look at those hybrid products in another post.

Victron offers a couple of inverter ranges:

  • Victron Phoenix range from 250VA to 1200VA, and 
  • Victron Phoenix Smart from 1600VA to 5000VA

*VA means Volts * Amps, which = watts, but the Victron range has a power factor of 0.83. So, for example, a 1200VA Victron inverter is actually a 1000w inverter. 

The small Victron Phoenix inverters have an ECO mode to configure their setup, so they automatically switch to standby mode when the load reduces to a preset value. It’s pretty clever, too, so it fires up again when it detects an increase in load.

Victron Energy’s Phoenix Smart range offers the most efficient inverters and the lowest idle consumption rate. You can’t go wrong with these inverters. The only downside is that they’re only available in the 220-240v range, so no use for the US market where you probably need 110v.  

What We Liked

  • Excellent customer service & support
  • Top of the range, reliable & high-quality products with a 5-year warranty as standard
  • Bluetooth built-in, so it’s fully configurable with a mobile device

What We Didn’t Like

  • High price (but you get what you pay for)
  • Victron Energy’s Phoenix Smart inverter range is not available for 110v
  • VA doesn’t equal watts, so the label can be a little confusing

Best Victron Inverters for Campervans & RVs

Victron Phoenix 500VA

Victron Energy Phoenix 500VA 12-Volt 120V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
350w Continuous
900w Surge
< 1A Idle 
EN-IEC 60335-1
3 yr warranty

Victron Phoenix 800VA

Victron Energy Phoenix 800VA 12-Volt 120V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
650w Continuous
1500w Surge
< 1A Idle 
EN-IEC 60335-1
3 yr warranty

Victron Phoenix 1200VA

Victron Energy Phoenix 1200VA 12-Volt 120V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
850w Continuous
2200w Surge
< 1A Idle 
EN-IEC 60335-1
3 yr warranty

Victron Phoenix Smart 2000VA

Victron Energy Phoenix Smart 2000VA 12-Volt 230V AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
1600w Continuous
4000w Surge
< 0.05A Idle 
EN 60335-1
5 yr warranty

Victron Phoenix Smart 3000VA

Phoenix Smart Inverter 12V 3000VA Pure Sine Wave | Professional Solar Installations image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
2400w Continuous
6000w Surge
< 0.13A Idle 
EN 60335-1
5 yr warranty

Best Affordable Power Inverters for Campervans, Motorhomes & RVs

Choosing well-known and highly regarded inverter brands usually has the advantage of great warranties, excellent customer service, and greater confidence that you’re buying a reliable product. Reliability can be an underestimated benefit, especially if you spend a lot of time in remote locations or even outside of your home country, as we do.

However, these big-name brands often demand premium prices. There are many, many more affordable inverter options available on the market. 

They may not include extended warranties, on-tap customer support, or in-built Bluetooth. They may not even have the best efficiency ratings, but if saving cash is a crucial factor in deciding which inverter to buy for your camper, then you have plenty of choices.

Because there are so many affordable inverters available, it can be pretty challenging to figure out which you should buy. To help you out, we’ve listed here some of the most popular budget-friendly RV inverters available.

Aims Inverters – Best RV Inverters For The Money

Aims are the youngest brand on 12v inverters on our list. They had a bit of a ropey start with some quality issues, but they’ve since ironed out their problems. They are popular on Amazon, and their range is some of the best value inverters you can find. 

Here are some of their most popular 12 volt power inverters:

AIMS Power 400w Power Inverter

AIMS Power 400 Watt Modified Sine Power Inverter with Battery Cables, 800 Watt Surge Peak Power, and AC Outlets. image attachment (large)

Modified Sine Wave
Plugs into Cigarette Lighter or Battery 
2 x AC sockets
800w surge

AIMS Power 1000w Power Inverter

AIMS Power 1000 Watt, 2000 Watt Peak, Pure Sine DC to AC Power Inverter, USB Port, 2 Year Warranty, Optional Remote, Listed to UL 458 image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
2 yr warranty 
2 x AC sockets & 1 USB
2000w surge

AIMS Power 1500w Power Inverter

AIMS Power 1500 Watt, 3000 Watt Peak, Pure Sine DC to AC Power Inverter, USB Port, 2 Year Warranty, Optional Remote, Listed to UL 458 image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
2 yr warranty 
3 x AC sockets & 1 USB
1500w surge

AIMS Power 3000w Power Inverter

AIMS Power 3000 WATT Pure SINE Power Inverter 12 VDC to 120 VAC - UL Listed

Pure Sine Wave
2 yr warranty 
2 x AC sockets & 1 USB
6000w surge

Bestek Inverters – Best Power Inverters for Camping

Bestek is one of the best-selling, affordable inverter brands on Amazon so you can be pretty confident in their track record. Here are some of their most popular 12 volt power inverters:

Bestek 300w Inverter

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
Plugs into Cigarette Lighter
2 x AC sockets
2 x USB
18 mth warranty

Bestek 500w Inverter

BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Car Plug Inverter Adapter Power Converter with 4.2A Dual USB Charging Ports and 2 AC Outlets Car Charger, ETL Listed image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
Plugs into Cigarette Lighter or Battery
2 x AC sockets
2 x USB
18 mth warranty

Bestek 1000w Inverter

BESTEK Power Inverter 1000 Watt DC 12 Volt, Power Converter 1000w DC to AC Converter for Car image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
2400w Surge
2 x AC sockets
2 x USB
18 mth warranty

Bestek 2000w Inverter

BESTEK 2000W Power Inverter 3 AC Outlets DC 12V to 110V image attachment (large)

Pure Sine Wave
Built-in cooling fan
2 x AC sockets
2 x USB
18 mth warranty

What We Looked For in the Best RV Inverter

There are many inverters for motorhomes, RVs, and campervans, but not all of them are suited for RVers who want to run all their AC appliances and devices. So when considering which units would make our list of the best inverters for campervans, we looked at:

  • Pure sine wave technology: we chose models with pure sine wave technology to produce clean, continuous power. We’ve included some modified sine wave models, too, although if you check out our complete guide to inverters, you’ll know we recommend sticking with the pure sine wave versions.
  • Protection systems: we looked for built-in safety such as auto cut-off, LED indicators, and alarms for under and over-voltage protection, over-temperature protection, overload protection, and short circuit indication.
  • Size: we considered multiple sizes to give an excellent range of options for light users and larger RVs with a much greater electrical demand.
  • Brands: the are a wide variety of inverter brands. Some are top of the range but carry a price tag to match. Others are more affordable but with great quality products too. 

How to Choose the Right 12v Campervan Power Inverter

The Renogy 1000w 12v Inverter topped our list of the best campervan power inverters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will fit all your needs. 

A fundamental aspect of choosing an inverter for your camper is understanding how the component integrates with your entire electrical system.  

Understanding your overall energy demands is critical. For example, there’s little point in buying a 3000w inverter if your battery bank cannot provide sufficient power to it. Neither is it worth buying a 3000w inverter for a massive energy demand that needs a battery bank that you cannot realistically recharge. 

Our Campervan Electrics Handbook provides a complete understanding of electrical systems in campers, and it’s a perfect place to start for beginners. 

If you need to ensure your entire electrical system and its components are sized to meet your energy demands, our interactive Campervan Electrical Design & Wiring Diagram is the tool you need.

If you are looking for the perfect 12v inverter so you can use your household AC appliances in your camper, there are a few features you should be looking out for. From the type of inverter (nope – they’re not all the same) to size and cost – we’ve got it covered. 

Here’s what you need to look at when shopping for a 12v inverter for your RV, motorhome, or campervan.

Type of RV Inverter

Like many electrical components for our campers, not all inverters are made equal. There are two main types of inverters: modified sine wave inverters and pure sine wave inverters. There are probably a few old square wave inverters hanging around in the back of garages, but they’re all but obsolete now, so you definitely don’t want to buy one of those.

Modified sine wave inverters can be used in RVs and are suitable for running smaller devices like lamps, water pumps, and fans. Basically, anything with a motor and without electronics should work well with a modified square wave inverter. 

Pure sine wave inverters produce a true sine wave most closely resembling mains power, compatible with all your RV electrical equipment. It’s the best option for operating sensitive electronic equipment and appliances, such as RV satellite dishes, TVs, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and laptops.  

The price of inverters has dropped in the past few years. Although modified sine wave inverters are cheaper than their pure sine wave alternative, the price difference isn’t as significant as it was. 

In our opinion, because the pure sine wave model is more versatile, you’re better off buying a pure sine wave inverter unless you’re on an extremely tight budget and don’t need to run sensitive electronics.

Inverter Size

Power inverters are sized in watts. 

If you don’t understand what size inverter your current or planned electrical system can support, you could end up buying the wrong sized inverter. That’s a potentially expensive mistake and will undoubtedly lead to a disappointing outcome. 

You only need to read any campervan conversion forum to understand how opinions vary on what size you need. We’ll leave that for another post – read it here: What Size Inverter Do I Need In My Camper? and it’s covered in detail in the Campervan Electrics Handbook.

Once you’ve calculated the inverter size required, you should check if the inverter’s size specification meets your needs. Look for Continuous Power or Running Power and Peak or Surge Power Rating on the label or specification.

Continuous Power or Running Power

This is usually the labeled rating of the inverter, so if you’ve calculated you need a 3000w inverter, that means you need a device that can provide 3000w of continuous power. 

A device labeled as a 3000w inverter can provide 3000w of power for as long as there’s a sufficient DC supply – that is, the battery bank is big enough and charged sufficiently.

Peak or Surge Power Rating

Inverters can provide a greater surge of power in short bursts. This is especially useful for appliances that demand a power surge on startup, like a compressor fridge or induction cooker.

They take a large power surge to get going before quickly dropping back to their running level. As a result, inverters often have a peak rating greater than the continuous power rating. 

For example, let’s say you need a 1000w inverter, but one of your appliances needs a 1600w surge to get going. In that case, you’ll need to buy a model that provides at least 1000w continuous power and has at least a 2000w peak power rating. In this example, the Renogy 1000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter would be ideal as it has a 2000w surge rating.

You’ll need to check your appliance specifications for any surge demands. 

Input Voltage

Inverter specifications indicate the input voltage they need the battery bank to supply.

Most RV and campervan electrical systems have a 12v battery bank. Some have 24v, and even fewer have 48v. All of the inverters on our list are 12v models as it’s the most common battery bank voltage for recreational vehicles.

If your battery bank is 24v or 48v, you’ll need to shop around for an inverter to match your battery bank voltage.

Output Voltage

If you’ve read our introduction guide to RV inverters, you’ll know that an inverter takes the DC input voltage and transforms it to an AC output voltage. 

Electrical devices will either run on 110v or 220v AC, so choosing a compatible inverter is essential. 

Some manufacturers display the output voltage as a range. For example, in the US, this is probably 110-130v, while in Europe, Australia, and the UK, it’s more likely to be 220-240v.

Buy an inverter with the same output voltage as your devices.

Static Current or No-Load or Idle Consumption

No-load consumption refers to how many amps the power inverter uses when switched on but has no appliances running on it.

Generating electricity and subsequently storing it in a motorhome is a hard-won battle, especially when living off-grid, so we’re pretty focused on efficiency and not wasting it.  

Remember those batteries at night when your solar panels aren’t getting any sunlight too! An inverter with an idle consumption of 1 amp will use about 8 amps overnight, but a 5 amp device would use 40 amps in addition to any load running at the same time. That could be a hefty proportion of your total battery bank.

Aim for a low no-load level where possible. If you already have an inverter with a high no-load level, you can always turn connected appliances off when they’re not in use.

Just make sure to install the inverter somewhere convenient unless it has a remote control switch.

Efficiency Rating

Another important factor when buying an inverter for your camper is its efficiency rating. We put a lot of effort into generating electricity, especially when living off-grid, so we want to limit any waste where we can. 

The efficiency rating of an inverter indicates how much energy it uses compared to the device it is powering. For example, an inverter with a 90% efficiency rating uses 10% more energy than the device it’s supplying.

Modern pure sine wave inverters usually have an efficiency rating of upwards of 90%, while modified sine wave inverters may not be much higher than 85%.

The efficiency rating often falls with age, so check the specifications carefully.

Price

Price is another important factor when choosing an inverter for your camper. Most pure sine wave 12v inverters cost between $150 & $300 depending on the size but the more powerful 3000w + models can be upwards of $500. Budget, modified sine wave models come in under $50.

Carefully consider the specification if it meets your needs and offers good value for money. For example, does it include a remote switch? This can be a great feature if you don’t want to purchase a remote switch separately.

Or, is the inverter large enough to cope with any future usage and battery bank expansion? If you think you’ll use more electrical devices in the future and may need to increase your camper’s electrical system, buying a larger inverter now may be more cost-effective than replacing it at a later date.

Safety Features

When looking for a power inverter for your camper, make sure to get one that is UL listed, ETL certified, or other safety compliance rating by an independent testing board. 

The most common safety certifications you’ll see on inverters in the US are UL, ETL, CSA, and MET. However, if you’re outside the US, and your inverter doesn’t have one of these certifications, it should conform to the safety standards of your region – such as CE, EN British Standards.

This will ensure that it meets the safety regulations of the independent testing body and is safe to use. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheap inverters out there that don’t have any safety certification. We recommend that you avoid these.

Most inverters come with at least some safety protection features, offering greater reassurance and protecting your RV’s electrical system. They vary from device to device, but here’s a list of common features:

  • Auto cut off, LED indicators and alarms for under and over-voltage protection, over-temperature protection, overload protection, and short circuit protection.
  • High-speed ventilation fans to help keep the inverter running at a low temperature
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection
  • Remote monitoring

Do I Need A Remote Switch For My RV Inverter?

A remote switch allows you to turn your inverter on and off without going near it. Our inverter isn’t difficult to get to, so we don’t need a remote switch – it’s just as easy to switch it on directly at the device. 

However, the remote switch is a great feature to have if you plan to install the device in a hard-to-reach place, like in the RV’s garage or beneath the bed. 

Wrapping Up

There are loads of options when choosing the campervan power inverter for your rig, but if you focus on the brand’s reliability and customer support and the product’s safety features, efficiency, and size, you’ll find the perfect unit for your travels. We like the Renogy range because it is affordably priced without compromising on quality, so you can be sure it won’t let you down when you need your AC supply most. Do you know how to set up the inverter once you’ve bought it? Check out our detailed guide on installing an inverter in your camper (coming soon).

Pawan

Saturday 5th of February 2022

Almost all people write on best products. I am also looking for those products which are worst...