Ultimate Inverter Comparison
If you’re looking at inverters you might be overwhelmed by the information available online, this inverter comparison aims to try and centralise the information.
This inverter comparison will be all about 12 volt inverters that output to 230v (or 240V).
A few of these manufacturers will offer 120V outputs for anyone in the USA.
Also please note that only pure sine wave inverters will be compared here, no modified wave inverters. Modified wave inverters are of little use to anyone as pure sine wave inverters are better for electronics.
To make the inverter comparison easier for you the reader, the tables provided will be sortable so you can organise the data as you see fit.
12 Volt system comparisons
- Lithium batteries.
- Fixed solar panels.
- Portable solar panels.
- Solar blankets.
- DCDC chargers.
- DCDC charger, AC charger and inverter combinations.
- Upright fridges.
- Dual zone chest fridges.
- Upright fridges vs chest fridges.
For those who don’t know about 12 volt systems, I have written a very detailed post about how to plan a 12 volt setup that includes all of the information you could possibly need.
Affiliate links are present on this page. Through partnerships with, but not limited to: Amazon, eBay and Commission Factory, I will make a small commission through qualifying purchases. This comes at no extra cost to you and is just a way for me to try and support myself and the blog. Thank you.
Why I did the inverter comparison?
As someone who is currently in the process of a 4WD build, this was my own research that was going on for my benefit in the background, but it would be a waste not to share it with others.
Although my needs I new were going to be small, mostly in the way of camera chargers and possibly charging batteries for power tools, I was interested in doing the inverter comparison for larger inverters so that I could look at the information in the future.
I envisage that one day my 12 volt system will expand so it is good to get a rough idea of what the potential footprint of a larger inverter is to plan the 12 volt canopy headboard to suit future works and leave space.
Hence we have a range of inverters on offer from 300 watt all the way up to 3000 watts!
In order to run these sized inverters you will need a larger battery, check out the lithium battery comparison post for more details.
What brands are included in the inverter comparison?
The brands that you will see in this post are listed in no particular order below, click their titles to be taken to the inverter section of the manufacturers’ website.
You will note that being in Australia, the brands are only those accessible here, but many of these brands will offer a different voltage output for other territories.
Often referred to as the cream of the crop in 12 volt systems here in Australia, Redarc have a great track record when it comes to being bullet proof as well as innovative.
Very much the most popular brand out there, a good mixture of quality without the high prices, although nor is it cheap by any means.
Projecta are a well known battery charging brand, they offer DCDC chargers, ACDC chargers and obviously inverters as well.
Can be found in stores such as Supercheapauto and Repco here in Australia which is great for those who want to view something in the flesh or pick it up on the day!
Kings are a budget brand that sell out of 4WD Supacentre stores across the country.
A good brand for those looking to make their first purchases without breaking the bank.
As a side note, I despise their website. If anyone from Kings reads this, please change it.
It screams cheapness from every orifice, shit alerts about what other people are “buying”, a banner that scrolls and takes up 1/3 of the screen, it’s too loud. Turn it down (not literally loud).
iTechworld are another budget option, with a store here in Perth it is good for those looking to see stuff in person in a physical store.
Internationally known company that have a large history in the renewable energy sector, big in marine and they offer very high quality equipment.
A brief rundown on inverters
I won’t spend too much time on this as I am sure most people get it, but basically if you have a 12 volt auxilliaray battery system and want to use appliances that run on 230V then you’ll need an inverter.
Examples of things you might want to use:
- Tools (drill, drop-saw, grinder).
- Laptop charger.
- Induction cooktop.
- Hair dryer.
The list goes on, people use all sorts of stuff these days.
Inverters are rated by their output in wattage. However this can be misleading as it often does not mean that they can handle that full amount of power (see further below).
The wattage of all of your planned devices and tools that you think you might want to connect is a handy thing to know. This can help you size your 12 volt system correctly without the need for unforeseen upgrades.
Amp draw limitation
You will need to plan your 12 volt system build with care, because a large portion of the cost will be the battery and inverter, but these two things need to be planned together.
I will have a post coming soon regarding the planning of a 12 volt system, but for now just know that different batteries have different maximum discharge rates.
So choosing a battery to pair with your inverter is not just about its capacity, but also its discharge capabilities. You can see more on my lithium battery comparison post.
Losses and headroom
Without going into too much detail, things that are “inductive loads” will reduce the power factor of the inverter, a general rule of thumb is to multiply the inverter rating by 0.8 to give you the true output.
So a 1000W inverter will be good to handle 800W of power continuously, generally speaking. Some manufacturers are not clear about whether their inverters are rated in VA (volt amps) or usable watts, but assume they’re all rated in VA.
Long story short, if you have 1000W of planned usage, go for a 1500W inverter instead of a 1000W inverter, you will need the head room. Performance will also drop with high temperatures.
There is also the fact that the inverter will consume power itself in conversion, heat loss and a slight amount to run itself.
You forgot about [insert brand here]!?
No, I really didn’t.
At some point you need to decide that a comparison is large enough and trust that the people reading can use the information provided to compare to their preferred brand.
The sheer number of different inverter sizes available makes this a very large subject, almost any wattage you desire can be found all the way up to 3000W!
What about inverter/charger combos?
Good point, and they’re great pieces of kit, but they don’t compare well here.
I plan on having a separate post soon regarding inverter chargers (although only comparing Enerdrive to Victron as there aren’t too many on the market).
This post is for inverters only, as the majority of people will be priced out of inverter chargers or simply won’t have the need for their extra weight.
Click here to peruse some inverter charger combinations (mygenerator link).
Inverter Comparison Tables
Now for the fun part.
I have broken the inverter comparison tables into 300-1000W and then 1000-3000W categories.
This way the information is easier on the eyes, and those looking for a certain size inverter aren’t having to rifle through more information than is required.
I have also included some scatter plots as a visual aid, because scatter plots get everyone excited, what with all that scatter and what not!
If there is information missing it means that I was unable to reliably locate the info, but if you know of the details then feel free to shout out.
300-1000W Inverter Comparison Table
I have set the lower limit to 300 here because with more and more electronics entering our lives I don’t think it is worth going any smaller than that.
Wherever possible the pricing used was from the manufacturers’ websites. This was done regardless of if their was a sale on at the time of the table being made.
You can often find these prices for cheaper elsewhere.
However the opposite may occur and prices may also go up after the making of this table, so understand that everything is fluid and forever changing.
Clicking the inverter tag under “brand” will take you to see the latest pricing on Amazon or eBay, these are affiliate links but they don’t cost you any extra (as described below the intro).
Clicking the “price” will take you to the product on mygenerator.com.au
|BRAND||WATTAGE||COST||WEIGHT (kg)||$/W||W/kg||WxLxH (mm)||AC OUTPUT CURRENT||NO LOAD DRAW||WARRANTY (YEARS)|
|350||$421||1.6||1.20||218.75||150x188x68||1.4 A||<0.9 A |
(<0.09A power saving mode)
|REDARC||700||$885||2.6||1.26||269.23||200x330x83||3.04 A||<1.5 A |
(<0.1A power saving mode)
|PROJECTA (INTELLI-WAVE)||1000||$762||3.2||0.76||312.5||388x242x96||4.3 A||1.2A||1|
|REDARC||1000||$1033||3.26||1.03||306.74||200x372x83||4.3 A||<1.5 A |
(<0.1A power saving mode)
300-1000W Inverter scatter plot
300-1000W Inverter comparison – Things to note
Redarc inverters come with a voltage selection capability so you can run it at 200, 220, 230 or 240 volts as desired.
iTechworld 400 Watt
I know light weight is normally good, but if it truly is only 750 grams then it kind of feels like it is missing something, or not very well built.
Pro-Wave vs Intelli-Wave differences?
The pro-wave series by Projecta is more of what most people would probably go for, with the intelli-wave being the higher end model.
I believe the intelli-wave features a higher maximum output, able to run at twice its rating for 3 seconds to accommodate large inrush currents.
It also comes with the ability to run at 140% for 3 minutes, some models with remote switching and AC transfer switches as well.
1000-3000W Inverter Comparison Table
These are the inverter sizes you’ll need if you plan on having induction cooktops, larger microwaves, coffee machines and other high draw appliances.
Make sure you pair these with an appropriately rated battery.
If you click the titles you will be taken to Amazon or eBay for purchasing, these are affiliate links that cost no extra for you.
Alternatively clicking the price will take you to mygenerator.com.au
|BRAND||WATTAGE||COST||WEIGHT (kg)||$/W||W/kg||WxLxH (mm)||AC OUTPUT (@230V)||NO LOAD DRAW||WARRANTY (YEARS)|
|1500||$1578||4.14||1.05||362.32||248x421x83||6.52 A||<1.8 A |
(<0.1A power saving mode)
|2000||$2073||5.24||1.03||381.68||248x443x83||8.7 A||<1.8 A |
(<0.1A power saving mode)
|ENERDRIVE (RDC and transfer switch)||2000||$1199||5.9||0.60||338.98||230x435x115||8.7 A||2|
|ENERDRIVE (RDC and transfer switch)||2600||$1759||7||0.67||371.43||230x 560x115||11.3 A||2|
|3000||$3061||8.2||1.02||365.85||255x442x158||13.04 A||<3.8 A |
(<0.4A power saving mode)
1000-3000W Inverter scatter plot
300-1000W Inverter comparison – Things to note
Kings and iTechworld
There are great bargains to be had here if you get a good copy of one of these. Just be wary that they only have a 1 year warranty, but then again so does Projecta.
What is an AC transfer switch?
As you can see here, Enerdrive sell a version of their inverter that has an AC transfer switch, I believe that the Intelli-wave from Projecta also offers this.
What this basically means is that when connected to the grid the inverter will standby while that power is being used. In the case of a power failure it will kick in and supply your appliances 230V power again quick enough that they won’t shut down.
Inverter Comparison Conclusion
That just about wraps up the inverter comparison, hopefully that helps you to see what each company offers, at least in a pure numbers perspective.
Nothing beats the experience of those who have used these products, numbers aren’t everything after all so scour the forums and read reviews before purchasing!
Which inverter did I end up choosing?
After doing the maths and figuring out what my expected total wattage requirements were, I figured that I only needed a small inverter, with the option to upgrade down the line.
I found an Enerdrive 600W on eBay (brand new, not used) for $425.
This was much cheaper than I had seen it elsewhere online, or in any shops. This was good for me as it would be a small footprint, a smaller cost and it only weighs 2kg!
Not only can it handle all of my proposed appliances at once but it also did so with about 150W to spare.
More on the way in which I planned my 12 volt system in an upcoming post with all the maths behind it.
Final thoughts – Safety first
Never before has camping carried such comfort with it. Just be sure to be selective of what you really need to use from an inverter.
Make sure all of your appliances are in top notch, make sure any circuits that you choose to have in your set up are protected well electrically and mechanically.
240V can kill.
With that lovely thought, goodbye.
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