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Will has written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, logging hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339). Lifepo4 Lithium Battery
A well-designed power inverter that’s great for small devices.
Large inverter that can power small appliances like a coffee maker.
A low-cost power inverter with several output ports, including USB-C.
Capable power inverter with replacement amp fuses.
A power converter with a sleek design and plenty of useful outlets.
It’s fairly common to see USB ports in modern cars, but if you want to charge more than a cell phone or tablet, you’ll need a power inverter. The best power inverter for your car will hinge on the devices you want to use and how much electricity you need. Regardless of your intended usage, a power inverter can always come in handy if you’re on a road trip or need an emergency power source.
This review will spotlight some of the best power inverters for cars as determined by our research team. We scored each product based on design, installation process, and overall value to consumers.
For this review, our team thoroughly tested and evaluated each power inverter based on each item’s design, installation, and value. The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars.
We named the Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter, Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter, ShockFlo 200W Car Power Inverter, Potek 750W Power Inverter, Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter, and the Foval 200W Car Power Inverter as the best-rated power inverters on the market in 2023.
*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.
After looking at factors such as the number of charging ports, design, customer ratings, and prices, our product testing team ordered the power inverters that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE, taking note of how well the car power inverter was designed, the overall ease of installation, and its overall value. Each power inverter was given a rating out of 5.0 stars based on these criteria.
Learn more about how we tested power inverters for cars here.
Our review team’s top pick for the best power inverter for cars is the Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter . This unit comes out of the box ready to use with a 12.0-volt adapter wired into the inverter’s metal housing. At 300.0 watts, this is more of a charger than a heavy-duty generator, but it can support everything from a few smartphones to a laptop.
You can see how the Bestek 300W performed in each of our testing categories below:
The Bestek is a great product if you want a simple, no-frills inverter that can charge more than a few phones at once. It’s a terrific option if you often work from the car or need items such as camera batteries at a moment’s notice. Below are the pros and cons of the Bestek 300W:
Overall, we found the installation to be incredibly simple thanks to the plug-and-play design. At a lower cost, this inverter was a good value overall aside from some minor letdowns regarding design and securing the product to our vehicle.
Design: One feature we didn’t like, which our team discovered with multiple types of power inverters, is that installing several cables on the outlet cluster makes things relatively tight. This didn’t impact performance, but it just means you have limited real estate depending on the design.
The other issue is the absence of any rubber feet or other ways to secure the Bestek to the vehicle. So make sure you have a space set aside where the inverter can’t freely roll about the car. Otherwise, the Bestek gets high marks for its compact design and power specifications.
Installation: The Bestek 300W Car Inverter is a simple, plug-and-play product. After connecting it to the cigarette lighter, the adapter cable has plenty of length. By the way, we found the inverter could handle multiple devices easily.
Value: At under $50, we found this inverter to be a pretty good value. With multiple charging locations combined with a fairly compact design, this power inverter felt worth our purchase.
Customers enjoy the amount of power the Bestek puts out. It is durable, reliable, and also very quiet. One customer even reported reliable use for 10 years. On the negative end, several consumers report longevity issues and spotty customer service.
If you have a need for more power, the Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter is worth considering. The manufacturer gives users the option of powering the inverter through the cigarette lighter or connecting directly to the vehicle’s battery via alligator clips.
You can see how the Maxpart performed in each of our testing categories below:
The Maxpart is a solid choice if you want to do more than charge a cell phone or laptop. It has enough juice to run a gaming console and a small TV. Plus, being able to connect directly to the vehicle’s battery means you’re not tethered to the car’s interior. Below are the pros and cons of the Maxpart:
Overall, we enjoyed testing the Maxpart power inverter. While bulkier in size compared to other power inverters in this review, the high wattage and color-coded ports made this power inverter feel more reliable and durable.
Design: Connecting the battery cables to the inverter unit was incredibly easy thanks to the color-coded ports on the back of the device. Our team liked the inclusion of two additional cigarette lighters and the added flexibility of being able to connect directly to the car battery.
Installation: The only thing we docked the Maxpart for is the assembly required out of the box. Conversely, several other brands are ready to go as soon as you open the package.
Value: Even though the Maxpart was the largest inverter we tested, we found it mostly quiet, and it had plenty of room for our devices to plug into making it worth the higher price point.
Customers liked the Maxpart for charging simple devices. It works as stated and 83 percent of reviewers rate it 4.0 or more stars. This power inverter gets high marks for value and ease of use.
Some users mention issues with the battery cables being of poor quality. They are a little short and can stop charging when jostled. A few complain that this inverter isn’t as reliable for powering larger devices such as laptop computers.
If you need to charge multiple portable electronics, the ShockFlo 200W Power Inverter is a good option because it has four USB ports in addition to two 120.0-V outlets. This power inverter even has a USB-C outlet, which none of the other recommendations on this list offer.
You can see how the ShockFlo performed in each of our testing categories below:
The ShockFlo power inverter was easy for us to test and the spacing of the power outputs gave this inverter extra points when considering the overall design. However, the lower build-quality and wattage affected the overall value of the ShockFlo.
Design: The ShockFlo works as advertised. Power outputs are spaced apart and oriented so that one extra-long plug won’t cover the other output which we enjoyed because it allowed us to plug in multiple devices without tangling the power cords.
Installation: There is no assembly required, though you may want to swap out fuses (the ShockFlo comes with 12.0-amp, 15.0-amp, and 20.0-amp fuses) depending on your car’s cigarette lighter amperage.
Value: We had no issues using the ShockFlo, though the plastic housing and button feel flimsier and less durable than other, higher-priced power inverters. If you’re prone to dropping your electronics, you might choose something more robust.
Google reviewers generally feel that the ShockFlo is a good purchase for the price. Some have noted that it is not especially powerful or robust but is nonetheless reliable. Those who need to power multiple devices at once appreciate the many outputs as well as the USB-C output.
Some have issues using the ShockFlo because you must turn on the AC outlets by holding down the power button for several seconds. This is not very well explained in the user manual, leading some to think the device is broken.
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The Potek 750W Power Inverter is a good power inverter option for drivers who want an above-average amount of power. Like our runner-up pick, the Potek comes with the option of connecting directly to the car battery or going through the cigarette lighter. It also has a litany of safety features to prevent overheating and short circuits.
You can see how the Potek performed in each of our testing categories below:
Potek goes the extra mile by providing you with two extra sets of fuses in the event of over-voltage. Need to power a drill or vacuum off your car battery? The Potek 750W car inverter will give you that option. If you’re looking to charge a tablet or something else, you should consider a more basic device. Below are the pros and cons of the Potek:
The Potek had its ups and downs during our testing process. The high wattage scored it extra points but there were some letdowns when it came to the overall design and bulkiness of the power inverter.
Design: The Potek can power most devices with a strong output. One issue is the limited real estate up front because it has only one USB-C port and the AC outlets are right next to each other. We encountered the same problem we did with the Bestek in terms of limited space, as one battery charger took up the whole area.
Installation: This inverter had the same assembly issues as the Maxpart, meaning it had to be assembled and was much less of a typical plug-and-play inverter that makes installation easy. While not impossible, it was time-consuming and required us to follow multiple steps to ensure a correct assembly and installation.
Value: The bulky design and lack of USB-C power outputs made it difficult for us to give this inverter 5.0 stars for value. However, the high wattage and connection compatibility to vehicles helped make this power inverter more worth the investment.
Fans of the Potek power inverter say it has tremendous power output. It runs quietly as well. However, critics claim that Potek’s quality control is lacking, with some receiving defective units. The finish also quickly fades in sunlight, according to one user.
If your vehicle has cup holders, you have a spot for the Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter . This version has a design similar to our top pick in terms of outlets with the added bonus of a 12.0-V socket, albeit at a lower wattage. As our most compact option, the Bestek is terrific if you’re OK with giving up a cupholder and you like having your power station close by at all times.
You can see how the Bestek performed in each of our testing categories below:
This product is probably better at charging multiple low-voltage devices like smartphones than bigger items requiring AC outlets. But if you don’t mind a squished version of our best pick, it’s hard to argue with the form factor. Below are the pros and cons of the Bestek:
Overall, the Bestek was a lower price but it also lacked in power output and overall value. The cheaper design made us question how reliable this power inverter would be in the long run.
Design: Bestek’s 200.0-W offering was the most compact and form-fitting portable power inverter we profiled. Besides running into a similar outlet real estate issue, the plastic design has a cheaper feel than Bestek’s 300.0-W counterpart.
Installation: While customers don’t necessarily have to place the device in a cup holder, the cylindrical design makes the Bestek prone to rolling about the car cabin if you choose any other installation point.
Value: From a value standpoint, this product is difficult to recommend because, for a few pennies more, you can get a more powerful inverter from the same manufacturer. It also happened to be the loudest power inverter we tested.
Customers seem to really like the straightforward design and portability of the product. Several report multiple years of reliable use of this power inverter. However, not all Bestek 200W power inverters seem to last that long, some report device failure after a year. It also does not completely fill most cupholders and so can rattle.
The Foval 200W Car Power Inverter places function over design. Whereas the other brand brands we featured use a hotrod red, Foval went with a simple gray for its 200.0-W model. Color choices aside, we chose this product simply for its portability and smart design.
You can see how the Foval performed in each of our testing categories below:
This product is ideal if you covet a small format at under 300.0 W of power. If charging more than two smartphones at once is also a priority, we’d recommend the Foval on design alone. Below are the pros and cons of the Foval:
While the installation was simple for us, there was a concern about the value and design quality. The design is visually appealing and convenient but felt cheaper and lower quality when we compared this inverter to others in our review.
Design: We love the design of placing the USB ports on the side since some of the other contenders felt crowded when using both a USP power and AC power outlet.
Installation: Like the rest of the power inverters, the installation was incredibly simple with a quick connection to the cigarette lighter.
Value: What we don’t love about the Foval is the cheap construction. The plastic housing feels lower quality compared to the other devices we profiled.
Customers love the small format and multiple USB ports. There are numerous customer reports of this device lasting several years. It is not only reliable and durable but charges quickly as well.
There are a few complaints about the device overheating and blowing fuses. The Foval may not be as robust as other power inverters.
The best power inverter for your car depends on wattage ratings, how power transfer works, and matching your preferences for size and outlet. Below are some of the benchmarks we believe you should consider.
What Is A Power Inverter?
A car battery outputs a direct electrical current (DC), whereas most personal electronics require alternating electrical current (AC). A power inverter takes in DC power and outputs AC power (side note: a device that takes in AC power and converts it to DC power is called a “power rectifier”).
Many modern vehicles have USB ports able to charge cell phones, but few have an outlet similar to the wall socket in your home. If you want to charge larger electronics like laptops and game systems in the car, you’ll need a power inverter. These typically connect to your car’s 12.0-V outlet (cigarette lighter) and have multiple output ports for simultaneous charging.
The appliances you plan on using should dictate the wattage of your power inverter. If you’re looking to charge your phone, laptop, or multiple small electronic devices, a 250.0-W to 300.0-W inverter should pack enough power.
If you’re planning on a road trip and want to use more heavy-duty appliances such as power tools or a coffee maker, you’ll want to pick something in the 1,000.0-W range or above to avoid a short circuit of your car or overheating the device.
The best power inverters for cars work by turning direct current into alternating current. Some power inverters advertise the tech as utilizing pure sine waves or using modified sine waves. This is more of a standard for energy efficiency instead of energy quality.
Modified sine waves refer to deviations in the amount of energy in the power source, creating sometimes what’s called a square wave. Modified weaves can run devices efficiently but negatively impact performance over time.
Pure sine waves are uninterrupted power from the car battery, meaning the voltage going into the electronic device stays constant. Because of the stable power flow, pure sine wave power inverters are better options for devices that require higher wattage.
You may be familiar with the term “power converter,” which is a different device than a power inverter. A power inverter converts direct current into alternating current. A power converter does the opposite, meaning it turns alternating current to DC power.
This is important because home appliances such as drills, toasters, and printers work best on AC power.
Example intro line: In this article, along with sharing helpful purchasing tips for those interested in purchasing a power inverter for their car, we reviewed the top six power inverters in 2023:
Below are some common frequently asked questions about power inverters:
Our review team named the BESTEK 300.0-watt power inverter the best overall pick based on design and value. Of course, the best power inverter for your needs depends on the devices you operate.
Most cars can handle a power inverter under a certain wattage. For a high-wattage power supply that you need to run continuous power, you’re best off pairing it with heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks or RVs.
A power inverter will drain your car’s battery if you operate it while the car isn’t running. To maintain the car battery’s charge, we advise only using the inverter to power devices while the engine is running.
Most cars can run power inverters of up to 1,000.0 watts but might not have enough juice for higher-wattage inverters to hit peak power.
In testing each product, we used an appropriate number of devices for its power level. Items we charged included a smartphone, camera batteries, and laptops. Each of the inverters could handle more than charging the various devices, but we wanted to test the function for which most consumers would use each product. We assessed each power inverter based on its design, ease of installation, and overall value.
Our design score is based on several features. We consider the size and shape of each power inverter as well as the number, type, and location of charging ports. Extra features like digital displays also contribute to our design score. Finally, power inverters can be noisy, and those that run silently scored more points in this category.
We gave the highest ratings to power inverters that are compact, feature a large number of useful charging ports, and/or operate silently.
Our installation score is based on how easily the power inverter can be used. Many power inverters can be used right out of the box, but some require assembly. Any additional features that make using them easier like extra cord length or included batteries added to this score.
Our value score is based on a power inverter’s price relative to its performance in our other review categories. A power inverter that is expensive but includes useful features that other power inverters do not will score well in this category. Likewise, a power inverter with few features but that works well and is relatively low-cost can score well in this category.
Star ratings help us evaluate and differentiate between the top-performing products in our reviews. The power inverters in this review were scored based on various criteria: design, installation, and value. Based on our calculations, the power inverters in this review scored an average of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars.
Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.
We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here .
*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.
Will has written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, logging hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339).
As a member of both the APA and IMPA, Charles Noyes has devoted himself to creating and refining quality content covering automotive products and accessories, motorcycle products, RV products, and more. As the lead editor serving the product review team, he has personally reviewed, critiqued, and fact-checked over 200 product reviews.
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