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When you’re out on the road, you want to be able to rely on the things that keep you going.

Your car should, preferably, not run into trouble, and you’d like to think that when you need it, you’ve got enough juice to keep your essentials powered when there’s no mains connection.

Portable chargers are fine for charging small devices like your smartphone or tablet, but these are usually only good for one or two uses which won’t cater to your power-hungry needs. For larger accessories, what you really need is a good power inverter.

With such a huge range of different power inverters to choose from, it can be difficult to make a decision as to which one is best suited to your needs. And when you have to factor a tight budget into the equation, things can get even more complicated. That’s why we’re here.

We’ve done a whole bunch of research into power inverters to find the sweet spot between price-point and power performance so that your job is a lot easier.

To clue you in on how we found and chose 5 of the best cheap power inverters, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide and a frequently asked questions section for you to peruse. Now, let’s get to the reviews.

Top 5 Cheap Power Inverters

1. BESTEK DC Power Inverter

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter

Our top pick is the BESTEK DC power inverter, a great option for those who want to kill two birds with one stone and charge up to two devices at once using the dual-USB 4.2A output ports, which work at high speeds to simultaneously charge smartphones or other devices.

You won’t have to wait around for too long while they charge, as this power inverter provides 300 watts of continuous DC to AC power with a maximum of 700 watts of instantaneous power, so it’s definitely handy to have with you in your car when you’re on the road.

Traveling with it is convenient due to its compact shape and size and the fact that it weighs very little overall. It’s practically the same size as your phone so you can carry it with you when you’re out and about whether it be while you’re trekking in the woods or sunning yourself at the beach when you’re on vacation.

Whatever environment you’re in, the multi-protection features ensure that it will provide you with power for a long time to come. For example, there’s a 40-amp built-in fuse that helps to prevent damage, and safe charging means you won’t overheat your devices. It’s also durable with a tough metal casing that protects it from accidental drops and trips.

Pros

  • Fast charging: features two 110V AC outlets and 2 USB ports so you can charge multiple different types of devices at once.
  • Safety features: safe charging protects the power inverter against overheating, under/over voltage charging, and short-circuiting.
  • Cool: we mean this literally thanks to the smart cooling fan system which keeps operation volume low and prevents overheating.
  • Covered: your purchase is backed by an 18-month warranty.

Cons

  • Socket size: the two DC outlets are positioned slightly close to each other meaning it can be difficult to have two larger plugs connected at once.
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter
  • BESTEK Advantage: America's leading power inverter brand. Provides 300 Watts continuous DC to AC power and 700 Watts instantaneous power, featuring 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports
  • Fast Charging: two 110V AC outlets for charging larger devices such as laptops and tablets, 2 USB charging ports (0-2.4A) for powering USB compatible devices, a good choice as requisite car accessories
  • Ultra Compact and Lightweight: iPhone-sized design ideal for use on vacations, work trips, and camping. 24 inch cigarette lighter plug makes the power inverter can be plugged into almost any vehicle
  • Multi-Protection: built-in 40 amps fuse to protect your device. Safe charging design provides protection against, overheating, under and over voltage charging, short circuiting
  • Durable metal housing provides advanced protection from drops and bumps.Smart cooling fan system makes the car power inverter very silent when operating,and the fan runs faster when the device gets warmer or output power exceeds 70W.18-Months Warranty

2. Buy What Car Power Inverter

buywhat BW-150 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Outlet Converter 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger Adapter(Red)

One of the cheapest options we could find without compromising too much on quality was the Buy What power inverter for your car, which is capable of producing up to 150 watts of power. There are 2 USB ports and AC outlets so you can connect multiple devices for simultaneous charging.

It’s ideal for traveling as it’s incredibly lightweight and therefore highly portable. Plus, with an aluminum shell design, you can guarantee that it’s not likely to become easily damaged whilst in transit. We still wouldn’t recommend dropping it too frequently, but if it happens on the odd occasion it’s less likely to have a lasting effect on the power inverter’s performance.

Additional protection is provided by a built-in fuse that prevents overheating your power inverter, with safe charging that ensures your devices and appliances are protected at the other end of that connection.

The integrated cooling fan is surprisingly quiet, although not as unnoticeable as our top pick product, and you receive the inverter, a user manual, access to the Buy What customer services, and a warranty that covers you for 18 months after your purchase.

Pros

  • LED power indicator: you’ll never be stuck without power again as the LED indicator reminds you when you’re running low on juice so you can recharge it.
  • Safety features: safe charging protects the power inverter against overheating, under/over voltage charging, and short-circuiting.
  • Aluminum body: the red exterior is fun and bright as well as providing outstanding protection against accidental damage and drops.

Cons

  • Socket size: large plugs may overhang slightly and can block the USB ports.
  • Noise volume: it’s slightly louder during operation compared to our top pick.
Sale
buywhat BW-150 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Outlet Converter 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger Adapter(Red)
  • Travel kit: Just about credit card size - 3.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches, space-saving and easy storage, with aluminum shell design, Extremely portable and lightweight at only 8 oz+
  • Premium 150W car power inverter with 2 USB ports and AC outlets. Dual USB ports can charge most phones and tablets simultaneously (Max 3.1a total output), while AC outlets great for Christmas gift
  • Mufti-protection: built-in fuse to protect your Device, safe charging design provides protection against, overheating, under and over voltage charging, short circuiting, overloads, and overcharging
  • Durable metal housing provides advanced protection from drops and bumps. Integrated very silent cooling fan helps reduce heat and prevents short-circuit
  • What you get: Buywhat 150W car power inverter, user manual, 18 months warranty and 100% customer service

3. Geloo DC Power Inverter

300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Charger Converter with 4.8A Dual USB Ports (Blue)

Next up, we have this DC power inverter from Geloo, a more powerful option compared to the last inverter we reviewed and in line with what our top pick can produce, although it has a slightly lower instantaneous power rating of 600 watts.

This is the perfect cheap power inverter for charging things like laptops, breast pumps, string lights, CPAP machines, or game consoles, DVD players, iPads, and tablets, among a large number of other small devices and appliances.

The dual 110V AC outlets and 2 USB ports allow for fast charging different devices simultaneously, which is great when you’re about to head out but you want to give your smartphone, for example, one last boost of juice.

It features an upgraded cooling system in the form of a built-in cooling fan which is automatically temperature controlled to waste less heat and energy for more efficient cooling.

Pros

  • LED power indicator: you’ll never be stuck without power again as the LED indicator reminds you when you’re running low on juice so you can recharge it.
  • Portable: it’s similar in size to an iPhone which makes it a convenient choice for traveling.
  • Cord length: it comes with a 33-inch cord so even the passengers in the backseat can benefit from this power inverter during long journeys.
  • Safety features: safe charging protects the power inverter against overheating, under/over voltage charging, and short-circuiting.

Cons

  • Noise volume: some customers have complained that the fans can be quite loud during operation.
Sale
300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Charger Converter with 4.8A Dual USB Ports (Blue)
  • 【Premium 300W Power Inverter】- New Upgraded version car power converter, provides 300 watts continuous DC to AC power and 600 watts of instantaneous power. Great for charging string lights, laptop, breast pump, CPAP machine, nebulizer, game console, kindle, TV, DVD players, lights, iPad, and other electronic devices
  • 【FastCharging & Widely Use 】 -This modified sine wave car power inverter features dual 110V AC outlets and 2 USB ports. 4.8A/dual USB ports can automatically detect your devices to deliver optimal charging speed, great for your kindles, iPhones, iPads, tablets, MP3 players, cameras, and other mobile devices
  • 【Mufti-Protection】-Built-in fuse to protect your device, safe charging design provides protection against, overheating, under and over voltage charging, short circuiting, overloads, and overcharging
  • 【Smart Upgraded Cooling Effect】-Built-in very silent automatic temperature-controlled cooling fan helps reduce heat and prevent shortages. Durable metal housing provides advanced protection from drops and bumps.
  • 【Portable】- ust about iPhone size makes the car power inverter easy to storage. Plug directly into your cigarette lighter socket,The length of the Cord is 33 inch,to satisfy people using easily who sit in backseat,with fastening tape,which is more convenient to keep.

4. Kinverch Car Power Inverter

Kinverch 500W Continuous/1000W Peak Car Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Adapter with 2 AC Outlets and 2A USB Charging Port

Kinverch produces power inverters that range from around the $30 mark to well into the $300s, so they have experience in catering to a wide range of needs. Plus, the technology used in the higher-end products likely trickles down to their more affordable options.

That’s why we’ve included their 500-watt power inverter which still offers impressive power performance even with its budget price-tag. It’s powerful yet practical with a peak rating of 1,000 watts DC to AC power and high portability due to it being so lightweight and compact.

You can charge up to 2 devices via USB port and there are 2 AC outlets as well, which are compatible with a wide range of devices and appliances provided they do not exceed the maximum power limit.

Unlike some of the other power inverters we’ve looked at, this one comes equipped with 2 3
-amps external fuses that protect it against overheating, low/over voltage, overloading, and short-circuiting for all-around safety.

Pros

  • User-friendly design: it’s easy to plug in and power and the smart cooling fans only kick in when the workload increases and they’re needed.
  • Trickle-down technology: they manufacture products that are more advanced, but even their cheaper power inverters benefit from this advanced technology.
  • Customer service: after purchase, you’ll be able to access a 24-hour customer service team who can help you with any issues you’re having.
  • Safety features: it’s equipped with safe charging and 2 30-amp external fuses that protect the power inverter against overheating, under/over voltage charging, and short-circuiting.

Cons

  • Cord length: the ground wires and connection cables provided are quite short so passengers riding in the back of the car may struggle to reach them.
Kinverch 500W Continuous/1000W Peak Car Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Adapter with 2 AC Outlets and 2A USB Charging Port
  • [POWERFUL &PRACTICAL] Provides 500W continuous and 1000W peak DC to AC power, extremely portable and lightweight space aluminum shell,perfect for vacations, work trips, and camping or anywhere that power is needed
  • [WIDELY APPLICATION] Designed with dual AC outlets and one 2A USB charging port,Ideal for for charging tablet,game player, kindle, digital camera,TV,cell phones, lights, power tools,and so on.
  • [SAFTLY PROTECTION] Equipped with 2*30A extranal fuses against low-voltage,over-voltage ,over-load,short-circuit and over-temperature.
  • [USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN ]Smart cooling fans only works when loads increase which can also ensures you a ultra silent using experience.
  • [REST ASSURED AFTER-SALES SERVICE] 24-hour friendly customer service and 100% customer satisfaction

5. POTEK DC Power Inverter

POTEK 500W Power Inverter DC 12 V to 110V AC Car Converter with Digital Display Dual AC Outlets and Dual USB Charging Ports for Tablets, Laptop and Smartphones

The last power inverter we looked at is this inverter from POTEK, another option that packs a little bit more power than some of the other models we’ve looked at throughout this article,

It can provide 500 watts of continuous power when connected to your car battery and 1,000 watts of peak power so it’s ideal if you think you’ll be running more power-hungry devices or for simultaneous charging.

You’ll be able to charge most phones and tablets, simultaneously if you need to, as there are 2 USB ports and dual 110V AC outlets for multi-charging appliances. There’s an effective cooling fan built-in to the inverter which prevents overheating to protect your electronics.

One of the nifty features that make this inverter stand out from the rest we’ve reviewed is the convenient digital and illuminated display screen which indicates the inverter’s status, i.e. whether it’s INPUT (V), OUTPUT (V), or OUTPUT (W) and how much charge it has left.

Like many of these types of power inverters, this one from POTEK is highly portable and is, therefore, a great option for when you’re traveling or on the move, as it weighs just 1.1 lbs and it’s small and compact in shape.

Pros

  • Powerful: it has a 500-watt continuous power output and a peak power output of 1,000 watts.
  • Effective cooling: it has a built-in fan to prevent overheating.
  • Simultaneous charging: because of its higher power output and dual 110V AC outlets with 2 USB ports you can charge multiple devices and appliances at the same time.

Cons

  • Modified sine wave: it’s an MSW power inverter so it may be less reliable for charging sensitive electronic devices.
POTEK 500W Power Inverter DC 12 V to 110V AC Car Converter with Digital Display Dual AC Outlets and Dual USB Charging Ports for Tablets, Laptop and Smartphones
  • [500W Car Power Inverter with dual 110V AC outlets and 2 USB ports]: It provides 1000 Watt of peak power, dual USB ports can charge most phones and tablets simultaneously, while AC outlets ideal for charging laptop, breast pump, kindle, lights, iPad, etc
  • [Built-in Cooling Fan & Full Protection]: It has a cooling fan to keep the unit from over heating ( only works when output power over 200W, this ensures a quiet environment ). And along with all of the other safety protections in place, like the overload protection, short circuit and over/low battery
  • [Digital and illuminated display]: The digital display identifies the current status of the inverter, like INPUT (V), OUTPUT(V) and OUTPUT(W). While reading the number, a red LED light is displayed
  • [Ultra-protable and travel kit]: Just about 7.1 x 4.1 x 2.2 inches, space-saving, easy storage. extremely portable and lightweight at only 1.1 pounds. It's one of those things that is a must have especially in an emergency
  • [Cigarette lighter adapter and car battery clips are included for two options]: While you are driving, plug it into cigarette lighter, it can provide up to 150 watts of continuous power; When you're at a campground, you can connect it to the car battery directly, it will deliver up to 500 watts of continuous power.

Best Cheap Power Inverters Buyer’s Guide

Types of Power Inverter

You can choose between two types of power inverter: modified sine wave (MSW) inverters and pure sine wave (PSW) inverters.

All 12-volt power inverters convert 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC, so what does it matter if it’s an MSW or a PSW power inverter? Let us explain.

Modified Sine Wave

We won’t bore you with too much of the science side, but modified sine wave inverters produce alternating current to create a blocky signal that dips widely on either side of 0 volts.

Modified sine wave power inverters tend to be cheaper than pure sine inverters but they can spell trouble for some of your more sensitive electrical devices, including the following:

  • Electric shavers
  • Battery chargers
  • Coffee makers
  • Electric blankets
  • Microwaves
  • Medical equipment
  • Some modern TVs
  • Variable speed tools
  • Audio equipment

Pure Sine Wave Inverters

By comparison, PSW inverters create a smooth sine wave that produces power that’s more like the “clean power” an electric grid would provide. It’s typically more reliable than an MSW inverter and is therefore able to run all AC devices, even the sensitive types.

The bad news is that they tend to be more expensive than modified sine wave converters, which means there isn’t a large selection that you could consider “cheap”.

If you think you won’t need to power some of the devices and appliances listed above, then it may be worth opting for the more affordable MSW inverters, but otherwise, it’s not worth the risk of potentially damaging your expensive electronic devices.

What Wattage Rating Do You Need?

The higher the wattage rating, the more power you’ll be able to generate. If you do choose to go for a power inverter with more wattage, it means you’ll be able to keep all of your essential devices and appliances charged for longer when you’re out on the road.

That’s not to say that you should rush into this decision and hastily choose a generator with a high wattage power because you think you need it. Work out how much power you think you’ll actually need, as a higher wattage typically also comes with a higher price tag.

Do this by making a list of the things you’ll likely be using your power inverter to run and adding up the total wattage output required. This should give you a pretty good indication of what wattage to go for, with power inverters ranging from 100 to 1,000, and even up to 6,000 watts.

If you’re hoping to stick to a tighter budget, you’ll probably have to limit yourself to between 100 and 500 watts of power output.

How Many Outlets Do You Need?

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to your standard two-AC outlet power inverters which can be used to charge or power up to two devices. However, there may be occasions when you need to charge multiple devices at once, and this would call for more outlets.

Luckily, there are power inverters that are able to rise to this occasion by offering additional AC outlets for your other devices. Some also come with one or more USB ports to charge devices via the lead which is a useful feature in case you ever forget to pack the plug for it.

How Durable Is It?

Frequent travelers will know how easy it is for things to become damaged in transit, so you might want to prioritize a power inverter that’s going to stand the test of time and travel.

Aluminum casing, for example, is a good thing to look out for due to its durability and ability to protect the power inverter. Just because you’re purchasing a cheap power inverter doesn’t mean it should be cheap quality, so we’ve only recommended products that we believe in.

In terms of power protection and how it stands up to surges, the majority of power inverters now have additional safety features that prevent overvoltage or the overloading of devices. It’s always worth checking out what sort of warranty you’re covered by if you’re concerned.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I connect a power inverter?

Typically, inverters that have a rating of 450 watts or less will come with a wire cable included which you can use to connect to your car’s cigarette lighter outlet.

Larger inverters, which would typically be classed as anything with more than 500 watts, will often require connecting to the battery directly.

What will a 3,000-watt power inverter run?

A 3,000-watt power inverter can typically be used to run the majority of domestic appliances, like microwaves or your coffee machine, with a few exceptions such as modern kettles.

As long as you don’t exceed the maximum 3,000 watts, either by trying to power too many appliances that collectively total over this amount or by connecting a single appliance that consumed more than 3,000 watts of power.

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