Best Overall
Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter

A well-designed power inverter that’s great for small devices.

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Best Modified Sine Wave Inverter
Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter

Large inverter that can power small appliances like a coffee maker.

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Most Powerful
Potek 750W Power Inverter

Capable power inverter with replacement amp fuses.

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Best Design
Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter

A power converter with a sleek design and plenty of useful outlets.

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Also Consider
Foval 200W Car Power Inverter

Compact package with the most outlets of any device we tested.

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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 inverters 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.

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-volt outlet (cigarette lighter) and have multiple output ports for simultaneous charging.

Power Inverter Buyers Guide

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 Wattage Works For Me?

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-watt to 300.0-watt 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-watt range or above to avoid a short circuit of your car or overheating the device.

Understanding Sine Waves 

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.

Storage

Bigger isn’t always better, but it usually means more power from power inverters. Some smaller inverters, such as the Bestek, are designed to fit into your car’s cup holder. Larger inverters we tested even had screw mounts for a hard install into the car.

Power Inverter Vs. Power Converter

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.

5 Best Power Inverters For Cars

Five of the best power inverters that were tested and reviewed by our auto team.

  1. Best Overall: Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter
  2. Best Modified Sine Wave Inverter: Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter
  3. Most Powerful: Potek 750W Power Inverter
  4. Best Design: Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter
  5. Also Consider: Foval 200W Car Power Inverter

#1 Best Overall: Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter

The Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter.

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Pros Plenty of charging ports Compact design
Cons No way to secure inverter to the car

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.

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.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $35
  • Two USB charging ports
  • Two AC power outlets
  • High-quality construction
  • Produces 110.0-V AC

Our Experience

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.

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.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Design4.5 out of 5
Installation5 out of 5
Value5 out of 5

The Bestek 300W Car Power Inverter installed in a testing vehicle and being used to charge a cell phone and camera battery.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 27,000 ratings

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.

#2 Best Modified Sine Wave Inverter: Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter

The Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter.

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Pros Can connect to the battery via cigarette lighter or battery clamps Dual lighter sockets
Cons Bulky Could have more USB ports

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.

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.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $85
  • Dual USB ports
  • Dual 12.0-V DC ports
  • Dual AC power outlets
  • LCD display

Our Experience

Connecting the battery cables to the inverter unit was incredibly easy thanks to the color-coded ports on the back of the device. 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.

Our team liked the inclusion of two additional cigarette lighters and the added flexibility of being able to connect directly to the car battery. 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.

Overall Rating4.7 out of 5
Design5 out of 5
Installation4 out of 5
Value5 out of 5

The Maxpart 1000W Power Inverter installed in a testing vehicle and being used to charge a cell phone and camera battery.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 2,400 ratings

Customers liked the Maxpart for charging simple devices. It works at stated and 83 percent of reviewers rate it four 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.

#3 Most Powerful: Potek 750W Power Inverter

The Potek 750W Power Inverter.

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Pros Can connect to the battery via cigarette lighter or battery clamps Comes with extra fuses
Cons Single USB power output Bulky

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.

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.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $60
  • Single USB port
  • Extra fuses
  • Two AC power outlets
  • Auto-shutoff features

Our Experience

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 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. Otherwise, it had the same assembly issues as the Maxpart.

Overall Rating4 out of 5
Design4 out of 5
Installation4 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

Potek 750W Power Inverter installed in a testing vehicle.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.4 out of 5 based on over 2,000 ratings

Fans of the Potek power inverter say it has tremendous power output. It runs quietly as well. However, critics claim the Potek’s quality control is lacking, with some receiving defective units. The finish also quickly fades in sunlight, according to one user.

#4 Best Design: Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter

The Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter.

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Pros 2 AC outlets 2 USB ports 18-month warranty Automatic shutdown
Cons Takes up cup holder

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-volt 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 like having your power station close by at all times. 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.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $30
  • Two AC outlets
  • Two USB ports
  • Automatic shutoff safety design
  • 12.0-volt cigarette lighter socket
  • 18-month warranty

Our Experience

Bestek’s 200.0-watt offering was the most compact and form-fitting portable power inverter we profiled. 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.

Besides running into a similar outlet real estate issue, the plastic design has a cheaper feel than Bestek’s 300.0-watt counterpart. 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.

Overall Rating4 out of 5
Design4 out of 5
Installation4.5 out of 5
Value3.5 out of 5

The Bestek 200W Car Power Inverter installed in a testing vehicle and being used to charge a cell phone.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 2,800 ratings

Customers seem to really like the straightforward design and portability of the product. Several report multiple years of reliable use from this power inverter.

However, not all Bestek 200W power inverters seem last that long, some report device failure after a year. It also does not completely fill most cupholders and so can rattle.

#5 Also Consider: Foval 200W Car Power Inverter

The Foval 200W Car Power Inverter.

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Pros 4 USB outlets Multiple safety features
Cons Not as powerful as other competitors Less-durable design

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.

This product is ideal if you covet a small format at under 300.0 watts of power. If charging more than two smartphones at once is also a priority, we’d recommend the Foval on design alone.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $25
  • Four USB ports
  • Two AC outlets
  • Smart cooling fan
  • Built-in protection from short-circuits and overcharging

Our Experience

Like the rest of the power inverters, the installation was incredibly simple with a quick connection to the cigarette lighter. 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.

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.

Overall Rating4 out of 5
Design3.5 out of 5
Installation5 out of 5
Value3.5 out of 5

The Foval 200W Car Power Inverter installed in a testing vehicle and being used to charge a cell phone and camera battery.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 14,000 ratings

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.

Our Review Standards

The automotive power inverters in this article underwent two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors such as Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

For testing purposes, our team ordered the five power inverters that performed best in these areas. A team member tested each product on a car, noting the inverter’s design, ease of installation, and value. We gave each power inverter a rating out of 5 stars based on these criteria.

Power Inverters Testing Process

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.

Why You Can Trust Us

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.

Power Inverter: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.