Best Power Inverters for Semi Trucks
It’s no secret that most truck drivers are on the road more than they are off of it. So it makes sense, then, that truckers should be well-equipped for the long drive ahead. Unlike the trucks of yesteryear, today’s vehicles are decked out with all of the modern advancements needed to ensure a safe and readied journey. After all, no one wants to become an accident statistic.
And given the time that truckers spend in their vehicles, they have a need for things that the average driver doesn’t, such as microwaves and mini-fridges. According to American Trucker, the need for inverters has only increased in the past several years. That’s where the best power inverters for semi-trucks come into play.
Without these handy devices, truck drivers may not be able to run what they need. This can range from entertainment items like a TV, or more important safety items like electronic logging devices. As you can imagine, this means that maintaining power to these devices is extremely important. Best case scenario you won't be able to turn on your microwave, or worst case scenario you take on some points on your license.
Moreover, there are a lot of different power inverters to choose from, so it’s important to make sure that you research them thoroughly. Of course, if you are on the road most of your life, you don’t have time to look over the countless options available.
That’s why we did the work for you. Our team narrowed the top three choices for your consideration. The entries you see below met our requirements for what makes a high-quality power inverter to ensure that you’re investing in a reliable unit.
This 2200-watt beauty might be limited in its outlet options, but you’re guaranteed lasting quality. The Giandel PS-2200KAR is a pure sine wave power inverter that comes equipped with two AC outlets and one USB port. If you have small appliances that are under 2200 watts, this is the perfect power inverter for your semi-truck.
We like that you can keep a watchful eye on how much voltage is being used at any given time. This is made possible thanks to the inclusion of an LED display on the face of the unit. There are also plenty of protection modes installed in the PS-2200KAR to ensure its safe and efficient performance.
The build quality is top-notch, made with an aluminum alloy case to ensure longevity and durability. What’s more, the PS-2200KAR is armed with internal high-speed intelligent cooling fans. These keep the power inverter from getting too hot, thereby reducing heat whenever you run your equipment. Other safety measures include:
- Polarity reverse protection (fuse)
- Meets UL458 requests
- Isolated Input/output
- Soft start tech
- Short circuit
- Low voltage
This is a must-have feature for power inverters, as it helps to ensure lasting performance of both the power inverter and your devices. Giandel also includes a generous three-year warranty with the PS-2200KAR, covering you from manufacturer defects and damage caused by the power inverter. Product liability is covered by AIG.
Another nice thing to see is the addition of a 15-foot cable. This gives you plenty of reach, allowing you to access the power inverter far from its installation point. Furthermore, you get a bonus remote with the PS-2200KAR, so you can control the unit hands-free.
This is another essential addition, as it allows you to keep your eyes on the road and operate the power inverter at the same time. Giandel gives you the complete package here, and it’s greatly appreciated. So while the PS-2200KAR doesn’t have a lot of plug-in options, it is made with precision and packed with features that are critical to both you and the power inverter.
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If you require a bit more wattage to power your appliances, Giandel’s PM-5000QBR is a viable solution to your needs. This 5000-watt (10,000 peak) modified sine wave power inverter gives you a total of four AC outlets and two USB ports to ensure that you have all the plug-in options needed for a smooth ride.
If you want to keep your semi-truck equipped with the conveniences of home life, the PM-5000QBR is just the power inverter to do it. Giandel made sure to produce this unit with a litany of safety protection. Let’s take a moment to explore the safety measures that come with the PM-5000QBR.
- Low interference technology
- Overheat protection
- Output design
- Isolated Input
- Short circuit
- Low voltage
Plus, a cooling fan keeps the inverter from getting hot. As with Giandel’s PS-2200KAR power inverter, the PM-5000QBR is housed in a tough and durable aluminum alloy casing. This also helps keep the unit lightweight, as it is a fairly large power inverter. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you measure your installation point to ensure that there’s enough room to accommodate the PM-5000QBR.
Another nice feature to see on this power inverter is an LCD display. It’s brightly backlit, too, so you can clearly see it in low-light settings. You get a remote control with the PM-5000QBR, as well, allowing you to operate it without taking your hands off of your steering wheel.
We would have liked it if Giandel included a three-year warranty on this power inverter like the one that comes with the PS-2200KAR. But alas, you only get an 18-month warranty. Still, it’s better than the standard 90-day or one-year warranty you get with most things, so we can’t knock the company too much.
Being a modified inverter, you’re somewhat limited in what you can run with it. Check our guide following the reviews for more information on sine wave types.
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Rounding out our reviews is Energizer’s ENK-400 4000-watt (8,000 peak) modified sine wave power inverter. With it comes two AC outlets and two USB ports for plenty of connectivity. Two large cooling fans on the back of the inverter ensure that it stays cool while in operation. Other safety protection includes:
- High temperature
- Under voltage
- Short circuit
What’s more, there’s a backlit LCD display that keeps you apprised of temperature changes and other important information. Energizer also includes a two-year warranty with the ENK-4000, protecting you from any manufacturer defects.
If you’re on a budget, this is the most affordable power inverter we reviewed. Although it’s budget-friendly, you won’t be disappointed with its performance. You can safely run a wide range of equipment without issue, and you get free battery cables thrown in for good measure.
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Tips for Choosing the Right Power Inverter
There is a lot to consider when buying a power inverter. Not every unit is made the same, which means that it’s all too easy to waste your time and money on a power inverter that’s less than stellar. As such, it’s important to consider a few factors first.
If you’re unfamiliar with power inverters, you may not know what to look for. And why would you, your time is focused on learning to drive, watching out for four wheelers cutting you off, and bear traps in the next town. Fear not, for we have you covered. In the sections below, you will find essential information on features that complement driving a semi-truck.
Sine Wave Type
Power inverters that are made for use in a semi-truck (or RV) come in two main types: pure sine wave or modified sine wave. Pure sine wave inverters are typically used for electronically sensitive equipment, such as microwaves, newer televisions, and appliances equipped with digital clocks or timers.
If you frequently use a laptop in your truck, you’re better off sticking with a pure sine wave inverter. Although a modified inverter will work, it is believed that using one will gradually damage your laptop’s battery.
One of the biggest benefits of pure sine wave inverters is the energy that they produce. It’s quieter, cleaner, and overall more reliable than energy produced by modified variants. Of course, like anything else, there are pros and cons to both types.
Let’s take a moment to discuss the good and bad about each so you can better choose the best power inverter for your needs.
Modified Sine Wave Inverters vs. Pure Sine Wave Inverters
- Modified Power Inverters
One of the main draws of modified sine wave power inverters is their price. You can typically buy them for less than what you’d spend on a pure sine wave version. If you’re on a tight budget and trying to save as much money as you possibly can, a modified inverter might make the most sense.
Modified inverters are less efficient, meaning you’ll use more energy to power your equipment. And when this happens, you risk running hot, which can shorten the lifespan of your appliances and other devices.
There’s also the issue of modified power inverters not working with nearly the amount of equipment that pure sine wave inverters can run.
- Pure Power Inverters
Pure sine wave power inverters are highly efficient. As such, your equipment will run without using as much energy. The better efficiency is often worth the higher investment for many truck drivers. So while you might spend more upfront to buy your pure sine inverter, you could end up saving more in the long run by not having to replace your equipment.
What’s more, pure sine inverters run a wider variety of devices and appliances, therefore affording you more options in your cab. And as mentioned, the energy produced by pure sine wave inverters is overall cleaner and quieter.
You’re likely going to spend more on upfront costs when you buy a pure sine wave power inverter. But when you factor in its benefits, the higher price tag is often worth it.
When it comes to power inverters, bigger doesn’t necessarily equate to better. You want to make sure that you have plenty of room in your vehicle to accommodate the power inverter you invest in. If you are cramped and short on space, you may have to settle for the next size down to ensure that it fits comfortably.
You’re going to need to make sure that you get a power inverter that is able to accommodate the equipment you that you most commonly use. For example, if you frequently use a smartphone or tablet, laptop, microwave, refrigerator, and a TV, you’re going to want a power inverter that has both USB and AC ports.
Not only that, but you’ll also need to make sure that there are enough of these ports available for use. The last thing you want to do is invest in a unit that doesn’t have enough ports to accommodate all of your equipment.
As we’ve already touched on, price is a big factor when it comes to buying a power inverter for your semi-truck. Between various recurring costs like fuel, maintenance in between long hauls, and trucker-specific insurance, the expenses can pile up. If you’re on a budget, your options are obviously going to be somewhat limited. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quality unit for your needs.
In fact, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a power inverter that meets your requirements. Depending on the sine wave type, you can easily spend between $600 and $900. But as you can see from our reviews above, you’re not going to have to spend nearly that much. You can, but it’s certainly not necessary.
How Do Power Inverters Work?
An automotive power inverter is an electrical transformer that converts 12-volt direct current (DC) to 120-volt alternating current (AC). In doing so, you can run electronic devices that are normally plugged into a wall outlet.
The majority of Class 8 commercial semi-trucks in the United States work with a 12-volt electrical system, which helps operate both the tractor and trailer. Your semi-truck’s electrical system utilizes the battery and alternator whenever your engine is running.
A power inverter allows you to tap directly into your truck’s electrical system, drawing a limited amount of power so that you can run 120-volt AC devices. As you can see from our reviews, there are power inverters equipped with receptacles for USB and AC.
Thanks to the flexibility of modern power inverters, you can run more devices than what used to be possible. And since many modern electronic devices use the USB/wall adapter system, today’s power inverters afford you more plug-in options than ever.
In short, you shouldn’t have any worries about running out of room to plug in. Nor should you have to worry about not being able to power your equipment.
Being on the road as long as you are, it’s important to outfit your truck with the conveniences needed for a safe and comfortable trip. And thanks to the best power inverters for semi-trucks, you can successfully run a plethora of electronic devices and small appliances.
Our top pick goes to Giandel’s PS-2200KAR. Sure, it might be a bit limited in how many devices you can plug into it. But its pure sine wave design ensures that you will be able to safely and efficiently run a wide range of different electronics, from TVs to laptops and much more.If you don’t need to power sensitive equipment as outlined above, and you’re trying to save money, Energizer’s ENK-4000 is an excellent bargain, giving you plenty of bang for your buck.