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Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEMay 3, 2022by AndrewWhat Size Inverter Do I Need for My RV?

An inverter is a must-have on a great RV trip. An inverter converts a battery’s 12V DC power into 120V AC power – what home devices and appliances run on. This lets you have electricity for everything on your road trip. When getting an inverter, an obvious question is: What size inverter do I need for my RV?

You need to know the right size to power everything you’ll use. You want safety and ease. Getting the right size seems simple, but even for experienced RV owners, there can be mistakes.

Knowing What Size Works

The size of an inverter is about the watts it puts out. The size isn’t about the actual size of the inverter itself. You’ll be looking to add up all the power you’ll need for all the devices or appliances you’ll take with you – or at least all the ones you’ll have plugged in at the same time.

These days, RV trips could mean anything from a few necessities to taking along the whole house. You could have multiple kitchen appliances, TVs, video games, computers, phones, air conditioners, lights, pumps and water heaters.

The best size for an inverter depends on the maximum energy need you’ll have. To get the right size, you’ll need to do a little math. List all the appliances or devices you’ll have in the RV, list the wattage of each, then add it all up.

However, there’s another thought to keep in mind. You might not look to get an exact match to the sum of your math project. For a little wiggle room, and safety, it’s best to add about 20% more watts and get an inverter capable of handling that wattage number.

Some trips, especially if you’re taking along larger power users like refrigerators, ranges, or could add electronic things depending on number of people or unexpected jobs along the way, could need more electricity. Some appliances use more power when starting them, so you want to avoid a surge or short.

What’s the Minimum Size Inverter Out There?

Typically speaking, you’ll need a minimum of 1,000 watts for the basics of an RV. This will generally be fine for a refrigerator, TV and some other smaller devices. If you’re going to run more power-hungry appliances like an air conditioner, an inverter for 2,000 watts is probably a good decision. If your RV trip includes all sorts of electric appliances and devices all needing to run at once, think multiple entertainment devices, a full kitchen, an AC, there are 5,000+ watt inverters.

What Will a 3,000 Watt Inverter Run?

A 3,000 watt inverter will function for most appliances, such as a refrigerator, a microwave, a TV and a computer. It can power larger appliances such as laundry machines. While it can handle the watts for these appliances, if you are using your inverter to power numerous appliances at the same time, you might require a higher power inverter.

A 3000-watt inverter can run an air conditioner. As a matter of fact, it is powerful enough to run most devices in a motor home. Nevertheless, remember an RV AC will take up more power than other appliances, so you may require to acquire a higher-wattage inverter if you intend on running several appliances at once.

How to Choose an Inverter for an RV

There are a few factors to figure out when picking an inverter for your RV and trips. First is the dimension of the inverter, or the watts. Once you know how much power you’ll require to run what you’ll have with you, this is pretty straightforward.

What Size Inverter Do I Need for My RV?
How to Choose an Inverter for an RV

Next, think about the kind of inverter, or which of the two basic wave types. Inverters use either modified sine wave or pure sine wave. Modified sine wave inverters are less expensive, but they can make some devices run in a different way or not at all. Pure sine wave inverters supply uninterrupted electricity and work with all types of electronics.

Ultimately, you decide how to power an inverter. You can pick between battery power or linking into an a/c power source. Battery powered inverters are convenient, yet they can drain a vehicle’s batteries fast. Linking into an AC source is more dependable, yet you’ll need to plan on having access to an AC outlet.

What’s Overload Protection?

Overload protection can be a valuable feature in an inverter. This feature instantly and automatically shuts off an inverter if there’s a power surge or more power than the inverter can handle. The emergency shut off is a safety feature and it can stop major damage to devices or the RV itself.

Inverters can easily drain your RV battery quite fast, say when you have made a stop or you’re boondocking. To stop this problem, you may think about searching for a power inverter that automatically turns off when the vehicle battery’s voltage drops under 10 volts.

How Much Does an RV Inverter Cost?

There’s not a single, simple answer here. The price of an RV inverter depends on its size, the power source and any other features such as overload protection. The price range of an inverter varies anywhere from $100-1,000 for an RV inverter.


When is it a Good Time to Call an Electrician? Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide everything you need when thinking about a whole home generator for your home and family. Our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.