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RV Inverter: 12 Amazing Conveniences An Inverter Gives You While Camping

RV Inverter: 12 Amazing Conveniences An Inverter Gives You While Camping : Directory

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We test and review RV accessories and RV products based on our own independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we receive a commission to keep our website running. Read our disclosures.

Until you bought an RV you probably had no idea what an RV inverter is or how an RV electrical system even works. Many people have had an RV for years and still don’t know how their RV electrical system works.

If you are at an RV park and plugged into “shore power” all of your 120 volt electrical outlets will work just like in your house. Most of your lights, even though they are 12 volts, will also work just fine.

But what if you want to park out by a lake or river or deep in the woods? Can you still plug into those 120 volt outlets and get power to your devices?

You can, but without an RV inverter those 120 volt outlets will be dead.

Let’s dive into a couple things you will need to have in your RV to make the 2 electrical systems in your RV work while camping off-grid.

You have a 12 volt and a 120 volt electrical system in your recreational vehicle. They work together to provide you with power for different types of devices.

To make that happen you will need both an RV inverter and an RV converter. Most people will choose to go with an RV inverter charger combination to make things simple, but in this post we are going to focus on just the inverter.

Here are 12 Amazing Conveniences An Inverter Gives You While Camping.

1. Coffee

Photo of Spilled Coffee Beans

You could go without coffee, but.…who am I kidding!? You can’t go without coffee!

Sure, there are many ways to make coffee without electricity and there are probably 12 volt appliances that you could find for your RV, but why make it harder than it has to be.

If you have an RV inverter you can simply put your favorite coffee maker in your rig, plug it into a 120 volt socket and your RV inverter will get to work to provide you with some of that liquid gold!

2. TV

outdoor rv tv

I can hear all the haters now. “You are out in the wilderness, just sit by a campfire and have a conversation.” I totally agree if you are just out on a weekend camping adventure. Take in as much nature as possible.

But if you live in your RV full-time or you use your RV often, it can be a very cool experience to have a TV outside your rig and watch a movie, like the Robin Williams classic, RV.

3. Popcorn

This goes hand and hand with number 2! If you’re going to watch a movie, you’ve got to have popcorn. When you have an inverter in your RV, you can break out the popcorn maker and get it done!

microwave

4. Microwave

Since we’re talking about modern conveniences you have to have a microwave in your RV. Yes, you can be out cooking on the grill or over an open fire, but there may be a need to heat some stuff up quickly. Having an RV inverter installed gives you the ability to fire up the nuker and have your meal in minutes.

5. Toast

Close-Up Shot of a Person Using a Pop-Up Toaster

Ah yes! You’re sitting around an open fire with your handy “toast maker” and preparing for your day. When you’re all done, it doesn’t quite turn out the way you had hoped. You eat that charred piece of cement anyway because it’s all you’ve got.

Or you can plug in your toaster, throw a couple of pieces of bread in there and head outside for a few minutes to enjoy some fresh air while your RV inverter helps your toaster do its thing.

6. Charging Photography Equipment

Many people love taking pictures while they are out in the great outdoors. Having an RV inverter allows you to charge all of your gear and have it ready for an incredible day of wildlife photography.

7. Hair Dryer

There’s no reason not to look your best even when in the great outdoors. Maybe there is an event you want to attend or you are celebrating your anniversary at a fancy restaurant.

With the help of your RV inverter you can take a nice hot shower, then get your hair dry in time for that dinner.

8. Starlink Satellite

starlink satellite

Starlink has been a game-changer for many RVers. It allows you to get out into nature, yet still stay connected in case you have a project that still needs to get done while you are away.

To get your Starlink powered up you’re going to need a 120 volt power source and you guessed it…that RV inverter you just installed will help you stay connected.

9. Charging Laptops or Tablets

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to have to catch up on some work in between paddle boarding on the lake or kayaking on the river.

With an RV inverter you can have your laptop plugged in and charging. When you are done having some fun you can get a little work done before setting up an amazing campfire to talk about your incredible day on the lake.

10. Insta-Pot

If you are a full-time RVer you are probably using an insta-pot. Just because you are in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean you need to slave over a meal. 

Plug that Insta-pot into a socket and let your inverter help you make that meal with less hassle and a lot less time.

11. Induction Cooktop

best induction cooktop

Most RV kitchens will have a propane stove. A propane stove not only requires propane to work, it usually makes the small RV kitchen really hot and smelly in the process.

With an electric induction cooktop, you can use 120 volts to prepare your meal and it doesn’t cause as much heat or have that propane smell that can give you a headache.

12. Charging Tools

Picture this…you are out in the woods and want to have a campfire. You’ve found some fallen trees with some great wood for that fire. You’re about to go cut that wood, when your wife reminds you what happened the last time you swung an axe and almost lost your left foot.

The good news! You have an RV inverter and have had your electric saw charging since you left the house. You grab that bad boy and head off into the woods like an electrified Paul Bunyan. You come back unharmed and make the best fire ever, without your wife having to tell you, I told you so.

How to Wire Inverter to RV Breaker Box (not step by step)

An rv inverter is a simple device to connect. If you have any doubt about working with electrical equipment please seek the help of a qualified professional. You could get a nasty shock if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Because you are working on an RV your battery bank should be 12 volts. 

You will take the positive and negative and hook that to the input side of your RV inverter. 

The 120 volt side is where things become more complex.

Most RV inverter installs are done using a “sub panel” or secondary breaker box. This allows you to power certain outlets and devices and bypass things like your RV air conditioners.

You can power your entire RV but you need to keep in mind that if your inverter is not big enough you could be constantly throwing breakers by having too many devices on at once.

What does the inverter do on a RV?

An RV inverter takes 12 volt power that you store in a battery bank and “inverts” it up to 120 volts so it can be used by regular appliances and devices that require 120 volt to operate.

How big of an inverter do I need for an RV?

To decide how big of an inverter you need for your RV you will need to find out how much power each of your devices use. Then you need to figure out how often you want to use them and which, if any, that you want to use together.

An average coffee maker and microwave combined will require approximately 2,000-2,500 when turned on at the same time.

Therefore most RVers will choose to use a 2,000 watt plus RV inverter and we highly recommend a minimum of 3,000 watts. 

Is it OK to leave RV inverter on all the time?

You CAN leave your RV inverter on all the time if you have enough battery power stored to make it between battery charges.

Some people will turn them off overnight if they are not charging cameras, phones, etc.

Note: Most phones can be charged from your 12 volt side of your RV. Your phone charges with 5-12 volts. This is more efficient because you are not going from 12 volt through an inverter to 120 volts and back down to 12 volts.

Do I really need an inverter for my RV?

The short answer is No. But it really depends on your camping style and what kind of devices you want available to you while you are camping.

People have been camping for years without RV inverters. 

Now inverters are gaining popularity, even for tent campers!

What Size Battery Bank Do I Need?

This is a subject for an entirely separate post, but the very minimum we would recommend is 100 aH if you only have a couple of things to operate.

We will have that available soon, but in the meantime check out our blog post titled, “Top 7 Best RV Inverter Charger in 2024.”

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