Don’t wanna give up on life’s little luxuries when you’re off camping, and you wanna be able to run your 240 Volt appliances? I’m Andrew from Accelerate Auto Electrics, and I’m gonna try and answer the question… 

…What size inverter do I need?

The size of inverter you need depends on two things, what you wanna run, and how much battery you’ve got to run it. Here we’ve got two inverters, fairly common ones in the market. 350 Watt, small inverter, and a semi-big one, a 2,000 Watt inverter.  

For this little guy, and I’m just using some examples here so that you can kinda get an idea of what you can do with what. This little 350 watt inverter that will charge laptops, it’ll charge batteries, it will also run some small fridges, and things like that.

Anything that doesn’t move, and doesn’t make heat, is generally a low current draw, and you can get away with a smaller inverter. A smaller inverter like that will happily be run by say one 120 Amp-hour battery. And pretty much if all you wanna do is charge laptops and things like that, that’s perfect. When we step into a bigger inverter, that’s generally because we wanna make heat, or cool, or a lot of motion.

So if you wanna run your microwave, you wanna run a heater. One that we get asked a lot, a coffee machine. So, a coffee machine generally has heat, because it wants to heat the water, and motion because it wants to froth the milk. So, most coffee machines actually require quite a large inverter, and a little guy like this won’t do it. The heat and motion rule really is a good one to stick by to try and get an idea of what you need. I guess once we go past coffee machine, the next one is air conditioning.

Air conditioning draws a lot. Even this 2,000 watt inverter is really, really gonna struggle with air conditioning, and most of the systems we do would be 2500 watt inverter and higher, to run an air conditioning at a stable voltage for a long period of time.

Once you move into those bigger inverters, obviously your battery banks are going bigger again, and, you know, up to 600 Amph lithiums, would be what you want to have behind one of these big two and a half, 3,000 watt inverters. This comes at a much greater expense, but the other thing, it’s expensive in Amps. So to convert 12 volts to 240 volts, this will draw a lot of current.

So if you want to run an inverter like this, or more to the point, you wanna run a unit that requires an inverter like this, you’ll need a fairly large battery bank, minimum 2x 120 Amp AGM’s, and to be honest, bigger would be better.

Whenever we get a question asked what size inverter do you need, the question that they get hit straight back with is, what do you wanna run? And how much do you wanna spend on batteries? And also, how much room have you got? Size is sometimes is a factor.

We find the Redarc ones quite good, but there are many other brands on the market, I’ve just got these here to show you, more as a size comparison, and to give you an idea of the difference in them, and what you can run with them. As you can tell, there are lots of different inverters and lots of reasons why you would choose different brands or sizes of inverters.  

If you want us to help you answer the question (What Size Inverter Do I Need?) we need to know what you wanna run, how long you wanna run it for, and actually what time of day you wanna run it. Once you can help us with these answers, we can advise you on what size battery bank and inverter you need. 

If you have these or any other questions, please feel free to give us a call on 1300 227 353 or send us an email at [email protected]