What Does an Inverter Do in an RV? | The Use and the Benefits Explained!

An inverter is a device that can provide a reliable source of power for your RV. It converts RV’s battery into energy that can power your appliances and devices. It is a crucial component of an RV, providing a reliable energy source while on the road.

Key Takeaways
  • RV inverters provide a convenient and cost-effective way to power devices, are equipped with overload protection for safety, and are easy to use and install. 
  • The size of an inverter for an RV depends on the wattage requirements and the type of inverter selected.
  • An inverter can charge an RV battery bank and provide power in an emergency. 
  • An RV inverter is essential for powering AC appliances and other electronic devices.

This guide covers what a power inverter does in an RV and includes a breakdown of the benefits. Let’s get into it.

a man getting into the RV

What Does an Inverter Do in an RV?

An inverter in an RV converts direct current (DC) power from the RV’s batteries into alternating current (AC) power. This conversion allows the RV to power conventional household appliances, such as a microwave, TV, or hair dryer.

The Benefits of RV Inverters

RV inverters are essential for any utility vehicle owner, providing power for various devices and appliances. The benefits include;

Portable Power

They offer a convenient way to access portable power when camping or on the road. Many inverters are equipped with USB ports and AC outlets, allowing you to power various devices and appliances in your RV quickly.

Cost Savings

Installing an RV inverter can save money on energy costs. Inverters are designed to draw power from the RV’s battery, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to power devices.


They are equipped with inverter overload protection to help prevent damage to the RV’s electrical systems. This protection ensures the safety of the RV’s occupants and the RV itself.

A couple sitting in front of the laptop in an RV


RV inverters are incredibly easy to use and install, making them the perfect solution for RV owners who want to power their devices and appliances without the hassle of traditional electrical wiring.

Provides Power in the Event of an Emergency

If your vehicle such as an RV or a semi-truck is stranded and you need to power a medical device or other electrical appliance, an RV Inverter can provide the necessary power.

Keeps Your RV’s Battery Charged

Since the inverter can convert power from your vehicle’s battery to alternating current, it can help keep your battery at a healthy charge level. This leveling can help extend the life of your battery and ensure that you have enough power when needed.

Provides Power on the Go

RV Inverters are a great way to ensure that you have access to power during travel, camping, or other activities. RV inverters are especially important for running kitchen appliances, televisions, and other electronic devices that require alternating current.

A power inverter in front of an RV

How Does an RV Inverter Work in a Camper?

An RV inverter provides 120V alternating current power from a 12V DC battery source. It does this using an inversion process, which takes the 12V DC and converts it to 120V AC. The RV inverter is designed to power the camper’s 120V AC electrical needs, such as the lights, fans, and appliances.

How to Choose the Right Inverter Size for Your RV

It is essential to calculate the size of the RV inverter correctly to ensure that the RV has enough power to run all of its electrical appliances and systems. Factors that determine a suitable inverter size include;

DC Power Requirements

The first step in calculating the size of an inverter for an RV is to determine the amount of direct current power needed. This can be done by adding up the wattage of all electrical appliances and systems that the inverter will power. It is essential to include any future additions that may be made to the RV in this calculation.

Pure Sine Wave Inverter vs. Modified Sine Wave Inverter

Once the wattage requirements have been determined, the next step is to decide which type of inverter power to use; pure sine wave or modified sine wave inverters. Pure sine wave inverters are ideal for running sensitive electronics, while modified sine wave inverters are usually sufficient for powering other electrical appliances.

Calculating Inverter Size

Once the wattage requirements and type of inverter have been determined, the next step is to calculate the size of the inverter. The size of the inverter should be at least 10% larger than the total inverter wattage calculated. This size ensures that the inverter can handle any sudden power surges or additional appliances that may be added to the RV.

Images of various electrical appliances in RV

How to Install an RV Inverter

Installing an RV inverter is essential in outfitting your RV with the ability to run AC appliances, air conditioners, and other electronic devices. Here’s what you need to do;

  • Pick the Type of Inverter You Need

A modified sine wave inverter is ideal for basic RV applications, like powering lights and small appliances and power tools, while a pure sine wave inverter is recommended for sensitive electronics like computers and medical equipment. A Square wave inverter is the most affordable inverter option for powering many appliances and electronics.

  • Determine the Inverter Size

The inverter size will depend on the power draw of the AC appliances and other RV appliances. The larger the inverter, the more power you can draw.

  • Install Your Inverter and Connect It to Your RV’s Electrical System

You will need to connect the inverter to your RV’s battery power, battery charger, and battery bank. If you are connected to shore power, you will need to connect the inverter to your RV’s converter.

  • Test the RV Inverter and Make Sure It Is Working Properly

Once the inverter is installed and tested, you can run AC appliances and other electronic devices from your RV’s electrical system.

A man hooking up an inverter to the RV


What’s the Difference Between an Inverter and a Converter?

An inverter is an electric device that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). A converter is an electric device that changes the voltage of an AC power source, such as shore power, to a different level. In the context of shore power, an inverter is used to convert DC to AC, while a converter is used to adjust the voltage of the AC power source to a different level.

Does the Inverter Charge the RV Battery Bank?

Yes, an inverter can charge an RV battery bank. This is done by connecting the inverter charger to the battery bank and powering it with an AC or DC power source.

Do You Need an Inverter for the RV?

Yes, you will need an inverter installed in your RV to power any RV appliances that require AC power. It is important to choose an inverter with the correct wattage rating for your RV’s power needs.

Is an RV Power Inverter Worth It?

Yes, an RV power inverter is worth it. It allows you to run AC appliances in your RV, such as TVs, microwaves, and air conditioning units, while keeping your battery running efficiently.


Leave a Comment