A smaller power inverter draw fewer amps to run and this is important to keep in mind, specially if you are boondocking.
Always check the load draw of the RV inverter you are buying.
It is not very energy efficient to use a 2000 watt power inverter to charge a laptop or an electric toothbrush if it could be done with a 150 watt unit.
The smaller unit being plugged in the lighter socket of your vehicle is doing the same job. However, it may draw 0.4 amp compare to 2.0 amps for the bigger power inverter.
If you can afford it, a good solution is to have two inverters, the socket plugged model not being that expensive.
Your main RV inverter has to be sized according to the appliances you will be using and the capacity of your battery bank.
This aspect is very important to remember. You need to have the proper size of battery bank to operate safely an inverter.
You have to apply the rule that stipulates:
Never apply a load greater than 25 % of your battery bank.
This means for example that a 1500 watt inverter would need to be connected to a battery bank of a 500 amp-hour capacity, which is quite big.
(1500 watts divided by 12 volts) X 4 = 500 Ah capacity
Normally, you do not operate the power inverter at full rating but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Also, you can not plug in more appliances that will total a wattage exceeding 1500 watts in this case.
You can not for example run an hair dryer (1200 watts) and a large microwave oven (1300 watts) at the same time via the inverter.
Keep in mind that tools with induction motors may need 3 to 7 times their indicated wattage when starting. (saws, air compressor etc...).
What are your future needs?
You do not want to have to change your inverter a year later. The ideal is to buy two inverters: a 2000 watt main inverter charger and a 500 watt socket unit for example.
If you select an inverter charger which is in most cases the best choice, it is crucial that you can make adjustments to the output voltage of the charging function according to your type of house batteries.
Having separate monitoring controls for the inverter and the charger is also very convenient in case for example you want to disable the charging function.
Some inverter chargers automatically charge the batteries from the moment there is a connection to shore power and you may prefer to stay connected but use your solar panels for charging instead.
A temperature sensor may be a standard feature for your device and if not, it is highly recommended to get one to achieve more efficient battery charging.
Finally keep in mind that you can not use the charging and inverter functions at the same time with the inverter charger device.
You can always manually plug the power cable of an appliance into the inverter. However, the inverter is ideally hard-wired to the electrical system of the RV.
As a safety measure, it is good practice to have a fuse connected to the positive wire.
It needs to have a capacity 25% larger than the amperage of your unit and be designated a DC fuse (class T).
Proper wiring has to be done. (gauge #4)
The inverter should be installed as close as possible to
the RV batteries but NEVER in the same compartment.
You want to eliminate any danger of explosion due to sulfuric gas ignited from a spark coming from the electrical device.
With AGM batteries, since there is no gas emitted, it may not be necessary.
But it is always better to be safe than sorry!
Here are some suggestions of manufacturers offering excellent products:
Check the RS2000 and RS3000 watt models designed specifically for RVs. They respectively come with a 100 and 150 amp charger.
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