Have you ever imagined yourself sprawled out on your boat’s deck, gently bobbing up and down in sync with the waves? You can enjoy the faint caws of gulls overhead, a cold beverage in one hand & your TV remote in the other. How? Marine inverters are the secrets to taking your home to the water!
What is the purpose of a marine inverter?
A marine inverter works by taking DC (Direct Current) power from your boat’s battery bank and converting it to AC (Alternating Current) power. This makes it possible for you to use your favorite household items on your home away from home without the great expense (both money and noise) of a generator.
A marine inverter adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your boat by enabling you to use many of your essential items like a TV, refrigerator, laptop, power tools, marine toilet and even hair dryers.
Features to Look for
There are many features that you should keep in mind when making the decision of which marine inverter to purchase for your boat. Below we will take a look at what features are most important and should be considered when selecting the perfect inverter from those that are available.
Selecting an inverter with the right amount of wattage is important. Deciding which wattage to go for is ruled by the maximum power needed at one time. If you plan on having different electronics running concurrently then you will need an inverter that delivers more than 1200W of non-stop power.
When it comes to inverters, there are two waveform options: Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave. Both Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave can provide power to AC appliances and you should decide which wave option to choose based on the appliances you need to power.
The main difference between the two is:
- Modified Sine Wave power is an affordable, simple form of power and is suited toward powering simple electronics like your phone charger and other small appliances.
- A Pure Sine Wave power is a power equal to the power in your home and is suitable for your bigger appliances like a refrigerator or TV.
It’s important to note that boaters and industry professionals alike recommend using Pure Sine Wave. Even though it’s more expensive it helps your appliances operate at optimum performance without the risk of damage.
Power Surge Capacity
Most appliances have an estimated wattage, but many of them will surpass that estimate—sometimes by more than double the expected amount—when you start them up. We call this increase in wattage ‘surge power’. It’s important to make sure your inverter is large enough to cover these start-up ‘surges’ for the items you plan on running.
If you use an inverter that doesn’t have adequate surge capabilities the appliance will not start, and if it does it will not last long.
Wiring and Outlets
The first step of any inverter installation is connecting the DC power supply to the inverter itself. Every inverter, except for the smaller ones with built-in outlets, requires output wiring.
If you decide to do the wiring yourself, please pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions. Abide by all the usual ABYC (American Boat & Yacht Association) and standard marine practices.
- Use good quality marine wire and not your normal household wire as this is not approved for marine use.
- Keep your wires neat.
- Use high-quality crimp connectors when making connections.
- Keep all wires away from stowed equipment.
It is recommended that inverters be professionally installed because they draw a lot of amps. This means electrical fires and shorts can occur if not wired properly. An inverter becomes an integral part of your boat’s electrical system and your marine lifestyle, so it is best to err on the side of caution.
When installing your inverter, you should place it somewhere that is cool, dry and well ventilated. Keep it away from flammable fumes produced by batteries, engines, and fuels in gas tanks.
If you do decide to install the marine inverter on your own, make sure you have the necessary tools at hand and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The 5 Best Marine Inverters Available
There are many different marine inverter options to choose from. We have made this decision easier for you to make by listing the 5 best marine inverters currently available.
1. Power Bright PW2300-12
The Power Bright Power Inverter is a heavy-duty product that you can plug directly into a 12V direct current battery. This power inverter features 2300W of continuous power and it peaks at 4600W. The case is made from anodized aluminum for exceptional durability, features an LED display, has a built-in cooling fan & has many alarm indicators in place.
- Wattage - 2300W maximum
- Surge Power - 4600W maximum
- Weight - 27.9lb
- Dimensions – 18.25” x 12.25” x 6.50”
2. GoWISE Power PS1005
The compact and portable GoWISE Power PS1005 Pure SINE Wave Inverter is an advanced tool of power conversion. It boasts 1500W of continuous power and 3000W surge power with low harmonic distortion. The fire protection systems in place with LED light indication and alarms make it user-friendly. Thanks to the overload and overvoltage protection you can be assured you’ll be safe on the water.
- Wattage – 1500W maximum
- Surge Power – 3000W maximum
- Weight – 8lb
- Dimensions – 8” x 3” x 14”
3. AIMS Power 2000 Watt 12 VDC Pure Sine Inverter
The 2000W 12VDC Pure Sine Inverter Charger has built-in AC-to-DC battery converter charger which means boaters can recharge their marine battery banks from an AC source like your regular outlet at home.
Providing 2000W of continuous pure sine wave power, this product is suitable for sensitive electronics like computers and refrigerators. It even has the capability of producing 6000W of surge power for 20 seconds.
- Wattage - 2000W maximum
- Surge Power - 6000W maximum
- Weight - 49.5lb
- Dimensions – 17.4” x 8.6” x 7”
4. Xantrex Technology 49PWR-CL Inverter
With a built-in digital display for DC volts and output power, built-in USB port and low voltage shutdown with alarms, this product is great at keeping you informed if there is a problem. The alarms cover everything that’s important, including low voltage, over voltage, overload shutdown and over temperature shutdown.
- Wattage – 1000W maximum
- Surge Power – 2000W maximum
- Weight - 1.59lb
- Dimensions – 8.7” x 13.4” x 3.5”
5. Go Power! GP-5000HD 5000-Watt Heavy Duty Modified Sine Wave Inverter
Go Power! 3000W Heavy Duty Modified Sine Wave Inverter can be hooked up to batteries and comes with four AC outlets. It’s also safe as it has protection features in place against over voltage, under voltage and overload.
- Wattage – 5000W maximum
- Surge Power – 10000W maximum
- Weight - 10.54lb
- Dimensions – 9.9” x 4.1” x 11.4”
My last bit of advice before you take the plunge and purchase your marine inverter is this: keep in mind how you will be using it, where you will be using it and what you will be using it for. Once you know what your specific requirements are, it is simply a matter of selecting one of the marine inverters above that aligns with those needs.
With these marine inverters, your time out on the water is about to get a whole lot more enjoyable as you have the comfort of home out on the water. Ready to go?