Do you want to enjoy all of the comforts of home while you’re on the road? Well, most of the appliances that we like to use on a day to day basis run on 240V, whereas our caravan battery puts out 12V power.
That’s where your caravan inverter comes into play. This essential device converts 12V DC power to 240V AC power, allowing you to run your 240V appliances from your 12V battery. But which one is right for you? Where do you start?
There are all kinds of sizes available for every budget. Let’s take a look at those which stand out above the rest and are worthy of your attention.
Victron Phoenix Inverter 12V / 1200VA
Dometic Sinepower MSI 912 800VA
Enerdrive ePOWER Inverter 2000W
Projecta 12V 1800W Pure Sine Wave Inverter
Pure sine wave
Pure sine wave
Pure sine wave
Pure sine wave
240V AC + USB
240V AC + USB
2 x 240V AC
232 x 362 x 117 mm
197.5 x 291 x 94 mm
230 x 435 x 115 mm
266 x 391 x 116 mm
-40°C to +65°C
-20°C to +60°C
Up to +65°C
Inverter or Converter?
Before we compare products, let’s clarify a couple of points.
Inverters convert voltage from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). In contrast, converters do the opposite.
A 240V to 12V converter for caravans will take mains electricity and convert it to a form that can be used by many of your caravan appliances and charge the caravan battery.
On the other hand, inverters convert the 12V power in your battery to 240V power that household items like phone chargers, coffee makers, and hair dryers can use.
As the inverter draws power from the battery, it does not require mains electricity - in fact, it is typically used when you are off the grid and need to power your appliances from your solar panels or stored power in your battery.
Let’s look at some of the best inverters on the Australian market.
Best Caravan Inverters Australia
Victron Phoenix Inverter 12V / 1200VA
Designed by and for Australians, the Victron Phoenix is an excellent inverter.
As it retails at around the $500 mark, it’s easy to directly compare this with the Dometic Sinepower. But a glance through the pros and cons shows that there can only be one winner.
The Phoenix holds numerous advantages over the Sinepower. They basically cost the same but Victron’s unit has higher continuous and peak outputs, at 1,000W and 2,200W respectively.
Victron also proudly reveals its 91% efficiency rating. This is excellent and shows that it is the best caravan inverter you can buy at this price point. With an amazing five-year warranty, you can’t go wrong.
It will also work in conditions up to 65°C. This is even higher than the Enerdrive ePower which is twice the price.
There is only reason why you might not go with the Phoenix - because you simply want a more powerful inverter. That’s not criticising the Victron, but it’s in a lower class than the likes of the ePower.
Dometic Sinepower MSI 912 800VA Inverter
Dometic is a well-known name in caravan appliances. They’ve built up a reputation as one of the most reliable brands in the business.
Their Sinepower MSI 912 800VA pure sine wave inverter has several points in its favour.
Firstly, at just 3kg, it’s one of the lightest inverters in its class. It’s also very compact so it won’t take up much space in your camping vehicle. Plus, it's easy to install.
Meanwhile, it is one of the cheaper inverters out there today, and it comes with a one-year warranty.
However, there are several cons.
It has a lower continuous output than many other units in its class. 800W isn’t terrible by any means but as we’ll see, you can get higher for a very similar price.
Of course, this also means that there is a lower peak voltage of just 1,600W. If you plan on using demanding electronics this probably isn’t the inverter for you.
The final issue is that Dometic doesn't make it clear what the maximum operating temperature is. Nor do they reveal their efficiency level. This might not seem like a big deal, but we all know how hot it can get in summer - you want to be sure that your unit can handle the heat.
All in all, this is a decent product but it’s not necessarily the best caravan inverter out there.
Enerdrive ePOWER Pure Sine Wave Inverter 2000W
The Enerdrive ePower is at the other end of the scale from the Dometic SinePower. Quite simply, it’s the most advanced caravan inverter out there today.
Let’s start with this unit’s main flaw. It is not cheap at all.
In fact, at almost $1,200, it’s almost twice the price of the Dometic. This will instantly cause some customers to balk. However, you do get what you pay for.
Enerdrive calls this a ‘state-of-the-art’ piece of kit, and they’re not lying. It’s incredibly powerful with a continuous output of 2,000W. Furthermore, the peak output is a sensational 4,000W.
This means that it can run many appliances and devices at once, without you having to worry about overloading the inverter and damaging your gear.
It also has nifty features like an automatic shutdown to protect against overloads and overheating. While they don’t disclose their efficiency level they offer customers an excellent five year warranty.
The ePower will operate at up to 3,000 metres above sea level and in temperatures up to 60°C. It’s not the smallest inverter and it’s also relatively heavy at just under 6kg.
However, the biggest question you’ll need to ask though is if it’s worth it. There’s no denying that ePower is a premium option. However, if you’re just looking to charge your phone then it’s probably not the right option for you.
On the other hand, if your have plenty of 240V appliances that you need to run simultaneously, consider getting one of these.
Projecta 12V 1800W Pro-Wave Pure Sine Wave Inverter
If you’re looking for a great 12v to 240v inverter for a caravan, then you must consider the Projecta Pro-Wave.
It’s almost as effective as the Enerdrive ePower, but at a much lower price. It costs just over $700 which really isn’t bad considering what you’re getting.
This caravan inverter has a continuous output of 1,800W and a peak output of 3,600W. While that’s lower than the ePower, the price point more than compensates for the shortfall.
The Pro-Wave can run at 120% surge for eight minutes and 200% for half a second. Meanwhile, its overall effectiveness is a respectable 85%. It’s also designed to Australian standards with approved 240V sockets.
With cooling fans to keep the unit at a safe temperature and therefore prolong its life, the Projecta is a great piece of kit. You can operate it by remote control if you want to hide it out of view. This inverter is also relatively small considering its capabilities.
The one criticism is that the warranty is short considering the price of this caravan inverter. It’s a lot cheaper than the ePower but only has a one year warranty.
Points to Consider When Buying A Caravan Inverter
If you are thinking of purchasing a caravan inverter, there are a few important points to consider to make sure that you get a unit which will meet your needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors.
As you can see above, inverters come in a variety of sizes and with different efficiency ratings.
Any caravan inverter with an efficiency rating of 80% or higher is generally decent.
Before purchasing your inverter, consider two things:
- What appliances do I plan on running simultaneously in my caravan? What is the maximum instantaneous power load (in W) of these appliances?
- What is the maximum discharge power of my caravan battery? Check the maximum discharge current on the battery specifications and multiply this by the battery voltage (usually 12V) to get the maximum discharge power in W.
Hopefully the maximum discharge power exceeds your proposed appliance load (otherwise you will need to buy an additional caravan battery).
You then need to make sure that you buy a caravan inverter that can produce at least enough power to meet the maximum power load of your devices.
This is a very useful feature.
All of these caravan appliances and accessories start to get expensive if you don’t do your research. Realistically, you’ll either have to compromise either on the size of the inverter or the overall cost.
Remember that an expensive inverter can be of better value in the long run. The ePower is almost $500 costlier than the Projecta but comes with a five-year warranty. You have to weigh up the pros and cons to figure out which one is right for you.
What Appliances/Devices Do You Want To Run?
It may seem obvious but the more appliances you use at the same time, the more energy your inverter has to draw.
If you have a more powerful inverter then you’ll be able to use multiple electronic devices. However, if it’s weaker, then you should be careful to not overload it and cause it to switch off.
Your inverter must be able to handle the peak demand or you risk damaging it or your appliances. The last thing you want is for everything to switch off suddenly because you turned on your caravan TV while charging your laptop!
Pure Sinewave v Modified
We have listed only pure sine wave caravan inverters in this article because they are the industry standard these days. All AC devices can be powered from a pure sine wave inverter.
However, you may also come across modified inverters. While they are cheaper, they are also less effective and efficient. Home appliances won’t work effectively with modified inverters. They can even cause damage to sensitive equipment like laptops if you’re not careful.
Don’t be a cheapskate here because you’ll pay for it in the long run!
Ensure your battery is in good condition and fully charged before heading out on a trip and using it with your inverter. Otherwise, you’ll end up stranded somewhere and you won’t even be able to make a cup of coffee.
If you are installing a caravan inverter or working with your caravan battery, always consult the user manual or hire a professional. Don’t risk injuring yourself because you can’t be bothered to read a manual!
Remember, operate your inverter in an open and ventilated space. They will generate heat, and if left unventilated, can heat up beyond their recommended operating temperature.
Inverters are an invaluable accessory in any caravan where you want to use 240V appliances.
Once you have the right caravan inverter, you can go anywhere and use your electronic devices without worry. You do need to consider safety and battery restrictions. But once you have everything set up properly, life will be much easier.
The Victron Phoenix is the best caravan inverter in the $500 range. It’s more powerful and has a much longer warranty than its rivals like the Dometic SinePower. Meanwhile, Victron is an Australian manufacturer with an understanding of our requirements.
Similarly, Projecta offers great value compared to the Enerdrive ePower - just be aware of the shorter warranty period. The Enerdrive is top-of-the-range but it's an investment and not worth it for everyone. Think about how much you’ll actually be using your inverter before making a purchase.
If you have any questions about 12V to 240V inverters for caravans, please leave a comment below.
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Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.