The Best Camping Inverters Reviewed


Let’s compare the best camping inverters on the market to help you make a better decision on how to power your next outdoor adventure.

Camping is great, isn’t it? You might be a person who likes down-and-dirty camping in the rough, with just a backpack and an old sleeping bag. Or maybe when you hear the call of the wild, your way of answering is with a 30-foot trailer and a double bed.

But whatever kind of camper you are, there’s nothing quite like leaving civilization behind and finding your special spot in the untamed world. Or you and your family might be moving off the grid indefinitely, packing the essentials of life into a trailer and going who-knows-where. More and more people seem to be experimenting with this type of lifestyle lately. 

As the urge to get out of town has increased, so has the need for reliable power that we can take along with us. After all, even when we’re out in the back 40, we’re going to want to eat and see how to get to the bathroom at night. And what about someplace to charge everybody’s cell phone, or run the t.v. during playoff season? 

For all these power needs, a power camping inverters will become a necessity.

WHAT ARE CAMPING INVERTERS?

The phrase “power inverter” sounds kind of sci-fi at first. Almost like something you’d hear on a television show, or in the movies—“I can’t transport the rest of the crew until I’ve had a chance to fix the power inverter, Captain”.

But, in reality, it’s a tool, not unlike a power drill or a screwdriver. Of course, we have yet to find a power inverter that can be of much help when hanging a picture. But when you’re away from home, a power inverter is a great choice for keeping power when you need it, where you need it.

With a power inverter, you can charge your devices, use equipment—even run appliances. There are different types. Some require gasoline/propane to run. Others need deep cycle batteries. Still, others use solar energy. But with all the inverters out there, it can be a mind-boggler just picking one out. And no one wants to get out in the center of “nowheresville”, only to discover that the power inverter the good looking salesperson sold you doesn’t work. 

How Does A Camping Inverter Work?

But how, exactly, does an inverter, well, invert? Without getting ultra-technical, the easy answer is that most of the electronic gadgets we have and use every day run on alternating current. A power inverter takes the direct current which is put out by batteries or solar energy and converts that direct current into alternating current so it can be used by our electronics.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at eight of the best ways to take power with you on the road.

1. JACKERY PORTABLE POWER EXPLORER 240Opens in a new tab. (B07D29QNMJ)

A Portable Powerhouse

The Jackery Portable Power Explorer 240 is a little bit like a hand grenade. No, it doesn’t blow anything up. The comparison between the Jackery Explorer 240 and the hand grenade comes because they both may look small, but they each have the power you won’t expect.

Not recommended for extended use, or use with rather large electronics, like mini-fridges. This machine was made for quick times to the outdoors, like picnics, or camping. If you have all kinds of small devices that require charging, such as cameras, phones, and laptops, this easy-to-move-around power inverter produces clean energy and doesn’t take a lifetime to recharge.

What we like: Jackery Portable Power Explorer 240

  • Easily rechargeable—multisource recharging
  • 4 devices can charge at once
  • Has a lithium battery (240 watt)
  • Lightweight—only 6.6 lbs.

What we would change if we could:

  • Devices with a rating of more than 200w aren’t supported
  • When several devices are being charged, the battery gets sapped fast

2.BALDR POWER STATION 330W Opens in a new tab.(B07YWWVRWD)

Some power camping inverters are wonderful performers but their high price leaves us wondering whether it wouldn’t be better to just sit in the dark. Access to the energy that can be used is a great idea—but only if you can afford it. The BALDR 330W is a stand out in our list because it can belong to even a budget-conscious shopper. 

In order to save money, compromises occurred, of course. Fortunately, the main compromise here was in weight—the BALDR is rather heavy. Still, it’s portable enough, and, once it gets where it’s going, the BALDR does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well.

What we like about the BALDR Power Station 330W:

  • It has three charging methods
  • The maximum power is 330W
  • There is an LED light built-in

What we would change if we could:

  • It doesn’t support devices with a rating over 330W
  • It’s rather heavy compared to other units. If you’re planning on walking to the park, we’d advise either checking out one of the other power inverters or bulking up a bit

3.ROCKPALS 250 watt (B075SSMR6K)Opens in a new tab.

Indoor/Outdoor

The Rockpals 250 watt camping inverter is unique because it can be used indoors and outdoors. That means that, while it’s good for camping, it can also be used at home, to power things like sleep apnea masks, or musical instruments. 

What we like about the ROCKPALS 250 watt:

  • It can be used inside or outside
  • Clean energy produced by a solar generator
  • Has a variety of uses, from camping to back-up home energy

What we would change if we could:

  • It is 250 watt
  • Sometimes the battery depletes quickly

4.Ninjabatt 288wh (B07X3WC9GC)Opens in a new tab.

Relatively easy to move, partly because the shape is unusual. This camping inverter would be good for camping trips, especially if you are where solar charging can be done easily.

What we like about the Ninjabatt 288wh:

  • high milliamps capacity, so the battery tends to last longer when charged
  • 4 USB ports 
  • For solar charging, there are MC4 cables

What we would change if we could:

  • After a few uses, performance tends to decline
  • Customer service is virtually non-existent

5. GOAL ZERO 500X (B085KRMCCY)Opens in a new tab.

Well Built

In reviews, one of the things that keep coming up is that this power camping inverter is well built, and holds together well. When going on a wild-thing vacation, quality is important. You don’t want your power source falling apart in the desert or out in the woods.

What we like about Goal Zero 500X:

  • It is lightweight
  • It is user friendly 
  • It has several output options listed

What we would change if we could:

  • It doesn’t always live up to what it says it will do— for example: some people found that the Goal Zero shut off when a 12V mini-fridge tried to start up. So apparently, the surge wattage isn’t real high.

6. WEN 56203i 2000 Watt Opens in a new tab.(B07XZX5FTR)

The Quiet One.

If you’re looking for camping inverters that will give you the capability you need, this is definitely it. Plus, it has a fuel shutoff. With a fuel shutoff, this power inverter will use up whatever fuel remains in the carburetor. Then it will shut down. This helps reduce build-up in the carburetor, which can make the machine last longer. Good for camping and living off the grid.

What we like about the WEN 56203i 2000 watt:

  • It has 2000W surge—Surge watts measure the tip-top amount of power that can be supplied. We especially like this 2000 mark because a few other inverters had issues with electronics, like mini-fridges. They would start, then rest, then when they started again, there was a surge and the inverter couldn’t handle it. This one did well. Note: surge wattage means that the high level of startup power required will be short-lived—it might be a few seconds, or it could last for up to 15 minutes.
  • The running wattage is 1700W
  • It is QUIET. This makes a difference, especially if you’re living with it night and day.

What we would change if we could:

  • Grounding is time-consuming —One reviewer described having to buy certain types of wire, in certain lengths, and then spoke of the work putting it in. Once it is in, most people loved it, though.
  • Doesn’t always work at higher altitudes

7. WESTINGHOUSE iGEN 4500 (B06XC47ZX4)Opens in a new tab.

Remote Controlled!

A remote control and push-button start—it’s almost enough to make a person feel like they’re home, turning on the television. With easy-as-pie controls like these, you will be humming along in no time. RV campers will love this one. 

What we like about the Westinghouse iGen 4500:

  • The remote control—but who doesn’t love a remote?
  • Can handle large loads
  • Very quiet
  • Up to 18 hours of runtime

What we would change if we could:

  • A choke issue showed up in many of the 4500’s—The engine will sound like it wants to turn over, but just won’t start. Then, if it does start, it stalls. Some have found that if they pull off the engine service panel and move the choke manually, it will start.
  • The packaging leaves something to be desired

Hey, let’s face it—a choke issue is a real pain. But if the only other thing reviewers could come up with that they didn’t like about the Westinghouse iGen 4500 is PACKAGING? That’s pretty good.

8. RIAPOW PORTABLE CHARGER Opens in a new tab.(B081C5TY2J)

Backpacker’s Friend.

We’ve talked about power inverters for people who are camping, partying, even sleeping. But what if you simply wish to go out backpacking? Are you itching to get out on the trail but don’t want the worry of hunting for a spot to charge your devices? Then the Riapow is for you. It uses either electricity or solar power, it is water-resistant and has its own LED flashlight.

What we like about the Riapow Portable Charger:

  • It is ultra-lightweight, at just over a pound, so you don’t have to worry about “backpack fatigue”
  • It is allowed on airplanes
  • It can handle charging up to 4 devices at the same time
  • It is quick—2.5 times faster than some others

What we would change if we could:

  • It picks and chooses which devices it will charge, according to reviews

Final Thoughts on Camping Inverters

Power inverters are useful tools, but like anything, not every inverter will be right for every situation. Before investing in one, consider how it will be used. A single person taking a long walk in the woods won’t have the same needs as a family of four living long terms off the grid, obviously. 

No matter which of the camping inverters you choose, remember the saying, “You get what you pay for”. This is one of the times that old adage really does work for you. If you go for the cheapest one you can find, you might end up with, well, the cheapest—or close to it.

Also, always look for either an ETL (Electrical Testing Labs) rating or a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating. With one of these ratings, you can be sure the inverter was inspected for issues with safety and was approved.

These inverters are some of the best you will find, but only you can decide what is right for you. Make a list of the ways you would be using a power inverter, how often, and in what circumstances. Then you will have the best chance of finding the perfect power inverter for your needs.

Used to be, the minute you mentioned anything in the family of off-the-grid power, everyone thought of machines you had to pour gas into. We’ve begun to see all around us the effects global warming is having on our planet. Because the environment is so important, we have tried to list inverters that work using clean energy as much as possible. 

To extend the life of your machinery, give it a rest occasionally. This means to try, if you can, to unplug it and not use it for a day or two. Not only is the unit more likely to last longer, but it is also less likely to do something nasty, like shock someone. Any electronic machine can get overworked, and it never hurts to be on the safe side.

So—what are you waiting for? The wild is calling…GET OUTSIDE!

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