You’re planning to purchase a good power inverter but you don’t know which one is best for your needs. You’ve heard people say that the only kind of power inverter that you should buy is the pure sine wave inverters, but you don’t understand what a pure sine wave inverter is and why it’s good for your equipment. While a pure sine wave inverter could cost about 3-5 times as much as a modified sine wave one of the same power, you’re asking yourself “Is it Worth it?”.
Well, there are many things need to be considered when it comes to selecting a power inverter but if you have enough money to spend for a pure sine wave inverter, the answer would be “Yes! It’s worth every penny”. The best pure sine wave inverters tend to incorporate very expensive, high power capable digital components. They not only help you to get the most out of battery bank, but also protect even the most sensitive electronics that you have. The result is your devices work safer and much more efficiently.
This guide will walk you through everything you should know before you buy a pure sine wave inverter for your RV, boat, truck, home backup system, or solar battery bank. It will help you find the one that best matches your needs. We also review some of the best pure sine wave inverters on the market that will help you narrow down your choices.
Best Pure Sine Wave Inverters on the Market
Here are Our Top Picks
One of the most advanced pure sine wave inverters/chargers for home backup and off-grid systems is the MS Series Inverter/Charger from Magnum Energy. The pure sine wave output of this inverter is very clean and highly recommended for computer equipment, televisions, stereo amplifiers and sensitive radio equipment. It’s available for 12V, 24V, and 48V systems in various sizes (2000W to 4000W) to meet the demands of a wide range of electrical systems.
Like other Magnum inverter chargers, the MS Series pure sine wave inverter includes five-stage smart battery chargers for charging batteries from any 120V AC source such as a generator, AC utility power or 120V AC shore power hookup. Best of all, when installed in a solar PV system, this inverter will work perfectly with most MPPT charge controllers on the market. The result is more energy and more run time on cloudy days. For more details, read our detailed reviews below.
The AIMS Power Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger is one of the best pure sine wave inverter chargers for you. It’s very popular today not only because of its reliability but also the ability to support a wide range of applications, battery types, and you can easily find a model that fits the size of your system. It is available in 12V, 24V, and 48V from 600W to 12kW. The most common sizes are 2000W and 3000W at 12V, which are being used the most for RV deep cycle batteries.
Like the Magnum inverter, the AIMS pure sine wave inverter charger is an all-in-one device. The inverter converts DC power to AC power, while also automatically charging a battery bank when the city or generator power is available. When connected to AC power, the unit charges and maintains the required battery bank. As soon as the AC power is disconnected or city power is lost, the inverter switches to the DC battery source.
What’s A Pure Sine Wave Inverter?
Finding the best pure sine wave inverter for you is not easy, especially if you don’t understand what a pure sine wave inverter is.
Power inverters are devices which can convert electrical energy of DC form into that of AC. They come in all shapes and sizes, from low power functions such as powering a car radio to that of backing up a building in case of power outage. Inverters can come in many different varieties, differing in price, power, efficiency and purpose. The purpose of a DC/AC power inverter is typically to take DC power supplied by a battery (12 volts) or a group of batteries (24 volts or 48 volts), and transform it into a 120 volt AC power source operating at 60 Hz, emulating the power available at an ordinary household electrical outlet.
On the market today there are two different types of power inverters, modified sine wave and pure sine wave inverters. These inverters differ in their outputs, providing varying levels of efficiency and distortion that can affect electronic devices in different ways.
Pure Sine Wave Inverters
Pure sine wave inverters are able to simulate precisely the AC power that is delivered by the utility, or may be better. They are used to operate sensitive electronic devices that require high-quality waveform with little harmonic distortion. In addition, they have high surge capacity which means they are able to exceed their rated wattage for a limited time. This enables power motors to start easily which can draw up to seven times their rated wattage during startup. Virtually any electronic device will operate with the output from a pure sine wave inverter.
Usually pure sine wave inverters are more expensive than modified sine wave inverters due to the added circuitry. The best pure sine wave inverters could cost about 3-4 times as much as a modified sine wave inverter of the same power. For example, the AIMS 2000W Pure Sine Inverter and the AIMS 2000W Modified Sine Wave Inverter.
This cost, however, is made up for in its ability to provide power to all AC electronic devices, allow inductive loads to run faster and quieter, and reduce the audible and electric noise in audio equipment, TV’s and fluorescent lights.
Modified Sine Wave Inverters
A modified sine wave is similar to a square wave but instead has a “stepping” look to it that relates more in shape to a sine wave. The waveform is easy to produce because it is just the product of switching between 3 values at set frequencies, thereby leaving out the more complicated circuitry needed for a pure sine wave.
The modified sine wave inverter provides a cheap and easy solution for powering devices that need AC power. It does have some drawbacks as not all devices work properly on a modified sine wave. And even some equipment may seem to be working fine, but may run hotter than with a pure sine wave inverter and reduce the life of it.
Pure Sine Wave vs. Modified Sine Wave – Why Pure Sine Wave is Better?
Some electronic devices may pick up inverter noise while operating with modified sine waveform. Using fluorescent lighting can be problematic when using modified sine wave inverters. Most of the equipment on the market is designed for use with pure sine wave inverters. Some appliances, such as refrigerators, air compressors, water pumps, clocks or speed motors will not produce full output if they don’t use pure sine wave current, moreover they may damage the equipment. Some loads, such as light dimmers will not work without pure sine wave at all.
Pure sine wave inverters, on the other hand, will work properly with any electronic device that requires sensitive calibration. They also can reach a higher voltage level, which causes the load to perform better than modified sine wave inverters can provide. Plus, one of the biggest advantages of pure sine wave over modified sine wave is that it consumes much less energy. A modified sine wave inverter can consume up to 30% more energy than with a pure sine wave inverter. This is very important to a small power system.
How to Size Your Pure Sine Wave Inverter
The best pure sine wave inverters for you should have enough capacity to power the devices you have. If you only need to use one device at a time, then that’s the only one you’ll need to look at. The situation does get more complicated as you add more devices, but it’s still a relatively simple calculation.
You will have to figure out how much wattage your devices require. This information is usually printed somewhere on electronic devices, although it may show voltage and amperage ratings instead. If you are able to find the specific wattages for your devices, you’ll want to add them together to get a bare minimum figure. This number will be the smallest pure sine wave inverter that could possibly suit your needs, so it’s a good idea to add between 10 and 20 percent on top and then buy a pure sine wave inverter that size or larger.
Amps x Volts = Watts
Your inverter >= Total (Watts) x 1.2
The other factor to keep in mind when determining the necessary size of a pure sine wave inverter is the difference between Running Watts and Starting Watts.
Starting Watts is the wattage that a pure sine wave inverter can supply for short periods of time when the demand spikes, while Running Watts is the limit for normal operation. If your devices draw a combined total of 1000 watts, then you need to buy a pure sine wave inverter that has a running watts rating of 1000 watts. A pure sine wave inverter that is rated at 1000W starting and 500W running just won’t cut it in that situation.
Starting/Running Watts for Common Devices
Bear in mind that if you’re going to be using your pure sine wave inverter for an RV air conditioner, always consider a model that has a running watts rating of at least 2000W and a starting watts rating of at least 3000W.
Some of The Best Pure Sine Wave Inverters For You
1. AIMS Power 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger – Best Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Home Backup
One of the most popular pure sine wave inverters for home backup systems is the AIMS Power 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger. This inverter is available in various sizes (from 600W to 4000W) to meet the demand of electrical system in your home. If you’re running a window air conditioner, the 4000W model would be an excellent choice. This inverter is also a great choice for RVs, cars, trucks, renewable solar, off-grid, and marine applications (as it has conformal-coated (marine-coated) boards, making it marine-grade and resistant to dust and/or water vapor that may travel through the air and could otherwise be damaging to the unit).
The Aims Power pure sine wave inverter is an all-in-one inverter. Not only does it take DC power and convert it to AC, but it can also automatically charge a battery bank and automatically switch when connected to AC power. This inverter has 2 inputs, DC and AC. When connected to AC power, the unit will pass the AC power through it (generator, shore power, outlets), as well as charge and maintain the battery bank. As soon as the AC power is disconnected, the generator is shut off or city power is lost, the inverter will automatically switch to the DC battery source.
One of the features that makes it the best pure sine wave inverters for home electricity backup is an average 10 millisecond transfer time with the built-in transfer switch. This feature is awesome as it makes the inverter a nearly uninterrupted power supply (UPS) when combined with a battery bank. This pure sine wave inverter also features a battery-type selector, which helps user regulate the voltage going into the battery bank. This capability can be a big money-saver since treating the battery bank properly will maximize its lifespan.
2. Xantrex Freedom SW Series 3000 Watt Inverter/Charger – Best Pure Sine Wave Inverter for RV, Boat
When it comes to electrical power, RVers need reliable devices that work easily – exactly when they should. Let’s face it, they’ve got more to think about than whether their electrical system is working: like taking the perfect panoramic shot, fishing, hiking, or watching the game highlights in the parking lot of their favorite sports arena. In the RV industry, Xantrex is one of the most reliable names. And the Xantrex Freedom SW Series 3000 Watt Inverter/Charger is one of the best pure sine wave inverters that Xantrex offers to RVers.
The Freedom SW 3000W inverter/charger is packed with features and it is one of the most advanced pure sine wave inverters on the market today. It features premium sine wave output with high surge capability and temperature compensated, power factor corrected, multi-stage charging to meet power needs of demanding loads including inductive motor loads. It provides 3000 watts of utility grade AC power to operate commonly used AC-powered electronics such as plasma television sets, microwaves, entertainment systems, computers, printers, power tools, refrigerators and much more. This is a great choice for RVs with an air conditioner. With a powerful 150A built-in smart charger, it will charge your battery bank very fast.
Video: Xantrex Freedom SW Inverter/Chargers
We’ve found that this is one of the best pure sine wave inverter/chargers for charging your battery bank with a generator. It features a “Generator Support Mode” which allows the inverter to step in to assist the generator when AC loads exceed the capacity. An optional automatic generator start feature protects batteries by starting up the generator to charge the batteries while continuing to supply AC. With an optional remote ON/OFF switch, you can link the inverter to the ignition switch to prevent unwanted battery discharge when the alternator isn’t providing power.
- Read more: What’s the quietest generator for RV?
Multi-stage charging is the best way to restore a battery’s charge and extend battery life. The Freedom SW 3000 pure sine wave inverter/charger is power factor corrected for maximum efficiency and uses a 3 stage charging system (bulk, absorption, and float) plus a manual equalize feature to charge AGM, flooded, and Gel batteries. The equalize feature helps to retain maximum battery capacity by removing crystals that form on the plates. Using the optional system control panel, you will be able to program charging rates to match manufacturer’s specifications. The charger also compensates for battery temperature using the included sensor.
Overall, this is definitely one of the best pure sine wave inverter chargers you can buy. It’s a perfect inverter for the boat, home solar PV system, and backup system as well. If you’re looking for a lower capacity pure sine wave inverter/charger, we would highly recommend you take a look at the Xantrex Freedom SW 2000W.
3. Magnum MS Series Inverter/Charger – Best Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Off-Grid System
The Magnum MS Series Inverter/Charger is a pure sine wave inverter designed specifically for the most demanding off-grid applications. Besides off-grid systems, it is also very popular for RV’s and marine use.
This pure sine wave inverter and power-factor corrected charger provides clean, reliable inverter power with a total harmonic distortion of less than 5%. Flash programming allows easy memory upgrades. The transfer relay shifts power automatically in 16 milliseconds whenever shore power is lost, preventing crashes from damaging sensitive electronics. The inverter/charger keeps its cool, with dual variable-speed brushless cooling fans.
Like other Magnum inverter/chargers, the MS Series includes five-stage smart battery chargers (with Bulk, Absorption, Float, Equalization and Battery Saver-which maintains your batteries in storage without drying them out). Ruggedly marinized for corrosion protection in the saltwater environment, the MS Series includes conformal coated circuit boards, an aluminum powder-coated chassis and top and stainless fasteners. Available for 12V, 24V, and 48V systems in 2000, 2800 and 4000-watt sizes to meet the demands of a wide range of electrical systems.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best pure sine wave inverter for your off-grid system, or electrical system in your RV or boat, you could stop here. Even though the inverter is limited to 4000W, but as more energy is required, you can connect multiple inverters in parallel to get more capacity. You do not need an additional remote control unit to operate the power system, but if you want remote monitoring and control capability, an optional remote control can be located up to 150′ away from the power center.
4. Go Power! GP-SW3000-12 3000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
If you’re looking for a high end, high capacity pure sine-wave inverter, we’d highly recommend you give the Go Power! GP-SW3000-12 3000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter a serious look. This is one of the highest quality pure sine wave inverters in the industry. It supports AC devices rated up to 3000-Watt delivering 3000-Watt of continuous AC power with a high surge capacity for devices that require up to 6000-Watt to start.
The high capacity, compact, easy-to-use and easy-to-install design of the GP-SW3000 make it the best pure sine wave inverter for full-time RVers, long-haul trucks, utility vehicles, work trucks, and marine applications.
5. Samlex America PST Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter
Founded in 1991, Samlex America is one of the most trusted names in the inverter industry. The company operates factories and assembly facilities in Europe, Asia, and North America. Samlex offers inverters from 120 to 3,500 watts, along with a variety of battery chargers and communications converters.
The Samlex America PST Series is the best pure sine wave inverter that Samlex offers to the market. This inverter is available in many different sizes, from 300W to 3000W and capable of working with systems ranging from 12V to 48V in input range. So you can easily find the size that meets your power needs. All of them feature powerful microprocessors, and a built-in transfer switch capable of driving highly reactive and capacitive loads.
The Samlex America PST series is best for temporary or intermittent loads. If you plan to use devices for extended periods or want to power devices such as a water pump, air compressor or power tools, you may want to consider the more efficient SA series of inverters from Samlex.
If you’re looking for an inverter/charger from Samlex America, consider the Samlex Evolution, or EVO for short.
- Samlex RC-15A (Remote Control for PST-600 and PST-1000 Inverters)
- Samlex RC-300 (Remote Control for PST-1500, PST-2000 and PST-3000 Inverters)
6. Outback Power FXR Series Inverter Charger – Best Pure Sine Wave Inverter for Large Solar Off-Grid/Grid-tie Systems
Outback is an American company founded in 2001 and headquartered in Arlington, WA, and is specialized in the design, production and sales of mobile and marine solutions, power backup systems and renewable energy systems. In particular, Outback specializes in the manufacturing of solar products suitable for off-grid applications. Their products have been used in extreme conditions for example in Alaska and Africa, but also in rural areas in Latin America and southern California.
The Outback Power FXR Series Inverter/Charger is the most recent generation of Outback’s pure sine wave inverters, which can be used in grid-connected, off-grid, or even hybrid applications. This is definitely one of the best pure sine wave inverters for you.
Both off-grid and grid-tied functionality in one unit:
- Seven programmable modes, including GridZero and Support Mode and built-in networked communications
- Advanced Battery Charging (ABC) with expanded charging voltages and time parameters, enabling system designers to accommodate the specific charging profiles and algorithms of new and emerging energy storage technologies including Lithium Ion, Aqueous Ion and Flow chemistry batteries
- Easy system upgradability in the field
The Outback FXR pure sine wave inverter/chargers can be paired with a MATE3s remote to add OPTICS RE to remotely monitor and control system performance from any location. Available in power ranges from 2000W-3600W, multiple units may be stacked and connected with other OutBack Power electronics for more seamless system integration and the ability to function in a wide variety of applications, and system sizes.
Up to nine inverters can be combined in a 3-phase system with the 12V, 24V or 48V models, and up to 36kW in a grid-tied 24V or 48V system. The exclusive modular system architecture means that increased power output is just an additional FXR inverter/charger away.