The bottom line:
This product is high-efficiency DC-AC inverter with clean sine wave output, commercial-grade design suitable for heavy duty loads, long periods of continuous operation & for emergency back up. However, the absence of a USB port pretty much limits its ability to service a number of smart devices without having to include additional adapters as well.
You should probably get used to seeing Samlex as the Editor’s choice, because this is not even the last time it appears in that spot on our list. Of course, when the circuitry of the power inverter can handle voltage spikes often more than a full volt over the competition or voltage drops of similar intensity, you cannot ignore that kind of consistency.
Of course, that quality level of circuitry is not cheap and neither is the PST 300. Though, if you want to get the full 300w from the PST 300, you will likely have to purchase additional cables as the ones provided are a bit too small of a gauge. Of course, this still does not prevent the PST 300 from producing clean energy at a startlingly wide range of voltages before overloading. Even better, the pure energy produced from the PST 300 reduces not only the heat generated in whatever device it is powering but in the power inverter itself. As such, the fan will rarely turn on, even when the power inverter is running at full capacity.
Still, this is a pure sine wave power inverter with 300w RMS, so you should not have any issue with microprocessor powered appliances. Even a number of decent hand power tools can run smoothly and cleanly on this inverter. A fair bit of that is due to the peak surge wattage of 500w which should also be good to allow you to run this inverter a full capacity assuming you do not choose a final spiking item.
The PST 300 comes with dual GFCI certified AC outlets, a certification that is not often found on cheaper inverters. Unfortunately, the PST 300 does not include a USB port which seems like an oversight considering that many of the highest end laptops will more than blow through the 120w RMS power provided by the PST 120.
– Can handle more extreme environments than most
– Includes 2 GFCI outlets with reset switches
– The Anderson plug can handle energy better and is safer
– An extremely expensive 300W power inverter
– Uses a non-standard Anderson plug connection
– The peak surge wattage is a bit low
The bottom line:
Go Power! is a great power inverter if you need a low capacity wattage for a vehicle.The design and circuit are well-designed to handle some of the toughest environments, but the unique Anderson plug connector means that you may have to purchase separate cables.
Go Power! Is actually a subsidiary brand that is owned by Valterra Products, a brand that specializes more in plumbing than it does power management and distribution products. That said, Valterra does make it a point to offer a number of products for use with RVs. This is where the Go Power! 300W power inverter comes into play as a specialized product for RVs.
One aspect of the Go Power! that is a bit annoying is its connection. This power inverter makes use of Anderson plug connections. Keep in mind, this is not all bad as it helps keep the connection safer and more secure. Still, it will require either purchasing special cables, since the ones provided have an AC plug, or wire them yourself.
At the same time, the Anderson plug is also a bit safer since there are no live wire elements that can easily be touched. While this benefits your safety, it also allows the energy to transfer better as well. This is because an Anderson plug’s connections are identical on both ends and lock together more tightly at the connection point than standard alligator clips or even SAE connections would.
This power inverter is also designed to be used in more extreme environments that some of the other, more delicate power inverters that we have reviewed. In fact, more than one customer has reported using this inverter in the desert for a week or longer without issue–though you will want to clean the inverter out after such an extended use in rough environmental conditions.
The bottom line:
MicroSolar is not a top-tier brand in the power inverter market, but they do offer a solid product–especially if used in conjunction with their micro solar grid array systems. Still, you will definitely want to make sure that you examine and test the product immediately upon arrival as their quality control can sometimes be inconsistent.
MicroSolar is a bit of a unique company to make our list in that power inversion is not truly one of its specialties. Instead, as this brand’s name suggests, the company focuses more on small solar grid solutions. However, solar power is inherently direct current and ultimately requires an AC power inverter to make the electricity usable for use with most of our modern devices.
To that end, MicroSolar offers the 300W power inverter. While the brand does offer a number of other products with higher wattage capacities, those are almost exclusively power inverter/battery charger combinations and significantly more expensive than basic power inverters. Thankfully, that is not an issue with this product as the MicroSolar is one of the least expensive 300W true sine wave power inverters that we reviewed.
This power inverter was definitely made with the modern user in mind as it features a USB port to charge or run your smart devices. That said, it is a bit disappointing that this power inverter only offers a single AC outlet, though if you use both the port and outlet simultaneously there is a reasonably good chance that you will hit capacity anyway.
Coming from a background in the solar grid market, this power inverter also makes it a point to provide its users connection options. The MicroSolar includes the standard alligator clips you would expect to come with a power inverter, but it also provides the SAE connectors that are more common for use with a deep cycle battery.
The bottom line:
You get what you pay for, as the saying goes. If you want to ensure that your inverter will not suffer from the various shorts and overloads that some cheaper manufacturers suffer, you are going to have to shell out the investment to do so. This becomes more and more important as the RMS wattage of the inverter climbs, and that is what you pay for with the PST 600.
Taking another spot as our Editor’s Pick, this time in the 500w-600w category, Samlex looks to bring more of the same quality that the PST 120 and PST 300 did. However, this means that it also brings with it some of the faults. The terminators not being universal is a minor annoyance. The biggest gripe in this regard will be the continued absence of a USB port, but this inverter is clearly meant for more powerful applications.
While most USB powered devices do not require a significant number of watts to power them, Samlex’s lack of USB ports on any of their pure sine wave inverters rated above their lowest wattage category is frustrating. That being said, the PST 600 at least provides the requisite dual GFCI certified AC outlets as opposed to just one.
Moreover, the PST 600 provides a true 600w of RMS power, rather than 500w like many in this category. Even better, the PST 600 also manages to keep ahead of the pack by offering a cool 1000w peak surge wattage to prevent overloads when you begin to reach maximum consumption. Still, this is one of the more expensive 600w pure sine wave inverters.
Though, that is likely due to the generally superior circuitry that sets Samlex apart from most other brands. With a harmonic distortion below three percent and a peak efficiency at eighty five percent, this inverter produces a clean electrical wave without an excessive amount of heat. This latter quality is also what helps the PST 600 avoid being as noisy as some of its competitors.
The bottom line:
If you are looking for a power inverter to turn your clean solar energy into usable AC current, then AIMS is easily one of the best products that we reviewed. With a rugged exterior and an internal circuitry designed to handle the great outdoors, this product will withstand conditions most power inverters would balk at.
AIMS Power is yet another brand on our list that backs its way into the power inverter market via the growing solar power market. That said, this company set its sights on power inverters well-before some of the other solar grid companies got wise to the need to invert the native DC charge of solar power into the AC charge that is used by most of the devices we commonly own.
Because of this, the AIMS 600W is one of the few power inverters that features both dual AC outlets and a USB port. This allows you to run more traditional electronics while also being able to charge or power smart devices and laptops. Considering that power inverters will regularly eschew the USB port at greater wattage capacities, it is a bit surprising to find it absent on many brands’ 600W products which is more of a middle ground for wattage capacity.
Another advantage of the AIMS power inverter is its rugged construction. Due to the fact that this brand specializes in solar grid systems, it is often expected that the power inverter will need to be placed in at least a semi-exposed location outdoors. To accommodate that common situation, the AIMS power inverter is built to withstand both humid and dry environments as well as those that deal with particulate contaminants.
Of course, since this product is often used in outdoor settings, it is not always the most convenient for users. For one, the fan on this power inverter can get quite loud. Granted, it does a reasonably good job of controlling its internal temperature to avoid having to cool itself off with its fan, but when it does, the fan will often hum loudly.
The bottom line:
Power Bright has one of the longer histories in a market where most of the brands have been around for a few decades or less. In that time, the company has been able to offer some unique features not seen elsewhere–like a temporary RMS boost on many of their power inverters. Though, this reputation and innovation do come at an increased cost.
Power Bright has been around for a while and is a sneaky leader in the power inverter market in that they have not necessarily made as big of a name for themselves as some of their competitors. At the same time, the brand has quietly captured a significant market share primarily by manufacturing OEM products for use by commercial and industrial clients.
The APS600 provides some of those features that make them such a favored brand for their consumer customers as well. For instance, this is one of the few power inverter brands that actually offers a temporary RMS wattage that exceeds their standard RMS wattage. Whereas most power inverters will simply shut off should they exceed their RMS wattage capacity, the Power Bright will be able to run for an additional thirty minutes at 650W.
On the other hand, the peak surge wattage of the Power Bright is a bit lower than desired. Where the general rule of thumb for peak surge wattage is double the RMS wattage, the Power Bright 600W power inverter only provides 1050W of peak surge. This means you will have to be a bit more careful when you approach the wattage capacity and may have to pplug in the devices you intend to use in a particular order to avoid overloading the Power Bright.
Still, once you do get the Power Bright up and running, you will not have to worry about its noise level as the circuit and heat sinks do an excellent job of distributing the heat so that the fan rarely has to turn on–even at maximum capacity. The main downside of the Power Bright is that it does produce a bit more noise through the current than preferred.
The bottom line:
The Xantrex is one of the most expensive products we reviewed, but it is also one of the most reliable. The AC energy put out by the Xantrex has very smooth and clean sine waves as noted by power inverter reviews. The Xanterx is a great product with the compact, easy-to-use and easy-to-install design ideal for use in commercial truck, RV, and marine applications.
Having long been considered one of the standards as the best pure sine wave inverter for cars, it should not come as much of a surprise that the Xantrex is our pick for the Editor’s choice in the 1000w category. That being said, this is a fairly inauspicious inverter that may not make too big a splash in terms of features. Of course, if an inverter does not have much said about it, it usually means that it is better than not.
In terms of features, the PROwatt offers some nice qualities, but it is not really going to blow you away. For one, this inverter is actually not a 1000w. Instead, it actually caps out at 900w before overloading and shutting down. However, it does still have a nice 2000w peak surge capacity. Still, the name is a bit misleading and that may rub some people the wrong way.
Still, the PROwatt does offer two GFCI certified AC outlets to ensure that your devices are protected. Moreover, this is a pure sine wave inverter, so you do not have to worry about any issues with “dirty energy” that can accompany modified sine wave inverters.
While it might seem a bit odd to suggest, arguably one of the more convenient things about the Xantrex is that you can purchase many replacement parts directly from the brand. This is nice because rather than having to mail your inverter in to be fixed – which can be fairly expensive, both with shipping and maintenance fees – you can simply fix it yourself from the comfort of your own home and at a greatly reduced cost
The bottom line:
You cannot go wrong with Samlex which is one of the best brands of power inverters on the market. This model also provides one of the best current amperages at 8.5A out of any 1000W power inverter with a heat management system which rarely requires the fan to even turn on let alone get loud.
Samlex is one of the most well-respected manufacturers of power inverters, but their specialty is actually a bit broader than that. This company makes it a point to offer top-tier products along the power management and distribution spectrum. Moreover, this brand places a specific focus on communications use for their power inverters which highlights a couple advantages the brand presents.
For instance, while many power inverter companies will advertise that their products only produce a harmonic distortion within about 3 percent, few of them can consistently deliver on that promise. As such, numerous brands of power inverters will have regular complaints about the supposed true sine wave power inverters not being able to run sensitive electronics without significant static.
Another advantage that the entire lineup of Samlex pure sine wave power inverters is the oomph of the power provided. All too often people forget the importance of amperage when running electronic equipment. Watts and volts get all of the headlines, but the amperage determines the strength of the electrical current. For certain types of devices – especially those that have an internal motor like power tools – this is an important quality that is sorely underserved by most power inverters looking to provide a budget option.
In terms of downside, the Samlex is simply not overly convenient for the most modern uses. For instance, this power inverter does not offer a USB port. While that is not unusual for a power inverter with this wattage capacity, it is still a notable absence for a product at the top-tier. Also, this power inverter does not provide a display of any type beyond simple lights, and this is a feature that some of Samlex’s more prominent competition does provide.
The bottom line:
If you are looking for a decent 1000W power inverter at a reasonable price, the Sunforce is a good option. It comes with a remote, though you will need to purchase a replacement cord for it to be useful. The primary issues are that the cooling designs are made out of plastic and the customer service can be a nightmare.
Sunforce is just one of many brands that have entered the power inverter market through the back door. As a company, Sunforce focuses far more on manufacturing solar solutions for a host of homeowner issues like lighting, lawn care, and security. That said, solar power also requires a current inversion to make the electricity usable for the wide variety of products and devices commonly used.
In that vein, it can be a bit forgivable if this brand does not get right some of the more nuanced aspects of power inverters. For instance, this is one of the few brands that will house their power inverter in a plastic case. Considering Sunforce only sells 1000W and 2500W power inverters, it is a bit surprising they opt for the plastic case to house such a large charge.
Still, this power inverter seems almost ideally designed with the homeowner in mind as it provides a wealth of features that are aimed towards convenience. For instance, this is one of the few power inverters that comes with its own remote. While many power inverters have that option, few actually provide it as part of the starting package. Though, you will definitely need to purchase a longer cable for it to be meaningful.
Another feature that makes this power inverter more convenient than some others is the inclusion of a 12V DC outlet like you would find in a car. Since you would use that outlet were you in your vehicle, this is clearly another feature which gears the Sunforce towards home use. Still, this is the only power inverter we saw with this feature.
The bottom line:
Vertamax and Windy City may not be the most well-known brand around, but if they continue to provide this level of quality for these prices, it will not be long before they are known as one of the better values around with the power and precision for most jobs and a price point that is easy on the wallet when compared to Samlex or Xantrex.
There is a pretty good chance that you have not necessarily heard of Vertamax unless you are also already fairly familiar with the consumer-grade solar power market as that is what the brand’s parent company, Windy City, specializes in. This is actually a common route for a company to stumble into the power management and distribution market in general. When it comes to the Vertamax, it is, as much as you would expect, a power inverter that is designed to be used in exposed environments.
In fact, this is actually another common trend–at least among companies which actually specialize in solar power systems and require solid power inverters to convert that energy from DC to AC. As such, it should not be too terribly surprising that the Vertamax power inverter comes with an aluminum body and circuitry which is designed to handle shifting temperatures and humidity levels better than some of the more prestigious brands which focus exclusively on power management and distribution products.
Still, the Vertamax does at least present a number of nice features which are not always a given with products that are technically ancillary to the company’s target market. For instance, the Vertamax power inverter comes with soft start technology which reduces the inherent wear and tear of simply using the product, extending its lifespan. This is, of course, on top of the various protections for surge, voltage, and the rest that you expect to come with a solid power inverter.
The bottom line:
If you do not mind the fact that it is a bit bigger and heavier than some of the other products, the AIMS will provide Samlex and Xantrex levels of quality for nearly half of the cost. That said, the absence of a USB port does somewhat limit its intended setting, but the durable design still comes through.
AIMS is back once again with that coveted 1000W power inverter that seems to be one of the more popular due to fitting into so many different boxes. AIMS takes this one step further and provides the same great experience at a lower price point than some of the industry leaders without having to sacrifice on quality. Of course, this 1000W power inverter does not really wow in any other meaningful way with a peak surge of 2000W and no USB port–though it does at least provide 2 different AC outlets.
Still, if you need to power a device in a remote location, then the AIMS is a great option as its aluminum case and circuitry were designed just for that environment. In fact, this is arguably the primary reason you should purchase this power inverter as a more controlled environment would likely call for the higher-end brands–of course, the 1500W model is just a tad more and gives you 50 percent more power.
One area that seems to often throw consumers off regarding the AIMS power inverter lineup is the peripheral hardware necessary to run the power inverter. For instance, if the device is not plugged directly into the AIMS power inverter, then you need to make sure the cord is thick enough in gauge to carry the power. This also applies to the fuses if there are any which are used for the application itself. It is a good idea to get fuses which can handle more power than you expect the AIMS power inverter to provide to ensure there are no potential issues later on.
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by Paul Ertel / Uptdated July 29, 2018