When you are on the road, you are going to need something that can help you power up your appliances and maybe even provide you with a battery charge when needed. This is where an RV power converter comes in. Essentially, a power converter allows you to convert 110 volts household (AC) power into 12 volts (DC) power. This conversion of energy allows you to provide power to your RV appliances.
With some power converters, you will be able to provide power to your RV battery as well. With so many different power converters on the market, you will be glad to know that we have gone through the painstaking process of helping you find the best RV power converter for your needs.
Power Up with These Power Converters for Your RV
|Best RV Power Converters||Category|
|Powermax 110 Volt to 12 Volt DC Power Supply||Best Overall|
|PowerMax PM4 45A||Most Affordable|
|Progressive Dynamics PD9260CV||Most Durable|
|WFCO WF9855||Best for Small Spaces|
|Arterra 0318.1454||Best for Mounting|
A Deeper Look at Our Top Picks
Below, we deep dive into each of our recommendations. What we liked, what we didn’t like, and our full opinion on all the features and why these are best in class.
Best Overall Power Converter
Powermax 110 Volt to 12 Volt DC Power Supply
When you need to power up your 12-volt appliances, including hairdryers and heating units, one of the go-to converters is the Powermax 110 Volt to 12 Volt DC Power Supply Converter. This RV converter/charger allows you to not only recharge your battery, but you can supply power directly to your DC appliances. It can provide you with 55 Amps of output, making it one of the best overall power converters for daily use.
This unit offers users three different Stage Smart Charging options and adjustable power supply modes that allow you to use it in a variety of different ways. The three power modes include 13.2 VDC float, 13.6 VDC absorption, and 14.4 VDC bulk. Aside from the three modes, you can set the converter to, you will also be able to set the converter to a range between 13.0 VDC and 16.5 VDC for other needs.
Another great feature that this model can offer includes its quiet operation thanks to the quiet fan cooling. You won’t get an obtrusive humming noise when it is in use. It’s also this fan that keeps the unit from overloading and overheating during operation.
- There is a quiet cooling fan for smooth and quiet operation
- Installation is easy and straightforward
- The unit features overload and thermal protection as well as reverse polarity
- Conversion is only possible up to 110 Volts
PowerMax PM4 45A
This next unit has the ability to convert AC to DC to power up your batteries, and you can count on it to have an additional power source. With all the features and the excellent price point, the PowerMax PM4 45A has made the mark as the best affordable RV power converter to invest in.
Setting up your unit is extremely easy. All you need to do is plug it up to your standard 110/120Vac outlet. The smart charger that is built-in will automatically detect the different charge rates, including bulk at 17.7V, absorption at 13.8V, and float at 13.2 volts. When it comes to the fixed output mode, the voltage can be set anywhere between 13.0 Vdc to 16.5Vdc.
The AC/DC power conversion is clean, safe, and reliable, so you can depend on it without worrying about it harming your appliances. While the model comes in different sizes, this specific unit offers 45 Amps to users.
Other features you can expect to find include the ability to provide reverse polarity and thermal and overload protection. If you do run into any issues with your unit, you can take advantage of the helpful two-year warranty. For more, read my full Powermax PM4 review.
- There is a built-in smart charger, so you don’t need any external equipment for setup
- There are adjustable single fixed output modes so that you always have just the right amount of conversion
- The unit comes with thermal and overload protection as well as reverse polarity
- There is a two-year warranty with this unit
- For more power, you will need to but a model that offers more than 45 Amps
Progressive Dynamics PD9260CV
Dependability and durability are necessary when you are looking for a power converter. The Progressive Dynamics PD2960CV is proven to be one of the best in that regard.
There are several features that allow this unit to be durable. The first is the electronic current limiting that automatically reduces the output voltage when you reach the maximum capacity. This high voltage protection will keep your converter safe from power surges that are over 135 volts. Other safety features include the low line voltage protection that keeps your appliances from low voltage irregularity damages. The filtered DC power is safe and reliable because of the way power is transferred.
If you have an improper lead connection, then the reverse battery protection will keep your unit and appliances from getting damaged as well. Plus, the built-in cooling fan not only offers quiet operation, but it monitors the temperature so that your unit operates as it should. Lastly, the unit comes with a 15 Amp electrical cord. Check out my Progressive Dynamics 9200 review for more.
- Set up and installation is easy and straightforward
- The built-in Charge Wizard offers constant monitoring of the voltage output and input
- The unit provides an input of 105-130 Vac, 50/60 Hz, and 1000 Watts
- The unit provides an output of 13.6 Vdc and 60 Amps
- The small two .03 diameter leads can become damaged quickly due to the constant vibration of your RV
Best for Small Spaces
RV power converters are known for being bulky and space consuming. When you in a smaller camper, a unit like the WFCO WF9855 can be a great option to go with.
This compact unit only weighs 4 lbs and is small in size so that you can install your converter virtually anywhere in your camper. The construction of the power converter offers fully insulated DC connectors that not only make it safe to use but easy to install as well.
This is the ideal unit if you are looking for something that can provide you with clean DC power that ranges from 35 Amps to 75 Amps. The unit also offers an advanced 3 stage charger so that you have power when you need it without fuss.
Because the power load is rather impressive for a small unit, there is a thermally controlled fan that regulates cooling. However, the fan is only activated with there is a large load of electricity coming through it. I cover all the pros and cons in my WFCO WF-9855 review.
- Installation is easy and only requires a hex wrench and Phillips head screwdriver to set up
- The unit provides you with an output of 55 Amps
- The unit measures out to 11.6 inches X 6.5 inches X 4.3 inches
- The compact size gives you versatility in installation
- The cooling fan can be noisy and noticeable at times
Best for Mounting
Some RVs work best when the electricity converter is mounted. One such unit that is the best for the job is the Arterra 0318.1454 converter. This unit offers the power you need that is clean, safe, and dependable. This unit is the ideal advanced power solution.
The power provided is clean and reliable and perfect for powering up your RVs appliances. One of the neatest features of this unit is the fact that it is FCC Class B compliant. This certification ensures that when your unit is running, there will be no interference with other units like radios and televisions that require a signal.
When it comes to the power, there is an automatic three state battery charge that allows your battery to remain charged and running. There are three charge modes provided, float at 13.2Vdc, absorption at 13.6 Vdc, and bulk at 14.4 Vdc. If there is an overload or a condition that causes a short circuit, then the unit will automatically shut down the electric current. For more details on this feature and others, read my complete Arterra WF-8955 review.
- The unit charges your battery and powers your DC appliances with equal reliability
- Users can depend on the 55 Amps of clean DC power
- Because the unit is mounted, installation is a bit more cumbersome than with other units
Recap: Best RV Power Converters
- Powermax 110 Volt to 12 Volt DC Power Supply – Best Overall
- PowerMax PM4 45A – Most Affordable
- Progressive Dynamics PD9260CV – Most Durable
- WFCO WF9855 – Best for Small Spaces
- Arterra 0318.1454 – Best for Mounting
Buying a Power Converter Charger: What to Look For
When you are purchasing an RV power converter, there are some factors that you need to keep in mind. Consider these factors when you are choosing your next unit.
Types of Power Converters
There are a few different types and setups of power converters and chargers to choose from.
- High-output converter – if you need a lot of power, make sure to get a model with up to 80-90 amps.
- Multistage converter – this type of converter typically has built-in equalization, which is great for charging a bunch of different types of batteries.
Outside of these two options, there are a lot of converters that come with deck mounts and distribution panels that you can screw to a sidewall or the floor of your RV.
Some RV power converters will need to be mounted while others can simply be set up in a corner, room, or even closet. While most RV converters will not require professional installation, some mounted RV converters may require this. If you do not feel comfortable in setting up your power converter yourself, then it is best to have a professional set it up for you.
Consider Your Power Needs
Older, single stage power converters do not have the ability to be a full-time battery charger. There are some units that may also only be able to provide a limited amount of charge. More modern units are not only able to convert the power, but they can provide a charge to your battery as well. Bottom line, a power converter should not replace shore power or other means for charging your RV battery.
Consider the Size of Your RV
Unsurprisingly, the larger your RV, and the more appliances you run, the larger you need your RV power converter to be. 12-volt power output ratings will typically require anywhere from 20 Amps to 100 Amps. If you find that your appliances are not operating to their capacity, then this is an indication you need a more powerful converter.
Protect Your Appliances
Installing your converter correctly and investing in a quality converter can keep your appliances and electronics from being damaged. Damage to your appliances might occur when the 12-volt DC is not smooth, resulting in “ripples” in the current. Consider this feature when you are looking for a good unit.
Not all RV power converters are made alike. Whether you have a single stage converter or a three stage converter, you will find that the price point can be anywhere from $50.00 to $300 for an RV power converter.
When you are shopping around, the price should play a role in your selection, but you really need to look at the features the converter is able to provide you with. Specific features like noise-free cooling fans and surge and spike protection can be beneficial, but they will also drive up the price of the unit you are looking at.
Whether you need to charge your battery, carry extra power, or boot up your appliances, a power converter is a must when you are on the road. What do you find to be the most beneficial feature of an RV power converter? Shoot us an email and let us know.
Working on your electrical setup? Read our RV electrical system breakdown and these related guides:
- Troubleshooting your RV electrical system
- Best RV inverters
- Best RV surge protectors
- Best travel trailer battery
- Connecting to full hookups at your campsite
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Power Converter Do I Need For My RV?
The size you choose depends on the size of your RV and the appliances you use. If you have a bunch of high draw devices such as a fridge and coffee makers, you might need a larger converter. You can buy a larger converter than you need so that you can add more devices to your RV if you need to, or if you decide to get a larger RV.
How Many Watts Does An RV Converter Use?
As with size, the types of devices that you have plugged in determine the draw of your inverter. You AC will be the largest draw of wattage (up to 2000 with some units). Take into account what you are plugging in and what you want to power all the time before you buy a converter.
Where Is The Power Converter In My RV?
Most power converters are located in the fuze box area of your RV.