Save 50% Off of Campsites with Passport America

I Need A Power Inverter For My RV How Many Watts Should It Be?

by Dave

I want to run a TV 22" and a dvd player in my RV, and need to know what to buy and how long it will operate at a time before the battery goes down? What do I really need to know?

Any info will be appreciated.

Thanks Dave

ANSWER Greetings Dave thanks for asking your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

You can use a Power Inverter to run your TV and DVD Player in your RV. What size Power Inverter you need is based on how many watts your appliances use. Since I don't know the type of TV you have (LCD, Tube Type or Plasma TV) I cannot tell you how many watts it is going to pull. I will tell you that a DVD Player averages around 35 Watts. I also cannot tell you how long it will take for your batteries to go down as that depends on how many watts you are using and how many and what type of house batteries you have in your RV.

Before you make your purchase you are going to need to know the wattage that you are going to use. Take a look at the manufacturers label for all of the appliances you are planning to use on the inverter. The label of your TVs, DVD Players, etc. should show how many amps they use. Once you determine the amps use this formula to convert it to watts (AMPS x 120 = WATTS). To be on the safe side you should add 15% to 20% to your total. Now you are set to buy the appropriate Inverter for your needs.

The Bottom Line In order to get 120 volt power while going down the road without running a generator or boondocking, you are going to have to buy an Power Inverter for your RV. Power Inverters can run as little as $36.00 all the way up to $1,400.00 depending on the wattage you need. Installation on some of Inverters can be as simple as plugging the inverter into your RV's Cigarette Lighter Socket or having to hardwire them to the RV's house batteries. Depending on the wattage of the Power Inverter you buy you can power everything from a TV, VCR, Laptop Computer to Drills and Table Saws while going down the road (we do not recommend using a Drill or Table saw while going down the road in your RV).

We have two Power Inverters in our motorhome, one near the driver’s compartment and one in the back bedroom. See the picture to the left to see how it is installed.

We use the one in the driver's compartment to power our laptop computer while going down the road or boondocking. This keeps us from having to run the generator while traveling on the road.

The Inverter in the back bedroom is used primarily when we have our grandkids with us. They have to have that Xbox going even when boondocking.

The inverters are very easy to operate, they have a simple on/off switch (see picture below) and in our case 3 electric outlets each. Both of the Inverters we have are 600 Watts each.

The one important fact to remember is that these inverters can and will drain your RV batteries when you are stopped or boondocking. Some Power Inverters will automatically turn themselves off when your RV batteries get below 10 volts. How quickly the batteries drain depends greatly on the wattage you are using.

Hopefully you now have enough information on inverters to make the right decision for your needs. If any of our visitors have additional suggestion or comments for you they can leave them by clicking on the add a comment link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Now protect all of your Vehicles and your family while on the road: Join Good Sam Emergency Road Service Today and save!

Comments for I Need A Power Inverter For My RV How Many Watts Should It Be?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Getting maximum power from my inverter
by: Frank

I HAVE A 6,000 watt inverter to run my 13,500 b.t.u air conditioner on my camper. The problem is it will not put out enough power to run it. I know it's plenty big enough but I'm not getting enough output to run it. How can I get more power output from it? My email is if anyone can explain how to fix my problem.

Inverter polarity match
by: Dorothy

The one thing that is not mentioned here is that you must also make sure that your polarity is the same when you plug something in or you will blow your inverter, which I did when I was living off the grid in Alaska. This won't be a problem if you have a ground on everything, but occasionally you get things that only have two prongs and one is not larger than the other. Beware of those. Thanks

CPAP and Inverter
by: Anonymous

I have a 400W inverter and have never had a problem running the cpap while camping. It lasts for about 4 days and then the battery has to be recharged (usually the Park Warden will allow this at their building)

CPAP failure W/ 150 wat inverter
by: Anonymous

Our sleep specialist sold us a 150 watt power inverter to run a ResMed H5i with a S9. This is a combination air humidifier and positive pressure machine. We are on a 4 month trip, in a remote National Park and the fuse blew! We called Trip-Lite and they told us that we need more than the 150 watts that was recommended. We told the tech(salesman no doubt) that we would be in our RV. Buyer be ware even with the tech who works for the doc.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask An RV Question.

Recommended Reading For You

Follow Me on Pinterest

Good Sam Roadside Assistance

Good Sam Travel Assist

Click Here