RV Inverters & RV Converters Explained

If you own an RV you definitely need a converter and you may most likely need an inverter. However, too many people do not know the difference between how an RV converters and a RV inverters actually allow your RV to do everything it does. To put it simple, these two give your vehicle the tools it needs by transferring power from the battery. This is needed on your RV because your RV battery and most built-in electrical components of your RV run on direct current power (d/c) and most household appliances that you need run on alternating current power (a/c). Converting this power back and forth is how these two differ. See examples of the different things ac power and dc power give energy to below.

AC Power

·     120v household electronics

·     Coffee pot

·     Microwave

·     120v household refrigerator

DC Power

·     12 v Battery bank

·     Fan

·     Cell phone

·     Lights

RV Inverters vs RV Converters

How an inverter and converter transfers power and what these tools power is where they differ. To convert power means to transform it from AC to DC form in order to charge your RV battery system or run common appliances in your RV. A converter works by taking the 120-volt a/c current and directing it into the 12-volt DC power needed to recharge the RV battery. As stated previously, you will need a converter on because it is the only way to do charge your battery with shore or generator power. All RVs are installed with a converter but it is completely up to the owner as to whether they should buy an inverter.

An inverter does pretty much the opposite of this. To invert power means to transform existing DC voltage into AC voltage, distributing it either to a single dedicated outlet or through a breaker panel to multiple outlets. An inverter is an appliance that takes 12 volts of existing d/c and turns it into 120 volts a/c and then distributing this to an outlet. It does this in order to help operate objects in the vehicle such as a TV, microwave, fan, and so on. Inverters can come in all different sizes that can allow you to run more appliances in an RV. An inverter is the only way to run AC appliances in your RV without being connected to shore power. However, if you use full hook-ups every night or you have adequate 12 VDC equipment, an RV inverter might not be necessary for you.


There is a lot more that is going on when you use your microwave in the RV. We hope this article shines some light on any questions about inverters and converters you may have had and gives you some useful knowledge if you are installing power into your RV. If there is a chance your RV is experiencing a problem with its electricity, it could be time to get your vehicle inspected by the professionals. Stop by our shop today for a full diagnosis!