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Is it weird to ask how to have electricity on the road? Is it something you even think about? Having portable power might not be a priority in your day to day, but when you’re traveling on a road trip or camping, it could be essential.
However, if you are searching for how to have electricity on the road, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to Cobra Electronics, providing me with a power inverter to test out on our latest road trip, I can tell you what you may need to have extra power. Plus, if you’re not sure why you might need a power inverter or additional electricity, I’ll cover that below too.
What is a Power Inverter?
You might be asking what is a power inverter and why do I need one.
Power inverters are typically rectangular devices with options to hook up to your 12v input or directly to your car battery.
Cobra Power Inverters often have additional USB ports so that you may charge your electronics as well.
How do Power Inverters Work?
First, a power inverter takes the electricity from a car battery and converts it to power you can use.
What we used to call cigarette lighters in the car are actually 12v plugs.
These inverters convert the power to use as a typical 3-prong outlet, also known as a GFCI.
Why You Might Need Electricity on the Road
You may ask why you might need this type of electricity on the road. Typically you can charge your phones with the adapters for the 12v plugs, right?
Yes, for short trips you may not need something like this. However, if you work from home, or want to use your laptop on the road, this makes a great way to keep it powered on a long trip.
You can see my daughter using the laptop here to work on coding while we traveled from Chicago to South Dakota.
We used the Cobra Power 500W here, and it worked great to sit on the center console, plugged into the 12v, and powered the laptop. (Why do Apple products have to have such a large plug!)
I’ll cover some of the other models below and how you can use them for electricity on the road.
Electronics are a great use of the in-car inverters.
Other uses for the variety of inverters available include food prep, power tools, camping, tailgating, power outages, you name it.
For example, I have a higher-powered inverter, the Cobra Pro 1500W, that I can use at a campsite in case we do not have electric access.
With the 1500W, I can power small appliances such as an Instant Pot or an electric kettle for coffee.
How to Have Electricity on the Road
One of the key things to remember is checking to see how many watts you need for powering certain items.
For example, my electric kettle takes 1200 watts. That won’t work for the in-car 500-watt inverter and you’ll risk damaging or rendering the inverter useless.
An instant pot or slow cooker takes about the same wattage.
this is where having a higher-powered inverter works great for off-the-grid camping and tailgating.
Imagine, how great your tailgate could be with slow-cooked ribs for example?
What is the difference in wattages?
Cobra Electronics offers 5 different power inverters on their site.
Cobra POWER 500W
The POWER 500W Multipurpose Power Inverter with Fast Charge USB is perfect for travelers, campers, tailgaters, and RV enthusiasts who want to charge and power their smartphones, laptops, entertainment devices, and small appliances.
Cobra PRO 1500W
The PRO 1500W Professional Grade Power Inverter with Fast Charge USB is perfect for professional drivers, campers, tailgaters, and RV enthusiasts who want to charge and power their smartphones, laptops, electronics, entertainment devices, and kitchen appliances.
Cobra PRO 2500W
The PRO 2500W Professional Grade Power Inverter with Fast Charge USB is perfect for cross-country professional drivers, contractors, RV enthusiasts, and campers who want to charge and power their smartphones, laptops, electronics, entertainment devices, power tools, and kitchen/bath appliances.
I would recommend either the 500W for in-car, which comes with the 12v adapter or the 1500W for car camping, tailgating, etc. That should be enough for what you need and your small appliances.