Buy an inverter

Last Updated: January 18, 2024By

Now that loadshedding is a part of South African life, you should prepare to become independent from the government and take care of your own energy needs. For many people this means they should buy an inverter.

What is an inverter?

An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current (DC) power (from a car batter, for example) into alternating current (AC) power. It’s commonly used in backup power systems and other applications where AC power is required but not available. The inverter takes DC power from a battery or other source and converts it into AC power that can be used to run appliances and electronic devices. The frequency, voltage, and waveform of the AC power produced by the inverter can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of different applications.

An inverter can get you through the tough parts of loadshedding and keep your basic equipment running during extended power outages. You can get an inverter and battery system first and later upgrade your system to a full solar power system and go fully or partially offgrid.

Need finance? Look at the ways people are financing their solar installations.

What should you consider when you buy an inverter?

Inverters play a crucial role in converting DC power from batteries into AC power for household and industrial applications. When shopping for an inverter, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you purchase one that meets your specific needs. In this article, we will discuss nine key considerations you should keep in mind when buying an inverter.

Capacity (Wattage) of the inverter

The first factor to consider is the capacity of the inverter, also known as its wattage. The wattage tells you the maximum power that the inverter can deliver, so it’s crucial to choose an inverter with enough capacity to power all the appliances you plan to use with it. If you have high-power devices, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, be sure to choose an inverter with a higher capacity to accommodate them. You should consult an expert about your exact power needs and what inverter size you need.

Inverter output waveform

Inverters come in two different waveform outputs: pure sine wave and modified sine wave. Pure sine wave inverters are more expensive but provide cleaner power and are recommended for sensitive electronic devices, such as laptops and smartphones. On the other hand, modified sine wave inverters are less expensive but produce less stable power, which may not be suitable for delicate electronic equipment. When choosing an inverter, consider what type of devices you plan to use it with and select an inverter with the appropriate waveform output.

Inverter efficiency

Another important consideration is the efficiency of the inverter. The efficiency refers to how much of the energy stored in the battery is converted into useful power. A high-efficiency inverter minimizes energy loss, ensuring that you get the most out of your battery. Look for an inverter with a high efficiency rating to minimize energy waste and extend the life of your battery.

Battery voltage compatibility

When purchasing an inverter, it’s essential to ensure that it is compatible with the voltage of the battery you plan to use. Some inverters are designed to work with specific battery voltage ranges, so be sure to choose an inverter that is compatible with your battery’s voltage.

Overload and short-circuit protection

Inverters can be damaged by overloading and short-circuits, which can also harm connected appliances. To ensure the safety of your equipment and protect your investment, look for an inverter with overload and short-circuit protection. This type of protection will prevent the inverter and connected devices from being damaged in the event of an overload or short-circuit.

Inverter display screen and user interface

An inverter with a user-friendly display and control panel can make monitoring and managing your inverter much easier. Look for an inverter with a display screen that provides information on battery voltage, load level, and other essential parameters. A user-friendly interface will allow you to easily monitor your inverter’s performance and make any necessary adjustments.

Inverter size and portability

If you plan to use your inverter on the go, size and portability are important considerations. Consider the size and weight of the inverter, especially if you need to take it with you on the go. Portable inverters are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them ideal for travel and outdoor use.

Noise level

Some inverters can be noisy, especially when working at high loads. If you plan to use your inverter in a quiet environment, such as a bedroom or office, consider choosing an inverter with a low noise level.

Warranty and customer support

Finally, consider the warranty and customer support offered by the manufacturer when buying an inverter. A good warranty will provide peace of mind in case of any issues with the inverter.

Where can I buy an inverter?

Most large retail stores such as Game, Makro, Builders, Leroy Merlin and others stock inverters.

You can also look for an inverter at your nearby hardware, electrical or solar store.

Remember to understand your energy needs so you buy the right size inverter for your appliances. The store staff will help you if you have any questions.

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About the Author: Tony Lopes

Tony is the founder and editor of CleanVolts.co.za. He has completed solar certifications and courses through Green Solar Academy. Tony's goal is to see solar panels on every roof-top in South Africa and the adoption of EVs and renewable technology across the African continent.

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