Every RV owner will tell you that being on the road comes with many perks. Each time you set off somewhere, you open the door to a lot of exciting adventures. There’s a wide variety of appliances and devices available for you to upgrade your RV with, but one of the most important things is to find the best RV converter that will power everything in your ride, from the TV to the fridge and everything in between.
A charger converter combo is a two-in-one solution that charges batteries and supplies DC power 24/7. There are a lot of different options and models from different brands for you to choose from. It’s very important for you to realize that not all RV converters are made equal.
That’s why in this review and buying guide, you will get all the information you need to know about how to choose the right one with all the features to cater to your specific needs.[toc]
10 Best RV Converter: Editor’s Top picks
Top 13 Best RV Converters Reviews:
1. PowerMax Converter Charger
This PowerMax converter has a three-stage smart charger as well as adjustable power supply modes. It’s engineered with variable environmental conditions and the user in mind. This converter will fully charge and maintain your battery no matter what type it is and it will provide clean DC power which is ideal for use in RVs, automobiles, boats, and other applications where you need 12V power.
Available in a range of amperage sizes, you’ll find a model to fit every power requirement. You can also wire this converter in a series or parallel in order to reach even greater power outputs. This unit is surprisingly simple to install, and it comes with built-in mounting panels to make your job even simpler.
It has an AC power cord that plugs into standard outlets. It’s ideal for all sizes of RVs and the three-stage charger automatically shuts down power if there is an overload or if there are short-circuit conditions. This is the best RV power converter for anyone looking for a safe, great performing, and affordable unit.
- Built-in three-stage charging
- Fixed single output modes
- Quiet yet surprisingly powerful fan cooling
- Overload and thermal protection
- Extremely easy to install
2. Progressive Dynamics Converter/Charger
The built-in charge wizard in this unit constantly monitors the voltage status. It also automatically manages your battery to ensure optimum performance. The solid-state converter charger delivers filtered DC power to all your appliance circuits, providing reliable and safe service.
It has reverse pattern protection which keeps the converter from getting damaged as the result of reverse or improper battery lead connection. The output voltage is dramatically reduced by the electronic current limiting after it reaches maximum capacity. This helps to protect your investment and offers you the peace of mind of knowing that there is minimal risk of overload.
Your converter is protected from surge voltage of over 135V and the low line voltage protection shuts the converter down automatically if there is the insufficient input voltage. This helps to protect your RV’s appliances from damages caused by low voltage irregularities.
This unit has a variable-speed intelligent-cooling fan that automatically monitors the temperature of the converter and then activates the required fan speeds. With all these features, this is arguably the best RV converter charger that you can get for the money.
- Comes with a built-in Charge Wizard
- Filtered DC power for safe service
- Reverse battery protection to prevent damage
- Automatically reduces output voltage at max capacity
- Low line voltage protection prevents appliance damage
3. P.I Auto Store Power Converter
This power converter from P.I Auto Store will power any 12V device up to 120W. The maximum power output is 10A and it will even power 12V refrigerators as well as seat warmers, and more. Designed for reliability and safety, this unit has short-circuit protection, voltage protection, overheat protection, and overload protection.
It’s tested and certified to meet all the strict safety regulations set by the FCC and CE. The 110V cable is fitted to the unit housing permanently in order to help improve safety. It has an LED light that shows you when the power is on.
This unit is great for use both in the home and on your road trip. Now there won’t be any 12V device that you cannot use no matter where you are. According to a lot of online reviews from RV owners, this RV converter is durable and powerful. With it, you will get great performance and service for a very long time to come.
- Converts 110-120V AC power to 12V DC
- Supplies power to all 12V devices rated to 120W
- Includes a wide range of built-in safety features
- Meets and exceeds all safety regulations
- Heavy-duty, compact, and portable unit
4. WFCO Deck Mount Converter
This deck mount converter will undoubtedly meet all your requirements for clean DC power between 35 and 75A. With such versatility, you’ll be able to use this device in a wide range of recreational vehicles with varying power requirements.
The WFCO brand has over four decades of experience developing power equipment and this product is a testament to their ingenuity and success. This model is equipped with an advanced three-stage charging system that offers you more power and longer run time as well as a longer life for your battery.
It’s a unique solution that provides clean power anytime and anywhere it’s needed. It comes with simple, easy-to-follow installation instructions from the manufacturer. If you are searching for an RV power converter that is safe, reliable, and offers you more power and run-time, then this is the ideal option for your needs.
It’ll charge your batteries perfectly without overcharging them and once the storage batteries are fully charged on your RV, the converter will automatically drop to a trickle charge in order to maintain your batteries in a static condition.
- Cooling fans only run as required by the load
- Fully insulated DC connections
- Open top designed for fast and easy installation
- Versatile deck mount converter
- Advanced, built-in three-stage charger
5. IOTA Converter and Charger
This power converter and battery charger convert nominal 108-132 AC voltage into 13.4 DC voltage for use in 12V battery charging and DC load operation. The unit has tightly controlled regulation as a power supply which allows users to operate nominal 12V DC loads up to 55A.
The converter maintains battery charge and delivers a full-rated current whenever the battery capacity is below sufficient levels. The voltage delivers its maximum current during a specific period of time in order to minimize unnecessary stress on the battery that results from the heating of the cells.
This process helps to ensure that your battery has the longest possible lifespan. Over time, as your battery approaches its full capacity, the RV converter will automatically lower the current and provide a floats charge which helps to prevent the cells of the battery from self-discharging. This converter charger will provide you with a stable, reliable 12V power supply for the duration of your vacation or road trip.
- Quick and effective 3-stage charging of batteries
- Designed to withstand very low transient AC line voltage
- Very low operating temperature
- Current limit and thermal overload protection
- Compatible with IOTA IQ4 charge controller
6. PowerMax PM3 Converter
This AC to DC converter charger is a high-quality, durable unit that is extremely simple to install. It has built-in mounting flanges as well as an AC power cord that plugs into the standard 110 to 120V outlet. The DC output is through a screw-style terminal with the positive (red) and negative (black).
All you need to do is strip your battery-charge wires then insert them in the terminal and tighten them firmly. And that’s it, you’re done! That is how simple and quick it is to install this RV converter.
The unit is ideal for all types of RVs where 12V DC power with a high amperage is needed. It has a three-stage charger that’s built-in, and the smart charger’s current limiting design shuts off the power automatically if there is an overload or short-circuit. If you want a device that offers the ultimate safety and reliability, then this is definitely the best converter for your needs.
- High-quality, robust unit for long-lasting use
- Extremely easy to install with inbuilt mounting flanges
- AC power cord plugs into a standard outlet
- Built-in three-stage charger for longer battery life
- Comes with automatic safety features
7. Progressive Dynamics 45amp Converter
This unit from progressive dynamics is a great upgrade or replacement option for anyone with the old RV power center converter or charger. It features a built-in Charge Wizard that dramatically increases your battery life. When you install this in your RV, you ensure that you never again have to worry about powering your appliances on the road.
It’ll perfectly fit the part of your old unit and it comes with simple, easy-to-follow installation instructions from the manufacturer. The unit provides clean, quiet and dependable power for all your RV’s appliances. According to a lot of online reviews, the company also provides outstanding customer support in case you need help with installation or anything else after purchasing the unit.
This 45 amp RV converter has a built-in 4-stage charging system that is designed to greatly enhance the life of your battery. If you’re looking for a reliable, high-quality, and durable converter charger for your RV, then this is a great product for you to check out.
- Built-in four-stage charging system increases battery life
- The converter charger doesn’t boil the battery
- Intelligent charging maintains your RV battery
- The unit is extremely quick and easy to install
- Best RV converter upgrade for the money
8. WFCO Power Converter Charger
If you are in the market for a versatile, advanced solution for your RV power requirements, then take a look at this WF–9800 series converter charger from the WFCO brand. It provides 55A of reliable and clean DC power. It’s ideal for RV electronics and various other appliances of all sizes.
This series provides clean power at all times, even without having to filter from a battery. It also has a quieter operation since the cooling fan only runs as required depending on the load. Another big benefit of using this unit is that the converter doesn’t cause interference with signals from televisions, radios, or any other devices.
It has automatic three-stage battery charging which helps to maintain and elongate your battery life. The unit also offers three voltage output modes and the electronic current limiting shuts down power automatically if there is an overload or short-circuit. For anyone searching for the best RV power converter, this is definitely a very strong contender that’s worth checking out.
- Extremely quiet operation from the unit
- fully insulated connections for safety
- Extremely easy to install and use
- Built-in intelligent three-stage charging
- Overload and short-circuit protection
9. IOTA Engineering Converter Charger
This RV power converter charger from IOTA Engineering is one of the best deals you are going to get for your money. This brand is synonymous with high-quality, durability, and great performance – all at an affordable price. This unit converts nominal 108-132 AC voltage into 13.4 DC voltage for 12V battery charging and load operation.
It’s ideal for any RV owners who want to charge all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, including AGM (absorbed glass mat), gel cell, and flooded. As a power supply, this RV converter’s tightly controlled regulation lets the user operate a nominal load up to about 30A.
When functioning as a battery charger, this model maintains the battery in order to deliver its full rated current whenever the battery capacity drops sufficiently low. The voltage is set to provide maximum current for a necessary time in order to minimize stress on the battery that is caused by its cells heating up.
- Designed to reduce undue stress to the battery
- Ideal for charging all types of batteries
- A high-quality converter charger offers great value for money
- Extremely easy to mount and use
- Best RV converter upgrade
10. DC Power Step-Down Converter
For anyone searching for an affordable alternative to power up their RV, look no further. The PMW part technology offered by this unit is enough to keep your appliances going during the entire duration of your trip.
This power step-down converter allows you to use 12V appliances in your RV which means you never have to go without your fog lights, CB radio, and everything else you’ve grown accustomed to using in your recreational vehicle.
Capable of an output of 360W continuous, and 720W peak, this unit is equipped with protection for low-voltage, high-voltage, overload, and short-circuit. It also has a fuse that is rated for 30A.
- Four-way safety protection
- 30 amp fuse rating
- 360W continuous and 720W peak
- High conversion efficiency up to 85%
- Universal design compatible with various vehicle models
11. Arterra Converter Charger
This converter charger offers a versatile and smart solution for all RV powering needs. The unit provides 55A of reliable and clean DC power and it’s perfect for use on RVs with different sizes of electronics and appliances.
There’s no need to filter power from the battery and the model runs quietly since the cooling fans only run whenever they’re needed. This converter charger boasts FCC class-B compliance which means that it won’t interfere with radios, TVs, or any other signals.
As with its other counterpart on our list, this converter charger from the Arterra brand comes with three-stage battery charging which helps to maintain and increase the life of your battery. It also has safety molds to protect your unit against overload and short circuits.
- Best RV converter charger for quiet operation
- Fully insulated DC connections
- Designed for easy installation
- Protection against overloads and short-circuits
- The converter doesn’t cause interference with signals
12. Parallax Power Converter Charger
This converter charger provides never before seen output amperages to 30-amp shore services. The power center has three-stage charging and it’s manufactured to operate on 120V AC 15-amp branch circuits which leaves plenty of power to run other devices.
Built with a robust steel enclosure, this unit has an 11-position fuse block that has blown fuse indicators. It can be upgraded by installing the parallax 4400 TAU module in order to maximize battery charging. The unit comes with simple, easy-to-follow installation and uses instructions from the manufacturer. It’s very easy to replace the old unit and there are no modifications required for you to do.
- Robust steel enclosure for long-lasting durability
- 30 amp shore service
- Three current stage converter charger
- 11-position fuse block and blown fuse indicators
- Operates on 120V AC 15-amp branch circuits
13. Go Power Converter Charger
This charger is designed to charge all types of batteries, whether flooded or wet cells. It’ll charge your RV battery up to 100% using a smart four-stage charging system. In the first stage, called the ‘bulk’ stage, the charger puts the full output into your batteries. In the second stage called the ‘absorption’ stage, the charger keeps the batteries at 14.4 V DC while tapering off the amperage that’s going into the battery.
At the third stage, which is called the ‘float’, the charger then drops the batteries to a voltage of about 13.5V DC in order to avoid excessively gassing the batteries. Because of this, you don’t need to constantly fill up your batteries distilled water. The fourth stage, called ‘equalize’ is used if you have more than one battery in your system.
It helps to prevent the two batteries from ending up at varying levels of charge. This stage ensures that both batteries remain at a similar charge level. If you are looking for a smart RV converter that will offer great performance and long-lasting use, then this is a great one for you to consider.
- Smart four-stage battery charging
- Ideal for battery banks with up to six batteries
- Compact design fits in small spaces
- Includes 15-amp plug for quick installation
- Competitively priced high-quality, durable unit
Things to Consider When Buying an RV Converter
The output size of the unit you choose matters a great deal, and when it comes to choosing the best RV converter for your needs, you need to crunch the wattage numbers, calculate the overall consumption of your RV appliances, and then and an additional 15% on top of that.
The resulting total will give you the answer as to which size converter you need to get. Remember, if you install a unit that is too small, there’s a risk that you are going to overload it. So it’s best to avoid such an inconvenience simply by taking the time to calculate the output size first before making your purchase.
If you are going to be using high-powered appliances, like irons and microwaves, then they require a converter that is equally powerful. You need to be able to supply those appliances with clean DC power frequently, so make a list of all appliances of that nature, and then proceed accordingly.
Keep in mind that power tools, coffee makers, etc. have different needs when compared to the smaller, non-heating appliances. In turn, this translates to a higher peak rating which is something else that you need to keep in mind while shopping for a high-performance, reliable unit that will supply enough power at an affordable price.
3. Overload Protection
Road safety takes on a whole new meaning when talking about RVs. It also includes the quality of devices that are installed inside your recreational vehicle. You need to purchase a converter that has all the necessary safety features.
One of the most important safety features is overload protection which works to automatically shut down your unit if there’s too much current flowing through its wires. And overload could result in a hazardous fire, which is the last thing you want when traveling in your RV.
In addition to ensuring that you choose an RV converter with all the safety features, you also need to pick one that is energy-saving because energy loss can cost you a lot of money in the long run. Choose an RV converter with energy-efficient features that will help you cut back on excessive consumption of power.
Keep in mind that RV converter units typically produce heat when undergoing the conversion process, so this is a vitally important factor to consider if you want to curb unnecessary energy waste.
5. Battery Power
This is yet another important factor that you need to consider prior to making your purchase. In order to determine what your battery power will be, simply calculate the expected power consumption of all your devices in amps and then divide that total in watts by 12 to get the answer.
Something else you need to keep in mind is that most RV converters will use up your battery power even if you disconnect them from the RV appliances. Because of this, you need to switch the RV converter off instead of leaving it to consume more energy when you’re not around.
6. Operating Time
The operating time of your RV converter will be dictated by your battery capacity. It’s measured in Ah, or amps per hour. You need to also consider your RV appliances’ total wattage. You can calculate an estimate of the operating time by dividing the Ah rating of the battery by the total electrical current the converter needs to power all the appliances simultaneously.
Types of RV Converter Chargers
Since many different RV owners have different vehicles with varying power consumption, there are a lot of different RV converter makes and models that you’ll find on the market today. It’s vital that you know the difference between each of them so that you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the best RV converter for your vehicle.
We’ve listed the different types below:
- Multistage Converter
If you want a unit that is capable of charging different batteries, such as lead-acid batteries, then this type of RV converter charger is the right one for you. It’s a step above the old fixed-voltage converters which had a single-stage design and it offers a more advanced system that’s more compatible with today’s modern state-of-the-art vehicles. Furthermore, multistage converters provide a clean DC voltage output with efficient charging time.
- High Output Converter
For any RV owner with high power consumption, this is the ideal RV converter for your needs. This unit won’t crash and burn, leaving you stranded along your journey. It offers durability and high performance that will deliver up to 80A and even 90A in order to meet your power demands during your trip.
Using such a converter that has the ability to charge and preserve the batteries at the same time comes in very handy, particularly during those hot summer months when you have to fight the heat waves with constant cooling.
- Deck Mount Converter
You can easily mount this unit on the sidewall or wherever else you desire. Deck mount converters can be installed inside the cabin, under one of the RV seats, or in any other convenient spot where it’s possible for you to redirect your power supply.
- Distribution Panel Converter
This type of converter is perfect for avid travelers who need to upgrade their factory unit. A distribution panel converter can easily replace those old models, and it can be installed in precisely the same spot. These converters come with a sizable panel. They are silent, and they reduce energy loss significantly. The units are also capable of charging your batteries a lot more efficiently than the old noisy models.
Benefits of RV Power Converters
There are many benefits that come with using an RV power converter. For one thing, you get a consistent power supply, and you also get battery charging. When it comes to powering your RV appliances, such as laptops, televisions, air conditioners, and so on, it’s vitally important to have consistency and stability is such appliances can be very sensitive to changes in current.
That’s why you need to have a reliable source for DC supply to help preserve all the appliances in your vehicle. The even distribution of power is a great deal with regards to RV converters. It involves the DC and AC circuits that are installed in your recreational vehicle. The units are in charge of emitting primary power coming from the generators to the various branch circuits in a stable and balanced manner.
Yet another important advantage of having an RV power converter is that you’re able to charge all your house batteries whenever you need to while on the road. Any vacation you spend on the road wouldn’t be as great if you didn’t have your everyday kitchen appliances to use. Also, you need adequate lighting, particularly at night.
And so you see how an RV power converter has many benefits that will help make your life on the road that much sweeter.
How to Install a Power Converter in an RV
In order to install a power converter in your RV, take the following steps to ensure that it’s done right and to maintain safety at all times.
- Ensure that there is no connection from the RV to the shore power. Also, remove the cord from its outlet. If you use a generator in your RV, shut it off prior to beginning the installation process.
- Next, use a wrench to disconnect the ground cable from the coach battery.
- Converters give out heat, which means you need to choose a spot for installing your power converter that will allow efficient dissipation of heat. There should be ample room for the converter’s cooling fan to operate smoothly, as well.
- Once you’ve found the perfect spot, mount your new unit using the side holes in the flared panels.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to complete the electrical connection, while bearing in mind that an average converter comes with four terminals – two are for the 110V wires that come from the shore power, one is the coach battery hotwire, and the last one is the terminal for the 12V negative ground wire.
- Your next step is to re-establish the negative connection from the coach battery and then connect the RV cord to its shore power source.
- Your final step is to test the converter using a voltage meter. Check the output across the DC as well as the ground wire terminals.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions AboutRV Converter
Q-1: What Is a Converter Charger?
- A converter charger is simply a device that is used to convert 110V AC or household power into 12V DC or battery power while simultaneously charging the RV batteries. Converter chargers are used for supplying power to the appliances in recreational vehicles no matter how big or small. There are a lot of different RV converter charger types and models from various brands available for you to choose from.
Q-2: What is the difference between a Smart and Regular Charger?
- A smart charger is one that gives your batteries a quality charge which results in more power and longer battery life. It does so in four charging stages. First, there’s the bulk which is the main part of the battery is charging cycle. This quickly gets it up to 90% and it’s what uses the charger’s max amperage, which means a high amp charger is going to offer a faster charge.
- In the second stage, which is the absorption, the charge amperage is tapered down so that the battery charges the last 10 to 20% before it goes into float mode. Float is the third stage that keeps batteries topped up at lower voltages, typically around 13.7V in order to help prevent electrolyte loss from overheating.
- The next and final equalize stage is where the battery voltage is supercharged to remove any sulfur build-up which typically accumulates on battery plates and reduces the quality of the charge as well as the overall battery life. In contrast, a regular charger has just one charging stage and it will continuously keep your RV batteries on 70% full or 13.7 V which means you never get a full charge.
Q-3: Should a Converter Charger Be Built-in or Separate from the Inverter?
- This is a point of controversy for a lot of RV owners. There are some inverter manufacturers who install smart converter chargers directly into their inverters, but others do not. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with built-in converter chargers.
- However, some people may prefer the flexibility of having a converter charger that is separate from the inverter in case either one of the devices has a malfunction. So for instance, if your converter charger fails, you are still able to charge your RV batteries from solar and invert the power using pure sine inverter.
Q-4: Which are the Best RV Converter Brands?
- There’s a vast number of different RV converter brands that you’ll find out there, but some stand out as being providers of high-quality, affordable products. We’ve included some of these brands in our list of the 10 best options on the market right now, and they include PowerMax, Progressive Dynamics, and IOTA Engineering, among many others.
Now you know everything you need to know about the types of RV converters available to you as well as which are the best brands. You have all the information you need on how to choose the right size for your RV, and so much more.
You no longer have to be overwhelmed and confused when it comes to finding the ideal RV converter that will keep your vehicle’s appliances running smoothly for the duration of your vacation or trip. Once you’ve gathered all the information you need from our buying guide, FAQ, and other sections, head on over to our review list to choose the best RV converter to sue to your particular power consumption needs.