If you travel often and take your car or truck all over, you might wish you could use it to power up your laptop, video game system or other devices. Power inverters make this possible. One inverter unit will convert your vehicle's battery--DC power--into usable AC power with one or more outlets. Inverters are also quiet and don't use fuel. However, to be sure the unit works for you and your vehicle, use these inverter selection and usage tips.

Get Enough Wattage

Above all, the inverter you purchase should be adequate for the devices you'd like to provide power to. For example, if you only want to have a way to charge your tablet, you might be fine with an inverter that has less wattage than someone who wants to power a microwave, laptop and video game system.

To know how many watts you'll need, investigate your devices and add up how many watts each of them should use. Then double it; that's because when you first start powering a device, it may pull as much as twice the number of watts it would normally use. Head to retailers with this total number of watts in your head and buy accordingly.

Choose Between "Midi" and "Pure" Sine

There are two types of inverters that you'll find on the market. One is a "pure" sine inverter and the other is a "midi" sine converter. They've different because of the way each type converts DC power to AC power. Pure sine inverters typically cost more, but will function almost exactly the way electrical outlets work inside your house. Modified inverters, on the other hand, handle many devices well but can have a harder time with battery chargers and devices that take more power. Choosing between the two requires an assessment of what kinds of devices you most want to power and what your budget is.

Vent it Properly

The inverter you buy should be placed in an area that will permit lots of air circulation and a place for the heat to vent out. The unit itself will have fans, but you want to avoid trapping heat in small enclosed areas so that it doesn't overheat and fail on you.

Use some of your favorite devices by using these inverter suggestions. Discuss your driving activities and plans with vehicle accessory retailers, such as at Fouts Products, who can point you toward a suitable unit for your personal car or truck.