7 Best RV Power Converters – Reviews & Buying Guide
The RV power converter is a device that converts the electricity in your RV to a clean 12 VDC output. You can use this DC current to charge things like batteries or power electrical and electronic appliances that work on DC current only.
As a matter of fact, if you own an RV, sooner or later you will need a power converter. This is because there is a growing number of electrical devices for RVs that need DC current to work.
But don’t worry, the RV power converter is quite small and compact, so it is easy to install. Additionally, it is quiet in operation and safe to use by anyone.
If you are fresh on the market for such a device for your RV, then we recommend you check our RV power converter review below for a quality model.
7 Best RV Power Converters – Reviews
1. PowerMax PM3-55 (Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)
2. WFCO WF9855 (Small and Compact)
3. Arterra WF-8955-MBA (Versatile Automatic Voltage Output)
4. Progressive International PD9260 (High Performance and Heavy-duty)
5. WFCO WF8955PECB (Extremely Quiet in Operation)
6. PowerMax PM4-55A (4-Stage Smart Charger)
7. IOTA Engineering 0318.1402 (Stays Cool Even Under Load)
1. PowerMax PM3-55
(Excellent Price to Performance Ratio)
2. WFCO WF9855
(Small and Compact)
3. Arterra WF-8955-MBA
(Versatile Automatic Voltage Output)
4. Progressive International PD9260
(High Performance and Heavy-duty)
5. WFCO WF8955PECB
(Extremely Quiet in Operation)
6. PowerMax PM4-55A
(4-Stage Smart Charger)
7. IOTA Engineering 0318.1402
(Stays Cool Even Under Load)
1. PowerMax PM3-55 – Excellent Price to Performance Ratio
- Amperage: 55 A
The PowerMax PM3-55 is a little powerhouse that comes in a small package. It has an amperage of 55 A, which is quite high for its price point. This gives this model an excellent price to performance ratio.
Furthermore, it can output a wide range of voltages that makes it an excellent candidate for charging a battery. This is because you need a range of voltages when recharging a battery and a power converter that is only able to output 12 VDC is not enough.
Best, it has an inbuild reverse battery protection circuit inside. What this means is that if you connect the wrong wires to your battery, it will not damage your battery or this power converter.
The installation is also very easy as this model can be installed anywhere in the RV, and in any position.
The only issue we have with this power converter for RV is that the build construction is not spectacular. Also, a few customers have complained that it is a little bit noisy in operation. Other than those small caveats, this model is one of the best RV converter upgrades that you can get.
You can perform a simple DIY job and replace the fan with a better one if you find it to be too noisy
2. WFCO WF9855 – Small and Compact
- Amperage: 55 A
If there is one department where the WFCO WF9855 is unbeatable, then it is in its size. Indeed, when compared to the rest of the competition, this model is by far one of the smallest and most compact models that you can purchase.
When installed in your RV, it will take very little space. Therefore, this is an excellent model for those who have limited space available in the RV. Moreover, it can be installed in any position you want, and it even has mounting holes that make it easy to fix to any surface.
But despite being so small, it still has an amperage of 55 A and can be used to power a wide range of DC electrical appliances, including charging a battery.
However, just note that this model is not the best RV converter charger for charging a battery because it does not have nominal voltage modes that change depending on the battery charge.
3. Arterra WF-8955-MBA – Versatile Automatic Voltage Output
- Amperage: 55 A
The Arterra WF-8955-MBA is a versatile power converter for RV that can be used in a wide range of situations. But what really sets this model apart from the rest is that it is fully automatic.
This means that it can be used as a trickle charger or battery charger, and it will automatically adapt the output voltage on the charging condition.
What we also like about this model is that it has a small and compact form factor so it can be installed anywhere without consuming a lot of space. At the back, you will find a fan that always helps keep this RV power converter cool. This is not a model that will overheat even under load.
But best of all, you can purchase this top-rated RV power converter in a wide range of capacities depending on your need. The most entry-level has an amperage of 35 A while the highest and is rated at 75 A. Clearly, there is a model for every use case scenario out there.
The only caveats with this model are that due to its design, dust can easily accumulate inside. It will require frequent maintenance. Also, the price is a little bit high to justify its feature-set.
4. Progressive International PD9260 – High Performance and Heavy-duty
- Amperage: 60 A
The Progressive International PD9260 is built for those who need more power in their converter. This model is rated with a high amperage of 60 A and has a heavy-duty build construction. Indeed, when it comes to performance, this model is one of the best RV power converter replacement that you can buy.
Additionally, it is fitted with a quality fan that will not overheat during operation. The fan is also silent in operation, so if you install this power converter close to you, it will not cause any disturbance.
For safety when charging a battery, this power converter has an automatic voltage limiter. This will automatically reduce the voltage every time it senses that the battery is nearly charged, to prevent damage.
All in all, if you need the performance, then the Progressive International PD9260 will absolutely deliver. The only caveat we can note with this RV power converter is that it is quite pricey. However, performance does come at a price!
5. WFCO WF8955PECB – Extremely Quiet in Operation
- Amperage: 55 A
When it comes to noise, the WFCO WF8955PECB is most certainly the best RV power converter that you can purchase in this review. It is extremely silent and what makes it so silent is that the fans only start working after a certain electric load.
Despite being so silent, it still has amperage of 55 A, and you can even purchase this model in different capacities to suit your need.
What we also like about this RV power converter is its looks. It is aesthetically pleasing and once installed, it will blend in perfectly with your RV environment. Furthermore, the installation of this RV power converter is extremely easy because it has an open design.
Additionally, when charging a battery, this RV power converter has 3 nominal voltage modes that will ensure that it does not cause any damage to the battery. It has a “float” mode at 13.2 VDC, “absorption” mode at 13.6 VDC, and “bulk” mode at 14.4 VDC. Quite versatile!
Of course, this RV power converter will automatically switch between those various modes depending on the situation.
The only real disadvantage with this power converter is that it is a little bit difficult to attach the cables inside because the lugs are not correctly positioned. Other than that, this is an excellent model to consider!
6. PowerMax PM4-55A – 4-Stage Smart Charger
- Amperage: 55 A
The PowerMax PM4-55A is a 4-stage smart charger that will automatically adapt the voltage output depending on demand. This model is a little bit bigger when compared to the competition, but it remains easy to install and fairly compact.
It is equipped with a heavy-duty fan inside that will keep it cool even under load. The fan itself is quiet and will not disturb you at night. This model also has many safety certifications so it can be used anywhere in the RV, including absolute beginners.
Best, you have the possibility to purchase this model in different sizes and capacities depending on your need. You are not limited in any way with this RV power converter. Whether you want to power a DC appliance or recharge a battery, you can do it with the PowerMax PM4-55A.
It is, without a doubt, the best 4-stage smart RV power converter in this review. The only issue we have with it is that the provided instructions could have been clearer and better. Also, this model is not intended for heavy-duty use.
7. IOTA Engineering 0318.1402 – Stays Cool Even Under Load
- Amperage: 55 A
This model by IOTA by been built around safety. It has an oversized fan that constantly removes hot air from the power converter, ensuring that it always stays cool in operation. If you’re planning to install a power converter in a hot environment, this is an excellent model to consider.
Moreover, what we like about this power converter is that you can purchase it in a wide range of capacities, depending on your need and purpose. For added safety, it has built-in overload and overcharges protection.
If you want to monitor the voltage level of this power charge controller, it is fully compatible with the IOTA IQ4 charge controller. Now you will be able to monitor the operating voltage of this power converter when charging car batteries. Very neat!
Another good thing about this power converter is that it can be used in different scenarios, from charging a battery to powering a 12V appliance.
The only issue we take with this power converter is that the price could have been more competitive. Other than that, it is a safe and reliable power converter for everyone.
How to Buy the Best RV Power Converter
Before finding the best RV power converter for the money, there are some important factors to consider. Here they are:
1. Desk Mount or Distribution Panel
There are 2 main types of RV power converters on the market. The Desk Mount and the Distribution Panel.
Desk Mount: The desk mount is the easiest to install out other 2. It is also the smallest and most compact type that does not require a big installation space.
Generally, you can install it in any position, but it has been designed for mounting sideways on a wall or can be fitted directly on the floor.
Distribution Panel: With the Distribution Panel, the installation is a little bit more complex. It is usually larger in size when compared to the desk mount, and it fits in a cutout in the wall.
The Distribution Panel also has fuses and circuit breakers inside that you need to connect to your RV power grid. This makes the installation process a little more complex.
2. Types of Charging You Want
Your purchase decision for an RV power converter will be based upon the type of charging that you need to perform.
For example, if you are looking for a way to charge an RV battery fast, then you need to go with a model that can deliver a big amperage.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a general-purpose RV power converter that simply outputs DC current to power consumer-electronics and electrical devices, then the amperage is not the most important, but reliability is.
The amperage of an RV power converter simply gives us an idea of how “powerful” the power converter is. Therefore, the higher the amperage value, the more powerful it can be assumed to be.
For most people, and RV power converter that can output and amperage of at least 55 A is more than enough. It will be able to charge your battery, power 12 V fans, lights, etc. in your RV.
Of course, if you want to be on the safe side and future proof your purchase, then we recommend that you go with a model that has the highest amperage. However, keep in mind that the higher the amperage of the RV power converter, the more expensive it also tends to be.
If you are buying an RV power converter to charge a battery, then you need to ensure that the RV power converter that you get is “smart.”
By this, we mean that it has the possibility to automatically change the voltage output depending on the voltage of the battery. This will ensure that it charges the battery in a safe and efficient manner.
5. Operation Noise
One of the main important aspects of choosing a quality RV power converter is noise. An inefficient model will be noisy and not produce a “clean” DC current.
By going with a model that has a new operation noise, you’re making sure that you’re getting a model that runs efficiently. But above all, make sure that it has fans inside that provide the RV power converter with proper cooling.
Without those fans, the power converter will run hot, inefficiently, and may also be a safety hazard.
Performing regular maintenance on your RV power converter will allow it to work in tip-top condition for long periods of time. When you perform maintenance on your RV power converter, check things like the wiring as well as if the fan is working properly.
Over time, dust and debris can clog the fan of the RV power converter that may make it run hotter and inefficiently. Regular maintenance will solve that problem.
Since it can be very difficult to repair and RV power converter by yourself, it is always best to go with a model that is covered by a warranty.
At least 1-year warranty on your RV power converter is the minimum you should look for.
The power converter is an important accessory to have in the RV. You never know when you need to convert 110 V to 12 V. You can use it to charge 12 V car batteries, power fans during the summer, power lights in your RV, etc. It’s quite versatile.
Moreover, the RV power converter has a small and compact form factor. It does not require a lot of installation space in your RV. You can discreetly install it anywhere you want, and it will guarantee a quiet operation.
Hopefully, you have already read our RV power converter review above and made your choice. If not, read it one more time.