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Vehicle & Solar Knowledge

When Do You Need An Pure Sine Wave Inverter?

Most devices will work just fine without a pure sine wave inverter, but it is a good idea to think about the issue before making a purchase anyway. First, it’s important to understand why the differences between pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters can cause problems.

The two main issues at hand are efficiency and undesired interference from the additional harmonics present in a modified sine wave. That means that a pure sine wave inverter is good at two things: efficiently powering devices that use the alternating current input without rectifying it first, and powering devices like radios that can suffer from interference.

Some useful questions to ask yourself in order to determine if you need a pure sine wave inverter include:

Does my device or appliance use a motor?
Is my device a delicate piece of medical equipment?
Does my device or appliance use a rectifier?

Can my device be powered by a DC adapter?

If you answered yes to either of the first two questions, you may need a pure sine wave inverter. If you answered yes to either of the second questions, then you’ll probably be fine without one.

When a Pure Sine Wave Inverter Is Necessary?

While a modified sine wave inverter will get the job done in almost every circumstance, there are some cases where it may cause damage or just not be very efficient. The primary category of devices that run more efficiently with a pure sine wave inverter is electronics that use AC motors, like refrigerators, compressors, and microwave ovens. They’ll still work in most cases, but they may not work as efficiently, which may lead to excess heat buildup and the potential for associated damages.

If you use a CPAP machine, especially one that includes a heated humidifier, then you’ll probably want to go with a pure sine wave inverter to avoid damaging the unit. It’s always a good idea to check the recommendations of the manufacturer, but most CPAP manufacturers recommend going with a pure sine wave inverter.


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