HomeTechnologyNewsModified vs. Pure Sine Wave Inverter: What's the Difference?

Modified vs. Pure Sine Wave Inverter: What’s the Difference?

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Whether you’re trying to get power from the sun or need electricity when the power goes out, you’ll need an inverter to make it happen. There are two types of inverters, and choosing the right one for your needs is crucial.

What is an investor?

An inverter is a device that can take a direct current (DC) power source and convert it to alternating current (AC). AC power is what comes out of wall outlets, so any device designed to plug into the wall expects AC power to work.

An inverter essentially does the opposite of what the power brick in your laptop or smartphone does. Electronic devices like PCs and consoles need DC electricity, so they convert AC power to AC power using a component known as a rectifier. This is important to remember after we have covered the main types of investors.

DC vs. AC Electricity

In case you don’t know the difference between AC and DC power, here’s an optional rundown of the basics.

AC power is generated in power plants by devices called alternators. There is also one in your internal combustion car. An alternator is like an electric motor but in reverse.

Cross diagram of a DC generator.
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Using steam power, the alternator spins the copper wire inside a magnetic field. This causes electricity to flow. However, since the copper wire rotates through both magnetic poles, the flux direction changes with each complete rotation.

DC power, on the other hand, only flows in one direction. It never changes direction, but instead flows from the negative terminal of a battery or other DC power source to the positive terminal.

As you can see from this diagram, when you plot AC and DC current polarity, AC power forms a smooth wave. This is known as a sinusoidal or “sinusoidal” AC wave.

Diagram illustrating the difference between
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An inverter’s job is to reproduce that wave from a DC power source, and there are two answers to this problem.

Modified sine wave inverters simulate AC power

A modified sine wave inverter produces an approximation of a true AC sine wave. If you plot it, it looks like a sine wave at first, but if you look closely, there are jagged steps in the waveform as the inverter switches sharply between polarities.

Diagram showing the voltage waveform of a sine wave over a modified sine wave.
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Devices designed to run on an AC power supply will generally run on a modified sine wave. However, they may not work properly. AC electric motors in particular should not be used with modified sine wave inverters. Since the curve of the wave is not smooth, the motor vibrates, accumulates heat, and will have a shorter lifespan.

100W Energizer Modified Sine Wave Car Inverter

This affordable modified sine wave inverter allows you to use devices such as laptops that require an AC power source to operate by connecting it to your car’s 12V outlet, though it is not suitable for devices with motors such as refrigerators or fans. .

Devices without AC motors tend to work as expected with modified sine wave inverters, and any device with a rectifier cleans up that harsh AC ripple and converts it to DC power. Therefore, lamps, televisions and other devices are fine for the use of modified inverters. The main advantage of modified sine inverters is that they are less expensive than pure sine models.

Pure Sine Inverters Offer the Real Deal

Pure sine inverters are more sophisticated devices that can exactly replicate an AC sine wave from a DC power supply. Due to their increased complexity, they have historically cost much more than modified sine wave inverters. However, their cost has dropped dramatically, making it more difficult to choose which type is right for you.

If you have to run AC motors then a pure sine wave system is required. If you want to run your electronics with perfect reliability, a pure sine inverter is highly recommended. If you never want to worry about whether something will work on your inverter, Pure Since is the way to go.

Do you need AC outlet?

Remember when we said that many of your appliances and devices have a power supply that converts AC power to DC power? Well, that conversion is not free. Converting from one type of current to another results in a small but not insignificant loss of power in the form of heat. When you connect an AC to DC power brick to an inverter, it goes from DC to AC and back to DC again.

This is pretty wasteful, so if you have any other options, you’d be better off having DC to DC power transfer. Many modern inverters, modified or pure sine, offer direct DC output. This can be in the form of USB ports or as a barrel plug DC outlet like the one you plug into your laptop. If you can, use them and the inverter will turn your batteries into a huge power bank.

The 5 best power inverters for your car


Ampeak Upgrade 2000W Power Inverter 12V to 110V 17 Safe Protections Inverter Digital Display 3AC Outlets 4.8A Dual USB Ports Cigarette Lighter Car Inverter

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4.2A Dual USB Car Adapter

Energizer Power Inverter 500 Watts Plus 48 Watts via USB Ports, Modified Sine Wave Car Inverter, 12V to 110 Volts, Two AC Outlets, Four USB Ports 2.4A Each – ETL Listed to UL Standards and CSA

BESTEK 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter, 4.5A Dual USB AC Outlet Car Power Adapter, Laptop Car Plug Adapter Socket Charger

Energizer 4000 Watt Power Inverter Modified Sine Wave Automotive Inverter, 12V to 110 Volts, Two AC Outlets, Two USB Ports (2.4 Amps), Wiring Kit, Battery Cables Included – UL ETL Listed STD 458
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