Power Inverter Cables: Everything you need to know

If you own a power inverter, one of the things you have to prepare, aside from a stable power source would be the right power inverter cable.

No matter how great the quality of your power inverters, if you don't get the cables correctly, both devices will fail to deliver what they ought to, which is, of course, the power needed to run your AC devices on DC power.

With that said, this article will help to guide you on the things you need to know and consider in the purchase of power inverter cables, as well as the exact type of cables that are best to purchase.

Summary of our favorite power inverter cables

Product

Rating

Image

Price

InstallGear 5 AWG Gauge 10ft

Cobra Electronics

Carviya Heavy Duty

Choosing the right size

It may not be the most interesting or fascinating thing to do, it matters that you choose the right cable choice for the power inverter that you have decided to use for whatever purpose. The size corresponds to the wattage rating of inverters.

The units that are used to identify power inverter cables is in AWG, or the american wire gauge, which has been used in North America since 1857, and has since been the standard measurement for solid, nonferrous, round, and electrically conducting wires. Below are the typical sizes for power inverter cables

While obtaining the equivalent mm rating, gauge, and resistance makes use of complicated mathematics, there are rules of thumbs that you use. Most of the time, the diameter for AWG cables are already specified or understood by the manufacturer. In layman’s terms, the thicker the wire dimensions, the more capacitated it is to handle high power ratings, which is further elaborated below.

These are the usual AWG ratings that you would encounter in cables, though there also are other ratings where a higher AWG number would correspond to a thinner wire. There also are other AWG ratings, though these are the most common ones.

4 AWG

A 4 AWG copper wire has an approximate copper wire resistance of 0.25 mΩ/ft. It has a diameter of 0.2043 in, and it has 4.89 wire turns per inch, sans insulation.

Its total area in kcmil is 41.7 and has an ampacity rating of 70, 85, and 95 for 60 °C, 75 °C, and 90 °C, respectively.

Ideally, those with a 4 AWG rating are to purchase if your Power Inverter is going to have a power rating of 900, 1000, 1100, or 1200 watts, although it can also be used for 1500 watt power inverters, but never beyond that.

1/0 or 0 AWG

This battery cable is best if your power inverter is higher, at 2000, 2200, 2500, 3000, 3300, and 3500-watt inverters.

Its diameter is 0.3249 in and has 3.08 turns per inch. Its ampacity rating is 125 A for 60 °C, 150 A for 75°C, and 170 A for 90 °C.

4/0 or 0000 AWG

This cable is the best for the highest-rated power inverters, though it is rare that you find power inverters that have ratings which are higher than 3,500, as its use may be impractical.

Specifically, these power inverters are best for 4000, 4400, 5000, 6000, 6600, 7000, 8000, 9000, 10000, and 12000-watt inverters. Out of all these wires, these are the thickest understandably, as they would have to carry a higher power rating with them.

Its diameter measures 0.46 in, and has 2.17 turns per inch, excluding the insulation. The Ampacity ratings for 60°C, 75°C, and 90°C is 195 A, 230 A, and 260 A, respectively.

Cable compositions

Aside from size, you also should have a look at what the cable is made of. There are several cable types if we are just going to base it on the material from which they are made.

The most common of these is copper, where high-quality battery/inverter cables are usually made of the finest, as well as flexible insulation covering that is truly effective in covering the material.

Always look out for brands that are UL-listed, and a designation that is NEC (National Electrical Code) – required, which includes THHW, THW, and RHW.

Cables can also be made of other materials, such as welding or automotive conductors, as these are cheaper. It is not advisable to get them, however, as they are not approved by the NEC, and using it can have dire consequences.

Battery cable types

For higher-end cables, power inverters, there are two different types of battery cables that can be used.

This includes the Standard Cable, or one with 3/8" ring terminals on both the inverter and battery end, and is best for batteries that have DC terminals which posts are threaded, which you can easily tie around the cable.

PS Cables or the more complicated ones comes with ring terminals at the battery end, and studs on the inverter end. This is best used for inverters if the input terminal of your DC source is a tubular hole which comes with a set screw.

Our favorite power inverter cables

InstallGear 5 AWG Gauge Battery Inverter Cable

This power inverter cable is designed for those who need power inverter cables for solar batteries, and those who use inverters on RV, marine, and automobiles.

It is made of copper, 99.9% oxygen-free, so that it’s pure as pure can get. The purchase comes in either 2-feet, or 20-feet lengths.


Pros

For ease of use, this cable comes with 5/16" ring terminals, that allow you to easily attach adjustments, whether it be a clip or a bare wire.

To reduce corrosion, the wires are heat-shrunk and comes with tubing on one end for easier allowance making.

They are also true spec cables which come with a PVC jacket, which allow for ultimate protection.

Cons

The small ID of one of the rings make it difficult to fit in other battery terminals, and a connection made of bare copper wire and an electric tape for insulation has to be done in some instances.

Cobra CPI-A4000BC 4- AWG Heavy-Duty Cable Kit

If you’re looking for the real deal when it comes to cables, then this is the one for sure.

This package comes with 10 feet of #4 Black Ground Cable, another 10 feet of #4 red power cable, and 8 feet of #8 green Chassis cable.


Pros

The package comes with all that you need and more. It even comes with extra ring terminals and heat shrink tubing as well, just in case you need to have more insulation.

There also is a package which allows you to get a fuse and a holder as well, should the need for one arise.

Cons

The wires may be too thin for use in other applications, and thus extra precaution should be taken place. In regular use also, some report that it would only last for one year.

Carviya Heavy Duty 16 AWG Adaptor

Those who are using their cables for power inverter use in cars may make use of this one, as the end of this 16 AWG heavy duty male plug power supply cord comes with a male plug cigarette lighter at one of its ends.

It also comes with a one meter-long wire for the power inverter and is great for use for air pumps, car inverters, and electric cups.


Pros

The plug shell is made of Bakelite material, and the spring is made of copper.

The properties of these materials make it the perfect fit for such device, as phenolic plastic is ideal for high-electrical rating use. It also comes with a LED indicator light to see whether there is still electricity coming or not.

All-in-all, the cigarette plug adaptor is made of the strongest, most ideal materials for such a purpose.

Cons

The wire connectors are too small for some of the posts of certain inverter brands, and hence terminals may have to be replaced.

The cables of just 1 meter are also believed to be too short for others to use.

WGA Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Cable Installation Kit

Another great package that you can get is this one by Best Connections. It comes with 10 feet each of 4ga Black and red power cables, as well as 8 feet of 8ga Chassis Cable.

It also comes with 4 – 4 gauge ring terminals, 2 reds and 2 blacks for easier connection establishment.

This is designed for cobra power inverters but may also fit in other inverters.


Pros

This is another real deal in the world of Power Inverters, as all that you need for you to connect is already here for you to connect your inverter to the battery.

It is also suitable for models from 1000 watts to 2500.

Cons

It only comes with ring-type connectors instead of alligator clips or at least, a wider array of connectors.

CUZEC 16 AWG Extension Cord

It's one of the thickest and longest there are and is best for high-powered batteries and power inverters with a high capacity, as it comes with all that may be needed.

This purchase has clips you can attach directly to the car battery, and is made to power 12 and 24-volt appliances.

The wire comes in measurements of 1.6ft, 6ft, 10.5 ft, and 13.5 ft long.


Pros

A unique feature of this extension cord by Cuzec is that it has 15-Amp fuse protection to prevent short circuit and high current surge, and hence, the protection is already in the wire itself.

It also has an extra-long 13.1 ft. length. It also comes with the o-rings and other necessary tools.

Cons

There are no immediate cons associated with the use of the product.

POTEK 1000-Watt, Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Battery Cable Kit

This model comes in both 5 and 6 AWG models, which is what is best for heavy-duty Power Inverters.

Each of the cables are of the finest quality, where they are sealed with heat shrink tubing for better insulation.

It is made for Potek PI 1000 Watt/PI 2000 Watt versions.


Pros

It comes with o-rings and sealed ends. The heat shrink tubing allows for better adjustment and adaptability to heat, and it comes with the correct red and black conventions.

Cons

Some may find the 3-foot length of the wire a bit too short. It is also only good for the car and home use and is not advised for use on solar panels.

Cable Matters 2-Pack 12 V Cigarette Lighter Plug Cord

This power inverter cord by Cable Matters is best for those who want to make use of the car battery as their power source.

It is a cord made for 12 V and is meant to be inserted to the cigarette plug of the car. It can be used for coolers, water pumps, air compressors, tire inflators, and the like.


Pros

The best feature of this cable is that it is very easy to install, and is cost-effective, as you pay less with 2 cords. It also comes with Ring terminals that could be easily cut off to accommodate what is necessary. It also has a safe design, and each purchase comes with a fuse for added safety.

Cons

Some owners believe that the eyelet is too minimal in size for the connectors.

MOTOPOWER MP68996A 5 12 V Cigarette Lighter Plug to SAE

This cable is designed solely for the MOTOPOWER Brand, complete with both ends.

This is also designed to fit in the cigarette lighter socket of cars, and also comes with SAE quick release connections instead of the usual o-rings.

This is an SPT-2 cable, and has an 18 AWG rating and is made of 100%, pure copper wire for maximum efficiency and conductivity.


Pros

It comes with a Fire-resistant, S0A-rated cigarette lighter plug, has a 15 A fuse, and is best for SAE quick release connections, as one of its ends is the standard SAE quick release connector.

Cons

It’s only for SAE Connections as it does not come with the standard eyelets.