What sort of electronic devices require a pure sine wave inverter?

I’m going to be installing an inverter in my truck here real soon, but I have some lingering concerns regarding the two different kinds I’ve read about. The reason I need an inverter is that I have to be able to power some electronics when I’m camping, so I’m wondering if I need a 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.