Power Inverter Cables: Everything you need to know

If you own an inverter, one of the things you need to prepare in addition to a stable power source is the right inverter cable.

No matter how good the quality of your inverters, if you don’t get the cables right, both devices won’t deliver what they should, which is of course the power needed to run your AC devices on DC power.

That said, this article will walk you through what you need to know and consider when buying inverter cables, as well as the exact type of cables to buy.

Contents

Choosing the right size

It may not be the most interesting or fascinating thing to do, the important thing is that you choose the right cable option for the inverter you want to use for whatever purpose. The size corresponds to the nominal power of the inverters.

The units used to identify converter cables are in AWG, or American wire gauge, which has been used in North America since 1857 and has been the standard measurement for solid, nonferrous, circular and electrically conductive cables ever since. Below are typical inverter cable sizes:

While getting the grade, gauge, and strength in mm equivalents uses complicated math, there are general rules of thumb that are used. Usually the diameter of AWG wires is already specified or understood by the manufacturer. In simple terms, the thicker the dimensions of the cable, the better it is able to handle high powers, which is explained in more detail below.

These are the usual AWG ratings you’ll find on cables, although there are other ratings where a higher AWG number would correspond to a thinner cable. There are also other AWG ratings, although these are the most common.

4 AWG

A 4 AWG copper wire has a copper wire resistance of approximately 0.25 mΩ/ft. It has a diameter of 0.2043 and has 4.89 turns per inch, without insulation.

The total area in kcmil is 41.7 and it has a nominal capacity of 70, 85 and 95 for 60°C, 75°C and 90°C respectively.

Ideally, those with a 4 AWG rating should buy if their inverter is rated at 900, 1000, 1100 or 1200 watts, although it can also be used for 1500 watt inverters, but never more.

1/0 or 0 AWG

This battery cable is better if your inverter is higher, in 2000, 2200, 2500, 3000, 3300 and 3500 watt inverters.

Its diameter is 0.3249 inches and it has 3.08 strokes per inch. The current 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 best for higher rated inverters, although you will rarely find inverters rated above 3500 as using it can be impractical.

These inverters are particularly suitable for 4000, 4400, 5000, 6000, 6600, 7000, 8000, 9000, 10000 and 12000 watt inverters. Of all these cables, these are understandably the thickest because they are supposed to carry a higher power.

The diameter measures 0.46 inches and has 2.17 turns per inch, excluding insulation. The current ratings for 60°C, 75°C, and 90°C are 195 A, 230 A, and 260 A, respectively.

Cable compositions

In addition to the size, you also have to look at what the cable is made of. There are different types of cables if we only base them on the material they are made of.

The most common of these is copper, where high quality battery/inverter cables are usually made of the best quality, as well as a flexible insulation jacket that covers the material really effectively.

Always look for UL listed markings and a designation that requires NEC (National Electrical Code), including THHW, THW, and RHW.

The cables can also be made from other materials, such as welding or automotive conductors, as they are cheaper. However, it is not recommended to obtain them as they are not approved by the NEC and their use can have serious consequences.

Battery cable types

For high-end inverter cables, there are two different types of battery cables that can be used.

This includes the standard cable, or a cable with 3/8″ ring terminals on both the inverter and battery end, and is best for batteries with DC terminals with screw terminals that you can easily tie around the cable.

PS or more complicated cables are supplied with ring terminals at the end of the battery and studs at the end of the inverter. This is best used for inverters if the input connection of your DC source is a tubular hole that comes with a set screw.

Our favorite power inverter cables

InstallGear 5 AWG Gauge Battery Inverter Cable

This inverter cable is designed for those who need solar inverter cables and for those who use inverters in RVs, ships and cars.

It is made of copper, 99.9% oxygen free, making it as pure as possible. Purchase comes in 2 or 20 foot lengths.

InstallGear 5 AWG Gauge 2ft Battery Power Inverter Cables for Solar, Auto, RV & Marine – 99.9% Oxygen-Free Copper (Set)

  • 10ft 5 Gauge Inverter Wire Set
  • Pure OFC copper cabling – for maximum power transfer
  • Includes: (2) 3/8″ and (2) 5/16″ ring clamps (only 1 end is crimped to allow for adjustments)
  • Each end of the cable is heat-shrink sealed to minimize corrosion (only one tube is fitted at one end to allow for adjustments)
  • These cables are true spec with a tough PVC jacket for maximum protection.

Pros

For ease of use, this cable comes with 5/16″ ring terminals, allowing you to easily make adjustments whether it’s a clip or bare cable.

To reduce corrosion, the wires are heat shrinkable and piped at one end for easy installation.

They are also genuine spec cables that come with a PVC jacket, for maximum protection.

Cons

The small identification of one of the rings makes it difficult to fit other battery terminals, and in some cases a connection must be made of bare copper wire and electrical tape for insulation.


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

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

This package comes with 10 feet of No. 4 black ground wire, an additional 10 feet of #4.4 red power cord, 4 and 8 ft. Green chassis cable no. 8.

Cobra CPI-2575 2500 WATT 2-AWG Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Custom Cable Kit USA

  • Compatible with temperature ratings from -50°C to 105°C Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR) Annealed Stranded Bare Copper per ASTM B-172 (651 Bare Copper Strands)
  • Ozone. Sun. again. and chemical resistant These cables are assembled and ready for installation.

Pros

The package comes with everything you need and more. It even comes with extra ring terminals and heat shrink tubing, in case you need more insulation.

There is also a package that will allow you to get a fuse and holder if you need it.

Cons

The cables may be too thin for use in other applications, so extra precautions must be taken. Even with regular use, some report that it would only last a year.


Carviya Heavy Duty 16 AWG Adaptor

Those who use their cables for the use of car inverters can use them because the end of this heavy duty 16 AWG male plug power cord on one end comes with a cigarette lighter with male plug.

It also comes with a one meter long inverter cable and is ideal for use with air pumps, car inverters and electric cups.

Carviya 12V 24V Heavy Duty 16 AWG 15A 20A Male Plug Cigarette Lighter Adapter Power Supply Cord with 1 Meter 3.3 Feet Cable Wire For Car Inverter,Air Pump, Electric Cup

  • 16 AWG high strength red and black copper wire, plug housing made of bakelite material (phenolic plastic), spring is copper material. Hardness, high strength, arc resistance, heat resistance. Phenolic plastic is the ideal high temperature electrical material, the quality is much better than plastic.
  • With green LED indicator light (about 2ma current with almost no electricity); Built-in 15A glass fuse and comes with an additional 20A replacement glass fuse.
  • This is a standard part, it applies to almost all cigarette lighter models. Other end devices can also be used. The opening of the nose of the line is 6.3 mm.
  • RVB 2 X 1.5 red and black square wire, red wire is positive, black wire is negative.
  • Cigarette lighter plug already welded with iron, plug and play. After the cold nose pliers pressure line and then welding and welding, robust and reliable, and never falls off.

Pros

The socket housing is made of bakelite material and the spring is made of copper.

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

In general, the cigarette plug adapter is made of the most resistant materials and ideal for this purpose.

Cons

The wire connectors are too small for some poles of some inverter brands and therefore the terminals may need to be replaced.

Cables of only 1 meter are also considered too short for others to use.


WGA Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Cable Installation Kit

Another great package that you can get is this from Best Connections. It comes with 10 feet of black and red 4ga power cables each, as well as 8 feet of 8ga chassis cable.

It also comes with 4-4 gauge ring terminals, 2 red and 2 black for easy connection.

It is designed for cobra inverters, but also fits other inverters.

Audiopipe 1000 watt 4 GA Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Cable Installation Kit Universal

  • 1000 watts 4 meters
  • Ring thermals
  • Heavy task
  • converter
  • installation kit

Pros

This is another real deal in the inverter world as everything you need to connect is already here to connect your inverter to the battery.

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

Cons

It only comes with ring connectors instead of alligator clips or at least a wider variety of connectors.


CUZEC 16 AWG Extension Cord

It is one of the thickest and longest out there and is best for powerful batteries and high capacity inverters as it comes with everything you need.

This purchase has clips that attach directly to the car battery and is designed to power 12 and 24 volt devices.

The cord is available in 1.6 foot, 6 foot, 10.5 foot, and 13.5 foot lengths.

CUZEC 13.1FT/4m 16 AWG Extension Cord Eyelet Terminal with Battery Clamp 12V/ 24V Battery Clip-On for High-Power Inverter and More (13.1FT Long)

  • The clips attach directly to the car battery and use powerful devices, protecting the car’s cigarette lighter. red is positive and black is negative.
  • Manufactured to power 12 and 24 volt devices.
  • 15 Amp external fuse ensures safety in case of short circuit and prevents damage to devices from high overcurrent. And you get an extra 15 Ann and 25 Ann fuse as a backup.
  • 16 AWG extension cord stretched to 13.1 ft / 4 m.
  • The size of the ring terminal hole: 0.25 inch / 6.3 mm.

Pros

Unique to this Cuzec extension cord is that it has a 15 amp fuse to prevent short circuits and power surges and therefore the protection is already in the cord.

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

Cons

There are no immediate drawbacks associated with using the product.


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

This model comes in 5 and 6 AWG models, which is best for heavy inverters.

Each of the cables is of the highest quality, where they are heat-shrink sealed for better insulation.

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

Potek 1500 Watt/3000 Watt/5000 Watt 5 AWG 3.28 Feet Heavy-Duty AC Power Inverter Battery Cable Kit

Pros

Comes with O-rings and sealed ends. The heat shrink tubing provides a better fit and adaptability to heat, and comes with proper red and black conventions.

Cons

Some may find that the 3-foot length of the cable is too short. It is also good for the car and home and is not recommended for use in solar panels.


Cable Matters 2-Pack 12 V Cigarette Lighter Plug Cord

This Power Inverter Cable from Cable Matters is best for those who want to use the car battery as a power source.

It is a cable made for 12V and is designed to be plugged into the cigarette plug of the car. It can be used for refrigerators, water pumps, air compressors, tire pumps and so on.

Cable Matters 2-Pack 12V Cigarette Socket Extension Cord (12V Extension Cord) with 15A Fuse and LED Indicator Light – 15 Feet

 

  • The 12-volt extension cord with cigarette plug extends a 12-volt power cord from 12-volt devices such as an inverter, tire inflator, air compressor, cooler, water pump, and more; Conveniently place your 12V equipment inside or outside your vehicle with this car power adapter
  • The 12-volt power adapter is compatible with a standard 12-volt plug; A bonded cap covers the 12V plug when not in use
  • Easy installation of the car plug extension by inserting a 12V plug from the existing cord into the 12V socket of the extension cord; Easy-grip treads on the 12V plug and 12V plug make it easy to disconnect the power adapter from the cigarette
  • A pack of two inexpensive car extension cords connects an existing 12-volt cigarette lighter in the garage, RV or other vehicle
  • Safe design 12V extension cord with car outlet has 15 amp inline replaceable fuse; 16 AWG zipcord wire is rated to 60C/140F; Molded strain relief on 12V plug and 12V cigarette socket reduces strain on the cord

Pros

The best feature of this cable is that it is very easy to install and cost effective as you pay less with 2 cables. It also comes with ring terminals that can be easily cut to fit whatever is needed. It also has a safe design and every purchase comes with a fuse for added safety.

Cons

Some owners believe that the grommet is too small for the connectors.


MOTOPOWER MP68996A 5 12 V Cigarette Lighter Plug to SAE

This cable is designed exclusively for the MOTOPOWER brand, complete with both ends.

This one is also designed to fit in a car cigarette lighter and also comes with SAE quick connectors instead of the usual O-rings.

This is SPT-2 wire, it is rated at 18 AWG and is made from 100% pure copper wire for maximum efficiency and conductivity.

MOTOPOWER MP68996A 5FT 12V Cigarette Lighter Plug to SAE Quick Release Adapter Extension Charging Cable with Fuse and LED Light

  • 5 feet long
  • SPT-2, 18AWG Red and Black 100% Strong Copper Wire
  • 50A Fireproof Cigarette Lighter Plug (15A Fuse)
  • Standard SAE Quick Connect Connector
  • Use for battery chargers and devices with SAE shortcuts

Pros

It comes with an S0A fireproof cigarette lighter plug, has a 15A fuse and is best for SAE quick release connections as one end is the standard SAE quick release connector.

Cons

It is only for SAE connections as it does not come with the standard grommets.

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