What are Inverters? | Variety | Pure Sinewave | Modified Sinewave | Square Wave | Inverter Buying Guide | Inverter Models | Precautionary Steps | FAQ
A power cut is one of the common problems that has plagued the lives of too many people in India. The problem of power cuts is more common in the rural area. But even in several developed parts of the nation, electricity tends to be cut now and then.
The moment you face a power cut, a lot of appliances that help us stay connected are disturbed. This disputes smooth communication. Think of being on a zoom call with a client and there is a power cut. Your Wi-Fi turns off and so the connectivity is disrupted. The client stays hanging, not knowing why you have gone missing, all of a sudden. Not the scene you want to imagine yourself in, isn’t it?
This is why it is important to have an inverter as it facilitates seamless connectivity and restores electricity even when the government has done a power cut. Having an inverter gives you the extra cushion of stability that makes up all the difference. However, you cannot just go about and buy any inverter that you spot.
Buying an inverter needs you to be mindful of several important factors and you should keep these in mind. This will allow you to make an informed purchase. So, let us give you some of the details and get you familiar with the world of inverters with this inverter buying guide.
What Are Inverters?
If you want to go by the technicalities, an inverter is a gadget that converts DC voltage to an AC voltage. It can be used as a standalone unit. It makes the conversion of energy type by using the energy stored in the battery and rectifiers. The inverter has batteries that store direct current (DC Voltage) in it. All the home appliances operate on alternating currents. The inverter, therefore, uses the stored charge and converts DC to AC and thereby powering up the appliance in times of electrical power cut. This helps in ensuring that your regular work isn’t disrupted and everything is carried out smoothly as per plan.
Inverter Buying Guide: Mapping The Variety In India
In India, when you go out to buy inverters, you will find there is a lot of variety available. The number of options may be enough to confound you. So, you need to have a basic idea of the varied types so that you know what to expect from each one of them.
The types of inverters can be broadly categorized into three sub-heads.
- The Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- The Modified Sine Wave Inverter
- The Square Wave Inverter
Now, let us check in deeper details as to what each of these types is and the purpose they serve at hand. Knowing these details will better prepare you with the inverter buying guide.
The Pure Sine Waveform Inverter
This inverter works exactly like a wall socket. If you want to have an uninterrupted flow of current so that your appliances are smoothly powered and there is no alteration of any sort, this might be the inverter of choice. This inverter releases current in the sine waveform. This is very similar to what the utility supply offers.
When To Use?
Let us see when this type of inverter is preferred the most.
- This inverter type comes in handy when you have several devices you need to power up simultaneously
- It is the inverter of choice when your net power requirement is substantially high as it can throw out a greater power
- It is also comparatively expensive and hence buy it if your budget allows you to do so
The Modified Sine Waveform Inverter
This inverter too can help you power up multiple devices simultaneously and it does have an output like the sine wave. So, what makes it different from the sine waveform inverter?
It doesn’t offer a seamless transition. You will face a hiccup when you power it on or off. This slight pause that will disrupt your appliance once is what sets it apart from the former inverter.
When To Use?
Let us see when you prefer this category of inverter the most.
- This type is ideal when your appliances don’t need a start-up power surge
- They are good for appliances that come with a resistive load
- They are also a great choice for those with slight budget constraints. They are cheaper as compared to pure sine wave inverters
- However, you need to know that it has been reported that sometimes, these inverters tend to interfere with the efficiency and longevity of the appliances it powers. It can also lead to the problem of buzzing sound or toned-down light in your home.
The Square Waveform Inverter
Just like the name implies, this inverter generates a square waveform. They cannot power too many devices at the same time and their efficiency is much reduced as compared to the other two inverter types. However. they are readily available in the market and are a good budget buy.
When to buy?
Let us see when you should opt for this style of inverters.
- You can buy this inverter when you are on a very rigid budget constraint
- You can choose this inverter if you do not have to fire up too many appliances together
- This is a good choice for those who don’t have too many power requirements
- It is a good choice when the appliances are fewer and power cut doesn’t happen too often
- An important point to note is that these inverter machines can get very noisy and therefore interfere with your working.
Inverter Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Option?
Now that you are well versed in the category of inverters, we want you to guide us through the steps of choosing the best inverter for your needs.
It is important to be mindful of the key facts that you must check when making a purchase. This will ensure that you will be able to make an informed purchase with the help of this inverter buying guide.
Assess your power needs
As you know, different types of inverters can power up different load capacities. So, one of the most important things to bear in mind when buying an inverter has to be the net power requirement that will come up.
So, think of the possible devices you will need to power up when there is an electricity cut. These could include the following
- The Wi-Fi routers
- The fans
- The charging nodes
- AC (Based on your preference)
- TV (Based on your preference)
- Water heaters (Based on your preference)
Now that we have a list, try to assess the energy consumption of these units. Here is a table depicting the consumption chart of some of the devices.
|Light (CFL)||10-25 W|
This is a rough estimation. Now, you should try to estimate how much power will be consumed when you power up the devices. Once you have a ballpark figure, it will allow you to come to the right inverter buying guide.
Always remember to use the appliances judiciously. Read here to learn about the cost of electricity unit.
The battery sizes
The battery size is also a very important factor in determining the right type of inverters. To calculate the desired battery, see, you can use this formula.
Battery size = power of the inverter x number of hours you want to use
This value will come in VAh. Now, as you know that the inverter battery capacity is 12V, so you need to divide the result by 12.
This will give you the ideal inverter size based on your requirements. Now, it is not always possible to get the exact battery size as what you calculated. So, in such cases, you should always opt for the battery that has a capacity immediately higher than your calculated value.
Apart from this, you also need to know the battery types to come to a better conclusion. Let us see that.
The types of batteries
Here is a consolidated list of the type of batteries you can get.
- The lead-acid: These batteries are light in weight and can be charged easily. They can last for almost 5 years if you do the right maintenance.
- Maintenance-free batteries: These are sealed acid batteries that don’t need a lot of check-up at periodic intervals. They manage their electrolyte levels on their own and can last for 4 to 5 years easily.
- Tubular batteries: This is the most popular type of battery. They have the highest life as they can last up to 8 years. They are expensive but are extremely efficient and are therefore the most widely selling variant.
Understand The Capacity
The last thing you need to know with the inverter buying guide is the capacity of the inverter. You first of all need to know that the capacity of the inverter is not equivalent to the power consumption. The power factor will be 0.8 times for residential purposes.
So, you must divide the total energy consumed by 0.8 to come to the actual inverter capacity rating. This is the number that implies the maximum amount of power load which the inverter will be able to handle.
If you do not factor in this calculation, your chosen inverter will not be able to fire up all the appliances in one go. This is because its actual power output will be less than what the formula otherwise states.
On top of this, all inverters are not able to offer the promised load rating. This is why you should always choose an inverter with a slightly higher power capacity so that even if there is a slight inefficiency, it will be able to power up the requisite load.
Inverter Models in the market
Let us see some of the different brands and inverter models readily available in the market.
The Luminous Eco Watt Inverter 650
Here are some of the specifications
- It is a square wave inverter
- It offers the right protection from power overload, short circuits, and reverse polarity as well
- The battery capacity is 120-150 Ah
- It has a power backup of 352-387 W
- The price is close to Rs. 3,000 (Check current market rates)
Here are some of the specifications
- It is a sine wave inverter
- The recharge time is very less
- It has a long battery life
- It comes with automatic overload sensors
- It has a power of 10,000 VA
- It is priced close to Rs. 4500 (Check current market rates)
Here are some of the specifications
- It is a hybrid sine wave inverter
- It offers very fast charging
- It has an output power rating of 760W
- The batteries have a rating of 220Ah
- It comes in the price range of Rs. 4000 (Check the market for the current rate)
So, now that you know the three key models and their specific features, you can go ahead and make an informed buying choice.
The Precautionary Measures To Note
To ensure that you can enjoy the long life of your inverters, here are some preventive measures to bear in mind
- Always keep the inverters in a cool and dry place
- Neatly isolate all the appliance wires to avoid any short circuit
- Always keep the inverter on a levelled ground
- Do not keep any inflammable material in the vicinity of the inverter
- Double check the earthing at your home before getting an inverter
- Don’t use appliances unnecessarily when using the inverter. Try to conserve the total power used. This will prolong the hours you can use it for
- Take care of the inverter body and do not allow it to rust
- Take care of the batteries and replenish distilled water if the battery so demands
Which is the most expensive inverter type?
The sine wave inverters tend to be the most expensive
Do the inverters offer the maximum load capacity?
Most inverters will offer 80 percent efficiency
Do you need to take care of the inverters?
Most inverter and their batteries need the right care to ensure a prolonged life. The right maintenance can go a long way in ensuring the long life of the product