Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter. I really have always liked the 800 watt inverter as a prep item. It is that perfect balance of being able to run most things you can run from you car and an equal bang for the buck balance. For many years I recommended the Whistler XP800i 800 Watt Power Inverter. That item has gone some redesigns and I don’t recommend it any longer. The problems with it have grown and stupid cost cutting measures (like not including cables with it) have ruined a once great product.
I conferred a great deal with a few contacts on this including new expert council member Shawn Mills and in the end I am not leading with the recommendation for the Cobra CPI890. It is a solid piece of gear, comes with a 2 year warranty and of course if you have any out of the box problems Amazon will exchange it.
As to reviews I have basically given up on inverters for reviews on Amazon. In the end people are idiots, no you can’t run a 1200 watt microwave with a single marine battery and a 800 watt inverter. If you plug a 400 watt inverter into a cigarette lighter in your car and actually attempt to pull 400 watts something is going to give. Why? The cigarette lighter connection can only deliver about 150 watts maximum. And on it goes. Yes the inverter is going to whine and stop working when your batteries are drained.
In the end the Cobra inverters are solid for what an inverter of this class is designed to do. Yes they are modified sine wave inverters, that is why they cost so much less than a pure sine wave inverter, but unless you are runnign something that requires it, that doesn’t matter.
Inverters like this are good for what they have always has been a good low cost option for back up power when you need it. It allows you with simply some extension cords and some power splitters to make use of the one or two “generators” sitting in your driveway or garage. If you are sane you can power most things in your house with one or two of these just not all at the same time, you can run a fridge for a few hours to keep it cool then run other things.
It will easily run some LED lights to keep you able to see where things are. It will of course give you all the power you need to charge all your devices, run a laptop and even a cable modem, again you just have to pick what you want to do at any time, you can’t do everything at once, but you can do an awful lot.
At 69.95 a piece I don’t know of any other single preparedness item that can do as much for under 70 bucks. I also want to say this is a big time case for two is one and one is none. This is a good product but inverters do fail, all electronics do, so keep two at least on hand. In spite of me picking on some of the negative reviews, some are reasonable. Again any brand of inverter will have some failures, I have yet to find one that doesn’t. Again these come with a two year warranty. I recommend having a back up and simply using a warranty as designed if needed.
So check out the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter today and consider adding it to your black out kit.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. – This inverter line is available in power from 130 watts all the way up to 2500. I really love the 200 Watt Model and I have one in my truck. I will likely bring it around as a stand alone item at some point. It is designed to go into a cup holder and has one AC plug and two USB ports. It is really perfect for charging small devices and say a laptop or running a small fan when camping.
Remember in all this, your car or truck is not a light saber, if you take more power from it than your alternator can make you will drain your battery. Also any inverter above 200 watts needs to be clamped onto a battery not pluged into a 12vdc port if you want to pull anything above 150 watts.
Also larger inverters like say 1500 watts and above need to be bolted to a battery not clamped on. And we are talking about real power in all these, just like the power from a wall plug, electricity can kill you. If you don’t know what you are doing with a project get professional help.
Lastly I know I should not have to say this but if you hook up say a 2500 watt inverter to say a single battery, it may give you 2500 watts, for a few moments but it will quickly drain if you run anything with that much power. So size your inverters to your systems accordingly. Over sizing your inverter by more than say one level up is generally a waste of money.