Everything You Need to Know About an Inverter Battery

Inverter batteries are the power behind the inverter’s ability to transform direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) power that’s usable for more household devices and appliances. 

Learn more about inverters and how they work, their different types, and the vital role that inverter batteries play. Then, find out how to choose the perfect size inverter for your needs.

What Is an Inverter?

An inverter is an essential device that works as a power adapter by converting direct current (DC) from sources like batteries or solar panels into alternating current (AC), the standard electrical current used in homes and businesses.

This conversion is crucial for the functionality of various household appliances and electronic devices that require AC power to operate. Inverters are vital in situations such as a power outage, where grid electricity is unavailable. 

Without one, any energy produced by a solar energy system like the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel or backup battery such as the EcoFlow Portable Power Stations will be inaccessible. But, with a power source and an inverter, you can successfully harness energy for all your essential appliances, devices, and electrical systems.

How Do Inverters Work?

How are inverters able to accomplish this task successfully? Inverters or inverter generators like the EcoFlow Smart Generator (Dual Fuel) use semiconductors to rapidly switch the direction (or polarity) of the DC energy back and forth through the circuit (about 60 times in a second) to create an oscillating output that mimics the characteristics of cleaner, usable AC energy. 

Once the inverter completes this energy transformation, it’s free to be used by anything from small electronics to large home appliances.

The Different Types of Inverters

Two primary types of inverters convert off-grid DC power into usable AC energy: pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters. Your needs will determine the type of inverter that’s most practical and beneficial to you.

Pure Sine Wave Inverters

Pure sine wave inverters create smooth, consistent energy waves similar to the ones supplied by utility companies. This type of inverter is ideal for sensitive electronics, medical equipment, and devices that require a stable power supply, such as microwaves, refrigerators, or anything powered by a motor. While they’re generally more expensive than other types, the investment can be worth it for their efficiency and reliability.

Modified Sine Wave Inverters

Modified sine wave inverters produce a simpler, less consistent waveform using energy at higher frequencies of about 60Hz. While they’re more affordable, they may not be suitable for all devices, particularly those that rely on precise waveforms for optimal performance. 

They won’t run as efficiently or optimally as a pure sine wave inverter but are still functional enough to power most appliances. They can be an effective solution for less sensitive equipment and general household use.

Understanding the Importance of Inverter Batteries

The inverter battery plays an essential role in the system’s overall performance and efficiency over its lifetime. As the heart of an inverter, a high-quality inverter battery ensures longer backup times, better performance, and enhanced longevity for your inverter system.

A good inverter battery can take various forms, each with unique characteristics:

  • Tubular Batteries: Known for their long life (about five years) and efficiency, tubular batteries are ideal for heavy-duty applications and frequent power outages. They require less maintenance than flat plate batteries, needing fewer water refills while maintaining reliability. They have deep charging cycles, and their high performance tends to make these batteries more expensive than flat plate types.
  • Flat Plate Batteries: Commonly known as lead-acid batteries, flat plate batteries utilise two electrodes immersed in a mixture of sulphuric acid and water, which creates an electrolyte solution. The battery’s positive electrode is made up of lead oxide, while the negative electrode contains porous lead. This type is more affordable but has a shorter lifespan than tubular batteries. They also require more frequent maintenance, a significant drawback of this type. Overall, flat plate batteries are suitable for moderate use and areas with occasional power cuts but have been commonly replaced by tubular batteries in recent years.
  • Sealed Maintenance-Free (SMF) Batteries: Also referred to as valve-regulated lead acid batteries (VRLA), these batteries require no maintenance. That means there’s no need to top up the water. Another benefit of SMF batteries is that they don’t produce noxious gasses, which is important when using the inverter indoors. SMF batteries are designed for environments where regular upkeep is challenging, but their downfall is a shorter lifespan. Their convenience and enhanced safety make SMF batteries much more expensive than tubular or flat plate batteries.

Investing in a good quality battery can significantly impact your inverter’s performance, ensuring a reliable power supply when needed most.

How to Determine the Size of the Inverter You Need

Before choosing the right inverter size, you’ll need to understand several critical factors, from your wattage (and surge) requirements to inverter capacity, environment, and time of use.

Wattage Requirements

The first step is to determine the wattage. Calculate the total wattage of all the devices you plan to power with the inverter. Knowing the wattage helps determine the minimum capacity required to run your appliances without overloading the system. 

If you plan to power your home with an EcoFlow PowerStream Solar System using the EcoFlow PowerStream Microinverter, you’ll need to include all appliances and devices, plus charging outlets, WiFi modems and routers, lights, fans, etc. 

Household inverters are more suited for residential use and appliances, whereas industrial inverters provide more robust wattage for factory or other commercial settings.


Running wattage isn’t the only thing that matters. Consider the surge or starting wattage of appliances. Devices like refrigerators and air conditioners require higher power at startup, so your inverter must handle these surges. If you only consider the running wattage, your inverter might not have the size or power to handle this sudden uptick in power requirement, causing a circuit failure.

Inverter Capacity

Capacity differs from output in that it refers to the maximum load an inverter can sustain continuously, represented by watt-hours. Ensure the inverter’s capacity matches or exceeds your total wattage and surge requirements. It’s a good idea to find one with a capacity that’s 25% greater than the total power needed. Knowing the capacity ensures efficient operation and prevents overloads.

Environment of Use

Consider the environment where the inverter will be used. Is it for household use or industrial use? Household inverters will likely be used less with a smaller load each time, whereas industrial inverters will likely be used constantly by heavy machinery. 

Time of Use

Assess how long you typically need backup power. Will it be for short spurts or longer hauls, such as long-term power outages? Will you use it to power all your appliances the entire time, or will certain appliances only need power for some of the time? Ask yourself these questions, and you’ll find that your answers will help you select an inverter and battery combination that provides sufficient backup for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What To Look for When Buying an Inverter Battery?

When shopping for an inverter battery, consider factors such as battery type (tubular, flat plate, SMF), wattage, capacity, brand reputation, warranty, maintenance requirements, and compatibility with your inverter model.

How Do I Know What Battery To Buy for My Inverter?

Determine your power requirements and backup needs, plus the environment and time of use. Match these with the specifications of available batteries, considering the type, capacity, and compatibility with your inverter.

What Is Important in Inverter Battery?

Key factors include battery capacity, lifespan, efficiency, maintenance needs, price, and compatibility. A good quality battery should offer reliable performance, long backup times, and minimal maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the intricacies of inverter systems, including the crucial role of batteries, will help you make informed buying decisions so you can enjoy reliable and efficient power backup for your home.

Ready to enhance your power backup system? Explore the EcoFlow Powerstream Microinverter for a cutting-edge solution tailored to your energy needs.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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