Does An RV Inverter Charge The Battery?

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Compared to your home, your RV has a unique electrical setup. An RV can run on power from an RV park or an electrical wire at a home as well as a generator or even solar. An RV also often uses an inverter to convert the exterior power to the right kind for the appliances and usage.

So does the RV inverter charge the battery? Inquiring minds want to know how to charge their battery.

An inverter can indeed charge a battery for an RV. The inverter changes the current from the power source from direct current to alternating current.

What does the inverter do?

In more detail, the inverter is designed to change the electricity supplied to your RV into DC, as most RVs have a 12 volt battery. While the inverter does not charge the battery directly as the inverter doesn’t produce power, the inverter does change the type of power being sent.

How? Electronic conversion. The inverter takes in the power and changes the frequency of it to better suit batteries and other 12 volt devices. 

The purpose is for safety: A 12 volt RV battery is not meant to take a direct, constant current. It charges better and lasts longer with an alternating current that doesn’t apply constant power.

How do I use the inverter?

Some RVs come with an inverter. You should plug in shore power to your inverter to change the type of current. The rest is mostly automatic as the RV is wired to take incoming power and send it to devices, appliances, and batteries that are plugged in. In other words, with an inverter plugged in and a need to charge your battery, you’ll be able to just turn on the power source and plug in.

Do I need the inverter?

Especially when you are doing off the grid camping, yes. An inverter assures that the right kind of electricity is getting to the battery.

When should I use my inverter?

The easy answer is when you want to run AC appliances. Pretty simple: electric motors for appliance often require an alternating current instead of direct. 

Are there any dangers in not using the inverter?

AC based appliances don’t need direct current – it can damage them or worse. An alternating current on a direct current can have the battery do weird things like charging and recharging because of the alternating current.


An inverter is needed to charge your battery, especially if you are off the grid camping. You just want to make sure your appliances are receiving the right kind of power – and not the kind that could damage them or shock you. There is a danger in using the wrong kind of power for the device.

Most RV owners will want an inverter present, and thankfully yes, it does charge your batteries when plugged in.

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