RoadPro 12 Volt DC Inverter Review; 175 Watts, Plug-in

When our battery-connected unit failed, we purchased a 12 volt DC inverter (175 watts), marketed by RoadPro(R), at a truck stop.

12-volt plugin power inverterThis is our review.

This type of inverter is the kind that plugs directly into a 12-volt outlet (the cigarette lighter style) in a commercial motor vehicle.

Our intention was to use it only long enough for us to get a battery-connected unit re-established.


Power Delivery

Our biggest concern was being restricted to using 175 watts after being used to drawing more electricity.

However, we were pleasantly surprised that Vicki was able to run both our laptop computer and cell phone recharger from a power strip plugged into the unit which had been plugged into the power outlet.

In fact, we seem to recall even being able to power a relatively low-wattage crock pot from this 12 volt DC inverter.


Comparing Costs and Availability

Let us address the cost of this product.

If you look at the price tag of the product in the photo above (taken in a truck stop in February 2010), you will see that the price was $26.99. (This cost may have changed since then.)

The original RoadPro inverter that we found on is no longer available.

You can order a similar device with a slightly higher power output from — with whom we have an affiliate relationship — for the price shown.

Now in our case, we needed the product in Mike’s truck right away. We couldn’t wait to obtain our product, so we were willing to pay the extra $6 (not including tax).

However, if you’re planning to order online, make sure to factor in the cost of shipping in your calculation.



This product has never failed us in-truck, given the applications for which we used it. We do not know what would have happened if we had tried to draw more power from it than it was capable of delivering.

According to, this unit has a low battery alarm. We never let our truck batteries’ charge run down so low that the alarm came on.

We have run the device strictly from battery power. We have also run it overnight to operate an AC-powered appliance like a fan.



When this DC to AC power inverter is plugged in, a built-in fan comes on (we imagine to keep the unit cool).

The whirring of the fan is pretty quiet. In fact, more than once, we awoke and went about our duties in the truck without remembering to unplug it because it was so quiet.


Other Applications

We have used a 12 volt DC inverter in our personal automobile in the past and it worked just fine.


truck drivers money saving tip iconMoney saving tip: If you have to buy the product at a truck stop and you have the luxury of time to do comparison shopping between them, then shop for and buy the lowest cost product. If all products are the same, then the lowest total cost is your goal. Remember to factor in state and local sales tax.

If you buy online, don’t forget to factor in shipping costs.

There are different brands of cigarette lighter style inverters on the market. You may wish to compare features.

Remember what happens if your product is purchased at a truck stop with a limited return period or an exchange-only policy.

Review the warranty period. Some RoadPro(R) products have only a limited 90-day warranty. Evaluate for yourself if this is satisfactory.

A 12 volt DC inverter is much lower in cost than a battery-connected inverter that can deliver more wattage. If your needs are simple and your power requirements are low, then the less expensive product may work for you.

Bear in mind the portability factor of this product. If you have multiple 12-volt outlets in your vehicle, you may be able to move the device around.

In one of the trucks that Mike drove regionally, the 12 volt outlet on the dash did not work.

So, we plugged the inverter in a different outlet and connected a power strip to it to let us have power in the front seats.

We have never tried using multiple 12 volt DC inverters plugged into multiple 12 volt outlets in a truck. Although it shouldn’t, don’t be surprised if something overloads.


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