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How Big of an Inverter do I Need to Run a Coffee Maker?

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Updated August 24, 2022

If you go camping and are a coffee lover, you may wonder about how big of an inverter I need to run a coffee maker. As you probably already know, coffee machines run on electricity. However, you may not realize that they use AC power to run the device since AC is the most common type of power for home-based appliances.


  • An inverter allows you to run electronic devices that need to be plugged in from your car.
  • You should have a watt inverter with enough power for your coffee machine and an additional 20% of that power.
  • To determine whether an inverter is large enough for your brewer, check the wattage in the product description.

To fully understand the impact of an inverter on the best coffee maker, you should understand the type of power the inverter uses, the conversion formula, and what a larger inverter does for you. If you want additional information about coffee machines, check out our article on how do espresso coffee makers work.

What Size Inverter Runs a Coffee Machine?

Inverters work to change DC power (like that found in your car’s cigarette lighter) to AC power. These devices allow you to operate electronic devices that need to be plugged in from your car, such as a cell phone. In addition, this conversion will enable you to charge or power devices on the go. For example, you may want to use a coffee machine while camping to enjoy a cup of coffee. You don’t need a machine, however, you can make coffee by heating water on a campfire and using a pour-over method like Dr. Drip coffee or by using a camp coffee percolator.

Insider Tip

You may find the wattage for an inverter in the product description or the user’s manual.

To run a coffee machine, you need roughly enough power to run your model and an additional 20% power to run the watt inverter. If you have trouble with your espresso machine’s pump, read about what to do when your espresso machine pump is not working.


The power inverter takes direct current (DC) power and converts it to alternating current (AC.) In other words, you plug it into a DC power supplier like your car. Then, the inverter releases it as an AC outlet. Some inverters use solar power or battery power instead of your car to shore power for your pot of coffee.

To use consumer electronics that require AC power (hairdryer, coffee pot, drip coffee maker, DVD players, etc.) you plug the inverter directly into your car’s outlet. Some inverters connect to the car’s battery instead. The inverter has an outlet to connect to your device. You can run your electronic devices, such as a coffee machine, TV, or C-PAP machine with the converted power.


The size of the inverter you need depends on your coffee maker. If you have a high-power brewer, you should have a higher-power inverter. Likewise, a low-power inverter can be used with a low-power coffee machine. Look at your coffee machine’s user’s manual or box to figure out which size is right for you.

The average coffee maker uses between 550-1500 watts, though most of this power stems from making hot water. For low-capacity drip coffee makers, your device might use 550-900 watts. An automatic espresso machine can require up to 1500 watts of power. In addition to the basic power use, you must consider the power the inverter itself will use. Because of this factor, you should choose an inverter with about 20% more power in the battery bank than you need for your device.


Once you have the wattage you need, you may need to convert this figure into different power measurements. For example, most coffee makers list their energy use in terms of wattage draw, but inverters list state their capacity in volts. You should also find out your power factor, which is the combination of your amount of current in Amperes (Amps.)

You also need to know the amperage of your device. However, if you can’t find this information, you should rely on a higher amperage of 30 to be safe, though most coffee makers don’t use this much. Finally, to determine the function of the inverter, your conversion relies on this formula.

However, if you want a simple way to determine whether a coffee maker can run off of a specific inverter, look for one that lists the wattage. Often, the power for these devices will be described in the power description as however many volts followed by how many watts.

For more coffee machine models, check out our review of the Nespresso CitiZ for a compact machine that uses capsules. Additionally, if you need more coffee maker tips and tricks, learn why you should grind your own coffee beans.


Your inverter requires power to convert the type of electrical power, so you should add 20% to your total.


Does an inverter use power if nothing is plugged in?

Yes, inverters still convert energy when nothing is plugged into the device. If you want to avoid battery drain, consider unplugging your inverter when you aren’t actively using it.

Can I leave my inverter on all the time?

You can, but this may drain your car battery. To avoid this issue, disconnect your inverter when you don’t need it.

Why do you need an inverter for a coffee pot?

Inverters allow you to brew your coffee using the power from your car. This fact is particularly helpful if you are not at home or are camping.

STAT: The energy consumption of coffee machines primary results from water heating, with small amounts for motor energy for mechanical action, for electronics, and heat losses. (source)

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