Continuous and Surge Power Rating of inverter – What is the difference?
First we need to identify what the power is. Power output is rated in Watts. Watts are basically a measure of how much power a device uses when turned on. In physics, term “power” describes the rate at which energy is transferred or consumed by a device. For example the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into light is measured in watts. The output power of an electric motor is also measured in Watts and represents a product of the torque and the angular velocity of its output shaft. More watts mean more power, or in the other words the more electrical energy is used.
There are two major power rating for inverters; a Continuous Power Rating and a Surge Power Rating.
- Continuous Power Rating indicates the amount of power the inverter can handle for an indefinite period of time. Inverter is rated at a certain number of Watts, which generally refers to its continuous rating.
- Surge Power Rating indicates the power to handle instantaneous overload of 1-5 seconds to provide the higher power required to start certain type of devices.
What types of electrical devices require extra “Surge Power”?
All electrical devices you are planning to connect to your inverter could be divided into two main groups – “Resistive loads” and “Inductive loads”
- Resistive loads do not require any extra starting power to start. The starting power of such loads is exactly the same as their running power. The examples of resistive loads are: incandescent lamps, iron, TV, radio, computer, laptop, phone charger, etc.
- Inductive loads use magnetic fields to operate, for example Dishwasher, electric motors, solenoids and relays. This types of loads will initially require a very large starting or extra “surge” power to start operating. The best and simplest indicator for you – if it moves or has moving parts; it is most likely an inductive load. The start-up power surge usually lasts 1-5 seconds. From my experience surge power the device is required is 3x times the normal power it requires for running.