Pure Sine Wave Inverters Versus Modified Sign Wave Inverters

Power inverters – devices that change DC current to AC current – are classified in several ways, such as whether they are a transformerless inverter or one that contains a transformer; whether they are a stand-alone inverter, or are connected the grid; and whether they deliver a modified sine wave or a pure one. In this entry, DC to AC inverters that have pure sine wave are compared to their well-known counterparts—inverters that have a modified sine wave.

How are the inverters different?

As their names would suggest, the primary difference between pure sine wave and modified sine wave inverters lies in the type of sign wave they exhibit. A modified sign wave is similar to a square wave, which looks like a succession of evenly spaced squares when it is expressed as a waveform. However, unlike a square wave, a modified sine wave’s output rests at zero volts for a short time before switching positive or negative.

Far from looking like a succession of blocks when viewed as a waveform, a pure sine wave looks like a series of smooth, evenly spaced hills and valleys. Due to its nearly perfect sine wave output, a pure sine wave inverter is compatible with all types of electronics, even sensitive, specialized equipment such as laser printers and audio equipment. A modified sine wave inverter, on the other hand, is not compatible with these electronic devices. It can power most types of standard electrical, but cannot be used for equipment whose performance requires refined sine wave input.

Another difference between pure signs wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters is the latter offer less energy efficiency than the former. For example, while an AC motor will run off a modified sine wave, its operational efficiency is nearly twenty percent less than it would be if a pure sine wave were present. For companies whose green initiatives include energy efficiency, using an AC to DC inverter that delivers a pure sine wave is typically the best choice. Using a transformerless inverter will also boost efficiency.

Choosing the Right Inverter

Depending on how you use them, pure sign wave inverters have distinct advantages over modified sign wave inverters. There are, however, some instances when the latter are just as effective as the former, if not more so. For example, if you need to power equipment that requires a single induction load, or a resistive load, modified sine wave inverters are an ideal choice for two reasons: they often cost less than pure sine wave inverters, and they use DC power quite efficiently.

Choosing a DC to AC inverter is an important decision concerning the type of equipment that will be powered, the amount of energy consumed by the inverter, and the inverter’s cost. If you need assistance choosing a transformerless inverter, a pure sine wave inverter, or another type of inverter, EXELTECH – an industry-leading manufacturer of commercial grade inverters for over twenty years – is here to help. Call us today to learn about our products and services.

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