Can Any 12v Appliance Run Off a Car Battery?

Do you wonder if it is possible to run electronics off a car battery? Can you convert a car’s battery into a power outlet for 12v appliances?

Sometimes, for example during an electricity outage, you might need to run your fridge, mobile, computer, radio, or other household items off your car’s battery.

Here, we will find out that can any 12v appliance run off a car battery or not.

Many simple plug-in devices can be powered through a car battery. A power inverter converts the 12v electrical current that is produced by a car into a 120-volts current which can run off several electronic devices.

Converting A Car Battery into A Power Outlet

To convert a car battery into a power outlet for electronic appliances, you need to have the following items:

  • Your car’s battery or a spare battery if you have got one.
  • A power inverter
  • DC versus AC

The batteries of an automobile operate at a direct current of 12v, whereas household appliances operate at an alternating current of 110-120v.

So, running electronics off a car battery requires a device that can convert direct current into alternating current, and contains slots in which the plugs of your appliances can be inserted. Such a device is known as a Power inverter.

A power inverter can be connected to a car battery through its wires and cables. The power inverter has slots into which the plugs of your devices can be inserted.

When you attach a charged battery to it, a power inverter will allow you to power 110-120v appliances for a limited period.

What Can You Run Off A 12v Battery?

So, are you wondering that what can you run off a 12v battery? well, a 12v battery can power the following appliances, but it should be kept in mind that this power supply will be only for a short time.

Following devices can run off a 12v battery:

  • Fridge
  • Coolers
  • Microwave oven
  • Heater
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Lights
  • Air pumps
  • Water pumps

How Long Will A 12v Battery Power an Appliance?

How long will a 12v battery last depends upon what are you running from it? If you ask how long will a car battery run a 12v fridge?  A fridge cooler can run from a 12v car battery for about 18 hours safely.

If you will try to run it more than that, you will probably not be able to start your car. At 12v, fridge coolers draw 4.5 Amperes current. Similarly, a water pump can run off a car battery for about 5 hours safely.

Some appliances can run off a car battery but still, they are not recommended to be powered by them. For example, a microwave oven, should not be powered on a single battery unless it is getting its power from other sources as well.

In short, running any 12v appliance off a car’s battery is easy, it requires a power inverter and safety measures to be taken.

Simply plug the appliances into the inverter and the inverter to the 12v charger outlet or a cigarette lighter of the car, and plug attach the wires of the inverter to the battery terminals.

Here you are, now you can run almost any 12v appliance off your car battery, of course for a limited time.

Is It Safe to Run Appliances Off a Car Battery? Yes and No!

There are some appliances that can be run off a car’s battery, but they should only be used for short periods of time.

For example:


You should not power the cooler with your car’s battery for more than 18 hours because the battery will be under constant strain.

​​Microwave oven

Using a microwave oven of your car’s battery is also not recommended for longer than it takes to heat up something.


It is not safe to run an electric heater off a car because the batteries can be easily drained of power and leave you stranded without heat or an air conditioner.


You will be able to power your television for only a few hours off your car’s battery.

Air pumps for inflatable toys

These should only be used for a few minutes at a time because the power demands are high, which can drain your battery very quickly.

The important thing to remember is that you should never run an appliance off your car’s battery for more than 30-60 minutes.

They should be used solely for emergencies because running an appliance off a car’s battery will drain it and leave you stranded if you drain it completely.

The best thing to do is hook up the power inverter when the car’s engine is running so that you can have maximum power from your vehicle without draining your battery or straining your alternator.

Final Thoughts!

As you can see, powering appliances off your car battery is possible, but not recommended. If you choose to do so, you should follow all safety precautions and common-sense guidelines outlined above.

Remember this saying: “When in doubt, don’t”.

Of course, there are some 12v appliances that can be used for longer periods of time off the battery but the notable thing is that you need to purchase a quality power inverter to get maximum efficiency while running your appliances off a car’s battery.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below!

Thank You and Stay Safe!

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