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A power inverter is a small electronic device that changes DC electrical current into AC electrical current. This is useful if you want to be able to power your personal electronic devices (which run on AC current) from a source that outputs DC current (like solar panels or batteries). An inverter can allow you to charge devices like a laptop or rechargeable batteries from a source like your car or boat (via the cigarette lighter) or a battery pack (like the Goal Zero line of power packs).
Inverters have no moving parts, making them very durable and suited for survival situations, hiking, camping, and travel.
A universal power inverter such as the Goal Zero Universal Inverter allows you to power your devices from anywhere in the world when used in conjunction with a portable battery.
If you have a battery or solar panel, you can use the inverter to make the stored power accessible to normal plug-in appliances and devices. Because a solar panel or battery stores power in the Direct Current (DC), you will need to convert it to AC (Alternating Current) in order to use it to power normal plug-in-the-wall type devices. An inverter may be connected to your battery or solar panel through a 12V powerpole or male car adapter.
Inverters offer a range of output connections to allow you to power a variety of devices ranging from cell phones, tablets and laptops to cameras, battery chargers and GPS. A USB port is available for output power as well as a multi-plug that allows practically any AC plug in the world to be plugged in to the inverter (110V/220V) and a 12V female car adapter plug.