For individuals to use a device properly and not have it blow a fuse or blow up in someone’s face, it is essential to supply it with the correct voltage level. The issue with this is different voltages are available within certain countries and all over the world. For devices to be working properly, it’s necessary to transform the voltage into what’s needed.
The devices that are used in these situations are called converters and inverters. Everything about them on the surface is similar except for what each of these devices do with the voltage that flows through them.
An inverter changes a DC voltage into an AC voltage and either increases or decreases the level to an appropriate amount. A converter, by comparison, changes the voltage level but it doesn’t change its type. A converter receiving AC voltage will still produce AC voltage as it would produce DC voltage when DC voltage is flowing through it.
The single largest purpose for an inverter is to provide power like the main power line when it isn’t available. An example of this is when a UPS uses a DC voltage. A 12V or 24V can be converted with an inverter to produce AC voltage of either 110V or 220V when the main power is cut-off.
Converters are often used to convert the voltage to appropriate levels. For example, a voltage converter could be used to charge a cellphone using a car’s lighter socket.
An inverter is a more complicated device than a converter primarily for the conversion process. Generating AC from a DC source or vice versa is a difficult process compared to converters reducing the amount of voltage flowing through them.
In the end, the only time an inverter is absolutely needed is when an individual or company wishes to run a device or appliance that’s meant to operate from the main power supply when only a battery is available. This is why solar power systems are becoming popular with these devices as these systems produce a low voltage DC supply and the energy needs to be converted to run 110V or 220V AC devices.
Converters on the other hand are ideal to make the supply voltage get reduced to the appropriate voltage needed to power devices.