• Share:
Car Accessories: DC/AC Inverter

Charging a laptop or other electronic device on a car cigarette lighter works differently than charging from an outlet. Here's what you need to know.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to power a laptop from a cigarette-lighter outlet

Although manufacturers sell 200-watt inverters, most cigarette lighter sockets only crank out 96 to 120 watts. Check the wattage shown on the laptop power supply (or whatever other device you want to power) to find its wattage. If yours is 90 watts (typical for a full-size laptop), you've already maxed out the typical car's lighter socket. If you need to power two laptops, don't add a power strip or octopus adapter. Adding a second power supply would overheat the inverter and most likely blow the cigarette lighter fuse. Instead, buy a second inverter and plug it into a different socket if you have one. The bottom line is that you can power up as many devices as you want as long as the total doesn't exceed 100 watts.

Back to Top

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • DC/AC power inverter for car lighter socket

Comments from DIY Community Members

No comments on the article have been posted yet. Be the first to add your comment!

You will be required to log in or create an account to post a comment.


Add Your Comment

Car Accessories: DC/AC Inverter

Please add your comment

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today

Report Abuse

Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us