What are the different kind of appliances that should be used with square wave, modified sine wave and sine wave inverters?

What are the different kind of appliances that should be used with square wave, modified sine wave and sine wave inverters?

The suitability of a particular waveform in an inverter depends upon the type of load the inverter is being connected to and the nature of usage (whether it is for continuous use or emergency use). A general comparison of the inverters based on the different waveforms is offered below:


Inverter waveform

Square wave

Modified sine wave

Sine wave

Loads suitable for

Lights and fans only Lights, fans, Personal Computers, TVs (there might be electrical noise in case of some models, check the specific inverter model), other household appliances All kinds of loads including sensitive electronics

Harmonics/Audible noise

High Medium Low


Low Medium High


Sine wave inverters:

The major advantage of a sine wave inverter is that it ensures trouble-free and efficient operation of all electrical and electronic equipments. Please note:

  • Certain appliances like sensitive medical equipment, audio/video electronics, household appliances such as variable speed drills, bread makers, light dimmers and battery chargers require waveforms with low harmonic distortion and should be connected to only sine wave inverters.
  • Many inductive loads, such as appliances containing motors also produce full output only when operated with true sine wave power.
  • Sine wave inverters also have a higher surge power tolerance and are able to cater to the higher surge current drawn by inductive loads during start-up.

Modified sine wave inverters:

These inverters provide a good value proposition as while not as expensive as sine wave inverters, they still are compatible with a broad range of electrical gadgets used at home or office such as TV, computers, printers etc. Please note:

  • When modified sine wave inverters are used to power inductive loads, such as appliances having motors, solenoids, compressors, pumps or relays, the loads tend to consume about 10-20% more power than when powered with true sine wave power.
  • Appliances with electronic timers and/or digital clocks will often not operate accurately due to the noise in a modified sine wave compared to a pure sine wave.

Square wave inverters:

These inverters are the cheapest and are typically suitable for running lights, fans and other devices that are not impacted by the harmonics present in this waveform. It is important to not connect square wave inverters to sensitive electronic appliances as they might cause irreparable damage to them.

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