Can my Suburban handle a coffee maker with the right size inverter?

Instead of buying an inverter, go to a truck stop and buy a coffee maker with the right kind of power cord to plug into your vehicle’s DC 12 volt outlet. Here some examples of what you can find: These aren’t very large, but if you and some other parents get two or three of them going simultaneously, one on each vehicle, you should end up with a decent amount of coffee, and you can brew more while you sip on what has already brewed.

It’s amazing how much more efficient it is to use the power your vehicle provides, as opposed to an inverter, which is highly inefficient.

When I was a truck driver, I was amazed at how many appliances I could get for my truck at truck stops. Things like electric heaters, microwaves, and electric coolers can run on a 12 volt outlet easily as long as you don’t need anything to be hot or cold right away. The same goes for a simple coffee maker. It can easily run on a 12 volt outlet as long as you don’t need it to brew quickly.

If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always get a flash pot for your vehicle and make instant coffee.

I still have an AC/DC television, a DC electric cooler, and a DC flash pot from my truck driving days, but they’re pretty useless now. The cooler would take about 24 hours of continuous power to get cold, but fortunately, in a semi, you can leave it plugged in 24/7. In my car, with it getting shut off at every fuel stop and restroom stop, the drinks in the cooler never get cold. The flash pot was good for heating up water for noodles, but I’m not a fan of instant coffee. Instant coffee is like cheap beer. Some may say they like it, but I’d rather have nothing.

Twin Turbo:
Isn’t there one heating element, around the plate? I.E, the same heating element (in the base plate) that heats up the water causing it to percolate is the same heating element that keeps the coffee warm.

I didn’t think it worked as you described.

But I agree with Whitney - get a unit that is designed to work on 12 volts.

I think if you test your coffee maker at home, you will find the water is hot before it comes into contact with the coffee grounds.

Oh, one more thing, @Fletcher_Jean.

If you decide not to follow my advice to get a 12 volt coffee maker instead of an inverter, I have two very important pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t go small. A small inverter that plugs into your 12 volt outlet can easily get overloaded. Make sure what you buy has the capacity to run your device, so purchase your coffee maker before you purchase the inverter.

  2. Have the inverter professionally installed. It will need to be wired directly to the vehicle’s battery, and the cables need to be able to handle the load created by the inverter.

When you find out how much a high capacity inverter and the labor to install it costs, you’ll probably realize you’re better off getting a 12 volt coffee maker.

NOBODY would drink coffee period if it did not have caffeine in it…You couldn’t give the foul tasting stuff away…Same for WINE…NOBODY would drink that either if it were a non-alcoholic beverage…

Cream & Sugar? You bet! That’s the only way they can choke it down…

I’m sure the OP has long since fled screaming from this discussion, probably seeking solace in something much stronger than coffee. Using a hefty power inverter to run a home coffee maker makes as much sense in this situation as putting your house on a giant turntable to rotate it out of the sun instead of just buying window blinds.

Stop at a wilderness atore. Pick up a small sterno stove and a campsite coffeemaker. And an instruction book.

Or, even better, cut back on the caffein. There are countless other options that are much, much healthier and only need a cooler full of ice.

Einstein Bros. Bagels sells coffee in a box for $16, It holds 10 medium cups of coffee. Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel are part of their group. I imagine that Starbucks or any coffee shop near you will sell boxes like this. You could get a coffee club going and either provide the coffee for a fee or share buying it. You might get two or three boxes every 6 to 8 weeks. If you get in their club, you might get a free box once in a while.

Might have noticed the Starbucks just down the street. They have carry out boxes of ready-made coffee for catering.

“Using a hefty power inverter to run a home coffee maker makes as much sense in this situation as putting your house on a giant turntable to rotate it out of the sun instead of just buying window blinds.”

Hard to say what “this situation” is, based on the information here. Let’s say the coffee thing happens occasionally, they like fresh hot coffee of their own choosing and lots of it and they have other uses for the inverter. Makes sense to me. I wouldn’t go out and buy another coffee machine. Ran into a similar scenario myself and the inverter has been a lifesaver more than once. So hard to make definitive judgements based on the limited background presented.

Professional installation? Open hood, clip leads onto battery or power posts…

I’d rather buy a $30 coffee maker that runs on 12V (one of the links in a previous post) than a several hundred power inverter just so I could run my home one. And would you really want to keep shuffling around your home coffee maker? Or need to pop the hood to hook up alligator clips to the battery. (if the battery is even under the hood–mine is not)

My solution seems logical to me (12V coffee maker or big thermos), but no one is of course required to follow it. And I do have a power inverter. But if I drank coffee and wanted to make some on the road, I’d still be using a 12V coffee maker.

“(if the battery is even under the hood–mine is not)”

Doesn’t yours have power posts for jump starting under the hood? Just curious. The only cars I’ve had so far with remote batteries are older corvettes and while they don’t have dedicated posts, there is a spot you can clip onto. I was under the impression newer cars had convenience posts…

For that use, why bother ? A small propane burner is just the ticket; safer, quicker, more convenient and less troublesome for anyone’s electrics. Heck, that’s why they make them.

How is propane safer and more convenient than a coffee maker that plugs into the cigarette lighter/12 volt outlet?


Read what @UncleTurbo posted. (and @texases) Cigarette lighter is a short term draw not an extended way to constantly heat coffee for how many people ? 20 to 30 parents and a 36 cup coffee maker ? You got to be inconsiderate of TIME and the car to think using the wiring from a dash cig. lighter won’t be problem. . 36 cups is nearly 2 gallons of water you’re going to heat to near boiling for how long with a dash jack vs propane…? How long will it take one vs the other…IMHO, with all do respect to OP, it’s a rediculus idea and I would never think of heating this much water that way and why has the discussion gone on so long without the obvious…use a propane burner as …electricity from a car for heat, doesn’t cut it. I wouldn’t even use a hot plate hooked to my 10k watt generator. It 's too inefficient !

And, refills are no problem and QUICK. Put it this way; I’ll donate the propane burner but no way would I let my car lighter be used this way…would you ? I guess only a few of us here do much cooking,;=)

As long as you’re not exceeding the current draw and you have a good tight connection, and are reasonably prudent about running the engine when needed to keep the battery charged, I don’t see a problem with using the lighter or preferably an auxiliary power outlet near the back of the car, like a lot of vehicles have for purposes like these. I don’t balk at using an electric heater in my home when I want extra heat over a propane or kerosene one; why would I not use an electrical appliance in my car?


But my advice didn’t involve using a 36 cup coffee maker, my advice suggested using one or more of these on multiple vehicles, if necessary.

Refills would be no problem with my suggested method either. You brew a pot, pour you and your friends some coffee, and while you’re drinking it, you brew another pot, or you hook up one of these pots in your vehicle, and one or more of them in your friends’ vehicles.

This is beginning to look like a straw man defense. As a matter of fact, there don’t appear to be any 36 cup coffee makers that plug into a 12 volt DC outlet, but you could use three 12 cup coffee makers in three vehicles if you really wanted that much coffee that quick, and you wouldn’t need to buy and replenish your propane supply, which seems less convenient and more troublesome. There is certainly nothing unsafe about my advice.

@Whitey, Dagosa’s just trying to go with the OP’s question, they wanted lots of coffee. I’d rather go the Thermos+coffee shop route, lots simpler.