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Despite the rapid growth of self-commutated inverter technology, the well-known current source inverter (CSI) has not achieved significant practical application so far. This raised the question regarding the fundamental criteria that could either prevent or promote the use of such inverters, especially considering emerging fields of application such as grid integration of renewable sources. This paper will, thus, focus on a systematic comparison between circuits based on the CSI and voltage source inverter (VSI). For such purpose, dimensionless benchmark factors were derived. The pulse width-modulated CSI with its inherent step-up capability alongside the indirect CSI (ICSI) with only two high-frequency switches features very interesting characteristics in terms of low switching losses and high inductor power density. However, both topologies show constraints with respect to the provision of reactive power. Two experimental setups have been implemented demonstrating the technical feasibility of different CSI solutions as a grid interface.