In this world of ubiquitous computing, most of us feel like we will not survive being separated from our digital devices. Nevertheless, we cannot let such fears ruin our camping plans. Luckily, buying the best portable power station can help ensure you can do some work on your laptop, use your phone normally, use a mini-fridge or power multiple electrical devices simultaneously.
Additionally, the best portable power stations can provide you with reliable electrical energy in case of a power outage or when you need to use power tools far from a power outlet. Our definition will clear things up if the concept sounds foreign to you. Also, we have the best portable power station reviews and a buying guide to help you find convenient, versatile and reliable electrical energy whenever you need it.
What Is a Portable Power Station?
Traditionally, we used gas-powered generators to save us from power outages or to help ensure our devices continue to run even when we explore the outdoors. Although the power supply is ideal for catering to our needs, we need to take safety precautions when working with the equipment. For instance, the carbon monoxide and noise they emit when running means we need to use it outside.
Most of us have seen typical smartphone power banks and their incredible charging efficiency despite being pocket-sized. Portable power stations replicate this technology but upscale it to allow you to run multiple devices simultaneously. This battery-powered inverter generator may lack the noise and emissions associated with its competition.
In addition, they come with numerous modern bells and whistles to help you keep your electronic gadgets charged while providing reliable power to run power-hungry ones. Nevertheless, other models may rely on gas or solar energy to fill their banks. Below is a detailed breakdown of the types of portable power stations.
Types of Portable Power Stations
1. Solar Power Station
The standard solar power generator features a solar panel or two and a battery pack that will charge when the sun is out. Still, some advanced models can also juice up the battery via a wall socket. Combining these two technologies gives users options to ensure a dependable power supply.
The hybrid between solar and electrical power makes these portable power stations popular. So whether you are going on camping trips or require a CPAP machine at night, power will not be an issue.
2. Electric Power Stations
An electric portable power station is, essentially, a large battery pack with a large capacity and high peak power output. To use these devices, you can plug them into a standard AC outlet or a vehicle outlet using a suitable adapter. Typically, deciding where to juice the pack will determine how long it will take to get to a full charge.
You can use this portable station indoors on the plus side as it does not produce harmful emissions or an annoyingly loud hum. In addition, some variations can charge from a specially designed set of solar panels that the manufacturers offer as an option. Thus, the best portable power station may be an electric model, depending on your needs.
3. Gas-Powered Portable Station
These types are the traditional models we covered above. The power station weighs much more than its counterparts since it has a built-in fuel tank and a generator. However, you will be hard-pressed to find a model that includes a battery pack to provide power when you run out of gas.
Gas-powered stations are generators that convert liquid fuel into energy that you can use only when the equipment is running. Thus, if you need power, you will have to contend with the loud noise and toxic emissions that come with keeping your devices plugged. Nevertheless, you will get the highest power output since you can run a standard home using gas-powered generators.
Best Portable Power Stations
1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power...
- EASY TO CARRY: This entry-level portable power station is...
- VERSATILE POWER SOURCE: 1* Pure Sine Wave AC outlet (110V 200W...
- GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station can be recharged by the...
- WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station,...
The Jackery Powerable Power Station Explorer 240 owes its popularity to an excellent balance between a competitive price and tremendous value. If you want to charge mobile phones or power small appliances while outdoors, this model features a sturdy build with a carrying handle for portability. Plus, it is not heavy, so that you can haul it around with ease.
It is not the most modern option since it lacks USB C ports. However, since you can charge it while still using it, you will not have to suffer any power interruptions. Plus, the capacity to price ratio makes it one of the best power stations for the typical user.
- Capacity: 240 Wh
- Power output wattage: 200 W
- Peak power output: 400 W
- Outlets available: 2 USB A ports, 1 AC outlet, 1 DC carport.
- Charging time: AC wall outlet 3.5 hours, car outlet 5 hours and 5.5 hours using their Solarsaga 60" panels.
- Weight: 6.82 pounds.
2. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
- MASSIVE CAPACITY & IMPRESSIVE ENDURANCE: With the 1000W wattage...
- UPGRADE ENDLESS SOLAR POWER: As an option to own the endless...
- POWERFUL & VERSATILE PORTS: The Explorer 1000 features 3 standard...
- NOISELESS, STRONG & SAFE: At a such large capacity, this Explorer...
- WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station...
Another entry from Jackery is their Explorer 1000, which packs more features than the previous one and much more power. For starters, you can upgrade it into a solar generator, and the better MPPT controller will work 23% more efficiently. Additionally, you get more output ports and an impressive peak output supply that allows you to run more energy-hungry devices.
Moreover, the manufacturer provides a list of compatible devices and the duration they can run while the portable power station is fully charged. Nevertheless, the weight can be an issue even though you can use the carrying handle. Plus, these high-capacity batteries cannot be used as UPS.
- Battery capacity: 1002 Wh
- Power output: 1000 W
- Peak power output: 2000 W
- Outlets available: 1 USB A port, 2 USB C ports, 1 quick charge 3.0 port and 1 12v DC output.
- Charging time for 0% to 80%: wall outlet 5.5 hours, 126 W solar panel 6.5 hours and 11.5 hours from a car outlet.
- Weight: 22.04 pounds.
3. AIMTOM 155Wh Power Station
- ▲ GIGANTIC 42000mAh BATTERY WILL COVER ALL YOUR NEEDS: The...
- ▲ ONE POWER GENERATOR FOR ALL YOUR DEVICES: Power up your...
- ▲ TAKE YOUR POWER SUPPLY WITH YOU ANYWHERE: Even though our...
- ▲ SO QUIET, EFFICIENT POWER: Rest assured that your portable...
- ▲ ADVANCED BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: The built-in BMS protects...
The AIMTOM 155 Wh is a lightweight, portable power station with an ergonomically designed carrying handle. Although less weight means even fewer charging times, the 155 Wh capacity and 100 W output ensure this model can run and charge numerous appliances. Plus, its price makes the power station pretty popular.
Since this model packs a cooling fan, you do not have to worry about overheating. In addition, you will not notice it purring since the power inverter is pretty quiet. Finally, if you ever need help while outdoors, the built-in flashlight has an SOS mode to help you find assistance.
- Capacity: 155 Wh or 42000mAh
- Power output: 100 W
- Peak power output: 150 W
- Outlets available: 3 USB A ports and 3 12V DC ports.
- Charging time: 7 to 9 hours on their SolarPak 60, 7 to 8 hours via a car charger and 7-8 hours on an AC wall outlet.
- Weight: 3.48 pounds.
4. Jackery Powerable Power Station Explorer 300
- SPEED UP YOUR RECHARGEABILITY: It takes only 2 hours to recharge...
- SAFE & STEADY POWER SUPPLY: Armed with a 293Wh lithium-ion...
- POWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Featuring 2* AC outlet, 1* PD 60W USB-C...
- GREEN POWER SUPPLY: The power station is compatible with the...
- WHAT YOU GET: 1* Jackery Explorer 300 Portable Power Station ,...
The last entry from Jackery is their Explorer 300. This model packs slightly more power than the 240 series, making it better for people looking for more juice. In addition, this portable power station comes with more AC ports and a USB C port, which is lacking in the other model.
Although it features a larger capacity, the Jackery Explorer 300 features similar charging times to the 240 models. Thus, you will not have to delay your outdoor adventures to wait for the battery pack to juice up. In addition, when you pair the power station with the Jackery Solar Saga panels, you are in for unlimited green energy.
- Capacity: 293 Wh
- Power output: 300 W
- Peak power output: 500 W
- Outlets available: 12 V car output, 1 USB A port, 1 USB C port and one Quick Charge 3.0 port
- Charging time for 0% to 80%: 2 hours for wall outlet using the USB C PD input, 3.5 hours using the SolarSaga 100, 3.5 hours using a standard wall outlet and 3.7 hours via a car outlet.
- Weight: 7.1 pounds.
5. EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station Delta
- 【Multiple Charging Outputs Provide More Options】DELTA...
- 【Triple Rechargeable Modes Efficient Solar Generator】EcoFlow...
- 【Recharge From 0% TO 80% Within 1 Hour】EFDELTA can be...
- 【High Performance and Handy Power Source】DELTA is a portable...
- 【Product Guarantee & What You Can Get】 EcoFlow provides our...
If you want a portable power station that also doubles as a UPS, the EF ECOFLOW Delta Battery Pack is a reliable option. The power output is pretty impressive at peak performance, and the feature allows this bank to cater to numerous electrical appliances. Thus, it allows you to bask in the wilderness while accessing modern comforts.
Although plugging in solar panels from a different manufacturer requires attention, the quick charging time of the battery pack makes up for it. Furthermore, you get numerous charging ports and USB outlets to let you juice up multiple devices. Plus, you can put it in a dust and waterproof carrying case for safe storage when you are not using it.
- Capacity: 1260 Wh
- Power output: 1800 W
- Peak power output: 3300 W
- Outlets available: 1 carport, two USB -C ports, 4 USB A ports and 6 AC outlets.
- Charging time: 13.5 hours from a car, 3.5 to 7 hours via solar panels, 1.6 ours vial a wall outlet.
- Weight: 38.7 pounds
6. Anker Portable Generator 545
- Massive Cell Capacity: Packing a whopping 778 watt-hours, this...
- Power it All: With 2 AC outlets, 2 USB-C ports, 4 USB-A ports,...
- Fast and Furious: With output topping 770W, every small appliance...
- Back on the Road: PowerHouse itself recharges in as little as 4.9...
- What You Get: Anker 545 Portable Power Station (PowerHouse...
Thanks to the rough and tumble design with reinforced corners, the Anker Portable Generator 545 is made for the outdoors. In addition, the device has you covered whether you want a light source with ambient modes or a flashlight for emergencies. Plus, this power station will automatically adjust the current you are using to juice it for reliable and safe charging.
The numerous charging ports let you plug in up to 11 devices simultaneously, from cell phones to a portable cooler. Although the maximum output is capped at a total of 500 W, you are spoiled for choice in terms of powering small appliances. Finally, the 18-month warranty gives you peace of mind when purchasing this portable power station.
- Capacity: 778 Wh
- Power output: 500 W
- Peak power output: 500 W
- Outlets available: 2 AC outlets, 4 USB ports, 2 USB C ports and a car socket
- Charging time: 8 hours via a 120 W solar panel, 7.9 hours using the USB C 60 W chargers, 7.9 hours from the car and 7.1 hours via the in-box adapter.
- Weight: 18.3 pounds
Tips on Finding the Best Portable Power Station
a). Versatility in Charging Options
The best portable power station should allow you to have options for filling the battery. For instance, if you are going on a Safari or camping trip, you can charge the power bank via an adapter while using your vehicle outlet. Alternatively, you can hook it up to a solar panel (in this case, you will need a model with a built-in MPPT controller). Finally, it would be best to get fast charging from AC outlets.
Versatility ensures you always have a way to store power when available. Additionally, it is a plus if you can get a model that supports any solar panel as long as you have the right adapters with you. Consequently, you can power your CPAP machine or charge your laptop without worrying about how you will juice the battery up.
b). Can it Handle Your Use Cases?
If you are looking to bring the comforts of home with you in the wilderness, look for a portable power station that can handle the outdoors. For example, dust and waterproof protection are essential. After all, you would not want your battery pack to degrade over time or lose its functionality in the USB ports due to environmental damage.
On the other hand, you may be tired of frequent power outages in your area, and you want the best power station for keeping your devices charged or running small appliances. In this case, a lightweight, portable power station will cater to your needs well.
Alternatively, if you want a sturdy power source on a job site, look for a rugged design. These places may be prone to workplace accidents, and if you are wearing safety equipment, you should also protect your power bank. Some models may not operate well if your tools fall on it or your method of transportation is on the rough and tumble side.
c). The Standard and Peak Power Output
Picture yourself trying to toast bread during a power outage only to find out that your backup solution lacks sufficient juice to run your toaster. If you want more power, you will need to pay attention to the rated output of the device you are considering.
Power stations usually have power ratings that denote the energy you can draw from them. It is not enough to consider the battery pack's capacity since you could have plenty of energy stored, but you can only access it slowly. Therefore, pay attention to the standard and peak outputs given in watt-hours or milliamp-hours.
The higher the rating, the more versatile the power station will be at running different devices. After all, some appliances require more electrical energy than others. Luckily, manufacturers provide useful charts that show the kinds of devices you can power and the duration they will operate if you have a full charge.
d). Is it Safe to Use?
Some of us have come across stories that emphasize the need for safety when working with battery-powered devices, especially when they rely on lithium-ion batteries. Although the technology gives users a high power density, it is prone to issues like overheating. Hence, it would be best to prioritize your safety when looking for the best power stations.
Look for models that feature a temperature gauge that lets you know when or if their operation becomes risky. In addition, since it is tricky to keep track of the power rating of all the plugged devices, overload protection is vital. Thus, try to find over-current, over-discharge and over-voltage features.
e). Does it Meet Your Portability Standards?
The weight of portable power stations varies according to the battery capacity and type of generator. If you want plenty of juice, you may have to contend with hauling around a heavy pack. Consequently, consider the transportation method and whether the dimensions are also a factor.
A built-in handle or wheels can make moving the pack simple. Nevertheless, emphasize whether you can un your devices instead of the ease of moving the power station around. After all, it is counterproductive to carry one to your camping hassle-free and learn the capacity will not last the duration of your trip.
f). Is it Loud?
If you are powering a CPAP machine at a campsite, you wouldn't want to use a power station whose noise levels will keep you up all night. On the other hand, if you want security against a power outage at home, you shouldn't be forced to find ear muffs. Consequently, the noise the portable power station generates is a significant factor to consider.
Avoid a gas-powered power station since it is one of the loudest options. In addition, a portable power station built for high-power output may produce a hum since the process of inverting AC to DC is audible. Depending on the noise levels, you can decide based on how you want to use it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Portable Power Stations
1. Is a portable power station worth it?
A portable power station is an ideal tool for ensuring you have emergency power, or you can still use your electronics when away from the grid. These devices can also work as UPS units to pick up the energy load during outages. Consequently, portable power stations will come in handy if you are an avid outdoors person.
2. Could a portable power station run a fridge?
Each portable power station has a maximum power output that tells you how much energy you can dray at a single time. If the rating is below or corresponds to your refrigerator, you can run it with the device. However, these power banks do not offer much in terms of capacity. Thus, you may only get a few hours of runtime.