Best Portable Power Stations – Buying Guide 2020
Portable power stations are like having an electrical outlet in a box you can carry with you anywhere, and are surprisingly practical and effective. Power is stored in a giant rechargeable battery inside the unit, and these power packs are equipped with AC outlets, DC outlets, and USB charging ports to power a variety of devices including phones, laptops, televisions, and even AC appliances like a refrigerator.
Portable Power Stations can be charged with any standard wall outlet or your car’s 12 volt outlet, but can also be paired with solar panels to create a solar generator that’s charged by the power of the sun. Their versatility and convenience makes these power stations great to have as an emergency home battery backup, useful for camping and outdoor activities, and a great addition to RV’s, vans, and even boats.The Power Stations we’ll be featuring are classified by Watt Hours. Watt hours measure the average power flow in one hour. In the case of batteries, like the ones inside these power stations, watt hours represent capacity.
To put it simply a small 100 watt hour power station can power a 100 Watt lightbulb for 1 hour or recharge a 10 watt smartphone about 10 times.
Note that the real life run time of that lightbulb might be about 55 minutes because of energy loss common in all electric devices.
We’ve done our research and narrowed down our selection to 8 models. We’ll be highlighting the important features of each Portable Power Station, as well as providing examples of devices they can power. We selected models based on personal testing, Amazon reviews, and other trustworthy reviews from around the web, and excluded models which had any reported major flaws.
The compact and lightweight Jackery Explorer 240 is one of the most popular and well reviewed portable power stations on the market. Made for outdoor adventures, camping, and emergency preparedness it comes equipped with a 240 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, this convenient device provides clean stable electricity that won’t damage your electronics. Like all portable power stations, it can be safely used indoors or outdoors and does not use fuel. The explorer pairs well with Jackery’s 60 Watt solar panels to create a simple off grid power solution. With a 200 watt continuous AC output and 400 watt peak output, this portable power station comes with one AC outlet, two USB A ports and one DC car port. The Jackery 240 can charge your smartphone about 17 times, and can power a mini fridge for 3 hours. For more demanding applications, Jackery also has you covered with their other products from the same line, such as the 500 and the 1000 watt Power Stations which can keep your adult beverages cold in that mini fridge for almost 3 days!
Keep in mind all of the models we mention on this list come in multiple sizes, and the right size for you depends on your power requirements and usage.
Goal Zero by Yeti is an excellent line of reliable power products. The 1000 lithium portable power station provides 1045 watts-hour of clean and silent energy that’s more than enough for high energy demand applications like temporarily running household appliances or providing juice for the whole family on a camping trip. Well suited for off grid applications and as an emergency power backup, It features four USB ports, two AC outlets and a 12volt output. With it’s sturdy 1500 Watt AC inverter, the goalzero can keep your refrigerator going for over 17 hours, a 32 inch LCD TV for over 10 hours and, of course, you could charge your phone more than 50 times or your laptop 17 times. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 is a popular premium power station and it too can be charged via goal zero solar panels. So, in about 10 to 20 hours you’ll be able to harness all the free energy you need. Goal Zero Yeti makes some big boys too, their 3000 watt hour unit can provide long run times for all of your appliances and equipment.
A more budget friendly option, The suaoki power station is an ideal model for those looking to have an emergency power source stocked away in case you need it. The Suaoki G500 has a capacity of 500 watt-hours and provides an output of 300 watts with a 600-watt peak. There are three ways to charge this large power bank and each of them is extremely convenient, depending on the situation, there is an AC adapter charger, a solar option and a car cigarette lighter adapter. The Suaoki G500 is not only good to charge an iPhoneX about 50 times, but it’s also dependable enough to act as a backup power source. This portable power station features 5 ports in total: 2 AC outlets, 2 USB A 3.0 ports and one USB C port.
By the way p rices for all products are mentioned are linked in the description below.
A 300 watt portable power station is the perfect emergency backup for in-home use, traveling and, of course, camping. The Rockpals 300W has a lithium-based battery pack and it can give a continuous output of 300 watts and a max surge of 600. The 280 watt-hour capacity it features means that you’ll be able to charge a 2000 mah phone over 25 times, or an electric skateboard about 2 and a half times. This clean energy bank has an intuitive LCD like the other models we’ve reviewed here and it also comes equipped with two USB ports, one pure sine wave AC 120V outlet and 2 quick charge USB 3.0 ports. The Rockpals 300W can be charged in three efficient ways, using a wall outlet is the most direct way and it would take around 7 hours for a full charge, but if you are in the heart of nature and the only energy sources are your car or some solar panels, the good news is the Rockpals portable station can be conveniently charged using these methods as well.
Westinghouse has been around since 1886, and makes some great portable generators and a wide variety of portable power stations, but for now we’ve decided to take a look at their iGen160s 100-watt model that weighs only 3.75 pounds and has a maximum output of 150 peak watts and a capacity of 100 watt-hours. It is the smallest and most portable device we’ve included on our list and it is especially useful on a daily basis, being an excellent upgrade from the usual 5000 mAh power bank. It is extremely efficient as it comes equipped with two 120V household outlets, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C outlet that makes it ideal for charging more sensitive gadgets such as a laptops, tablets or smartphones. Speaking of, the iGen160s can charge a phone 13 times, a drone 6 times and it can grant you about 3 hours of TV time. Not too bad! The Westinghouse also comes in various other capacities and this specific model that we talked about features a flashlight and a reading lamp that comes in very handy during a power outage, or when camping.
The River 370’s minimalist design earned it accolades such as the Red Dot Award & iF Design Award, with a slick black design and rounded corners, this medium sized power station has an internal battery with a total capacity of 370 watt-hours and it can charge up to nine devices at the same time. A unique feature of the ecoflow portable power station is it’s two bi-directional 60 Watt USB-C charge ports. Which means it can achieve a 3 hour charge time if you plug 2 wall chargers into both ports at the same time. With just one it takes 6 hours to achieve a 90% charge. There are two AC outlets, two fast charge USB ports, two USB-C , two classic USB ports and one 12V car port. The EcoFlow River 370 can charge up 75 GoPro’s , 37 smartphones, and can keep on a mini fridge running for around 7 hours.
The floureon 220Wh portable power generator is an ultra budget option that’s a top seller on Amazon and well reviewed. Very compact and light, it weighs in at only 4.85 pounds, and its 4 USB ports and two AC outlets can meet most normal charging requirements for small gadgets. With a 300 watt continuous output and and 600 watt peak it takes about 7-8 hours to reach a full charge from a wall outlet. It’s compact size makes this unit ideal for travel.
Featuring a capacity of 296 watt-hours, the Aeiusny has an output of 400 watts and is so easy to carry it around that you’re definitely going to want to take it with you on each and every camping trip, as it weighs only 7.49 pounds. It can charge 9 devices at the same time thanks to the multiple ports it features: 3 Ac outlets, 2 DC ports and 4 USB ports that could charge a smartphone around 25 times and keep a laptop going for around 10 hours. The Aeiusny is a clean energy portable power generator that can be used indoors as well as outdoors and it can be recharged in about 6 to 7 hours with an AC wall outlet, 10-15 hours with a 12V car port and 10-15 hours if using the Aeiusny 60W solar panel.
We’re curious to know, what is the main reason you’re interested in a portable power station? Is it as a home battery backup, for camping, or maybe even an emergency power source for your CPAP machine?
As a tip To preserve battery lifespan, most manufacturers recommend you use and recharge your battery at least once every 6 months, and store in cool, dry place. To clarify another point, surge power means your power station can provide a peak output to meet temporary energy demands of high power appliances, but you can’t run them for long. If you exceed the peak output, most units have an automatic safety shutoff. Portable power stations are an excellent solution to provide off grid power for many applications.There is some confusion about the difference between a portable power station and a portable generator. Portable Generators can generate their own electricity from fuel, but there are downsides like noise, fumes, and you can’t use it inside. Power stations have internal batteries which need to be charged, but you can use a solar panel as the power source. When a power station is combined with a solar panel people frequently refer to this as a solar generator.