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Best portable power stations

25 October, 2023

The best portable power stations

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In this article, we talk about portable power stations, their uses and the main characteristics you need to look for when buying one.

What are these portable power stations anyway?

Portable power stations, also known as portable generators or power banks, are devices that provide electricity to your various electric or electronic appliances when you’re in a location without access to a traditional electrical outlet. They come in various different sizes, from small pocket-sized power banks to charge your mobile phone or tablet, to large units used in recreation or outside work applications.

Where are portable power stations used?

In essence, any application where power is required and a traditional electric outlet isn’t available.

Camping and recreation power stations

Very useful for those who love the great outdoors. If you enjoy camping, exploring the wild, walking or using a recreational vehicle, fishing, hunting, boating, road trips or off-grid living, a power station is one of the most useful gadgets to have. You can power a wide variety of appliances such as:

  • lights
  • fans
  • portable refrigerators
  • electric grills
  • coffee makers
  • fish finders
  • radios
  • navigation aids
  • charge electronic devices like smartphones, cameras, and laptops
  • power small entertainment systems

As long as your device is within the capacity of the power station, it can be charged or powered very easily.

Outside work power stations

People who work outdoors or in buildings with no power supply can also benefit from a power station. For example:

  • Contractors and construction workers can use portable power stations to run power tools, charge equipment or power lights.
  • Scientists and field workers can enjoy a consistent power source for their laptops, monitors or other scientific tools.
  • DIY enthusiasts can use a power station to charge or work their power tools and equipment in areas of the home or garden without accessible electrical outlets.
  • People living in remote areas or off-grid communities can rely on portable power stations to meet their daily electricity needs.

Is a portable power station the same as a generator?

Portable power stations and traditional generators serve a similar purpose in that they both provide electrical power in locations where access to a traditional electrical grid is limited or unavailable. However, there are significant differences between the two:

  • Different technology
    Portable power stations use rechargeable batteries to store and deliver electrical power whereas generators use internal combustion engines (such as gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas engines).
  • Different fuel
    Portable power stations do not require fuel in the conventional meaning. They rely on the energy stored in their batteries, which can be recharged from various sources such as solar panels or electrical outlets. Generators, on the other hand, require a continuous supply of fuel (gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas) to operate.
  • Difference in noise and emissions
    Portable power stations are generally silent and produce no emissions, making them environmentally friendly and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.Traditional generators are usually noisy due to their internal combustion engines, and they emit exhaust fumes that may be harmful if used in enclosed spaces. You often have to put some distance between you and the generator if you want to avoid the noise, whereas there is no such need with a power statios.
  • Different maintenance needs
    Portable power stations have almost zero maintenance requirements. The most you will need to do is to apply possible software updates (if your model offers them) and a periodic battery maintenance like you would with any battery-powered device.Generators, on the other hand,  require regular maintenance, including oil changes, fuel management, and engine maintenance.
  • Ease of portability
    Portable power stations are designed to be portable, lightweight, and easy to transport, making them suitable for various outdoor and indoor applications. Traditional generators are also portable, but much heavier, plus you need to also account for ways to carry the fuel ther require to operate.

There is no doubt that, for heavy work (such as powering an outdoors concert or fanfair), a generator would be a significantly better fit. But for personal, small family or field work without huge power requirements, the convenience, ease of use and simplicity of power stations is unbeatable.

What should I look for when buying a portable power station?

There are several characteristics that differentiate portable power stations and knowing what to look for will help you make the right choice. Let’s see the basics:

  • Battery Capacity (also see section below)
    How much power the station can provide and for how long. Measured in Watt-Hours (Wh).
  • Output Power (also see section below)
    The amount of electrical power the power station can deliver at any given moment. Measured in Watts (W).
  • Battery Type
    The battery chemistry used. Usually this is Lithium Ion (Li-ion) or Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)
  • AC and DC Outlets
    Most portable power stations have standard AC outlets (like the ones in your home), and some also offer DC outputs like USB ports and car outlets (cigarette lighter sockets) for charging smaller devices like smartphones, tablets and other electronics.
  • Recharging Options
    How you can recharge the power station. Usually it is through a traditional electrical outlet, a car’s cigarette lighter socket, or solar panels.
  • Solar Input
    Some models support solar panel input, which is great if you want to recharge the power station using solar energy. In fact, some power stations come as a set with their own solar panels.
  • Dimensions and weight
    Important for portability, this will determine if a power station will be a good fit for the space you have and how easy it will be to carry.

What is the difference between capacity and output power of a power station?

Capacity refers to the total amount of electrical energy the power station’s internal battery can store and provide before needing to be recharged. A higher battery capacity means that the power station can provide power for a longer duration or support more devices simultaneously without needing to be recharged. This is an important metric as it will decide how long you can run devices for without the need to recharge.

Output Power is the maximum amount of electrical power the power station can deliver at any given moment. This determines what types of devices and appliances the power station can support. For example, if you want to power a space heater or a mitre saw, you need to look for a power station with high output power. If you want to only power an LED light or a tablet or a fan, then you can buy a smaller station.

The best power stations you can buy

Here’s our recommendations for the best power stations you can buy right now:

Anker 521

  • Output 200W
  • Capacity 256Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, USB-C, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , USB-C
  • Weight: 3.7kgr
  • Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 21.15 cm

Jackery Explorer 240

  • Output 200W
  • Capacity 240Wh
  • Battery Type: Li-ion
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , DC Car Port
  • Weight: 3kgr
  • Dimensions: 23 x 13.2 x 19.48 cm

Ecoflow ‎River 2

  • Output 600W
  • Capacity 256Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, USB-C, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , USB-C
  • Weight: 3.5kgr
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2 cm

Bluetti EB3A

  • Output 600W
  • Capacity 268Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , USB-C, 2xDC5521, Car, Wireless
  • Weight: 4.6kgr
  • Dimensions: 25.5×18.0×18.3 cm
Solar Panel Included

Ecoflow ‎River 2 with 60W Solar Panel

  • Output 600W
  • Capacity 256Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, USB-C, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , USB-C
  • Weight: 3.5kgr (Solar Panel 3.2kgr)
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2 cm
Solar Panel Included

Anker 521 with 100W Solar Panel

  • Output 200W
  • Capacity 256Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, USB-C, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2 USB-A, AC , USB-C
  • Weight: 3.7kgr (Solar Panel 5kgr)
  • Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 21.15 cm

Bluetti EB55

  • Output 700W
  • Capacity 537Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2xAC, USB-C, 4xUSB-A, Car, 2xDC5521, Wireless
  • Weight: 7.48kgr
  • Dimensions: 27.8 x 20 x 19.8 cm

Bluetti EB70

  • Output 700W
  • Capacity 716Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar, Generator
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2xAC, 2xUSB-C, 2xUSB-A, Car, 2xDC5521, Wireless
  • Weight: 9.53kgr
  • Dimensions: 32 x 22 x 22 cm

Jackery Explorer 500

  • Output 500W
  • Capacity 518Wh
  • Battery Type: Li-ion
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar, Generator
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: Car, 3xUSB-A, AC
  • Weight: 6kgr (Solar Panel 4.69kgr)
  • Dimensions: 19.2 x 24.2 x 30 cm
Solar Panel Included

Jackery Explorer 500 with 100W Solar Panel

  • Output 500W
  • Capacity 518Wh
  • Battery Type: Li-ion
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Car, Solar, Generator
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: Car, 3xUSB-A, AC
  • Weight: 6kgr (Solar Panel 4.69kgr)
  • Dimensions: 19.2 x 24.2 x 30 cm

Anker 555

  • Output 1000W
  • Capacity 1024Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: Car, 2xUSB-A, 3xUSB-C, 2xAC
  • Weight: 13.36kgr
  • Dimensions: 35 x 18.8 x 29.5 cm

Anker SOLIX F1200

  • Output 1500W
  • Capacity 1229Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Solar
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: Car, 4xUSB-A, 2xUSB-C, 2xAC
  • Weight: 22.6kgr
  • Dimensions: 46.28 x 23.73 x 28.81 cm

Bluetti AC200P

  • Output 2000W
  • Capacity 2000Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Double Wall outlet, Car, Solar, Generator
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2xAC, 4xUSB-A, 1xUSB-C, Car, 2x Wireless, 2xDC5521
  • Weight: 27.5kgr
  • Dimensions: 42 x 28 x 38.65cm
Solar Panel Included

Bluetti AC200P with 350 Solar Panel

  • Output 2000W
  • Capacity 2000Wh
  • Battery Type: LiFePO4
  • Recharge by: Wall outlet, Double Wall outlet, Car, Solar, Generator
  • Solar Input: Yes
  • Outlets: 2xAC, 4xUSB-A, 1xUSB-C, Car, 2x Wireless, 2xDC5521
  • Weight: 27.5kgr (Solar Panel 13.9kgr)
  • Dimensions: 42 x 28 x 38.65cm