We tend to think of electricity as something that is always available. This is because we use it every day without thinking: to heat and cool our homes, refrigerate our food, microwave our lunch, use our cellphones and laptops, and provide lighting, and so on.
But the recent Texas power crisis showed that unexpected events can make electricity unavailable. Blackouts can even put people’s lives at risk. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where these situations can be remedied by utilizing a portable power station.
Considerations in Choosing
Knowing what to look for and determining a list of requirements for the type of units purchased usually requires some thinking and research. Deciding on the right unit can be made easier to determine when a few essential elements are considered.
These factors can include weight, size, safety, energy capacity, power output, and methods for charging. Knowing more about each factor should help you make a more informed decision when shopping.
Weight and Size
Hauling around a heavy piece of equipment is going to be cumbersome and bulky when outdoors or camping. Deciding on going this route may require a person to carry a unit weighing 30 pounds or more. These larger units normally have advantages like higher wattage availability, ranging from 1500 to 2000 watt. But larger units may be most useful for home users.
There are various ways to charge portable power stations. It is crucial that your unit supports the kinds of charging you need. Some systems can be charged from the wall, an automobile, or by utilizing solar panels. There are even hand-crank power generators that can be used with portable power stations. If you are going to need to use your system long-term away from civilization, you should definitely choose one with the necessary charging ability.
Power Output and Energy Capacity
Enjoying the comforts of home can be easier in the wilderness when certain devices are brought along for the trip. However, many of them will require the use of a station with adequate power output. While some devices can get by with a few watts of output, the total number of watts required can add up quickly if more than one is being used simultaneously.
Portable power stations range anywhere from 100 W to over 2000 W. There are many tools that will help you determine how much power you need. But you may want to get more than you need because your use may increase over time.
You should also consider the number of AC or DC power outlets the unit has. Regardless of how much power your unit provides, you still need to plug in your devices. You could use adapters and power strips but those unnecessarily complicate your situation.
The choice of battery is also important. Typically, lithium batteries are known to be more stable than lead-acid batteries. Consider how the battery management system works. This should help ensure there’s no overcharging, discharging, or short-circuiting.
The Best Units
It can be difficult to keep all the parameters in mind when it comes to shopping for a portable power station. To make it easier, we’ve put together what we consider to be the 10 best units considering the range of options.
Larger wattage units offer more ways to charge or operate devices simultaneously. If keeping a high wattage heater or large appliance operating during a blackout is high on the list of necessary requirements, choosing a 1500 or 2000 W power generator offers the greatest flexibility. On the other hand, a small unit may work great if you just want to run a radio.
10 Best Portable Power Stations in 2021
1. FlashFish 200W Portable Power Station
Equipped with a lithium-ion battery, this portable power generator has been designed for safety. The AC output offers 200 W of electricity to assist with powering laptops and other low-power devices. And at just over 4 lbs. it’s great for camping.
It includes 2 AC outputs (one each two and three-prong), 2 DC outputs, 2 quick-charging USBs, and one standard.
The FlashFish can be charged with an AC wall adapter and car changer. It’s also equipped with overcharging, overcurrent, short-circuit, and low-voltage protection. Finally, it can be charged with solar power with an optional solar panel.
2. MILIN 622W Portable Power Station
This moderately-sized unit will power larger devices like DVD/TV combos and even small freezers. It weighs just under 15 pounds and is the size of a mini toaster oven. This makes it possible for camping but not ideal if you will be far from a vehicle.
The unit includes 2 AC wall units (three-prong), 2 DC, one USB-A, and 3 USB-C outputs.
Charging fully with AC in as little as 4 hours. With the car charger, it takes seven hours. With the optional 100 W solar panel, the unit can be fully charged in 10 hours.
3. NEXPOW 296W Portable Power Station
This substantial unit provides more power than the FlashFish 200W while still being a good choice for camping at just over 7 lbs. It also includes a light.
It features 2 AC outlets, 2 quick-charge and 2 regular USB ports, 1 USB-C, and 1 DC port. This makes it a good choice for powering several devices simultaneously. It contains a built-in voltage regulator, which offers stability and safety.
It can be changed with a car or wall jack. Connecting it to a 60 or 120 W solar panel can recharge it in approximately 9 to 12 hours.
4. Jackery 300W Portable Power Station Explorer 300
Similar to the NEXPOW, this unit weighs 7 pounds and has a solid handle. It is relatively small and easy to carry. Using this portable power generator can make it possible to charge or operate electronic devices and help ensure a room has adequate lighting during a blackout.
The unit includes 2 AC outlets, 1 USB-C, 1 quick-charge, and 1 standard USB, and one 12 V DC car output.
It features a single input to take power from a solar panel, car, or wall outlet.
5. SNUGMAX 350W Portable Power Station Vickers 350
Offering 350 W of power, the SNUGMAX Vickers portable power station can make home emergencies less threatening and road trips safer. It’s an excellent companion for camping or RV expeditions and is suitable for charging laptops, cell phones, or other small electronic devices. Lightweight and portable, it’s slightly larger than 8 pounds and has dimensions of about 14″ x 7.5″ x 8″.
It includes a number of output ports: 2 AC, 2 DC, 2 USB, and one USB-C. It also includes a car charging port and a wireless charging area.
Socket, automobile, and solar (with external panels) charging are available, offering plenty of options for recharging.
6. EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER
The RIVER power station is surprisingly powerful for such a small unit weighing just 11 lbs. It provides 600 W of power. It also features a modular design so it can be upgraded or used in combination with other units.
You can power up to ten devices at the same time. It includes 3 AC outlets, 1 USB-C, 2 regular, and one fast-charging USB port, 2 DC, and one car charging output.
Recharging time is quick with this portable power station. Using a regular wall outlet offers a 100 percent charge in as little as 1.6 hours. The unit comes with both AC and DC inputs.
7. BLUETTI 2000W Portable Power Station AC200P
This 61 lb. unit is not much of a fit for a casual camping trip, but it has the power and features to power a home office or one or more major appliances like a window air conditioner, oil-filled radiator heater, microwave oven, or electric drill.
This unit provides the ability to connect 17 devices simultaneously: six AC, 3 DC (two at 3 A and one at 10 A), 1 RV, 4 USB, 1 USB-C, and two wireless charging pads.
It features two power inputs that can be used simultaneously for faster charging. Recharging with one or more solar panels is also faster due to the solar charging optimization model that’s installed. It offers a solar panel charging time 40 percent faster than other models.
8. MAXOAK 1000W Portable Power Station BLUETTI EB150
Having 1000 W of electricity available makes the BLUETTI EB150 capable of operating high-power devices like a blender, drill, vacuum cleaner, or hairdryer. It’s relatively large with dimensions are about 14″ x 6.5″ x 14.5″ and weighs 37.9 pounds.
Despite its high power, it has relatively limited outputs: 2 AC, one car-style DC, 1 USB-C, and 4 USBs. But this is probably more than enough for most users.
Connecting solar panels in series or parallel is possible with this unit, offering a quicker way to recharge the unit. Charging it with a wall outlet takes about eight hours.
9. Pecron E1500 1500W Portable Power Station
Using this 1500 W portable generator is an excellent solution for individuals requiring greater amounts of electricity. It is a great choice for an emergency during a power outage with a weight of 36 pounds and dimensions of roughly 13″ x 7″ x 10″.
It offers 4 AC outlets (two 3-prong and two 2-prong), two fast-charging USBs, and a car-style DC output.
And it takes roughly 6-7 hours to fully charge. This is done through a single port with AC, car, or solar panels.
10. EF ECOFLOW 1800W Portable Power Station DELTA
This is a surprisingly affordable unit compared to other high-powered portable power stations. Like the BLUETTI, it can power a home office or a limited kitchen. But it is relatively small, weighing only 31 lbs.
The DELTA is equipped with 13 total output ports: six AC, 2 USB-C, 4 USBs (2 regular and 2 fast-charging), and 1 car-style DC.
Safety features include an overload protection switch button that automatically pops out. High and low-temperature protection is also available for the battery.
It has separate AC and solar charging inputs. It can charge from a wall socket in a bit more than an hour and a half.