Lightweight and fantastically compact, the Westinghouse iGen 160s portable power station is the ultimate off-grid power solution for every outdoor enthusiast who likes to travel light. It is also an affordable emergency power source for charging your essential devices and electronics after a power outage.
The frenetic pace of city living can get too hectic, even for people who have known nothing else but city living. To catch your breath, you just wish you could go away somewhere more peaceful and slow everything down enough so your mind can recharge.
For many people, there is no better escape from the chaos of the city than a day or two out in the perfect seclusion of the great outdoors. Perhaps at a cabin out in the woods, with only the bare essentials.
For a city slicker, the idea of totally unplugging from your devices seems too drastic. So your bare essentials might include your phone, laptop, drone, and GoPro. And, of course, something portable to recharge all that electronic gear.
We romanticized the idea of this perfect getaway as we sat down to review the Westinghouse iGen 160s portable power station. This nifty little power generator is, as we discovered, all you need in terms of power for your most essential electronic gear and gadgets while out camping, at a beach excursion, or on a long road trip.
After a power outage at home, the iGen 160s can keep your house lit and phones and kids’ iPads charged until power can be restored. In case you are reading about it for the first time, or you are wondering what a portable power station is all about…keep reading.
What is the Westinghouse iGen 160s?
The Westinghouse iGen 160s is a portable power station that you can recharge any one of four ways: household wall socket, car charger, gasoline generator, or through a solar panel.
Rated at 150W peak and 100W continuous power limits, you can use the iGen 160s to charge your phone, laptop, camera, and other small accessories when the power goes out. It can also power your lamps and keep your home lit right through the night in the event of a power cut.
Besides power emergencies at home, this small power station will provide much-needed portable power for any nomad or who is constantly on the road for leisure or work purposes.
We will unbox the iGen 160s and discuss its features in detail in a moment. First, let’s explain the idea of a portable power station so we can all start off on the same page.
So a power station is essentially a rechargeable battery pack. It has input ports that allow you to recharge it either by a standard AC cable and other convenient ways. On the output side are AC, DC, as well as USB outlets to which you can hook and charge or power your gadgets and electronic accessories.
What makes the Westinghouse iGen 160s so desirable is it is compact and lightweight enough to carry in your hand. This Westinghouse power station is so portable you can throw it in your backpack and hike without it weighing or slowing you down. It is not small enough to fit in your pocket like a phone power bank, but it has a lot more power.
Unboxing the Westinghouse iGen 160s portable Power Station
The Westinghouse iGen 160s ships in a small khaki-colored box with black lettering and Westinghouse branding. Opening the packaging, you will find the power station in clear plastic wrapping and a small black box with the accessories safely tucked inside.
The royal blue-colored unit is wrapped in a clear plastic bag, and in the small black box, you will find a 12V car charger, an adapter, the user manual, and a 120V power supply. If you intend to solar-charge the unit, you will need to buy the solar panel separately.
Let’s take a closer look at the iGen 160s and discuss its main features and operation:
We will start on the front of the power station, where you will find white inscriptions of the Westinghouse logo and model. Just above that and just below the handle is the LCD display panel, either side of which are the different control buttons.
On the top left of the display is the power button. Just below that there is the button switch for the flashlight. The flashlight itself is located on the left side of the unit, just above the DC input.
The flashlight has an SOS mode that you can activate by a double press of the button. You can use the SOS function to signal for help should you ever run into any trouble while out on the road or in the woods. Staying on the unit’s left side for a second, there’s a vent for the fan that protects the power station from overheating.
There is another LED area light at the back of the power station that you can use for reading and lighting up the campsite at night. The switch for that light is positioned on the top right side of the display panel. The light has low and high brightness settings.
Rounding up the controls is the fourth button just below the LED light button. That one switches the portable generator’s output between the AC and DC modes. It is essentially the switch for the in-built inverter.
INPUT AND OUTPUT OPTIONS
The Westinghouse iGen 160s power station gives you four options for charging. For your wall outlet charging, a wall charger is supplied. A car charger is also supplied, while an adapter is provided for solar charging.
To charge and power your gadgets and accessories, the unit offers several options. There are two 5-Volt USB ports, one USB-C port, one quick charge 3.0 port, and two 120-Volt household outlets, one of which is two-pronged and the other three-pronged.
All in all, you can charge nine devices at the same time. However, one point to note is that the power station’s output has DC as default. So you will have to change the setting to AC using the button provided if you are powering or charging an AC device.
In terms of solar charging, you will have to buy the solar panel separately. But it will take a 60W solar panel 6 to 7 hours to fully charge the iGen 160s if there is sufficient sunlight.
HOW PORTABLE IS THE iGen 160s?
The iGen 160s is delightfully compact, no taller than a 500ml water bottle. Whether it’s under the car seat or in your backpack, you will hardly know it’s there.
Super comfortable to carry for backpackers and hikers, it weighs only 3,75 lbs. This light, you should want to put that flashlight to greater use, which is made easy by an ergonomically positioned, easy-grip handle.
IS IT BUILT TO LAST?
Westinghouse is a proud American company that has been making electronic equipment and accessories since the 1800s. And even though it has only been in the portable power generators since 2012 and entered the portable power station business just recently, it has a solid reputation for building sturdy equipment.
The Westinghouse iGen160s power station has a tough skin and body that can take the occasional ding in stride. Looking at it, it is not hard to see that this is a product designed for outdoor use, even though that doesn’t mean it is waterproof.
Another important bit to add is that, while lithium batteries have a high energy density, a lower self-discharge rate, and a higher voltage capacity than other rechargeable batteries, they are slow to charge in cold conditions. That’s nothing against the iGen 160s in particular but a general weakness of Li-ion batteries.
CLEAN AND SUSTAINABLE CHARGING
The Westinghouse iGen 160s uses a modified sine wave inverter, not Pure Sine Wave. Though obviously not as efficient, the AC power it generates is still clean enough for most electronics. In this class and at this price point, that’s usually the best you will get.
What we love though is the solar charging capability. More than anything else, for us this is the one feature that makes this a truly built-for-the-outdoors portable power station.
With the solar charging option, you don’t necessarily need a wall outlet to charge this power station. If the battery drains out and you happen to be at a remote fishing camp with no access to grid power, you will simply hook up a solar panel and the thing will be fully charged and ready to go again in about 7 hours. We like that a lot.
Even though it is a charging option, thankfully with AC and solar charging you don’t have to use the gas generator to charge this power station. It is nice to have the option, but we know a lot of people who will be glad not to have to deal with the noise and air pollution from a gasoline generator. In fact, this is a generator you can safely use indoors because it is quiet and produces no fumes at all.
How to Use the Westinghouse iGen 160s
We love how bright and easy to read the Westinghouse iGen160s’ LCD display is. Among other useful information, the color display will show battery level so you always know how much juice you have left in the battery.
There’s a button that will activate the power station’s inbuilt inverter. We love that the display will show ‘AC’ in bold green to show that the AC output ports are now live. The unit has DC output set as the default charging mode.
What Safety Features Does the iGen 160s Have?
For your safety and to protect your devices and the power station, the Westinghouse iGen 160s is designed with several safety features. It has inbuilt protection against low voltage, short circuits, and overloads.
It is a common mistake for users to overload their power supply devices. Know that whatever number of devices you have charging, the combined continuous consumption must not exceed 100W. If it does, the unit is designed to automatically shut down. It will power back up with a load that’s within its rated capacity.
On first impressions, the iGen 160s ticks a lot of boxes. But that’s our opinion, which still needs to be corroborated with the reviews by buyers who have put this power station to various tests. And for that, our favorite place to look is Amazon. We also checked what people who bought at The Home Depot and other online shops are saying about the iGen 160s.
Although there is always the odd outlier, the overwhelming sentiment among the people who have bought and used this power station is that it is a well-built product that is ‘worth every dollar’.
Among those who have left reviews for this power station on Amazon are people who took it camping where it had more than enough power to inflate their air mattresses. Reviewers were quick to note that the iGen 160s takes up relatively little space, is well-built, and lightweight.
Among those not so blown away by the power station are those who have complained about the power station charging and holding up well under load the first time but then barely charging anywhere near full afterward. Others say it takes forever to fully charge, contrary to the manufacturer’s claims.
The negative reviews considered, it is still important to note that an overwhelming majority are happy with this power station.
If you want a quick reference for the specifications, look at the bottom of the power station. There is a sticker with information on the many outputs and inputs and their power ratings.
Appliances Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station Could Charge
‘Versatile’ is the word we would use to describe the iGen 160s portable power station. It is a flashlight/area light, generator, and -importantly – a portable power station. But a quick glance at its size and specs will tell you this is not a power station that will power your hair dryer, toaster, and other power-guzzling appliances.
In fact, anything that draws more than 100 watts of continuous current will overload the power station and trigger an automatic shutdown. So what can it charge? Besides your phone, you can expect to have plenty of power to charge your drone, laptop, and GoPro several times.
The power station has enough capacity to power your TV. How realistically you can do that depends on the size and type of TV you are powering. Most HD TVs need at least 80 watts to run, so the TV you will run with this power station will have to be on the small side. The iGen 160s also won’t run all CPAP machines, so if you intend to use it for that purpose, be sure you know how much power the CPAP machine draws.
However, you can comfortably run many smaller, power-sipping appliances. The power station can comfortably charge most devices, including your laptop, smartphone, iPad, drone, and GoPro concurrently.
Here’s a handy table that goes into some detail on some of the devices you can charge with a fully charged Westinghouse iGen 160s, including how long they take to charge and how many charges you can get for each:
|Westinghouse iGen160s||Smartphone||Laptop||Projector||Drone||Led Lights|
|Appliance Wattage||20 W||47.5 W||5 W||--||17 W|
|How long it takes to charge it||1.5hrs||1.7hrs||--||3.5hrs||--|
|How many charges||16||3||31 hrs of power||6||9.1 hrs of power|
In our research for this iGen 160s review we came across many questions people are asking about the power station. Below we will answer the top 5 most frequently asked questions.
The iGen 160s is a durable, fabulously portable power station intentionally designed for outdoor use. As long as you don’t overload it and generally don’t expose it to rough handling, it will capably meet your emergency and off-grid power needs.
The Westinghouse iGen 160s can power or charge any appliance or device that draws less than 100 watts of battery power continuously. Among the devices you can charge with it are your smartphone, iPad, GoPro, drone, laptop, and a small capacity CPAP machine.
The iGen 160s power station has been well-reviewed by consumers on major online retail sites. The general sentiment is that the power station is fairly priced and well worth its price.
The iGen 160s is the smallest in the line of portable power stations made by the outdoor power division of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The American conglomerate has been operating since the 1800s but it started making portable generators and power stations fairly recently.
The Westinghouse iGen 160s is competitively priced. It compares well with its closest competitor, the Jackery Explorer 160. Depending on where and when you buy it, you can buy it for anything between $120 and $130. At the time of writing the power station was $123.05 at both Amazon and The Home Depot.
In terms of portable off-grid power, nothing can beat a solar rechargeable power station. Though limited in its power capacity, the Westinghouse iGen 160s takes portability where few other power stations have. It is built for the outdoors, and as long as your power needs do not exceed charging your essential devices, it is more than adequate.