We live in a fast-paced world that’s heavily dependent on electricity. A power outage can wreak havoc in our everyday lives and prevent us from performing the most basic tasks. However, blackouts and other electric faults have become increasingly common in the US in the past two decades. In fact, summer 2022 may have some unpleasant surprises in store for us electricity junkies — or anyone that requires power for their daily activities, for that matter.
Being prepared is critical to avoid being caught off-guard by electric power dysfunctions and other power-related issues. And that’s only one of the many scenarios where portable power stations can come in handy. What is a portable power station? A device that lets you take power with you wherever you go. There are numerous use cases for these essential gadgets, from powering up your off-grid vacation to backing up your day-to-day power consumption. So if you’re thinking about purchasing one soon, here’s all you need to know to ensure you’re making an educated decision.
What Is a Portable Power Station?
Having access to electric power is something so mundane that we barely even think about it. Unless, of course, something’s wrong and the lack of power puts us to the test. All we ever have to do to power up our favorite electronic devices is effortlessly plug them into the nearest outlet, and voilà! Let there be light. But what happens when you need a convenient power supply solution and there’s none available?
A portable power station will provide you with the electricity you need when and where you need it — whether at home, at work, or on the go. We’re essentially talking about an oversized rechargeable battery with many different outlets and settings to adapt to your specific power supply needs.
These devices have a built-in inverter that turns alternate current electricity, or AC power, from an internal battery into direct current, also known as DC power. They’re rather easy to use, often simply requiring you to push a button or two to get them going.
Portable battery power stations are a safer, more eco-friendly alternative to gas-fueled portable power generators. Besides, they do not come with the added carbon monoxide emissions that could put you and your family in danger. They’re good to use in pretty much any scenario you can imagine.
Also known as battery-powered inverter generators, portable power stations can do so much more for you than simply function as an extension of your smartphone’s battery life. Some models may even have the capability to light up a campsite or help you keep your main home appliances up and running. Others deliver energy so efficiently and safely that they can power up medical devices like heart monitors and CPAP equipment.
Some signs it might be time to invest in a solid electric portable power station are:
- Frequent power outages in your area
- Need for a backup source
- Need for on-the-go power
Generally, if you find yourself camping a lot or if you spend a lot of time outdoors and on the road, a portable power source is a good item to keep nearby.
- 🧳PORTABLE & COMPACT: Super slim size (6.5 x 4.6 x 3.1 inches) and light weight (2.4 lbs). Portable power station with compact handle design is not only for emergency power at home, but also for camping or wherever you need power when on the go. Perfect for school students to charge phone, laptop, iPad, PSP, camera, wireless headphones, etc.
- 🔌MULTI-OUTPUT: The portable power station equipped with 88Wh (24000mAh, 3.7V) capacity, 2*QC 3.0 USB ports (18W max), 2*USB ports (5V 2.4A), 1*USB C port (PD2. 0.18W max). 1*DC port(12-16.8V / 10A, 13A max), 1*2 pole and 1* 3 pole output socket (80W running, 120W peak). Powers cell phone, iPad, tablet, camera, radio, USB powered night light, mini fan and camping scanners under 80W.
- 💡EMERGENCY LIGHTS: This portable generator is built with a 3-level brightness LED flashlight, which could emit 2 lighting modes (steady light and flashing light, SOS mode) to meet your different needs. Press the LED flashlight switch to change the brightness and SOS mode. When you go out camping or experience power outages, this power supply can always help you out.
- 🔋TWO RECHARGING MODES: 88Wh portable rechargeable power station with two methods to charge the portable power station. On the wall, you can fully charge the power supply via AC outlet (adapter included) with 5 hours. Or it can be charged under the sun with a MARBERO solar panel(15V-24V, 1.2A)(not included).
- 🛡️SECURED & ASSURED: The Battery Management System (BMS) allows for voltage control, temperature control and more advanced safety operations. Designed with the cooling vents on the back to help this portable power supply keep the temperature constant, its internal electrical elements will not be damaged by high temperatures. When it comes to short circuit or overload, it automatically shuts off the power to protect itself and the powered devices.
A Brief History of Portable Power Stations
Electricity is a critical aspect of life as we know it today, and that’s why we’re always looking for new and improved ways to access it more easily when needed. Our attempts at this started back in the 1830s with experiments that ultimately led to the invention of the first power generator prototypes.
Back then, British scientist Michael Faraday proved that it’s possible to produce electricity when rotating a copper coil between two magnets. Electromagnetic induction, as Faraday’s discovery later came to be known, became the first link in the evolution of portable electricity generation.
In 1932, Hippolyte Pixii used Faraday’s work as a base for creating the Dynamo, which was an early version of today’s power generators. Pixii’s invention produced AC electricity and became highly useful on an industrial scale.
Fast forward to the 1860s, Charles Wheatstone and Wermer Von Siemens started tweaking the original Dynamo by substituting the type of magnets it used for more powerful ones. Finally, in the early 1870s, iron magnets were introduced to amplify the Dynamo’s magnetic field and increase the amount of power it could generate. This breakthrough made Pixii’s creation useful for commercial applications for the first time.
In the United States, electricity pioneers Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison worked on their own electricity generation alternatives. However, while Edison opted for using existing technology, Tesla earned power grid authority by introducing magnets with multiple rotating poles to create polyphase dynamos. His power generation innovations allowed more electricity to be delivered more extensively across the country.
During the early 1900s, factories all over Europe and the US largely benefited from using electrical generators manufactured by renowned companies like Kohler, General Electric, Westinghouse, and Siemens. Yet, there was still nothing portable about these power sources. At that time, they were mostly for regional use and, therefore, had to be located near the areas in need of electricity.
It wasn’t until 1936 that the precursor of today’s home backup generator came to life. Kohler created a small unit capable of powering up an upstate New York lodge. Since then, other manufacturers have added stronger magnets to their generators and redesigned their engines to make them smaller and more portable while still powerful.
A closer version to the portable power sources we know and love today emerged in the 1950s when Honda entered the scene. However, it took a while for the first inverter generators to appear. In the late 1980s, Honda’s EM500 500-watt gas portable generator was able to deliver a more controlled sine wave that made portable power generators safe for many use cases.
While gas-fueled power generators meant a big leap in electric supply solutions, they were still impractical for some. While labeled portable, they were heavy and bulky and came with a series of safety-related installation and use rules that were hard to follow.
Luckily, technology has come a long way in the past few decades, especially with the introduction of the battery-powered portable power station. The evolution of these devices has massively changed the game when it comes to juicing up a wide array of appliances and gadgets with more convenience and fewer risks. Some of the most common are:
- LED lights
- Digital cameras
- Mini fridges
- Electric grilles
- Coffee makers
- Blow dryers
Gasless power stations offer both high power and portability with many advantages when compared to their predecessors. Current models are armed with numerous outlets and inlets. This way, the user can replenish the generator’s battery through high-power sources such as solar panels.
The Pros and Cons of a Portable Power Station
Portable power stations offer many advantages both for everyday use and in extraordinary situations. This handy alternative to more traditional electricity sources may benefit you in several scenarios other than power outages. On the downside, portable power stations also have a few shortcomings.
Portable power generators can be literal lifesavers. Additionally, they bring many benefits to the table. Here are some of them:
Portable power stations are reliable sources of emission-free power. They deplete charge instead of burning diesel, gasoline, or natural gas. This prevents them from producing carbon monoxide and any other toxic fumes. That’s why these devices are perfect for safe indoor use. Unlike their gas-powered counterparts, they’re not a fire hazard and do not require you to place them at a secure distance to avoid any potential accidents.
When using a power generator with an internal battery, you can rest assured that you’re protecting your family and the environment at the same time. Additionally, your device won’t require you to learn and master intricate rules and methods of use. Setting it up is as simple as pressing a button.
Quiet Form of Backup Power
Traditional power generators use an engine to transform burning fuel into electrical energy. This process can make a lot of noise, even in sophisticated, more expensive models. The sound level often ranges between 60 and 90 dB, but can sometimes reach 100 dB or higher — which is roughly the noise level produced at a music festival.
Portable power stations, on the other hand, make little to no noise. They don’t require complex internal machinery or any source of loud sounds. This makes them perfect to use at home, at work, or when sleeping under the stars. A battery-fueled energy generator won’t disrupt your activities while it’s running, nor will it disturb your peace or your neighbors’.
Solar Charger Capabilities
You can replenish the battery in your portable power station in a variety of ways. The most popular is by using solar panels. Portable solar power stations come in particularly handy when the grid is down. They capture and store the sun’s energy so that you can use it whenever needed.
Solar-powered stations are great for fishing trips, RV vacations, and camping getaways. However, they can also be useful as a backup power source when electricity is down at home. These power supply devices run on clean, renewable energy, so they help keep your carbon footprint in check.
Solar generators are a convenient source of backup power in case of an emergency. However, if you need to power an entire home off-grind, you’re probably better off with other much stronger types of power generators or a rooftop solar panel system with battery storage.
- 【288Wh Capacity, 330W Output】330W (600W surge) pure sine wave supports most laptops, tablets, phones, lights, fans, CPAP medical devices, projectors, TV, mini-refrigerator, speaker, camera (rated power less than 330W). 288Wh huge capacity but light weight makes it compact and perfect for camping, car trips and other family outings.
- 【Upgraded Battery Management System】We promise to adopt quality lithium batteries since we found that the use of lower-quality batteries could pose a serious risk to life and should become a crucial part of deciding what to buy. Upgraded BMS provides built-in overload, overcharge (automatically stops charging when the device is full), and short-circuit protection. Dual built-in silent cooling fans help to keep the station's temperature safe.
- 【USB-C PD 60W, USB-A QC 18W】PD60W fast charging makes it possible to charge Android and iPhone, tablets, and laptops quickly, more than twice as fast as other standard USB-C output, and ultra-high efficiency in emergencies. All USB-A ports are quick-charge 3.0 18W, providing higher efficiency for each device.
- 【Power 8 Device simultaneously】Equipped with 1*AC output, 1*USB-C PD 60W output, 3*USB-A QC3.0 18W outputs, 1*Car port, 2*DC outputs, GRECELL solar generator can power eight devices at the same time (as long as they draw less than 330W combined). Each switch can control each output module.
- 【3 Ways To Recharge, Built-in MPPT Controller】GRECELL power station, can be charged via an AC outlet, a solar panel, or a car outlet. Built-in MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking Control) so it can extract the maximum power from the solar panel, optimizing the utilization of variable power sources like a solar generator.
Portable power generators are great for many reasons. However, much like any piece of tech, they also have some weaknesses. These are the most relevant:
Unlike traditional power generators, electric portable power stations require you to replenish the internal battery when running low on energy. Failing to do so will cause your device to stop working when you need it the most. However, such large batteries often require several hours to completely charge.
A good rule of thumb is to charge your electric portable power generator overnight for maximum runtime. If your battery dies and you’re caught in a dark setting with no electricity, you’ll be stuck with no power until the sun comes out.
Keep in mind that solar generators need the sun to be out to get their energy stash from it. But even on a sunny day, a 100-watt solar panel could take nine hours or more to fully charge a medium-sized power station.
Even when completely charged, some electric power stations may have some power-generating limitations. A small generator with little wattage will struggle to juice up your entire home. Yet, you can still use it for your essentials, such as your laptop, phone, and small appliances.
Fossil fuel power generators don’t have any issues in this department. You can refuel them any time you need them without having to keep tabs on the weather forecast. Besides, you can keep refilling them when the fuel runs out. Your only concern with this type of power generator is that it has enough fuel to work.
Solar generators are probably the most costly products in the power generation realm. They require a much higher upfront investment than other types of power stations, and they’re much more expensive than gas-fueled generators. On the bright side, they have much lower operating costs and require less maintenance, so they basically pay for themselves over time.
Battery-operated power generators come in a wide array of prices, but they’re often not suitable for every budget. The average cost of a medium-range electric power generator is $3,250.
That’s why, before buying one, you need to consider several factors to determine what model is the right choice for your specific needs.
What You Should Know About Your Power Station
As previously stated, portable power stations are a big investment. That’s why you need to carefully assess your power needs and the scenarios in which you’re likely to use power generation products.
Before you spend your hard-earned money, compare and contrast different models and brands. Consider different factors such as portability, lifespan, electric capacity, type of battery, add-on features, reviews, and ratings to make sure you’re purchasing a high-quality power station that will keep up with your lifestyle. And don’t forget to consider what kind of life you lead. You may live in a large city and simply need a backup generator that only gets used during hurricane season, or you may need a large generator to help give you power while you’re in the middle of the forest on a trip.
Some other characteristics to keep an eye on to find your perfect match are:
The first thing to look at when shopping for a portable power station is the maximum output. This information will help you determine some other useful metrics, as it defines the highest wattage a specific power station can deliver. This allows you to determine if it’s a good pick for the devices you need it to power.
For example, a 100-watt portable power station could easily power a mobile phone. However, it would have a hard time sustaining several appliances at the same time. To learn if the power station you’re eyeing has enough capacity for what you want, add up the wattage of the gadgets you’d like to charge.
The maximum output can also help you understand how many watt-hours a power station will give you. More on that below. .
- 【2048WH SUPER LARGE CAPACITY BATTERY】 Our portable power station is equipped with a 2048Wh/640000mAh LiFePO4 battery, which charging for Laptop(50W) 42h,Drone(40W) 52h,Coffee Machine(1000W)2h+,Camera(20W) 95 times, Car Refrigerator(48W)48h,,Projector(150W)14h, Hair Dryer(1200W)2h, Juicer(1000W)2h,Electric Kettle(500W)4h+,Electric Drill(800W)2.5h. Note：The Ecoplay power station is the lightest and safest 2400W portable power station in the market. Weighs only 48 lbs, size:15.1*11.1*12.6 inch.
- 【POWER 16 DEVICES SIMULTANEOUSLY】The portable power station can charge 16 devices at the same time. it features with 6* AC Outlets (2400W power, 110V/50Hz-60Hz pure sine wave), 2*DC Outputs (12V/3A), 1*XT-60 Output(12V/25A), 1*Car Charging Output(12V/10A), 2* USB-A QC3.0 Port (5-12V 18W fast charging), 3* USB-C Port (5-20V/ 20W), 1* USB-C Port (5-20V/ 100W Max）. 1 * Anderson Input, Car Charger Input. Compatible with more than 99% of electrical devices.
- 【FULL CHARGE IN 1.8 HOURS】Compare with other power station, Ecoplay 2400w power station adopts the most advanced bidirectional inverter technique with an AC input up to 1100W. it can be fully charged in 1.8 hours with AC adapter (included). It takes just 1.5 hours to fully charge with an AC outlet and Solar panel(500W) simultaneously. It takes 7 hours with solar panel（400W).17 hours with car charging.
- 【 INTELLIGENT INPUT SETTING KNOB】Ecoplay portable power station has adjustment input power knob, include 300W, 500W, 700W, 900W and 1100W input power. You can adjust the charging time of the AC charger effectively and flexibly control the time. It can be adjusted not only by adjusting the device according to the input power but also by preventing the device from being damaged by voltage instability.
- 【LiFePO4 BATTERY】 Portable power station adopts LiFePO4 battery, which has 3500+ super long life and service life of 4-7 times than other batteries on the market. That’s almost 15 years of regular use. Compared with traditional lead-acid batteries, it has a safer and more stable battery structure, which are the safest battery type in the market and UL authorized batteries.
Industry Average for Watt-Hours
Run time is a feature you cannot overlook when looking for the perfect portable power station for you. After all, you won’t want your watt hours to be cut short. A power station like the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, for example, has 400 watt-hours. This means that the device should be able to power up your gadget of choice with a 400 output for one hour, one with a one-watt output for 400 hours, or any existing combination within the station’s output limit. The more power an appliance needs, the fewer watt-hours you’ll have.
For example, a large laptop could require up to 100 watts to charge. This means that, in this scenario, you could keep it charged for about four hours. On the other hand, a desktop computer requires roughly 250 watts. A 400-watt portable power station could juice it up for a little over an hour and a half.
With this in mind, the more appliances you need to charge at the same time the more power station output you’ll use and the less it will last. Once you get well acquainted with the math behind this metric, you’ll be able to pick a good electric portable power station option.
- T POWER Brand-new Lithium-Ion Battery Charger - Input Voltage Range: AC 100V - 240V ( Input 16V -5A --- 16V ~ 25V DC Compatible ) -- Connector - 8mm jack and a standard AC wall plug, and measures 5' long. AC Power Supply part number : 98058, 98051 , 98052 , AK100WG-1600500W2 , Model : UT60-153300-02 AKN9G-1530300W2 GPE048G-160300-D
- ✅ Compatible with: Goal Zero Yeti 150 400 200X 500X Portable Power Station Sherpa 100 Solar Generator Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC 100AC Portable Power Bank 22050 ,Sherpa 50 Power Pack Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator 22004 . Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator 23000
- Goal Zero Goal0 yeti 1000 1250 YETI 1000 YETI 1250 YETI1000 YETI1250 Solar Generator p/n: 31901 38004 GoalZero Goalo 14V -29V 16V 5A Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 1250 1400 3000 400 1000 Sherpa 50 Yeti Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 400, 1000, 1250.1400, 3000 Lithium Portable Power Station
- Goal Zero 31901 Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Portable Power Station Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium Portable Power Station
Portable power stations have different input and output settings. Having an intuitive control panel will make your life much easier when setting your device up. A power station with different power buttons for each feature will give you more control over the energy it delivers. If you’re able to turn off certain areas of your power station, you’ll avoid energy waste and optimize your watt-hours.
An LCD monitor with clear labels you can scroll through will also come in handy. In addition, it will provide you with additional information on the power usage of your battery power stations. This way, you’ll be better prepared when it’s time to recharge and less likely to run out of juice.
Not all batteries are built the same. Picking a power station with the right technology could mean more predictable power capacity and watt-hours. It could also represent an extended battery life and lower maintenance.
Lithium-ion batteries are all the rage right now in the electronics world. They allow the highest level of energy density and provide fast charge performance. Additionally, these batteries have low self-discharge and long lifetime performance, allowing thousands of charging and discharging cycles throughout.
Newer generations of Li-ion batteries are planned to support energy storage systems better. In addition, they’ll provide a more solid base for scenarios where high energy and safety are compulsory.
How Do They Differ From Portable Battery Packs?
Battery packs are widely popular in a time when people seem to be surgically attached to their mobile devices. They offer convenience and portability to keep your everyday gadgets working after hours without having to run to your nearest power outlet. Yet, they’re just a quick solution that can only take you so far when it comes to higher-volume power consumption.
Contrary to what many might believe, portable power stations are much more than plus-sized battery packs. The “station” concept means these devices have numerous port options you can use to juice up a wide range of electronics. Additionally, portable power stations have some handy features that your typical power bank may lack, including, but not limited to:
- Larger battery capacity
- Higher output power
- AC outlets (like the ones on your walls)
- 12V ports
- Digital screens
- Input and output indicators
- Remote power tracking
- Energy management
- Safety features
Portable power stations tend to have much higher capacity and charging space than power banks do. They typically come with several outputs so that no device is left uncharged on their watch. The battery on a power bank is much more similar to the one in a smartphone than the one in a power station. That’s why they can support fewer devices for less time.
Invest in A Reliable Power Source Today
Power stations are a necessity for lots of people. Therefore, having one in store for emergencies and other purposes could never hurt. As mentioned above, there are numerous scenarios in which you can put a portable power station to good use. These devices are more reliable, versatile, and powerful than your average power bank. Besides, they offer a cleaner and safer alternative to traditional gas-fueled generators.
Purchasing a solid power station will give you peace of mind, especially if you live in an area where inclement weather causes frequent power outages. When used right, a power generator will guarantee you don’t have to live without electricity a day in your life. If you’re looking for an electric or solar power station to meet your electric supply needs, visit our site and check out our latest reviews.