Decisions, decisions, I know; it’s overwhelming trying to choose the best portable power station in 2023. This has been a fast growing market with many fly-by-night brands seemingly coming out of nowhere. I’m here to convince you to stick to reputable brands, like ECOFLOW. The updated River 2 (image above) is their newest generation of battery-powered solar generators, and I highly recommend it if 500W is enough power for you, although it can output 1000W in X-Boost mode, giving you the option to power high demand electrical devices, tools or appliances.
There’s a wide range of technology and features that you get with the best power stations compared to a cheap no-name brand. Having said that, I understand that not everybody needs to buy the top model available. But, you can still buy inexpensive battery generators from reputable brands. That’s an important point for you keep in mind when choosing what to buy.
For example, the ECOFLOW River 2 is what this article begins with. I choose it because it’s one of the best 500W portable power stations. Why is that? For starters, it uses LiFePO4 batteries (Lithium Iron Phosphate), which are superior to lithium-ion (Li-ion), lasting 5x-6x longer for lifetime charges. What does that mean? Well, Li-ion batteries can be charged and discharged between 500 to 1000 cycles before their battery life degrades. A LiFePO4 battery begins to degrade between 3000-10,000 cycles before you notice a degradation in battery life.
Let me now compare two powerful portable power stations with each model having a different type of battery.
Lithium-Iron (Ferro) Phosphate (LiFePO4) vs Lithium-Ion Batteries —
Champion 100593 (Li-ion) vs EcoFlow Delta PRO (LiFePO4)
Now, let’s compare two portable power stations using different type of batteries. Champion has only recently begun to make battery generators, which I’m excited about. Champion is one of the best portable generator (gasoline) manufacturers. And ECOFLOW is a leading manufacturer of portable power station technology and ecosystems. They are my favorite brand in this space but there are other quality products in this category.
Champion (Li-ion) 100593
Click the features bar below to open the list for the Champion 100593:
Champion released two portable power stations — these mark their first entry into this market. The other model (100594) is identical except it has a smaller battery capacity at 1638Wh.
I have to honest, I don’t know why Champion engineers chose Lithium-ion batteries instead of Lithium-Iron Phosphate. When you compare the recharge times you’ll quickly see how big the gap is between the numbers.
It takes 2x to 3x longer to recharge a Li-ion power station, — and they’re prone to catch fire and explode.
ECOFLOW (LiFePO4) Delta PRO
Click the features bar below to see the specs on the EcoFlow Delta PRO:
Ecoflow was founded in 2016, which makes it even more impressive when you realize their technology is far ahead of established brands making solar indoor generators. They’ve developed an impressive ecosystem with modular design at the heart of their products.
Their battery generators have received consistent positive reviews for their high-quality construction, durability, and technology, making them my top recommendation if you truly want the best portable power station money can buy.
Browse the EcoFlow Store on Amazon and see the wealth of options you have to create a custom solution for your backup power needs.
Battery Type Matters: Make An Informed Decision
The EcoFlow LiFePO4 battery will drop to an 80% charge after about 10 years (3500 cycles), and will maintain at least a 50% charge after about 17 years (6500 cycles). A Li-ion will drop to an 80% charge after about 3 years. The funny thing is, many power stations that use Li-ion batteries often cost about the same as a power station using LiFePO4 batteries. If you pay attention to this one detail, you’ll make a much smarter decision.
Besides battery life, LiFePO4 batteries won’t catch fire, or explode because they’re thermally stable. LiFePO4 has no chance of thermal runaway. This is caused by overheating and this is always a risk with Li-ion, especially if there are any defects caused during manufacturing.
VIDEO: A Closer Look at ECOFLOW Technology / Delta PRO
LiFePO4 are a much safer battery, as I’ve expressed many times. This is why you can’t put Li-ion devices in your cargo luggage when flying — your batteries might explode or catch fire. This is kind of scary when you think of the risk with Li-ion. One advantage for Li-ion is they have a high energy density, meaning they hold more energy in a smaller space compared to lithium-iron phosphate batteries. This is why your smartphone and laptops still use lithium-ion.
This also means that when you compare two power stations equal in power output, the lithium-ion model will be lighter. Having said that, power stations don’t require the ultra-portability that we need in a smartphone so the difference is not that relevant, in my opinion. A phone is different because even a little extra weight and bulk makes a big difference but those tolerances don’t translate to larger devices.
I’m sharing these points on batteries because most people aren’t aware of the importance the battery type makes in the overall design of the power station. The underlying technology determines the price and most importantly, the time it takes to recharge the batteries and how long they’ll keep their charge over time. Personally, I think the more you know the better of a decision you’ll be able to make. Read the technical specifications and features before you buy.
Recommended: Li-ion Power Station with Fast Recharge ➤Generac GB1000
Released Nov 2023: Best Value — Well-designed Indoor Battery Generator with high power output / 1600W Continuous
Reasons I like the GB1000: Good power output of 1600W running, Quick recharging at only 2.1 hours from 0 to 80% and it’s a Li-ion, Wireless (15W) charging is practical and uncommon. Large 4.7″ display, LED diffused light, Lightweight at 29 lbs., Outlets are covered and it has high peak output at 3200W.
Overall, I like this new power station from Generac. Usually their gas generators are more expensive than other brands but in this case, this is cheaper than most reputable brands (under $1000) and it’s better than most of them. I’m impressed at the set of features. My only complaint is the Li-ion batteries only have an 800 cycle life before dropping to 80%. It’s also available with a 2106Wh battery /➔ GB2000 (Available at Tractor Supply)
Here’s another important point you should know that relates to the type of batteries. LiFePO4 batteries charge fast whereas Li-ion is slow. Again, the ECOFLOW River 2 can be recharged in only ONE HOUR, from 0% charge. In comparison, a Li-ion power station will take 4 to 7 hours to charge. That’s a massive difference, and for me — one of the most important features to consider when buying a power station. If you don’t care about recharge time then you’ll be happy with Li-ion.
One caveat here is that some brands have developed advanced technology that enables them to recharge Li-ion at an impressive rate, close to the recharge speed of LiFePO4 batteries. This is uncommon but brands such as Jackery have developed impressive technology with their newest Explorer PRO series (Read our Reviews). We look at these later in the article.
All that matters is you get a power station that meets your needs and you’re happy with. I have my personal preferences and needs, which is why I selected a wide variety of power stations that I consider to be worth buying — and some do have Li-ion batteries.
What is Watt-Hours (Wh)? Do you know?
Watt-hour (Wh) is a measure of energy that’s used when talking about generators and in this case, portable power stations. You’ll see the watt-hours (Wh) for every model and it’s important that you know what it’s telling you. In simple terms, Wh tells us how much energy a power station can store, and how long it can power our electrical devices.
Wh is found by multiplying the power (measured in watts) and the time (measured in hours). For example, a 3200Wh power station can provide 3200W of power for 1 hour, 1600 watts for 2 hours, or 800 watts for 4 hours.
If you don’t have the Watt-Hours, you can calculate with this formula: Watts = Volts x Amps
For example, if a power station has a 20 Amp per hour battery, operating at 12 Volts you would calculate: 20A x 12V = 240 Watt-Hours or 240Wh. In turn, this power station can power a 120W light-bulb for 2 hours. For every hour it can output a maximum of 240W. The 120W light-bulb needs 50% of the maximum hourly output of the power station, and therefore it can keep the light-bulb on continuously for 2 hours (240 divided by 120= 2).
Here are some examples of common household devices and appliances that the Champion 100593 would be able to run simultaneously for various amounts of time.
Why Brand Matters when buying a Portable Power Station
Battery power stations require strict manufacturing standards to ensure they’re safe to use, and because of that, I would personally recommend known brands as the ones we recommend in this buying guide.
Brands we like: Jackery, Westinghouse, Anker, Duracell, Energizer, BLUETTI, Goal Zero, and ECOFLOW. Other factors you need to consider when buying a portable power station is the overall quality of the components they use, what is their warranty support? As well as, the engineered safety features and quality standards they have. Choose wisely and you’ll end up with a dependable power station that you can trust to be safe, and provide you with clean power (pure sine wave), more on this later.
After all, lithium batteries can spontaneously catch fire if they aren’t manufactured properly so don’t be seduced by the lower prices of no-name brands. This is precisely why I don’t recommend buying a “cheap” no-name power station — and this isn’t a scare tactic. There’s a reason why you’re not allowed to put lithium batteries in your cargo luggage when flying.
Best Portable Power Station: Anker 767
Released in November of 2023. 2400W of power output with 12 outlets / Impressive Technology
If you want a cheap portable power station then this isn’t for you but if you truly want the best, in terms of technology and power output, then the Anker 767 should be at the top of your list. It was released at the end of Nov 2023, so this is one of the newest models available. It’s stunning in terms of it’s features. It has everything you could want and you can buy an expansion battery to double it’s power. I love brands that allow you the option to expand your power, and few brands do it. Anker is one, and my favorite brand, ECOFLOW has an extensive modular system which is genius in how they’ve engineered it.
- Engineered for Longevity: Expect a 10-Year Lifespan. Built with proprietary InfiniPower integrated with LiFePO4 batteries, industrial-grade electronic components, intelligent temperature control system (evaluates temperature up to 100 times per/sec) and impact-resistant (drop-proof) structural design.
- Quick Recharge: Proprietary HyperFlash technology — Charge from 0 to 80% in just 1.4 hours.
- Recharge under direct sunlight within 2.5 hours using five 200W solar panels.
- POWER Output: 2400W AC / 2448Wh (battery capacity)
- 12 Outlets: An exclusive RV port, 4 AC ports with a wattage of up to 2400W, 3 USB-C charging ports, 2 USB-A ports, and 2 car outlets
- 5-Year Full-Device Warranty / designed to reliably power your devices every day for 10 years
- EV-Class LiFePO4 Batteries: Safer and reliable for 3,000 charge cycles. 6X longer than the industry average.
- Industrial-Grade Electronic Components
- Unibody Drop-Proof Design: Impact-resistant, shock-proof, anti-UV, and flame retardant
- Smart Temperature Control: intelligently monitors temperatures up to 100 times per second eliminates any possible battery damage due to overheating.
- Double your power capacity to 4096Wh with the optional Expansion Battery (Anker 760) — SOLD SEPARATELY
- OUTLETS: 4x AC household, 30A – NEMA TT-30 AC outlet (for RV), 3x USB C 100W PD, 2x USB A ports (12W each), 2x carport (120W each)
- Max Input: AC input 1440W, Max solar power 1000W
- Weight: 67.2 lbs.
- Telescoping handle makes it easy to move around with its large wheels.
- GaN Technology: Anker created their proprietary GaNPrime: More efficient than standard technology. You get 88% to 96% charging and energy efficiency. Runs cooler, a charge lasts longer, reduced energy loss.
- Bluetooth: Control power station with the app
- INCLUDES (in the box) Anker 767 Portable Power Station, AC charging cable, car charging cable, solar charging cable, accessories bag, user manual.
Compact / Feature-Rich — Portable Power Station: BLUETTI EB55
Excellent Value for the money / 700W of running power
The BLUETTI EB55 won the iF Design Award in 2023. The EB55 represents a new breed of portable power stations where style and advanced technology merge into one of the best portable power stations on the market. We review this model later in the article, this is a quick peak at an indoor generator that tends to be ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spend more than $500 but need a reasonable amount of power.
You’ll get 700W of running power, 12 outlets, LiFePO4 batteries (Lithium Iron Phosphate), which are superior to lithium-ion, lasting 5x-6x longer for lifetime charges, and… — find out more in our review later in this article.
Jackery Explorer 2000 PRO
Best Solar Power Station for Camping or Home Backup
Overview / Explorer 2000 Pro
Finally, Jackery has created a power station with fast charging. I’m so relieved as this has been lacking in their older products. Charging speed is critical when choosing a portable power station. Who wants to wait six hours for their battery generator to charge? Do you? I know I don’t, and thankfully, this Explorer 2000 PRO is one of the best solar power stations you can buy, and one of the fastest charging.
It weighs 43 lbs., which is fairly lightweight for the power output, but for some people this will still be on the heavy side. I wish they would engineer retractable wheels into this generator and a telescoping handle. I’m being the voice for those who are unable to lift a generator over 40 lbs. with one arm. Is this unreasonable? I don’t think so.
Best Emergency Portable Power Station / Released in 2023
Anker 757 Powerhouse / 1500W Run
The biggest disappointment is that it has lithium-ion batteries. I don’t know why Jackery has been so reluctant to use the superior lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4). There are several reasons why these type of batteries are better, one of the reasons is they last about 3.5X longer. This is a significant difference. For example, the Explorer 2000 Pro gets around 1000 cycles (80% capacity) whereas as LiFeP04 battery gets around 3500 cycles. In other words, these power stations will last over 3.5X longer The Ecoflow Delta Pro and the Anker 757 Powerhouse are examples of power stations incorporating advanced state-of-the-art components, giving them an edge over Jackery indoor/apartment generators.
This Anker model has Lithium-iron Phosphate batteries, with 3000 battery cycles, compared to 1000 cycles for the Explorer 2000 Pro. Also, these LiFeP04 batteries allow this model to be fully charged in 1.5 hours and at 80% in one hour. It also comes with a 5 year warranty across the board, no matter where you buy it. Anker truly believes in the quality of this product and it shows.
This is a rock-solid battery generator with an automotive grade aluminum frame acting as the foundation to the entire system. The anti-vibration system prevents minor shocks and bumps from affecting internal components, while protecting the integrity of the power station. Personally, this Anker 757 model and the EcoFlow Delta Pro are my personal picks for the best portable power stations in 2023. We review these both later in the article so I’ll refrain from saying anything more at the moment. Do your research and decide which model is right for you.
Just Announced — Shipping September 15, 2023 / Pre-Order on Amazon
Jackery Explorer Explorer 1000 Pro
The Explorer 1000 Pro from Jackery was officially unveiled on August 31, 2023 at the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) in Berlin. This is one of the biggest trade-shows centered around the newest electronics and appliances, and this is the first event since the pandemic. The 1000 Pro is destined to be a top selling portable power station when its released in mid-to-late September. This model shows off Jackery’s latest technology. its charging speed is impressive and finally matches EcFlows charging speed This is a big step for the brand as charging speed is an important consideration when buying a power station.
Incidentally, this will replace the Explorer 1000. Technology continues to improve at at a rapid rate and we all benefit
These are the advanced features that make the 1000 Pro unique:
For me, I put a high premium on charging speeds. I don’t have the patience to wait for 5 hours to charge my backup power unit. Up until now, Jackery has been far behind EcoFlow in terms of their technology. It’s great to see Jackery come out with desirable specs to ensure they compete in the fast-changing battery generator market. The competition has been fierce over the past years. Jackery has been a leader for a long time, but I expect this category of back-up power to grow at a rapid rate at gas-power is quickly losing its dominance in the market.
Even big brands like Makita have created powerful 40V and 80V tools to intentionally replace all of their gas-powered tools and power equipment. I promise you, we’re at the beginning of a revolution, and electric power will replace our loud and toxic power equipment.
More details and specs on the Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro —
Where this power station shines is when you connect it to SolarSaga panels. Here are the various solar kits you can get:
|Tech Specs / Outlets|
|Battery Safety: BMS, Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection||Car Outlet: 12V,10A|
|120V, 60Hz, 2200W (4400W Peak)||Size: 15.1 x 10.5 x 12.1 in|
|USB-A Output: Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Max||1000 cycles to 80%+ capacity|
|USB-C Output: 100W Max, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)|
Best Compact Power Station — ECOFLOW River Mini / 300W
One of the best ultra-compact power stations. Optional WiFi. Take it anywhere. Solar Ready. Only 6.3 lbs.
ECOFLOW vs JACKERY / Best Portable Power Station Brands
I’m going to start this article with a simple comparison. A lot of people want to know which brand is better, ECOFLOW or Jackery. My personal opinion is quite clear, and it’s hard to disagree after you see the direct comparison between the ECOFLOW River and the Jackery Explorer 300. Both cost exactly the same, depending on where you buy them. Based on the features and the power output, ECOFLOW provides superior value to consumers.
Absolutely, Jackery is an excellent brand, no question, but ECOFLOW has advanced features that Jackery does not have, such as : Ultra-fast charging (0% to 80% in 1 hr.) Expandable battery, more power output, X-Boost mode gives you up to 1800W of power, and you can connect it to your smartphone.
Best Value : Light Duty
ECOFLOW River / 600W
Best Value : Runner Up
JACKERY Explorer 300 / 300w
So, you tell me what brand of power stations is better. Same price and you get all of these features with the ECOFLOW River. Ultimately, you have to buy what makes sense for you. We all have our preferences. You can’t go wrong with either brand. I personally value the extra features ECOFLOW provides. In this article I show you a full range of power stations from a variety of brands, including more power stations from Jackery and ECOFLOW.
Best Ultra-Compact Power Stations:
Let me start my recommendations with two very affordable power stations for light-duty power needs. These past two years have been difficult for most people, and 2023 continues to be challenging financially for a majority of the population, which is why I want to begin my top power station picks with newer models that most people can afford. Don’t worry, in this article I’ve selected a power station for everyone, but to start, these are two excellent inexpensive options for 2023 :
Westinghouse iGen200s / 300W
Energizer PPS700 / 600W
Best New Power Station for your Home:
Review / Anker 757 PowerHouse : Exceptional Pro-Grade Power Station
New for 2022 : Excellent quality and advanced features such as ultra-fast recharging, from 0% to 80% in under one hour.
►The Anker 757 PowerHouse can also be purchased on Amazon
FEATURES (Anker 757):
On April 12, 2023 Anker released their state-of-the-art 757 Powerhouse (read press release) — a portable power station that incorporates the most advanced features found in other brands, but incorporates Anker’s own proprietary technology to make this one of the best power stations on the market today. Upon first glance you’ll notice the streamlined and futuristic design, which I personally find attractive and inviting. Thankfully, the 757 Powerhouse is much more than a pretty face. Let’s take a look at what makes this indoor generator so special.
One of the most important features to consider when buying a power station is the charging speed, and the 757 Powerhouse can be charged from 0% to 80% in under one hour thanks to Anker’s HyperFlash technology. That’s impressive. The only other brand that recharges that quickly is ECOFLOW, and I’ve been a fan of that brand because of their charging speed for many years, and now, the Anker 757 is also on personal list for the best power stations in 2023 because of the overall recharge speed, quality and comprehensive list of features. Recharge speed is one of the most important features to consider, and although there are other good power station brands on the market, the fact is, they take way too long to recharge. Ultimately you have to decide what features matter the most to you.
When it comes to power, the Anker 757 can output 1500W of running power, making it capable of powering your full-sized fridge during a power outage, or powering your hair dryer (1500W), or portable heater (1500W), or even keeping your portable air conditioner running. This compact power station provides a lot of running power when you need it the most. You’ll also be pleased to know that it gives you 2400W of starting power, which is enough for most appliances, devices and power tools. If you need backup power, the 757 Powerhouse is powerful enough to give you the flexibility you need to run multiple devices at the same time.
For those of you who use a CPAP, you’ll appreciate its fast switchover time of only 20ms. What does that mean? Well, if you’re plugged into the Anker 757, and the power goes out, it will only take 20 milliseconds for the power station to switch over and start powering your CPAP machine.
How much is a millisecond? one thousandth (0.001 or 10−3 or 1/1000) of a second.
More Great Features / Anker 757 PowerHouse
As you’d expect, it’s solar ready making it a great choice for your RV, camping or other outdoor events where you need backup power.
Yes, it also has a built-in MPPT controller, making it 30% more efficient when it comes to solar charging. MPPT technology allows the power station to extract the maximum amount of solar energy under changing weather conditions (IE. cloud cover). It will adjust its load in real-time as weather conditions fluctuate. To be honest, I can’t think of one feature that the 757 PowerHouse doesn’t have. It literally has everything you would want in a power station. If I think of something I wish it had, I promise to share it with you.
The list of features on the 757 PowerHouse are numerous.
I’ve yet to mention the industry-leading 5 year warranty you get. Most leading brands only offer a two year warranty — five years is unheard of and it’s a strong indicator of how much Anker believes in the quality of this flagship power station. They designed the 757 from the ground up, meaning they threw away all previous designs from past products and created a power station where all of the components were engineered to work together in a singular design. In other words, there’s no legacy pieces forced to fit into the 757 PowerHouse. This is a streamlined design and it shows in how all the functionality is integrated.
It has a beautiful Intelligent display, making it easy to view all necessary data such as remaining battery life. I love the LED light bar allowing you to see around the power station during a power outage or, if you’re camping, it gives you plenty of light to see in the dead of night or in your tent/RV.
One of the most important questions you probably have is : How many outlets does the Anker 757 PowerHouse have? The answer is thirteen! You can see the full breakdown in the tech specs section, but in a nutshell, you get : 6x AC 1500W outlets, 4x USB-A (12W), 1x USB-C (100W), 1x USB-C (60W) and a car outlet (120W). For most people, this is more than enough. If you need more power then perhaps you need an inverter generator or something like the ECOFLOW Delta Pro. Make sure you calculate your expected power usage before you buy any power generator. It’s always better to have more power than you think you’ll need. The 757 gives you a lot of flexibility, allowing you run a wide range of devices.
The list of features goes and on. For example, the 757 PowerHouse has a strong chassis/frame to ensure all of the components are secure and protected. Anker went one step further and incorporated an automotive-grade aluminum frame that protects the power station from vibration, and it’s also temperature resistant and anti-corrosive. This is just one feature that you won’t find in other leading brands. I think by now you can understand why this power station belongs at the top of the list of indoor generators worth buying in 2023.
|TECH SPECS : Anker 757 Powerhouse|
|Capacity : 1229Wh||Recharge Time : 1 Hour to 80%, 1.5 Hours to 100%|
|AC Output : 6 x 1500W||Solar Panel Input : 300W Max|
|AC Power Surge : 2400W||Solar Recharge Time : 3.6+ Hour to 80%|
|USB-A Output : 4 x 12W||Net Weight: 19.9 kg / 43.9 lb|
|USB-C Output : 1 x 100W / 1 x 60W||Dimensions: : 463 x 288 x 237 mm / 18.2″ x 11.3″ x 9.3″|
|Car Socket Output: : 120W||Discharge Temperature : -20 – 40°C / -4 – 104°F|
|AC Input : 1000W||Charge Temperature : 0 – 40°C / 32 – 104°F|
Know Your Needs / Choose Wisely
Either way, all of the power stations in this article are from highly reputable companies. The choice is ultimately yours. All of my recommendations are high quality battery generators. It ultimately comes down to what you intend to use it for and how much you want to spend. It’s as simple as that. But, let me say that you need to pay attention to the unique features of each model/brand. That’s where the value is determined.
Flexible Portable Power
We live in a time where battery power is the underlying currency of our digital lives. It’s important that you choose the right model for your needs, and even for peace of mind when there’s a disruption in the power grid. Nowadays, battery technology has advanced considerably, so much so, they can replace gas generators to power your entire home, like the new powerful ECOFLOW Delta Pro Ecosystem, which we’ve reviewed.
Some of these power stations can power your fridge in case of a power outage, and smaller models, under 1000W are best suited to power your smaller electrical devices anytime and anywhere you need silent portable power, like camping, or even your backyard. A battery power station is ideal for anytime you need power on the go, unlike a gas generator, which have their own unique use cases. Many of these portable power stations are suitable if you use a CPAP machine.
Best Portable Power Stations / 2023
I will make my opinion very clear on where I think you should put your money when it comes to battery power stations. I’m aware of all of the brands on the market. I have deep knowledge in the topic of generators, and I can confidently say that ECOFLOW makes the most advanced portable power stations available, with superior technology to any other brand. Keep reading and you’ll quickly see the data that supports such a strong statement.
Best Camping / CPAP : Power Stations
ECOFLOW RIVER Max / 600W
First, ECOFLOW has the fastest charging power stations. The River Max is just one of their models, but it can be charged from 0% to 80% in one hour, using a your household outlet. It has an X-Boost mode allowing it to power devices up to 1800W. It has a detachable extra battery, providing flexible power from 288Wh to 576Wh. These features distinguish it from any other brand. You can also control it with your phone.
Technical Details / River Max
- AC Charge : X-Stream 500W max
- AC Output (x3) : 600W / 1200W Peak
- USB-A Output (x2) : 5V DC,2.4A,12W Max, per port
- USB-A Fast Charge (x1) : 5V/2.4A,9V/2A,12V/1.5A 18W Max
- USB-C Output (x1) : 5V DC,9V DC,12V DC,15V DC,20V DC,5A,100W Max
- Car Power Output (x1) : 136W, 13.6V DC, 10A Max
- Full Charge Times : 1.6 Hours (AC) / 6.5 Hrs (12V Car / 3-6 Hrs (2x110W Solar Panels in parallel, full sun) / 4.8-9.6 Hrs (1x160W Solar Panel full sun)
- DC5521 Output (x2) : 13.6V DC, 3A Max, per port
- 17 lbs. / Lightweight / Reduce weight by 5.5 lbs. by removing extra battery
- Size : 11.4 x 7.3 x 9.3″
Jackery Explorer 500 / 500w
Jackery is also an excellent brand and they make their power stations to very high standards. The quality of the 500 Explorer is excellent. It lightweight at only 13.32 lbs. making it easy to take anywhere. When you compare it to the ECOFLOW you’ll notice there’s nothing exceptional about its features. It’s still an excellent buy. The choice is yours. It really depends on what you value most in a battery power station.
Technical Details / Jackery 500
- AC Output : 500W (1000W Surge)
- Lightweight: 13.32 lbs
- Certification : CEC, DOE, FCC, UL, ROHS, CA Prop 65
- 518Wh (21.6V, 24Ah)
- 24 Months
- Charge Times : AC Adapter: 7.5 hrs. / 12V Car : 7.5 hrs. / Electric Generator: 7.5 hrs. / SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel: 9.5 hr.
- Management Systems : BMS, Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection
- Car Output: 5V, 2.4A
- DC Output: 12V, 10A 12V, 7A
- DC Input: 12V-30V (100W Max)
- Size : 11.8 x 7.6 x 9.2″
VIDEO / Learn More about ECOFLOW River Power Stations
Chart : ECOFLOW River Max / Device Running Time Examples
In this diagram below you can get a good look at how the detachable battery works on the River Max as well as examples of running times for a variety of electrical devices. For example, you can run a CPAP machine from 10 to 20 hours non-stop. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself : How much power do I need in a generator? What features do I want/need?
Best Solar Power Station for Camping:
Jackery Explorer 1000 / 1000W
- 1002Wh (46.4Ah) lithium battery capacity, 1000W continuous / 2000W surge power.
- Output Ports: Two USB-C, two USB, one DC car port & three pure sine wave AC outlets. Go off-grid and power your cameras, computers, communication devices, CPAP, and electric grill.
- More efficient solar charging with integrated MPPT charge controller. Connect two SolarSaga 100W solar panels (sold separately) for eco-friendly charging. Charge the battery with full sun in 8 hours.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 has really taken off among campers because it offers the perfect size to keep standard camping gear running and the MPPT controller makes it far more efficient when using the SolarSaga panels. If you love the great outdoors but you still want to be able to use modern technology then you’ll appreciate what the Explorer 1000 gives you. Also, if you’re someone who uses a CPAP then you’ll also be very happy when using this power station. It can keep your CPAP powered for 55 – 78 hours, assuming your don’t use it for anything else. Either way, a lot of people who camp also need to use a CPAP machine.
Besides that, you can use this for backup power in case the power goes out. It has enough power to keep your fridge running, and also be able to recharge your personal gadgets. Once again, it’s a good size for a lot of things that people need backup power for.
Jackery quality is excellent. My only complaint is that it uses lithium-ion batteries instead of the newer and safer LiFEPO4 batteries being used in the best power stations. The charge time is quite slow at 7 hours using an AC outlet or 8 hours using 2x SolarSaga panels (100W). But, the reason it is on this list is because when you camp your power needs are fairly low and if you have the solar panels you can be continuously recharging the Explorer 1000.
Personally, I would buy the EcoFlow River Pro which is cheaper, and it can be recharged to 80% in under one hour. That’s a phenomenal difference in charge time. Also, you can expand the battery capacity, among many other great features. If you’ve been reading this article, you’ll already know this about EcoFlow. It’s the best brand making power stations in 2023. Their technology is exceptional and they’re a USA company. Take the time and do your own research and make up your own mind.
Best Solar : Portable Power Stations — FOR HOME BACKUP
If you’re looking for enough power to run almost anything, including your fridge, or other heavy-duty appliances or tools, then these power stations will make your mouth water. These are both newer models. They aren’t cheap by any means, but they are designed for power and flexibility. Both are excellent options, if you need the extra wattage.
ECOFLOW DELTA PRO / 3600W
The ECOFLOW Delta Pro is a true powerhouse. In my opinion the most versatile portable power station in 2023. This is a new model and they’ve created the ultimate modular power ecosystem that can scale up to 25,000W. Can run heavy-duty appliances such as dryers, AC units & more. Solar ready for camping or your RV trips.
Jackery Explorer 1500 / 1800W
This powerful solar kit can run most devices, tools, including big appliances like : Electric stoves, microwave ovens and fridges. Versatile battery powered solar generator for camping, RV or backup home power.
For more information on the ECOFLOW Delta Pro, read our indepth review. The more you find out the more impressed you’ll be. Also, visit the ECOFLOW site to learn more about the brand and their line of products.
Visit the Jackery site on Amazon to see their extensive range of portable power stations. There’s a size for everyone.
Read our review of the Jackery Explorer 1000 (1000W). One of the best selling power stations available.
EF ECOFLOW River Pro /
Best OVERALL VALUE : Battery Power Station
The River Pro from ECOFLOW is an impressive portable power station for a couple of reasons. First, it can be fully charged in only 1.6 hours; which is hours quicker than other brands. This isn’t trivial when you think about it. Their X-Boost technology is far superior to any other models on the market. AND if that isn’t enough to convince you buy it then consider that you can purchase an additional River Pro battery and simply swap it in when the battery dies. This is also a rare feature.
The beauty of this design is that you can essentially use this 24 hours a day if needed — assuming the power is on and you’re near an outlet. When the battery runs out you can swap in the fresh battery and charge the original battery and repeat this indefinitely.
- 3 x 600W AC OUTLETS AND 720Wh CAPACITY The RIVER Pro can power up to 10 devices simultaneously with multiple outlet options, including 3 pure sine wave AC outlets. It offers up to 720Wh power and it weighs just 15.9lbs, which makes it a portable power source for adventure on the go.
- RECHARGE FROM 0-80% WITHIN 1 HOUR The patented EcoFlow X-Stream technology enables you to charge the RIVER Pro from 0%-80% within one hour and offers a full charge in just 1.6 hours.
- DOUBLE CAPACITY FROM 720Wh to 1440Wh Add a RIVER Pro Extra Battery to double the capacity from 720Wh to 1440Wh. This is ideal for situations like traveling, camping, or group outdoor activities where you need more power for more devices.
- POWER A WIDE RANGE OF APPLIANCES The RIVER Pro can power some devices up to 1800W with the X-Boost mode on, which lets you power about 80% of essential devices like kitchen appliances and DIY tools. Use devices below 1200W for the best product use.
Lithium-batteries are the most common type of battery used in today’s devices but they still pose a considerable fire hazard risk especially during transportation, which is why you can’t have them in your luggage when you fly. Lithium-ion phosphate batteries as used in the Energizer PPS240W01 — a safer alternative, which should get your attention, on top of all of the other features you get.
Beware of Buying Fly-By-Night Brands
Buyer Beware : You need to know that over the past year or so the market, especially Amazon has been flooded with a massive amount of Chinese brands, and if you’re not educated on what to look for then you may end up throwing your money away. I’m not saying that all of the new brands are suspect, but think of it this way — Who is going to fix your portable battery generator if it malfunctions 8 months into your warranty? Does the brand have a website with a support line that you can call and talk to a human? What’s the process if it’s defective? My advice is to stick with the reputable brands, like :
Power for Gadgets NOT your Fridge
These smaller models are intended to power small devices, such as : laptops, smartphones, a fan while camping, your Amazon Kindle, lights, radio (Yes, they still exist). These are designed for portability and convenience. It’s amazing how small they are. We’ll get into the details later but one thing you should know is that the models shown so far will not run your fridge ,but some of the larger indoor generators (another common term for them) will accomplish that if you need that functionality.
What’s the Best portable power station Even a power outage can make you feel vulnerable. Our society is rooted in energy and when the lights go out, we get scared. Including me.
I think about this a lot as I live in Vancouver, BC, and the threat of a massive subduction zone earthquake is imminent.
💬 For your specific needs, budget and expectations? Do you want an indoor generator to get you through a power outage? To take camping? or to power your tools when you work in the garage? Their are a myriad of ways you can use a portable battery power station and in this article we discuss and review 4 excellent models that we feel are worth your money.
Best Design / Style & Function: BLUETTI EB55
- 700W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (1,400W Surge)
- 537Wh Capacity
- LiFePO4 Battery with 2,500+ Life Cycles to 80%
- 12 Outputs For Multiple Devices
- 6 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/AC+Solar/Dual AC)
- 200W Max. Solar Input
- 400W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar + AC Adapter Simultaneously)
The EB55 is the best portable power station for 2023. This isn’t a statement made by me, but instead a far more prestigious organization has bestowed this honor on the BLUETTI EB55. It won the iF Design Award in the Building Technology category. These awards have been ongoing since 1953 so this is truly a remarkable accomplishment. The iF Design Award Jury is composed of 132 notable design experts from over 20 countries — need I say more. In addition, the BLUETTI also won an iF award (see below).
The EB55 is an exceptional power station for a wide variety of applications, such as: Camping, personal backup for power outages, CPAP, and for any other applications in which 700W of running power is enough.
What impresses me about the EB55 is the fact that it is using the latest technology and the price is very reasonable. It has an MPPT controller, which makes solar charging far more efficient. It has the ability to dual-charge, meaning you can use the regular wall outlet and solar charging to give you a maximum of 400W. It’s lightweight at only 16.5 lbs., making it a no-brainer to take it with you almost anywhere you go, but this is just the starting.
It’s produces pure sine wave power, and uses the superior LiFePO4 batteries, which give you over 2500 life cycles. This is about 5x better than lithium-ion batteries. Life cycles refers to the number of times you can recharge the batteries before they are noticeably degraded (less than 80% of original capacity). The battery has 537Wh Capacity and can provide up to 1400W of starting power. This has enough power to run most full size refrigerators. When the power goes out the food in the fridge should be the first thing you try to preserve. After a few hours food starts to spoil
Tech Specs: EB55
|Capacity: 537Wh (22.4V, 24Ah)||4X AC Outputs: 100-120V, 700W (1400W Surge) , 50Hz / 60Hz, Pure Sine Wave|
|Type: LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate)||1X USB Type-C Outputs: 5V, 3A / 9V, 3A /12V, 3A / 15V, 3A / 20V, 3A / 20V, 5A (100W Max)|
|Life Cycles: 2,500+ Cycles to 80% Original Capacity||1X Car Port: DC Regulated 12V, 10A|
|Shelf-life: Recharge to 80% Every 3-6 Months||4X USB-A Outputs: 5V, 3A|
|Management System: MPPT Controller, BMS, etc.||2X DC Outputs: 12V, 10A, 5.5mm x 2.1mm|
|1X Wireless Charging Pad: 12V~28V, 200W Max|
|AC Adapter (200W): ≈3 Hours||AC Adapter Input: 200W Max.|
|Solar (200W): ≈3 Hours (With prime sunshine, ideal orientation and low temperature)||Solar Input: 200W Max., VOC 12-28V, 8A|
|12V/24V Car Outlet (100W/200W): ≈6.1 or 3.4 Hours||Car Input: 12/24V from Cigarette Lighter Port|
|AC+ Solar (400W): ≈1.8~2.3 Hours (With prime sunshine, ideal orientation and low temperature)||Max Input: 400W, with AC+Solar Input|
|Dual AC (400W): ≈1.8~2.3 Hours (Extra adapter is REQUIRED)|
Best Home Solar Backup : Portable Power Station
- 2,200W AC Pure Sine Wave Inverter (4,800W Surge)
- 2,048Wh Capacity
- LiFePO4 Battery with 3,500+ Life Cycles to 80%
- Expandable Up To 6,144Wh with 2×B230, or 8,192Wh with 2×B300
- 7 Ways to Recharge (AC/Solar/Car/Generator/Lead Battery/Dual AC/AC+Solar)
- 900W Max. Solar Input
- 1300W Max. Fast Dual Charging (Solar + AC Adapter)
- Smart Control & Monitor in BLUETTI App
It’s only been in the past several years that battery technology has been cheap enough for homeowners to use as their backup power for their entire home. This shift from gasoline generators to battery generators is long overdue and points to the future of technology as it integrates with our lives. Tesla, the car company, paved the way for electric power being adopted by the average person as the superior solution to our power needs. BLUETTI is one of the few companies creating modular home power systems that can keep your home running during a power outage.
The AC200MAX can connect to either the B300 (8,192Wh) or the B230 (6,144Wh) to extend your running time and to ensure you can continue living normally no matter what the power grid is doing. Adding solar panels is a wise idea if you truly want a sustainable home backup system, otherwise you are still dependent on recharging with traditional power outlets. Ultimately, you have to decide what you need. The beauty of power stations in 2023 is there’s a solution for the full range of needs that people have — whether if it’s for something small to keep your laptop and smartphone charged, or for camping, or if you need a power station big enough to keep your fridge running. The AC200MAX is for someone looking to be able to keep most of your home running during an outage, or to use it to power their RV as it has a 30A RV outlet. The uses are vast.
The future is exciting when it comes to battery power solutions but we still have to solve the global power needs in a sustainable manner. That’s a far bigger subject to be had, but I’m hopeful that humans will figure out a sustainable way to live.
EGO POWER+ Nexus | Best Camping Portable Power Station
- 3000 Watt Starting / 2000 Watt Running
- 3x 120-Volt A/C outlets
- 4x USB Ports
- Bright LED Display Shows Run Time
- Battery Powered Alternative to Gas Generators
- Quiet Clean Power for Indoor and Outdoor Use
- 4 Port Battery Charger (when plugged in).
- Weather-Resistant Construction
- 3000-Watt peak 2000-Watt continuous
- Rugged aluminum handles
- Includes : 2 EGO POWER+ ARC lithium batteries (7.5 Ah)
- Works with 1, 2, 3 or 4 EGO batteries of any size, in any combination
- Clean, quiet, battery-powered generator.
- Same power as a 3000W gas generator.
- Pure sine wave inverter that runs cooler and more efficient than traditional generator.
- Safe to use indoors and outdoors
- Perfect for camping, tailgating, on the jobsite, or during power outages
- Power a refrigerator, microwave, Wi-Fi router, and essentials during power outages.
- Weight (Without Battery Pack) 30.2 lb (13.7kg)
- Operation Temperature Range : 5°F – 104°F (-15°C – 40°C)
- Storage Temperature Range :-4°F – 158°F (-20°C – -70°C)
- Charge up to 4 EGO batteries
- Control your Nexus from anywhere with EGO connect app
- Weather resistant construction
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Ego Power+ Nexus.
The EGO POWER+ does not have a battery inside the unit, instead, it has connectors for four external EGO batteries. To extend the runtime of this portable power station, you simply plug in up to four EGO Power+ BA4200 56 Volt 7.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery packs. A full set of four 7.5 Ah batteries will give you 30 Ah or around a 366 WH charge. Using the same calculations as above, using a 100-Watt light; 366/100 = 3.66 hours, very close to what the Yeti can give you. The difference is that the EGO POWER+ is fully portable and everything is contained in one neat package.
The EGO POWER+ can deliver 2000-Watt continuous power, with a peak of 3000 Watts when you use the 3 AC ports combined. This makes the EGO portable power station the most powerful of the four units. It also means that loaded with four batteries, it takes the most charge for a single portable true sine wave package. It weighs 55 pounds with the four batteries. Some people may consider that too heavy for a portable power station. You can walk twice and fetch the batteries later. But over a short distance, you can still carry it to where it’s needed.
You may use any of the EGO Power+ 56 Volt Lithium-Ion battery packs ranging from 2.5Ah to 7.5Ah with this power station. It offers the advantage of using the battery packs at home or in the workplace to power any of your EGO power equipment. Making it a sound investment.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the EGO POWER+ Nexus
The outputs on the EGO will also satisfy your needs, it has three 120-Volt AC outlets, and four USB charging ports. The only disappointment amongst the positives is that they did not include a 12-Volt DC port. Neat and stylish EGO green plastic flaps protect all the ports. All the controls are neatly grouped so that you intuitively know what to do.
The clear liquid crystal display is packed with information. It displays the rated power output in steps of 600, 1200, 2000, and 3000 Watt. The rated maximum continuous output power depends on the batteries attached to the Nexus power station. It identifies all the batteries you plugged in, displaying some information about the batteries. It indicates the status of the associated battery, and a circled power indicator in segments indicates the remaining battery charge.
It has indicators for WIFI and Bluetooth that Illuminates when connecting the Nexus to a WIFI Network or to a cell phone via Bluetooth. This Nexus portable power station can provide a variety of connected features to IOS and Android phones with their EGO CONNECT software.
VIDEO | A Quick Overview of the EGO Nexus
A disappointing issue of the EGO is that you cannot charge batteries and power AC and/or USB devices at the same time. With only one function available at a time, it means you do not have power when the batteries are discharged. You need grid power to re-charge the batteries and where that is unavailable, you must use another AC power source. When you are out on some adventure, solar power could be all you have, but it is not compatible with the EGO. Without more EGO batteries or another inverter connected to your solar panel, you will no longer have power for your adventure.
How They Work | Portable Power Stations
Power Station vs Gas Generators
Portable power stations, people also refer to these as indoor generators or a fuel-free portable powerhouse. You can think of it as a battery with regular AC outlets, some USB-ports and a 12 Volt utility port. It sounds like the ultimate solution, your own portable power station. Imagine, no more power outages, power where and when you need it. I’m referring to the notion of a portable power station of course.
However, it is still limited by the available energy sources we have. To generate power, we need a source of energy, which is converted into AC electrical power. A generator uses either gas, diesel, flowing water, wind or the motion of waves as its energy source. It uses mechanical power which is converted into electricity. It is the most common means of generating power. This is how the power grid is supplied.
The portable power stations we refer to use energy stored in a battery pack that generates the electricity. However, it does not use mechanical power to do so, it converts the DC power of the batteries to AC power. Unlike an inverter generator that uses mechanical power to generate DC and an inverter to convert it to AC.
As a rugged source of portable electricity, you cannot beat the portable gas generator. If fuel is available you can keep it running. Unfortunately, gas generators have some limitations, the most notable being that they generate noise and noxious gasses when they generate power. You also have to contend with the handling and storage issues of a gas-powered device. It limits their usefulness because you cannot use them indoors or in areas with strict noise limit regulations.
A Powerful Power Station from Goal Zero | Yeti 6000X
This is a unique power station from Goal Zero. I don’t think this series has really caught on with the public based on the number of reviews I see on the retail sites, but this has it’s uses. It’s a good alternative to a mid-sized gas generator but in 2023 you best option for a powerful home backup system is the ECOFLOW Delta Pro, which I’ve discussed earlier in this article.
- Powerful 2000W AC (3500W Surge) inverter
- Can handle surges from power tools, medical devices, and home appliances, including full-size refrigerators.
- 7 different port options : fast-charging 60W USB-C Power Delivery, multiple USB-A ports, regulated 12V, and two 120V AC ports.
- Charge the Yeti 6000X from the sun with our portable solar panels
- MPPT charge controller ensures you’re getting the most efficient solar charge possible.
- Monitor, control, and optimize your power usage from anywhere with Yeti App 3.0. Features remote control of power in/out, real-time power consumption notifications, and charging profiles to optimize your battery life.
- Battery: Li-ion NMC Pack capacity: 6071Wh (10.9V, 556Ah) Single Cell Equivalent Capacity: 1668Ah @ 3.6V
- Charging MPPT (input): 14-50V, up to 50A (600W max)
- 12V car port (output): 12V, up to 13A (160W max), regulated 12V High Power Port (output): 12V, up to 30A (360W max), regulated
- Power output: USB A(2X), USB C(1), USB C PD(1), regulated 12-Volt, AC (2X), anderson power pole
- Weight: 106 lbs.
- Ideal for: tablets, laptops, refrigerators, TV, backup, emergency, medical, lights, Home Energy Storage,
- Expandable with Goal Zero Yeti Link and Tank Expansion Batteries
Continued, portable power stations, general info…
Fortunately, battery powered portable power stations do not have these limitations. These devices can be used inside, next to the computer and appliances it powers. It’s the perfect quiet, portable power source for the person that uses a CPAP machine. You may even plug in your Hi-Fi equipment and place the portable power station right next to it. Most units do not generate any noise and they do not produce noxious gasses. This is because portable power stations are really battery powered inverters in a user-friendly container.
These portable power stations have one or more batteries as an energy source, a battery charger to charge the batteries, and the inverter to deliver the AC power. The inverter uses the energy stored in the battery pack to produce power. This is the reason why it’s truly quiet, there is no motor and generator running. However, the battery is also one of its limitations, because the battery has a limited charge of energy. The energy you can store in the battery pack determines how long it will last till the next charge.
Think about it, a unit that must be charged at a wall socket cannot be used during a week-long fishing trip. It may last for three or more hours and then it needs a re-charge, with no grid power it becomes a paperweight. Another unit that can be charged by the sun or a car charger will let you enjoy your off-grid time for longer. However, you are still limited by the time the battery lasts. Re-charging is a slow process compared to the time it takes to fully discharge the battery. As an example, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 should be fully recharged within 7 hours at a wall socket. When using solar panels to recharge compatible units, it is an even slower process, depending on conditions it may even be 14 to 60 hours.
Westinghouse iGen160s | Portable Power Station (read review)
By comparison, a gas-powered inverter generator can run for around ten hours on a tank of fuel. When empty, it is a quick process to re-fuel it, only taking a few minutes, and fuel is abundant. This is one of the main advantages it has over the battery unit; refueling is quick. It is more like a true portable power station because it does generate power instead of converting it from a storage cell.
Even though the battery power is limited, these portable power stations can serve you well. For clean portable power and no noise, you will not find any better. When camping in a quiet secluded spot with lots of sun to charge the batteries this is the ultimate power supply. It is best used to charge USB devices because there is only a small loss involved in tapping off 5-Volt power from the battery. If you use it to power lights you should consider low power DC units like LED lights and run it off USB or the 12 Volt socket.
In our original article, these were the four portable power stations we choose to review, but now it’s 2023 and only one of them are still available, and worth buying — the unique EGO NEXUS. It’s funny how quickly technology changes.
Power Station Technology / Inverters & Pure Sine Wave
Some important questions you should ask when you consider a portable power station come to mind and I will give you answers to all of these. But, before we jump to the reviews, let’s consider the three basic types of inverter and why it is important to understand their technology.
Inverters work by generating a 60 Hz sine wave from the DC voltage in the battery and then amplifying it to 110 Volt AC. An easy way to generate the pulse is done with a set of switched transistors that generate a square wave pulse. This square wave signal is then passed through a transformer to amplify the signal. Unfortunately, you end up with a 110VAC square wave of 60Hz, not what any alternating power device was designed for.
The grid power is produced with generators that deliver a pure sine wave. It is what AC equipment is designed to use. Many devices heat up when used on a square wave inverter and make humming noises. Because of this, square wave inverters are prohibited in some European countries. These inverters can only be used with some AC motors.
An improved version generates a simulated sine wave that follows the sine wave in a stepped square wave pattern. It is better, but it is still unacceptable for sensitive equipment like computers and utilities that use computerized controls. These units may be identified as delivering a Modified Sine Wave and usually have inverter output efficiency of around 85%. It means 15% of the energy in the battery is lost in the conversion process when delivering 110-VAC. Modified sine wave units generate unwanted heat in many AC devices and may permanently damage some. Many manufacturers of these portable power stations do not identify them as such. The only indication may be a warning that it should not be used with medical equipment.
A true sine wave inverter delivers a pure sine wave that is compatible with all AC devices. It causes no harm and generates no undue heat in devices. It is the best solution and the one you should aim for. Portable power stations with true sine wave inverters proudly indicate it on the unit and in all documentation. These are the most expensive and, when comparing prices, you may be misled to consider them as being overpriced in comparison to modified sine wave units.
Summary : Choosing the best portable power station
The Jackery is the smallest, lightest, and most portable solution and it is perfectly suited to its chosen market segment. Ideal for lovers of the great outdoors with a need for portable power to charge cameras, drones, and other gadgets. With its pure sine wave power, and with flexible charging options, it is best in its class
More powerful than the Jackery, the Goal Zero Yeti is fully portable when you do not chain additional batteries. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is light and easy to carry around. It is also convenient for off-grid use. It is a strong competitor to the Jackery.
The EGO POWER is the only unit that cannot charge batteries and power AC and/or USB devices at the same time. It is also the only one you can only charge at a wall receptacle, limiting its time away from the grid. It also delivers a clean sine wave, and it is the most powerful unit with four batteries attached. Too heavy to carry over long distances, but the only one that uses batteries that fits your EGO tools.
Sun Joe is the heaviest and biggest portable power station. But it is a strong competitor to the EGO POWER and the only one that can start a car. It is also compatible with a solar panel, using a built-in charger. But it is the only modified sine wave inverter in the group. I do not recommend it for powering computers, TV and other sensitive AC appliances, it may harm the equipment.
From the reviews, you’ve learned that portable power stations are different in many ways. The smaller units are fully portable and designed for the young at heart with an adventurous streak. It must be small and light enough so you can carry around, supply enough power to keep some small devices charged. The bigger, heavier units are more useful around the house, the RV, and when camping. The main advantage of the bigger units is that they are quiet. You can use them inside, instead of running leads from a noisy gas generator outside.
Caring for your Power Station Batteries
The Jackery and the EGO POWER use lithium-ion batteries, while the Goal Zero and Sun Joe use lead-acid batteries. We are all accustomed to using and charging lithium batteries used in all portable computers, mobile phones, gamepads, and many more everyday devices. We do not often handle lead-acid batteries, so I decided to briefly discuss battery care in general.
We should all be aware by now, that rechargeable batteries gradually discharge when left idle. Your portable power station will be one of those devices that may end up on a shelf for months. However, periodic charging of any type of battery is necessary to maintain maximum battery capacity. The AC charger built into these portable generators are well suited to regulate the charging process. You should recharge the batteries at least every three months, especially in a warm environment. If you fail to do that, you may cause permanent damage to the battery.
Do not attempt to charge a frozen battery or one that was exposed to freezing weather. You should gradually warm a frozen or very cold battery to above 32°F before charging it. You should never expose your batteries to extreme temperatures, whether it be very warm or freezing. It will shorten their life and you may even find that your battery is dead.
Always follow federal, state, and local regulations when you dispose of your battery pack. Contact a recycling agency in your area for recycling locations. Even discharged battery packs contain some energy and you should handle it with care. Before disposing of the battery, use electrical tape or caps from the new battery to cover the terminals. It will prevent them from shorting, which could cause a fire.
It is dangerous to burn or incinerate a battery pack, even if it is damaged, or completely discharged. When burned, it will emit toxic fumes and materials into the surrounding atmosphere.
Consult your user manual for specific information on how you should handle, store, and charge your batteries because it may vary according to the device.
Do not mix old and new batteries. The old batteries will reduce the efficiency of the new batteries. Never mix alkaline, standard (carbon-zinc), or rechargeable nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, or lithium-ion batteries. Their charge state voltages, discharge rates, and charging cycles are not compatible.
Remember that all batteries contain materials that are hazardous to your health. Handle them with care. If a battery is damaged, use disposable gloves.
A metal recycler may pay you for your lead-acid battery, or you may get a discount from the supplier. Do not dump it.
The Models below this line have been discontinued. For now, we are keeping these reviews for reference only.
Jackery HLS 290
Lithium battery with 292 watt-hour energy. Best portable power station powered by Honda technology. Model : G00290RDH
- Peak Capacity: 292Wh (14.4V, 20.3Ah) 81200 mAh / 3.6V
- Battery Info: Lithium ion (BAK 2900mAh x 28 cells)
- Cell Chemistry: Li-ion NMC
- Lifecycles: ≥500 cycles to 80%
- Shelf-life: Charge every 3-6 Months
- Management System: BMS, Over Voltage Protection, Short Circuit Protection
- Charge Methods: AC Wall Outlet, 12V Car adaptor, Solar Panel (optional)
- Full Recharge Time:
- 8 Hours (AC)
- 8 Hours (12V Car Adapter)
- 10 Hours (Optional 50W solar panel with Full Sun)
- Product Weight: 6.6 lbs (3 kg)
- Dimensions (LxWxD): 9.0 x 7.8 x 5.2 in (23 x 20 x 13 cm)
- Warranty: 2-Years
- Powerful built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode
- LCD screen with charge/discharge and battery life status
- Switch with indicator light for on/off output port charging
View or download the MANUAL for the Jackery HLS 290
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. selected Jackery to develop this outdoor portable power station with a focus on eco-friendly, portable power for those on the move. It features an AC port, two USB ports, a 12 Volt input, and a port to connect an optional solar panel.
The Jackery HLS 290 is quite a small unit, only 9 inches by 7.8 inches by 5.2 inches, and weighs 6.6 lbs. It is the only portable power station in our selection that you can charge with a car charger that’s supplied with the unit. Its portability, small size, and light weight, coupled with the car, wall and solar charging options, make it an ideal camping partner. Yes, its versatility is limited by its 200-Watt power. But it can charge a phone or power a WiFi unit while also being charged. Jackery calls this pass-through charging. It means that it will charge connected devices, while a solar panel or the car charges it, thereby extending its useful hours.
VIDEO : Jackery HLS 290 vs Jackery HLS 240
The HLS290 contains an array of cylindrical 18650 lithium ion battery cells, packaged as a battery with high energy density. This portable power station offers 292 Watt-hour energy storage and 200-Watt power output. Providing you safe, quiet, mobile power to go places wherever your adventure takes you. Now you can charge activity-electronics such as drones, cameras, smartphones, and a host of other recreational equipment. With a full battery, it will charge a tablet up to 14 times, or your mobile phone up to 17 times. It will power a mini-fridge or a 32-inch TV for 3.4 hours or your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for up to 4 hours.
To fully charge the unit, depends on the remaining charge and the chosen method of charging. A full recharge, using an AC wall outlet, should complete in 8 hours. With a 12 Volt car adaptor, also 8 hours, and a 50-Watt solar panel with full sun, 10 hours.
The DC, 8mm (0.315”) Charging Input can accept 12 to 30 Volt normally, with a maximum short period charge of 42W. Its DC 13.3 Volt output can deliver up to 10A and the single 110VAC, 60Hz port delivers 200-Watt continuous power with a maximum of 400 Watts. For charging USB devices, you have two USB-A ports (5 Volt 2.4 Amp)
This portable power station is ideal for lovers of the great outdoors with a need for portable power to contact friends, charge cameras, etc. You can use it with an LED light source or its powerful built-in LED flashlight to light your tent or make your fishing more habitable. It will not start the car or run the microwave, that is not its purpose.
Goal Zero — Yeti 400 // Yeti 400 LITHIUM / DISCONTINUED
Read our reviews on the NEW Goal Zero Power Stations.
Fully recharges in about 5 hours (400) and 7 hours (400 Lithium).
Note : There are two versions of the Yeti 400, which can be confusing if you are not aware of it — The Yeti 400 and the Yeti 400 LITHIUM. See the features below for the differences between each model. It can be confusing if you are unaware of the two versions.
Comparison Chart : Goal Zero Yeti 400 vs Yeti 400 LITHIUM
Feature Comparison — Yeti 400 vs Yeti 400 LITHIUM :
- Quiet, lightweight, indoor generator.
- BATTERY :
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- Replaceable sealed lead-acid AGM battery
- Cell Type: AGM Lead-Acid
- Peak Capacity: 396Wh (12V, 33Ah)
- Lifecycles: hundreds of cycles
- Shelf-Life: Keep plugged in, or charge every 3-6 months
- Fuses: none
- Management System: Charging and low-battery protection
- Yeti 400 Lithium :
- Replaceable lithium battery
- Cell Chemistry: Li-ion NMC
- Peak Capacity: 428Wh (10.8V, 39.6Ah)
- Lifecycles: 500 cycles to 80% (discharge rate: 1C, full charge/discharge, Temp 25C)
- Shelf-life: Keep plugged in, or charge every 3-6 months
- Management system: PWM (pulse-width modulation) charge controller, low battery protection
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- PORTS :
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- USB port (output): 5V, up to 2.1A (10W max) regulated
- 6mm port (output, 6mm, green, hexagon): 12V, up to 10A (120W max)
- 12V car port (output): 12V, up to 10A (120W max)
- AC inverter (output, 60Hz, pure sine wave): 110V, 2.6A (300W continuous, 600W surge max)
- Power Pole Chaining Port: 12V, up to 33A (400W max)
- Charging Port (input, 8mm, blue, circle): 14-29V, up to 10A (120W max)
- Yeti 400 Lithium :
- USB port (output): 5V, up to 2.4A (12W max), regulated
- 6mm port (output, 6mm): 12V, up to 10A (120W max)
- 12V car port (output): 12V, up to 10A (120W max)
- AC inverter (output, pure sine wave): 120VAC 60Hz, 2.5A (300W continuous, 1200W surge max)
- Charging port (input, 8mm): 14-22V, up to 10A (120W max)
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- GENERAL :
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- Chainable: Yes
- Weight: 29 lbs (13.2 kg)
- Dimensions: 10.25″ x 8″ x 8″ (26 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm)
- Operating Usage Temp: 32-104 °F (0-40°C)
- Certs: CE, FCC, ROHS
- Warranty: 6 months
- Yeti 400 Lithium :
- Chainable: No
- Weight: 16.3 lbs (7.4 kg)
- Dimensions: 7.5″ x 11.2″ x 7.0″ (19.0 x 28.6 x 17.7 cm)
- Operating Usage Temp: 32-104°F (0-40°C)
- Warranty: 12 Months
- Yeti 400 Regular :
- Solar Panels :
- Yeti 400 Regular / Yeti 400 Lithium
- Goal Zero : Boulder 50, 100 & 200 (4 to 8 hr. recharge)
- Goal Zero : Nomad 100 (6.5-16 hr. recharge time)
- ✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Yeti 400 LITHIUM.
- ✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Yeti 400.
Be careful when you search for this portable power station, the names for this one and its lithium variant are similar. I’m reviewing the Goal Zero Yeti 400 with a replaceable sealed lead-acid, AGM battery weighing 29 lbs. Not the Goal Zero Yeti 400 lithium with a lithium ion battery pack. It is easy to confuse the names, although the units look distinctly different.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is another neat package with an LCD display indicating the input and output power in Watts. To the right of the display, is the proudly displayed pure-sine-wave emblem, with the charging port to the left. It offers two AC ports, two USB ports, and two 12 Volt outputs. You can recharge this portable power station using solar power by connecting a compatible solar panel. Charge time is dependent on the size of the solar panel used. The Boulder 200 solar panel will fully recharge the Yeti 400 in about 4 to 8 hours. Full recharges when plugged into the wall, takes about 5 hours. Recharging from your car, using the 12 Volt adapter, takes about 13 hours.
The Yeti 400 can also accept a charge while it charges connected devices. As long as there is more power going into the Yeti than what is required by the output ports. The display will indicate an estimated time until fully charged. The controls will gradually adjust the display to a shorter or longer time as the average charge or discharge rates fluctuate.
The number in the Goal Zero Yeti 400 indicates that its Battery capacity is almost 400 WH or 33 AH, with a nominal voltage of 12 Volts. It delivers 300 Watts continuous power, with a peak of 600 Watts surge, only 100 Watts more than the Jackery. The 50% increase in power does make a difference that is noticeable when using the AC outlet from the inverter. Its 600 Watts surge makes a huge difference, this unit can power a mini-fridge for 7 hours with its internal battery.
But this is where the Yeti 400 differentiates itself. Not only can you extend that time with solar power, but you can also chain in more batteries to extend the run time. Extending the battery power does mean the unit is no longer portable, because the chained batteries are outside the unit. Goal Zero provided Anderson power pole chaining ports on both sides and neat, safe extension cable kits are available.
The internal battery is easy to replace, you undo four bolts to remove the top, remove a brace and undo the connections. Then you can swap in the new battery. Replacement batteries are inexpensive and freely available from many suppliers and you also use the same type of battery when chaining. Chaining does not give you more power, it extends the time the unit can deliver power. It also increases the load on the charger and, therefore, charging the batteries takes proportionally longer. You can extend the 33 Ah of the internal battery to 165 Ah by adding 4 external batteries.
For example, if you plugged in that 100-Watt AC light, you can estimate that the YETI 400 will supply the light for about 4 hours. To calculate this, you use the formula; YETI WH/Device W = runtime in hours; 400/100 = 4 hours. With the four external batteries the math changes to 2013/100 = 20 hours. From this, you can see that, by adding four batteries, you have five times the runtime you had with one battery.
Chaining in more batteries may not be an option for adventure lovers. Yet, the Yeti’s portability and the charge-through feature does make it an ideal portable power station with more power than the Jackery.
Sun Joe SJ1440SG / Discontinued
Indoor or outdoor generator. 1440 running watts. 1800 starting watts. One of the best portable power stations with wheels. Released in 2019.
- Compatible with the Sun Joe folding panels attachment SJ1440SP
- Fuel-free portable power for small, household electronics, jump-starting engines, RV trips, camping, and power tools
- Charges from 120 Voltage wall outlet or optional solar panel
- 4 in. LCD displays system information battery status
- Internal sealed lead acid (SLA) battery is non-toxic, fuel and fume-free, and safe for indoor outdoor use
- Continuous output power: 1440 Watt
- Equipped with 2 car auxiliary outlets, 2 USB ports and 2 plug outlets
- AC charge time max: 24 hours
- Solar panel charge time max: 60 hours
- Made from plastic and metal
- Warranty: 2 years limited
- No assembly required
- Weight : 107 lbs
- Dimensions (L x W x H) : 21.65 x 17.75 x 25.60 Inches
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Sun Joe SJ1440SG.
The Sun Joe is the biggest and heaviest machine of the four. Its external dimensions are 18 x 14 x 21.5 inches and it weighs 114 pounds. It is the only one fitted with wheels and a retractable handle to make it portable and the only modified sine wave inverter. It is not the same type of portable power station as the Jackery and the Goal Zero; it is too bulky and heavy. It’s meant for fuel-free portable power for small, household electronics, jump-starting engines, RV trips, camping, and power tools.
It is very capable, delivering 1800 Watts continuous power and a whopping 3600 Watts surge power. A start-up current that is double its rated output makes it usable close to its maximum rated output. It will power a 1000-Watt Microwave for 35 minutes and an 800-Watt Circular Saw for 50 minutes. A 12-inch fan consuming 60 Watt will run 15 hours.
The modified sine wave output of the generator is safe for electrical appliances such as lamps, electric tools, pumps, etc. You will find that the generator and some equipment may be noisy and will generate more heat. Be careful when using it with computers, TVs, and other sensitive AC appliances. It may harm electronic equipment. The regulated 5 Volt DC USB outputs can safely supply power to cellular and digital products such as MP3 players, tablets, etc. A Car lighter plug with 12 Volt DC output can supply power to electrical products using 12 Volt DC.
The Sun Joe portable power station has two charging options. You can charge it using the built-in AC charger or with Sun Joe foldable solar panels. Sun Joe developed their Model SJ1440SP foldable sun panels specifically for this portable generator.
It is possible to use this portable power station to simultaneously charge the battery and use one or more loads/devices connected to the outlets. When used in this mode, the indicators will display input and output loads. The Sun Joe has a clear 4-inch liquid crystal display that supplies information about the battery charge and the load on the system. Buttons with press-and-hold modes makes it necessary to read the manual.
You will find that recharging is a slow process. This is because of the large deep cycle battery that’s used. When only recharging the battery, it can take up to 24 hours using AC power, or 60 hours with the solar panels in full sun. When the time comes to replace the battery, usually after 3 to 5 years, it is easily accessible. You can replace the internally mounted, 100 Ah sealed lead acid (SLA) deep cycle battery with any compatible units freely available from battery suppliers.
There is a warning in the manual about purchasing a solar panel for the Sun Joe, that is worth mentioning here. You should only use solar panels using Polycrystalline or Monocrystalline modules designed for 12 Volt DC systems to charge the generator. Higher voltage panels or amorphous modules are incompatible with the built-in charger and can damage the battery pack. A 12 Volt solar panel usually has a rated terminal voltage of around 17.0 Volts. Therefore, we use a regulator to reduce it to around 13 to 15 Volts as required for battery charging.
All the outputs on the Sun Joe are easy to reach and protected by plastic lift-up covers. The Sun Joe has a total of 6 electrical outlets. Power delivery from the two 5 Volt DC USB outlets and two 12 Volt DC car lighter outlets are always available. They function even when you power off the generator. The power on button only turns the two 120 Volt AC 60 Hz power outlets on or off. The power outlets are GFCI protected, delivering 20 Amps.
Another feature of this portable power station is that you can use it to jump-start a vehicle. You use the same procedure as when you jump-start from your car battery. You merely remove the covers from the external battery terminals and connect the leads.