Decisions, decisions, decisions. I know, it’s overwhelming trying to choose the best portable power station in 2022. This has been a booming market with many fly-by-night brands seemingly coming out of nowhere. I’m here to ensure you stick to a known brand when buying a power station because the quality of the components are essential for your peace of mind. After all, lithium batteries can spontaneously catch fire if they aren’t implement properly. You don’t wan to buy a cheap model when it comes to indoor generators. Safety should be your top priority.
We live in a time where battery power is the underlying currency of our lives, making it a necessary step in finding the right model to ensure you’re prepared for any disruption in power. I know, these battery generators won’t power your home or your fridge, but for your personal devices, they’re perfect and are easy to take with you, unlike a gas generator. Also, many of these are suitable if you have a CPAP machine.
Best ‘Hidden Gem’ Power Station
Energizer (PPS240W01) — This is truly one of the best portable battery power stations that you’ve never heard of. For some reason, Energizer doesn’t put a lot of effort into marketing this — but they should.
EF ECOFLOW River Pro / Best Indoor Generator
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 Portable Power Stations
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.
As Powerful as a 3000X Inverter Generator | Yeti 3000X
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.
We selected four of the best portable power stations to review and, in doing so, I examine all their virtues and limitations:
Three Pure sine wave portable power stations :
- Jackery HLS 290 : Lithium, 290W, 6.6 lbs., solar panel port
- Power a mini-fridge : 3.4 hours
- Goal Zero Yeti 400 : Sealed lead-acid AGM battery, 400W, 29 lbs., Solar ready
- EGO POWER+ Nexus : 56V ARC Lithium battery. 3000W (peak) / 2000W (running), 30.2 lbs. (without batteries)
One modified sine wave portable power station:
- Sun Joe SJ1440SG : Sealed lead acid battery, 1440W (running), 107 lbs., solar ready
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.
Best Portable Power Stations for the Money?
EGO POWER+ Nexus | Indoor Generator
- 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.
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
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 :
- ✓ 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.
VIDEO REVIEW | Yeti 400 — A Closer Look
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.
VIDEO OVERVIEW | Goal Zero YETI 400 Lithium
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. New for 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.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the Sun Joe Indoor Generator
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.
VIDEO | See it connected to the Sun Joe SJ1440SP 60W solar panel
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.
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.