After conquering the portable generator market, Westinghouse has set out to do the same with a range of portable battery power stations. How do they fare against the established market leaders? Our Westinghouse iGen160s review intends to find out.
There was a time when heading off into wild blue frontier meant packing a few cans of canned food, a flashlight, and a camping propane burner. The world has changed. The modern outdoor enthusiast does not leave technology at home when venturing off-grid.
Our smart phones are more than simply communication devices. Even when hiking in the mountains, or fishing in isolated waters, we use the camera and any number of apps. Fishermen, hunters, and hikers, rely on GPS, and all the wonderful satellite tracking equipment available to us. Drones, iPod, tablets, you name it. All these devices travel with us wherever we go, and they need electricity. If you’re holding an outdoor event, even a barbecue with friends, you have power in the yard, without the need for long extension cords. It’s quick and easy, place the power station you where need it, switch it on, and presto! You have electricity for music, lights, and all your gadgets.
Portable battery power stations, like the Westinghouse iGen160s, are a game-changer for many people who could not previously enjoy the bliss of undisturbed nature. If you depend on a CPAP machine, you need a reliable power source to get a good night’s rest. Depending on the battery storage, and the power consumption of your medical equipment, you could have power for days on end. With a solar panel, you can charge the battery even when there is no power outlet. All you need is sufficient sunlight for a few hours.
VIDEO | 🙈 — A Closer Look…Westinghouse iGen160s
At home during an outage, or in an RV, many have discovered the benefit of a quiet, hassle-free power source when grid power is either unavailable, or fails. A conventional gas generator has been a staple for the emergency and off-grid power user for decades. This means contending with the noise of a generator, the hassle of going out and starting the machine, and the unpleasant fumes. A portable power station is wonderfully convenient when you’re using a laptop, watching tv, and require some basic lighting. You can use it indoors and you have instant power with flick of a switch. No need to fill the gas tank, and basically no maintenance required.
The iGen160s is delightfully compact, measuring 3.77” X 8.14” X 7”. The unit weighs only 3.75 LBS. You also have the option of connecting the power station to solar panels, for off-grid battery charging. Making the nifty little iGen160s a take anywhere, use anywhere, solar generator.
None of this is unique to Westinghouse. Established market leaders, like Goal Zero and Jackery, have been supplying wonderfully versatile portable battery stations for quite a while. These brands have many options, varying in size, power output, and battery time. Apart from reviewing the Westinghouse iGen160s, I’ll also provide a basic comparison between the Westinghouse battery power pack and two of its closest competitors; the hugely popular Jackery Explorer 160, and Goal Zero Yeti 200X.
Westinghouse iGen160s Review
Westinghouse have been in the electrical supply business longer than any other. Responsible for building some of the first electric power stations in America, they have lead the way in electrical engineering from the very beginning. It was only in 2012, that Westinghouse embarked on supplying domestic portable gas generators. Westinghouse portable battery power stations have been a more recent addition. Despite being the new kids on the block in this market, the brand has a long history of innovation and engineering excellence, dating back to the late 1800s. This experience is evident when examining the Westinghouse iGen160s. It is a formidable competitor.
When considering a portable battery power station, there will always be a play-off between portability vs power and battery storage. Higher wattage and a large battery will obviously make for a heavier, bulkier product. The Westinghouse iGen160s is a winner in the portability category. Not so much if you need more power or battery time. You can carry it around like a portable radio and take it anywhere. The target user is the outdoor enthusiast. Though, as I mentioned in the introduction to this review, there are countless other uses for a versatile product like this one.
VIDEO | 🙈 — A Closer Look…Westinghouse iGen160s
The iGen160s has a built-in 155AH lithium ion battery and an inverter capable of supplying 120V AC up to a maximum surge current of 150W. Your constant running power is limited to 100W. This is sufficient for a laptop, and a couple of LED lights. An Energy Star LED TV (less than 100W) is also an option. Because AC power is supplied using a reliable inverter, the Westinghouse iGen160s is perfectly safe for TVs and other electronic equipment. Even though this is not a pure sine wave inverter, the modified sine wave is clean enough for all AC equipment. It’s just not quite as efficient as the more expensive pure sine wave inverters. Most portable power stations, even those that cost more, use modified sine wave inverters.
AC power is supplied by a single 120V household outlet. The unit is also fitted with 2 X standard 5V USB ports, 1 X USB-C port, and 1 X USB 3.0 rapid charge port. The USB ports provide more efficient battery usage when powering or charging devices with a USB input. For 12V equipment, like a portable cooler or CPAP, 3 X 12VDC ports are also supplied.
Westinghouse, quite optimistically, claim that you can watch TV for up to 3-hours using the iGen160s. This would mean using a 50W TV. An average 42” LCD TV draws around 120W. The same size plasma TV is rated at around 220W. Though 40” – 50” high-efficiency LED TVs can be as low 50W, so it is possible. If you’re using a 5W LED light, this will run for about 30-hours. This may not be necessary, since the Westinghouse iGen160s has a built-in LED flash-light (with 2 modes), and a larger LED reading light which may be even more efficient.
Using the USB ports for device charging, or a 12V CPAP machine, you can expect pretty reasonable charge and running times.
- 14 cell phone charges.
- 3 laptop charges.
- 6 drone charges.
- Up to 2-nights for some 12V CPAP machines.
These values are approximate and will vary.
The Westinghouse iGen160s has simple controls and a color display for basic system information. A single on/off switch is all it takes to get the power station up and running. There’s a switch to turn the inverter on or off. If you’re not using AC equipment, you can save battery power by switching the inverter off. When the AC mode is active, the screen displays the letters AC boldly in green, so you know that the AC outlet is supplying power. A large battery icon displays battery level. Smaller icons, at the top of the screen, indicate DC, AC, or USB output modes, and battery charging. The flashlight and reading light each have an on/off switch.
The charge input allows for three battery charging options :
- 120V AC wall charger: 6 – 7 hours charge time.
- 12V Car charger: 6 – 7 hours charge time.
- 13V – 25V (2A) solar panel: 6 – 7 hours charge time, using a 60W panel.
The wall charger and car care charger, with cigarette lighter adapter, are included with the power station when you purchase it. The solar panel is sold separately. You can use any panel rated for 13V – 25V, up to 60W.
Every form of electronic safety feature has been incorporated. It’s all automatic, so the machine will shut down the power when a fault is detected and then restart when the issue has been resolved. It is protected against overload, over voltage, low voltage, over current, short circuit, and has temperature control.
The Westinghouse iGen160s is designed for rugged outdoor use and ultimate portability. A quality impact resistant housing can withstand quite a bit of knocking about. It has a large carrying handle. The outlets are all easily accessible and safe. This is one of the most affordable portable stations on the market, yet I believe it can compete well with more expensive brands. A 2-year warranty signifies a high level of quality.
How does the Westinghouse iGen160s compare to the competition?
There are many options in this market and the Westinghouse iGen160s fares well when compared to its rivals. To provide some context, I’ll be comparing the iGen160s to the Jackery Explorer 160 and the Goal Zero Yeti 200X.
Comparing prices, the Westinghouse and Jackery portable power stations are about the same, costing around $140. They have the same AC output capacity (100W/150W). The Jackery battery provides a few more watt-hours, but the difference is negligible. In practice, they will both provide roughly the same battery time. The Westinghouse iGen160s is more comprehensive when it comes to power outlets.
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X is much more expensive, more than twice the price of the other two. I know the brand has a stellar reputation, considered by many to be the best in the business. Though the price difference will deter some. Moving beyond the brand, the Goal Zero Yeti 200X has a higher spec level than the other two. This may be worth paying extra for. It has a more powerful inverter, larger battery, and better charge times.
To help you decide, the table below offers you chance to compare the most important technical specifications.
Westinghouse iGen160s Jackery Explorer 160 Goal Zero Yeti 200X
Peak AC output 150W 150W 200W
Constant AC output 100W 100W 120W
Inverter modified sine wave modified sine wave modified sine wave
Battery Storage 155WH 167WH 187WH
Wall Charger 6 – 7 HRS 5 HRS 4 HRS
12V Car Charger 6 – 7 HRS 5 HRS 2 HRS
Solar Panel MAX 60W 6 -7 HRS MAX 50W 8 – 10 HRS MAX 100W 2.5 – 5
120V AC outlets 1 1 1
12VDC outlets 3 1 1
USB Ports 4 3 4
Dimensions 8.14” X 3.77” X 7” 7.4” X 4.5” X 6.7” 7.9” X 5.1” X 5.1”
Weight 3.75 LBS 3.84 LBS 5 LBS
LED Flashlight 2 (flashlight and reading light) 1 (with SOS) 0
Warranty 2-years 2-years 2-years
All of these portable battery power stations are about the same in terms of portability. The Goal Zero Yeti is about pound heavier than the other two, but not at all heavy. The Yeti has a more practical design, with a fold down handle. They all have an LCD data display, though the Westinghouse iGen160s provides more data and is easier to read.
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X has the best power output, with and extra 20W running capacity and 50W higher surge capacity. The Westinghouse iGen160s has the smallest battery (155WH), followed by the Jackery (167WH). The Goal Zero is also the best for battery storage, at 187WH.
Since the Goal Zero Yeti 200X is, by far, the most expensive, it is not a comparison of equals. The Goal Zero is, arguably, a more durable product and has a higher spec level. The Jackery Explorer 160 and Westinghouse iGen160s are equals when looking at the price. Their specs are similar, but the minor differences may make a difference to some. The only advantage that the Jackery has over the Westinghouse portable power station is an increased battery capacity of 12WH. This is a difference of about 10%, so not too significant.
The Westinghouse iGen160s has a few features that gives it a slight advantage over the Jackery. The best of these, in my opinion, would be the fast charging USB Q port. The Jackery only has a 5V-3A USB port and 2 X 5V 2.4A ports. I like the LED reading light included in the Westinghouse power station. It is only one of the three to have this convenient feature. Because the Westinghouse iGen160s has a slightly higher solar input capacity than the Jackery (60W vs 50W), you will experience slightly better solar charging times, using a solar panel. Though the Jackery has faster AC and 12V (car) charging times.
In the final analysis, the Goal Zero Yeti 200X is the superior portable battery power station. Of the two cheaper options, I feel the Westinghouse iGen160s has the upper hand, albeit by a slight margin. The extra features and specs, make the Westinghouse more practical.