Having some form of backup power is not only going to make your life easier, but it might literally be life-saving, depending on the situation. Luckily, there are a lot of options for it, whether you need something to charge your phone or get your car jump started while being stuck in the middle of nowhere. To that end, we’ve collected some of the best deals we could find across the board so that you don’t have to wade through all the options and retailers to find the best deal for your needs.
- Best overall portable power station:
- Best portable power station for the campsite:
- Best portable power station for the long haul:
- Best power station for the mobile professional:
- Best portable power station for your car:
Capacity & Power
The most important thing to consider when picking up a portable power station is the sort of capacity it can carry, which will rely very heavily on what sort of things you’re going to use it for. The need to power a whole house is not the same as the need to power a weekend trip camping, but mostly spending time doing outdoor things. So, take a measure of all the sorts of things you want to power, how many times they are going to be used and then base your capacity needs on that. Luckily, most portable power stations tend to be good enough for most cases that don’t involve powering a home for long periods.
That brings us to the next point: how much power draw do you need, and how much can you generate? All portable power stations have a maximum wattage output which will dictate how many devices you can plug into it. For example, most space heaters tend to be around 1,000-2,000 watts, and so might be too much for your average portable power station. Also, if you’re powering a whole home that includes several large appliances, then you need a heavy-duty, portable power station.
One final thing to consider is how you’re going to charge it. Yes, you can absolutely use a normal wall outlet, but if you’re constantly dealing with electricity issues, then going with solar panel charging is the best option, and in that case, you also want to think about how quickly you want to charge the power station. Keep in mind that solar charging is very much subject to weather conditions, so chaining several of them together can help mitigate that, but it comes at a cost.
Portability & Outlets
Obviously, if you plan to move around a lot with your power station, then you’ll need something portable. That said, if you’re planning to mostly use it while it’s in your truck or your car, then you can go a little heavier, although be sure to pick only something you can comfortably carry alone, especially if you might use this without others around.
Another thing to consider is the sort of outlets you need. Besides just having X number of AC outlets, for example, you want to consider their individual max wattage to see if it will work with your needs. You might also want to look at things like the number of USB-C ports Vs USB-A ports and if any of them have PD charging. These things will matter in the long run if you plan to use your power station regularly.
Picking a product to recommend carries a lot of weight, especially since people will be spending their hard-earned money on it and will have a product that will last them a very long time. To that end, we’ve spent a lot of time and effort and drawn on our experience as tech and ecommerce experts, to pick products that strike the right balance between cost and performance. So be sure that all the suggestions bellow are the best picks for their categories that we could find when it comes to price and the features you get.
best overall portable power station
|Many Charge options
|Capacity is average for the price
|Lots of charging ports
|Can hit 2000W in Surge mode
Jackery has been a big name in the portable power station for a while now, so it’s not a surprise that our overall top pick is the Jackery Explorer 1000. It’s absolutely packed to the brim with features, and while it’s a little bit expensive, it’s well worth the asking price. In terms of capacity, it’s very large, with 1002Wh, which is more than enough for a power-hungry space heater for about two and a half hours or a toaster for one hour and a half. Not that we’d expect you to be making toast that long, but it’s a great example of how the Explorer 1000 is a great portable power station since you can take it with you on trips and picnics to power various appliances.
You also get quite a lot of outlets to work with, starting with three standard AC outlets that run at 110V and can output 1000 watts of power. It also has two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, so if you have any phones, tablets, or any other device that’s powered by USB, then you’re all set. As for charging, you have quite a few options as well, with the primary way being a DC input, but you could also potentially hook it up to a solar panel as well and charge it both ways at the same time.
The best thing about the Explorer 1000 is that it’s built to last, with a robust and rugged build, and the handle makes it easy to carry around, rather than having to figure out a storage solution for it. The LED screen on the front gives you all the information you need to keep track of things, including charge level and depletion rate, so you aren’t caught unaware. Jackery has designed the battery to last at least five years and even throws in three years of warranty.
Best portable power station for the campsite
|13 output ports
|Can get a bit noisy
|Expansion batteries are expensive
|Can handle a total of 1800 Watts
If you need something a bit more powerful for camping, then the EcoFlow Delta is probably the choice to go for since it has an impressive 1260Wh, which is a little under 260Wh more than the Explorer 1000. That means you can charge for longer, along the lines of four and a half hours for a PS5 and and 29 recharges of your average drone. As such, you get a lot more flexibility to do stuff when you’re out in the wild for a couple of days, whether it’s watching a movie at night on a projector or keeping your laptop or tablet fully charged.
Unlike many other portable power stations, the EcoFloW Delta splits its ports across the back and front, which is actually quite intuitive since the six USB ports on the front are more likely to be used for gear like a laptop or phone that you’ll need access to. Compare that to the six AC ports on the back that are probably not going to be touched, and it makes a lot of sense to design the power station in that way, especially since it frees up the front for an excellent LED panel. The said panel gives you a ton of information, including the current charge level, remaining time, charge rate, and dissipation rate, and it’s a lot easier to see than the Explorer 100.
Luckily, it’s also got excellent charging and can be charged using a wall-outlet, car, or solar panels, with three 160W solar panels being able to charge it in around 4-7 hours. It’s got a rugged design and handle for easy carrying, although it is placed a bit awkwardly since its design to have a top surface you can place things on.
Best portable power station for the long haul
|Can function as a UPS
|Is quite expensive
|Large capacity and power delivery
|Expansion batteries are expensive
|Lots of output ports
Most power generators have a big problem, and it has to do with power efficiency. What that means is that battery capacity almost immediately starts degrading with use, and the rated capacity goes down slowly over a year or two, and there’s a chance that it could fail or not work well after 4-5 years. That’s still a long time, but if you want something that’s going to last you the long haul, then Anker offers a five-year warranty on its Anker 757 power station. Even better, it’s an excellent power station, so it’s well worth the slightly higher asking price.
The Anker 757 has an impressive 1229Wh capacity, putting it on par with other high-end power stations and giving you a lot of extra charge or run time for your gear. It can also hit an impressive 1,800 watts total output, which is great if you need to run heavier appliances like space heaters that often need that extra capacity. It’s also great if you need to charge several devices, and since you get 13 output ports to work with, that’s easily doable. More specifically, you get 6 AC outputs, 4 USB outputs, and one car outlet, so, really, you shouldn’t have any issues with hooking up devices to it.
There’s also a lot of smart tech under the hood, including a smart temperature control that monitors the head 100 times a second to make sure that the power station doesn’t overheat. The design is also quite rugged, being both impact-resistant and shock-proof, as well as being somewhat flame-retardant, so you know it’s safe to use. Also, as mentioned at the beginning, the batteries themselves are made for the long haul, and in the case of the Anker 757, they are designed to last up to ten years.
Best power station for the mobile professional
|Has an AC port
|Needs to be switched on/off manually
If you’re a professional on the go who needs to power a lot of devices but doesn’t want to be carrying around a massive and heavy power station, this Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is the perfect alternative. It has a 95Wh capacity, which may not seem like much compared to previous portable power stations, but it is just below the legal limit to take with you on an Airplane. That means it’s great if you travel a lot, and with that capacity, you can charge a phone eight times and a laptop up to two times, which is quite a bit.
In terms of output, one of the unique things about the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC is that the top of it has a 15-watt wireless charger, so you can charge your smartphone or headphones without plugging in, which saves you a port. Another unique thing is that, unlike power banks that are of similar size and capacity, it has a single 100-watt AC outlet, which is perfect if your laptop doesn’t charge with AC but instead has one of those external power brigs that needs a traditional plug. It also has one 60-watt in/out USB-C, one 60-watt in/100-watt out USB-C, and two USB-A ports, so even though it has a big chunky AC outlet that takes up a lot of space, you can still manage to charge several devices at the same time.
Besides the power, the overall build is very rugged, with bumpers on the side that help absorb impacts, and an aluminum frame that is quite strong, so you shouldn’t worry about traveling with it. Also, unlike the previous generation, the screen is angled so you can see it while lying down without needing to pick it up, and it provides you with all the data points you could possibly want.
Best portable power station for your car
|Is more than just a jump starter
|Doesn’t have a lot of capacity
|Works with a large variety of engine types
|Only has one outlet port for devices
|powerful LED light.
While many people back up their home power needs with a portable power station, a lot of folks tend to neglect their vehicles, and if you’re the sort of person who travels down a lot of long and lonely roads, you’ll want the Noco Boost Plus GB40. It’s a powerful 1,000-amp jumpstarter for your car and, even if you don’t use it often, will likely come in as a life-saver that one time when you do. It works on both 6L gasoline and 3L diesel engines, so it’s quite versatile, and it has about 20 jump starts in it before needs a full recharge, assuming you don’t use it for anything else.
Luckily, the Noco Boost Plus GB40 is not only good for jump-starting your car, but it also has a couple of other options. One of them is the inclusion of a USB charging port, so if you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere, you can at least keep your phone charged, which is a big plus. There’s also a 100 lumens flashlight that you can use to light a work environment on the road or use as a warning or SOS light if you’re stranded and need help. You’ll also be happy to know that it has IP65, so it’s very resistant to the weather, which is excellent.
We’re also happy to note that it’s quite lightweight at 2.4 pounds, so it’s not going to be a hassle to bring with you, unlike the larger portable power stations, which also wouldn’t be able to handle jump-starting your car. Either way, this is an excellent device to have, just in case.
|1000 Amp Hours
Best for smartphones
|Large capacity for its size
|Slow charging using one port
|Slim and lightweight
|Only has USB-A output
If you’re more interested in a traditional power bank experience, then the Anker Power Bank is the large-capacity equivalent that is perfect for things like phones or earbuds. It has an impressive 26,800 mAh capacity, which is more than enough to charge most phones at least 3-4 times, and potentially the same for a tablet. It manages to do well with a relatively slim body, unlike the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC, which is a lot more bulky and might be a bit more difficult to fit in a bag and carry around.
In terms of charging options, you have three IQ USB-A ports to work with, so you can charge your phone or tablet relatively quickly. There is also some smart internal tech that lets you charge with all three ports at the same speed so that you don’t feel a slow-down in charging every time you add a device. Similarly, you get two 20-watt USB-C ports to charge with, which takes about six hours to fully charge, impressively fast when you consider its capacity and the speed of 20-watt charging.
This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.
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