Table of Contents
- Portable Power Station Buying Guide
- Review of the 6 Best Portable Power Stations Brands of 2021
- Final Word
Sometimes you don’t need a big generator to power your essential appliances. Whether on the go or in your home, you simply need electric power (during an outage) to run your most-used devices, such as your mobile phone, laptop, emergency lights, medical equipment (think CPAP machines), and other small electronics.
For such scenarios, running a fuel-based portable generator can be costly and might seem unnecessary, especially if it’s only for personal use. In such situations, a more viable option is to invest in a portable power station – there are many to choose from on the market.
Portable power stations, also known as “power banks,” are lightweight, compact, safe to use indoors, portable, and easy to manage. They provide instant power in a heartbeat with no complexities or challenges of running a generator (think about moving a generator around or refueling it).
Finding the best portable power station isn’t always easy. In fact, if you’re unfamiliar with all the brands out there, it can be a downright challenging task. There are hundreds of models from tens of brands to sift through, and you may start thinking that they’re all one and the same.
When searching for the right one for you, it’s not just a case of selecting an affordable power station; you have to check the brand’s reputation and ensure that the product specs meet your specific needs and requirements. If the brand doesn’t have a good reputation, how can it provide you with a quality portable power station?
To help you find the best power station for you, we have tested and reviewed several top models from six leading power bank brands. Apart from the reviews, this article will also walk you through a helpful buying guide complete with safety and operational instructions and a FAQ section.
Here are the best portable power stations from the top six brands available in 2021.
Portable Power Station Buying Guide
A buying guide helps make the best purchase decision when shopping around for power banks. As you have gone through the reviews, you may have a couple of options in your mind by this time. However, before finalizing your purchase decision, it is better to go through a buying guide. Our buying guide is focused on the main features of portable power stations and will help you avoid making the wrong decision.
How to Choose the Right Portable Power Station for You?
Let’s go through all the features mentioned below, and you will be able to choose the right power station.
The most important thing while deciding the power output of a portable power station is how much power you need. You can’t run heavy machines on a portable power station, but calculating your power needs is still the right approach. Make a list of your phone and laptop chargers, mini cooler, drones, mini lights, fans, or any other appliances you can power on a portable power station. Once you have the right figure with you, you can select the appropriate power output.
Check for the battery capacity and lifecycles before buying the portable power station. The lifecycles determine the total life of the battery, and the capacity controls the backup time. While lead-acid batteries also work great, it is best to choose lithium-ion batteries because they give better backup, are lightweight, and last longer.
Recharging Time and Recharging Modes
Some units can be recharged in under an hour from AC outlets. They are a blessing for the user. Make sure you look for a versatile device when it comes to recharging modes. More recharging modes in a power station make it user-friendly. Some models come with MPPT controllers, which reduce the solar charging time.
What’s the point of owning a portable power station when you have to attach additional connectors with it for connecting different appliances? Hence, it is best to go for a power station which offers maximum and latest outlets. It must come with a USB-C outlet, AC outlet, DC outlet, and simple USB port.
Look for a power station that offers maximum safety features. Almost all the brands reviewed above provide excellent safety features in their power banks.
A portable power station must be easy to carry along with you. It must come with a comfortable and ergonomic carry handle. Make sure that there is enough space between the handle and the unit’s body so that you can grip it comfortably.
Warranty and Certifications
Warranty and certifications bring peace of mind. Power stations can develop issues from out of nowhere, which means that a warranty is compulsory for such products. Certifications ensure that there is no harm in using it indoors and in closed camps.
Look for special features like power boosts, ultra-fast charging, LED lights, and SOS features. They enhance the value of the money and make the power station versatile.
Portable Power Stations Safety Tips and Usage Guide
Because portable power stations don’t need fuel to produce electricity, they are very safe devices. However, because of careless usage, things can get out of hand. Hence, you must follow all the safety precautions outlined in the devices’ user manual/safety leaflets. We have listed some of the general safety and usage instructions regarding portable power stations that you must follow all the time.
- Never operate/use your device in the open air while it is raining or snowing.
- Avoid direct contact with sunlight as much as possible.
- Don’t overload or drain the battery completely.
- Never try to repair or replace the unit by yourself.
- Don’t connect appliances not supported by the device.
- Keep an eye on your power station and notice overheating, unusual sounds or anything out of order.
- Always store your device at room temperature in a dry and safe place.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times.
Review of the 6 Best Portable Power Stations Brands of 2021
Jackery holds the title of launching the first-ever lithium-based portable power station. It was in 2015 that Jackery changed the definition of portable power and made it last longer.
Founded by a former Apple battery engineer in 2012, Jackery currently deals in portable power stations, solar panels, and solar generators. It also provides state-of-the-art accessories and is known for exceptional customer service and warranty.
Let’s check out this brand’s best-selling Explorer 240Wh portable power station.
Output. Jackery’s Explorer 240Wh is capable of producing 400 peaks and 200 rated watts. This alone means that you can start and use any appliance on this power bank with a starting wattage below 400 watts and a running wattage under 200 watts.
The Explorer 240Wh is an ideal power solution for your small devices like phones (24 charges), laptops (2 charges), tablets (7.5 charges), and lights (21 hours). However, it is not ideal for appliances like blenders, coffee makers, pressure cookers, or heated travel mugs that tend to suck more power per charge.
Recharging Modes. Jackery allows users to recharge the power station in four different ways. You can use a solar panel (5.5 hours on 60W panel), wall outlet (5.5 hours), car outlet (5.5 hours), or generator (5.5) hours.
This timing is for an 80% recharge – it’s best to be aware that 100% recharging may take more time. The best thing about Jackery is that you can recharge it while it’s being used. Another unique feature of Jackery 240 Explorer is the built-in MPPT controller. It enhances the recharging efficiency while recharging the power bank on solar energy.
Ports. You get one 110V, 200W pure sine wave AC outlet, two USB outlets, a 12V DC input, a 12V car outlet, and switches to control these outlets/inlets. Jackery makes sure that you can make full use of the power bank through its outlets.
Display. It comes with a switch-controlled display screen that shows the battery percentage, input watts, and output watts. The LED-lit display keeps you aware of the device’s working condition and allows you to get more out of it.
Safety. The power station is loaded with a battery management system that provides short circuit protection, voltage control, temperature control, and overload protection.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. The Explorer 240Wh measures 5.19 x 9.05 x 7.67 inches and weighs 6.83 pounds. It is a perfect size for backpacking, hiking, and traveling. The weight is negligible, meaning that you can easily store it in your backpack, RV, and vehicle. It is also an ideal companion for camping.
In addition, the design includes an ergonomic carry handle which makes it super easy to carry the unit around with you.
Other Features: You will find a car charger cable, a 2-part AC cable, and a user manual in the box.
Dimensions 9.05 x 5.24 x 7.87 Inch Weight 6.83 pounds Capacity 240Wh Peak Wattage 400 surge watts Rated Wattage 200 running watts Voltage 110V AC/13.3V DC Battery Type Lithium-ion Battery Capacity 16.8 Ah battery Battery Lifecycle 500 cycles to 80%+ capacity Ignition System Type Electronic Noise Level Silent operation Certifications FCC, ROHS, UN38.3 Warranty 2 Years
Bluetti was founded in 1991 and is currently one of the top companies in the US and European portable power station market. It claims to be the power storage expert and innovator.
Bluetti aids its operations with continuous improvements and technological innovations. The company has become a top global seller with business operations in Japan, the US, and Europe, and its products include power stations, solar panels, and accessories.
Let’s check out its 500 watts portable power station.
Output. AC50S provides 450 peak and 300 rated watts. This means that it is suitable for appliances with a rated wattage under 300 watts. Be aware that trying to run appliances with a power rating of more than 300 watts on this power bank will only last for two minutes.
The AC50S can charge your phone (42+ times), laptop (7 recharges), 10W LEDs (17 hours), 60W CPAP machine (6 hours), 40W mini fridge (10 hours), drone (18+ recharges), and various other appliances that are under 300 watts.
Recharging Modes. You can recharge this particular device in several ways. Solar charging takes approximately 4 hours with a 200W solar panel, AC wall socket needs 5.5 hours to recharge the unit entirely, and a car charger takes up to 15 hours via a 12V adapter.
The solar charging time may vary according to the weather. It is also loaded with an MPPT built-in controller allowing you to recharge the power station 40% quicker. Please note that the recharge time on a generator is equal to AC outlet recharging time. What’s convenient about this particular unit is that you can recharge the battery while using the power bank.
Ports. Bluetti provides a host of ports to its users on this device. It offers input ports for the AC charger, PV input port, and car recharge port for starters. There are five different outlets on the AC50S. You get two 110V sine wave AC outlets, one wireless charging port, 1 USB-C port, 4 USB-A ports, two 12V/3A DC ports, and one 12V/10A carport.
All these outlets and inlets ensure that you don’t need to buy separate adapters to run several devices at a time. Having so many outlets makes this power station user-friendly and versatile.
Display. The LED screen on the unit shows the battery percentage, input, DC, and AC status of the power stations. Such a well-elaborated display makes it easier to operate the unit.
Safety. The power station has an advanced intelligent cooling mechanism that protects the unit from short-circuiting, overloading, and overheating. These features make it durable and safe to use.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. With a weight of 14 pounds and dimensions of 10 x 8 x 8 inches, it is one of the most compact power stations in this output range. The two ergonomic carry handles make it easier to lift comfortably, making it easy to carry this unit to campsites, hiking trips and store it in your RVs or back of your car.
Other Features: The package includes a power station, battery, AC adapter and cable, car cable, MC4 cable, USB cable, user manual, and a warranty card. It also has a built-in LED light and SOS feature.
Dimensions 8 x 10.25 x 8 inch Weight 29 pounds Capacity 400Wh Peak Wattage 600 surge watts Rated Wattage 300 running watts Voltage 120 Volts Battery Type AGM lead-acid battery Battery Lifecycle Hundreds of cycles Certifications CE, FCC, ROHS Warranty 12 Months
Goal zero is another top-of-the-line brand in the world of portable power stations and solar products. It is not just a company selling power stations but a business created by people who promote living life to its fullest.
Goal zero’s products are inspired by a passion for adventure, respect for the planet, and humanity as a whole, and they have 11+ years of experience in the industry. The country has impacted the lives of 112,994+ people, served over nine countries, and volunteered for 6200+ hours with 26+ lifetime partners to positively impact the world.
Output. The Yeti 400 on the Goal Zero range delivers 600 watts peak wattage and 300 rated watts. It means that any device with a starting wattage under 600 watts and running wattage below 300 watts can be powered by this unit. It is ideal for headlamps, smartphones, digital cameras, drones, tablets, laptops, TVs, GoPro, and CPAP machines. Unfortunately, it cannot support your blender, juicer, or coffee maker if it has a power rating above 300 watts.
Recharging Modes. You can recharge the Yeti 400 power station through solar cells (6-12 hours), AC outlets (5-6 hours), car chargers 30W (13 hours), and generators (5-6 hours). Please note that the solar panel recharge time may vary depending on the size of the panel and weather conditions. It is worth mentioning that you cannot charge this model while it’s being used.
Ports. The Yeti 400 provides two USB outlets, two 110V AC outlets (max 300W), a 12V car charging port, a wall outlet charging port, and a battery chaining port. The ports are enough but lack a USB-C port which is needed for the latest phones.
Display. You get a display screen with visualization for battery percentage, input, output, battery chaining, overheating, and other notifications.
Safety. The safety features include protection from overcharging and low battery usage. It also protects overloading and overheating.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. The unit measures 8 x 10.25 x 8 inches and weighs 29 pounds, making it a lot heavier than the previously reviewed model. You may face some issues while moving with this model, even though it comes with an engraved handle to lift while walking. This is because the handle is not ergonomically designed.
Other Features: One special feature in this model is that it can be chained with other 33Ah lead-acid batteries for longer runtime. This means that you can connect additional batteries with the power bank and get more runtime on the go. Please note that the lead-acid battery is not as efficient and durable as the latest lithium-ion battery.
Dimensions 8 x 10.25 x 8 inch Weight 29 pounds Capacity 400Wh Peak Wattage 600 surge watts Rated Wattage 300 running watts Voltage 120 Volts Battery Type AGM lead-acid battery Battery Lifecycle Hundreds of cycles Certifications CE, FCC, ROHS Warranty 12 Months
DeWalt started its operations from woodworking machines. Since 1922, it has provided top-of-line power tools, hand tools, outdoor tools, personal gear and storage tools, and accessories. Its portable power product line is quite a unique addition to the market, and as the oldest and most experienced brand in this field, DeWalt is the go-to for many. Its products speak volumes in terms of experience, innovation, durability, reliability, and versatility. Let’s check out its 3-in-1 portable power station, jump starter, and digital compressor.
Output. You can use this 3-in-1 portable power station to jump start your vehicles, re-inflate tires and use 500-watt AC power to run your appliances. The 1400-1600 peak amps can be used to jump-start most cars and trucks up to and including large V8 vehicles.
You can use the 120 PSI digital compressor to re-inflate vehicle tires, sports equipment, and swimming pools. The 500 watt AC power enables you to run appliances under 500 watts, and you can also use it to charge your laptops, phones, run CPAP machines and tablets. You can also run a small TV, mini cooler and a lot of other appliances.
Recharging Modes. This power bank can be recharged with a wall outlet or generator, and it takes 8-10 hours to recharge the power bank to a 100% capacity. Please note that it cannot be charged on a solar panel or using a car charger.
Ports. This particular unit comes with pre-attached jumping cables, two AC outlets, and 4 USB outlets. The charging is done through an AC cable connected with the unit.
Display. The LED display screen keeps the user aware of battery percentage, jumping cables, air pressure, and USB connections – it all depends on the mode in which you are using the power bank.
Safety. Just like all other DeWalt products, this portable power station is safe to use. It comes in a polymer housing which gives quality and reliability. Moreover, it provides users with true reverse polarity protection and an LED light for roadside safety and night operations.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. The unit measures 13.4 x 6.8 x 12.6 inches and weighs 19 pounds, and it comes with an ergonomic handle for lifting the device quickly. Considering its output and features, it is quite lightweight, and its compact size allows for hassle-free storage in your car’s trunk.
Other Features: This DeWalt power bank comes with an LED light to facilitate working in dark areas and at night. The control panel has seven buttons to control air pressure, light on/off, AC power, and USB.
Dimensions 13.4 x 6.8 x 12.6 inch Weight 19 pounds Wattage 500 watts Jump-starting Power 1400-1600 Air Pressure 120 PSI Battery Type Lithium-Ion battery Warranty 12 Months
EcoFlow was founded in 2017 as a startup, and soon it started to raise millions of dollars in funding. Within 3-4 years, EcoFlow became one of the leading brands in the portable energy industry.
EcoFlow’s products include power banks, solar panels, portable energy banks, and accessories. It’s worth mentioning that this brand’s products are high-quality, reliable, and one of the best in the industry.
Output. EcoFlow’s River 288Wh provides 1200 peak and 600 rated watts. You can use it to power any appliance under 600 watts. It has a special feature known as X-boost, which provides power for devices up to 1800 watts. You can power appliances like a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, or even a lawnmower with this feature, however, for an optimized working experience, it is recommended to use devices with a running wattage below 600 watts.
Recharging Modes. You can recharge the River 288Wh power station through solar panels (2-5 hours on 160W solar panel with full sun), AC outlet, and car charger (1.6-3 hours). One unique feature of this device is super-fast recharging. Its X-stream charging feature allows you to get an 80% recharge within an hour through an AC outlet. If you don’t have time to wait for recharging, the EcoFlow River 288Wh is the best device for you.
Ports. The input ports are AC charging port, solar charge input, and car charging input. The outlets are three 120V AC outlets, one USB-A fast-charge, one car power output, a car charger outlet, two USB-A outlets, one USB-C outlet, and two DC outlets.
With such an impressive arrangement of ports, you won’t need any additional adapters or connectors. EcoFlow ensures that you get to enjoy a true outdoor experience with its portable power stations.
Display. The EcoFlow River 288Wh has a big display screen compared to other top brands. It offers battery percentage compared to bars, input watts, and output watts. The display screen also shows how much time a particular device will stay running. For example, if you have connected your laptop charger with this power bank, it will tell you much time the charger will run on the power bank.
Safety. The safety features in this power bank are also of the best. It offers a battery management system for extended battery life and protection from overloading, overheating, and overvoltage. With the EcoFlow River 288Wh, you don’t need to worry about short-circuiting, low voltage, and fluctuations while charging from wall outlets.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. The unit measures 11.3 x 7.7 x 7.3 inches and weighs just 11 pounds. Low weight and compact size make it stand out from the rest. It is one of the lightest models currently available in the market in this power range. It comes with an ergonomic carry handle which allows for comfortable gripping and easy carrying while on the go.
Other Features: It is loaded with a LED light for working in dark places and reduces the need to carry additional lights on the go. You can double the battery life by integrating an extra battery with the power station. You get a solar charging cable, AC and car charging cable, a user manual, and a warranty card along with the power station.
Dimensions 11.3 x 7.7 x 7.3 inch Weight 11 pounds Capacity 288Wh - 576Wh (With MAX extra battery) Peak Wattage 1200 watts Rated Wattage 600 watts Voltage 120 Volts Battery Type Lithium-Ion battery Battery Lifecycle 500 cycles to 80%+ capacity Certifications UL Standard, CE, FCC, RoHS, RCM Warranty 12 Months
When it comes to portable power solutions, we can’t exclude Rockpals. If you are looking for sustainable energy at an affordable price, you don’t need to look any further. Rockpals’ design, innovation, customer service, and warranty coverage are of the best on the market. For people looking for a hassle-free outdoor adventure, Rockpals have the best portable power solution to offer.
Output. On the 300W unit, the peak power is 500 watts, and the rated power is 300 watts. It means that you can run any appliance with a starting wattage less than 500 watts and running wattage below 300 watts. This power range is enough for phones, tablets, mini-refrigerators, GoPros, and other small appliances. It is also perfect for medical equipment like nebulizers and CPAP machines.
Recharging Modes. Rockpals 300W unit comes with a built-in MPPT controller to effectively reduce the solar recharging time. It takes approximately 5-7 hours to recharge on a 100W solar panel fully. For a wall outlet and a generator recharge, expect a full charge in 6-7 hours. You can also use a USB type C cable on the 30W PD input. This feature is unique to Rockpals and not present in other brands. You can recharge while it is in use.
Ports. The input ports are a 15V/3A 45W max charging port, a solar charging port, and USB-C charging port. For outlets, you get a 12V-10A carport, a 12V-5A DC port, one 100-120V (300W Rated, 500W Peak) AC output, 2 USB outlets, one USB-A QC port, and one USB-C port. The outlets ensure that you are not restricted while working on this unit.
Display. The Rockpals 300W unit comes with an extensive and clear display panel with readings for battery percentage, input and output wattages, temperature, and charging status of the unit.
Safety. Rockpals goes above and beyond to provide users with a safe working experience. This unit offers rubber cover protected outlets and protection from overheating, over current, over-voltage, and short circuits. The rubber pads keep your devices’ plugs safe and protect the power station when not in use.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability. The unit measures 10.5 x 5.3 x 8.5 inches and weighs 7.7 pounds. It comes with a well-designed carry handle, making lifting this unit easy and keeps your hand relaxed and comfortable. You can easily store this unit in your car, RV, and luggage while traveling.
Other Features: You get AC charging adapter, car charger cable, safety precautions card, user manual, user guide, and a quick start guide in the box.
Dimensions 10.5 x 5.3 x 8.5 inch Weight 7.7 pounds Capacity 280. 8Wh/78000mAh Peak Wattage 500 watts Rated Wattage 300 watts Voltage 110 Volts Battery Type Lithium-Ion battery Battery Lifecycle 500+ lifecycles Warranty 2 Years
Portable power stations store the charge in the batteries. When you connect an appliance with them, the stored power/charge is used to run your appliances. Once the battery is drained, it will need to be recharged to work again.
The running time depends mainly on two factors; the power station’s capacity and the wattage requirement of your device. Typically, a device falling under the output of a power station can last from 2-12 hours.
Yes, only if it has a pass-through charging feature.
No. Commercial airlines don’t allow carrying portable power stations in your checked luggage. However, if you have a power bank under a certain capacity (check the allowances with the airline), you can take your power bank onboard the flight with you (in the cabin).
It depends on the type of devices, the power output of the battery, and the number of outputs on the power station.
All the power stations reviewed above are best in their respective categories. However, Jackery, EcoFlow, and Rockpals are at the top.
Jackery is the most technologically advanced brand, DeWalt is the oldest and most trusted, Bluetti offers special features, and RockPals come with impressive outlets. Picking the best brand out of the 6 reviewed in this guide is a tough call, and we rest our decision with Jackery.
The price of a power station varies from $200 to $600. If there are extra features like a jump starter and with air compressor, you may have to pay more for it.
The capacity of the power station must be picked while considering its power output. For example, if the output is around 200 watts, you can go with a capacity of 240Wh. For higher outputs, look for batteries with a capacity of 300Wh or above.
Yes. Portable power stations are safe to use compared to portable generators.
Now that you know everything about the best portable power station brands in 2021, making the final decision is made a lot easier. Use everything you’ve learned to select a power station brand and device that suits your pocket and your needs.