Power Stations

6 Reasons Why RV Owners Need a Portable Power Station

Whether you are a digital nomad or just taking a holiday in your campervan, you will need electricity to run your critical appliances. These include your laptop, smartphone, TV, and fridge. To do this, you will need a reliable power source that can give you clean electricity.

Some of the popular ways people power RVs are using gas-powered generators and mounted solar panels. While these options have done work, on many occasions, they have some limitations which only portable power stations can fix, as explained below.

TOP 6 Reasons Why RV Owners Should Get a Portable Power Station

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160

1.Your Neighbors Want Tranquility Too

One reason people opt to go camping away from the hassles and bustles of city life is to find tranquility in the countryside. While you might find it bearable to put up with the constant humming of a gasoline generator, the problem is that you may not be alone at the campsite. Your neighbors may not be happy with the noise. Others may also be offended by the smell of gas and the exhausts from the generator. For this reason, you might want to reconsider investing in a quiet alternative.

2. Environmental Concerns

Besides the noise, generators that run on fossil fuel release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. CO2 is one of the leading causes of global warming, which is responsible for erratic weather patterns such as severe tropical storms, hurricanes, and drought. These climatic events are responsible for billions of dollars in losses, annually, around the world. They also caused the loss of human life. By embracing green alternatives to power your campervan you will be contributing towards reducing the effects of global warming in a small way.

3. Health and Safety Concerns

Gasoline generators come with the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially when you fail to follow safety precautions. If you fail to ground the generator properly, you can expose yourself to electrical shocks. Another problem associated with fossil fuel generators is the risk of fires associated with fuel spills. The good news is that you will not worry about your gasoline exploding if you invest in a power station.

4. Ease of Use

Operating traditional generators can be tedious since you need to operate them outside your RV. The situation becomes very inconveniencing during wet weather. You also have to deal with tiresome maintenance now and then. Now, if you switch to an RV power station, this stress will be a thing of the past. You will operate your power generator right inside your RV without the need to brave the wet weather. Also, your portable power station for RV will come with zero maintenance.

5. Compatibility with Modern Gadgets

If you own an old RV, you will find that its wiring is designed for old electronics. You will need an adapter to use the power outlets on your RV for your appliances such as smartphones, digital TV, laptop, and cameras. Now, handling an adapter is not easy and sometimes it can be hard to find the right adapter for your gadget. To avoid such inconveniences, invest in an RV portable power station that comes with the right outlets for powering your electronics.   

6. Portability

When you go camping, you may want to go sightseeing and explore various trails in the area. These short trips might take anywhere from a few hours to days depending on the area you are exploring and your interests. This is where portable power stations come in handy because you cannot carry your RV gasoline generator or solar power system with you. The good news is that there are many powerful power station models, as light as 11 pounds, that you will find helpful in such situations.

Shopping for the best portable power station for RV is not an easy task given the hundreds of products that flood the market today. You will need  to scour the internet and compare the salient features of various products before you can get one that suits your needs. Luckily, we have done the job for you and picked five brands we feel manufacture quality power stations for RV.

We went further to feature 5 power stations from these brands, which we think can meet your needs. In this review, we have highlighted their salient features and hope that you will find them suitable for your use. We also did a buyer’s guide to help you make informed decisions when shopping for your camper power station. Read on to find out.

Portable Power Station Buying Guide

Before you buy a portable power station to use on your caravan, it is advisable to research how this power generator works and to use it on your RV. Here are quick insights to help discover the right camper power station for you. 

How Do You Use a Portable Power Station to Power an RV?

Every power station brand comes with unique features which differentiate its products from the competition. For this reason, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with your power station of choice before using it. For starters, read through the user manual and specs sheet provided by the manufacturer. Besides providing you with in-depth information on how to operate the power generator, this document gives you tips on how to care for and use the system safely.

In most cases, the user manual comes packed with the product. If it is missing, do a quick search on the manufacturer’s website, and you will locate it. Also, you can watch product videos on the manufacturers’ website or YouTube channel to get more insights on various applications of the power station. 

The best portable power stations for RV come with multiple AC outlets that allow you to plug your appliances directly into the power generators. Alternatively, you can invest in an adapter that connects to the RV 30A receptacle. This way, you will have power in your RV sockets. 

However, before connecting the power station to your RV, make sure that the total wattage of the connected appliances does not exceed the rated output of the power generator. Also, ensure that the peak watts of the largest appliance do not exceed that of the power station. This way, you will prevent overloading your RV power station. One way to achieve this is by investing in modern appliances with low power ratings, such as led TVs, mini-fridges, and DC air dryers. The idea is to have functional gadgets that utilize less power. This move allows you to run more appliances with your power station.

How Do I Choose a Portable Power Station For an RV?

When shopping for the best power station for RV, take time and compare the salient features of different models, to identify the system that best suits your needs. I have in mind that going for the models with the highest power output is not necessarily the ideal solution to your needs because your power needs might be too low. 

In this case, you will end up underutilizing your system, and you may not realize the return on your investment soon enough. On the other hand, going for the cheapest model in the market may mean buying a power station that cannot meet your power needs. The ideal power station for RV can run your essential appliances and is within your budget. Here are critical factors to consider when choosing a portable power station for an RV.

Power Output

The power output of a power station determines the number of appliances you can run at a go. You will need a power station with an output of 1,000 running watts and above to run your RV. Such as system requires quality lithium-ion batteries with at least 1500Wh capacity. As stated earlier, ensure that the peak wattage of the power station is higher than that of your appliances. 

While you can still use lower capacity systems, they will only run some but not all of your appliances at once. In this case, you might have to supplement your power station with a portable gasoline generator or invest in low-wattage electronics.

Battery Life Cycles

Battery life cycles are the number of times you can recharge it before its performance starts to deteriorate. The higher the life cycles, the longer the power station will serve you. On average, most models come with over 500 life cycles. Therefore, do your best to get a power station that you will use long enough to realize your return on investment. 

Battery Shelf Life

Battery shelf life is the time it takes a fully charged power station to discharge when not in use. The best models in the market have a shelf life of six to twelve months. Within this period, you can use your power station without having to charge it. This feature allows your power station to double up as an emergency power supply for your home. 

Charging Options

The top brands in the market design power stations that you can charge using multiple options. You can recharge most models with solar panels, car chargers, or AC wall outlets. You can also use portable generators to charge your power station. In most cases, solar panels are sold separately. It is important to note that each of these charging options may come with varying charging times depending on the battery capacity. 

Also, some brands have adopted first-charging technologies that reduce charging time to under two hours. The advantage of fast charging power stations is reducing the waiting time between system life cycles.  

Power Outlets

The number of power outlets on a power station determines the number of appliances you can connect to the power source at once. Moreover, the power rating on each outlet determines the type of device that you can connect to the specific port. For instance, if you want to connect your RV circuitry to the power station, the generator must have a 110-120V AC port with a 15-30A rating. This way, you will be sure that it can run most of your RV appliances. If the AC port has a lower current rating, you can connect your appliances directly to the power station. Therefore, check the product features carefully to ensure that your preferred power station has the right ports to support your appliances.

Weight and Ergonomics

RVs come with limited space. Moreover, the nature of outdoor life might require you to move your power station more often, especially if you need to use it away from your vehicle.  In this case, you will need a model that comes in a compact and lightweight design. This way, it will be easy to store and transport the power station. 

If the power station is too heavy to carry, the leading brands include wheel kits for hassle-free movement. It also for the power station handles to be foldable. This design ensures that the power generator doesn’t occupy additional space other than that of the main body. 

Another factor you need to consider is how easy it is to use a power station. Features such as LCDs coupled with mobile apps for remote monitoring of the system vitals come in handy when using RV power stations.

Pricing 

The pricing of a power station is critical in determining its affordability. Features such as power output and the technology used in developing the system determine its final price. For instance, a good 500W power station can cost anywhere between $350 and $500. On the other hand, a 1000W system will cost about $1000. However, focus on how well a power station meets your need rather than primarily on the price.

Portable Power Station for RV Safety tips

  • While power stations do not pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning like gasoline generators, they can cause serious injuries when handled wrongly. Therefore, always follow the manufacturer’s manual when operating your power stations. Avoid opening up and tempering with the power station circuitry, especially if you are not a qualified technician. Such a move could lead to electric shocks or damaging the product. If the power station fails to operate as expected, contact the company support service for assistance, especially if the warranty is still valid.
  • Do not operate the power station in wet conditions as this could cause electric shocks or a short circuit and damage the power generator. Also, avoid frayed wires when connecting appliances to the power station. If the power rating of an appliance is higher than that of your power generator, do not connect it to the system as it will overload it. Such connections can damage both the power generator and your appliance. 
  • Always use the recommended power rating to charge your power station. Using a high voltage system could damage the system circuitry and cause the batteries to explode. Watch the system temperature closely and operate it within the recommended range. Some models come with a battery management system that cuts off the power supply, in case the system overheats, but it is advisable to disconnect the power station from the charger or load if the system overheats abnormally. 
  • If you notice battery leakage, do not use the power station. Instead, contact the service center for assistance, especially if you have a valid warranty. A leaking battery is not a good sign and could cause severe injuries if the system is used in such as condition. Do not allow children to operate your RV power station, especially the little ones, to avoid preventable accidents.

The 5 Top-Rated Portable Power Stations Best for RV

1. MAXOAK Portable Power Station BLUETTI EB150 1500Wh

If you love outdoor living in your RV, you understand the benefits that come with a reliable portable power source, especially if you are a digital nomad. The good news is that products such as the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 Portable Power Station make your dreams a reality. This power station comes with a 1500Wh lithium-ion battery with1000 running watts and 1200  surge watts AC output. 

With this output, you can run a wide range of appliances such as TV, laptop, microwave, portable refrigerator, corded power drill, smartphones, and other electronics you would require in your RV. It comes with two 110V AC outlets, one 12V DC port, one Type-C USB outlet, and four Type-A 5V USB ports.  These ports allow you to run up to eight gadgets at once. 

You can recharge this power station using solar panels or an AC outlet from your home mains. This flexibility allows you to have electricity anywhere, anytime. Moreover, the battery system for this power station has 2,500x life cycles which ensure that you use it for a very long time, especially if you do not use it daily. 

This system produces a pure sine-wave electric signal, which is safe for running sensitive appliances. It also comes in multiple shades. When it comes to safety, this power station has a battery management system (BMS), that protects it from overheating, overloading, and short-circuit. The company provides you with a two-year warranty and lifelong service. With only $1,000, you can own this power station and say goodbye to gas-powered generators that are noisy and require a lot of maintenance.

SUMMARY

MAXOAK Portable Power Station BLUETTI

Pros

  • Digital display
  • Intelligent cooling
  • Multiple outlets
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Zero noise
  • Built-in MPPT

Cons

  • Has few AC ports
  • Takes long to charge
  • Low surge watts
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2. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station 

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station provides you with clean and noise-free energy anywhere, anytime. It features a 400Wh lithium-ion battery with an AC output of 300 running watts. This battery has a shelf-life of up to six months, which gives you the convenience of access electricity whenever you need it. Moreover, it comes with 500 life cycles which allows you to use the power station for a long period. 

This power station comes with a well-organized control panel which groups similar output ports for ease of use. Also, you can switch on these port groups individually. For instance, if you wish to plug an electronic into an AC port, you will need to turn on the AC section with a simple push of a button. 

It also features a digital display unit that shows how much power is remaining in the battery, total load, and input. These details allow you to see the vital data you need to operate this gadget safely. You can opt to charge the  Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station using solar panels, a generator, or an AC wall outlet.

With multiple ways to charge the Goal Zero Yeti 400, you can rest assured that you always have safe electricity to power your sensitive electronics, given that it produces a pure sine-wave electrical signal. You can also extend the runtime of this power station by chaining it with other lead-acid batteries. 

The manufacturer offers you up to twelve months limited warranty. This way, you can get a product replacement, in case the power station is defective. It comes with two 110V AC outlets which you can use to power your RV appliances with ease. The good news is that it costs only $450 and is highly affordable.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station

SUMMARY

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Multiple outlets
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Impressive runtime
  • Zero noise

Cons

  • Slow to charge
  • Limited accessories
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3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

The Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station is designed to give you the flexibility of enjoying outdoor activities to the fullest. It doesn’t matter whether you are going fishing, camping, or hunting. This power station has enough energy to power your essential gadgets. For instance, a single charge can run a 60W TV set for seven and half hours, 60 W mini refrigerator for nine hours, and charge a Mac Pro 13, 4.5 times. Other electronics you can run using this power station include air pumps, smartphones, lamps, drones, and blenders. 

Its output features three 12V DC, three 5V USB ports, and one 110V AC outlet. These ports allow you to power seven gadgets at once. It comes with a digital display that shows the power level, applied load, and input wattage. This feature helps you to know whether the system is working. The compact and lightweight design allows one person to carry it around with ease, hence giving you the convenience of moving about with your power source, even in remote places. 

You can charge this power station using solar panels, AC power source, electric generator, or car charger. With these multiple charging options, it is easy to keep your power station always ready for use. Its battery supports up to 500 recharge cycles, after which its performance falls drastically. If you love camping, you may not need to invest in a flashlight because this power station has an in-built LED lamp. Moreover, it comes at a friendly price of $500 and a supporting warranty of 2 years.

SUMMARY

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Multiple outlets
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Noise-free

Cons

  • No USB type-C ports
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4. EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER

The EcoFlow RIVER Portable Power Station comes in a modular design that allows you to expand the battery capacity from 288Wh to 576Wh. The increased capacity allows you to power most kitchen appliances with a 1,200 watts rating, thanks to the X-Boost Smart Algorithm that boosts its output from 600W to 1800W. The company also employs its revolutionary X-Stream Technology, which allows you to change this power station to 80% capacity in just one hour and 100% capacity in 1.6 hours.

EcoFlow has a mobile app that you can use to monitor and manage this power station. This application gives you the flexibility of operating the power station remotely. You have to worry about transporting or storing the EcoFlow RIVER Portable Power Station, as it comes in a lightweight and compact design. Its ergonomic carry-and-go handle makes the system highly portable, especially if you have to trek on foot during your outdoor trips.

The control panel of this EcoFlow power station features multiple outlets, which allow you to power up to 10 appliances at once. These ports include three AC outlets, three 12V DC and USB outlets. It comes with a display unit that shows both input wattage and the applied load. You can also know the remaining runtime at a glance. This way, you will know when to recharge the unit.  

There are multiple ways of recharging this power station. For instance, you can use a mains outlet or a 12V DC car charger. You can also use solar panels to give the flexibility of generating electricity from anywhere as long as you can access the sunshine. Moreover, this power station comes with an in-built flashlight which is great for camping or emergency lighting. The company offer you  

This power station has a durable battery system that has over 500 life cycles. It also has a one-year shelf life when fully charged. This feature ensures that you always have a reliable camper power station. You can own this RV power station for as low as $350, and get a two-year warranty.

SUMMARY

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER

Pros

  • Remote control with mobile app
  • Economical buy
  • Multiple outlets
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Fast charge
  • Noise-free

Cons

  • Most basic of EcoFlow’s models
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5. PAXCESS Portable Power Station 500W

The Rockman 500W Portable Power Station is specially designed to power your outdoor life. For starters, it comes in a lightweight design and an ergonomic handle which makes it highly portable. It comes with a lithium-ion battery that has a 519Wh capacity and more than 500 life cycles. This battery can deliver 500W rated output and 750W surge wattage. With a single charge, you can run a 45W mini fridge for 11 hours, a 75W TV for 5 hours, and a laptop for more than 8 hours. 

This power station has eight outlets. They include one 110V AC port, 12V DC ports, and type-A and type-C USB ports. This way, you can run gadgets at once, as long as their total wattage doesn’t exceed the rated output. You can charge this power generator using a normal wall outlet. You can also use solar panels. 

The system comes with an in-built MPPT controller, which reduces the solar charging time to six hours. If you are on the road, you can plug the power station into your RV car charger and recharge it. However, this option will take 9.5 to 10 hours. The AC outlet produces a pure sine wave electrical signal which is safe on your sensitive electronics, such as laptops and smartphones. 

The Rockman 500W has a digital display unit that shows you the system discharge and charge data, battery percentage, and overheating alarm at a glance. It also comes with a battery management system that controls the output voltage, temperature, and short circuit protection, thus allowing you to operate the power station safely. The company provides a 2-year warranty as a guarantee for quality workmanship. This power station costs only $430, and given the above features, it is a worthy investment that will give you value for money.

Rockman PAXCESS Portable Power Station 500W

SUMMARY

PAXCESS Portable Power Station 500W

Pros

  • Economical buy
  • Multiple outlets
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Impressive runtime
  • Noise-free
  • Highly portable

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty loads
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FAQs

Who makes the best power station for an RV?

The best power station for an RV comes with enough output to run the appliances on the caravan. It should also have a short charging time, be affordable, easy to use, and have sufficient outlets to support your electronics.

How many years do portable power stations last?

The life span of a power station depends highly on the battery life cycles. If you use your power station heavily daily, you will deplete the life cycle faster. In such a case, your power station can last for two to three years before the battery system starts to fail.

Can I plug my RV into a portable power station?

Yes, as long as it has sufficient power to run your RV appliances and a compatible power outlet or adapter.

Are portable power stations worth it?

Yes. Power stations come in handy when working with sensitive electronics which require pure sine wave signals. They are also quiet and easy to operate. When you use yours occasionally, it can last more than three years and thereby give you value for money.

Are portable power stations safe?

Yes. Power stations are safe and easy to use because they do not have the safety hazards associated with gasoline generators, such as carbon monoxide poisoning.