The Best Portable Power Stations (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021
If you enjoy the great outdoors, consider these portable power stations for your overnight trips
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BY Zach Faulds / LAST UPDATED ON November 3, 2020
When camping, hiking, or road tripping, you should always be prepared. And in today’s digital climate, having a sufficient supply of energy to charge all of your electronics and personal devices is critical. One ultra-convenient tool for mitigating a potential disaster is a simple portable power station. Not quite a generator, these portable power stations are the perfect solution for smaller-scale charging duties.
You first have to charge the power station, but this will allow you to power most of your electronics from one hub. Plus, some power stations are solar powered, so there are a few convenient charging options available. Some of the best portable power stations can charge your RV or camper, so you’ll be able to stay technologically afloat even in the most precarious situations.
This portable power station supports a large variety of AC-reliant devices and electronics like TV, blenders, laptops, etc. It contains a standard 12V/10A carport and three 5V/2.4A USB ports.
- Can be powered through a carport, a typical AC wall outlet, or through a solar option
- Safe, effective, and sustainable
- Can be quite loud while in use, especially if all AC ports are being used
Features one AC port, two USB-A ports, and a DC 12-volt port. It can be recharged using USB-C, AC, or solar power.
- Weighs just six pounds but holds a lot of power
- Can charge a laptop over five times, a smartphone over 12 times, and even run small appliances for over four hours
- Not the most durable option
- Has been known to have a shorter lifespan than comparable models
- Unreliable charging in remote settings
It can be used as a typical power station for your smartphone, laptop, or TV, as well as a backup portable power source for emergency power outages.
- Features two 120V 20 Amp Outlets and two standard USB outlets for a variety of electronics
- Gas-powered, fuel-efficient, and quiet
- Heavy, at around 48 pounds
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Benefits of Portable Power Stations
- Charge all your electronics with one device: The best portable power stations can charge all of your electronics as well as multiple devices simultaneously. You won't have to worry again about losing power while camping, hiking, fishing, and more.
- Convenient size that’s easy to travel with: Most portable power stations are compact and lightweight. They can easily be packed away in your vehicle, RV, or trailer to bring with you on long trips.
- Fully rechargeable: Portable power stations are completely rechargeable via any outlet, car adapter, or cigarette socket lighter. Just make sure you can charge at your campsite or that you have a sufficient charge before heading out on an overnight trip.
Types of Portable Power Stations
Most portable power stations can be charged via any standard wall outlet. Once fully charged, it will provide enough power to operate most of your electronics and personal devices within your RV, trailer, or at your campsite. Some can even be charged via a car adapter or through your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket.
Portable power stations are available with an eco-friendly, solar-powered option. Solar panels can generate enough power to charge your power station’s lithium battery. Many solar-powered models also come with a standard cord to charge your station the traditional way if needed. If you opt for a solar-powered option, make sure to purchase a solar panel to connect to your power station. Most are sold separately.
Gas-powered portable power stations are an extremely convenient option if you are heading out on long hiking, camping, backpacking, or fishing trips. They allow you to charge your electronics and personal devices, even in the most remote settings. One disadvantage of gas-powered power stations is that they are often quite loud while in use and not as environmentally-conscious as comparable models.
Founded by a former Apple battery engineer in Silicon Valley in 2012, Jackery is now one of the industry’s leaders in portable electronic power. In addition to portable power stations, the company sells solar panels and portable chargers.
The company was founded in 2015, specifically for consumers who wanted to charge their devices anywhere and anytime. Suaoki is an innovator of eco-friendly charging solutions, committed to connecting people while working for a sustainable future. The company sells a variety of power stations, vehicle accessories, and solar panels.
Westinghouse originally started as an air brake company in 1869. Since that time, it has become one of the proven world leaders in technology, electronics, smart appliances, and more. In addition to portable power stations, the company also produces lawn and garden accessories, and high-quality pressure washers.
Portable Power Station Pricing
- Under $300: If you can find a portable power station in this price range, you are getting an excellent value purchase. These are typical of the standard variety.
- $300 to $500: Products in this price range can charge multiple electronics and devices at once. These power stations often come with a solar-power option.
- Over $500: While priced at a premium, portable power stations in this price range are extremely durable and long-lasting. They are often of the gas-powered variety.
Portability is perhaps the most important feature of this product, so that you can take it with you on the go. While these power stations may be lightweight, they can provide enough power to charge your electronics and personal devices on long camping, hiking, and fishing trips, and while participating in many other outdoor activities.
If you are using your portable power station on an overnight camping trip, it is important that your purchase is not too loud. Most battery and solar-powered stations are extremely quiet. They will not keep you up at night or force you to shout to your friends and family over a campfire.
Safety features are critical when considering which portable power station is best for your needs. Battery and solar-powered stations are the safest options because they produce no toxic fumes. They can safely be used inside within your vehicle, tent, or RV, without having to worry about carbon monoxide gas.
- Charging capacity: Purchasing a portable power station with enough power and efficiency to safely charge all of your electronics and personal devices is very important. Ensure that your station can hold enough of a charge to power all of your devices if you are planning any long, overnight camping trips.
- Maintenance: Most portable power stations require little to no maintenance. It is important to consider a reliable, trustworthy company when making your purchase. The majority of these stations are for casual, light use and not for powering major electronics. If you purchase a more heavy-duty, gas-powered model, regular filter and spark plug changes may be necessary.
- Warranty: The type of warranty included with your power station is an important consideration. Some companies offer full refunds or exchanges if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, while others may offer no warranty or limited warranty. Make sure to read the fine print to see what type of warranty is included before making your purchase.
Best Portable Power Station Review & Buying Guide 2021
- If you plan on taking a long trip or an overnight trip in a remote setting with no power source, make sure your power station is fully charged and use sparingly.
- If you plan to power/recharge your station via solar power, it is recommended to have a battery backup in an emergency.
- Make sure to double-check your power station's weight if you are planning to bring it along on long backpacking or hiking trips.
- Most solar-powered options do not come with solar panels. Read your product’s manual and purchase the right solar panels separately.
- A typical lithium battery used in most power stations will last up to two or three years. Make sure to check the type of battery used before making your purchase.
What is the best portable power pack for camping?
A: The best portable power station for camping is one that can hold a substantial charge and is lightweight enough to carry with you while traveling. There are a variety of options available that meet these criteria.
Is there such a thing as a battery-powered outlet?
A: Yes, a battery-powered outlet stores electrical energy from a wall AC outlet in its built-in battery. Portable power stations are considered a form of a battery-powered outlet.
How long does a portable power station last?
A: A typical portable power station can last anywhere from three hours to 13 hours on a fully charged battery. The lifespan depends on the battery's age, type of battery, size, and the number of electronics used with the power station.
For a high-quality portable power station, consider the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, which features a standard 12V/10A carport and three 5V/2.4A USB ports, or the Anker Powerhouse 200, which is a compact size.