Portable power stations feature builtin lightweight but powerful lithium-ion batteries and are able to provide energy safely even indoors since they don't emit smelly or poisonous fumes or gases during operation.
Note: unlike power stations, power generators use internal combustion engines and must NOT be used indoors - their fumes contain very dangerous carbon-monoxide!
When choosing the right portable power station, always choose according to your own needs and requirements, always considering features like:
- output power: portable power stations usually range from compact units with 50-100 watts to large, but still portable 2000-3000 or more watts units. Most units are also able to withstand 5-10 seconds of surge power which is usually 50-100% of the nominal/continuous power.
- energy stored: lithium-ion batteries are lightweight and powerful batteries, but nonetheless, they are not as powerful as fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel, propane) used in power generators. Thus, stored energy is a limiting factor of the power stations, limiting their output power and runtime on the single battery charge.
- output ports: usually include 120V AC ports (intended for household appliances and similar loads), 12V DC ports (various chargers, batteries, smaller loads), and 5V (even 5-9V) USB ports (smartphones, tablets, drones, cameras, etc.).
- charging ports: charging ports, or more commonly charging port is used for charging of the internal battery. Most portable power stations may be recharged using wall socket battery chargers (120V AC), car cigarette lighter adapter ports (12V DC) or it may be recharged using suitable solar panels. A portable power station in combination with foldable solar panel are a common choice for people who like outdoor activities or want to be ready for various emergencies.
- dimensions: smaller portable power stations are compact units, usually with a handle on a top (or foldable handle) and can be easily carried in a hand or even backpack. They usually weigh less than 5 pounds. Large portable power stations have large-capacity batteries, can be carried by one or two adults via builtin handles, but they are usually transported by carts, trucks, RVs, boats, and similar. They may weigh 10-20 pounds, or even more. If even more energy/output power is required, power generators are recommended.
- safety features: portable power stations commonly include short circuit protection, overload protection, over-voltage protection, over-current protection, low voltage protection, temperature control, and similar. Despite all the safety features that come with the portable power stations, note that they are not toys, but serious equipment that must be treated, used, and maintained as instructed by their manufacturers.
- price and warranty: portable power stations vary in size and features, and thus, their prices also vary from 100 or so dollars/euros from smaller models to a few hundred/thousands of dollars/euros from premium models. The warranty period also varies from 6-12 months to few years and it does NOT include damages caused by misuse of the units - if the power station was accidentally dropped from the roof of the RV on the concrete floor, forget its warranty...
Of course, there are other features (flashlights, car jump starters, etc.) that may be interesting/important, but these are commonly the most important ones.
Although modern power stations are easy and rather intuitive to use, when your new power station arrives, be sure to read the manual thoroughly - better safe than sorry.
Here is the list of our portable power stations reviews and recommendations, ordered according to the date added or modified.
AIMTOM SPS-300 is a versatile portable power station based on a large lithium-ion battery pack that stores 280 Wh of energy.
Thanks to its compact and lightweight design, several different charging options, numerous output ports, AIMTOM SPS-300 is a very popular mid-range portable power station.
BALDR 330 is a portable power station designed for camping, tailgating, fishing, and other outdoor activities and for indoor applications where a reliable power source is required, even in emergencies and other off-the-grid situations.
BALDR 330 may be used to charge smartphones, tablets, and other USB and wireless charged devices, it can power AC appliances, it features LED light, telescopic handle, and is lightweight and compact enough to be carried to the shorter distances by hand.
Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station is a lightweight and compact, but rather versatile portable power station, suitable for camping, fishing, hunting, tailgating, road trips, and other off-the-grid situations, emergencies included.
Westinghouse iGen160s is powered by 155 Wh lithium-ion battery, can be used indoors since it emits no fumes or gases. Due to its dimensions, its output power is somewhat limited, but it can still power a broad range of smaller home appliances, it can recharge smartphones, tablets, laptops, drones, etc.
Rockpals RP250W is a very popular compact and lightweight portable power station, often used for fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities and off-the-grid situations.
In emergencies, Rockpals RP250W is able to power most essential appliances, various light sources and to recharge telecommunication and other electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and similar.
Jackery Explorer Portable Power Stations are a group of very popular power stations with a broad range of the amount of stored energy, output power, connecting ports, charging options, and similar.
Jackery Explorer Portable Power Stations store the energy at the onboard lithium battery - during operation, they produce no fumes, with practically no noise. Also, they may be charged even with portable solar panels, making them almost ideal power source for camping and fishing trips, for emergencies and other off-the-grid situations.