The constant worry of how you’re going to charge your devices while on the road – you’ve been there, you know it’s real. Having a reliable power source when off-grid can make your trips far more comfortable and enjoyable. There are plenty of ways one can achieve that; however, few are simpler and more convenient than portable power stations. This article focuses on the five best portable power stations one can buy. Keep in mind that most brands have many different options from as little as 100w up to 3000w. Some tips on what wattage might be suitable for you are included at the end of this article.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
Jackery is one of the leading makers of portable power stations. The Explorer 240, as the name suggests, comes with a 240-watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Therefore, it can charge small devices like phones, tablets, drone batteries, or even laptops sufficiently. All products from Jackery are thoroughly thought through. This is reflected in the simplicity of use – no fancy power buttons and screens, just a simple straight forward user interference. The 240 offers two USB-A, one DC carport, and one AC outlet rated at 200W with a peak power delivery of 400W. In terms of charging, you have three options: through your conventional wall plug, your vehicle’s cigarette lighter, or through Jackery’s 60W solar panel. Keep in mind that with the device only the AC adapter and car charger are included. If you need the Solar panel, you will have to purchase it separately. Sizewise, it comes in at 5.19 x 9.05 x 7.67 inches and only weighs 6.8 pounds. When combined with its solid handle, carrying it around is easy. Learn more about the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
Rockpals 250W Portable Generator
A close competitor to the Jackery 240W is the Rockpals 250W. Just like the Jackery, powering it is a 240W lithium battery that can comfortably charge phones, tablets, and laptops. If needed, it can even run larger appliances like a mini car refrigerator or a TV. Continuous power delivery from the dual AC outputs is rated to 250W with a 300W surge capability. Other output ports include two USB-A and four DC ports. If weight is one of your main priorities, the Rockpals 250 has the advantage over the Jackery at just 5.5 pounds. Charging can be done in the same three ways: a normal AC adapter, a car charger, or a solar panel. Learn more about the Rockpals 250W Generator
Westinghouse iGen 160s Portable Power Station
If you need a slightly more affordable and compact package, the Westinghouse iGen 160s is the one for you. At only 3.3 pounds, this small power station can be taken with you anywhere. It features two household outlets, two USB Ports, one USB 3 quick charge port, a USB C outlet, and three 5.5 mm DC outputs. Power delivery is rated at 100W and can peak to 150W. The USB C outlet makes this device more future proof. However, the wattage from the port will not be sufficient to keep something like a laptop topped off while working. Its durable design means it will handle the harsh usage campers and overlanders will throw at it. Learn more about the Westinghouse iGen 160s Portable Power Station
RAVPower 252W Portable Power Station
The RAVPower 252W is similar in terms of capacity to the products offered by Jackery and Rockpals. However, it has one main advantage – the ability to charge and be charged by a 60W PD input and output (USB-C). This means that a device like a MacBook Pro can be fully charged in just three hours. Along with the mighty 60W PD port, you will find two USB-A ports and one USB-3.0 port. As far as AC and DC, you have two AC outputs, one DC input and one output – both are 5.5mm plugs. The AC outputs are rated at a flowing 250W with a max surge of 300W. A drawback of the RAVPower, is that the ports are not located on just one side of the power station. Depending on where and how you want to use it, this can get frustrating. Recharging includes the same three choices as the other devices. Again, the solar panel is not included. Learn more about the RAVPower 252W Portable Power Station
Anker Powerhouse 200
Anker decided to take the elegant approach with the Powerhouse 200. Its aluminum frame and rubberized caps on both ends give it a durable yet stylish design. On the business end, you will find 4 ports: a 12-volt car output, 110 AC output, two USB-A outputs, and a PD charger. Don’t get too excited though, its maximum power delivery from USB-C (PD) is just 30W. Also, the AC and 12-volt sections of the powerhouse cannot provide power simultaneously. This device can only perform pass-through charging. Meaning that if while charging the output energy is greater than the input, the device will stop charging itself and will deplete its battery. Dimensions are 7 inches in length, 5.5 inches in width, and 4.7 inches tall. Weight comes in at under 7 pounds. Learn more about the Anker Powerhouse 200
Quick Tips to Help You Decide What Wattage is Right for You
It seems that more and more people are running their in-car fridge from their power stations lately. If you wish to do so, a power station of more than 500W is recommended. With 500W of capacity, you can keep the power station plugged in your car to charge up while driving – when you arrive at camp, simply switch off the car and let the power station do the job. Power stations in the range of 200W are perfect for someone who will be out for a short period of time and only needs to charge devices like phones, tablets, and drone batteries. If you regularly stay at camp for more than a day, a 1000W station might suit you better. Having a 1000W capacity can be suitable for winter camping too. Any device that uses electricity to produce heat is very inefficient. Kettles and heated blankets will drain the battery in no time. Therefore, if you plan on using any of these amenities go for a 1000W. I personally use an ALP 1000-Watt propane generator for my overlanding adventures and it is one of the best investments I’ve made. Having that added power is fantastic for running everything from my Buddy Heater to my MacBook Pro. In fact, with USB ports, dual AC outs, DC 12V out, and parallel capability, there’s a lot of things you can run with this generator! And, since it’s propane, you get clean, quiet power without the worry of gas fumes or spills. Plus, it will run for three hours on a one-pound tank and 60 hours on a 25-pound tank. So, if a battery-powered power station isn’t your cup of tea or if you need more power than what they offer, a propane-powered generator like the ALP 1000-watt rig that I have might be the right fit for you. Keep in mind, that these power stations aren’t just useful for camping. In case of a power cut out at home, you will have enough electricity to keep things like lights and even fridges running for several hours (depending on your station’s capacity). What do you think? Are portable power stations as convenient as they seem to be?