Sat. Apr 13th, 2024


You never know when an emergency will strike, so it’s always best to be prepared. The best portable power stations fulfill a variety of roles, from keeping a household running when things go awry to adding convenience to outdoor excursions.


UPDATE: 02/07/2024

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and updated our choices for the best power station overall, and the best fast-charging station.

What to Look for in a Portable Power Station in 2024

Portable power stations are a modern convenience that every household should consider investing in. They’re the kind of device you may never use but don’t want to be without when life throws a curveball. A great power station can mitigate an otherwise problematic situation, especially if you live in an area known for heavy or violent storms.


When you’re shopping for a new portable power station, there are a few things you’ll want to watch for. Maybe the most important is the available inputs. Are there enough plugs to cover what you need in an emergency or charge all your devices?


If you’re looking at a power adapter and it’s missing components you need, it may be an automatic pass. Some of the best portable power stations support USB charging, have a 12V input, and no less than 2 AC ports.


From there, you can look at other aspects, like the battery capacity, typically rated in milliamp-hours (mAh). You can use this number and the rated voltage (either 12V or 24V) to determine the watt hours using the formula (mAh)*(V)/1000.


So, if your portable power station has a capacity of 20,000mAh and a rating of 24V, its watt-hours would be 480Wh. Why is this important to know? Every device you use with the station will chip away at that 480Wh. For example, if you have a 200W desktop computer, the power station can run it for approximately 2 hours without any other variables.


While looking at wattage, you’ll also want to consider the peak and continuous wattage ratings. Peak wattage refers to the max wattage needed to run a device from a cold start. Continuous wattage refers to the lower supply they’ll need to remain running.


If you’re worried about keeping appliances running, the station will need a higher peak wattage rating, easily well into the 2,000W range. This part is crucial and can’t be emphasized enough—if you want to power your fridge during a power outage, you must have a power station with a high enough peak wattage rating to handle the startup draw of the compressor.


Finally, how does the power station charge? Some only support wall outlet charging through a DC port, while others are compatible with detached solar panels. The latter is recommended, especially if you plan on traveling with your power station.


There’s plenty to think about when shopping for a new portable power station, so we’ve tried to simplify the process. Below, you’ll find five of the best portable power stations, at least one of which should satisfy your needs.

ecoflow delta 2 max
EcoFlow


Pros

Cons

2,048Wh LFP battery

No wheels

Extra battery ports

Solar input is limited to 500W per port

Excellent port selection

Fast charging


EcoFlow builds some of the best portable power stations on the market, and the company’s DELTA 2 Max is no exception. It’s a fantastic power station that will keep your gadgets and select home appliances running during an outage or an off-the-grip camping trip.


This power station houses a big 2,048Wh LFP battery, which is enough to run a regular refrigerator for 14 hours, a TV for 15 hours, or charge a phone over 140 times. But if you need even more power, you will be happy to know that the DELTA 2 Max’s battery capacity is expandable. You can connect up to two extra batteries for a total battery of 6144Wh.


You also get plenty of ports and sockets, including six 120V three-prong AC sockets, two 100W USB-C ports, USB Type-A ports, and dual DC5521 ports, to use all this power. Plus, it can typically push a total of 2400W AC power, but you can increase the output to 3400W using the X-Boost mode.


Another benefit of using the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is its fast charging. Using AC and solar power, you can top it up from zero to 80% in just 43 minutes. But even without solar, it can reach the 80% mark in 1.1 hours. Besides solar and AC charging, you can use your vehicle’s 12V or 24V outlet to top it up in a crunch situation.


The included color LCD display helps get critical metrics about the power station. But you can also use the EcoFlow app to obtain more information. Other highlights include pass-through charging support, EPC functionality, and a five-year warranty.


The DELTA 2 Max has much to like about it but also has a couple of annoyances. It lacks wheels for easy transportation and doesn’t support solar input higher than 500W via each of its two ports.

ecoflow delta 2 max

EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max

Best Portable Power Station Overall

$1499 $1899 Save $400

From expandable battery capacity to fast charging, the EcoFlow’s DELTA 2 Max has much going for it. It’s also choke-full of ports and can deliver 2400W of continuous AC power.

FLASHFISH 320W Portable Power Station carried by person
Flashfish


Pros

Cons

Very reasonable price

330W cap limits capabilities

Compact and easy to transport

Mostly practical as a roadside companion

Solar charging compatible

Built-in SOS flashlight


The Flashfish 330W Portable Power Station is a simple-looking device that’s friendly to your wallet. Its unassuming construction features eight ports, including 2 AC, 2 DC, and a 45W USB-C option. Though not the most robust in terms of inputs and outputs, when you spot the modest price tag, the appeal of the Flashfish power station is more apparent.


The unit boasts a cost per Wh of only 69 cents, so you’re saving a bunch on this portable unit. Due to its size and capacity, you won’t run an entire household with it. However, the unit is great for travel, especially with the built-in SOS flashlight.


The 330W will keep small devices running, just don’t expect to use it to cook meals on a portable electric cooktop. This is more of an emergency device to guarantee you have lighting, a charged smartphone, power for your CPAP machine, and other small essentials.


If you don’t mind spending more, the Flashfish is compatible with 100W solar panels. And since you can have the panels plugged in while using the battery, you can create a near-limitless stream of power for your sub-330W devices. Though a power unit’s capacity may be low, its price and size boost its value.

FF FLASHFISH 320W Portable Power Station

FF FLASHFISH 330W Portable Power Station

Best Budget Portable Power Station

The low-priced Flashfish 330W portable station is easy to transport and features solar charging compatibility for ample convenience.

Best Solar Portable Power Station: Bluetti AC200MAX

BLUETTI AC200MAX Portable Power Station
BLUETTI


Pros

Cons

Mobile app puts you in full control

Very expensive

Expandable up to 8,192Wh

Heavy and bulky

16 output ports

2-hour recharge with AC and solar


Rivaling the company’s own AC200P Portable Power Station, BLUETTI’s AC200MAX is an enhanced version that boosts the watt-hours to 2,048, improves fast charging by 200W, and supports 200W more solar input. The biggest change, though, is its compatibility with BLUETTI expandable batteries.


While 2,048Wh is its native max, it can be expanded to 8,192Wh with two battery packs. Of course, that means a tethered system that takes up a lot of space. But the space it takes up (as well as its cost), is well worth it, as you can see from our review of the BLUETTI AC200MAX:


I do feel everyone, especially if you’re in a region at risk of inclement weather, should have the AC200MAX at home, charged and ready to go. It’s a great backup system to keep your household running during a blackout until power is restored and can help mitigate things like loss of food when the refrigerator dies.


Despite its size, the AC200MAX is a convenient, multipurpose portable charger compatible with BLUETTI’s line of solar panels. The device’s expandable power using BLUETTI batteries enhances functionality in various scenarios, making this the ultimate portable power station in emergencies. Its incredibly high price tag is the biggest thing keeping it from excelling to the overall best category.


The AC200MAX is also compatible with the BLUETTI app (available on iPhone/iPad and Android), allowing you to monitor and control your unit. Maximizing efficiency is a feature most portable power stations should probably have, and the AC200MAX makes good use of it to ensure you’re never wasting battery power.

BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200MAX

BLUETTI AC200MAX Portable Power Station

Best Solar Portable Power Station

Though pricey, the AC200MAX is expandable to over 8,000Wh, ensuring you have more than enough capacity to run the essentials in an emergency.

AIMTOM 42000mAh Portable Power Station in the back of a truck
AIMTOM


Pros

Cons

Very compact and lightweight

Low 155Wh limit

Surprising 4,2000mAh capacity

Limited output ports

Solar panel compatible

Cost per Wh could be lower


Lightweight and small, the AIMTOM 4,2000mAh Power Station sports a surprising number of outlets considering its size and price. The power station has a relatively low cost per Wh, which furthers its appeal. If you frequent campgrounds or RV parks, this power station is sure to come in handy to keep your basic devices running.


Despite a relatively low 155Wh rating, this portable power station has a battery capacity of 4,2000mAh. It’s a slight imbalance, but that does mean it will be a long while until you have to recharge the power station. If you’re running a CPAP machine or have many small electronics to keep charged, this won’t be a dealbreaker.


The AIMTOM 4,2000mAh Power Station is only 3.48 lbs and measures 7.67×6.73×3.54 inches, making it incredibly easy to carry around and travel with. Even at its smaller size, the station features six outputs, including three USB and three DC ports. Considering the station’s smaller size, you’d expect simplicity. However, the AIMTOM features a solar panel input that will help keep things running even longer.


Due to its size and 155Wh limit, you’re limited on what you can charge and power with the AIMTOM portable station, but it’s a handy device to have around if you’re frequently on the road.

AIMTOM 42000mAh 155Wh Power Station

AIMTOM 42000mAh 155Wh Power Station

Best Compact Portable Power Station

$126 $159 Save $33

AIMTOM’s portable station is deceptively powerful, with over 42,000mAh capacity hindered only by the limited 155Wh limit.

Best Fast-Charging Portable Power Station: Anker SOLIX C1000

Anker SOLIX C1000 in front of a trailer
Cory Gunther / How-To Geek


Pros

Cons

Ultra-fast charging

Only one DC output

Six AC sockets

Expandable battery capacity


Although our best overall pick supports fast charging, the Anker SOLIX C1000 takes things even further with its “HyperFlash” charging. It can go from zero to 100% in just 58 minutes with AC input. Even when you are only using solar, this Anker power station can fully charge in less than two hours, granted you use 600W solar input. So, if you want a fast-charging portable power station, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. Like other power stations, it supports charging through AC, solar, and your car.


Besides impressive charging speeds, the SOLIX C1000 has a reasonable 1,056Wh LFP battery. But if that is low for your use, it supports expansion, and you can plug in an extra battery to take the total capacity to 2,112Wh.


The power station can offer a typical pure sine-wave output of 1800W, which you can increase to 2,400W with the SurgePad option. The port selection is also excellent, and you get six three-prong AC sockets, one 100W USB-C port, one 30W USB-C port, two USB Type-A ports, and a cigarette lighter output.


Other features include the built-in LCD showing all the essential details, plus there is an app for even more information and to control the power station. The Anker SOLIX C1000 is also built well and features two robust handles on either side to carry it.


On the downside, there is no DC output apart from the cigarette lighter outlet, and the power station can get loud while charging and under heavy loads.

anker solix c1000

Anker SOLIX C1000 Portable Power Station

Best Fast-Charging Portable Power Station

$649 $999 Save $350

The Anker SOLIX C1000 is an excellent mid-size power station that can fully charge in less than an hour. It also offers plenty of AC outlets.

FAQ

What size power station do I need?

The size of the power station you need depends on the power consumption of the devices you plan to run. Calculate the total power consumption of all the devices and the desired duration. For example, if you’re consuming 300W of power continuously for 5 hours per day, you’ll need a portable power station rated at least 1,500Wh.

Can a portable power station run a heater?

Yes, a portable power station can run a heater, but it depends on the capacity of the power station and the power requirements of the heater. Make sure the power station has enough capacity to run the heater for your desired length of time.

Can a portable power station run a refrigerator?

While a portable power station can run a refrigerator, you need to consider the power consumption of the refrigerator and the capacity of the power station. Some portable power stations may not have enough battery life to sustain the refrigerator’s power requirements. Check the mAh of your power station’s battery and the watt hours of your refrigerator to determine compatibility.

How do I charge a power station?

Portable power stations can be charged in multiple ways. The traditional method is using a DC cord plugged into a wall outlet. Depending on the power station, you may also have the option to charge it using a USB-C cable or through your car’s cigarette lighter. Some power stations even support solar charging, allowing you to use detached solar chargers to keep the station charged throughout the day.



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By John P.

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