It is not a surprise that nowadays our lives depend on electricity. Whether it is making coffee in the morning or taking photos when traveling, we need electronic appliances and devices to assist us. This reliance is all fun and games till you do not have electricity to run them.
This situation is where portable power stations can save you. If you have never heard about a portable power station, then do not fret. We have created an in-depth guide that will explain every detail about portable power stations.
Without any further ado, let’s begin.
18650 VS Lifepo4 Batteries for Portable Power Station
- 18650 batteries for portable power stations are small and lightweight.
- 18650 batteries have much higher voltage (3.5 to 4.2 V) than nickel-cadmium and nickel-hydrogen batteries.
- Fortunately, 18650 batteries have no memory effect. This means you don’t have to discharge the battery completely before recharging it.
- These batteries have smaller internal resistance which saves the battery from discharging on its own and increases the standby time.
- Fixed-size of 18650 batteries makes it difficult to use this battery in more devices.
- 18650 batteries are prone to explode.
- LiFePO4 batteries have the longest life cycles. You can completely charge and discharge a LiFePO4 battery 5000 times.
- This battery also has a no-memory effect. Furthermore, the LiFePO4 batteries have a low discharge rate which makes them long-lasting.
- LiFePO4 batteries are customizable and come in different battery capacity options.
- Compared to batteries with similar battery capacity, LiFePO4 batteries are lightweight.
- LiFePO4 batteries for portable power station can handle high temperatures.
- Difficult to charge in below-freezing temperatures.
- Not suitable for use for smaller devices such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras, etc.
What Do Portable Power Station Parameter Numbers Mean?
Watt Hour or WH is the number of watts a battery can supply every hour.
For instance, if you have an appliance that says 100W, then it means it requires at least 100 watt-hours in one hour to run properly. So, for such a device, you would need a 100Wh battery.
However, when it comes to portable power stations, you should take the capacity with a grain of salt. Because most of the time the power stations shut down before discharging completely.
A portable power station with a 100W capacity is able to supply power for 15 hours. Similarly, a 300W power station will supply power for up to 6 hours. For some context, with a 300W battery, you can charge your smartphone 100-150 times. Similarly, for outdoor power supply, one requires around 1500-2200W. For such conditions, you can get a 2000Wh power station which is almost 550,000.
Watt is a unit of power and amount a device needs to work to its full extent.
Power Of Various Electrical Appliances
The following are the amount of watt power specific devices need to run/charge.
- Outdoor Digital Devices: Cameras, tablets, mobile phones, notebooks, and other outdoor photography tools require 300-500w power. A 300-500wh portable power station can meet these demands.
- Travelers Energy Requirements: Preparing meals on an electric stove, boiling water, night lightning for RV, mobile phone usage requires 500-1000w power. A 500-1000wh portable power station can meet these demands.
- Home Power Failure Emergency: Mobile, notebook, lights, fan, etc. can use up to 300W-1000w power. A 300-1000Wh portable power station can meet that demand. However, it also depends on your personal needs and priorities.
- On-Site Outdoor Working Tool: Simple construction operation requires at least 1000w power. A 1000Wh portable power station can meet these demands.
|Application||Power Watt||The output voltage|
|Home backup energy storage||300W-1000W||110-220V|
MPPT controller betters the match between an array of PV solar panels. If you have multiple solar panels, an MPPT controller can help portable power stations charge quickly.
A PWM charge controller does the same thing. However, an MPPT charge controller is better than a PWM charge controller because it generates more electricity.
So, why is an MPPT solar charge controller better than a PWM? Well, for one simple reason. PMW charge controller limits the voltage of the electricity to battery voltage. On the other hand, the MPPT charge controller first maximizes the voltage. This fastens the charging process. After that, it converts the electricity to a safe voltage for the battery.
Inverters: Square Wave and sine wave
The name inverter explains the device perfectly. An converts energy from one form to another. In grid-connected renewable energy systems such as solar panels or wind turbines, inverters convert energy from DC to AC.
When it comes to portable power stations, there is 2 main type of inverters present.
Square Wave Inverter
- A square wave inverter only supports the motor.
- Square wave inverters are affordable and easy to buy.
- Square wave inverter makes a lot of noise.
- This inverter is not suitable to use for household appliances.
Sine Wave Inverter
- A sine wave inverters minimize fluctuation in current for household appliances, such as fridges, TV, oven, etc.
- Sine wave inverters are safe to use.
- This inverter works without mankind any noise at all.
- Sine wave inverters are quite expensive.
3 Different Ways To Recharge Portable Power Station
One of the many things we love about portable power stations is that it is versatile in terms of charging. There are so many different ways to load a power station that anyone can use. The following are the four ways you can power your portable power station.
Charging your portable power station via a wall outlet is one of the main methods. Power stations have an input wall outlet port to connect with the charger. Then, you can charge your portable power stations. A good quality power station can fully charge using a wall outlet within 1 to 4 hours.
This charging type is the most sustainable and cost-effective. All you need for solar charging is to get a solar panel sheet. These sheets come in different sizes, e.g., 100WH, 200WH, etc. Usually, portable power stations take 4 to 12 hours to charge via solar panels.
The last type of portable power station charging is via car outlet. This type of charging is great for forgetful people. Well, if you didn’t already charge your battery when you had time, you can connect it to your car via the cigarette outlet and charge the power station.
Fast Recharge Technology for Portable Power Station
Well-known portable power station brands are coming up to power stations with the latest charging technology. These new changes make the charging process faster and better.
So, the following are some of the latest fast recharge technology in portable power stations. Don’t forget to check them before buying your power station.
#1 X-Stream technology
EcoFlow introduced X-stream technology in its newer portable power station such as EcoFlow RIVER. This technology makes charging via the wall outlet faster.
With X-stream technology every type of charging gets fasters and more efficient. Whether it is charging from a wall outlet or a car cigarette port, with X-stream technology the battery can charge in hours.
#2 MPPT Solar Charging
Goal Zero power stations feature the MPPT solar charging technology. MPPT is a DC to DC converter and stands for maximum power point tracker. What this technology does is that it makes charging via solar energy faster and more efficient.
Nowadays portable power stations like Ecoflow DELTA come with a built-in MPPT charger controller. This means you do not need to buy the charger controller separately.
Output Port Of Portable Power Station
USB-A Output Port
The standard USB A port design works with most portable power station. It is a horizontal port and the bottom part is dedicated to the pin connection. This design requires you to insert the perfectly. Without that the port would not be connected with the cable and the energy will not flow. The USB-A port connects with the USB-B receptor port on mobile phones and laptops.
USB-A ports have two other types, USA-mini and USB-B mini. However, these two port types are not that frequently used. Hence, USB-A mini and USB-B mini are not usually present on portable power stations. But that’s alright because the devices we use frequently have a normal USB-A port.
USB-C Output Port
The USB-C port is primarily for fast charging laptops, phones, tablets, MacBooks, etc. USB-C port is slimmer than a usual USB-A port. No matter the direction, the USB-C port fits in perfectly and can exchange USB-A, micro, and mini. Many portable power station offers a 100W and 20V connection which is more powerful than what the USB-A port provides.
Due to this reason, the USB-C port allows you to transfer data at a higher rate and at a higher speed. It can also help transmit a 4K video. The USB-C port also supports many different adapters such as VG or HDMI. Lastly, it is also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
AC Output Port
AC output port offers electricity to appliances that use AC or Alternating Current.
The name of this current, AC comes from its wave pattern. So, how does this work? Well, first of all, you need to understand that in order for the electricity to flow, electrons go from one direction to the other in the wire. When it comes to the AC current, the direction of these electrons changes when they hit an alternator. AC is the form of current you get from your wall outlet, portable power station and is far better than DC. Because AC travels in waves and can not only travel farther but travel faster than DC.
DC Output Port
Similarly, a DC output port in a portable power station is for electronics that run on a DC current.
DC or direct current is the type of current in which the electrons travel in a straight line. Unlike AC, DC is not available from the wall outlet. This is the type of current that you get from battery cells and power stations. As DC is consistent, electrons require it. This is why the current produced in the batteries is DC but then later the portable power station changes it to AC. However, if you are looking for a safe DC connection, portable power stations have DC ports that offer direct current.
PD Output Port
PD output port or USB-C/PD is a port that portable power station offers only up to 100W of power.
It is slimmer than the conventional USB-A port. Due to the 100W power, it can easily sustain a device that requires 100 watts per hour. PD ports are also good for fast charging. The USB PD plugs are reversible. This means no matter which direction you put the cable in, the port will fit. Additionally, the USB PD output port has no fixed direction, so if you are using it for data transfer you will not need a separate USB and power jack.
Safe Protection: BMS
BMS is software that many batteries support. This hardware works as safe protection and does a few things from the battery:
- It measures and control cell voltage
- BMS controls contactor
- It measures and manages the temperature of the battery cell
Portable Power Station Vs Generator
When it comes to creating your own electricity, portable power stations are not the only option. Long before people even started using power stations for electricity, generators were introduced. But the question is, which option is the best and should you get a power station or a generator. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
When it comes to generators the fuel options are limited. You can either run a generator on gas or on gasoline. There are some generators that work on both. On the other hand, portable power stations are versatile. You can charge your power station with solar panels, wall outlets, car engines, and even other batteries.
By cost-effectiveness, we do not mean the price of the product, no. Because you can get both a portable power station and a generator at affordable prices. But not both of these products are cost-effective.
Generators are notorious for being loud. They have such a loud noise that it is impossible to work in the same room with a running generator. And even though there are generators with low noise, the noise still exists. This is where portable power stations act as game-changers. Unlike generators, power stations are completely silent and make no noise.
As said before, generators use fuel such as gas and gasoline. One of the biggest downsides of using such fuel is that the generator produces fumes that are not good for the environment. Portable power stations on the other hand do not produce any type of fumes at all.
Portable power stations are more travel-friendly than portable generators. You can get a small size and lightweight generator.
However, you would need fuel to run it. Unless you are traveling in urban areas, finding gas stations can sometimes be difficult.
But with a power station, you do not need to worry about fuel at all. As long as you have solar panels, you can get all the energy you need.
Why is it difficult to choose the best portable power station?
The market is full of power stations. To some, it might seem like a good thing. To others, the abundance makes the decision-making process harder. While having to choose between hundreds of options, buying a portable power station is a tedious task on its own.
There are always too many boxes to check before you can put the product in your cart. This situation is why we have made a list of problems that make it simple to choose the best portable power stations. Additionally, we have listed the solution for those problems as well.
Charging Safety Hazards
The first reason why it is difficult to choose a power station is because of the batteries. Many cheaply manufactured power stations contain low-quality batteries. These batteries are prone to safety hazards such as unprotected batteries. If a battery is unprotected, it can explode when charged for a lengthy period. Not only will a situation like this ruin the product but, it also causes safety hazards.
Moreover, low-quality batteries take longer to charge. Whether it is wall outlet charging or charging via the solar panels, if your portable power station has a cheap battery, then you’d have to wait a day for a 100% charge.
How can you save yourself from these hassles? It’s simple, just choose a branded power station with great reviews.
Large Size, Not Easy To Carry
Most people who buy portable power stations are the people who like to travel. But some power stations on the market are so bulky and heavy that they don’t look portable at all. So, when choosing a power station for your next trip, do your research first.
There are a few brands that have introduced high-frequency resonance technology.
Have you ever traveled with a portable power station and, midway through the journey, your power station shell broke? Well, this only happens when the power station’s shell contains fragile material such as plastic. The power stations might have high battery capacity but they are not worth your money. The reason being is because one collision and your money would be down the drain.
To save yourself from buying power stations, again and again, invest in a product with a good shell.
Brands such as EcoFlow offer power stations with an aluminum outer shell. Not only do these power stations work great but they are also safe to carry around. No matter how many times you accidentally hit them, the battery would be intact.
Another issue with cheap and poorly made power stations is that the design doesn’t allow them to ventilate. First of all, these power stations have a plastic shell that is prone to heat up. Secondly, the build lacks holes in ventilation points.
On the other hand, high-quality portable power stations come with free installed fans. These fans keep the battery temperature lower and enhance the overall performance.
This heating problem is not only a concern for the battery itself. But, it can also cause safety hazards. Because when some batteries heat up more than they should, they can explode and injure the user.
The reason why people choose power stations over generators in the first place is because of the cost-effectiveness. However, if you pick the wrong power station, you might end up spending more money than expected. How does it work?
These portable power stations have below battery capacity and take hours to charge. Then you get better solar panels and accessories to make the product better, but that’s of no use. And this is how you end up spending more money.
Instead, what you can do is get a good-quality power station that has better battery capacity and is cost-effective.
Unless you live under a rock, it will not be a surprise that some companies do false advertisements. They tell the public their portable power station holds X amount of capacity when, in reality, the battery capacity is half of the said value.
One way you can save yourself from buying such products is by doing your research. Read honest reviews online. We have tons of articles on power stations. Look through them and familiarize yourself with your choices. This way, you’ll get the products that offer what they promise.
The Best Portable Power Station Brands
Jackery Portable Power Station
In the major e-commerce platforms, the Jackery Portable Power Station ranks first among its competitors. Jackery is a well-known brand and is one of the main drafters that cater to portable energy storage that comply with industrial standards. This product supports socket charging, solar panel charging, and car charging.
- High shares in the market
- Better brand promotion and marketing
- The unique aesthetic appearance of the product
- Slow charging speed
- Lack of investment in the R&D department and a comparatively outdated and backward electronic software technology
- Low-efficiency inverters with outdated inverter technology
- Easily corrodible internal system by dust and water vapors
- The plastic casing of the power station
- High noise production
- Numerous obscure safety hazards
- Hard to cool down, need for several heat dissipation holes and fans to lower the temperature of the power station
- A costly brand with a low price to performance ratio
EcoFlow Portable Power Station
The X-Steam charging technology was created by the R&D department of the DJI Battery company. This R&D department played an essential role in increasing the charging speed of the outdoor power supplies by over four times the previous one.
Where most brands of power stations require 6-7 hours to charge fully, EcoFlow portable power station only requires 1.5 hours of charging time which is why EcoFlow is now leading the industry when it comes to portable power.
Additionally, EcoFlow has also introduced an app function that helps control and monitor the power capacity of the power station in real-time. Users can switch the power supply of the EcoFlow power station remotely without having to reach for the unit.
- Fastest charging using high-power charging technology of all the portable power station options available
- Medium level efficiency of the inverter
- Plastic shell engineering
- Uniquely shaped internal structure design
- Need for a fan to cool down the unit
- Heavy unit with a large volume
- High noise production
- High susceptibility to dust and water vapor erosion
Goal Zero Portable Power Station
Goal Zero aims to deliver high-powered outputs, multiple types of charging ports, and a large power storage capacity in their portable power stations. It is an award-winning brand of power stations that has invested a great deal in producing state-of-the-art technology. Goal Zero is driven to constantly update its products to provide the best experience to its users based on the latest advancements in technology.
The lightest, most compact portable power station design created by Goal Zero is the Yeti X line which includes the Yeti 400X, 3000X, 1500X, 1000X, 500X the most powerful, the 6000X. The models over 1500X are able to power any gadget or electronics you can find in the market.
- Low noise production
- Simple and user-friendly design
- Replaceable and chainable sealed AGM lead-acid battery
- Several power options
- The power stations are not too heavy
- More costly as compared to other brands
- Long charging time as compared to EcoFlow
Flashfish Portable Power Station
Flashfish is an affordable option for basic everyday portable power needs. Their power stations have been specifically optimized and designed for use with CPAP machines and can power these machines using a 110 Volt AC port or a 12V DC port, depending on the type of CPAP machine.
Flashfish is one of the lightest and most compact units of power stations within similar specifications. They weigh seven times lighter and are five times smaller in size as compared to other portable power stations. Flashfish has also created advanced safety features including short-circuit, over-current, low-voltage, over-charge, and high-temperature protection.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy-grip with ergonomic handles
- Less noise production
- CPAP optimized
- Multiple charging output options
- Advanced safety measures
- Usually takes up to 7 hours to recharge
- Low power, cannot cater to heavy electronics
- Low battery capacity
Rockpals Portable Power Station
The brand name “Rockpals” is a combination of the word “Rock” and “pals”, Rockpals aims to provide power stations for adventurers and rock climbers, but the brand name also means that they are in the pursuit of providing high-quality products to their customers.
The Rockpals portable power stations are lightweight and compact. They have been fitted with high-capacity lithium batteries and QuickCharge 3.0 ports that are compatible with faster recharge. The Rockpals portable power station is easily rechargeable with solar panels, car batteries, or wall adapters.
The Rockpals power stations are fitted with pure sine wave inverters.
- Compact in size and lightweight, easy to carry
- Affordable price
- High capacity
- Solar charging option
- Short-circuit protection, overcharge protection, and temperature control
- Multiple outputs
- 10-hour automatic shutdown with inactivity
- Irreplaceable battery
- Don’t support pass-through charging
Bluetti Portable Power Station
Bluetti provides eco-friendly charging solutions for seamless power backups through their power stations. It is truly innovative when it comes to power storage technology. Bluetti’s aim is to provide freedom to people by helping them become independent with portable power. Bluetti values resourcefulness, adventure, and liberty.
The Bluetti portable power station comes with an option of wireless charging and advanced battery technology. The efficient portable power station fitted with a LiFePO4 battery in the Bluetti power station will guarantee a long lifetime of the product and years of reliable use.
- High efficiency
- Wireless charging
- Long life of the battery
- High output power as compared to other portable power stations
- Touch LCD screen designed to be user-friendly and displays voltage, current, power, temperature, and charging level
- Heavy units
- Increased charging time due to low input power
- Expensive as compared to other brands
Click to check more article about Pecron Q3000S vs Bluetti AC200P
Westinghouse Portable Power Station
Westinghouse was established in 1886 and has since then become a pioneer in the power storage industry. It now caters to the electric utility industry, manufacturing machinery and products used to generate, control, transmit, and distribute electricity.
The Westinghouse portable power stations are a favorite among campers and adventurers. Their power stations are versatile, providing different types of outlets for electric grills, phones, and other electronics. The Westinghouse station is eco-friendly with low noise production.
Westinghouse engineers their power stations to function without an engine for a clean and hassle-free power supply. The Westinghouse portable power stations are extremely low-maintenance and come with solar panel capability.
- Extremely compact and lightweight
- Designed for outdoor activities that require minimum power for necessities
- Low voltage protection, short circuit protection, and overload protection
- Extremely compact and easily transportable
- Not as efficient as counterparts
- Low energy output, can only power small devices
Marbero Portable Power Station
Marbero is a recently established company. It is powered by a group of renewable energy engineers who are extremely dedicated to the cause of clean power production. Marbero products are durable owing to the company’s R&D department. Marbero is able to provide reliable portable power stations and accessories at affordable prices. Although the Marbero portable power stations are relatively small, they’re great for emergency backup.
The Marbero portable power stations are capable of solar power charging and support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 output, which is extremely useful for smart devices which also support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0. The Marbero power stations are equipped with a lithium backup battery pack.
- Highly efficient battery
- Various output port types
- Slow charging
- Short battery backup
Ego Portable Power Station
Ego’s commitment to innovation is driven by the development and delivery of clean, reliable power tools. Ego has an extensive R&D center that aims to design innovative, powerful, and durable tools.
The brand Ego has spent the past decade researching and developing industry-leading POWER+ products. Ego Power+ claims to have the most advanced battery technology in the industry. With the convenience of universal battery compatibility, any battery produced by Ego can power whichever electronic you may have. Ego’s patented technology maximizes power and run times.
EGO’s industry-leading ARC Lithium™ 56V battery technology gives high performance. When it comes to battery-powered inverters, the Ego portable power station is equipped with firmware with an extremely flexible design that allows you to carry extra charged batteries. The Ego portable power station has a small internal battery in contrast to other types of portable power stations. It is truly a one-of-a-kind design and a unique product when compared to other companies.
The Ego portable power station comes with an app. This app allows remote control and information regarding the battery of the power station. The unit is encased in a roll cage which offers protection to the power station. The Nexus power station by Ego is another type of product that has a high output capacity. This brand too offers solar power charging options.
- Replaceable lithium battery with backup options with varying capacity options
- Extremely low noise production
- Emission-free power source
- Upgradeable battery
- Weather-resistant construction
- Low onboard capacity as compared to other brands and power station types
- Expensive as compared to other products of similar specifications
Paxcess Portable Power Station
Paxcess is one of the less known brands when it comes to portable power stations. It was founded in 2015 by a team of electronic products enthusiasts. Paxcess has established its structural expertise by investing in the Research & Development of innovative and efficient products. It has acquired cutting-edge design competencies, to provide its customers with usable, functional, and aesthetic power storage products.
Paxcess is a young and blooming brand, and what really matters for them is their strict Quality Control policies that ensure that every detail during the production process of their various power stations is uncompromisingly optimized to the highest capability.
The Paxcess portable power station has an extremely high Watt-hour capacity battery of up to 280Wh that can provide up to 330W of output. This Paxcess portable power station is equipped with a wireless charging option for smartphones.
- Wireless charging
- Versatile charging port types
- LCD display
- High price tag
AimTom Portable Power Station
AimTom is one of the few companies mentioned in this article that primarily deals in power station production. Cutting-edge Portable Power solutions are their very specialty. AimTom is a team of dedicated engineers who are passionate about electronics and product design. AimTom engineers create products that are eco-friendly, portable, and powerful.
The light AimTom Solar Generator can provide up to 42000mAh 155Wh power. It has an emergency backup power supply and is equipped with flashlights and AimTom portable power station are great for camping. If you need a unit that supports every type of charging port that you can think of, the AimTom portable power station should be your primary option.
- Low noise production
- Ideal for outdoor use
- MPPT controller that automatically optimizes the charging process
- Unimpressive battery efficiency
The Latest Technology Of Portable Power Station
Portable power stations still have a long way to go, but they are evolving faster than expected. Nowadays you can easily find a budget-friendly power station with new technology. So, which new and latest technology are we talking about? Keep reading!
#1 X-Boost Technology
X-Boost technology betters the inverter of the portable power station and enables you to use your power stations for appliances up to 1800W.
Furthermore, just recently EcoFlow decided to launch a new product, EcoFlow RIVER Pro. This portable power station also features new and improved X-Boost technology and can run 99% of appliances without any difficulty.
#2 X-Stream Technology
X-Stream technology is another feature that you can see in EcoFlow products, especially in the Delta series. What X-Stream technology actually does is that helps the power station charge quickly.
Now if you compare it to a portable power station without X-Stream technology, such as the Goal Zero yeti line, you can see the difference.
Because Yeti power stations can take over 12 hours to charge completely. This technology is the reason why EcoFlow portable power stations take 1 hour to charge from 0 to 80%. And to charge completely with X-Stream, EcoFlow only takes 1.5 hours.
No matter how big the battery capacity it, X-Stream technology fastens the recharging process for every portable power station.
#3 X-Link Chaining Technology
EcoFlow has introduced this technology in the EcoFlow River portable power station. X-Link chaining is a technology that allows you to link two or more power stations together to get more battery capacity.
Now you don’t have to keep recharging your power station in an attempt to use it for days. Because X-Link gives you the largest battery capacity possible that will last you days outdoor.
But that is not it. X-Link is also useful when you are using a portable power station at home. After linking a few power stations you can easily run all of the household appliances.
#4 Dual PV inverter Technology
Mango portable power station features a Dual PV inverter. This technology helps the power station to charge via solar energy quicker than ever before. Mango Dual PV inverter power station has a capacity of 3300W. Now recharging a battery of this size takes time with solar power.
If you take brans like Goal Zero, its portable power station would take 4 to 12 hours to charge via solar power.
#5 Swappable Batteries
Two batteries are always better than one, right? Wattant power stations come with swappable batteries. Due to this feature, you will never run out of battery ever again. Just swap the battery when the first one is discharged fully and enjoy. One battery of Wattant has a 3100W capacity which is average. You can use this much energy for around 2 days of emergency use.
However, with the help of swappable technology, you can double the battery capacity and enjoy the electricity for 4 days. The great thing is you can get as many swappable batteries as you want according to your need.
With that, we are at the end of this detailed portable power station guide. We cannot teach you everything about portable power stations in one sitting. However, we hope you found useful detail.
Portable power stations are not new in the market. They have been around for some time now. However, with new technology such as X-Stream, X-Boost, etc portable power stations are getting better. Nowadays people prefer these power stations over conventional generators. So, what is stopping you? Whether you are a traveler or want emergency electricity for your household, get yourself a portable power station. These devices can provide tens KWh of energy without any difficulty.
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