Portable power stations are all the rage these days, the global energy situation being what it is. The consequences of climate change are closing in on the world from all sides, threatening entire cities with massive blackouts, and gradually revealing just how precarious and unreliable humanity’s conventional sources of energy are.
Having twice been strapped to an electronic medical device to stay alive over the past two years, this writer knows that a good portable power station can save your life in an emergency.
Many out there worry so much about these things that only weekends in the woods, away from it all, can provide the tonic needed to get through the next workweek. But then that, too, contributes to the popularity of portable sources of energy.
After all, it’s always good to have a portable power station when you are out in the wilderness. The peace of mind alone is well worth the hassle that goes with packing a power unit into the trunk, along with all the other gear.
- 1 Our Top 5 Best Portable Power Stations in 2023
- 1.1 1. ECOFLOW Portable Power Station 3600Wh DELTA Pro
- 1.2 2. Jackery Explorer 3000 Portable Power Station
- 1.3 3. Bluetti AC200MAX
- 1.4 4. Outkitel P2001 Portable Power Station
- 1.5 Simple User Interface, Great UPS Feature
- 1.6 5. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X
Our Top 5 Best Portable Power Stations in 2023
Choosing the right portable power station can be tricky, though, and it isn’t a task to be taken lightly. So, we have done you one good and compiled a list of the five best portable power stations you can buy right now.
Now, the word “portable” has its roots in Latin. It is derived from the word “portare,” which means “to carry.” Hence, portable devices are properly those machines or tools you can literally lift off the ground and carry away like, say, your portable speakers or even your laptop.
Be that as it may, only one of the portable power stations we selected for our list is actually “portable.” But don’t let that dissuade you. So long as you understand that these devices are designed for mobility and that they can endure the rigors of a long road trip, then our list of the top 5 of 2023 should be useful to you.
1. ECOFLOW Portable Power Station 3600Wh DELTA Pro
The EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station 3600Wh DELTA Pro is about the size of a suitcase and weighs as much as a standard air conditioner unit at nearly 100 lbs. It is not exactly a ‘portable’ device in the etymological sense of the word. But then it does carry enough juice to power an RV.
The portable power and renewable energy company, EcoFlow, has only been around since 2017 but has managed to establish itself as a premium brand. The Delta Pro, one of the company’s flagship offerings, is among the reasons why.
Combining cutting-edge technology and sensible design ideas, this portable power station is reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly. Along with an impressive capacity of 3,600 watt-hours (Wh) and a surge capacity that goes up to an impressive 7,200W, it outperforms competitors in the same category with innovative and convenient features.
Do you want to talk power? Of course, you do. The Delta Pro can power a 1650W electric oven for 2 hours, a 1400W AC circular saw for 2.3 hours, and a 1080W AC drill for 3 hours. No sweat. To give you a better idea of just how powerful the Delta Pro is, it can power a small, well-equipped, well-furnished house without so much as a hiccup and still have some left in it at the end of the day.
We had our test unit power a standard car refrigerator for two straight days. Amazingly, it still had some juice left in it by the time we left our campsite.
The Delta Pro is expandable, which means users can connect it to additional battery packs for extended power capacity. For example, if you buy one extra battery pack, you increase its capacity to 10.8kWh. You can even buy an EcoFlow dual-fuel generator to keep everything running for as long as you feed it diesel or propane.
This device literally bristles with output and charging ports, including six AC outlets, a 60W USB-C Power Delivery port, four USB-A ports, two 15W wireless charging pads, and two 30W USB-C ports. Even better, the engineers over at EcoFlow designed the Delta Pro to make use of existing green energy infrastructure and technology — EV charging stations as well as a range of solar panels.
Keep Tabs Through the LCD Screen or Your Phone
To keep track of the charge on the device and its myriad outputs and inputs, you’ll find an LCD screen on the front panel. The screen provides real-time information on power usage, remaining battery life, and charging status.
You can also use the EcoFlow iOS and Android apps which to monitor the status of the device. The apps connect over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The former works well at close range, while the latter will let you keep tabs on your power situation from more than 100 feet away.
But what truly sets the Ecoflow Delta Pro apart is the unparalleled charging speed of its Lithium Ferro Phosphate battery. With the number of charge cycles extended from 500 to 3500, this type of battery can typically provide nine years of useful life.
That, along with EcoFlow’s innovative X-Stream technology, enables this power station to charge at a mind-boggling 2,400 watts when connected to a wall outlet. Indeed, Ecoflow claims the Delta Pro’s 1.8-hour charge time is the “world’s fastest.”
Oh, no outlet around? Don’t panic, apart from its EV charging capabilities, you can also charge the DeltaPro through your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter socket.
The Best in Its Class
Bottom line? We loved this power station. It charges faster than any power station we have ever tested, packs a lot of punch, and is quite easy to use. The app is a little buggy, so we mostly relied on the Delta Pro’s LCD screen to keep track of our power situation during our tests.
The EcoFlow Delta Pro is pricey, though. By that, we mean the price tag was enough to make sweat beads pop on our foreheads. It even looks expensive. And no, it won’t match its diesel-powered counterparts in moments of extreme emergency, but it is certainly suitable for job sites, camping trips, and as a backup portable power station.
It is also eco-friendly, and there are those who don’t mind paying a premium for the environment. For all of that, and because it didn’t let us down during testing, we think the EcoFlow Delta Pro is the best in its class of portable power stations.
2. Jackery Explorer 3000 Portable Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro 400W is manufactured by one of the world’s most recognized names in the portable power and solar power industries. The Explorer 3000 takes the brand’s excellent power platform and expands it to offer greater capacity and more useful features.
Equipped with high-capacity and highly efficient solar panels, this portable power station is a good choice for campers and homeowners who need a reliable backup power source in case of power outages.
The Jackery Pro Explorer 3000 portable power station comes with a high-capacity 3024Wh lithium-ion battery and two 200W solar panels. This kit allows you to carry ample power anytime and anywhere you might need it, and for several hours at a time.
Great Power in a Smaller Package
This portable power station is a good deal more portable than the Ecoflow Delta Pro at around 64 lbs and is smaller at 18.62 x 14.13 x 14.69 inches. We wouldn’t recommend carrying it up a hill, but you could probably walk a short path to the beach with it using the built-in wheels and retractable handle.
The Explorer 3000 comes equipped with a high-capacity lithium-ion battery which packs a total capacity of 3075Wh and a surge capacity that reaches a whopping 6000W! This ample power capacity allows for extended use and provides reliable power for various devices and appliances.
The 3000 Pro features numerous power outputs, including AC, USB, and DC. To see just what those outputs do, we took our test unit into the workshop and ran a Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander through it.
Smoothing a pile of scrap pine boards with the sander plugged in, we worked almost non-stop for a little over an hour before the unit ran out of juice. Given the Explorer 3000’s spec sheet, this was not bad and was well within reasonable expectations. To tell you the truth, we hadn’t expected the power station to last as long as it did.
We took a break to charge the unit and have some lunch, and then we went right back to testing. This time, we had the Explorer 3000 power a 1500W corded circular saw. We worked for a little over three hours before the power station ran out.
Now, this puzzled us a bit as we had assumed that a power saw would suck up more power than a sander. But the amount of time we spent actually cutting with the saw may have been a critical factor here. We did put the saw down every now and then. We didn’t keep it working half as much as we did the sander. Be that as it may, we were quite impressed.
We were even more impressed to learn that the Jackery Explorer 3000 Pro is designed to be performed in cold weather. By that, we mean -4 °F. This is an important feature for those who live in places where the cold reaches below-freezing temperatures.
Our technical experts estimate that the Explorer 3000 Pro can charge a smartphone with a 3,000mAh battery in two hours. It will power a medium-sized TV for a little over a day from a single charge, based on our calculations.
“This Thing is a Beast!”
The Explorer 3000 is WiFi and Bluetooth-friendly, as well, and comes with an LCD screen that permits you to track just about everything you’d need to monitor in a portable power station. You can also download the Jackery app to monitor your device from afar.
Jackery had initially released its app exclusively for Android. Recently, it launched an app for iOS, as well. This means you can monitor and manage the generator remotely with just about any smartphone within reach.
That said, what we really liked about the 3000 Pro was its quick charging time. Plugged into an AC outlet, this portable power station will charge in just two-and-a-half hours. That’s much shorter compared to the charging times of other models in its class and category.
According to Jackery, the Explorer 3000 Pro will charge within four hours when you use six of its 200W solar panels. That sounds remarkable, too, but the sun simply wasn’t cooperating throughout the time we had our test unit.
Nevertheless, this power station is a solid performer and features a power-to-weight ratio that is the best among all the portable power stations in this list. We were so pleased with the Jackery 3000 Pro that we decided to give it the second slot on our list.
“This thing is a beast,” says one customer review. “It’s quiet, fits behind the front seat of my Subaru Outback, and has power for days.” We could not have said it any better.
3. Bluetti AC200MAX
The Bluetti AC200MAX is a highly capable and feature-rich portable power station built to meet the needs of both outdoor enthusiasts and people who require a reliable backup power solution for emergencies. With its impressive power output, extensive range of ports, and advanced features, the AC200MAX has firmly established itself among the top contenders in the portable power station market.
We first heard about the AC200MAX a few months ago at an RV show, where it seemed for a moment as though everyone who owned an AC200MAX happened to visit and peruse the vehicles at an exhibition on the same day. We were literally overhearing conversations about the AC2000.
You have probably come across the Bluetti company in tech publications, too. The company announced the introduction of a sodium-ion solar generator at the Consumer Technology Association conference in Las Vegas last year. It has since rapidly gained recognition in the portable power industry for its high-quality, eco-friendly portable power stations.
The AC200MAX is an upgrade of Bluetti’s bestselling portable power station, the AC200P. The two models even look alike. It is only on closer inspection that the improvements become apparent.
The AC200MAX is 16.54 x 11.02 x 15.24 inches and weighs 62 lbs., which is almost exactly the size and weight of its predecessor. Both models support various charging methods, including solar, AC power, and a 12-volt car socket.
Right off the bat, you’ll see that the device features the NEMA TT-30 and 12V/30A DC ports, which are perfect for RV enthusiasts. Besides AC, USB, and other ports, the wireless chargers allow you to charge compatible devices wirelessly.
Like the AC200P, the AC200MAX is expandable, which means users can connect additional battery packs to the device for extended power capacity. However, the AC200MAX introduces a more advanced expandability feature known as the B300 battery pack, which offers a slightly increased output capacity and can be connected seamlessly.
The AC200MAX and AC200P share a similar AC power output, as well, with both models providing an impressive continuous power output of 2,200W and a surge power output of 4,800W. But the AC200MAX provides an additional USB-C port with Power Delivery (PD) support. This allows faster charging of compatible devices.
The AC200MAX likewise has the advantage of quicker charging time. Our test unit reached a maximum input power of 1,200W. The speech sheet of the AC200P says it has a maximum input of around 700W. This means the AC200MAX can be fully charged in almost half the time it takes for its predecessor to reach a full charge.
The AC200MAX’s full-color touchscreen features a crisp display that gives information about this portable power station’s charge and discharge activities. The menu is neat, clear, and intuitive, offering convenient access to settings, and battery data logs.
Perfect for Camping, Dependable Functionality
Sounds fantastic, right? The results of our tests were even more revealing. The AC200MAX kept a laptop running for 33 hours straight during trials. At that rate, our technical team estimates that this portable power station can provide enough juice to keep a LED lightbulb continuously lit for 9 straight days on a single charge. It will keep a mini refrigerator running for 33 hours, as well.
We noticed that this unit was a good deal noisier than others. We expect some would find that quite annoying, especially if you are the kind that likes to get away from the city to escape the noise. It did bother us a bit, but not enough to dampen our overall impression of the AC200MAX.
Charging time depends on whether you use a 12-volt car lighter socket, your standard AC outlet, or a solar panel. Since our test unit did not come equipped with a solar panel, we plugged the AC200MAX portable power station into an AC outlet using the included 500W adapter.
With that, we waited for just a tad under five hours for the unit to fully charge. If we had a solar 900W panel, we could have cut that time down to two hours, says Bluetti.
All in all, we found the Bluetti AC200MAX reliable and quite impressive. It is a worthy successor to Bluetti’s earlier bestseller, the AC200P. We recommend this portable power station for use during emergencies. We also think it’s a perfect fit for weekend warriors who take to the wilderness to camp, fish, and relax when they can.
4. Outkitel P2001 Portable Power Station
One of the main concerns about portable power stations is that you start to lose some of the power and capacity the more “portable you” the unit is. For example, you cannot expect to run an air conditioner or charge multiple laptops with something like the Jackery 300, but you can most certainly power a small campsite with it.
That said, great features and a 2000W AC inverter, and a 2000W per hour battery capacity give the slightest edge to the Outkitel P2001 Portable Power Station over the competition in its size category of power stations. There are many other contenders in this niche of the power station market. But two main features that made the difference for us.
Outkitel has firmly established itself as a trailblazer in the mobile technology industry, consistently raising the bar for innovation, design, and quality. With a strong commitment to providing technologically advanced devices at affordable prices, the company has garnered a loyal customer base that spans the globe. The company has now diversified its product lines to include portable power stations, and the Outkitel P2001 is among its most popular offerings.
Solid, Sturdy Feel
Most medium-sized have the same connections as the P2001, but its versatility and special features that make it stand out. The portable power station has a 2000W AC inverter and a 2000W/hr battery. That is enough to power small appliances for a couple of hours. This portable power station comes with LiFePo4 battery that can provide at least 2000 charge cycles before the capacity drops to 80%.
The P2001 also comes with a rugged case, a very fast charge time, a simple LCD, a 2W LED light, and charging capability from a solar panel. You can turn on an AC socket in only two steps, which makes the P2001 ideal in an emergency.
There isn’t much else inside the box apart from the power station. The only accessory is an AC cable which you can store in a compartment on top of the case. There is also the customary user manual, which clearly explains how you should use the features of the P2001.
The black and grey case feels good and sturdy and has vents located on each side. These ensure good airflow to four rather sizeable fans. Rubber pads prevent the case from sliding. Two bars on the top of the case serve as handles.
Simple User Interface, Great UPS Feature
We liked this portable power station’s simple user interface and its fantastic power performance. The pure-sine AC inverter is rated at 2000W and can exceed twice this value for short durations.
The unit has 16 power outlets. The AC section consists of six sockets which are located on the right side of the case. The low-voltage DC sockets are located on the front. The sockets for outdoor purposes are located on the left of the display. This group includes an XT60 socket and a car lighter socket, both concealed under a protective plastic cover. There are also two barrel-type DC5521 sockets. They all supply a fixed 12V but at different currents.
With a battery capacity of 2000W per hour, the P2001 will power many home appliances over a relatively long period. We used it without any problems to power a small TV and charge a few phones overnight without any issues.
The battery technology in this portable power station is one of the best in terms of endurance. But it does have its issues such as a lower energy density. This means a heavier product when compared to Lithium Polymer. The station has a built-in 1100W AC charger, which also adds to its weight. But the charging times are blazing fast compared to that of most external chargers.
The P2001 also features a great UPS function. The standby UPS resorts to battery backup power in the event of common power problems such as a blackout, voltage sag, or voltage surge. When these occur, the UPS feature will immediately power your computers and devices.
We liked this portable power station for its performance and versatility. As far as today’s portable power stations go, it’s relatively compact at 15.5 x 11 x 13 inches and 48 lbs.
“It can power hungry electric tools with no problem,” says one 5-star review on Amazon. “I am using mine in UPS mode to cover all my room electronics and have another one for my full-size refrigerator and freezer.”
5. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X
We reserved the third spot on our list for the compact but muscular-looking Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station because we liked its features and performance. In choosing to test it, though, we must admit that some brand recognition and marketing helped.
Many people regard Goal Zero as the company that created the portable power station category in the late 2000s. The company was the first to manufacture a lithium-ion-based power station, eventually giving rise to the current generation of solar power-capable portable power stations.
Our test unit seemed to wear the company’s reputation like a badge as it came with its own 100 Watt Boulder Solar Panel. We took this portable power station out for testing over the course of a few days and it did well enough to land a spot on our list. Read on and you’ll find out why!
Tough and Dependable
The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is about the size of a medium-capacity microwave oven and weighs 47 lbs., which means that pitching your tent up on the side of a hill would not be a smart thing to do. While not as heavy as the AC200MAX, it was tough enough hauling our test unit 30 yards up a gentle upslope.
This portable power station produces a standard output of 2,000 watts. The unit also has a 2000W pure sine wave inverter that will handle up to 3500W of AC surge output power. But we were a bit disappointed that it wasn’t equipped with as many ports as we had expected.
The 1500X features a pair of USB-A ports and a pair of USB-C ports. One of the USB-C ports supports QuickCharge 3+ for up to 20 watts. The second support USB Power Delivery for up to 60 watts. In terms of DC output, you get a 12-volt “cigarette” power plug. You also get a set of Powerpole connectors supporting up to 300 watts of output and a pair of 6mm DC outputs.
During our tests, we used the 1500X to power a small, 40-watt electric cooler for a little more than a day and found that it still had some power to spare that night. Back home on a Sunday morning, we charged our test unit using the included 120-watt adapter. It took us half a day to get the unit fully charged. That is slower than some of its competitors, but we were not hugely disappointed.
To get a clearer idea of the capacity of the unit’s battery, we decided to hook up a Dewalt DWE575 power saw to the device. The 1500X lasted 47 minutes before it was too drained to run the saw. That is not terrible, but it wasn’t something to write home about, either.
Perfect Backup Power for Your Home
This portable power station features an array of Anderson inputs, which can be attached to up to 50 V’s worth of solar panels. We could not try this feature because there was very little sun while we were testing.
The 1500X is also WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, which comes in handy if you need to work a bit while out for a weekend of fishing in the woods.
The Goal Zero smartphone app offers precise data as to the status of each input, which every happy camper knows is quite an important feature. Some would call the app basic, but we cannot think of anything more we would need from an app in an outdoor situation.
Our verdict? Like many of the power stations on this list, the 1500X isn’t perfect, but it should be sufficient for folks who like to go where power cannot. That means tailgaters, campers, hunters, and van-lifers. It should also be great for long road trips where you won’t be near an outlet for most of the day.
But what landed the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X a spot on our list is the fact that you can keep it plugged in without any issues. The unit will continue to charge its internal battery if it is not already fully charged.
Once the battery is fully charged, the Yeti 1500X will automatically stop charging and remain in maintenance mode to keep the battery at its optimal level. Not too many power stations can do that.
That’s why we think this feature, along with the power station’s hefty output capacity, makes the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X one of the best power stations to have around the house in case of an emergency. Need we say more?
How to Take Care of Your Portable Power Station
Portable power stations have become essential devices for powering various electronics on the go. They are generally robust, durable devices, but they are by no means indestructible. To maximize their lifespan and ensure reliable performance, proper maintenance is crucial.
When not in use, store the power station in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid exposing it to excessive heat or cold, as both can harm the battery’s performance and lifespan.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the charging and discharging cycles. Overcharging or fully discharging the battery on a regular basis can shorten its lifespan. Maintain a regular charging routine and avoid letting the battery remain at low levels for extended periods.
Clean the exterior of your portable power station using a soft cloth and clean it regularly. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or solvents that could damage the surface. Keep the ventilation ports free from dust and debris to ensure proper airflow and prevent overheating.
If your portable power station is WiFi capable, be sure you stay informed about firmware or software updates provided by the manufacturer. These updates may enhance the performance, efficiency, and safety features of the device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a successful update process.
The best portable power stations will provide years of service, but you will have to take care of them just like you do any other piece of equipment in your home. Choose one of the five we have listed above, and you are halfway to owning a device that will be useful to you and your family for a long, long time.