It’s easy to view power stations as nothing more than really big portable battery packs, but they offer much more than just a way to recharge your devices. A portable power station can light a room by powering lamp, or in some cases keep a mini-fridge running during a power outage. It can be major convenience on camping trips, or a means to a backyard movie night, running a projector and speakers.
The point is, a portable power station is as versatile as you need it to be. Below you’ll find our top picks for different use cases to help you find the best portable power station for your needs. And below our recommendations you can find helpful buying advice on what features matter most.
If you’re in the market for a more modest power source—one you can use to charge a laptop or phone—see our roundup of best power banks for our top picks in that category.
1. RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House – Best overall
- Small form factor
- Plenty of ports
- Comes with a case and built-in flashlight
- Built for quick trips, not for extended use
Whether you’re looking for a power station for weekends off the grid, or you want to be prepared for a power shortage at home, RAVPower’s 252.7Wh portable power station can meet the demand. It’s got a nice complement of ports, as well as a carrying handle and a case, and it’s affordably priced.
RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power Housereview
2. Aukey PowerTitan 300 – Best overall runner-up
- Big bright display
- Plenty of ports
- Highly efficient
- Solar panel accessory is a miss
Aukey’s PowerTitan is in a close tie with RAVPower’s power station above. It also has high-efficiency, a nice array of ports, a fairly fast re-charge time, and an affordable price. Although, RAVPower’s option is the less expensive of the two, giving it a slight edge.
Aukey PowerTitan 300review
3. Goal Zero Yeti 1000X – Best for preppers
- Power for days, literally
- Plenty of connection options
It you want maximum preparedness, Goal Zero’s Yeti 1000X is the choice for you. This 983Wh power station can run multiple appliances in the even of a power shortage. What’s more, the Yeti system is expandable, offering such options as a Home Integration Kit for connecting the 1000X to your home’s electrical system, or a battery expansion for increasing your the power stations capacity. Granted, this kind of power costs a high price.
Goal Zero Yeti 1000Xreview
4. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station – Best for preppers runner-up
- Plenty of power to go around
- More than enough ports
- It’s heavy, in case you want to take it camping
You can probably get the gist of Jackery’s Explorer 1000 from its name. Yep, it offers 1000Wh of power to keep household appliances or camping gear humming. It’s heavy, though, at 22 pounds, so it’s not a backup power source you’ll casually take on an outing to the park. It’s also expensive. But cost and weight are fair tradeoffs when you want the kind of coverage this power station offers.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Stationreview
5. EcoFlow DELTA mini Portable Power Station – Best high-tech option
- Robust set of features
- Companion app is handy
- Impressive recharge rate
- OK-ish power efficiency
This compact yet burly 882Wh power station covers all the bases by offering the capacity and ports for meeting your off-grid power needs. It also throws in a couple extra high-tech perks that make it stand out. The power station can connect to your Wi-Fi network, and then deliver status updates to an app on your phone. There’s also an “X-Boost” option that can be enabled or triggered automatically for loads that exceed 1400W.
What to look for in a power station
Not all power stations are created equal. For example, some stations have the ability to power a microwave, while others can maybe deal with the power requirements of a desktop gaming computer. When shopping for a power station, there are some important aspects to keep in mind. In the list below, I try not to get too technical.
- Consider what you plan on using the power station for to decide the ideal capacity and physical size of the power station. The stations are filled with batteries to keep your devices powered, and batteries are heavy. When shopping for something you want to take camping, for example, it makes sense to prioritize a lighter weight. But if you want something to use as a backup power source in your home, size and weight may not matter all that much.
- Check the capacity of the power station. Often the capacity of the station is included in its name, but that’s not always the case. For example, the Anker 535 PowerHouse may lead you to believe that its capacity is 535Wh, but in reality it’s 512Wh. Always read the fine print or spec sheet to see the exact capacity. For reference, a capacity of 512Wh is roughly 7x more than our top pick for best portable battery pack, the Mophie PowerStation XXL.
- While it’s not realistic to know how you’ll use the power station in the future, try to guesstimate the number of ports and outlets you’ll need.
- Here’s the technical part. Some power stations list modified sine wave or pure sine wave on their spec sheet. If you plan on using the power station to charge your phone, laptop, or even power a lamp, a station that lists “sine wave” is perfectly fine. However, if you’re going to use the station for medical equipment (like a CPAP machine), a microwave, or anything with a motor, you’ll want to opt for a station that can output a pure sine wave signal.
- Lastly, it’s important to check the watt output of the device(s) you need to power and compare it to the power station’s rating. Usually a power station will list two different outputs: a standard output and a peak output. The standard output is what it’s built to run at for extended amounts of time, while the peak output is what it can handle for brief periods of time — such as when you first power on a device and it draws more power.
How we test
To start the test, I first charge the station to ensure the battery is full after it arrives. Next, I connect a PortaPow power monitor and DROK load tester to a standard USB port and let the battery completely empty. I record the results and compare it to the quoted capacity to get the efficiency of the power station.
Once that’s done, I charge the station with the included power adapter. I then monitor the time it takes to reach 100 percent of a charge based on the information on the screen. Some stations leave the screen on while charging so I use a Wyze Camera to create a timelapse of the charging process. Other stations include an estimated time to charge on the display, which times out and turns off after a few minutes. In that case, I’ll check on the station’s progress roughly every hour, as well as near the original estimated time to ensure it’s accurate.
Finally, I connect a 4W desk lamp to the 110V wall plug on each power station. I create another timelapse on a Wyze cam to see how long the lamp remains on.
How long does a portable power station last?
This depends on how you are using the power station. Factors such as the size of the power station, its age, battery efficiency, and the number of devices you’re charging with the power station can all significantly affect the duration of use.
To give you a rough idea of how long our top picks last, when powering a desk lamp, the 252.7Wh RAVPower power station lasted a little over 37 hours while the much larger (and much more expensive) 1000Wh Goal Zero Yeti 1000X lasted 4 days and 15 hours. Of course, these times will decrease significantly if you have more devices plugged into the station, but it gives you a relative sense of their durations. It is best to factor in the expected number of devices you will need to power and the length of their use beforehand, then figure out what size power station to go with.
What can a portable power station run?
There are too many devices to specifically name that you can run with a power station. Generally though, you can expect to be able to run smaller electronic devices and appliances such as phones, smaller fans, lights, and some smaller medical devices such as CPAP machines.
While on larger power stations, it’s possible to run bigger devices such as some refrigerators, they may only last for a few short hours before the power station’s battery is fully depleted. It is best to stick to running smaller devices on your portable power station and leave larger devices to backup generators in case of emergency.
Can a portable power station run a refrigerator?
Yes it’s possible to run a refrigerator, but not for very long. Assuming your portable power station is fully charged, you can expect to run a refrigerator for a few hours before the power station’s battery needs to be recharged. However, again this largely depends on the size, efficiency, and age of your power station.