- Portable power stations are ideal for camping trips, power outages, and whenever you need reliable power.
- The best work in all weather conditions, charge multiple devices and appliances, and have a range of plugs and ports.
- Our top pick, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X, charges several devices at once, powers large appliances, and has a variety of charge ports.
As more electronic devices pervade every aspect of our lives, finding ways to keep them charged and functional wherever we go has become increasingly important. As a result, there are now a dizzying array of portable power stations and high-capacity battery packs on the market, making it easier than ever to never stray too far from a source of power.
Whether you need to keep your electronic devices functioning on a weekend camping trip or are looking for an emergency power supply for use at home, there are dozens of models to choose from. Some power stations are rugged, durable, and built for the outdoors, while others are more refined and sleeker in design. By providing hours of extra juice wherever and whenever you need it, portable power stations are a convenient tool to have at your disposal, particularly in times of unexpected power outages.
As with most tech products, sorting through all of the different portable power stations that are available can be confusing and time-consuming. To help you figure out which one best meets your needs, I tested an array of power stations currently available, and narrowed the field to the best worth owning.
At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some helpful tips on how to shop for a portable power station and what to consider.
Here are the best portable power stations:
- Best high-capacity portable power station: Goal Zero Yeti 3000X
- Best mid-sized portable power station: EcoFlow Delta 1300
- Best small portable power station: Anker PowerHouse
- Best budget portable power station: Jackery Explorer 160
- Best portable power station for travel: Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
With its large lithium-ion battery, numerous ports, and incredible build quality, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X is in a class of its own when it comes to portable power stations.
Pros: Extremely high capacity, can power everything from smartphones on up to home appliances, compatible with solar panels to recharge
Cons: Very heavy and expensive
One of the true leaders in the design and construction of portable power stations, Goal Zero has been at the forefront of this market for years. That long heritage shows through in all its products, which stand head and shoulders above the competition in terms of build quality, technology, and features. The company’s newest model is the Yeti 3000X, which manages to extend that lead even further, particularly amongst power stations in the high-capacity segment.
At its core, the Yeti 3000X is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that offers more than 3000 watt-hours of capacity. That’s enough juice to recharge a typical smartphone more than 250 times or a laptop more than 60 times. But this power station is versatile enough to go well beyond just recharging other devices. It also happens to be capable of powering appliances such as a microwave for up to three hours, a mini-refrigerator up to 87 hours, or a full-sized fridge for 55.
One of the features that sets the Yeti 3000X apart is Goal Zero’s specially designed AC inverter. Capable of providing 2000 watts of power — with a surge up to 3500 watts — this component is what gives this power station the ability to run not charge my smartphone, laptop, or camera, but I could use it on appliances, lights, and even to power my TV. Other power stations include AC power outlets that allow these types of devices to be plugged into them, but very few have the battery capacity and power management to keep them running for extended periods of time.
In addition to sporting two standard AC power outlets, the Yeti 3000X comes with plenty of other charging ports, too. Goal Zero ships this model with two standard USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port, which is also capable of charging a laptop or large tablet. It comes with a 12-volt car port and two 12-volt power pole ports, giving it the ability to power just about any kind of device imaginable, including construction tools like drills or saws.
The large lithium-ion batteries that give the Yeti 3000X such a high capacity also adds a considerable amount of weight. This power station weighs in at just over 69 pounds, which takes away from its portability to a degree. To counter this added bulk, it comes equipped with wheels, which does make it much easier to maneuver around the garage, backyard, or campsite if you don’t mind hauling it in your car.
Those same high-capacity batteries also require a substantial amount of time to recharge. When plugged into a wall outlet, the Yeti 3000X would often take up to 14 hours to replenish its onboard power supply. Using a solar panel to recharge the power station can help if you have one, though expect the recharge times to fluctuate wildly depending on the size of the panel and the amount of available sunlight.
The Yeti 3000X is built for those who not only need a portable power station with plenty of capacity, but also one that can survive in challenging environments. Built like a tank, this is a model that professionals can turn to when they need power at a job site, although it is equally useful in emergency situations around the home. Best of all, because it isn’t powered by gas, it’s completely silent and doesn’t produce dangerous noxious fumes.
Best mid-sized power station
Compact and lightweight, the EcoFlow Delta 1300 is a feature-packed portable power station that offers plenty of charging ports, including six AC wall outlets.
Pros: Able to power up to 13 devices at once, still portable despite its 31-pound weight, recharges quickly
Cons: Power can drain rapidly when charging multiple devices
The EcoFlow Delta 1300 is my favorite power station when it comes to charging the most devices at once. All told, it comes equipped with no fewer than 13 individual ports, including two standard USB-A ports, two USB-A quick-charging ports, and a pair of 60-watt USB-C PD ports. Additionally, it features a 12-volt car port and six (yes, six) AC wall outlets, making it easy to keep a large number of gadgets and tools functioning at the same time.
Powering the Delta 1300 is a 1260 watt-hour battery, which pumps out enough juice to recharge smartphones and tablets dozens of times and extend the life of a laptop by nearly 24 hours. The 1800-watt AC outlets can also power a small refrigerator, an LCD TV, a toaster, and even a hairdryer. That gives this particular battery pack a level of versatility that you won’t find in most other mid-range power stations — and made it a highly useful thing to pack on car camping trips.
Considering the size of its battery and the number of ports that it offers, the Delta 1300 is surprisingly small. Compared to other power stations in this class, it’s relatively compact, making it easier to carry around. A pair of integrated heavy-duty handles aid in that process, although its 31-pound weight will still likely give you pause when having to carry it too far.
One thing to keep in mind when using this power station is that because it can charge up to 13 individual devices at once, the battery occasionally runs out of juice fairly quickly. Thankfully, I didn’t really have the need to recharge that many gadgets at once, although it was nice to know I could if needed. Thankfully, to help compensate for a potentially rapid power drain, EcoFlow gives the Delta 1300 the ability to recharge itself quite fast. When plugged into a power outlet, it would often regain around 80% of its power in about an hour and would fully recharge in a little more than 90 minutes.
The Delta 1300 is a bit pricier than other models with a similar capacity, though this is due, at least in part, to a large number of charging ports. If you don’t need to power 13 devices at once, there are less expensive alternatives available. But if you’re looking for the best all-around product, this is the one you’ll want.
Best small power station
Sleek and small yet highly capable, the Anker PowerHouse offers a nice blend of features and functionality at a reasonable price point.
Pros: Small and compact yet still offers a good-sized battery, lightweight for a power station
Cons: No USB-C ports
Well-known for its extensive line of battery packs for keeping smartphones charged, Anker also dipped its toe into the portable power station market. The result is the PowerHouse, a model that’s well-equipped for those who need on-the-go charging from time to time, as well as a handy back-up system for use at home during a power outage.
The PowerHouse utilizes a 434-watt-hour battery, which is a good size when it comes to straddling the line between capacity and expense. This allows the power station to recharge a smartphone more than 40 times or a laptop as much as 15 times. It’s also capable of powering a CPAP machine for several nights in a row, as well as running small appliances such as a mini-refrigerator or outdoor lighting system, for short periods of time.
Capable of charging multiple devices as once, the PowerHouse features four USB-A ports, a 12-volt car port, and a 120-watt AC outlet. That is certainly enough power plugs to accommodate most situations, but the lack of USB-C ports is somewhat limiting. With more and more devices switching to the USB-C format, it’s a shame this device doesn’t have at least one or two.
With an aesthetic that somewhat resembles a kitchen appliance, the PowerHouse has a clean, utilitarian design. This allows it to remain fairly inconspicuous when used around the house, although it remains durable enough to survive in the outdoors, too. Its built-in handle and 9.2-pound weight make it easy to carry, striking a good balance between durability and portability.
If you’re looking for a solidly built power station that combines good battery life, plenty of ports, and an approachable price, Anker has you covered with the PowerHouse. Its size and capacity make it a good all-around choice for most people who don’t have the need to run power tools at a job site or be away from a source of power for days at a time.
Best on a budget
Small, lightweight, and affordable, the Jackery Explorer 160 is a great option for those looking for a power station on a budget, without having to make too many compromises.
Pros: Highly portable, can charge up to four devices at once, recharges quickly
Cons: More of a companion power charger than something to be relied on solely
If you’re looking for a high-quality portable power station, without spending a lot of money, it’s tough to beat the Jackery Explorer 160. It offers a nice blend of features — including a built-in LCD screen for monitoring its use — in a package that’s easy to transport. While it may not have a high-capacity battery or an over-abundance of charging ports, its $150 price tag more than makes up for those discrepancies.
Equipped with 167 watt-hour battery, the Explorer 160 recharges an iPhone more than ten times or a large tablet as many as five. It even did well to extend the life of a laptop and power a digital camera and Bluetooth speaker. However, it isn’t capable of running anything with a power draw of more than 100 watts, ruling out television sets, mini-fridges, and CPAP machines.
The Explorer 160 won’t overwhelm you with a large number of charging ports either, although it certainly has enough to get the job done. It features two USB-A ports, one USB-C port, and an AC wall outlet. This gives it the ability to charge up to four gadgets at once, which is decent considering its price point. That said, considering how widespread USB-C is becoming, I’d have liked to see another of those ports included.
Thanks to its low-capacity battery, the Explorer 160 recharges very quickly, requiring just five hours to go from empty to completely filled. As an added plus, the power station can be charged via AC outlet,12-volt car port, or via solar panel. And while there may be times when you wish it had just a bit more capacity, its ease of charging mostly makes this a nonissue.
Other than its affordable price, the Explorer 160’s best feature is its size. It’s extremely small and easy to carry, tipping the scales at just 3.8 pounds. This makes it a great choice for use around the house, while camping, or anywhere else you might need a bit of portable power. Its built-in handle makes it a breeze to take it along with you wherever you go, ensuring you always have an ample supply of energy to keep your gadgets running.
Best for travel
With its surprisingly large battery pack, an array of charging options, and rugged construction, the Sherpa 100AC is a portable power station designed specifically with frequent travelers in mind.
Pros: Perfect for travelers, multiple charge ports plus it supports wireless charging, highly portable
Cons: Expensive, capacity can be an issue if it’s the only battery/power source you rely on
When it comes to choosing the gear that they carry with them on the road frequent travelers, backpackers, and professional nomads are always looking to strike a balance between size, weight, and functionality. Fortunately for them, Goal Zero built a portable power solution that fits that criteria nicely, combining a sizable battery with a good number of ports in a rugged package built to survive just about anything.
The Sherpa 100AC features a 94.7 watt-hour battery pack, which translates to 25,600 mAh. That’s the highest capacity battery you’re allowed to carry onto a flight, with enough juice to recharge a smartphone roughly 8 times or a laptop twice. Compared to other portable power stations that may not seem like a lot, but when you realize that this one can easily slip into a backpack, it’s easy to realize its value.
Despite the fact it’s relatively small and easy to carry, the Sherpa 100AC does have enough charging options to keep you functioning for an extended period of time. The line-up includes dual USB-A ports, as well as two 60-watt USB-C Power Delivery ports, which are bi-directional so they can be used to recharge the Sherpa, too.
Additionally, Goal Zero managed to squeeze in a small AC inverter for plugging in larger devices and the top of the battery pack has an integrated Qi wireless charging pad. If your phone supports wireless charging, you can simply place it on top of the battery pack, freeing up one of the ports for another device.
Additional features include a built-in OLED display for monitoring power usage and a special port for recharging the Sherpa via a solar panel. Keeping with the travel theme, Goal Zero also ships the power bank with four different charging cables, providing everything you need to say powered up on the road.
The Sherpa AC100’s main limiting factor is the size of its battery, which is on the small side if you plan to use it to recharge a laptop or other high-capacity devices on a regular basis. It also happens to be fairly expensive compared to battery packs with a similar capacity from other manufacturers. But where Goal Zero separates itself is with the exceptional build-quality and the components used the Sherpa’s construction.
This is a power bank that feels like it could be run over by a car and keep functioning. However, this level of durability does result in a weight of about two pounds. That’s quite svelte for a power station but on the hefty side for a power bank. If you don’t mind the extra bulk, you’ll get a power supply that’s above and beyond anything else in its class.
How to shop for a portable power station
When shopping for a portable power station, there are a number of factors to consider. First and foremost is the amount of power it can store, which is typically measured in watt-hours. The higher the number of watt-hours, the more energy you’ll have at your disposal. For instance, a power station with a capacity of 150-watt hours can recharge a smartphone roughly 10 to 12 times. Meanwhile, a 1500 watt-hour battery pack will provide more than 120 recharges.
That said, in order to achieve a higher number of watt-hours, more power cells are required. That translates to a larger and heavier power station which reduces its level of portability. It also means that it takes significantly longer to recharge the battery pack, whether from a wall outlet or a solar panel.
The next thing you’ll want to look for in a power station is the number — and type — of charging ports the power station offers. Not only will you want enough ports to accommodate all your devices, but you’ll want a variety of ports, too. That includes USB-A, USB-C, and at least one AC wall outlet. Another common port is 12-volt power ports, like the so-called cigarette lighter outlets found in your car.
Many models come with built-in LCD screens that display the current power level, as well as how that power is being allocated to the various devices plugged into the charging ports. Some also offer a specialized port for connecting the power station to a solar panel, providing an alternative method of recharging while in the field. Others come equipped with built-in lights, which is an especially nice feature to have during an emergency situation.
Check out our guide to the best battery packs
The best battery packs you can buy
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