The 7 Best Portable Power Stations – [2020 Reviews]

Portable power stations are a great way to help you get out there and explore while still keeping your devices ready to use.

Think of them as battery-powered electricity for any device you might use. Great portable power stations feature regular wall outlets, USB plugs, and even cigarette lighter plugs so you can plug in anything you can think of.

In this article, we’re going to look at what portable power stations are, how they work, and which ones might be the right pick for you.

Of course, we want you to know how to choose so we’ll explain everything you need to understand before you finalize your choice.

Let’s take a look at today’s top portable power stations and what you need to know about them.

Best Portable Power Stations

 Jackery Explorer Power StationEF ECOFLOW Portable Power StationGoal Zero Yeti 500X Power Station
editors choice
Output:400W1800W500W
Outlets:1 - 110V
2 - USB
6 - 110V
4 - USB
2 - 110V
4 - USB
Battery:240Wh lithium1260Wh lithium505Wh lithium
Weight:6.6 Pounds31 Pounds12.9 Pounds

For more of my camping gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Handheld Hiking GPS, Portable Solar Panels, Solar Backpacks.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Portable Power Stations

  1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
  2. EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station
  3. ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
  4. Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station
  5. Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station
  6. Paxcess Portable Camping Generator
  7. SUAOKI Portable Power Station

Our reviews of the top rated portable power stations along with a comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right one for you.


Portable Power Station Reviews

Jackery Portable Power Station

Easy to carry, store, and use this is a solid entry point for all-around charging of commonplace adventure gear. While it won’t keep up with extreme demands, it makes a good option for modest users.

It doesn’t get any easier to manage then the simple LCD display screen on this unit. At a glance you can see battery charge, input power, and output power.

It’s pretty simple to know how long your battery will last and how much you’re using it. Jackery also makes a solar panel kit to recharge it for a complete power solution.

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For output you can use the car accessory plug, 110v wall outlet, or 2x 2.4 amp USBs. Each outlet has a physical on/off button so you can toggle them when you need them. This helps maximize battery longevity.

Keep in mind that the total output power of all plugs combined cannot exceed 400W.

Jackery does offer a 60W or 100W charger. However, the unit comes standard with a 100v wall outlet charger for plugging in. You can charge the device with any 8mm DC charger from 12-30V at a max of 42W.

Best for easy portability and compact size to cover most basic needs.

 

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 400W
  • 110V Outlets: 1
  • USB Outlets: 2
  • Battery: 240Wh lithium
  • Charging: Solar or 110v
  • Weight: 6.6 Pounds

Rocking the largest bank of AC plug outlets we’ve seen yet this portable power station is loaded. It’s got the capacity to charge and power most anything!

If you’re heading out with lots of wall plugs (110v) then this is the power station for you. On the back it’s loaded with 6 wall plugs and 1800 watts of power.

You can literally power most any household appliance(s) for hours with the Ecoflow. Not only that, it charges to 100% in about an hour and a half.

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With a large color digital display you can see all the stats to know its condition. The massive capacity 1260Wh battery will keep the lights on all light if need be. Providing pure sine wave power, it’s ideal for electronics like your laptop or TV.

Of course, there are also several USB A, C and fast charging ports and a 12v car port. Best for those who need serious power and need a lot of wall adapter plugs.

 

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station at a Glance:

  • Output: 1800W
  • 110V Outlets: 6
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 1260Wh lithium
  • Charging: Car plug, solar, 110v
  • Weight: 31 Pounds

Loaded with features, the ROCKPALS 300W is a powerhouse. It’s easy to use, and bristiling with output options so you can charge nearly anything you can think of!

Let’s start with the fantastic digital display. At a glance you can see the status of: Solar/AC charging input, battery capacity & voltage, DC & USB output status, and AC output watts/voltage.

It’s a fantastically informative readable display and the front of the unit is loaded with output options. Rockpals also makes a solar panel kit to charge it for a complete solution.

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There are 2 USB 2.0 plugs and 2 USB 3.0 plugs to cover any USB device. Additionally, there are 4 different DC outputs and a car accessory plug as well.

Conveniently the unit comes with everything you need to charge from the wall, car, or solat (MC4 solar cable included).

Best for moderate to high power needs with easy charging options.

 

ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 300W
  • 110V Outlets: 1
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 280Wh lithium
  • Charging: Solar, car, or 110v
  • Weight: 7.3 Pounds

Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station

Stepping it up with extra power and the ability to power almost anything is the Yeti 500 power station. If you want all the necessary features without breaking the bank, here’s your stop.

Right upfront I think what I like most about this power station is availability of outlets. It has every type of outlet that you could need to power anything, including a 12V car outlet.

The Yeti is the few power stations with a pure sine wave output. This is a noise free output that is ideal for laptop and music players. Pair it with the Goal Zero Solar Panels for a complete off grid power solution.

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It’s larger and heavier than others on our list because of the larger capacity battery.

The display has all the information you need, giving you the battery charge level, input and output levels.

Yeti makes a complete solar charging solution as well. Their optional solar panels will quickly charge the Yeti 500.

If you want the best all around solution for your portable power needs the Yeti is worth the extra money.

 

Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 500W
  • 110V Outlets: 2
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 505Wh lithium
  • Charging: 8mm or USB-C, 110v, solar
  • Weight: 12.9 Pounds

Name brand reliability and simple output needs make this smaller portable power station a good entry-pick.

It’s lightweight and easily portable, but it won’t put out tons of power like some larger models.

Simple and compact is the name of the game here. With just 155Wh of power it’s not going to power a big group, but it’s plenty for a weekend camping trip.

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Simple readable display info shows battery status, output status, and other critical info at a glance. It’s not robust, but it gets the job done easily.

On the output side there’s plenty to cover your devices. Two wall plugs (110v) at 150 peak watts, 4 USB plugs including USB-C, and 3x DC output plugs should take care of any charging needs.

Best for small portable power needs from a dependable major brand name.

 

Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 100W
  • 110V Outlets: 2
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 155Wh lithium
  • Charging: Car plug, solar, 110v
  • Weight: 3.75 Pounds

Compact, loaded with features, and ready for any charging needs you can throw at it. That’s the best way to describe the last portable power station on our list and you’ll see why below.

All the standard accessories are accounted for here. DC charging ports, including car accessory plugs, are easy to use.

There are four USBs including one USB-C as well. Of course the AC wall plug 110v is available as well.

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While those things don’t stand out, there are two features that really do. First is the nice compact, easy to read digital display. It shows input power, DC power, and AC power as well as battery percentage.

Lastly, the single unique feature here is a wireless charging pad on top of the power station. You can charge any wireless-compatible device just by setting it on top.

Best for users who can’t go without the wireless charging feature on newer phones and tablets.

 

Paxcess Portable Camping Generator at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 330W
  • 110V Outlets: 1
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 289Wh lithium
  • Charging: Car plug, solar, 110v
  • Weight: 7.1 Pounds

Sleek and futuristic looking, the Suaoki portable power station is a modern take on portable power.

If you’re heading out with phones, tablets, and laptops this is probably the power station for you.

While this portable power station is a bit of step down in terms of raw power, it has some advantages. Thanks to the compact form factor and smaller battery, it only weighs 2.9 pounds.

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That’s less than half of the Jackery Explorer 240 which makes it great for trips where you’ll need to carry your power station a good distance.

Additionally, they include charging cables for cars, wall outlets, and solar.

That said, the relatively small 150Wh battery won’t last nearly as long as some of the competitors. That means you’ll want to be realistic about what you expect this to charge or power.

Best for charging phones and laptops on short afternoon trips for groups.

 

SUAOKI Portable Power Station at a Glance:

  • Output: Up to 100W
  • 110V Outlets: 2
  • USB Outlets: 4
  • Battery: 150Wh lithium
  • Charging: Solar, car, or 110v
  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds

Portable Power Station Comparison Table

Portable Power Station OutputOutletsBatteryWeightRating
Jackery Power Station Explorer 240200W1 - 110V
2 - USB
240Wh lithium6.6 lbs4.8 / 5.0
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station1800W6 - 110V
4 - USB
1260Wh lithium31 lbs4.7 / 5.0
ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator300W1 - 110V
4 - USB
280Wh lithium7.3 lbs4.5 / 5.0
Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station500W2 - 110V
4 - USB
505Wh lithium12.9 lbs4.5 / 5.0
Westinghouse iGen160s Power Station100W2 - 110V
4 - USB
155Wh lithium3.75 lbs4.4 / 5.0
Paxcess Portable Camping Generator330W1 - 110V
4 - USB
289Wh lithium7.1 lbs4.4 / 5.0
SUAOKI Portable Power Station100W2 - 110V
4 - USB
150Wh lithium2.9 lbs4.4 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Portable Power Station for You

best power station
Paxcess Portable Power Station

How Portable Power Stations Work

Portable power stations work by taking energy from a source (input) such as power utilities, solar chargers, or other off-grid solutions and storing it in a big battery.

The size of this internal storage battery largely determines how suitable each power station is for given applications.

Once the portable power station is charged up, it’s ready to go.

Of course, the other side of the equation is output. Portable power stations need to be able to output that stored energy to a variety of devices. Output types may include 120V wall plugs, USB plugs, or cigarette lighter style plugs.

Remember that portable power stations have a limited amount of power to provide before they run out. Once that power is gone, you’ll have to recharge the portable power station.

Charging a Portable Power Station

Portable power stations need to be charged up with energy before (or sometimes during) use. There are many options for doing so, but these are the most common:

Charge from utility power at home or using some type of outlet connected to utility power. Campground power pedestals, home wall outlets, extension cords in the garage… you get the idea. This is by far the fastest and most reliable source of charging power for your portable station.

Solar charge your portable power station in the field using solar panels. There are tons of manufacturers offering solar power solutions these days so get creative.

Most portable power stations store and use a lot of power, however, so small solar panels probably won’t cut it. You’ll need a solar panel with a good amount of output to keep up with even moderate consumption.

Hydro and wind chargers are uncommon and largely unreliable for most portable applications. However, if you have a permanent location such as a camp or homestead, there are some small hydro and wind turbine chargers out there that could make sense. Do your homework and be creative, you might be surprised.

Note: Many portable power stations can also be car charged. However, if your car isn’t running they’ll simply steal the power from your car’s battery. You’ll wind up with a dead car battery and no way to start the car! Be sure to charge your portable power station only when your car is running.

Portable Power Station Capacity

Capacity is a measure of how much electrical output a portable power station can hold. This is usually measured in watt-hours.

Basically, the more watt-hours, the more power you can get out of your power station. Imagine you have a device that consumes 1 watt of power. On a power station with 100 watt-hours of capacity, that imaginary 1-watt device will run for 100 hours.

The more devices you have and the more power they consume, the faster you’ll run out of power. Therefore you’ll want a power station with a higher capacity.

To figure out how much capacity you need, you’ll need to take a guess at how many devices you’ll have plugged in and how much power they draw. Most electrical devices have their power specs listed so look for the power consumption specifications on the devices you’ll be using.

Round up all your devices, find their power consumption listing, and then add them up.

If you’re recharging other batteries from your power station you can pretty easily add up the battery capacity for each battery you’re charging. Compare that to the size, in watt-hours, of your power station and you’ll know how many times you can charge a device with your power station.

Current Types

Today’s portable power stations are smart little buggers. They’re pre-wired and programmed to output specific voltages, currents, and frequencies. It’s pretty hard to mess up when you choose what to plug in and where.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to understand how they work.

Inside your portable power station is a battery. This battery stores electrical energy and outputs as a DC current. This DC power is then fed to the outlet plugs like USB plugs or wall outlet plugs.

Of course, not all devices operate on DC current, some use AC currents. In this case, the power station automatically converts the current type before outputting the current to the plugs.

What that means is that you can use and trust the wall plugs, USB plugs, and cigarette lighter plugs to act the same way they normally would in your house, computer, or car.

Each outlet will also have a peak current. For instance, USB plugs in many computers put out a maximum of 0.5 to 0.9 amps of current. USB chargers that plug into a wall outlet may output 2.4 amps or more.

If you try to charge a device that requires 2.4 amps on a smaller 0.5 amp USB port, it may take much longer or may not charge at all.

Peak Power

Every outlet on your portable power station will be rated for certain maximum peak power. This peak power will determine what can, and cannot, be run from those plugs.

Power is measured in watts and your devices and portable power station should both have their power output and consumptions listed.

While your portable power station may have a 120V standard wall plug, that plug may or may not be rated to put out enough power to make your devices function. Many devices that plug into a standard wall outlet are very power-hungry and may overwhelm a portable power station.

To help you understand let’s compare a couple of household items:

For reference, common portable power stations may range from 100 watts maximum output at 120V to 1,700 watts (or maybe even more if you want to shell out the cash) maximum output at 120V.

Just keep in mind, more watts means that your portable power station battery will be consumed faster.

Portable Power Station Battery Types

Most portable power stations today are going with lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are more compact and lighter than the leading competitors.

That said, however, there is always something new in the world of battery technology.

Right now lithium batteries comprise the majority of the market and make the most sense in terms of cost and value.

Size and Portability

While tech specs are helpful, they only tell part of the story. Keep in mind that high-output batteries, even with today’s tech, are still big and heavy.

For instance, the popular Yeti 1,000 (1,500 watts of output) tips the scales at over 40 pounds!

Before you buy based on tech specs, think about what size portable power station you can really handle. Will you keep it in the car? Do you need an easy carrying handle to walk it to the beach or campsite?

Look for features that meet your needs and avoid going with massive portable power stations that weigh more than you can reasonably manage.

Of course, if you want something to throw in the back of the pickup truck… size and weight may not matter!

FAQs About Portable Power Stations

Q: What should I look for in a portable power station?

A: Think for a while about what you want your portable power station to do. Many of the higher-end models cost a pretty penny and most are rated for 500 use cycles or more.

There’s a good chance this portable power station will be with you for many years, and outdoor seasons, to come. Buy within your budget and within reason, but don’t be afraid to upgrade a bit.

Right now you may only need to charge a laptop and a small tablet. What if you invite several friends along? Maybe you have kids growing up who will go camping or exploring with you. You may need more power down the road, and buying too small now will cripple you later.

Look for a power station that you can handle. Think about how you’ll transport it. Do you have a car with very little room? Maybe you have a huge long-bed F350 and space isn’t a problem.

Try to think down the road a little and consider the ways you will use your portable power station not only this year but in the future.

Q: How does a portable power station work?

A: Basically you charge a large battery with wall plugs, solar, car chargers, or any other source. That battery then becomes a portable power bank. These portable power batteries usually have many different types of outlets on them such as standard wall plugs, USBs, and vehicle accessory ports where you can plug-in devices.

A portable power station is, in essence, a large battery that powers your devices on the move. It’s like a massive portable phone charger, with tons of versatility.

Additionally, these big portable batteries usually have outdoor features like rugged durable casings, water-resistance, and other must-haves.

Q: How long do portable power stations last?

A: Since portable power stations revolve around their internal battery, this becomes a question of battery longevity.

Most portable power stations have a battery cycle rating. Many will cite specifications such as “80% after 400 cycles”. A cycle is generally measured by the number of times you empty and then recharge the battery.

So, in this instance, imagine you use your portable power station twice a month. A power station rated for 80% after 400 cycles would have 8 years of service before it wears down to 80% of its original health.

Of course, you can still use a power station with 80% of its original capacity so, in essence, this imaginary power station would really last many years longer.

Keep in mind, however, that battery health can also be majorly impacted by other factors.

Store your battery indoors at room temperature to avoid the degrading effects of cold weather on your battery. Also, when not in use always keep your portable power station battery topped-off on juice. Recharge after use and every few months in storage to avoid damage.

Q: How much power do I need?

A: This is a question two-fold.

First, you need to know the maximum draw of your biggest power-using device. See our section above about “peak power”. If you want to use an electric chainsaw you’ll need well over 1,000 watts of power. If you want to charge a phone you may need as little as 2-6 watts.

Second, how long do you want that power to last? You may get dozens or hundreds of charges out of a power station when charging a phone. Try to charge your car battery, however, and you may only get one or less! See our section on “portable power station capacity” for more on this.

Notice:

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Casey Fiedler

I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I’m a huge fan of punk rock. I have launched several start-ups. (or business ventures) When exploring the backcountry, I usually carry less than 10 pounds of gear. Years of experience have taught me to pack light. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing.

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