What is a portable power station?
A portable energy storage device is an electronic device that recharges via a rechargeable battery. They come in different sizes, which range from large enough for home backup to small enough to take camping. They generally have AC (wall) outlets, USB outlets, and sometimes less common types of outlets.
Are big batteries also portable power stations?
Though a battery is the main part of a portable power station, there are also a number of components and technologies that send stored energy safely and efficiently to your appliances. These features include tech that makes them recharge faster, screens that show input and output, and even apps for remote energy management.
What are the primary differences between solar generators and portable power stations?
Portable power stations and solar generators are two similar devices that store electricity so you can use it anytime. These “solar” elements refer to the fact that the generators can connect to solar panels, but so can portable power stations with an XT60 port.
What are the differences between a portable power station and a power bank?
Portable power stations have a higher capacity than power banks, which usually only have USB outlets. Portable power stations can be used for things that would normally plug into a wall or car outlet because they have enough power to run big appliances for a while.
When choosing a portable power station, consider the following factors:
The features, capacity, portability, and lifespan of a battery can vary greatly depending on the type of battery used. Nickel-cadmium (NCM) batteries are lighter than lithium-ion polymer (LFP) batteries but can offer less capacity.
The amount of electricity stored by a portable power station is measured in watt-hours (Wh), with one watt of electricity being used for one hour. Thus, a 500Wh portable power station would power a 50W bulb for 10 hours (if it were 100% efficient).
So, let’s say you’re throwing an outdoor summer party for 3 hours that will include:
• Ice-free cooler (50 watts)
• Lighting fixture (25 watts)
• A crockpot (75 watts)
To power all the above devices for 3 hours, you need a capacity of 450Wh (technically speaking, you’ll need slightly more than that – there’s inversion loss and it’s best not to drain the battery to 0%).
As a result of the move away from lead-acid batteries, portable power stations are now much lighter and more efficient. We’re still not at the point where your house can run off of a battery the size of your phone, but we’re getting closer. There are plenty of things you can use with today’s portable power stations that were not possible before.
The tradeoff between weight and capacity has reached the point where you can buy a battery that will power a TV for 24 hours. Smaller sizes are also available that can power small appliances for a few hours. If you don’t need to lift it up, bigger ones usually come with wheels and can power large appliances and power tools for several hours.
Considering a battery as an investment is a novel idea. Compare the “cycle life,” which is indicated as something like 500 cycles to 80%, to see how many times portable power stations may be discharged and refilled.
A battery with a cycle life of 500 may not seem like much, but it is likely to be as good as or better than the battery in your phone. There are two reasons why cycle life is longer than it appears. One, cycles and uses are not synonymous. Say you consume 30% of its battery today, 20% tomorrow, and 50% the next day – that’s merely one cycle. The second issue is that it only gets you to 80% health. The battery lasts 80% longer than it used to, but the change is so gradual that you may not notice.
Important: When comparing cycles, ensure that the “to __%” is the same. A corporation that claims 1000 cycles may be down to 50% health.
Portable power stations should, at the very least, feature USB and AC outlets. Solar panel compatibility, app capability, extendable capacity (i.e., adding batteries), and a range of input and output ports are the next features to consider.
Battery Expert manufactures portable power stations
Battery Expert portable power stations have been highlighted by top reviewers for their recharging times, high output, and iconic design. Recharging time is less than an hour at full capacity; outlets of all sizes let you bring along pretty much any device, and the design is highly recognizable.