Achieving energy independence by not having to rely on big utility grids is something that we strive for in times of uncertainty. Controlling these predicaments is now possible thanks to advancements in battery technologies while semiconductors used to harness the high power source have been improving continuously.
The best portable power stations reduce the need for fuel-powered generators and have made huge strides since the first prototypes came out.
The recipe for a good power station is straightforward: a big battery capacity coupled with a high-power inverter forms the core. Add to this a few USB ports in all formats, a car adapter and finally, ways to charge the batteries with an eye on being fast. Everything of course has to be enclosed in a hard shell and the unit is good to go anywhere when the lights go out.
This decade has seen a boom in portable power stations. The fierce competition has brought prices down with a feature list that keeps on growing. After having tested more than 20 units over the past two years, we present the best quality power station that money can buy right now.
How we tested the best portable power stations?
Factors such as volume, weight, battery chemistry, and novelty have been considered in this guide to be more objective. Testing includes running the mobile app for stations equipped with Wi-Fi and upgrading the firmware when required. On top of the charge and discharge cycles, we went beyond the maximum power allowed on each generator and observed successful recovery from the over-power protection.
The best portable power stations in 2022 in detail
The Delta Pro (opens in new tab) is surely the fan-favorite with a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Having one of the lowest dollars per watt-hour, unmatched charging time, WiFi capability, and a whole slew of accessories, owning one is a real treat. To be fair, the Delta Pro is in a league of its own since it was designed to be expandable with up to 20kWh of battery capacity. As they say in the campaign, one can reach power independence if solar panels are used to generate that energy. However, it is the biggest and weighs almost 50kg. It is not a power station to be carried around easily like other units such as the Jackery. The blasting fast charging time means high input current and this might surprise some home electrical breakers. A limited amount of USB ports also makes it less attractive to casual users that are craving to charge multiple smartphones (opens in new tab) and portable devices at the same time.
Read the full EcoFlow Delta Pro review (opens in new tab).
Zendure is trying to make a name in the power generator scene and has a good chance of achieving this thanks to its latest unit. The SuperBase Pro 2000 (opens in new tab) has all the key elements of a modern power station. A high-capacity battery, a flexible inverter that can exceed its nominal 2kW power without being damaged, Wi-Fi/4G (opens in new tab) connectivity, and plenty of USB outlets. Another two key ingredients are a very fast charging time and a super competitive price. A bonus is that the SuperBase can be used as a UPS (opens in new tab), charging the battery only when needed while being connected to the grid. What is lacking is a stable mobile app and no USB-A sockets which are what older phones still use. The non-negligible sleep current which drains the battery even while turned off is also concerning but Zendure has promised to remedy this with a firmware upgrade.
Read the full Zendure SuperBase Pro 2000 review (opens in new tab).
The Bluetti AC200P (opens in new tab) has often been touted as one of the first modern power stations thanks to its LCD color interface that also supports touch. It has all qualities of a good unit with plenty of output sockets, fast charging time, and of course plenty of power for inverter and battery capacity. It is also the only one that comes with a wireless QC for mobile phones. The number of charge cycles is on the high-end with over 3,500 thanks to being LiFePo4 based. It is also one of the cheapest in terms of dollars per watt-hour. It isn’t perfect as it is quite bulky and has an AC power adapter that could be mistaken for another smaller power station. Setting the bar high in terms of features, the AC200P lacks a Wi-Fi connection that would have opened up so many possibilities.
Read the full Bluetti AC200P review (opens in new tab).
The Jackery brand is often associated with high-quality power stations. The Explorer 1500 (opens in new tab) is no exception and is an extension of their product line. The most important upgrade is faster charging times and of course a bigger battery and inverter. The dollar per watt-hour remains unchanged from the smaller Explorer models. It is still the best-seller in portable power stations on Amazon and that is because of its great customer support. The Explorer 1500 is based on the normal Lithium-Ion battery and as such, it will start to degrade after 500 charge cycles. The fan can be a bit loud while the limited number of DC sockets, only three USB in this case, will certainly not satisfy everyone in case of an emergency.
Read the full Jackery Explorer 1500 review (opens in new tab).
They say good things come in small packages and the Joyzis BR300 is one good example of that. This sub $300 power station features DC outputs usually found in pricey versions, such as one for wireless charging. And with its 300Wh battery and 300W AC inverter, it will be useful as an emergency power source for small appliances. Its included 60W Type-C socket can charge a slew of modern gadgets while three Type-A sockets provide plenty of options for everyone in the family. The ability to provide DC power while being charged is also something that we find very useful.
It has its own flaws since you basically get what you pay for. Being less than $300, you get an older battery technology that gives on average 500 charge cycles. The plastic enclosure is cheap and suffers from the stuck button syndrome while the user interface design will win many fans for being very simple to use.
Read the full Joyzis BR300 review (opens in new tab).
The Oukitel P2001 power station has been designed with simplicity in mind. A blue LCD communicates data to the user very quickly. Being based on the LiFePo4 battery chemistry, it is surprisingly compact and light. The built-in 2000W AC inverter power and 2000Whr battery capacity can power most house appliances without any trouble. Oukitel has done a great job at creating, on its first try, a product that will resonate with many consumers wanting something easy to use.
The only few drawbacks that it has is the always-on display and the fan that can be loud sometimes. With an MSRP of $1700, it is affordable since similar products are more than 0.9$/W. The newer battery technology will prevent the P2001 from quickly failing, remaining at the top of its game for many years to come.
Read the full Oukitel P2001 review (opens in new tab).
The Cellpowa 500 is a handy power station that will blend smoothly in any office setting. Its seven low-voltage outputs are more than enough to power small devices found on the desk while the 500W AC inverter can comfortably accommodate a medium-sized desktop PC in the event of a power outage. Its biggest plus is that it is based on a LiFePo4 battery chemistry thus providing over 2000 charge cycles before experiencing a drop in performance.
The CP500 has a few drawbacks with its heavy weight and loud fan. Charging the station, while potentially fast, requires three energy sources to be connected at the same time in order to have a decent charging time.
Read the full BigBlue Cellpowa 500 review (opens in new tab).
Bluetti took an already great power station namely the AC200P and made it even better. The AC200MAX includes new features such as a Bluetooth connection, a NEMA TT-30 socket for RV enthusiasts, and last but not least, the ability to expand the battery capacity with up to two extra batteries. With these new features, we have a system that’s able to act as an emergency power source for a small home whenever there is a blackout.
The AC200MAX can be improved further by having either a smaller power adapter or having it integrated into the base unit. The unit is noisy which makes its use as an uninterruptible power source in an office painful. It is also heavy but that is explained by the use of LiFePo4 batteries.
Read our full Bluetti AC200MAX review (opens in new tab).
EcoFlow has revisited the classic generator, giving it a few tricks along the way. Its latest product, the EcoFlow Smart Generator, is a highly sophisticated gas-powered generator that works closely with other EcoFlow products such as the Delta Pro battery station. It is an attempt to solve the problem of power outages lasting longer than a few hours which is the bane of battery-based power solutions.
Engine oil change and carbon monoxide warning are shown on two LEDs located on the front panel. Two push buttons control the pairing of a smartphone with the generator and enable the 1800W AC output socket. The EcoFlow mobile app available for both iOS and Android can be used to control the generator through Wi-Fi. The setup is very easy with the pairing initiated by holding the IOT reset button for a few seconds.
Accessories needed for the periodic maintenance of the generator are provided, including an oil funnel, a screwdriver, and a spark plug socket. The user manual and warranty card are also supplied while an extra battery cable enables using the generator with other EcoFlow devices right away.
The Smart Generator is great if you already have other EcoFlow products. It complements superbly the Delta Pro, for example, extending its functionality by providing a secondary power source.
Read our full EcoFlow Smart Generator review (opens in new tab).