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Power stations are one of the smartest items you can have in your car, camper or garage. On a camping adventure, they make it easy to keep your mobile devices and small appliances charged even when you’re out in the wilderness. And in an emergency situation, while everyone else on your block is without power, you’ll have the ability to stay connected. On top of that, the best portable power stations also come with optional solar panels, which instantly transform power stations into outright generators.
So no matter the use case — enjoying modern conveniences like kitchen gadgets while camping or powering your phone during a blackout — portable power stations are the eco-friendly alternative to gas-guzzling, loud portable generators.
These electrical appliances are one of our favorite new product categories, and the SPY team has been closely watching this space. We recently covered the launch of the new Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro and the Anker 757 Powerhouse, both of which broke ground in different ways. In addition, we’ve been testing the top products in this space in our search for the best portable power station.
We’re still in the process of testing some of these new portable power stations, but keep reading to find the top portable power stations for 2022.
Portable Power Stations vs. Power Generators
Portable power stations are becoming a popular option versus traditional power generators, although there is some overlap between these two categories. Power generators generally take fuel, like gasoline or propane, and convert that fuel into electrical power. The upside is power generators can generate a ton of power. The downsides are they are noisy, heavy and the amount of power they generate isn’t suitable for small electronics like your mobile phone. And with gas prices skyrocketing, do you really want to fill up another gas tank in your household?
After you make the initial purchase, portable power stations are essentially free to operate, and not noisy at all. Many can be fully recharged by being plugged in for just a couple of hours. They are great for electronics, compact and light enough to move around with one arm. These are ideal for camping trips to ensure all of your electronics stay charged and to keep small appliances operational. In addition, many portable power stations can also be charged with solar panels, which makes them true solar-powered generators.
If you’re gearing up for a trip, then power stations are a great device to have available. SPY.com has tested and reviewed many popular power stations from brands such as Bluetti, Anker and Jackery, and we’ve selected the best power stations for every purpose.
1. Jackery Explorer Power Stations
SPY has had the chance to test and review a number of Jackery Explorer power stations, which come in a wide range of sizes and capacities. We even featured this power station in our end-of-year product awards, The 2021 Man. To get the most out of your Jackery Explorer, we definitely recommend investing in Jackery solar panels. So which model should you choose? We’ve selected two options below, the Jackery Explorer 1000 and the smaller Jackery Explorer 300.
The combination of power, portability and utility make the Jackery Explorer 1000 our top pick for the best portable power station. It only weighs 22 pounds yet has three AC ports, two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, which is plenty for you and your camping buddies to keep your devices charged all day long. Even for its tiny size, it boasts a large battery capacity (1000W/1002Wh), making it ideal for powering even your more power-guzzling appliances. If you’re looking to build an outdoor safety kit, this should most certainly be one of the top options to consider.
If the Explorer 1000 is a bit out of your price range, or, you just don’t need that many ports or that much battery capacity, the Explorer 300 is a great alternative. For starters, it’s about $700 cheaper than the 1000 and weighs about 15 pounds less — we’re talking ultra-portable. Even though it’s smaller, you still get two AC wall outlets, a USB-C port, USB-3.0 port and USB-A port. Plus, it only takes two hours to get the power station recharged to 80%. For weekend camping trips and music festivals, this handy device will provide more than enough power for your needs.
2. Anker 521 Portable Generator
The Anker 521 Portable Generator isn’t the newest power station from Anker (more on that option below), but it is a fantastic option for most people. The 521 Portable Power Generator is extremely portable, weighing in at just 8.2 pounds. It provides only 256Wh of power, but again, that’s more than enough power for a weekend camping trip. On the plus side, it’s got an easy-to-read and user-friendly display, tons of ports (2 A/C ports, 2 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a car outlet). This power station is also easy to find on sale, making it an affordable yet reliable option.
Like the Jackery Explorer, this power station has been tested and approved by SPY editors.
3. Bluetti AC50S 500Wh Portable Power Station
BEST FOR CAR CAMPERS
For people who travel the country in converted vans or plan long camping trips, we recommend the Bluetti AC50S 500WH Portable Power Station. One of our writers recently converted an SUV for camping, and she’s relied on this power station for all of her travels. Like the Jackery, we recommend purchasing this power station with solar panels, but it can also be charged with your vehicle. Simply plug in the Bluetti while you’re traveling from one destination to the next, and when you arrive you’ll have power for your laptops, smartphones and more.
This is definitely a mid-range power station in terms of power capacity, price and size, so it’s a great option for people who are serious about camping, as opposed to people who plan occasional weekend camping trips.
4. Bluetti EB55 Portable Power Station
If you can’t live without a lot of appliances when you hit the road, consider the Bluetti EB55. Even though it’s compact and lightweight at only 16.5 pounds, it packs 700W of power and has a lot of outlets for your devices. In fact, it boasts four AC outlets (two with grounding, two without), so you can plug in a TV, blender or CPAP, or all of them at the same time (although the blender would probably keep you up while you’re trying to sleep with your CPAP). There are also four USB ports as well as one USB-C for your mobile devices. A mere two hours of charging refuels the battery back to full power, and a display makes it easy to keep an eye on power levels.
5. Anker 757 Powerhouse Power Station
This isn’t your average power station. Anker first announced the 757 Powerhouse earlier this year, and at the time of its release, it was the world’s longest-lasting power station. Seriously, this is one impressive machine, and for people with high power needs, it’s the best portable station you’ll find. We’re still in the process of fully testing and reviewing this device, but we’ve been very impressed so far by the Powerhouse’s design and capabilities. In terms of longevity, Anker promises that it can handle more than 3,000 complete charge cycles without any degradation, and it’s backed by a 5-year warranty.
This heavy-duty power station boasts an incredible 1229Wh of power, and you can charge your devices via six A/C outlets, one USB-C 100W port, one USB-C 60W port, four USB-A ports and one car port. However, we should note that all that power comes at the cost of portability, as this is one heavy battery. If you aren’t prepared to lift 43 pounds, then this won’t be the right option for you.
6. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Power Station
This no-frills portable power station is super lightweight and likewise affordable. You can score it for under $200 which, compared to others that are upwards of $500 to $1,000, is quite the steal. Like we said, no-frills here — there’s no display and with the orange and black bordering colors, it looks more like an auto mechanics car battery charger than a power station. But looking past the aesthetics, it has two USB ports, four DC ports as well as dual AC ports, and enough power to charge your smartphone up to 25 times.
7. EF EcoFlow River Pro
MONITOR WITH APP
If the Rockpals is the no-frills option, this one sits at the other end of the spectrum. This has a sleek modern look, easy-to-read display and can even be monitored using your phone from the EcoFlow app. Aside from the extras, it is also lightweight at just under 17 pounds, yet still has 600W of power and three AC ports, three USB (including one fast-charging port), USB-C and DC ports. The AC ports are located on the side as well to efficiently manage the space.
8. Golabs R300 Portable Power Station
Weighing only 8.27 pounds and with a convenient handle and design, this is one of the more portable power stations. Although it is compact, there are still plenty of power ports including two AC outlets that are smartly stacked side by side, two USB-C, two USB-A and two DC ports as well as a 12V cigarette lighter output. Coming right around $200, it’s also as affordable as it is portable.
9. Goal Zero YETI 200X
Goal Zero is a YETI brand, so if you love YETI’s coolers, this mini power station is a great companion for your next camping trip. This is one of the more compact portable power stations around. It is only 5.1 inches tall, 7.9 inches long and 5.1 inches wide. Even the handle area is concaved to save on space. As for power, it has a 200-watt capacity, one AC outlet, two USB-A, two USB-C ports and a 12V car port. If you don’t have a ton of stuff to power and not a lot of space in your car or camper, this Goal Zero is a smart and compact choice.
10. Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro
After extensive testing, we believe that Jackery makes the best portable power station for most people. However, the company just released a brand new power station with some impressive new features. Designed for people committed to green energy and solar power, the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro can be recharged to full power with just 2.5 hours of solar charging. Like the Anker 757 Powerhouse, this device boasts a ridiculously high capacity of 2160Wh. As a result, it also weighs in at 43 pounds (and that doesn’t include the solar panels), so this isn’t a particularly portable power station, unfortunately.
Even so, this is a mighty impressive product and one that we’re excited to test. This device was just released on May 12, and it’s a powerful device for RV campers and people with more intense energy needs. With the solar panels, this generator will set you back over $6,000, which is why we haven’t rated it more highly in this guide. For people willing to make an investment in portable green energy, this is well worth the splurge.
Read More: About the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro
How We Chose the Best Portable Power Stations
We’re keeping a close eye on this product category here at SPY. As parts of the United States grapple with regular power outages, these appliances aren’t just nice-to-have camping tools; they can also be a genuine life-saver in an emergency. As a result, we’ve called in some of the top power stations from brands like Anker, Jackery and Bluetti to make sure we’re recommending only the very best portable power station for your particular needs.
So how do we test power stations? We’ve shared some insight into our review criteria below. Be sure to keep checking this page, as we’ll update our guide as we conduct additional tests and evaluate new products.
When choosing the best portable power station for your needs, total capacity should be one of your top concerns. Expensive models like the Jackery Explorer 1000 or the Anker 757 Powerhouse offer up to 1229Wh. For the average car camper, this is overkill. As a result, we selected power stations ranging from 293Wh up to 2160Wh.
If you only need to charge a few devices, such as smartphones, coffee makers or tablets, for 1-2 people, then 250-500W power stations will suit your needs. However, if you need to charge devices for more than two people over several days, or if you want to power small appliances and kitchen gadgets, then we recommend a power station of 500W or higher.
Portability, Size and Weight
Some of the best portable power stations are under 20 pounds, are compact enough to carry with one hand and can power multiple devices. In short, they’re extremely portable. For this reason, when we first started writing about portable power stations, we looked for options that were under 30 pounds. We found that anything above this weight was difficult to move, which poses accessibility problems and stretches the meaning of the term “portable”. However, as brands like Anker have released newer, larger power stations, we’ve expanded our guidelines to include power stations that weigh up to 45 pounds. These high-capacity power stations may be difficult to move (remember: lift with your legs, not your back!), but they’re an excellent option for RV campers and disaster prep.
Outlets & Charging Ports
We looked for power stations that provided at least one AC outlet, two USBs and a USB-C outlet. Some older models lack USB-C outlets, which will require users to buy a USB-C adapter in order to charge many modern mobile devices. For this reason, if you primarily need to keep your iPhone or tablet charged while camping, the best power station for you will come with at least one USB-C outlet. In addition to offering a wide range of electrical ports, the best power stations also offer multiple charging options, giving you the option to charge your power station via solar panels, vehicles or traditional wall outlets.
How quickly can these devices charge your devices? Just as importantly, how long does it take to charge these devices to full power? After all, if you don’t have your power station charged, it’s not going to be any use in a blackout or emergency situation, making it a rather useless addition to your emergency kit. When reviewing power stations, we consider how long it takes to charge and how much power it can provide in total.
Solar Panels & Power Generation
One of the reasons we love these devices? With the right accessories, they can instantly become proper generators. True, you’ll need to invest in additional solar panels, which can be expensive depending on the manufacturer. However, we think this is a great addition, as they ensure you’ll never be without power for long.
When testing power stations like the Jackery Explorer or Bluetti, we also tested out the optional solar panels. We wanted to determine how user-friendly these optional accessories are to use, how effectively they charge the power station, and how long it takes to reach a full charge.
Finally, we considered how many accessories were provided with a power station. The best portable power station will come with all of the cables and charging cords you need, while cheaper models will require you to provide your own A/C and vehicle charging cables. Ultimately, this is less important than criteria such as total capacity and ease of use, but we did consider this in our overall rankings.
Updates: This article was last updated on May 17, 2022. At that time, we selected a new Runner Up option, the Anker 521 Power Station. We added the Bluetti AC50S 500W Power Station as the best option for car camping. We removed one lower-quality option and added newly released power stations: the Anker 757 Powerhouse and the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro. Finally, we added more information about how we review power stations, with additional insight into our testing process.