The Best Portable Power Station

Looking for some power in the woods? We put 8 of the best power stations on the market today through a vigorous set of side-by-side tests. Back in granddad’s day, a weekend in the wilderness was a weekend without electricity, and as he has reminded us time and time again, that was the way things should be.

Whatever, gramps. If you had an iPod back then, you would have wanted a portable power station with you as well. Whether it’s a laptop, phone, hair dryer, or small refrigerator, these electric power banks, also known (somewhat inaccurately) as generators, are able to provide power for all sorts of tools and electronics, while being compact and lightweight enough for you to take it wherever you’re going. We’ve put together a list of the 8 Best Portable Power Stations of 2019 that should make it a bit easier when shopping for a new generator. After that, we’re hosting an exploration into exactly what makes a great power station and what to look for in a portable generator.

Product details
+ Positives
—  Negatives
 
Best Power Supply LCD
Portable Power Station
Jackery
Check Price
  • Battery 250 Wh
  • Input 15V / 4.0A
  • Weight 3.84 pounds
  • USB 2x
  • Lots of outlets
  • Compatible with a solar panel
  • Solar panel is sold separately
  • More costly than other power banks of the same capacity
 
Most Versatile Portable Generator
Power Station 250Wh
Picowe
Check Price
  • Battery 250Wh
  • Input 12V-30V 42W
  • Weight 5.95 pounds
  • USB 2x
  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Great solar charging efficiency
  • No LCD display screen
  • Can run a little warm after a few hours of continuous use
 
Best Portable Generator
Charger 22500
NOVOO
Check Price
  • Battery 230Wh
  • Input 18V 2A
  • Weight 2.84 pounds
  • USB 1x
  • Logical & legible LCD Display
  • Four different recharge input options
  • Can’t power anything while charging power bank
 
Best Quick Charging
Power Station 150Wh
SUAOKI
Check Price
  • Battery 150Wh
  • Input 12V 10A
  • Weight 2.9 pounds
  • USB 4x
  • Quick-Charge (QC) Capable
  • Great built-in emergency flashlight
  • Not all personal devices are QC ready
  • Not capable of supporting a 100W Solar Panel as advertised
 
Best Bargain Portable
Power Station 155Wh
ENKEEO
Check Price
  • Battery 167Wh
  • Input 12V-30V 42W
  • Weight 3.7 pounds
  • USB 2x
  • Nice large LCD display
  • Great bargain price
  • Battery remaining display could be improved
  • AC outlets only support 2-pronged cords
 
Best On-Board Temperature Control
Generator 250 W
Rockpals
Check Price
  • Battery 250Wh
  • Input 12V-30V 42W
  • Weight 5.95 pounds
  • USB 2x
  • 300W Maximum power output on overdrive
  • Cooling fan is quiet and effective
  • Not as much battery time as we want out of a portable generator
  • Can’t use the power station while it is being charged
 
Best Capacity Power Bank
Solar Generators
Aeiusny
Check Price
  • Battery 288Wh
  • Input 12V-30V 42W
  • Weight 4.2 pounds
  • USB 3x
  • Lots of power capacity
  • Great Warranty
  • Slow 12V Charging
  • More pricey than other models on the list

Best Power Supply LCD Display

JACKERY Portable Power Station EXPLORER 160

BATTERY CAPACITY: 250 Wh

INPUT: DC 8mm – 15V / 4.0A

WEIGHT: 5.95 LBS (2.7KG)

OUTLETS: 

• 3x – DC (9-12.6V/5A)

• 1x – AC (110V/60Hz 9-130V)

• 2x – USB (5V, 3.1A)

BEST FEATURE: Easy-read LCD display with battery status

It’s possible that I’ve been out of the electronics game for too long, because when this product came across my desk I could not remember if I had ever tried out any product by the electronics manufacturer JACKERY before, but I’m guessing that this is just a trick of my poor memory, because from what we can tell from a quick search, they are absolutely dominating the portable power game.

The EXPOLORER 160 is the signature model from this company, and provides some of the very best performance that we have seen from portable units. It holds enough power to take a dent out of your most serious projects, and can actually hold a decent charge for months when not being used. Of course, we can’t think of a situation where we would put this thing away for more than a few days, much less a few months.

When browsing through the Jackery Power Station reviews, there is one theme that seems pretty constant, and that is customers who unboxed the product only to find out that it does not actually come with its own solar charger. This is not totally surprising considering how heavily the word ‘solar’ fits into their marketing strategy. Still, it isn’t entirely clear from, the product description that the solar panel is sold separately.

Still, this is a high-performance model that is about as good as they get when it comes to compact portable power. It’s a tad on the pricey side, but well worth it when you consider the amount of features & outlets it offers.

Pros
  • Lots of outlets
  • Compatible with a solar panel
Cons
  • Solar panel is sold separately
  • More costly than other power banks of the same capacity

Most Versatile Portable Generator

PICOWE 250W Portable Generator

BATTERY CAPACITY: 167Wh ( 11.6Ah, 14.4V)

INPUT: DC 8mm – 12V~30V 42W Max

WEIGHT: 3.84

OUTLETS:

 • 1x – AC 110V

• 1x – USB-C (5V, 3A)

• 2x – USB-A (5V, 2.4A)

• 1x – DC Output (6mm) 12V, 7A

BEST FEATURE: Solar, Wall, or Car Charge Capable

At first glance, the PICOWE portable generator is one of the more compact power stations on our list. This easy-to-store design makes it the perfect option to keep in your vehicle for emergencies, though it is also advertised as a great backup source for a CPAP machine.

Let’s start with its strengths. No matter how you decide to charge it up, be it via solar panel, wall outlet, or 12V car charger, the PICOWE has some of the fastest charging times in the industry. In fact, this is probably the number one more lauded fact about PICOWE according to our online research. And considering that it is less expensive by a significant margin, it quickly becomes one of the best overall values on our list.

As far as our tests were concerned, we were most impressed with the solar charging capabilities. Using the same solar panel and cord across multiple models of power bank, the PICOWE was able to store more energy than similar solar-capable units in the same amount of time. The wall-charge and 12V car charger were about the same, however.

Overall we have few to no negative things to say about this power bank, except perhaps that it lacks one of those cool LCD screens like you see on stuff like the JACKERY Power Station.

Pros
  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Great solar charging efficiency
Cons
  • No LCD display screen
  • Can run a little warm after a few hours of continuous use

Best Portable Generator for USB Compatibility

NOVOO Portable Power Station

BATTERY CAPACITY: 230Wh (62400mAh @ 3.7V)

INPUT: DC 18V 2A

WEIGHT: 3200g

OUTLETS: 

• 1x – AC 110V

• 4x – USB-A (5V 6A)

• 1x – USB-C (5V, 3A)

• 1x – DC Output 18V, 2A

BEST FEATURE: Easy-read LCD display with battery status

The NOVOO Power Station is one of the few units on our review that we were actually able to put through the ringer to see just how much power it could both store and deliver over the course of an entire weekend. The result? The NOVOO portable generator is one of the most well-performing units that we looked at, both in terms of input efficiency and output power.

The oft-spoke of favorite feature of the Novoo generator is the easy to read LCD display screen, which has one of the simplest and most logical readouts that we have encountered. Sure, there are at least 8 things to pay attention to on that screen, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite simple.

The recharge options are a real strength here. You can choose one of four options:

  1. AC Wall Outlet
  2. 12V Car Port
  3. Solar Panel
  4. USB-C

This surprising diversity in charging options makes it easy to add power back into the back wherever you are. For instance, if you wanted to transfer power from one bank to another, the best way to do so would be to use the USB-C connection, as the other methods would not be able to connect unit-to-unit.

Our biggest gripe with the NOVOO is that you can’t use any of the outputs while the station itself is being charged. This means that on a sunny day in the park you can’t trickle charge with a solar panel at the same time as charging your iPhone.

Sounds like a first world problem if we’ve ever heard one.

Pros
  • Logical & legible LCD Display
  • Four different recharge input options
Cons
  • Can’t power anything while charging power bank

Best Quick Charging Portable Power Station

SUAOKI Portable Power Station 150Wh Camping Generator

BATTERY CAPACITY: 150Wh ( 3.7V 40500mAh)

INPUT: DC  3.5×1.35mm

WEIGHT: 3.84

OUTLETS: 

• 4x – DC (12V/10A)

• 2x – AC (110V)

• 1x – QC 3.0 USB

• 3x – USB (5V / 2A)

BEST FEATURE: Built-in emergency flashlight & QC USB 3.0

The most significant thing that we can say about the SUAOKI Portable Power Station is that it is one of the only electric portable generators on our list that features a QC 3.0 USB Output. While that might just seem like a bunch of gibberish to you, it is actually a pretty impressive piece of tech that ups the value of this unit significantly.

Here’s the story. QC stands for QUICK CHARGE, and is a relatively new piece of technology that has been designed to deliver a greater amount of current from the source battery to the destination. In other words, more juice to your iPhone in a shorter amount of time. That’s why SUAOKI’s claim to be able to fully charge a laptop in 1.5 hours is probably true. The only caveat is that both the source battery and destination technology must be compatible with QC technology. Because the large majority of cell phones out there today do not yet feature this technology, it is important to check your phone specifications before assuming that it will be able to benefit at all from the on-board QC technology.

There is one thing however that has us no so excited about the SUAOKI Power Station, and that is the fact that the manufacturer claims that the product is compatible with a 100W solar panel, however, it clearly states in the specifications that it will max out at closer to 44W, so even a 50W panel would not be able to work with this power station. Smaller solar panels seem to work just fine, however.

Pros
  • Quick-Charge (QC) Capable
  • Great built-in emergency flashlight
Cons
  • Not all personal devices are QC ready
  • Not capable of supporting a 100W Solar Panel as advertised

Best Bargain Portable Electronic Generator

ENKEEO Portable Power Station 155Wh Lithium Battery Supply Electric Generator

BATTERY CAPACITY: 167Wh ( 11.6Ah, 14.4V)

INPUT: DC 8mm – 12V~30V 42W Max

WEIGHT: 3.7 LBS

OUTLETS: 

• 2x – AC (Max 100W)

• 1x – USB-QC (5V, 3A)

• 2x – USB (5V, 2.4A)

• 2x – DC Output (6mm) 12V, 7A

BEST FEATURE: Large-Font  LCD display

While normally I tend to lean toward larger power stations with enough capacity to operate even some of my larger tools, it’s also nice to have a more compact unit on hand for things like camping and traveling. After all there is more to life than just getting the basement bathroom remodeled. In terms of performance to size, the ENKEEO is one of the most balanced units that we looked at. It’s the absolute perfect size for an on-the-go power station, and has one of the nicest included carrying bags that anyone else offers, period.

The digital readout is large and bright. This is something that we are usually pretty particular about when we are reviewing power stations, only because it’s important to know exactly how much power you have left. And therein lies one of ENKEEO’s greatest faults. The battery charge indicator displays the battery in four “sections”, each section corresponding to 25% battery power. From what we can tell the gauge is no less accurate than any other power station, however, the four section display is too simple for our tastes. We would much rather have a plain percentage remaining display, listed numerically. Some people, it seems, just need to be different.

For the price it is somewhat unlikely that you are going to find a better quick deal that with the ENKEEO Portable Power Station. We have seen it on sale recently at different websites for as much as 30% off lately, to make sure to shop around before you make your purchase.

Pros
  • Nice large LCD display
  • Great bargain price
Cons
  • Battery remaining display could be improved
  • AC outlets only support 2-pronged cords

Best On-Board Temperature Control System in a Power Bank

ROCKPALS 250-Watt Portable Rechargeable Generator

BATTERY CAPACITY: 250W

INPUT: DC 8mm – 12V~30V 42W Max

WEIGHT: 5.95 LBS

OUTLETS: 

• 1x – USB-C (5V, 3A)

• 2x – USB-2.1A (5V, 2.4A)

• 2x – DC 12V

BEST FEATURE: Silent & Effective Cooling Fan  

Now we come to one of the larger portable generators on our list, both in terms of product dimensions and overall power capacity. This is one of the big boys, alright; it’s ready to offer more electricity than almost any other generator and it does so in an nice neat package that just as sturdy as it is attractive.

We have to give props to ROCKPALS for the performance of their on-board cooling fan. One of the most frequently offered criticisms of these portable generators is that they can overheat. Some can even become too hot to touch, and if they are not properly ventilated enough, some product damage can occur. That’s not going to be the case with the ROCKPALS generator, where a small, quiet fan is always running, keeping the entire unit relatively cool even when you are maxing the power output with a backwoods N64 tournament.

While the power output is certainly impressive here, the overall battery operation time has been a bit of a disappointment. I plugged my favorite gaming laptop into it and only got about 4 hours of operation. This is about on par with some of the more popular units that are available, however, for the extra price we expected a bit more charge than this.

The ROCKPALS generator also happens to feature one of our most common pet-peeves: there is no way to use the unit for power when the unit itself is being charged. This, however, is a small matter compared to the issue about battery length, and both of these issues together are not enough to overcome the overall performance of this unit, which is high indeed.

Pros
  • 300W Maximum power output on overdrive
  • Cooling fan is quiet and effective
Cons
  • Not as much battery time as we want out of a portable generator
  • Can’t use the power station while it is being charged

Portable Power Bank with the Best Capacity

AEIUSNY Generator Portable Power 299Wh / 500W

BATTERY CAPACITY: 288Wh / 500w

INPUT: DC 8mm – 12V~30V 42W Max

WEIGHT: 7.05 LBS

OUTLETS: 

• 3x – AC 110V

• 1x – USB-C (5V, 3A)

• 2x – USB-A (5V, 2.4A)

• 4x – DC Output (6mm) 12V, 7A

BEST FEATURE: EXTRA LARGE POWER CAPACITY

Seems like we keep getting bigger and bigger when it comes to power capacity, but we have a feeling that you’re not going to hold that against us. Because while the AEIUSNY portable electric generator is a bit on the pricey side even for a 288Wh unit, it has some of the best performance stats that we have seen and is designed and built in such a clean an intuitive way that it has quickly become one of our favorite electronic gadgets ever.

Our test showed that this unit was able to pick up a full charge in just over 6 Hours of charge time. That’s not bad for the 288Wh that she offers, and short enough that it can be plugged in overnight and be at full charge come daybreak. However with solar we noticed it took quite a bit longer, with a full day of solar charging not fully filling the unit’s power reserves. Until portable solar technology improves just a little bit more, this might be as good as we are going to get.

The WARRANTY also really caught our eye. These guys are offering a full year of replacement on damaged power supplies (man-made damage not included) meaning that if anything happens to your power station in the first year, you aren’t going to have to worry about buying a new unit. That’s how confident these guys are in their product, and hey, we like a brand with confidence.

Takes way too long to charge on 12V however, like 15 hours. So if you’re planning on charging this thing while driving, know that it’s going to be a few miles before you have enough juice!

Pros
  • Lots of power capacity
  • Great Warranty
Cons
  • Slow 12V Charging
  • More pricey than other models on the list

Best Value Pick Portable Power Station

ALIKASALA Generator Power Station 200 Watt Portable Power Supply

BATTERY CAPACITY: 150Wh / 200W

INPUT: DC 8mm – 12V~30V 42W Max

WEIGHT: 3.3 LBS

OUTLETS: 

• 1x – AC 110V

• 4x – USB

• 1x – DC Output (9-12.6V/10A)

BEST FEATURE: Super affordable, lightweight

We’re going to end our review with the model that we picked as overall best value, because sometimes when you are shopping for something specific, it helps to look at the full spectrum of available items. In addition, it never hurts having something more affordable on hand for those adventures that are sure to get wilder than you initially anticipated.

 All of the standard functions are here, including multiple USB outlets, an emergency light, temperature control, and even a cute little compass in case you lose your way.

The obvious drawback to a product in this price range is that it is simply not going to have the overall power capacity or output to handle more complicated appliances, equipment and devices. At best, the ALIKASALA portable power supply is more suited for a portable phone charger than it is for anything much larger. You can certainly get a few laptop charges out of it, 3 to 4 based on the model laptop you have. Admittedly, this is not a whole lot of power. However considering the price and the compact, lightweight presentation, we think this would also make the perfect portable power station to have on hand in case of an emergency. Whether in the back of the car, in the closet, or somewhere in the garage, having one of these things handy when the power goes out can be a real lifesaver.

Pros
  • Very affordable portable generator
  • Lightweight, compact, & effective
Cons
  • Only 150Wh / 200W (about average for the price range)
  • Transformer is too weak; this generator takes a long time to fully charge

Conclusion

Can you feel the power yet?

Portable power stations in 2019 have become an entirely different sort of beast, offering more power and greater durability than ever. Even overall charge times have been reduced significantly in recent years, making this the right moment to purchase a power station of your own.

What’s that? You want to hear our opinion on the best portable power generator of 2019? We’ll tell you all that we can, but if we’re being honest, it was not an easy decision. The SUAOKI Portable Power Station certainly impressed us with its quick-charge capability.

But in terms of a sheer workhorse, we advise you to look no further than the AEIUSNY Generator. With just under 300 watt hours, it is the perfect companion generator to your next adventure or outing.  

Portable Power Stations Ultimate 2019 Buyer’s Guide

It would not be an exaggeration to say that there are more electronic power station manufacturers that we care to count. Even with the 8 awesome portable generators on our list, that’s 8 different companies to choose from, each with multiple products, accessories, upgrades, and the like. So how is one to choose?

Here’s a handy guide on exactly what to look for in a portable power station. With any luck, you will be ready to make a purchase by the time you get to the end of this article.

Power Capacity

battery charge balance

UNIT: Watt Hours (Wh)
An electric power bank measures its overall capacity in watt hours, or in other words, the amount of hours a source of a certain watt requirement will be able to operate, given the conditions of a full battery. Unfortunately, these numbers are rarely as accurate as they claim to be. Due to the nature of batteries and electronics, one device will perform slightly different than another. In addition, some battery percentage readout displays are not completely accurate either, leading some people to believe that they have more (or less) power left than they actually do.

Power Output

UNIT: Watts (W)
Any tool or appliance you want to use, from an iPhone Charger to a high definition television set, will come with a Watt requirement that will tell you how much electricity the product is going to need in order to perform its function properly. Knowing the electrical draw of any given appliance is a smart idea because it will save you money in the long term by preventing avoidable overdraws and circuit breaks, not to mention give you an idea of how much operating time you are going to get out of a single charge.  

Built-In Ports and Outlets

TYPES: AC, DC, SOLAR, USB
Most power banks have a number of different kinds of both inputs and outlets, making it possible to power a plethora of different devices with different power requirements. Almost all of these power stations feature an AC Input which allows for the most efficient charging. Many also offer USB Charging and 12V Car Charging, although these options are considerably slower in providing an overall battery charge.

ports types

In addition to traditional electricity, Solar power has become a popular feature in portable power stations. This is a much slower way to charge the battery, but it can be handy when you’re out in the wilderness and you can’t just plug the thing into the wall.

The standard outputs on these devices is usually AC & USB.

Temperature Control

rear panel blown cooling system

TYPES: Temp Control Systems, Cooling fans
Because the constant and sustained transfer of electricity can itself generate a significant amount of heat, it is necessary for these units to utilize at least some form of temperature control. If a unit became too hot, it would be in danger of experiencing battery damage, or damage to the destination device.

The best portable power stations employ simple temperature controllers to make sure that the device is shut off once it reaches a certain dangerous temperature.

Similar to the modern CPU, portable power stations also frequently have cooling fans operating. These are powered by the on-board battery, but the power draw is almost insignificant and you probably won’t be able to notice it.

Additional Features

It seems like everyone is trying to stand out from the crowd these days. Here is a list of some of the more unique additional features on 2019’s best portable generators:

  • Flashlight / Emergency Light
  • Compass
  • Solar Power Compatibility
  • DC Converter capability for CPAP operation
  • 12V Cigarette Lighter Port
  • Colored LED indication lights

Is Your Emergency Preparedness Kit Ready for Action?

Portable power generators are a great thing to include in any emergency preparedness kit, however that is just the beginning. If you are wondering what else to include in your own family’s kit, check out the American Red Cross’ Survival Kit Supplies page to see what else you could use.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

• Q: Can portable power stations overheat?

A: Although there have been some exceptions in the past, it is generally not possible for a portable electric power station to overheat to the point where it would cause any damage for physical harm. However, overheating can lead to system failure in the most extreme cases, and this usually only happens when the unit’s on-board temperature control systems are no longer working properly.

• Q: How do I know how long my device will work with any particular power station?

A: There is a quick and easy way to determine approximately how much usage time you will get out of a portable power station with any given appliance. You simply take the Watt Hours of the power bank and divide that number by the Watts of the tool or appliance.

For example, if you have a 50 watt appliance and a 300Wh power bank, you simply divide 300 / 50 and you get 6 hours of run time.

Of course the actual numbers are going to vary wildly depending on a number of features, but this theoretical approximation is usually enough to get a good idea of whether any particular power source will be enough for your purpose.  

• Q: How do I know if the generator is fully charged?

A: Every single one of the portable power stations on our review feature a digital readout somewhere on the unit, and remaining battery is among the most common of readouts that is available on this screen. Some stations measure their remaining power in %, others use a battery icon that has been divided into four equal segments.

• Q:  Can the on-board rechargeable battery be replaced? A: Usually, no. When you buy a portable electric power generator, you are essentially buying yourself a battery. Since this is such an integral component of the item, removing it would be both difficult and unwise, not to mention that it would likely void your warranty.

      Wildproofgear