What’s the best portable power station? Not to be confused with the best power banks that can recharge your smartphone quickly, the best portable power stations offer a whole lot more. We’re talking about portable power stations many times the capacity of pocket devices that are designed in all shapes and sizes, but for one purpose; powering-up your gadgets when off-grid.
Although a great reason to invest in one of the best portable power stations is so you can cope with a sudden outage at home, they’re ideal for taking away with you on trips to rural areas. However, don’t think of them as being only for some kind of expedition. Yes, you can buy a big, heavy portable power station you can find and head off-grid for a long time, recharging while you drive and/or from a connected solar panel (we have a separate guide to the best solar chargers, if that's your plan). However, you can just as easily find a portable power station that’s big enough to fuel gadgets for a week or two yet small enough to shove in the boot of your car or campervan for a road trip or camping holiday. This guide rounds up the best portable power stations around. We'll start with some buying advice before moving onto our top picks.
How to choose the best portable power station for you
The portable power stations are much more than just high-capacity batteries. Although the capacity is all-important, the best portable power stations have a plethora of ins and outs. Do you need a USB-C PD slot that can refuel a laptop? Easy. A mains plug to attach a regular wall plug? No problem. Anderson connectors to cable-up a solar panel? That depends on the product.
However, aside from connections there are other extra features to look for. For example, some portable power stations take their outdoorsy nature to heart and provide campers with a built-in LED light. Others have moulded-in carry handles so you can go easily from car boot to camp. Some can be charged-up with solar panels of varying sizes. Most now have LED screens that tell you exactly how much charge is left and what the current status is. You often now get an app, too.
Exactly how portable your power station is depends on the capacity. It’s always a trade-off between weight and portability; don’t obsess over buying the one with the most watt hours (Wh) and then expect to be able to easily carry it across a campsite (unless you don’t mind investing in a hand-truck). Just be careful to buy the correct socket version for you, whether that be the UK, US or EU, because the best portable batteries do tend to come in region-specific versions.
We've chosen a wide range of the best portable power stations here, from the largest and most powerful ideal for extended off-grid trips to relatively small examples that are nevertheless perfect for a road-trip or campervan adventure. Read on for the very best portable power stations on the market today.
The best portable power stations you can buy right now:
If you can’t decide whether you need a grab-and-go portable battery for weekends away or something more substantial then the EcoFlow River Max is what you need. Uniquely modular, the River Max has a total of 576Wh yet is essentially a chassis-upgrade over EcoFlow’s smaller 288Wh-capable River. Rather neatly the EcoFlow River Max has two 288Wh batteries inside, one of which can be removed if you need something lighter on occasion.
In either configuration it’s quick to charge, with EcoFlow’s ‘X-Stream’ using a smart inverter, to recharge from 0-80% within an hour, and fully charged in just 1.6 hours. You can also increase the AC output to up to 1800W if you need to power a home appliance or DIY tool. Loaded with ins and outs and with a built-in carry handle, cables to charge it while you drive and the ability to use two 110W solar panels make the EcoFlow River Max an attractive option for short trips off-grid.
Goal Zero’s flagship portable power station is for committed off-gridders and van-lifers. Huge and heavy, it contains a lithium-ion NMC battery rated at a mighty 1,516W hours. It’s a treasure trove of ins and outs, with highlights including two PD USB-C slots (one 60W to recharge a laptop and one 18W Quick Charge to quickly refuel a phone), a 12V cigarette lighter charger and standard AC.
There’s an excellent LCD display that shows you exactly what it’s up to, what charge remains and there’s even an app for that that connects over the Yeti 1500X’s own WiFi network. Capable of charging lights or even a fridge, there’s a couple of Anderson inputs that can be hooked-up to maximum 600W solar panels (though you mustn’t exceed 50V), one of which is underneath a flap on the top that also gives you somewhere to store cables neatly. There are two useful handles on either side of the unit, but all that great stuff means the Yeti 1500X is a very heavy product.
How much power do you actually need? This entry-level portable power station offers 500Wh, which is about 40 recharges of a smartphone and seven recharges of a laptop. If that sounds enough then there’s a lot to like about this pared-down portable battery, which can cope with 11 devices simultaneously. That can include up to four smartphones cabled-up, but an additional device on the top thanks to the PowerOak AC50S’s unusual provision of a wireless charging pad.
There’s also an LED lamp on the rear in case you need some light around camp at night. It takes about five hours to recharge the PowerOak AC50S via a PowerOak SP120 solar panel, a wall socket or via a 12V car outlet, the latter making it perfect for a road trip. As a nice bonus you also get a bunch of cables, though there’s nowhere to store them.
Few power stations worth having are as portable as the Jackery Explorer 500, which boasts a 518Wh lithium-ion battery pack that’s big enough for casual use while being slightly lighter than the competition. It’s one of the lightest portable power stations around and underlines that with a large built-in handle that’s easy to carry.
It’s got enough ins and outs to charge everything from phones and cameras to a TV or mini-fridge. It can be charged at home in about 7.5 hours, from a car’s 12V cigarette lighter in eight hours and from a solar panel in 9.5 hours in perfect conditions (it’s also available bundled with Jackery’s SolarSaga 100W solar panel). However, what it lacks is a USB-C PD slot for fueling a laptop.
If you want to fuel a microwave, a refrigerator, an air-conditioning unit or a heater for a long time while off-grid then only a huge power station will do. Cue the Bluetti PowerOak AC200P, which offers a massive 2,000Wh and consequently weighs a mighty 27.5 kg/60.6lbs. That’s right on the edge of ‘portable’, though two large handles moulded into the frame make it reasonably easy to lug it out of the back of a car. You’ll be pleased you bothered because on the top are a couple of 15W wireless charging pads.
On the front a plethora of ins and outs are hidden behind rubber flaps, which gives the Bluetti PowerOak AC200P a more outdoorsy look than most, as well as a colour LCD touchscreen display so you can monitor exactly what power is being sent through specific outlets. If there’s a drawback to the Bluetti PowerOak AC200P it’s weight, with its LiFePO (lithium iron phosphate) cells making it significantly heavier than LiFePO (lithium iron-phosphate) rivals.