There are key factors to keep in mind when selecting the best portable power station for your camping trips, preparing for storms, or power outages. These appliances have a range of power outputs and charging capacities, with different energy sources and varying degrees of portability.
Take a look at these options for an emergency power station or portable energy supply. The portable power station reviews below include the top models available, along with insight on selecting the best portable power station for your needs. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.
- BEST OVERALL: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- BEST VALUE: AIMTOM 42000mAh 155Wh Power Station
- BEST UPGRADE: ECOFLOW Portable Power Station EFDELTA, UPS Power
- BEST ELECTRIC: BALDR Portable Power Station 330W
- BEST GAS-POWERED: WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter
- BEST SOLAR: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: MARBERO Portable Power Station
Types of Portable Power Stations
Portable power stations fall into three broad categories, based on the method they use to collect and store energy: electric, gas-powered, and solar.
Electric power stations, also known as battery portable power stations, operate like a large battery. Simply plug the portable power station into a wall outlet and it charges quickly. Some power stations may also charge in a car power outlet, provided they have the correct adapter, but this takes longer than it does in a standard outlet.
Electric power stations work best for indoor purposes and devices with low power requirements, such as cell phones or flashlights. Some products pair with a compatible solar panel to charge using solar energy.
Gas power stations typically weigh in as the heaviest of these devices, but they may feature a set of wheels to take some of the burden off the user. You cannot use gas-powered generators indoors or in a tent because they can produce carbon monoxide and other harmful exhaust as a byproduct of burning their fuel.
However, these gas units typically rank as the most powerful portable power supply available. They power electric pumps, power tools, and even a portable dishwasher, which lets you enjoy the great outdoors with all the comforts of home.
Solar power stations are suitable for camping and can charge during the day while you enjoy the sun. Come nighttime, your generator will be ready to provide hours of power. In the past, solar power stations only had the capability to charge using sunlight, which greatly limited their reliability.
Some manufacturers now combine solar and electric portable power stations to give you the option to charge using a traditional electric outlet, a vehicle power outlet, or detachable solar panels. Steadily, this hybrid idea has become the most frequently seen style of portable power station available. Today, very few power stations offer only solar or only electric power.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Portable Power Station
Keep these important factors and product features in mind when you shop for the best power station to keep your devices charged.
Power Output (mAh)
The power output of a portable power station refers to the maximum amount of energy the station delivers to the attached devices. Low-output power stations may hold a tremendous amount of energy, but you access it at a very slow rate.
Power output is measured in milliamp-hours (mAh). It indicates how long the power station will power a specific device and its capacity for additional devices. For instance, if you have a power station with a 2,000 mAh battery, you can use it to charge or power a device that draws 200 mAh.
If the battery is fully charged when you begin and the device doesn’t reach capacity, then it will take only 10 hours for the power station to run out of energy. Alternatively, the same 2,000 mAh battery would run out of power in just 2 hours if you have five similar devices attached, each drawing 200 mAh.
Electric and solar generator units generally come in smaller and lighter than gas-powered generators, which makes them the ideal power station for camping and road trips. However, the best power stations that run on gas often come with wheels to offset their heavier weight, so you simply wheel them to your destination.
If portable is what you’re after, look for a manageable size and weight as well as features that facilitate transport, such as wheels, a carrying handle, or even a cart for large, gas-powered portable power stations.
You must also consider how much noise your power station will make. If you set it up inside your home or workshop, you want to make sure you won’t need hearing protection while it runs. You also don’t want a portable power station that’s so loud it keeps you awake at the campsite while powering your portable cooler or refrigerator.
Typically, electric and solar portable power stations make for the quietest options available. These products don’t make much noise at all because they only transfer stored energy. They hum no louder than a mini-fridge. Gas-powered power stations, on the other hand, don’t just store energy, they also generate it. This process can be very loud, depending on the individual product.
Whenever you operate a device that uses electricity or gasoline, beware of the potential risks, like overheating. Look for portable power stations that have built-in safety features like an automatic shutdown function, overload protection, and an internal high/low-temperature gauge.
- An automatic shutdown function helps to prevent the premature degradation of the power station by turning the device off if it detects the fuel levels or oil levels are reaching a minimum.
- Overload protection disengages the portable power station from the input current if it detects the current is exceeding a safe charge capacity.
- An internal high/low temperature gauge measures the temperature of the battery and stops all input and output functions if the battery temperature falls outside of a safe range as determined by the manufacturer.
Whether you use your portable power station at home, camping, or on the job site, you want to invest in a product that will withstand any method of transportation and any possible impact damage that could occur. If you use the power station in your home or workshop exclusively as a backup power device, then a lightweight product will be fine.
If you use a power station for camping, you will want to consider products that offer water and UV resistance. On a job site, you need a heavy-duty product that won’t break down if a wrench or hammer falls on top of it.
Battery and Charging Method
Portable power stations typically come equipped with lithium-ion batteries that hold a significant amount of stored electrical energy. Most power stations plug directly into a standard electrical outlet, but many models don’t require access to a wall outlet.
Some portable power stations charge in cars with the proper adapter – a great method for camping and road trips. With the right conditions, solar charging works well. You need a compatible solar panel, the appropriate weather for efficient solar charging, and a suitable place to leave the portable power station where it will absorb solar energy. Power stations with multiple charging methods make an excellent resource for long camping trips because they help to ensure that you get power in almost any situation.
Our Top Picks
The following products rank among the best portable power stations in terms of quality, dependability, and price.
Small, powerful, and versatile, the Jackery Portable Power Station makes a great option for outdoor or indoor use. The lightweight device has 3 charging methods including a standard wall outlet, your vehicle’s 12V power outlet, or a compatible solar panel.
Jackery’s power station has a variety of uses around the home, on the job site, and in the great outdoors. Use it to power tools instead of relying on a long extension cord, or charge a phone, laptop, drone, or mini-cooler. Electric powered, it won’t make noise or produce fumes while it runs.
The portable power station puts out a maximum of 67,000 mAh. You charge up to four devices simultaneously in the unit’s standard AC outlet, two USB-A ports, and 12V outlet. It charges fully in a standard wall outlet, a 12V vehicle outlet, or with a compatible solar panel, which the user must purchase separately. Additionally, a built-in handle makes this 6.6-pound power station easy to carry.
- Wattage: 200 Watts
- Dimensions: 5 x 9 x 7.7 inches
- Weight: 6.6 pounds
- Outlets: One standard AC outlet, two USB-A ports, and one 12V outlet
- Power Storage: 67,000 mAh
- Lightweight model
- Multiple charging options
- Built-in handle for portability
- Solar charging panels sold separately
- Does not function with electronics over 200 watts
Get the Jackery portable power station on Amazon and at Walmart.
Charge up to seven electrical devices at once, and even power a built-in flashlight, with this compact and lightweight portable power station. A solid top handle makes it easy to carry this 3.5-pound power station to the campsite, tailgate party, or around the house. It charges in just 7 to 8 hours and works with compatible solar panels purchased separately.
Aimtom’s affordable unit features one standard AC outlet, three USB ports, and three 12V outlets with a maximum power output of 42,000 mAh. A built-in battery management system protects the device against overcurrent, overvoltage, and high or low-temperature extremes to help extend the operating life of the power station.
- Wattage: 100 Watts
- Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.7 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Outlets: One standard AC outlet, three USB ports, and three 12V outlets
- Power Storage: 42,000 mAh
- Lightweight unit
- Built-in battery monitor offers overheat, overvoltage, and temperature protection
- Multiple charging options, including fast charging with outlet
- Needs a full power grid charge before use
- Solar panels sold separately
Get the AITOM portable power station on Amazon.
ECOFLOW’s premium-priced Portable Power Station offers the high power of a gas-powered generator without the noise and harmful fumes. It features an impressive maximum power output of 350,000 mAh and charges from 0 to 80 percent in 1 hour on a standard AC outlet.
The ECOFLOW has a durable reinforced aluminum chassis, rubber grips, and a built-in handle that allows for transport of the 31-pound unit. The unit supports up to 13 devices at once through its six standard AC outlets, four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and one 12V outlet.
This power station charges fully in less than 2 hours using a compatible solar panel (sold separately) or a 12/24V port in a vehicle.
- Wattage: 3300 Watts
- Dimensions: 15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6 inches
- Weight: 31 pounds
- Outlets: Six standard AC outlets, four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and one 12V outlet
- Power Storage: 350,000 mAh
- High-capacity unit
- Achieves a sufficient charge in 1 hour
- Multiple charging options
- Solar panel chargers not included
- Heavier and more expensive than other models
Get the ECOFLOW portable power station at Amazon, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot.
Electric portable power stations, like this BALDR Portable Power Station, offer several advantages over gas-powered generators that make them ideal for use in the workshop, at home, or on the road. For one, this electric power station runs silently while it charges up or powers electronic devices. What’s more, it produces no harmful fumes.
It powers up to nine devices with 66,000 mAh of power and one standard AC outlet, three USB ports, one C-type port, three 12V outlets, and a unique wireless charging pad for your compatible devices. A helpful, fold-down handle makes it easy to transport the 7.1-pound device. A built-in flashlight and battery management system optimize the function of the device, as well.
- Wattage: 330 Watts
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.3 x 7.7 inches
- Weight: 7.1 pounds
- Outlets: One standard AC outlet, three USB ports, one C-type port, and three 12V outlets
- Power Storage: 66,000 mAh
- Lightweight device
- High-capacity unit
- Comes with wireless charging pads
- Built-in handle for portability
Get the BALDR portable power station on Amazon and at Walmart.
An excellent pick for camping or tailgate parties, Wen’s Super Quiet Inverter runs for up to 7 hours on a single gallon of gas. The portable power station’s inverter generator puts out up to 400,000 mAh at a quiet 51-decibel volume. Two standard AC outlets, two USB ports, and one 12V outlet power up to five devices.
Low-oil and low-fuel shutdown functions help preserve gas in this generator. An automatic fuel shutoff function prevents blockages and reduces wear by ensuring the machine uses the remaining fuel from the carburetor before shutting down.
- Wattage: 2000 Watts
- Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches
- Weight: 39 Pounds
- Outlets: Two standard AC outlets, two USB ports, and one 12V outlet
- Power Storage: 400,000 mAh
- Quiet operation
- Runs for 7 hours on a tank of gasoline
- Automatic shut-off function for gas preservation
- Not recommended for indoor use
- Heavier than other units
Get the WEN portable power station at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.
Goal Zero Yeti’s 400 Portable Power Station charges in a standard wall outlet, a car charger, or with the included 50-watt solar panel. The 33,000 mAh device comes with seven different outlets including two standard AC outlets, two USB ports, and three 12V outlets. A digital display on the front provides a real-time calculation of the current electrical input and output, so users know when to connect the solar panel to recharge the internal battery.
Simply set up the portable power station on the ground, fold down the kickstand, and place the solar panel directly above the power station, at an angle facing the sun, to absorb solar energy while keeping the power station out of direct sunlight.
- Wattage: 300 Watts
- Dimensions: 7.5 x 11.25 x 7.0 inches
- Weight: 16.3 pounds
- Outlets: Two standard AC outlets, two USB ports, and three 12V outlets
- Power Storage: 33,000 mAh
- High-capacity option
- Three charging methods, including built-in solar panels
- Digital display for charging/power levels
Get the Goal Zero portable power station on Amazon and at The Home Depot.
Keep electronics charged without adding unnecessary weight. At only 2.2 pounds, Marbero’s station makes a great companion on hiking, camping, and road trips (but keep it out of the water). Just grab it by the built-in carrying handle.
Making super-efficient use of its lightweight, the unit includes a 562-lumen flashlight – one less thing to pack in a backpack. Use it on SOS mode to signal for help in emergencies or simply illuminate the campsite for over 12 hours on a full charge.
Charge up to five devices at one time with the built-in outlets, including one standard AC outlet, two USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports, and 22,500 mAh of power output. When the power station runs out of energy, recharge it with a nearby electrical outlet, plug it into the 12V car charger, or use a compatible solar panel (sold separately).
- Wattage: 120 watts
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.6 x 2.7 inches
- Weight: 2.2 Pounds
- Outlets: One standard AC outlet, two USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports
- Power Storage: 22,500mAh
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Charge with a wall outlet, car adapter, or solar panels
- Built-in flashlight with SOS mode for emergencies
- Vulnerable to rain and splashing water
- Solar panel for solar charging not included
Get the MARBERO portable power station on Amazon and at Walmart.
If you are looking for a unit to take on your next outdoor trip with ample power output, optimal portability, and flexible charging options, we recommend the Jackery power station. Those who prefer a lightweight model with faster charging—but less power—should look to the AIMTOM power station.
How We Chose the Best Portable Power Stations
We narrowed down the top portable power stations to those that offer high-volume power output, portability, various charging ports, and durability. Added features and user-friendliness also figured into the selection.
All the featured picks have over 33,000 mAh in power output, with the highest at over 400,000 mAh for extensive power requirements. These products include gas-powered, solar-powered, and electric models to accommodate different energy preferences and circumstances. Each weighs in at under 50 pounds for ultimate portability when camping, during a power outage, or even on a long-distance road trip.
What stands out most about each of these top-rated power stations is the special features included. Among them are digital displays; overheat-, overcharge-, and temperature-protection; outlets to charge or power up to 13 devices at once; and multiple charging modes.
Read below to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about portable power stations.
Q: What is the optimal power output you need for a portable power station?
Everyone has a different purpose for the portable power system, which determines optimal power output. However, for the average individual, the optimal power output for an electric portable power station should be about 40,000 milliamp-hours (mAh).
Q: How many devices can a portable power station charge simultaneously?
The number of devices you can charge simultaneously depends on the type of devices being charged, the power output of the battery, and the number of outlets available on the portable power station. Average portable power stations typically charge two to three devices at one time. However, if the plugged-in devices draw more power than the portable power station puts out, then the power station won’t power all of your devices simultaneously.
Q: What is the difference between a portable power station and a generator?
A generator uses gasoline or another fuel to create electrical energy instead of simply storing electrical energy. Also, generators are much larger tools that are designed for supporting a significantly higher number of electronics. Many generators supply power for an entire home, while lightweight portable power stations work best with small appliances and electronic devices, like smartphones, tablets, camp coolers, or camp stoves.
Q: Can a portable power station run a heater?
It depends on the specific heater and the specific portable power station. As long as the wattage of the heater does not exceed the running wattage of the portable power station, then the power station can run the heater.
Q: Can a portable power station run a refrigerator?
Similar to a heater, whether a portable power station can run a refrigerator or not depends on the wattage of the specific power station and the wattage of the specific refrigerator. As long as the wattage of the refrigerator does not exceed the running watts of the power station then the portable power station can run a refrigerator.
Q: Can a portable power station run a TV?
While most portable power stations are not used to run televisions, they certainly can be as long as the wattage of the TV doesn’t exceed the running wattage of the portable power station.
Q: Can you leave a portable power station outside?
It’s best to leave a portable power station inside, or at least under some cover, as these units are not typically waterproof. However, as long as you protect the portable power station from water, you can leave it outside. In fact, it must stay outside to charge on a solar panel, preferably in a sunny location.
Q: What are the safety tips that you should remember when using a portable power station?
Some key safety tips about portable power stations include:
- Use the correct cables with the correct outlets.
- Place cables off the ground to avoid a tripping hazard.
- Do not use devices that exceed the running wattage of the power station.
- Avoid exposing portable power stations to water.
- Take breaks when carrying heavy portable power stations to avoid muscle strain.
Q: How long does a portable power station take to charge?
Charge time depends on the individual product and the charging method. For instance, a portable power station may be able to fully charge in just 2 hours when it’s plugged into a power outlet, but it may take over 8 hours to fully charge a portable power station with a solar panel.
Q: How long do portable power stations last?
The average portable power station will have a battery charge that lasts from three to 13 hours depending on how you use it. These devices have an average life of about 10 years, though this varies depending on care, storage, and frequency of use.
Q: How do you properly recycle an old portable power station?
Don’t add to growing e-waste problems by throwing an old portable power station in the trash. Instead, take it to a local electronics recycling location. Usually, a municipality or town will have a program for recycling electronics and some retailers also offer e-waste recycling programs.