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What should I look for when buying a portable power station?

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What should I look for when buying a portable power station?

A portable power station can offer peace of mind. These battery-powered generators are easily rechargeable and produce little noise and no fumes, unlike any fossil fuel generator.

Most portable power stations are compact, making them ideal for leisure use, such as charging devices, phones and laptops while camping. Or, they can provide energy for electronic devices when in places where grid power is not readily available, such as construction sites.

A few considerations are needed to determine which one will be best for you. Like any generator, it’s all about getting the best fit for your needs.

What might you use a portable power station for?

There are many reasons people favour these types of generators. They are often the preferred choice because they are environmentally friendly, quieter, and smaller.

They are ideal for taking with you on holidays or work trips where a smaller battery pack isn’t enough.

Here are a few popular reasons people buy these:

  • Camping – when you’re entirely off-grid, but you still need to charge phones and other electronic items.
  • Extended time spent on the road – if you’re travelling and need to charge a laptop.
  • Emergencies – if you lose electricity at home and need a quick and straightforward solution for essential appliances.
  • When there’s no easy access to the grid – this could be supplying electricity to your shed for lighting and tools.

Another great advantage is they can be used inside, unlike standard generators, which produce harmful fumes and can only be used outside and away from living areas.

How do I choose a portable power station?

There are many options to choose from, and as we’ve said, it’s about finding the right one for you. Depending on the brand and specifications, they will vary in shape, size and price.

Prices range from £300-£2000 depending on what you need, which is why choosing the right one is important.

What should I consider?

Are you relying on it to provide a power supply during a power outage? In this case, you’ll need to consider how much power you need to produce.

You need to look at the battery capacity to see the output you can expect it to produce when it’s fully charged. For larger capacities, you’ll need a more heavy-duty power station.

You may also want to consider how essential your power needs are. For example, if you are relying on a power station to power a life-saving device such as CPAP machines, you need to ensure you can maintain power all night.

Next, you’ll consider the features of your portable power station. Do you need both AC outlets and USB ports? If you’re looking to power multiple devices, think about how many wall outlets you need. If USB is essential, you may want to look for USB-C, a newer technology able to transfer data faster.

Are there any accessories you need? You can jump-start a car with a power station, so if this is what you want, some come with car battery jumper cables.

Many power stations come with LED flashlights built into the unit, which can be very useful in an emergency.

Lastly, do you want to harness the sun’s free energy supply and use solar panels to charge the station? In this case, you need to look at power stations with solar panel input.

Let’s summarise this for you.

To help you choose a good portable power station, consider:

  • The capacity you need (the Watts-hours (Wh) will tell you the battery capacity.)
  • The amount of power you need (the Watts rating indicates its maximum power output)
  • What features do you need (USB and AC outlets)
  • Size and weight (especially if travelling with it)
  • Accessories (what do you need, and are they compatible)
  • Price (what’s your budget)

Once you’ve considered the above, you should have no problem finding the right portable power station.

How do I charge a portable power station?

Typically these stations will contain lithium-ion batteries or Li-ion batteries, which are rechargeable. You’ll be able to charge your portable power station using a wall outlet. So you can charge it at home or the office.

Some stations can also be charged using car batteries, which can be helpful if you’re on the road or travelling and need to charge the power station.

As mentioned above, solar panels are also an option and a great way to recharge using free and renewable energy. Don’t forget, if you want this, check if it’s compatible with solar panels before you buy.

Do portable power stations last?

The actual lifespan of a portable power station depends on a few factors; how well it’s maintained and how often it’s used.

As with any battery-powered device, running it down from full to zero charge is good every now and again. If you’re using it regularly, you may want to do this once or twice a week.

How long the power station lasts on a full charge will depend on how much wattage you’re drawing from it. The more you have plugged in, the quicker it will need recharging.

Many will have a display panel and smart control, which will help you monitor usage and the percentage of charge left.

When looking at different power stations, check the estimated run and charge times given by the supplier; this should indicate how long it will last.

Conclusion

If you want to charge devices on the move, a portable power station will be an excellent investment for you. By following the advice in this article, you’ll be able to choose the best one.

If you have any questions, give our team a shout!

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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