Prepare for Anything with the Best Portable Power Stations of 2023

It’s easy to think that a power station is just a really big portable battery pack, but they offer so much more. Other than simply recharging your devices, a portable power station can power lamps to light a room, or in some cases keep a fridge running during a power outage. They can also be a major convenience on camping trips, or even an outdoor power source for a projector and speakers during a backyard movie night. Here at PCWorld we love our electronics, and a big part of that enjoyment is knowing how to always keep our gadgets running. This is where a backup power source comes in. We’ve tested numerous portable power stations under a variety of conditions, with strict standards for performance and reliability.Our picks for the best portable power stations are based on our extensive portable power station reviews. Portable power stations are great for powering larger devices, but if you’re in the market for a more modest power source—one you can use to charge a laptop or phone—see our roundup of best power banks for our top picks in that category instead. RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House – Best small portable power station Pros Small form factor Plenty of ports Comes with a case and built-in flashlight Cons Built for quick trips, not for extended use Whether you’re looking for a power station for weekends off the grid, or you want to be prepared for a power shortage at home, RAVPower’s 252.7Wh portable power station can meet the demand. That is, if the demand is mostly recharging phones, laptops, and other lighter-duty items. It features a pure sine wave AC inverter for sensitive devices but is largely limited by a 253 watt-hour capacity. The good news is that for most people, that’s plenty and it makes it ultra-portable and relatively light. It’s got a nice complement of ports, as well as a carrying handle and a case, and it’s affordably priced. Aukey PowerTitan 300 – Best small power station runner-up Pros Big bright display Plenty of ports Highly efficient Cons Solar panel accessory is a miss Aukey’s PowerTitan is in a close tie with RAVPower’s power station above. It also has high-efficiency, a nice array of ports, a fairly fast re-charge time, and an affordable price. Like the RAVPower, its best purpose is for charging of phones, tablets, and laptops or other lighter tasks as it is still limited by its 300 watt-hour capacity. RAVPower’s option is the less expensive of the two, giving it a slight edge. Jackery Explorer 1500 Pro – Best power station for preppers Pros Excellent weight to capacity ratio Very fast charging Cons No phone app support Battery chemistry not the best suited for full-time off-grid users Whether your idea of prepping is anticipating an unreliable grid, an extended camping trip, or just running a video projector in the backyard, Jackery’s Explorer 1500 Pro has got you handled thanks to its very good efficiency, relatively light weight, and 1,500 watt-hours of capacity. That’s enough power to get your fridge through the night, and with its fast AC charging, you can actually easily move the Jackery Explorer 1500 Pro somewhere it can be charged and back to your home before the steaks have thawed out. The only odd missing feature is the lack of an app to customize the unit and monitor output from your phone, but we’ll overlook that for all of the unit’s other outstanding features. Bluetti AC180 – Best for preppers runner-up Pros Very efficient AC operation Plenty of connection options Bluetti’s AC180 bumps our previous runner-up for preppers based on its price-to-performance ratio, which largely comes down to its class-leading efficiency. Despite it being a 1,152 watt-hour unit, it’s able to convert an impressive 87 percent of the stored energy into electricity to run your fridge or electronics. Combine that efficiency with its long-service life lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries and the company’s recognized name, and there isn’t much to dislike. The AC180 also has a feature-rich app that even lets you access the unit’s settings without access to the internet. That’s a feature long-requested by serious off-the-grid preppers, who bitterly complain that an app has no use if you effectively can’t access it because you’re forced to log in to the app every month or two (*cough* Ecoflow). So yeah, preppers, Bluetti has heard your griping. EcoFlow Delta 2 – Best high-tech and expandable power station Pros Lithium Iron Phophate batteries for longer duty cycles Companion app is handy Impressive recharge rate Can be expanded by adding secondary battery Cons Loud fans under heavy and even light loads Expansion battery kinda pricey The new Delta 2 is now one of the most high-tech portable power stations available, with good app support for remote control and the option to augment the unit with a secondary battery. With one of the fastest charge rates around, an 1,800-watt output, a 2,700-watt surge output, and “X-Boost” output of 2,200W, the Delta 2 is robust and powerful. Our only major complaint is fan noise, which gets excessive under heavy use. We’re hopeful EcoFlow will address that in a firmware update. What to look for in a power station Not all power stations are created equal. For example, some stations have the ability to power a microwave, while others can maybe deal with the power requirements of a desktop gaming computer. When shopping for a power station, there are some important aspects to keep in mind. In the list below, we try not to get too technical. Consider what you plan on using the power station for to decide the ideal capacity and physical size of the power station. The stations are filled with batteries to keep your devices powered, and batteries are heavy. When shopping for something you want to take camping, for example, it makes sense to prioritize a lighter weight. But if you want something to use as a backup power source in your home, size and weight may not matter all that much. Check the capacity of the power station. Often the capacity of the station is included in its name, but that’s not always the case. For example, the Anker 535 PowerHouse may lead you to believe that its capacity is 535Wh, but in reality it’s 512Wh. Always read the fine print or spec sheet to see the exact capacity. For reference, a capacity of 512Wh is roughly 7x more than our top pick for best portable battery pack, the Mophie PowerStation XXL. While it’s not realistic to know how you’ll use the power station in the future, try to guesstimate the number of ports and outlets you’ll need. Here’s the technical part. Some power stations list modified sine wave or pure sine wave on their spec sheet. If you plan on using the power station to charge your phone, laptop, or even power a lamp, a station that lists “sine wave” is perfectly fine. However, if you’re going to use the station for medical equipment (like a CPAP machine), a microwave, or anything with a motor, you’ll want to opt for a station that can output a pure sine wave signal. These days, it’s actually hard to find a higher-capacity power station with anything but pure sine wave. Lastly, it’s important to check the watt output of the device(s) you need to power and compare it to the power station’s rating. Usually a power station will list two different outputs: a standard output and a peak output. The standard output is what it’s built to run at for extended amounts of time, while the peak output is what it can handle for brief periods of time — such as when you first power on a device and it draws more power. You can get a rough estimate of the wattage on a device by multiplying the voltage times the amps. For example, if the power brick says 20 volts at 3 amps, the brick can output up to 60 watts.