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Find the best power station for your needs

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Portable power stations come in many shapes and sizes. We’ve looked at a lot of them, and we’ve picked our favorites for a wide range of emergency and every-day needs.

There are many types of portable chargers that range from the tiny MagSafe Battery Pack to the hefty power station that can act as a whole-home backup. This roundup focuses on the medium-size class of power stations that are larger than a power bank but still small enough to be considered portable.

We look for several qualities to judge a power station: size, weight, number of ports, recharge rate, and feature modernity. The best power station will meet somewhere in the middle, though users who need more capacity may need to skew larger.

Power stations are best used as emergency power supplies, travel power for extended stays away from the grid, and sometimes, as uninterruptible power supplies. Of course, use cases will change based on a person’s needs.

Best all-around power station: EcoFlow Delta 2

The EcoFlow Delta 2 is the perfect middle ground in portable power stations. It has plenty of ports, a fast charge feature, and an excellent capacity for the price.

A balance of ports, capacity, and portability

A balance of ports, capacity, and portability

The 1024Wh battery can charge an iPhone 89 times or keep a 120W refrigerator running for 14 hours. Its X-Stream fast charging feature stands out as it can get the battery from 0% to 80% in just 50 minutes.

It has 15 ports: 4 USB-A, two 100W USB-C, six AC outlets, two DC5521 ports, and a car charging port. The battery can output 2200W when all ports are in use.

Input options include solar, car, and AC. Inputs can be used with a maximum input of 1200W, including up to 500W solar.

At 27 pounds, it is on the lighter side of portable power stations with this capacity and feature set. The built-in handles make it easy to carry.

Honorable mention

Generally, this is where we’d place the alternative choice for a product, but from the batteries we tested, there wasn’t a great option for the class. The EcoFlow station not only has excellent features, but it also has a highly competitive price.

Goal Zero's power station doesn't match up to the competition

Goal Zero’s power station doesn’t match up to the competition

The closest compare we tested is the Goal Zero Yeti 1000x. We like that it has storage for cables under its flat-top lid, but there’s not much else to love about this power station.

It is slow to charge, has a large and hot external power supply, and costs much more than the EcoFlow. However, that doesn’t make it a bad option, just not the best one.

The Goal Zero Yeti 1000x might be a reasonable choice for those heavily invested in the Goal Zero ecosystem. Otherwise, we can’t recommend it.

Most premium power station: Bluetti AC200Max

The Bluetti AC200Max sits at the top end of the medium-sized power station class. Any more capacity or weight, and it would need wheels.

If price isn't an issue, Bluetti has everything you'd need

If price isn’t an issue, Bluetti has everything you’d need

This feature-packed power station has a multitude of ports, wireless charging pads, two expansion ports, a 2,048Wh capacity, and a NEMA TT-30 outlet for RV use. The display has touchscreen controls, and all outlets have a dust cover.

This massive 62-pound battery stretches the limit of something that can be considered portable. However, it is a great battery that could easily power a weekend camping trip or get you through an extended power outage.

Twice the weight, twice the capacity, but at about a 1/3 price increase over the EcoFlow. It can run a 150W refrigerator for 10 hours or keep a 10W light on for 150 hours.

It has 16 ports: a 120W car charger output, a 360W Super DC output, two 120W DC 5521 outputs, a 100W USB-C PD 3.0 port, two 18W USB-A ports, two 15W USB-A ports, four grounded AC outlets, and a NEMA TT-30 outlet. The two 15W wireless charging pads aren’t magnetic but do invoke the MagSafe charging animation when an iPhone is placed.

Users can attach up to two Bluetti battery expansion packs, charge from a 120W source using a car charger plug, or charge from the 500W power supply. It takes about six hours to charge from zero using the included 400W power supply.

The Bluetti AC200Max Expandable Power Station is sold for $1,599 directly from the Bluetti website. It is also available on Amazon for $1,599 on Amazon with the on-page coupon.

Best for the budget/most portable power station: Jackery Explorer 240

At the other end of the “medium” power station spectrum are tiny lunch-box-sized batteries like the Jackery Explorer 240. Any smaller, and this product would fall under the battery power bank category used for powering smartphones.

The Jackery Explorer 240 offers useful ports in a tiny package

The Jackery Explorer 240 offers useful ports in a tiny package

This 6.6-pound battery has a 240Wh capacity with two USB-A ports, an outlet, and a car charger port. It can recharge a 16-inch MacBook Pro twice or an iPhone about 25 times.

It isn’t quite big enough to provide power to a significant load like a refrigerator, not for long anyway. This device is best used as a charging station for limited outdoor excursions or as an emergency power supply to keep your iPhone alive during a power outage.

Despite its small size, it still takes about 5.5 hours to charge with the included power supply. There are 60W solar panels available as well that can fully charge the battery in about 7 hours.

The advantage of this size class is its extreme portability versus capacity. For example, it can provide power to an electric wheelchair to keep things moving long enough to get to a dedicated outlet.

The Jackery Explorer 240 is available for $219 from the Jackery website. It is also available from Amazon for $180.39 at the time of publication.

Runner up: DBPower portable power station

While it isn’t quite as versatile as the Jackery Explorer, we wanted to highlight the DBPower Portable Power Station. Its port selection could be better, but including two sets of lights makes this a great portable option.

A great low priced power station with lights

A great low priced power station with lights

It has a 250Wh capacity and weighs only 4.4 pounds. There are three USB-A ports, a 12V DC outlet, and an AC outlet. It has a DC input and, inexplicably, a 15W USB-C input for charging.

The lunchbox comparison is apt for this model thanks to the folding handle on top. Turn on the lights and carry it like a small lantern, or recharge your 16-inch MacBook Pro twice during longer excursions from dedicated outlets.

Buy the DBPower portable power station directly from the DBPower website for $179.99. It is on sale at the time of this writing, and the regular retail price is $219.99.

Amazon is offering a $50 off coupon for a limited time. Its listed price is $179.99, but it can be purchased for $129.99 with the coupon — an excellent value.

Which portable power station should you buy?

Deciding which power station to buy comes down to its intended use case. Avid campers or RV owners would benefit from the Bluetti AC200Max, while those taking the occasional fishing trip may only need the Jackery Explorer.

Choose based on your needs

Choose based on your needs

If you’re just looking for the best power station that balances its feature set with price, we recommend the EcoFlow Delta 2. For the price, you can’t beat its excellent port selection, fast recharge rate, and capacity.

The larger batteries are also excellent to have on standby for power outages. If you live in a region prone to power loss, keeping the refrigerator running for a few more hours can mean the difference between inconvenience and expensive disaster.

The post Best portable power stations to keep lights on & iPhone charged in an emergency first appeared on appleinsider.com

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