LAST UPDATED: January 18, 2021

The Best Portable Power Supplies (Review) in 2021

Best Choice Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Supply Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Supply
Premium Pick Audew 500Wh Portable Power Station Audew 500Wh Portable Power Station
Best Value Paxcess 151Wh Portable Power Supply Paxcess 151Wh Portable Power Supply

Gone are the days when going camping or suffering a power outage meant you had to live without electricity until your trip was over or the power was restored. These days, portable power supplies make a much more luxurious “glamping” experience possible.

Modern portable power supplies have built-in inverters that make them capable of charging AC devices, and they can be recharged using solar or your car’s battery – making it possible to live entirely off the grid. Whether it’s your smartphone, microwave, television, or heater, you no longer have to sacrifice your creature comforts in return for an adventure in the great outdoors.

Sold on the benefits of a portable power supply and looking for some direction on which one to buy? Read our buying guide to the best portable power supplies based on factors such as capacity, amount of outlets, recharge time, and value for the money. You’ll be fully charged and ready to go in no time!

The Best Portable Power Supplies

Topping our list of the best portable power supplies is the Jackery 240 Explorer. This high-capacity lithium-ion battery can power devices of up to 200W from the AC outlet via a pure sine wave inverter. There’s also a DC car-port and two USB ports, so you can charge multiple devices at once. You can recharge it from an AC outlet, car charger, or with a compatible solar panel (must be purchased separately), in around 8 hours.

This portable battery charger has a full LCD display with a battery percentage indicator, so you can see exactly how much power you have left. Other advantages include a silent operation, and a lightweight, ultra-portable design. The only thing you’ll need to watch out for is the automatic shut-off function, which kicks in when the current draw is too low – it’s great for preserving power, but could be a problem if you’re running a device with a typically low wattage, such as some CPAP machines.

Key Features
  • 240Wh capacity 67000mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 200W pure sine wave inverter
  • 2 x USB outlets, 1 x AC outlet, 1 x DC car port
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (8 hours), car-port or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 6.6lbs
Specification
  • Brand Jackery
  • Model Portable Power Station Generator
  • Weight 6.61 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: Offers 18 x smartphone charges / 4 x laptop charges

Charge multiple devices at once

Portable, lightweight and noise-free

Automatic shut-off

LCD display with battery percentage indicator

CONS

Auto cut-off could be a problem for devices under 10W

Only 1 AC outlet

Next on our list of the best portable power supplies is this Rockpals 280Wh Power Station, which has a slightly higher capacity than the Jackery Explorer at 300W. It still has just one AC outlet, but there are an impressive five DC outlets and four USB ports, so you’ll be able to power plenty of low wattage devices at once. You can also shut off outlets when not in use to reserve power.

The power station recharges from an AC-outlet in 6-7 hours, or you can use your carport, or purchase an additional solar panel, for a completely off-grid solution. Negative points are that, unlike the Jackery Explorer, the display doesn’t feature a battery percentage, but just a four block indicator, which can make it difficult to know exactly when your power will run out. Several users also report a strong plastic/chemical smell, particularly when the battery is recharging from an AC port.

Key Features
  • 280Wh capacity 75000mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 300W pure sine wave inverter
  • 4 x USB, 1 x AC, 5 x DC outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (6-7 hours), car-port or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 7.3lbs
  • 18-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand Rockpals
  • Model RP300W
  • Weight 7.5 pounds
PROS

High capacity: Offers 25 x smartphone charges / 5 x laptop charges

Charge multiple devices at once

Automatic shut-off

Ability to switch off outlets when not in use

CONS

No battery percentage indicator

Only 1 AC outlet

Strong plastic odor

This Chafon 346Wh Power Station has three AC outlets, so you can charge multiple AC devices at a time (laptops, for example, which makes it perfect for remote workers). The battery has a higher capacity than the previous models at 500W (reflected in the higher price), although it does seem to struggle when approaching this maximum, so it’s probably best to stick to 300-400W] to be safe.

Perhaps the best thing about this portable charger is its multi-functionality — it can also be used to jump-start your car’s battery using the included alligator clips, and there’s a built-in 1W flashlight, which makes it especially ideal for use as a camping power supply. Just watch out for the fluctuating DC power supply, which can dip below 12V at times, creating a problem if your device needs a minimum of 12V power (eg. some CPAP machines).

Key Features
  • 346Wh capacity lithium-ion battery
  • 500W pure sine wave inverter
  • 3 x AC, 4 x DC, 4 x USB ports
  • Recharge from AC-outlet, car-port or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 7.4lbs
  • 12-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand CHAFON
  • Model CF-UPS018
  • Weight 8.05 pounds
PROS

High capacity: Offers 30 x phone charges / 9 hours of laptop use

Built-in surge protection to safeguard your devices

Charge multiple AC devices at once

Can also be used to jump start a car battery

Built-in flashlight

Quiet operation

CONS

Fluctuating voltage may not support DC devices that require 12V min. to operate

More expensive than some similar options

Struggles to achieve 500W maximum output

If you’re looking for a smaller battery solution, consider this Paxcess 151Wh portable power station. At 3.3 pounds it’s less than half the weight of many other models, making it perfect for traveling or keeping in the car. With that more portable design, comes less power — it can only charge devices of up to 100W, and that’s with a modified sine wave inverter, which is not as safe for your appliances as a pure sine wave. It’ll be enough for your phone, laptop, and some basic lights, but you won’t be able to charge more power-hungry devices.

If that’s all you need it for, you should be able to get around 18 phone charges or enough power to run a CPAP machine for one-to-two nights (if you use a DC adaptor). One of the best things about this Paxcess portable generator is the price — it’s significantly more affordable than other models, and if you only require it for light use, it might just be all you need.

Key Features
  • 151Wh capacity 40800mAh lithium polymer battery
  • 100W modified sine wave inverter
  • 2 x USB, 2 x AC, 3 x DC outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (8 hours), car-port or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 3.3lbs
  • 12-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand PAXCESS
  • Model TeGenerator-01
  • Weight 3.3 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: 18 x phone charges / 1-2 x laptop charges

Very lightweight (our lightest battery pack yet)

Charge 2 AC devices at once

Built-in flashlight

Silent operation

More affordable

CONS

Not as powerful as the previous models

Modified sine wave inverter can damage appliances not equipped to support MSW (check your devices before purchasing)

Battery runs down quickly

Next is this Yeti 400 Portable Power Station by Goal Zero. This one has a 396Wh capacity and can charge devices up to 300W using the pure sine wave inverter and multiple outlets. It’s a lead-acid battery, so it’s significantly heavier than lithium options and much less portable. The 33Ah storage is low for the price, but you can chain it with other lead-acid batteries to increase it.

The battery can be recharged using AC or a carport or solar panel (neither of which are included). Be aware that if you’re using Goal Zero’s compatible Nomad 20 solar panels, you’ll be looking at a pretty extensive two-day recharge time. Some users have also experienced issues with the battery no longer holding its charge after a year or so of use, and as the warranty is only for six months, this could be an issue.

Key Features
  • 396Wh capacity lead-acid battery
  • 300W pure sine wave inverter
  • 2 x AC, 2 x USB, 3 x 12V outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (5 hours), 12V car charger (not included) or solar panel (not included)
  • 6-month warranty
  • Weight: 29lbs
Specification
  • Brand Goal Zero
  • Model 23000
  • Weight 29 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: 30 x phone charges / 3-5 x laptop charges

Charge 2 AC devices at once

Chainable with other lead-acid 33Ah batteries

Silent operation

CONS

Heavier and shorter lifespan than lithium batteries

Low storage of 33Ah

Takes 2 days+ to charge via solar

Battery may not last more than a year

For a more lightweight option, consider this PowerOak 400Wh Portable Generator, which features a lithium-ion battery and built-in pure sine wave inverter capable of powering devices up to 300W. It has eight outlets — two AC, two DC, and four USB, so it’s ready to charge many appliances at once (don’t worry, it’ll shut down automatically if you exceed 300W).

The great thing about this camping power supply is that it includes a variety of cables you might need, including a car-charging cable and alligator clips for jump-starting your car. There’s also is a dedicated solar charging port and cable, so if you want to recharge it this way, all you’ll need to provide is the solar panel. If we’re being picky, we’d like the battery indicator to display a percentage rather than just blocks, but other than that there’s not much to fault with this one.

Key Features
  • 400Wh capacity lithium-ion battery
  • 300W pure sine wave inverter
  • 2 x AC, 2 x DC, 4 x USB outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (8 hours), DC car charger or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 12.3lbs
Specification
  • Brand PowerOak
  • Model MKT-PS5B-120Ah
  • Weight 12.35 pounds
PROS

Includes alligator clips for jump starting a car

Charge 2 AC devices at once

Includes solar charging port and cable

Automatic shut-off

CONS

Cannot be chained with other batteries

No percentage battery indicator

This stylish PS600 Portable Power Supply from Polaroid has a high 578Wh capacity and can charge devices up to 300W using the pure sine wave inverter (giving you around 17 charges of a 33W tablet). There are five outlets: one AC, three DC, and two USB. Other notable features include a built-in flashlight, making it perfect for emergency lighting or camping, and a pretty impressive recharging time — five-and-a-half hours from an AC port and six hours from a solar panel (not included) in direct sunlight.

Some users have experienced the battery losing its charge over time, but this could be due to them leaving the AC inverter on when not in use or simply a faulty item. If you do experience any problems with this portable plug in battery, there’s an impressive 24-month warranty to help you out.

Key Features
  • 578Wh capacity lithium-ion battery
  • 300W pure sine wave inverter
  • 1 x AC, 3 x DC, 2 x USB outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (5.5 hours), DC car charger or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 12.5lbs
  • 24-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand Polaroid
  • Model PDB600
  • Weight 12.5 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: 17 x tablet charges

Built-in flashlight

Functions in extreme temperatures (-13°F to 140°F)

Integrated Battery Management System

CONS

Only 1 AC outlet

The second portable battery charger from Paxcess on our list is this 280W Power Station. This one has more power than the 100W version and uses a pure sine wave inverter to charge devices up to 280W. It can be recharged in all the usual ways — AC, DC in the car, or via a solar panel (not included). Despite being more powerful, it’s still one of the lightest options on this list at 5.9lbs, making it perfect for camping.

Perhaps the best thing about this Paxcess portable generator is the price point, which is very reasonable for a lithium-ion battery of this capacity. Other positives include automatic shut-down, an integrated Battery Management System, and silent operation. There’s no built-in flashlight like with some other models, but that’s no reason to overlook this otherwise great portable power supply.

Key Features
  • 67000mAh lithium-ion battery
  • 280W pure sine wave inverter
  • 1 x AC, 3 x DC, 2 x USB outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (5-6 hours), DC car charger or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 5.9lbs
  • 18-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand PAXCESS
  • Weight 4.41 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: Charge a laptop 3-4 times, CPAP machine 3-4 nights

Automatic shut-down

Battery Management System

Affordable, especially compared to similar designs

No noise or vibration

CONS

No built-in flashlight

Only one AC outlet

Next on our list of the best portable power supplies is this 500Wh Power Station by Audew. This one is a lithium iron phosphate battery, which is lighter and longer lasting than lead acid, although it’s not as good as lithium ion. It includes a 200W pure sine wave inverter and has one DC, four USB, and two AC outlets. The latter is especially handy, as you can charge more than one AC device at once, such as a laptop and a mini-fridge (providing they don’t exceed 200W).

You can recharge it in nine hours from an AC outlet (not bad considering its capacity), and it can also be recharged from a carport, or using a solar panel (not included). Be aware, however, that if you’re using solar, you won’t be able to charge devices at the same time. It can also be used to jump start a car battery, so it’s a great option for keeping in your vehicle in case of emergencies.

Key Features
  • 500Wh capacity lithium iron phosphate battery
  • 200W pure sine wave inverter
  • 2 x AC, 1 x DC, 4 x USB outlets
  • Recharge from AC-outlet (9 hours), DC car charger or solar panel (not included)
  • Weight: 14lbs
  • 12-month warranty
Specification
  • Brand Audew
  • Weight 13.67 pounds
PROS

Good capacity: Run a laptop for 9 hours+

Charge 2 AC devices at once

Can be used to jump-start a car

Automatic shut-off

CONS

Cannot be used to power devices whilst recharging by solar

No battery percentage indicator

Best Portable Power Supply Buying Guide & FAQ

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of awesome portable power supplies available? Allow our buying guide and FAQ to help you decide which one is best for you.

Benefits of Portable Power Supplies

Live Off-Grid

A portable power supply allows you to make (if using a solar panel), store, and use your own power, independent of the power grid. This means you can have power in remote places and is particularly beneficial for van-lifers, campers, and travelers who like to get off the beaten track, but don’t want to sacrifice their home comforts.

Health Benefits

The benefits of using a portable power supply are not only related to comfort, but a necessity – from sleep apnea sufferers using CPAP machines, to diabetics using mini-fridges to store insulin, there are numerous ways in which portable power supplies support our health needs, and open up the camping experience to more people.

Work Remotely

A portable power supply offers remote workers the ability to recharge and power their laptops, phones, and other devices from anywhere, without having to rely on coffee shops or co-working spaces — work in the park, or at the beach!

Emergency Power

Finally, portable power supplies are not exclusive to those who want to transport their power — sometimes, the power is also needed at home. In areas prone to storms and/or power outages, a portable power supply can be a lifesaver, allowing you to power communications devices, lighting, and essentials, until mains power is restored.

Features to Consider When Buying a Portable Power Supply

Devices and Wattage

This is one of the most important things to consider when buying a portable power supply, as it affects the power capacity and number of outlets your battery will need. Consider how many devices you want to be able to charge and whether you want to charge them simultaneously. If so, work out how much power they each draw, and choose a power supply with enough outlets, that’s capable of supporting their combined wattage (try to find one with more power than you need, as many batteries struggle when close to their maximum).

How it’s Recharged

Consider also how the battery is recharged. Is it only via an AC-outlet, or can you use a car-port or solar panel? For example, if you’re going wild camping for an extended period of time, you’ll likely want a battery that can be recharged using solar, which will allow you to go completely off-grid. Make sure your solar panel is the correct wattage and voltage for the battery.

Automatic Shut-Off

This is an important factor to consider if you’re using devices that draw a low wattage (less than 10W) – for example, some CPAP machines. Many portable power supplies shut-off when the wattage gets too low, which is obviously a problem if you’re relying on it to run your machine whilst you sleep.

Portability

If you’re going to be using your portable power supply for camping or traveling, you’re going to want something that’s lightweight and not too bulky or difficult to move around. In this case, a lithium-ion battery will definitely be the better choice, as they are significantly lighter than lead-acid batteries, as well as more long-lasting.

woman holding portable power supply
A portable power supply is convenient and easy to store.

Types of Portable Power Supplies

Gas generators offer a higher power output than AC power supplies of a similar budget – you’ll be able to run power-hungry appliances such as hairdryers and electric kettles, which are impossible with most AC power units. However, there are a few key differences that will influence which type of power supply you choose.

AC Powered

AC-powered portable sources require little maintenance and run quietly, making them a welcome choice at campgrounds and similar locations where supplies and noise are minimal. These units include a pure sine wave inverter to translate battery-derived DC power into readily-usable AC power. Thanks to their minimal weight and size, most portable solutions will rely on a lithium-based battery to store and share power, although a few units may feature heavier, more traditional lead-acid batteries instead.

Solar-Powered

Solar-powered portable power supplies tend to be relatively small and are mainly intended for charging cell phones and other small devices. Often, the power generators are lightweight and packable (often foldable) so they can fit better into backpacks and other spaces where space is limited. This combination of features limits them to emergency backcountry uses rather than providing campsite power to CPAPs or other items with larger power draws.

Gas Generator

Gas generators require the regular purchasing of gasoline to power them. Another downside of gas generators is that they emit fumes and are very noisy to run, whereas portable batteries are cleaner and usually silent. For this reason, the use of gas generators is banned or restricted at some campsites. Certainly, if you wish to make friends with your neighbors, a portable AC power supply is the way to go.

Best Portable Power Supply For Camping

Best Portable Power Supply For Electronics

Best Small Portable Power Supply

Best Portable Power Supply FAQ:

Q: What is a portable power supply and how does it work?

A portable power supply is exactly what it sounds like: a portable battery that you can take with you wherever you go, with outlets that you can use to charge and power your devices, without depending on a mains power supply. Unlike gas generators, the power comes from a rechargeable battery, which, depending on the model, can be recharged using an AC-outlet, car-port or solar panel. The battery then stores this power, ready to transfer into your devices when required.

Q: Can I use a portable power supply on a plane?

Policies on portable power suppliers vary between airlines, so make sure to check your chosen carrier’s guidelines. As a general rule, you are allowed to take lithium batteries up to 100Wh on most planes. Batteries up to 160Wh will need special airline clearance, and above that is a no-go. The ChargeTech Portable AC Power Supply at number 9 is the only battery on this list suitable for airplane travel. Lithium batteries must be carried in your hand luggage, not stored in the hold.

Q: How long will batteries last?

Battery life will vary depending on the model you purchase, and how you use/recharge your portable power supply, but all batteries will deplete over time (usually after 2 – 3 years). In order to prolong battery life, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding discharging and charging the battery on its first use and continue to recharge the battery regularly (at least every 3 months).

Q: Can a portable power bank power a TV?

Yes, but with limitations. Portable power stations use a pure sine wave inverter with an output capacity between 100 and 500 watts. The average 30-inch LED TV uses roughly 50 watts of power while a 30-inch plasma TV consumes 150 watts. (50-inch TVs use roughly twice these amounts.) Many portable power sources max out at 200 to 300 watts/hour which means the average 30-inch LCD TV could run for roughly four hours while a 50-inch plasma TV would last less than one hour. As such, TVs are best paired with a dedicated power bank rather than a shared one.

Q: How do you charge a portable power pack?

Charging a portable power station will vary from unit to unit. Most units rely on a traditional AC power outlet to recharge, although they frequently will support charging via other sources as well. Common alternative charging sources include 12-volt DC car charging ports and solar panels. Often, the 12-volt car charger will be included with the power pack, but usually, a compatible solar panel will only be available as a separate purchase, often from a third-party manufacturer.

Our Top Pick

We’ve included some great batteries on this list, but our pick of the best portable power supplies has to be the Jackery 240 Explorer Power Station. This lithium-ion battery can power devices of up to 200W from the AC-outlet, and also has a DC car-port and 2 x USB ports, offering you plenty of charging options. There are three methods of charging, allowing you full flexibility, and the battery percentage indicator is a particularly useful feature that not all portable power supplies include. Silent operation, automatic shut-off, and a light, ultra-portable design jolt this charger into first place.

Sources:

  1. How DC/AC Power Inverters Work – How Stuff Works
  2. How Much Electricity Does A TV Use? – Payless Power