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5 Things You Should Look for When Buying a Portable Power Station

  • 2023-05-19

Are you shopping for a portable power station? Here are five things you should look for when buying one.

With the advancement of battery technology, portable power stations have the capacity and raw power to reliably power electronics that require much greater power than your regular power bank can provide. Although not as powerful as gas-powered generators, they are quieter, lighter, and don’t require fuel to start delivering power.

So, getting a portable power station is likely the better solution if you’re looking for a quiet and mobile device to power your smartphone, laptop, computer, or TV. To help you find a quality one, here are five things you should look for when buying a new power station.

1. Battery Capacity

When looking for a portable power station, battery capacity is the most important specification you should be looking for. The bigger the battery capacity, the longer you can run your devices per charge. So, in general, buy the highest capacity battery you can.

However, considering size, weight, and cost, you might want to go for a more calculated approach when considering the battery capacity of your portable power station.

Since different manufacturers use different metrics to measure the battery capacity of their portable power stations, knowing battery capacity can be confusing. The most popular metrics used in measuring battery capacity would include mAh (milliamp hour), Ah (Amp hour), Wh (Watt hour), and kWh (kilowatt-hour).

Electronic devices usually indicate their maximum power consumption in Watt-hours, which you can find marked on various types of power supplies. If the power supply indicates its power rating in Watts, remember that one watt is equal to one Watt-hour.

To better understand how long a portable power station can power your device, you first need to know its battery capacity in Watt-hours. To do that, you can check its Watt-hour rating. But if it only indicates battery capacity in mAh (milliamp-hours) or Ah (Amp-hours), you can take those numbers plus its rated system voltage (12v or 24v) and look up its Watt-hour rating using this graph below:

So let’s say your laptop is rated to operate at a maximum of 90W or 90Wh, and the portable power station has a battery of capacity of 40,000 mAh on a 12-volt system. Using the table above, you’ll see that the power station has a battery capacity of 480Wh. If you divide that by the 90Wh that the laptop uses, you can expect around 5 hours of runtime without accounting for power loss and other variables.

2. Battery Technology

Another important thing you should be looking for in a portable power station is battery technology or the type of battery it utilizes. The type of battery used in a portable power station heavily determines the size, weight, cost, charging speed, and how long your power station can keep producing AC power before cutting off.

Lithium-ion (Li-Ion), lithium-polymer (Li-Po), and lead-acid batteries are the most common batteries used in portable power stations.

Lithium-ion batteries charge three times faster than lead-acid batteries and are the most energy dense out of the three. On the other hand, lithium-polymer batteries are less energy dense than Li-Ion batteries but have fast charging capabilities and are generally safer to use than Li-Ion and lead acid batteries. While lead-acid batteries are the most affordable of the three, but are also bulky, slow-charging, and have the least energy density.

If you’re looking for something packable, lighter, and can be used frequently, then a Li-Ion battery is usually worth the investment. But if you want something safer, fast charging, and have the lowest passive discharge rate, then a Li-Po battery power station might be the better option.

Lead-acid batteries aren’t usually recommended, but if you really need a cheap set-and-forget backup power station to use during emergencies, then a lead-acid power station should suffice.

3. Inverter Technology

Depending on the device you’re trying to power, having the right inverter in your portable power station can save your delicate devices from damage and make them work as efficiently as possible, saving battery charge.

Power inverters are electrical components that convert your battery’s direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). DC is used to charge your battery-powered handheld devices, such as your phone, tablet, and Bluetooth earbuds, while AC is used to power more power-hungry devices, such as your laptop, computer, TV, and gaming consoles.

In general, there are two types of power inverters; they are pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters. Pure sine wave inverters provide clean sine waves that produce AC, while modified sine wave inverters use pulse width modulation (PWM), which makes an electronic signal that tries to mimic a pure sine wave signal.

If you will power precision, delicate, and highly sensitive equipment, having a pure sine wave inverter should be your only option. But if you’re only going to use the power station to power your computer, monitors, console, and TV, then a power station with a modified sine wave inverter should work fine while saving you quite a bit of money.

4. Peak and Continuous Wattage

Peak and continuous wattage are also important specifications you should be looking for when buying a portable power station. Although portable power stations are usually used to power computers, TVs, and other electronic gadgets, they can also power things like refrigerators, corded power tools, electric fans, and kitchen appliances such as blenders and food processors. However, a portable power station can only power these devices if it has enough peak and continuous wattage.

Most power-hungry devices and equipment need certain peak or surge watts just to jump-start and turn them on. Once turned on, they will need a lower but continuous supply of power known as continuous watts or rated watts.

To know how much peak and continuous wattage you need out of your portable power station, here is a list of typical appliances and their watt ratings:

5. Power Input and Output Ports

When it comes to portable power stations, you can never have enough ports for charging and powering your devices. This is especially true for DC-powered charging ports since you can always use an extension cord to have more AC outlets.

We recommend getting a portable power station with multiple USB and USB-C charging ports for your handheld devices, a 12-V charging port for your internet router, and at least 2 AC outlets. You may also want an Anderson power pole if you plan to store the power station in your car.

After looking at all the charging ports and outlets of a portable power station, you should also look for ports used to charge the power station. These would include your regular AC, DC, and solar charging ports and the Anderson power pole for charging in your car.

Get the Features That You Need Before Anything Extra

Many companies are trying to add more and more features to their portable power stations to entice you to buy their products. But before you go and buy that portable power station with NFC and wireless charging, ensure that it first satisfies your needs before buying it. Doing so will ensure you get a durable and reliable power station that will power your devices whenever needed.

Chongqing Melidy is a 19 years battery manufacturer,PXE is our brand. After more than 10 years development and growth, our has formed a set of product development, manufacturing and sales in new energy area. Our products are sold to 178 countries in Europe,America, and Australia etc. We have got European CE, FCC,Rohs, UL and other certifications. We have successfully cooperated with many brands and customized ODM or OEM.

© Copyright: 2023 Chongqing Melidy Co., Ltd All Rights Reserved.

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