A Battery Version of a Generator
A portable power station can be looked at simply as a battery-powered version of a traditional solar or fuel-powered generator.
Like a generator, the use of a portable power station enables you to continue using home devices and equipment as you do every day, but with the assistance of a battery. While an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) kicks on automatically so equipment like medical devices or refrigerators continue to be powered, a portable power station is set up once the power goes out.
A portable power station is a device that converts stored energy from its internal battery into electrical power that can be used to run various electronic devices and appliances. It consists of a battery, a power inverter, and a set of outlets or ports for connecting electronic devices. The battery can be charged via a wall outlet, car charger, or solar panel, depending on the model. The inverter in a portable power station converts the battery’s A.C. allowing you to plug in equipment and devices that run on electricity.
What appliances and devices can be powered?
You can run most smaller appliance and device you use daily: TVs, computers, refrigerators, kitchen appliances like toasters, microwave ovens, blenders, food processors, electric stoves, mini-coolers, lights, fans, medical devices, electronic gadgets, smartphones & tablets, laptops, power tools, and more.
Runtime before recharging
While portable power stations are like generators in function, keep in mind they may not match the actual run time of gas-powered generators. The runtime of a portable power station, before it needs to be recharged, depends on the specific model’s battery capacity and the wattage of the devices being powered. Generally, the batteries can last between 2 to 12 hours.
Portable power stations come in a range of wattage capacities. Smaller units offer around 100 watts of power to larger units outputting over 2,000 watts of power. The average cost of a portable power station is between $200 to $1,000, however, there are also models available at lower or higher price points.
Depending on the model you buy, you can recharge your power station in three ways: wall outlet, solar panels, and with a solar or fuel-powered generator.
The time it takes to charge a portable power station using an AC outlet can vary dramatically as well depending on the model and the capacity of the battery. Generally, when being recharged from a wall outlet, most power stations need between 1 to 12 hours to fully recharge.
Unless you have a generator, either solor or fuel-powered, an extended power outage will not allow you to recharge your portable power station. It's a wise investment, then, to purchase one that includes solar recharging capabilities.
Many portable power stations on the market today can also be recharged using solar panels. Some models come with solar panels included, while others have the option to purchase them separately. Not all portable power stations are compatible with solar charging, so it’s a good idea to check the specifications of the model you’re interested in before purchasing. The process takes anywhere from 4 to 12 hours depending on the panels used.
If you purchase a non-solar portable power supply, you can recharge it using a generator. While both solar and fuel-powered generators can be used to directly power indoor devices, there are some advantages to using a portable power station in conjunction with a fuel-powered generator, if this is the type of generator you have.
- It can provide a more stable and cleaner source of power for sensitive electronic devices, as it has built-in surge protection and power conditioning features.
- It can be used indoors, as it does not produce emissions, whereas a fuel-powered generator must be used outdoors due to the exhaust fumes it produces.
- It can store energy for later use. This means that you can use a fuel-powered generator to charge the battery of the portable power station during the day, and then use the stored energy to power your devices at night or during a power outage.