A portable power station can afford you the freedom to explore the world without limits—and provide peace of mind in case of emergencies—with renewable power available to you wherever you go.
But how can you decide which generator is best suited for your particular needs?
A quick comparison of the Anker PowerHouse line shows many similarities between the products, but with some key differences in use cases:
Phone, Tablet, Laptop, Camera, Wi-Fi Router, Fan, Lamp
Small devices + Mini Fridge, CPAP, TV, PC & Monitor, Blender
Essential devices + Hair Dryer, Fridge, Electric Grill, Microwave, Coffee Maker, Drill
A weekend getaway, outdoor office, or backup power for small devices
Versatile power on your travels. Emergency backup for your necessities.
Extended camping trips. Heavy-duty, sustainable power usage.
Reliable home backup power.
To help gain a better understanding of the various solutions each portable power station offers, the following guide should assist you in making a more informed decision on which product is the right one for you to buy.
Understand The Features
The first step in choosing a portable power station is to know how they work, as well as recognize the differing features among the same product line.
So, let’s break down the terminology:
The most important consideration when shopping for a portable power station is its Capacity. Output capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh), which indicates how much energy the battery can supply. Essentially, this tells you how many hours the battery will last if powering a device equivalent to 1 watt of energy.
For instance, the Anker 535 Portable Power Station sports a 512Wh capacity, which can power a 10W LED light bulb for roughly 50 hours continuously. Or a 45W mini fridge for about 10 hours. Or both of them together for just over 8 hours of uninterrupted use.
Another important factor to consider is the unit’s total AC Output, measured in watts. This number determines the maximum energy load that the power station can handle, meaning that all of the devices connected to it cannot exceed this amount.
While the Anker 535 can handle laptops and phones like a champ with its 500W of AC power, it will reach its limits when you throw a 700W microwave into the mix. That’s where a higher output device like the Anker 757 comes in, with its massive 1500W total output.
As a general rule of thumb: the more watt-hours you have, the longer you can power your devices. Likewise, a larger total output capacity allows you to power more devices at once.
Not every portable power station is built the same—and you definitely don’t want to compromise on the quality of its internals. The type of battery used has a significant impact on the longevity of the product, not to mention its overall safety, stability, and impact on the environment.
Anker equips their portable power stations with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, also known as LiFePO4. This newly developed battery chemistry offers superior safety and over six times the lifespan compared to the industry’s commonly used ternary lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries found in most consumer products will deteriorate over time as they are continually used and recharged, which affects how many Battery Cycles the unit can withstand before a noticeable reduction in its capacity. Many similar products reach this threshold after roughly 500 charges; however, the LiFePO4 batteries in Anker’s entire line of portable power stations offer an impressive 3000 cycles.
Recharge Time is, as the term suggests, how long it takes to refill the battery’s power when plugged in. Planning your outdoor activities around this process can mean the difference between a fun-filled day or a fiasco.
While recharging can typically take hours for most products on the market, the Anker 757 can get you back to full capacity in just over one hour!
Outputs and Inputs
You’ll recognize the AC Outlets as the same type of wall sockets you find throughout your home, which power a wide range of appliances. It’s a pretty universal plug, so chances are you’ll need at least two of them to cover your bases when traveling.
USB-A is a common port that provides power to many of your tech devices, such as phones, tablets, cameras, and home audio equipment.
USB-C is a newer technology, able to transfer data faster and supply higher amounts of power. Larger devices, such as modern laptops, are now able to charge through USB-C rather than a traditional wall socket.
A Car Socket utilizes DC power from your car’s cigarette lighter to refill your portable power station’s battery—an essential way to recharge when on the go!
Calculate Your Expected Usage
A surefire way to decide which portable power station is right for you is by assessing what exactly you need to power.
Take stock of all the devices and appliances you intend to use outdoors or during a blackout. Write them down in a list, along with the required wattage for each device. Once you add up their total power consumption, multiply that by the number of hours you expect to continuously use them. This will be the capacity you need in a portable power station.
Watts Required × Hours of Usage = Total Capacity
Of course, you can also reverse this equation to determine how long your portable power station will last, if you already know its capacity and what it needs to power:
Total Capacity ÷ Watts Required = Hours of Usage
Powering Your Devices
Consider the primary objectives your portable power station must meet. If the main purpose of your generator is to provide emergency backup power for your home, then bear in mind all those appliances will require a hefty battery.
Then there are those essential devices that your health and well-being depend on. A mini fridge, for instance, can keep perishables preserved overnight (no one likes food poisoning). And if you rely on a CPAP machine, then you’re well aware of the poor sleep you’ll get without one.
In both cases, you’ll need at least the Anker 535 to reliably power these devices for the amount of time they need to operate.
Determine Your Power Needs
As you may have guessed, portable power stations are not a one-size-fits-all solution. And depending on your particular usage, bigger doesn’t always mean better.
The product that’s right for you will largely come down to your own lifestyle and needs.
Portability VS Affordability
Those in pursuit of off-grid van life may require a larger generator to support their travel needs. In contrast, the remote worker who occasionally brings their office outdoors could suffice with a smaller generator for the afternoon.
Mobility plays a key factor in how you intend to use a portable power station. Are you an active adventurer who’s constantly on the move? Or will your generator stay parked with your RV?
When comparing portable power stations, make note of their dimensions and weight. Imagine how the unit will serve you in a real-world scenario. Can you easily lug around a 40-pound generator as you backpack through the wilderness? If not—or if your outdoor excursions don’t require high-powered appliances—then save the cash and buy a smaller unit like the Anker 521.
Recreational or Professional?
Are you bringing along a portable power station for some fun in the sun—or is it intended to serve more rigorous, professional needs?
Backyard entertainment and tailgate parties would be a dud without certain devices—yet sound systems, TVs, and phones are generally low enough in power consumption where you can get by with a smaller capacity generator.
But when your job depends on reliable access to power in the field, it can be too risky to venture out with too little juice. Whether you’re a content creator or a first responder, your specialized work demands the use of a high-capacity outdoor generator. Better to err on the side of caution and invest in the largest unit you can afford.
Lastly, whichever portable power station you choose, it’s important to know you can rely on it to last!
While most portable power stations in the industry come with a 2-year warranty, the Anker 521, Anker 535, and Anker 757 models are rocking an unprecedented 5-year warranty. This means you can expect a dependable, long life from their premium LiFePO4 batteries.
What’s more, their durable design makes them road-ready and able to withstand the pressures of heavy usage. Rest assured that your investment is well-protected and won’t conk out in moments when you need power the most!
After all, portable power stations are meant to follow you wherever you go—and sometimes the road can be rough, the outdoors unforgiving, and the need for power unpredictable.
The Power Is Yours!
Regardless of the unit you choose, you’ll no doubt discover a new realm of possibilities that a portable power station can offer.
We hope this guide helped clarify the different features and advantages of each portable power station. If you still need more information, check out our store for a deeper look at the specs—and don’t forget to join our friendly community for additional help from the experts.