If you can still find them—and if you prefer them to our current picks—they’re solid options. I’ve been a science writer for over four years, covering a wide variety of topics from particle physics to satellite remote sensing. If you’re on a tight budget or short on space, the Explorer 500 is your best bet. It’s backed by a great warranty and reliable customer support, too. Four new models come on board today, including the Goal Zero Yeti 500X, a versatile 500-watt choice that can be charged either through a standard wall outlet or via a solar panel. This EcoFlow portable power station is also the only model we tested with a case that encapsulates the entire unit. Some portable AC power supplies can also combine their peak power output with a pair of jumper cables to provide your car with a much-needed jumpstart if its battery ever fails. In addition to noise levels and weight, a good warranty is an important consideration with these models since they are a slightly larger investment. It weighs just shy of 13 pounds and is kept lightweight thanks to its lithium ion battery. Like other portable power stations, it shouldn’t be exposed to much dirt or moisture (especially its charging ports and screen), but it’s still rugged enough for campfire-side charging. The case isn’t IP rated, so we wouldn’t trust it to protect against major spills or rain showers, but it seems somewhat weatherproof. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. But we think it’s worth spending more to ensure a better overall experience, especially for something you’re going to be relying on while you’re off the grid. bang-for-buck). $360) is a lightweight and compact lithium ion battery pack that can run things like box fans, gaming consoles, and small refrigerators. Since joining Wirecutter, she has researched, tested, and written about surge protectors, power banks, lap desks, mousetraps, and more. If you need to protect your desktop or tech devices from power failure, then you need to use an uninterruptible power supply, known as a UPS.These external devices can keep your computers powered in case of a blackout, brownout, or power loss, ensuring your important work isn’t lost—think of them as an on-call emergency power supply. If not for a stroke of luck involving an old roommate and a mistakenly released title some years prior, I might have had to take legal action, all the while living in Los Angeles without a car (the equivalent of living in New York City without any legs). The most important thing you can do to narrow down our list to fit your needs is to assess what you want to plug into your AC unit. One caveat is that it’s got a modified sine wave inverter, which are known for their choppy currents that produce electrical noise and cause some devices to run inefficiently. We break down the differences that matter and consider whether it’s worth the upgrade. If you merely want a little extra power for your phone and tablet while spending a weekend at the beach or in the woods, then a slightly smaller unit should suffice. in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers. The EcoFlow River 370 is an updated version of our former budget pick, the EcoFlow River. Light (and tough) enough for a small child to tote around, the Explorer 160 can keep personal electronics running for two hours or more. Both these models are also suitable as flight carry-ons as they fall under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Safe Limit of 100Wh. This model gave the EcoFlow River a run for its money in terms of performance, achieving a slightly higher maximum output (444 W) and capacity (330 Wh) and tying the River’s 3.5-hour run time. Portable Lithium Series. Also, because it has two handles on either side (unlike any of the Explorer models), two people can easily carry it together. If you plan to travel, keep in mind that in most cases portable power stations have to travel by ground. Another 300-watt option is the newly added Suaoki 300W, which runs efficiently and stays cool thanks to an integrated fan, and it’s got built-in emergency lights to give you peace of mind. If you don’t have a store of reliable gas in your garage or camping backpack, and all the local pumps (which are now, quite stupidly, electronically controlled) are empty or out of service, you’ll need another source of power. And although we prefer the Delta 1300’s two-handled design, the single handle on top of the Explorer 1000 is sturdily built and ergonomic. When users buy our independently chosen editorial The AC wall charger that comes with this unit has a more streamlined design than others we’ve tested: Instead of using a bulky power brick to convert AC into DC electrical waves, its charging cable pumps AC waves from the wall outlet straight into the unit. This process has helped us eliminate models that produce a choppy waveform, causing devices to run inefficiently. I once had my car impounded due to a communication error between the state to which I had moved and the state in which my car was financed. The Explorer 1000 has a pure sine-wave inverter, so it can power sensitive electronics like CPAP machines or appliances with powerful motors. The new PlayStation 5 launches on November 12. The latter isn’t essential for most people, but if you’re road-tripping and you already have a USB car charger along for the ride, you can use it with your portable power station and free up some of the other ports. A portable power station is the best option if you need to power common personal electronics and small appliances while spending long periods of time away from household AC outlets, or if you want to have backup power ready to go in case of an emergency. I’ve included the following in ascending order of capacity: Paxcess 330-Watt Generator (288.6Wh, 330W, 700Wp), Prymax Portable Power Station (298Wh, 300W, 600Wp), Jackery 500W (518Wh, 500W, 1000Wp), Polaroid PS600 (578Wh, 300W, N/A). These are both great, reliable models with warranties and optional protection plans that are always good to consider with such an investment. All units sold after March 20, 2020, are unaffected. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000, the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 WiFi, and the EcoFlow River used to be our top, upgrade, and budget picks, respectively, but all three models have been discontinued (or will be soon) according to the manufacturers. All of the ports are well spaced on the front of the unit and should be able to accommodate most plugs (even those on the bigger side). we may earn commissions to Although the Explorer 1000 isn’t the absolute cheapest model we tested, at this writing it costs several hundred dollars less than the Delta 1300. free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, The Best Portable Power Strips and Surge Protectors With USB Charging, Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector. Most productions found that they had to place their generators far away from the shooting location and isolate them in custom-built enclosures to try to cut down on the sound.