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A portable power station is an essential piece of equipment to keep devices like medical equipment, radios, appliances, and smartphones charged and running during emergencies. Many power stations have both standard AC outlets and USB ports for powering multiple types of devices at once. Portable power stations have an advantage over traditional generators, in that they don't require gasoline, kerosene, or propane to run. This not only saves you money and time spent on engine maintenance, it makes battery backups much, much safer to use indoors.
Power stations also give you a wider range of power output options than traditional generators. If you just want to keep your phone charged and a radio running, there are handheld inverters available. But if you need to keep high-power items like CPAP or oxygen machines and even kitchen appliances running, you can purchase a power station that has an electrical output comparable to that of a traditional generator.
Portable power stations are also quieter than traditional generators and feature push-button starts and instant-on abilities; no more struggling with pull-starts and warm-up cycles. If you want a more in-depth explanation of the differences between portable power stations and traditional generators, you can read our special feature, which covers everything from cost and energy needs to how weather and even earthquakes affect your emergency power options. You can also check out our list of the best home generators for whole-home emergency power.
Also: Best extreme weather tech: Power outage gear
Features: 1000 watts | 110 volts | 7 total ports
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 is designed to give you safe, reliable power in the event of an emergency. It has a 1000 watt output, meaning you can do everything from charging your phones and tablets to keeping a mini fridge running or setting up a space heater to stay warm during a winter storm. It features 3 standard AC outlets for plugging in things like lamps, heated blankets, and medical devices, 2 USB-C ports, and 2 USB Type-A ports for charging electronics.
The easy-to-read LCD display lets you quickly see how much power the generator has left, and you can purchase solar panels for more eco-friendly recharging; the solar panels are also great for steady power during summer storm outages. A one-button push start gives you instant electricity, while being battery-powered means you don't have to worry about keeping the battery pack fueled up or venting harmful exhaust.
You can also read our reviews of this generator as well as the Upgraded Jackery Solar Generator.
Features: 2,000 watts | 120 volts | 106 pounds
This home battery backup is designed for heavier duty use. It gives you an impressive 2,000 watt or 120 volt output, and features 7 different types of outlets for powering just about anything and everything in your home. Goal Zero claims that this electric generator can keep a standard refrigerator running for over 100 hours, a CPAP machine for over 90 hours, and lamps for almost 550 hours.
The generator itself has a compact form, but comes in at a hefty 106 pounds. Luckily, it's mounted on a wheeled trolley to make it easier to place where you need it. Along with standard AC outlets and USB ports, the Yeti 6000X has inputs for connecting Goal Zero solar panels. Attaching solar panels gives you quicker unit charging over wall outlets, and ensures that you can keep your generator in top working order during prolonged power outages.
Features: Up to 5,000 watts | Up to 100 volts | 6 outlets
The Ecoflow Delta Max 2000 is one of the fastest charging home battery backups on the market. When charged over a standard wall outlet, you'll get up to 80 percent battery in just 65 minutes and a full charge in just under 2 hours. This makes it perfect for sudden emergencies like summer storms or winter weather; you can quickly top up the generator's battery while keeping an eye on news alerts. With a truly remarkable 5000-watt output, you can charge and power up to 15 devices at once, including refrigerators, CPAP machines, and even your electric or induction range!
Ecopower also claims that you can daisy-chain several Delta Max 2000 units together to create even more power for your home. And the companion app makes it easy to keep an eye on power levels and catch issues before they can become massive problems. Like other battery backups on the market, this model can be charged via solar panels for more eco-friendly power.
You can read more about the Ecoflow Delta Max 2000 in our in-depth review.
Features: 1600 watts | 29 pounds | 8 outlets
The Generac GB1000 is a great option if you're looking for a portable power station that's more on the compact side. It measures just 14 x 12 x 10 inches, which means that it's small enough to fit on a table or shelf, and with a weight of 29 pounds, it's a bit heavy but still able to travel with you on camping trips or to job sites. It provides a peak power output of 1600 watts and a stable, continuous output of 1000 watts. This means that you can charge your mobile devices, run medical equipment, and even run things like mini fridges and air conditioners in the event of an outage. It even has a 12V outlet for specialized devices and car accessories.
Features: 600 watts | 6.35 pounds | 7 outlets
The Westinghouse iGen300s is one of the more affordable options if you're shopping for a home battery backup. For under $300, you can get this 300 continuous-watt electric generator to power essential equipment. It has both standard AC outlets and USB ports as well as an integrated flashlight for navigating dark areas or providing emergency illumination. The unit can be charged via a wall outlet or solar panel, giving you options for both intermittent and continuous power during emergencies.
Westinghouse claims this unit can power a CPAP machine for up to 23 hours, and it can charge your smartphone to full up to 31 times. The integrated LCD screen gives you vital information at-a-glance: you can see battery capacity, charging status, temperature warnings, as well as electrical input and output. Plus, you can even monitor the USB ports so you can catch issues before they become dangerous problems.
The best portable power station is the Jackery Solar Generator 1000. It has a 1000-watt output, which is enough power to charge your mobile devices, run a mini-fridge, or essential medical equipment during a camping trip or power outage. It also features solar panels for continuous power when a wall outlet isn't available.
# of ports
Jackery Solar Generator 1000
Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
Ecoflow Delta Max 2000
Up to 5000 watts
Any of these portable power stations are great options to provide you with power when you need it -- it ultimately comes down to the wattage you need, how many ports you prefer, and what price you're willing to spend.
Choose this portable power station...
If you want...
Jackery Solar Generator 1000
The best overall option.
Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
A power station that will come in handy during emergencies.
Ecoflow Delta Max 2000
A fast-charging portable power station.
A compact, yet powerful portable power station
A budget-friendly portable power station.
We chose these portable power stations after extensive research into the product category. We compared factors like pricing, reviews (both good and bad), wattage, number of outlets, and the weight of each power station.
A generator is typically used to restore power to your entire home, or at least most of your home, for as long as you have fuel to power the generator.
A battery backup doesn't have the same energy capacity, and it's best used to keep essential equipment like CPAP machines, sump pumps, and space heaters running until power is restored. Battery backup systems also don't need kerosene, gasoline, or propane to run, making them much safer to use indoors; this also means you don't have to worry about engine maintenance.
It depends on the backup unit's power capacity and how many devices you have connected to it. Lower wattage units will only give you up to about 10 hours of emergency power, while higher wattage units may give you several days worth of electricity. Many newer battery backup systems allow for charging via solar panels, giving you continuous charging options during lengthy power outages.
The best way to determine your emergency power needs is to make a definite list of devices you'd want to keep running during an outage. Do you just want to keep your phones charged and a radio powered on to hear weather alerts? You should opt for a low-wattage backup. Do you need to run medical equipment, standard appliances, or a pellet stove? It's better to invest in a much higher wattage backup system.
Once you have a list of devices, add up their voltage and wattage; that number is how much output your battery backup system should have, at minimum. It's better to have a backup that gives you a bit more juice than you need than one that struggles to keep up.
The two listed below almost made our list and are also excellent choices: