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One of the most affordable power stations I've tested is surprisingly feature-rich

The BigBlue CellPowa 1000 has a 1,000Wh capacity, 100W USB-C ports, and up to 2,000W surge capacity, all for a price that made me do a double-take.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
BigBlue CellPowa 1000
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The BigBlue CellPowa 1000 power station is available on Amazon for $400.
  • It's an affordable, full-feature power station that goes from 0-100% in about an hour and a half.
  • 1,000W/2,000W surge AC power limit is a little on the low side, and the cooling fans are noisy.

I've tested so many power stations over the years -- big ones, small ones, and even some that can power a home for weeks. But there's one aspect that I still think power stations need to embrace, and that's affordability.

Sure, you can pick up a small power station for a few hundred dollars, but as soon as your power requirements start to grow, you're quickly on the wrong side of $500.

Also: The best portable power stations you can buy: Expert tested

So, imagine my surprise when I came across the BigBlue CellPowa 1000, a powerful, feature-packed power station for just $400. 

View at Amazon

BigBlue CellPowa 1000 tech specs

  • Capacity: 1,075Wh
  • Battery Type: EV grade LiFePO4, 3,500+ cycles (at 80% charged capacity)
  • AC Outputs: 4x outlets, up to 1,000W (2,000W surge), pure sine wave, 120V / 8.33A / 60Hz
  • USB Type-A: 2x 18W ports, 5V⎓3A / 9V⎓2A / 12V⎓1.5A, up to 36W
  • USB Type C: 2x PD 60W ports, 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V⎓3A / 20V⎓2.25A, up to 90W
  • USB Type C: 2x PD 100W ports, 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V⎓5A, up to 200W
  • DC 5521: 2x ports, 12V⎓5A, up to a total of 120W
  • Car Auxiliary Port: 1x 12V⎓10A, up to 120W
  • Input Ports
    AC Charge: Fast-recharging 600W
    2x Solar Charging ports: 12-30V⎓6.2A, 300W max
    Car Auxiliary Port: 12-24V⎓5A, 120W max
  • UPS Mode: Yes, 10 milliseconds reaction time
  • LED Light: Tri-mode (high, low, SOS emergency)
  • Weight: 31.97lbs / 14.5kg
  • Dimensions: 13.4 x 8.8 x 10.5 inches / 340 x 224 x 266mm
  • Warranty: 2 years (registration required)

Note that I am testing the UK version, which only has a single AC output socket. 

OK, so this power station has it all. First, it boasts 1,075.2Wh of capacity, putting it in the mid-range category for me. It's the kind of thing you can carry, but at over 30 pounds, it's not something you're going to want to lug around for long distances.

Inside, holding the power and doing the magic, is a bank of electric vehicle (EV) grade lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. These have overtaken standard lithium-ion cells because they are safer, more stable at high temperatures, and have a significantly longer lifespan of around 3,500+ recharge cycles.

BigBlue CellPowa 1000

Ports galore!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The power output is rated at 1,000W, with the unit able to handle surges of up to 2,000W. This is good enough for most toasters and portable air conditioners, but heavier loads such as ovens and kettles are going to be a no-go. If in doubt, get a power meter to test how much power your devices consume. That way, you won't make a costly mistake. 

Alongside the AC outlets (four on the US version, one on the UK version), is an assortment of ports. These include two 100W USB-C ports, two 60W USB-C ports, two 18W USB-A ports, a 12V car output, and two 5A 12V DC ports. 

There are little rubber covers on the AC input and 12V output, and these are a little on the delicate side, so care is needed to not rip them off in use of when transporting the unit.

BigBlue CellPowa 1000

The rubber covers on the ports are a little on the delicate side.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Taking center stage is a clear, bright LED display that packs a lot of information into a small space. It shows battery capacity, input and output wattage, hours to full/empty, AC output frequency, and which output modes are enabled. 

Everything is visible at a glance.

There are four buttons: one for turning the unit on and off, and one each for AC, DC, and USB outputs. The buttons have a subtle backlit surrounds when they are in the on position, which is a nice touch. There's also a reset button for when the device gets confused and needs a restart. I've not had to use this so can't comment on its effectiveness.

Everything is controlled from this front panel, and there is no smartphone app – something that will delight and sadden users in equal measures.

On the back is an LED panel light, which has high, low, and SOS output modes. There's also an odd note about the housing and how the plastic is "spray-free" and has "added metal power" to "effectively shield the product's radiation to the human body," and how this can cause a "fluid pattern" on the surface of the unit. This feels like way too much confusing information.

Also: This powerful power bank is perfect if you charge a lot of devices

There are inputs for AC charging as well as DC5525 ports for charging from solar panels and vehicle 12V outputs (cables required for this are included). I've tested the recharge time from AC and found it to be just under a couple of hours.

BigBlue CellPowa 1000

Unique, yet rather odd, popup handle.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The unit also features two fans on each end of the power station for cooling, and they are among the loudest fans I've heard on a power station. I've only had them come on while the unit is charging, but they could activate at any point during use. Keep this in mind if you're using it somewhere where the sound of a small hurricane could be annoying.

Also: I stress-tested this rugged external drive. Now, it goes with me everywhere

On the top is a pop-up handle that I haven't encountered before on a power station. It can be pressed down to lay flat, and when you need it, a quick press pops it up and back into action. The whole structure has a bit of a wobble to it, which initially feels odd and disconcerting, but the handle seems sturdy enough. 

ZDNET's buying advice

I've carried out all my usual tests on the CellPowa 1000 -- capacity, charge times, outputs for all the ports, overload tests, electrical safety tests, and thermal tests -- and everything passed with flying colors. I've also put the unit through a couple of weeks of heavy use, and it has performed flawlessly.

Overall, it's a great unit at a great price. Just be sure that the 1,000W/2,000W surge AC output is enough for your needs 

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