What is a Portable Power Station?
As energy-dense lithium battery technology has advanced over the last 10 years, portable power stations have emerged as a useful solution for off-grid power. A portable power station is an easily transportable lithium battery that combines a built-in battery gauge, an inverter with AC outlet, and multiple DC outlets to provide power for common devices while you’re off the grid.
All electronic devices use either AC or DC electricity. An alternating current (AC) is the more commonly recognized type of electricity. Most household appliances, including air conditioning, microwaves, refrigerators, and hair dryers, run off AC. Less commonly recognized than AC, direct current (DC) is used in devices that have a battery as their power source. These include cell phones, laptops, portable speakers, and cameras.
If you were to purchase a battery by itself it would not be useful to power all your devices. Power stations are useful because they merge an inverter to power AC devices (standard two or three-prong US wall socket type) with different connectors to power DC devices all in one unit. Some familiar DC outlet types include USB-A, USB-C, barrel jacks, and 12V car power sockets (also known as cigarette lighter sockets). Good portable power stations include not only a standard charger that plugs into the wall at home, but also allow for charging from a solar panel.
Advantages of a Portable Power Station
Whether you need power when camping, fishing, tailgating, on the job site, or in an emergency, a portable power station can provide electricity when and where you need it. When looking at the advantages of a portable power station, a comparison must be made to their alternative, which is a fossil fuel generator. Although generators provide an endless amount of power as long as you have the fuel, they are noisy, emit dangerous greenhouse gases (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide), and require regular running and maintenance, including oil changes, cleaning air filters and spark arrestors, and potentially cleaning out the carburetor when it gets clogged by dirty fuel.
Conversely, portable power stations do not require any maintenance besides discharging and recharging at least once every six months. They are silent and can be used indoors without fear of asphyxia. Despite their finite capacity, their capacity limitations can be overcome by planning for and purchasing a power station with enough watt-hours in reserve to get you through your intended adventure and/or supplementing capacity with a solar panel.
Depending on the continuous watt rating and capacity, a portable power station can be used to power almost any device for as long as you want. You can calculate your power needs, size your battery bank and determine your solar requirements here.
Himax’s Portable Power Station
We currently offer the H-1000w, which is a 1000-watt continuous 2000-watt peak, 921-watt hour portable power supply, which is capable of charging through a solar panel (150-watt max). The Outlaw is powered by LiFePO4 cells capable of 2,000-lifetime cycles at 80% depth of discharge with proper care. The H-1000w can power most creature comforts you would want while camping or tailgating, or if your power went out at home for an extended period.