Portable power station technology has rapidly evolved in recent years, with these lithium-ion devices that meet energy needs for people on the go filling the Australian market. There are several brands of large-capacity portable power stations that are lightweight, easy to move and provide generous levels of output.
Some of the smaller models available are ideal for travel and keeping phones, laptops, drones, GPS devices and other battery-powered devices charged. While some of the larger models are designed to replace petrol generators, and are capable of powering fridges and air compressors.
Portable power stations are also clean running, meaning they can be operated indoors without fear of carbon monoxide poisoning, and the only sound they make is a fan noise comparable to a laptop computer.
The big benefit for solar consumers is many battery-based portable power stations can be charged off PV panels. Two popular brands, Bluetti and EcoFlow, also manufacture foldable solar panels that can be connected directly to their portable power stations, while a range of adapters are available to connect to existing solar panels.
On the smaller end of the scale, there is the Bluetti EB55, with a 537 watt-hour capacity and a 700W output, and the EcoFlow River 600, with a 288 watt-hour capacity and 600W output, which can also be charged to 80 per cent in under an hour.
In the intermediate range, there is the EcoFlow Delta Max (pictured above) in two capacities: 1612 watt-hours with 2000W and 2400W outputs, respectively. Both are compatible with EcoFlow’s Smart Extra Batteries that can expand capacity up to 6000 watt-hours, allowing use as back-up batteries at home during blackouts.
The Bluetti AC200MAX unit has a 2048 watt-hour capacity at 2200W output, and is capable of powering drills, drop saws and air compressors. It can expand its capacity up to 6000 watt-hours.
At the biggest end of the portable power station market, the EcoFlow Delta Pro is the new kid on the block, packing an immense 3600 watt-hour capacity and 3600W output. The design of the unit includes two rear wheels for transport – that much lithium is quite heavy – and can be fully charged in two hours.