If you find yourself constantly experiencing power outages or exploring outdoors without access to a power supply, getting an alternative power supply is the best option for you. Although many options are available in the market, generators and portable power stations are two reliable sources of electricity worth investing in.
With many of the devices we use today powered by electricity, power outages can be inconvenient. However, having backup options like portable power stations and generators ensure you can keep your devices running when necessary. But how exactly do you know which of the two options you should invest in?
Portable power stations and generators serve the same purpose: They offer a temporary source of electricity supply. However, they have certain differences that you need to consider before choosing which option to invest in. In this article, we will explore the differences between portable power stations and generators, including the ideal situations they are best used in.
What Are Portable Power Stations?
Portable power stations are compact battery-powered inverter generators that use batteries to store electrical energy. When powered up, these self-contained units offer clean off-grid electricity to power a wide range of electrical devices.
Durable and easy to transport, portable power stations have output ports such as AC outlets, DC carport, and USB charging ports. These output ports are functional for powering home appliances like fridges, devices like phones, or outdoor devices typically used by campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Although these stations may be lightweight, they pack a punch. While they may seem like a larger version of power banks, portable power stations have greater device compatibility and churn out a higher output. Additionally, although they typically run on batteries, portable stations can be harnessed to solar panels to generate electricity through solar energy.
Pros and Cons of Portable Power Stations
Power stations offer various advantages. These include:
Power stations are lightweight and easy to transport, making them a great option for on-the-go use. In a increasingly power-dependent world, portable power stations are a great way to ensure have wave power wherever you go.
Portable power stations are outfitted with different output ports to ensure usage with various devices and appliances. From phones to small appliances, you can trust these units to keep your devices running.
Portable power stations are eco-friendly since they do not rely on combustible fuel to operate. As such, they are considered one of the cleanest supplies of electricity today. Portable power stations are sustainable, environment-friendly, and safe to use indoors. More importantly, portable power stations run without noise. This not only makes them clean power but also one that is a quiet power source.
Multiple Output Options
Portable power stations come with multiple outlet ports, ranging from AC & DC outlets to USB ports. This enables you to charge or power various devices simultaneously.
It is worth reemphasizing that portable power stations are one of the safest options you can invest in. Since they don’t produce toxic emissions or combust fuels to generate power, these alternative power supply options are not only convenient but ensure safety while in use. This makes them the perfect option for use in households with children or pets.
While portable power stations offer numerous advantages, there are still potential disadvantages worth considering. These include:
Limited Energy Generation
Portable power stations run on batteries. This means if you use a station continuously, it’s batteries are bound to run out of juice. While this limits usability, it important to remember you can always recharge your unit.
The devices you can power with your station are determined by the unit’s power capabilities. However, depending on the models, many power stations are not suitable for powering powerful devices like air conditioners or large refrigerators.
A portable power station’s batteries might degrade over time if not utilized and maintained properly. This will drastically reduce its powering quality, capacity, and lifetime.
The Ideal Use Cases for Portable Power Stations
Power stations are best used in cases that require emergency power backup. Some scenarios where they are practical include:
Camping trips and activities that require visiting remote areas mean you do not get access to standard electrical outlets. Portable power stations provide the necessary electrical power for your devices while you spend your time outdoors.
If you find yourself constantly outdoors and on-the-go without a means to keep your devices plugged in, portable power stations are a great option for you. Whether you’re out on a road trip, or visiting a remote area, or even hosting a picnic, portable power stations offer the solution you need not to miss out on electricity.
Sometimes, power outages are inevitable. In these cases, portable power stations are excellent back-up options that provide your devices the electricity they need to keep running. With these units, you can keep your essentials running without any problem.
Off Grid Cost-effective Solutions
Going off-grid should not always equate having to do without access to electricity. With portable power stations, you get a cost-effective solution to ensure you access power even outside civilization.
Our Recommended Portable Power Stations
With the many portable power stations in the market today, choosing the right unit can be a confusing process. However, two options that offer unbeatable power supply are the Growatt INFINITY 1300 and VITA 550 units.
The Growatt INFINITY 1300 LiFePO4 Power Station is a high-quality power storage unit designed to cater to all your temporary electrical needs. With a 1382Wh Capacity and 1800W Output, the INFINITY 1300 delivers enough power to keep your devices running through a blackout.
- 3,000+ Life Cycles to 80% for durability and reliability during power outages
- 8 hours charging period for less waiting time(wall charging)
- Temperature and voltage protection, current protection, short circuit protection, and overload protection to keep your devices safe
- Sophisticated and easy to control via the remote app
- 14 outputs for versatility, including AC outlets, DC outlets, USB A ports, USB C ports, and a wireless charging pad,
- Reliable Emergency Power Supply (EPS) feature to ensure immediate power backup
- 5-year warranty
The VITA 550 is a smaller but equally strong portable power station designed to keep you powered during an emergency. While it might have a smaller 538Wh Capacity & 600W Output, this unit is designed to fulfill your emergency power supply needs. More importantly, it works perfectly well with solar panels to generate clean solar energy. With a lightweight design, the VITA 550 is perfect for use on the go.
The VITA 550 features:
- LiFePO4 Battery with 3,000+ Life Cycles to 80%
- Fast charging with AC Charge in 1.6 Hours, Solar Charge in 2.5 Hours
- 11 outlets
- Remote and smart app control for easy use
- Reliable Emergency Power Supply (EPS) feature
- Temperature and voltage protection, current protection, short circuit protection, and overload protection to keep your devices safe.
What Are Generators?
Generators are machines that convert mechanical or chemical energy into electrical energy. They typically function using fuel such as gasoline or diesel to power an engine that converts combustion into usable electricity.
A generator typically uses the principles of electromagnetic induction to produce a flow of electrons, generating an electrical current. Although there are two major categories and give it which are AC (Alternating Current) generators and DC (Direct Current) generators, the working principle is the same for all generators. Essentially, while portable power stations store electricity in their batteries, generators ‘generate’ electricity by combusting fuel.
Pros and Cons of Generators
There are numerous advantages of generators. These include:
Generators are quickly becoming a staple as they provide a reliable supply during an emergency. Like power stations, they will keep your devices running by providing power during power outages.
Generators can be implemented in different settings ranging from homes to businesses/offices and industrial sites. They are perfect for both outdoor and indoor uses.
Cheap Upfront Cost
Generators typically have a cheaper upfront cost than other options like power stations.
While generators have several advantages, some disadvantages include:
Generators are typically loud. This noise can quickly become a problem, especially in areas with noise restrictions such as campgrounds.
Generators produce exhaust fumes and emission that are potential hazard risks. As such, they cannot be operated indoors. Instead, you need to ensure your generator is placed in a ventilated area away from windows or vents.
Generators need regular maintenance to keep them in shape. Maintenance includes actions like oil fills/change, air filter inspection or replacement, and battery tests.
Generators cannot work without fuel. This means you will need to always purchase fuel to get your generator working.
The Ideal Use Cases for Generators
Like portable power stations, generators are best used in cases where electricity is not available. Some instances where generators can be used include:
Large Power Requirements
Generators are a great option for situations that demand a higher electrical supply than portable power stations can provide. With the ability to generate a greater output, Generators are a great option.
Emergency Backup Power for Big Appliances and Equipment
During Power outages, generators are a great backup plan for your large appliances. These units will not only charge your phones but also power appliances like air conditioners and large machineries.
Speaking of large machineries, generators are perfect for powering the heavy machinery or tools used in construction companies. This includes electric welders, chainsaws, air compressors, and hand drills.
RV and Boat Owners
Living in an RV or a boat means you need an option that will generate electricity on the go. Generators may be bulky but they are still easy to transport. With generators, you can enjoy electricity on the go and use necessary appliances without a problem.
Comparison of Portable Power Stations and Generator
Through the above description, you have a better understanding of the respective advantages and disadvantages of portable power stations and generators. The main differences between the two are listed in the chart below so you can decide which one is better for you.
Portable Power Station
Battery-powered. It can be charged using solar panels.
Fuel-powered using diesel, gasoline, or propane
300W to 4000W
1000W to 10000W
Usually quiet, low noise level
Typically noisy, noise level varies with generator size
Compact, lightweight, and easy to transport
Bulky, not easy to transport
Typically low maintenance
Typically requires regular maintenance
Expensive first purchase, lower maintenance fees in the long run
Affordable first purchase, requires more ongoing costs for maintenance and fuel purchase
Perfect for indoor use thanks to zero emissions.
Cannot be used indoors due to the emission of harmful gasses.
Key Features to Look for in Portable Power Stations and Generators
When choosing a portable power station or generator to purchase, it is important to consider several factors. These include:
Capacity and Power Output
Capacity and power output determine the maximum electrical output a unit can offer. Generators typically have a larger capacity and output than portable power stations. As such, they are a better option in cases requiring larger appliances. It is important to note that capacities vary with brand and model, which means you need to check the capacity of individual units before purchasing them.
Portable power stations are typically built smaller and with a lighter weight than generators. This means they can easily be transported to be used outdoors.
Durability and safety
Examine the materials the portable power station or generator is made from. It is also important consider the potential hazards or risk that comes with each unit.
Although generators are noisy, noise levels typically depend on a unit’s brand. Noise levels are measured using ‘decibels’ and usually highlighted on a product package. If you prefer an entirely noiseless option, it is best to choose a portable power station.
Portable power stations and generators vary in price. It is best to consider your budget to determine which option is best for you.
Deciding the best option between a portable power station and a generator is a matter of preference, intended use, and budget. However, if you need an efficient power supply source that can be used anywhere, investing in a portable power station is the best option.
Portable power stations may be lightweight but they are strong and offer a high performance. Couple this with the sense of noise, toxic fumes, and the need to constantly purchase fuel, and it is easy to see these powerful devices are a total game-changer.
To enjoy a high-forming portable power station, Growatt’s INFINITY series and VITA 550 are the perfect options for you. With these reliable and cost-effective power sources, you can enjoy an emergency power supply anywhere and anytime.