Portable power stations, also known as outdoor power or mobile power, are convenient energy storage devices that store energy and power a variety of devices without being connected to the grid. Most portable power stations use lithium-ion batteries and offer high capacity, high power, and multiple interfaces.
The difference between portable power stations and power banks
Capacity. Portable power stations are measured in watt-hours (Wh), while power banks use milliamp hours (mAh). Portable power stations typically have a capacity of tens of thousands of mAh, while power banks typically have a capacity of 10,000-20,000 mAh. In terms of capacity, portable power stations are significantly larger than power banks.
Power. Portable power stations can support 120W or even up to 2,000W, while power banks typically range from a few tens to a few hundred watts.
Current. Portable power stations support both AC and DC power, while power banks only support DC power.
Interfaces. Portable power stations support AC, DC, car charging, USB-A and Type-C interfaces, while power banks only support USB-A and Type-C.
What can you do with a portable power station?
- Charge electronic devices such as drones, phones, and laptops.
- Power car refrigerators and other car-powered devices.
- Boil water, cook meals, and operate other household appliances.
- Power computers and phones for mobile work where there is no electricity.
- Power outdoor photography equipment, such as cameras and lights.
- Serve as an emergency power source for the home, providing lighting and powering certain equipment.
- To meet other power needs in areas where access to the grid is not available.
Key considerations for choosing a portable power station
Power: The higher the power, the more electronic equipment can be powered and the greater the range of outdoor activities that can be performed. The most important factor to consider when choosing a portable power station is its power rating, which represents the continuous and stable output capability of the power supply.
Capacity: Portable power plants are measured in watt-hours (Wh), a measure of power consumption that represents the amount of work that can be done by the battery. The unit of measurement for a power bank is milliamp hours (mAh), which is a measure of electrical charge and represents the ability of a battery to store or release charge (Q.) The conversion between Wh and mAh is Wh1000/Voltage = mAh. Generally, power packs use multiple 18650 cells connected in parallel to increase capacity at a standard voltage of 3.6/3.7V (may vary between manufacturers). Portable power stations typically use series-parallel connections to achieve greater power output, with at least three series connections providing 3.6/3.7V3.
Because portable power stations with different power outputs have different battery output voltages, Wh is a more visual representation of the capacity of a portable power station. Many portable power station manufacturers use the power bank voltage of 3.6/3.7V to convert Wh to mAh, making the capacity appear larger. Therefore, when choosing a portable power station, be sure to pay attention to Wh, because the larger the number, the longer the power supply time.
Charging method: The most popular charging methods are wall charging, car charging, and solar charging. Other than wall charging, other charging methods may require additional accessories. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, a solar panel may be a necessary accessory.
Power Interfaces: Usually required are USB-A, Type-C, and AC output and DC ports. USB-A port, which supports mobile devices. Type-C supports cell phones, laptops, and other PD fast-charging protocol devices, improving the charging efficiency of mobile devices. The AC port provides AC 220V voltage to support most electronic devices such as outlets. DC port can provide power for car charging or other devices that support a 12V power supply.
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