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Buying guide: The best portable power station with solar option

Update: Q1 update
powerstations hero
© iosebi meladze / Shutterstock.com; Collage: NextPit

Are you on the lookout for the best power station that can be powered via solar? NextPit shows you the best portable power stations in this article. Whether it is for camping, music festivals, or simply for the home, a power station allows you to be prepared for all eventualities including power outages. If you buy a power station with a solar panel, you can generate your own electricity anywhere and at any time, provided the sun has not disappeared behind a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion. Read on to find out which is the best power station that matches your purpose and budget, and whether it comes with or without a solar panel.

In the following table, we have selected the best power stations for you in the three price categories of up to $500, up to $1,000, and up to $1,500, all of which still remain portable with a maximum weight of 15 kilograms. Basically, the heavier a power station, the more capacity and output power it offers.

We explain the most important differences between the power stations in detail in our buying guide below.

The best portable power stations by price category

  Editor's choice Best power station below $500 Best power station below $1,000 Best power station above $1,000
Product
Price (without solar) $1,099 $299 $499 $999
Price (with solar) from $1,597 from $499 from $999 from $1,649
Image
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro
Bluetti EB3A
Bluetti EB55+SP200
Ecoflow Delta 2
Pros
  • Retractable handle
  • Fast charging function
  • Integrated power supply
  • 1,000 watt of continuous power
  • Very compact and practical case
  • 600 watts via AC and 100 watts via USB-C
  • Wireless charging supported
  • Flashlight with SOS function
  • Chic color display
  • Practical app
  • Also doubles up as a UPS
  • Compact and stackable thanks to the retractable handle
  • Many ports including 100-Watt USB-C
  • Wireless charging on top
  • Integrated lamp with SOS function
  • Solidly built
  • Power supply integrated in the case
  • Numerous power connections
  • Amazingly practical app
  • Handles stick out sideways, protecting the display and ports
Cons
  • No separate 12V DC outputs
  • Bluetooth connection is unsecure and cannot be disabled
  • Fan runs loud
  • 400 Watt charging power is only possible as a combination
  • Noisy fan at high power output
  • Solar panel stand is a bit wobbly
  • Handles stick out sideways and get in the way
  • More expensive than its competitors in the same class
Rating
Not yet reviewed
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro hands-on
Not yet reviewed
Read the Bluetti EB55+SP200 review
Not yet reviewed
Ecoflow Delta 2 hands-on
Check offer* (without solar)
Check offer (with solar)

Before we go into more detail about the individual solar generators from the table and their features, we would like to first explain the most important technical specifications and features that you should pay attention to when buying.

Jump to:

  1. Buying advice for power stations: What is important?
    1. Maximum output power
    2. Power station capacity
    3. Connections
    4. Charging options
    5. Solar panel
    6. Battery technology
  2. The best power stations in detail
    1. Bluetti EB3A
    2. Bluetti EB55
    3. Ecoflow Delta 2

1. Buying advice for power stations: What is important?

1.1 Maximum output power

The most important question you should ask yourself is this: Which devices do I want to charge or power with the portable power station? Usually, you will find a sticker or an embossed label on electrical devices that feature the wattage your device consumes under continuous operation. If you add up the power of all the devices that you want to operate simultaneously with your power station, you will obtain the output power that your future power station should be able to deliver.

The portable power stations in our comparison all manage between 300 and 700 watts in continuous operation. That is easily enough to keep smartphones, notebooks, cameras charged, or various lamps, fans, TVs, refrigerators, and the ilk. However, you will quickly run out of power if you want to bake waffles in the city park, as we found out when reviewing the Jackery Explorer 500.

Jackery Powergenerator 500
The waffle iron in the background requires just under 700 watts - which is, unfortunately, a bit too much for the Jackery Explorer 500 (EU version) and thus unsuitable for continuous use. / © NextPit

The power stations also manage to churn out more power for a short amount of time but switch off after a few seconds. The smaller Bluetti EB3A, for instance, offers 1200 watts for a limited time only. Bear in mind that many consumers who use tools and devices will find that said tools consume more power when starting up than in continuous operation.

1.2 Power station capacity

The second most important question is: How long do you want to run these devices? The manufacturers always state the capacities of their power stations in watt hours (Wh). The calculation is quite simple: If your fridge needs 100 watts, you can continue to keep it running for five hours with 500-watt hours in case of a power outage. Either that, or you can get through a long workday with a power-hungry notebook anywhere.

As mentioned at the beginning, you'll also find portable power stations with significantly higher capacity and corresponding higher output power from all the manufacturers. However, more power always means additional weight and higher costs. So think carefully about where the most sensible compromise lies for you.

Ecoflow Delta 2
The Ecoflow Delta 2 offers a full 1,024 Wh capacity. / © NextPit

1.3 Connections

All portable power stations in our comparison offer 220V AC sockets and can thus be used universally, although you surely cannot use them on Mars. In addition, you will also find the 12V socket that is found in virtually every single vehicle (the "cigarette lighter" port) as well as one or more DC outputs on all models.

You will also find several USB-A ports on all the power stations and a USB-C port at the bare minimum on most devices to keep up with the times. The models from Ecoflow and Bluetti even offer PD charging with up to 100 watts. You can find out which smartphones can be charged quickly with this in our guide to quick charging on smartphones.

Bluetti EB55 Anschlüsse
The Bluetti EB55 has pretty much all the ports you could want. / © NextPit

If you want to power a lot of devices via USB-A or USB-C, then you can save yourself the trouble of lugging around additional power adapters with the right model.

1.4 Charging options

Of course, all of the power stations in our comparison come with a power adapter so that you can charge them at the wall socket at home. However, the charging speeds differ from the slowest to the fastest model by a factor of five. If you always plan to charge your power station overnight, you can of course disregard this.

Besides charging via the mains adapter, there is usually also the option of charging via a car adapter, which is usually included in the box.

Jackery Powergenerator 500
Most solar panels can be folded to save space, such as seen here in the SolarSaga 100W from Jackery. / © NextPit

1.5 Solar option

The trendiest charging option for your power station at the end of the day would be the inclusion of solar panels. All models in this comparison allow charging via photovoltaics, where the manufacturers each have their own modules on offer. You can either buy them directly in a bundle with your PowerStation or purchase them as an add-on for a later period.

You can also find third-party solar panels as part of its accessories. However, you have to make sure that the photovoltaic modules are compatible with your power station or that you can get a corresponding adapter. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you buy the panels directly from the manufacturer of your power station.

You can calculate how long the charging process will take based on the rated power of the panels and the capacity of the battery. In our experience, you can count on about 90 percent of the rated power under the blazing midday sun. In hazy weather, cloudy skies, or in the evening, the charging power quickly drops to 60, 40, 20 percent, or less. In any case, patience is required when relying on solar energy.

1.6 Battery technology

Two battery technologies are commonly found in current power stations: Lithium-ion and lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP). We know of the former battery technology from smartphones or electric cars. The advantage here is the good ratio of weight per capacity. Power stations with lithium-ion batteries are comparatively lighter than power stations with LiFePO4 technology.

However, iron phosphate batteries also offer two enormous advantages: First, they are significantly safer. Even if the batteries are damaged by a heavy blow, they do not run the risk of burning violently as lithium-ion cells. You can find videos on YouTube in which curious folk has even drilled holes in LFP cells, resulting in only significant smoke development.

Bluetti EB3A
Bluetti uses iron phosphate batteries in all newer power stations. / © NextPit

The second major advantage of iron phosphate cells is durability. While the capacity of lithium-ion batteries drops to 80 percent after about 1,000 to 1,500 charging cycles, this takes more like 2,500 to 3,500 charging cycles with iron phosphate batteries. If you use the power station twice a year at a festival, the difference does not matter. For everyday use, such as a buffer for the balcony power station, the difference can be enormous.

2. The best power stations up to $500, $1,000, and $1,500

2.1 The best power station up to $500: Bluetti EB3A

Bluetti EB3A von vorne
 For such a compact power station, the Bluetti EB3A offers considerable output power. / © NextPit

Together with the Ecoflow River 2 and the Jackery Explorer 240, the Bluetti EB3A is one of the super-compact power stations. While it is a tad more expensive than its two competitors, it offers a significantly higher output power of 1,200 watts for a short time and thus, greater flexibility when it is used. When we checked out the Bluetti EB3A, we were able to operate a microwave with the mini power station!

The Bluetti EB3A also performs pretty well when it comes to charging via solar: It is the only power station that manages 200 watts and is thus also suitable for somewhat larger solar panels. Another practical feature is that you can pair the power station with your smartphone via Bluetooth. This way, you can check how far the power station is charged or discharged from the comfort of your camping chair via the app, not to mention switching the output even. Here is a nice touch by Bluetti: There is a Qi charging pad on the top of the EB3A.

Check out NextPit's Bluetti AC500 review

In the following table, you can find a comparison between the Bluetti EB3A with other power stations that costs less than $500.

  Powerstations up to 500 USD in comparison
Product
Image
Bluetti EB3A
Ecoflow River 2
Jackery Explorer 240
Price $299 $289 $299
Capacity 268 Wh 256 Wh 240 Wh
Battery technology LiFePO4 LiFePO4 Li-Ion NMC
Charging cycles up to 80% 2,500 3,000 500
Overvoltage protection 1.200 W 600 W 400 W
Output power (AC) up to 600 W up to 300 W up to 200 W
Output power (USB-C) up to 100 W up to 60 W -
Output power (USB-A) up to 15 W up to 12 W up to 12 W
Output power (automotive) up to 120 W up to 100 W up to 120 W
Output power (DC) up to 120 W - -
Connections (AC) 1x 1x 1x
Connectors (USB-C) 1x 1x -
Connectors (USB-A) 2x 2x 2x
Connectors (automotive) 1x 1x 1x
Connectors (DC) 2x - -
Input power (power supply) up to 350 W up to 360 W up to 65 W
Input power (automotive) up to 200 W up to 100 W k. A.
Input power (USB-C) - up to 60 W -
Input power (solar) up to 200 W up to 110 W up to 65 W
Solar module available Yes Yes Yes
What's in the box Power cord, solar charging cable Power cord, car charger cable Power adapter, car charger cable
Features Bluetooth, App support, Qi charging pad integrated (16 W) WLAN + Bluetooth, app support -
Size 25.5 x 18.0 x 18.3 cm 24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2 cm 13.2 x 23.1 x 19.5 cm
Weight 4.6 kg 3.5 kg 3.0 kg
Rating
Not yet reviewed
Not yet reviewed
Not yet reviewed
Check offer (without solar)*
Check offer (with solar)*
  • -

2.2 The best power station up to $1,000: Bluetti EB55

Bluetti EB55 mit SP200 im Park
Whether camping or in the city park: With the Bluetti EB55 and the matching solar panel, you are independent of the power grid. / © NextPit

The EB55 from Bluetti is the right device for power users. It is the only model in this comparison that relies on a LiFePO4 battery. This technology offers better durability than the Li-Ion NMC batteries used by its competitors. While Jackery stated 500 charging cycles for its power station until the capacity drops to 80%, Bluetti and Ecoflow promise a full 2,500 cycles and 3,000 cycles, respectively. So, if you use the power station for everyday work and not only for occasional camping trips, this model is the right one for you.

Apart from that, the Bluetti EB55 convinces with an output power of 700 watts, a strong 400-watt charging capacity, and a wide portfolio of ports. Also nice is the charging pad on the top, which charges compatible devices wirelessly with up to 15 watts via Qi standard.

Click here for NextPit's review of the Bluetti EB55 (with solar panel)

In the following table, you can find more alternatives to the Bluetti EB55 from Ecoflow and Jackery within the $1,000 price range. The models of the River 2 series, which were just introduced in winter, are definitely exciting competitors to the Bluetti EB55 on paper.

  The best power stations up to $1,000 compared
Product
Image
Bluetti EB55
Bluetti EB70
Ecoflow River 2 Max
Ecoflow River 2 Pro
Jackery Explorer 500
Price $499 $569 $469 $799 $424.15
Capacity 537 Wh 716 Wh 512 Wh 768 Wh 518 Wh
Battery technology LiFePO4 LiFePO4 LiFePO4 LiFePO4 Li-Ion NMC
Charging cycles up to 80% 2.500 2.500 3.000 3.000 1.000
Overvoltage protection 1,400 W 1,400 W 1,000 W 1,600 W 1.000 W
Output power (AC) up to 700 W up to 1,000 W up to 500 W up to 800 W up to 500 W
Output power (USB-C) up to 100 W up to 100 W up to 100 W up to 100 W -
Output power (USB-A) up to 15 W up to 15 W up to 12 W up to 12 W up to 12 W
Output power (automotive) up to 120 W up to 120 W up to 126 W up to 126 W up to 120 W
Output power (DC) up to 120 W up to 120 W up to 36 W up to 36 W up to 84 W
Connections (AC) 2x 2x 2x 3x 1x
Connectors (USB-C) 1x 2x 1x 1x -
Connectors (USB-A) 4x 2x 3x 3x 3x
Connections (automotive) 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x
Connections (DC) 2x 2x 2x 2x 2x
Input power (power supply) up to 400 W up to 200 W up to 660 W up to 940 W up to 100 W
Input power (automotive) up to 400 W up to 200 W up to 100 W up to 100 W k. A.
Input power (USB-C) - - up to 100 W up to 100 W -
Input power (solar) up to 200 W up to 200 W up to 220 W up to 220 W up to 100 W
Solar module available Yes Yes Yes Yes yes
Scope of delivery power adapter, car charger cable, solar charger cable Power adapter, car charger cable, solar charger cable Mains cable, car charger cable, DC5521 connection cable Mains cable, car charger cable, DC5521 connection cable Power adapter, car charger cable
Features Qi charging pad integrated (16 W) Qi charging pad integrated (16 W) WLAN + Bluetooth, app support WLAN + Bluetooth, app support Flashlight
Size 27.8 x 20.0 x 19.8 cm
26.0 x 19.1 x 19.6 cm
27.0 x 26.0 x 19.6mm 27.0 x 26.0 x 22.6mm 30.1 x 24.2 x 19.3 cm
Weight 7.5 kg 9.7 kg 6.0 kg 7.8 kg 6.4 kg
Rating
Bluetti EB55 review
Not yet reviewed
Not yet reviewed
Not yet reviewed
Not yet rated
Jackery Explorer 500 hands-on
Check offer (without solar)*
Check offer (with solar)*
  • -

2.3 The best power station up to $1,500: Ecoflow Delta 2

Ecoflow Delta 2
The Ecoflow Delta 2 provides 1,800 watts of output power in continuous operation. / © NextPit

Jackery and Ecoflow are in a close race in the power station price range between $1,000 and $1,500. We already had the opportunity to try out both the Explorer 1000 Pro and the Delta 2 in a hands-on experience. In reality, the Ecoflow Delta 2 convinced us more. It relies on the safer and more durable LiFePO4 battery technology and thus offers about three times longer durability.

The Ecoflow Delta 2 also has a strong performance. It achieves 1,800 watts continuously and even 2,700 watts for a short time at its peak. Thanks to Bluetooth, you can check the charge status and switch the outputs on your smartphone at any time. Also, if you connect the power station to your home network via WLAN, you can even do so on the go.

We also liked the Ecoflow Delta 2's protruding carrying handles, which protect the display and the connection panels from accidental damage. The disadvantage? They cannot be folded and therefore increase the packing size of the power station.

Click here for the NextPit hands-on of the Ecoflow Delta 2

The following table compares the technical specifications of the Ecoflow Delta 2 and Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro.

  The best powerstations up to $1,500
Product
Image
Ecoflow Delta 2
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro
Price $999 $1,099
Capacity 1,024 Wh 1,002 Wh
Battery technology LiFePO4 Li-Ion NMC
Charging cycles up to 80% 3,000 1,000
Overvoltage protection 2,700 W 2,000 W
Output power (AC) up to 1,800 W up to 1,000 W
Output power (USB-C) up to 100 W up to 100 W
Output power (USB-A) up to 12 W up to 12 W
Output power (automotive) up to 126 W up to 120 W
Output power (DC) up to 38 W -
Connections (AC) 6x 2x
Connectors (USB-C) 2x 2x
Connectors (USB-A) 2x 2x
Connectors (car) 1x 1x
Connectors (DC) 2x -
Input power (power supply) up to 1200 W up to 800 W
Input power (automotive) up to 192 W k. A.
Input power (USB-C) - -
Input power (solar) up to 500 W up to 800 W
Solar module available Yes Yes
Scope of delivery Power cord, car charger cable, DC5521-to-DC5525 cable Power adapter, car charger cable, DC7909-to-DC8020 adapter
Features WLAN + Bluetooth, App support -
Size 40.0 x 21.1 x 28.1 cm 34.0 x 26.2 x 25.5 cm
Weight 12 kg 11.5 kg
Rating
Not yet reviewed
Ecoflow Delta 2 hands-on
Not yet reviewed
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro hands-on
Check offer (without solar)*
Check offer (with solar)*

Do you already use a power station? If so, does it come with a solar panel? Do you also have a favorite that we haven't listed here or is there important information that you found missing? We look forward to your comments!


Note: We have completely revised the article on 26.01.2023 - older comments may seem out of context.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Stefan Möllenhoff

Stefan Möllenhoff

I have been writing about technology since 2004 with a strong passion for smartphones, photography, and IoT, especially in the world of smart homes and AI ever since they debuted. I'm also an avid cook and bake pizza at least three times a week using my Ooni Koda 16. In order to compensate for all the consumed calories, I indulge in sporting activities on a daily basis while strapping on at least two fitness trackers. I am strongly convinced that you can DIY a lot of things if you put your mind to it - including a photovoltaic system and power station.

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1 Comment

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  • storm 1 week ago Link to comment

    I've got a bigger unit with the LiFEePO4 from lionenergy and solar panels. Been a good unit so far.