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Keep the juice flowing with these 5 hard-working personal power stations


Now more than ever, we are wholly reliant on our oft-finicky power grid to literally fuel our day-to-day lives. During a power outage, however, a backup power source is a convenient way to keep your appliances up and running, allowing you to weather the storm without having to forgo Silicon Valley. However, a personal power station isn’t solely reserved for large-scale events.

Sometimes you may only need a little extra juice to keep your smaller devices charged on a weekend getaway, or during an extended day trip. Fortunately, there exist a slew of options on the market. From powerful gas generators to pint-sized powerhouses, there is a generator for virtually every situation. Here are five of our favorites.

The best overall — Goal Zero Yeti 1400 ($2,000)

Goal Zero is well known for its lead-acid batteries, however, the company recently unveiled its lithium-based models after much anticipation. One of the main benefits of this transition is a substantial reduction in overall weight. While previous models like the Yeti 1250 weighed in at a hefty 103 pounds, the new Yeti 1400 Lithium weighs a svelte 45.

Another benefit of the battery upgrade is the life expectancy of a single charge. The lithium batteries in the Yeti 1400 provide more than double the shelf life, and you can recharge the power station using an AC wall outlet, a DC port in your car, or via a compatible solar panel. The LCD readout also illustrates the current charge levels and the rate at which the generator is being depleted or recharged. This screen even displays the projected operational time of the charging devices. Read more about the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Best gas-powered alternative — Honda EM5000S ($2,430)

Many individuals prefer electric generators because they are more environmentally-friendly than those that run on gasoline. However, electric generators have their drawbacks. First and foremost, the units tend to gradually lose their charge over time. This means an electric generator may be rendered useless during an emergency if you’ve forgotten to recently charge the device. Simply keep a full canister of fuel stored near your gas generator and you’re set.

Capable of producing 5,000 watts, the Honda EM5000S portable generator is one of our favorite gas-powered options on the market. The six-gallon tank gives you a little more than 11 hours of operational use, allowing you to keep your appliances powered during prolonged outages. And unlike many gasoline models, the EM5000S features an electric, push-to-start ignition. Thankfully, there’s also a backup ignition rope in case the battery for the push button is low or dead.

One of the biggest knocks against gas generators is the excessive noise. If you’re running the generator at night, you run the risk of annoying your neighbors. Fortunately for those around you, the EM5000S is one of the quietest gas-powered options available. With an operational level of roughly 72dBm, this model is about as loud as a normal conversation or a vacuum cleaner. The downside is the voltage output with gas generators tends to fluctuate during use and these slight distortions may damage your appliances. With this in mind, Honda incorporated its iAVR technology into the EM500S, thus reducing the possibility of varying voltage. If you prefer a gas model to keep your home running on all cylinders during an emergency, the Honda EM5000S is our pick.

Buy one now from:

Honda

 Best for your car — Bestek Car Jump Starter ($60)

A backup generator for your home is a smart option, however, many people tend to forget to keep a spare power source in their vehicles as well. While a pair of jumper cables come in handy if there’s another vehicle nearby to give you a friendly jolt, you may be out of luck if you’re in a more rural location. In a situation like this, a self-powered charging device can be a real lifesaver, and the Bestek Car Jump Starter is a great, compact option.

As for recharging, the Bestek jumps most vehicles up to 20 times on a single charge but this model is more than a one-trick pony. A pair of USB ports on the unit allows you to quickly recharge a host of compatible devices. This can be helpful if your phone is dead, or if the problem with your vehicle isn’t related to the battery. Additionally, a series of LEDs allow the Bestek to double as a flashlight with multiple modes, including high, strobe, and SOS.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Best for smartphones — RAVPower 20100mAh Portable Charger ($50)

Maybe you’re not looking for a personal power station to keep your appliances running during an emergency. Perhaps you just need a little extra juice to keep your smaller devices powered while running errands around town or on extended weekend trips. In these instances, a portable battery charger like the RAVPower 20100mAh is ideal, especially for under $50.

With two standard USB ports and a USB type-C port, there’s plenty of room to charge your laptop, a tablet, and your smartphone. With a storage capacity of 20,100mAh, the charger houses more than enough power to recharge your phone multiple times. There are certainly lighter and slimmer options available, however, this 13-ounce model easily stows in your backpack or glove compartment for added convenience.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

The best you can’t buy yet — The River ($459)

The Indiegogo campaign for the EcoFlow River has been turning heads for weeks now, having raised more than $180,000 in a mere two weeks. With the ability to charge via a car jack, wall socket, or solar panel, the River is exceedingly versatile. And while many charging stations tout themselves as “portable” devices, the forthcoming River is a true travel-friendly solution, one outfitted with a top handle and water-resistant design.

The device’s 500-watt battery recharges your smartphone more than 30 times and a laptop up to nine times. If you want to keep a mini fridge running on a weekend outing, the River keeps your perishables chilled for up to 10 hours. It comes with a total of 11 ports, meaning there are more than enough channels to charge all of your gadgets simultaneously. You can currently pre-order a River for $459. Read more about the EcoFlow River here.

Buy one now from:

Ecoflow



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