The Best Portable Power Station
Original article Review from Sarah Witman
Our pick EcoFlow Delta.
This unit packs lots of power into a portable, easy-to-use package. Plus, it has more AC, USB-A, and USB-C ports than any other portable power station we’ve tested.
The EcoFlow Delta is the best portable power station for emergency backup power or off-the-grid activities such as camping and tailgating. It had one of the highest capacities, and by far the highest max output, of all the contenders in our latest round of testing. It offers the most (and the widest variety of) ports out of all the models we tried. We also love its user-friendly interface and its sturdy, rugged build quality.
In our capacity tests, the Delta’s battery was able to power our tabletop fan for 9.75 hours, which is quite a bit less time than the 14 hours we got from the Jackery Explorer 1000, but it’s still a good result. To give another example of how much battery life that is, it means that you could fully charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro battery (which has a less than 60 Wh capacity) about 20 times before the Delta ran dry.
In max output, the Delta beat its competitors by a landslide, pumping out up to 2,040 W of power in our testing. Theoretically, that would be enough to power about 16 of our tabletop fans, or more than 30 CPAP machines (if there were that many outlets available).
The Delta is about the size of a case of beer. Although it weighs a little more than the similarly sized Jackery Explorer 1000 (an even 30 pounds to the Jackery’s 22), it’s still light enough for most people to haul from one side of a campsite to another. Also, because it has two handles on either side (unlike any of the Explorer models), two people can easily carry it together. As an added convenience, its handles are angular in shape (rather than rounded, like the Explorer models’ handles), so they don’t prevent you from setting the unit down on any of its six sides, making it easier for you to access all of the charging ports.
The Delta is the only model we tested that has a rubber bottom, which helps protect it from dings and scratches in transit and also provides a grippier surface for setting the unit down on rough or uneven terrain. In addition, the unit has a concave indent on the top so that, if you have more than one Delta, you can stack them; even if you don’t, it’s a handy surface to set your phone or other small objects on without worrying about their sliding off. As with the other models we tested, the majority of the Delta is encased in a sturdy, matte-textured plastic.
This EcoFlow portable power station is also the only model we tested with a case that encapsulates the entire unit. (Jackery’s models have a neoprene case for the charger and other cables, and the other competitors have no case whatsoever.) The case isn’t IP rated, so we wouldn’t trust it to protect against major spills or rain showers, but it seems somewhat weatherproof.
Like the Jackery Explorer models, the Delta has an LCD screen that shows approximately how many hours of battery life it has left, the percentage charged, and the input/output in watts. But the Delta’s screen is bigger and brighter than those of the other contenders, even the Jackery models, making it easier to read.
The EcoFlow Delta, charging a Bluetooth speaker and a Nintendo Switch. Photo: Sarah Witman
On one side of its body, the Delta has four USB-A ports—the most of any model we tested—and two of them are capable of fast charging. In addition, it has two USB-C ports, also the most we’ve seen on any portable power station. An increasing number of devices charge via USB-C, so having two of these more powerful ports—which can charge devices such as the iPhone 11 up to three times faster than USB-A—is a nice bonus.
On the other side of the chassis, you’ll find six AC outlets—once again, more than on any other model we tested—and a car power socket. The latter isn’t essential for most people, but if you’re road-tripping and you already have a USB car charger along for the ride, you can use it with your portable power station and free up some of the other ports. We also like that the Delta’s car power socket is covered by a hard-plastic flap to keep out dust and moisture when it’s not in use (the Jackery Explorer 1000 has a flap like this, too, but the Explorer 500 and Explorer 160 do not).
Using the included cables, you can charge your Delta on an AC wall outlet at home, a power socket in your car, or solar panels (sold separately). The AC wall charger that comes with this unit has a more streamlined design than others we’ve tested: Instead of using a bulky power brick to convert AC into DC electrical waves, its charging cable pumps AC waves from the wall outlet straight into the unit. As with the Explorer 1000—but in contrast to the Explorer 500 and Explorer 160—the Delta’s charger has a three-pronged plug, ensuring a more stable connection with fewer safety risks.
The Delta has a pure sine-wave inverter, so you can safely use it to run devices with a powerful motor or more sensitive electronics like CPAP machines. The Explorer 1000 and Explorer 500 both have this feature, but the Explorer 160 does not. (Though we don’t think that last model has enough power to run those kinds of devices, anyway.)
EcoFlow backs the Delta with an 18-month warranty, which should give you more than enough time to try it out and determine whether it suits your needs. We were also impressed with the company’s customer support: A representative responded by phone right away, and when we emailed anonymously we heard back within a day.