The Best Portable Power Station
Author: Sarah Witman
If you are planning to go off the grid or are prepping for an emergency, the EcoFlow Delta 1300 can keep your electronic gear running for hours—or even days—at a time. It’s roughly the same size and weight as a small microwave, and it provides a steady stream of power without the noise or exhaust of a portable generator. After 63 hours spent testing eight portable power stations, we found that the Delta 1300’s impressive max output, wide array of ports, easy-to-use interface, and rugged exterior helped it stand out from the competition.
The EcoFlow Delta 1300 is light enough for one person to carry, but its dual-handle design allows two people to share the load easily. It had the highest max output of any model we tried, making it capable of running the most power-hungry appliances in our tests. It also had one of the highest battery capacities among the models we tested, suitable for keeping most devices from laptops to CPAP machines running all day (or all night) long. We love its easy-to-read screen, which shows input/output wattage and how much power is left in reserve. Plus, it has more output ports—six AC, four USB-A, and two USB-C—than any portable power station we’ve tested, allowing you to charge a wide range of devices from phones and tablets to cameras to GPS units.
Rated max output: 1,800 W
Rated capacity: 1,260 Wh
Weight: 30 pounds
Body dimensions: 12 by 8 by 11 inches
Our pick: EcoFlow Delta 1300
The EcoFlow Delta 1300 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 1300’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 1300 ran dry.
In max output, the Delta 1300 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 1300 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 1300 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 1300, 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 1300 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 1300 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 1300’s screen is bigger and brighter than those of the other contenders, even the Jackery models, making it easier to read.
On one side of its body, the Delta 1300 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 1300’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 1300 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 1300’s charger has a three-pronged plug, ensuring a more stable connection with fewer safety risks.
The Delta 1300 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 1300 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.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Despite having a higher capacity rating (1,260 Wh) than the Jackery Explorer 1000 (1,000 Wh), the Delta 1300 didn’t perform nearly as well in our battery-rundown test with the tabletop fan, where it clocked just 9.75 hours to the Explorer 1000’s 14 hours. But we think its strong showing in terms of peak power (2,040 W to the Jackery’s 1,370 W) and its other outstanding features (dual handles, a rubber bottom, a bright screen, and an abundance of ports) more than make up for that lone weakness.
We would have preferred the Delta 1300’s six AC outlets to be more widely spaced; they don’t allow much room for larger-than-average plugs, and you can use only three grounded (three-prong) plugs at a time because of the way the outlets are oriented. However, we think most people will rarely need to use all six outlets at once or more than three grounded plugs at once. Plus, collectively the Delta 1300’s ports are spaced better than those on the other models we tested since they’re spread out over two sides of the unit instead of just one.
At this writing, the Delta 1300 is the most expensive of all the models we tested. But we think it’s worth spending more to ensure a better overall experience, especially for something you’re going to be relying on while you’re off the grid.
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