Best portable power station brands in South Africa

South Africans looking for a simple plug-and-play system to provide a modest amount of electricity during load-shedding can choose from several power station brands.

Many households cannot afford to spend over R100,000 on a fully-fledged solar and battery system to provide power backup for essential household appliances.

Fortunately, you can get a reasonably powerful compact backup system that can power appliances such as a TV, computer, routers, smartphone chargers and some lights throughout load-shedding without breaking the bank.

A power trolley combining an inverter and battery is often one of the most cost-effective options.

But these products do have some drawbacks.

Firstly, the cheapest power trolleys use lead-acid batteries, which can only be discharged up to 50% of their capacity without damage, and even then lasts only a few hundred cycles.

Most power stations available at major stores, including Builders, GeeWiz, Makro, Takealot, and Outdoor Warehouse, come with lithium-ion batteries.

Their superior battery chemistry enables them to be discharged to 20% or less of their capacity without losing lifecycles.

In addition, power stations are generally less bulky and weigh less than power trolleys, making them easier to transport or move around the household for powering appliances in different rooms.

Thirdly, the inverters used in power trolleys often feature just one or two power sockets, whereas power stations often boast multiple sockets and ports for connecting many types of appliances.

When it comes to choosing a suitable power station, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Peak power output in watts (W) — The maximum amount of power the station can provide for a brief period. Particularly important for appliances that have high peak usage at startup.
  • Continuous power output in watts (W) — The maximum power the station can provide over a long period.
  • Capacity in watt-hours (Wh) — How much power the battery can store and discharge. With 100Wh, for example, an appliance that uses 100W of power continuously will deplete the battery in an hour.
  • Port selection — Are the types and number of ports on the power station sufficient for the devices and appliances you want to power?
  • Lifecycles — How many times a battery can be discharged and recharged (a cycle) before it needs to be replaced.
  • Depth-of-discharge (DoD) — How much of the power station’s capacity can be consumed without impacting battery life.
  • Charging speed — Charging rates can differ significantly from one brand to the next. Some of the best power stations on the market can be fully charged in less than an hour, while others can take five hours or more.

Below are four reputable power station brands generally available from South African stores.


Bluetti

Bluetti was founded in 2019 in the US and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It forms part of the Maxoak company, whose parent is headquartered in Guangdong, China.

Bluetti power stations sold in South Africa come with outputs ranging from 600W to 3,000W and capacities between 268Wh and 5,120Wh.

The top-end Bluetti EP500 Pro’s battery is rated to last 3,500 cycles or more with a DoD of 80% and boasts a built-in UPS mode.

Bluetti power stations feature a minimum warranty of two years, going up to five years for high-end units.

Among the major retailers that sold Bluetti products at the time of writing are Takealot, GeeWiz, and Leroy Merlin.


EcoFlow

EcoFlow was founded in 2017 and has its headquarters in China but built up a solid reputation in western markets like the US.

One of EcoFlow’s standout features is its X-Stream fast charging technology, which ensures its power stations can be charged from 0-80% in under an hour.

The more compact range is sold under the River line,  with output and capacities ranging from 210Wh on the River Mini to 720Wh with the River Pro.

The latter also supports adding an extra 720Wh battery to double its capacity to 1,440Wh.

Those with more demanding power requirements should consider its Delta line, starting from a 1,800W output and 1,260Wh capacity for a standard model and going up to a 7200W output and 3,600Wh battery on the Delta Pro.

Several units of the latter can also be combined to provide up to 12,500Wh capacity or 25,000Wh when paired with an EcoFlow inverter.

EcoFlow also offers a range of solar panels that can be combined with its power stations, and a portable air conditioner that can be bundled with one of the Delta systems.

EcoFlow products in South Africa can be bought directly through its local website, Builders, Takealot, Incredible Connection, Leroy Merlin, HiFi Corp, GeeWiz, and several other stores.

Ecoflow River and Delta power stations come with two-year warranties as standard. Customers get an additional 12 months of cover after registering their product through EcoFlow’s website.


Gizzu

Major South African technology distributor Syntech offers a power station line-up carrying its Gizzu branding.

These power stations boast among the most competitive prices on the market while also sporting built-in South African power sockets.

Five capacities of Gizzu power stations are available — 155Wh, 242Wh, 296Wh, 518Wh, and 888Wh — with prices ranging from R2,999 to R12,999.

For powering a typical LCD TV over two hours of load-shedding, the 242Wh unit with 150W output is more than sufficient. It comes with a price tag of R3,899.

To illustrate its highly-competitive pricing, the EcoFlow River Mini with 210Wh of capacity is R6,999.

The downside of Gizzu’s power stations is that they charge much slower than its rivals on this list. For example, the 518Wh unit takes roughly 9.5 hours to charge to full.

Gizzu power stations come with a one-year warranty from Syntech.

Those who only want to keep their router and fibre ONT online during load-shedding can also buy a Gizzu 32.56Wh mini UPS, which retails for around R1,000.

Other Gizzu energy products include rechargeable lightbulbs, drop-in replacement lithium-ion batteries, and universal voltage protectors.


Jackery

Another well-established US brand is Jackery, which was founded in 2012 in California.

Its product line is focused on providing solar and battery energy systems for those who frequent the great outdoors but also work perfectly well for indoor applications.

It sold over 2 million units between January 2018 and June 2022, making it the world’s top-selling power station brand.

Jackery power stations’ output and capacities range from 100W/167Wh on the Explorer 160 and go up to 2,200W/2,160Wh on the Explorer 2,000.

Jackery offers a three-year warranty on regular purchases, while its batteries are rated to last 500 cycles or more at a DoD of 80%.


Now read: Huawei unveils One 5G products — including a solar-powered system for rural communities

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
Best portable power station brands in South Africa