A portable power station is a great addition to your camping kit, but it’s a vital piece of equipment for disaster preparedness and medical emergencies. A portable power station lets you charge cell phones, operate certain types of equipment and tools, and power vital medical equipment when the power grid is down.
They are also a fun way to bring your connected lifestyle with you when you are camping with friends. This head-to-head is the Jackery 500 vs. Rockpals 500 in a test of which power station is best. In this article, we will explain why we think the Rockpals 500 is a better buy. (>>> Find on Rockpas.com)
Jackery 500 vs Rockpals 500 Side by Side:
|Jackery 500||Rockpals 500|
|Item Weight||13.3 pounds||12.13 Pounds|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||11.8 x 9.2 x 7.6 inches||10.24 x 6.7 x 6.28 inches|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Find on Rockpals.com|
What is a Power Station?
A power station is a device which stores and provides power. The units we are looking at today will both provide 110 watts, which is the standard for house electricity in the US. These devices are charged themselves by a wall plug, a 12V accessory plug for in-car use, or solar panels which are sold separately. Both the Jackery and the Rockpals provide a maximum of 500 watts of power. This is enough to charge a laptop, run a CPAP machine, power a small refrigerator, and many other similar tasks. Neither of these units is capable of powering high-amperage devices including blenders, electric drills, and electric kettles.
The Jackery 500 is part of the Explorer line of portable power stations. The company hails from Silicon Valley, California and provides high-quality power packs with an emphasis on adventure. The 500 utilizes a 24aH 21.6V lithium-ion rechargeable battery to produce 518 watts of power. The power inverter uses pure sine wave technology that recreates the proper modulation and prevents damage to sensitive electronics.
The power station is roughly the size of a basketball and has a fix-mount handle for easy carrying. It weighs in at a miniscule 13.3 lbs, so you’ll have no trouble packing it into remote campsites. It comes with cables for wall or car-charging, but the best feature- the solar panels- come at an additional cost averaging $300 for the brand name folding panel. Other brands of solar panel may work if they have the correct connector.
The unit has provisions to connect three USB devices at 5 watts and 2.4 amps, 110 volt grounded plug at 500 watts, or 12 volt at 10 amps. You can plug any combination of devices in at once up to the maximum of 500 watts. It takes about six hours to recharge the power unit using wall power and as little as 9 hours using solar panels.
- Rugged looking design
- Has the right power options for numerous devices
- Power converter with pure sine wave tech is essential for charging sensitive devices
- Expensive unit in comparison with competitors
- Higher cost of solar panel than other brands
- Made in China by a US company
The Rockpals 500 is a mid-range power station that offers decent amounts of power at a budget price. The 500 model uses a 14 aH 11.1 volt lithium-ion rechargeable battery that provides up to 520 watts of power. It has a flip-up handle that makes storing the unit very convenient. It weighs a bit, though at 14.3 lbs. It is still not an excessively heavy power station and can easily be carried to your remote location.
The power station provides two 5 volt, 3.1 amp USB charging ports and one fast-charge usb at 5 volts to 9 volts and 2 amps. Dual 110 volt outlets provide up to 500 watts combined. The unit also has a 12 volt plug and four 12 v connectors. Power input to recharge the unit comes from a wall plug, 12 volt car plug, or solar panels sold separately. The name brand solar panels for the Rockpals 500 are more affordable at an average retail of $180.
The power station takes about 8 hours to recharge using wall or car power and around 9 hours when using solar panels. Rockpals says it will recharge an average cell phone 70 times, a mini fridge for about 18 hours, or even a 32-inch TV for 6 to 7 hours. Power output from the AC plugs is recreated to a pure sine wave format to protect sensitive electronics.
- Provides plenty of power for many devices, including dual AC outlets
- Convenient shape for packing in and out
- Affordable initial cost and solar panels
- Battery takes longer to charge and provides less power than the Jackery 500
- Can’t charge and recharge at the same time
Why We Like the Rockpals 500
The big difference maker for us was the addition of dual AC plugs. This feature makes operation simpler. Both units require a certain amount of draw to begin charging, and low-wattage devices like cell phone chargers can be too low to register. The dual feature allows you to plug in two chargers at once, ensuring that enough draw is happening to keep your device charging. The USB 3.0 Quick Charge port is also a nice addition the Jackery doesn’t have.
Cost was a big factor, too. One of the most valuable features of portable power packs is the ability to charge with solar panels. With the panel for the Jackery costing almost as much as the Rockpals power station, it’s hard to look past the big difference. When you start to compare the features of these units, they are fairly equivalent.
Price only factors when a product is reliable, and numerous users report that the Rockpal unit holds 100% charge for at least one year and always works when needed. Users needing these devices for medical equipment support report that both are capable of similar capacity- between 18 and 24 hours on a single charge.
Some buyers might prefer the modern, sleek shape and fixed handle of the Jackery 500, but we found that Rockpals’ square, boxy shape and folding handle made it easier to pack the power station in the truck and there wasn’t any real difference in the comfort carrying either unit.
Jackery 500 vs Rockpals 500 Conclusion
Either of these power stations makes a great option for camping or disaster preparedness. They provide excellent power through versatile plugs, making sure you can power a wide variety of devices. The Rockpals unit is a better buy and will provide the rugged on-the-go power you need for your next adventure. (>>> Check the current price on Rockpals.com)
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
- Jackery Explorer Explorer 500 vs. Goal Zero Comparison