Can a Portable Power Station Run an Air Conditioner?

A portable power station has the potential to run an air conditioner unit, provided the output capacity and maximum power of the PPS exceeds the air conditioner’s energy requirements by at least 20%. 

Learn more about AC wattage and capacity needs and how to satisfy them with a PPS to bring cool air wherever you are.

How Does a Portable Power Station Work?

A portable power station is a mini generator that is easily transportable and used to power various electronics. The PPS draws from a power source, such as an AC outlet or solar panels, with a battery to store said power. An inverter converts this power into the appropriate form of electricity, with the device’s outlet ports allowing the connection and powering of devices and appliances. The inverter ensures this energy becomes available to a wide range of devices, whether DC or AC energy is required.

Depending on the power source, a PPS can even run independently off-grid for camping trips or prolonged self-sufficient living if coupled with solar energy. Conversely, their batteries can receive charge using a conventional power source, such as any home AC outlet, for later use in a location where power may not be readily available.

What Wattage Is Needed to Run an Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner can consume anywhere from 500-4,000 watts of electricity, depending on the model, size, BTU rating, and efficiency rating. BTUs represent the level of cooling or heating power the unit provides, with the relationship between the two as follows, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

1 BTU = .293W

So, smaller, lower-powered window AC units around 5,000 BTUs = 1465W.

A larger, central AC system of 20,000 BTUs = 5860W

You’ll also need to factor in the startup wattage, as this is typically much higher due to the initial surge of power required to start the compressor and get the unit running. Surge wattage can be up to three times higher than the listed running wattage and needs to be accounted for when choosing a compatible PPS. You can usually find startup wattage listed in the manufacturer’s documents.

When choosing the best portable power station to run an AC unit, consider one with at least 20% more wattage than your air conditioner requires for uninterrupted usage and smooth startup. 

Can a Portable Power Station Run an AC?

Whether a portable power station can run an air conditioner depends on several factors, such as the size of the air conditioner, the capacity and output of the PPS, and how long you need to run the air conditioner. Not all PPS can run an air conditioner, especially not larger units. You must ensure it can supply the necessary wattage to run the AC unit for the desired timeframe. 

High-capacity models using LiFeP04 batteries like the EcoFLow DELTA Series can adequately power an AC unit. These models are portable but designed for more energy-intensive applications. The EcoFlow DELTA Pro, for example, provides a high output of power and efficiency, making it fully capable of powering even the most energy-intensive AC units. That means even in environments where you can’t tap into conventional power sources, you’ll still have the energy needed to keep your environment cool.

If you’re using a PPS to run your AC, use caution when plugging in additional appliances, as depending on the capacity of your device, it could overload the PPS and cause damage.

Here’s a general guide to the minimum size PPS needed for various air conditioners. However, we recommend sizing up to account for any additional devices or surge power that you’ll need to cover:

  • 8,000 BTU = >1500W
  • 10,000 BTU = >2000W
  • 12,000 BTU = >2500W
  • 14,000 BTU = >3000W
  • 16,000 BTU = >3500W

There are many benefits to using a PPS to run an AC unit or system, including eco-friendly systems that don’t emit harmful gasses. They also provide multiple charging options, including AC or solar, with numerous outlet ports to charge several devices simultaneously.

How Long Can a Portable Power Station Run an Air Conditioner?

How long the PPS can run the AC system depends on capacity. If using solar power, like with the EcoFlow DELTA Pro + 400W Solar Panel, you’ll need to understand its capacity in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The larger the kWh capacity, the longer it will be able to run the air conditioner, keeping in mind the wattage requirements of the AC unit. A unit with a higher wattage will consume energy quicker, with a shorter runtime than a lower-wattage unit.

Another thing to consider is the amount of available sunlight. When the solar panels receive ample sunlight, they can convert it into usable energy to recharge the battery, thus continuing to power the AC system. This extends the overall run time, and your battery power will only begin depleting once the sun sets or clouds roll in. 

Choosing a Portable Power Station to Power an Air Conditioner

Not every PPS or solar generator can meet your needs and power your air conditioner effectively. Consider these factors:

Battery Capacity

The capacity of a power station refers to the amount of energy it can store, typically measured in watt-hours (Wh) or amp-hours (Ah). When choosing a power station for an air conditioner, calculate how many watts your AC unit requires and select one with the capacity to handle that load for the desired period. 


The output of a power station refers to how much electricity it can supply at one time and is usually measured in watts (W). Consider your air conditioner’s required wattage and ensure the power station you choose can satisfy that starting and running requirement. 

Outlet Ports

You only need one outlet port if you plan to charge your AC unit with the PPS or solar generator alone. However, if you’d like to charge other devices simultaneously, ensure the model you purchase has the desired form and number of available outlet ports.


Portability is vital for using your power station for camping trips or other outdoor activities.​​​​​ Look for a power station that is lightweight, compact, and has built-in handles or wheels for easy transport. Consider the size and weight of your air conditioner, ensuring you can comfortably carry both.

Recharge Time

With a shorter PPS or solar generator recharge duration, you’ll spend less time without cool air. A PPS with pass-through charging capabilities will also allow you to continue powering the AC unit while the battery recharges.

Final Thoughts

A PPS can sufficiently run an air conditioner if you purchase one suitable for your needs. Ensure it can handle the wattage required by the AC unit and has a large enough battery capacity to run it for as long as necessary. You can enjoy cool air wherever you journey by matching the AC system’s energy needs with the PPS’s energy output. 

Portable power stations like those from EcoFlow can be a great solution, allowing you to power up your air conditioners and many more devices at home or outdoors. 

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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