A portable generator or portable power station — aren’t they the same thing? Hardly.
From power intake, charge capabilities, weight, noise, environmental impact and more, there’s a world of difference between the two powerhouses, and they aren’t equally suitable for all people.
You might live in your RV and need power on the go. You might want to charge and power your devices while freeing yourself from reliance on the grid or fuel. Or, you might want a backup generator for your home in case of a blackout or extreme weather conditions.
In the following guide, you’ll learn the differences between portable power stations and gas generators and which is the best option for you.
What Is a Gas Generator?
Portable gas generators run on fossil fuels, usually gasoline or propane. When you feed them fuel, they can convert it into electric energy. Some generators have an internal steam turbine or diesel engine that you can power by water flow in addition to gas and fuel combustion.
A standard gas generator has an inverter to convert the fuel into electric energy. The capacity generated can range from 1000 to 20,000 watts. One big downside of gas generators is that sometimes the charge is too strong for small appliances and devices. If you plug them in, they may short-circuit or blow a fuse.
But if it’s large-scale capacity you’re looking for, a gas generator can light up an RV, a whole home, and many large appliances on a campsite. Some of the larger portable gas generators can supply a capacity of up to 8500 watts.
The main downside to this much power? They can weigh as much as 250 pounds, which pushes the envelope on portability.
What Is a Portable Power Station?
While portable power stations (PPS) don’t generate electricity, they can store significant power in a battery and power many devices and systems. With EcoFlow Portable Power Stations, you have the option to attach solar panels, turning your PPS into a solar generator.
Solar energy is currently the best alternative to natural gas, oil, and coal. Research has shown that solar is better for the environment than all forms of fossil fuel. After your initial investment in a solar generator, collecting power is virtually cost-free, and solar panels capture the sun’s energy very quickly. The market for solar is currently growing at an exponential rate.
If you don’t add solar panels to your PPS to generate power, it essentially functions as a giant battery. A PPS typically recharges by plugging into a wall outlet or car adaptor. Depending on the size and battery technology, how much energy a PPS can store will vary. When the power is depleted, you can plug the PPS into an AC outlet, car adaptor, or solar panel to recharge.
A small PPS can easily charge your personal electronic devices, and larger-capacity units can supply a complete home backup or off-grid power solution.
Two of the most significant advantages of portable power stations are that they don’t produce any disruptive noise or toxic emissions. With a PPS, you get clean and silent power.
EcoFlow RIVER 2 — Power in a Portable, Compact Frame
The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Portable Power Station is the solution if you value portability without compromising power. With 256Wh capacity, it’s the perfect grab-and-go solution when you need to charge devices while camping, adventuring, or just lounging at home when the power goes out.
The EcoFlow RIVER 2 can charge several devices at once, and recharge to full capacity in one hour! Plus, with multiple recharge options, including household wall outlets, car adaptors, and solar panels (sold separately), you can free yourself from the grid without giving up charging capabilities.
EcoFlow DELTA Pro—Power Your Life
If you want all the power of a gas generator without the fumes, treat yourself to the EcoFlow DELTA Pro Portable Power Station. With a starting capacity of 3600Wh that you can crank up to 25,000Wh with additional Smart Batteries, it supplies enough juice to power your life.
Given the capacity it supplies, the EcoFlow DELTA Pro remains surprisingly compact and portable, weighing less than 100lbs (45kg). With expandable capacity, home integration, remote app control, and a full charge time of just 1.8 hours from an AC outlet, it’s easy to see why the EcoFlow DELTA Pro is the PPS of choice for homeowners, RV drivers, campers, and professionals.
Oh, and did we mention it’s noise and fume-free?
What Are the Main Differences Between Gas Generators and Portable Power Stations?
Though they can look similar and accomplish the same goal, gas generators and portable power stations couldn’t be more different.
Where gas generators produce electricity, PPS units can only store it. Gas generators have the real leg up here.
That said, portable power stations like the EcoFlow RIVER 2 and EcoFlow DELTA series from EcoFlow are compatible with solar panels. Attach a couple of photovoltaic panels, and you’ll have a solar generator; no fuel required.
Portable stations lose out here to gas generators. While they can store a significant amount of energy, they don’t quite compare with gas generators for capacity. Gas generators can produce up to two times as much power as portable stations.
However, technology from EcoFlow is changing that, supplying users with high-capacity PPS units. No more need to let gas generators bully your PPS out of the ring — they can go head to head.
Some gas generators can be as tall as 8 ft (2.5m) and as wide as 15 ft (4.5m) — the only thing “portable” about them is that they come docked on carts with wheels.
With EcoFlow portable power stations, what you get is all in the name. The portability means that even the most robust PPS units like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro are still easy to grab using the carry handle and move to your campsite, room, or wherever you need clean, reliable power.
Since gas generators run on fossil fuel, they will keep running as long as you keep up the supply and maintenance — and those costs add up quickly.
Portable power stations rely on the battery’s lifespan. However, 6500 battery cycles add up to quite a few years of runtime for any single device.
Fuel combustion engines are complicated beasts prone to misfire and malfunction. Portable power stations, on the other hand, are as hassle-free as it gets — plug them in, charge them up, and they work, no maintenance necessary.
There’s no contest here. Gas generators are loud, whirling, disruptive things. Portable power stations are virtually silent and run smoothly.
Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Monoxide Emissions
Gas generators are notorious for noxious exhaust and emissions. Portable power stations are clean, and with the solar hookup, they provide clean, renewable energy that helps reduce your carbon footprint.
There’s also no contest between the two.
Again, gas generators get low marks here. Fuel combustion engines light fuel on fire and harness the power of the mini-explosion to produce electricity. They’re safe for the most part, but a fire is far more likely to break out when using a gas generator, not a PPS.
Gas Generator or Portable Power Station: Which One Should You Get?
It can be hard to choose between gas generators and portable power stations, but it ultimately comes down to what you need. Gas generators offer greater power output, whereas portable power stations are compact, clean, quiet, and efficient.
If there only were a way to combine the best of both worlds.
The New EcoFlow Smart Generator links the EcoFlow DELTA Pro or Max portable power station to a dual fuel generator, meaning you have a propane or gas-powered backup if solar or another charging method is temporarily unavailable.
Power at Your Fingertips
Don’t get caught in a storm, blackout, or off-grid without a backup plan. With an EcoFlow Portable Power Station, you can ensure clean, reliable power for all your electricity needs.