We demand constant connection—the ability to plug in and recharge at a moment’s notice. A dead cell phone is equally stressful whether you’re in the backcountry or trying to catch up on emails on public transportation. It’s even worse when the power goes out at home, and key electrical devices go dark. Portable power, whether it’s an electrical generator—or a solar-powered, cell-charging lantern—can keep you connected by charging handheld electronics, a computer, even home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines when the grid goes down.
When buying a portable power source, anticipate what you’ll be charging, how you’ll transport the device, and how you’ll recharge once you’ve drained your reserves. A palm-sized power brick is easy to chuck in a backpack, but a heavy portable generator will need to be wheeled to wherever you go.
If you want to top off your headphones and smartwatch while you catch some zzz’s on a flight, you need a briefcase-sized power block. If your freezer is full of elk steaks and the grid goes down, you want an electric or gas generator to keep food from spoiling.
Here’s the best portable power station, brick, generator, and more to get the job done.