Prepping for UK load shedding with portable power stations

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I’m sure by now we’ve all seen the stream of news stories about the ongoing energy crisis in the UK, from the ever increasing price cap to the prospect of rolling blackouts and shortages as we head into the winter. 

This got me thinking about what I could do in such an event to keep my devices up and going, online, so I could both keep the kids entertained and myself working, even when the lights go out. Like many people these days, I’m permanently based from home, so having access to power is pretty important.

After a little bit of searching, this got me onto portable power stations—a bit of gear more commonly used for camping or other trips away from home, where there is little or no access to mains power. If I’m totally honest, I wasn’t aware that these devices existed, so this led me down the rabbit hole of doing a little research and ultimately making a purchase—the research of which resulted in this article.

For the benefit of full disclosure, I don’t own all of the products included in this list, as this article is the sum of my own research as I shopped around for a portable power station solution to meet the needs of my own home and family. 

If you want to skip all the text and jump right to our portable power station picks, use the links below:

Before we do anything else, it’s probably best to explain just what load shedding is, and how likely it is that we’ll experience it in the UK this winter.

What is load shedding?

Load shedding is a method of reducing energy consumption by limiting access to energy for sets of customers, helping to drive down demand at peak times in an attempt to safeguard dwindling energy supplies. In the UK, we’d more commonly refer to it as rolling blackouts. 

It’s a fairly common practice elsewhere, but in the UK it’s not something we’ve seen since the 1970s, and while I don’t want to be all doom and gloom about the immediate future, it’s looking more and more likely to happen at this point.

This is what pushed me to put together this article, as I wanted a solution to help keep me up and online during any power outage.

How likely is load shedding in the UK this winter?

Very. With the ongoing cost of living crisis, rising prices of gas imports, and a severe lack of domestic storage capacity, it’s starting to look inevitable—in fact, I’d be willing to bet on it at this point.

It has already been reported that there are plans in place for load shedding at peak hours in the UK, affecting millions of households at a time. Peak hours are defined as between 07:00 to 10:00 and 16:00 to 21:00. 

These reports have indicated that if any load shedding were to happen, it would take place in January next year, and would last for only 4 days—although if the assumptions current plans are based on turn out to be wrong, we could face frequent and ongoing blackouts.

While nothing has so far been confirmed by the government, it’s hard to believe that the worsening situation in the UK will improve any time soon. If anything, it’s likely to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Is there anything you can do to prepare?

Yes. Much like you’d prepare for your water being turned off, filling pots, jugs, and bathtubs, you can prepare for load shedding by investing in portable power stations.

Usually the sort of thing you’d expect to see on a camp site, as opposed to being used at home, portable power stations are essentially giant power banks which can be charged using the mains, giving you a way of storing energy to use when the lights go out.

These emergency backup power solutions can be bought in varying sizes, from smaller capacity units, ideal for keeping an assortment of smart devices and gadgets charged, to high capacity, multi-thousand pound systems with optional external batteries, letting you store enough energy for several days at a time.

Best portable power stations for every budget

In this section we’ll look at some of the more affordable options for home backup power stations out there, excluding multi-thousand pound solutions that can run everything in your home, instead homing in on affordable alternatives that can help get you through 4-5 hours of load shedding this winter.

Before we jump into our picks, I want to mention that all of these products have similar features, with each of them support solar and in-car charging for instance. However, given that this article is more about solutions you can charge at home, specifically in the event of load shedding, we won’t go into much detail on some of these features as they’re not all that relevant for our specific use case.

Other features that are common between each emergency power storage device, such as displays and battery technology, also won’t get much of a mention here—in short, if they weren’t particularly good on any of these fronts, I wouldn’t have included them.

Right, with all that out of the way, let’s get into it – here are our picks for the best portable power stations to prepare you for load shedding in the UK this winter.

Jackery Explorer 1000 (1000W/1002Wh) – Best overall

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is our pick for best overall portable power station. What’s great about this product over the other, less expensive options that make up the rest of our list, is its max output wattage of 1000W.

This makes it pretty versatile, as it can power all sorts of small appliances over the home, and not just consumer electronics—meaning that it’s useful for everything from food prep to small space heaters. It’s this versatility, especially when it comes to domestic use during a blackout, which is why it took our top spot.

There are a couple of other, smaller capacity models in the Explorer product line that are available in the UK, including the Explorer 500 and Explorer 240 models—but if you can afford it, you’re best off with the larger capacity and output wattage offered by the Explorer 1000.

The full list of the Jackery Explorer 1000’s inputs and outputs are:

  • 2 x AC (230V)
  • 2 x USB-C ports (output)
  • 1 x USB-A ports (output)
  • 1 x QC 3.0 (output)
  • 1 x 12V Cigarette Lighter (input/output)

The only real drawback of the Jackery Explorer 1000 is its price tag, which at a little over £1,100 it isn’t exactly cheap. If I had the budget to spare, this is the option I’d go for, as the ability to power more than just consumer electronics could turn out to be a real blessing, especially if we end up with a period of prolonged rolling blackouts. 

It’s also worth pointing out that while the Jackery range of products are available on Amazon, if you order from them directly you’ll benefit from both a 30-day money back guarantee and an additional year of warranty. I’ve included links to each below, but personally, I’d recommend going for the extended warranty by purchasing from Jackery’s official website.

Buy direct from

Check Jackery Explorer 1000 price on Amazon

ALLPOWERS Portable Power Station (700W/606Wh) – Best mid-range pick

The full list of the ALLPOWERS 700W inputs and outputs are:

  • 2x 60W DC
  • 2 x AC (230V)
  • 3 x USB-A (output)
  • 1 x PD 100W (input/output)
  • 1 x 12V cigarette lighter (inout/output)

One pretty significant feature of this power station is that it can be charged from the mains and with the PD 100W port simultaneously, which can fully charge the device in just 2.5-3 hours. This makes it a great choice in any short notice situations.

At the time of writing, the ALLPOWERS 700W is on sale at Amazon—retailing for a good £100 less than if you purchase it direct from then manufacturer. That said, it’s worth checking both, as obviously the price can fluctuate on Amazon and ALLPOWERS usually have some sort of promo code on their site, such as a 10% discount off your first order when you sign up to their newsletter.

While it may not be cheaper to purchase this item direct, and there’s no extended warranty on offer like there is when buying Jackery Explorer power stations direct, doing so does give you the opportunity to return it, as the brand offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee—whereas on Amazon, it’s listed as a non-returnable item.

Buy direct from

Check ALLPOWERS 700W Portable Power Station price on Amazon

GOLABS R300 (300W/299Wh) – Best budget pick

The GOLABS R300 is a budget portable power station, offering a max output wattage of 300W and a total of 299Wh, making it best suited to powering laptops, smartphones, and other similar consumer electronics.

It benefits from all the usual safety features you’d expect, including over voltage, short circuit, over charge, over temperature, and over current protection.

It also has an in-built LED flashlight, which can solve the problem of lighting in an emergency or blackout situation – bear in mind that this light is 3W, so you’ll need to take that into account when calculating the max output wattage needed for your devices.

The one significant drawback of this device is its limited input wattage, which with a max of just 45W, means it takes a while to recharge—around 8-9 hours to fully charge from the mains using the included DC adapter. That said, it also supports charging using the PD 60W port, which takes a little less to charge, around 4-5 hours, but you’ll need to pick up a PD charger separately.

The full list of the GOLABS R300’s inputs and outputs are:

  • 2 x DC (12V 10A)
  • 1 x AC (230V)
  • 2 x QC 3.0 (Output)
  • 1x DC (Output)
  • 1 x PD 30W (Output)
  • 1 x PD 60W (Input/Output) 
  • 1 x 12V Cigarette Lighter (Input/Output)

The GOLABS R300 is the way I decided to go, primarily due to price, as I was able to pick one up on sale from Amazon for sub-£200. In fact, if it remains at this sort of price I’ll probably get another in the near future, adding increased capacity and redundancy should one fail me during a blackout.

Check GOLABS R300 price on Amazon

Portable power station buying tips

  • Charging method

    Portable power stations are designed primarily for use outdoors, where there’s no access to mains electricity—whether camping, touring in a camper van, on a boat, or in a car for example. This means that they typically have a few options when it comes to charging, including solar panels, 12v cigarette lighters, and mains power, for example. 

    For this purposes of this article, we’re most concerned with charging these portable power stations from the mains power, so while they offer a variety of charging methods, it’s not going to be all that relevant to us. That said, if you are someone who likes to spent a lot of time outdoors, specifically for things like camping, you may want to take a closer look at these, as they may be more relevant to you and how you use your device in the future.

  • Input wattage (W)

    The input wattage of a portable power station determines how quickly it can be charged – with the higher the input wattage, the faster the device will charge. When charging from the mains, a typical power station will take between 5 to 8 hours to charge—even our budget pick will charge in a little under 6 hours, if using a fast charger with its PD 60W input.

    Given the current plans for load shedding, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue whatever device you choose to get you through rolling power outages if you intend on charging it from the mains. This is because we should all have a 10-hour overnight window to charge a device, even if load shedding is scheduled for your local area.

    Besides, your distribution network operator (DNO) is required by Ofgem to give you at least two-days notice, in accordance with regulation 12 of Ofgem’s guaranteed standards, which you can read about here. so charging ahead of time should be relatively straightforward. This can be by letter, email, or text message, depending on the contact details they have for you—so it’s worth checking that all these details are correct and up to date with your energy provider and local DNO, I actually just updated mine over twitter conveniently. You can find out which DNO you fall under here.
  • Output wattage (W)

    This determines what devices you can use with a particular power station, as a portable power station can only be used to run device which when combined require less wattage than the station is rated for. For example, if your devices draw a combined total of 300W, you’ll need a power station with an output wattage of at least 300W.

    To give you some idea of what you might need, refer to the table below of typical required max wattage for common household devices—these are given in no particular order.

    DeviceRequired wattage
    Desktop PC150-350W
    Computer monitor50-120W
    Game Console100-200W
    WiFi Router10-15W
    Mobile phone5-20W
    Flatscreen TV50-150W
    Rice Cooker500-900W
    Space heater500-3000W
    Food Steamer700-2000W
    Sewing machine50-100W
    Baby bottle warmer400-600W
    Baby bottle steraliser400-600W
    Toaster oven1500-2500W
    Chest freezer200-400W
    Electric grill1000-2000W
    While the above table is merely a guide, it should give you a pretty good idea of the sort of capacity you’ll need from a power station. That said, it’s always best to check the specific required wattage for the devices you actually own, as these can vary greatly, especially for things like small kitchen appliances and heaters.
  • Watt hours (Wh)

    This is essentially the capacity, telling you how much energy can be stored in a power station, and therefore, how many hours you’ll be able to run your devices for.

    To work out how big a power station you’ll need, simple tally up the max required wattage for the devices you want to power, and times it by how many hows you want to keep these power for. For example, a laptop, mobile phone, and WiFi router would need around 100W. To keep these devices powered for 5 hours, you’re going to need at least 500Wh. 

    You can also do this in reverse, by instead dividing the wattage hours of a device to determine how long it would be able to power your devices for. For instance, if a power station has a max capacity of 1000Wh, it would be able to power your devices for up to 10 hours.
  • Pure Sine Wave

    This refers to the technology used in the inverter that’s incorporated into a particular portable power station, used to invert direct current (DC) from the device’s battery into alternating current (AC), so that it can be used with appliances that would usually use a regular mains socket.

    There are two main options when it comes to inverter technology for these types of devices, with the other being modified sine wave. The main benefits of pure sine wave over modifier sine wave are lower distortion, ripple, inference, and efficiency. This makes pure sine wave better for powering more sophisticated devices, like computers and medical equipment.

    You’ll find that most portable power stations use pure sine wave, however, it’s always worth checking – as cheaper products may still use modified sine wave, given that the main benefit of this type of inverter for manufacturers is their lower cost.

Battery technology

Older portable power stations use Lithium Ion batteries—similar to the sort of battery you find in most rechargeable smart devices and laptops—while newer models tend to use Lithium Ion Phosphate (LiFePO4).

The main benefits of LiFePO4 batteries are that they’re safer and their rate of degradation is lower, meaning that they’re better at keeping their maximum charge capacity over time. To give that a little context, a Lithium Ion battery will lose up to 20% of its capacity after a year of use, whereas a LiFePO4 will typically lose 2-3% of theirs over a similar time period. That said, how often you charge/recharge them, the amount of charge you keep them charged, and the temperature you store them at all have an impact on this rate of degradation.

We cover this topic in a little more depth later in this article, so jump ahead to the “Other questions you might have…” section for more on this.


When it comes to a display, it’s best to have one that shows you how charged the portable power station is, as well as the respective input and output wattages, so you have a good idea of how long it’s going to charge and how much the device you connect to it are using.

All of the devices included in my list offer this functionality, with each have an easy to read backlit display to make managing these power stations easier.

Other questions you might have…

Why can’t portable power stations be returned?

When shopping for a domestic backup power solution, one thing you’ll notice is that, unlike pretty much everything else you might buy, these products usually can’t be returned. The reason for this is that these devices contain Lithium batteries, which are classified as dangerous goods in the UK, which prevents them from being shipped by post.

It’s important to bear this in mind, especially when deciding on which power station to go for, as purchasing one that isn’t adequate for your needs can be a fairly expensive mistake given their price tag. That said, retailers are of course still required to replace defective or damaged items, you just can’t change your mind and ask for a refund as you would with other products.

There are some exceptions to this, particularly if you order from the manufacturer directly—such as with the Jackery Explorer 1000—which comes with a 30 day money back guarantee if you order it from the brand’s official website.

Can portable power stations be used with a multi-plug extension cable?

Yes, you should be able to use a multi-plug extension cable with a portable power station, providing the number of devices and their power consumption doesn’t exceed what any particular power station is rated for. 

Many power stations will automatically detect when power draw exceeds their rated limits and switch off, so doing so is also fairly safe, even if you mistakenly exceed the stations limits.

This means that you’ll have no problem running your TV, game console, and WiFi router off of a single power station, provided the combined power draw of these devices doesn’t exceed the power stations rating.

What’s best – one large capacity portable power station, or several smaller ones?

Whether you opt for one larger power station or several smaller ones will depend on what your priorities are during a blackout and the devices you need to keep powered.

Put simply, if you’re going to power small domestic appliances, you’ll want a power station with an output wattage of at least 1000W, as these won’t work otherwise.

If you’re only going to be keeping laptops and other consumer electronics charged, investing in several smaller capacity power stations can make more sense, as this offers redundancy should one of them fail.

Will broadband work during load shedding?

Yes, provided you run your router off of a back-up power source, you should still be able to get broadband during a power cut or load shedding. 

Phone lines are powered directly from the exchange, as Ofcom rules require providers to be able to keep landlines active, in case their customers need to make emergency phone calls. So, provided you can keep your router powered, you should be able to continue gaming online or watch content from streaming services without issue.

How long do portable power stations last?

These energy storage devices are usually good for around 500 to 600 charge cycles, or about 2-3 years. For reference, a charge cycle is measured from fully charged to fully discharged and then fully recharged again.

There are a couple of things you can do to help maximise the life of these emergency backup batteries. These are to store them below certain temperatures and avoid keeping them fully charged, instead, keep them between 20% and 80% to limit the number of charge cycles, only fully charging them when necessary. 

This should be possible, as energy providers are required to give you at least two-days notice before schedule load shedding in your area, giving you enough of a heads up to charge them as and when required, as opposed to keeping them fully charged all the time.

The table below is from, and gives an indication of what you can expect in terms of lost battery capacity over time, depending on the temperature a battery is stored at and how charged it is.

Temperature40% charge100% charge
0°C98% (after 1 year)94% (after 1 year)
25°C96% (after 1 year)80% (after 1 year)
40°C85% (after 1 year)65% (after 1 year)
60°C75% (after 1 year)60% (after 3 months)

To put this into context for people in UK, keeping your power station fully charged would reduce its capacity by around 6% after a year to 94%, while only charging it ahead of scheduled load shedding would reduce capacity by just 2% to 98% over the same time period.

As we’ve already mentioned earlier in this article, it’s also best to go for a LiFePO4 battery device, over a standard Lithium Ion one, as the degradation rate of these newer, safer type of batteries is considerably lower, which will give you even more value for money in the long run than just managing storage temperatures, charge levels and reduced charge cycles.

Should you buy a portable power station now or wait?

I wouldn’t wait. If we end up with regular load shedding here in the UK, as looks increasingly likely, these portable power stations are going to be difficult to find and/or massively marked up by scalpers, making them way more expensive than they already are. 

I’ve already purchased one this week, picking up a GOLABS R300 on sale, and may look to get hold of a few more in the run up to winter just in case. My advice would be to get yourself one of these devices while you can and as they remain relatively affordable.

Summing it up

Well there you have it, my layman’s guide for anyone looking to pick up a portable power station to help them through the likely ongoing load shedding we’ll experience in the UK this winter. 

If you’ve got the budget for it, I’d go for the Jackery Explorer 1000—as it offers the most versatility of any of the stations on our list, being capable of powering a variety of different devices, including some of these necessary for food preparation. If your budget won’t stretch, the ALLPOWERS 700W isn’t too far behind, offering 700W/606Wh for under half the price of the Jackery Explorer 1000. And if like me, you’re looking for something to just keep your smart devices, laptop, and broadband up during a blackout on a modest budget, go for the GOLABS R300.

I ended up opting for the GOLABS R300. While there are other options at a similar price point, including smaller capacity power stations from both Jackery and ALLPOWERS, as well as those from other reputable brands, like BLUETTI, ECOFLOW, ANKER, and POWEROAK, I was swayed by price, getting the GOLABS R300 at a little over £100 under its £299 retail price. This little portable power station should be more than up to the job of keeping my phones, laptops, tablets, and router going for 4-6 hours during a blackout, provided I get them all fully charged up before hand.

When I started looking into this topic, I had no idea—in fact, I didn’t even know these devices existed. I was instead looking to pick up a selection of cheap power banks instead, and not something that would offer a substitute to mains power. And while I’m obviously no expert, especially given the last statement, I hope my own research and shopping experience in picking one of these portable power station devices has helped you on your own. Thanks for reading!

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