In an age where we rely perhaps too much on electrical appliances and electronic devices, having a power source available all the time has become even more critical. Going off the grid mostly only applies to just networks these days and while gasoline generators do still exist, they may not be the most practical and definitely not the safest. Portable Power Stations are what’s in these days and there’s almost one for every size and need. For those who prefer mobility over gargantuan batteries, Anker’s new PowerHouse II 800 is offering another combination of portable power with an assortment of ports.
The Anker PowerHouse II 800 probably has the most industrial design of portable power stations we’ve seen of late. It really looks the part of a product designed for the rough and tumble of outdoor travel and activity. That’s intentional, of course, and Anker boasts that each of the power station’s eight corners is reinforced for maximum safety and durability.
Another sign that the PowerHouse II 800 is indeed designed for outdoor use is one feature few if not none of its competitors have. In addition to a bright LED flashlight at the side, the power station has a rather large strip of light on its back. Unlike the flashlight, this “Ambient” light isn’t designed to call attention in case of an emergency but to provide some soft illumination at night while camping.
Anker also put what is probably the largest LCD screen on any portable power station, or at least the longest. While it does have enough space for all the information it needs to show, one has to wonder if it would have been more power-efficient to use a more compact display. The screen doesn’t always stay on, thankfully, and has to be woken up with the press of a button.
One thing about the power station’s design is that it has what at first looks like a flexible rubber strap. It is, however, a very rigid kind of rubber that doesn’t exactly budge nor retract inside the box. This means that it will always be sticking out from the top, limiting where you can shove it into or what you can place on top of it in storage.
Battery and Charging
Don’t let the PowerHouse II 800’s name fool you, though. It doesn’t have an 800W power source inside. Instead, it has a 500W/777Wh battery, the latter figure probably giving the power station its name. Like with any power station, these figures are important as they tell what you can plug in more than how long they can power what you do plug in.
What this practically means is that the Anker PowerHouse II 800 isn’t capable of powering microwaves and even hairdryers. It does, however, have enough juice for a mini-fridge, at least a 50W one, as well as an 85-inch TV, or at least according to Anker. Needless to say, mobile devices and laptops are no problem, though you do have to consider which port you’ll want to plug them into.
The PowerHouse II 800 can definitely handle a lot of electronic devices and products and, fortunately, doesn’t itself need too much to recharge. The 120W DC input can fill it up in under 8 hours but you can cut that time in half by also charging via USB-C input at the same time. And unlike the Bluetti EB70 700W portable power station that we recently reviewed, the PowerHouse II 800 is pretty quiet not only when in use but also while charging.
Output and Performance
Anker has given the PowerHouse II 800 a plethora of output options, 11 of them actually, which it says you can use all at the same time. You probably wouldn’t, of course, and there are details you will have to keep in mind.
There are three groups of outlets, each with its own control button to prevent phantom power loss when not in use. The two AC outlets deliver a total of 500W of power and this is where you will plug in most of your appliances. On the opposite end is the car charger and two barrel-type DC outlets for less common devices and car accessories.
Things get interesting in the middle where all the USB ports are. There is a row of four USB-A with a total output of 30W and below them are two USB-C ports. Unfortunately, these max out at 60W each so you’ll have to rely on the AC outlets to charge more powerful laptops like the 15-inch MacBook Pro. This sharply contrasts with the Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station we reviewed earlier that had two 100W USB-C ports to its name.
Sadly, the portable power station lacks wireless charging that is becoming a staple of its kind. Then again, it might not have been practical anyway given the PowerHouse II 800’s top design. Anker also throws in a free USB-C cable and a USB-A to USB-C cable, like it often does with its power banks.
It might not be able to heat your microwave meal but the Anker PowerHouse II 800 will keep your drinks cold while on the road to your favorite campsite.
Clearly designed for the great outdoors, Anker chose what would make more sense for portability and mobility. That’s not to say it made too many compromises towards that end and while we wished those USB-C ports could dish out more juice, it still makes for a great companion, whether you’re outdoors or staying indoors during a power outage. For a limited time, the Anker PowerHouse II 800 Portable Power Station is available for $599.99, a $100 savings off its SRP.