Portable Power Stations for Tailgating: Power Your Fun Safely and Conveniently

Welcome to the exciting world of tailgating! If you’re new here, tailgating is a social event that typically takes place at parking lots or anywhere vehicles can gather before, and occasionally after, a big event like a football game or concert. It’s about community, food, games, and of course, a lot of fun. To make the most of these events, many tailgaters turn to portable power stations to keep their devices and appliances running smoothly.

Our top pick for low-power tailgating is the Anker PowerHouse 535, while we recommend the Bluetti AC200 Max if you need more power for grillers, cookers, or coolers.

If you want to skip the guide and go straight to the product comparisons, click here: Small Power Stations or Large Power Stations.

A portable power station, for those not in the know, is a compact device that provides electricity. It’s essentially a battery-powered generator, but without the noise, fumes, or need for gasoline. It’s an ideal companion for outdoor activities, and tailgating is no exception. This article will serve as your comprehensive guide to understanding and using portable power stations for tailgating, ensuring you’re always powered up for fun!

Understanding Portable Power Stations

At its core, a portable power station is a battery that stores electrical energy. It can be charged in various ways, such as through a standard wall outlet, a carport, or even solar panels. The stored power is then ready to be used when you need it most, like when you’re enjoying a tailgating event and need to charge your phone or power a portable grill.

Most portable power stations use lithium-ion batteries, the same technology found in your smartphone, only on a much larger scale. When you plug a device into the power station, the stored electrical energy in the battery is converted into the type of power your device needs.

Why Use a Portable Power Station for Tailgating

The benefits of using a portable power station for tailgating are numerous. Firstly, they provide convenience and flexibility. Unlike traditional generators, they’re quiet and don’t emit harmful fumes, meaning you can use them right next to your tailgating setup without disturbing your party or your neighbors.

Secondly, portable power stations offer versatility. Most models come with a variety of output options such as AC outlets, USB ports, and DC carports. This means you can power a wide range of devices, from your smartphone and speakers to more power-hungry appliances like portable fridges or grills.

Finally, portable power stations are great for emergencies. If your car battery dies or a power outage strikes your tailgating site, a charged power station can keep your essentials running until help arrives. This backup power can be a real game-changer in unexpected situations.

Next, we’ll delve into the types of devices that portable power stations can power during your tailgating event.

Devices that can be Powered by Portable Power Stations

The versatility of portable power stations truly shines when you consider the array of devices and appliances they can power. Let’s explore some common tailgating gear:

Mobile Devices and Electronics

Most tailgaters bring along smartphones, tablets, or laptops to their events. Whether it’s to capture the fun moments, keep track of the game scores, or play some music, these devices eventually need a power boost. A portable power station can easily handle this task, keeping your devices charged throughout the event.

Most devices like this can be charged to full multiple times by even a small power station. For example, the Anker 535 can charge a modern laptop to full 8 times on a single charge – enough for anywhere from 20 to 50 hours of continued use! The same is true for any small to medium-sized Bluetooth speaker or sound system you bring.

Tailgating Gear

Tailgating isn’t complete without delicious food and beverages. Portable power stations can power smaller electric grills, slow cookers, and even portable refrigerators, ensuring your food stays fresh and drinks remain cool. They can also power lights for those late-night tailgates.

If you want to bring your gear, make sure to check all the power requirements first. While a small cooling box may require minimal power, a portable fridge not only needs a high surge power capacity to even be turned on, but also draws a lot more power. While an average mini-fridge can last for up to 10 hours on the small Anker 535, if you also want to power other devices, you may end up with an empty power station in 3 hours or less.

Make sure to check the power requirement (including surge power) and do some quick math on how much power you’ll need before deciding on a power station! Simply take the watts it takes to power all your gear and multiply it by the hours you want to use them – that’s the capacity in watt-hours you need.

Entertainment Systems

For many, tailgating is a day-long event, and having some entertainment can make the time more enjoyable. Portable power stations can power small TVs, game consoles, or sound systems, enhancing the overall tailgating experience.

Keep in mind that the amount and type of devices a power station can power simultaneously depend on its capacity and power output. Always check the power requirements of your devices and the specifications of the power station to ensure compatibility. And again, plan ahead so you don’t run out of power in the middle of the event!

Some larger power stations can be recharged with an external battery, allowing you to significantly expand the capacity. Another option is using a portable solar panel, but then you’ll need extra space to deploy them and enough sunlight.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Portable Power Station for Tailgating

Now that you understand the potential benefits of a portable power station for tailgating, let’s dive into the factors to consider when choosing one:

Power Output: The first thing to consider is how much power the station can deliver. This is typically measured in watts. If you plan on powering larger appliances like a fridge or a TV, you’ll need a station with a higher power output.

Battery Life: Battery life is crucial, especially for longer tailgating events. Look for a power station with a high capacity, measured in watt-hours (Wh). The higher the capacity, the longer the station can power your devices.

Portability and Weight: Tailgating involves a lot of packing and unpacking. A bulky power station can be a burden, so consider the size and weight of the model you’re interested in. Many models come with handles or even wheels for easier transportation.

Safety Features: Look for a power station with built-in safety features such as overheat protection, short-circuit protection, and overcharge protection. This will ensure your devices and the power station itself remain safe and undamaged.

Price and Value: Finally, consider your budget and the value the power station offers. While you might be tempted to opt for the cheapest option, remember that quality, safety features, and power output should not be compromised. It’s best to figure out your requirements first, then look for the cheapest option in that category.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s get into our top picks for power stations for tailgating!

Best Power Stations for Tailgating

If you have small events in mind, then a light power station like the Anker 535 is likely enough – but if you want to power a barbecue, fridge, and a big set of speakers to make it a party, you’re going to need something bigger. Let’s start with our top choice for small-scale tailgating.

The Anker PowerHouse 535 is our top choice if you don't need much power, while the Bluetti AC200 Max offers the most power for grillers and coolers for your tailgating plans!
The Anker PowerHouse 535 is our top choice if you don’t need much power, while the Bluetti AC200 Max offers the most power for grillers and coolers for your tailgating plans!

Small Chill: Anker PowerHouse 535

With only 500W, many larger devices like grills or fridges/freezers won’t be an option – however, with only 16.7 lb, the Anker 535 is a great light-weight companion if you really just want to power a nice sound system and charge your phone.

With four AC ports and four USB ports, you can power quite a few devices at the same time and provide plenty of entertainment for hours.

The durable and drop-proof design, integrated light, and long warranty have made this model our top pick for tailgating if you don’t need much power.

If you do want more, you can upgrade to the PowerHouse 757, which offers 1,500W – enough to power most devices you might want for tailgating. For more options, check our guide on small power stations from 500-1,000W!

  • 500 W
  • 512 Wh
  • 16.7 lb (7,8 kg)
  • 1,500 W
  • 1,229 Wh
  • 44 lb (20 kg)
Top Choice
500 W
512 Wh
16.7 lb (7,8 kg)
4.5
$ 579
1,500 W
1,229 Wh
44 lb (20 kg)
4.8
$ 1,399

Big Party: Bluetti AC200 Max

There are two reasons to go beyond a device like the PowerHouse 757: You either need more power to handle more power-hungry devices, or you need the battery capacity to keep the party going for long hours.

Bluetti’s AC200 Max is not only more powerful – 2,200W vs Anker’s 1,500W – but it’s also much higher in capacity. While the Anker 757 only brings 1,229 Wh to the table, the AC200 Max offers 2,048 Wh and is expandable to 8,192 Wh (or more).

With 2,200W, you can not only bring almost any griller, cooker, or cooler to the party but, thanks to the massive capacity, also keep them running for hours.

But all of this comes at a cost: Beyond the price tag, the AC200 Max has 62 lb without extra batteries – and with each 3,072 Wh battery weighing in at 80 lbs, bringing this much power is a heavy load to carry (literally).

For daytime events, you could get a 200W portable solar panel – while it won’t make a massive difference, it can recharge your power station even while you use it and prolong the battery life by an hour or so. However, unless you bring multiple panels or get massive 400W ones, you won’t get more than around 1,000 Wh of charge in a single day with a 200W solar panel. So for a single-day tailgating event, an expansion battery is a much better use of space, weight, and money.

Most Power
  • 2,200 W
  • 2,048 Wh
  • 62 lb (28 kg)
High-Capacity Bundle
  • 2,200 W
  • 5,120 Wh
  • 141.5 lb (64 kg)
Most Power
2,200 W
2,048 Wh
62 lb (28 kg)
$ 1,959
4.9
High-Capacity Bundle
2,200 W
5,120 Wh
141.5 lb (64 kg)
$ 4,258
4.9

Tips on Using Portable Power Stations for Tailgating

Understanding how to use your portable power station effectively can help you get the most out of it. Here are some tips to ensure an enjoyable tailgating experience:

Maximize Battery Life: To prolong the battery life of your power station, consider prioritizing your power usage. Use energy-efficient appliances when possible and unplug devices when they’re fully charged. Also, keep in mind that high-wattage appliances can quickly drain the power station’s battery.

Safety Precautions: Even though portable power stations are safer than traditional generators, they still require careful handling. Keep the station out of extreme weather conditions, and make sure it’s placed on a stable, flat surface. Always keep it away from water or any flammable materials.

Maintenance Tips: To keep your power station functioning optimally, regular maintenance is key. Always store it in a cool, dry place when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance tips, such as how often to charge it for optimal battery health.

Conclusion

Tailgating is a beloved tradition for many, and with the convenience and versatility of portable power stations, it can be made even more enjoyable. Whether you’re grilling burgers, chilling drinks, charging your phone, or powering a sound system, having a reliable power source can significantly enhance your tailgating experience.

Choosing the right portable power station involves considering factors like power output, battery life, portability, safety features, and price. Once you’ve made your choice, proper use and maintenance will ensure your power station serves you well for many tailgating seasons to come.

We hope this guide has given you a deeper understanding of how portable power stations can transform your tailgating experience. So, charge up your power station, pack your gear, and get ready for some unforgettable tailgating fun!

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