How do you keep your tech running when you are going off-grid, or when the power goes out?
Power banks are great, but if you are going off-grid for an extended time, need to power more than a couple of devices at once, or you want to have access to AC power to run essentials such as CPAP machines or coffee makers, then you need something with a little more power.
Something like the Zendure SuperBase 500.
Must read: Best of the best gadgets of 2020
I’ve been testing a UK version of the SuperBase 500 (outputting 220-240V instead of the US 110V, and featuring 3-prong UK power outlets rather than the US counterparts) for a couple of weeks, and I’ve found my new favorite power station.
I’ve tested a number of power stations over the years, and one thing that I’ve found is that even the smaller ones are big and bulky. This is the first difference between the SuperBase 500 and the competition. Despite housing 518Wh of battery capacity and being capable of outputting 600W, the SuperBase 500 compact and lightweight compared to the competition.
For example, one of its rivals, the Jackery Explorer 500, is 20 percent heavier (6kg vs. 5kg) and 133 percent bigger (14l vs. 6l) than the SuperBase 500.
The SuperBase 500 is also much cheaper, coming in at $459, compared to the $599 for the Explorer 500.
Another welcomed difference between the SuperBase 500 and the Explorer 500 that I’ve noticed is the handles — the handle on the SuperBase 500 is far more comfortable and ergonomic.
On the outputs front, the SuperBase 500 is bristling with ports.
- 2 x DC outputs (12V/10A, 120W)
- 2 x USB-C (1 x 5-20V/60W, 1 x 5V/3A, 15W)
- 2 x USB-A (1 x 5-12V/18W, 1 x 5V/3A, 15W)
- 12V auxiliary output
- 2 x AC (110V/600W)
Yes, nine outputs. And not only that, but you can use them simultaneously! Under low loads, the unit is silent, but push it hard under higher AC loads and the cooling fan kicks on, so this might be a consideration when it comes to placement of the unit, especially if it is going to be used them people are sleeping.
There’s also a single 10-30V/95W DC input that can take a variety of inputs, from an adapter to a solar panel (I only received the solar panel the other day, so I’ve not yet had time to test that). The unit can also be recharged from the USB-C PD port. For the fastest recharge possible, you can hook up both the DC input and the USB-C PD port.
Using the DC input it will take about 3.5 hours to recharge the unit.
There’s also a convenient LED light on the front, perfect for camping or when the lights go out.
As for how long the unit will run for, it depends on what you’re recharging or powering using it. You’ll get about 40 recharges of a smartphone, about 9 hours of CPAP runtime, or 45 minutes out of a coffee maker.
Not only does load affect runtime, ambient temperature is also another factor, although I’ve tested it down to close to 0 degrees centigrade and didn’t find this had much of an effect on the runtime.
The shell of the unit is a tough ABS plastic shell that’s good at resisting bumps and knocks. However, due to the cooling slots, the unit is not water- or dust-resistant. Mine has been knocking about in the trunk of a car, hauled to an outdoor video shoot, dropped off a wall, and accidentally had logs fall on it, and it doesn’t seem to have suffered at all.
The Zendure SuperBase 500 will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter December 15th (8:00 AM EST, 5:00 AM PST, 01:00 PM GMT) for the very competitive price of $459. If you’re looking for a power station, this packs a great deal of power in a small and light yet tough package that will be offered at a very competitive price.