How to Save Money on Electric Power Generators for Camping
Power isn’t cheap, especially if you want it out in the wilderness! If you have done any sort of research into camping power supplies, perhaps for your next camping trip or for living the vanlife, you have probably realised that getting a reliable power supply for camping is quite the investment! Nevertheless, there are ways to make sure you save money on portable power stations, whether it’s finding a great sale or saving money in the long run by thinking about their long-term uses. We go over it all in this guide on the ways to save money on a camping power station.
1. Head to the Sales
It’s no secret that purchasing a high-quality camping power station is an investment, but we would always recommend choosing a brand that’s known to have regular sales. Why pay full price when you don’t need to?
BLUETTI Black Friday Sale!
One such brand that hosts regular sales with significant price cuts is BLUETTI. For example, BLUETTI is kicking off the holiday shopping season on 11 November with their Black Friday Sale! Beyond up to 22% off a whole range of camping power stations, they are also offering exclusive giveaways and lucky draws! One of our favourite compact power stations, the BLUETTI EB3A starts at A$499 (was A$629) – check out the EB3A review, while our favourite big-power modular power station, the AC500 + B300S start at A$5,999 (A$6,999) – check out the AC500 review.
So, head to the BLUETTI Black Friday Sale before it ends on 1 December at 12am! What’s more, BLUETTI has regular sales on their highly rated power stations, so keep tabs on their website to save money on a camping power station.
2. Get Only the Power Rating That You Need
Power rating refers to the maximum power output of the power station and is typically displayed in watts. Most portable power stations put out between 1,000 to 4,000+ watts of electricity. To no surprise, the higher the wattage, the more expensive the power station tends to be. So what power capacity is right for you?
- 1,000 to 2,000W for charging small devices more than 50 times, powering small appliances like a mini fridge for around 4-6 hours, lighting for 30+ hours, and for general use perhaps for camping or staying in a small campervan
- 3,000W+ for running higher-wattage appliances, such as air conditioning/heater/microwave, etc.
- 4,000W+ for workshops or perhaps running a motorhome or off-the-grid accommodation for long periods.
For more advice on how to curate your research more specifically to your needs, check out How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent.
3. Choose the Right Battery Capacity (Watt Hours)
Battery capacity refers to how much power your unit can hold/how much power you can get out of it. This is usually measured in Watt Hours (Wh). Watt Hours are easy to find in the specifications of the power stations if it is not already stated in the name of the product. Again, the higher the Watt Hours, the more expensive the power station tends to be. So consider factors such as whether you will be able to access an electricity supply regularly to recharge your power station and whether you are powering appliances for long durations.
4. The More Portable, The Cheaper
This is important to consider. While some of us might only need a power station to run appliances in our back garden, others may need to consider something more lightweight to take camping or to store in a campervan with limited space. Generally, power stations with a higher battery capacity and power rating are heavy and less portable, which also makes them more expensive to buy. Again, buy for your needs.
5. Choose a Brand with Compatible Accessories
You don’t want to buy a portable power station only to get a new device or appliance that is non-compatible or that your circumstances change and perhaps you do need more power than you realised. Instead of wasting money on buying a new power station from scratch, choose a power station brand that has the ability to “upgrade” the unit, should you need it.
Power station brands like BLUETTI have a whole range of battery expansion packs that not only increase battery capacity but can also be used as an independent power source should you need to “split” your portable power, so to speak. Just team them up with a DC Charging Enhancer (D050S) and you’ll have access to more charging methods, such as solar, car and lead-acid battery charging. What’s more, many of these accessories will be on sale at the BLUETTI Black Friday Sale, so check them out!
6. Buy Local
Despite being portable power stations, camping power stations are still pretty darn heavy. Even the smallest power stations usually weigh in at around 18kg (40lbs). Therefore, shipping can be very expensive for camping power stations. With this in mind, it’s best to buy your portable power station from as local a company as possible to save a great deal on shipping.
Furthermore, you’ll find that purchasing power stations from overseas is very challenging due to restrictions on shipping lithium batteries overseas. Those companies that do get past this hurdle usually pay an added tax that they pass onto the customer.
In short, buying a portable power station from overseas is usually a bad idea that, in general, will lead you to pay much more for a portable power station than buying from a local company.
7. Think Long-Term
Ok, so no one can predict the future. Thinking long-term in terms of the power supply you may need in the future might feel impossible, but at least you can consider the most versatile power supply to cater to those unpredictable needs. So, instead of buying a portable power station for that “one camping trip”, think about other uses of your power station and how else you can use it in the future. That way, you won’t feel compelled to buy a new or upgraded power station and therefore spend more money than necessary; get it right the first time!
8. Consider the Power Station’s Resell Value
Finally, there may be a time when you realise that you don’t need a power station anymore. You had a good run, but it’s time to say goodbye! This is where going too “cheap” might lose you money, as cheap low-quality power stations tend to lose their power capacity much quicker. Therefore, you’ll struggle to sell a used low-quality power station. If you resell a high-quality power station from a reputable brand, you’re likely to get a good price for it. In the long run, you will find that you have probably spent a lot less on that “more expensive” power station.
More About How to Save Money on a Camping Power Station
Need more advice on getting the best deal on a camping power station? Check out our other power station guides:
- 6 Best Power Stations for Camping
- 10 Ways to Make Your Generator Quieter When Camping
- How to Get Electricity When Camping in New Zealand
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent.