Portable Power Stations Vs. Portable Fuel Generators: A Full Cost Comparison
Whether you’re suiting up your motorhome or just want that little bit of electrical comfort when you’re off the grid, portable generators are an ideal solution. However, they come in two wildly different flavours which, in turn, have wildly different associated costs. But which is cheaper, electrical power stations and portable fuel generators? In this full cost comparison, we not only compare the upfront cost of power stations and portable generators but also compare their running costs.
Plus, scroll to the bottom of this article to see how you can save money on a power supply for your motorhome!
What’s the Difference Between a Portable Generator and a Power Station?
The main difference between a portable generator and a power station is the power input used. A portable generator has a combustion engine and therefore requires some sort of fuel, like petrol or diesel. A power station, on the other hand, uses electricity which can usually be from various sources, whether it’s from a mains supply or solar when hooked up to solar panels.
For more of an explainer, take a look at How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a Motorhome on a Portable Generator?
A portable generator usually has a lower upfront cost than a power station that generates the same wattage. The biggest expense to consider when using a portable generator, however, is the fuel required.
For our cost example below, we have provided the price range of a petrol-fuelled portable generator with a 2,000-2,500 W output, which can easily be compared to a power station.
Portable Generator Cost Breakdown
Upfront cost: A$890-$1,500
Fuel: Average of 4.5 L to 5 L for 8 hrs + runtime at 50% load costs roughly A$12.50 if the price of petrol is A$2.50/L.
Let’s see how that compares to a portable power station…
How Much Does it Cost to Run a Motorhome on a Power Station?
Let’s not beat around the bush; power stations certainly cost more to purchase. But where things get complicated is the costs associated with recharging the battery.
When recharging the power station at home through your mains supply, it costs as much as your power company charges per unit, while recharging it at a powered campsite in a holiday park/campground is only going to cost as much as the fee for staying at the campground – which, of course, comes with much more benefits than simply recharging your power station.
Then, there’s solar power. Solar energy is free, but there’s still understandably an upfront cost to pay for the privilege.
For our cost example below, we have provided the price range of a portable power station with a 2,000-2,500 W output, which can easily be compared to a portable generator.
Power Station Cost Breakdown
Upfront cost: A$1,999-2,599*
Solar panels: A$399-1,399
* Prices are based on BLUETTI Easter Sale prices; see the section below.
Which One is Cheaper, Portable Generator or a Power Station?
Power stations using solar panels are vastly cheaper to run than portable generators if used frequently. In short, if you plan to use your generator for more than 200 days, you are getting a better deal going solar.
Portable Generator Vs. Power Station Cost Comparison
Example with the most expensive set-up displayed above:
Solar Power Station: A$2,599 + $1,399 = $3,998
Petrol Generator: A$1,500 + $2,500 (petrol for 200 days of use at 8 hrs on 50% load and $2.50/L) = $4,000
Better still, if you want your solar power station to fully pay for itself compared to the petrol set-up, you only need it for 520 days under the same parameters.
In terms of depreciation value, however, petrol generators lose their value slower than solar power stations. Therefore, if your plan is just to use it for about 100-150 days and resell it, then a petrol generator is the cheaper option.
Save Money on a Power Station at the BLUETTI Easter Sale!
Want to know how to get an even better deal on power generation for your motorhome? Head to the BLUETTI Easter Sale!
BLUETTI is kicking off its Easter Sale on April 6 with up to 29% off power stations and solar panels. For instance, the EB200P has 2,048 Wh capacity and 2,200 W pure sine wave inverter to power most appliances used in a motorhome including fridges, laptops, satellite receivers, air conditioners (8,000 BTU), etc. Grab the hot seller with A$800 less and other sharply-discounted bundles, such as EB200P with two PV350s or three PV200s to save A$1,182 or A$1,175 directly.
You can also save big on the PV420 Solar Panel! Its wide compatibility, IP65 rating and fold-and-go design make it an ideal companion for most common solar generators. Where there’s sunlight, there’s sustainable free energy.
Head to bluettipower.com.au to check out the sale, affordable power stations and more!
More About Power Stations Vs. Portable Generators for Motorhomes
That’s it for our cost comparison between power stations and portable generators. There is more to compare than price, however, which you can find out more about in the following guides:
- How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent
- How to Get Electricity When Camping in New Zealand
- 8 Best Ways to Save Money on Camping Power Stations
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Vanlife: The Guide to Living in a Campervan.