By Don Lindich
Week 28, 2023
Q. Do you have any recommendations for portable power that I could use while camping or on my porch, or perhaps in an emergency when the power is out? I live in an apartment so I can’t have a gasoline powered generator, and that would be a bit too bulky and heavy to take camping anyway. I need to stay connected to my job (I work remote) so something that would allow Internet access with my laptop computer as well would be useful.
-D.K., Arlington, VA
A. Starting with the final part of your question, using an Internet connection during a power outage will depend on how your router gets its data. You can plug the router into a power supply, but everything upstream from your Internet provider to the router will need to have power as well. During power outages when I have used my inverter generator to power my whole house my Verizon FiOS has worked, so in my case I had Internet access, but be advised you may be relying on a phone hotspot to stay connected to the Internet when the power is out.
What you are looking for is a portable power station, and I can give two thumbs up to the Lumopal 300W, which is making a bit of a splash right now due to its ruggedness, capabilities, small size and value. The manufacturer is duly proud of it, and I can see why as it checks all the most desirable boxes in a portable power supply. It runs cool without a noisy, power-draining fan, it is splash and sand resistant if you take it to the beach or use it in stormy weather, and it has ample power for dealing with a power outage of a few hours. An LED light is built-in to help you find your way in the dark and while it does not have enough power to run a full-sized refrigerator, fans, an induction hot plate, lamps or a router and laptop computer are well within its capabilities. A comprehensive display shows operating status and how much time remains based on power usage. The Lumopal 300W has one three-prong AC outlet, one two-prong AC output and several high-powered USB ports for fast portable device charging. It also charges itself to full capacity very quickly with its included power supply, helpful when your home’s power goes off and on during a storm or blackout.
It is also positively tiny for its power and connection capabilities, so it does not take up much space when you store it. The small size and light weight also makes it more likely you will make use of it. There is a saying in photography that the best tripod is the one you have with you, and the point is that while a big, heavy-duty tripod is nice to work with, you are not likely to bring it on vacation. A small one you are willing to carry around is more likely to be useful, and that goes for power supplies, too.
As of the date of submission the Lumopal 300W is $269 on Amazon after a checkbox coupon, and if that price holds it is a good deal for the quality and piece of mind it offers.
DP Review has been saved: The world’s best digital photography website, dpreview.com, will live on! Gear Patrol purchased the site from Amazon and the transaction is now complete, so the site will go on. I know many readers wrote to Amazon asking them to find a way to save the site, so thanks to all of you who made the effort.