Which Power Station Is The Best For Your Needs? The Rockpals 300W Or 500W?
Both of them are portable, lightweight, and great portable batteries that can be brought camping or be used at home during power outages.
But how do they compare, and which one is the best for your needs? Today we’re comparing the two to make the differences more clear than what the names tell us.
If you’re interested in power stations for camping, you should check out my post on the best ones here.
Let’s start by comparing the two on the table, then we’ll go through what the differences mean in practice. I’ll also share some of my solar panel recommendations for these power stations in case you want to be able to recharge the battery when away from home.
Lastly, I’ll share some of the best alternative power stations to the Rockpals 300W and 500W made by other companies.
Rockpals 300W Vs 500W – Specifications Compared
Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.
Similarities & Differences Explained
The battery capacity is exactly what it sounds like, how much battery power the power station can store at most.
There is a big difference between the capacity of these two power stations, 280 versus 540 watt-hours. That’s a 93% increase, which means that the Rockpals 500W will power your devices for 93% longer.
To understand what it means in everyday life, let’s imagine that we have a laptop with a 60W power brick. The Rockpals 300W will charge the laptop for almost four hours (280Wh/60W*0.85=3.97 hours). The reason we multiply by 0.85 is to take the inverter efficiency into consideration.
The Rockpals 500W will charge the same laptop for about 7.65 hours (540Wh/60W*0.85=7.65 hours).
A good way to know how much battery capacity you’re going to need is to make a list with every device you need to power/charge and for how long (in hours). A 60W device uses about 60 watt-hours per hour, so if you know the wattage of your chargers you can easily figure out how much capacity you’ll need.
For example, a list of my devices would look like this.
|Device||Watts||Hours per day||Total watt-hours required|
What the table tells us is that I am going to use 250 watt-hours a day based on my devices and hours of use. Since I am going to be using the inverter to power my devices, we also need to take the inverter efficiency into account. The inverter is about 85% efficient, so we’ll add that onto our total watt-hours: 250*1.18=295 watt-hours.
If you’re only going to be charging devices via USB or DC, the efficiency will be slightly higher, but I still recommend taking it into consideration when calculating.
So I should choose a power station that has at least 295 watt-hours of battery capacity, which means that the Rockpals 300W wouldn’t quite be large enough for me.
Remember that you can use the battery while it’s charging, so one way to make the Rockpals 300W work for me would be to connect a solar panel that would recharge the battery during the day or at least replenish some of the battery power that I have used. This would only work if I was using the battery while the sun was out and didn’t use all of my devices at night.
The inverter in a power station changes the 12V DC battery power to 120V AC power and lets you use regular 120V devices via the AC outlet that looks like a household outlet.
There is a difference between the two here as well since the Rockpals 300W has a 300W inverter and the 500W has a 500W inverter. That’s a 66% increase in power output.
So what does it mean? Well, if you have a 400W device, the 500W inverter will power it but not the 300W in the smaller power station since it exceeds the max output the inverter can handle.
Or if you have 10 50W lights, you can power all of them with the Rockpals 500W (10*50W=500W), while the Rockpals 300W can only power six of them (6*50W=300W).
Whether you need the larger inverter or not depends on what you plan on powering and how many devices at the same time. Even though there is only one outlet on the smaller model, you can use a power strip to connect more than one 120V device.
The Rockpals 500W has two outlets, but the 500W inverter rating is the total wattage they will output together, not separately.
You might’ve noticed that the inverter rating has two numbers, a continuous watt and a surge watt. The surge watts is how much the inverter can output for a very short time, usually less than 30 seconds.
When considering which power station to buy, you should ignore the surge watt rating and focus on the continuous wattage which is what will matter the most in day-to-day use.
As mentioned above, the Rockpals 500W has two AC outlets versus the single outlet on the 300W model. You can use a power strip with either of them to power several devices at once, but it’s convenient to have two on the larger model.
For some reason, only one of the two outlets on the 500W is grounded (3 prong).
There are four USB ports on both, but one of the ports on the large model is a USB C port rated at 18W. There is no USB C port on the 300W.
The smaller 300W model has two QC 3.0 ports, while the larger only has one. Note that your device must support QC for it to utilize the faster charging. Other USB devices can still be used.
There are five DC ports on the smaller model, and three on the larger. Both have an unregulated 12V cigarette port rated at 12V 8A.
Last but not least, the input port is different. The Rockpals 300W uses a less common 2 Pin port, while the 500W uses a 5.5×2.5mm port. It’s easier to find compatible solar panels for the 500W model since the connector is more common.
The input ports are different, and the 500W can handle slightly more input watts when charging.
The 500W model has a power brick that you must carry around, while the 300W model has the power management built-in and only requires the AC charging cable.
It takes 6-7 hours to charge both via the included wall and car charger. The 500W model charges slightly faster with solar panels and can be fully charged in 6-7 hours with a 100W panel, while the 300W takes 8-9 hours with the same 100W panel.
The Rockpals 300W screen shows solar/AC input (not watts), AC output watts/voltage, battery bars, battery voltage, and active ports.
The Rockpals 500W screen shows the battery percentage, battery bars, time to empty/full, output watts, active ports, and temperature warnings.
Size & Weight
There is a clear weight difference between the two, 7.5 versus 12.2 pounds. The larger model is also nearly twice as large in terms of total volume.
In The Box
Rockpals includes a wall charger, car charger, and MC4 to DC adapter with both models.
No solar panels are included with either battery.
Other Similarities & Differences
Both power stations use lithium batteries and MPPT charge controllers. They can both be used while charging and use a pure sine wave inverter.
There are lights built into both on the front of the batteries that are turned on with a button (two buttons on the Rockpals 300W).
On top of each, there is a built-in handle. The handle on the 300W model doesn’t move, but the 500W handle can fold up and down for easier storage. The recessed handle on the 300W doesn’t make it harder to store in any way though.
Last but not least, both power stations have holes on the side for ventilation.
Conclusion – Which One Is The Best For You?
So we’ve made the differences and similarities clear between the two solar generators. Now you need to figure out what you need.
Do you need the more portable and lightweight option that won’t run your devices as long, or are you willing to lose some portability for an additional outlet that is more powerful overall and lasts almost twice as long?
For my needs, the Rockpals 500W is the better power station due to the battery capacity on its own. At most, I only need to power my laptop, phone, tablet, Playstation 4, and TV, so I would be fine with the 300W inverter on the smaller model, but being able to power my devices for almost twice as long before recharging the battery is worth it to me.
If you only need to charge phones, tablets, CPAP machines, and lights, the Rockpals 300W will most likely be enough, but if you run a CPAP machine all night it might drain most of the battery and you would have to have a way to recharge the battery during the day.
If you live in an RV, car or van and have a solar panel on top of your vehicle, the Rockpals 500W would be the more safe choice since you would have that extra battery capacity for cloudy days and you wouldn’t have to rely on sunshine as much to recharge the smaller battery every day.
Now, maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that not even the 500W is enough for you, then I recommend checking out the best alternative power stations down below.
Solar Panel Recommendations
Since both power stations include the MC4 to DC adapter, you have a lot of options when it comes to compatible solar panels.
Best Alternative Power Stations/Solar Generators
The nrgGo 400 is another great option with two AC outlets, USB C PD, and a great display that shows the most relevant information.
Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions.