Fun in the dark: Stuff’s top 10 load shedding gadgets

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We’ve all grown to be hardened load shedding veterans, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy a little bit of help along the way. If you’re still finding South Africa’s rolling blackouts a nuisance more than anything, we’ve compiled our absolute must-have pieces of tech that bring you all the comfort of actually having power in a powerless world. 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 10th-gen

R3,499 | Takealot

Understandably, the purists among us would much rather slide a slightly dusty paperback out of their bookshelf and reread one of their favourites for the 100th time. But if you’re digitally inclined, and enjoy having tens, sometimes hundreds of books at your fingertips, then the Kindle Paperwhite is your best bet by far. The 10th-gen listed here made it to market in 2018 and brought with it wateproofing, which makes it the ideal bath-buddy during a blackout. Couple that with a battery that lasts months, and you’re set for an exciting load shedding schedule this month. 

Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless ANC Earbuds

R4,499 | Shop and Ship Online South Africa

Jabra’s latest in earbud tech may look like they fit well in any runner’s earholes, but they’re absolutely perfect for anyone looking for some tunes during load shedding. Just like its predecessors, the 85t earbuds are excellent, but this time with the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC) — it just so happens to be some of the best ANC we’ve experienced on earbuds this tiny. If you have a generator, you’ll keep ANC on and that’ll allow for up to 6 hours of continuous playback of your favourite podcasts or tunes. But switch it off and you’ll get much, much more.

Anker PowerCore Metro Essential 20,000mAh PD Powerbank Black

R949 | Shop and Ship Online South Africa

We’ve sung the praises of a really good power bank for years, and it’s still one of those things a South African household cannot live without. Especially if you’re prone to not checking that load shedding schedule in time. The Anker PowerCore 20,000mAh battery pack is absolutely gigantic and it’ll charge up the whole household’s tech in no time. Equipped with a variety of connection options, including USB-A 3.0 and USB-C, you’ll be able to boost just about any battery in the vicinity. 

Stanley Classic Vacuum Flask

R879 | takealot.com

It’s happened to us a few times, so we’ll try and save you the pain of running to boil the kettle a few minutes before the power drops by suggesting a low-tech option. Any flask will do really, but we’ve found that Stanley flasks stand the test of time, and they’re useful for many scenarios outside of load shedding even. Next time, make sure to set some boiled water aside in the Stanley Classic Vacuum Flask before the power lets you down. 

Ryobi 4 Stroke 7.5kva Generator

R12,000 | Builders South Africa

Okay, so you need a generator (don’t we all). Well, after all the research we could muster in a week, we’ve decided on the highly capable Ryobi RG-7900K. It’s a pricier four-stroke petrol generator that’ll do some interesting stuff around your home – like keep your fridge running, as well as lights, a TV, a game console, perhaps a computer, your internet and a kettle. But don’t use this as-is, you’ll need to do some math first to make sure you’ve matched the capacity and output to your actual needs and home size. We’re not math teachers, we’re just the tech guys. 

ROG Strix XG17AHP battery-powered display

R9,126 | Techinn

The XG17’s 7,800mAh battery will last a good 4 hours on a charge — you see where we’re going with this. It’s easy enough to connect a smartphone via either USB-C or HDMI to the monitor, and as long as the smartphone’s battery is charged, the screen will turn into an emergency TV. We found this particular capability mighty useful during the four-hour load shedding slots in Johannesburg. Simply connect a smartphone (or a laptop, for that matter), and you’re set with a decently-sized mini-TV. 

Skottel Braai

R900 | Takealot

We will always recommend a skottel, load shedding or not. It’s just one of those exceptionally useful gadgets that South Africans should have in their cooking arsenal. If you’re equipped with a gas bottle of any kind, it’s a good idea to look at the Cadac Skottel Braai that retails for just R900 on Takealot. It’ll give you more freedom when you want to cook a meal during load shedding, impress a date at a braai in the rain or serve up scrambled eggs when camping in the bush. 

Ring Spotlight Cam (battery-powered)

R4,500 | Incredible Connection

Knowing South Africans and their problems — we’re gonna go ahead and suggest this one. This battery-powered security camera features LED spotlights, a 1080p HD camera and even a siren. It’s like a droid stuck to your wall that yells at people who shouldn’t be there. It also features a wide-angle lens, and like all of the Ring kit, connects directly to the Ring app which will alert you if someone’s snooping. Oh, and it’s battery-powered to keep you safe when the power’s out. 

Rain SIM

From R1 | rain

Okay, we hate to do this, but if there’s one thing we can’t live without during rolling blackout, it’s our Rain SIM safely housed in our smartphone or dongle. If you’re not set up with a small UPS for your WiFi router, it’s a good idea to have a data-only SIM as a backup, especially if you primarily rely on internet connectivity for work. It also works wonders for streaming (not above 480p, however), and browsing just about anything if you’re bored in the dark. 

Spotify Premium

From R60p/m | Spotify

Another strange addition to this list, is a Spotify subscription — mainly because it lands as a monthly sub, and not a once-off buy. But chilling sans-power is far more entertaining if you have unlimited access to music and podcasts that you enjoy, no matter where you are, really. Spotify Premium also allows offline listening in the form of downloaded songs, podcasts or playlists, which is exceptionally useful. 

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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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