You really don't have to buy a Gizzu 242Wh battery pack specifically. There are loads of options out in the market and you can have your pick. But having something like this one at home is a great plan. If you lose power for 48 hours, you'll at least have the means to bitch about it on Twitter. Or sit in front of a fan all night. We chose the fan.
Ease of use
These days you can never have too many batteries. The problem is that rewiring an entire home to run on solar energy (it’s certainly not running on Eskom’s power) is expensive. The solution for most of us is smaller batteries designed to get one or two functions running. The Gizzu 242Wh portable power station is one of these.
As it happened, we got to test one of these little battery packs during Stage 6 load shedding. But that wasn’t all. Eskom also suffered a couple of blowouts, resulting in more than 48 hours of darkness thanks to the state power utility. In other words, we gained a very complete idea of what this little critter can do.
If you’ve seen one…
The Gizzu 242Wh battery pack has loads in common with all of the other products in the company’s lineup. The green-trimmed battery packs with their little handle and light on the front are distinctive, at the very least. They look like the sort of item you would, in a functioning country, take with you on a camping trip or keep in your car in case it broke down on a road in between working street lights. But this is South Africa. This more or less fits the definition of an essential household appliance here.
The package is just the battery, along with a charge cable that terminates in a Type D plug, and another pair of additions. These bits, a 12-volt plug and 12-volt socket, can be used either to charge the Gizzu 242Wh via a car or to power 12-volt products. The socket is used for more than just archaic car cigarette lighters, after all.
Up front, there’s a three-point plug socket and a collection of USB-A, USB-C, and DC outputs. An LED torch, with two levels of brightness, lives on top of those. Around the back, there’s the charge port and the vents for the battery pack’s internal fan. On the side, switches for AC power (the three-point Type D) and DC (the other ports) activate throughout. A small LCD screen provides a surprising amount of battery info.
Plug and play
Usage doesn’t get any easier. Connect what you need to charge or power, poke the appropriate button on the side, and power is fed through your hopefully-charged battery. There’s no On/Off switch. There’s no app. You don’t need to do anything complicated. Just plug in your bits and you’re off. Charge it when it’s flat. That’ll take about four hours. But there are a few other things to keep in mind.
First, the battery isn’t unlimited. The clue is in the name. The Gizzu 242Wh portable power station offers just 242 watt-hours of battery life on a single full charge. That is, it’s a 67,200mAh battery in a surprisingly lightweight casing. But those are just numbers. Gizzu reckons it’ll supply constant internet access into the double digits or run a laptop for four hours. We connected it to a Meaco Air Circulator, an excellent fan that draws between 9.5W and 23.5W. As it happens, the fan drew 10 watts constantly for eleven hours and forty-five minutes before the fully-charged power station conked out.
During that time, however, the battery’s internal fan kicked in every minute or three before shutting down for a while. When the alternative is sleeping in the South African heat, your brain blocks the extra noise out fairly quickly. But we found that, when connecting it to a 5G internet router, the fan was even more vocal. It turned on and just didn’t switch off.
Still, it seems that Gizzu’s claims are justified here, provided you do what they say and don’t run more than one device at a time. Doing so, even if you’re just charging a smartphone, really hammers the battery’s uptime. It’s also got a max rating — it’ll only power tech rated up to 150W so don’t expect to run a kettle. No, not even for a little while. And if you’ve got it at its upper limit, expect it to give up after an hour or two.
Gizzu 242Wh Portable Power Station verdict
These items, we’re told, are available on Takealot. While you can find them there (at around R4,500 to R4,800), these are from third-party sellers. Pricing is about R4,000 if you’re purchasing from somewhere that isn’t hitting you with a markup. Since it offers users enough power to keep a room cool or the internet broadcasting, as well as options to charge just about every bit of tech you own, that’s a fairly accessible cost. There are a couple of irritations to be had but on balance (and in summer) we’re willing to put up with them. We’d love to see how it performs in the long term too. Battery performance tends to vary over time and we’ve only had this one running for about six days. Still, it’ll get you through the load shedding heat without making you crazy. That’s worth the price.