We’ve all been waiting for radical innovations in batteries for years. That innovation has arrived.
“The new Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries will make a big difference to South Africans,” says Ryan Martyn of Syntech, importers of Gizzu products. “They support new functionalities like fast charging and many more charging cycles.
“Our first-generation products could do 500 charging cycles. The newer ones will do 3,000.”
The practical benefit for South Africans is that you can leave them plugged in to constantly charge and serve as a functional UPS.
They can also support power-hungry appliances like air fryers, hair dryers, and even power tools, Ryan says. “There are many small businesses – say hairdressers or contractors installing cupboards on site – which can’t properly work during load shedding. That’s about to change.”
Anker Powerhouse 535
Anker’s Powerhouse 535 is part of a family of devices that includes larger- and smaller-capacity power stations. This one sits around the middle and despite its 512Wh battery and 500W capability is one of the most understated of its kind. The port layout is simple, the buttons are unobtrusive, and it looks like what it is – a device that sits there and emits glorious electricity. A single port in the rear handles charging, with all the other action taking place up front. A 12V socket, a USB-C, and trio of USB-A ports, and also dual European two-pin sockets await your pleasure. There is a three-to-two-pin adaptor so you can plug in real power hogs, too.
R14,000 / takealot.com
Gizzu 242Wh Portable Power Station
It really doesn’t take much in the way of batteries to make life more comfortable during the dreaded ‘Shed. A fully-charged tablet, a Netflix subscription, and a functional internet connection are enough to do it. Okay, and maybe a light. Gizzu’s little 242Wh power station is able to provide all this, despite having a very small footprint. We don’t mean it emits WiFi or anything silly, but it’ll keep your home internet functional for however long Vodacom and MTN’s towers are able to hold out. If you’re rocking fibre, all the better. It’ll also fast-charge USB-A and USB-C devices, includes a couple of 12V DC ports (and a cable so you can use one), and is surmounted by a single Type D (three-pin) socket.
Ecoflow Delta 2
If you’ve got the cash, you should really own Ecoflow’s Delta 2 power pack. It’s a relatively compact 12kg unit that incorporates a 1,024Wh battery to keep even your heaviest appliances running for… well, ages. Right up to a washing machine, if you can’t stand the thought of your delicates soaking till load shedding ends. You can draw up to 1 800 watts at once (2,700 surge) so those dual Type D (three-pin) sockets won’t go to waste. There are also two Type C (two-pin) sockets, inputs for mains and solar, and speedy output ports for just about every option you have in your home. The twin 100W USB-C ports are particularly handy for keeping everyone’s laptop charged.
R25,000 / ecoflow.com/za
Ecoflow River Pro
Ecoflow’s River Pro was made by a company that believes that being off the grid is no excuse for not making your Zoom meeting. This power pack features a large 720Wh battery, an integrated LED light, and a collection of essential ports. Two of these, in the South African model, are Type D (three-pin) sockets but there’s also a USB-C supporting up to 100W charging, dual 12W USB-A ports, and a fast-charge USB-A for your more essential mobile charges. Supported load tops out at 600W but it’ll handle double that as surge load, so you’ll find it surprisingly versatile. It’ll go from almost flat to fully charged at a rapid pace from the mains but if you have solar panels on hand, it’ll charge up about a third as fast.
R11,000 / ecoflow.com/za
Romoss Thunder 300W Power Station
The Romoss Thunder features something called a ternary lithium battery. It’s easier to pronounce than Li(NiCoMn)O2, okay? This 300W, 62 400mAh power pack features a single 230V Type D (three-pin), dual USB-A powers, a single USB-C 60W PowerDelivery port, and then a 12V car socket (you never know when you’re going to need that sucker). The integrated pure sine inverter supplies clean power to your chosen devices and the built-in LED light means you’ll be able to find them in the dark. That ternary lithium battery pack is rated for 800+ charge cycles, which isn’t bad at all, and the LCD readout will give you a vague idea of what your tamed electricity is doing.
R3,500 / takealot.com
Rentech PPS750 Portable Power Station
Want to keep your tech going? The Rentech PPS750’s 500W capability (with 2,500W surge skills) and 786Wh lithium-ion battery are up to the task. For ten grand, it bloody better be. A host of ports are crammed into the front of this 8kg carry-handled battery pack, running everything from smartphones to a small fridge. Someone obviously developed it with camping in mind, but that’s fine. We’ll take it. Dual USB- A, USB-C, and 12V DC ports decorate the front. The only catch? The two three-pin sockets up front require adaptors (which are included in the box) to connect to South African appliances. That’s fine with us. It’s better than sitting in the dark.
R9,100 / leroymerlin.co.za
Switched 300W/307Wh Portable Power Station
For running smaller appliances for a short while or tiny ones for ages, Switched’s 307Wh power station will keep you out of the darkness for quite some time. It’ll rock your internet connection for an entire day, with enough space to top your laptop and smartphone, but connect it close to its 300W capacity and you’ll hammer that battery in under an hour. Still, there are options when it comes to charging. Type D (three-pin) is an option but so are dual USB-A and -C inputs or 12V DC ports and a socket. Two integrated lights make this unit an emergency kit and the backlit LCD display is one of the most detailed we’ve encountered. Power input, output, and time remaining are clearly explained. laptop charged.
R6,500 / leroymerlin.co.za
Gizzu 518WH Portable Power Station
When you’re able to plonk 5kg of 518Wh battery down in your lounge and stave off boredom during an extended load-shedding session, or just juice up your devices while out glamping, you find yourself in a much more positive frame of mind. Maybe it’s just us (it’s not) but it’s a great route out of Eskom-flavoured depression. Gizzu’s lithium-ion will run a 100W TV for an uninterrupted four hours and a bunch of smaller kit for longer. Need internet and a laptop? You’re covered for the day. A plethora of ports, a built-in LED to stave off the darkness further, and support for solar-panel charging make this an even more attractive buy.
R6,000 / takealot.com