How to charge drones on the go using DJI Power (and other portable charging stations)

How to charge drones on the go using DJI Power (and other portable charging stations)

Looking for an efficient way to charge drones out in the field? Pilots traveling between jobs might have to rely on weak car chargers or coffee shop pit stops to recharge. For pilots literally out in the field, there might be no way to recharge, period.

That’s where portable power stations come in. Portable powerful stations have become easier to come buy, cheaper to buy, and, well, more powerful in recent years.

Among the most notable picks you’ll find in this guide? Two products made from the world’s largest drone maker itself: DJI. That’s because, in April 2024, DJI just unveiled two impressive options of its own. Those are the DJI Power 1000 and DJI Power 500, both designed to keep your drone soaring on the go.

The more established names in portable power stations include Jackery, which also stands as one of the leading manufacturers of efficient solar generators. There’s also Bluetti, which even scored a CES 2023 Innovation Product Award for its solar power system.

But it’s perhaps most difficult to take our eyes off of DJI’s offerings, which are newest to market of any picks in this guide. Despite being known for drones, DJI’s portable power stations are a logical fit. After all, the company has more than a decade’s worth of battery research and development.

So with that, here’s your ultimate guide to the best portable power stations on the market today.

The best portable power stations to charge drones with

Traditionally, drone pilots have relied on car chargers or bulky generators to recharge in the field. Car chargers offer limited power and slow charging times, while generators can be noisy, fumey, and bulky to transport.

Portable power stations offer a sleek, silent, and powerful solution. For example, DJI’s Power 1000 generates just 23 dB, which is quieter than most household refrigerators.

And you don’t necessarily need to be a drone pilot to benefit from portable power stations. These products appeal to campers, who want to keep phones and lights recharged without the blaring noise of a generator disrupting their peace out in nature.

Even if you’re not camping, these products are great to have on hand at home in case the power goes out and in other emergency situations — especially if storms put out the power for extended periods of time.

So with that, here’s a guide to some of the best options, specifically chosen for the needs of drone pilots (but great picks all around for anyone):

DJI Power 1000

charge drones portable charging station DJI Power 1000

Perhaps unsurprisingly that one of the best portable power stations for charging drones comes from the world’s largest drone maker itself, DJI.

DJI launched the Power 1000 in April 2024 as the ultimate accessory for drone pilots flying out in the field. This powerhouse offers exceptionally high capacity and is perfect for extended trips or multiple drone batteries. It boasts fast charging, capable of itself being fully charged in just 70 minutes. It can be charged to 80% in just 50 minutes.

Here are some other key specs on the DJI Power 1000:

  • Battery capacity of 1024 Wh
  • Weighs 13 kg
  • Maximum power output of 2200W

When you pair this charging station with separately-sold charging cables that integrate with certain DJI drone batteries, a 10%-charged battery can get to 95% within about 30 minutes. That’s via the DJI Power SDC super-fast charge function, which works with most of DJI’s newer drones.

It has two 140W USB-C output ports, with a total power output of up to 280W. Additionally, it supports both 1200W Fast Recharge Mode and 600W Standard Recharge Mode. And, it pairs with the Zignes 100W Solar Panel for solar charing, too.

Though the sticker price is $999, we’ve seen it as low as $699 on third-party retailers such as B&H Photo.

charge drones portable charging station DJI Power 500

DJI Power 500

More portable than its bigger sibling, the Power 500 is ideal for shorter adventures and fits well in a backpack. It prioritizes fast charging as well; again, it can be fully charged in 70 minutes.

Here are some other key specs on the DJI Power 500:

  • Battery capacity of 512 Wh
  • Weighs 7.3 kg
  • Maximum power output of 1000W

That same DJI Power SDC super-fast charge function found in the 1000 also functions here, too. It has two 100W USB-C output ports, with a total power output of up to 200W. Additionally, it supports both 5400W Fast Recharge Mode and 270W Standard Recharge Mode.

It’s basically half as powerful as the DJI Power 1000. But, it’s also delightfully half the price. It comes in at just $499 (though there tend to be frequent sales on this product. I’d consider $379 to be a really great price).

Related read: DJI Power 1000 vs Power 500: which is better for the price difference?

EcoFlow River 2 Pro (768 Wh)

At just $429, this is the most affordable portable charging station in this guide. Sure, you’re not using this to power an RV, but it’s still certainly more than enough for drone pilots on the go. It can charge a 40WH drone 15 times in one charge.

The station itself can fully recharge in just 70 minutes. And, it’s rated for 3000 full charge cycles. That means you could recharge it every day for more than 8 years.

Not only is it affordable, but its also lightweight, too, coming in at 17.2 lbs. A built-in handle also makes it extra portable.

It’s actually more powerful than the DJI Power 500, yet it’s about $70 cheaper. So what’s the drawback? One big one: no USB-A. USB-A is the most commonly known USB type, which is a real letdown to not have it.

Jackery E2000 Plus Kit (4kWh) Portable Power Station

charge drones portable charging station Jackery

This high-end option is among the most powerful (and expensive) stations in this guide. Don’t settle for just charging consumer drones. This would power up high-end drones, as well as even more robust objects needing power such as RVs and large appliances. It costs $1,999.

Here’s where this product gets extra compelling: the potential for a 30% tax credit. This purchase makes you eligible to claim the residential clean energy credit. Though, contact your utility provider to confirm eligibility and find out more about the requirements for Residential Clean Energy Credit programs.

With 10 total ports, options include AC, USB-A, and USB-C. It has a rated max output of 1,800 W and a rated capacity of 3,000 Wh. It takes 2 hours to get back to a full AC recharge (though it can get to 80% in 1.3 hours). The unit itself is rated for 4000 full charge cycles.

It also supports capacity expansion, as the Explorer 2000 Plus can be expanded up to 12 kWh. What’s more, it can be expanded up to 24 kWh when paired with a parallel drain plug.

charge drones portable charging station Bluetti

Bluetti AC200MAX (2048Wh)

The king of capacity in this group, the AC200MAX can handle the most demanding drone shoots and power your entire campsite. Yes, that NEMA TT-30 and 12V/30A DC port are perfect for RV dwellers.

It boasts various ports and supports solar panel charging (at an additional cost) for extended use. Wireless charging adds even more convenience. Consider it capable of powering most appliances less than 2200W.

Just how powerful is it? You could charge a 50Wh drone 34 times. Or, you could charge a 10 Wh phone 170 times. You might use it to power a 60W fridge for 28 hours straight.

At $1,699, it’s slightly less expensive than the $1,999 Jackery 32000 Plus Kit named above, despite being more powerful by some metrics? Why, it promises just 3,500 charge cycles versus the Jackery’s 4,000. But, you might never even hit 3,500. 4,000 charge cycles means a recharge every day for nearly 11 years.

And though you can charge AC200MAX with solar panels and wall outlet simultaneously, you will need a second Bluetti AC adapter for dual AC charging.

Drone Girl’s picks, compared

Those are quite a few options. So how do they really stack up against each other? Here’s a look at some of their key features, compared:

FeatureDJI Power 1000DJI Power 500EcoFlow River 2 ProJackery Explorer 2000 PlusBluetti AC200MAX
Capacity (Wh)102451276820422048
Weight (lbs)28.616.0617.261.561.9
Price (USD)$999$499$429$1,999$1,699
Ideal ForExtended trips, multiple batteriesShorter trips, backpackingWeekend trips, fast chargingHeavy load devices (like huge drones and RVs)High-demand shoots, camping
Standout FeaturesHigh Capacity, Fast ChargingPortable, fast charging, lightweightFast charging, Compact30% tax credit eligibleMassive capacity, solar panel compatible
PortsUSB-C, AC, Car portUSB-C, AC, Car portUSB-C, AC, Car port2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 5 AC Outlets, 1 Car Port16 ports total: AC/USB/Car port/100W PD/NEMA TT-30/12V/30A DC port

Choosing the best portable power station for your specific needs

The best overall portable power stations I’d recommend in some capacity are named above. But how do you pick the best one specific to you? Consider some of the following factors:

Your own drone’s battery requirements: How many watt-hours (Wh) does your drone battery consume? A station’s capacity (Wh) should be high enough to recharge your battery multiple times.

Mobile app integration: One of the best, nice-to-have-features you’ll find on a portable power station? Smartphone app integration. With this, stations give you the ability to execute tasks like monitoring battery life and controlling power output.

The number of devices you need to charge at once: Are you just charging your drone, or do you need to power laptops, cameras, and other gadgets? The number and type of ports (USB-A, USB-C, AC outlets) will determine how many devices you can charge simultaneously.

The ability to recharge your portable charger: What if your portable power station runs out of power? That might very well be the case for, well, power uses. If so, consider prioritizing power stations with built-in solar panel compatibility. For example, DJI sells a Zignes 100W Solar Panel designed to integrate with the DJI Power 1000/500 using the DJI Power Solar Panel Adapter Module.

That makes not just for eco-friendly recharging, but recharging specifically on the go.

Portability: Do you prioritize a lightweight option for easy backpacking, or can you handle a heavier station with a larger capacity?

Budget: And of course, portable power stations range in price depending on capacity, features, and brand. These picks suit a range of budgets — which might ultimately be the final determining factor.

Safety: Last but not least is safety. Look for stations with built-in protections against overcharging, short circuits, and overheating. Make sure the station’s output wattage is compatible with your devices to avoid damage.

And don’t overlook other safety standards. For example, both the DJI Power 1000/500 have passed 26 product test certifications from the Swiss third-party testing authority, SGS. Meanwhile it’s built with fuses and flame-retardant, high strength material.

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