Rockpals 250-watt Portable Generator Review

Rockpals 250-watt Portable Generator Review

The Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator has been around for a while, during which it has been racking up lots of positive reviews from buyers. In a sea of portable power generators, a few features make the Rockpals 250w stand out, which includes an affordable price and the fact that it works well as a solar generator for small appliances and devices for outdoor or home use.

The Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator produces 250 Watts of continuous power, which is great for charging everything from laptops and smartphones to drones and cameras in addition to a host of other gadgets. You can also use it to power a TV, mini-fridge, and a CPAP machine.

Though the question you’re probably asking is just how good is the Rockpals 250w? Can you power a home with it? How does it compare to others out there? We’ll answer these and other questions in this complete review.

Top Features at a Glance

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·         A Pure Sine Wave Inverter – The Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator delivers clean power with little to no interference making it perfectly suited to powering more sensitive electronic devices.

·         Lightweight and portable – The fact that it weighs just a few pounds makes it an excellent feature, making it easy to move around. The provided handle is an added bonus.

·         18-month warranty – The 18-month warranty may come across as being less than some others currently available, but it is more than enough considering how well built the product is in our experience.

·         Size – The unit is so small and compact that it almost does not come across as a generator. However, its tiny form factor comes packed with power, ensuring that it can be used across a myriad of electronic devices.

How Many Appliances Can You Hope to Power?

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator with 110V AC Outlet, 12V Car, USB Output Off-grid Power Supply for CPAP Backup Camping Emergency

Though small this portable power station is powerful, and it can be used to charge and power several systems in campers, RVs, and in times of emergency. However, 250 watts isn’t powerful enough to work as a complete home backup system.

Now, if you want something with a bit more power, you’d need to sacrifice portability for its because of the larger, heavier battery and accompanying electronics. In our opinion, and based on our research, the Rockpals 250-Watt offers the most portability for the power it can deliver, which makes it worthy of at least consideration.

So, while the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator may not offer the most power, it does offer a couple of features that make it the portable generator of choice for many users. While portable is certainly a factor worth considering, especially since you can pick it up and start using it, the other feature we like is that it works perfectly for CPAP. The fact that it provides a continuous wave of electricity makes it ideal for use with sensitive equipment. Other portable power supplies and generators we’ve tested in this price range lack this feature.

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator with 110V AC Outlet, 12V Car, USB Output Off-grid Power Supply for CPAP Backup Camping Emergency

Well Designed Batteries

 

We would have to say that the batteries lie in the heart of the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator. The well-designed lithium polymer batteries are not your run of the mill type; in fact, when we looked closer, they are thinner and lighter than those used by competing brands.

The 3.7v 60000mAh/12V 18500 mAh battery isn’t designed to be a replacement for regular AC current for long term use. However, it still delivers more than enough quality juice for a traveler or someone who wants to sit out a brownout. We’ve tested the batteries, and it does more than just a good job of keeping a laptop powered for a few hours; power a bunch of LED lamps, for instance, and it can last longer. In other words, the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator has many applications and possible use cases.

Anyone who is dependent on CPAP should be able to use the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator for multiple nights but minus the humidifier. That said, if you run the machine on AC power, it will reduce run time significantly. So, you’ll want to power the CPAP via the DC port, though for some CPAP devices that don’t have a dedicated DC port, a converter may be required.

Max power output from the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator is around 300Watts or 250 Watts continuous. The benefit and something we mentioned earlier is that unlike other competing generators, the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator delivers pure sine wave at 110V /60Hz. However, there are many different outputs and inputs, which include four 12V 60W DC ports and two AC outlets. The addition of 2x 5V 15W USB ports is great for charging smartphones conveniently. That’s why this is our pick for anyone who also wants to also charge or power low-power items.

Charging the Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator with 110V AC Outlet, 12V Car, USB Output Off-grid Power Supply for CPAP Backup Camping Emergency

The generator can easily be recharged via an AC adapter, which is straightforward. However, it can also be charged via a solar panel, which isn’t supplied with the unit. It takes around 8 hours to charge the unit when plugged into the wall outlet, or around the same time if it hooked up to a 100-watt solar panel. That said, if you want to use solar power to charge the unit, make sure it is a 60watt / 18-volt solar panel, in which case it will take around 10 hours for the batteries to fully charged, given you’re doing so in sunny conditions.

Also, if you’re going to use a solar panel, and if it has an MC4 connector, an adapter will be needed. The unit has an MPPT solar charge controller, which is mandatory if you charge the battery via a solar panel. The built-in solar charge controller protects the battery from receiving too much current and voltage while at the same time improves charging performance. In our experience and during our time testing the portable generator, we think it’s safe to state that the Rockpals generator tends to charge 40% faster when compared to others on the market that use PWM technology.

The only adapters you get with the Rockpals power station is a 110-volt wall adapter, cigarette lighter adapter, and car charger adapter. We tried charging the unit with the provided car charger, and it takes around 10 hours, which isn’t practical unless the car is running for 10 continuous hours, like when maybe you’re on a road trip.

The five LED lights work as indicators to find out how much the unit has been topped up. The indicator will show you how far along you are to a full charge. However, personally, we would have preferred a digital readout or even an analog gauge, but even this isn’t a major deal-breaker.

Our Portability Test

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator with 110V AC Outlet, 12V Car, USB Output Off-grid Power Supply for CPAP Backup Camping Emergency
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Now since the Rockpals 250 generator is billed as being portable, we also know as reviewers that ‘portable’ is a relative term. One person’s portable may not necessarily be portable enough for the next person.

The Rockpals 250w weighs just 5.5lbs or 2.5 kg, making it light enough for most people to carry. The dimensions are also pretty compact measuring 255x100x160mm, which means that it does not take up space in the boot or even in your home. Furthermore, portability is made easier thanks to the included handle. The unit also comes with built-in surge protection and overcharge protection. However, if the internal temperatures hit 113 degrees, the internal cooling fan turns on.

If there was one thing we were missing with the Rockpals portable generator is a carrying bag or container for the power supply, battery, and the other accessory cords. While the battery comes with a nice carrying handle, we missed there being some way of neatly storing all the other accessories along with it. A hidden compartment perhaps would have been a worthy addition.

The other thing we missed is rubberized outlet covers for DC, AC, and USB ports. For a product that’s heavily marketed towards people engaging in outdoor activities, we think that these rubberized ports would have been an invaluable addition since they decrease dust and water ingress. However, in no way are these negative statements about the device, which exceeded expectations during our testing. That said, things could have been improved further in the portability department at least.

Build Quality

The Rockpals portable power generator certainly appears to be built to last. While it may not be as rugged as some other portable generators, it isn’t flimsy. In fact, it managed to survive being dropped from our hands a few times. While it isn’t an all-metal chassis, the use of aluminum and thick plastic serves the purpose. However, this isn’t a premium feeling device, which again does not need to feel premium.

The battery is rated for 500 cycles and charge and discharge. Though based on our testing, we think it can do more. The 18-month warranty offered by the manufacturer ensures that they have your back. We found that the batteries tend to hold a charge for a significant amount of time during our testing. However, we’d keep the battery away from open flames and intense heat for obvious safety reasons despite the enclosure being well insulated.

What the Rockpals Portable Generator isn’t Going to Do?

Now, like every product manufactured and sold, there are limitations. As a buyer, it is imperative that you are aware of the limitations before making a purchase. The Rockpals 250 comes with a few limitations that you need to be aware of before buying.

The first being it isn’t possible to pair two Rockpals 250-Watt portable generators together and get 500 watts. While it may appear to be something that should be possible, it isn’t mainly because the internal electronics do not allow for it. Also, because pairing a new and slightly used unit may mean that one drains the other making it unreliable. Furthermore, a few other portable generators in this price range offer the feature.

The other limitation is that you can’t use the unit, i.e., the inverter when it is being actively charged. Regardless of how it is being charged, the unit has to be turned off and in charging mode. While there are a few reasons we can think of why the manufacturer made this decision, we believe it has to be related to heat. Keeping the batteries cool while actively charging and discharging them may be challenging in this form factor.  

The other limitation is that the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator isn’t going to work as a UPS. UPS’ are more expensive products, and that type of functionality is often found in heavier products too. However, if you need more power, the company manufactures a 300 Watt model also, that has a 75Ah battery and one AC outlet.

Rockpals RP250 Video review

 

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Final Thoughts

The Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator is one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing over the years. It is genuinely portable, easy to use, and comes with a multitude of useful features. It is the perfect companion for a camping trip or as a backup system in an RV. However, where it shines most is being able to power sensitive electronic equipment like a CPAP, but it has enough USB ports to charge a tablet, smartphone, and loads of other devices. Plus, it’s built from sturdy materials, which means that it can withstand daily use on the road without needing extra care.

While the Rockpals 250-Watt portable generator has its limitations, those are to be expected from a device this size. However, in our opinion, these aren’t limitations, just features that the unit does not support, mostly in the interest of keeping the device portable. That said, for users for whom portability isn’t something they want, there are other more powerful devices with more features.

The Rockpals is a near-perfect portable generator that does not cost a lot but certainly punches above its weight in terms of features and durability, making it hard for us not to recommend. 

FAQ

Can I charge the Rockpals 250w Portable Power Station with a solar panel?

Yes, it is designed to be used with solar power and can be charged with either Rockpals 60W or 100W solar panels which are sold separately or any other compatible brand.

How long does it take to completely charge using solar power?

If connected to a Rockpals 60W solar panel it can be fully recharged in 9 to 10 hours in optimal sun conditions.