Portable power stations are getting bigger, more powerful, and less expensive all the time. You’d expect a company like Anker (known for producing smaller backup solutions for mobile devices) to move into this arena, but you might not have expected this kind of leap from is DJI, which has been producing drones and cameras for the last 10 years.

That said, both drones and cameras need to pack a lot of battery capacity into small packages, so really, DJI is just bringing that knowledge and experience to the consumer power station—and while you could use these new units to recharge your devices on the road, they also work as backup systems for your home.

The DJI Power 1000 Portable Power Station, which sells for just under $1,000 on Amazon, has a battery capacity of 1024 Wh and fully charges in an hour and 10 minutes. Although I’d personally go with a more powerful power station, there is a lot to like about the DJI. 

Fewer outlets, but higher output

I’ve been testing a few power stations in the 1,000 to 3,000 watt hour range for the last month, as this is the minimum amount of juice you’ll need to keep some of the basic household electronics going during a power outage, like a laptop, phone, and microwave, plus a heater, A/C or fan, or medical equipment like a CPAP machine. They’re also still light enough to realistically haul to a campsite.

The DJI 1000 sits at the low end of that power range, but has some features more powerful banks don’t. I like the design, which features a slightly wider but lower body with two handles that extend off the sides. I found it easier to carry around, which is a significant benefit, considering it weighs in at 32 pounds. The face of the unit offers two AC outputs (continuous 2,200W AC output) and two USB-A and two USB-C ports (140W output). Both AC outputs can be used as a UPS in case of power interruptions. Those USB-C ports are no joke, either: 140W is a much higher output than most USB-C power sources, and can support USB PD 3.1 to power your MacBook. 

Other stations offer at least as many ports, if not more, but lack DJI’s SDC and SDC lite ports. These “smart” DC ports which are specifically made to quickly charge DJI drones or a mini ecosystem of DJI dongles that provide input and output for other devices. These ports are what you’ll use to connect the unit to solar panels or your car charger, but again, to do that you’ll need to buy some proprietary dongles. For now, the only solar panel DJI offers is the Zignes 100 Watt Solar Panel, available  only on their website, for $299; this is the recommended brand, but there’s no language that says other brands wouldn’t be compatible.

Most power stations offer car charging and solar panel connections out of the box, and while I enjoy the idea of faster charging (and possibly higher output in the future as hinted by DJI), having to purchase and keep track of proprietary cables does not appeal to me—if one went out (or went missing) during an outage, you’d be out of luck.

There’s no app for managing the power station

Many newer power stations offer apps to manage the power going in and out and help you monitor what you’ve got in reserves. DJI doesn’t offer one, which is curious considering the battery is designed to help manage your DJI devices, and DJI already has an app for device management.

Still, as a power station, the DJI 1000 does everything it should: It comes with a three year warranty that you can extend to five years, and offers an expected lifespan of 4,000 cycles or 10 years. The max input via solar charge is 800 watts, which feels appropriate for the capacity. DJI’s marketing makes a lot of noise about how quiet the unit is (topping out at 25dB), but none of the power stations I’ve tried have had noticeable sound issues, including the DJI. 

A best bet for existing DJI customers

On a basic level, a power bank is a power bank. As long as it outputs power, it’s doing the job, and at $999, the DJI isn’t a bad value. Still, at this price you can find a number of other power stations in the 1000w range that don’t require the extra required dongles and will often come with additional output options—I like the Jackery Explorer 1000 ($999) or Anker SOLIX C1000 ($999).

Over the course of testing these units, I have found that 2,000W is a comfortable middle ground for ensuring you have enough power to keep a family’s worth of devices powered during an outage, run a heat or A/C source, allow for occasional microwave use, and the use of necessary medical equipment. For now, the DJI only comes in 500 or 1,000W versions.  If you can afford a 2,000W unit and add on a solar panel or two to recharge in case of a multi-day outage, consider a pricier solution like an EcoFlow DELTA Max 2000 ($1,499) or Anker SOLIX F2000 ($1,999).