Online forums, and camping Facebook groups, are full of people asking whether they’re better off installing a dual battery system or getting a portable power station for camping.
Dual battery systems and portable power stations have their own advantages, which we will discuss in this article.
Overall, our default recommendation is that most people are more likely to get more use and benefit from a portable power station, but that’s not to say that a dual battery system is not worth considering.
Portable Power Station Advantages
Portable (Obvious! I know…)
Without meaning to state the obvious, one of the key advantages of a portable power station is in fact its portability. With a portable power station, you are not limited to the location of your vehicle and can remove the power station and take it anywhere in a campsite, or anywhere else for that matter, that you like.
Reasons for wanting to do this could be so you can get your power station closer to some sunlight you want to use to charge it up during the day, or it could be that the location of your campsite, is a reasonable distance from your vehicle, and too far to run an Anderson lead.
The fact that these portal stations are so easy to get around to, means you can use them in many more situations, for many more reasons.
Not Restricted To Single Vehicle
With a portable power station, you can take this with you no matter who you are going away with, and who’s driving. If you rely on a car dual battery system, then that system is only good for you while you are with that vehicle.
But if you go away in a friend’s vehicle, or leave your car at home for some other reason, then you will not have access to your dual battery system.
As a result, a portable power system gives you the flexibility to take the power source with you, and get all the benefits of having the portable power station, without needing to have your vehicle with you.
One of the standard benefits of a portable power station is the multi-use applications.
While you may buy the portable power station primarily for camping, or other outdoor adventures, it could actually be useful to you at home in domestic situations.
If the power goes out for an extended period of time or you have some other interruption to your power supply, you could use your portable power station inside your house to power some LED lights, a camping fridge, or anything else for that matter.
Though you may be able to get some similar benefits from a car’s dual battery system, it will not be as portable, and as helpful, as a portable power station would be in those situations.
Can Leave It Home
The portability of a portable power station also means that it is something you can leave home if you have no need for it.
With a dual battery system, you will be carting that extra battery and the weight that it brings with you wherever you go no matter what.
Whereas with a portable battery station, if you have no need for it on the trip you are going on, you can simply take it out of your car and leave it in the garage, plugged into the wall charger ready for your next adventure.
Dual Battery System Advantages
No Packing Required
The key benefit to a dual battery system is pure convenience.
Given they are installed on your vehicle permanently, they are always there and always charged, and you never need to think about it.
While you’re packing your vehicle with your other camping gear, you won’t need to worry about whether you’ve packed your portable power station, because it is always with you.
Because a dual battery system is always on, that means both batteries are always charging while driving.
As a result, you never need to remember to charge your portable power station before you leave, as it is always fully charged and ready to be used.
Because the dual battery systems tend to be installed under the bonnet, in the engine bay area, it saves space in your boot. Whereas a portable power station would need to be placed in your vehicle, or caravan somewhere, a dual battery system is already installed and not taking up any of the other storage space you may be wanting to use for your other camping gear or equipment.
Based on the pros and cons of each type of power system, discussed above, our default recommendation is that most people, in most situations, a portable power station will provide them with more benefits, and more flexibility, than they will get from a dual battery system.
The only caveat To that recommendation is that for some people, who work with their car and are always with their car or 4wd and live out of their car, then a dual battery system may be better because of the convenience of it always being set up, and ready to go, and not an additional thing they need to set up and pack up each time they stop.