Anker is responsible for some of our favorite smartphone accessories on the market today. And while you may think of its portable batteries or Lightning cables first, it also has a massive backup power supply in tow as well. The Anker PowerHouse delivers 120,000mAh of juice in a portable design that weighs less than ten-pounds.

In day-to-day use, you likely won’t find yourself reaching for the PowerHouse to charge your iPhone or iPad. But as a backup generator or energy source while camping, it brings more than enough power to survive a weekend away. I’ve been tinkering with the PowerHouse over the last month, taking it on trips and using it outside and around my house. At $499, it’s a hefty investment but the peace of mind return is well worth the upfront cost.

Design

The beauty of the PowerHouse is that it goes beyond the usual USB-laden batteries that we’re used to from Anker. It features a 12V DC outlet, four IQ USB ports and a 110V AC outlet. The included power brick can charge up the internal battery while at home, or you can use select solar panels as a source of energy too.

At $499, you’d certainly hope for a premium finish and design. Anker delivers by wrapping the PowerHouse in an aluminum shell that’s made to withstand the bumps and bruises of life away from home. The front display and back are plastic, with the handle (disappointingly) getting the same treatment.

What It Does Well

To no surprise, the PowerHouse is a beast when it comes to charging mobile devices on-the-go. While it’s a natural buy for avid outdoorsy types, I think there is also a serious market here for creatives. I personally used it to recharge my DJI Phantom, GoPro and other devices while out of town for the weekend. It’s perfect for keeping multiple devices powered up at a time while you’re out capturing videos or photos.

It also makes for an excellent way to charge your MacBook on-the-go. There are very few ways to safely charge Apple’s USB-C laden devices away from home. Now, I wouldn’t recommend plugging into the USB ports on the PowerHouse in this application but it does work well when leveraging the AC outlet.

So what does 120,000mAh deliver? Anker claims to deliver 40 recharges of an iPhone, 15 cycles of your MacBook battery and it can even power a mini fridge for up to seven hours. Real world numbers will naturally vary, as with any device. In my experience, I fully drained the 120,000mAh battery five cycles and each time I walked away feeling like there was enough juice for the application.

Balancing Price with Features

I personally don’t own a generator. It’s not something that I’ve needed to this point in life and I don’t foresee myself going down that road unless prices come down or incentives expand. That’s why Anker’s PowerHouse is perfect for someone like me.

At $499, this isn’t an impulse purchase by any means and ultimately isn’t a day-to-day device for most. But it’s a nice peace-of-mind buy that fits well for someone like myself not ready to take the dive into full-on generator ownership.

My complaints are limited, but at this price point I would’ve like to have seen Anker include a few more features. Charging via solar is awesome for outdoor applications and is likely to take around 16 hours in direct sunlight. Manufacturers are still learning how to balance solar functionality with price in consumer products. Anker doesn’t include a solar panel with the PowerHouse, making it a solely up to the consumer to go down this road.

Charging via the included AC power brick is said to take around ten hours. I would’ve liked to have seen this number closer to seven or eight, just from the standpoint of having the PowerHouse fully charged in one night’s sleep. As well, at $499 you’d hope Anker would include a few of its popular Lightning and USB-C cables.

Final Thoughts

The Anker PowerHouse is a beast. In my eyes, it’s the best of both worlds. You get plenty of juice for all of your consumer devices but are spared the four-figure price tag. For its mixture of design and quality backed components, I’d give my full recommendation here if you can afford the $499 cost. Anker stands alone in the crowded smartphone battery market as the best of the best, and this trend continues with its PowerHouse portable generator.

About the Author