Anker PowerHouse II 800
RRP $ 700.00
“The PowerHouse II 800 is characterized by the fact that it can charge several small devices for short trips outside the network. ”
Extra built-in LED lighting
Lots of USB ports
Strong but awkward handle
Anker is well established in the phone backup battery space and I have enjoyed some of their models for years. However, after a couple of camping trips laden with a dozen portable backpacks to keep my (and my friends’) phones well charged, I was anxious to keep things with a clunky one. to streamline power plant like the Anker PowerHouse II 800.
This 777 watt hour battery has enough plugs to charge a number of devices at the same time. Two AC plugs are available for your larger devices, while four USB-A ports and two 60-watt USB-C ports can power your phones and tablets. There is also a DC car power outlet that you might use for an air mattress pump.
As for the charging inputs, the PowerHouse II supports 800 solar modules with an output of up to 120 W. It also benefits from the maximum power point tracking, which dynamically optimizes the battery to make the most of the variable input current from solar panels. I was able to plug an old Goal Zero Nomad 13 solar panel into the DC slot and charge it without any problems, but after sitting on my balcony for two and a half days of sunshine, the PowerHouse barely clocked 3%. You will likely need some large solar panels to charge that bad boy in a reasonable amount of time.
Simon Sage / Digital Trends
With the socket outlet, you can always juice the PowerHouse II 800 the old-fashioned way. If you want to put in a little more power, you can also plug the supplied USB-C cable into the wall.
The PowerHouse II 800 positions itself as a rough product thanks to its reinforced corners. We are dealing with electronics, so in general you don’t want to stand in the rain with your cell phone while charging, but as far as water protection is concerned, the AC plugs and the DC car plug are well covered. The only complaint is that the connectors are not well positioned for plugs that are angled 90 degrees towards the ground wire. Anchoring these silicone flaps over the plug instead would have prevented additional wear and tear.
Simon Sage / Digital Trends
The handle at the top is robust, stiff and has a good grip. It is desperately needed for something that weighs 18 pounds. However, the handle breaks the profile of the box, which makes packing difficult. So if you put something on it during your road trip or in the off-season, you put weight on that handle and generally make storage awkward. You are also losing prime real estate to your devices. Many other power plants in this category have their handles built into the corners of the case themselves to avoid such problems.
The front LCD display gives you all the relevant information you need, including total charge, estimated remaining life, time to full charge, current frequency and power, and temperature warnings. Below that are three hardware buttons with which you can activate each of the main areas independently of one another. Unfortunately, there is no companion app to monitor these things.
It is probably wrong to see the PowerHouse II 800 as a proper home backup solution. It’s specifically rated not to support devices over 500W such as microwaves, toasters, or hairdryers. The most aggressive test I put on this battery was plugging in my desktop PC and plasma TV to watch some YouTube videos.
The PowerHouse II 800 appears to be intended for weekend camping trips with multiple people needing to charge their phones.
The draw fluctuated between 460W and 500W, which gave me a little over an hour of charge. My dreams of rough off-grid individualism shattered, I took a more humble test the next day. This time, I just had my laptop and external monitor plugged in, and they worked perfectly all day. Anker estimates that with a fully charged PowerHouse II 800 you can get 55 phone charges, 19 tablet charges, or 10 laptop charges.
The maximum power of 60 W on the USB-C connectors is not as high as it could be. Many power plants have a more powerful USB output capable of keeping more powerful laptops running. As it stands, you’ll have to be content with one of the standard AC slots. You will also see more and more power plants with wireless charging on top for added convenience. For what it’s worth, Anker uses its PowerIQ 3.0 charging technology over USB-C, which is compatible with Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm fast charging standards.
Simon Sage / Digital Trends
The perfect use case for the PowerHouse II 800 seems to be weekend camping trips with multiple people needing to charge their phones. If something really hammers home outdoor use, it’s not one, but two built-in LED lights. A little guy can provide a focused beam of light, while the broad one at the back has a nice diffused light that would fill a tent perfectly. The little light has an SOS mode that can come in handy when you’re left on an island with no beer late at night and need to signal friends across the lake.
The expectations of my first power plant were a bit ambitious. I was hoping that something like this could keep my refrigerator running in the event of a breakdown, but I would have known better if I had taken a closer look at the box. The PowerHouse II 800, priced at $ 700, is distinguished by the fact that it can charge multiple small devices for short off-grid trips.
Aside from a few minor design tweaks, the PowerHouse II 800 is small and light enough to be thrown in the trunk for a weekend getaway. Even if it doesn’t have the capacity to keep household appliances running, having such a power source in the closet can certainly help keep your personal electronics running in the event of prolonged power outages. Good connectivity for solar panels and additional built-in lighting make it a natural companion for outdoors.
Is there a better alternative?
The market for mid-range power plants is huge. The last power plant we looked at was the Jackery Explorer 1000. It replaces a couple of USB slots for an extra AC plug and has a larger capacity which is perfect with its higher price tag. EcoFlow products include in the $ 700 price range that are gimmicks, but definitely catch the eye.
How long it will take?
The lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is around 3 to 5 years, but this may depend on usage. For something this season, I would expect it to last a little longer. Anker suggests charging the PowerHouse II 800 every 3 months to preserve its lifespan.
Should you buy it?
If you are looking for something that will enhance your everyday portable battery, the PowerHouse II 800 is a great choice. It lacks some of the bells and whistles you’ll find on other power plants in its class, but nothing significant.