Jon Turi

BioLite adds portable power stations and a solar array to its charging lineup | Engadget

After years of providing off-grid pocket charger, cooking and camping technology, BioLite has further advanced the genre with its newest and most robust power backup solutions. The company has just announced the BaseCharge 600 and BaseCharge 1500 portable power stations, along with an accompanying SolarPanel 100. As with most products of this type, they’re great for powering entertainment tech, home appliances, and workspaces when you’re away from an outlet. They are also useful around the home when the power goes out.

Both power stations provide an LCD dashboard with power metrics, system notifications, temperature alerts, port activations, and battery life status. You can also view accumulated usage over time and reset the counter as needed. They should hold a charge for quite some time, but it’s recommended to recharge them every six months, so they’re ready when you need them.

Each device is encased in a hard plastic shell with little rubber feet on the bottom. There are inset areas on each side to help carry these relatively heavy devices. In terms of robustness, they are not exactly designed for big drops considering the weight. And while they’re great to take with you as off-grid power backups, there’s no IP rating or weather protection to speak of, so you’ll want to keep them out of the rain.

Base load 600

Base load 600

biolite

The most affordable of the pair of powerplants is the BaseCharge 600 ($699). This one has a 622Wh lithium-ion battery capacity, with three types of inputs: a combo wall and solar charger input, plus a port for USB-C PD input. Charge times range from seven hours via wall charger, three and a half hours with wall charging and USB-C PD, and six hours with a SolarPanel 100 in maximum sunlight. It weighs 13 pounds and measures 12.2 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches.

There are ten outputs:

  • 2 – 110 V AC (600 W up to 1000 W surge)

  • 1 – Wireless charging for Qi and related devices on top shelf (10W)

  • 2 x 12V DC (120W) barrel ports

  • 1 x 12V car port (also known as cigarette lighter port – 120W)

  • 2 – USB-A (5V)

  • 1 – USB-C (5V)

  • 1 – USB-C PD (5V / 100W)

Base load 1500

The BioLite BaseCharge 1500 power station.
Base load 1500

biolite

The largest, heaviest and most powerful model is the BaseCharge 1500 ($1699). It has a 1521 Wh lithium-ion battery capacity and the same three inputs as the 600 model. Charge times range from 13.5 hours with the wall charger, eight hours with the wall charger and USB-C PD , and four hours in full sunlight if you have four Solar panel 100 units. This larger device weighs 26.5 pounds and measures 14.4 x 12.2 x 8.2 inches.

There are a total of 12 outputs on this device:

  • 3 – 110 V AC (1200 W up to 2400 W surge)

  • 1 – Wireless charging for Qi and related devices on top shelf (10W)

  • 2 x 12V DC (120W) barrel ports

  • 1 x 12V car port (also known as cigarette lighter port – 120W)

  • 2 – USB-A (5V)

  • 2 – USB-C (5V)

  • 1 – USB-C PD (5V / 100W)

solar panel 100

The BioLite 100 solar panel.
solar panel 100

biolite

If you want to turn your portable power station into a solar generator, there’s the new SolarPanel 100 ($400). This is a single folding unit, with four panels that offers a power output of 100 watts in maximum sunlight conditions. You can also pretend you’re astronaut Mark Watney and daisy chain up to four 100 solar panels for quadruple the power.

These panels are IPX4 rated, making them relatively durable and resistant to water such as continuous light rain. There’s no built-in battery, but you can charge two devices directly from the panel while soaking up the sun via two USB-A ports and a USB-C PD.

All panels fold into a 20.1 x 14.3 x 1.5-inch rectangle, with a built-in carry handle so you can easily carry the 9.5-pound panel. The back of the unit, which is the only exposed side when folded, is a gray cloth-like material. There is also a zippered bag to store cables.

When expanded, there is a surface area that spans 20.1 x 57.5 inches and a shallow depth of about an inch, plus two relatively low legs when fully extended. The “optimal solar system” is the same as what you would find on previous BioLite solar panels, consisting of a small target and a recessed white area so you can follow the angle of the sun by its shadow.

Customers can sign up for a waiting list starting today on the company’s website, and pre-orders will open on September 7 for all three new products. They are scheduled to hit retail outlets, including Amazon and REI, in October 2022.

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