BioLite is in full swing with its first powerhouse, aiming to deliver the most power per dollar.
I actually spent quite a bit of time (except camping outdoors for fun) without running water or electricity. I’m talking about years of growing hurricanes and power outages in Florida, as well as outages due to unexpected blizzards here in Colorado.
Sometimes life throws you off the grid. Or, sometimes many of us choose to go there, whether it’s dry camping in a cabin, in a vehicle, or outdoors. And unless you travel with all solar-powered electronics, power stations can literally provide a solution to sitting in the dark.
At the very least, they charge a headlamp, flashlight, or phone. At the next level of functionality, they provide a continuous power source (running a drill or appliance), and much more. With a reliable power plant, my “mobile office”, when I’m not at work or at home, can be virtually anywhere.
Goal Zero, EcoFlow, Jackery, Anker, and Geneverse – there are tons of power bank and power station options on the market. Launched in August, the BioLite BaseCharge Power Station establishes its own niche in the backcountry energy game.
In short: The BaseCharge 600 (622wH battery for $699) and 1500 (1,521wH battery for $1,699) are both stellar options for those who need off-grid power or for emergency use. The 1500 has the same price and watts as the Jackery 1500, but with more ports, less weight and more wireless charging. And compared to the big competition, BaseCharge also wins with more ports and less weight than the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 – for $100 less.
Review of the BioLite BaseCharge 1500
We tested the Basic load 1500 unit, which includes inverters to convert DC to AC, a wireless charging pad, three 12V AC ports, multiple USB-A and USB-C ports, and a 400W input port for solar charging .
The power station charges either via an AC wall adapter or via solar power (BioLite sells 100W solar panels separately). It took our sample unit 8 hours and 20 minutes via wall AC power to reach a full charge. For the BaseCharge 600 model, 3-4 hours is the estimate via an AC power source.
For solar, it depends on the strength of the sun and the positioning of your solar panel. I used the solar panel for 3 days, but had a lot of clouds, hail and rain, so I chose the brightest day to test. On a semi-cloudy day, I found the solar gain to be between 15 and 70 watts, indicated on the LED display.
When charging, the screen will also show a reading of the number of hours until the battery is full. When used to power devices, it will display hours until empty.
Entrance and exit
Each time I tested this power station, I made sure to charge a variety and combination of devices. I charged headlamps, lanterns, camping lights, smart watch, travel power bank, portable speaker, my phone and laptop, DSLR camera, electric pump 12V and a few other things via a USB-C charger. Not all at once, but this powerhouse could handle a pretty good combo of electronics I had on hand.
The BaseCharge provides 1200W of continuous power, with 2400W of surge protection.
Output displays are crucial here: the BaseCharge can power multiple devices at once, as long as the total power stays within the maximum output power limit (1,500 watts for the unit we tested).
For something small, like a headlamp or a camping lantern, the power station is capable of providing hours and hours of charge. BioLite even wrote a cheat sheet on how much use each BaseCharge unit can power, such as an electric cooler for 37 hours, a laptop for 22 charges, or a smartphone for 100+ charges.
Watt-hours function used
It was a great feature to gauge how much energy I was using off the grid and how much realistically I might need for a trip of the same duration. For a 3 day trip I used 119wH to power camp lanterns, phones and headlamps.
On a larger overland trip with more people, we used over 700wH – mostly because we were powering a few larger devices like an electric cooler, plus a larger volume of phones, tablets, and laptops. lighting.
Watt-hours used are like an odometer on a car: you can press and hold the button on the BaseCharge unit to reset at any time, or after a trip.
solar power panel
If you live in a sunny location and regularly find yourself off the grid, the compatible solar panel is probably a great investment. We haven’t used this solar panel enough in ideal conditions to give it a full review, but it packs up nicely for storage in a gear box or trunk, and we had no issues with ports or load functions.
A small analog dial in the right corner of the solar panel is also very useful for positioning in direct sunlight.
How we tested the BioLite BaseCharge off-grid
I put this powerhouse through its paces on several different trips through Colorado: a 2-day overland trip, a 3-day scattered camping trip out west, a 3-day off-grid camping trip in southern Colorado and a full day trip. trip, set up in my vehicle’s “base camp” on an off-grid lake.
BioLite Base Load: Conclusion
This is not a comprehensive comparison of power plants. My biggest goal in testing the BaseCharge was to see how user-friendly it was and to explore all of its functions.
The BioLite BaseCharge 1500 was able to easily power various electronic devices. I liked that you could capitalize on the power where you needed it, by disabling certain ports when not in use.
Finally, the LCD screen and the watt-hours function used were excellent, especially after several consecutive days off the grid. I feel like I have a much better idea now of how much and what kind of power I need. I haven’t had any issues so far with ports or functions.
Plus, the convenience features — 10W wireless charging, easy-to-carry handles, multiple power source options — only raise the bar. If you’re shopping for a powerhouse, definitely consider the new BioLite BaseCharge.
Compared to other powerhouses with a similar price and power, the BioLite BaseCharge is a competitive choice – offering plenty of ports and charging options, and it weighs less than 30 pounds. The BaseCharge 600, BaseCharge 1500 and Solar Panel 100 are all available for pre-order today.