Oupes, a company I haven’t worked with before, recently got in touch with me and sent me their 1800W power station to review. It’s one of the most powerful stations I’ve tested, and it’s got a couple of tricks up its sleeve that the others don’t.
Specifications & Pricing
Here are a few specifications for the unit so you can compare it to other things if you’re shopping:
- 1800 watt maximum total output
- 3 US-style 100-120 volt outlets
- Multi-color display that shows capacity, power usage, estimated time remaining
- USB A and C (PD) ports
- Cigarette-lighter style plug and two 12-volt output plugs
- Lantern light on back of unit, two light levels, flash function
- Can charge with included 185 watt wall adapter, 12 volt car charger, or up to 400 watts of solar (sold separately, or as a bundle, we got two panels to review)
- $1699 (normal price), $1399 (sale, at time of writing), $2099 w/ two panels ($1799 sale at time of writing)
What I Love About The Oupes 1800W Power Station/Solar Generator
Right off the bat, I need to compare it to the only other station this powerful that I’ve reviewed: The Jackery Explorer 1500. In some ways, it falls a little short, but in other ways, it comes ahead.
One of the ways it outperforms the Jackery is by size and convenience of the solar panels. They fold, like the Jackery Solar Saga panels, but they fold up quite a bit smaller. Instead of needing to tuck them behind things in a closet or other storage area, you can set them beside the unit because they have a similar footprint. This could also be quite useful for car camping.
When deployed, they’re a little wider and not as tall as the Jackery panels we’ve reviewed. Like any folding solar panels I’ve tested, they can struggle to stay standing up in the wind, so sometimes you do need to add some weight to the legs to keep them pinned down. This can be done with scrap lumber as I did here, or you could do it with whatever you have on hand, like rocks or tent stakes.
Altogether, these two 100W peak-rated panels put out a respectable 130 watts. That sounds pathetic, but 150 watts is typical in good light and I didn’t have great light today. A dust storm (you can see dust on the panels here) and wildfire smoke in the area cut my power pack. Given the conditions, I think they did pretty good. It would probably take 8 hours or so to charge the unit up completely, but if that’s too slow, you can plug in as many as four panels to cut that time in half.
Another thing I really liked was the lantern feature. This would be great both for camping and emergencies. The light was bright, but not harsh because the LEDs are hidden behind a diffuser panel. I’m glad to see that they had typical uses for these in mind.
I was also impressed with the display. It shows not only current power draw or charging power (or both if you’re doing both), but it also shows how long you have left at current power use levels before the unit would be dead. This takes a lot of guesswork and math out of it, and makes it easier to adjust on the fly to make sure you have enough power to get through the night, etc.
Things That Could Be Better
Personally, I think the Jackery stations and panels look a little more classy, but that’s only skin deep. They appear to be just as robust and functional, but this is just a matter of personal taste.
Another small nitpick: The 12-volt output is a little low on voltage. Most power stations output around 13 volts, with a voltage sag closer to 12 volts when under heavier load. This station put out 12.5 volts at a low load, and dropped to either 11.9 volts or 12.0 volts even when loads increased. It never dropped below 11.9, so this shouldn’t be an issue unless you’ve got some very sensitive equipment that has to be above 12 volts. None of my radio stuff had any problems.
Stress & RF Testing
To stress-test this unit, I plugged a larger toaster oven into it. When set to the toast mode, this pulled around 1200 watts from the unit. We then used it to cook a small frozen pizza. Ten minutes of cooking took about 10% of the battery, so you could definitely use this for cooking in an emergency as long as you don’t need to do any long bakes. It should have no problem running microwaves and other kitchen appliances, as it puts out as much as any 120 volt wall outlet can.
For RF testing, I did what I usually do: use it to power an amateur radio. If an electronic device is putting out nasty radio waves, a sensitive receiver will usually pick it up all over the HF (shortwave) bands. Like other units I’ve tested, this one didn’t make any radio interference.
This has nothing to do with the power station (it provided adequate power), but this evening I was able to get signals out as far as Japan and western Australia, which was fun. Because my radio gear and computer use so little power, I could have done this for 2-3 days using the power station, and probably indefinitely with good sun during the day.
All in all, it’s a great value, especially if you can catch it on sale like it is right now. It works well in all of my testing, has plenty of features and ports to power just about anything, and has a built-in lantern for emergencies or camping. The solar panels were very convenient to move, store, and put in a car. I’d recommend this power station if it fits your power needs.
All images by Jennifer Sensiba.
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