When I reviewed another LiPOWER power station, I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly impressed. It worked, but I could tell that the fit and finish and build quality was a lot more AutoZone than most other stations. But, that having been said, the price was right, and it still presented a good option for people who didn’t want to spend big bucks on a small power station for emergencies, camping, etc. But, LiPOWER recently sent me one of their MARS-1000 Pro units, and I have to say that it’s head-and-shoulders above their budget stations in every way.
Specs & Information
The two biggest questions everyone has about power stations is how much power they can put out, and how much capacity. The LiPOWER Pro MARS-1000 exceeds the 1000 number in its name. It can put out a maximum of 1200 watts sustained power, with a 2000 watt surge capacity (which is important for many electrical appliances that temporarily pull more power before settling into a lower draw). I did find that for sustained operation, the 1200 watts is a fairly hard limit.
The unit’s battery pack holds 1120 watt-hours of power, so it could theoretically go for almost an hour at full power output. The battery cells are LiFePo4, or as the industry seems to be calling things now, LFP. LiPOWER says you can get 3500+ cycles out of the pack, and that it’s designed to last a decade with normal use.
It’s got all of the usual outlets you’d find on a power station in this size range. There are three 120-volt AC power outlets, a number of different USB outlets (including a USB-C PD 60 watt), two 12-volt ports, a 12-volt cigarette lighter port, and inputs for both the included wall charger and solar input. Two 100 watt panels can supposedly charge it in 5.6 hours, but we didn’t review solar panels, and can’t verify that here.
One thing I really appreciated about the station is its two carry handles. Like all power stations with this much capacity, the MARS-1000 is heavy. It’s pretty typical to have a flip-up handle or one that’s permanently there to carry with one hand, but this station has two very firm and strong handles to carry it in front of you with both hands. If you don’t have two hands free, you can still carry it with one, but it’ll hang diagonally as you carry it (which isn’t a problem).
The outer case seems to be a lot stronger and more well-made than the cheaper LiPOWER station I reviewed. It’s also just a lot more aesthetically pleasing, and the yellow exterior looks industrial instead of cheap. It fits in with a bench or truck toolbox full of power tools on a jobsite.
It also seems to have a pretty decent cooling system built in, like other power stations in its class. But, when I put it through its paces, it was fairly quiet, which is nice if you don’t want to put up with a bunch of annoying noise. Their use of multiple small fans seems like it could be more resilient to fan failure in the field by having other fans that keep moving air if one were to quit.
The LCD display is far, far better than the weird backlit automotive dash style display the PA 300 came with. It’s got most of the important details you’d want, like what ports are powered on and how much power is going in and coming out. The only thing I wish it had was a readout of estimated time remaining, but you can do the math (1120 Wh * percentage gives you remaining watt-hours, then divide by the power draw to get your hours remaining) and figure this out without too much trouble.
Right now, they’re selling it for $900, which is a decent price for these capabilities compared to most competitors, so I can forgive them for not including all of that information on the display.
Putting The Capacity To The Test
One thing I like to do with power stations is push them to their maximum rating. Any battery pack and inverter system can put out a little bit of power, but if they’re going to have problems, it’s probably going to happen at full power draw.
The first thing I tried to do was cook some bacon with it on an electric griddle that typically pulls 1300 watts. I know that’s above the manufacturer’s rating for it, but sometimes you get more power than advertised. But, when they say 2000 watts surge power and 1200 max sustained power, they’re telling the truth. After a few seconds of pulling 1300 watts, it cut the power off to protect itself. But, you can’t be mad at LiPOWER for only delivering on their word.
So, I plugged the bacon into the grid and took the LiPOWER MARS-1000 Pro across the room to see if it could help me make toast in the toaster oven. In the past, that oven has been known to pull 1200 watts maximum (if you recall my other article about solar-powered baked potatoes, this is the same little oven). So, I plugged the not-so-little (but brave) toaster into the LiPOWER and turned it on. It gave me no problems whatsoever, and delivered the toast for the kids to go with their eggs and bacon. The unit didn’t get hot or have any issues.
So, it’s pretty clear that LiPOWER delivered on this power station.
What’s Next For This Little Station
LiPOWER let me keep the power station, but truth be told, I have too many power stations already. But, I like to do product reviews and wanted to give it a good long-term test, so I gave the unit to a local handyman who recently helped me with a bathroom remodel. In the next couple of years, I’ll check in with him from time to time and see how the MARS-1000 pro holds up to both handyman duty and use on a small farm. If that doesn’t tell us what it’s made of, nothing would.
All images by Jennifer Sensiba.
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