This is my video and written review for the Anker PowerHouse II 400. Thank you for Anker for providing this for testing.
Starting with the specs, the Powerhouse II 400 has 108,000 mah of cells with a rated capacity of 388.8 Wh (27,000mah at 14.3v). All this is in package that weights 10.2lbs and is 10 x 5.8 x 5.5 inches. The operating temperature is 32F to 104F.
All the outputs and the screen are on one side of the Power Station.
Covered by a flap is a Pure Sine Wave 110V outlet providing up to 300W. There’s obviously no real ground but there is an empty space for the ground prong so you can use 3 pronged items. This feature is missing on some more compact Power Stations.
Behind the other flap is a DC car socket as well as 5.5mm DC jacks. These share a max output of 120W.
In the center is Anker’s bread and butter USB outputs. There are 3 USB-A ports branded with Anker’s PowerIQ which means each port provides a variable amount of power depending on the device. These ports share a 36W max output. Each port maxes out at 5V 2.4A 12W. So unlike some previous Anker multiport chargers I’ve reviewed, all 3 ports will be able to hit their max output concurrently.
The PowerIQ 3 USB-C port plays double duty as an output and an input, going up to 60W each way. This is nice as you can use your existing laptop charger instead of hauling the large included charger around.
Next to that is a barrel plug DC input for the provided 65W charger or for a solar panel if you have one. It supports MPPT for solar charging. One really cool feature is that you charge with both the DC input and PD USB C simultaneously for faster charging. Each output can be controlled by one of the 3 corresponding circular buttons.
Above the buttons is the display. This display tells you your remaining battery life as well as the current input and output. The input shows you the wattage coming in as well as the estimated time to a full charge. The output shows the combined output from the AC, DC and USB outputs. Below that, it indicates the estimated battery life of the Powerhouse if the current load continued. This is much more informative than just guessing based on a percent. This display also notes you are running 50 or 60 hz mode or if the battery is too hot or too cold to run.
Both of the short sides of the Power station have a cool black and blue vented design. I am not sure if the vents are functional to help keep the battery cool but I didn’t notice any excess surface temperatures in use.
Opposite the outputs is a cool ambient light. This gives off 3 levels of warm light from low to high. On the last short side is the flash light which has a low and a high beam as well as an SOS mode that blinks SOS in Morse code. These two light features are definitely an added plus when camping!
On the top side, we have a sturdy soft touch carrying handle, which unfortunately doesn’t fold down.
So testing this in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, I wasn’t able to go on any road or camping trips. I thought an more appropriate real-life test in the time of remote working was to see if I could work an entire day outside using the Powerhouse II. So I took my picnic blanket and my cat and set up the Powerhouse II 400. I can successfully say that I was able to work an entire 8 hour day off the battery. Working in IT I have two computers, a 2020 Macbook air and an older Dell Latitude 7480. Charging the Macbook air via USB C PD from 10% while actively using it took 18% of the Powerstation. The Dell is much older and it’s battery does not last long, but charged up from 10% using 12% of the Powerstation. Overall, I had my phone plugged in to maintain charge while running a hotspot and I ended the day with 63% on the Powerstation. I am definitely going to take this with me the next time it is nice out to work from the park.
I did some more detailed testing using my trusty Kill-a-Watt and USB testers. I was able to verify Anker’s claims of USB output performance. The reported output on the display differed slightly from measurements taken from my USB meters and charging devices. But this is within an acceptable margin of error and I imagine there is some phantom power draw from the display and the electronics controlling the output.
When you plug in a new device to the PowerHouse II, there is no interruption devices already being charged. This is important for devices that you don’t want interrupted, like a usb security camera. This contrasts with some RAVPower products that I have used before. These products will stop charging everything when it renegotiates the power to each port.
I stress tested the device by charging a combination of old and new Macbook airs, a 15 inch Macbook pro, Dell Latitudes via both Power Delivery and AC charging, an iPad, a battery bank and my phone. The Powerhouse did not sweat it one bit. You could charge even more if you plugged in a DC car charger with more USB ports.
I found one oddity, when I plugged in a Vornado fan to the AC outlet. The fan made a strange buffeting noise that did not happen when plugged directly into the wall. I am not sure if this is because of the 110V vs 120V standard in US homes or an issue with the sine wave output. This is weird because anker advertises fans as a use case on the product page so your mileage may vary. I did later test a tower style fan which didn’t have the same issue so it could just be that specific fan.
Besides working outside a couple of times, I’ve also used the PowerHouse on a couple of used PC part purchases. I’ve been able to test computers that I buy on Facebook marketplace by plugging them into the Power station. Even powerful gaming PCs don’t typically draw more than 300W on idle/boot.
Overall, I definitely recommend this product. It’s positioning is interesting, offering nearly 400wh while the competition usually offers 300 or 500 wh. Looking at PowerStations on the market, only a few newer models offer USB PD. The closest competition is the Jackery Explorer 300 for $350 and Goal Zero Yeti 500X at $699. The Jackery offers less usb ports at a lower capacity but has 1 more AC outlet. It has 60W PD for output only. It can’t be charged via PD. The GoalZero has more capacity, a second ac port, a PD port for both input and output and an additional 18W usbc port but costs a lot more. So the Anker Powerstation II 400 is quite competitive at 399 on Amazon. At the time of this review, there is a $60 coupon to clip on Amazon.