Interested in a portable power station? The AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 and 2000 are two of the more popular models out there. In this article I compare the two models based on my firsthand experience using each one.
The Rise of Portable Power Stations
Jackery came on the portable power station scene hard and fast with their product line (read my review of the Jackery 1500 Solar Power Station). Other companies took notice and it didn’t take long before competitors started offering products. In fact, I saw at least 3 or 4 different portable power station displays at SHOT Show 2023, not including Jackery or AlphaESS.
Advancement in battery technology made for a rapid evolution of these products. Couple innovation with increased consumer demand and you have a big market for these products. Preppers use these power stations for covering unexpected power outages, but many others use them as well. Camping, off-grid living, RVing, and van life are common activities where you’ll find these products. I even saw a team using a small Jackery in the media area at SHOT Show to power microphones and computers.
One of the biggest competitors to Jackery is AlphaESS. I’ve handled products from both companies (AlphaESS twice now) and they are very comparable. Where Jackery comes ahead slightly in one category, AlphaESS pulls ahead in another. Price is the biggest difference between the two companies, and although the AlphaESS is priced slightly under the Jackery, it stands on its own in performance. At no point in handling an AlphaESS product will you feel that you’re dealing with a cheap, poorly constructed product. Both Jackery and AlphaESS offer solid machines.
AlphaESS, the subject of this article, serves both the residential and commercial market. The company has over 10 subsidiaries providing local services and over 60,000 systems running in over 60 countries.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000
The AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 is an entry level portable power station. There are smaller devices manufactured by other companies, but those are more specialty units for exceptionally portable, lower-power uses. I consider the AlphaESS 1000 as a base level model designed for general use.
I have a standalone review of the AlphaESS 1000 that you should read. I don’t want to reiterate everything in that article here, but I’ll cover it generally. Visit that article if you want to drill down into my testing of the 1000.
I’ve used the 1000 many times around the house for everything from powering lamps and electronics during a power outage to using it in my truck to work remotely with a laptop.
Portable Power Station 1000watt, AlphaESS Solar Generator with 1036Wh 3 110V Pure Sine Wave AC Outlets USB-C PD100W Quick Charge LED Light, Backup Battery for Home Use RV Camping Emergency
- [1036Wh Big Capacity] This portable power station features 1036Wh large capacity with 3*110V 1000W PURE SINE WAVE AC outlets,1*TYPE-C PD 100W Bidirectional Quick Charge Port,1*TYPE-C Port,2*USB-A,2*Wireless Charging,2*DC 5525 Ports,1*Car Port, and 2*LED lights. support for a variety of common devices like phones, laptops, full-size refrigerators, CPAP machines, refrigerators, TV, printer, and more. Plug and play whenever and wherever indoors/outdoors, camping, or for an emergency.
- [Meet Multiple Needs] AP1000 portable generator can power 12 devices SIMULTANEOUSLY, also it supports pass-through charging. When traveling or working outdoors, or power outage, You can use electricity with confidence. All in one portable design with a foldable handle, easy to carry and store on the go.
The face of the 1000 is pictured below. The digital display is simple and straightforward. It unit has all of the common outputs people would need to power electric devices, personal electronics, and even a wireless charging for cellphones on the top. The back side of the 1000 has a large, built-in light that I’ve used many times for lighting up a table for playing cards while camping or to illuminate the cooking area while making a late night snack.
AlphaESS BackBee 2000
The BlackBee 2000 is the second portable power station offered by AlphaESS. It is similar in color and design to the 1000, but it’s just… MORE.
The top of the BlackBee 2000 is where you can set wireless charging devices to be recharged, same as the 1000. That is also where you find the two built-in carry handles, one on each side. Compare that to the 1000’s single folding handle.
AlphaESS Portable Power Station BlackBee 2000, 2203Wh Solar Generator with 4 110V 1600W AC Outlets, 1.5Hrs Quick Charge 0 to 80%, 15 Output Ports Lithium Battery Pack for off-grid Backup Power Supply
- [NO WORRY FOR OFF-GRID] Equipped with 2203Wh big capacity, 4 1600W AC outlets, 2 TYPE-C quick charge ports, 4 USB-A charge ports, 2 wireless charge ports, 1 car charge port, the BlackBee 2000 portable power station can power 184 times phone/48Hrs full size fridge/20Hrs TV/40 Hrs laptop, ect., no worry even off-grid for a whole day.
- [FASTER AND HIGH-PERFORMANCE] The AC wall input is 1200W, it can be powered within 1.5Hrs from 0 to 80%. Also you can rehcarge it with solar panels with 600W input. Built-in dual-MPPT controllers, BlackBee 2000 delivers 35%+ faster outdoor charging. Thanks to the industrial BMS system, this battery pack delivers an ultra high 95% depth of discharge.
The front panel of the BlackBee 2000 includes a car port output, DC output, AC output, USB-A and USB-C outputs, master power button, DC and AC power buttons, USB power button, and the recharging indicator.
The digital display on the 2000 is much larger than the 1000’s. Not evident in the picture above, that digital display will indicate power input and output, percent of energy remaining, recharging time remaining, discharging time remaining, and AC/solar/DC/USB output.
I go into detail in the chart below on the manufacturer’s stated run times on each device. As a quick test, I plugged the 2000 into the fan on my fireplace (a key piece of keeping our house warm in a power outage) and started running the fan at 10:45 AM when the battery was at full charge. I stopped using it at 9 PM when I went upstairs and the battery had used 24% of its power over 10.25 hours of running the fan. Note: this is a heavy duty, industrial fan.
The 2000 will automatically shut down in 5 hours if the AC output is less than 6W and in 8 hours if the DC/USB output is less than 2W.
AlphaESS BlackBee 1000 vs 2000
Debating which AlphaESS model you should buy? Consider the technical specification comparison charts below.
Both units come with a two-year warranty.
The BlackBee 2000 offers significantly more power, but that comes at a cost. There is the obvious financial cost difference (a $900 difference), but also a weight and size difference. I have no problem moving the BlackBee 1000 around with one hand using its folding handle, but the BlackBee 2000 absolutely requires a two-hand carry.
Which Unit Should You Choose?
Battery power, weight, size, and price are the most dramatic differences between the units.
The one feature missing from the 2000 that the 1000 has is the back light on the unit. It’s perfect for camping, but it’s indicative of the two intended differences between the units.
The BlackBee 2000 is intended to be a better backup energy source for things like power outages and worksite use. I would also choose the 2000 for semi-permanent installation in something like a camper van.
The BlackBee 1000, I find, is better suited to camping purposes where moving it around from table to tent to car is all easier and the unit takes up less space.
Many Uses for Portable Power Stations
There are some things to know about portable power stations. I think many people underestimate their versatility. They can be for more than just power outages and getting your money out of them almost requires semi-regular use. Following are all ways I’ve used my AlphaESS units.
Grid Down Power
They can be used in the obvious situation where the power goes out and you don’t want to lose everything in the fridge or you want to keep the house boiler running. However, I also use mine in places where I need extended battery life for devices.
For example, I’ve used my 1000 several times to work while on the road. If I have to sit in my truck for a period of time, I can use that time to write articles for this site or edit videos for my YouTube channel.
I’m using the 2000 regularly to power devices at my amateur home YouTube studio. There are not many outlets nearby and I need to power various devices. Having a silent, convenient power bank at my feet is handy.
Fortunately, I don’t have to use a CPAPC machines, but I know many people who need them are buying portable power stations to power the machines when they sleep away from any power source. This includes camping.
I still take my 1000 with me for short camping trips. We do have a longer, annual trip that we do where the 1000 has run out of power on the last day. We used it for powering hanging lights, lamp, recharging phones and portable speakers, and – most importantly – running a fan in the tent while we sleep.
By day three the battery’s power is hitting its limit, so this year I will plan to leave the 1000 at home and opt for the 2000 instead, despite its heavier weight and larger size.
Use and Care
Portable power stations such as these should not be placed in high temperature environments, nor should they be set outside in the rain. They should be placed upright when stored, not upside down or on a side. They should be charged using only 100-120 volt power supplies.
Here are other use and care precautions:
- Keep the power vents open at all times.
- Do not cover the units with towels or clothes when in use.
- Turn off all output ports when not in use to conserve energy.
- It is not permitted on aircraft.
- Use and recharge the unit every 3 months to preserve battery life.
- Fans run automatically when the units’ temperature rises.
Do you have experience with either of these AlphaESS BlackBee devices or other portable power stations? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.