Gear Closet: Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station Review

Last week I took a look at the new Jackery Explorer 500 portable power station, which is a massive battery pack designed to power a wide variety of devices in the field. That device is built for extended stays in the field, where you may need to power small appliances, camera equipment, laptops, mobile devices, and a host of other items.

Today, we’re sliding to the opposite end of the spectrum with a look at the Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station, which offers a more compact, less powerful option for travelers and adventurers who are more concerned with traveling light on their adventures.

Weighing in at just a shade over a pound (705 grams), the Phoenix 100 feels hefty in the hand. But, it also feels durable enough to take with you on your travels, surviving airports and coffee shops, as well as the backcountry.

To make that process easier, Renogy has thoughtfully included a handy carrying case with the Phoenix, which also comes with both a USB-C and a micro-USB cable for charging, which are tucked into mesh pockets on the side of the case for convenient storage. In short, the Mini Power Station comes with just about everything you need to get up and running, although if you’re an Apple user you’ll need to bring your own Lightning cable.

The battery pack itself features a 27,000 mAh power cell, which is the maximum size that airlines will allow you to fly with in your carry on bag. That’s enough juice to recharge a smartphone up to nine times or a tablet twice. It even has enough power to recharge most laptops 1-2 times as well, making it a hand option to have at your disposal when stranded in an airport for an extended amount of time.

As far as ports go, the Phoenix 100 is well equipped in that department too. It includes a standard USB-A port and a USB-C port, plus a micro-USB port which is strictly used for recharging the internal battery pack.

Best of all, the Mini Power Station comes with a standard AC power outlet – like the ones found in the wall at your home – to plug just about anything you might need into it. That includes laptops, camera battery chargers, action cams, drones, and so on. Having that level of versatility in the palm of your hand is very convenient and helps to eliminate the worry we all have of running out of battery power while on the go.

Due to the large size of its battery, recharging the Phoenix 100 takes a few hours to complete. Fortunately, that process can be sped up some by using the USB-C port as opposed to the micro-USB import. In fact, if you’re recharging the battery before leaving home, I’d definitely recommend using this method, as USB-C is both bi-directional and much faster than standard USB-A.

It is very nice having two different options for charging however, as the Mini Power Station’s pass-through capabilities allow users to be charging multiple devices (as many as three!) while also recharging he battery pack itself. That isn’t something that all portable USB batteries can do, so it is definitely worth noting.

If there is one thing I’d love to see improved on the Phoenix 100 its its use of LED lights as a battery level indicator. Most of the battery packs I’ve been testing in recent months have had an LED screen that provides the exact level of battery life displayed as a percentage.

Instead, Renogy chose to go with five blinking lights on the front of the pack, which offer a somewhat unreliable estimate of how charge is left in the Mini Power Station. Those lights are helpful in knowing if your battery is full or nearly empty, but in-between in can be hard to estimate how much power you have remaining.

That one criticism aside, I really like what Renogy has created here. The Phoenix 100 is a handy charger to have with you on your travels, bringing a lot of power and versatility in a compact device. The included USB cables are a nice add-on as well, and the case keeps everything organized and easy to store.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mini Power Station feels durable and substantial in your hand, and the AC power port is an extra nice touch. Add in a massive portable battery and you have a fantastic option for mobile professionals, full- and part-time adventurers, or anyone who needs lots of power on the go.

Priced at $159.99, the Renogy Phoenix 100 Mini Power Station is very competitive with similar battery packs. The AC outlet and larger battery does add a bit of a premium compared to other models that just offer USB ports, but for those who need that functionality, the extra few dollars is well wroth the price. All-in-all, this is a fantastic option for road warriors who need to stay charged no matter where they find themselves.

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Kraig Becker