The Duracell PowerSource 660 gasless portable power station has many people looking at it to see if it is something they should buy. There are some reviews out there that say it is the best power station/solar generator to have come out in a long time. Many say in their reviews that “it’s great for the price.” But what do you get for the price? Will it work long-term in a blackout that lasts a few days to a few weeks?
We will find the answers to all of these questions and more in this review but first, we need to understand what’s inside the Duracell PowerSource 660. Since Duracell is one of the world’s largest battery companies, you’d think they would make a gasless portable power station that is top-notch.
I’ll tell you upfront, it’s not what you think. But there is a solution that is amazing!
The battery inside the Duracell PowerSource 660 is 660 watt-hours which is why it’s called the Duracell PowerSource 660. That’s not a very large battery, to begin with. If you take the average refrigerator, it will use about 80 watt-hours per hour that it’s turned on. So we can take 660 ÷ 80 = 8.25 hours of run time.
This review online from Charlie said “Purchased like 2 months before the Texas freeze. Following warnings of blackouts, I set the generator as a backup to the refrigerator. I did lose power one day for 14 hours, the battery lasted for 6.”
During the Texas winter blackout, many people didn’t have power for days. The six hours isn’t enough then. But it has the ability to charge off of solar so wouldn’t that fix that? I’ll address that shortly.
The battery is a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery which for decades has been the common type of battery used for solar setups. However, in today’s day and age, SLA batteries are not considered any good. SLA batteries can only use 50% of their total battery capacity and are very heavy for how much power you get out of them. The Duracell PowerSource 660 weighs 56lbs for just 660wh of battery capacity.
Then the last part about the battery is how many cycles it has. Or in other words, how long will it last until it’s only 80% efficient. The Duracell PowerSource 660 has only 250 cycles. And it will only hold a charge for up to three months.
To put that into perspective, the average smaller solar generator that uses Lithium-Ion can 500 cycles and can hold a charge for up to a year. That is why the number 1 recommended power station is the Titan solar generator. It has 2,000 cycles on its lithium batteries, is 2,000wh of capacity, and can hold a charge for up to five years.
In terms of the Duracell PowerSource 660 battery, there are a number of issues. The capacity is small, the lifecycles are short, it’s heavy, and is old technology.
The inverter is actually great on the Duracell PowerSource 660 power station, well mostly. It is a 1,440-watt continuous output inverter that is capable of running most electronics due to its larger capacity. Many other solar generators or power stations have smaller inverters at 1,000w such as the Bluetti EB240, Suaoki G1000, and the Jackery 1000. But all of those units, even though they have smaller inverters, have pure sine wave inverters.
The differences between a pure sine wave and a modified sine wave inverter are pretty simple. Basically, there are only certain things that should be run on modified sine wave inverters. And pure sine wave can run anything. That doesn’t mean that you can’t run certain things on a modified sine wave inverter, it just means it won’t run them efficiently.
Going back to the fridge example where the fridge will use about 80wh per hour it’s running. That’s off of a pure sine wave inverter. Running the same fridge off of a modified sine wave inverter could decrease its efficiency and use something like 100wh or 120wh per hour instead of 80wh.
The size or capacity of the inverter is great, 1,440 is generally enough to run any essential piece of equipment. But the sine wave is considered “dirty” and you need to be careful what you run off of it.
Luckily, the Titan uses a pure sine wave inverter and since it’s a 3,000w continuous output inverter it’s capable of running multiple heavy loads from multiple pieces of equipment at the same time without any issues. It’s even capable of running up to a 1.5hp well pump with the right equipment.
The third most important feature of any power station or solar generator is how fast it can charge and from what sources it can charge. It has a wall charger of course and the wall charger is very nice in that it is a simple power cable, with no power adapter. There’s no black box in the middle of the cable, it’s just a straight power cable.
But most importantly is the solar charge capability. First things first, we know that there is an average of five solar peak hours each day around the USA. That means for up to about five hours a day your solar panels can make up to their maximum rated output. A 100w solar panel can make 100w per hour for up to five hours which equates to 500 watt-hours of battery capacity created.
Since the Duracell PowerSource 660 has a total battery capacity of 660wh we know that we need to make at least 132w off of the solar input to charge in a single day (660wh ÷ 5hrs = 132w). Sadly, the Duracell PowerSource 660 can only input a max of 100w.
It uses a PWM charge controller, which again is older technology. That means it’s incapable of truly letting in 100w from the solar panels. In my video where I tested the PowerSource 660, I attached two 100w solar panels and still was not able to input more than 89w at a time.
Not only does the PowerSource 660 have older technology using a PWM charge controller, but it can only let in 89w at a time which means it cannot be charged in a single day.
Not to mention, that in a true blackout scenario, we need to be running a fridge while charging. Since a fridge will use at least 80wh/hr and the solar panels can only make 89w, the maximum amount of power we can make during the day while running a fridge is 9w, which is nothing.
That is why I love my Titan solar generators so much. Not only do they have incredible battery capacity and a large pure sine wave inverter, but it has 2,000w of solar charge capacity. That is 3x more solar input than any other solar generator on the market and 22x more (2,000w ÷ 89w = 22.47x) than the PowerSource 660.
It’s unfortunate that Duracell, being a huge worldwide company, decided to use the cheaper PWM charge controller.
But remember, the reviews said that “for the price, it’s good.” The Duracell PowerSource 660 gasless portable power station typically sells for about $699 as seen here and has loads of great reviews. It is definitely working for people, but we have to know what their needs are to qualify those reviews. Because we know firsthand now that if you only need to run a fridge for six hours that it’s a great unit. But if you need to run a fridge for 4 days, it’s not a great unit.
Let’s break down the price. There are three main important features of any solar generator or power station. 1. Battery capacity, 2. Inverter capacity, and 3. Solar charge capacity. We take the specs from all three of those features and then divide each spec by the total price.
$699 ÷ 660wh (battery capacity) = $1.06/wh
$699 ÷ 1440w (inverter capacity) = $0.49/w
$699 ÷ 100w (solar capacity) = $6.99/w
Combine that all together and we create what we call the “Unit Wattage.” The total unit wattage for the Duracell PowerSource 660 is $2.84/UW. That’s pretty high. Truly then, when people say “it’s great for the price,” is it really? Because for the price you’re paying $2.84 per unit wattage. By comparison, the Titan breaks down to less than half of that at $1.33/unit wattage.
To be 100% fair, the PowerSource 660 is only $699 which means regardless of what you get for that price, it’s a cheap price in the world of solar generators and power stations.
The Titan is $2,995 which is much higher than the PowerSource 660. But, you’d have to buy over dozens PowerSource 660’s just to equate to one Titan. The Titan is literally 4x the battery, 2x the inverter, 22x the solar charging, and 8x the lifecycles of the PowerSource 660. Not to mention that the Titan holds its charge for 20x longer than the PowerSource 660.
According to all the reviews saying “it’s good for the price” I beg to differ. The numbers don’t lie. The real-world experience I had while testing the Duracell PowerSource 660 doesn’t lie. In no way can I recommend to anyone that they get the PowerSource 660. The only way I could recommend it is if you absolutely have to get something right now, it’s the only unit available, and you don’ have more than $700.
But truly, you’d be better served to get an inverter gas generator with a propane fuel conversion on it and storing multiple bottles of propane and gasoline. The propane won’t go bad and you’ll spend less than buying the PowerSource 660.
Really you should just save up to get a Titan. Because the Titan has been out on the market for quite some time now and the biggest companies who make solar generators still haven’t beaten it. Goal Zero, Duracell, Inergy, MAXOAK, LION, Jackery, and so on, have all released new units since the Titan was released back in August of 2019, and still, the Titan is the #1 best unit out there bar none.
If you’re truly preparing for a long-term blackout, the Duracell PowerSource 660 gasless portable power station isn’t going to cut it. But the Titan will.