The RavPower 80W AC portable charger isn’t your standard USB power pack. As well as the usual USB charging ports, it also has a standard plug socket. This AC outlet is designed for charging your laptop, but so long as you stay within its limits it has lots of other uses too.
This versatility comes at a price – it costs around £80 or $80. After discussing its features, I’ll put its claims to the test, charging a whole range of devices, to try and establish if it’s worth its asking price to you. So let’s take a closer look.
Inside the box, enclosed in a nice hard case, you get the charger itself, a soft pouch, a longer than usual 60cm USB-C RavPower branded charging cable, and the manual. Mine also came with a travel adapter.
The old version of this Power House came with a proprietary charger with a pin connector. I’m pleased to see this updated model now charges via a standard USB-C port. But you don’t get a wall charger with it, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use your phone charger since you need at least a 18W USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) charger. I’ll come back to this shortly.
The charger is an elongated cuboid measuring 69mm x 69mm and 156mm long. It weighs a hefty 669g. This is not a charger you’ll be able to easily slip into your average laptop bag or rucksack.
Especially if you keep it in its branded hard carrying case which is very generously sized. But it would make a convenient case to carry an accompanying wall charger and charging cables. The hard case measures 155mm x 180mm and is 70mm thick.
Most likely you’ll use the mesh protective carrying sleeve a lot of the time. It doesn’t completely enclose the charger, leaving the ports and AC socket accessible. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not.
The Power House is well made and has a grippy matte silicone finish. Unfortunately this finish does attract fingerprints. It feels fairly rugged but has no drop or water resistance rating and with its venting at the top and bottom I’d be careful using it outside especially with any inclement weather.
The front of the charger has the RavPower logo and 5 LEDs that light up to indicate remaining charge. I would have preferred an LCD display at this price.
Its 20,000mAh, 74Wh capacity seems rather modest for its size and weight, but that’s mainly due to the integrated inverter that provides AC power.
The bottom of the charger houses the cooling fan. The top of the charger houses all the ports that will charge pretty much any gadget you own. Clockwise from the top left, there’s a USB-A port with up to 18W of output supporting a variety of charging standards, up to and including Qualcomm’s Quick Charge (QC) 3.0 at 12V, 1.5A.
The USB-C port has 30W of output and also supports QC 3.0, but also the widely popular USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard up to 20V at 1.5A. These latest charging standards cleverly negotiate their shared maximum supported voltage and current.
This port also charges the battery again using Power Delivery requiring a minimum 18W charger and supporting up to a fast 30W with a capable charger.
A single press of the power button with the charger off will display the battery remaining via the 5 LEDs. The last LED flashes when the battery is low. A 3s press of the power button turns the AC outlet on and off with an accompanying green status LED. Here in the UK it’s a 3 pin plug socket. This will vary depending on where you purchase the charger. The AC output will shut off automatically after 1 minute when it’s not being used.
In the UK this output is 220V at 50Hz. In the US it’s 110V at 60Hz. This has a maximum output of 100W with a rated output of 80W. The rated output has been upgraded from the previous model’s 65W. Confusingly, the box still labels the charger as 65W and even the printed label on the unit has 65W in the title, but does show the correct spec in the text below. The manual has been updated.
I was concerned our oversized UK plugs would cover the USB ports and power button, but in most cases I could still use the USB ports and just about access the power button.
You can use all three outputs at the same time which makes the charger incredibly versatile. It also has limited pass through charging.
So you can charge the unit via the USB-C port, whilst using the USB-A port which might be useful. Unfortunately you can’t charge the unit and use the AC outlet at the same time and obviously you don’t have access to the USB-C port whilst it’s charging.
The only thing really missing is wireless charging, but you can pick up Qi wireless chargers pretty cheaply and there’s plenty of spare room in the hard case to stash it.
I’ll be showing how all these ports can be used and testing how they perform shortly.
Fast charging the 74Wh battery from completely flat took a very respectable 2 hours 50 minutes using a RavPower 65W charger. This charges at the Power House’s maximum 30W input. At this point the LEDs turned off, but the unit did continue to trickle charge for a lot longer. I tried using various other wall chargers to charge the Power House including an Anker PowerPort+ 30W charger, the ZeroLemon Extreme Charge Station I reviewed a while back, a GoPro SuperCharger and even an Apple 18W charger that they specifically state shouldn’t be used.
The Anker and ZeroLemon also provided the maximum 30W input, and the Apple 18W charger appeared to work ok as did the GoPro Supercharger, albeit a little slower at 18W. I even tried using a standard 12W wall charger, in this case the one that came with an iPad. It seemed to work for a bit but then stopped charging so I wouldn’t recommend it. I did notice that RavPower is currently offering a free 18W charger on Amazon if you read the item’s description, but I have no idea how long that offer will last.
It’s worth mentioning that although a lot of these portable chargers quote their capacity in mAh, this becomes meaningless with devices like this that can deliver variable voltages. The capacity in mAh or Ah is based on the Lithium-ion batteries themselves which have a voltage of 3.7V. A much more useful and comparable measurement is Watt Hours (Wh). So this charger’s battery pack has a quoted capacity of 74Wh calculated by multiplying the capacity of the battery pack in Ah by the voltage of the batteries which is 3.7V. If we connect the charger to an iPad Pro for example, that can use USB Power Delivery to charge at 20V and then measured the capacity of the RavPower’s battery in Ah using a current meter, we’d get a measured maximum capacity of 3.7Ah: 74Wh divided by 20V. And in fact we’d get less because of conversion losses.
I discharged the RavPower Power House at around 15W using a constant load and measured the capacity to be 60Wh, 19% less than quoted which is roughly what you’d expect after conversion losses, although I would have liked a little higher.
In real terms it’s enough to provide a full charge for a typical laptop battery. For example the HP Pavilion 15 laptop I just reviewed has a 41Wh battery. But you’ll need to check the capacity of your laptop – the latest MacBook Pro 16” has a whopping 100Wh battery!
To give you an idea of what you could expect from the Power House, the iPhone 11 has an 12Wh battery, the iPad Pro has a 30Wh battery and the Nintendo Switch has a 16Wh battery. And here you can see the capacity of a few other gadgets.
Just divide the capacity into 60Wh to give a very rough estimate of how many full charges you’ll be able to achieve.
The iPhone 11 and 10.5” iPad Pro both support fast charging with a USB-PD charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable. From completely flat I charged my iPhone 11 which did indeed switch to fast charging at 2A, 9V, which is its maximum supported input of 18W. In 30 minutes it had just over 60% charge and it reached 100% in 2 hours. The USB current meter measured 16Wh, so with the various conversion losses you could realistically charge an iPhone 11 almost four times.
I tried charging the Lenovo Chromebook C340 I reviewed recently but that didn’t work. The charger has overload protection if you exceed its maximum output. The 5 LEDs flash and you have to wait a minute for them to turn off before you can use it again.
In this case the Chromebook actually has a 15V, 3A or 45W input which is greater than the 30W the USB-C port supports. This does highlight one of the difficulties with a unit like this. You have to have some understanding of the power requirements of your various gadgets.
And this becomes more prevalent when you use the AC outlet which I’ll cover shortly.
I don’t have as many gadgets to test the USB-A port, but could fast charge a Samsung S7 which supports fast charging at 15W using the older Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and using my load tester I got the full 18W forcing the output to 12V, 1.5A.
The AC socket is the most interesting feature of the Power House. It supplies 220V at 50Hz here in the UK and 110V, 60Hz in the US. The charger has a built in inverter to convert the DC output from the batteries to AC, so you can use it as a standard plug socket. But there are limitations. Firstly you need to make sure anything you plug in doesn’t exceed its rated output of 80W. Compare that to a household socket in the UK that can deliver up to 3000W. If you do overload the socket, again the overload protection will kick in, and the 5 LEDs will flash. You’ll need to wait for the LEDs to stop flashing to use the socket again.
The socket is mainly intended for use with laptop chargers and most chargers are 65W or less so should work fine. But there are exceptions – some powerful gaming laptops have chargers with an output in excess of 200W. And older laptops often came with 90W chargers. So double check the output of your AC adapter before you order the Power House. Or look on the laptop or battery itself to see what input is required. If you see a voltage and current, just multiply them together to get their power requirement.
I tried the charger with a range of laptops. The 2012 MacBook Pro that comes with a 60W charger worked fine.
As did the HP Pavilion 15 with its 45W adapter I just reviewed, and the Lenovo Yoga 530 and Chromebook C340 with their respective 65W and 45W chargers I reviewed previously.
I also tried it with an older Acer Aspire 4830 which comes with a 65W charger so should work fine. I found if I plugged the laptop in first, then turned on the charger it worked ok, but if I just plugged it into the charger with it already powered on, it set off the overload protection. It was the same with an ancient Dell Vostro, again with a 65W charger.
I checked the output with an energy monitoring plug and the power house was able to deliver the maximum spec’d output of the chargers. And I could happily use the laptop with the battery still charging. Although you’ll quickly use up the 74Wh battery charging and running a laptop.
On average I got around one to hours of use off the fully charged Power House charging the Lenovo Yoga 530 whilst using it. If you turn the laptop off and charge it, you should get at least one full charge with an average laptop.
The Lenovo Chromebook C340 got to 53% charge in just 30 minutes using the supplied charger.
Impressively you can run and charge your laptop and still use the other two ports at their full outputs for other gadgets. You’ll run down the charger very quickly, but at least it’s possible. I tried plugging in a MacBook Pro, then charging an iPad Pro via the USB-C port and a Samsung S7 via the USB-A port. The MacBook ran and charged fine, and the iPad Pro and Samsung both fast charged at their maximum 30W and 15W respectively
When you use the AC socket the fan will kick in and even if you’re not using the AC outlet, the fan will turn on once the output goes over around 20W. And the small fan is noisy. In a quiet room you’ll definitely notice it. I haven’t been able to test this out yet, but I imagine it could be noisy enough to be annoying to other customers in a quieter cafe. But with the normal hubbub of a typical cafe it should be ok. I did find using the supplied mesh sleeve quietened it a little. You can hear the fan noise in the accompanying video.
I also tried the AC outlet with a few other items around the house, and so long as I kept within the rated output they worked ok. The most interesting use case I found was running a Sonos One speaker which worked fine although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it – I’ll come back to that in a minute. A desk lamp with an LED smart bulb also worked fine.
Pushing it a little further I tried running a 140W 18” gym fan, not expecting it to work. Motors require a surge in current to start turning so I started the fan at its lowest speed setting and then increased the speed all the way to its maximum, and surprisingly was able to run this fan at full speed drawing over 100W according to the energy meter. If I tried to start the fan at full speed it did trigger the overload protection. I also tried running a camping airbed pump which worked fine, drawing around 80W.
It’s also worth mentioning that according to RavPower the inverter has a “modified”, not “pure” Sine wave output. This means it may not be quite as efficient, and of more concern may damage sensitive electronic components. You shouldn’t use the charger to run any sensitive medical equipment and I probably shouldn’t use it to run the Sonos speaker, even though it seems to work just fine!
I’ve been quite impressed with the RavPower 80W Power House. If you don’t mind its size and weight it could be the only portable charger you need. It’s incredibly versatile and I was pleased to see the USB-A and USB-C ports conform to the majority of the latest charging standards so should fast charge pretty much any phone, tablet or other gadget you own. If I was being picky I’d have liked the USB-C port to support more than 30W so it could charge USB-C laptops without using the AC outlet, which would be more efficient and avoid having to still carry the AC adapter.
But the main selling point is of course this AC outlet, which means you can use it with a huge range of laptops and much more. The 80W of output is a little limited but sufficient for the majority of laptops out there, but you will need to check yours is 80W or less. The AC port could also make it very useful for camping, for inflating mattresses or running some mains powered LED lights for example.
Ideally I’d like a little more capacity, but understand it’s already on the large side having to squeeze in an inverter for the AC socket. I did find the fan noisy and would like to see the next iteration with a quieter fan or perhaps a metal casing for some passive cooling. And it is expensive, even more so if you don’t already have a capable wall charger to charge it.
But I have found it useful having one charger that can charge almost everything I own. If you have a laptop that charges via USB-C, a portable charger with a 45W or even 60W USB-C output may make more sense and would be cheaper and smaller, but perhaps not as versatile. I’ll link to couple of options below.
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RAVPower 80W Power House: https://amzn.to/3g3XXGO
RAVPower 65W PD wall charger: https://amzn.to/2Ny3vgw (one option to charge the Power House)
RAVPower 60W portable charger: https://amzn.to/3hXUXNI (As discussed in article – another option without an AC outlet – that will work with many laptops that can charge via USB-C)
Anker 60W USB-C power bank: https://amzn.to/2YAfMqT (Another option from Anker)