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Review: Generark HomePower 2 Battery Backup Power Station + Generark Solar Generator

Emergency home backup power continues to be a hot topic. In fact, having power for home essentials when the power goes out for an extended period is becoming a bigger concern with every natural disaster that knocks out the grid. Generark is one of the companies that is taking aim at the issue, offering a high-capacity backup battery power station. I spent several months testing the company’s California-designed HomePower 2, along with its SolarPower 2 all-weather portable solar panels. Each is sold separately, but the combination of power station and solar panels is also sold in kits as a Solar Generator. 

Clever Design Offers Both Function and Style

I’ve reviewed quite a few battery power stations over the past several years. These systems have to make tradeoffs between a very large (and heavy) battery, multiple power outputs, the electronics need to manage the battery and power output, and portability. Some do it better than others. I’ve had a “portable” power station that weighed 160 pounds and was a two-person job to manhandle up and down stairs. Power stations tend to be bulky in general and take up a lot of floor space. They can look very utilitarian as well — some I’ve tested could easily be mistaken for construction-grade equipment.

With its HomePower 2, Generark has done a very nice job of balancing all the variables at play.

This is a power station with a high capacity battery capable of running virtually any home appliances, including those with a high power demand like toasters and portable heaters. It has all the power options you might want, including four 110V AC outlets. There’s an integrated display showing key information including the percent of charge remaining. At 45.2 pounds, it is a reasonable weight. By going vertical, the HomePower 2 takes up a small chunk of floor space, just 10.12 inches square. The company includes a “Magic Wheel” cart the HomePower 2 sits on and connects to magnetically. This makes it easy to wheel the generator around.

What really makes the Generark HomePower 2 stand out compared to other power stations I’ve evaluated is its modern design. This is a power station that complements home decor rather than being something you want to keep hidden out of sight in the basement when not in use.

It also offers fast recharging, so you aren’t waiting around for the better part of a day for the power station to be back at full capacity. My review unit takes just under three hours to fully charge.

Generark HomePower 2 First Impressions and Setup

As I said, the HomePower 2 doesn’t look like any other portable battery power station I’ve tested. My review sample was the higher capacity Plus version so it weighed slightly more at 47.4 pounds. However the top of the unit is a molded plastic handle (surrounded by recessed air vents) that makes it easy to carry. It’s not light, but most people should be able to manage without too much difficulty.

I immediately set it on the Magic Wheel Cart to roll it around, which is much easier than carrying. Generark includes a zippered hard case that holds the charge cables and in a nice touch, the case is molded to perfectly nest into the top of the HomePower 2 so you don’t misplace it.

The powerstation is a bit over two feet tall, with rounded edges. Clad in metallic silver and dark gray plastic, it looks like a modern kitchen appliance. There is no power brick required, just the included power cord (a 12V adapter for charging from a vehicle is also in the box).

The front of the power station is dominated by an array of power outputs. Besides the four AC outlets, there are also two USB-C ports, two USB Type-A ports, and a 12V port. It can run/charge up to nine devices simultaneously up to the maximum power output. In the case of my Plus review sample, that is 2200W of continuous power draw, or up to 4400W of surge.

To use the HomePower 2, simply press the button associated with any cluster of outlets. The display will light up and when you plug into an outlet, you’ll see key info like battery charge percent, power draw, and estimated time of use remaining. At any time, you can push the display’s sole button to get an instant read of the battery charge. In addition, there is a horizontal LED light ring that runs around the generator. Push the display button twice to activate it. The LED provides subtle lighting that would be useful in a dark room during a power outage. But it is also functional: it remains white until the battery capacity dips to 20%, at which point it turns yellow. When the light turns red, you have a visual warning that battery capacity has dropped below 10%. 

Generark even includes a dust cover for the HomePower2.

My review unit seemed well packed, but there was an issue that appears to have been a result of shipping. One of the plastic side panels had popped loose. Lifting it off completely exposed the electrical components within. I was able to re-secure it, but one of the clips was stubborn so the side panel on my sample is not perfectly flush. In addition, the adhesive holding protective plastic film to the display was too strong — the display actually started to pop out of its socket on one side when peeling the film off.

Hands-on Experience

Of course, good looks are just a bonus when it comes to a home power station. What really counts is its ability to “keep the lights on” in an emergency situation. Before actually running the HomePower 2, you should remove the accessories case from the top of the unit so those air vents aren’t blocked.

Generark publishes estimates for many common household items. This includes anywhere from four to 15 days of power for a CPAP machine, two to 14 days for a desktop PC, and one to seven days for a coffee maker. Those are pretty wide ranges, but it all comes down to the specific machine, and how often you use it. The important takeaways are that this power station can run high-draw appliances like a coffee maker (many can’t), and that there is enough power on tap here to keep critical devices running for days at a time.

I ran a number of tests and the HomePower 2 performed impressively. 

The power station kept the full-sized refrigerator in my basement running for just under 26 hours. Keep in mind that in an extended power outage you would probably not run the fridge constantly as it’s insulated. So you could stretch that effective run time into multiple days. I ran a 1500W portable ceramic heater for two full hours. During that time, the HomePower 2’s fan came on, but was almost silent. That heater result is also one that would be stretched out considerably in real-life use. If you lost power in the winter, the strategy wouldn’t be to keep the whole floor at a toasty 70-degrees. It would be running the heater sparingly to keep a small room from getting anywhere near freezing temperatures.

What about high-draw kitchen appliances? When I plugged our four-slice toaster into the HomePower 2, one use dropped the battery 4%. Bringing a 1L water kettle to boil had the same impact, a 4% drop in capacity.

Safety

Safety is a big consideration when you are dealing with 40+ pounds of Lithium-ion NMC batteries. Generark has a full suite of battery management and safety measures in place. The power station is also covered by a 5-year warranty.

It’s worth noting the HomePower 2 is meant for indoor use and is not water resistant. In the event of flooding, you’ll need to make sure it’s operated in a dry area. 

SolarPower 2 All-Weather Portable Solar Panels

The HomePower 2 can also be charged using solar panels. This is a very useful capability during an extended power outage. Generark has several options, but the company’s SolarPower 2 all-weather portable solar panels are intended to be an ideal pairing with the HomePower 2. These are 200W folding panels, priced at $599. Each panel is equipped with 64 Monocrystalline solar cells made of Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE). Generark says they are not just significantly lighter than glass, they have a 50% high solar power conversion than traditional solar panels.

Unlike some portable solar panels, these are not equipped with integrated USB chargers; they are meant to be connected to a power station. Generark says that four SolarPower 2 panels can fully recharge the HomePower 2 in four hours or less. 

I only had the space to set up one panel, and at the time of testing in my part of Canada, blazing sunshine is a rarity. I was averaging about 1% of charge per hour. At that rate, and with about 12 hours of light a day, four panels could have fully charged the power station in about two days. Sticking with a single panel would have given me a full charge every week or so. That’s nothing to sneeze at compared to having no power at all...

If you are located in a sunny state — or if I had been able to test in the summer instead of late fall — the solar panel’s charging performance would be significantly better.

Generark Solar Generator

Generark sells the HomePower 2 and SolarPower2 separately, but it also bundles them together in a Solar Generator kit. The idea is your home is covered with emergency backup power that’s safe to use indoors, and in the event of an extended power outage, solar panels are able to recharge the power station. 

The kits start at $3,297 for a HomePower 2 Starter (a lower capacity power station than the one I tested) with a pair of 200W SolarPower 2 panels).

Generark HomePower 2 Key Specs (as Tested, Plus Version)

  • Lithium-ion NMC battery with 2060Wh capacity
  • Life cycle ≥800 cycles (≥80%)
  • 2200W continuous power
  • 4400W surge power
  • Pure-Sine wave inverter
  • 4 x 110V AC outlets, 2 x USB Type-A Qualcomm quick charge 3.0, 2 x USB-C 100W, 12V 
  • MPPT (Maximum-Power Point Tracking) controller
  • Rechargeable by AC (fast charge to 80% in 2 hours), solar, or car
  • Battery Management System (BMS) has 6 built-in protection modules
  • Operating temperature 14°F ~ 104°F, charging temperature 32°F ~ 104°F
  • 5 year warranty
  • Includes AC charge cable, car charge cable, accessory case, magic wheel cart, dust cover
  • 23.19-inches tall, weighs 47.4 pounds
  • MSRP $2,599 (HomePower 2 Starter version is $2,099)

Recommendation

Generark claims the HomePower 2 can provide up seven days of emergency power. That would be with minimal power use. However, even if you are pushing it — making coffee, keeping the refrigerator going, and powering a TV and streamer to keep kids entertained — you should be able to stay comfortable for a day or two without electricity.

You could keep the lights on indefinitely if you also invest in solar panels for the power station.

Unlike many portable battery power stations that are utilitarian and take up a lot of space, the HomePower 2 takes up minimal space, glides around smoothly on wheels, and features a sleek, modern design.

At $2,099 for the base HomePower 2 Starter ($2,599) for the HomePower 2 Plus I evaluated, this is a significant investment. However, if you want to protect yourself and your family from the extended power outages that are becoming a little too common, it’s well-worth considering.

Disclosure: Generark provided a Solar Generator for evaluation but had no input into this review.

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