Gear Review: Lion Energy Summit Power Station
The trend in portable power stations lately has been to get bigger, heavier, and more powerful. That’s great if you’re looking for a device to serve as a home backup solution or if you have a lot of devices and appliances to run at the campsite. But what if you just need a lightweight, compact option for day trips, tailgating, or keeping small gadgets powered in the backyard?
Fortunately, there are plenty of models available that can handle those needs, too. Take, for example, the Lion Energy Summit, an entry-level power station that won’t overwhelm you with its high-tech features but delivers solid performance at an affordable price. Best of all, it is highly portable, making it easy to take with you wherever you want to go.
Specs and Charging Ports
Because the Summit’s focus is on portability over power, it offers modest storage capacity and output. When fully charged, the unit’s batteries hold 665 watt-hours of electricity and can provide up to 530 watts of continuous power. That’s enough to recharge a smartphone 50+ times, a laptop 10+ times, and run a mini fridge for up to 16 hours. Those are pretty good numbers for a device that weighs just 18 pounds and is about the size of a car battery.
With the Summit, Lion Energy found a good balance between the number and type of charging ports while keeping the device as light as possible. The unit comes with two 120V AC wall outlets, a 12V DC vehicle port, two USB-A 5V 2.4A ports, and two USB-C PD (power delivery) ports with a max output of 60 watts. This allows the power station to charge up to seven devices simultaneously, which is plenty considering the size of the battery and the output capacity.
Speaking of batteries, Lion Energy uses a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) power cell in the Summit power station. This type of battery chemistry has become more common in recent years but isn’t always found in smaller—more affordable—models. A LiFePO4 battery is safer than a traditional lithium-ion cell and offers slightly more energy density. It also has a much longer lifespan, with roughly 3500+ charge cycles compared to the 800-1000 that older battery technologies provide.
Charging the Summit
The Summit uses a standard Anderson powerpole port to charge the device, which is good because our test unit didn’t include an AC adapter. Fortunately, we had third-party options for plugging it into a wall and connecting it to a solar panel. Those alternative options were able to keep the power station running and provide some insights into how long it takes to recharge the 665Wh battery.
Lion Energy says it takes roughly 4-5 hours to recharge the Summit using a 120V AC wall outlet. We found that number to be fairly accurate during our testing, although our recharge times were usually closer to the higher-end of that estimate. However, we were using a third-party Anderson powerpole adapter, which may not be as efficient as using a model specifically designed for the power station.
It is unclear how much power input the Summit can accept from a solar panel, but most models of this size and capacity typically support at least 100W. We connected such a panel from another manufacturer and were able to recharge the unit in about six hours of direct sunlight. Once again, that number is on the high end of Lion Energy’s estimates, but there are always a lot of variables involved when collecting solar energy. The movement of the sun, shifting shadows and shade, and cloudcover will all impact charging speed..
The Summit’s charging times align with what we would expect from a device of this size and capacity. There are certainly models on the maker that will charge at a much faster rate, but they also tend to be bigger, heavier, and pricier. For the market segment that Lion Energy is chasing with this model, the device met our expectations in terms of both power in and out.
Rugged Outdoor Tech
While most portable power stations are intended for outdoor use, not all of them are built to survie in demanding conditions. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case with the Summit, which once again strikes a good balance between durability and weight. The unit’s case feels very solid in hand and features rubberized corners that minimize impact when jostled about in transit or accidentally dropped at the campsite. A flexible handle is located on the top of the device to make carrying the power station as easy as possible. Most people will have no trouble lugging it about with one hand, while carrying other gear and supplies in the other.
As you would expect with any modern power station, the Summit has a built-in LCD screen that provides a range of valuable information. The display indicates the remaining battery life, which ports are currently active, and how much power is flowing in or out. Users can also monitor usage remotely on their smartphones with the Lion Energy app. This handy feature is a convenient way to watch how the power station is being used and configure the device to your personal needs.
A Portable Powerhouse
The Lion Energy Summit is a power station that doesn’t wow you with a lot of technology and advanced features. Instead, it gives you everything you need in a simple, easy-to-use package. Its power output and capacity fit nicely with its size and design, and it offers a good blend of charging ports in a compact design that can be easily carried just about anywhere.
Ultimately, the two things that stick out the most about this device are that it is highly portable and affordable. At 18 pounds, it strikes just the right balance of features and weight without compromising performance. The fact that it does that and sells for $699 makes it a very compelling product for car campers, tailgaters, van lifers, or anyone needing versatile charging capabilities for use on the go.
The bottom line is that you’ll find plenty of other power stations on the market that are smaller and lighter, but most will ask you to make compromises in battery capacity and output. You’ll also find dozens of models that offer higher levels of performance, along with more features and charging ports. Those units are also much larger, heavier, and more expensive. The Summit occupies a sweet spot that falls somewhere in between, making it an excellent option for those who appreciate what it brings to the table.
To learn more about the Summit portable power station, visit the Lion Energy website.