Renogy Phoenix Solar Suitcase Portable Generator Review
Renogy’s Phoenix is not a ‘suitcase’ per se, but a solid foldable case that houses a compact li-ion battery and solar panels. It is a good, handy unit that can be carried around quite easily. Various ports for inputs and outputs in both DC and AC make it versatile. The small but precise display adds to its user-friendliness.
This product may not have huge capacities to power larger appliances like TVs and fridges, but it is a great device for a couple of camping days where mobile devices and lights may be the prime requirement. This Renogy phoenix solar suitcase review goes into the details to find out just how good the product is.
Touted by Renogy as an ‘all-in-one solar system’, this battery pack is basically a giant power bank with interesting features. It is rechargeable with solar panels, and it has single pin inputs to make the connections easy. Renogy’s line of solar panels is compatible with this unit, if you want more solar cells than those integrated in the unit itself. This may be a good idea, provided that the 20W cells need over 10 hours to charge the battery inside. The battery can be charged with a normal home AC unit on the wall in a few hours. Output-wise, both DC and AC devices can be powered with this suitcase, thanks to the standard AC port, USBs and CIG ports.
Built from a mix of ABS plastic, polycarbonate, and aluminum, the Phoenix solar suitcase is sufficiently strong and robust. It has broad rubber stoppers that prevent any tiny shocks or abrasions. The small display sits below the handle securely. The ports are on one side and under a translucent plastic openable lid. Though there is no IPX7 rating specified, the unit is decently resistant to water.
The battery is compactly placed inside the casing which looks and feels tough. The plastic latches, however, could definitely be stronger.
Easy Of Use
Despite being more complex in its features and construction, this battery system is almost as simple as a small power bank. There are typical plastic latches that need opening only when the unit is to be charged by solar. You only need to open the plastic lid on either side and plug in the charging cord in the respective socket (or the device in its respective port).
The ports have legible labels on what to plug in into which port. On the front, the display shows necessary information such as remaining battery and which type of port is taking or supplying power.
At 14,000mAh, there is not a lot more juice that the Phoenix solar suitcase promises over similar-sized, basic power banks. But it sure makes up for its significantly higher cost by offering flexible features. These include the charging ability from AC as well as solar panels – either in-built or expanded. It also provides both DC and AC supply, thanks to an in-built, pure sine-wave inverter. The charging by solar is also optimized with an MPPT charge controller. It also houses a 3W LED light for any camping or other requirements that cause you to find your way through the dark.
This solar suitcase has a sleek black body with bulges on the ends of the top and bottom sides. This helps make it look sturdy and separates it from standard suitcase shapes. The front has some contours highlighted with cool blue streaks and the Phoenix logo and brand name. On opening, it looks more like a bulky laptop than a battery unit. The high efficiency mono-Si cells are snugly fitted in the suitcase. The arrangement may not be the best for power generation because flat, completely sun-facing panels will churn out maximum power.
If the imperfect orientation of solar panels in the unit or any other drawback concerns you, or you prefer options without integrated panels, then our list of other reliable solar generators will certainly be helpful.
This product is meant to be portable; it is one of the criteria in design. The ergonomic handle, the compact size, and the use of a lithium battery to keep the weight in limits make it truly portable. The ability to be charged from solar makes it sustainable in purely off-grid conditions. No open terminals mean no short circuit or damage possibilities.
The weight of around 13 lbs. is not a serious problem for most people. The suitcase has appreciably low volume and can be stored or transported easily without losing a lot of space.
What We Like
The battery sector may not have reinvented itself completely like the mobile phone or some other sectors, but it is not shy to make important innovations here and there. Renogy’s Phoenix Solar Suitcase sits in the league of those products that make a battery setup far more than a battery setup. It brings essential features such as multiple input and output in both DC and AC modes. It is a genuinely portable unit that is aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing.
The solar cells and the lithium ion battery are modern components, and the display screen is a fitting accessory to them. When compared with batteries of similar size, the cost looks way higher, but considering the features and the build-quality, it is not disappointing. For regular campers and off-grid wanderers, this might be the perfect buy.
- AC as well as DC input and output
- Chargeable with wall charger, car charger or solar panels
- Compact li-ion battery
- Insufficient solar cells, external panels necessary
- High cost for a 14 Ah battery