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The Cobra Power Station is a handy tool for your garage, workshop, or office when you need to charge or power up your devices. It has the added benefit of being portable, so you can stow it in your vehicle for camping trips, tailgate parties, or weekends on the lake. Likewise, the Power Station can be convenient if you live in an area prone to losing power due to a thunderstorm or high winds.
We recently tested the Cobra Power Station on a business trip driving from Detroit to Minneapolis, using it to power a laptop on the way. We also used the Power Station to charge a smartphone, handheld vacuum, and run a 12V portable tire inflator.
Below we hit the high points of the Cobra Power Station and summarize our experience with it. At the time of this writing, it’s available through Cobra’s official website for $280 and on Amazon for the same price.
Cobra Power Station In-Depth: What It Offers
The Cobra Power Station contains a 200W battery pack consisting of an array of LiFePO4 cells with high energy density. The unit is designed with a “Pure Sine Wave” output, identical to the AC power inside your home. As long as you don’t exceed the 200W continuous power limit, the AC outlets, USB ports, and 12V socket can run simultaneously to charge and power your devices.
Below is a brief look at the outlets on the front of the unit. Each set of outlets is divided into its own section, with its own on/off button, which is an intuitive design. In other words, the Corba Power Station isn’t “always on” each time you use it. Instead, only the individual charging port being used needs to be turned on. For example, if you are charging your phone via the USB-A port, you can switch on just that section of outlets and leave the others off. When powering a device for an extended period of time, the internal fan will kick on to help keep the unit cool.
Two GFCI AC Outlets
The 110V AC outlets are what we most frequently use to power and charge laptops, tablets, and phones when traveling. While working onsite at a conference or event, we have used the AC outlets to run blenders for smoothies for a quick lunch and some of our camera and lighting equipment. During our yearly summer outing to Warren Dunes State Park, we used the AC outlets to power a self-inflating air mattress.
When the Cobra Power Station is fully charged, the AC outlets will run a 90W TV for about 2.5 hours, charge a 100W drone to full capacity twice, and charge the average laptop five times.
12V DC Port
We have used this outlet to power a corded 12V tire inflator. We like this option because, with the Cobra Power Station, we don’t need to plug the inflator’s 12V cord into the port inside our vehicle and drape it out the window. We also don’t need to worry about the inflator’s cord being unable to reach the rear tires, which could be an issue if you drive a larger and longer SUV. By proxy, the Cobra Power Station makes any corded 12V items, like a tire inflator, more flexible and portable.
When the unit is fully charged, the 12V port will run a small 60W refrigerator for about four hours, a 20W fan for about 12 hours, and a 50W CPAP machine for about five hours.
USB-A & USB-C Outlets
The “fast charging bank” includes two USB-A outlets and one USB-C outlet. These outlets are naturally suitable for smartphones and other electronics but also for smaller power tools, like a handheld cordless screwdriver or drill. We have also used the USB-A outlets to charge our small Jawbone Bluetooth speaker.
When the Cobra Power Station has a full internal battery, it can charge the average smartphone to 100 percent 24 times, a tablet eight times, and a pair of Bluetooth headphones nearly 50 times.
Display Screen & Flashlight
The LCD display screen is basic and straightforward, showing the output value of what you are charging, the type of outlet being used, and the battery life of the Power Station itself.
Two integrated LED flashlights make the Power Station useable at night. The flashlight on the left side of the unit acts as a traditional flashlight, complete with a strobe and SOS setting. The “area light” is just above the LCD screen and illuminates the immediate area around the unit. Working with the area light also lets you see the charge ports more easily when it’s dark.
Charging The Cobra Power Station
There are a few different ways to charge the Power Station using the “input” port on the front of the unit. The easiest (and quickest) is via an AC wall outlet at home with the included charging cable, although you can use the included 12V adaptor to charge the unit while you drive. If you have a generator or a compatible solar panel, you can use either to recharge the Cobra Power Station. The Power Station is fully charged when the input light turns solid green.
In our experience, the Cobra Power Station does well under heavy usage and can provide juice for any number of occasions. However, if you expect to use it for extended periods for any reason, where the internal battery may drop to 20 percent or below, allow time to recharge the unit. If the Cobra Power Station has a low internal battery, it could take up to 4.5 hours to recharge fully via an AC wall outlet. We recommend charging the unit overnight if possible so it’s ready for the next day.
Cobra Power Station In Action
We used our Cobra Power Station to run a laptop while driving from Detroit to Minneapolis on a business trip (roughly 700 miles over the course of about 12 hours). One of our staff members worked for nearly half the trip with the laptop plugged into the Power Station, which was charged to 100 percent before we left. After about six hours of accumulated usage throughout the day on the road, the Cobra Power Station still had an internal battery life of 63 percent, better than any of us expected. Once we arrived at our destination, we recharged it via an AC wall outlet, which took about three hours.
In our view, the Cobra Power Station is easily portable and maneuverable, but it does weigh about 8 lbs. and does have some heft to it. On our road trip, we moved it around the vehicle, from the backseat to the floor, and had no issues. If you are considering purchasing the Cobra Power Station, this shouldn’t be an issue, but just be sure to make room for it when packing for your next outing. It’s portable, which is one of its best features, but it’s not teeny tiny either.
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Charges and powers portable devices, electronics, and small appliances.
Provides supplemental power for your devices during an outage.
Great for camping and tailgating, on a job site, or around the farm.
Is The Cobra Power Station Worth The Money?
The Cobra Power Station is one of those things that you would rather have and not need than need and not have. Things like the Cobra Power Station have a way of coming in handy at a time you least expect. For example, we have since added our Cobra Power Station to our winter emergency kit, as snowstorms in Michigan can be intense. Aside from the safety benefits are the convenience aspects of the Cobra Power Station, as it can be used for almost anything and everything, both indoors and outdoors, and for business or pleasure.
The two potential drawbacks we see, depending on how you might use the unit, are its weight and recharging time for the internal battery. However, neither of those potential drawbacks has impacted our overall experience with the unit. At the time of this writing, the Power Station is available through Cobra’s official website for $280 and on Amazon for the same price.
Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and the host of AutoVision News Radio and AutoSens Insights. As a respected automotive industry thought leader, Carl has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Wrench Nation, Cars Yeah, The Car Doctor, and Brains Byte Back, in addition to appearing as a regular contributor on MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM.His work can also be seen and heard 24/7 on the Automoblog YouTube channel.