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Powerness Hiker U500 Power Station and SolarX S120 Panel Review

Dustin Abbott

March 23rd, 2023

I started reviewing portable power stations a few years ago because of the many crossover applications for photography like powering lights on location, charging cameras and other equipment, and even providing power for camping treks off-grid.  I’ve now reviewed product from 5 different companies and have gained a growing understanding of what’s important in these units.  I’ve also evaluated solar panels from 4 different companies, and again have learned what to look for.  The most recent company whose products I’ve spent time with is Powerness.  It was actually the clever design of their solar panel (the SolarX S120) that intrigued me enough to agree to the review, though there are a lot of things I like about the compact portable power station (the Hiker U500) as well.  

One of the standout things about the Powerness products is the excellent price point.  Current prices are discounted from when I started my review to truly affordable levels.  The 500W Hiker U500 can be had for $300 USD, while the impressive SolarX S120 120W solar panel can be had for $170 – a great value!

The best pricing comes from buying directly from the Powerness website, but Powerness products are also available at Amazon | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK  | Amazon Germany 

Some of the basic specs about the U500:

  • Weight is 5.2kg (11 1/2 pounds) = fairly portable
  • 525Wh battery with pure sine wave inverter (clean power)
  • 1000 charging life cycles (should be able to get years of use out of it)
  • Has a wide variety of output ports, including 2 AC ports (up to 500W output) | 2 DC ports (12V/10A rated), 1 PD standard USB-C port rated at 60W | 1 USB-A 3.0 (QC rated at 18W output) | 3 x USB-A ports rated at 5V 2.4A

You obviously can get those stats off a website, however, so you can get my personal thoughts by watching my video review or looking at my summary observations below that.



============================= Video Table of Contents: =============================

0:00​ – Intro

1:25 – Price and Value

2:25 – General specs

3:00 – Comparo to Jackery E300

4:05 – Real World Observations

5:30 – Charging Options

8:10 – S120 review

12:15 – Conclusions


General Observations about the U500:

  • I found the materials of the housing pleasing.  Some “soft-touch” plastics and some padded rubberized touchpoints like the underside of the carrying handle
  • The larger battery capacity of the U500 means that charging my cameras, phone, and tablet take less of the battery capacity than my smaller (but more expensive) Jackery Explorer 300.  Most camera charges take no more than 1% of battery capacity.
  • I don’t love the fact that there is a different standard (4mm) charging input compared to other brands (typically 6mm) and no Anderson input.  I couldn’t use my Jackery or Bluetti panels to charge the U500.
  • Doesn’t charge fast via AC – AC adapter only pushing max 72W so takes 6 hours to charge from 0-80%).  Can dual charge by using the  PD 60W USB-C port (it is both an input and an output) to cut that time down to 3 hours.  That’s a total of 132 watts combined.
  • Fastest single charging source is potentially the S120 solar panel – can theoretically reach 120W and charge from 0-80% in 4.5 hours. 
  • The S120 is a very efficient panel, and I’ve seen 110W output even during a Canadian winter (weak solar energy).  The caveat is that I had to measure that output by connecting the S120 to another brand of power station and the LCD screen (which is otherwise great) does not have a power readout for the input.  Having a readout on the power input allows you to optimize the position of the solar panel for getting optimal solar energy.
  • Wireless charging on top works better than some competitors.  It puts out 10W, but, more importantly, always worked.  My phone would immediately start charging and keep charging until filled.  Some inductive charging seems to work intermittently, but not this one. (10W) works better than competitors.
  • Peak power test – surprised it didn’t power my 900W tea kettle – peak power only available very briefly and didn’t stay on long enough for the energy draw to drop.  Will work better for something like a blender where the peak surge power is very brief while the motors spins up.   Still – moving the peak from 600 to 1000W seriously expands the range of potential targets.

General Observations about the S120:

  • Awesome packaging.  Much smaller for storage than my 100W panels from other companies.
  • Good sturdy handle and magnetic closure works well.  Like more expensive Jackery panels!
  • The first solar panel I’ve seen that incorporates its own LCD screen – great!  Allows you to track the output of power – measured in DC Volts and Amps, so you’ll have to calculate into AC style watts if desired.
  • This has more direct charging options than I’ve previously seen.  There’s an included USB-C cable, a USB-C port, and then the DC outputs come with a cord that has 4mm, 6mm, and 8mm/7909 leads.  Ironically the U500 is not flexible in working directly off other brand solar panels, but the S120 will power Jackery, EF ECOFLOW, BLUETTI, Goal Zero, and other brand power stations.
  • IP65 rating means that the panel can handle a little rain if the weather turns on you

Bottom line – I love the Powerness SolarX S120 panel.  I’d happily look at their S200 panel as well.


There’s a lot of value in these Powerness products which offer similar specs and performance to other brands but at a lower price point.  You could get both the power station and the solar panel combo for the price of just the power station from competing brands, and I try to never use the AC charger on my power stations because it feels like the real savings is by recharging them via solar.  It gives me a nice feeling to think that my cameras and devices are running off pure solar power.  It is also fantastic to continue to have power when it wouldn’t otherwise be available, like when camping (many use units like this to run their CPAPs so they can actually get some sleep!), during a power outage (I’ve powered my wireless router to continue to have communications along with running lights and charging my phone), or on site for a photo shoot to run constant lighting.  They are just so useful, and the affordable price point makes these Powerness products very tempting.


Keywords: Powerness, SolarX, Hiker, U500, S120, SolarX 120, 120W, 500W, Powerness Review, Jackery Explorer, Demonstration, Test, Photography, Solar Power, Portable, Camping, Hiking, Video Lights, Back up Power, Dustin Abbott, letthelightin, DA

DISCLAIMER: This article and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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