Rolling blackouts are here to stay and if forecasts about Eskom are anything to go by, next year’s outlook is bleak.

If you’re considering a backup power supply for the near future, Power4Less has a product that requires no installation.

The Joburg company recently introduced its first consumer offering, the Mobi-Volt. The portable battery is heavy but can be wheeled around, like hand luggage.

It is aimed at consumers living in residential estates that don’t allow generators because of the noise. While the Mobi-Volt is not as loud and obvious as a generator, there is some noise in the room where it stands. The company tells the FM quieter models are coming.

It can be used for your electronics, as well as appliances such as washing machines, airfryers, hairdryers or medical equipment needed during a power cut.

It offers three ways to recharge: a standard plug point, a car charger or a solar charging panel that is supplied. It has an LED battery indicator, two USB ports, one three-pin plug and a DB board connection. You can choose between an AC or DC output. It supports multiplugs.

The Mobi-Volt comes in various capacities. The wattage on essential appliances will help you decide which output best suits your household.

According to Power4Less, the midlevel 1.5kW unit size gives you 3kWh a day and can simultaneously power four laptops, a router, four phones, two TV sets, one DStv decoder, one microwave or airfyer and one inkjet printer for four hours. This unit retails for R15,950. An entry-level Mobi-Volt costs R9,950.

We were provided with the 13kg 1.2kW unit that costs R12,950. I used it for phones, laptops, the TV, PlayStation, microwave, a portable laser machine — anything at the recommended 1,000W or less.

I felt like I was cutting it fine with my 850W microwave because the lights flickered during testing. But a microwave is not a priority for me during a 2½-hour power cut. This model was ideal for a household of two for weeks on end, with over 50% of power remaining.

The Mobi-Volt may not be cheap but it requires a significantly lower upfront investment for a long-term solution. It can be loud and could do with additional ports, but productivity outweighs the niggles.

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4½/5
Value for money 4/5

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