Nitecore NES500 Powerbank | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Nitecore NES500 Powerbank | Review

The NES500 provides portable energy in a compact package for power-hungry outdoor enthusiasts

Why We Chose The Nitecore NES500 Powerbank: Energy-rich, portable, durable

Carrying enough power to keep your devices well fed throughout long stints living off grid is fast becoming an easily achievable task. While you’d previously have to consider carrying a battery the size of a kitchen sink to keep you covered, we’re now seeing battery power packed into an impressively small form factor; case in point the Nitecore NES500.

We’ve featured Nitecore a few times on the website, but normally stuck to their head torches. The company, as the name suggests, usually focuses on LED flashlights and head torches, but their offering of portable power solutions is equally impressive. The NES500 has been designed to provide you with enough power to comfortably keep various devices charged up over a number of days.


Speaking of power, the NES500 is packing 518Wh of Lithium Ion cells, equalling to around 144,000 mAh of battery capacity. To the layman, that’s enough to power 12 drone batteries, an iPhone 34 times, or a Macbook Pro 5 times. This, to us, equals more than enough power to keep all your essential electrical devices topped up while you’re on the road or at basecamp.

Photos: Mike Drummond

Power is delivered through multiple outputs, giving you the option to charge a few devices at the same time. Outputs include three standard USB ports rated at 2.4A, a single USB port rated at 3A, a cigarette lighter port that’s rated at 10A and finally a 220V port that’s been designed to take a range of plug types including U.K., U.S. and Europe.

220 volt power has been achieved through a nifty inbuilt inverter that switches the current from DC to AC. This output is, Nitecore claims, safe to various household appliances thanks to the smooth and continuous waveform the inverter kicks out, rather than a potentially harmful ‘choppy’ waveform some cheaper inverters produce.

In terms of carrying this thing around, you’ve got a handy carry handle mounted on top of the battery that’s been ergonomically moulded, along with the soft rubber material to provide a pretty comfortable carry, especially considering the weight of the dense package. The whole product weighs in at 5.65kg, so, while you’re not going to carry it long distances, this weight would be suitable for short trips to your camping spot or maybe just as a power station in your car or campervan.

The front of this cube carries all of the charging and input ports, which are all centred around an LCD display. This screen has been handily backlit to provide easy operation in dimly lit tents, or simply at night. The screen is pretty simple to read, with a large power percentage level with runtime remaining sitting on the right, while the input and output wattage sits on the left, giving you a clear and easily viewed way of checking how much juice the device has remaining.

Power into the device can be achieved in a number of ways. The first, and most appealing, of these methods is through solar power. A solar panel can be purchased separately to provide a five and a half hour charging time, assuming you’re able to max out the 100W panels. The next method is through the included car charger, which takes ten and a half hours of charging to fully charge the pack. The same goes for the included AC adaptor, which matches the ten and a half hours of charge time as the car charger.

Any danger from overcharging the powerstation has been mitigated through various safeguards built into the powerstation. These include overcurrent protection, short-circuit protection and thermal protection. The battery cells have also been protected from physical damage, with a UN38.3 test certificate. This certification is thanks to four pieces of anti-shock rubber that covers the bottom of the powerbank from any nasty falls and vibrations.

This all equals an energy-rich power station that’s packed into an impressively small, and portable, little box. Nitecore have taken their portable power knowledge and applied it to this larger power bank to provide a safe and efficient power station that can be joined onto a solar panel to provide endless power for extended stays on the road, or on the trails. If you’re someone who likes to document your outdoor pursuits with various electrical devices, then a power station of this size is an essential bit of kit.

Tester’s Verdict

Sarah Leighton, outdoor Youtuber (@fitforadventure)

“The battery pack has been awesome for power in my van – it allows me to work with my laptop on the road. It’s got a good capacity for the size and weight of it, being a bit more compact than other batteries of this capacity that I’ve seen.

“The casing also seems really robust, and although I’ve not dropped it (yet), I think it would hold up well. It’s pretty quick to recharge, and lasts well. I’ll be interested to see what its longevity is like.”

Nitecore NES500

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2022/23
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