Whether it's due to severe winter storms or extreme heat, no matter where you live, you'll probably experience a power outage at some point in your life. So, don't procrastinate. There's no time like the present to stock up on supplies that'll help you weather any storm.
Helping us round up our list of must-have items, we reached out to two people well versed in dealing with power outages. Karen Birnbaum, based in New Jersey (and co-founder of Flip Rings), has lived through three storms within 14 months where during each storm she lost power for over one week. (Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused her to lose power for two weeks.) On a regular yearly basis, she's still left without power for at least one or two nights. So, suffice to say, she has her preparedness down pat. Lauren Blassberg (Sr. Manager of Business Operations & Strategy here at Hunker) lives in Texas where they recently were hit with rolling blackouts due to subfreezing cold weather. Here, they share their "been there, done that" ideas for what's helped them prepare for — and live through — a power outage.
1. Portable Generator
Topping the "highly recommend" list for Birnbaum and Blassberg, a generator provides supplemental backup electricity. You'll want to keep it outdoors while in operation, so be sure to have a long extension cord on hand as well. You'll also need gas or propane to run it, so stock up on that as well.
We recommend: Champion Power Equipment Portable Generator, $520.25
Always have a robust stash of batteries on hand, including AAA, AA, D, 9 volt, and beyond. According to Birnbaum, right before Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast in 2012, you couldn't find batteries anywhere. Don't get caught without. (Remember what happened to toilet paper in 2020? Who could forget. Actually, while you're at it, get some toilet paper.)
We recommend: The Battery Organizer, $15.78 (Batteries not included)
3. Battery-Operated Candles
Why battery-operated candles? Birnbaum recommends using these throughout your home because then don't have to worry about any fire hazards. Safety first.
We recommend: Enido Flameless LED Candles, $24.99
4. Portable Charger
Whatever you do, don't let your cell phone die. Having a portable charger at the ready is a must. Everyone agrees on this one.
We recommend: Anker PowerCore Portable Charger, $59.99
5. Extra Power Strips
Birnbaum suggest keeping extra power strips on hand. Why? Before she had a generator, she would go to a store that had power (like a Starbucks) to work. Since you often could only find one outlet, she and her husband would bring a power strip. This way, they had many outlets available for their computers and phones.
We recommend: Witeem Power Strip, $26.99
6. Flashlights and Battery-Operated Lanterns
Have several flashlights placed throughout your home (in your bedroom, your kitchen) — and if you have the space to store them, stock up on some lanterns as well.
7. Bottled or Canned Water
Have a good supply of bottled water on hand at all times. Both Birnbaum and Blassberg agree that this is a must.
We recommend: Blue Can 50 Year Shelf Life Water, $49.99
Blassberg suggests keeping a surplus of extra towels available. During storms, you can stuff them around the bottom of your doors to keep the cold and drafts out.
We recommend: Ariv Cotton Bath Towels, $27.99
9. Compostable Plates and Utensils
When your power goes out, you won't be able to use your dishwasher (if you happen to have one), but not only that, your water might freeze. Birnbaum recommends stocking up on a stash of disposable plates and utensils.
You're going to want lots and lots of blankets, says Blassberg. When it's freezing outside and your power goes out, wrapping up is a necessity.
We recommend: Utopia Fleece Blanket, $19.99
11. Tea Light Candles
This clever hack shared by Blassberg is just brilliant. (Full credit goes to her best friend who recently lost power.) If you have an all-electric stove, simply group six to nine tealight candles together on the stovetop, place a rack over them, and sit your pan or pot on top. Just be sure that the candles are spread far enough apart so it doesn't cause one big flame. (Check it out in action here.)
We recommend: MontoPack TeaLight Candles, $12.49
Keep a few lighters available for lighting those tea light candles, or if you're lucky, to light a fire in your fireplace.
We recommend: Scripto Multi-Purpose Lighter, $16.97