Why Solar Generators?
Best Solar Generators, When you are hit by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, or wildfire, you need to make sure that you have food and water supplies, an alternate source of electricity, and other necessary things. While you can purchase food supplies before the bad times begin, you may not be able to purchase gas or propane for generators due to shortage or infrastructural problems. In such situations, a solar generator comes in handy to keep your home up and running. A solar generator will enable you to run necessary appliances that fall under its power output. For example, suppose you own a 1000-watt solar generator/power bank. It will allow you to run a TV, small fridge, fan, lights, medical appliances like a CPAP machine, and any other appliances with a wattage of fewer than 1000 watts.
Similarly, a smaller generator will supply less power and run small machines for less time. Please keep in mind that solar generators are not meant to be used as whole-house generators or run heavy machines like a furnace, water pump, AC, and microwave oven. They are best suited to keep you connected with the outside world, run TV, charge your phone and laptop and keep your food fresh in a small fridge. A solar generator is also an excellent alternative power source for outdoor power needs. It is lightweight, can be charged with solar panels, cars, and wall outlets. Some solar generators can be charged with a classical gasoline/propane generator.
Benefits of Buying a Solar Powered Generator
- No hassle of buying and maintaining a fuel stock
- Clean, stable, and safe electricity
- Silent operation
Problems Associated with Buying Solar Generators
When you are on a hunt for buying the best solar generator for emergency times or outdoor purposes, you need to take care of the following things.
- The generator can provide power according to your needs.
- It has power outlets as per your preferences.
- It is durable, reliable, and portable.
- It has at least 3 recharging options.
- The generator must be safe to operate and has maximum safety features.
Best Solar Generators
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
Nature's Generator Gold System 1800W
ROCKPALS 250W Portable Power Station
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
We have researched tens of solar generators available in the market and included the best ones. We have created this list after testing various models, interviewing the users, reading reviews, and checking the market trends. Along with the best solar powered generators/power banks, this guide includes a buying guide and FAQ section about solar-powered generators. The aim of this guide is to help you buy a solar generator that will last for years with you so that you don’t have to buy a new one after 2-3 months.
Let’s look at the best solar generators!
1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Power Output: It offers an impressive power output of 1000 watts. If you are looking for a solar generator of small size with maximum power output, then it is the best one for you. You can easily run a phone and laptop charger, LED lights, CPAP machine, a small cooler, TV, blender, ice shaver, electric grill, and an electric pressure cooker. The only thing you need to take care of is that all the above appliances and any other appliances must not have a maximum wattage of more than 1000 watts. The power is enough to run small appliances for 2-3 people during camping and boondocking trips.
Recharging: Jackery offers 4-mode recharging. You can recharge this generator with a 200W solar panel in just 8 hours, AC, and generator outlet (7 hours), and it takes 14 hours to be fully charged from a 12V car charging port. The generator comes with a charging cable; the solar panel is not included. The power bank uses a 1002Wh (46.4Ah) lithium battery and features a built-in MPPT controller. An MPPT controller helps convert large voltage from solar panels to small voltages, which are needed for recharging the battery.
Outlets: Since this generator offers more power, you get 3 sine wave AC outlets, 2 USB, and one quick charge 3.0 USB outlet. AC outlets are needed for connecting TV, chargers, and other appliances with a power of fewer than 1000 watts.
Display: The generator offers a well-illuminated display screen. It tells you about the remaining battery life, recharging, and the voltage is taken from the generator. A display screen makes it easy to operate the machine.
Safety: The powerful solar generator comes with 2 safety features. It has a BMS system installed, ensuring that the appliances and the power bank stay safe from overloading, overheating, and voltage surges. The second security feature keeps your sensitive appliances safe by producing clean and stable electricity.
Portability: The generator weighs 22 pounds and measures 13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 inches. It has an awesome weight to power ratio, and you can easily carry it with you on outdoor tours.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
2. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack Solar Generator with 110V AC Outlet, 12V Car, USB Output Off-grid Power Supply for CPAP Backup Camping Emergency
Power Output: For all the people looking for a smaller solar powered portable generator, RockPals offer the best one. It provides a maximum wattage of 300 watts and a running wattage of 250 watts. You can run any appliance on it with a starting wattage of 300 watts and a running power of 250 watts. The ideal appliances to run on this generator are LED lights, laptops and phones, a TV, and a car cooler.
Recharging: The generator can be charged with a solar panel, a car charger, and a wall outlet. The time for solar charging depends upon the quantity of sunlight falling on the solar panel (not included). It takes 8 hours a wall outlet and 16 hours on a 12V car outlet. It uses a powerful 60Ah high-quality polymer battery. You get an AC adapter, a car charging cable, and a DC car adapter along with this generator.
Outlets: It offers 2 AC outputs, 2 USB outputs, and a DC inverter output for solar charging. It does not have a quick charging USB port.
Display: Instead of a display screen, the generator uses bar indicators to tell you about the remaining battery percentage and charging.
Safety: It has surged and short-circuit protection along with temperature control and overcharging. The generator will automatically turn off the charging once it is fully charged. It produces clean and stable electricity to keep your appliances safe.
Portability: The power bank is a very lightweight unit. It weighs only 5.95 pounds and measures 8.86 x 3.94 x 6.30 inches. It is a compact and sleek generator; you can easily keep it in your backpack during traveling.
Warranty: The generator offers a limited 18 months warranty for labor and parts.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
3. Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W Solar & Wind Powered Pure Sine Wave Off-Grid Generator + 100W Solar Panel, w/Infinite Expandability, Gasless for Refrigerators, RV, Tiny Homes or Emergency Backup
Solar Panel: The generator comes with a 100W solar panel to eliminate the dependency for recharging. You can carry the solar charger with you and charge anywhere. The solar panel is made from polycrystalline cells. The panel frame is built in a cart with wheels and is reinforced with a 3.2 mm anti-reflective glass to keep the solar panel safe. The panel can be tilted to get maximum sunlight exposure. You also get a 50 feet power cable for connecting the solar panel with the generator.
Power Output: The generator provides an impressive 1800 watts power output. The power output is highest in the list. You can run any appliance with a maximum wattage of 1800 watts. It is ideal for RV use, camping, and during emergency hours. It can run as a backup generator for a small house. However, you would have to do power management and add loads one by one. If you plan to run a microwave oven on this generator, you would have to take off all the other loads.
Recharging: The generator can be recharged with the solar panel, wind energy, and a wall outlet. Its recharging capabilities are amazing. You can also recharge this generator when it is windy. The wind input charger controller is built-in. It offers versatility and eliminates the condition of having a full sun out for recharging. The generator comes with a 60Ah SLA battery.
Outlets: You get three 120V household outputs, 2 USB outputs, one 12V DC port, and an expansion port for 200A fuse.
Display: The front panel has an LCD screen that tells you about the battery level, recharging, and remaining battery percentage and output usage. The screen keeps the user aware of the working condition of the generator.
Safety: To keep everything safe, the generator will make sure that it is not overcharged, no extra voltage is supplied to your appliances, and it won’t run on a low battery to increase the lifespan of the battery. It produces clean and stable electricity which is needed by sensitive appliances.
Portability: To make the generator and panel portable, they come with wheel kits. The generator has a carry handle, which makes moving it easy. It weighs 126 pounds. You will feel like dragging a heavy suitcase with you. It is a big unit. If you are planning to buy it for your RV, make sure you have enough space in it.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
4. ROCKPALS 250W Portable Power Station and ROCKPALS 60W Solar Panel, Great Solar Generator for Backup Power, Outdoor Adventure and Camping
Power Output: It is a smaller generator as compared to the one we discussed above. You get a power output of 250 watts. You can run small appliances like laptops, phones, TV, and a CPAP machine on this. It won’t support any appliances larger than a starting wattage of 250 watts.
Solar Panel: The generator comes with a 60W solar panel. It just looks like a small briefcase, and you can easily carry it with you on the go. The cable needed to connect the solar panel with the generator is included in the box. All you have to do is place the solar panel under sunlight and connect the generator for charging.
Recharging: When connected with a 60W solar panel, the generator takes around 6-7 hours for a full charge. The exact time depends on the intensity of the sunlight. It takes 8 hours for a full charge on the wall outlet and 10 hours on a 12V car outlet. It has 240WH (3.7V 64.8Ah/12V 20Ah) lithium polymer batteries to provide you with a long battery timing on the go.
Outlets: You get two AC outlets, 2 USB outputs, and a DC charging outlet.
Display: The generator keeps you aware of the remaining battery with the help of battery bars. They look like battery bars on your cell phone.
Safety: Along with producing clean and stable electricity, the generator keeps your devices safe by protecting from overcharging, overheating, and surge voltages.
Portability: It is a small unit. The solar panel is just the size of a notebook and won’t add much to the overall weight of the unit. The weight of the generator is just 5.95 pounds. The dimensions of the solar panel are 13.78 * 13.39 * 2.36 inches. You can keep both in your backpack without any hassles.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
5. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, 400Wh Battery Powered Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
Power Output: It is a medium-range solar generator. Its 600 watts maximum power output makes it perfect for running a host of small appliances for an individual or couple use. It has a running wattage of 300 watts. You can add appliances under 300 watts for running them continuously.
Recharging: You can charge this generator with a solar panel under 8 hours (depends on the intensity of sunlight), 5 hours with a wall outlet, and 13 hours from a 12V car outlet. The charging cables and adapters are included in the box. It does not come with a solar panel.
Outlets: The generator provides you with two AC outlets, two USB outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a charging input.
Display: The display screen on the control panel indicated the incoming and outgoing watts, along with battery percentage, temperature, overloading indicators. Its display screen is better than other generators.
Safety: It comes with safety features like overheating protection, surge voltage protection, overcharging, and overload protection. The generator produces clean and stable electricity to keep your appliances safe.
Portability: It is a bit heavier as compared to other solar generators in the same range. It weighs 29 pounds and measures 8 x 10.25 x 8 inches. It will add some weight to your backpack. The generator comes with a carry handle to facilitate lifting it.
Warranty: A 6-months warranty covers the battery. All other components and machines are covered by a 1-year warranty.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
6. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery Pack with 110V/500W AC Outlet (Solar Panel Optional) for Road Trip Camping, Outdoor Adventure
Power Output: The last generator on our list can produce a surge wattage of 1000 watts and a running wattage of 500 watts. It has enough juice to power your laptops, phones, mini cooler, TV, and blender. Its power output makes it a perfect companion for outdoor trips and power outages.
Recharging: You can recharge this generator with a solar panel (9.5 hours under the full sun), a car outlet (16 hours), a wall outlet (7.5 hours), and a portable generator (7.5 hours). The generator optimizes the power source with the help of an MPPT controller.
Outlets: The generator has a 110V 500W outlet, three 5V USB 2.0, and a 12V 10A DC outlet. The USB outlets allow you to connect your phones without a charging adapter.
Display: The display screen keeps you aware of the remaining battery life, outgoing and incoming wattages. It helps in keeping a check on the remaining battery and used battery.
Safety: It is loaded with a BMS system to keep the appliances and power back safe from voltage surges, overcharging, and overheating. It produces clean and stable electricity to run your sensitive appliances smoothly.
Portability: Its size and dimensions make the generator an excellent outdoor power alternate. It has a compact size with dimensions of 11.8*7.6*9.5 inches and 13.3 pounds weight; it easily fits in your backpack for traveling and cupboard for storing.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
When looking for a solar generator, you must make sure that everything you want is included in it. Our buying guide lists all the features of a solar-powered generator. Let’s find out more about these features.
The first thing to consider while buying a solar generator or any other generator is its power output and whether it can fulfill your power needs. Every individual/family has its own specific power needs. The best way to ensure that you are not buying a small generator is to calculate your power needs. For example, if you are buying a solar generator for outdoor trips, you need to calculate the wattage of the appliances; you will be running on the trip. The commonly used appliances are a phone/laptop charger, mini cooler, or a coffee maker. Calculate the wattage of these appliances and then buy an appropriate generator. Here is a trick you can use while choosing a generator for outdoor purposes. It is obvious that you won’t be using all of these appliances at one time. You will need a coffee maker once or twice a day and charge your phone once. You would like to keep the cooler running most of the time during the summer season. You can take off the cooler for an hour or two and run other appliances on the generator. Hence, you can look at the wattage of the largest machine and then buy a rightly-sized generator.
Similarly, you can calculate the wattage of appliances you need to run during an emergency and then buy a suitable generator. Please keep in mind that solar generators cannot act in the same way as a classical generator with big power outputs.
Look for a solar generator that has other charging modes as well. All the generators in our list feature at least 3 modes of charging. Jackery’s power banks have the ability to be charged directly from a conventional generator as well.
A solar generator must offer maximum control and features on the control panel. The output sockets must be easy to connect and operate. A fully operational control panel will give you a display screen, on/off button, and other features.
A good solar generator will give maximum safety control. All solar generators produce clean and stable electricity, which is needed to run the sensitive appliance without any jerks safely. It should offer protection from surge voltage, overloading, overheating, and overcharging.
The more options on the display screen, the easier it is to use the generator and know about its working condition. Some generators come with a full-fledged display, while others offer a simple battery bar display. It is important to note that the display has no link with the working performance of the generator.
A warranty gives you peace of mind and adds value to your purchase. Warranty covers also help you save money on repairs and maintenance.
Small generators are highly portable and can be adjusted in a backpack without any issues. Large generators with a solar panel are difficult to carry on your trips. However, they are the best backup alternate for running small and medium home appliances during power outages.
Solar generators that come with solar panels are costly compared to power banks/generators without solar panels. Always buy the generator according to your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions