“Solar Generators: Efficient and Affordable Power Back-Up Solution”
As the name implies, Solar Generators use sun light to charge up the battery so you don’t have to spend money on electricity from utility.
They can produce anywhere between 900 watts to 5,000 watts of electricity per hour – which is sufficient to power up refrigerators, lights and several other appliances in your home.
But to find the right model for your needs may not be such as an easy task. To help out find the best solar generator, we have provided key factors below…
1. Battery Capacity
It represents how much electricity the battery can hold. If you want to provide backup for more appliances, then go for higher capacity. For example, a 518 watt hour solar generator will last much longer than a 240 watt hour generator.
2. Battery Type
Common batteries used in solar generators are lead acid and lithium-ion.
- Lead acid batteries are cost-effective and suitable for home use but have a limited span.
- Lithium-ion batteries are light in weight, smaller in size and have long lifespan. However, they are expensive.
You have to choose based on your requirements.
3. Power Backup
The power backup provided by solar generator in continuous watts and surge watts.
- Continuous watts represent the amount of power a generator can produce consistently. It has to be more than power consumed by the appliance.
- Surge watt rating represents generator’s capacity of handling initial high burst of power for starting electric motors. Generally, surge watt rating should be 2X more than continuous watts rating.
Using this information and other factors mentioned in the “Buying Guide”, our experts have tested and analyzed several models. And came up with the Best Solar Generators list. A detail review of each solar generator is also mentioned below for your convenience.
Top Solar Generators
|Solar Generators||Battery Capacity||Weight||Warranty||Buy Now|
|Jackery Solar Generator||1002 -watt hour||22 pounds||2 years||Check On Amazon|
|Rockpals Solar Generator||240-watt hour||5.5 pounds||1 ½ year||Check On Amazon|
|Aimtom Solar Generator||155-watt hour||3.48 pounds||1 year||Check On Amazon|
|EGO Power+ Solar Generator||3000-watt hour||34.5 pounds||---||Check On Amazon|
|Bluetti Solar Generator||2000 -watt hour||60.6 pounds||2 years||Check On Amazon|
|DBPower Solar Generator||250 -watt hour||4.4 lbs||3 years||Check On Amazon|
|Allwei Solar Generator||280 -watt hour||6.5 lbs||---||Check On Amazon|
|Generark Solar Generator||1000 -watt hour||23 lbs||5 years||Check On Amazon|
|Goal Zero Solar Generator||2000-watt hour||78 Pounds||---||Check On Amazon|
|NECESPOW Solar Generator||65-watt hour||5.5 pounds||1 year||Check On Amazon|
Best Solar Generator Reviews
The first solar generator in our list is from Jackery. Jackery has become a reliable brand in terms of portable power stations and solar generators.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 is one of the most powerful options on our list with 1002 Wh capacity. With this portable station, you can power up to 8 AC appliances simultaneously. The power of this solar generator makes this an automatic choice for powering mini-fridges, ovens, power blenders, and pellet smokers.
The solar generator has 2 USB C-type ports and 1 quick charge port to power your digital devices.
Jackery has used MPPT technology that allows you to recharge this solar generator quickly. The generator will reach its full capacity in 8 hours if you charge it using two SolarSaga 100W solar panels. If you use one solar panel, it will take 17 hours for a complete recharge.
You can also recharge the generator using AC outlets and 12v vehicle accessory ports. It will take 7 hours to reach full capacity if you recharge from an AC outlet and 14 hours from 12v vehicle accessory ports.
There has not been any warranty period specified on the products page. But the brand’s official website states that all its power products including solar generators come with a 24 months warranty.
- 1002Wh capacity
- 3 110V AC outlets
- 2 USB C-Type outlets
- 1 Quick charge port
- Multiple charging options
- 22 pounds in weight
- 2 years warranty
- Solar generator
- AC adapter
- Car charger cable
- SolarSaga parallel cable
- User guide
Rockpals is a well-known brand for its quality products. Fortunately, they also make solar-powered generators.
Rockpals portable generator features a 240-watt hour battery that has dual 120 volt AC outlets along with four 12 volt DC outlets and 2 USB outlets. If you have a 60 watt or 100-watt solar panel available, you can recharge it with the solar panel without any problem. Otherwise, you can use any AC wall port to charge the battery within 8 hours. In case of road trips, you can also use your car charger for charging the generator.
The generator only weighs 5.5 pounds that helps it fit into the category of outdoor generators. Along with a compact body design and durable build quality, you get a 1 ½ years of warranty period. Also, there is an inbuilt fan that prevents overheating of the battery.
- 240-watt hour battery
- Dual 120 volt AC outlet
- 4 12 volt DC outlet
- 2 USB outlet
- Multiple charging options
- 5 pounds in weight
- Overheat protection
- 1 ½ year warranty
- Solar generator
- 5 ft AC adapter
- 3 ft car charger
- DC socket adapter
- User manual
- Warranty card
This solar generator from Aimtom has a very affordable price tag. Still, the feature list is quite impressive.
With a 155-watt hour battery, Aimtom portable solar generator provides three different outlets. There is one 110 volt AC outlet, three USB outlets, and three 12 volt DC outlets. The weight of this generator is only 3.48 pounds that are considered pretty lightweight. Along with such a low weight factor, it has an ergonomic design that makes it easier to carry around.
The recharging options include solar panels, AC outlets, or a car charging port. While charging, there are a lot of safety features that will prevent overcharge, overheating, and other problems. The warranty on Aimtom portable solar generator is 1 year that is good enough for a portable device.
- 155-watt-hour battery
- 1 110 volt AC outlet
- 3 USB outlets
- 3 12 volt DC outlets
- 48 pounds in weight
- Ergonomic design
- Overheat protection
- Overcharge protection
- 1-year warranty
- Solar generator
- Cigarette lighter adapter
- AC wall charger
- Car charger
- User manual
- Warranty card
Next, we have a solar generator from EGO Power+. EGO Power+ is mainly a home appliances production company, but they also make solar generators.
The cutting-edge EGO Nexus Power Station is your ultimate power solution for indoor and outdoor use. With a peak power of 3000W and continuous power of 2000W, this portable generator provides quiet and clean energy to run your household appliances. Equipped with three 120V A/C outlets and four USB ports, it effortlessly powers multiple devices simultaneously. The bright LED display provides real-time information on the remaining runtime, while the sturdy steel handles guarantee easy transportation.
Built with weather-resistant construction, this power station is designed to withstand any outdoor adventure. Say goodbye to noisy and polluting gas generators and embrace the quiet, clean power of the EGO Nexus Power Station for all your household appliances. Never worry about power outages again!
- Powerful and efficient with 3000W peak power and 2000W continuous power.
- Versatile charging options with three 120V A/C outlets and four USB ports.
- Informative LED display shows real-time runtime information.
- Easy transportation with robust steel handles.
- Weather-resistant construction for durability and reliability.
- 3 120V A/C Outlets
- 4 USB Ports
- Steel Handles
- 4 Port Battery Charger
- User Guide
Bluetti has grown into an all-in-one power solution stop with over a decade of background experience. Some of its popular products include portable generators, solar panels, and power banks.
Bluetti’s portable power station delivers a massive 2000W to power up your household appliances. Besides, the power station can handle a power surge of 4,800W.
You can use this power station to charge high-power appliances such as a fridge, air conditioner, oven, and coffee maker.
Using a 700W solar input, you can charge this power station within 3 to 3.5 hours. It has an MPTT charging mode that allows you to charge it 40% times faster using solar panels.
You can also charge it using a 400W AC adapter in 5.5 hours or 24V/12V carports in 10 hours/20 hours. By combining the AC adapter and solar input, you can charge the power station in 2.5 hours.
The power station has numerous output options using which you can charge up to 17 appliances simultaneously. The outputs ports include 6 AC outlets, 1 RV port, 2 wireless pads, 1 USB C-Type, 4 USB A-Type, 1 12V/10A carport, and 2 12V/3A carports.
Some of the other highlights of this power station include a smart LCD screen to show real-time data, intelligent temperature-activated fans for quieter operation, and Bluetti Eco mode that prevents up to 50% of electricity loss.
The portable power station has a super long life and can last more than 3500 life cycles.
Bluetti backs this portable power station with a 24 months warranty.
- 2000Wh battery capacity
- 6 AC outlets
- 1 RV port
- 2 wireless pads
- 1 USB C-Type port
- 4 USB A-Type port
- 1 12V/10A carport
- 2 12V/3A carports
- Multiple charging options
- Weighs 60.6 pounds
- 2 years warranty
- Solar generator
- 400W AC wall charger
- Solar charging cable
- Car charging cable
- User manual
- Customer service card
DBPower has been manufacturing and selling power stations with the focus of providing electric power to customers at any time and anywhere.
The 250Wh portable power station features 6 outlets to charge appliances. These outlets include an AC output, 2 DC-in outputs, and three types of USB ports. It comes with LED lights that allow you to use them during power failures.
You get multiple options to recharge the battery. You can recharge it with a 110V wall socket, 12V/24V car accessory socket, and solar panel. The power station is lightweight and weighs only 4.4 lbs. So, you can easily carry it anywhere.
DBpower has equipped this portable power station with several security features such as spark protection, overload protection, reverse polarity protection, overcurrent protection, short circuit protection, and overcharge protection.
The portable power station is backed by a 3 years warranty from the date of purchase.
- 250Wh battery capacity
- 1 AC output
- 2 DC-in output
- 3 Types of USB ports
- Built-in LEDs
- Multiple charging options
- Weighs only 4.4 lbs.
- 3 years warranty
- Solar generator
- 15V/2A charger
- User guide
Founded in 2007, Allwei specializes in leveraging technology to develop portable power solutions that fulfill the diverse power consumption needs of customers.
Allwei uses a 280Wh lithium-ion battery that does produce any fumes or noise. The portable power station is capable of powering CPAP for more than 4 nights or a mini-refrigerator for more than 5 hours.
To connect the power station to other devices, there are 2 AC outputs, 3 DC Ports, 2 USB ports, 1 cigarette lighter port, and 1 type-c quick charge port. The power station weighs only 6.5 lbs and can be carried easily using the handle.
The portable power station has a built-in smart cooling fan that activates automatically and prevents overheating. It comes with a flashlight with an SOS design that you can use during a power outage.
There is no warranty period specified on the product page. But Allwei’s portable power stations generally come with 12 months to 18 months warranty.
- 280Wh battery capacity
- 2 110V/300W AC ports3 9V-12.6V/3A DC ports
- 2 5V/2.4A USB ports
- 1 12/8A cigarette lighter port
- 1 60W quick charge port
- Multiple charging options
- Overheat protection
- Flashlight SOS design
- Weighs only 6.5 lbs
- Solar generator
- power cable
- AC power adapter
- Car charging cable
- MC4 cable
- User manual
Generark is considered as one of the most reliable companies in the development of generators and power supply stations. The company’s vision is to provide reliability, protection, and connection to communities and neighbourhoods. Rest assured, the brand delivers just that.
Generark’s solar generator is a portable and versatile power supply unit designed with premium grade battery cells to ensure its reliable functioning. The solar generator undergoes a rigorous testing process with fifty-two safety and reliability tests to guarantee maximum customer satisfaction.
This power station can be used to charge various office and home appliances, medical devices, tools, etc. Each power station in the portal has 1002Wh and provides power supply for up to seven days for crucial appliances on a single charge.
It comes equipped with three AC outlets that support 1000W power and 2000W surge power at 110V. It has a wide compatibility range consisting of two USB C ports, one USB A Qualcomm quick charge 3.0 port, one USB A with 5V/2.4A port, and one car outlet with 12V/10A.
The solar generator offers a 32-cell solar panel with 50% higher efficiency and is powered by Sun Power Maxeon Generation III Solar Cells. It can be recharged by an AC outlet, solar power, or your car outlet.
Generark backs this portable solar generator with a 5-year warranty period from the original date of purchase.
- 1000Wh capacity
- Bulb Voltage of 110 volts
- Battery/solar powered
- Multiple charging outlets
- 2 USB C-Type outlets
- 1 USB-A Quick charge port
- 1 USB A with 5V/2.4A
- 1 car outlet with 12V/10A
- 23 pounds in weight
- 5 years warranty
- One backup battery power station
- One solar panel power generator
- 3 AC outlets and adapter
- 32 Cells Solar Array
- 6 built-in protection modules
- User guide
Next comes a reliable yet affordable product from the brand Goal Zero. They have a wide range of products ranging from budget-friendly to expensive.
the Yeti 3000X is a powerhouse of portable energy with a massive 3,032Wh capacity. Whether you’re at work, home, or on the road, this versatile power station has you covered. From power tools to refrigerators, electric bikes to wood-fired grills, it can handle it all. Keep your home backed up during outages with 43 hours of fridge power and 276 hours of lighting.
Harness the sun’s energy with Goal Zero’s MPPT technology, increasing solar input by up to 30%. Built to last, the Yeti 3000X features a rugged aluminum enclosure and high-quality lithium battery cells. Take control of your power usage with the Yeti App 3.0, offering remote monitoring, power control, and optimized charging profiles. Join us in making a difference, as every purchase supports our humanitarian initiatives.
- Massive 3,032Wh capacity
- Seven versatile ports to power a range of devices
- Backup home power for up to 43 hours of fridge running and 276 hours of light bulbs
- Solar charging with Goal Zero’s MPPT technology, boosting solar input by up to 30%
- Durable construction with a heavy-duty aluminum enclosure and high-quality lithium battery cells
- User-friendly Yeti App 3.0 for remote monitoring and power control
- Humanitarian initiatives with every purchase
- Yeti 3000X power station
- Home Integration Kit
- Nomad or Boulder series solar panels
- Yeti App 3.0
- Tier 1 Lithium battery cells
- Warranty Card
Last but not the least product on our list comes from a trust-worthy brand called NECESPOW. They provide a decent range of portable power stations.
Their solar generator uses Lifepo4 batteries which are considered to be 4 to 6 times much stronger compared to lithium-ion batteries. Apart from that, these batteries are the safest and most environmental-friendly options.
It comes with 1 AC, 2 DC outputs, 1 Type-C quick charge output and 2 regular USB ports which can provide enough power to different devices. They are the most perfect investment if you go for outdoor camps regularly.
- Adjustable LED brightness
- 2000 cycles of charging
- In-built mini cooling fan
- Lifepo4 battery
- Can charge wide range of devices
- Ultra-compact and light in weight
- Short-circuit protection
- 1 year warranty
- Temperature monitoring
- Solar generator
- Warranty card
- Instruction manual
How to Choose the Best Solar Generators?
Solar generators are the best alternative to power up several devices than regular generators. Because they won’t require any fuel to work and thereby won’t emit harmful toxic gases into the environment. You have to go through this buying guide, which has all the essential information to pick up the right one.
Now, let’s get into details of what factors to consider while selecting the solar generators.
In general, people use solar generators either for their outdoor power source or back up. For these two purposes, there are two types of solar generators available in the market – Solar Backup Generators and Portable Solar Generators. Although, both provide similar solar power but the difference will be their energy storage, wattage capacity, and cost. Have a look at them.
Portable Solar Generators
This is the best option for those who want a power source while on the go (travelling). They are compact in size, light in weight, affordable, and efficient, which makes them ideal for campsites, cabins, homes, boats, cars and recreation vehicles (RVs). They suit for powering up several devices like flashlights, smartphones, tablets and others. Also, you can easily carry this generator with you while fishing, camping, worksites and other outdoor adventures.
Here the RV connectivity will let you power up your small appliances (unable to power multiple devices at a time) while on the road. Also, one can use their car charging capabilities to charge their solar generators while driving, without stopping and setting up the solar panels for their recharging.
Solar Backup Generators
This is the best option for those who want to have power back up to their house or workspace. With its higher wattage capacity, this generator will power up computers, lights, TV, refrigerator and others (like everything in your home). It uses multiple large capacity batteries to store maximum power converted from sunlight.
Its recharging time may depend on the panel’s size and the amount of sunlight. One can use this type of generators either outdoors or indoors. But they are heavyweight, which makes it difficult to move around and also, they are quite expensive.
A solar generator uses the battery as its source to store the energy captured from the solar panel. Later, it uses the stored energy (battery capacity) to power your devices. The battery capacity is measured in terms of watt-hours (WH) and this will determine the runtime of a generator.
The more power an electronic device utilizes, the faster the charging of a generator battery will run out. For example, if you have a generator with 1000Wh capacity, which supplies 1000 watts of power for 1 hour.
So, one should select the battery capacity of a solar generator based on their electric appliances. For instance, a larger battery capacity is essential to power your electrical appliances like refrigerator, TV, dishwasher, etc. which require higher watts. Whereas, the small capacity battery is enough to power your low watts devices like cell phones, lights or laptops.
In some cases, we notice battery capacity in terms of mAh instead of Wh.
3. Battery Type
The type of battery used in a solar generator will play a vital role in its reliability. Although, they are different types of batteries used for solar generators, the most common types are – lead-acid and lithium-ion.
Lead Acid Batteries – This type of battery is affordable and used widely for home use. They have a limited lifespan. So, some brands use special gels to increase their safety and longevity yet the performance is still similar.
Lithium-Ion Batteries – This type of battery is mostly used in portable solar generators. They are lightweight, smaller in size and has a long lifespan than lead-acid batteries. Due to these factors, this lithium-ion battery is considered the most popular option, irrespective of its higher price range.
4. Battery Life Cycle
The Life cycle of a battery will be defined as the process of battery draining to a certain level and then backing up with its recharge on regular basis. In general, the lifespan of lead batteries will be around 750 – 1000 cycles, whereas for lithium-ion batteries, will be at least 2000 cycles.
Also, remember that the life cycle of a battery will depend on its quality and proper usage. A few manufacturers use low-density lithium battery cells for their generators at a higher price. So, one has to pay attention to the battery quality to grab a good life cycle range.
For most of us, a query arises that whether or not, is it possible to replace the battery once they reach the point? Yes of course. But replacing batteries of solar generator previously was not possible to do at home. They have to be sent to the manufacturer to replace the batteries and may take at least 2 – 6 weeks.
Although, using the battery for up to 2000 cycles will take a long time to replace the battery. For instance, considering one cycle per day will let you have at least 5.5 years to complete 2000 cycles. So, this makes it not to worry about its replacing soon.
5. Generator Continuous Watts & Surge Watts
In general, there are two critical watt ratings in solar generators – continuous watts and surge watts.
It is the amount of power produced consistently by a generator. To know the suitable continuous watts, one has to add a number of watts per hour your devices need to run and then multiply that by how many hours you are using them daily.
For example, if you have a generator that produces 1000 watts and want to use it for a refrigerator runs by consuming 500 watts daily. Then half of the watts will be utilized for powering up the refrigerator for a day. In case, if you’re using a coffee maker which consumes 1500 watts daily but you will be using it for only 10 minutes each morning. This means you will require 10 watts of backup.
The surge watt rating reflects how a generator will handle the high initial burst of power required to start electric motors. Though the surge lasts for less than a second, it affects a lot. Let’s take the same example of a refrigerator consuming 500 watts of continuous power, it will take 2000 watts of power to start. So, you will need a solar generator with a 2000-watt surge rating to restart the device in an outage.
Note – Generally, surge watt rating should be 2X more than continuous power rating for better results.
6. Types of Solar Panels
A solar generator uses solar panels to collect the energy from the sunlight. There are various types of solar panels found in the market yet the most commonly used panels are monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar cells, and amorphous crystal panels.
Let’s know about them in detail.
Monocrystalline Panels – The most commonly used solar panels for personal solar power systems. Since they are made up of single-crystal silicone wafers, they are a bit expensive than polycrystalline counterparts and other types.
Polycrystalline Solar Cells – This type of solar panels is made of melted silicone fragments. Since the electrons move less freely in fragments, these panels are a bit less efficient. In some cases, the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline is less relevant.
Amorphous Crystal Panels – These are the most efficient solar technology and found in smaller solar panels. They are made of a thin film of silicon and has most versions of solar panels. They are durable, slim, light, flexible and cheap. These solar cells have a shorter lifespan and less effective than monocrystalline panels. They take two times more footprint to generate the same power.
After knowing about the types of solar panels, you have to know how to measure the number of watts generated by solar panels. For this, here is a formula to calculate the watts produced by the panel.
Watt rating of panel X number of sun exposure hours = total number of watts produced in a day.
Note – Being sunlight is a natural resource and the generator depends on day-to-day sun exposure, weather changes and cloudy days, which let them convert only limited power.
7. Panel Capacity
The watt rating of a supported solar panel is defined for every solar generator and one has to choose a compatible option based on this watt rating. So, each solar panel has the capability of generating a certain amount of amps.
Use this formula to calculate the required solar panel capacity for running your appliance.
For instance, if you are using a 50-watt load operating for 10 hours, then as per the formula, 50X10 = 500-watt hours. In case if there is no grid or sun available for 5 hours, then 500/5 = 100-watt panel capacity is required.
8. Charge Controllers
These are used to protect the battery from getting overcharged. As the power generated from solar panels will get stored in the battery and if overcharged, then it may damage the battery.
So, it regulates the power flow and when the battery reaches maximum capacity, this simple charge controller will stop the connection between the battery and solar panels. They are reliable yet not efficient.
Most solar generators use maximum power point tracking (MPPT) or 3-stage charge controllers, as they handle current flow effectively and squeeze more power out of the system. Irrespective of the type of charge controller you’re using, 20% – 60% of power received from panels is lost.
For best results, go with the controller that is waterproof and has an LED display to provide information regarding the system efficiency. Knowing more about solar power, you will grab the most out of the solar generator.
9. Power Inverter Rating
The inverter will convert the direct current (DC) collected from solar panels into alternating current (AC), which is a similar type of power that is available from a wall outlet. Simply, it can easily convert 12V or 24V into 110V or 240volts.
This inverter rating will translate power to the maximum watts a solar generator can extract at a time. For instance, a 1500W inverter can easily draw up to that amount of wattage in AC power.
We notice most power generators come with an integrated charge controller, which is used for proper solar charging. While other models will make you purchase separately. But most experts say it’s always best to select a generator with a built-in inverter for its efficient and effective working.
Among various types of power inverters, pure sine wave inverters are efficient and expensive. They cause less wear on certain devices like CPAP machines, microwaves and TVs. Modified sine wave inverters are less expensive but suit perfectly for occasional use.
The weight of a solar generator can range from 20 – 200 pounds. Panels and battery are the primary sources that add weight to your solar generator.
It is hard to change the panel weight significantly, as we can’t opt for lightweight frames and other components that affect durability. While considering battery weight, lithium-ion batteries are light in weight than lead-acid, but a bit expensive.
The weight of a solar generator will be considered most whenever there is an issue of portability. The portability lies in the way the weight distributed among all components instead of the weight of its individual components.
Generally, parts layered in a sturdy, wheeled box is easy to manage rather than separate pieces. So, most people choose panels that can be folded to reduce bulk and make them easy to handle its weight.
11. Number of Plugs
A solar generator has various plugs, in which input and output plugs are quite common in any solar generator. Let’s discuss them below in detail.
- Inputs – A solar generator will charge up by inputting the power into the battery. So, they come with a port of battery charging and thereby charge the unit. A few models have DC charging port, but it has to be purchased as an additional feature.
- Outputs – When once the batteries are filled up, appliances have to be plugged into several outputs on the generator unit. Almost all the solar batteries have AC, DC & USB plugs for powering up your appliances, which you put in. Previously, solar generators have 2 – 4 output ports, which makes it difficult to plug many appliances (limitation).
- RV Connectivity – Some solar generators come with a 30-amp style RV plug. This is the easiest way to connect an electric vehicle and run it. A few tiny home and trailer owners use this 30-amp RV plug for easy connectivity. Large inverter size, battery size and fuse allow you to run units with large capacity. However, a few people may not require an RV plug.
- Household Outlet – This is the best outlet option to look for in a solar generator, for those who are a weekend warrior or car camper. One can charge a power station by using this outlet for shorter trips. And after returning home, they can recharge it again for further usage.
- 12V Outlet – There are only a few stations having a 12V DC car outlet. General, the car plug will offer an output of 5 – 10 amps, which take hours to charge the power station. This means, using a 12V outlet is quite helpful for people who drive frequently. Always remember that one should not use a 12V outlet for a longer time, especially while not running the car. Because it will drain the complete car battery and never keep the car idle for long hours, as it can be bad on the motor.
12. Expandability of Power
It is always better to expand the capability of the solar generator, especially while planning to use more power. So, we recommend you invest in a model that comes with expandable features.
The expandable models allow you to increase the battery capacity and solar panels to increase its output. However, this option is not found in most traditional generators. Most experts recommend expanding with lead-acid batteries are the best option. One should never use more than 50% of energy, as it damages the batteries.
The first and foremost expandable option is the solar panel capacity, as expandable solar panels will make the generator grab more energy from sunlight. The next option is the battery capacity, as expandable batteries will let you store a higher amount of power.
Practically, upgrading a solar generator is not a possible option always. As one has to expand the power based on the sustainability of the charge controller. This will send the power in one direction from the panels to the batteries and thereby protect the durability of the batteries.
So, here the charge controller will process the maximum number of watts and voltage that built to manage. Thus, you won’t be able to expand beyond its charging ability. You can’t achieve power expandability unless and until if your battery capacity won’t support any additional solar panels.
13. Charging Time
How long the solar generator can take to charge before you use it. It depends on the size of the battery and solar panel. A few models can be charged by using an AC outlet to use it either indoors or on a cloudy day.
14. All-in-One Models
Solar generators can have either integrated solar panel into an all-in-one model (or) solar panels that plugin individually. Most people prefer to choose all-in-one models, which are less hassle yet a bit more expensive.
15. Display Screens
The LED screen display is found in most solar generators to notify everything that occurs within the system. With this display, one can know how much electricity is getting, storing, and remaining in a solar generator, along with how much electricity is left within the battery.
16. Charging Modes
Other than solar panels, there are quite various options used to charge a high-quality solar-powered generator. Also, the charging times of a generator will vary according to weather conditions and sun exposure.
To quickly charge the generator system, you have to charge the power station directly from an AC source through power outlets. You can also use a 12V car battery, which is suitable for RV and camping trips. Also, it must keep the alternator active while charging the power station, or else, it may end up with a dead car battery.
17. Portability and Size
The portability and size of the solar generator will make a huge difference while selecting the generator. It occurs especially, while you want to head into the great outdoors for camping trips, hiking trip, or just putting the generator in the RV. The type of models you choose will depend on your requirements.
Choosing heavier weight models are suitable for home backup units, boats, RVing, and hunting lodges depending on how big enough it is and easy to maneuver (if they have wheels & handles). While lightweight options work best for settings like camping (small, easy to pack & weighs not more than 15 pounds), backpacking and hiking (small & weighs not more than 5 pounds).
18. Charging Appliances
Solar generators are not suitable for every application. So, you have to keep in mind that what do you want to charge/backup with the generator? This will help you to decide which type of solar generator to choose, as per your needs, and also which one to avoid – under or oversizing.
For this, one has to evaluate certain questions like which appliances you’re connecting to a power station, how many devices connected at a time, how much time you run the appliances or how many times you get them charged before shopping for a solar generator.
19. Convenient Features
One has to consider the difficulty in operating a solar generator before its purchase. Looking for a model having an easy operation, then just check out the below-mentioned convenience features.
- Integrated USB ports and 12V output
- Replaceable Batteries
- Panels with frames and handles for easy repositioning.
- System expandability
- Multiple AC outlets
- Adapters that connect multiple panels and batteries
- Energy efficiency accessories help in maximizing power savings.
- Backlit panels to see the display in the dark.
The price of a solar generator will depend mostly on its type, features and capacity. Usually, solar generators are available within the range from $100 – $2000.
- Low range solar generators (up to 200Wh) will come around $100 – $200, in which they won’t come with solar panels. They have to be purchased separately.
- Medium range solar generators (up to 600Wh) will cost around $200 – $500.
- High-quality/premium models (above 600Wh) will come around $500 – $2000.
21. Quality & Warranty
For solar generators, the sun is the only source of generating power and may have to undergo harsh weather. So, one has to check the quality of a generator, whether it can sustain and gets charged in any weather condition or not before its purchase.
In case, if you’re purchasing online, make sure to know its quality by checking the reviews and ratings of previous customers. The reason is that we won’t test the generator physically while buying online.
Also, check the warranty provided for the product, irrespective of whether you purchase an outdoor or indoor model. Choose the one that has a long warranty period.
How Does a Solar Generator Work?
Every solar generator has 4 basic components.
- Solar Panels– They convert sunlight into electricity
- Battery– The converter solar energy will be stored here
- Charge Controller– It controls the current flow to the battery
- Inverter– It converts the solar energy stored in the batteries into the current required to power up household appliances.
Now that you know the basic mechanism of each component of a solar generator, we will discuss it a bit further.
Batteries are the storage area for the solar energy converted by the panels. Some solar generators use lithium batteries while others use lead-acid batteries. We recommend a model with lead-acid batteries as they are more compatible and durable.
A charge controller is actually a safeguard that controls the current flow and also improves the life of the battery. Different charge controllers have different features that charge or discharges the battery.
The inverter is responsible for switching the DC or Direct Current present in the battery to AC or Alternating Current – to charge the AC units in the house.
Finally, to say in simple terms – a solar generator converts energy from the sun through solar panels and stores it in the battery. This will convert from DC energy into AC energy by the inverter when you have to charge household appliances.
Different Types of Solar Generators
Based on their size, solar generators are divided into three options – small, medium and large. We have provided detailed information on each type below. It will let you determine which size of solar generator suits you better.
- Small Solar Generators: Their capacity is 10 to 250 watts, making them suitable for providing power to small devices like tablets, smartphones, lights, fans and small TVs. They are light in weight and small in size so you can carry them virtually anywhere possible.
- Medium Solar Generators: Their capacity ranges from 250 to 1000 watts which makes them an ideal choice for providing continuous electricity for a certain period of time. They are also suitable for powering appliances that require high wattage. Though they are not as lightweight as small models, they can still quite portable. You can transport them using just one arm.
- Large Solar Generators: Their capacity ranges from 1000 to 10000 watts. If you want a powerful solar generator that can power up a large home, then this is the right option. They can run large appliances for a longer period of time. From residential, commercial to industrial, large solar generators can suit several applications.
Benefits of Investing in Solar Powered Generator
When compared to generators that use convention power, owning a solar generator has many perks. We have mentioned some of the below…
- Environmental Friendly: Generators generally use fossil fuel to power up which can contribute to increased carbon dioxide and air pollution. However, a solar-powered generator uses sunlight to make energy. So, it will generate less greenhouse gas and also decrease the impact on global warming. Apart from that, traditional generators produce a lot of noise while running. But solar generators work with clean energy so, they don’t produce any noise or harmful exhaust fumes. This makes them the silent option for people who don’t like the noise of traditional generators.
- Long Term Benefits: The solar generators harvest the sun’s energy for free to produce electricity. As the sun is the source, you don’t have to spend money on purchasing costly fossil fuel. Based on the lifespan of solar panels, you can enjoy the free benefits of solar energy for more than 25 years.
- Low Maintenance Costs: Solar generators don’t have any moving parts. And as we already mentioned, they don’t require any liquid fuel as well. So, which basically means that you don’t have to shell a lot of money on maintenance or repairs.
- Best for Indoor Use: Solar generators are perfect and safe to use indoors. They are similar to the batteries that are usually present in the home. As they don’t produce any harmful fumes, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Lightweight and Compact: In a traditional generator that uses fossil fuel, the main components are an engine, battery, and fuel tank. However, a solar generator only has a battery which reduces the generator weight significantly.
- Ease of Use: Once the solar generator is fixed up properly, it will run 24 hours without any attention or maintenance. Sun will recharge the battery in the daylight and the battery will provide electricity to the appliances as required. If there is sufficient sunlight during day time, then you don’t have to worry about the backup.
How to use a Portable Solar Generator Safely?
Even though a solar-powered generator is safer than a gas-powered generator, there are still some safety precautions you have to take. Have a look at them, which are clearly mentioned below.
- Before installing the solar panels and generator, one has to thoroughly read the operating manual. The manual has all the essential information that specify the aspects of equipment and how to install and operate them safely.
- Check power cords for breaks or frays. You are running electricity, which makes you need to be careful. As any broken line or frayed end will cause a burn or even cause a fire.
- Never climb on the solar panels, even though to get off leaves and debris. The reason is that it would damage the panels seriously if climbed on them. For clearing this debris or leaves on the panel, you have to use a secure A-frame ladder and a solar panel safe cleaning tool.
- Whenever the sun shines, the solar panels will collect power and generate electricity. Remember that utility disconnect switch opening won’t stop the process and thereby it’s a must to treat equipment’s live wires and sockets.
- While planning to install a transfer switch, you have to consult a licensed electrician to do this task. The reason is that it needs to have an inspection and electrical permit in most areas.
- Avoid using extension cords with this generator. You can plug the appliances directly into the outlets on the generator.
Frequently Asked Questions
A solar generator is not enough to power up every item in a house at a time. It all depends on the size of the generator. A large-sized generator can charge efficiently and power up a variety of large & small appliances, medical machines, and electronic devices.
Solar generators offer a range of ports for plugging in various appliances. You may require a separate adapter to charge the generator, either from a 12V socket (or) AC power outlet. But make sure to check that if a particular generator comes with relevant adapter cables.
Not all portable power station, which is labelled as solar-powered won’t include a solar panel. So, one has to check the models whether a solar panel is included or not while buying it. In case, if not checked, then consider whether this portable power station works well with proprietary solar panels only (or) can be connected to solar panels of other brands.
If you are confused whether to purchase a solar generator or a fuel generator, then below information can help you decide.
The working mechanism of solar generator is already mentioned in this article. Besides depending on the sun light limitations in certain seasons, there are several benefits of investing in a solar generator.
As there are not moving parts and use only sunlight for generating electricity, solar generators are an excellent option. Apart from that, they are quite and simple to maintain. Solar generators last much longer than their counter parts in the market.
Another great advantage of investing in a solar generator is that – once they are completely charged, they will provide electricity any time of the day or night without any assistance from you. In the day light hours, sunlight energy is stored in the battery. And at night, the stored energy will provide electricity to the appliances in the house.
Now, let’s discuss about the fuel generator. As the name implies, it runs on fuel source. It will convert the gasoline into mechanical power and again to electrical energy. This whole process is handled by engine and alternator.
The engine is responsible for gas combustion and propelling the rotor of alternator. These alternators come have copper wire that connects the magnets of the generator. This action will transmit an electrical charge.
Fuel generators have few complex and moving parts. Though they are compact in size, they can generate large quantities of electric charge for powering up large scale devices and appliances. They are easy to operate. All you have to do is just fill up the generator and switch it on.
Actually, you can power up most of the appliances using solar generators. Flashlights are the most common things used while camping. They can be charged using either AC adapter or 12V DC plug-in. Most of the solar generators will come with flashlight and friendly handle that lets you carry it wherever you want in the woods.
Another important item you will carry while camping is small electric stove. These electric stoves are usually connected to AC output which can be easily powered with solar generators.
Unlike gas-powered or fuel generators, solar models don’t create any noise. And moreover they are not dangerous if you have kids or pets moving around. LED lights that are usually hung over the tents are important for proper lighting conditions during night. They can be powered easily through DC output of the solar generator.
While camping, it is common to carry some drinks or vegetables. To store them properly, you will need a mini cooler. It can be connected to 12V DC output of the solar generator.
Sometimes, camping can become irritating and less attractive because of hot day. In that case, a mini fan can be very helpful. The AC power output that is near to 40W can be used for powering it up.
Lastly, it good to have freshly brewed coffee after waking up, even you are in a camping area. Using a traditional wood fire based coffee maker can be tiresome sometimes. Using a small electric coffee maker is helpful and it can be easily powered using solar generators with nearly 500W capacity.
So, using a solar generator you can power up flashlights, LEDs, mini cooler, mini-fan, electric stove and coffee machine.
Yes, of course. For example, you can use a solar generator for powering up a small refrigerator – which is one of the important appliances in a RV. Based on the generator size, the time duration of powering the fridge will vary. If you want to power a small fridge for 7 hours, then you will need a portable generator with 400 watt hours capacity.
Apart from refrigerator, a solar generator can also power up a small TV 3 hours or more. however, remember that, smaller models may not have enough continuous power for turning on an LCD TV. It is best to go for at least 400 watt hours models. Also, old style box shaped TVs need more power that even a 400 watt hour solar generator cannot provide. It is better to go for an LCD TV model for the same.
Some other appliances you can power up using a solar generator in RV are…
*Small coffee maker machines
All these appliances can be powered using a 400wh solar generator. However, if you want them to be connected at the same time, then we recommend to choose a bigger sized model. You should never power up microwave oven, electric blanket, iron and air conditioner using solar generator as they require more power.
Paxcess 100-watt station is an excellent option for people who want a backup solar generator for emergencies. This product is specially designed for providing emergency power supply. It is light in weight and compact. They are completely reliable in power outrage situations. If your relatives, friends or neighbors are connected to CPAP machine, then you can provide with your power source.
Another great option is Chafon backup generator. It is capable of providing adequate power and also a UPS unit when blackout happens.
This is a crucial aspect for everyone looking to purchase a solar generator. Prices of them are usually based on the power capacity and brands.
Portable solar generator models that have 150Wh capacity and with less features are priced lower. The price range is located between $120 to $200. Solar generators that have more capacity like 400Wh are priced between $600 to $1500 based on the size.
Before looking into which solar generator you want to purchase, we recommend to consider how many and which appliances need power backup.
Now, you should add the power rating of all the appliances like smart phones, mini coolers, fans, tablets, computer, laptop, electric stove, small fridge, drones and others you want to provide power.
You should remember that, you cannot power all these devices at a time for longer duration. So, you have to carefully select the appliances that are very important for you.
Usually, when you are on travel trips, you may require power for charging laptops, smart phones, speakers and others. As these appliances have low power consumption, you can choose a portable solar generator.
However, if you have to power up appliances that consume more power like electric stoves, small fridges and coffee makers, then you have to add wattage consumption. This will help you purchase the generator with right watt supply.
Make sure you compare the total wattage consumption estimate with maximum AC continuous power range of the model you choose. That will be the same value the generator will be supplying over long term. However, never get confuse it with surge or peak power. This value usually lasts for only few seconds.
If you want to power up fridges and kitchen appliances (that usually have a motor), then you will require a starting wattage which is usually different from continuous consumption. Because, the motor present in them requires instantaneous current value which is 10 or 12 times nominal electric current value. If the solar generator is not able to supply electric current, then the appliance will not turn on.
To make sure the portable generator can provide enough starting wattage, you have to verify the surge power capacity is more than starting wattage of the device.
You have to remember that, surge power required by the appliance can take up all peak power capacity. However, the continuous power demand of appliance can be less compared with another device. If that is the situation, then you have to power them both at the same time.
Solar generators are a very important backup power source for all road trips and outdoor campings. But, due to their popularity, there are a lot of options available on the market, and selecting one from all these different variants can be a confusing task. That is why we have provided you the list of best solar generators in this article along with their details and features. But, if you are still not sure about your choice, you can take a look at our top 3 recommendations given below:
- If you are looking for the most powerful solar generator, you should consider buying Jackery Solar Generator This solar generator has a massive 518-watt hour battery capacity that will last much longer than many similar generators. With this solar generator, you can charge or power any electronic device that has under 500-watt power rating, including TV, mobile phones, laptops, etc. It has 3 USB outputs having 5 volts output rating and 2.4-ampere current capacity. Compared with some heavier options in the list, Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 weighs only 13.32 pounds that makes it perfect for traveling around.
- If you are on a tight budget, you should consider Rockpals Solar Generator which is the cheapest option available in our list of best solar generators. For such an impressive price tag, you get a 200-watt hour battery capacity along with 120 volt AC outlets and 2 USB ports. This portable solar generator weighs 5 pounds. With a portable design, this makes the generator very easy to carry around, even within a backpack. The brand warranty on this product is 1 year, which is comparatively similar to other products.
- Lastly, if you are interested in an overall balanced product, take a look at Aimtom Solar Generator. It has an affordable price tag along with a decent feature lineup. Aimtom Portable Power Station provides you 155Wh battery capacity that is good enough for multi-purpose usage. LifePO4 battery is better than general lithium-ion batteries. This solar generator has 2 USB outlets and 2 DC outlets having a 11-volt rating. There is a 1 year warranty on Beaudens Portable Power Station.
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