Best Solar Generators

The Best Solar Generators in 2021

Though many consumers want to live a more “green” lifestyle, it can be difficult to accomplish, especially in this day and age. Misinformation can leave consumers confused and unsure.

For example: How do you know if something is truly organic? How can you figure out if a product is fair trade certified? Even products like baby food that you think would be inherently safe have been found to hold harmful ingredients.

Making green choices isn’t always easy, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing them. Thankfully this guide is here to help you embark on a relatively easy and sure choice in becoming more green: investing in solar power. That journey begins with getting yourself a new solar-powered generator.

There are endless benefits to investing in your own solar generator, especially if you try to embark on an eco-friendly lifestyle. In this guidebook, we’re going to dive into everything related to solar-powered generators. We’ll get into the pros and cons of investing in a solar powered generator, how they can help you live a little more green and provide some great product recommendations. Let’s get started!

Best Overall Solar Generators

 

1. BLDR Portable Power Station

BLDR Portable Power Station

Check Latest Price

 

As far as solar generators go, the BLDR Portable Power Station is a great investment! At 330W, this machine is ideal for charging small electronic equipment, like phones and tablets, or small electric camping gear like GPS systems or walkie talkies.

Its versatility and light weight make this the perfect set up for those looking to add some power to their camping trip or want something on reserve that can easily be stored in a vehicle.

Tech Specs

  • 6 lbs
  • 330W Power
  • Lithium Battery

PROS

  • Small & lightweight, easy to carry & store
  • Multiple port options (AC Power Socket, 3 USB-A, 1 USBC)
  • Can charge with solar panels, AC outlets, or carports
  • Built-in emergency light
  • 2-year warranty

CONS

  • Solar Panel not included
  • Cannot charge devices and charge battery simultaneously
  • Can’t charge things over 330W (Not recommended for small appliances like heaters, kettles, etc.)

2. Jackery Portable Power Station

Jackery Portable Power Station

Check Latest Price

 

The Jackery Portable Power Station is meant to power your outdoor adventures. This 240W machine is great for charging most of your gear but isn’t ideal for small appliances. With multiple outlet options, you can charge your devices while exploring nature with ease. This is also a great choice for those looking for emergency backup power on the go.

Tech Specs

  • 6lbs
  • 240 Wh
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Multiple ports (AC Output, USB, DC)

PROS

  • Small, compact, and quiet
  • Can be used while charging
  • Multiple charge options (Solar panels, carport, AC outlet)

CONS

  • Solar panel not included
  • Cannot charge electronics over 200W

3. RAVPower Portable Power Station 

RAVPower Portable Power Station

Check Latest Price

 

This portable power station is small and compact and even comes with a carrying case for easy storage! This is another great pick for outdoor adventures or at-home backup power.

Though this can’t power up your appliances, it’s great to ensure your laptop, cell phone, or other electronics can always be powered up in an emergency. This machine even includes emergency lighting with an SOS feature, making it an ideal emergency generator to keep in your vehicle.

Tech Specs

  • 250 W
  • LG Lithium Battery
  • Enabled with QC Fast charge
  • 2 AC Output ports, 3 USB Ports

PROS

  • Multiple Charge Options (Solar panels, AC port, Carport)
  • Small & lightweight
  • Emergency lighting options
  • Built-in fan for temperature control
  • Carrying case included

CONS

  • Can’t support devices more than 250W
  • Body made of plastic, not metal
  • Solar panels not included

Best Budget Choice Solar Generators

 

4. Soyond Solar Generator

Soyond Solar Generator

Check Latest Price

 

The Soyons Solar Generator is a great choice for those who want something for basic lighting and charging. At 8W, this is not ideal for powering up any appliances or large devices, but it is great for basic lighting and charging mobile phones.

This is designed to be taken on the go, with its small size and lightweight. Best of all, the solar panel is included here and 2 LED Lamps to provide some basic lighting.

Tech Specs

  • 8W
  • 2KG
  • Lithium-Ion Battery

PROS

  • Multiple Outlets (AC Adapter, USB)
  • Solar panels and LED Lamps included
  • Small & lightweight for easy travel. storage
  • Also acts as a Bluetooth speaker & FM Radio
  • Multiple charge options (AC Power, Solar Panel)

CONS

  • Can only charge basic small electronics/lights
  • Can’t charge with a carport
  • Long charge times (10 hours in direct sun)

5. Eco-Worthy Portable Power Station

Eco-Worthy Portable Power Station

Check Latest Price

 

This affordable option packs a little more punch, with 84W worth of charging ability! Its lightweight shape and handle make it easily portable for those on the go.

This machine has a 12-year lifespan and is designed to meet continuous lighting needs. Not only does this include solar panels for charging, but it also comes with 3 LED lamps that can help in emergencies or outdoor camping adventures.

Tech Specs

  • 84W
  • 1 lbs
  • Lithium-Ion Battery

PROS:

  • Built-in lamp
  • Solar panel included
  • LED lamps Included
  • Built-in emergency light
  • Multiple charge options (Solar panel, carport, AC port)
  • 2-year warranty

CONS:

  • Not ideal for charging larger devices
  • Not compatible with stronger solar panels
  • Not waterproof

6. ALLWEI Portable Power Station

ALLWEI Portable Power Station

Check Latest Price

 

For a generator under $100, the Allwei Portable Power Station is a great deal. At 125W, this solar generator can offer more power than most other generators under the $100 mark.

This small, lightweight generator is ideal for travel or keeping in your car for emergencies. Take this camping to charge your electronics or even power some small appliances. This machine also comes with an easy to use emergency light if you’re ever in an SOS situation.

Tech Specs:

  • 135 W
  • 9 lbs
  • Lithium-Ion Battery

PROS

  • 125 Watts means it can power electronics and small appliances
  • Lightweight & compact for easy storage
  • Multiple charge options (Solar panel, AC port, Carport)
  • Built-in emergency light
  • Fast charging (5-6 hours in direct sunlight)

CONS

  • Needs AC Adapter to plug in AC Ports
  • Cannot be used while charging
  • Solar panel not included

Best Premium Choice Solar Generators

 

7. ExpertPower Alpha2700

ExpertPower Alpha2700

Check Latest Price

 

With 2694Wh of power, the ExpertPower Alpha2700 is in a league of its own. This powerful generator can power small electronics and even large appliances, making it a great choice for a larger solar power set up.

If you are looking for something to provide lasting power, this is a great investment. This device is heavy but luckily comes with wheels and a handle for easy movement. Solar panels are also included with this device, making it an all in one purchase.

Tech Specs:

  • 2000W
  • 5 lbs
  • Lithium-Ion Battery

PROS

  • Powerful wattage means it can charge most devices and appliances
  • Solar panels are included
  • Multiple ports (3 AC Ports, 1 DC 12V Output, 1 DC Input, 2 USB Outputs)
  • Intelligent battery management system protects against overvoltage

CONS

  • Large & heavy in weight
  • Fan has a tendency to run, making it noisier than some other generator
  • Can run hot, so best to keep it out of the sun

8. CHRY Power Generator

CHRY Power Generator

Check Latest Price

 

This generator is another solid investment option, with 1000W of high power output. This solar generator also comes with solar panels, making it an all in one purchase.

Given its power, this machine still remains small in size compared to other generators with similar specs, making it a great choice for the traveler or someone trying to save on space. A built-in handle also adds to its easy movement.

Tech Specs:

  • 5 KG
  • 1000W
  • Zhuoneng Power Battery

PROS

  • 1000W capacity makes it ideal for most charging
  • Intelligent internal cooling system protects against overvoltage
  • 2 solar panels included
  • Has 2 AC Outputs, 4 USB Ports, 1 DC 12V output
  • Multiple charge options (Solar panel, AC port, Carport)

CONS

  • Heavy in weight

9. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer
Check Latest Price

 

Jackery is a trusted name in the solar generator game, and this machine is designed to provide some serious power! With 1000W, this can offer more security than smaller models and is ideal for powering everything from basic electronics to larger items.

This machine is also small enough to make it a great addition to your outdoor travels. Whether you want to power up an electric grill or charge your phones to take great photos, this device has got you covered.

Tech Specs

  • 1000W
  • Lithium Battery
  • 10 KG

PROS

  • Multiple charge options (AC Port, Car Port, Solar panels)
  • Capable of powering up small appliances
  • Has multiple port options (3 AC Outlets, 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C)
  • Small and compact for easy storage

CONS

  • Solar panels not included
  • Heavier in weight

What is a Solar Generator?

The first and most important question you may have is this:  What is a solar generator? People may confuse solar generators with a variety of other power source devices. In this context, a solar energy generator is a power source that can store energy from the sun to power external sources.

A solar generator comprises three main parts: a charge controller, an inverter, and a battery. Your solar generator will need to be connected to solar panels to charge the battery within the device to draw energy. This can be daunting, but there are many guides online to help you figure out how to connect solar panels to your solar generator set up. Check video:

Your charge controller will be used to regulate electricity as it moves to be stored in the battery inside the generator. The energy is then converted via an inverter into AC power for use in charging your electronic devices, appliances, or any other item you’re powering with the generator.

Whether you’re looking to charge small electronics like a phone or laptop, or power appliances like a fridge, people can use a solar energy generator to fuel up anything and everything.

What are the Benefits of a Solar Generator?

Now that we know more about what a solar generator is, let’s dive into their benefits! There are a ton of advantages to investing in a solar generator.

Environmentally Friendly Energy

The battery inside of a solar generator is what makes them stand out among typical generators.  Typically, generators rely on an outside fuel source to create the energy that makes them operate.

Once a traditional fuel generator runs empty, it can’t provide energy, where solar energy generators can still hold power even when the sun is out of sight. As long as the battery still holds a charge, it can continue to provide energy.

This fuel source isn’t only convenient- it’s also what makes a solar generator such a good choice! Unlike gas-powered generators, solar power doesn’t create any kind of toxic exhaust. This means it’s safe for the planet and you!

Great for Indoor Use

As we explained above, typical generators can create a lot of exhaust when they run on fuel. The gasoline fuel can also pose a danger when used indoors, due to fumes and exhaust, and gasoline’s flammable and explosive nature.

With a solar generator, you can use them in any indoor space once charged with little to no worries! While electrical fires can happen, clean solar energy is much less dangerous than utilizing fuel. It’s no different than any other battery-powered item in your home.

Free Energy Source

Perhaps the largest benefit of investing in solar energy, a solar generator is powered by a free energy resource: the sun! Once you have your solar panels and solar generator, harvesting energy from the sun provides an unlimited source of clean, green energy.

Solar energy’s free availability is what makes it so stable. Typical generators powered with gasoline are at the whims of price fluctuations, meaning your power source can get pricey.

Solar energy is also widely available- you won’t have to hunt for a gas station in the middle of a long road trip to fuel up this energy source. As long as the sun is out, you can continue to harvest the energy you need to power your devices.

Clean and Quiet

Gas generators can be super loud while in use, as many internal moving parts work to process the fuel and convert it to AC power. A solar power generator doesn’t have any of these internal moving parts, making it a silent alternative to most power sources.

Solar generators can also be way cleaner! In the most literal sense, the lack of gasoline use will keep the machine much cleaner than a typical generator. But in a broader sense, it’s “clean” in that it provides a clean source of energy.

What Are the Cons of a Solar Generator?

While there are numerous benefits, there are, of course, some negatives to keep in mind when it comes to solar generators:

Inconsistent Power Supply

Though the sun may be around more often than traditional fuel sources, it is technically not constant. If you live in a particularly cloudy environment, investing in solar energy may not be best for you. Use tools like this sunlight calculator if you want to determine how much sunlight you can expect a day.

Even if you do live in a regularly sunny environment, rainy days and cloudy skies are bound to come around. Though your solar power generator may have some power in reserve for those days, it could fail you in certain circumstances.

High Up-Front Cost

Though you may save in not having to continually buy fuel, solar generators tend to be an expensive initial investment. Especially if you’re looking into a generator that can power more than a handful of devices.

If you want to invest in a larger generator, you may have to invest up to $1000 to get the wattage you need. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of adding solar panels to fuel the generator if you’re starting your first set up.

Though some companies offer solar power kits that can get you off to a great start, you may need to buy individual pieces that suit your needs. Solar power technology is unfortunately expensive, though this cost does even out when you think about fossil fuels you won’t have to buy.

Slow to Recharge

Perhaps the biggest drawback for most shoppers is that solar panels take a long time to charge up their batteries. A charge time around 8 hours is not uncommon for a solar power generator with this battery capacity.

If you can’t guarantee constant charging for this generator, this can be a huge drawback. This is especially true if using a generator in an emergency situation.

A fuel-based generator has the advantage of being ready the second fuel is supplied. If you need a fuel source that can be ready as fast as possible, gas may be the way to go. However, if you have the freedom to not worry about off weather days when it comes to charging, solar generators are still a great option!

Takes Up Space

Though solar generators are quieter and great for indoor use, they tend to run larger in size. While there are some easily portable options, solar generators meant to fuel large equipment tend to be much larger.

You also have to factor in the solar panels needed to fuel your generator and the space that they take up. For home use, putting your solar panels on your roof is an easy, out of the way solution. However, for the more frequent traveler, you’ll need to find a space on your vehicle or space to store your panels.

It’s also worth noting that solar generators can be much heavier than fuel generators. Their internal batters are what add to this weight, impacting its portability.

Solar Generators in 2020

Who Should Buy a Solar Generator?

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to determine if investing in a solar generator is right for you. Buying a solar generator and solar panels is a beneficial choice for a variety of different lifestyles. If you identify with any of the groups below, this may be an ideal purchase for you:

Frequent Campers & Van Life Travelers

Are you a frequent camper? If so, investing in a simple solar setup could be ideal for you! A small, portable solar power generator can offer a great setup for charging your devices while camping off-the-grid.

You’ll no longer have to take turns charging phones in your car or have to worry about charging up all of your devices before you hit the road. A solar generator can provide the peace of mind that your devices and small appliances can be charged with ease.

A simple solar panel set up on your car roof with your generator in your vehicle is ideal for this scenario. This is especially relevant if car-camping is something you like to do. There’s been a huge increase in van camping, and your setup could benefit by investing in clean energy.

In fact, there’s been an increase in recent years with people embarking on a “van life” lifestyle, living out of camper vans and other converted vehicles. Solar energy is ideal for this kind of set up, minimizing your living costs and providing relatively easy power.

Boats and Yachts

Running out of power while at sea can be a dangerous scenario. Thankfully, with a proper solar generator set up, you can boat with some peace of mind.

Keeping your motor batteries charged can be tricky when doing frequent sailing, especially if you’re also trying to power small appliances like mini-fridges or sound systems. Though diesel fuel can help, going to shore to get fuel can be both time consuming and expensive.

Solar generators are becoming increasingly popular in the boating and marine industries. With a solar set up, you won’t have to make as many frequent trips to shore for power. Consider mounting some solar panels to your boat to provide some clean, green energy.

Off-the-Grid Living

Off-the-grid living, sometimes known as homesteading, refers to individuals looking to disconnect from as many public utilities as possible. Along with being a great way to save money, off-the-grid lifestyles are ones that look to minimize their environmental impact.

Solar panels and solar generators are a great energy alternative for those looking to distance themselves from the use of public utilities. For the more casual off-the-grid person, a small solar set up can help power some, but not all appliances.

For those who want to go entirely off the grid, you may want to look into other energy alternatives to work in conjunction with your solar generator set up. This will ensure you never lose power if you’re faulted by a bout of cloudy weather. Consider pairing your solar power setup with an at-home wind electric system.

Emergency Preppers

For those of you looking to create an emergency shelter, solar generators are a great choice. Investing in solar energy can ensure that you have a power supply not dependent on outside resources like petrol fuel.

With a big enough solar generator, you can store enough energy to run multiple appliances and tools! Plus, solar generators are quiet and clean enough to remain in small indoor spaces, with little fear or danger or excessive noise.

Having a proper power setup in your shelter can mean the difference between safety and living in the dark. By investing now, you can ensure you have a long-term, sustainable power source that doesn’t depend on living on the grid.

Green Companies

If you run a business looking to prioritize sustainability, solar generators are a great fit for you. Most businesses already need some kind of backup generator in case of emergencies. By choosing a solar generator set up as your back up, you can ensure you’re making a sustainable choice.

Even outside the emergency backup power realm, a solar power set up can be great to cut down on energy costs for day-to-day operations. Consider saving on your energy bill by fueling some of your appliances and electronics with clean energy. Your employees and the planet will thank you.

Plus, in some states, a solar tax credit can be applied to your investment to help save on cost.

What To Know Before You Buy

Before You Buy

If you’ve been convinced that a solar generator is an ideal fit for your lifestyle, it’s nearly time to shop! Before we detail our product recommendations, we want to outline a few things you need to consider before you buy:

Watts

The watts on your solar generators inverter will determine exactly how much power you can expect the machine to provide. It’s super important to look into the watts required for your own personal set up before making your investment.

The higher the watts on your inverter, the more power your solar generator will provide.

A smaller generator (up to 1000 watts) can be used to provide minimal power for smaller devices like cell phones and laptops or some lighting. These are the best for those of you using your generator while camping or traveling.

A mid-size generator (up to 3000 watts) is more powerful and can power lights, small electronics like TVs, and some modern kitchen appliances like a fridge or microwave. This level is a great investment for those who want basic emergency backup power or if you’re running a small home.

A large generator (over 3000 watts) can provide ample power, capable of running a home. Depending on the needs of your appliances, these generators can power your home appliances and electronics for extended periods of time. This would be ideal for those looking to power a home off the grid or want the best backup power possible.

Remember to keep in mind that the larger your watt inverter is, the more expensive your solar generator will be. However, as we stated above, there are many reasons a larger device is worth the investment.

Battery Charge Speed

Since slow charging is a concern, it’s good to keep charge speed in mind before you invest. If you need constant power, look to see if your generator needs some off-time to re-charge or if they’re capable of use even while actively charging.

The most common charge speed for a solar generator is 150 to 250 watts in an hour. If you’re a camper, it may be best to leave your generator along to charge during daylight hours and reserve power use for nighttime when it’s needed most.

Weight and Size

This may be obvious, but make sure the size of the generator you’re purchasing fits your space! It would be a shame to invest in a large generator for your new camper van, only to find out it takes up half the space.

Weight is also something to consider for those of you who need something truly portable. If you’re putting this in a vehicle or boat, a heavyweight generator could be a concern. This is also true for the user- nobody wants to lug around a generator they can barely lift! If you’re going to frequently take your generator in and out of storage, a lightweight option may be ideal.

Those who want something truly portable, try to stick to a generator in the 10 lb range.

 Ports & Outlets

Depending on what you want to use your solar generator for, consider the available ports and outlets before you buy. Lots of smaller portable power generators come equipped with USB ports, perfect for charging electronic devices.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the regular socket offerings are suitable for your needs. If you’re gadget dependent, the inclusion of AC ports for larger devices combed with USB ports for smaller electronics could be ideal for your set up. However, if you’re looking to power larger appliances, more AC ports than USB ports may be preferred.