Best Solar Generator – Top Reviews in 2019

Solar generators are the way of the future. They’re clean and, in many cases, super easy to install and use. It’s a great way to save on your electricity bill and it can offer many of the comforts of traditional electricity for less hassle.

Of course, if you’re looking to buy a solar powered generator, you already know that. What you’re interested in is how to make the most of your purchase. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best solar generators currently on the market in 2019.

Whether you’re interested in high wattage, portability, or price, we’ve got you covered. Read on for more details.

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit

Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium Portable Power Station

Nature’s Generator, Solar and Wind Powered, Gold System

Best Solar Generator Reviews

Solar power has come a long way since the discovery of the photovoltaic effect in 1839. Today, you’ve got great options in terms of charging time, battery life, and overall energy output. Solar generators have kept up the rapid pace and are now a decent choice considering their quality to cost ratio.

Below are some of the best options that showcase just how far this technology has come.

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit

Editor's Pick

Goal Zero is one of the best producers in terms of solar power, and this solar generator kit is no exception. Though not the most powerful generator out there, it still takes the top of our list for a perfect balance between quality and attractive pricing.

The kit comes equipped with the Yeti 1250 solar powered generator, as well as a Boulder 100 briefcase solar panel, and a cord and kickstand. In the same kit, you’ll also get a roller for easy transportation and a wall charger that serves as an alternative charging method for cloudy days.

With a battery capable of storing 1250Wh at a time, this generator can charge up to 10 small devices at once. It comes with four in-built 2.1A USB ports and two 120W or 12V ports. For additional charging power, it can be chained with other 100Ah (roughly 1200Wh) lead acid batteries. On its own, it will power up a small to average-sized fridge for one day and will charge a laptop several dozen times.

The kit is easy to maintain and built for outdoor stress. Both the generator and the solar panel can withstand heat and rain and are therefore perfectly designed for permanent installation. The generator frame is made of strong tempered glass and aluminum with additional corner protection.

PROS:

  • Kit includes solar generator, solar panel, and miscellanea for installation at a decent price
  • 1.25kWh battery: enough to charge small devices several times over or to power a fridge for an entire day
  • Can be chained with other, identical batteries for additional charging power
  • Quality components and weather proof: ideal for long-term installation

CONS:

  • Battery is not as powerful as other options

Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium Portable Power Station

Most Popular

Still from Goal Zero, this Yeti 3000 unit features in almost all solar generator reviews. That’s because it’s by far one of the most powerful options on the market. The “3000” included in its name does not refer to the power output of its in-built inverter, as would be the case with most solar powered generators, but rather to its battery capacity.

In more familiar terms, this generator stores 3kWh when fully charged. It can run a refrigerator for several days, as well as other, small appliances. It will even power the AC in your home for up to an hour, which makes it one of the best solar generators available for purchase.

Still need more? You can turn it into a veritable backup generator for power outages by attaching additional identical batteries to it. This unit from Goal Zero is, in fact, one of the few solar generators that can reliably serve as backup for more than one day.

The solar powered generator does not come in a kit and is sold separately from solar panels. Still, it is built with quality components for extraordinary durability and is ideal for permanent installation in your home. Generally speaking, it requires 24 hours to fully charge when connected to an AC wall socket and 30 hours to charge using solar power.

PROS:

  • 3kWh Battery: one of the most powerful currently available for purchase
  • Can be chained with additional batteries for reliable backup during power shortages
  • Durable and weather-proof: ideal for home installation
  • Intuitive display and can be paired with phones or other devices to show consumption

CONS:

  • More expensive than other options
  • Is not sold in a kit so you’ll have to buy solar panels separately

OG Solar 135 Amp Solar Generator

This unit by OG Solar is less powerful than the best solar generator by Goal Zero, which is why you won’t find it in most solar generator reviews, but it is also significantly cheaper. In other words, it’s worth the investment if you can’t afford its superior counterpart, since it performs better than solar powered generators in its price range and it features a decent battery capacity of 135 Amp or approximately 1.6kWh.

OG Solar’s generator is sold together with four 50W solar panels and it arrives completely equipped with battery and other miscellanea, which means you don’t have to worry about assembling it. Simply connect it to the solar panels as well as to your appliance(s) of choice: everything else, it will do automatically.

Its build is also fairly durable. The housing for the generator is rugged and weather-resistant, while circuitry, extension cables, and other accessories are contained inside dustproof and crush-proof cases. Though advertised as able to endure the elements, the producer recommends that the system be kept indoors or on a patio to ensure an extended lifetime.

The unit weighs no less than 100 pounds (or approximately 50kg), which makes it inappropriate for transportation or camping. It is, however, ideal for permanent installation. It can be tied into the power grid in order to lower monthly electricity bills or it can be used as a modest emergency backup generator for power shortages.

PROS:

  • One of the best solar generators in terms of performance to price ratio
  • 1.6kWh Battery capacity that can easily power several small devices or an average-sized fridge for a day
  • Rugged build for increased durability
  • Sold as a self-contained unit, together with solar panels

CONS:

  • Not as powerful as a Goal Zero Yeti 3000
  • Very heavy: suitable only for permanent installation

Ascent Solar Generator Y1200

In terms of the best solar generators on the market, this is your top choice if you’re looking to travel sustainably. The unit weighs only 42 pounds (just under 20kg), which makes it up to 60% lighter than other options with similar wattage.

Ascent solar generator Y1200 features a decent battery capacity for its size and price. At 1231Wh or approximately 1.2kWh when fully charged, it can recharge a phone, tablet, or laptop more than a dozen times over.

It won’t power a large fridge for an entire day, but it remains a fantastic option for small indoor appliances and devices, as well as for camping, fishing, or hunting. You can even power a flat-screen TV in your tent overnight, if you’re inclined to do so.

Like most solar powered generators, this model makes minimal noise when compared to a gas generator, which is a big plus if you intend to bring it with you on the fishing boat. It can be used to charge multiple appliances at the same time, and it features a variety of ports for different devices.

PROS:

  • One of the lightest solar generators on the market
  • 1.2kWh battery capacity, which is decent for its size and price
  • A great option for camping, hunting, and fishing, since it is very silent when it operates
  • Versatile ports for charging different devices and can be connected to several appliances at the same time

CONS:

  • Ideal for travelling, but not the best backup solar generator during long power shortages

Nature’s Generator, Solar and Wind Powered, Gold System

Best Value

Nature’s Generator is a solar and wind powered generator with a battery capacity of 60Ah or roughly 0.7kWh. Compared to other models on the market, it is significantly less powerful, but it still features in many solar generator reviews because it comes equipped with a solar panel and the entire kit is more than affordable, even on a tight budget.

Of course, just because it comes equipped with a smaller battery, this solar generator is not to be dismissed. It is easy to transport, which means it can be used both at home and while camping. It features a total of 8 ports that provide appropriate access for a variety of devices. It’s also easy to use thanks to its LED screen, which displays charging status, battery level, as well as output usage.

On its own, it cannot be used as a suitable backup generator, but it can be connected to identical batteries for improved charging potential. Moreover, if you only intend to use Nature’s Generator in emergency situations or to power up small devices, it provides more than enough power to adequately fulfill its functions.

All in all, it’s the ideal investment for you if you’re on a tight budget and you don’t intend the generator to power a refrigerator or AC. If this is the case, why pay more when you can get what you need for a bargain?

PROS:

  • Very affordable: is sold together with a solar panel and miscellanea for installation
  • Mobile: can be used both at home and when travelling
  • Easy to use and intuitive, especially thanks to its handy LED display
  • Features a variety of ports for multiple types of devices

CONS:

  • 0.7kWh Battery capacity, which is much less than a fridge uses per day
  • Must be chained with identical batteries in order to become a reliable backup generator for an entire household

What are the Components of a Solar Generator?

What are the Components of a Solar Generator

Unlike your traditional electric generator, a solar powered generator features additional components such as a rechargeable battery, a charge controller, and an inverter. These are not often referred to in solar generator reviews, but they are necessary because unlike diesel or similar units, a solar generator cannot output power at any given time. It depends on sunlight, rather than a wall outlet or fuel.

A solar powered generator is connected to solar panels, which are made of specific silicone materials and chemicals in order to absorb energy from the sun. The energy received by the unit is converted into electricity by means of the charge controller, which also ensures that the electricity is stored at the voltage required by each battery.

The purpose of the battery is simple. Because solar power is an intermittent source of energy, it is not necessarily available at the moment when you need to turn it on. The battery resolves this shortcoming and ensures that you can use the generator even when there’s no sunlight for the panels to absorb.

Finally, the solar inverter converts DC power (the type of electricity stored in the battery of your solar generator) into AC power (required by most appliances). Furthermore, it ensures that the power stored at 12V, 24V, or 48V can be turned up to 110V or 240V, which is necessary to charge modern devices.

Though you cannot see them by looking at an assembled unit, all these components are essential for optimal use. That’s why, as a potential buyer, you should make sure that all, and not just one, of the components are up to par. You may also wish to consider grabbing a solar charge controller while you’re at it.

Can You Use a Solar Powered Generator for Backup?

Solar power has come a long way, but it remains slightly expensive and less reliable than traditional sources of energy in terms of backup power during emergencies. Yes, some models features more powerful batteries and can, theoretically, provide enough energy to run a household during a power shortage that lasts for several hours.

However, not even the best solar generator can power several large appliances over the course of more than one day. In most cases, the energy stored in a solar powered generator at any one time is enough to keep a fridge running for a few hours, if that. Better generators will keep the fridge running for a day or so, but will not do so while also charging a PC, a TV, and a laptop.

At this point in time, solar powered generators are particularly useful to charge your devices on the go, while traveling or camping. They can also do a wonderful job during a power shortage, but only short-term. To transform them into reliable backup generators, you’ll likely have to chain them with several other identical batteries, as well as to additional solar panels.

How to Accurately Assess a Solar Generator

Like with any other marketed product, solar generators are often advertised by their producers in a wat that brings out their features, but not their shortcomings. This is not necessarily a bad thing in general, but in the case of a solar power generator for homes, if all components are not up to par, the efficiency of the entire unit will suffer greatly. Here are a few things to look for when sifting through solar generator reviews.

Battery Storage Capacity

This is perhaps the most important feature of a solar generator. How much power can it store when fully charged or, in other words, how long will it actually be able to power your appliances when connected? It’s also one of the main drawbacks of solar powered generators on the market today. Because their in-built batteries can only store anywhere from 0.5kWh to 3kWh, generally, they cannot keep a household running for long during a power shortage. Still, they remain an ideal solution for a more sustainable lifestyle, they are perfect for charging small devices on the go, and they can be connected to your main power grid to significantly reduce your monthly electricity bill. They’re just not yet as strong as traditional electric generators. Keep in mind that solar battery tenders may be a good combination with solar generators.

The Watt-Generation Capabilities of the Solar Panels

Solar generators run on electricity converted by solar panels from solar energy. As such you should care about the quality of the solar panels you buy just as much as you do for the generator itself. How ample is the solar PV input or, in other words, how many watts can the solar panels generate per hour? The higher this number, the faster the solar powered generator will charge, provided, of course, that it has sufficient battery storage capacity.

Inverter Rating vs. Actual Wattage

Browsing through solar generator reviews, you’ll notice that many units are advertised together with a number of watts. In most cases, this number represents the inverter rating or the maximum watts you can pull from the generator at one time. It does not, as you might be tempted to think, represent the battery storage capacity, which tells you how long you’ll actually be able to use the generator for. Inverter ratings are important, but they are misleadingly placed in the title of products in order to make potential customers think that a unit will last longer than another. To make sure a certain solar powered generator is the one you are looking for, check both its inverter rating and its battery capacity.

What Appliances Will Your Solar Generator Power?

What Appliances Will Your Solar Generator Power

At the end of the day, this is what matters when you look for the right solar power generator for homes. What will it power and for how long? Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. It depends, rather, on each unit and, most importantly, on in-built rechargeable batteries.

To calculate whether a solar generator can power a certain appliance, you’ll first have to figure out what the battery’s storage capacity is. The latter can be expressed in Ah (or Amp per hour), Wh (or Watt per hour), and kWh (or kilowatt per hour). Each producer might use any of these measurement units to express battery capacity for a solar generator. Use these approximations to convert the listed capacity into your unit of choice:

  • 100 Ah ~ 1200Wh (for a 12V battery) or 2400Wh (for a 24V battery)
  • 1kWh = 1000Wh

Say, for instance, that you’d like to assess a solar power generator for homes that advertises a battery capacity of 1200Wh or 1.2kWh. This unit would likely be able to power an average fridge (consuming at least 1kWh per day) for approximately 24 hours or less. Small devices such as phones or tablets require significantly less power, so the same generator would be able to charge a phone for 125 to 250 hours or more than 30 times. A laptop, on the other hand, will consume an average of 65 to 90Wh, which means the generator could power it for up to 18 hours.

How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for your Home

As most solar generator reviews will tell you, there are many great options to choose from, but each model has its own advantages and drawbacks. To find the optimal solar powered generator for your home, ask yourself a few essential questions.

Will you use it as a backup or daily?

If you intend to use your solar generator for backup, then you’ll want to prioritize high battery capacity above solar PV input. You’ll also need a decent inverter rating, which will ensure that an appliance can pull sufficient electricity from the generator in order to power up. On the other hand, if you want a solar power generator for a home that is permanently connected to your power grid in order to reduce bills, you should prioritize solar PV input. The higher the latter, the faster the generator will recharge from one day to the next, allowing you to ultimately save more money on traditional electricity.

What appliances do you want it to power and for how long?

This is an obvious, but essential question. There’s no need to purchase a monstrous 3000Wh solar powered generator if you’ll only be using it to charge your phone and other small devices while camping. Conversely, you won’t get much out of a 700Wh battery during a power shortage that lasts more than a few hours.

Will the generator stay at home at all times or will you use it to travel?

If you permanently install the solar powered generator indoors or in your backyard, then you can look for options with higher battery capacities, but overall very heavy builds. If, on the other hand, you’d like to bring the unit with you on your next camping or fishing trip, you should look for lighter portable models of solar generators, even if their batteries don’t store as much in one go.

Obviously, there is no one best solar generator available for purchase in 2019. Instead, there are a number of good options on the market and the best fit is the model whose strengths best match your interests. So long as you have real expectations and you research your potential purchase beyond the wattage mentioned in its title, you’re likely to be satisfied with your choice.

4.5 rating
Based on 29 reviews

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