While it may still look like a futuristic solution for many, solar generators are quite popular these days and aim to transform people’s footprint on nature. A solar generator aims to capture the energy coming from the sun through some small panels. It is then stored in a battery and released through an inverter. As a direct result, the energy can be used as standard power.
Not only do solar powered generators reduce the impact on nature, but they also allow you to generate your own energy. In other words, they have become an effective solution to save money in the long run.
Choosing the best solar generator can be a bit tricky, especially as most people are not entirely used to this technology. Luckily, you do have solutions when it comes to making an investment. There are plenty of options out there and each of them has particular strengths. It is imperative, therefore, to do your homework and research the market before making a final decision. So, what should you know about this industry?
What Is a Solar Generator?
A solar generator for home consists of four main parts:
- Battery charger
Solar panels have the primary role to capture the energy from the sun. They look like mirrors and must be placed in direct sunlight. The battery charger allows the electricity coming from panels to charge the solar batteries.
However, you cannot use the energy as it is. This is when the inverter comes in. It converts the power from batteries to AC power. The AC power can be used around your household for various electrical devices.
Top 5 Reasons to Get a Solar Generator
- Solar power is green and clean, so it reduces your carbon footprint and helps preserving the nature. Nothing about it will actually pollute the nature.
- Your home can go off the grid. Classic electricity is based on coal and natural gas – limited resources. The market is volatile, hence the regular price changes.
- Since there is no need for long distance transportation of energy, you inevitably reduce energy loss.
- You can also make the most out of your underutilized land or yard.
- Last, but not least, it comes from the sun, so it is free.
Pros and Cons
The main benefit of having a solar generator kit is sustainability. Fossil fuels have an expiry date that quickly approaches. On the other hand, the sun will be here for many years.
The low environmental impact is not to be overlooked either. Such a technology does not require fuel combustion. People use nature’s natural resources for a whole year within the first eight months, leading to an obvious necessity of a change.
Energy independence is just as handy. As long as the sun is up there, everyone can become an energy producer. Simply put, you no longer depend on energy companies and their overpriced plans. Sun energy is free and provides full independence.
Finally, you can actually make use of the spare land over your property. Whether you have a massive yard, a large garden or just plenty of room on the room, make it count.
Negatives of having a whole house solar generator are insignificant. Solar energy is useful when the sun shines. You generate nothing at night. When it comes to overcast days, the amount generated will also be lower, hence the necessity of proper planning for your household needs.
How to Choose a Solar Generator
Make sure you know what you want from a solar generator. Are you looking for a portable solar generator kit for your camping trips or emergencies? Are you interested in backup solutions? Some people use solar energy for small things, while others aim to fuel their entire houses.
The battery storage capacity is just as important. The more storage you have, the more energy you can use at night or in times of limited sunshine.
The solar PV input is responsible for powering the generator. A large input will allow continuous usage throughout the day, as well as low recharging times. Some people invest in a portable solar generator kit because it allows moving panels around for maximum efficiency.
Do not overlook the inverter either. It is directly responsible for the amount of watts that you can use out of your generator.
14 Best Solar Generators
Featuring two AC ports and four DC ports, Suaoki’s best solar generator is likely to impress. It also has a QC3.0 USB port and three USB ports. It can power pretty much any small home appliance or electronic device. It is suitable for emergency backups, so it can be used as a camping solar power generator as well.
In terms of sizing, it is compact and easy to install anywhere. It weighs less than 3 pounds and comes with a couple of handles for portability.
The small solar generator has triple input modes. It can charge to 100% within 8 hours only. Also, you can charge it through a classic car 12V socket. A car charger is included.
When it comes to efficiency, you can control the voltage and temperature, as well as other safety settings. From this point of view, it is great for emergency situations.
Anker’s solar backup generator is among the best-rated units in this segment. It can power multiple small appliances and electronics, such as laptops, phones, small fridges or TVs. It features three different output solutions – a 110 AC outlet, a 12V car socket and four USB slots.
This portable solar generator provides the best rapport for power and size. In other words, it can put out 400W of power and weighs under 10 pounds. It measures 7.87×6.5×5.71 inches, so it is easy to move around.
The battery management system allows temperature and voltage control, as well as other safety features for full protection of your devices. No matter what you choose to run, there are no risks involved.
It is also worth noting that it can fully recharge within 10.5 hours if you use a 16.8V=3A power supply.
Goal Zero’s solar generator is ideal for those with plenty of small devices that need power at the same time. It can power not less than 10 devices at the same time. It has a single cell equivalent capacity of 296Ah at 3.6V.
This model can easily be used as a camping solar power generator due to its capacity. Not only can it power so many small devices at the same time (laptops, smartphones, cameras, drones, music systems, and others), but it is also compact and easy to carry.
The AC inverter comes with a patented technology that you will not find in other manufacturers. Also, it features 60W USB-C power delivery ports.
The solar generator is fitted with wireless connectivity and can be controlled through an application. It allows you to check the battery and even turn ports on and off from the comfort of your fishing chair.
EcoFlow’s unit could be the most powerful solar generator in its range. It is lightweight – around 11 pounds – and measures 9.8×6.3×8.2 inches. As if portability would not be enough, it is one of the best looking solar powered generators on the market.
In terms of functionality, you benefit from 100% safe smart technologies that regulate output. Plus, you can use the generator while it charges, so it adds to the overall convenience too. On a sunny day, you should not run out of electricity for your small devices.
You can use up to 11 power generator outlets at the same time. There are two AC ports, one 12V carport and a few types of USB ports for convenience.
Believe it or not, it can hold a charge for up to one year. However, it cannot charge items over 500W, such as big fridges or heaters.
PowerAdd’s best solar generator is ideal for backup solutions or camping trips. You can power TVs, laptops, cameras, phones and even small fridges. It features three different output modes – a 12V car port, a 110V AC outlet, and three USB ports. The AC outlet can take devices up to 100W.
The portable solar generator is compact and easy to carry around. It comes with Samsung/LG 18650 batteries for safety. It weighs less than 3 pounds, so even a child could carry it around.
Despite its compact appearance, the capacity is quite impressive – 50000mAh. To help you understand, you can charge an iPhone7 up to 16 times. You can charge a Samsung Galaxy S8 up to 11 times and an iPad Pro up to 4 times.
There is nothing to worry about regarding its safety standards. It has its own battery management system, which makes the most out of your battery. It also prevents current, voltage and temperature related issues.
Best Solar Powered Generator
Webetop Portable Generator: Webetop’s solar generator brings in 42000mAh of power capacity – way more than other similar units in this segment. It is an ideal emergency backup tool, as well as a good camping solution. It can power small and medium electronic devices.
It features a few different types of outputs, such as a 110V dual AC outlet, three 12V DC ports, and three 5V USB ports. The peak power for the 12V DC ports is 180W, so you can power car fans, chargers, refrigerators or vacuums.
Despite being a solar generator, it can also be recharged through a wall outlet or a carport. It takes less than 8 hours to fully recharge it by a wall outlet.
It may have a high capacity, but it is lightweight and compact. It also has a handle for portability.
Best Portable Solar Generator
Suaoki Portable Generator Power Source: This portable generator has multiple AC and DC outlets, a few USB ports and LED light indicators. It can charge such appliances pretty much anywhere due to its portability. If you are not having a sunny day, you can always recharge it from a wall outlet, as it has a high-density lithium-ion battery.
Its capacity is impressive – 11.1V, 20000mAh or 3.7V 60000mAh. It can charge a smartphone over 20 times, as well as power banks, laptops, small refrigerators, TVs and other similar size appliances.
Unlike other similar units, it does not rely on a modified sine wave, but on a pure sine wave. In other words, the electricity is cleaner. Computers will no longer crash, while fans will be quieter.
It also has a battery management system for extra efficiency in battery utilization.
Best Solar Generator Kit
AspectSolar Sunsocket Sun-Tracking Solar Generator: AspectSolar has seriously taken the game to a new level with its new solar generator. Not only is it a highly portable unit weighing around 25 pounds, but it also features a unique sun-tracking technology. Simply put, it will gain as much solar energy as possible from the sun, even on problematic overcast days.
The generator is fully assembled – ideal for newbies. You do not have to do anything, as it can be used out of the box. No parts must be purchased separately, which makes it quite convenient too. Forget about compatibility issues.
When it comes to electricity outputs, you have a classic 100W universal AC inverter, as well as four USB ports and a 12V DC port. It will power the most common small and medium electronics around your house or on a camping trip.
The generator has 60W PV panels and a 250W battery for consistent power.
Best Portable Solar Generator Kit
Kalisaya Portable Solar Generator: Kalisaya has managed to design a compact and good looking solar generator that can go anywhere – your backyard for emergencies, your tent for camping experiences or even your own household for small things. It is compatible with all Kalisaya accessories on the market and weighs under 11 pounds.
Unlike other similar generators, this one comes with its own solar panel, so no need for separate purchases. It also has grade A, high capacity lithium-ion cells for durability.
The generator is mostly recommended for small appliances that can be charged using USB slots, as it features four of them. You can charge phones, laptops, drones or cameras at the same time. It also features two 12V DC ports for lighting.
You can control it through an application – compatible with both Android and iOS.
Best Camping Solar Power Generator
Jackery Portable Power Station Generator: Jackery’s best solar generator is less likely to disappoint – 110V continuous 300W, 500W surge pure sine wave AC outlet, 12V 10A car socket, and more DC and USB ports. You can charge small refrigerators, tablets, laptops and small appliances, such as espresso machines. It is ideal for camping and festivals, as well as emergencies.
Although it charges perfectly in the sun, you can also do it from a wall outlet during cloudy times, as it has a lithium battery. Everything is self-managed through a battery management system for maximum efficiency and protection.
The control panel is intuitive and available on a modern LCD screen. You have various settings to control the power.
A powerful LED flashlight is implemented to light outdoors during emergencies too.
Best Solar Generator for Home
Inergy Kodiak Power Bank Solar Generator: Weighing around 20 pounds and measuring 14x7x8 inches, this portable solar generator is ideal for homes during emergencies or power outages, as well as camping experiences. It features a full one year warranty, as well as a simplistic control panel.
The 1100 watt-hour lithium-ion battery can go for up to 2000 cycles. Its power can be expanded if you choose to replace it with a deep cycle lead acid battery though.
It needs at least 2 hours to charge in optimal conditions. It will require more time on a cloudy day though.
As for outputs, you have seven AC outputs and two 12 VDC outputs. Also, you have four USB slots. Everything is conveniently located close to the control panel. It can power small and middle-sized appliances, including mini refrigerators or coffee machines.
Best Whole House Solar Generator
Goal Zero Yeti Solar Generator Kit: Goal Zero’s best solar generator might look a bit confusing at first, yet its control panel is easy to get used to. The package includes a solar panel as well, not to mention a rolling cart and a wall charger. You will not have to buy anything else, but use it out of the box.
It comes with a lead acid battery for extra capacity – 1250Wh. It can power around 10 devices at the same time due to the continuous 1200W pure sine wave inverter. It has AC, DC and USB ports for convenience. Everything is located close to the control panel.
Worried about the runtime? The solar generator can be chained with other similar 100Ah lead-acid batteries for extra time. You can recharge it with a solar panel or from a wall outlet.
Despite weighing just under 145 pounds, the rolling cart makes it portable.
Most Powerful Solar Generator
Kohler enCUBE1.8 Rechargeable Power Supply: Weighing 109 pounds and able to power a small house, Kohler’s most powerful solar generator is built with quality in mind. It looks bulky and heavy at first, yet it can be moved from one place to another due to its telescopic handle and wheels. It can be easily transported in the boot of the car for outdoor or camping activities too.
Having no engine, this solar generator is clean, silent and safe. It has no emissions, so it can be safely used indoors. It represents a clean source of energy that will power laptops, TVs, smartphones, refrigerators, and other similar appliances.
It can be charged from the sun, yet you can also use a classic 120V wall outlet overnight or on cloudy days.
There are multiple AC, DC and USB slots conveniently located close to the control panel. The display is digital and provides valuable data, such as input or output, not to mention the battery status.
Best Small Solar Generator
Paxcess Portable Generator Power Station: With 3.3 pounds in weight, this solar generator from Paxcess is ideal for small electronics and camping activities. Whether it comes to laptops, cameras, small appliances or just lights, it will work wonders. It features three 12V DC ports, two 11V AC outlets, and two USB 5V ports. No matter what your electronics need, this generator can provide.
You can recharge it from the sun, but also in your car or from a wall outlet. It makes no difference where you are or what the weather conditions are. It takes under 8 hours to fully charge from a wall outlet.
Given the lack of gasoline or engines, there are no fumes. You can use the generator inside your house, car or tent. It is quieter than other similar units too.
Furthermore, it has an advanced battery management system to undertake voltage and temperature control.
How Much Are Solar Generators?
Just like for everything else, prices for solar generators vary widely. The technology may still seem new and innovative, yet it has been around for quite a while now. The good news is anyone can buy a solar generator now without having to sell a kidney. The bad news is you have to do your homework.
There are multiple aspects to take in consideration when buying a solar generator. Most importantly, your personal necessities go first. Think about why you need a generator, as well as the power you might need. A small compact unit for camping activities can cost less than $100. It would not be able to power more than a few smartphones or cameras – perhaps a small camping fridge if you are lucky.
The middle range ones for homes and outdoor activities can cost anywhere between $300 and $1,500. Obviously, it depends on their power capacity and features. Some units are fully featured and do not require any separate purchases. Some others may not include the actual panels, so costs can go a bit higher.
If you want a solar generator for your whole house, get ready to pay more than $1,500. Again, prices range widely. It depends on how big your house is, as well as the local climate and the amount of power you require. Such a system requires proper planning. You would have to count your electrical needs and give yourself a little more than what you need, just in case.
No matter what you need a solar generator for, remember that it will cost more than your monthly electricity bill. However, it will pay for itself in no time, depending on your needs. Solar generators make excellent investments that will preserve the nature and reduce your electricity bills, so they are well worth their prices.
Do Solar Powered Generators Work?
Solar powered generators are based on a technology that hides no secrets. There are no doubts about it – they do work. They are able to capture solar energy and transform it into electricity. Their operating principles are easy to understand by anyone. While they did seem new and innovative a few decades ago, they are more diversified and accessible these days. They come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention the number of outputs. Some units are obviously more sophisticated than others and can feature all kinds of bells and whistles. However, the real question is – do they work for your needs?
In a world where electricity is a basic need, chances are you will not necessarily need a solar generator for your entire household. Sure, more and more houses invest in large systems to cover their household needs. But then, the above-mentioned generators are more suitable for small needs. They are ideal for camping and outdoor activities like picnics, trips and emergency situations like power outages. They can successfully handle smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, drones, and even small fridges. Simply put, you could go camping in a sunny area for over a week without having to worry about your phone, camera or music system.
A basic solar generator would not be able to handle large appliances due to the storage capacity. Most of them can take less than 100Wh (0.1kWh) of energy when fully charged. A large refrigerator needs around 1kWh a day, which means a basic solar generator would not be able to power it for more than a few hours. But then, things change with small and middle sized applications. Modern applications require little amounts of energy, so they can be powered for longer times, especially if the weather is good and the generator keeps recharging.
And the Best Solar Generator Is…
While many of the above mentioned solar generators can help out when in need, certain models do stand up in the crowd. Suaoki Portable Power Station makes the difference. It is one of the top rated solar generators on the market. Not only does it come from a company with a good reputation in this industry, but its specifications are likely to impress too. Most importantly, it can provide 150Wh of power when fully charged, which is way above the average. Despite the power, it is quite compact and easy to carry around, so it becomes a solid option for outdoor activities and emergencies too.
Suzuki’s best solar generator can be charged in three different ways – solar energy is the cheapest one. You can also plug it into a wall on a cloudy day, not to mention charging it on the go as you drive. A car charger is included as well. Furthermore, it comes with 10 outputs – AC, DC and USB. Its unique battery management system brings in extra safety and plenty of control – voltage and temperature.
As a short final conclusion, it is no surprise why solar generators have gained so much notoriety lately. Not only do they pay for themselves and help you reduce bills, but they make excellent options for situations when power is simply not available. If you can wait for a few hours to get power back on after a storm, chances are you will need more than that while camping or being outdoors. It is a world where people simply depend on their electronics. They need to be connected all the time – that is when a solar generator comes in handy. It is simply an investment in your convenience and comfort.