Solar generators are hassle-free, clean, and don’t use fossil fuels, and as solar energy progresses, they’re becoming more cost-effective by the minute.
Asides from proving their worth in cases of emergency, where additional fuel sources are hard to access or in short supply, solar generators are proving the go-to for everyday use, especially with the eco-minded.
With so many solar generator options on the market, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.
In this article we’ll share our picks for the best solar generators, but more importantly we’ll help you pick the one best suited for your individual needs.
Best Solar Generators of 2021
- Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 (Best Overall)
- Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station (Most Versatile)
- Rockpals 250 Watt Portable Generator (Best for Camping)
- Anker Powerhouse 200 Portable Solar Ready Generator (Fastest Charging)
- Eco Worthy Portable Power Station (Best Budget Option)
- Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Outdoor Solar Generator (Most Portable)
We’ve rounded up our top choices, to help make your decision that little bit easier.
In our review, we’ve taken into consideration charge controller ability, portability, budget, versatility, and rechargeable battery options.
Solar Generator Reviews
Best Overall: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- The Jackery Explorer was awarded “Best Solar Generator for Use in the Outdoors” in the Digital Trends.
- A great entry-level option to consider when choosing the best solar generator for use outdoors. It features an ergonomically-pleasing handle, which makes it extremely easy to carry from one location to the next, which makes it perfect for camping trips.
- Boasts multifunctional outputs including an AC outlet (110V/200W/400W Peak), a DC carport (which easily powers everyday devices comprising laptops, phones, mini coolers, lights, fans, and more) using a pure sine wave inverter and several USB-A ports.
- Features a Green Solar Generator complete with an in-built power point tracking MPPT controller for the ultimate in efficiency, as well the option to connect additional components such as the Solar Saga 60W – an ideal alternative to gas generators for the eco-conscious.
- Multiple recharging methods including a car charger option, a wall outlet, and AC outlets. This makes it a versatile product suited to those on the go.
Most Versatile: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
- Extremely quiet, portable power at the tap of a button.
- Replaceable and chainable sealed lead-acid AGM battery, which weighs just 29 lbs.
- Comes with a 12-month warranty as standard.
- An all-around solar generator, and the perfect piece of equipment for those wishing to power multiple devices, and users with medium-sized power requirements. The Goal Zero Yeti easily charges smartphones, cameras, headlamps, laptops, and tablets. Other appliances that can be hooked up to this device include lights, mini-fridges, and LCD TVs.
- The Goal Zero Yeti can be charged in three ways – either via natural sunlight through connecting an additional solar panel component, such as the Boulder 100 Briefcase, which offers a full charge in 6-12 hours, via the wall in 5 hours, or via a 12V car adapter in 13 hours.
Want to Know More? Check out our full Yeti 400 Solar Generator Review
Best For Camping: Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
- Can be easily recharged via the wall or natural sunlight using any compatible solar panel with an output of 50-watt or 100-watt, with a charging time (to full capacity) of just eight hours.
- Features a Pure Sine Wave Inverter, which allows for inductive loads including motors and microwaves to run at high speed – all at a lower temperature emitting little sound. A great option for those looking to decrease electrical and audible noise in fluorescent lights, fans, TVs, audio amplifiers, fax, and answering machines.
- A great choice for indoor and outdoor activities, whether powering general household appliances, such as refrigerators and TVs, or camping, fishing, and travel equipment.
- Features an upgraded, heavy-duty 250-watt USB, AC, and 12V power output, a much greater power source to that offered by other market contenders, and a great choice for those searching for a generator that promises to power multiple items.
- Boasts an extremely lightweight, high-capacity power pack, which weighs just 5.5LBs, yet features ample juice to charge smartphones a total of 25 times, TVs for 2-3 hours, laptops 3-5 times, and mini car refrigerators for a total of 4 hours.
Fastest Charging: Anker Powerhouse Portable Rechargeable Generator
- One of the best solar generators for home healthcare, emergencies, and outdoor adventures.
- Boasts multiple inputs and recharging options, including solar, USB-C power delivery, and AC wall outlet charging facilities. It can power fans for 12+ hours, mini-fridges for 4+ hours, a MacBook Pro for 5+ charges, inflatable mattresses 18+ times, and smartphones 12+ charges.
- A superior runner in the solar generator safety stakes, featuring input high-voltage protection, input current regulation, output high-voltage protection, output current regulation, and auto current matching. Other safety assets worth noting include device overcharge protection, static resistance, output temperature control, and battery over-discharge protection.
- Ergonomically built, extremely portable, and easy to carry.
- Stylish casing and a contemporary, sleek design – one for those looking for a product that not only performs well, but looks good whilst in action.
Best Budget Option: Eco-Worthy Portable Power Station
- Boasts an impressive 12-year lifespan that meets continuous power needs.
- Compact, lightweight design makes this the perfect solar generator for those on the go, especially users looking for a companion for travel and camping trips. Weighing just 2.1 lbs, it’s highly portable and boasts an easy-to-carry handle.
- Features two charging options, including solar panel charging, which when fully charged promises lighting for a total of 2.5 days, and USB charging, via battery, car, and wall plugs – a highly versatile option that features a handy display charging status.
- One of the best solar generators for those on a budget. Priced at just $49.99, it’s a good buy for those searching for an affordable yet quality generator.
- Great after-care customer service and two-year warranty, as well as the option of a full refund within 90 days if this solar generator doesn’t meet your needs. A safety net for those new to the solar panel and generator market.
Most Portable: Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station and Outdoor Solar Generator
- Compact, rugged portable solar generator, perfect for off-the-grid usage. Extremely easy to use and a great choice for outdoor and indoor activities.
- Easily charges a range of personal devices including laptops, mobile phones, cameras, and other electronic appliances – a great option as an emergency backup energy source.
- Extremely lightweight, which makes it one of the most portable solar generators on the market, complete with a nifty built-in handle. Measuring just 8.14 x 3.77 x 7 inches, and weighing just 3.75 lb, it can easily be transported to and from a variety of locations and is the perfect choice to tuck into a storage compartment or bag – a solar generator ready for any adventure!
- Comes in the shape of an all-inclusive power station solar generator, equipped with a total of two USB outlets, comprising one USB Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 outlet and one USB-C outlet. The iGen160s Portable Power Station and Outdoor Solar Generator also feature three 5.5mm DC outputs and two 120V household outlets, allowing it to support a range of users ’ charging needs, offering power to GoPros, lights, drones, speakers, and more.
- More than your average power bank – this system features an integral flashlight, complete with an SOS mode. It also doubles up as a reading lamp, making it perfect for everyday usage and emergencies. The tech-savvy control panel display reveals data on AC/DC status, battery life, and comprises DC power, AC outlets, multiple USB ports, and charging indicators. It also features a short circuit protection mode for the ultimate in safety, as well as over-voltage, power outage, low voltage, over current, and overload protection, including temperature control.
Solar Generator Buyer’s Guide
If you’re considering investing in a solar generator or solar panels, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve shared our top tips to help make your decision easier!
What is the Best Type of Solar Generator?
This is dependent on what you will be using the solar generator for. For example, will you be using it indoors to power everyday household appliances? If so, the Jackery Explorer Portable Power Station is your go-to.
If you’re looking for the best solar device to use in the garden, when camping or traveling, the Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator is a great choice.
If budget is your biggest consideration, the Eco-Worthy Power Station is one of the best cost-saving options, whilst the Anker Powerhouse Portable Rechargeable Generator is the perfect tool for those requiring a solar power source that promises speedy charging, multiple USB ports, and a high capacity lithium battery.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Portable Solar Generator?
There are numerous benefits to portable solar generators, including cost-efficiency, convenience, versatility, and eco-friendliness.
These devices are low maintenance, can be customized to the user’s needs, and makes little to no sound when in use. Two of the best options on the market include the Titan Solar Generator and the Goal Zero Yeti 400.
With a portable solar generator, you can use this in the home as emergency backup power (to conquer the likes of power outages) or on the road.
As well as reducing energy consumption, these nifty devices seldom require additional components – an asset to those on the move. The majority of portable options feature waterproof electronic components, which makes them the perfect pick for camping trips.
One of the biggest advantages of a portable solar generator however is its slim build and lightweight. This means users can easily carry it to and from different locations, be that to the garden and back, or in a backpack if camping.
The best solar generator devices can power a variety of everyday applications, including radios, lamps, lights, and small speakers. They can also be used to charge phones, cameras, and iPads, which makes them a handy ally have, especially when traveling or in emergencies as backup power.
Whether for indoor or outdoor use, their high adaptability allows users to action everything from jump-starting a vehicle to powering an entire music set, from the amp to lights to the bass guitars and more. One thing is for certain, a portable generator promises to perform more seamlessly than its gas-powered counterpart.
Another big benefit? Portable solar generators, just like non-portable devices, are eco-friendly. Unlike gas generators, solar panels don’t require fuel to run, instead, they take their energy from the natural sunlight. This makes solar panels a great investment for eco-warriors wishing to minimize their carbon footprint.
Gas generators that run solely on fossil fuels give off harmful chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, which not only contribute to air pollution, they heighten global warming as a whole.
What Are The Features You Should Look For In A Solar Generator?
This depends on your personal needs. Consider the solar generator’s versatility, whether it’s portable, how quickly it can charge a range of everyday applications, the cost, and the size.
If you need to power heavy equipment, you’ll need to invest in a high-powered device to sit alongside your solar panels. However, if you’re traveling in an RV or camping, portable solar generators with a lithium battery are a must.
Other features to consider include the warranty, whether the solar generator requires additional components to function if the device is waterproof (especially if you plan to use it outside) and the battery storage capacity.
Finally, check the manufacturer’s notes for the solar PV input, component quality and availability (you may need to buy replacement parts down the line), inverter rating, and whether or not it offers a balanced system design.
Knowing what to look for when investing in a solar generator is the key to picking a great product that will give you years of use. Buying a device simply because it’s lower-priced may cost you more in the long run, especially if it is low quality, requires several additional components to function, or needs repaired regularly.
What Size Solar Generator Do I Need?
If you’re looking for a camping buddy, a small, portable generator is a must. These electronic devices don’t have to be the cream of the crop, as they will likely be powering appliances such as radios, lamps, mobile phones, and other small devices that necessitate less power outage.
However, if you work in the music industry or need a solar generator to power larger appliances, including amps, washing machines, refrigerators, and lighting, a high-powered, top-of-the-range device with a powerful battery may be more your cup of tea.
As well as the size of the device, it’s important to consider the generator’s AC power output, how many watts and volts it offers, and what devices you need to power. The best solar generator can power a huge number of products, including everything from traditional appliances to music equipment and more.
If your portable power station goal is to invest in a generator that offers extreme power, you’ll need to consider its specifications carefully. When it comes to choosing the perfect product for your needs, customer reviews are a great source of information, as are guides like this one,
How Do Portable Solar Generators Work?
You may reside in a location prone to hurricanes, blackouts, tornadoes, high winds, or any other natural element that can wipe your power out for a day, or even longer. This is when a solar generator comes to the rescue.
Even if you seldom use it, it’s always wise to have backup power to hand. In addition to natural elements, many invest in these lithium-ion devices to power their RV’s, take on camping adventures, fuel off-grid sites, or tiny homes.
In terms of home use, portable generators are a highly efficient alternative to investing in an entire power system. Solar generators use numerous batteries to store energy, which results in an impressive wattage output. This output enables them to provide enough power to fire up televisions, lights, computers, and a range of small to mid-sized everyday appliances.
In most cases, it takes 48 hours or less to fully charge a solar backup device. This can differ depending on solar panel size and the quantity of sunlight available.
Today’s generators can be used outside and inside, can be stored in the home, in a car, or in a garden shed. The beauty of modern-day solar generators is their lightweight, which makes them more versatile than past products.
The best way to utilize solar power is through the use of a solar generator and solar panels, but how do solar-powered generators work? In a nutshell, a solar generator operates by embracing the sun’s energy through solar panels. These solar panels store energy in an integral battery, before transforming it into AC power via an inverter.
The majority of today’s solar generators and solar panels include a battery management system, an MPPT charge controller, and an inverter. All are key to the quality functioning of a solar power generator and solar panels.
Unlike the fuel-powered generators on the market, a solar-powered generator works by converting natural sunlight into DC electricity. How do they do this? They draw electrons from photons, which prompts natural energy, in the form of electricity, to be sent to a central charge controller. This energy can then be used to power a wide range of appliances in various environments, including the home and the great outdoors.
The simplest way to combat power outages, or to power off-grid sources, is to invest in the best solar generator available. They don’t require fossil fuel, the battery recharges quickly, they are silent and in most cases, they’re extremely portable.
When determining which is the best solar generator for you, think about the types of tools, appliances, and devices you use regularly, what wattage they are, and how much charge they require.
If you require a high-powered device, and one that promises to power an array of appliances, the best solar generator for your needs is an all-rounder, such as the Jackery Explorer 240 – the perfect power buddy for versatility, use outdoors, and for multifunctional power outputs.