What Are The Best Solar Generators Available
Based on W and Wh, weve compiled a list of some of the top-rated solar generator products available for under $2,000. All of the batteries on our list use lithium-ion technology, but vary in their specific chemistry check out our article on comparing lithium-ion battery chemistries to learn more about the differences.
NOTE: these prices do not include the cost of the solar panels.
The 10 Best Solar Powered Generators To Sustainably Keep The Lights On
Going camping or looking for backups in case of a power outage? Solar powered generators are the way to go. Unlike their gas-powered counterparts, theyre quiet, smell-free, and dont contribute to climate change.
Solar generators create power through solar panels , converting it into electrical power, then storing it in a battery for later use.
Before investing in a solar powered generator, make sure to estimate how much power youll need to run appliances, tools and tech in case of a power outage or whatever youll need in the wilderness.
Once you know how many watts youll need, be sure to look for a generator that has the right weight, dimensions and outlets. Here are the best 10 solar powered generators on the market.
Best Backpack Solar Charger: Choetech 24w Solar Charger Backpack Kit
If you want to be able to charge your smartphone while hiking or cycling, we recommend the CHOETECH 24W Solar Charger.
It fits snugly on your backpack, and since it’s so light just half a pound you won’t realize it’s there .
Don’t worry if you don’t have a backpack to attach it to it comes with its own.
Highly efficient PET solar panels: The 24W solar panels convert 23-24% of sunlight into electrical power. In full sunlight, your phone charges almost as fast as when it’s connected to a wall outlet.
The relatively high conversion rate also allows you to connect two devices at the same time without significantly slowing down charging speed.
Each port delivers up to 2.4 amps in full sunlight.
Backpack included: The CHOETECH Solar Charger comes with a lightweight and water-resistant backpack. The backpack itself is foldable so you can stow it away easily when you are not out on a hike. It can also transform into a smaller pack.
You don’t have to use the solar panel with the included backpack. You can attach it to any backpack using the three loops on each side and carabiners .
Perfect for Hikers
Hikers cannot afford any unnecessary weight. They also don’t have the time to sit down to wait for their phone to charge.
The CHOETECH backpack solar charger meets those two needs. It’s super light and allows effortless on the go charging.
You can charge your phone and the power bank at the same time using the two USB ports on the solar charger.
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Best Smartphone Solar Charger: Anker 21w Dual Usb Solar Charger
If the only device you need to charge is your smartphone, there’s no need to buy an expensive and heavy solar generator.
The Anker foldable solar charger allows you to charge your phone on the go, even when you are hiking.
It doesn’t have an internal battery, but you can use it to charge a power bank for use at night or when it’s cloudy.
- Fast charging technology charges your smartphone in less time.
- Rugged and weather-resistant PET polymer solar panels perfect for campers and hikers.
- It can be attached to a backpack for charging on the go.
- Thin and lightweight easy to carry when hiking.
- Relies on direct sunlight.
- No built-in battery. Youll have to buy your own power bank if you want to store power.
PowerIQ fast charging technology: The Anker solar charger delivers the highest safe power level to a device. This increases the charging rate, especially in full sunlight. It can fully charge a smartphone in about two hours.
Dual USB ports: The Anker solar charger comes with two USB ports, allowing you to charge two smartphones at once. You can also charge your smartphone while charging an external power bank for backup power supply.
Highly portable: Weighing just 1 pound, you won’t feel any significant weight difference when you carry the Anker solar charger in your backpack. The foldable design also takes up very little space.
Great for Emergencies and Outdoor Enthusiasts
Three Main Factors To Consider When Looking For The Best Solar Generator
- Battery Capacity Battery storage capacity is an important thing to look for when determining the usability of a solar generator. Higher capacity means that your generator will keep your devices running for a longer period before it needs to be recharged. So, be sure to go for the highest possible battery capacity for your budget.
- Inverter Rating If your solar generator has a low inverter rating, you might not be able to use high-wattage devices and appliances. Be sure to get a generator with an inverter rating that corresponds with the wattage of items youre planning to power with the generator.
Some solar generators are equipped with inverter chargers. These generators can obtain battery power via other sources apart from solar panels. You might consider investing in these types of generators if you are looking to use high-wattage devices and appliances.
- Portability Look for a solar generator that is easy to carry around. If youre going for a backup solar generator, its advisable to choose one that has wheels and extended handles to enhance portability.
When it comes to choosing portable solar charges, some are designed to be more portable than others. Therefore, be sure to select a unit that has properly-designed handles and is relatively lightweight.
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How To Make Any Solar Generator Work For An Rv
The MAXOAK Bluetti EB150/EB240, Inergy Apex, and Goal Zero Yeti 1400 are great. But only the Apex has a built-in RV plug. So how can they work with an RV without having to run extension cords everywhere? This is where a 15-amp to 30-amp RV connector is needed. The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 can draw 1,500 watts of power until its pretty much empty. Using the step up plug allows the Yeti 1400 to easily connect to any RV that has the 30 amp RV plug built in.
This plug can be used with any solar generator, but the solar generators limitations are still the same. For example, the Yeti 1400 will still only push out 1,500 watts of power at its max. This means it can draw up to 12.5 amps just like the Apex. But being able to connect to the RV plug makes it very easy to use with the RV. Since the Yeti 1400 only has two 120v plugs, the RV plug takes away the need to have long extension cords around to run into the RV.
Is A Solar Generator The Right Choice For You
The first question you should ask yourself before purchasing a solar generator is what are you going to use it for? And can it effectively meet your needs?
If youre looking to charge small appliances on an RV or boat, then a solar generator might be a great option for you. Solar generators are portable and are great options for camping or traveling.
However, the usability of a solar generator when it acts as a backup home power supply is quite limited.
If youre a homeowner looking to make use of solar power, we would suggest you look into investing in a rooftop or ground-mounted solar system that includes a home battery attachment.
In addition to researching the uses of solar generators, we would advise that you check out review articles that compare different generators, for example, our review on the Titan solar generator vs inergy flex.
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How To Choose A Great Solar Powered Generator
The benefits of a solar powered generator are not just for survivalists or outdoor adventurers. Anyone who wants an environment-friendly portable generator can invest in this machine. They require less space to be stored and are also easier to use because they are lighter.
Remember that solar powered generators can also be big and heavy like a regular generator. If you are going to carry it, you must specifically look for a portable one.
When in a survival situation, the need for a portable generator can occur at any time. If not for anything else, but for charging your phones a generator is very useful.
You could carry a power bank, but thats hardly enough for extensive use, particularly when compared to the efficiency of a generator. Before you head to a store to pick up a solar powered generator, there are a few things to look for.
Ready to plug in
Unlike traditional generators that require an inverter to convert the energy into regular electricity, portable solar powered generators are ready to plug in your appliances, devices, extension cords, and other peripherals. Portable solar generators do not require a separate inverter, significantly lowering the cost of the product. The price of the generator will also vary with size and wattage.
For as little as $250, you could get a pair of 100-watt panels that would drastically enhance the performance of the generator.
There are several benefits of using a solar powered generator. Some of them are:
Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Are The Best Way To Go For Rving
They weigh more than lithium-ion batteries but have all the same characteristics of being able to drain to 0%, cheaper in the long run, 100% maintenance free and so on. The one big factor that makes LiFePo4 batteries better than lithium-ion is that they are typically rated for 3,000 to 5,000 cycles. This means they will essentially never have to be replaced in your lifetime and will remain strong for decades.
The downside to lithium-ion and LiFePo4 batteries is they do no charge well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping them warm but not hot is a good idea.
The best part about this is that the Titan is offered with lithium-ion batteries as well as LiFePo4 batteries. Whichever one suits your situation better you can select and use with ease. The LiFePo4 batteries cost more, are larger and weigh more but have more cycles. The Lithium-ion batteries are rated to a true 2,000 cycle count, weigh less, cost less and are not as tall. Just use whichever better suits your RV.
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How Do Solar Generators Work
Solar generator technology isnt new, but the idea of putting compact components in a portable unit is. These models are similar in construction to large systems, but are small enough to take on the road or to just have on hand for emergencies when an expensive backup power supply isnt an option.
Every solar generator has these basic components:
- Solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity
- A battery to store power
- A charge controller to control the flow of current to the battery
- An inverter that converts power from the battery into the kind of current needed to power household appliances.
Can A Solar Generator Power A Refrigerator
When it comes to powering a fridge with a solar generator, there are a few different things you need to take into consideration. First, determine how much wattage your refrigerator requires. This is going to be dependent on the size of your refrigerator, and we will discuss average wattage requirements later in this article.
Second, you need to verify that your solar generator can provide the wattage needs of your refrigerator. As a rule of thumb, you will want to make sure that you have a bit of wiggle room.
For example, if your refrigerator demands 800 watts, pick a generator capable of powering 1,000 watts so that you are not running your generator at full capacity at all times.
This can put a great strain on your generator and cause it to fail prematurely.
Lastly, consider how long you will want to run your refrigerator.
Most generator companies supply you with average charge times for common appliances.
This will help you better understand how long you can expect your refrigerator to run while using your solar generator.
Depending on what you will be using it for , find a generator that will run your refrigerator for the time period you require.
But yes, current generation solar generators can absolutely power a household refrigerator. See my videos above of the tests I did powering my own fridge and freezer combo with solar generators!
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Older Solar Generators For Fridges Recommendations
The following picks have not had much availability lately, so I would recommend looking at the EcoFlow or the Jackery 1000. Goal Zero has new 1500x, 3000x, and 6000x models coming out in 2020, but so far they have been very difficult to source. They are also very expensive compared to the Jackery and EcoFlow.
How To Choose The Best Solar Generator For Your Home Or Rv
It takes more than a price comparison and reading solar generator reviews to make the best choice. Since everyones needs are different, its like comparing apples to oranges. The first step to choosing the best portable solar generator is to determine how much power you need to run the devices that are important to you in an outage.
The average American home uses about 25,000 watts of energy daily or 1000 watts each hour. Most solar generators can produce 900 to 5,000 watts of electricity per hour, making them appear capable of running everything from your freezer to your pool, but unlike gas-powered generators that produce a steady supply of electricity as long as the tank is full, solar generators cant produce power that fast. They run on energy stored in batteries that must be recharged between uses.
The key to choosing the best generator is figuring out how much power you need, what you can afford and which features are the most important.
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Types Of Emergency & Disaster Situations Solar Powered Generators Are Good For
With so much uncertainty these days when it comes to power outages, viruses and natural disasters, you can never be too prepared. Especially when it comes to having the proper emergency power supply in place should you experience any sort of emergency or disaster situation.
Thousands of Americans live in areas where they can be affected by natural disasters multiple times per year. From wildfires on the west coast, floods on the east coast or tornados in the heartland..
its safe to assume that if youre reading this, odds are youve been personally affected in one way or another by a natural disaster or know someone who has.
Wondering how one should prepare for situations like this? Especially when simply picking up and moving is not an option… Keep reading to find out why we believe a solar powered generator should be a top priority when preparing for emergency situations.
Because let’s face it, our entire life cant just be uprooted and moved to a new town, state or country on a whim. The reality then becomes how do we properly prepare for the inevitability of emergency and disaster situations…
Are Solar Generators Only For Emergencies
Plenty of common applications now use solar generators, from remote off-the-grid installations to mobile uses. RVers often use solar generator systems when boondocking, or parking and camping where there are no services. Running medical equipment in areas with frequently interrupted power or sump pumps when the town is flooded are other examples.
Farmers employ these systems to run irrigation systems on distant crop fields. The advantage is mobility, moving the solar generator system from one field to the next as needs change. They work well too for fire watchtowers, communications towers, powered access gates, and open water systems like lighted marine buoys.
Dont count out the benefits of having one of these systems in your emergency kit, though, particularly if you live in an area where power outages due to natural disasters or uncertain power grids are frequent. Safety and security are a given when you dont need to rely on the electrical meter circling round and round or firing up a noisy and fuel-dependent gas generator.
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What Is A Solar Powered Generator
A solar generator or portable power station is more or less a battery in a box. The reason it’s been given the name generator or power station is because it works exactly the same as a fuel generator, however instead of pouring fuel into it, just plug a few solar panels into it and voila, it will recharge/keep your solar generator charged.
PLUS you can just plug your appliances, electronics and more right into the front of it as they come with standard outlets and USB ports. So you can actually be pouring solar power into the generator while you use that power to survive and thrive whenever and wherever.
EcoFlow Delta Wiring Diagram For Connecting Four 100 Watt Solar Panels
Can I Get More Than One Panel For A Single Generator
The short answer is: it depends on the model. There are a lot of bootleg modifications out there that promise to double the harvested energy by plugging in, or something similar. Be careful, and accept just what your manufacturer approves to be used with the generator. Of course, there are models suitable for more than 1 panel, and the manufacturers usually write down the short instructions on how to do it on the first pages of the manual.
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Determine Your Energy Requirements
If youre building the solar generator for home usage, check your energy bill. Alternatively, you can look at a chart that shows how much energy the various devices you use require to run. This will assist you in determining the load required for your system.
- 10-50W ceiling fan
- Recharging a tablet takes 8W.
- 30W Satellite Dish
- 10W LED light bulb
- 100W LCD Monitor
- 1000W Coffee Maker
- 1200W fridge
If youre wondering how to create a 5000-watt solar generator, make sure to use components that can withstand such a load.