The first thing that most new homeowners ask is: how can I power my home? Most of them are looking for cost-effective and clean energy, and this often lands them to solar power. We are seeing solar panels becoming more popular by the day. But is buying solar panels enough? What do you do with the solar energy that you generate? The answer to both questions lies in investing in solar generators.
Solar generators help to convert solar energy into electricity. With a complete kit, you can light your home, power small and medium appliances, and charge your phone and laptop. Every solar generator comes with the following components:
- Solar panels that convert sunshine into solar power
- A battery that stores power
- A charge controller that controls current flow
- An inverter that converts battery power into usable electric power
The advantage of solar generators is that electricity generation is consistent as long as the sun shines and you can move with your solar generators wherever you go. Thus, if you are a frequent traveler or camper, you may find these portable power stations beneficial.
The solar generator technology has improved tremendously in the recent past. As a result, you may be confused when it comes to deciding which type of solar generator or model to buy. To save you from the stress, we have reviewed seven of the best options on the market. As a bonus, we’ve provided you with a buying guide and an FAQ section that you’ll find useful.
Top 7 Best Solar Generators
If you are looking for a large capacity and versatile solar generator that you can take to a campsite or a field trip, there are very few models that match the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer. The power station is only 6.6 pounds heavy which makes it readily portable. It also occupies less space and so you can easily fit it in your car’s backseat.
- 4-way charging: The Explorer 240 allows you to charge this generator using solar energy, a car charger, a wall socket or an another generator . For solar powering, you can use SolarSaga 60W solar panels.
- LED flashlight: This feature alerts you when there are power issues. It indicates when you exhaust the battery.
- 4 power ports: The generator allows you to connect up to 4 devices at a go. You can connect multiple phones, laptops, and other small appliances.
- Multi-device connectivity
- Doesn’t hold a charge for long
- Not waterproof
Are you looking for an easy to set up and budget-friendly solar generator? Then you should not think further than the Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator. This portable solar generator is a small but powerful power station that suits campsites, fisheries, and farms. It comes with dual 120V AC, 4*12V DC and 2*5V USB ports for different charging needs.
- Three-way charging: You can charge using the 60W or 100W solar panels, Ac plugin or a DC power source. There is utmost charging flexibility to ensure that the generator always has the power to support various household appliances.
- Surge and short circuit protection: This technology prevents overheating, excessive current flow, and overvoltage to ensure that the generator stays in good working condition.
- Maximum Power Point Tracker: The MPPT controller optimizes the source to maximize power, up to 40% faster charge times from solar panels than other models without MPPT technology.
- Versatile output: The generator has four DC outlets that are ideal for lighting and two USB ports for charging USB appliances. Additionally, there is a 110V wall adapter, car charger and cigarette light adapter.
- Large capacity
- Overcharge protection
- Solar panel sold separately
Whether you need an emergency power backup or a source of electricity on the go, Renogy Phoenix 300 has you covered. The portable power station weighs just 6.4 pounds and comes with a carrying handle. It enjoys an 80% inverter power conversion and produces a total outage output of 300W. The generator enjoys multiple charging outlets and comes with a D-Tap port for your photography and videography equipment needs.
- Battery management system: This technology prevents overheating, excessive current flow, and overvoltage to ensure that the battery stays in good working condition.
- LED flashlight: This feature allows you to assess the battery’s charge progress. You can see how it charges and your overall power consumption rate.
- Three-way charging: You can charge the battery using solar panels, a wall socket or a car charger.
- Multipower outlets: There are four USB charging ports, one CIG port, one D-Tap port and two AC outlets, among others. All these ports give you charging flexibility.
- Battery tracking
- Takes longer to charge (15 hours)
- Solar panel not included
Goal Zero is a renowned manufacturer of the best solar panels, and so they also promise the best solar generators. Yeti 400 is among the top-rated solar generators produced by this giant brand. It is not just a sturdy power station but also a powerful one. The solar generator weighs 29 pounds and comes with a 400-watt rating. The wattage is enough to power small appliances like lights, phones, and personal computers. It can power up to seven devices at a time.
- All-in-one power station: Yeti 400 guarantees 396 watt-hours and 33Ah battery capacity. You can tap into the power station through its USB 12-V port and AC outlet.
- Smart LED: The manufacturer allows you to know how much power you are consuming at any given time just by a glance. Through the smart LED display, you can calculate and estimate battery runtime.
- Rechargeable battery: Yeti 400 is battery-powered, and its battery takes roughly five hours to recharge. You can charge it using the generator’s solar panels, car charger or standard AC charger.
- Chainable for more power: Goal Zero has made it possible to chain Yet 400 with other compatible lead-acid batteries to stretch the battery’s runtime.
- Easy to charge
- Chainable with other batteries
- Battery fails to hold a charge after a while
Nature’s Generator gives you something you can rarely find in most power stations, and that is wind turbine compatibility. In this case, you can enjoy both solar and wind power generation. It weighs 90 pounds and comes with multiple charging ports. Nature’s Generator can power both medium and large household appliances. Therefore, you can count on it to power your refrigerator, TV, mobile phone, and computer.
- Powerful 6Ah battery: The battery holds a charge for 8-12 hours and is powerful enough to power large appliances.
- Four-way charging: You can charge the solar generator with solar panels, wind turbines, wall outlets or in-car chargers. It takes about 12 hours to charge with a 200-watt solar panel.
- Chain-charging flexibility: Nature’s Generator allows you to chain-charge its power ports (battery packs). The battery packs can instantly connect to the power station to offer more power.
- Multiple charging options
- Wind turbine compatibility
- Powerful battery
- Battery calls for high maintenance
A user-friendly and convenient power station, Wagan Solar ePower 1500 Plus is your ultimate solar generator. This portable power station is easy to set up and allows you to add extra batteries and panels to boost power generation. As a result, it comes with two extra terminals for expansion purposes. Wagan 1500 Plus weighs 155 pounds and provides you with immediate AC power access.
- Multipower outlets: The power station features two 115V AC outlets, two USB ports, and two 12V DC outlets to allow charging flexibility and multi-device connection.
- Improved 100 AH hybrid battery: The battery guarantees long life and performance. It is larger and more potent than that of previous models. You can charge it using solar panels, car charger or home AC.
- Powerful inverter: The inverter is powerful to guarantee more battery power conversion. It assures you of adequate electric power.
- LED indicator: The battery comes with an LED status indicator that shows its overall performance. You can observe it to tell how much power you are consuming and how better you can manage it.
- Two years warranty
- The plastic framework is not durable
Yeti 1400 is another Goal Zero Generator that doesn’t disappoint. Unlike Yeti 400, Yeti 1400 is an ultra-high capacity generator that provides on-demand electric power. Its large capacity allows you to charge multiple devices at a go and you can use its USB 12V and AC outlets. While Yeti 400 is restricted to low-power appliances, Yeti 1400 can run high-power electronics like fridges, sound systems, and power tools. It measures 44 pounds.
- Safe and waterproof battery: The lithium battery features several protective layers to promote its safe operation. The battery pack is watertight to boost water-resistance capabilities.
- Rechargeable long shelf life battery: The battery charges for about 25 hours via an AC outlet and enjoys a 10-12 months shelf life when fully charged. Its ability to retain power for long makes it a dependable choice in emergency cases.
- Multi-device support: You can connect up to 10 devices at any given time. The generator enjoys a 1425 watt-hour capacity which makes it one of the most powerful solar generators in the market.
- Intelligent App and Wi-Fi connectivity: Goal Zero provides you with a Yeti application that you can use to monitor and manage the generator flawlessly. It is also Wi-Fi-enabled to allow you to connect it to a Wi-Fi router.
- Wi-Fi enabled
- Rechargeable batter
- Ultra-high power capacity
- Requires resetting upon overloading the battery outlets
Key Features to Consider While Buying Solar Generator
To ensure that you only buy the best solar generator, here are key features to consider:
Size and weight
For portability purposes, more so when you frequently go camping and other outdoor explorations, you should choose a generator that is of reasonable size and lightweight. It shouldn’t be bulky as it may occupy more travel space and may be challenging to transport.
Every solar generator comes with solar panels that help it to convert sunshine into electric power. Though there are different panels, monocrystalline panels are considered the best because they are more energy-efficient. So, opt for them.
Since a solar generator depends on the battery for power storage, you should consider the battery’s capacity keenly. You need a battery capacity that can sustain in times that sunshine is inadequate.
You should get enough power from your solar generator to meet all your energy needs. If possible, go for a generator that gives you more power than your maximum expenditure.
Solar panels, battery, inverter, and charge controller are not the only things that come with solar generators. For convenience purposes, you also need to consider extras like the USB port, adapters, and Backlit LED.
What makes solar generators different?
Majorly, solar generators are eco-friendly, quiet, and reliable. Provided that there is sunshine, these power stations will convert solar energy into electricity.
How does a solar generator works?
Solar generators are made of inbuilt solar panels that absorb sunshine that they convert to solar power. The conversion doesn’t stop here. An inverter eventually converts solar energy into usable electric power.
What should I avoid when buying a solar generator?
For starters, don’t buy incomplete solar generator kits. Everything that you need to start harnessing solar power and convert it should be included. You also need to avoid minimal warranties and systems that you cannot find replacement parts for easily.
What size of solar generator suits me?
You need to know your average power consumption and use the knowledge to find the solar generator’s wattage rating that matches it. If you are not sure, just go for any of the options on our list.
Can a solar generator power my entire house?
Most solar generators can. It, however, depends on the size of your house and your average energy expenditure. You’ll find a solar generator more beneficial if you have a small or a mobile home such as a campervan.
Overall, a solar generator is a smart means of powering your home and carrying power to an out-of-town trip. You just need to invest in the best option and know what to avoid. The above guide can help you with this.