- Best Solar Generator Reviews
- Best Solar Generator Comparison Chart
- How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Generator?
- Setup of a Solar Powered Generator
- 5 Advantages of Owning a Solar Powered Generator
- Bottom Line
Last updated on January 18th, 2020 at 09:48 pm
Finding a solar powered generator that fits your needs can be difficult. You want the best solar generator; however, every manufacturer claims that their brand is the best. With our solar generator reviews, comparison tables, and buying guide; we will help guide you in your search. Showing you different sizes and models from the best portable solar generator brands. Our unbiased, comprehensive reviews feature only the top rated solar generator models on the market. Our information is independent and geared towards helping you find the best product. Here we are showing some of the top solar generator kits, for easy assembly, so you can directly start harnessing the sun’s energy. We are presenting all the information you need to make the most educated choice. We will also explain in a few simple steps how to set up your solar powered generator.
Best Solar Generator Reviews
- Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium
- 1425Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (132Ah,10.8V)
- 1500W Continuous - 3000W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 200W Monocrystalline Boulder Solar Panel (Optional)
- Weight: 43.7 lb.
- Price: $$$
- Maxoak Bluetti EB150
- 1500Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (101Ah,14.8V)
- 1000W Continuous - 1200W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 300W Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Optional)
- Weight: 37.9 lb.
- Price: $$$
- Jackery Explorer 500
- 518Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (24Ah,21.6V)
- 500W Continuous - 1000W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 100W Monocrystalline SolarSaga Solar Panel (Optional)
- Weight: 13.3 lb.
- Price: $$
- Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium
- 428Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (39.6Ah,10.8V)
- 300W Continuous - 1200W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 100W Monocrystalline Boulder Solar Panel (Optional)
- Weight: 16.3 lb.
- Price: $$$
- ECOFLOW River
- 412Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (28.5Ah,14.48V)
- 300W Continuous - 600W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 50W Monocrystalline ECOFLOW Solar Panel (Optional)
- Weight: 11 lb.
- Price: $$$
- Renogy Phoenix
- 246Wh~ Capacity
- Lithium-Ion Battery (17.1Ah,14.4V)
- 150W Continuous - 170W Surge Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 20W Monocrystalline Renogy Solar Panels (Included)
- Weight: 12.8 lb.
- Price: $$$
In addition, we also prepared our exclusive multiple comparison tables to clearly mark the difference in each model. Comparing charging time, battery lifespan, ports, and all the necessary features.
1. Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Solar Generator
Goal Zero is one of the leading brands of portable solar power sources. The Yeti 1400 is a powerful addition to their lithium battery powered machines.
It has a 132Ah battery with 1425Wh capacity. Capable of running your critical appliances, including refrigerators, mobile devices, power tools, and home health care equipment like a CPAP machine.
With pure sine wave inverter of 1500 watts continuous and 3000 watts surge capacity. You can safely charge up to 10 electronic devices at the same time or charge the average laptop over 20 times. It’s actually capable of running a fridge for over 23 hours nonstop.
This machine is easy to use with a smart LCD display. And almost 10 versatile ports, supporting AC, USB, USB-C, USB-PD, and 12V ports. In addition, there is a Yeti phone app that allows you to remotely control and monitor your machine through WiFi connection.
The Yeti 1400 can be charged through the mono-crystalline Boulder 200W panels or other compatible panels. They can fully charge the battery in 14 to 28 hours, depending on the sun’s visibility. It can also be charged through your AC wall outlet in about 25 hours.
Whether you need a solar generator for emergency situations, outdoor events, or camping. The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium has a great shelf life, and it’s very easy to use. Making it practical for a lot of situations.
2. Maxoak Bluetti EB150 Portable Solar Generator
If you’re looking to start harnessing the sun’s power and use sustainable energy; then this is a good place to start. The Maxoak Bluetti can run big power devices for your home, food truck, or off-grid cabin.
It is large enough to power a fan, a TV, and a fridge all night long or keep most of your daily equipment charged. It comes with a 101Ah lithium-ion battery of 1500Wh capacity and a 1000W pure sine wave inverter power. This means it will be easy to run any appliance under the 1000 watt mark.
It is specially designed for high-power devices such as a blender or an electric drill. Weighs a little under 38 pounds and has a carrying handle on top. It’s a great solar backup power source that allows you to safely connect up to 8 devices simultaneously. Offering four USB, one USB-C, two 110V AC, and one DC 12V carport.
In addition, it gives you the ability to connect up to 500W of solar panels to get it fully charged. Or, you can also get it fully charged through a wall plug in 10 hours. However, it’s important to note that the solar charge capacity is only 60V, which may result in a slow charging process.
The Bluetti EB150 has a certified LG battery cell with a great shelf life, only losing about 2% charge in a month. Along with the LCD display showing battery input and output status. Overall, this powerhouse is function-packed, user-friendly, and requires no previous experience with heavy-duty solar generators.
3. Jackery Explorer 500 Solar Generator
Jackery specializes in providing portable battery packs, and the Explorer 500 is currently their highest-capacity edition. Features a 24 amp-hour lithium battery with a max capacity of 518 watt-hours.
It packs enough power to charge your phone, laptop, and any professional camera multiple times. Offering three USB ports, one DC, and one AC outlets, making it much more versatile than just a way to recharge your mobile devices. It delivers 500W of pure sine wave power alongside a 1000W surge peak protection. This means you can safely power some basic appliances during short blackouts or charge your electronic devices on an off-road trip.
Weighs only thirteen pounds and has a carrying handle on top. It also features a 5W efficient LED flashlight that works on different modes. Alongside an LCD display that allows you to see the status of the battery at any given time.
To charge the Explorer 500, simply connect it to the Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel or other compatible solar panels to get a full charge in about 14 to 16 hours. You can also charge it through a wall outlet in less than 8 hours, or through a DC car lighter port in less than 16 hours. This means once the battery is empty, it can take a long time to fully charge through only the power of the sun.
That being said, the Jackery Explorer 500 is a perfect choice as a solar generator setup for a variety of uses. Boasting all the features you’d expect when purchasing a portable solar generator of this type and size.
4. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Portable Solar Power Station
With advanced features and a new lithium battery, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 portable power station is definitely worth a look. Utilizing the latest battery management technology. Making it an excellent alternative as a backup solar generator for short power outages at home or extended camping weekends, keeping your essentials charged.
Not only does it have a replaceable battery, but it also has an LCD display. So it’s easy to know how much charge it has at any given time, as well as output and input levels.
The Yeti 400 is your electricity wall outlet in the wilderness. Capable of charging up to 7 devices simultaneously, with a battery peak capacity of 428Wh. Safe for charging sensitive electronic devices. Delivering 300 watts of clean inverter sine wave energy, peaking at 1200 watts.
It has a 10.8V, 39.6Ah battery and you can charge it using two different methods. A regular wall outlet in about 7 hours. Or the sun, by connecting it to a Goal Zero Boulder 100 panel or any compatible solar panels for a charging time of 8 to 16 hours.
Supporting three different outputs; two USB, two AC, and two 12V ports. Weighing only 17 pounds and with its almost nonexistent noise level, the Yeti 400 Lithium is ideal for use indoors and at noise enforced campsites. While maintaining good quality, overall, we would highly recommend this machine to anyone looking for the best solar generator of this size.
5. Ecoflow River 500W Portable Power Station
The Ecoflow River 500W is easy to use, requires no assembly, and ready to be used straight out of the box. It’s also fairly powerful and weighs only 11 pounds. An ideal mini solar set-up for your RV or camping site.
Has a 114Ah lithium-ion battery of 412Wh capacity, and pure sine wave inverter with a peak of 600 watts and 300 watts continuous. This little machine can charge a GoPro or a drone up to 8 times, a MacBook up to 9 times, and the average iPhone over 30 times. While also being lightweight; it’s a great choice for camping portable power needs.
With four USB, two USB-C, two AC, two DC, and one 12V carport; it allows you to safely connect up to 11 devices simultaneously for optimum power. In addition, it offers you three ways to charge the battery; solar panels, a wall outlet, or your car lighter port. A convenient way to charge it easily wherever you go.
Not to mention, it holds quick charging time and has a huge LCD display, showing watts in use, remaining hours, and battery charge. Everything about this device is portable; all the parts needed for use can be put into its case and carried along. With as much as you would be on the move, this is an ideal solar generator for camping. Compact yet powerful enough to meet your charging needs.
6. Renogy Phoenix All in One Solar Generator Kit
Compact and smart design suitcase of all in one solar generator kit. A 17 amp-hour lithium battery, the Renogy Phoenix has 246 watt-hours and holds the charge for up to 2 months. It’s also lightweight, weighing only 13 pounds.
Designed for light outdoor adventures and emergency power needs. Capable of charging a laptop for about 5 times, an IPad for 8 times, and the average smartphone for over 20 times.
Allowing you to safely charge your devices with 150W continuous pure sine wave inverter power. Features four USB ports, one AC outlet, and two DC with one car/cigarette port to safely charge a variety of devices. Further, an LCD display and a LED light torch.
It has two 10 watts built-in solar panels, for a total of 20 watts mono-crystalline efficient panels; allowing you to fully charge the battery in 15 hours. And you can add up to 100 watt extra solar panels, for a fast charging time in 2.5 hours.
In addition, it can also be charged through your car lighter port or even a wall outlet in about 5 hours. The versatility of this solar set-up allows it to earn the position of the best solar generator kit.
Overall, the Phoenix is great for light uses, where you can easily charge your electronic devices in your trailer caravan or boat. It’s an easy to use green-powered generator contained in a suitcase; set to harness the power of the sun with Renogy’s top-quality solar panels.
Best Solar Generator Comparison Chart
|Feature/Product||Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium||Maxoak Bluetti EB150||Jackery Explorer 500||Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium||ECOFLOW River||Renogy Phoenix|
|Full Charge by Solar Panel||Boulder (200W): 14-28 hrs.||3 x Maxoak (100W): 5.5 hrs.||SolarSaga (100W): 14-16 hrs.||Boulder (100W): 8-16 hrs.||ECOFLOW (50W): 10-15 hrs.||2 x Renogy10 (20W): 15 hrs.|
|Full Charge by AC Input||25 hrs.||10 hrs.||7.5 hrs.||7 hrs.||9 hrs.||5 hrs.|
|Full Charge by DC Input||Not Available||Not Available||16 hrs.||Not Available||6 hrs.||5 hrs.|
|Display||LCD Display + Yeti App||LCD Display||LCD Display||LCD Display||LCD Display||LCD Display|
|Battery Cycles / Shelf Life||500 cycle / 6 months||500 cycle / 6 months||500 cycle / 6 months||500 cycle / 6 months||500 cycle / 1 year||1500 cycle|
|USB Output Port||4||5||3||3||6||4|
|AC Output Port||2||2||1||2||2||1|
|DC Output Port||3||1||2||2||3||4|
|Solar Panels||up to 360W max.||up to 500W max.||up to 100W max.||up to 120W max.||up to 110W max.||up to 120W max.|
|Certificates||CE + FCC + ROHS||Not Available||FCC, ROHS, UN38.3||CE + FCC + ROHS||CE, FCC, ROHS, UN38.3||FCC, UN38.3|
How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Generator?
Solar generators are quickly and quietly becoming a mainstream way to create green energy. Green energy is cleaner and more reliable than other sources of power; it will save you money and is better for the environment, too. A solar generator is a machine that captures the sun’s energy using solar panels. Then converts that power into electrical power then stores it in a battery, to be released later through an inverter.
Power stations are commonly referred to as solar generators. This is a bit confusing because they don’t actually generate power through burning fuels like typical generators. Instead, they only store energy delivered from solar panels or household power outlets.
Deciding to buy a solar generator is an excellent choice; however, finding the best portable solar generator is a daunting task. There are so many different kinds, styles, and features that it can seem like a never-ending list of devices that all look nearly the same. Throughout the rest of this article, we will list the key features available in solar generators today. We will tell you what to avoid and give you an idea of the differences between some of the components.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Solar Powered Generator
Some parts can make your solar generator more efficient, while others make it more costly. Choosing the right solar generator is very similar to buying a car; you have a price point in mind, you have a list of features or at least a list of uses, and you’ve done your research.
Type of Solar Panels
Three primary kinds of solar panels exist; mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and thin-film.
- Mono crystalline panels: offers the most quality, and thus are the priciest. Yielding a 15-20 percent efficiency rate, and operating better in high-temp situations are the two biggest benefits of mono-crystalline solar panels.
- Poly crystalline panels: comes in second, carries a 13-16 percent efficiency rate, and operates slightly less efficiently in high-temperatures than mono-crystalline panels. The differences between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline are minimal. The difference in the construction is that mono-crystalline is made from a single crystal. Whereas poly-crystalline is made from many crystals. Poly-crystalline panels are somewhat less expensive than mono-crystalline panels, and are only a bit lower in quality; so they are usually the most popular choice.
- Thin film panels: are usually less efficient and less convenient than their crystalline counterparts. Yielding a relatively low-efficiency rate of between 7 and 13 percent. They require a significantly more vast area of coverage to compete with mono or poly-crystalline panels. Thin-film panels are, however, the cheapest option. I believe this is one of the occasions where you truly do get what you pay for as far as quality.
Choose wisely, on which panels fits you best for future convenience.
Battery capacity is a major deciding factor when choosing a solar generator. When looking at the battery capacity of solar generators, be sure to look for watt-hours (Wh). Because that’s the right battery capacity.
For example, the average iPhone uses about 5.5Wh, and an electric blanket is about 200Wh; if your solar generator only has a 200Wh capacity, you won’t be able to charge your phone and use your blanket at the same time for more than an hour.
Some generators have battery capacities that are perfect for charging your devices during hunting or fishing weekends. But if you want a generator as a backup power supply for your home. You’ll want something that can withstand the high wattage appliances. Then make sure to look for a high watt-hour battery capacity for your solar generator that can withstand your current and future power needs.
The inverter rating on a solar generator is a number telling you the maximum amount of watts you can pull from the generator at any given time. Depending on your desired use, you may need a solar generator with a larger inverter rating.
However, don’t be fooled; inverter size alone doesn’t influence the power capabilities of solar generators. An inverter of 1500W is useless if it’s being used with a 450Wh battery. The most effective solar generators have a ratio of 1.5:1 watt-hours/inverter rating. For example, a 1500 watt-hour battery to a 1000 watt inverter.
To sum it up, if you intend to use a solar generator to charge a couple of smartphones on a weekend camping trip. A small 200Wh generator will do just fine. Alternately, if you’re hoping to power your coffee machine in the event of a power outage; that size likely won’t be of much use to you.
Many solar generators on the market today combine functionality and practicality; allowing you to have your cake and eat it, too essentially. In any case, you’ll likely find all the features you want and need in a solar generator. Portable enough to easily transport from room to room or lift into a vehicle.
Some of the best portable generators we’ve seen weighed a decent amount but had handles and wheels; allowing for easy transportation, regardless of weight. If you want your solar generator to be as mobile as you are, then you’ll want to look for generators that are either light or have handles and wheels.
I wasn’t far off when I compared purchasing a solar generator and buying a car; there are features that you may not “need” but are especially useful to have. There are solar generators with LCD displays, making it much easier to monitor the charge of your device and the remaining battery life of your generator.
Some generators can wirelessly connect to apps on your phone, allowing you to monitor your generator and devices remotely. Also, some generators allow you to expand your power by connecting extra panels when needed.
You can also check our article about how solar power evolved into a reliable source of energy that we know today.
Things to Avoid when Choosing a Solar Powered Generator
- Finally, avoid buying solar generators that have solar panels and battery installed in the same unit – it will shorten the life of your battery due to heat. Batteries hate heat.
- Avoid making an impulse decision on which solar generator to get; do your research. Solar generators with built-in solar panels are often manufactured in such a way that they cannot be repaired.
- Solar generator kits, i.e., generator, solar panels, cords, accessories, are more cost-efficient not only upfront but also in the long run because they can be repaired, and the individual parts can be replaced.
- Watch out for the snake-oil pitch many companies are using to convince people that their generators are the “best”. Avoid spending big money on low-quality solar generators.
- Purchasing the parts individually or as a kit is almost always the best choice. You get exactly the quality parts you want, and you can also replace or repair those parts as needed.
Setup of a Solar Powered Generator
How you set up your solar generator system is very dependent on which solar generator you intend to use and for what purpose. Some solar generators require little or no installation, for use when camping, driving, and backup battery use.
Meanwhile, if you’re aiming at running all the electrical equipment in your luxury RV solely on solar energy. You will have a more in-depth installation process. This includes installing the solar panels on the roof, connecting your panels to the generator, and installing the regulator. As well as, connecting your deep cycle auxiliary battery or batteries and wiring your inverter. In fact, inverters are a necessity if you want to run appliances that use AC power (household); they’re what converts DC power into AC power.
Whether you’re building your system for your home (on-grid), or your mobile vehicle (off-grid); then there are some things you’ll need to know.
Setup of an Off-Grid Solar Generator System
A good off-grid setup will give you the opportunity to live without a public electric utility. Whether you’re camping, traveling around the country in your RV, or just want an emergency backup power source.
Once you’ve decided how much power you will need. Having a bank of four deep-cycle batteries and two or three solar panels. You should have no problem meeting your power needs. You also have the option of installing a whole-house solar generator system. One that is able to power an average house, complete with full-sized appliances. But that requires a pretty big budget. There are four primary things that you will need to start your off-grid solar system:
You will need enough solar panels to efficiently charge your batteries, so choosing the right ones is important. Mono-crystalline panels are the most efficient (although the most expensive) choice. Poly-crystalline panels are a little less efficient, but a little less expensive and can do a good job.
Pro tip: Usually, aluminum frame solar panels are more versatile; they last longer, and they also carry a longer warranty than other flexible solar panels.
Warning: Check the warranty carefully when installing solar panels on an RV or other mobile vehicles. As this use is often not covered by warranty.
A charge controller is a voltage regulator; designed to keep the batteries from overcharging. They are almost always a necessary component of nearly all power systems that charge batteries.
Most charge controllers will work with many high voltage solar panels. In order to regulate the maximum total input of voltage not to exceed the capacity. However, using a charge controller will cause a loss of power – from 20% to 60% of what your solar panels are rated at.
A solar panel is only capable of putting out a limited amount of amps. So although the voltage is diminished, the amperage from the panel cannot rise above the rated amps. Therefore, a 175W solar panel, rated at 23 volts or 7.6 amps, will only be able to put 7.6 amps at about 12 volts into the battery.
Pro-tip: Use Ohms Law (watts = volts x amps), to find out how many watts your battery is getting.
A high amp-hour deep cycle battery is the best choice for off-grid or strictly solar recharge use. A deep-cycle battery is designed to be able to regularly deeply discharge; meaning using most of its capacity. High power usage appliances mean a shorter life per charge. So if you want to use your solar system without worrying about every light being on or off. You will need a high amp-hour (Ah) battery. Battery options include lithium batteries, which are the most expensive. Or lead-acid batteries, which are still high quality and more affordable.
An inverter is a great thing to have in a portable solar system. Because you won’t have to worry about finding a 12V charger or device while traveling. As well it produces sine wave energy that is safe to use with sensitive electronic devices and appliances, such as mobile devices. A 2000W inverter is a good choice; it will run almost anything, except an air conditioner.
Installing of Solar Panels
Which position to set your solar panels can be a little tricky. Because you will want to generate as much power as you can during the daylight hours. When positioning your solar panels, be sure to place them facing south (if possible), and angle them at about 30 degrees. This will give you optimum efficiency throughout the year. If you live in a house that only has East and West facing rooftops. You can install solar panels on both; allowing you to get maximum coverage throughout the day.
Setup of an On-Grid Solar Generator System
An on-grid setup is very simple. You simply install a solar panel(s) on your roof or in your yard. Then connect them to a grid inverter. Then connect the inverter to your existing electrical network. This is a great way to reduce your electric bill, as well as go green using renewable energy. Allowing it to serve as a standby generator.
Pro-tip: A great option would be to install as many solar panels as you can within your budget. Then simply wire the panels into a micro-inverter, and plug the inverter into any standard 3-pin plug in your home. Power will always take the shortest route; therefore, your appliances will use the available solar power before any power from the grid. However, remember that you will need an inverter or charge controller system to convert all the solar panels to household 120V/60Hz before plugging the solar arrangement into your electrical system.
5 Advantages of Owning a Solar Powered Generator
Whether you have decided to become more eco-friendly. Are looking for a less dangerous backup power source to replace your fuel-powered generator. Or you want to go off-grid; there are many benefits and no foreseeable downsides to owning a solar powered generator. In fact, there are too many benefits to list in one article. So here are 5 significant advantages of owning a solar generator.
The average 5 person, 2 car family, produces 58,109lbs of CO2 per year. As a matter of fact, by using solar power to run your home just 25% of the time. You can decrease your households’ CO2 output by nearly 6% per year. That’s the equivalent of 175 gallons of gas.
Investment in Long-Term Savings
Using solar energy, just 25% of the time can save you as much, or more, than 400$ a year. Moreover, that’s if the only energy-saving action you take is using solar power. Therefore, no matter how much your home solar generator system costs. It will save you money over time. Everyone likes the idea of saving money.
Great for Indoor Use
As opposed to gas-powered generators. Solar generators are unbelievably convenient for use indoors due to them not using fuel. Producing no toxic fumes; consequently, solar generators are completely safe for use indoors. No moving parts is another great safety feature. Being able to use your backup power source indoors is significantly more convenient in a power outage situation. Rather having to gas up and maneuver a gas generator outside in the dark. You can easily transport your portable solar generator from room to room in the safety and warmth of your own home.
Not only is it easy to use indoors it’s also a silent generator. Many campgrounds have a quiet time or noise regulation. As a result, it will effectively limit the usefulness of many fuel-powered generators. Charging your camera or flashlight in the middle of the night isn’t going to work if you can’t run your generator. Most gas-powered generators range from 50 to 85 decibels (dB) of noise. Every 10 decibels is about 10 times louder to the human ear. Therefore, making an 80-decibel noise rating nearly unbearable.
Ease of Use and Convenience
Lastly, once a generator is properly installed and or set up, it will run 24/7 with no maintenance from you. During the day, the sun’s rays will charge your battery. And at night, the battery powers your electronic devices. For as long as there’s enough sunlight during the day. You’ll never have to worry about your solar generator. If you’ve ever used a gas-powered generator, you know that between changing the oil, managing the gas, and in addition to making sure it’s not too loud for anyone around. You’re perfectly aware of the many inconveniences they can have. However, that’s not to say that gas generators don’t have a good use. But, in many cases, the benefits of a solar generator greatly outweigh the benefits of a fuel generator.
Choosing to own a solar generator, whether for home or travel, is a great choice. Furthermore, it can and will save you money. It will also make emergency power outages, long camping trips, and cross-country RVing more comfortable, more convenient, and more fun. With so many brands and options, not to mention conflicting or absent information. It’s hard to make an educated and informed decision about a product. We brought you portable solar generator reviews and guide to make your search for the best solar generator a little easier. Whether you were trying to figure out the difference between solar panels, or you wanted to know what an inverter is. We hope we covered all the information you would need to make an informed decision.