If you need power that you can rely upon and you have regular access to sunlight, then you should consider a solar generator.
They’ve come a long way in the last few years and the chance to generate electricity without the need for gasoline, diesel or propane can be really useful.
TOP PICK >> Jackery Portable Power Station
There are three main criteria that you should consider before purchasing a solar generator:
- The capacity of the batteries: this will be measured in “watt hours”, the more watt hours, the longer the supply of electricity from the fully charged generator.
- The maximum power output: this will be measured in watts and is the maximum power that the generator can draw at one point, typically this is higher than the average power output and you need to ensure that your devices never exceed the maximum output and ideally, not the average output either.
- The battery: you will probably find the choice comes down to lithium (the best batteries as they last longer and weigh less) and lead acid (not so good but they are cheaper). This will affect the life cycle of the battery – lead acid typically lasts 1,000 cycles whereas lithium typically lasts 2,000 cycles.
You will also want to examine the solar panels that you intend to use and then work out how long it will take for your solar generator to charge in sunlight.
You should also see if there are other ways you can charge the generator just in case there’s no sunlight available.
Other things you may want to bear in mind are the weight of the unit – particularly, if you intend to use it in a portable capacity.
Also, whether there’s a charge controller included (this is a good idea as it prevents the battery from become overcharged) and the expandability of the set up.
Some solar power generators will allow you to add additional batteries and solar panels at a later date so that you can increase the output without buying a new generator.
Best Solar Generators
The Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
We love the Jackery 240. It’s a very economic way to get into solar generators. It is also very portable and weighs in at just 6.6 lbs.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t come with any solar panels and you will need to buy those separately and that is true for all the products in this round up.
It is based on lithium ion battery technology which means that it will last longer than a lead acid equivalent and it can be charged from your car or an AC outlet if there are no panels around or the sun isn’t out.
It offers 240 Watt hours which means it’s enough to run a laptop or some lights on, you could possible even rig up a mini-fridge too. In short, it’s the ideal partner for a camping trip.
You can find the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 online.
The Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
If the Jackery 240 wasn’t enough power for you then it’s big brother supplies up to 1000 Watts.
That means it can happily provide twice as much power as the smaller model but unsurprisingly, it weighs twice as much too at 13.2 lbs. it’s still portable but not quite so lightweight.
Again, if you can’t get access to solar panels or sunlight this will charge using AC outlets or even from the carport if necessary.
You can find the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 online.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator
One of the top choices for solar generators is the Goal Zero Yeti 400 – it’s 29 lbs. which means that it is a substantially larger model than our previous two choices but it will also happily provide 600 Watts and 300 Watts respectively with up to 7 concurrent devices!
It also has an excellent LCD display which lets you set up and monitor the power consumption which is very handy, indeed.
You can find the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator online.
Renogy Lycan Powerbox
The Renogy model is “portable” in that it will happily fit in a car but at 65.3 lbs. you don’t want to have to carry this too far from your car and you will need help to do so.
It is fitted with lithium batteries and it will deliver up to 1,2000 watts and has a capacity of over 1,000-Watt hours!
If you need to run a lot of equipment outdoors, then this is a great choice to do it from. It also has a ton of ports that can deliver power to a wide range of devices.
You can find the Renogy Lycan Powerbox online.
Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Portable Power Station
Another heavyweight option, tipping the scales at 45 lbs. is the Goal Zero Yeti’s big brother which can deliver 3000 Watts of surge or 1,400 watts on average to up to 10 devices at a time.
It has a superb range of ports that you can connect a bunch of different devices to easily.
Finally, it’s also capable of taking a charge not just from panels but also from a wall outlet and there’s a full charge controller onboard to ensure that your batteries last for the longer possible period of time before they need replacing.
You can find the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Portable Power Station online.
Last Word on Solar Generators
Of course, you’ll need to think carefully about which generator meets your specific needs but all the generators on our list can be relied on to do a great job.
If you intend to use your solar generator off-grid then why not check out our guide to off-grid living? It’s got everything you need to know to get started living a more independent life.
If you’re not sure that solar is going to be enough by itself then we’ve also got a great guide to portable generators here that can provide a backup resource.
Interested in learning more about sustainable energy solutions and solar power? Check out our article on solar engergy statistics.
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