Best Solar Generator
These days it seems like everyone is going green. For years people have been looking to leave fossil fuels behind for environmental reasons. After all, why burn fossil fuels that release potentially dangerous chemicals into the air when the sun is raining down more than enough energy? In the past the basic reason for this was economic, a solar generator was too expensive for the amount of power they could create. Times have changed.
With every passing day, more and more people see economic advantages to solar power. Solar panels haven’t just gotten cheaper, they’ve also become better at converting sunlight into energy that can power your home, campsite, or anything else. Today’s solar generators are more powerful and more affordable than ever before. The same power that drives all life on earth is now working to make your life more convenient and comfortable. Depending on where you live you might even get financial help from the government.
Maybe you’ve written solar off in the past, or you might not have given it a shot before. Whatever the case may be, now is the time to give solar a close look. Whether you’re concerned about the planet or your wallet, it’s worth going over the best solar generators on the market today. But before we look at particular models it’s worth considering the sort of considerations you need to keep in mind when looking at any solar generator.
Solar Generator Buyer’s Guide
There are more solar generators on the market today than ever before. As demand has increased so has the supply. The variety available means that the perfect generator for your needs is out there, but you have to be methodical as you search for it. Before you step into a store or log onto an online shop, there are a few things you need to consider.
The quickest way to narrow the selection down is setting a budget. How much money are you willing to spend on your next generator? Modern solar generators run the gamut, from under $50 to over $5,000. If you’re looking to power a business, then the higher end is worth consideration, but most people will be on the lookout for bargains. Be careful, with solar power you get what you pay for. The cheapest generators are usually the first to fall apart. It’s important to find a generator you can afford, but if you only have enough saved up for a bargain basement generator, you might consider taking the time to save up for a higher caliber product.
How are you going to use your generator? Different generators are designed for different purposes. Some are small and light so that they can be used on the move. Others are large and sturdy, ready to power a home. Unless you have a solid idea of what you’ll be using your generator for you won’t be able to pick the ideal model. If you can figure out your price range and purpose, you can eliminate the majority of generators that aren’t worth your consideration.
Just as solar generators vary widely in price, they also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a bit of power on camping trips, you can find generators that you can carry with one hand. On the other end of the spectrum, there are industrial generators that need to be carried on the back of a truck. This goes back to our last point; you need a generator that is portable enough for your purposes. If you want a generator to power your next backpacking trip, then you want a device that you can carry comfortably in a backpack. Anyone in the market for a home generator can get away with a generator that they can’t lift themselves. Just remember that portability isn’t all about size, some smaller generators might look light but are actually hefty thanks to the densely packed electronics inside. To help increase portability generator designers also include features like handles, wheels, and other options that make moving your generator from place to place as easy as possible.
What will you be powering with your generator? Most people don’t think about how much energy their devices use. After all, the average outlet provides more than enough power for most devices. But when you’re using a generator you can’t take power for granted. Before you buy a solar generator, you need to calculate how much energy you need from it. Fortunately, you can find this out by looking at labels on the device, reading the user manual, or doing some research online. Add up all the power you think you’ll need at any given time and then add some extra padding on top of that.
This is one of the most important, and trickiest, factors to consider. Solar power generators are unique in that their output depends on a variety of factors. Even the highest quality generators are limited by their environment. The most expensive solar generator on the market won’t be able to generate much power if it’s used in an area where sunlight is scarce. If you’re planning on operating in an area with plenty available throughout the day then you can count on the generator operating at peak capacity. But if you are looking to go camping in a dark and cloudy area then you might need to buy a generator that can generate more than you need, or possibly a generator with a secondary power source.
When shopping for solar generators, you need to remember that solar panels aren’t always included. In fact, most solar generators are sold separately from the panels. That means that you might buy a generator only to find that you can’t turn the sun’s rays into energy without an additional budget. If you’re set on actually using solar panel you need to buy a generator that includes panels or budget for purchasing the panels separately. Also, make sure you buy panels that are compatible with your generator of choice. If you plan a little bit ahead you can avoid a lot of potential disappointment.
You can’t tell the quality of a generator just by looking at it. A fancy appearance isn’t proof of superior performance. Before you put your trust in a generator, you should do some extra research. Look into the company that makes it and the particular model you’re considering. The internet makes this sort of research easier than ever, but you need to be discriminating about who you trust. Look for reviewers that are trusted and knowledgeable. If the generator you’re looking at is vouched for by experts of this caliber, then you can feel confident making your final purchase.
Picking The Right Generator
As you can see, there are a lot of different factors to consider when you’re shopping for generators. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as you try and look for the perfect option. What you need to remember is that no generator can be all things to everyone. You can’t have a generator that fits into your wallet and can power a small home for an entire day. What you need to do is figure out your priorities. Do you want the least expensive generator possible or are you willing to spend to get the best? Do you want a generator that’s as small as possible or as powerful as you can get. Take the time to write down what you need now so you can have a way to score different generators you look at.
Best Solar Generator Reviews
If you don’t know where to start then don’t worry, we have you carried. Next, we will look at the nine best solar generators available.
If you are looking for a portable generator to take on the road or out camping with you then the Goal Zero Yeti 150 is worth a look. It’s around 12 pounds and about the size of your average car battery. It’s a little heavy for hiking but carrying it by hand is still more than manageable. This is partly thanks to a convenient handle that is designed to make carrying this generator as easy and comfortable as possible. On top of it, all the Yeti 150 is quite stylish. The design is sleek and modern, while the colors are understated and appealing. It’s a perfect generator for anyone looking for both form and function.
Let’s move on to the performance side of the equation. The Yeti 150 is fantastic for tech junkies; it comes with two USB ports so you can plug your favorite gadgets directly into the generator to keep yourself connected wherever you go. In addition to the USB ports there are also the more traditional AC inverter and 12V port, so whatever you want to power the Yeti 150 has you covered. It has a generating capacity of 150Wh, 1400mAh. This makes it a perfect choice for powering any personal electronic device. It’s important to note that the Yeti 150 doesn’t come with solar panels, they have to be bought separately. But the generator can serve its purpose even without any panels. The battery can be charged by plugging the generator into a wall socket or connecting the built-in 12V input to your car’s 12V output.
The Suaoki Powerhouse is one of the most portable generators you can get. It weighs in at a mere 5.5 pounds. This makes it a great choice for anyone who wants to pack a generator into an already stuffed backpack. This Suaoki product has been used successful in backyards and emergency situation, packing plenty of power into a portable package. The design is also just about everything you can ask for. The black and silver look is timeless, and the contoured handle makes it comfortable to carry. If you want plenty of power wherever you go then the Suaoki Powerhouse is worth carrying along.
The lithium battery has a 20,000mAh capacity, more than enough for most situations. The power can be generated using solar panels, sold separately, or by plugging the device into a wall socket using the AC adaptor included with purchase. A full charge can fill up all your smart devices. Just make sure that the design matches up with your intentions. The USB plugs operate at 5V DC and if you need more than that you need to pack an adaptor that will plug into the DC output. It’s all worth it, in the end, you get to enjoy the pure sine wave power that the Suaoki Powerhouse provides. This power can help your devices run quieter and work with fewer crashes. There are few generators that contain so many features in such a small and light weight package. It stands out as a unique generator in its weight class.
If you’re looking for a generator that’s a little more heavy duty, then you need to look at this generator from Be Prepared Solar. Their Solar 5000 Watt 200AH generator weighs 35 pounds, but that weight comes from packing in even more power. While it might not be built for backpacking, the generator still comes equipped with two wheels so it can be easily rolled into position and a case that is built to handle transport. By adding more weight, you get more power and a larger number of connections. As you might tell from the name, the generator has a 5000-watt peak capacity. Just know that it takes time to fully charge it with the two 100 watt panels. It has not one, not two, but four different 110v outlet. Also, there is one USB connector. If you want the system is also customizable, you can easily add additional batteries and even new connections to ensure that you have a backup generator you can rely upon.
In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, this generator also comes with solar panels included. These two 100 watt panels mean that you’re ready to start generating clean energy the moment that your generator arrives. The package also includes a 30-foot-long cable so you can keep your generator in the safest and most convenient place possible while attaching your panels to a location where they can receive the maximum amount of sunlight. After all, the safest place for your generator won’t always be the best place for sunlight, and vice versa.
The Firefly from Renogy packs just about everything you could want into one killer package. The Kit-Firefly is an all in one device; it comes with built-in solar panels, an LED lamp, and even a fan. If you’re out camping this generator has everything you need to be safer and more comfortable, in addition to the 175 watts of continuous energy that you demand from a portable generator. After reading the list of features, it’s hard to believe that it only weighs twelve pounds, but somehow Renogy has achieved this feat. To be sure, it isn’t the cheapest or most powerful generator. Everything has tradeoffs, but Renogy has packed so much into the Firefly that you won’t miss anything. It’s worth it just to have a generator with built-in panels, so you don’t have to spend additional money just so your solar generator can start taking in power from the sun’s rays.
In addition to its capacity and versatility, this generator also benefits from a futuristic style. When you carry this generator around you feel like a spy carrying around a briefcase containing a top secret piece of technology. It’s perfect for the eco-conscious futurist, someone who wants to live life at the cutting edge in every sense of the word. But it’s not just about looks, the design also carefully encloses the inputs and the solar panels during transport to ensure that the generator’s interior stays safe and functional even as you carry it through poor weather. If you want a generator, you can rely upon through thick and thin the Firefly is a great choice.
If you demand serious power from your generator, then the Yeti 1250 is a good choice. It takes the style and dependability of the Yeti 150 and takes it to a new level of power. The Yeti 1250 weighs in at a hefty 103 pounds, so it’s not to be used lightly. With that weight comes power, and the 1250 offers plenty of it. A smaller generator might be able to charge your smart devices a few times, but the 1250 packs enough power to keep a refrigerator running for 12 hours or more! This makes it a perfect back-up generator to keep on hand in case your neighborhood ever loses power. If you have a 1250 on hand, you don’t have to worry about losing a refrigerator full of perishable foods.
The 1250 is fully loaded when it comes to outputs. It has an AC outlet that sends out pure-sine wave energy, 3 USB outlets, 3 DC outlets, and an Anderson Powerpole. You can power over three devices at a time! Just remember that it takes time to power the 1250 to full capacity, solar power can be gathered quicker than ever before, but it still takes time. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem if you’re using the 1250 as a backup generator, there should be plenty of time between energy emergencies to charge it with solar panels, sold separately. If you need to power it up in a hurry for a trip, you can always plug it into a wall outlet.
The Yeti 400 is our third and final Goal Zero generator. It sits in the sweet spot between the 150 and the 1250, for people who want more power than the 150 but don’t need the full force of the 1250. The mid-range 400 weighs in at 29 pounds and has the power to charge your smartphone over 30 times over! Charge your devices using one of the two AC plugs, 2 USB ports, or AC output. Once it’s fully charged the 400 can unleash its 400Wh, 33Ah capacity for hours at a time. Use your power judiciously and attach a solar power and it can run indefinitely. If you decide you do need to charge it, you have a number of ways of doing it, by connecting it to solar panels, plugging it into your average wall outlet, or hooking it up to your car’s 12V adapter. That means that as long as you plan ahead, you can always keep the juice flowing through your generator and out into all the devices you rely upon around the clock.
One interesting feature of the Yeti 400 and other Goal Zero products is that they can be connected together to power devices for even longer periods. This means that if you ever decide that you want even more power you don’t have to replace the 400, you can simply buy another. Connect the new generator to the first and watch as your runtime doubles. When you combine this sort of usability with the safety and design sense of the other Yetis, you can see why Goal Zero has three products in our top 9.
If you’re looking to get the total package from your generator as cheaply as possible, then this Solar Power Bank from PowerGreen is worth a look. It’s one of the most portable options on our list at just 10 ounces. And at one inch thin, 5.5 inches long, and 3 inches wide it’s practically the size of the smart devices you’ll be charging with it. It isn’t just compact; it is packed. The size includes solar panels, while most generators come separate from panels.
To decide if the Solar Power bank is right for you it’s important to think about what you’ll use it for. This generator is incredibly easy to carry, but its uses are limited by the size. It’s focused on powering consumer electronics such as smart phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, and so on. As such the Solar Power Bank only has USB outputs, perfect for smart devices but less than ideal if you want something to power larger appliances. At 10,000 mAh the Power Bank packs enough juice to charge your average smart phone more than three times over. It’s perfect for ensuring that you have power in an emergency situation, so you don’t end up lost and without a way to contact the outside world after a hike. It can even be useful after dark; one side works as a solar panel while the other works as a flashlight. Just make sure it has time to charge up during the day if you want to use it to light up the night. It should also be noted that it takes some time to charge using solar power alone, before heading out it’s best to charge it using other power sources.
8) POWEROAK Powerhouse Compact 400Wh 12.3lb Portable Outlet, Power Source Generator Lithium-ion Power Supply
Okay, you got us. This is not specifically solar, however it is environmentally friendly. The unassuming Powerhouse Compact from PowerOak isn’t the flashiest looking generator, but it has everything you could ask from a 12-pound portable generator. The Powerhouse comes with an LCD screen that keeps you updated on everything you need to know about the battery, from the amount of charge left to the power it’s outputting. The design is built to be durable and easy to carry, with a case made to weather the elements and a handle that’s easy on your fingers as you carry it wherever you need power. And with USB, AC, and DC ports you know that you can use this PowerOak products in just about every situation that arises.
The Powerhouse Compact is packing a Li-ion 18650-2200mah battery that outputs at 300W of power. If you push it to its limit, it can discharge 300 watts for around one hour and fifteen minutes. It can handle basic duties like charging your smart phone or more intense jobs like jump starting your car, just make sure you follow proper procedures and charge it up to 60% before attempting a jump start. If a device is under 220Wh, then this generator can probably power it. It’s perfect for families, with 4 USB outputs you can charge a full family worth of smart devices at once. The Powerhouse can provide all this power safely, indoors out outside. It runs nice and quiet, so you can carry on a conversation even if you’re sitting right beside it as it works hard to keep you powered. If you are interested in other non-solar generators check out our list here.
The .64 kWh Solar Kit from Humless may be the last generator on our top nine list, but it is certainly not the least. It’s a hefty generator that is designed for power, packing all that they can into the 38 pounds of medal that starts with a sturdy metal frame that keeps the battery inside safe through good and bad weather. The weight class means that while it isn’t a pocket generator, it’s still relatively easy to transport, especially with the included strap that makes carrying it a breeze. It allows you to easily carry around the 640 Watt hours that can be stored within. That sort of power can keep a wide range of devices running for hours. You could even keep your food cold for hours during an emergency by plugging your fridge into a Humless. You can plug a large range of devices in, the generator comes equipped with an AC output, a DC plug, and four USB outlets.
Humless feels so secure in their product that they are offering a one year warranty. If you buy this generator and you aren’t completely satisfied within a year, you can get your money back. If you’re still on the fence about getting a solar power generator this model is a great choice for that reason; you aren’t locked into it the way you might be with some other models. This is the benefit of working with a family business that has been making generators drawn up from personal experience since 2010. A Humless is a good choice if you are looking for a little more of a personal touch to your next solar generator.
Conclusion & Recommendations
After reading through this article, you have now learned a little about the factors that separate one solar generator from the next and nine of the best solar generators on the market. One of the most important things to take away is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solar generator. Every one of the nine generators that we’ve examined has something to offer. The Power Green Solar Power Bank is ideal if you want a source of emergency power you can carry in your pocket while the Yeti 1250 is a great option if you want to power an entire campsite for days on end.
Choosing the perfect solar generator means figuring out your needs and examining the options available. Hopefully you’ve got a sense of what you need and what’s available on the market. From here it’s a simple matter of picking the generator that is calling out to you. Just remember to do your homework, remember that every generator has its limits and most generators are sold separately from the solar panels that capture the sun’s energy. You need to make sure you’ve got the right generator for the job and all of the accessories required to achieve its full potential. Once you have those, you will be ready to say goodbye to the stink and danger of gas power and harness the free and healthy power of the sun today.