Solar generators store energy by absorbing direct sunlight while connected to a storage system. The energy is then pulled when and to where power’s needed.
There was a time this technology was limited to rooftops and other stationary applications. But that’s not the case anymore. Portable solar generators are in homes, ready to perform as backup power sources. They’re taken on camping, boating trips and other adventures for use as a source of electricity. The most powerful devices supply solar energy to entire homes and properties.
We put this buyer’s guide together to answer common questions about portable solar generators. We’ve also included our pick of the top five generator kits. Use the following information as a starter to shop for the best solar generator.
5 Best Portable Solar Generators
Depending on your needs, selecting the best solar generator is a matter of navigating each device’s benefits alongside your budget and requirements. Take a look at our list. These five top products are an excellent place to start investigating.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer
The Jackery Portable is one of the biggest portables we’ve had to manage. Yet, it weighs only 22 pounds. Engineered from lightweight materials and components, the portable has a solid carrying handle for easy transport.
With a 1002W battery, this machine can connect many devices as long as you keep in mind total power consumption. You have two USA-A ports. One supports Quick Charge 3.0. Three 19W ports manage 100V AC outlets and two other ports are USB-C ports. If that weren’t enough you have a 12V car charger.
You’ll find these functions grouped in a DC and AC output display that shows capacity, input and output watts, and percentages. Each group is safeguarded with individual ON/OFF buttons.
Jackery has optional 100W SolarSaga charging panels (sold separately). For greater powering, use up to two at once. You’ll need to also purchase an optional Y-cable that connects additional solar panels to the Explore 1000. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to connect one panel at any time.
With a solar panel, expect 85W on bright, sunny days. You’ll get 30W on overcast days. If utilizing two panels, the output goes up to 120W on a good sun day.
- Powers small refrigerators
- Excellent number of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, AC
- Competitive pricing
- USB-C PD filters out at only 18W
The Jackery Power Station is an exceptional portable with the capacity to manage higher wattage appliances. If you’re in an area where outages aren’t unusual, use the generator for quick family cooking, keeping stored food safe and managing comfort with space heaters or fans. It’s great for beach and camp outings and RV trips.
BALDR Portable Power Station
Go anywhere you want and if you have the BALDR Portable, you’ll never be short on power. It’s a clean, eco-friendly option that uses the Togo Power Solar Panel (sold separately). The BALDR will make a great addition to any lifestyle.
The 100W solar panel is a separate purchase but with it the unit’s fully charged in under eight hours. You can plug the BALDR into your car’s 12V socket. Again, you’re looking at a full charge inside of eight hours. Finally, plug it into a wall socket and in eight hours you’re good to go.
The BALDR Portable is chockfull of invaluable features. After a full charge, the solution’s ready for mobile phones, tablets, laptops, GoPro, drones and cameras, CPAP machines, GPS and a lot more.
The device uses a BMS (battery management system) that improves generator operation. This function manages overheating, short circuit, overvoltage, overload protection and other facilities. The BALDR has a built-in multi-mode flashlight for quick charges of phones for emergency use. There’s also support for LED SOS as well as a wireless charger.
The device has a standard pure sine wave power socket. There’s also three QC 3.0 USB ports to help you stay connected, a C type 5V port, a vehicle port and DC ports.
Health & Guarantee
With its pure sine wave inverter, this solar generator works quieter, faster and with noticeable better stability than comparable products. The product comes with a full refund within 30 days if you’re unhappy. The manufacturer gives you a two-year warranty.
- Multiple ways to charge
- A variety of ports
- Can be charged with solar panels
- Multiple safety features
- Cannot power induction cookers, microwaves, etc.
- No feature for vehicle jumping
- Max input charging is 52W
On a full charge, the BALDR Power Station has the capacity to run a 12V compressor refrigerator up to six hours, a 125W fan close to two hours and a 32-inch television for four. With a DC adapter, you can safely run a CPAP machine for two nights.
The device is a 330W generator. This means it’s not enough for coffee makers, microwaves or induction cookers. If you need management of power-hungry devices, look at greater wattage solar panel generators. Of course, they’ll be heavier, larger and more expensive. (BALDR offers 500 and 1000 watt models.)
FlashFish Portable Power Station
This is the latest model of the generator. The FlashFish is a low power station. But it’s on our list for being an impressive go-to for recharging necessary equipment you might need when you’re in the great outdoors. It’s the best option here for taking anywhere.
You won’t be using the Flashfish Power Station for powering large appliances, but it’s still a handy solution. It recharges cameras, laptops, cellphones, photography equipment, and other personal and sensitive equipment.
Track battery status via the unit’s LCD display. The display shows whether you’re using DC or AC mode. The generator also has built-in intelligence. That minimizes the risk of short-circuiting, overcurrent, overcharging, low voltage and extreme temperature. This feature applies to protecting the generator and connected devices.
This generator comes with a stellar 40.8 Ah lithium-ion battery. It charges 160W an hour with peak demands of 200W. The generator features one USB for 2.4 amp charging and two 3.0 USB ports. You also get two pin and three pin 110V sockets and a 12V DC (dual-pin rated at 10 amps).
An included Smart Charge consists of QC 3.0 and Type-C PD which stabilizes voltage output. That creates a recharge that’s 30% faster than other generators.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Quiet cooling fan
- Various charging options
- Three recharging modes
- Runs CPAP Machines
- Recharge takes time
If you’re in the market for a portable power supply with hours of power that can go anywhere, the FlashFish is an exceptional option. With its power, performance and size, it’ll never compete with higher-end generators. Still, the FlashFish fits the bill for keeping your personal devices charged and ready to use when you need them.
PAXCESS Portable Power Station
The PAXCESS 330W portable is a power station crammed with benefits. It’s a new brand new product and stands out as high quality and affordable. Take advantage of clean power, performance, fine features and more. Avid adventurers will appreciate the addition it makes to their lifestyles, keeping them moving and connected. Homeowners will find comfort in knowing the generator’s there when needed.
Features & Specifications
The PAXCESS Portable Power Station has 288.6Wh steady power. The inverter generates pure sine waves in the AC output. It has intuitive controls to manage voltage, temps, overcurrents, overcharges and overloads.
The device has significant surge power. The typical generator can only double its rated power. The PAXCESS Portable is atypical because its running power’s rated at 330W with a rated surge power of 700W. That means it promises faster charging and activating of devices that need higher watts to start.
As a solution to outdoor journeys, the PAXCESS generator can perform the following operations on a single charge: a laptop (up to two times); drones (three times); digital cams (15); action camera (35); floodlights (56); televisions (seven hours of play); TV with video (three hours).
- Lightweight and portable
- Has battery management system
- Quick charge USB port
- A useful LED display
- Wonky control panel layout
This is an outstanding portable generator. It has upgraded rate power for longer runtimes and more devices. We can get behind its portable and lightweight design. Its performance includes a backup power supply. That and the compact size makes this generator perfect for chores around the home, travel, fishing, cave exploration, off-the-grid living and more.
Whether you’re looking at an unexpected loss of power or want to watch the game under the stars at a state park, this device promises to deliver.
Aeiusny Portable Solar Generator
Out the box, the Aeiusny Portable Solar Generator is no more than a lithium-ion battery with a pure sine wave inverter. Before it can become a portable solar generator, you need to buy addons. If you do, you’ll have a great choice for power.
The Aeiusny has a rugged appearance with a corrugated design. You’ll find the DC and USB ports, the LED lamp and battery display on the front. The rear holds AC outputs, power input and fuse access.
The generator’s red digital screen displays the battery’s charge. It’s only on when an AC or DC output’s switched on.
To use the generator as a UPS, switch the AC output on. You’re now charging the internal battery, providing energy to a device you want on the battery backup. It’ll also give emergency power to that device should power die.
The operation’s similar when charging through the 12V adapter. This will start an automatic charge.
Ports and Sockets
You have the option of 12V DC, AC power or purchasing the optional solar charger for inputs. Outputs include four USB ports, three power outlets and four 12V DC ports.
USB ports include two 2.1A ports and two 1A. All are standard USB-A. The 12V ports are compatible only with 12V and 3A. Unfortunately, that’s only for devices powered by 12V DC. Otherwise, you need a barrel connecting adapter.
The Aeiusny has a large battery capacity. The 288Wh lithium ion battery provides power for small electronics. The pure sine wave inverter makes the generator ideal for sensitive electronics.
With 1.0A and 2.1A ports, get charging speeds as fast as the ports on a computer. With no USB-C ports, you need power outlets and a charger to take advantage of the generator’s fast charge facilities.
- Selection of connectors and ports
- Three charging methods
- Clear display
- Doesn’t come with a solar charger
- Limited to 500W continuous
- No high wattage USB-C
The Aeiusny Portable Solar Generator is large and too big for daily carries. But it’s the choice where a convenient power source isn’t available. The device is on the pricey side, but the return supports the price tag.
Solar Generator – Buyer’s Guide
Things to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Portable Solar Generator
Every generator is going to claim to be the one you need. They’ll vary in power, size, outlet amounts, portability and, of course, features. But you get inexhaustible, renewable power. Definitely a good buy. Here are a few things to take into account before making that purchase.
How much power you require is the first thing to consider. Solar generators won’t offer the comparable power you get from a gas-powered machine. This means a limit on your energy supply if you expect comparable performance. The alternative is getting a more efficient solar generator.
Consider what you want to use the generator for. In case of a power outage, you want a device that can power the television, refrigerator or other essential appliances. You may want to operate lights or charge phones and laptops. Use your expectations to determine if you need 400W or 1250W.
While you expect your solar generator to charge with energy from the sun, there will be times the sun just isn’t as bright. You want to go for a generator that has more than one option for recharging. The best generators let you charge with your car battery or allows plugging into a wall outlet.
If you plan to keep the generator around the house, you still need to consider how easily it moves about. This is especially true if your intent’s traveling with a generator.
A solar generator should be lightweight and have features that make it easy to transport. If not, you’ve got a complication when fishing or camping. Go with a device that has wheels or comfortable handles that promote easy transport, especially if you’re walking.
Upgrading your generator is at your fingertips. Buy one with this in mind. Adding panels means more power. The bigger and better the panels, the faster your battery can return the power you require.
Your generator should come equipped with a solar panel plug. The panels themselves often call for separate purchase.
Here are a few key things to remember.
1. Maintain realistic expectations
Backup solar generators are engineered to power appliances and devices for short periods of time. Greater wattage generators might power a refrigerator up to a day. It’s unlikely any device will power all items at the same time between charges.
Generators may be able to power a variety of devices, but they will only do so as long as they have power. You might require multiple devices or a product that lets you install a second battery in a generator. Keep this in mind or expect to be constantly disappointed.
2. Know what you need
Listing your generator needs beforehand will prevent time wasted looking at the wrong devices. If you’re planning on using the solar generator as a home backup, you don’t want a small generator, but you still want portability and a sound amount of wattage.
3. Understand How Solar Generators Work
Knowledge is power. Knowing how solar generators work ensures you make better choices for choosing a unit. Research wattage of devices you plan. Understand how solar panels work. Get an idea of battery types, power, amp hours and the way panels manage generators. You’ll be able to recognize deficiencies and ensure you get a solution with quality components.
4. Homeowners & Solar Generators
Using a generator as a backup power source for your home will require a unit with a large capacity. It’s advised homeowners stay away from smaller models as they simply hold less power than inverter or traditional generators. Grab a model with a stronger battery and that can be upgraded with solar paneling.
Advantages of Solar Generators
There are great benefits to utilizing solar power. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- No fuel
- Renewable, clean energy
- Low maintenance
- Expensive upfront cost
- Possible slower recharging
- Potential inconsistent power supply
The Sun is Free
When you go with a conventional solution, you will be constantly hitting the pump. Solar generators require no more than a setup where you pull energy out of the environment.
Quiet and Low Maintenance
Gas generators are pretty noisy. Solar generators, in comparison, have no moving parts. This greatly reduces the noise level from their operation. On top of this, no moving parts minimize the possibility of parts breaking. That in turn minimizes repair costs.
Clean and Renewable Power Source
These are environmentally friendly resources, minimizing your carbon footprint. Solar generators produce, store and release energy with no pollutants in the pipeline. A major part of your experiences will be clean energy. There also no toxic fumes like those associated with generators fueled by fossil resources. This is what makes indoor use a viable solar generator option.
For the purpose of a balanced education, here’s a peek at what the negatives are when you compare solar generators to conventional fossil fuel power stations. Weigh these factors against why you want to have a solar generator.
Expensive Upfront Cost
While generators come in a range of prices, they are going to be more costly than their fuel-powered counterparts, especially if you factor in cost of accessories like solar panels and adapters. You have to remember with a solar option, maintenance and operation expenses will be lower because of the device’s energy efficiency.
Possible Slower Recharging
You can find solar stations that have good speeds, but it will unlikely match the efficiency of traditional generators. Eight hours for a full charge is not uncommon.
Potential Inconsistent Power Supply
It’s hard to pull energy from the sun when it’s not there. Certain regions get little sun. Weather conditions will limit using solar panels charging units. Solar generators are best used in tropical and sub-tropical climates where sunshine is constant.
As best you can stick to a trusted manufacturer of quality products. You’ll be relying on your generator to keep your appliances running in a blackout or on a camping site or boat. You want the foremost reliability and dependability.
Your budget has to coincide with what you expect of a generator. Manufacturers offer smarter, cleaner energy options but they will cost more than standard gas or electric generators. The price hike can be five times higher in some cases. But the ROI promises to outweigh the heavier price tag.