Are you one of the many people who don’t own a backup energy source for when your home experiences a power outage? Or maybe you are concerned about finding a power source when you’re going camping in the middle of nowhere.
Otherwise, you’ll be left without a working phone. It can be difficult to find a portable generator that suits your needs and provides you with enough energy to power laptops, lights, or even refrigerators. It is especially difficult to find one that doesn’t negatively impact the environment.
|Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240||
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|Rockpals 300W Portable Power Station||
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|ALLWEI Portable Power Station||
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|KYNG 2000Wh Solar Generator Portable Power Station||
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|Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W||
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Solar generators are becoming increasingly popular, simply because they harness natural energy that doesn’t drain the earth of its resources – and it’s cheaper! However, solar generators can be a difficult thing to find.
You are always left wondering whether they are actually going to convert solar energy, or whether they will sit uselessly outside for 12 hours, only to give a trickle of electricity.
We have scoured the internet for the best portable solar generators on the market, looking at factors such as portability, battery life, and inverters. Read on to find out our choices!
Best Portable Solar Generator
This highly reviewed solar generator has an output wattage of 200 Watts, is extremely easy to carry, and has a green power supply – making it one of the best generators on the market.
Jackery has established itself as one of the biggest innovators of Green Power solutions, both for indoor and outdoor accessories. This power station is no exception! Designed to be an eco-friendly power source, the Explorer 240 can be recharged solely through a Jackery SolarSaga 60 solar panel (taking 5 and a half hours), with incredibly high efficiency, to its highest charge point possible.
If you don’t have access to a solar panel, you are still able to charge it through a wall (charges in 3 and a half hours) or car outlet (charges in 5 hours), so you don’t have to worry about being without power if there is no sun.
The generator uses 240Wh lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-based batteries are the best choice for a solar generator because they are lightweight and last a very long time. This choice of battery only weighs 6.6 pounds!
This power capacity is able to keep a light on for 18 hours, charge a laptop twice over, and charge a phone 24 times. It is a great travel companion, and it has multiple layers of protective technology to stop it from overcharging or overheating.
- Lightweight and portable – This generator is the size of a toaster, which makes it incredibly easy to carry around when you go on a trip.
- Large power capacity – It can hold a lot of energy in the generator, which means that you will be able to charge your devices multiple times before it runs out of power.
- Quick to recharge – Its efficient charging time, both for the generator and other devices, means that it is unlikely you will be left without power for very long at any point!
- Two USB Output ports – This means that you can charge multiple devices at the same time.
- It has an auto-cutoff feature – The generator has to be drawing at least 10 watts of power at any time to keep the power station ‘awake’, so if it is nighttime it will stop charging. This means that it will be difficult to charge your devices when you are sleeping unless you keep waking up through the night to turn the generator back on.
- Solar panels sold separately – Because it doesn’t come with solar panels, you will have to buy them separately which is an additional cost.
The Rockpals 300W Portable Power Station is an efficient solar generator with a variety of outputs and charging ports, as well as a built-in MPPT controller. It has a pure sine wave inverter, which will help to protect your devices – including phones – from damage while they are being charged. It will also help to reduce any unnecessary electrical noise.
With this power station, you are able to charge multiple devices including phones, laptops, and small appliances – some users have even charged their electric bikes with it – at the same time. This is because its lithium-ion battery, with 280Wh, can hold a huge amount of charge in it. Charging a phone battery takes less than 10% of the power station!
As well as this, you can actually use the DC ports and USB ports while you are charging your power station. The only one you won’t be able to use is the AC port when re-fuelling the generator.
We found that the power station is incredibly lightweight (weighing only 7.7 pounds), which is certainly helped by its high-quality plastic exterior. It is easy to take on long-distance journeys into the middle of nowhere, and if you are lacking enough solar energy to charge the power station, you can also use car charging or home charging (before you leave on your journey).
- Lightweight – This makes it easy to carry around, especially if you are going camping.
- Many ports – It comes with a huge number of ports, including four USB ports. This makes it easy to charge different devices at the same time, and it also ensures that it will be compatible with a variety of devices too.
- Pure Sine Wave Inverter – This inverter helps to protect your devices, such as phones, from damage. It also reduces the amount of noise your generator will make.
- Has a built-in MPPT controller – This will make the connection between the solar panels and your generator efficient, without letting the battery overheat or overcharge.
- Battery – Some users have said that the battery isn’t very good at holding a charge after the first few times of using it. This could be for multiple reasons, including not letting the battery run down to 0% every few months.
- Solar panels sold separately – This forces you to buy solar panels elsewhere, which will add to the cost that you are already spending on the generator.
This ALLWEI solar generator is one of the most powerful power stations on the market. With its 560Wh lithium-ion battery pack, you will be able to charge anything from a smartphone 90 times, to a mini-refrigerator for 8 (or more) hours! It can also be used on TVs, laptops, lights, and many types of smartphones.
With its two sine wave AC outlets, you are guaranteed to have a safer charge for your devices, which also makes it a quieter experience if you are charging something while you are sleeping.
As well as this, it has a built-in fan that is designed to be as silent as possible. It will automatically turn on when it senses the unit is getting too hot so that you won’t have to worry about anything overheating (or the fan running unnecessarily).
When we tried it, we found that the LCD display screen was a brilliant addition. This lets you know how much battery you have remaining, how long it has been running for, and how much power each of your connected devices is using.
This update helps you to keep track of everything you might possibly need to know, the most important thing being the battery life left in the generator. Since it can be recharged through solar energy, wall AC sockets, car cigarette ports, and gas generators, you will never have to worry about being left without power when the LCD screen tells you the battery is low.
One thing to bear in mind with this solar generator is that, because it contains more powerful batteries, it is going to be heavier than some other portable generators. This one is 13.4 pounds. However, it does have a collapsible handle, which makes it very convenient to store in smaller spaces, as well as being easier to carry around.
- 560Wh capacity – This means that the generator will hold a large amount of power for you to charge your devices.
- Collapsible handle – This allows you to make the generator slightly smaller, which is convenient for storing it in small spaces.
- Charges large variety of devices – You can use it for a TV, a mini-fridge, a laptop, etc. This is because it has a larger power capacity than other generators.
- Pure Sine Wave Inverter – This increases the efficiency of how your generator converts energy, as well as reduces the amount of noise the generator produces.
- LCD display screen – This shows the remaining battery in the generator, as well as its working time, and the running power of connected devices.
- Solar panels not included – This is an extra cost along with the generator, and it means that you have to do extra research when browsing for a solar power set.
- Not enough instructions – Some users have found that there aren’t enough instructions for troubleshooting. It only comes with a manual that explains what buttons and plugs it comes with, rather than how to make things run well.
Battery: Lithium Battery
If you are after a huge amount of power from your portable solar generator, take a look at the KYNG 2000Wh power station! Its lithium battery has a generator capacity of 2000Wh – 2800Wh (as the name of the product suggests), meaning that it will run/charge a huge variety of products.
It is able to run refrigerators for over 12 hours, TVs for over 30 hours, and it can charge drone batteries over 25 times. It can be charged via an AC wall outlet, a cigarette adapter, or a solar panel (that isn’t included), which means that you won’t be left without power in any situation!
The product comes with a huge range of accessories, including an MPPT solar controller, multiple extension cords and cables, an AC universal plug, etc. Aside from the solar panel, this is everything you will need to charge a large number of devices that have different needs.
The one drawback of this portable solar generator is its weight of 34 pounds. It will be very heavy to carry on adventures through the woods, or even just to carry to your car. This is because of the large batteries it will need to produce so much power.
While this definitely shouldn’t stop you from investing in this solar generator, it is something to keep in mind, depending on what you need the power station for. If you are looking for a generator that you can take on camping sites, you might want to take a look at a lighter model.
- Comes with a lot of accessories – This generator includes an MPPT solar controller, extension cords and cables, an AC universal plug, etc. This ensures that the power station will be compatible with your devices, and run efficiently.
- Lithium battery – The generator is very powerful. It can charge refrigerators, TVs, drone batteries, and many small devices. It will even be able to charge a GoPro 150+ times over.
- Generator capacity of 2000Wh-2800Wh – Again, this huge generator capacity proves how much power it can hold, which will ensure that you won’t be left without electricity to run your devices.
- No solar panels included – This makes extra work for you to have to research which solar panels are compatible with the generator, as well as adding to the cost.
- Extremely heavy – This generator is 34 pounds. The weight will make it quite difficult to carry to different locations, so you may need to find another way of moving it.
Nature’s Generator Gold System is a great method of using multiple natural energy forms to create power. This generator comes with a solar input (with solar panel included) and a wind power generator. It stores its electrical power in its 60Ah SLA internal battery, providing 720 Wh of run time.
While this solar-powered generator may be 83 pounds, it has a handy set of wheels with a pulley system. This means that it is still able to be carried around without hurting yourself! As well as this, the 100 Watt solar panel has a frame with wheels attached to it, making it even easier to take your whole generator system out of the home. The frame has adjustable tilt options, so you can get the best angle possible to harness solar power.
It is intuitive for all users, as it comes with a clear instruction manual and an LED battery fuel gauge on the front of the generator to let you know how much power you have left. This makes it incredibly easy to monitor and reminds you to power it up through its solar panel or wind generator.
Nature’s Generator is a brilliant manufacturer to use if you plan on expanding your solar generator system. For example, you can buy the Nature’s Generator Power Pod that has an extra 1200Wh, as an add-on pod. It comes with an expansion cable that you can either connect to the original Nature’s Generator or another power pod. This means that if you ever think you don’t have enough power storage for an outing, you can easily make the Gold System twice as powerful.
- LED battery fuel gauge – This handy feature lets you know how much battery your generator contains, so you won’t run the risk of charging it unnecessarily.
- Wheels and a trolley system – Even though this generator is heavy, you will be able to move it around easily because it can be placed on wheels.
- Comes with a solar panel – As one of the few portable solar generators that comes with a solar panel, you will be saved from the trouble of finding and paying for a panel elsewhere.
- Can be expanded – The Nature’s Generator company has a huge range of products that can all be expanded and connected to each other. This means that if the generator doesn’t supply you with all the power you need, you can add another generator to the collection and double your power capacity.
- Wind Energy – This generator also has the ability to convert the wind into energy, allowing you to collect even more power. This is especially useful if there isn’t any sun on a particular day, but there is a lot of wind.
- Difficult to return – Some customers have criticized the customer service, saying that it was difficult to return the solar generator. This means that you have to make sure that this product is the one for you before buying it!
If you want to know what you should be looking at when browsing for portable solar generators, take a look at this buyer’s guide that explains all of the main features associated with generators. This should help to make your decision a bit easier!
Read More: How Does a Solar Generator Work?
Solar generators require solar panels to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. However, many portable solar generators don’t actually come with a solar panel, unless they are sold in a bundle. Most often, you will have to buy them separately!
However, it is possible to find solar generators that have the panels integrated into the power station, or some generators may come with one. The Nature’s Generator is an example of this, as it comes with one solar panel.
You should always check first whether the generator you are looking at comes with a panel, as you don’t want to be left without any power source for your battery. The companies of the solar generators will often make solar panels as well that will be compatible with a generator.
For example, Jackery (that makes the Portable Power Station Explorer 240) also produces a SolarSaga 200W Solar panel.
Side-note: when it comes to choosing a panel type, the most common and efficient material is Monocrystalline.
Battery Capacity and Type
Batter capacity is incredibly important for a portable solar generator, simply because it is portable! If you have a limited amount of sun or it is nighttime, you don’t want to be stranded without any power.
It is going to need to last when you take it to places without a power supply. The battery will need to last long enough for your personal use, so think about what kind of trips you will take it on before taking a look at the battery capacity of certain generators.
If you are looking for a large amount of power from the battery, we would recommend lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batters, as they tend to last the longest.
However, there is also the option of taking extra batteries with you. They aren’t too large, especially the lithium-based batteries, so you don’t need to stress too much about losing power.
When it comes to the type of batteries you will need, you need to consider whether it can charge the basic items you will need for day-to-day activities. You don’t want to be left without your camera, mobile phone, or GPS if you are staying at a secluded campsite!
Again, portability will depend on what you are using this generator for. If you need to take it to a remote location where you will only be able to carry it by hand, then a heavy/large solar generator will be more difficult to bring than a lighter/small generator.
However, there are some generators that come with wheels and handles, such as the Nature’s Generator Gold System. This means that its 83lb generator can be wheeled around. Think about where you are going to be taking your generator, and how you will get it to these places!
The charge controller is an extremely important part of a generator – it is the thing that senses when the power station is at maximum battery after being charged. It will then stop the electrical flow into the battery.
This helps to ensure your battery doesn’t overheat, overcharge (which will make it less efficient in the future), and it also just keeps your generator running as it should.
If you don’t have a charge controller when you are running the solar generator, it can be difficult to find out how much battery life the generator has, and you will have to monitor it by yourself.
While this may not bother some people, if this will be a deciding factor for you, check the portable solar generator’s features for a charge controller before buying it!
A solar power inverter converts the energy, that is stored in your generator’s battery, into AC power (alternating current energy). This is what most devices will need to be charged.
The type of inverter that is placed in your generator can determine how efficient your power station is, so always take a look at the features before you buy a generator.
The best inverter to find in a portable solar generator is a Pure Sine Wave inverter. They are brilliant for generating sustainable energy because they are able to convert almost anything – particularly sun rays. Many factors will affect their ability to do this, including input voltage, output voltage, and frequency.
Most of the inverters that are built will release some sort of humming noise. However, Pure Sine Wave inverters are much quieter than other models. They also produce less heat. This makes them incredibly efficient as they have a lower level of power consumption.
Alternative Option: Grid Tie Inverter
How long will a portable solar generator last?
This depends on the type of model you are looking at, but the average amount is between a few hundred to a few thousand charging cycles. Ultimately, you have to look at the battery capacity of the solar generator. Lithium-based batteries last longer than most other batteries, so keep an eye out for generators that contain these.
How do solar panels produce electricity?
Solar panels produce electricity through PV (photovoltaic) panels, that convert the solar rays they are exposed to into direct current (DC) electricity. They do this by stimulating the electrons of silicon cells in the PV panels, using light photons from the sunlight. These electrons then convert this movement into electricity, which can be channeled into renewable energy in your generator.