If you strive to live green or just simply dislike having to deal with messy and smelly fuel, then a hand crank generator is a great option.
Whether you’re living off-grid, backpacking, or camping, a hand crank generator is extremely portable and easy to use.
With so many options out there, though, it can be hard to find the best one for your needs. To make life easier, we’ve compiled a list of the eight best hand crank generators, along with a buying guide.
Read on for our recommendations.
|Model||Price||Max Power||Editor Rating|
|HYDDNice Manual |
|Qianson 4W |
|Genius Factory Deluxe||30w||4.3/5|
Our best overall choice is the HYDDNice Manual Hand Crank Generator because it has a long, easy-to-use crank. Its compact size makes it portable. The metal outer case gives it durability, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking when you take it camping. It’s capable of producing 20 watts of power, so you’ll easily be able to recharge your cell phone and small electronics. We also liked that this is an inexpensive option.
You will find that you’ll be turning the hand crank for quite some time to charge your electronics — at least an hour. It’s easy to turn, though, so you can do it while occupying yourself in another way.
The Qianson 4W Hand Crank DC Power Generator is the best hand crank generator for the money because it’s extremely lightweight at only 1.76 ounces. You won’t have any trouble at all bringing this one along in a backpack. It has a power output of 15V, so it’s best for small electronics only. It has a long, easy-to-turn hand crank. It’s also inexpensive and extremely compact.
The leads on this generator are fragile, which can be a problem if you break them while out camping or otherwise enjoying the outdoors.
The HUABAN Hand Crank Generator is our premium choice because it’s durable and sturdily built. The gears inside are made of steel, and it’s cased in aluminum. At 16.9 ounces, it’s lightweight and compact. It comes with a USB plug, so you can easily charge your electronics. It has an output voltage of 0-28V, depending on how fast and long you turn the hand crank. The hand crank also allows you to turn it as fast you’re able to for maximum output.
We found the hand crank to be uncomfortable, though, and it’s on the shorter side. This makes it harder to turn. This is also an expensive option when compared to the others on the list.
The Genius Factor Deluxe Hand Crank DC Generator is capable of up to 15 volts DC. It has high-strength POM gears for smoothness and reliability, along with easy-to-use connection clips and 36-inch long leads, which makes it easier to connect to the device you need to be powered.
This is not the best generator for charging electronics. It’s best for small science projects and experiments for children. It’s also made almost entirely out of plastic, so it’s not very durable.
For an option specifically made to charge phones, we recommend the Wrisky Hand Crank Generator. It’s compact and lightweight, as it weighs only 3.84 ounces. It includes a USB cord and five different connectors to fit a variety of phones and MP3 players.
The voltage output on this generator is low, though — it can only output 6V DC. Made entirely of plastic parts, it’s not very durable nor high quality. Also, be aware that if your phone is completely dead, it won’t be able to charge it. It must have some battery life left for the generator to work.
For a durable option that is made to charge any mobile phone, including Apple products, we recommend the K-TOR Hand Crank Generator. It’s made of durable polycarbonate plastic construction, so it can withstand the elements if you take it with you backpacking or camping. It’s strong enough to charge even completely dead batteries.
The hand crank is uncomfortable, though. It’s too close to the rest of the generator, so it’s harder to turn. The output is only 1 AMP, so it’s not very powerful. It also takes a long time to charge your devices.
The ZXMOTO Hand Crank Generator has six voltage settings and works with a variety of devices. It includes multiple ports, so you can connect a variety of low-voltage things at once, and it has a maximum output of 20 watts, which is a decent amount of power.
This is one of the heavier options on our list at 1.7 lbs. Most of the others are only a few ounces. Because of all the ports and voltage settings, this generator is more complicated to use, especially when it comes to USB devices. It has to be set on 5V for it to successfully transfer power through the USB cord. It also takes a long time to charge — you’ll be turning the crank for at least an hour.
The Tech-L Hand Crank Generator is a military-grade generator that is extremely durable. It’s capable of withstanding -40-60 degrees Celsius, a humidity of 90%, and an altitude of 5000m. It’s even water- and shock-resistant. It includes five different connector types and a DC converter that is capable of a variety of voltage outputs.
This is one of the most expensive options on the list and has several restrictions: It won’t charge iPhone 7+ or lithium-ion batteries. The charging time is lengthy and the hand crank is uncomfortable. You’ll be spending a great deal of time turning it. Occasionally, the power bank indicators show false positive power capacity, which can be both frustrating and confusing.
When searching for the best hand crank generator, there are several factors to consider. We’ve created a handy buyer’s guide so you know what to look for when shopping.
Power output is an important component of any kind of generator. You want to be sure that a hand crank generator has enough energy to power needed devices. If, for example, you just want enough power to charge your phone while camping, then calculate how much wattage it’ll take to do so. Most hand crank generators produce anything from 10-50 watts. Your desired usage for the generator will determine which one is best for you.
Because hand crank generators are most commonly used for backpacking, camping, and survivalism, it’s important that they are portable. Not only do they need to be lightweight, but they also need to be slim enough to easily carry. You don’t want a bulky, heavy generator taking up all the room in your backpack. Be sure to check the weight and overall size of the generator before purchasing.
The crank is important because you’ll be turning one to power your devices. You want it to have a comfortable grip so it doesn’t hurt your hand. It’s also helpful to have a long handle to make turning it easier. It should turn smoothly and easily.
Since your hand crank generator will most likely be exposed to the elements if you plan to take it camping, backpacking, or on another outdoor adventure, it should be made of durable materials. You want it to be able to still work even if it’s cold or hot, and you don’t want it to easily break. Certain generators are even water-resistant and capable of surviving extreme temperatures.
Our best overall choice is the HYDDNice Manual Hand Crank Generator because it’s inexpensive and has a long, easy-to-turn hand crank. It’s made of durable metal, and with a power output of 20 watts, it’s capable of charging your phone and small electronics.
The Qianson 4W Hand Crank DC Power Generator is our best value choice because of its compact size. It only weighs 1.76 ounces, which makes it one of the most portable options. It has a power output of 15V, though, so it’s best for small electronics only.
We hope our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you determine the best hand crank generator for your needs.
Featured image credit: Wrisky Hand Crank Generator USB Cellphone Emergency Charger For PDA MP3 Samsung, Amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!