Last Updated on August 9, 2020
A generator can be a huge help in an emergency, but having to keep it supplied with fuel can be inconvenient. You may even live off-grid and want a more permanent solution that doesn’t involve costly, smelly fuel. Or maybe you’re going camping and want a generator that you don’t need fuel to power. A solar generator can be both a cost-efficient and eco-friendly option.
There are so many different models of portable solar generators, it can be difficult to find the best one for your needs. To help you narrow it down, we’ve created a list of reviews of the 10 best portable solar generators. We’ve also given you a buyer’s guide to help you find your ideal generator.
|Best Overall||SUAOKI EC03804D-M||
|Best Value||Jackery Portable Power Station||
|Premium Choice||Nature's Generator||
Our best overall choice is the SUAOKI Solar Generator because it has an output especially for sensitive devices like computers, smartphones, and small appliances. It also has a great battery capacity of 500Wh, which will last a long time when you use it to charge small devices. It has quick-charge USB ports that allow you to directly plug in your devices without worrying about having to find a different cord. It also has a versatile AC outlet that will accommodate nearly all your cords. When it comes to recharging, you have three choices: AC wall outlets, 12V car outlet, or solar panel. The LCD gives information about the battery at a glance.
This is an expensive option, though, and doesn’t include the solar panels. You must purchase those separately.
The Jackery Portable Power Station is the best portable solar generator for the money. It’s extremely lightweight at only 3.97 lbs., so you’ll find it easy to transport it anywhere you need it. It’s made to handle sensitive devices like phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and other small electronics. It comes with a 167Wh lithium-ion battery pack, which is powerful enough to keep your devices charged. It comes with several ports: two USB ports and one DC port. This allows you to easily charge your devices without needing special cords.
It’s not recommended for powering CPAP machines, though. So, if you hoped to keep one running while camping or in an emergency, then this isn’t the best option. The solar panel that can be used to recharge the generator is sold separately.
If you’re looking for a solar generator that’s powerful and easy to transport, then Nature’s Generator Solar Powered Generator is a good option. It has a high inverter rating of 1,800 watts, which combined with a powerful battery, gives 720Wh on a single charge. The solar panel is poly-crystalline, which has one of the highest efficiency rates. The panel includes a frame with wheels so you can move it around easily. A cart with wheels is also included. It has numerous outlets/ports, including three AC outlets, two USB ports, and one 12V DC port. It has special features like an LCD screen and the ability to sync with an app so you can monitor the battery level.
Since this is our premium choice, it’s the priciest option on the list. Although it has a cart with wheels, this generator is very heavy. It weighs 90 lbs., and the solar panel is an additional 28 lbs.
The ROCKPALS Portable Generator is another that has a pure sine wave inverter, which efficiently converts the power from your battery into usable energy for your devices. This generator is lightweight at only 7.3 lbs., so you’ll be able to carry it with you wherever you need it. It charges small devices like smartphones, laptops, CPAP machines, and small appliances, which makes it great for camping trips. It has a powerful lithium-ion battery with 280Wh, so it can charge your devices many times before needing to be recharged. It also has numerous outlets and ports, saving you from having to buy new cords.
If you ever have an issue with this generator, the customer service isn’t great. They don’t respond quickly, and it’s difficult to talk to an actual person. The battery, although powerful while working, doesn’t hold a charge after the first few times. Lastly, the solar panel to recharge the generator is sold separately.
If you’re looking for a portable generator that includes the solar panels, then the Renogy Phoenix Portable GeneratorRenogy Phoenix Portable Generator is a great option. It has 20-watt monocrystalline solar panels, which are the most efficient kind you can buy. It’s lightweight at 12.8 lbs. Aside from the solar panels, you can also recharge the generator with AC power or your car’s battery.
This is an expensive generator because of the high quality of the included solar panels. Despite being made of high-quality materials, the solar panels charge the unit slowly. There are parts of the generator that do not seem to be made of durable materials. For example, the ports break easily with normal use.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Rechargeable Generator has a 428Wh lithium-ion battery that can power up to seven devices at once. It has a continuous wattage of 300 and a surge of 1,200, so it can handle small devices and appliances easily. It comes with two USB ports and two 12V DC ports. The LCD screen allows you to easily monitor the battery level at a glance.
This is one of the more expensive generators on the list, but its battery doesn’t hold a charge well. The solar panels that can recharge it are sold separately, which is an additional amount. Even though it says it can power seven devices at once, it doesn’t have many outlets and ports.
If you want a generator with a wide variety of outlets and ports, then you should consider the EF ECOFLOW River Portable Power Station Generator. It has 11 power generator outlets: four USB, two USB C-type, two AC outlets, two DC outlets, and one 12V car port. The generator is lightweight at 11 lbs. and is quite portable. The battery can hold a charge for up to a year.
This is another pricier option that doesn’t include the solar panels. You’ll have to spend an additional amount if you want to charge your generator that way. Many people use portable generators to power a CPAP machine when they go camping, but this one is not able to. It takes a long time to recharge the battery once it finally dies.
The Kalisaya Portable Solar Generator System has 384Wh of power, which is powerful enough to power small devices and appliances. Unlike many of the other generators on our list, this one includes a 40-watt monocrystalline solar panel. It has four USB quick-charge ports and two DC ports, which should accommodate most small devices. It allows for remote system monitoring of your generator with a smartphone app, so you can check in while on the go.
The solar panel on this one, though made of high-efficiency mono-crystalline panels, is not that powerful. As such, it takes a long time to recharge the battery once it’s been completely depleted. There isn’t an AC outlet included with this generator, so you’ll need to buy a converter. It’s also difficult to find this mode of generator in stock.
The Aeiusny Solar Generator Portable Power Station is one of the most lightweight generators on our list at only 7.49 lbs. It has 296Wh to power small devices and appliances, including CPAP machines, which is great if you need one as an emergency backup or while going camping. It has numerous ports: three AC outlets, two DC ports, and four USB ports. Compared to many others on our list, it’s relatively inexpensive.
It takes a long time to recharge the battery, though — with the solar panels, it takes 10-15 hours in full sun. The panels are also sold separately. The battery dies after only a few uses, so it’s not very long-lived. This also isn’t one of the most powerful generators on the list won’t charge your devices as many times.
The PRYMAX Portable Power Station has 298Wh and can recharge your small devices several times and keep a CPAP machine running for four nights, which is great for camping or emergencies. It’s extremely lightweight at only 6.5 lbs., so you can easily take it with you. It has numerous ports, so you can easily charge all your devices without having to buy new cords or a converter kit.
None of the ports are quick-charge, though. The battery itself takes a long time to recharge too. The solar panels are sold separately, so that’s an additional cost. The power supply also heats up to the point where it seems like it will overheat when charging, which is a safety concern to be aware of. The generator must also be kept cool and does not run well in extreme temperatures. Lastly, this isn’t the most powerful option out there.
There are many things to look for when shopping for solar generators. We’ve included a buyer’s guide so you can feel more informed when you go to buy your new generator.
There are three types of solar panels used by solar-powered generators: mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and thin-film.
Mono-crystalline panels have the highest efficiency rates at 15-20%. They also operate better in high temperatures than the other panels. These two factors mean that these are the priciest panels. They are made from a single crystal.
Poly-crystalline panels have a 13-16% efficiency rate. They work fairly well in high temperatures, but not as well as mono-crystalline panels. They are made from many crystals. Because they are only slightly less efficient than mono-crystalline panels and less expensive, they are the most popular choice.
Thin-film panels are the least expensive option of the three. They’re also the least efficient, with a rating of only 7-13%. They also require a larger area of coverage than mono- or poly-crystalline panels.
For generators, the battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh). It’s important to look at the watt-hours of the devices and appliances you need to be powered by your generator. This way, you can determine how many total watts you’ll need from your solar generator.
The inverter rating of a generator goes hand-in-hand with the battery capacity. It’s the maximum number of watt-hours you can pull from the generator at one time. You have to look at the inverter rating and battery capacity together, though. If you have a large inverter rating, it won’t matter if the battery capacity is small. For maximum efficiency, look for generators with a 1.5:1 watt-hours/inverter rating. This means you want your battery capacity to be 1.5 times that of your inverter rating.
Weight is a major factor in how portable a generator will be, but it also depends on the features of the generator. For example, if a generator has a handle and wheels, it makes it easier to transport even if it’s very heavy. Be sure to research the weight of each generator, as well as how easy each one is to move around.
Extra features can help you decide between two similar solar generators. Many on our list have great features, such as LCD monitors that display critical information at a glance, wireless connectivity to apps on your phone, and the ability to connect extra panels if needed.
The SUAOKI EC03804D-M Solar Generator is our best overall choice because it has a large battery capacity of 500Wh. It’s made for sensitive devices like computers, smartphones, and small appliances. It allows you to recharge it in three different ways, which is very convenient.
The Jackery Portable Power Station Solar Generator is our best value choice because it’s extremely lightweight and portable. It weighs less than 4 lbs., so you can easily bring it along with you. It’s made for sensitive devices, so you can charge your phone, tablet, laptop, and other small electronics.
We hope our reviews and buyer’s guide have pointed you in the direction of the best portable solar generator to meet your needs.
Featured Image Credit By: EF ECOFLOW River Portable Power Station Generator, 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!