Best solar generator reviews 2018
Jackery G0500ANH Powerpro 500Wh Portable Power StationSafe and powerful
High-capacity solar generator ideal to use for a host of indoor and outdoor applications.
Jackery G0500ANH Review
The Jackery G0500ANH stands among a tiny elite of ultra-reliable portable solar generators capable of outputting up to 500Wh surge and 300Wh continuous AC. This huge capacity makes the unit perfect for powering an array of devices and appliances, from small domestic essentials, from a minibar or coffee machine to smartphones. Ideal to use as an emergency backup for medical devices or to power up your campsite, the generator brings power and versatility.
It comes equipped with a convenient flashlight, it has an ultra-intuitive control panel and receptacles for 110V/240V AC, 12V DC plus two USB sockets. Promising up to three hours of continuous use on a low-medium load, the Jackery G0500ANH is a workhorse that lives up to the expectations of the best in its class.
Jackery G00240AAH Portable 240Wh Solar GeneratorThe lightest in its class
An ultra-lightweight power generator capable of taking the concept of mobility to the next level.
Jackery G00240AAH Review
The smaller variant of our best-in-class pick, the Jackery G00240AAH comes with a little less than half its brother’s power but its compact size, attractive weight, and outstanding price point have taken it to the top. This is by far our favorite solar generator for more than a reason.
Designed to power up your outdoor life, the generator can handle whatever the campsite’s throwing at it – from powering up small appliances to gadgets and devices thanks to its 240Wh peak output. A range of receptacles features a traditional AC outlet, USB outputs as well as a convenient 12V DC port. Easy to carry around thanks to its compact dimension and easy to recharge under the sun or from an outlet, this solar generator undoubtedly delivers the best value for money.
Aeiusny AD-500 Portable Solar GeneratorCompact generator for domestic use
Four AC outlets and 8 additional receptacles ensure suitability for all users and applications.
Aeiusny AD-500 Review
The Aeiusny AD-500 is one of the best solar generators for domestic use. It comes equipped with a powerful battery adaptable to indoor and outdoor usage thanks to its superb 288Wh max capacity. Compact and ultra-lightweight, the unit is easy to recharge from a wall outlet, your car’s DC output or via a solar panel sold separately.
Similar to our best-value pick, this solar generator has a versatile load capacity and comes with three AC outlets plus eight DC and USB ports (four of each). Ideal to transport from one place to other thanks to its really nice heft and supporting various loads, this solar generator makes a great runner-up pick.
Suaoki S270 Portable Solar Power StationIdeal for light-duty use
Low capacity solar generator ideal to power up your less demanding campsite activities or domestic tasks.
Suaoki S270 Review
The Suaoki S270 is a reliable low capacity unit developed to power up light-duty demands. Withstanding moderate use and boasting a decent battery life, this unit won’t light up your household in the event of a blackout but will certainly keep your devices running either during an outage or outdoors.
Environmentally friendly like all other units featured in this guide, the Suaoki S270 connects to a solar panel for a hassle-free recharging, or plugs in into a wall socket when there is no sun around. Perfect for occasional use and coming at a more than affordable price, this is undoubtedly the best budget solar generator.
2. Why invest in a portable solar generator?
On the market, there is a bountiful range of portable power generators capable of delivering heavy-duty performance when calamities strike. The solar generators stand among them but are by far the weakest – so why choose solar energy over traditional fossil fuel?
Well, solar energy comes with advantages of its own. First, it’s free. Second, a solar generator is easy to recharge even if the outage lasts for days and is convenient to use for many other applications.
In fact, the solar generator has a lightweight construction that promotes mobility. Thanks to it, these machines are perfect to carry around and can conveniently power up all your leisure activities, such as camping or outdoor events.
3. Types of solar generators
Solar generators are either portable or fixed.
- Portable solar generators: Are small, domestic use systems that come as an alternative to the bulkier, heavier, and noisier portable fuel-powered generators. These systems are compact and lightweight, easy to fit in a trunk and easy to carry around a campsite. They can withstand low- to mid-duty demands and are ideal for essential home appliances and small devices, such as charging a mobile phone or tablet, a toaster oven, or a small TV.
- Fixed solar generators: Are installed in a permanent location, are larger and can store more energy. Capable of storing up to 1600Ah, these machines can seamlessly withstand heavy duty demands and power up small cabins and homes, as well as larger appliances and devices, including the well In some cases, they can serve as a sole energy source if there are installed sufficient panels.
4. Battery and power
Solar generators are powered by rechargeable batteries that use the sunlight to recharge. The process involves the use of a solar panel that absorbs the particles of light and transforms them into energy via photovoltaic cells. These cells convey light into direct current electricity that is stored by the battery for subsequent use.
Batteries can be classified into:
- Low-end: Capable to store from 750 to 2000 watts. These units usually have a low capacity output of 500Wh to about 1500Wh.
- High-end: Can store up to 3000Wh or 400Ah. This ensures a capacity of about 500 to 4500Wh, depending on the type of unit.
5. What is an inverter?
Charged solar generator batteries can provide a steady supply of direct current (DC) electricity to small devices running on it or transform it into alternating current (AC) electricity via an inverter to power up appliances.
Since the solar batteries produce direct current (instead of AC like a conventional generator running on fossil fuel), the generator would not be able to provide electricity to AC appliances without an inverter, that’s why all portable solar units come with one.
Manufacturers equip their units with two types of inverters:
- Pure Sine Wave: Employ sophisticated technologies to produce a power similar to the one in your home, protecting your appliances from current fluctuation damage. Ideal to power up sensitive appliances like refrigerators, TVs, and other sensitive electronics.
- Modified Sine Wave: Are less sophisticated but much more affordable. Offering a lower protection against AC fluctuations, they are ideal for less sensitive devices like room heaters or air conditioners.
6. Solar generator runtime
Another important thing to consider when choosing the right generator is the runtime. Because the batteries can involve different technologies making them more or less efficient, establishing an average runtime is important.
As a rough guideline, the larger units provide a runtime of up to three hours when used to power household essentials.
Fortunately, most portable solar generators can be recharged via a convenient wall socket outlet too.
Besides all the above, another thing to consider regarding the battery is how it can be recharged. Surprisingly, a solar panel is hardly your only option. The best solar generators come with batteries that can be recharged via solar energy or just plugged into a traditional wall AC or car DC outlet.
Investing in a generator with all three options ensures versatility in the long run, but know that some models may come without the solar panel system, which is often sold separately.
7. Supported loads
The supported loads are the most important things to consider when buying a solar generator. Some small units come with a reduced number of outlets, called receptacles, while the larger ones can have multiple receptacles.
Luckily, most solar generators come with the following sockets:
- 120V/240V outlet
- 12V DC outlet
- 5V USB receptacles
The larger units may come with additional receptacles too, ideal to power up your RV or party in the wild.
8. Build and portability
Once you’ve assessed the generator’s suitability, also check its make. Here are the most important things to consider:
- Materials: Portable solar generators are made of sturdy, resistant materials that guarantee durability. Stainless steel and aluminum frames are the most resistant, but some models may be made of ABS.
- Weight: Your solar generator may come with wheels, but they don’t guarantee mobility. Weight, instead, can. Regardless of the model you like, make sure it’s lightweight for easy transport.
- Mobility features: The best solar generator for light-duty home use must come with additional mobility features, such as wheels and handles. Consider the sturdiness and construction of the wheels especially if you want to use the generators for camping.
9. Controls and applications
While traditional power generators come with analog control features, most solar generators boast modern digital controls that are intuitive and easy to use. The digital displays show vital information regarding runtime, letting you monitor performance among other things.
Since this type of generators is developed for home and leisure use, most units come with simple features that allow even the inexpert to operate them with ease.
If you’d like to monitor performance or just be able to control the generator from the other side of the room, here are a few versatile things to consider:
- Remote control: Present on a few high-end models, these generators are easy to operate even from a distance.
- Remote monitoring: Allows you to manage and monitor the generator’s performance via a dedicated app.
- Usage gauge: An nice feature to have if you want to monitor your daily and monthly energy usage.
- Eco-friendly indicator: Ideal if you want to keep track of how much carbon dioxide you’ve avoided producing by using solar energy instead of fossil fuel.
As for the applications, these units are typically compact and have a limited runtime; don’t expect them to power up your entire home in case of a power outage or calamity but they are easy to carry around and can seamlessly light up your outdoor party or campsite.