Best Solar Generator Reviews of 2021
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
Best solar generator for RV
This solar generator comes complete with two solar panels for quick and easy charging.
1 Jackery Explorer 1000 Review
Are you looking for a green alternative to your RV generator? The Jackery Explorer 1000 could be just what you need. This solar generator is quiet and compact, powerful enough to run lots of devices at a time, and comes with two solar panels that allow you to charge it fully in only eight hours.
Ideal for sensitive electronics, it comes with three pure sine wave outlets you can use for your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Other outlets include various USB and quick-charge ports, while the inlets include a car charger cable and AC adapter.
Suitable to power up to eight devices at a time, the generator also features a smart battery status display and carrying handle. One of the most powerful solar generators on the market, it is an excellent choice for long camping trips or RVs.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
Perfect for outdoor adventures
Four recharging ways give you plenty of options to top up the battery at home or on the go.
2 Jackery Explorer 500 Review
Our best-in-class’ smaller brother, the Jackery Explorer 500, brings outstanding value for money. It doesn’t come with as many outlets, but it can still power up to seven devices at a time.
Perhaps the main difference between this generator and the Explorer 1000 is the presence of only one pure sine wave AC outlet. Nevertheless, you will still get three USB ports, two 12V DC, and a car outlet.
Similar to the Explorer 1000, it can be charged in a number of ways, including with solar panels. It also comes with the smart battery status display, is compact, light, and easy to carry. Perfect for anything from day trips to longer getaways, it’s one of the best solar generators you can get.
BALDR 330W Portable Power Station
Compact and light
This multi-purpose power station is an excellent choice for weekend camping trips and beyond.
3 BALDR 330W Review
Designed with outdoor adventures in mind, the BALDR 330W comes as a great alternative to our best value. It is slightly less powerful, but if you only want a solar generator to power up your smartphone or laptop, this one might be it.
Its greatest highlight is the compact size. The unit is easy to carry and even fits into a backpack. Multiple outlets and a wireless charger on top even make it easy to power several devices simultaneously. Another nice feature is the SOS light. Thought with campers in mind, this feature makes you visible in the night and may come in handy if you get lost or want to signal your position to your friends.
Providing around six hours of runtime per charge and very portable, it’s perfect for light-duty use while you’re camping.
FlashFish 300W Solar Generator Portable Camping Power Station
Ideal for light-duty use
Pure sine wave AC outlet provides clean, stable current for your sensitive devices.
4 FlashFish 300W Review
If you want to power up some electric devices when you’re out in the wild but don’t want to break the bank, check out the FlashFish 300W. Constructed with adventurers in mind, it’s perfect for charging your phone or tablet, powering your laptop, and even an electric guitar.
Weighing under 7lbs, it’s easy to haul around and has sufficient outlets to power up to seven devices at a time.
Charging it is also easy, either by connecting it to solar power or directly from a wall or car outlet. Cheap yet reliable, it’s perfect for adventurers on a budget.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. The Best Solar Generator for the Money
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500Perfect for outdoor adventures
Four recharging ways give you plenty of options to top up the battery at home or on the go.