Nowadays, you have a lot of options when it comes to generators. You can easily find fuel-powered units to obtain the energy needed to run your appliances. However, these have their disadvantages: they can be noisy, they rely on a nearby fuel source and, the worst part, they contaminate the air. This is where the best solar generators could be a solution to the problem.
Solar generators use a combination of lithium-ion batteries and solar power. As a result, they make use of green energy in order to give you the power needed during an outage. This way, the environment is not harmed in the process.
If you want to stay green, it means you care about nature. Still choosing a solar generator is not as easy as it may seem. And this is where we come to your aid. We’ve prepared a buying guide, as well as some solar generator reviews to help you find a reliable unit.
Why Do You Need a Solar Power Generator?
Considering how many other types of generators you can find on the market, you may be asking yourself why specifically pick a solar one. Well, unlike fuel-powered generators, solar ones are less harmful to the environment, being more nature-friendly and stopping pollution this way.
In general, units powered by fuel tend to cause some pollution, which is not exactly something you should be looking forward to. So, you need a generator working on solar power if you want to have a backup option for outages while being able to maintain the well-being of the environment.
You might also need a solar power generator if you are someone who tends to travel a lot – you can use it when camping or anything of the sort. It would be impossible to charge your phone or other necessary devices if you’re out in nature for days, but with a solar power generator, you will not have to worry. It can be recharged from your car, but also through the solar panels it possesses. So, it’s pretty much a portable option for a lot of people.
Furthermore, it is a great unit for people who just need a generator in case they are ever left with no electricity whatsoever. However, since its power capacity may be limited due to the slow recharge time and sun dependence, it is an option only for people who experience power outages less often.
The Benefits of Solar Power Generators
Many people want to know the pros and cons of solar generators compared to a top-notch dual fuel generator or just fuel-powered generators overall. You may be one of those people, so if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the benefits that these units come with:
Variety of Power Sources
Probably one of the most amazing things when it comes to solar power generators is the fact that they can be powered by something else other than the sun. Unlike other types of generators that only work with fuel, solar ones will actually work by recharging with solar power, but also with AC electricity or from a carport.
Thanks to this amazing feature, you don’t have to rely on a sunny day to recharge your unit.
Isn’t it annoying when a big unit makes a lot of noise and it feels like it could blow up at any moment? Not only that, but it also distracts you from your tasks, which is another disadvantage.
Well, you should know that once you own a solar power generator, the noise will not be a concern. It does not contain any engine, and there are no moving parts inside, so the shaking that usually occurs with other generators will not be present. You will have a silent portable generator this way.
There may be a little buzzing noise from the inverter, similar to the one produced by an inverter generator, but it will be very minimal, and you will not get distracted by it.
You are probably aware of the pollution caused by normal power generators, those that use fuel to run. Luckily, solar power generators are an environmentally friendly alternative, powering your house while caring for Mother Nature.
Basically, your typical generator would release a lot of carbon dioxide and many other such harmful gases. But solar-powered units do not release any gases, being much cleaner and making sure the environment doesn’t suffer.
Aside from being harmful to the environment, the fumes produced by conventional generators are also putting your health at risk. Carbon monoxide can be a real life-threatening fume. For this reason, the generators can only be used outside, far away from your house.
Solar power generators do not release any gases, which makes them a much safer option. They can even be used indoors thanks to this benefit.
With conventional generators, you would have to spend money on fuel. However, things are different with a solar power generator. The running costs are much lower, as you do not need to purchase any fuel. You just need the sun’s energy, which is free. Furthermore, you will have to change no oil either.
And since there are no moving parts, there’s less risk of damage. As such, you will not have to spend any additional cash on replacements or reparations, being a more pocket-friendly option as a result.
The initial price of the unit may be a little high indeed, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Free Energy Supply
The cool thing with a solar generator is that you need no fuel to keep it running. Instead, you have an unlimited free source, respectively the sun.
At first, you will have to invest money in solar power gear, but afterward, you will have an unlimited source of energy. As long as you live in an area where the sun shines most of the time, you shouldn’t have any issues. Not to mention that you will also find solar energy more readily available, as it’s usually present in most remote areas, unlike diesel or gasoline.
Furthermore, unlike fuels, solar energy will not have any price fluctuations, so you will always have the same benefit with it.
Most of the time, you will not encounter any issues when it comes to the weight of solar-powered generators, as they are lightweight. Since there are not so many parts inside the unit and there is no fuel tank, you’ll have no additional weight to deal with.
Solar-powered generators will only have the battery, so the rest of the weight is cut out. This makes these units more suitable for people who want a portable item. You can even find models that weigh less than 25 pounds. Some even come with a briefcase-style, making them even easier to transport.
Although there are so many benefits with solar generators, you might be worried about the fact that they do not produce enough power. Well, each generator will come with a different capacity, so you shouldn’t expect all of them to provide energy for the same number of devices.
However, solar generators come in a wide range, meaning that you can easily find the one product that meets all your requirements. Some units can power up to 5 devices, others can power up to 10 devices, and so on. Each product will have enough power for anything that you need, so there’s no need to worry that these may be less efficient than conventional generators.
Best Solar Generators Comparison Chart
Nature’s Generator Gold System
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Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
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Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit
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Peppermint Energy Forty2 Pro+All-InOne Portable Solar Power Generator
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Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station
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Best Solar Generators Reviews
1. Nature’s Generator Gold System
This amazing generator comes with enough power to help you run your most important appliances. It comes with a built-in 1,800W pure sine wave inverter, as well as an internal 60 AH battery. It can produce 720 watt-hours of total output on a single charge.
One thing that we like about the unit is the LCD screen. Featured on the front of the generator, the screen will always keep you updated about the level of the battery, output usage, charging status and many others.
Moreover, this is a portable generator. The power panel has built-in wheels that make it easy to transport or just move. In addition, to make sure you always connect the power panel to the generator very easily, a 50ft power cable is included as well. On the back panel of the unit, there is also a built-in 600-Volt/175 Amp expansion port that allows you to connect an unlimited number of power pods.
- 50ft power panel cable included for easier connection
- Has an LCD screen to help you monitor the unit
- You can connect an unlimited number of power pods
- The power panel has 3.2mm safety, anti-reflective glass
- Wheels for easy transportation
- The customer service is not the best
2. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
Are you looking for a unit that offers stable power? Then this Jackery portable generator may fit the requirement. This product is able to provide power to a lot of devices, including projectors, TVs, and smaller devices, as long as they are rated under 500 watts. It has a standard 12V/10A carport and 3*5V/2.4A USB ports. This way, you will be able to charge your phone, as well as smaller devices such as laptops, car vacuums, air pumps and more.
This portable unit can be recharged pretty much anywhere. It only needs to stay under the sun to have the battery recharged, as the solar panel will allow it. It should only take within 14 hours to do so in full sun. But while on the road, you can also recharge it from the carport within 16 hours. Even better, you can recharge it from an AC wall outlet too, as it only takes about 8 hours, offering more versatility this way.
- Can recharge very easily under the sun, from an AC wall outlet, or the carport
- Comes with a charging cable included
- Enough power to run multiple smaller devices
- Safe to use thanks to the pure sine wave inverter
- Audible and electrical noise is reduced
- The Jackery SolarSaga 100W solar panel is sold separately
3. Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit
This Goal Zero solar generator is great for people who want something portable and more powerful. The product has a roll cart, as well as a briefcase with handles, to make it easier for you to carry wherever you need. Add that to the fact that the generator is quite lightweight as well.
The true advantage comes from the power of the unit, though. It can power up to 10 devices at once, as it has a 1,250Wh lead-acid battery. It can also run with 1,200W pure-sine wave inverter. To make it much easier for you to power multiple decides, it comes with four 2.1A USB ports, as well as two 120W 12V ports.
While it can run for a good amount of time, you can chain it with other 100Ah lead-acid batteries and obtain an even longer runtime, just perfect during power outages. You can recharge it with a solar panel (which is sold separately) or from an AC.
- Can operate without any noise
- You can recharge it from an AC or solar panel
- Chainable with other 100Ah lead-acid batteries for longer runtimes
- It can power up to 10 devices at once
- Easy to transport
- The solar panel is sold separately
4. Peppermint Energy Forty2 Pro+All-InOne Portable Solar Power Generator
You cannot play around when it comes to solar power generators – you need something that can run long enough to rely on during an outage. Luckily, this particular model comes with a battery that lasts long enough. The battery is a li-ion one, which has around 10 times more life cycles compared to a lead-acid battery. Besides, it’s much lighter and can maintain the voltage level as it discharges.
It’s easy to transport and store thanks to the briefcase. You can carry it with one hand, being great if you want to bring it to a campsite. Also, it can charge really fast, making it even better in case you need to take it somewhere. With 180 watts of solar power, the battery can be charged in no longer than 3 hours.
Since it has built-in solar panels, it can power up your devices forever while in the sun. last, but not least, it’s quite powerful – it can provide energy for your refrigerator, TV and many other things.
- Powerful unit
- Comes with built-in solar panels
- The battery charges fast
- Portable design
- It doesn’t have wheels
- The display is very small
5. Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station
What’s better than having a powering device while you’re on the road? With this Goal Zero small, portable generator, you can rest assured that you will have power while on-the-go. It can be taken pretty much anywhere, such as to a picnic, camping adventure, or you could just use it when there’s a power outage.
For charging, you have two very simple options: you either plug it in using the included AC charging cable, or you use one of the solar panels and charge it outside. While on the road, you will also have a 12V car charging cable for the unit.
Although it’s small, it has enough energy to help you power up to 5 devices simultaneously. As such, it’s a great option when you need to charge tablets, phones, cameras, and other small devices.
- Easy to carry
- Can be used at home and while on the road
- AC charging cable and 12B car charging cable included
- It can power up to 5 devices at the same time
- The battery drains within 2 days even when not used
6. Audew LiFePO4 Portable Power Station
Compatibility with devices is an important aspect when it comes to generators, and that’s why you need something that works with most appliances. Thankfully, this portable power station by Audew will fulfill this requirement. It is compatible with most small appliances, as it is equipped with 2*110V/200W Ac output. As long as they have a rated power under 200W, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Because there’s an LCD screen, it will be easy for you to track the battery life of the unit. On top of that, the generator has a built-in high-quality LiFePO4 battery. The built-in advanced system control circuit module could stop charging the generator to prevent over-temperature or over-current, thus making sure you and your devices are safe. The pure sine wave also makes sure that more sensitive devices are stable while connected to the unit.
- Is safe to use thanks to the control circuit module and pure sine wave
- Works with most small appliances
- It can also power up vehicles, similar to a jump starter
- LCD screen that lets you track the life of the unit
- Portable and great for outdoor activities
- Under peak load of 200w, the generator may shut down after only 15 minutes of usage
7. MAXOAK Power Station 500Wh Solar Generator
Safety cannot be overlooked, and with this Maxoak unit, you can rest assured that you and your devices will be safe at all times. The generator has been made from a superior flame retardant material, and it will not heat up too much. Apart from that, it has temperature control, voltage/current control, and many other features meant to provide extra safety.
This unit is amazing because it can be charged wireless as well, but you can also use solar charging, AC charging or car charging. Having such flexible options makes it a great choice for most people. It can be safely used to power or charge other devices, such as phones, laptops, fridges, mini projectors, drones, and many others. And because it has a foldable handle design, you can take it with you wherever you go, thus being a good option when you go camping.
- It comes with multiple cables
- Foldable handle design to help you carry it
- Flexible recharge options
- It has multiple safety features
- Great backup for power outages or just for when you’re outdoors
- The user manual has a few mistakes
- The light and power button are too easy to actuate
Differences Between On-Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar Generator Systems
You will have to face a big dilemma when shopping for a solar power generator. To be more specific, you will have to make a choice between an on-grid or off-grid solar generator. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Knowing the key differences will help you make a smarter choice.
Well, on-grid solar generators will be connected to the utility power grid. Thanks to this, they will transfer the excess power that the solar system generates to the utility grid, and you will get compensation for the extra power fed back. In case the sun is not always shining too bright where you live, the unit will start working with the grid’s power.
If you’re someone who wants to reduce electricity bill costs, then the on-grid option is more than perfect. It is easy to install, and you can even earn a passive income considering the unit produces surplus energy.
On the other hand, off-grid solar generators will not require the grid to be able to work during times with less solar power. Instead, they contain batteries, which are used to store the solar power that the system generates. As such, these units will contain the battery, a grid box, solar panels, charge controller, balance of systems, mounting structure, and inverter.
What’s so amazing with these systems is that they are a good choice for people who live in remote areas and have no power access from the grid. They work independently, and can generate and store enough power to use during the night, or whenever the power grid is down. You will also experience no issues with the power supply when there are grid problems.
Features to Keep in Mind when Shopping for Solar Generators
No matter what type of unit you want to purchase, there are always important specifications to keep in mind. You have to look at certain features before you decide whether an item is worth your money or not. The same goes for a solar power generator. So, if you want to make sure you’re making the right choice, here are the features to look after:
You can find three types of battery: lithium-ion, saltwater, and lead-acid. In general, lithium-ion ones are the best options for solar panel systems, because they have a longer lifespan and are lighter.
The capacity of the Battery
You cannot overlook the capacity of the battery, especially if you intended to use your solar-powered unit as a whole house generator. In fact, the capacity of the battery is probably the first thing to consider.
Before you shop around for the best solar generator, you need to calculate the highest daily power expenditures, so you can make sure you get enough energy for them. Ideally, though, you should look for something that will allow you to exceed this number because you will compensate for days when the weather isn’t exactly favorable.
Additionally, you should think about your geographical area, because it will help you determine how high the battery capacity needs to be. In case your area doesn’t get sunny all the time, maybe you should purchase a hybrid unit.
Weight matters, especially if you want a unit that can be transported from a place to another now and then. You need to handle the device easily, after all.
When looking for a solar-powered generator, make sure that you purchase a device that doesn’t weigh too much. It’s important to make plans early on, figuring out the perfect weight for your solar unit.
More often than not, solar generators will have multiple charging methods. If you’re someone who goes camping a lot, then you may want to look into multiple charging options. The same goes if you live in areas with less sun. There will be moments when solar power will not be accessible, so you will have to charge the battery differently.
Thankfully, a lot of solar generators will also allow AC charging, as well as carport charging. Therefore, whenever the sun is not enough to charge your battery, you can just plug your generator to a different power source and thus get your unit ready to operate.
When you shop around for solar generators, look for those that come with multiple charging options to make sure you are never left without energy in the middle of an outage, no matter what.
Supported Solar Panel Watt Rating
The watts are an important consideration as you need to make sure you actually have the proper power for when there’s an outage. The watts should cover the highest daily maximum power consumption rate, and even exceed it if possible. You can also look for hybrid models if you just want peace of mind that you will always have energy during critical moments.
Reliability is another big consideration because you want to make sure you can always rely on your solar generator when your actual power runs out. So, look at whether the unit has a sturdy construction and can resist for a long time. In addition, consider the amount of power it can offer. Only purchase a unit if you know you can rely on it.
You want to make sure you have the costs covered if you encounter any issue with your solar generator – so, you need a warranty. The longer the warranty, the better, because it guarantees that your unit will last for many years and, if something actually happens, you will not have to spend money for reparations.
Before the purchase, look for the warranty period and what it covers.
Solar Generators – Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions about solar power generators:
- Can I use a solar power generator in an apartment?
Yes, you can. Solar power is accessible to everyone nowadays, even for people who live in apartments. These units are perfectly safe to use there as well, as you can place them on a balcony or even a window.
- Do solar power generators need a lot of maintenance?
They do not. Since there are no moving parts inside the unit, there are fewer chances of malfunctions with your generator. You will only need to check your unit once in a while and clean it, removing any debris or dirt.
- What is the lifespan of a battery?
It all depends on the type of battery and how you use it. In general, it should last around 10 years, although it can go even longer than that in some cases.
A solar generator can be a great way to ensure you don’t only have a backup in case you’re going through an outage, but you also protect the environment in the process. The best solar generators will provide you with power for enough time until the issue is solved, so you could enjoy your devices in any situation. And since no fuels are being used, you don’t have to worry about harming nature either.
Since this article contained so many solar generator reviews, there must be at least one product that sparked your interest. Hopefully, you will now be able to find the right solar generator that will improve your life.
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