Best Solar Generator: A full buyer’s guide
So, you want a Solar Generator. Good choice – they’re pretty awesome. This guide will help you find one that’s right for your needs and budget. Let’s get started!
If you simply combine enough solar panels with some kind of battery or supercapacitor and hook up whatever device(s) you want to power, then you’ve got yourself a solar generator.
But what about the other stuff? What if I want to charge up my phone while I’m at work, or power my laptop while camping – can I do that too?
You certainly could! If you wanted to, you could just get one of those huge solar panels and a pile of batteries, and be done with it. It might not be as convenient as you’d like, but it would certainly work.
What is the most powerful solar power generator?
The most powerful solar generator is the one that meets your needs. 🙂 Here are some factors to consider when deciding what you want from your solar generator:
How many watts of power do you need? How long will you be away from mains power? What devices are you going to use with it? Where are you going to use it?
Some people may need 300 watts of power to run their laptop, TV, and Hi-Fi. Others might only need 3 watts for their mobile phone, GPS unit, and portable game console. It all depends on what you need it for – there is no “one size fits all” solution.
Are solar generators worth the money?
This all depends on what you’re looking for. If like me, you spend a lot of time off-grid (camping, sailing, etc) then they are close to invaluable. They make it possible to stay off the grid even when there isn’t much sunshine around – perfect for winter camping!
They can also be pretty handy during a blackout, or if you need to charge something up but don’t have access to mains power.
But they can be expensive – for example, the cheapest 300W solar generator will set you back about $250. If that’s within your budget then go for it! It may not be as powerful as some of the more expensive options, but it will be good enough for most people.
What is the best solar generator for camping?
As with most things, the best solar generator for camping will depend on your budget and what you need it to do.
For $250 you could get a 300W solar generator and a power inverter, which should be enough to charge up your laptop and other small gadgets at the same time.
If that’s outside your budget, then you’ll have to go for a cheaper model. The good news is that most solar generators can do a lot more than charge cellphones and laptops. You should be able to run power tools, lights, TVs, and microwaves with the lower-wattage models too – just not all at the same time.
What is the best solar generator for backpacking?
This really depends on what you want to use it for. If you just need something small and light to charge up your phone while hiking, then any of them should do the job.
If you want to run larger devices like lights or laptops, then you’ll need a bigger model. You can usually power a laptop for about 3 hours on 250 watts of solar panels.
What is the best solar generator for the home?
This is a tough one – it really depends on how much you’re willing to spend. For $350 or so, you could get a 1 kilowatt (kW) system that will keep your fridge, freezer, and other essential items running for as long as there’s the sun.
If you have more money to spare, then you could buy a 2kW system and run almost everything in your house – but it wouldn’t be cheap.
Is it possible to run my PC off a solar generator?
If you have a relatively modern laptop, then the answer is yes! Look for an “inverter” – this takes DC (solar power) and turns it into AC (the kind of juice that your laptop uses).
It’s important to do your research though – not all inverters work with all laptops.
If you have an older computer, or one that uses lots of power (e.g. gaming PCs), then it might be more efficient to use a higher-powered solar generator and power other things like lights and TVs instead.
Is there really such a thing as a ‘portable solar generator’? What does it mean?
If you think of “portable” as meaning “can be carried around easily”, then yes. The key is having foldable solar panels, so they can be packed away when not in use. Then you just need a weatherproof case to store everything in – and you’re set!
Most solar generators come with smaller panels that are usually attached to the back of the unit. This means there’s less chance of them getting damaged, but it also makes for a much bulkier system.
Here are our top picks for portable solar generators on the market this year:
- Goal Zero Yeti 500X
- Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator – 300W
- ECEEN Folding Solar Suitcase – 280W
- BioLite SolarPanel 5+ – 200W
- Mophorn Inverter Solar Power Generator – 250W
- Goal Zero Yeti 1000X
Goal Zero Yeti 500X Review
This is one of the best solar generators for camping – it’s rugged, powerful, and also has some nice features like USB ports to charge up your gadgets.
The downside? It won’t be cheap if you want to run your appliances at the same time! You’ll need more than just a solar generator in that case.
Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator Review
This is one of the cheapest solar generators on the market, and it can run most smaller gadgets like smartphones and tablets. If you want something to use with your laptop though (or other larger devices), then you’ll need a bigger model.
It’s important to note that this is not a pure-solar generator – to charge the internal battery, it also needs to be plugged into a wall socket.
ECEEN Folding Solar Suitcase Review
This is one of the best solar generators for camping because it’s ultra-portable. The panels are small (only 14W), but they will keep your gadgets charged up while you’re on the go.
The downside? You’ll only get about 2-3 full phone charges before the internal battery needs to be recharged.
BioLite SolarPanel 5+ Review
This is one of the best solar generators for RVing, or if you have a lot of appliances that need charging up. Not only does it power your devices, but it can also generate electricity for other electronics (e.g. speakers).
The downside? It’s still quite large and heavy – not ideal if you’re trying to travel light!
Mophorn Inverter Solar Power Generator Review
This is one of the best solar generators for running your TV and other larger appliances. With 500W output, it should be powerful enough to use all your gadgets at once. This is not a pure-solar model though – if you want to power something really big (e.g. a fan), then you’ll need a second solar panel.
Goal Zero Yeti 1000X Review
This is the largest solar generator on our list – it can handle almost anything you throw at it, and has enough power to run your appliances all day without needing to be recharged again. It’s perfect if you want to use multiple devices at once!
The downside? It’s so big, it will only be really useful if you have a vehicle to carry it around in.
Solar generators are a great way to keep your appliances charged up during emergencies or power outages. They’re also perfect if you’re trying to save money on electricity bills – just hook it up to your solar panels and sit back as the sun keeps your gadgets going!