The best solar generators to take you off the grid
The Yeti 1000 Core makes Goal Zero’s Yeti 1000X more affordable without cutting corners or compromising on durability.
- Super-tough exterior is ready for adventure
- Enough power for larger tools, devices, and appliances
- Can be charged with one or more Goal Zero solar panels
- Cannot be chained with other Goal Zero batteries
- Performance is slightly limited compared to the Yeti 1000X to compete at this price
- Not worth the upcharge for indoor use
An affordable price and user-friendly interface make this a great option for beginners exploring solar energy for the first time.
- Affordable without being cheap
- Color display is easy to understand
- Variety of AC and DC output ports
- Low capacity compared to the alternatives on this list
- Not weather-resistant
- Charge times seem unnecessarily long
An outstanding balance of power, weight, and price results in a versatile solar generator you can count on.
- Super-fast recharge time
- Can be paired with external River batteries for more power
- Packs 720 watt-hours into a 17-pound package
- Not designed to power a home or RV
- May be a case of too much and too little for some users
- Fewer charging cycles than some of the alternatives
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When it comes to being self-sufficient and prepared for anything, solar generators are one of the best investments you can make. When freak ice storms bombarded Texas in 2021, millions of people suddenly realized how perilous our access to energy actually is.
Even though a full-scale home solar setup might price out a lot of homeowners (and all renters), solar generators like the ones we included on this list present a much more accessible alternative. All the solar generators we picked can be powered from a wall outlet and be used as an emergency reserve, but they can also be paired with solar panels to reduce your monthly electric bill. If you have a beer fridge in the garage or a space heater in a workshop, a small solar setup can pay itself off surprisingly quickly.
A solar generator consists of a solar panel array and a power station. Both components are important; each can be used alone, but they do best as a team. We won’t suggest that it doesn’t matter which solar panels you choose, but most people will do well to decide on the power station first. That’s what we focused on for this gear guide. Once you choose the right one for you, decide how fast you need the battery topped off when you can’t access the grid and find a compatible solar array from that brand.
There’s a lot more to learn before you make this kind of investment, so let’s identify some of the best solar generators and make sense of the technology that powers them.
There was a time when, like most people, we thought solar energy was a simple concept: plug a solar panel into a solar generator and off you go. Enjoy your free electricity. It turns out that there’s a lot more to it than that. Solar energy that’s collected by one of several kinds of solar panels needs to be regulated to ensure safe delivery into the battery. The solar generator needs to convert stored energy into a form that can be used by devices that consume either alternating- or direct-current electricity.
To make sure you got solid information, we spent days researching all of this and found some great resources to pass along. Armed with that information, we sought out solar generators that are adequate for several days of use on a single charge. Every product that made our list had to offer AC and DC charging. The ability to charge via solar panels was obviously a must, but we looked for solar generators that can be purchased individually so you have the flexibility to customize a setup to meet your specific needs. Finally, we gave priority to brands that either had a proven record of success or could provide a product for us to test for ourselves.
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core
One of the main reasons we buy solar generators is the fact that we don’t know what the future holds. Uncertainty is exactly where Goal Zero thrives, and the Yeti 1000 Core might be the best buy in its product lineup.
Like many of the best solar generators, the Yeti 1000 Core has a storage capacity just 17 shy of 1,000 watt-hours. Where this one shines is performance in the face of the elements. In addition to being one of the oldest and most trusted manufacturers of solar products, Goal Zero has earned a reputation for making solar panels, generators, and batteries that can take a beating without letting you down.
The Yeti 1000 Core can be charged with a maximum input of 300 watts, which is easily attainable with Goal Zero’s chainable solar panels or the standard power cord. From there, the lithium-ion battery can handle coolers, grills, and other camping appliances. At 32 pounds, it’s an easy addition to your car camping setup or bug-out kit.
The Yeti 1000 Core is based on the Yeti 1000X. Goal Zero is a premium brand and usually costs more than others. To close that gap, the company scaled back the Yeti 1000X to get the price more in line with the competition. We think the result hits a sweet spot for anyone looking to upgrade their camping experience and prepare for the worst at the same time.
- Storage: 983 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 300 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 1,200 watts
- Maximum surge output: 2,400 watts
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion
- Weight: 32 pounds
A more affordable take on the popular Yeti 1000X
Unflinchingly rugged construction is ready for adventure
Charges in four hours with 300 watts of solar power
Carbon-neutral shipping, headquarters, and warehouse
Slightly less capable than the Yeti 1000x
Cannot be chained with external batteries
GoSun Power 550
There’s a lot to learn about solar power for those who are new to the scene, and some products make getting up to speed easier than others. The GoSun might not have the chops of our other picks, but it’s so accessible and user-friendly that it deserves consideration by solar newcomers.
GoSun doesn’t have the same brand recognition as the other manufacturers on our list, but we were able to get a Power 550 and 100-watt solar panel for testing. Both are about as user-friendly as it gets. The Power 550 includes a variety of AC and DC charging ports that can be used simultaneously. Its compact size and light weight are great for short trips or working off-grid. We used ours to charge household electronics and power things like heated blankets during the winter. The color display is one of the largest we’ve seen, and it makes it easy to monitor input, output, battery life, and the status of all active ports. Someone who has no knowledge of solar generators would be in pretty good shape with this one.
In terms of outright performance, the Power 550 lags behind the other options on this list. It takes quite a while to charge and is not weather-resistant. You aren’t going to find this on any prepper’s gear list. On the other hand, it’s a great way to keep your laptop, phone, and earbuds charged. If vanlife or remote weekend getaways are your idea of a good time — and learning the ins and outs of solar energy is not — this is a solid choice.
- Storage: 550 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 300 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 600 watts
- Maximum surge output: 1,200 watts
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion
- Weight: 15 pounds
Affordable way to get into the solar game
Detailed, user-friendly color display
Nice selection of AC and DC power ports
Better suited to small devices
Long charge times for its size
EcoFlow River Pro
For most people, choosing between a 500-watt-hour solar generator and a 1,000-watt-hour solar generator is an easy decision. If you’re the exception to the rule, The EcoFlow River Pro might be just what you need. This 720-watt-hour solar generator offers high-end quality at a more accessible price by cutting down on power you don’t need.
Charging time is the River Pro’s party trick. You can achieve a full charge in about 90 minutes. From there, the River Pro is powerful enough to charge your phone more than a hundred times or run a refrigerator for at least eight hours. Its array of charging ports lets you power 10 devices at the same time and access a maximum regulated output of 600 watts. If that’s not enough, you can add an extra battery to bring the available power up to 1,440 watt-hours. The lithium-ion battery keeps things light, so the whole package weighs in at just 17 pounds. EcoFlow backs up the River Pro with a two-year warranty and 24-hour customer service.
Versatility is this solar generator’s greatest strength, but it can also be a drawback. For some buyers, 720 watt-hours is inadequate; for others, it’s excessive. That’s the price of occupying the middle ground. Still, it’s one of the best solar generators out there if you want something fast and reliable.
- Storage: 720 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 660 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 600 watts
- Maximum surge output: 1,200 watts
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion
- Weight: 17 pounds
Recharge time is impressively fast
Add external River batteries to increase capacity
Surprisingly light for its segment
Charging ports for 10 devices
Inadequate power for a home or RV
Shorter lifespan than some of the competition
When it comes to specialized gear, what some see as a disadvantage may be a major selling point for someone else. That’s true of the Bluetti AC300, which corners a unique market with unconventional battery chemistry.
Every other solar generator on this list uses a lithium-ion battery. That’s primarily because lithium-ion batteries can store more energy per pound, making them the go-to battery when weight is a concern. The Bluetti AC300 uses a lithium iron phosphate battery that’s significantly heavier. That’s fine by us because it holds a charge slightly longer, can survive more charge cycles, and is more stable. If you want to power your cabin or super-secret hideout, this is the way to go. We suppose it would also be fine to keep in your garage as a backup power source, even though that’s less exciting.
This kit combines an AC300 solar generator and a B300 external battery (with more batteries and solar panels available). That combination isn’t cheap, especially considering the solar charger starts with a considerable 3,000-watt-hour capacity. It’s also heavy, as we mentioned. Given all the pros and cons, this is probably the best solar generator to leave unattended, worry-free, for long periods of time.
- Storage: 3,000 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 5,400 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 3,000 watts
- Maximum surge output: 6,000 watts
- Battery chemistry: lithium iron phosphate
- Weight: 48 pounds
One-stop package for an off-grid setup
Add up to two external batteries and three solar panels
Fast charge times improve power capabilities
Lithium iron phosphate battery offers more charge cycles than lithium-ion
Far heavier than lithium-ion solar generators
Not a good portable option
EcoFlow River Mini
If the EcoFlow River checks all your boxes but weighs too much, the River Mini is what you need. This compact, portable solar generator bridges the gap between full-size solar generators and.size power banks.
The River Mini’s 200-watt-hour storage capacity is perfect for keeping your phone, laptop, earbuds, and smartwatch powered up on the go. Instead of targeting homeowners and preppers, EcoFlow built the River Mini for people who want to work (or play) remotely without having to compete for a plug at the local coffee shop or call it a day when batteries start dying. It recharges in 90 minutes and can be controlled with an app. The whole thing weighs just six pounds and costs less than 240 on sale (at the time of writing). A wireless charging option is available if you’re willing to spend a little more.
Unlike the other options on this list, the River Mini isn’t the best solar generator for camping, powering your home during a power outage, or bringing your campsite into the modern era. What it can do is go places the others can’t. Toss it in your backpack (or even your go-bag) for a little extra juice when a handheld power bank doesn’t cut it.
- Storage: 210 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 100 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 300 watts
- Maximum surge output: 600 watts
- Battery chemistry: NMC lithium-ion
- Weight: 6 pounds
Extremely light and portable
Fully charges in 90 minutes
Can be monitored and controlled with an app
Run input and output simultaneously
Low power output cannot support larger devices
Wireless charging option costs 100 more
Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
To a lot of people, Goal Zero represents the best solar generators on the market. If they’re right, the Yeti 6000X might be as good as it gets because this behemoth occupies the top spot on the company’s power station food chain.
The Yeti 6000X goes far beyond what most consumers need by offering more than 6,000 watt-hours of energy, 2,000 watts of continuous, regulated output, and a surge output of 3,500 watts. It can be recharged by up to 600 watts and can handle Goal Zero’s highest-output solar panels. As if all that wasn’t enough, it can be combined with external Goal Zero batteries to stockpile even more electricity off the grid. If you’re looking for a power backup for your home, this is the one to have. It’s a powerful workhorse that can keep power-thirsty appliances up and running when the power lines fail you.
The Yeti 6000X comes at a hefty price, and costs will go up significantly if you want to get the most out of it with premium solar panels and batteries. Even though the power station comes on a rolling cart, 106 pounds is too much for practical camping and outdoor adventure. This is one solar generator that will probably be parked in your garage or basement and left alone.
- Storage: 6,071 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 600 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 2,000 watts
- Maximum surge output: 3,500 watts
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion
- Weight: 106 pounds
Incredibly powerful, self-contained home power backup
Can be paired with additional batteries for even more power
Adequate for multiple large appliances like refrigerators and power tools
Extremely durable and well-built
Includes a cart, but not practically mobile
Expensive to supply with maximum solar power
Jackery Explorer 500
If you follow the overlanding and car camping communities, you’ll get the impression that Jackery is the brand to have. These orange solar power stations are becoming increasingly common sights on the trails and roads less traveled because they’re rugged, affordable, and get the job done.
Jackery solar generators seem to be one of the more trusted brands among consumers. Power stations like the Explorer 500 offer the performance people need for off-grid adventures, but keep costs down by eliminating features that aren’t essential. Sure, the housing looks like a plastic lunchbox and the screen could have been made in the 1980s, but you’d rather look at amazing natural views than your power station anyway. The Explorer 500 is built to be thrown in the back of your truck or SUV, taken to a campsite, and used to get the sun’s energy into smaller electronic devices like your camera and laptop.
With a capacity of 500 watt-hours, the Explorer isn’t cut out for larger charging jobs like refrigerators and heaters. For that, Jackery offers the Explorer 1000 and 1500. This one’s just right for overnight trips or car camping adventures where you’ll have plenty of opportunities to recharge the battery.
- Storage: 518 watt-hours
- Maximum input: 100 watts
- Maximum regulated output: 500 watts
- Maximum surge output: 1,000 watts
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion
- Weight: 13 pounds
Built to endure hard use outdoors
No-frills approach cuts costs without sacrificing quality
Balance of power and portability
Built-in light helps with after-dark setup
Not as many features as higher-end solar generators
Charge times are on the longer side
Our verdict on solar generators
At the end of the day, choosing the best solar generator for you comes down to capabilities. In most cases, we recommend the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Core for its rugged reliability and just-right capacity. Alternatively, you can save a lot of money with a GoSun Power 550, which makes getting into solar energy intuitive and affordable. If you want to take your home off-grid with uninterrupted access to power, go big and hook up a Goal Zero Yeti 6000X with a few extra batteries and some permanent solar panels.
What to consider when buying solar generators
Investing in a solar power station can be a big investment, especially if you’re trying to power your home or RV. Doing a little homework about the types of systems available and their requirements can save you a lot of trouble (and money) in the long run. Hell, it might even make you money.
Types of solar generators
People began using the sun’s energy long before the solar generators we think of today came into being. A lens or piece of reflective material can be used to FOCUS solar energy to create heat. Magnifying glasses can be used to start a fire; reflective panels can boil water in the field. Linear concentration systems like the one found in the Gosun Go camp stove can generate enough heat to cook a meal without any fuel except for daylight. The kinds of solar generators we’ll FOCUS on, though, are ones that turn sunlight into electricity.
Portable solar generators
The easiest and most affordable way to take advantage of solar energy is with a portable system that contains all the components you need. The best portable solar generators are about the size of a lunchbox and have the ability to provide electricity via three-prong wall outlets, 12-volt outlets like the one in your car, and various sizes of USB ports. A display that shows how much power is being delivered and how much remains on tap will let you manage your consumption off-grid. How much power a given generator can store will depend on its size.
Even though you can typically charge your power station from the wall or your car, solar panels are preferable for their free access to solar energy. Be prepared to buy your panels separately from your solar power station, although some vendors do offer complete kits. There is some variety in the efficiency of various panel designs, but bigger is generally better when it comes to power output. Make sure you choose panels that are appropriate for your power station and energy needs.
Solar generators for home use
As of 2020, solar power plants produced a very small portion of the energy used in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean it can’t work (and be profitable) for you on an individual basis. The U.S. Department of Energy lists seven steps to take to equip your home with solar power. Basically, homeowners need to conduct an energy audit to see how much electricity they consume, then compare that figure to the energy potential of their property based on factors like available space, budget, light exposure, and weather patterns.
Solar panels are great at producing power, but they can’t store it. To keep your house operational around the clock, you’ll need batteries to store the electricity and a means of converting it to a form your appliances and devices can use. There’s a lot of important technology and careful math involved in setting up a solar generator for your home, but it can be done and systems are getting increasingly affordable. Many states also offer financial incentives to go solar.
Key features of solar generators
Solar panels are the components of a power system that capture the sun’s energy, to begin with. Underneath a clear, protective outer layer are rows of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon cells that absorb solar energy. A junction box on the back of each panel serves as the connection point between two panels or a panel and your generator and ensures that electricity only flows in one direction. All of your panels together are called an array. If you have a lot of electronics to power, need to recharge in a hurry, or have poor access to sunlight, increasing the size of your array can help you stay on top of your energy needs.
Because solar panels are intended for use outside, they’re built to be very durable. Don’t worry too much about the weather, but be careful not to bend or otherwise abuse your solar panels and risk cracking them. If you want to build a rooftop deck for your RV or overlanding vehicle, something a little more durable is a Smart investment.
If solar panels are the muscle of your off-grid power system, the power station is the brain of the operation. The first component your newly collected energy will encounter is the charge controller, which regulates the in-flow of electricity to your battery and protects it from damage. The battery itself can be a traditional lead-acid battery in some cases (usually in a home or vehicle), but portable systems use more advanced lithium-ion or lithium iron phosphate batteries. Direct-current electronics can use power directly from the battery, but most plug-in devices require alternating current. An inverter inside the power station converts electricity into this form so you can use it with common two- or three-prong electrical plugs.
Power stations come in a range of sizes. As size (and cost) increase, power stations gain the capacity to power larger, more demanding appliances for longer periods of time. isn’t necessarily better; make sure to figure out how much power you really need before maxing out your budget.
When we talk about electrical output, we use watts and hours as a basis for comparison. A modern LED light bulb can provide the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb for an hour on less than 10 watts. The charger on my old laptop is labeled with 45 watts, meaning it can transfer 45 watts from the grid to my laptop’s battery in one hour. My work laptop’s charger is newer and more powerful, so it can deliver 61 watts per hour. The batteries in your various devices just need to charge for a short period of time, but other items require constant power.
If you want a solar generator for home use, you’ll need to take into account all the electronics you don’t usually think about, but have a high electrical draw. Refrigerators, for example, need anywhere from 300 to 800 watts per hour. That’s why it’s important to conduct an inventory of the electronics you want to power in the event you lose access to the power grid and prepare enough capacity to handle the workload.
Once you have a working baseline for your power needs in terms of watts per hour, compare that to a solar generator. Always overestimate your needs, because battery performance is affected by several factors and you shouldn’t expect to extract the full wattage. We found a great video breakdown of this if you want to learn more. Continuous and surge capacity also come into play (meaning varying power needs and the maximum rate power can be extracted from your generator), but those measurements are less of an issue for most people. Keep your draw well below the surge capacity on your generator, and you should be fine.
Pricing considerations for solar generators
Solar generator pricing is directly tied to power capacity. Portable options like the lightweight EcoFlow River Mini cost as little as 240 if you catch the sales at the right time. Most of our picks fall between 500 and 1,000; they’re suitable for car camping and powering your home’s essential electronics in an emergency. At the top end of the market are powerhouses like the massive Goal Zero Yeti 6000X at 6,000. Remember that more isn’t necessarily better. There’s no need to buy more power than you need, and sometimes it’s best to have light, portable gear — especially when it comes to emergency preparedness.
Tips and tricks
Getting a solid understanding of solar power takes a lot of research (ask us how we know) and it’s especially important to get the technical details right if you plan on assembling your own system from scratch. There are a few ways to make life a little easier, so let us grease the skids for you with some helpful tips.
- Test your electronics with a watt meter to identify the right size of portable solar generator for your house or campsite.
- Most solar generators can also charge from a wall outlet. Don’t wait until you need electricity to break out the solar panels; start with a full charge and use them right away to stay charged.
- Electric coolers and camping refrigerators may not need constant power. You might be able to keep food cool with occasional power from your solar generator.
- Solar generators are perfect for bug-out or disaster situations. Keep yours charged and choose a size that you’re capable of transporting easily.
- Batteries don’t respond well to going flat. Check your power station’s owner’s manual and store it within the optimum charge range, if there is one.
- Not all solar generators are built to withstand the elements, so pick one that’s weather-resistant if you plan on using it outdoors.
FAQs on solar generators
You’ve got questions, Task Purpose has answers.
Q: Are solar generators safe?
A: Yes, solar generators are generally very safe. In fact, The Hartford lists falling from the roof during installation as one of the biggest risks of using solar power. As with any electrical system, make sure you understand how everything works and double-check any work you do yourself.
Q: What size solar generator should I get?
A: Off-Grid Home has a good walkthrough for solar generator sizing, but the gist is that it depends on how much power you want. Use a watt meter to see exactly how much power a given appliance or device is currently using, then add up the consumption of everything you want to power.
Q: How many years will a solar generator last?
A: You can expect the best solar generators to last more than 25 years. Proper care is important to getting the most out of this technology, so read the manufacturer’s instructions for use and storage.
Q: Can I run my house on solar power only?
A: Many people power their entire house with solar energy and have electricity leftover that may be sold back to the power company. As technology advances, the time it takes for a solar power investment to pay itself off is getting shorter and shorter.
Scott Murdock is a Task Purpose commerce writer and Marine Corps veteran. Since 2020, he’s selflessly committed himself to experiencing the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader. Contact the author here.
Best Solar Generator for Off-grid Living
Solar generator is one of the most popular choices when it comes to sources of reliable power, but which one is the best for off-grid living? Find out the features to look for in this blog.
Self-sufficiency and independent living are just some of the reasons why more and more people are choosing to live off the grid (over 250,000 people in the U.S. to date). Living independently from “the system” is empowering, knowing you can live a self-sustaining life. And suppose you’re pondering about switching to this radical lifestyle in the foreseeable future. In that case, we’ll guide you through one of the trickiest parts of living off-grid, which is finding reliable power.
If you’re planning to cut ties with traditional utility providers, solar power, particularly solar generator, is a popular option when it comes to finding source of reliable power. Are you thinking, “What is the best solar generator for off-grid living?” An ideal solar generator should have the following features: runs quietly and is low maintenance; has enough power to supply your needs; has sufficient watt hours/run time; and can be expandable. In this blog, we’ll share with you some important things to know about solar generators and some tips when purchasing so you can pick the one that’s suited for your needs.
Can you live off-grid by a solar generator?
If you read our previous article, we answered this question with a “yes” and “no”. It’s not impossible for you to run your whole household using a solar generator so long as it can meet the electrical demands of your often-used appliances and devices.
Most portable solar generators in the market can power small appliances and recharge devices (e.g. chargers, lights, TVs, microwave ovens), which is ideal for off-grid camping or RVs. They are also good to be used as backup power for brownouts and blackouts, which, unfortunately, are becoming more common due to climate change and the country’s aging power grids.
On the other hand, if you have power-hungry appliances in your off-grid home, like a natural gas furnace or portable AC, not all solar generators can supply the demand. Luckily, there are newer and larger models from Nature’s Generator that can and are designed to power an entire household. If that doesn’t make it to the list of the best solar generator for off-grid living then we don’t know what will make the cut!
So again, you can power your house with a solar generator so long as you will use the correct size that can meet the demand of your appliances and devices. We recommend that you make yourself familiar with which electronics you run in your household to determine how much wattage you require.
A quick way to do this is to look at your electricity bill and find out how much kWh your household uses each month. Also take into consideration that these appliances won’t be running 24/7 (except for your refrigerator, of course) and at the same time.
Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
Solar generators come in various sizes and electricity it provides, and to determine the right one for you is to know which generator can address your energy consumption needs. BUT, it’s not only about if the solar generator can provide enough power for your lifestyle, there are also some factors that make the best solar generator for off-grid living.
Probably one of the major reasons why you’re choosing to disconnect from society is because we live in a world where there’s too much noise (literally and figuratively). To many, living off the grid means reconnecting with nature and enjoying the beauty it offers. And it will be contradictory if you’re going to use a power source that makes too much noise. So when buying a generator, it’s important to consider the noise level it produces when it’s in operation.
The good news is that, unlike gas-fueled generators, solar generators are super quiet. Solar generators do not use an engine and have no moving parts like their conventional counterparts. The “loudest” sound you may hear from solar generators is from ambient fan noise or from the minimal buzzing sound of the inverter. OK – technically, all solar generators will have this feature, so let’s take a look at other qualities to determine which ones are the best.
One amazing feature of solar generators is that they require less maintenance. Traditional generators have moving parts and burn gasoline or diesel that leave behind deposits, which requires periodic maintenance.
On the other hand, solar generators are low maintenance. Products from Nature’s Generator, for example, do not require monthly maintenance. You only need to keep the generator plugged in or recharge it every four months of non-use, and you’ll have a great power source or a good backup for power interruptions.
A feature that will make other solar generators stand out from the others is their battery capacity. The battery capacity refers to how much energy (amount of electricity) a solar generator can store. Knowing this will help determine if the solar generator you’re planning to purchase will meet your electric consumption.
Note that the battery capacity is typically measured in watt-hours (Wh). For off-grid living we recommend you use at least a minimum of 1000Wh. You can check out Nature’s Generator Elite, which has a 1200Wh capacity. If you’re planning to use devices plus large appliances, such as a fridge, for longer periods, you can add Nature’s Generator Power Pod for a total combined capacity of 2400Wh.
For bigger battery capacity, Nature’s Generator Powerhouse is one thing to consider. It has a 4800Wh battery capacity, which has enough power to support your household’s electric demand.
A quick tip to keep in mind, the higher the output capacity the generator has, the better.
Power Output Voltage and Wattage
Another important factor that you need to consider when purchasing a solar generator is power output voltage and wattage. You need to decide if you need a 240 volts or 120volts system. You always can tap 120V from 240V system, but you cannot get 240V from a 120V system. That’s why Nature’s Generator 240V/7200W Powerhouse is such a great solution for people who wants to live off grid. Beside the voltage, the wattage also matters. The big wattage there is, the more appliances you can power.
If you’re going to look for the best solar generator, you want to make sure that it allows for expandability. The Nature’s Generator Power Pod, which should be used with Nature’s Generator will add 1200Wh of battery capacity and 200W of solar input.
With our Powerhouse line, you have infinite expandability and upgrade your system with Solar Panels, Power Pods, Wind Turbines, security camera systems, etc.
You can check accessories for your solar generator here.
Looking at available solar generators for off-grid living in the market could be overwhelming, especially if you’re not well-versed in this area. Hopefully, our tips above will help you narrow down your list so you can choose the generator that will cater to your needs.
If you want to make your life easier, you can browse our Nature’s Generator products and you’ll find everything you need, plus useful information to help you make a decision. If you have more questions our customer support will be more than happy to assist.
We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Ishna Sablaya, contributed research and content to this blog titled: Best Solar Generator for Off-grid Living Thank you, Ishna, for your contributions!
Best solar generators in 2023: Expert Review
Solar generators are for people that thought that PV systems weren’t already simple enough: it’s just panels and a power station with a bunch of outlets. You can use them at home when the light goes out, or you can take them on the road. Lightweight, compact and silent, they will make gas generators a thing of the past. Let’s look at the best models that we’ve found in our solar generators review.
Solar generator: Everything everywhere all at once
Solar energy generator is the term for a kit with solar panels and a power station. They are often sold as an item, though you can find panels and stations separately. A power station combines in itself an inverter, a battery and a charge controller. It stores and distributes energy, and once you add panels to it, you can recharge it wherever the sun shines.
Most generators are portable. The kits often include foldable PV modules. and the power station is the size of a boombox so it’s easy to take them on trips with you. You unpack solar panels, turn them to the sun, connect to a station, and just like that, you’ve got an AC outlet for everything you need. Power stations have USB ports and they are compatible with complex electronics like laptops or smartphones.
Seven best solar generators in 2023
Here are several generator models that we like. While reviewing them, we’ll FOCUS primarily on power stations: all of them turn into solar generators once you add panels. Some of them are great for traveling and some are just handy to have at home.
Renogy Phoenix 300 power station: Little helper
This power station from Renogy has 337 Wh capacity and delivers stable 200 W power for charging anything from laptops, tablets, and smartphones to drones, cameras, mini-fridges and much more. It can revive a MacBook Air in less than 2 hours. Small size and weight (6.4 lbs) make Phoenix a great help on the road.
The lithium-ion battery inside Phoenix can withstand more than 1000 life cycles. You can recharge it with a home outlet, car port or PD Port. Phoenix goes well with portable solar panels from Renogy : this bundle will give you power wherever you’ll take it with you. It’s one of the cheaper solar generators for sale, and Renogy is famous for its quality equipment for mobile solar installations.
Renogy Phoenix 1000 power station: Big helper
Phoenix 1000 from Renogy has twelve outlets to keep life comfortable for campers as well as for homeowners during power outages. This power station can deliver up to 2100 W of power, and iBoost mode allows it to run appliances rated up to 3000 W at a lower power without causing overload.
The lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery of Phoenix 1000 can go over 2000 cycles — four times more than a standard lithium-ion battery. The station can be revived from 0% to 80% in 1 hour from a wall outlet, but you can use solar panels to charge it outdoors. Renogy recommends pairing Phoenix with E.FLEX 220 panels for taking your kit for a trip. Phoenix 1000 is powerful enough to be used as a solar generator for home as well.
Jackery solar generator 1500: Everywhere you go
The Jackery solar generator combines the Explorer 1500 power station and SolarSaga panels. The kit is ideal for camping, overlanding, fishing, and any outdoor trips. Explorer 1500 is equipped with three AC outlets, one PD 60 W USB-C Port, one Quick Charge 3.0 Port, one USB-A Port and one 12 V car port. It has a 1534 Wh capacity and 1800 running wattage. Four SolarSaga 100 W panels will recharge the Jackery Explorer in 4 hours, thanks to SolarPeak technology. While it’s a great option for traveling, this Jackery model is big enough to use as a solar power generator for home.
Jackery solar generator 240: Support kit
This is a smaller generator from Jackery which consists of power station Explorer 240 and the same SolarSaga panel. Explorer is equipped with a 240 Wh lithium-ion battery. It has one AC outlet with 200 W output and 400 W surge power, two USB-A ports, and a DC car port. SolarSaga 100 W panel is foldable and weighs only 9.1 lbs so it’s easy to take it on the road.
EcoFlow DELTA Pro: Immortal battery
The Delta Pro power station from EcoFlow has a 3.6 kWh capacity. Its LFP battery withstands over 6500 full charging cycles and it will last you for years and years. Delta Pro can be used on the road or as a home backup. With 3600 W of AC output, you can power heavy-duty appliances such as dryers, air-conditioning units and more.
Delta Pro turns from a power station into a solar generator for house or traveling once you add a 400 W foldable solar panel. The EcoFlow panel weighs 27.5 lbs. The panel comes with a protective case that turns into a stand. You can set an angle between 40° and 90° for maximum production. The EcoFlow app allows you to monitor your newfound system through a smartphone.
If you need even more power, EcoFlow suggests purchasing several units and stacking them. For example, you can get 7200 W AC output by pairing two units. That’s, of course, a solid option primarily for home energy backup — unless you manage a wandering circus and you need that much energy on the road.
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max: Off-grid life bundle
River 2 Max solar power generator combines a power station by the same name and a folding 160 W portable solar panel with an adjustable 180° angle. A solar panel charges your River station in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can recharge it with an AC outlet, car charger, or the all-new USB-C. The LFP battery of the station can withstand over 3000 full cycles, and you can use River 2 Max almost every day for 10 years. The power station comes with a 5-year product warranty.
ZeroKor solar generator: Travel companion
Solar generator bundle from ZeroKor includes a 40 W portable solar panel and a power station. The station provides 300 W of power and stores 280 Wh of energy. It can be recharged with a wall AC outlet, solar panels and a car charging port. ZeroKor model has two AC outlets, a DC output port, and four USB ports for your appliances.
Collect, convert, support: How a solar generator works
Here’s a quick rundown on how a solar electricity generator works. When a solar panel is exposed to the sun, it produces direct current (DC). For lighting and heating DC is already enough. Complex electronics require alternating current (AC). That’s why an inverter inside a power station turns DC into AC, and you can plug your appliances into it as if it were a standard home outlet.
The power station also has an AC or DC battery which is charged with solar energy. A charge controller inside a station makes high voltage coming from solar panels safe for the battery and prevents overcharging and deep discharge.
Solar generators are what will replace gas generators that were popular among campers and homeowners as a power backup. The advantages are easy to see: solar generators are more compact and portable, they don’t need fuel, they don’t smell and are silent. You can use a solar generator as an emergency backup at home, and its portability makes it an ideal travel companion.
How long does a solar generator last? Depends on battery
Power stations and panels come with separate warranties. As it is often with portable solar equipment, these warranties are short and they often last from 1 to 5 years.
In practice, generators last for up to a decade. Portable panels are sturdy enough to serve you for 15 years. The power station itself is more fragile because of how complex it is: after all, it’s a battery, an inverter and a charge controller in one.
A lot depends on the type of battery that a power station has. Lithium iron phosphate battery or LFP is the best option with higher cycle life: it supports up to 3000 cycles whereas more standard Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) batteries withstand about 700-1000 cycles. All Li-ion batteries are more reliable than lead-acid batteries: they have higher depth of discharge and they are less vulnerable to extreme temperatures. You can expect Li-ion batteries to last for 10 years, whereas with lead-acid batteries it heavily depends on maintenance. Lead-acid and gel batteries live for 2-8 years.
The Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living: Top 7 Choices
Whether you’re a hardcore camper or survivalist or simply like the idea of living off the grid, having a solar generator is extremely important. The best solar generator for off-grid living will offer you the chance to live emission-free and save tons of money on gas and fuel for refilling a traditional generator.
Regardless of your motivations, solar generators could be extremely beneficial to your off-grid lifestyle. So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to find the best solar generator for off-grid living and how to go about choosing one.
What Is a Solar Generator, and How Do They Work?
Solar generators use solar panels to harness energy from the sun to convert it into electricity. Each generator can attach to solar panels that harness the energy, then transfer it to the generator. The generator then stores this energy until it’s at total capacity and is ready for use.
Solar generators are mostly designed to power small devices such as laptops and phone chargers or lights. However, advancements are being made in solar technology, and generators are being designed bigger and better than ever. While solar generators are still recommended as a backup or supplemental source of power, there are a few that can power your desire for off-grid living.
How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
When choosing the best solar generator for off-grid living, the main things to keep in mind are your goals and how big of a generator you need. Each of the below considerations affects your generator’s capabilities and what you can use it for.
A generator’s power storing ability is measured in watt-hours. Most solar generators have storing capabilities of less than 100 or 500 watt-hours, which is only enough to power a light bulb or charging device.
However, a heavy-duty generator, the best solar generator for off-grid living, will have power storage capacities of several thousand-kilowatt hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you can power your home for several thousand hours straight. To figure that out, you have to add up the wattage amounts of each of the appliances and devices you want to power.
For example, if you want to power a refrigerator that uses 500 watts and your generator has a capacity of 2,000 kilowatt-hours, you could power your 500-watt refrigerator for four hours. Simply take the wattage of what you’re powering and divide it by the storing capacity.
Along with power storing abilities, the best solar generator for off-grid living should be able to recharge quickly is extremely important. The size and amount of solar panels you have will largely determine how quickly your generator recharges after using its stored power. If you hope to continually run appliances or have permanent power, charging capability and speed is vital.
You’ll also want a generator that you can charge via other means, such as a 12-volt battery. If the sun isn’t shining and you need your solar generator to recharge, batteries, outlets, and other power sources are necessary.
Output capability refers to how many different devices the generator can power at once and how many different sources of power it has. Sources of power refer to the types of outlets, plugs, and ports on the generator itself. The best solar generator for off-grid living should have many different styles and sizes of ports and a maximum output that’s higher than its maximum input.
You also want a solar generator that’s portable and easy to move from place to place. This is especially important for off-grid living, including camping, boondocking, and any other living situation you can think of. The typical best solar generator for off-grid living will range in size from 10 to 100 pounds, but don’t forget about any cords, batteries, or solar panels you have to transport.
Finally, you don’t want a solar generator that works well enough but will need to be replaced often. For true off-grid living, you should have a solar generator to match. Conditions might get rough and dirty, and having the best solar generator for off-grid living means having one that can withstand bumps and bruises and last a long time.
Overall Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
Jackery Explorer 1500
The Jackery Explorer 1500 offers excellent output capability, portability, durability, and comes in a tiny package. Each of these things are important to consider when purchasing the best solar generator for off-grid living. While it might not be as good in each area as other generators, it does the best job of combining each aspect and taking our top overall spot.