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Compare prices and reviews of solar providers near you online. Patriot solar panel generator

Compare prices and reviews of solar providers near you online. Patriot solar panel generator

    Patriot Power Generator Review – Is it Worth It? Best Alternative Options

    A solar generator is an incredibly useful piece of equipment. When paired with one or more solar panels, a solar generator is almost an all-in-one solar power station. The best solar power generators feature an integrated, high-capacity solar battery, an efficient and powerful charge controller, a built-in power inverter, and a variety of practical power output ports. In other words, a high-quality solar generator lets you generate, store, and access solar power from even the most remote, off-grid locations.

    To help you choose the right solar power generator for your needs, we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the most well-known options on the market today – the Patriot Power Generator 1800 from 4Patriots. After taking a thorough look at the Patriot Power Generator, we compare it to some alternatives to discover whether or not it is the best option out there.

    Review of the Patriot Power Generator

    4Patriots is the brand behind the Patriot Power Generator 1800. The brand itself is a well-known manufacturer of survival food kits and self-reliance equipment. While they are not a specialized solar company, their Patriot Power Generator 1800 has proven to be a fairly popular item.

    While it remains an expensive solar generator, the truth is the Patriot Power Generator first launched over five years ago. Given how quickly solar technology improves, five years is quite a long time, which is why it is worth taking an in-depth look at this unit’s internal components to see how they stack up to some of the other solar generators out there.

    The Capacity and Shelf Life of the Patriot Power Generator

    Battery Capacity:

    One of the first things we have to clear up about the Patriot Power Generator 1800 is the unit’s battery capacity. While some believe that the 1800 in the name refers to the total watt-hours the unit can store, the truth is it only holds an unimpressive 652Wh.

    In truth, anything under 1,000Wh is fairly dated, especially when you are talking about a solar generator that is as large and as heavy as the Patriot Power Generator 1800.

    While the internal 12V LiFePo4 lithium-ion phosphate battery is made to a fairly high standard, the capacity falls short of the industry standard, which is somewhat unsurprising. 4Patriots has not updated the battery since it first released the unit.

    If you plan to use your solar generator for backup power during power outages and emergencies, a high battery capacity is one of the most important attributes to look for. Simply put, a 652Wh battery is hardly going to be enough to run your electronics for any significant period, especially if you are looking to run multiple electronic devices.

    To put things into perspective, a 652Wh deep cycle battery would struggle to power a standard refrigerator for much more than 5 hours, which is not much help if you are in a situation where the grid power is down for over a day.

    Battery Shelf Life:

    One of the major downsides of the Patriot Power Generator is its unimpressive shelf life. Essentially, shelf life refers to the amount of time you can leave a battery charged before the power drains. While all batteries suffer from natural drain over time, some batteries are better than others at holding their charge. Shelf life is an incredibly important factor for those planning to use their solar generator as source of backup or emergency power.

    According to 4Patriots, the shelf life of the Patriot Power Generator is 6 months; however, most users find the actual shelf life is significantly less and comes closer to just a single month. Once again, this is simply a symptom of using a dated deep cycle battery. For comparison, most solar generators you will find at this price point have a shelf life of closer to a year, with many lasting even longer. So, if you are looking for reliability, you will want to keep a keen eye on the shelf life of the internal battery in your chosen solar generator.

    Patriot Power Generator Inverter and Output Ports

    The Power Inverter:

    The Patriot Power Generator 1800 comes with a built-in 1,800W power inverter, which gives the unit its name. Since power inverters perform an incredibly important function, they are one of the most important internal components in any solar generator.

    Essentially, the power inverter converts the DC power your solar panels generate into AC power, which you will need to run and charge most of your electrical appliances and portable electronics.

    While the Patriot Power Generator’s 1,800W power inverter is respectable, it does not stand out compared to those on offer from other solar generator models.

    compare, reviews, solar, patriot

    Output Ports:

    Aside from the low battery capacity, where the Patriot Power Generator falls short is the number and variety of output ports it offers. The Patriot 1800 features two AC wall-style outlets, a single DC 12V car-style output port, and four USB outputs. While this may sound respectable at first glance, it is fairly dated.

    recent and updated solar generators almost always feature more output ports and newer options, like USB-C outputs. Again, this is simply a result of the Patriot Power Generator not being updated in over five years. Given how quickly solar technology is advancing, it is surprising that the brand hasn’t done more to keep up with technological improvements that are now becoming standard in the portable solar industry.

    Solar Capabilities

    While you might assume that all solar generators are equally capable of storing solar power, the truth is several factors will determine how quickly and efficiently a solar generator can charge its internal battery with solar power.

    For starters, the solar panels you choose to pair your solar generator with will play a significant role in determining overall performance. 4Patriots packages the Patriot 1800 with a single 100W solar panel. Since solar panels have a power rating based on how well they perform during ideal conditions, this means that a fully drained Patriot Power Generator 1800 would take about 6 to 7 hours to recharge using the included solar panel. It also assumes that the solar panel would get at least six continuous hours of direct, peak-hour sunlight, which would not happen during a typical day.

    Even on a sunny day, a single 100W solar panel would struggle to generate 75 watts per hour, which is why most people pair their solar generator with multiple 100W panels or a single solar panel with a higher power rating. However, the problem with the Patriot Power Generator is it has a maximum solar input of 240 watts, which means it cannot handle more than 240 watts at any given time. In other words, even if you wanted to add additional solar panels, you could only increase the charge rate by 140 watts, which is rather low, especially when compared to other solar generators at the same price range.

    In simple terms, if you want a solar generator that offers serious off-grid capabilities, choose one that comes packaged with more than just a single 100W solar panel; or failing that, you will at least want a generator that has a higher solar input rate than 240 watts.

    Our Overall Impression of the Patriot Power Generator 1800

    At first glance, the Patriot Power Generator 1800 seems like a capable solar generator. It has a built-in deep cycle battery, power inverter, MPPT charge controller, and several output ports; however, when you compare its actual specifications against other generators in its price range, the Patriot Power Generator falls short.

    Poor Storage Capabilities and Overall Performance:

    As we explained above, the battery capacity is just not there, especially not for a solar generator that comes in nearly 2,500! Granted, you also get a 100W solar panel for that price, but you will struggle to fully charge the internal battery with a solar panel with such a low power rating. On top of that, at 240 watts, the solar input rate is low, limiting your ability to expand your solar array. Worse, the shelf life is pretty dated. The truth is, you can get a solar generator with a far better battery capacity and shelf life for about half the price.

    Limited Surge Protection:

    Unfortunately, the Patriot Power Generator’s issues do not end at the battery. At just 3,048W, it also offers relatively little in terms of surge protection, which, once again, limits the number of solar panels you can connect to it. For this price, you would expect a more capable and efficient charge controller.

    There are also issues with the number and variety of charge ports. As mentioned above, it only has two 110V AC outlets and four USB-A outlets, which is limited compared to what more up-to-date solar generators offer.

    Slow Recharge Time:

    The recharge time leaves a lot to be desired. Other solar generators can be charged quickly through a standard wall outlet, which is helpful if you are about to set off on a camping or RV trip or if you have an advanced warning of an incoming storm, but this is not the case with the Patriot Power Generator.

    Charging the unit takes far too long; in fact, generators with twice the battery capacity usually take half as long to charge! The unit can also not charge directly through the 12V cigarette lighter outlet in your vehicle, limiting flexibility, especially for RV enthusiasts and campers.

    Bulky and Heavy:

    We also had major issues with the weight. With a total weight of 46 lbs, this unit is quite cumbersome, which can be an issue for seniors and those that value portability. Once again, the excess weight traces back to the fact that the technology is dated. For comparison, it is easy to find solar generators with twice the battery capacity that weigh closer to 30 lbs.

    What are the pros and cons of a solar generator?

    Whether you need to keep your lights on when the grid goes down or you want to charge your phone on a camping trip, solar generators are a great way to have extra energy on hand.

    But how do portable solar power generators stack up compared to conventional gas-powered generators? We take a look at how solar generators work, weigh their pros and cons, and discuss if a solar generator is the right investment for you.

    What is a solar generator?

    Technically, a solar power generator is any system that runs on solar power. But what most people mean when they say ‘solar generator’ refers to a portable power station that uses solar panels, instead of fossil fuels, to provide electricity.

    A portable solar generator uses solar panels to capture the sun’s energy and then stores that energy in a battery to be used later. Most solar generators are used for RV camping, boats, and as a backup power source in the case of a grid power outage.

    How do solar generators work?

    Solar generators have four major components:

    The solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity that is then passed through the charge controller. The charge controller regulates the voltage of the electricity into the battery, where the solar energy is then stored for use later. Most solar generators sold today are lithium-ion batteries.

    When you need to use the energy stored in the battery, the inverter converts the electricity into alternating current energy, or AC power, which is what most appliances and devices use.

    Solar generators typically have USB ports, AC outlets, and 12-volt carports to allow you to charge multiple devices.

    How much can you save with solar?

    What are the pros and cons of solar generators?

    Pros and cons of solar generators

    No fuel Expensive upfront investment
    Clean renewable energy Slow recharging
    Quiet and low-maintenance Limited available power

    Free fuel from the sun

    Traditional gas-powered generators require you to constantly purchase fuel. With a solar generator, there are no fuel costs. Simply set up your solar panel and enjoy the free sunshine!

    Clean renewable energy

    Solar generators rely entirely on clean, renewable energy. This means that not only do you not have to worry about the cost of fossil fuels to power your generator, you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of using gasoline either.

    Solar generators release no pollutants when they produce and store energy. You can rest easy knowing that your camping or boating trip is powered by clean energy.

    Quiet and low maintenance

    Another great thing about solar generators is that they are quiet. And unlike gas generators, solar generators don’t have any moving parts. This significantly reduces the amount of noise they produce while running.

    Plus, no moving parts means the chances of solar generator parts breaking is low. This greatly reduces the amount of maintenance required for a solar generator as compared to a gas generator.

    High upfront costs

    Solar generators require a much higher initial investment than traditional gas generators. The average cost of a gas generator is around 1,000. Solar generators will usually cost about 2,000.

    However, solar generators have much lower operating costs. So, you’ll spend less over the lifetime of a solar generator.

    Slow recharging

    Solar generator batteries can only be recharged when the sun is out. And even then, it takes time for the solar panels to charge the battery. A solar panel with a power output of 100 watts would take over 9 hours to charge most mid-sized solar generator batteries.

    Generators that run on fossil fuels can be refueled at any time, so you can get more power right when you need it without having to worry about the weather conditions or the time of day.

    Limited power supply

    The size of the solar generator battery will limit how much the generator can power, as well. A solar generator probably won’t be able to power your entire home. However, it can charge phones and laptops and keep small appliances running for a short period of time.

    Gas generators aren’t as limited in what they can power and for how long since they can be refilled at any time.

    What are the best solar generators available?

    One of the most important things to look for when buying a solar generator is the battery capacity (or how much energy the battery can hold) in order to know if the generator will meet your power needs. This is usually measured in watt-hours (Wh).

    The higher the capacity, the longer the battery will last. For instance, a 1,000 Wh solar generator can power a 60-watt lightbulb for almost 17 hours!

    Some of the best solar generators on the market include:

    Goal Zero Yeti 1500, 100-watt Solar Kit 1,516 Wh 1,199.95 Buy now
    Point Zero Titan 2,000 Wh 2,716.00 Buy now
    Jackery Explorer 1,002 Wh 999.99 Buy now
    Renogy Phoenix 300 Power Station 337 Wh 399.99 Buy now

    Most solar powered generators have all-in-one designs, so the solar charger and inverter will be included in the battery pack. However, not all solar generators include solar panels. These generators will typically just come with the battery and inverter.

    Check out our list of the best portable solar panels that pair great with battery power stations.

    What are the best uses for solar generators?

    Solar generators are best used for charging devices and running small appliances. They’re a great source of backup power for a boating or RV camping trip because of their portability, plus they’re clean and don’t require you to keep lots of fuel on hand.

    Solar generators can power some key appliances in your home in the event of an emergency. But no portable generator will be able to truly power your entire home off-grid.

    Instead, you should consider installing a rooftop solar panel system paired with battery storage. Not only will this allow you to have backup power for most of your home in case of an emergency, it will help cut down your electricity bill all year long!

    Use our solar calculator to get an estimate of how many solar panels you need to power your home and how much a home solar panel system costs in your area.

    See how much solar panels will cost for your specific home

    Key takeaways

    • Solar generators are portable power stations that use solar energy, instead of fossil fuels, to create electricity.
    • Solar generators consist of four main parts: the solar panels, the solar battery, the inverter, and the charge controller.
    • Some key advantages of solar generators are that they don’t require fuel, they run on clean renewable energy, and they require very little maintenance.
    • The biggest drawbacks to solar generators are that they require a big upfront investment, they recharge slowly, and there is a limited amount of power stored and available for you to use.

    Catherine Lane

    Written Content Manager

    Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews. She has been researching and writing about the residential solar industry for four years. Her work has appeared in Solar Today Magazine and Solar Builder Magazine, and has been cited by publications like Forbes and Bloomberg.

    Specifications for Patriot Solar 100W Portable Generator Solar AGM SLA Battery:

    Volts: Amp Hours: Terminal: Length (in): Width (in): Height (in): Weight (Lbs): Chemistry:
    12 100 NB 12.00 6.60 8.15 68.00 Sealed Lead Acid (AGM)

    This Patriot Solar 100W Portable Generator Solar AGM SLA battery with NB terminal is manufactured to the highest standards. It features VRLA (valve-regulated lead acid) technology and is maintenance free, spill proof and long lasting. Our Patriot Solar 100W Portable Generator Solar AGM SLA battery comes with a 1 year Warranty and is UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certified.

    Please check your current battery’s dimensions prior to ordering. We have a wide range of SLA batteries, so if you are not sure if this Patriot Solar 100W Portable Generator Solar AGM SLA Battery is compatible with your current one, please call us TOLL FREE (800) 650-1708 or e-mail us and we will help you out. If you need further assistance purchasing your batteries, please feel free to contact us!

    Warranty Information

    The Patriot Solar 100W Portable Generator Solar AGM replacement batteries come with a 1 year warranty. If the received product fails to perform during that period, please contact us either by calling (800) 650-1708 or via email. We will then provide you with a warranty claim form, which you will need to fill out and send back along with pictures of voltage meter readings.

    Once we have all the information, our Customer Service representatives will respond with a resolution to the problem. If the product is indeed faulty, ReplacementBatteryStore.com will send a brand new replacement for it within 24 hours.

    Related Products

    Masterly Solar Generator MSL04-10A Solar AGM SLA Battery 12V 100AmpH (Replacement) 129.99

    Ecopro Portable Solar Generator Solar AGM SLA Battery 12V 100AmpH (Replacement) 129.99

    SUNTECH Solar Panels Solar AGM SLA Battery 12V 100AmpH (Replacement) 129.99

    Zamp Solar 80 Watt Portable Charging System Solar AGM SLA Battery 12V 100AmpH (Replacement) 129.99

    AJC AGM. VRLA Solar AGM SLA Battery 12V 100AmpH (Replacement) 129.99

    The 10 Best Solar Generators (2023 Review)

    A solar generator gives you backup energy from the sun if you’re out camping or if you’re experiencing a power outage. We’ve reviewed the top solar generators here.

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    Affiliate Disclosure:This Old House’s Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services. To support this business model, This Old House may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website.

    Solar generators convert sunlight into energy to power your devices and appliances when you don’t have electricity. If you’re looking for a portable power source to take with you on a trip, read our review below to see our top picks for the best solar generators. You can also read our buying guide to generators to aid you in making a Smart purchase.

    Compare Top Solar Generators

    ProductWatt HoursWeightWarrantyDimensionsProductWatt HoursWeightWarrantyDimensions
    Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 240 5 pounds 2 years 9 x 5 x 8 inches
    Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 518 13 pounds 2 years 12 x 8 x 9 inches
    ROCKPALS Portable Power Station 300 8 pounds 2 years 11 x 5 x 9 inches
    EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station 1,260 Not listed 2 years 16 x 8 x 11 inches
    BLUETTI Portable Power Station 2,000 61 pounds 2 years 17 x 11 x 15 inches
    Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station 505 13 pounds 2 years 14 x 12 x 9 inches
    MAXOAK Portable Power Station 2,400 49 pounds 2 years 19 x 7 x 14 inches
    ITEHIL Portable Power Station 500 19 pounds 2 years 11 x 9 x 8 inches
    EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station 720 17 pounds 2 years 11 x 7 x 9 inches
    Rainier Outdoor Power Equipment Portable Power Station 150 5 pounds Not listed 10 x 4 x 6 inches

    Top 10 Solar Generators

    Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

    taken at time of publishing.

    This solar generator is lightweight at under five pounds and has a textured handle that makes it easy to carry from location to location. Another unique feature of this generator is that it can charge devices while it’s been recharged, and it can be recharged through a wall or car outlet.

    Pros and Cons

    Has the most affordable price point out of the models in this review

    Can charge and recharge at the same time

    Has a built-in textured handle for easy carrying

    ✘ Criticized by some customers for dying quickly

    ✘ Has the lowest power output in this review at 200 watts

    What Customers Are Saying

    Many customers praised this portable power station for producing minimal noise, having a long-lasting battery, and being easy to carry. Others said that they had positive customer service experiences. Unhappy customers noted that this model died quickly and lacked power.

    Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

    taken at time of publishing.

    This solar generator has an output of 518 watt-hours and has eight output ports and outlets, allowing it to charge a handful of devices. Additionally, it can be carried with you on a camping or hiking trip due to its small size, and it features an oversized carrying handle.

    Pros and Cons

    Has the most affordable price point out of the models in this review

    Can charge and recharge at the same time

    Has a built-in textured handle for easy carrying

    ✘ Criticized by some customers for dying quickly

    ✘ Has a low power output of 200 watts

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers praised this generator for its ease of use and portability. However, negative reviews complained about the fan not working properly and the manufacturer providing poor customer service.

    ROCKPALS Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    The carrying handle on this solar generator is rubberized and textured, making it easy and comfortable to hold onto. With its 300 watts of power and 280 Wh, this generator can handle small home appliances and electronic devices, such as lamps, hair dryers, and laptops.

    Pros and Cons

    Can be recharged using a cigarette lighter, three-prong wall outlet, USB port, or solar panel

    Has one fast-charging USB port

    Has enough power to provide about 40 charges to small home appliances

    ✘ Not sold with the DC converter

    ✘ Criticized for feeling cheaply made

    What Customers Are Saying

    Many customers were happy with this portable power station because of its great value for the money, portability, and long battery life. Some said that it met all of the manufacturer’s claims and was easy to use. Negative reviews noted that this model felt cheaply made, not offering much power and struggling to charge devices.

    EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    Two of this solar generator’s six USB ports are fast-charging to ensure your necessary devices and appliances, such as lanterns and phones, stay charged at all times. The generator provides up to 1,260 watt hours for refrigerators,

    Pros and Cons

    Features patented X-Stream Technology to help it recharge faster

    Features two fast-charging USB ports and four standard ports for multiple charging options

    Can provide power to a laptop for over 25 hours

    ✘ Doesn’t have all of the ports and outlets on one side for easy access

    ✘ Noted by some that the wattage didn’t match the advertised output

    What Customers Are Saying

    Amazon customers praised this power station for having a lot of power, minimal noise, and responsive technical support. They also loved how lightweight and portable it was. However, dissatisfied customers said that it didn’t provide as much power as advertised and that it broke after minimal use.

    BLUETTI Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    This solar generator can run several powerful devices at once with 2,000 watt-hours. It has an intelligent temperature-activated fan that keeps the unit cool and quiet. Plus, all of its outlets and ports feature covers to keep them protected when they’re not in use.

    Pros and Cons

    Has a touchscreen to control its settings

    Includes a car charging cable

    Has small carrying handles on either side of its body

    ✘ Costs the most out of the options in this review

    ✘ Weighs 60 pounds, making it more difficult to transport than other models

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers praised this power station for being an excellent value for the money. Many loved its easy-to-use touchscreen and long battery life. Some unhappy reviewers experienced temperature errors despite the model’s fan.

    Goal Zero Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    This generator is a great choice for campers due to its easy operation and 505 watt-hours of operation. It also includes four different port options, including AC, 12V, and 60W USB-C PD, ensuring you can operate several different devices outdoors without worry. Courtesy Amazon

    Pros and Cons

    Can charge in a 180-watt wall outlet in three hours, a 60-watt outlet in 10 hours, or a 120-watt outlet in 4.5 hours

    Is made from rugged, durable material that’s perfect for on-the-go operation

    Can recharge a phone up to 42 times and a laptop up to 10 times

    ✘ Has a long auto shutoff timer

    ✘ AC outlet is sometimes slow to operate

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers who were happy with their purchase of this solar generator commented on how simple it was to operate, as well as its long-lasting battery and its lightweight design. However, others felt this generator had issues powering on large devices, and some had issues with the LCD screen.

    MAXOAK Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    This portable power station has an impressive eight ports that include two AC outlets, one car outlet, four USB-A ports and one USB-C port, giving you the flexibility to charge a variety of devices under 1,000 watts. It is also available in numerous color options to match your style.

    Pros and Cons

    Can be charged up to 80 percent within 10 hours

    Features an intelligent cooling fan to prevent overheating

    Can charge a laptop up to 32 times

    ✘ Wall charger has a slower operation than some other models

    ✘ Is heavier than many other solar generators

    What Customers Are Saying

    This generator earned positive reviews on Amazon for its high-charging capacity, and several others were also impressed with its durable design and many charging ports. On the other hand, it was docked by some for its LCD display. A handful of reviews noted that it was hard to read and didn’t display the remaining battery percentage. Others were also disappointed in its 1000-watt inverter, which was lower than other solar generators of similar sizes.

    ITEHIL Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    This heavy-duty solar generator is made with aviation-grade aluminum alloy, giving it extra protection and impact resistance. It also comes with a convenient carrying handle that makes it easy to transport and a bright LED light to help you use it in the dark.

    Pros and Cons

    Features multiple input and output ports that can reach over 700 watts

    Can be charged via wall outlet, car outlet, or solar panel

    Includes an LED display and SOS rescue and warning features

    ✘ Does not include USB-C charging

    ✘ Does not feature Wi-Fi compatibility

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers who left positive reviews for this product were impressed with its charging imports, as well as its LCD screen and its overall design. However, some customers found it was lacking in the overall power level, while others found that it needed to be frequently recharged to work correctly.

    EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    With 720 Wh and 600 watts of power, this solar generator is a good medium-sized option that won’t break the bank. It can charge up to 80 percent in just one hour, and can power some devices of up to 1800w. Additionally, it features three AC outlets and weighs less than 17 pounds.

    Pros and Cons

    Features 10 total output ports

    Includes a built-in flashlight

    ✘ Can be difficult to carry and transport

    ✘ AC sockets can occasionally be obstructed

    What Customers Are Saying

    This solar generator earned positive reviews from customers for its low noise level and lightweight, compact design. Several other customers also were impressed with its fast charging ability, noting it completely charged in just over one hour.

    Rainier Outdoor Portable Power Station

    taken at time of publishing.

    This small generator, which features 150Wh, is perfect for charging small electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, drones, lights or speakers. It weighs only five pounds, comes with a built-in flashlight and measures only six inches tall, making it easy to fit anywhere.

    Pros and Cons

    Features three USB Ports, three 12V 5.5mm DC outputs

    Includes a battery level display for easy tracking

    Has a lower price point than most other portable power stations

    ✘ Not ideal for charging large appliances

    ✘ Charging times can be inconsistent

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers loved how maneuverable and portable this portable power station was, noting it was a great choice for camping or fishing. Several also complimented its durable, long-lasting design. On the other hand, some customers felt this product was overly loud, while some said they had difficulty getting it started.

    Buyer’s Guide

    Portable generators that utilize solar charging are a reliable source of renewable energy. Read our buying guide below to learn about battery life, portability, and other factors that will help you decide on the best solar power generator.

    Type

    Solar generators are available as both portable generators and backup generators. Most solar generators are portable, lightweight, and have a built-in handle. The best portable solar generators are used to provide power for construction sites, campers, events, or other settings where access to electricity is limited.

    Backup solar generators provide backup power for when an electrical grid fails, providing an efficient alternative for installing a complete system. Backup solar generators provide enough power to turn on appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, and more in the event of a blackout.

    In the video below, Ask This Old House master electrician Scott Caron shows how to use a solar generator:

    Battery

    When examining the battery of a solar generator, you should consider its overall battery capacity (measured in watt-hours) and its charging method.

    Life

    The lifespan of your generator’s battery depends on the size of the battery and the amount of power required to run your devices. For example, a battery with a watt-hours rating of 150 can run a 100-watt appliance, various power tools, or several small appliances that equal 100 watts for 1.5 hours.

    Charging

    The amount of time it takes to recharge the battery depends on the size of the battery and the method of charging, as well as the charger’s power. Larger batteries take longer to recharge than smaller batteries. Additionally, while solar generators are meant to connect to solar panels for charging, that’s not always convenient if it’s overcast or if you’re pressed for time. That’s why they typically also offer an electric charging function. A quick charge function may also be available on certain models.

    Outlets/Ports

    Solar generators come with various outlets and ports to run several devices simultaneously. Common plugs include AC outlets, USB and USB-C ports, and car cigarette lighters.

    Price

    The price of a solar generator depends mainly on the type you’re purchasing and the power output. For portable generators, some lower-end models that will only power small items can cost 200 or under, while higher-end models can cost well over 500 or upwards of 1,000.

    Backup generators also vary in price depending on the model, but smaller generators can cost around 1,000, while generators with higher wattage can cost several thousand or more.

    Size

    To determine what sized solar generator you need, consider how much power you need for your devices. For example, if using a portable generator on a camping trip, do you need to power a portable fridge, television, or coffee maker? Or do you only need power for small items like a mobile phone or a mini fan? The wattage required to run each item may vary, and most portable solar generators can power in the range of 100-500 watts. Smaller units typically have a lower power capacity and can only charge small devices.

    Backup solar generators can typically power at least 1,000 watts, which should be enough to power appliances like small lights, a fridge, or a television. However, if you need whole-home power or need to turn on devices like a washing machine or air-conditioning unit, you will likely need a generator with a power level of at least 2,000-3,000 watts.

    Brand

    To ensure you’re getting a high-quality solar generator, look for trusted brands that make well-reviewed products. Some of the brands that are well known for making solar generators include Jackery, ROCKPALS, Renogy, BLUETTI, EF Ecoflow, Goal Zero, Kohler, Titan Solar and Flashfish.

    What Are The Benefits of a Solar Generator?

    When shopping for a new generator, there are several unique advantages to buying a solar generator instead of a gas-powered model, such as:

    Noise Level

    Standard generators can get noisy, which could be a significant factor if you’re using them while camping, RVing, or even running them outside your home. However, one of the benefits of solar generators is that they run completely quiet since they don’t have any of the parts of gas-powered generators.

    Maintenance

    Solar generators also require little-to-no maintenance to operate. Solar generators are less likely to break than fuel-powered generators and have fewer parts to maintain. The standard maintenance needed for a solar generator is dusting, removing moisture, and checking the connection.

    Fuel and Clean Energy

    One of the main benefits of solar generators is that they use clean, renewable energy, which is better for the environment. It can also be better for your wallet, as solar generators avoid having to stock up on fuel to run your generator.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it worth getting a solar generator?

    A solar generator may be worth it depending on how you use it. The cost of the generator easily pays for itself if you live somewhere that receives ample sunlight and you utilize the energy from the generator as a home backup. Alternatively, if you frequently go on road trips, a solar generator is also worth it.

    Will my solar generator come with a solar panel?

    It depends on the model. Some generators come with the solar panels needed to operate them, and some don’t. If you don’t have a compatible solar panel already, it might be worth it to find an all-inclusive kit, as this cuts down on the cost and the number of purchases.

    Are there other types of generators?

    Yes. Some generators use electricity or gas for power, and all power generators are able to support off-grid living. However, some people prefer solar generators for the following reasons:

    • They’re more eco-friendly because they use energy from the sun as opposed to fossil fuels.
    • They’re cheaper to operate because you don’t have to buy fuel refills for gas generators.
    • They’re better in emergency situations where you might not have access to fuel.
    • They’re quieter.
    • They’re more portable because they’re smaller and lighter.

    What’s the purpose of the inverter in my solar generator?

    The power stored in a solar generator’s battery is in direct current (DC), but most devices and appliances use alternating current (AC). This inverter converts DC to AC. If your solar generator doesn’t have a built-in inverter, you will need to purchase one separately.

    Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

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    We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

    To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.

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