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Solar Generators for Camping and Van Life. Solar generator and battery

Solar Generators for Camping and Van Life. Solar generator and battery

    Solar Generators for Camping and Van Life

    At Goal Zero, we’re big fans of solar power, but solar is only really useful if you have a way to store and use all that power you collect. That’s why we love solar generators. They combine the clean energy of solar power with the convenient portability of battery power stations so you can do more and stay out longer.

    What is a Solar Generator?

    A solar generator is a combination of solar panels and a power station. You can use solar panels to collect and convert energy from the sun. The power station lets you store the energy you collect and then use it to power your devices.

    Choosing a Solar Generator

    A solar generator is the perfect addition to your next camping trip or van build. And when you aren’t on the go, they’re great for home back up. There are three key factors to consider when deciding which solar generator is right for you.


    Solar lets you recharge more or less indefinitely, but the capacity of your power station will impact how much you can run at a time, how long you can keep things running, and how often you have to recharge. For example, if you’re choosing a solar generator for camping, you can get away with less capacity than you’d need for home backup.

    When considering capacity, you’ll also need to think about the amount of solar input you want. A larger power station has more capacity but requires more solar panels to fully charge it. This increases the cost of your solar generator and means it will take up more space.


    Portability is a huge benefit if you’re taking your solar generator camping or on a road trip, but it may not be a priority if you’re installing it at your off-grid or in your home. All of our solar generators can be moved and taken with you, but the smaller solar generators are much easier to carry and move around.


    The beauty of a portable solar generator is that you can use it however you’d like. If you want the option to run high-energy appliances in a power outage and the option to recharge your laptop while camping, versatility will be a priority. We offer solar generators that are light enough to move but powerful enough to run a TV, grill, or refrigerator for hours.

    The Best Solar Generators for Camping

    Our favorite camping solar generators are small and lightweight, making them easy to set up and move around.

    Taking your solar generator camping lets you recharge phones, laptops, camera batteries, and other small devices, but it also gives you enough power to run a portable fridge and power cooking appliances so you can enjoy good meals throughout the whole trip. These solar generators are easy to move so you can set up near your cooking station in the morning, then move things over to your tent while you recharge your phone during a midday nap, and simultaneously also charge your portable speaker so you can listen to music around the campfire in the evening.

    Yeti 200X solar generators for camping

    The Yeti 200X is only 5 pounds, meaning even your kids can carry it as they help pack up the car. We offer it in 3 different solar generator bundles, depending on how much solar power you want to pair with it.

    We think the Yeti 200X Boulder 50 is the perfect solar generator for camping because it’s incredibly portable and easy to set up. The Boulder solar panel comes with a convenient kickstand so you can set it almost anywhere. It can completely recharge your Yeti 200X in 4-8 hours.

    Yeti 500X solar generators for camping

    Upgrade from camping to glamping with a little extra power. Need a few more ports so you can blow up your air mattress and plug in the portable fridge at the same time as your grill?

    Another favorite solar generator for camping is the Yeti 500X Nomad 100. You get the Yeti 500X which comes with more ports and more power plus the foldable Nomad 100 solar panel that weighs just over 10 pounds, making it easy to move around throughout the day to get the best sun.

    The Best Solar Generators for Van Life

    Versatility is key when choosing a solar generator for van life. Space is limited so it’s Smart to get something compact, but since you’re living there long term, you need something robust enough to run lights, fridges, power tools, and more while keeping your devices charged.

    We offer a lot of great solar generator solutions, but one excellent van life option is the Yeti 1500X (4) Boulder 100. This gives you a power station that can run high-energy appliances and four solar panels you can mount to your vehicle roof or set up on the ground when you find a good stopping spot.

    Solar generators can help you get more out of your next adventure whether you’re headed on a weekend camping trip or a month-long van trek. And when you aren’t hauling it around, they provide home backup power for emergencies. Choose from Goal Zero’s wide selection of solar generators to find one that’s best for you.

    Solar Generators Vs. Solar Systems: Which Are Better?

    If you’re new to the world of solar power, you may have questions about how to get started. While deciding among different types of panels, batteries, and more, you’ll encounter another big decision: Should you opt for a solar generator or get a full-fledged solar system instead?

    We’re exploring these two similar technologies, their fundamental differences, and what they mean to you as you start generating your own clean, renewable power.

    What Is a Solar Generator?

    A solar generator converts the sun’s energy into electricity that you can use immediately or you can store for later use. The term solar generator generally refers to smaller, more portable systems.

    You can set these up and take them down as needed or rearrange their position for optimal sun exposure. Think about them as you would a typical, gasoline-powered portable generator.

    How Does a Solar System Differ from a Solar Generator?

    A solar system relies on many of the same principles as a solar generator, but with some key differences. Like generators, solar systems convert the sun’s energy into usable electricity that’s either used or stored in a battery bank.

    But unlike generators, solar systems are dedicated systems that harness sun power. This might include panels you install directly on a home, RV, or boat, or It could mean portable panels that feed into a full-fledged system.


    So how do these two variations on solar technology stack up, and which one is right for you? We’ve broken down the differences in five key areas.


    How you’ll use the system will be an important determining factor when weighing solar generators vs. solar systems. Solar generators are typically reasonably portable, as you can stow them away and bring them out as needed. This means you can even bring your generator with you on the go, if desired, which makes it a great option if you are going to be needing solar power in multiple portable applications.

    Solar systems, however, involve more permanent installations, even if the panels themselves may be portable. You’ll connect them to your home, RV, or boat’s electrical system at all times. And you won’t need to set things up again when you need the system’s power. The benefit here is that the system is always operating, even when on the move, and will provide more power overall per the same size panels.

    Battery Capacity

    Solar generators have a small battery that allows them to be portable, something that may be handy when you need to be able to carry power out to a location.

    Solar generators don’t require you to use all of the energy they generate immediately. However, the battery capacity built-in to the generator is typically small, and in most cases, the capacity isn’t expandable. This leaves you unable to store significant electricity for use during dark hours.

    Solar systems don’t run into this issue. As they’re broken into various components, you can expand your system with multiple batteries for extra storage. Generally speaking, your budget is the only limit.

    Initial Investment

    Your budget may be a determining factor between solar generators and traditional solar systems. While solar generators can easily cost 1,000 or more, you can find some low-wattage models for several hundred dollars. These may be enough for you to get started and power a few devices or appliances.

    Traditional solar systems may be more powerful, but they’re typically more expensive, with costs for parts and installation ranging well into the thousands.


    Solar generators only recharge when they’re out in the sun, so you have to be the one to remember to set it out there to recharge. And depending on the size of the panels, the charging of the internal battery may be a slow process. If the system is put away for travel, no power will be generated.

    On the other hand, solar systems benefit from their permanent installation. You set them up to use and then receive power without any thought from you. That means that as long as your system operates correctly, your backup power should be waiting when you need it.


    All solar panels require inspection, primarily to keep them clean and ensure no cracks or other issues threaten their function. However, solar system panels might require more maintenance and are more cumbersome to inspect and maintain–especially those that are mounted permanently. The constant exposure to the elements is the culprit here, as opposed to solar generators that you store or cover when not in use. The exception to this is portable solar panels that connect to a full system but that you can set up or take down as needed.

    Solar generators also have the edge when it comes to ease of maintenance as you can move them as desired. Permanently installed systems mean climbing to wherever you’d mounted your panels.

    Solar Generators vs. Solar Systems: the Winner

    Now that you’ve seen the significant differences between solar generators and solar systems, which one comes out on top?

    Best Overall: Solar Systems

    The real answer here is it depends on your application. Solar generators have their place in portable power applications and lower use needs. In general, however, for most applications and users, a built-in solar system will beat out a solar generator. Using a solar generator for an RV or home application works for short backup use applications but is less appealing for long-term use. Solar systems are always ready, meaning you can always tap into electricity and be prepared if there’s a blackout.

    Unlike the limited battery capacity of most generators, you can expand solar systems to store as much energy as you choose. It’s perfect for covering the power needs of heavy users.

    Solar generators simply don’t produce or store enough to run more than a few items or appliances over a short period. While they can be more budget-friendly, the extra money for full-fledged solar systems is worth it. And affording the setup may be more attainable than you think thanks to federal tax credits and other benefits. Plus, well-maintained solar systems can last two decades or more if properly cared for, while the life of your generator will likely be shorter.

    Is a Solar System Worth It?

    Solar generators and solar systems each provide an amazing way to generate clean, renewable energy straight from sunlight. But the two also have important differences in usage, storage, cost, maintenance, and more.

    While solar generators have their uses, most homeowners, boaters, or RVers will find the always-ready, expandable power of a true solar system is a great power choice. It’s best both for day-to-day extra electricity and backup juice when the power is out.

    Solar Powered Backup Generators For Residents in High Storm Risk Areas

    In recent years, American use of solar generators escalated more than 400 percent. Especially for people living in areas that are at high-risk of severe storms, or for electrical grid failures resulting in widespread blackouts, portable alternative energy solutions are becoming rapidly recognized as a critical backup resource.

    Gas-powered generators become useless when electricity is out and gas pumps cannot work, or where travel to gas supplies is impeded. So, for extended power outages, uses in the RV or remotely located weekend getaways, solar power can be one of the simplest, safest, most readily accessible, abundant, and most inexpensive options for electrical energy.

    Here is some information to help you understand how a solar energy generator works and whether or not a solar generator is a good alternative to gas-powered generators for your needs.

    What is a Solar Electricity Generator?

    In basic terms, a solar generator is an electronic box containing three integrated components — the batteries, charge controller, and inverter. There are actually no solar components in solar generators. Solar panels must be purchased separately.

    • Battery — The solar generator is actually a battery-powered electricity generator. As long as the battery remains charged, the generator can power your home’s electrical devices. You can actually use sunlight or a regular 110 V electrical wall outlet to charge the battery inside the portable backup solar generator. Some solar generators can even be charged with a car charger. Some solar generators conveniently allow changing the batteries, to significantly increase longevity of the unit.
    • Charge Controller — An essential component of the solar generator is the charge controller. It protects the generator’s built-in battery to maintain its life expectancy. The various types of batteries (Gel, AGM, or Lithium-ion) have their individual charging and discharging properties. The charge controller manages these processes automatically.
    • Inverter — The inverter converts the battery’s output into AC power when can then be used to power AC devices. Solar generators are not for powering very large AC equipment such as air-conditioning units. But, they work well for televisions and other electronics, and lower-powered household appliances.

    How Do Solar Electricity Generators Work?

    Solar power is a very simple form of energy production. Portable solar generators use external, separately purchased, photovoltaic (PV) panels (known as solar panels) to charge the generator’s batteries.

    • The solar panels capture photons coming from the sun.
    • The photons are converted by the PV panels into electricity.
    • The electricity is then sent to the charge regulator.
    • The inverter changes the power into alternating current (AC) electricity.
    • The inverter then allows power to be extracted from the generator to supply electronic devices and electrical appliances in your home, or anything that fossil-fuel-produced electricity can power.

    Benefits of Portable Solar Power Generators

    A solar generator is an excellent emergency backup energy source for residential use, RV, log cabin, or even for tent camping. Here are some of the key benefits of using solar-powered backup generators:

    • Safe to operate indoors
    • Easy to move from place to place
    • After setup, you can forget about it (keeps running without any attention/fuel needed)
    • No operating/fuel costs after setup
    • Does not emit noxious fumes
    • Solar panels can recharge solar generator batteries with just a day of bright sun
    • An AC electrical wall outlet, or even a car charger (for some types) can be used to recharge a solar generator
    • Provide reliable power
    • Noiseless (gas powered portable generators are extremely loud)
    • Do not need refueling
    • No reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to the decline of your living environment
    • Comparatively maintenance free

    Problems with Solar Generators (CONS)

    Like anything else, solar generators, for all of their benefits, do come with their own (comparatively quite small) downsides. Here are the disadvantages of solar generators, compared to conventional generators:

    • space is needed to place solar panels in your yard or on your deck
    • Setting up takes a little time, and requires learning a few basics
    • Re-charging batteries takes time
    • Batteries eventually must be replaced

    Solar Generators vs. Portable Gas Generators

    To fully appreciate the benefits of portable solar power generators, it is helpful also to consider the pros and cons of regular gas-powered generators, and compare these with the above list of pros and cons of the solar alternative.

    Portable Gas Generator PROS

    • Can purchase from regular store shelf
    • Lower purchase cost
    • Quicker to set up
    • Refueling is quick, if gas is easily accessible
    • Simple repair and maintenance

    Portable Gas Generator CONS

    • Must be operated outdoors for ventilation
    • Extremely noisy during operation
    • Produces noxious fumes
    • Requires buying gas routinely and frequently
    • Needs maintenance regularly

    How Much Electricity Can a Solar Generator Produce?

    Portable solar power generators come in very small sizes, to power single devices like cell phones. And, the largest portable solar generators can output enough electricity to power multiple household appliances for hours.

    A portable solar generator that is capable of generating 2-3 kilowatt hours per standard charge can generate up to 10% of the power used by the average US American household (which is approximately 30 kW hours per day.

    Heavy duty solar power generators, like regular gas generators, can provide several hours of backup for your home (without powering HVAC), but are not suitable for long-term regular daily use to power an entire home or business. To live full-time off the grid, or to power your home’s HVAC system as well as all of your home appliances during an extended period of power outage (after a hurricane, for example), you should invest in a whole-home solar panel system with battery backup.

    How Long Does it Take to Charge a Solar Generator?

    Naturally, charging time depends upon the intensity of the sunlight on any given day. To fully recharge a portable solar generator battery takes, on average, about eight hours of direct sunlight. Though charging time varies, generally, if you start charging the unit before leaving for work in the morning, you can usually expect a full supply of electrical power when you return home.

    Kapital Electric

    We are a leading provider of alternative energy solutions for homes and businesses throughout Chicago IL and the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Our professional team are experts in energy efficiency. We are dedicated to providing our customers with state-of-the-art technology in alternative solutions for home and business energy needs, reducing energy costs, and adding value to residential and commercial properties. In addition to facilitating extreme reductions in residential and business energy costs, we provide our customers with many benefits, including:

    • Solar Panel Design Installations
    • Smart Home Systems
    • Power Management Solutions
    • EV Charger Installation
    • Free Site Evaluation
    • Photo Samples Of Our Work
    • Natural Gas Generators
    • Commercial Residential Financing
    • Information on Alternative Energy Solutions
    • Latest News Events Postings

    For Information

    For additional information about portable solar electricity generators, or residential and commercial solar panel systems and installation in Chicago IL, contact us Kapital Electric at 630-833-2389 to speak to one of our experts. Ask for your free site evaluation. We have been proudly serving our customers in Chicago IL, Naperville, the Chicago metro area, and greater Cook County, IL since 2009.

    The 7 Best Solar Generators for RVs: A Review and Comparison

    You’re looking to jump on the solar generator bandwagon, but you’re not sure where to turn. You’ve come to the right place.

    If you’re new to solar energy and attempted to read about DIY solar generators for RVs to no avail, or you’ve bought a solar generator but are ready for an upgrade—this post is for you.

    Identifying the best solar generator for your RV can be a challenge! With so many plug-and-play options on the market, let’s walk through the seven best solar generators for RVs.

    Our Top Picks

    Ultimate Expansion CapabilityDELTA Pro by Ecoflow

    Best Entry-Level High Output OptionBluetti AC200Max

    Best Solar Generators for RVs

    Read about each of the generators on our list, and don’t miss our downloadable comparison chart and buyers guide below!

    Anker PowerHouse 767

    The Anker PowerHouse 767 comes with HyperFlash technology for charging from 0% to 80% in just one hour. It’s our best solar generator for RV enthusiasts because of its record-breaking charging speeds, expansion ability, and low cost per Watt-hour.

    When you upgrade to the Expansion Battery bundle, the system cost comes in at just 0.73/Wh which is very competitive and doubles the capacity of this system.

    Capacity (Wh)List Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    2048 2000 0.98
    4096 with 760 expansion battery 2700 0.66

    Solar Panels

    Anker provides bundled configurations that include their model 531 Solar Panel rated at 200W.

    • Five-year full device warranty included
    • Power up to 12 devices—2400W includes an exclusive RV port, four AC ports, three USB-C charging ports, two USB-A charging ports, and two car outlets
    • Wheels for power to move this solar generator with ease
    • Regular firmware updates resolve most issues reported by customers and expect future updates to continue optimizing this solar generator
    • Anker is a trusted brand known for its excellent customer support
    • AC charging cable, battery-to-host cable, car charging cable, and solar charging cable included with accessories bag

    DELTA Pro

    The award-winning DeltaPro Solar Generator is our runner-up best solar generator for RVs, which comes with a mega expandable system that can grow from 3,600 Wh to 25,000 Wh with extra batteries and/or other EcoFlow Smart Generators. You can purchase expansion batteries for less than a dollar per watt-hour!

    EcoFlow’s DELTA series was named in TIME’s Best 100 Inventions of 2021 and won the 2022 Red Dot Design and IF Awards.

    Cost per WhCost per WhCost per Wh
    3600 3500 0.97
    7200 with expansion battery 3500 2800 = 6300 0.88

    Solar Panels

    EcoFlow sells multiple solar panels compatible with the Pro, including the 400W Portable Solar Panel and the 220W Bifacial Foldable Solar Panel.

    • Five ways to charge—EV station charging, solar, wall outlets, Smart Outdoor Generator, or 12 v auto adapter (included)
    • Easy-to-read LCD screen or EcoFlow app allows you to view and control charging time
    • Can be charged in 1.7 hours with a 3400W EV charging station
    • Includes wheels for easy maneuvering
    • Regular firmware updates
    • Five-year warranty
    • AC charging cable, car charging cable, DC5521 to DC5525 cable, and handle cover included
    • Level 2 EV adaptor is not included, and you may need an adapter to connect with a mobile EV charger if your EV charger doesn’t have a standard AC plug

    Bluetti AC200Max

    If you want to dip your toe in the water of solar generators for your RV with some ability for expansion, we think the Bluetti AC200Max is the best solar generator for you. It can be expanded for less than a dollar per watt-hour.

    The solar generator comes with 16 outputs to suit your electrical needs. A 30A NEMA TT-30 port and a 12V 30A DC port are included with RV fans in mind.

    Capacity (Wh)Typical Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    2048 1700 0.83
    5120 with B300 expansion battery 1700 2000 = 3700 0.72

    Solar Panels

    Bluetti’s most popular solar panels to pair with the AC200MAX include the 200W PV200 and the 350W PV350.

    • Bluetti is known for its excellent customer support
    • Easy to set up and run for buyers new to solar generators for RVs
    • Mobile app available for reading display
    • 24-month warranty
    • The solar and cigarette lighter use the same port, which makes the cigarette lighter port unusable while charging with solar


    The ALLPOWERS S2000 is our best solar generator for RV for those on a budget because has a significant amount of power for less than a dollar per watt-hour!

    It’s an extraordinary budget solar generator for RVs with a 30-A plug-in, and it has 12 outputs. The power station has 2400 wattage with a surge of 4000 wattages.

    Capacity (Wh)Typical Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    1500 1000 0.67

    Solar Panels

    The ALLPOWERS SP037 400W Portable Solar Panel is an ideal panel to pair with the S2000 for a fast charge or consider the 200W SP033 solar panel if you’re ok waiting a bit longer to charge.

    • Five-year warranty
    • Fully recharged in 1.5 hours using a wall outlet with included 1500 AC adapter and 3 hours using MPPT 650W max solar input
    • Remote control with a phone app
    • 10 years of battery life
    • The ALLPowers brand regularly has coupons and sales on this product, so keep an eye out for deals to save

    Jackery Explorer 1000

    You won’t find a Best Solar Generator for RV list without a Jackery model. Jackery has been a fan-favorite solar generator brand for a long time.

    The Jackery Explorer 1000 is a trusted unit that will allow you to power 90 percent of appliances. This power station can be charged in six hours with 100W solar panels or 5.5 hours via an AC wall charger.

    Without a 30A AC plug, this solar generator isn’t ideal for plugging in your entire RV, but you could still plug in directly with a 15A to 30A adapter.

    Capacity (Wh)Typical Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    1002 900 0.90

    Solar Panels

    You can mix and match Jackery’s SolarSaga solar panels to match your charge speed and budget requirements. Jackery has multiple panels in the lineup including a 200W panel and a 100W panel. For an ultra-fast 1.8 hour charge, Jackery bundles the Explorer 1000 with four of their 200W SolarSaga panels, and they also offer a lower-cost bundle that includes the Explorer 1000 with two 80W SolarSaga panels.

    • Quiet and strong— little to no noise
    • Features industry-leading cylindrical batteries that meet UL Safety Standards
    • Jackery is a popular and trusted solar generator brand
    • Jackery often has coupons available for this product, so keep an eye out for deals
    • AC adapter, car charger cable, and SolarSaga Parallel adapter included
    • The display backlight does not have the option to stay on permanently, and it is difficult to read without the light

    Goal Zero Yeti 500X

    Goal Zero is another brand known for its best solar generators for RV. The Goal Zero Yeti 500X is a small option that is suitable to power your laptop or other smaller devices. It’s small size will allow you to tuck it out of the way when not in use.

    Capacity (Wh)Typical Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    505 550 1.09

    Solar Panels

    The Goal Zero 500x pairs well with either the Nomad 50W, 100W or 200W panels.

    • Lightweight and portable—only 12.9 pounds
    • Trustworthy brand known for its humanitarian roots and giving back to disadvantaged communities
    • Compatible with Goal Zero Light-A-Life for bright LED light (not included)
    • Long charging time; expect 10 hours with a wall or USB, and 12-14 hours with solar or buy the Goal Zero X 600 W Power Supply to cut charge time down to five hours
    • Relatively expensive when considering its cost per watt-hour in comparison to other solar generators for RVs

    Anker 521

    The Anker 521 is the best solar generator for RV enthusiasts who need a small charge. If all you need to power is your laptop or a lamp, the Anker 521 is a solid choice.

    It comes with six ports, including two AC ports, two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a car outlet. Charge it up in two hours with a wall, or four hours with solar energy.

    Capacity (Wh)Typical Price (at time of writing)Cost per Wh
    256 220 0.86

    Solar Panels

    You can get the Anker 521 bundled with a 100W panel, or mix and match separately.

    • Anker is a trusted brand
    • Long-lasting battery built to last over a decade
    • Smart temperature monitoring control system to prevent the device from getting too hot
    • Anker’s worry-free five-year warranty
    • Lightweight—only eight pounds
    • Solar panels can be purchased as a bundle or separately
    • Only 200W output, so definitely not intended for powering large appliances
    • Solar panels not included, but they can be bundled with your purchase

    Best Solar Generators for RV Buyer’s Guide

    Keep reading for details on everything you need to know to make the best buying decision you can.

    Comparison Chart of the Best Solar Generators for RVs

    The following table compares all the important features you’ll want to consider when buying the perfect solar generator for your RV. Download a copy for further reference.

    Amount of Power You Need

    The first step in determining the best solar generator for your needs is to make a list of every item you want to power. This will help you determine exactly how much power you need.

    This chart will give you a general idea of how much power electrical items use in RVs.

    To understand this chart, you must understand the difference between rated watts and surge watts.

    Rated watts, also known as running wattage, are the amount of electricity required to run the electronic continuously. Surge watts, also known as starting wattage, are the additional wattage needed for two to three seconds to start the electric motors normally found in appliances like fans and refrigerators.

    Appliance Rated Watts Surge Watts
    Rooftop Air Conditioner (15,000 BTU) 1,500 W 3,500 W
    Space Heater 1,800 W 1,800 W
    Electric Water Heater (6 gals) 1,440 W 1,440 W
    Heating Pad 250 W 250 W
    4 Light bulbs (75 W) 300 W 300 W
    Blow Drier 1,250 W 1,250 W
    Electric Shaver 35 W 35 W
    Vacuum 1,100 W 1,100 W
    Mini Refrigerator 50 W 120 W
    Blender 350 W 350 W
    Chest Freezer 450 W 900 W
    Microwave (635 W Power) 635 W 800 W
    Slow Cooker 170 W 270 W
    Toaster 850 – 1250 W 850 – 1250 W
    Waffle Iron 1,200 W 1,725 W
    19” Color TV 160 W 160 W
    Laptop 50 – 200 W 50-200 W
    Desktop Computer 600 W 800 W
    Satellite Dish Receiver 30 W 250 W
    Cell Phone Charger 5 – 25 W 5-25W
    solar, generators, camping, life, generator


    Capacity is expressed in Watt-hours (Wh). When considering the best solar generator for RVs, the cost of a solar generator is generally associated with the capacity of the generator.

    Higher capacity solar generators can go longer without charging the unit either in the sun or, if the sun isn’t shining, plugging it in. The power that can be pulled out from the device usually corresponds with the capacity of the device.

    2000 Wh

    This is the capacity you need to power your whole RV successfully without having to charge constantly. The absolute best solar generators for RVs will be in this range or will be able to be expanded to it.

    You will find that most of the best solar generators for RVs in this range can be expanded to much larger power ranges using expansion battery systems.

    1000-2000 Wh

    These systems can occasionally power your whole RV, and some of them include a 30A AC output (ideal for plugging in your RV), but you will need to charge more often.

    250-750 Wh

    You won’t be able to plug in the whole RV, but this will allow you to run some small electronics like a laptop, a television, lights, or simply charge your phone.


    The best solar generators for RVs can be expanded, allowing you to increase your generator’s capacity to power devices and the time needed between charges.

    solar, generators, camping, life, generator

    Total Outlets and Ports

    If you have many items on your list to power, you need to be certain you have enough outlets and ports (and the right type) to power your devices.

    The most common ports are AC outlets (30A and 15A), USB, USB-C, and automobile auxiliary power plugs (car chargers or cigarette lighters).

    Weight and Portability

    You want to consider the weight and portability of your solar generation for an RV. Think about how easy it will be to pack it up when it’s time to hit the road. Portability is the number one consideration when researching the best solar generators for RVs.

    Review the portability features when selecting the best solar generator for RVs. Some solar generators include wheels for easy maneuvering. All of the best solar generators for RVs list their weight in the product description.

    If you’re camping solo, you want to make sure you will be able to move your generator on your own. If not, you will need to plan on asking for help or bringing a second set of hands.

    Charging Speed

    Charging speeds vary for RV solar generators and rely on the power source. They can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 48 hours to charge. The following factors will impact the charging speed of your RV solar generator:

    • The capacity of the solar generator
    • Number of solar panels
    • Sunlight available to convert to solar power
    • Solar panel positioning

    Note that solar generators can be charged via outlets if no sun is available. Many campers choose to bring a backup generator for this scenario.

    Charging Methods

    When the sun is hidden behind clouds or you need your RV solar generator charged faster than the sun allows it to charge, you want to have plenty of additional charging options. The most common charging method alternative to solar is charging it with the 110V AC output wall plug-in.

    12V auto adapters (car/cigarette chargers) are popular accessories the with best solar generators for RV, and USB-A charging is also possible on some solar generators.

    Modern charging methods are becoming more popular on newer models of solar generators. USB-C chargers, for example, are lightweight and charge faster than solar energy.

    Some new and innovative RV solar generators come with EV hookups, which are becoming more popular as solar energy takes off. Depending on the EV charger, though, you may need to buy a separate Level 2 EV adaptor, like in the case of the DeltraPRO EF EcoFlow.

    Solar Panels

    Some of the best solar generators for RVs are available bundled with solar panels, but not all of them. If your solar generator does not already come with solar panels, you will need to buy some. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most solar generator manufacturers also make solar panels that are guaranteed to work with your solar generator.

    Solar panels can be expanded upon using Y-branch cables. You do want to be careful when mixing and matching solar panels, though.

    Carefully consider the electrical parameters of each solar panel. If the panels have different characteristics, you could end up with a performance issue. Solar panels should have the same wattage output for optimal performance.

    Lifespan and Warranty

    Portable RV solar generators have a lifespan of about 10 years, with the solar panels having a 25-year lifespan. There are steps you can take to increase the lifespan of your investment because if you use your generator often and don’t maintain it, it may fail sooner.

    Regular maintenance includes wiping down dust and debris with a soft cloth. Inspect the battery for residue, and always consult your manual for specific maintenance tips.

    Store your RV solar generator in a cool, dry area when not in use. Avoid exposing it to extreme cold or heat.

    Do not overcharge your battery or float charge your battery. Overcharging the battery shortens its lifespan. Float charging refers to always leaving a charger on your battery so that it’s continuously at 100%.

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    Cycle your battery to avoid your battery having too low or too high of a charge for a long time by using 25 percent of your battery’s capacity, then charge it back to 50 to 75 percent. Do this at least every six months.

    Check to see if your solar generator comes with a warranty before you buy it, and don’t forget to fill out any required paperwork for the warranty to go into effect.


    The number one complaint buyers often have for solar generators is they’re difficult, if not impossible, to return. Most solar generators for RV are made from lithium-ion batteries, which opens up a wormhole for those wishing to ship them, either to return them or mail them to someone else as a gift.

    UPS and FedEx have strict rules on lithium-ion batteries, which can make it difficult to ship them. It’s important to do your research first before buying your best solar generator for RVs, and it’s best not to plan on shipping a solar generator to your friend on the other side of the country.

    Best Solar Generators for RV Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you run an RV solar generator continuously?

    It’s possible assuming you have enough sunlight and storage capacity. You must generate and store more electricity than you consume to be able to run an RV solar generator continuously without charging.

    Can RV solar generators be used at night?

    If your RV solar generator is charged, yes. How long it will last throughout the night depends on the battery length and the amount of time you charged it during the day. Prepare for night hours every day by keeping an eye on what time the sun sets so you can charge your generator accordingly.

    Are solar generators noisy?

    Solar generators do not have any moving parts, so this allows them to run in silence. Other than being better for the environment, their quietness is something that makes solar generators so appealing to RV owners. The last thing you want to hear while relaxing in the wilderness is a noisy generator.

    The best solar generators for RVs are not noisy, though some complaints have been made about the devices used to charge them when not using solar energy.

    Do solar generators require much maintenance?

    They require very little maintenance to stay in top-notch shape. Other than regular dust removal, checking connections, and removing moisture, there’s not much maintenance required. However, since you are spending thousands of dollars, you want to keep your solar generator in tip-top shape.

    The best way to keep your solar generator in excellent condition is to have it inspected by a professional electrician who offers generator services. Corrosion is the number one issue with backup generators, caused by moisture getting into the battery banks.

    Do I need to purchase an inverter for my solar generator?

    Though unlikely, if your solar generator does not have AC ouptut(s), then yes, you will need to buy an inverter.

    Solar panels produce Direct Current (DC) power, and the appliances in your RV run on Alternating Current (AC). An inverter inverts the DC power to AC power, allowing it to power your appliances in your RV.

    Note that the best solar generators for RV units come with built in inverters, but should you end up buying a unit that does not come with one or you need to buy an extra one, pay attention to the wattage capacity when selecting an inverter. The Giandel Power Inverter has an integrated solar charge controller, 12V input, and supports up to 1200 Watts output.

    Wrapping up the Best Solar Generators for RVs

    Now that you know all about the best solar generators for RVs, you’re ready to make the best of solar energy.

    The Anker PowerHouse 767 will charge for you in just an hour, though the DeltaPRO EF Ecoflow 3600Wh has some innovative features. One of the solar generators for RV on this list is certain to meet your needs!Before you go, read about the Best RV Heater for Winter Camping.

    Posted on Last updated: March 30, 2023

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