Are you thinking of buying a Solar Generator for your next camping trip? Do you have a project you are working on where there is no easy access to electricity? You would then want to know the best solar generators in the market and which one is the best for your specific application. This buyer’s guide will find a list of the different solar generators available online. We have also listed their various capacities and features to help you choose the best solar generator for your budget.
Table of Contents
Questions to Ask When Looking for the Best Solar Generator for Your Budget
- What can solar generator power?
- Can the solar generator be charged with electric power?
- For how long can you use the solar generator without electric power?
- What is the size and weight of the solar generator?
- Do you need other accessories to use it?
- How long do the batteries of the solar generator last?
- How much does it cost?
- What are the Solar Generator Reviews?
Best Solar Generator? How Do They Work?
A solar generator is a combination of 3 major components – a set of batteries, a power inverter, and solar panel(s). The solar generator would have been just a set of batteries and solar panels, but batteries only supply direct current while your regular household devices use alternating current. The power inverter is the device that converts the direct current provided by the batteries to the alternating current required by the household appliances. Finally, the solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert light energy from the sun into electric current (DC) to recharge the batteries! Here is an image from solarbus.org that shows this configuration.
In a solar generator, the batteries and the inverter are usually incorporated into one unit to make it easier for the owner to move around. In most cases, a generator is used merely as a backup system for the electric power that is used regularly. Here is how the solar generator system looks with an integrated inverter and batteries!
In order to choose the best solar generator for your application, the first question you want to ask is what can the generator power? This is not the only question. Find below the best solar generator reviews to help you choose the one that will fit. In my research, I find that Amazon has a good selection of solar generators. In addition, there are some other websites where they can be found.
Best Solar Generator for Power
Goal Zero 39004 Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator Kit
Regarding how many devices the solar generator can power, the Goal Zero, Yeti -1250 solar generator is the best we could find online. However, there is a limit to how much power a portable solar generator can provide because, at some point, you lose its portability. Therefore, I suggest that if you need a solar generator that can power your home, you would be better off going for a solar-powered system.
What Can the Solar Generator Power?
The Yeti 1250 can power computers, lights, refrigerators, and most home appliances up to 1250 Watts. If you use appliances totaling approximately 1000watts, the generator will work for about 1hr. This is because the Yeti-1250 comes with a 12volt, 100Ah battery. With this battery, you can have 12 x 100 = 1200 Watts for one hour. If you use it for energy-efficient light bulbs, your computer, and a small fridge (200 Watts), totaling about 300 watts, it should provide power for about 4 hours.
From our research, we discovered that those who enjoyed the Yeti 1250 solar generator the most bought them as a backup for their fridge only or to provide light and power to charge laptops and other electronic devices. If used as a backup for your fridge, you could quickly get 10hrs out of this generator before you need to set it again.
Yeti 1250 Solar generator Pros
- It is one of the few portable solar generators that supply over 1000 watts of power.
- It is well built and relatively light at 116 pounds
- It has lots of outlets for connecting your devices
- It is expandable – You can add more batteries and solar panels to make it a more powerful solar generator.
- You can charge the Yeti 1250 with the sun, electricity from your home, and your car.
Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Cons
- The included solar panels would take 40 – 80 hours to charge the battery fully. So you would need 4 to 5 days of full sunshine to set the generator. This is rather long, so I advise that though this system can power devices up to a total of 1000Watts, you should not use it for such loads. This is the major problem with this generator. Once you know that it can only power one small fridge for 8 hours, then each new item you add to the generator reduces the number of hours you have.
- The Yeti 1250 solar generator is quite expensive. It’s difficult to justify spending so much on it unless you are in a situation where you have little gasoline access or where the gasoline generators’ noise and pollution bother you.
The Yeti 1250 or any solar generator should not be compared to a regular 3000-watt gasoline generator. It is more of a small 1000-watt generator. It should be used for about 4 – 5 hours and recharged. This is still the best solar generator we found for the amount of power.
Best Solar Generators for Portability
Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator
What can the Solar Generator Power?
The Renogy Phoenix can power devices up to 150 watts. This means you cannot use this for a fridge or appliance that draws more than 150 watts. However, you can use it for a laptop, a small fan, your phones, power banks, and energy-efficient lamps. When the firefly solar generator is fully loaded, it can last up to one hour and some minutes. If you use just 50 or fewer watts (one laptop and a phone), you can use it for 3-4 hours at night if it is fully charged.
This unit is designed to function outside the home; during the day, you can use the generator for many hours because the solar panels will supply continuous power to the unit as you use it. As long as the system changes faster than you are depleting the batteries, your computer or electronic devices will have power.
Renogy Solar Generator Pros
- It is very portable. It is the best solar generator in this category. Just take one unit, and you are good to go.
- It is expandable, you can add more solar panels, but this removes its portability.
- It has various outlets for connecting different devices
Renogy Solar Generator Cons
- The power rating is relatively low. It would be good if it could power more devices.
- You have to be outdoors to charge and use the Firefly solar generator because the solar panel is integrated into the outlets.
If what you are looking for is something to use while outdoors to charge your gadgets, then this is the best solar generator for you. It is compact, easy to carry, and has good value.
Best Solar Generator for Quick Recharge
The Aspect Sunsocket Sun-tracking Solar Generator is the best solar generator in its category. It is the only solar generator we found with sun tracking technology. This means that it always gets the most sunlight possible and will charge its batteries faster. From our research and according to the manufacturers, this solar generator can be fully charged within 5 – 9 hours, depending on the amount of sunlight available. It is also just one unit. The solar panels are connected to the carrying case, making it highly portable.
What Can the Solar Generator Power?
The Sunsocket Sun-tracking Solar Generator can power devices up to 100 watts. This means you cannot use this for a fridge or appliance that draws more than 100 watts. However, you can use it for a laptop, a small fan, your phones, power banks, and energy-efficient lamps. When the firefly solar generator is fully loaded, it can last up to one hour and some minutes. If you use just 50 or fewer watts (one laptop and a phone), you can use it for 3-4 hours at night if it is fully charged.
When you load the Sunsocket Solar Generator to the maximum of 100 watts, you can run the generator for 2.5hours. So, for example, if you run just a laptop and phone at night without sunlight, you can run the generator for 5 hours. However, during the day, when there is sunlight, you can run the generator for as long as there is sunlight. This is possible because the included solar panels charge the battery fast enough to replenish what is being used.
The Sunsocket Sun-tracking Solar Generator PROS
- Sun tracking technology makes it the best solar generator for a quick recharge. This means that you can use your small devices night and day as long as you are sure of adequate sunlight.
- It is very portable considering that it’s all one unit and just about 25 pounds.
The Sunsocket Sun-tracking Solar Generator CONS
- This solar generator is the most expensive on the list. However, if your solar generator must be charged within 5 – 9 hours every day outdoors, you may ignore the cost.
- It is not waterproof! For a device designed for outdoor use, you would expect it to be waterproof! In many of my trips to Africa, I have been in situations where the sky is evident in one instance, and within 15 minutes, there is a heavy downpour. I wouldn’t have this solar generator in such places.
I am incredibly impressed with the level of innovation incorporated in this solar generator. It is also the best solar generator for creation. I believe this solar generator is a trailblazer and may still become cheaper (at least, I hope so). For those who like to try cool gadgets, this is for you.
What is the best solar generator for you?
Our Choice – Overall Best Solar Generator – Goal Zero Yeti Solar Generator.
If it fits your budget, we suggest you go for the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit. However, if you want a little less expensive with less power output, you could choose the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator!
It’s your turn. After choosing your solar generator, leave us a comment to know which one you chose. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.