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 solar generator for your specific application. In this buyer’s guide, you 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.
Questions to Ask When Looking for the Best Solar Generator for Your Budget
- What can the 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 simply 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 supplied by the batteries to the alternating current required by the household appliances. The solar panels contain photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert light energy from the sun into electric current (DC) used 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 very first question you want to ask is what can the generator power? This is not the only question. Find below 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. 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
What can the solar generator power?
Yeti 1250 Solar generator Pros:
- It is one of the few portable solar generators out there that supplies 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 add more 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:
- With the included solar panels it would take 40 – 80 hours to fully charge the battery. This means that you would need 4 to 5 days of full sunshine to charge the generator. This is rather long so my advice is 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 access to gasoline or where the noise and pollution from the gasoline generators 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 any other appliance that draws more than 150 watts. 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 for 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 or more hours at night if it is fully charged.
This unit is designed to function outside the home, this means that 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 is charging 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 from its portability.
- It has various outlets for connecting different devices
Renogy Solar Generator Cons:
- The power rating is quite 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 to 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 gives you good value for the money.
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 that has the sun tracking technology. This means that it always gets the most sunlight possible and as such 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 which makes it highly portable as well.
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 any other appliance that draws more than 100 watts. 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 for up to one hour and some minutes. If you use just 50 or less watts (one laptop and a phone) you can used it for 3-4 or more 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. If however you are running 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:
- It has the sun tracking technology making it the best solar generator for quick recharge. This means that as long as you are sure of adequate sunlight, you can use your small devices night and day.
- It is very portable considering that its all one unit and just about 25 pounds.
The Sunsocket Sun-tracking Solar Generator CONS:
- This solar generator is the most expensive in the list. However if it is really important that your solar generator is charged within 5 – 9 hours every day when outdoors then you may ignore the cost.
- It is not waterproof! For a device that is designed for outdoor use, you would expect it to be waterproof! In many of my trips to Africa, I have been in situations where in one instance the sky is clear and within 15 minutes there is a heavy downpour. I wouldn’t to have this solar generator in such places.
I am greatly impressed with the level of innovation that is incorporated in this solar generator. It is also the best solar generator for innovation. I believe this solar generator is a trail blazer and may still become cheaper (at least I hope so). For those who like to try really 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 within your budget we suggest you go for the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit. However if you want something 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.