Looking for a portable power source that is both reliable and eco-friendly? Solar-powered generators might be the perfect option for you. These generators harness the power of the sun to provide clean, renewable energy, making them an excellent choice for camping, emergency preparedness, or backup power.
Solar panels can be expensive, but several affordable solar-powered generators are on the market. These generators can provide enough power to run small appliances and electronic devices, making them an excellent option for camping or emergency preparedness.
In this post, we will look at some of the best solar-powered generators on the market. We will also discuss how they work and what to consider when purchasing one. So if you are interested in going green and using renewable energy sources, read on.
Best Solar Powered Generators
Our picks for the best solar powered generators are:
- Jackery Explorer 1000 Solar Generator – Best overall
- Generark Solar Generator Power Bundle – Best value
- BLUETTI AC200P Solar Generator – Best portable
- EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA Solar Generator – Best fast charging
If you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy bills while also being environmentally conscious, then read on below for our top four picks of solar-powered generators that are worth checking out.
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Per our experience and testing, the best overall solar generator on the market is the Jackery Explorer 1000. The Jackery Explorer 1000 is a solar-powered generator with a lot to offer its users. One of the best things about this solar generator is that it is very portable.
It only weighs just over 20 pounds, so it is easy to take with you wherever you go. The Jackery Explorer 1000 also has a built-in solar panel, making it easy to charge up no matter where you are.
In addition, the Jackery Explorer 1000 has a 1000 watt-hour battery, which means that it can provide plenty of power for your needs. It also comes with several ports, including two USB ports, two DC ports, and an AC port. This allows you to easily connect all your necessary devices to the solar generator.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 isn’t noisy, unlike other solar-powered generators, making it the perfect option for both outdoor and at home emergency needs. But what makes this solar-powered generator a great deal is that it comes with six layers of protection for your safety and convenience.
- Read our detailed Jackery Explorer 1000 Review
The Generark Solar Power Bundle is one of the best solar-powered generator deals today for its durability, reliability, and versatility. The bundle comes with HomePower ONE backup battery power station and the SolarPower ONE solar panel power generator.
With the Generark Solar Power Bundle, you can use your electronic devices and home appliances in emergency cases for up to seven days. This solar-powered generator features a 32-cells solar panel, making it 50% more efficient. This is one of the reasons why we rated this particular solar generator as the best value option.
What more? It also comes with three AC outlets, four USB ports, and one car outlet, giving you enough coverage for various situations. Furthermore, the Generark Solar Power Bundle also comes with six protection modules & four safety & reliability standards, ensuring that you are getting nothing but the safest option.
Charging this solar-powered generator is relatively easy too. You actually have three options with this – recharge by solar, AC outlet, or your car outlet. Whatever your choice is, Generark Solar Power Bundle is indeed another deal-breaker.
- Read our detailed Generark Solar Generator Review
Looking for a solar-powered generator perfect for camping, emergencies, or any other situation where you need portable power? The BLUETTI AC200P solar generator is a lightweight generator that you can easily transport. Plus, its quiet solar panel charges the battery when exposed to sunlight.
The AC200P solar generator is powered by a 2000-watt solar panel, quickly and easily attached to the generator. The solar panel collects energy from the sun, which then charges the internal battery. The battery can provide enough power to recharge your phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices.
It has a USB port for charging mobile devices, two AC outlets for powering appliances, and two 12 volt DC ports that are perfect for outdoor activities like tailgating, camping trips, or your backyard soirees.
The unit weighs just 60.6 lbs., making it perfect for transporting in a car, RV, camping equipment, ATV/UTVs, and so on. And you can easily roll it on its built-in wheels wherever you need it. No wonder BLUETTI claims this solar generator is “perfectly designed” for everyday use.
- Read our detailed Bluetti AC200P Review
Best fast charging
The solar-powered EF ECOFLOW EF DELTA Solar Generator is a solar-powered kit that allows you to power up your homes and appliances even when the sun is not out. It features a built-in solar panel, inverter, battery pack, AC/DC charger, and plug-in for mobile charging.
The kit includes one 260wh Solar Generator, one 160W Foldable Solar Panel, and all the accessories needed for it to work. With six 1800W AC outlets and 1260wh capacity, you can simultaneously plug up to 13 devices, including smartphones, laptops, refrigerators, and more.
We were really impressed by how fast charging this solar generator is. You can recharge it from 0% to 80% in approximately one hour, which is pretty impressive, especially when in emergencies. This is possible with its patented EcoFlow X-Stream technology.
In addition, the EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA is waterproof too. It can endure any weather condition, even the extreme ones. This makes it a great option for outdoor activities like hiking or camping. The device can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes too.
- Read our detailed EcoFlow Delta Power Station Review
What Is a Solar-Powered Generator?
A solar generator is a device that converts sunlight into electrical energy. You can use this energy to power devices or appliances in your home. Solar-powered systems generally do not require any fuel, or there might be no need to add fuel during the usage period.
The solar generator concept dates back to the early 1990s when solar panels were introduced to the market. However, these systems never became popular due to the high costs and other complexities involved in their installation and maintenance.
How Solar-Powered Generators Work?
Solar-powered generators use solar panels to generate power from the sun, which converts sunlight into electrical current. The solar panels produce direct current (DC) electricity and feed it to an inverter where the power is converted into AC. Solar generators can run appliances, lights, and other devices in your home.
Check out our honest analysis for more information on how solar generators work + what they can and cannot do.
These solar generators are generally designed for emergency use only as they cannot function as a primary source of electricity or backup during power cuts for extended periods.
Many solar generators use batteries that store solar energy. You can charge such solar-powered generators using grid/mains electricity through inverters, just like a conventional solar system.
How Do You Charge a Solar Generator?
Typically, the best solar powered generators come with multiple charging methods. Here are the most popular ways to charge a solar generator:
- 110V AC Charger – This is probably the quickest way to get a full charge. Solar generators come with a 110V AC charging adapter. This makes it easy to plug the power station at home, or anywhere you can find a power outlet.
- Solar Panels – Not being able to charge a solar generator with solar panels would be pretty silly. Thankfully, today’s solar panels are super-efficient and are a great way to maintain power, especially when you have great exposure. With that being said, even the best solar generators take a little bit of time to get a full charge, especially if they are at zero percent. For example, The Jackery Explorer 1000 takes about 8 hours to fully charge from the sun (from 0%) with two 100W panels.
- 12V Car Charger – Campers and users on the move, will love this capability: solar generators typically offer a 12V car charger. This is a great additional charging feature that can push power to your solar generator from your vehicle.
Because there are multiple ways to charge solar generators, you can feel comfortable that you won’t be isolated for too long without power. Be sure to pay attention to the charging specifications when evaluating products. Some products are better than others when it comes to charging. For example, from our testing, we found the EcoFlow Delta Power Station to be the fastest charging solar generator.
Are Solar Generators Worth the Money?
One thing you can’t put a price on is peace of mind.
For more information on the cost of solar generators and their financial benefits, check out our detailed post: “Are Solar Generators Worth It?“
A quality solar generator is a great contingency for those times when you lose your primary power source. With that being said, they do come with some limitations. Depending on your energy consumption, where you live, and other variables, you may want to evaluate investing in other more permanent alternative power sources, such as off grid solar systems.
In general, based on the average cost of a solar generator, average lifespan, and the typical savings, you should be able to receive a positive ROI over time. There are also a number of other benefits like improving your home’s value.
What Is the Average Cost of a Solar Generator?
The average cost of solar generators can vary depending on your energy consumption and the type of model you choose. Smaller solar generators with a five-watt capacity are usually priced between $100 and $500. Those priced around the $500-range tend to have a 15-watt output that can charge devices such as mobile phones and laptops.
On the other hand, high-end solar generators — such as the BLUETTI AC200P or the EF ECOFLOW EF DELTA solar generator — have around a 2000-watt capacity and are priced between $2,000 to $4,000. Though higher-capacity solar generators cost a lot more, they can help you save significantly on energy bills in the long run.
What Can You Power With a Solar Generator?
Various types of generators are available in the market, each with distinct wattage that determines what you can power with your generator. For instance, a small 1,000-watt device would suffice for tent camping. This much power would be enough to charge phones, laptops, and other devices. However, you would need a significantly larger generator to run most appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, and water heaters.
It’s worth noting that solar generators are not ideal for long-term use because of their wattage capacity and charging time. You cannot expect these devices to power all your appliances at home for several days.
Read our honest analysis, for more information on what you can run on a solar generator.
Where to Buy a Solar Generator?
With a growing surge in demand for solar generators, many popular retailers now carry a variety of products.
If you’re looking to buy a solar generator, you can purchase one direct from a manufacturer, or through a large ecommerce marketplace like Amazon.
Additionally, some popular home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s also carry some of the more popular products. Before making a trip to the hardware store, however, we recommend checking online first to see if the location closest to you has inventory available. Not all stores carry physical products.
In general, we typically recommend evaluating options online. Certain ecommerce websites run promotions and it’s much easier to shop around for the best available pricing.
How Long Do Solar Generators Last?
Ultimately, there are two questions to take into account when looking at how long solar generators last.
In terms of product lifespan, many solar generators can last for over 25 years. Ultimately, taking care of the panel and battery to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged is critical to prolonging lifespan. Most manufacturers will provide a product warranty between 2 and 5 years.
The second question within this question is how long can solar generators power your appliances? This is dependent on the brand, the size of the generator, and what you’re powering. However, some of the best solar generators can provide emergency power for appliances and other powered essentials for up to 7 days on a single charge.
Are Solar Generators Safe?
Yes, solar generators are generally the safest portable power source option to use. Unlike traditional gasoline-powered machines, these devices don’t emit toxic fumes that contain carbon monoxide. You can use them indoors or outdoors.
The brands we’ve tested here are some of the top names on the market because of the safety measures they put their products through. However, Generark stands out in this department. Their generators undergo 52 reliability and safety tests, and the company provides five-year warranties.
EF ECO FLOW EFDELTA offers a three-year warranty, while Jackery and BLUETTI offer two-year ones — emphasizing their trust in their products.
Is a Solar Generator Better Than Gas?
While a solar powered generator offers a number of unique advantages, it’s not always the best backup power source. Popular gas generators typically cost less upfront, but they do have more maintenance and on-going costs associated with operation.
Solar generators have come a long way in recent years. Historically thought of as strictly a camping option, solar generators are becoming more powerful. Manufacturers are constantly working at prolonging battery life to make these systems reliable for emergency power loss situations at home. In fact, some of the top solar generators available on the market can last up to seven days and power major appliance.
Read our detailed post on solar generators vs gas for more information on the pros and cons of each option.
A solar-powered generator offers the best solution for people who need reliable, off-the-grid power. These generators are particularly useful because you can use them in remote locations where running electrical lines or solar panels are difficult to implement, and solar energy remains the most practical way to generate electricity.
Solar power has numerous benefits that make it well worth looking into as an alternative to traditional energy sources like coal or nuclear power. The main benefit is that solar energy is abundantly available and completely pollution-free.