Solar energy has become a game changer for how we power our devices, but it requires several additional components beyond the solar panels. A solar generator combines many of these components so that you can plug straight into a solar panel and provide electricity. We’ve reviewed the best portable solar generators for your home and RV adventures.
|Renogy Phoenix||Best All-in-one||150W|
|Paxcess Wireless Charge||Best Wireless||330W|
|Nature’s Generator Gold||Best Overall For Home||1800W|
|Jackery Explorer 240||Best Overall For Camping||200W|
|Goal Zero Yeti 150||Runner Up For Camping||160W|
That’s what we’ve created a list of the best solar generators that you can use to solve your portable power problems and in doing so, embrace the cleanest and greenest, and not to mention cheapest, ways of creating the energy you need when you need it the most.
How We Reviewed The Best Solar Generators
First, we separated all of the solar generators on the market into three power categories. Before buying a solar generator, you should calculate what solar generator size you need. Here are the three size categories we reviewed:
- Small – under 250 watts of power
- Medium – over 250 watts of power, but under 1000 watts
- Large – anything over 1000 watts of power
The small solar generators make great portable options for camping. They are easy to carry on hikes. And they provide just enough electricity to keep your essential devices powered on your road trip.
The medium sized solar generators are good for RV trips. They can utilize solar captured from the roof of the RV nd power small televisions, laptops, and other small appliances.
The larger solar generators are best for home applications. They can keep your refrigerator running during short power outages. These solar generators are good for emergency use or for powering an in-law suite.
Rating Methodology For Best Solar Generators
After categorizing the solar generators based on sizing, we ranked them on the following rating system:
- Customer reviews. We combed through hundreds of reviews to find out what was working and not working for the people who actually bought the dozens of options out there. We only recommend the best reviewed solar generators for each category.
- Pricing. Cost matters to us and we know it matters to you. For similarly rated products, we will always recommend the more budget friendly option.
- Warranty. Accidents happen. People change their minds. And sometimes, products fail. That is why we only recommend solar generators from companies with good return policies and warranties.
- Ease of use. There are some products that look great, but are hard to use. We removed those types of products to make your experience easy.
What Is A Solar Generator?
Solar generators are small, portable power generators that use energy from the sun. This energy is collected by solar panels to generate electricity. Then it is stored in an internal rechargeable battery instead of burning fossil fuels to create the same energy.
The solar generator is made up of four parts:
- Rechargeable battery
- Charge controller
- Solar panels (these are not always included in the solar generator)
They are produced in a variety of different sizes to accommodate the electrical and power needs of their users. They can weigh anything from three pounds to nearly two hundred.
It is important to note that many solar generators require you to purchase solar panels as well. We shared one recommendation that includes the solar panels built in. For the other options, we recommend solar panels that easily plug into the solar generator.
Designed to be efficient and minimize the proliferation of greenhouse gases, solar generators are slowly becoming increasingly popular as people become more ecologically aware.
Best Portable Solar Generators For Home and RV
Renogy started with a group of college friends looking to do what they could to help reduce energy waste.
From its humble beginnings at Louisiana University, and thanks to the advent of online sales, Renogy has become one of the best solar providers out there. They specialize in the design and manufacture of solar products and the creation of clean, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy.
The Phoenix Portable Generator is an all-in-one solar power system that’s been specifically designed for any, and every, mobile, off-grid application.
Compact and lightweight, it uses twenty monocrystalline solar panels to return up to one hundred watts of power.
Its Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) battery can be charged using an AC supply, a car battery, or the sun and has a full charging temperature range of zero to forty-five degrees Celsius.
This means that as long as the sun is out, and you can charge the battery, you’ll have a never-ending supply of power.
Able to hold a full charge for up to two months, the battery in the Renogy Phoenix takes just two and a half hours to reach a full charge when the sun is in the sky.
The future arrived when we weren’t looking. The Renogy made solar power generator is an everyday reality instead of the abstract dream of over-eager engineers that it used to be.
Renogy Phoenix Pros
This solar generator is incredibly light, weighing in at just under twelve pounds. The briefcase-sized generator is the answer to any electrical dilemma that you might face when camping, hitting the beach for a day, or just lounging around in your yard.
It can be fully charged in around two and a half hours and will hold said charge for anything up to two months. The Renogy Phoenix is a great option for camping or on-the-go power.
And if the sun refuses to co-operate or come out to play, it can be charged using a standard AC outlet or your car battery.
Just make sure that you leave your engine running if you’re going to charge it from your car battery as it will completely drain it and won’t apologize for leaving you stranded.
Renogy Phoenix Cons
It does have one design flaw that was complained about by customers. It easily overheats. However, Renogy has made updates to the latest model. They claim to have fixed the overheating issue.
If the sun gets hotter than forty-five degrees Celsius (one hundred and four degrees Fahrenheit) while it’s charging, the Phoenix will cook and won’t charge.
It seems a little strange that a solar generator is capable of overheating while it’s being fueled by its main source of power, but that’s how engineering works.
It’s a great big seething mass of crazy contradictions and strange, but oddly real, truths
And it’s also incredibly unaffordable. It might be light, powerful and a realistic answer to every camping related energy crisis, but it’s also expensive and is out of the financial reach of most of us everyday working stiffs.
Paxcess believes that passion is the key to solving every problem and finding a way to overcome all sorts of adversity.
That’s why they dedicated all of their passion to find a solution to everyday power problems through the application of technology. And their passion and knowledge bore fruit, as they’re now globally recognized as one of the foremost manufacturers of portable solar generators that have been designed to solve all manner of power production problems.
Whether you’re looking for a power source for your smart technology, small appliances, coffee maker, or something else entirely, Paxcess’ Portable Power Station with it’s three twelve-volt outlets, two one hundred and ten volt AC sockets, and two USB ports can easily keep you in the game until long after the final whistle has been blown.
Engineered to be versatile, the Paxcess can be charged using a conventional AC outlet, a car battery, or solar panels. And as long as you’ve got access to one of them, you’ll always have a source of power to run your technology from.
Weighing less than three and a half pounds, the Paxcess Portable Generator is an ideal way to make sure that you’ll never run out of power wherever you go.
And it stands as a testament to its designer’s belief that with the right amount of passion, anything is possible.
Paxcess Wireless Solar Generator Pros
It’s a lightweight, eco-friendly, completely green charging machine. As it weighs less than four-pounds it can go anywhere and everywhere with you and you won’t even notice you’re carrying it.
The Paxcess is a three in one power solution – charge its battery from the mains, your car, or the sun and it’ll be ready to keep you and smart technology powered and happy.
An onboard BMS (battery management system) makes sure that it constantly manages voltage, temperature, and all of the other day to day stuff so that you don’t have to worry about anything.
Paxcess Wireless Solar Generator Cons
It takes between seven and eight hours to charge the generator’s battery using an AC supply, so imagine how long it takes to charge the battery using the sun’s rays? That’s right, it takes a while.
And while we’re on the subject of solar power and charging, the panel that you need to make the Paxcess solar compatible is sold separately.
So if you want to use it solely as a solar generator, it’s going to cost you extra to harness the power of the sun.
Recommended Solar Panels For The Renogy Phoenix
Since this solar generator is rated at 330 watts, only use up to 200 watts of solar panels. We recommend using this 120 Renogy solar panel to provide the electricity to the Renogy Phoenix solar generator. If you have your own solar panels, make sure they are appropriately rated for this solar generator.
Nature’s Generator is driven by a simple mission; to provide unlimited clean energy for anyone who wants, or needs it.
Having seen the numerous problems that over-usage of fossil fuels, at every end of the scale, they set out to create a generator that could be used by anyone, anywhere to power anything.
And, with that in mind, they designed their state of the art generator that can be powered by both the sun and wind.
The generator stores energy in its internal battery. And it uses state of the art technology to convert its twelve-volt power into one hundred and ten-volt power for everyday use.
As it doesn’t use any fossil fuels, there are no harmful emissions. So Nature’s Generator can be used indoors or outdoors. Its battery can be charged using a conventional AC outlet, solar power, or a wind turbine.
It has a peak output of eighteen hundred watts, under normal running conditions. So the generator will pump out seven hundred and fifty watts of power without breaking a sweat.
It is made to be whisper quiet while it’s running so you won’t even know it’s on. From a full charge, the generator is capable of returning up to eight hours of power.
Nature’s Generator might not save the planet by itself, but it’s set an example for the rest of us to live up to, and now that it’s here, it would be churlish not to use their system as it was intended.
To create unlimited green energy for everyone who wants it.
Nature Solar Generator Pros
It’s a purpose-designed and manufactured green generator that can be hooked up to the mains to charge, or left to drink all its fill of energy from the sun and the wind.
Nature’s Solar Generator is easy to set up, maintain, and use. It was built to be easy to use. There is little setup. The solar generator can be ready to go in less than 5 minutes.
It’s a heavy-duty generator that can, and will, power whatever you need it to.
Nature Solar Generator Cons
It’s a heavy-duty generator that’s also incredibly heavy. With a combined (solar panel and generator) weight of around one hundred and twenty- five pounds, it isn’t exactly portable.
And even though it has wheels, you’re not going to find it easy to move this generator from place to place.
Then there’s the wind turbine. Or rather lack of it. While the solar panel is included in the purchase price of Nature’s Generator, the wind turbine that it uses to convert wind power into electricity is an optional extra.
Going green isn’t exactly the cheapest way to power your home or take advantage of Nature’s electrical bounty.
And then there’s the charging time. It takes around eight hours to charge the generator using the solar panel, and even though you can use the generator while it’s charging, it still seems like an awfully long time to us.
Recommended Solar Panels For Nature’s Solar Gold
This solar generator comes with a 100 watt solar panel. However, you can add to this panel to increase the amount of electricity you produce every day. This 2-pack of 100 watt solar panels from Renogy are compatible to expand the solar capacity of this solar generator. If you have your own solar panels, make sure they are appropriately rated for this solar generator.
It was founded in America’s most ecologically driven state, California, less than a decade ago. Jackery specializes in providing outdoor green power solutions for explorers and people who love the outside life.
Using up the minute technology, Jackery has spent the last five years enhancing and slowly perfecting their portable solar generator.
Even though it weighs just six and a half pounds, this portable generator houses a lot of electrical punching power.
Able to power up to four different devices at once, the internal lithium battery that it uses to disperse its energy can be charged using three options. Those are a conventional AC outlet, a car battery, or a solar panel.
And depending on what you want it to power, it can hold anywhere between forty-five minutes (when it’s powering an electric pressure cooker) to fourteen hours (when fueling a television) worth of electricity.
They might not have attained perfection with the Portable Power Station yet. But given time Jackery looks like they could easily revolutionize the way we think about, and use portable solar generators.
This is just the beginning.
Jackery Explorer 240 Pros
Able to power four separate devices at once, the Jackery is a fully portable, one-stop generating machine that can help to fuel camping trips, RV adventures, and more.
It is deceptively powerful. Once charged, it holds enough power to keep you and your camping buddies powered for a whole weekend.
It won’t break your pocketbook and is surprisingly affordable. It’ll keep you smiling, and in power, as long as you use it.
Jackery Explorer 240 Cons
It’s limited to what it can and can’t power by its wattage. It can’t, and won’t, run anything that needs to pull more than two hundred watts to run.
So make sure you know the power needs of all of your appliances before you plug them into the Jackery.
And, like every other solar-powered generator, it takes time to charge. Six and a half hours to be precise.
This might not sound like much in the comfort of your home, but it will seem like an eternity when you’re out in the wilderness.
Then there’s the solar option. It’s a fantastic piece of green technology. Unfortunately, it does not come with a solar panel. So you’ll need to add that to the shopping list if you do not have one that is compatible.
Recommended Solar Panels For Jackery Explorer 240
Since this solar generator is rated at 200 watts, you should only use up to 150 watts of solar panels. We recommend using this 100 watt solar panel from Jackery to provide the electricity to the Jackery Explorer 240 solar generator. If you have your own solar panels, make sure they are appropriately rated for this solar generator.
Goal Zero is all about the Solar Life. Inspired by a passion for adventure, respect for the planet, and their collective humanitarian heart, Goal Zero believes that there’s a better way to do things. Their mission is to make everyone use net-zero energy.
That’s why they’ve spent the last twelve years laying the foundations for a future of energy creation that we can all be proud of.
The Yeti 150 is a small, powerful, lightweight solar generator. They have been engineered to help you live your life on the go.
Made to fuel smart technology, it’ll draw the charge that it needs to power your electronics. That means it will charge from outlets, a car battery, or solar panels. And while it won’t put out enough juice to keep the big things in your life running, it wasn’t designed to change the way you live your life. I was built to make it better while you’re in the middle of nowhere and miles from anywhere.
Tiny acorns eventually grow into mighty oaks. And while Goal Zero hasn’t reached the dizzying heights that they undoubtedly will one day, they are on their way. Their goal of achieving net-zero for everyone is coming into fruition.
Sometimes, you just need to start small.
Goal Zero Yeti Pros
While it’s far from being the biggest solar generator on our list, the Yeti 150 can hold enough power to get you through any camping weekend. This means your road trip will include power to your phone, tablet, small TV, and lights.
And it won’t leave scorch marks on your pocketbook. It’s an incredibly affordable way to stay on-grid when you go off-grid.
Goal Zero Yeti Cons
Even though it’s a solar generator, the panels that Goal Zero makes to soak up the sun’s rays will cost you extra.
And from empty to fully charged, it’ll take six hours from an AC outlet. So, with that in mind, imagine how long it’ll take to charge from the solar panels it uses.
Goal Zero doesn’t list the exact numbers, but we’re willing to bet that it takes a long time. A really, really long time.
Recommended Solar Panels For The Goal Zero Yeti
Since this solar generator is rated at 160 watts, you should only use up to 80 watts of solar panels. We recommend using these 50 solar panels to provide the electricity to the Goal Zero Yeti solar generator. If you have your own solar panels, make sure they are appropriately rated for this solar generator.
Which Solar Generator Is The Right One For Me?
That depends entirely on what you want a solar generator for and your budget.
If you’re looking to fully commit to green power, then you are probably looking at a home solar generator. This is the Nature’s Solar Generator. Though it’s our priciest option, it packs the most power. It is the only recommendation that provides over 1000 watts of power. It also includes a 100 watt solar panel.
However, if you’re just looking for a smaller portable generator for camping, that is the Jackery. It will help you minimize your carbon footprint when you get away for the weekend. It’s the highest reviewed and rated solar generator on the market. The Jackery Explorer 240 is portable and easy to use.
You should feel confident in the knowledge that you’re doing your part to make the world a better place. So take careful consideration in deciding which generator to invest your time and finances in. Welcome to the future.