Portable generators can do more than just make a home improvement project more accessible. If you are heading out for a weekend of camping, expecting some poor weather, or need your power trimmers way out in the middle of your property, a portable solar generator can do the trick. Large solar generators are those that will not move with you from one location to the next. However, the portable generators are lightweight, easy to move around, and capable of providing power regardless of your location.
If you have found yourself trying to figure out power dilemmas and how to get power to certain areas of your home or yard, the portable solar generator could be for you. We put together ten options that we consider to be the best on the market. Here are some of the things you should consider before purchasing.
Things To Consider When Purchasing A Portable Solar Generator
Not all portable solar generators have the same amount of power. Typically speaking, the higher-priced models seem to have higher power output. Many of them will average around 200-300W of power. Some of the smaller models are going to have more like 18W of power. The lower power levels will only power certain devices. If you are looking for a model that works for power tools, go with the higher power units.
Some portable solar generators are going to have only USB outlets for the output. Others will have over ten different output options. You will need to consider what you need to plug in and ensure that the proper power options are available. If you will be plugging in a power tool, a USB port is undoubtedly not going to do you much good. However, if you are going camping, having the ability to charge your phone is essential. Look for a variety of outputs to suit all of your needs.
The charge time and the power of the portable solar generators are sometimes interrelated. The more powerful a generator is, the more time it takes to charge. The charging method will also very much impact the time it takes to charge. Solar charging tends to take longer than the outlet or car charging. Solar charging may be your only option at times. Be prepared for longer charge times. You could be looking at 8-12 hours for a full charge.
Top 10 best solar generators
1. Outerra Portable Power Station 298Wh
- Long-lasting power
- Pure Sine Wave AC Output
- Silent Cooling Fan
- Variety of ports
- Fully charges in 7 hours using the solar panel
The Outerra portable solar generator will become one of your best friends when you spend time away from a power source. Although this model is not sold with the solar generator, it easily hooks up to one and even has recommended models that will work quite well.
The best thing about the Outerra is the amount of time that it can provide power for you. When purchasing a portable solar generator, chances are you are looking for something reliable, easy to use, and long-lasting.
With the Outerra, you can charge your smartphone about 40 times on one charge. If you are camping in the woods, this should certainly be enough to get you through a weekend. The Outerra uses a Pure Sine Wave AC Output. The Pure Sive wave is best for sensitive devices and electronics.
The power on the Outerra is 300W, but you may experiences surges up to 600W. This quiet unit has a silent fan that will turn on should the portable solar generator get a bit too hot. If you are traveling or just want to be ready for a potential emergency, this is an affordable and high-performing power station.
2. Renogy Phoenix 300 Portable Power Station
- Up to 200 watts of power
- Voltage control
- Multiple output ports
- High-Speed Unit
- Great for photo and video equipment
- Pure Sine Wave
The Renogy Phoenix is a solar generator that does a great job of producing power and keeping your products safe at the same time. The Phoenix 300 features lots of different connections and power output options to give you the versatility you need.
You will get up to 200W of power with the Renogy Phoenix; you should have no trouble being able to charge your phone a camera, or laptop. The Phoenix will need a solar panel if you want to charge it with the sun as it does not come with its own.
One of the things that we love best about the Renogy Phoenix is the smallest and lightest AC power supplies. Even with its size, it still has plenty of ability and safety features packed in as well. If you worry about your sensitive electronics’ safety, you will be happy with the Renogy Phonix 300 Portable.
3. ROCKPALS 250W Portable Power Station and Solar Panel
- Combination set includes a solar panel
- Pure sine wave
- 250 W power
- 60W solar panel
- Charge a cell phone 25 times
Here is the option that you have been waiting for, the one-click purchase that gets you a portable power station and a solar panel all at the same time. The Rockpals is truly an all in one solution for portable power. Although this is a 250W model and some others will boast a little extra power, this is an excellent option when it comes to value.
The Rockpals only weigh 5.5 pounds, and the solar panel is relatively lightweight as well. You should be looking at less than 8 pounds to carry this set around with you. You should get about 25 cell phone charges from the Rockpals when it is completely charged. For small appliances or a mini-refrigerator, you may see about four hours.
The fastest way to recharge the Rockpals is probably going to be the wall outlet. It will take about eight hours to get a full charge on this portable solar generator. When you use the solar panel, you may be looking at ten or more hours to charge fully.
The Rockpals is another model with a pure sine wave inverter, so you will get lots of clean power. Overall this is a very quiet model, although you may hear a bit of noise if the cooling fan happens to kick on.
4. AIMTOM 300-Watt Portable Power Station
- 300W Portable Power
- 280 Wh Lithium Battery
- Variety of external ports
- Charge up to 10 devices
- Weighs 7.3 pounds
The Aimtom 300 Watt Portable Power Station will be one of the higher power models that we review. With the ability to give out 300 Watts of power while only weighing 7 lbs, this is a great device to take with you when you are away from other power sources.
The Aimtom does not come with a rechargeable solar panel, but they are available to purchase separately, and they are reasonably priced as well. You can charge your Aimtom with a wall outlet or a cart outlet as well.
Not only do we like this Aimtom for a portable model to use when camping, but it is also perfect as an emergency device to keep at home. If you want to power up a few things if your power goes out, you can rely on this device.
With the pure sine wave technology, you can use personal medical devices, tablets, and digital cameras and not have to worry about them getting damaged. Overall we are impressed by the abilities of this unit considering its lightweight and compact size. We would certainly rather carry one of these with us on our next hike instead of a massive gas generator!
5. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
- Charge a phone 24 times
- Multiple Outputs
- 200 Wattage output
- 240 Wh Lithium Battery
- Four Ways to Charge
Next on our list is the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240. This unit will work as a solar generator, but you will have to separately purchase the solar panel. If you have not purchased the solar panel, you can also charge the Jackery using a car outlet, a wall outlet, and even a generator.
The Jackery will not support certain devices over 240W, but it will still work quite well for your handheld electronics without having to worry about gasoline fumes are loud noise. The Jackery is designed to power things like a mini cooler and other small electronics used when camping.
The pure sine wave inverter will make sure that your sensitive devices are not in danger. Overall we like the portability, simplicity, and reliability of the Jackery Portable Power Station.
6. OMORC 300W Portable Power Station
- 300W Power
- Has 4 USB Ports
- Charges very fast
- Easy to read display
- Pure sine wave
The Omorc is a powerful but fast-charging portable power station. This is not a package set, so if you want to purchase the solar panels to match, you will have to buy that separately. One of the significant downsides of a portable solar generator is the time that it takes to charge.
Unfortunately, charging times tend to be about the same for most models; however, this Omorc seems to charge very quickly.
When you get the Omorc fully charged, you will get about 20 cell phone charges before you have to recharge the generator. It comes with a very easy to read display and a flashlight to help you see what you are doing even after dark.
One of our favorite things about the high tech display on the Omorc portable solar generator is that it will give you an idea about the duration of the battery. If you have your phone charging and you see that the backup only has about ten minutes before it shuts off, you may want to break out the solar panel.
This is a lightweight but durable model that does a great job of letting consumers know where they stand as far as power usage and power needs are concerned.
7. Westinghouse iGen160s Portable Power Station
- Modified Sinewave
- Charges in 6 hours
- Weights 3.75 lbs
- 100W Power
- Several outputs
The Westinghouse is undoubtedly more of a value model than some other Solar Generators we have reviewed. In fact, Westinghouse’s pricing is so reasonable it makes no sense not to keep one of these in your house for an emergency.
With the Westinghouse Power Station, you are going to get significantly less power than the larger models. However, this is a lightweight and easy to carry along power station. You can charge it with a solar panel or a wall outlet.
One thing to keep in mind with the Westinghouse is that it utilizes a modified sine wave, which is not bad but not quite as good as the pure sine wave. With the modified, you may want to be careful changing or powering some of your more sensitive devices.
We love the Westinghouse for a simple home improvement project that may be located out in the yard. If you need to plug in a power drill for a few minutes out in a cabin or a barn, this is a great choice that won’t break the bank.
Luckily with this being a smaller unit, it will charge much faster and be ready for use in a matter of hours. If you are a last-minute planner and want the ability to run into the woods with some power at the last minute, you will enjoy the Westinghouse.
8. Goal Zero Yeti 200X Lithium Portable Power Station
- 120W power
- Charges fast
- Solar panel sold separately
- Compact 187Wh lithium battery
The Goal Zero Yeti is one of the more expensive models on our list. This is a 120W portable power station with a 200W surge. You will be able to use the USB ports to charge your electronic device, laptops and cameras quickly.
The solar panel is sold separately on the Goal Zero Yeti model. When you purchase the solar panel, you will have to charge it for about 11 hours to get the Goal Zero Yeti up to full capacity.
With a wall outlet or a car charger, you can be ready to go in about four hours.
This is a relatively fast charging model, but it is a little low when it comes to the power capabilities.
Try to consider how much you need to charge before making your final decision on a portable power station. If you want to plug your phone in for a few minutes when you are working on a project out in the woods, the Goal Zero is a perfect solution.
9. ECO-WORTHY 84Wh Portable Power Station
- Complete set with generator and panels
- Two built-in lights
- Easy to carry handle
- USB outlet for charging
- Comes with three external lamps
When you first look at the Eco Worthy package and the pricing, you may think it is too good to be true. This is a very low priced option that even comes with some backup lamps to help you when you are in the dark.
Everything about the Eco-Worthy is excellent except that it does not have much power. This is an 18W model and as you probably have seen most of the others on our list have about 300W power. We like to think of this as a great backup option that is lightweight and easy to use.
If you want to try and take the weekend and get off the grid, the Eco Worthy is a great option to have with you. You will have just enough power to stay safe but not too much to enjoy modern conveniences.
As far as operating power tools using the Eco Worthy, you may find that it is not quite powerful enough. Unless you need a cell phone charger, extra like or a lamp out in your workspace, this is a better model used for a quick overnight camping trip.
10. Solar BT Portable Solar Generator with Solar Panel
- Only 3.3 pounds
- Low power
- Comes with FM Radio
- Battery Management System
- Solar panel charges quickly
Last on our list is a small Solar BT portable solar panel generator system. This is again a full system that will allow you some conveniences if you find yourself without power. The entire unit weighs only 3.3 pounds, so it is easy to store and easy to carry.
The solar panel happens to charge the Solar BT in only about four hours of time. Four hours is pretty impressive and can certainly have you up and running should you find yourself without power.
The Solar BT comes with what they call a BMS or battery management system. The BMS helps to make sure that there are no short circuits and that the temperature does not overheat as well. Although this will not be a high-end pure sine wave portable solar generator, it indeed serves a purpose.
Solar Generator Buyers Guide
Here are a few of the things that we would consider and look out for when purchasing a portable solar generator. Ultimately you will have to choose a model that works for you. Looking back, you will not want to regret missing out on some of these features/accessories.
Pure Sine Wave
Choose a pure sine wave portable solar generator that will protect your devices. The pure sine wave helps to make sure that the power coming to your device cannot damage something like a CPAP or sensitive medical device.
When you demand a lot from a portable solar generator, it is going to get quite warm. Without a cooling fan in place, it could overheat. To avoid overheating, it is best to choose a model with a cooling fan.
Most of the cooling fans are going to be relatively quiet. If you have to hear some noise, it will undoubtedly be more peaceful than a gas powered generator. When living and working in warmer climates, this cooling fan is essential for you and your generator’s safety.
As you saw from our reviews, these portable solar generators range from $50 to about $300. Although we will never admit to quality and price directly tied to each other, there was a little indication of that with the portable generators.
The more expensive models tend to be the pure sine wave. These models also put out 200 to 300W of power compared to something as low as 18W. If you simply need a light out in your warehouse, then the smaller cheap units could do the trick for you. For most people, the 200W of power and above is going to be ideal.
It is also essential to keep in mind that you may also need to purchase a solar panel in addition to the generator. Solar panels are not always sold with the generators, and they will undoubtedly add on more cost. Considering the value you get from solar energy, they are usually well worth the price.
To get something with the best value, you may want to look at a combination model like the Rockpals. This has everything you need in a package and still keeps the price under $300. If you already happen to have a solar panel, then you will be able to save quite a bit of money on your total purchase.
Portable solar generators seem to vary in price anywhere from 3 pounds to around 8 pounds. For the most part, they are very lightweight and not difficult to move around. The fact that they are portable will affect how much power they give off. The convenience of the unit makes this loss in power well worth it.
If you plan to use your portable solar generator for camping, the lightest models make the most sense. Adding an eight-pound unit to your gear is a bit harder than adding a three or four-pound model.
Chances are that if you are going to be purchasing a portable solar power generator, you will be using it outdoors. Make sure that you get something that is durable and can handle being tossed around a little bit. Most of the time, the solar panels will be a bit delicate. However, the portable generator should be made from tough, long-lasting material.
If your portable solar generator comes with a panel, then you won’t have to shop for a panel in addition. However, to keep the cost down, most manufacturers sell the solar panels separately. Some panels will be cheap, and others will cost as much as the generator itself. The smaller the panel, the longer it will take to charge up your portable generator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have a good idea as to what to look for in a solar generator, it’s time to look at some frequently asked questions. If you are still on the fence about purchasing a portable solar generator, hopefully, this will clear things up for you.
How Can You Use A Portable Solar Generator?
As you know, we love all things home improvement. Although the portable solar generator may seem like a camping tool, there is much more to it. Portable generators are great for yard work projects. If you cant, get power to the far end of your property, you can use the solar generator.
If you are working outside and need light, you can easily plug something into your generator. How about getting access to a power tool on the far end of your deck without having to run an extension cord. These are all great ways to use a portable solar generator.
In addition, the portable solar generators are a perfect source of back up power during a storm. Part of maintaining and designing an outstanding home includes protecting it as well. Having some way to use power even during a storm is an excellent feature of the portable solar generator.
Can A Portable Solar Generator Power A Refrigerator?
There are lots of solar generators that are capable of powering large portions of your home. However, portable generators can usually only charge small electronic devices. They are also able to charge small appliances.
If you purchase one of the 300W portable solar generators, you should be able to get a few hours of power to a mini-refrigerator. Powering a full-size refrigerator is not going to be possible with the portable vertions on our list.
Can You Use Portable Solar Generators With Power Tools?
Portable solar generators work well with basic power tools. As we mentioned, if you need to power up a drill or a hedge trimmer, your generator will work well. One of the great things about using this for home use is that it is simple and easy to put away.
Once you are done with the generator, you simply move it back into your garage for storage. It feels easier than having to roll up 200 feet of extension cord when you finish a project that was too far from a power outlet. The only real downside to solar generators is that you need the sun to charge them.
If you are genuinely away from a power source, the sun will take many hours to give you a full charge. The great news about it is that you are getting some free power if you have the time!
What Is The Difference Between A Solar Generator and A Portable Solar Generator?
As you noticed from our review, we focused on portable solar generators. Both solar generators and portable versions work as a backup power source. The solar generators need to be charged by the sun (or a wall outlet) so that they can then offer power to other devices.
The main difference between the standard solar generator and the portable is the size. With the smaller models, it can be difficult to power large appliances or homes, but they can be moved virtually anywhere.
A standard size solar generator will have a much larger solar panel, which will provide considerably more power. Portable generators are also much more affordable than the standard solar generators.
Both of these types of generators are highly capable and can undoubtedly help in an emergency. If you are first starting to look into solar power and how it can work for you, we recommend the portable generator. The portable generator will save you a lot of money, and it keeps things relatively simple and easy to use. We have used it for a variety of home improvement projects, and it is incredibly convenient.