Generators are an essential part of every prepper’s life. We try to maximize our output while minimizing our input as much as possible. Picking the best solar generator is a great way to harness the power of the sun in the event of a power grid failure. This means that you’ll have power when others are struggling to keep the lights on.
It sounds great, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. You’ll want to make sure you go through this review carefully, understand what you’re getting, and have a generator for each situation.
This guide will break down the best solar generators and also some of the factors you’ll want to consider before choosing one.
Our Choices for the Best Solar Generator
What We Like
When it comes to mobile solar generators, this is the cream of the crop. The Jackery generator provides you with green power in the event of a scenario where you need backup power in a hurry. It delivers 1000W with a peak of 2000W.
The generator comes with a lithium-ion battery capacity of 1200Wh with three extra AC outlets to offer additional capacity so you can manage multiple appliances at once.
One of our favorite features is the multiple power point tracking which results in faster recharges. You can recharge the generator with outlets, additional generators, or solar panels. A complete charge will run you about 17 hours if you have one solar panel and it is as fast as 8 hours with two panels.
What Needs Improvement
The only real issue we have with this generator is its weight. It’s considered one of the best portable solar generators because of the handle and how compact it is but at 22 pounds, it will definitely become a burden in a SHTF scenario. It’ll end up being something you’ll leave behind but it serves an important purpose if you’re homesteading or trying to prepare yourself at home.
Overall, this is the best solar powered generator. It offers the fastest charging time with a compact design for a price that works for most budgets. You’ll get enough power for most appliances, medical devices, security, lights, coffee makers, etc. It’ll do the trick in most prepping scenarios and that’s why we chose it.
What We Like
If you’re looking for a cheap solar generator then this is the one you’ll want to consider. It offers an ergonomic and lightweight design weighing less than four pounds. It’s incredibly easy to take it with you everywhere you go and makes a lot more sense in an emergency scenario.
This would be an ideal portable solar generator to keep with you in your bug-out vehicle in the event of an unplanned bug out.
Even though it is small and lightweight it still has a 155Wh lithium battery with 100W and a max of 180W. It also comes with a battery management system that helps protect your electronics from damage.
What Needs Improvement
Right away you can see the limitations that this portable generator will have. It won’t be able to charge your primary items such as larger appliances but it works for smaller things like laptops, lights, fans, and CPAP machines.
If you find yourself in a scenario where you’re away from your home base and need power quickly, this would be a great backup or something to have with you on the go.
If budget and portability are at the front of your to-do list, then this is the best solar power generator. It offers enough of what you’ll need when you need it.
As mentioned, we wouldn’t recommend getting caught in the dark with nothing else but this generator but if you find yourself in a pinch and you need to charge smaller devices like phones and laptops, this is a perfect choice.
What We Like
In this solar generator review, we’re looking at a lot of portable options because they’ll come in handy in a SHTF scenario. You should have portable power sources all throughout your base, in your vehicles, and wherever else you can keep them.
This portable generator from Rainier is a great option for outdoor use because it comes with a flashlight, weighs less than four pounds, and is small enough to fit inside a regular size backpack.
The generator is a clean energy source so it won’t require gas or propane and is powered by a lithium-ion battery to a 155Wh capacity. Of course, you can use solar power as well to keep this generator running outside but you’ll have to purchase the panels separately.
The Rainier also comes with household outlets and three USBs. Recharging will vary based on your method and location.
What Needs Improvement
The main issue we have with this one is its limitations. It’s important to understand that this generator isn’t meant to power your motorhome, it will struggle to power larger appliances, and it’s not intended to carry the weight of your entire house.
This is a portable solar generator that will do a great job at charging your devices if you find yourself in a pinch. Outside of that, you’ll want to have a larger, more powerful solar generator in the event of a total power loss.
Keep in mind that Rainier also has the R22000i model which is a much better choice if you’re trying to power appliances long-term. That one offers 1800 watts with a 2200 peak and up to 13 hours of runtime.
If you’re looking for something portable that you can use out of your vehicle to charge your laptop, phones, and lights, the R150i should do the trick.
What We Like
We’ve talked about it and here it is. This is the most powerful solar generator for those who need to power up their devices and appliances in a hurry. In a prepping scenario, you want to make sure to have a generator that will serve as your primary device and some that will work as secondary power sources.
This generator offers 1500Wh with the longest lasting lithium power station on the market. It comes with two AC outlets, standard household appliance outlets, and enough power for your dryer, TV, mini-fridge, and more.
This massive generator offers a great source of green energy that will come in handy if you find yourself on the side of the road requiring power in a pinch. The generator charges quickly in about eight hours and it can charge in as little as five hours with the solar panel.
What Needs Improvement
We really wish that the manufacturers of these solar generators would include the solar panel with the generator. Even if you had to pay an additional price, it would be worth it to know that you’re purchasing one that is compatible with the generator.
The company offers recommendations on how you can choose, but they could be much clearer and easier to understand.
This generator is not portable by any means, it is heavy even though it comes with a carrying handle but it will certainly become a problem if you need to travel with it in a hurry. We recommend keeping it in your bug-out vehicle or planning to leave it at the home base if you’re staying there.
Ask yourself how much power you think you’ll need. We’d say that 99% of us will need a generator with this capacity if we want to continue to live as normally as possible. If you’re okay without refrigeration and laundry then you won’t need it.
That said, make sure you purchase the solar panels to go along with it because the generator will be no help to you in the event of a power grid failure.
What We Like
We’ve done a few portable solar generator reviews but we picked this one as the top solar pick for a few different reasons. First, we think it offers a nice bang for the buck. It pumps out 60W with quick charge technology so if you need to quickly charge a phone or laptop in an emergency, you’d be able to do that here.
It’s also extremely portable. Even though it weighs more than some of the other portable options we’ve recommended, we feel that it has an ergonomic design that makes it look and feel lighter than it actually is. Best of all, it actually comes with the solar panels you’ll need to charge it.
What Needs Improvement
Our biggest complaint is the fact that this has very limited output. You’re not likely to have success charging more than one device at a time with it so we wouldn’t suggest banking on this generator in an emergency. When you compare that with the price, it’s not the most logical purchase on the market.
If you’re looking for the most portable solar generator that actually comes with solar panels, this is the right choice for you. The problem is, it doesn’t have a lot of output and for the price, we think you could do better with some of the other options in this guide.
Three Additional Best Solar Generator Picks
If you’re in the market for the best solar generator for camping and you need something that is reliable, this is a great option. It produces 300W with a peak of 350W. The lithium-ion battery offers a storage capacity of 266Wh and that’s plenty of power for most of your devices including mini-fridges and coolers.
You can charge this one to full capacity in as little as seven hours using a car charger and potentially even less with one of the solar panels (sold separately of course).
The generator weighs around seven pounds so it’s not that heavy and it comes with a fan, light, handle, two AC outlets, two USB-A ports, and a quick charge 3.0 USB port. It also features a cigarette lighter DC port and a car charging cable.
Earlier in the best solar generator reviews, we did the Jackery 1000, this is the little brother of that one. It offers power for a range of AC devices ranging from TVs to blenders to pellet smokers. It has a 12V port with 3 USB ports for smaller electronics like phones and laptops.
By purchasing one of their Jackery SolarSaga panels you can charge the generator in 9.5 hours in full sunlight but it’ll take you 16 hours to charge it via the included cable.
It offers a total voltage of 110 with 500W power so it’s one of the more powerful generators we’ve reviewed so far. We also respect the reputation of this manufacturer so we trust their products and all of their generators have exceptional reviews.
Goal Zero is considered one of the most popular brands for solar-powered generators and power panels. This generator uses a lithium power station and is considered one of the most powerful generators from their line of products.
It uses a 396Wh lead-acid battery providing power for up to seven 33Ah 12V devices at the same time. It offers an assortment of AC, 12V, and USB ports making it one of the more versatile generators that we’ve seen. It even has an LCD display that allows you to see your input and output, estimate total runtime, and make adjustments as needed.
It charges in as little as five hours and is easily chainable with other lead-acid batteries. The main issue we see with this one is in its lifespan. It seems like a lot of customers start to have problems with it holding a charge after as little as seven months which isn’t ideal in a long-term survival scenario.
What is a Solar Generator?
When we’re talking about the best solar generators, what we’re actually looking at are two different things. There are two primary types of generators that are referred to as solar generators.
The first kind are the ones that are directly powered by the sun and that’s how you power your devices. These use solar panels to transport that energy to your devices on a rolling basis.
The other option are ones that use solar panels to charge up and power the generator to then transfer that energy over to something else over time. You can also store that energy which is important in a survival scenario because you can keep the generator fully charged for when you may need it.
Solar generators use solar panels to take energy from the sun instead of using fossil fuels that may emit harmful fumes. Not only are these logical in the event of an apocalypse but they’re also a better long-term choice because you’re using renewable energy that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. (we hope)
Factors for Choosing the Best Solar Generator
The goal of this solar power generator review is to ensure that you get the right generator for your needs. The best way to do this is for you to understand what factors go into your purchase and why you might want to choose one over the other.
We highly recommend all the products in this review because they’re all durable, long-lasting, solid output, and portable enough to carry with you in an emergency. These guidelines will help you narrow down your choice.
Your intended purpose is obviously the most important buying factor because you don’t want a small portable generator to try and power your refrigerator, it doesn’t make sense. You’ll need a much more powerful output for something like that and the portable generator would be something you’d want to keep in your bug-out vehicle.
Also, keep in mind the number of outlets on the generator. Most are made with more than enough now and they’re designed according to the output so you’ll only get what you need but just keep that in mind because it’s important.
We’re talking about the best solar generators here so we need to factor in the battery capacity and requirements. Most solar generators will work fine for small appliances, power tools, and portable electronics but you’ll need something with a little more power to keep the entire house running for the day.
Consider how much energy you need to power the devices you have and be sure you understand how your solar panels actually translate into that energy. A lot of people think that you can just purchase some solar panels, put them out in your yard, and harness energy. It’s not always that simple and location is everything.
In a prepping scenario, your battery storage capacity will be an important factor. You’ll want to ensure that you’re saving up that power for when you need it. You’ll want a solar-powered generator with the largest capacity possible for your price range. This means that you’ll have power for longer if the SHTF.
Keep in mind that larger battery capacity will also allow you to power something with higher watts but you’ll burn through that energy faster if you powered something smaller for the same period of time.
Choosing the best solar generator isn’t always an easy choice because there are a lot of options out there and if you don’t have experience with these, you might not understand what you’re looking for.
Make sure you factor in all the points outlined above when making your decision because you’ll need to have the right product for when all hell breaks loose. Having the best solar generator will be the difference-maker when it comes to staying alive in comfort versus barely scraping by.