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The Best Solar Powered Generators for Your Home

The Best Solar Powered Generators for Your Home

Solar-powered generators are suddenly, and pardon the pun, the hot new thing! It’s as if the double-whammy of the great 2020 COVID pandemic, along with the continual hurricanes, fires, and floods being fueled by global climate change, has awoken the inner prepper inside all of us. And with good cause. The best solar-powered generators are flying off the shelves because they carry plenty of advantages over traditionally powered gas generators. Aside from being lightweight, silent, and able to run indoors without the need for ventilation of gas fumes, there’s plenty of other advantages for modern solar-powered generators. 

Aside from serving as a great emergency power backup for your home, they also make for a great source of additional and stable energy that can be easily charged in various situations, including camping, RVing, and at the cottage. And while this list is dedicated to portable solar generators, in reality, they’re mobile solar energy storage devices, in other words, giant Lithium-Ion batteries with some intelligent electronics to manage power flow and a variety of input and output ports. 

Some of these solar-powered backup generators come with a set of solar panels that can be used to create the energy that will flow into the batteries. Those can be considered as a bonafide portable solar generator kit. Those without solar panels will require you to purchase a separate set of solar panels compatible with your generator’s power input capacity. 

I’m sure you still have many questions about solar-powered generators and what you should buy when considering one for your home or outdoor adventures. If you’re ready to move on and see what we think are the best choices for you to buy on today’s retail market, scroll down. But if you still want a bit more guidance, continue reading some of the most common questions about portable solar panel generators below:

Are Solar Powered Generators any good?

Yes, as long as you buy a trusted brand with all the features that you need. They’re also highly portable and make a great source of emergency backup power. They also happen to be clean, quiet and don’t require any other external fuel sources other than a solar cell. 

Can a solar generator power a house

Yes, but that fully depends on the size of the generator that you buy. You’re most likely looking for a whole house solar generator with an inverter greater than 3000W in size. 

What can I expect my portable solar generator to power?

That almost entirely depends on the power of the inverter in your generator. Many appliances and electronic items have average power draw as well as peak power draws. The best solar generators will be able to handle both types of power draws. That said, each generator comes with a different capacity and generally falls into one of three categories. 

Small (up to 1500W inverter) – These will, of course, be the smallest and most portable of solar generators. You can expect that they will be able to help you power items like laptops, lights, perhaps a small to mid-sized TV and of-course things like tablets and smartphones. These are ideal for 2-3 day camping trips or as an absolute last line of defence for short power outages of a few hours. But if you value weight and portability, this is the class of solar generator to get for your home or car. 

Medium (up to 3000W inverter) – These backup generators should power various lights, a large modern TV, desktop computer, a fridge, and a microwave, along with other kitchen appliances. Consider this class of solar-powered backup generators if you expect to be without power for a day or two or you’re running a small cabin and need backup power available on the ready. 

Large (over 3000W inverter) – These backup power systems are often called whole-house solar generators because, well, they can usually provide a massive amount of backup power, thus powering most of your home’s appliances, lights and electronic devices. In extreme cases, and as long as you don’t go for too many days without recharging them through a medium to larger solar-array, these backup solar generators can last for days or even a week. 

How Do I Determine What Size of Solar Generator do I need?

There’s a simple rule to figuring that out. Sit down and add up all the items you’d want powered by that generator and for how long. Make this calculation assuming that you will NOT have access to the sun for any recharging opportunities. Now you know how big your generator needs to be. Maybe you’ll need more than one? 

Can my solar-powered generator run a fridge?

  • Yes, but depending on the generator’s size, it might draw the battery down fairly quickly. The average fridge consumes somewhere between 100 and 250 Watts per hour. 

What kind of solar panels (Solar PV input) should I get?

Ideally, at a minimum, you’re getting solar panels that are capable of producing at least 250 watts. Of course, larger capacity panels will help recharge your standby solar generator more quickly, up to your charge controller’s ability to add more solar panels. It’s probably also best to keep away from roof-mounted solar panels to charge your generator. 

How to pick a solar generator?

There are several important factors to consider when looking to buy a solar generator. 

  • First, determine its use. What do you expect this source of backup power to do for you? 
  • Then consider the battery capacity – what do you need to power and for how long? Do you expect to recharge it, and with what sized solar panels?
  • How long do you expect it to be your primary source of power
  • How portable and lightweight do you need it to be?
  • The type and number of plugin ports. Do you require a standard AC plug? Do you expect many USB-A or USB-C devices to pull power from the generator?
  • The inverter size and quality – try to stay away from sine waves and find an inverter that runs at over 90% efficiency. The size of the inverter will also determine the types of appliances you’ll be able to run.
  • RV connectivity if applicable
  • The charging speed: Can it charge from 0 to 100 in 5-6 hours, which happens to be the average hours in a day that panels can produce power at a maximum level in the US. The most common charge speeds you’ll find are somewhere between 150 to 250 watts per hour. 
  • Maximum solar panel power input capacity will depend on your charge controller.
  • As they are somewhat expensive, you should consider the life cycle of the battery. Ideally, you want to get at least 100-200 full charge and discharge cycles without much noticeable battery capacity degradation.
  • Warranty
  • Car charging capability
  • Expandability – can you add more batteries or solar panels to it?
  • Charge controller – Spend a bit of extra money and pick up a generator with a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) controller, which will maximize the amount of energy your solar panels can funnel into your battery, thus increasing efficiency. That also means you’ll be able to squeeze more energy out of the ambient light, even on cloudy days. 
  • Type of battery – without a doubt, you want a Lithium-Ion battery.

Here’s a handy diagram explaining the systems of a solar-powered generator. Except, of course, in the case of an all-in-one case generator, the only external part is the solar panel and the device being powered or charged. 

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what you should look for in your solar electric generator, let’s review some of the ones available for sale. Whether you need a solar generator for the home, camping, RVing or simply as a power backup, we’ve got you covered. 

1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

This 1000 W solar-powered generator features a 1002Wh lithium battery and three standard PURE SINE WAVE AC outlets. It also features 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A 3.0 ports, and a car outlet port to let you plug in up to 8 devices at once. It’s not the largest solar generator on the market, but it’s one of the most reliable and high-quality ones. Perfect for appliances like blenders, coffee makers, electric grills and all your mobile devices, this generator can be recharged in many ways, including Jackery’s Solar panels, two pairs of which will recharge this portable power station in about 8 hours. 

Features

  • 3 AC Outlets
  • 2 USB-C ports
  • 2 USB-A ports
  • Car outlet
  • Can be recharged using solar panels, wall outlet, car outlet, or diesel-powered generator
  • Will run the average refrigerator for about 10 hours
  • Will run the average CPAP machine for 76/28/17 hours depending on wattage (10/20/28W)
  • Will run the average internet router for about 68 hours
  • Will run the average TV for about 14 hours
  • Will recharge the average phone about 100 times
  • Will recharge the average laptop 12.5 times
  • LCD shows input and output power draw as well as remaining battery
  • Solar panel with 126W input wattage max compatible

Specifications

  • 1002Wh lithium battery 
  • Dimensions: 33.3 cm x 23.4 cm x 28.2 xm
  • Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Weight: 22 lbs

2. Bluetti EB240 2400Wh / 1000W Portable Power Station

With over 2400Wh of lithium battery storage, this incredible battery backup system with inputs for solar panels is an amazing and clean alternative to dirty forms of backup power. This offering from Bluetti is big enough to serve as a temporary whole house solar power generator while still small enough to remain portable. This amazing product comes with a pre-installed solar charging optimization module, meaning you’ll get up to 40% faster charge times from solar panels than with generators not optimized for them. Made with safe LG lithium batteries, which are known for their safety and reliability, this solar-powered electric generator is rated to last for over 2,500 full cycles, which is a number that is nearly unheard of in the industry.

Features

  • Powers any device requiring under 1000 Watts
  • Recharge times for various inputs include: 15 hours using 200W solar panels, 12 hours AC wall socket. 
  • Two AC ports (110 volt)
  • Photovoltaic max input is 500W
  • 4 USB-A ports
  • 1 USB-C port at 45W
  • 2-year warranty

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.4″ x 6.5″ x 14.4″ 
  • Weight: 48.5 lbs

3. Goal Zero Yeti 3000X Portable Power Station

For situations where you need true portable and massive backup power without burning dirty gas with a diesel generator, you might want to have a look at this amazing solar-powered generator for your house. With a 2000W AC inverter and 3500W surge power, this generator will let you run power-hungry appliances of all kinds and keep your mind at ease about running out of battery any time soon. Power tools, medical devices, refrigerators, this generator can handle them all. As with other modern solar power electric generators, this Goal Zero Yeti features an integrated MPPT charge controller that provides superior solar charging efficiency.

Features

  • Three ways to charge: Solar panels, AC power (14 hours), Car (using a 12-volt adapter)
  • 1 USB-A port (12W)
  • 1 USB-C port (18 W)
  • 1 USB-C port (60W)
  • 6mm port
  • 12V carport
  • 12V high power port (360W)
  • 2 AC ports
  • LCD
  • Use the Yeti app to monitor real-time power consumption and input
  • Can recharge the average smartphone about 253 times
  • Can run a 42″ LED TV for about 31 hours
  • Can run a Full-sized refrigerator for about 55 hours
  • 2-year warranty

Specifications

  • 500 lifecycles expected
  • Dimensions: 15.25″ x 10.23″ x 13.6″
  • Weight:” 69.78 lbs

4. Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator All-In-One Solar Kit

Most solar-powered power stations do not come with built-in solar panels or a replaceable battery. That’s where this product from Renogy differentiates itself from the rest of the field. Shaped like a large thick suitcase, this portable solar generator kit is an all-in-one system perfect for off-the-grid applications and ideal for emergencies in the field. And while the small 10W solar panels may not recharge the battery at a huge speed, it’s also expandable up to 120 watts with additional photovoltaic solar panels. This portable solar panel kit can provide up to 246 watts of energy and features a handy LCD panel.

Features

  • No need for external solar panels
  • Expandable up to 120 watts of additional solar panels for faster solar recharging
  • Integrated LED flashlight
  • Folds up into an easy-to-carry suitcase form
  • Can be recharged using AC power, carport, or photovoltaic solar panels
  • AC port
  • Carport
  • 2 DC ports
  • 4 USB-A ports
  • Can recharge a cell phone about 32 times
  • Can recharge a laptop about five times
  • Replaceable battery

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 35.05 cm x 33.27 cm x 9.91 cm
  • Weight: 12.81 lbs

5. AIMTOM 300-Watt Portable Power Station

I’m not going to recommend this as a solar-powered generator that can keep your home running in an emergency. That said, it’s the type of electric generator you want to have with you on your outdoor adventures such as camping or RVing. With a 280 Watt-hours Lithium capacity, it will provide all the power you need while not at home. It also happens to be incredibly portable. And while you are at home, it might even serve as a decent backup to at least power some of your smaller devices like tablets and cell-phones until power is restored after an emergency or particularly bad storm. The handy LED screen will quickly inform you whether your power station needs recharging and show you the current battery consumption and discharge levels. It also happens to come with a convenient carry handle.

Features

  • Carport 12 V
  • 1 DC output at 24V
  • 3 DC outputs at 12 V
  • 2 USB A ports at 5V
  • 2 USB QC 3.0 ports
  • 1 AC output at 110V for a maximum of 300W
  • Charge this generator using a home wall outlet, DC power from your 12V car cigarette lighter, or 60-100 W solar panels. 
  • Built-in flashlight
  • MPPT built-in controller for optimized solar charging
  • Expected lifecycles: 500
  • Will recharge your smartphone about 40 times.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.1 cm x 14 cm x 15 cm
  • Weight: 7.32 lbs

6. Lion Safari ME 2,000 Portable Power Station

This capable and surefooted solar backup generator features a large 2000W inverter and 922wH of battery storage. That means there are not too many things it won’t be able to power. The 4000W surge capability means it can handle large power tools and other appliances that require a massive amount of high-end power. What’s great is that this unit is highly expandable and can add a gigantic 2,048wH of battery storage. Additionally, the Lion Safari portable solar generator can take a massive 525 watts of solar photovoltaic input. This means that if you have enough solar panels generating energy for you, you’ll be able to recharge the base battery in just 2-3 hours.

Features

  • LCD displaying power draw, power input and other information
  • Carport
  • 2 USB-A ports
  • 2 UBS-C ports
  • 2 pure sine wave AC ports
  • Can run a 55″ LCD TV for around 12 hours (base only), 38+ hours with expansion battery
  • Can recharge your phone about 92 times (base only), 200+ times with expansion battery
  • Can hold a charge for over a year
  • 2,500+ cycles expected
  • Can fully recharge from AC wall socket power in about 83 minutes
  • Convenient carry handles

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.7″ x 12.8″ x 12.8″
  • Weight: 45.5 lbs

7. CCFCF Portable Power Station

This relatively mid-sized power generator is perhaps the smallest and lightest solar-powered generating station in the world. For its diminutive size, this generator packs a 4120Wh battery and features a 500W inverter. Available to be charged from a wall socket, car charger or solar energy photovoltaic cells, it’s a great backup system for both the indoors and outdoors. While it’s not a massive whole-house solution, it’s enough to charge your laptops, cameras, phones and other electronics amid a power outage that’s not expected to last more than a day or two.

Features

  • Comfortable and convenient carry handle
  • LED display to show various info related to the battery
  • Dual-fan design
  • 2 USB-A ports
  • 2 USB-C ports
  • 2 AC output ports (300W / Surge 600W)
  • One 12V carport
  • Can recharge from solar panels in about 10-15 hours
  • Holds a charger for a year
  • Can run a refrigerator for about 10 hours
  • Can recharge your smartphone about 30 times

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 8.19″ x 6.13″ x 9.84″

8. Renogy - The Lycan Power Box Solar Power Generator

Sometimes you run across a product that looks as good as its functions work. In this case, it’s this masterful Renogy solar backup generator. Weighing at 55 lbs, it comes with a set of built-in multi-terrain wheels and a pulling handle. Perfect for your home in case of an emergency requiring power when there is none to be had, this amazing solar generator can also be taken on camping or RV trips. Rugged and ready to take on your family’s needs in the case of a disaster or extended outing away from a steady power supply from the grid, the Lycan backup portable generator can be charged from a wall socket 12-volt carport or solar panels. Schools, RV campers, emergency vehicles, hospitals, prepared homeowners, boats, road trips, construction sites and beaches. The Lycan can be useful in any of these situations by providing a steady source of power.

Features

  • 300W of power
  • 1200W Pure Sine Wave inverter
  • 3 x 110V AC output ports
  • 4 USB-A ports
  • 2 x 12V DC output ports
  • Battery Type: Lithium Iron Phosphate
  • Cycle life: 2000 cycles

Specifications

  • Weight: 55 lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.5″ x 13.4″ x 11.8″

9. Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator

This plug-and-play generator is ideal for semi-short-lived emergencies or camping trips where you know you’ll be tapping into it somewhat regularly. Unlike many of the other solar generators on this list, this particular model from Yeti features a sealed lead-acid battery and can recharge up to five devices at one time. And of course, you can use one of either Goal Zero’s or competing manufacturers’ solar panels to juice it up. Thanks, Nuclear fission!

Features

  • Super compact
  • Can charge up to five devices at one time
  • 80W modified sine-wave AC inverter
  • Solar panel compatible
  • 15 smartphone recharges
  • 1-2 laptop recharges

Specifications

  • 168 Watts
  • Dimensions: 19.7 cm x 17.1 cm x 14.6 cm
  • Weight: 12 lbs.
  • 2 x 2 AMB USB outlets
  • 12 volts output

10. EcoFlow Delta 1800W Portable Solar Generator

Coming in at a hefty 1800W of power, this terrific generator from EcoFlow is an economical solution for those that want peace of mind while still getting plenty of juice out of one charge of this portable charging solution. Use it inside your home or RV or even in the great outdoors as a perfect way to power all your essentials. You can even power a full-size fridge with this compact solar generator. One of this generator’s best features is that you can hook it up to your home or RV, and it can detect a power outage and automatically kick into gear. This feature allows critical items like a CPAP machine or medical fridge to keep running while you wait for the power to come back. And yes, you can keep using this solar generator while it’s charging. This capability is otherwise known in the industry as pass-thru charging.

Features

  • Uninterrupted power supply
  • Charge with solar panels in good sun in only 5-6 hours
  • 1800W of power
  • Power up to 13 devices simultaneously
  • Display showing watt input/output and remaining time based on current draw and power input
  • Fully recharges from an AC outlet in just 4 hours

Specifications

  • 1800W power
  • 1260Wh battery capacity
  • Dimensions: 15.7″ x 8.3″ x 10.6″
  • Weight: 30.9 lbs
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Solar charge input: 400W 10-65V 10A max
  • USB-A output x 2 (12W)
  • USB-A output fastcharge x 2 (28W)
  • USB-C output x 2 (60W)

11. Nature's Generator

There’s something unique about this particular solar-power generator. First of all, unlike some of the systems I’ve already highlighted here, this one does come with an included solar panel that comes with a fancy metal frame that you can roll around, thanks to the included wheels. But what makes this solar-powered generator truly special is that solar power isn’t the only renewable and natural way you can charge it. For a bit of an additional expense, you can also get the optional wind turbine. The dual input methods help speed the recharging of this generator, making it far more useful.

Features

  • Charge using included solar panel, AC plug from your home, car battery, or optional Wind turbine
  • Three 120-volt AC outlets
  • Two USB-A ports
  • LCD to show battery level, and output draw
  • Can recharge a smartphone 60+ times on one draw
  • Can run a full-sized refrigerator for 12-18 hours
  • Can run a CPAP machine for 8+ hours
  • It comes with a rolling cart

Specifications

  • Charging AC input: 90W
  • Solar input: 200W max
  • Wind input 300W max
  • Sealed lead-acid battery
  • Built-in charge controller
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 12″ x 15″

12. Titan Solar Generator 6,000wH Portable Solar Power Station

Due to the changing nature of our climate, more extreme weather events are going to become commonplace. We must adapt. We must prepare for times when there simply is no power. The grids will fail, and our collective governments’ constant under-investment into infrastructure means we need to prepare to be on our own.

As a result, companies like Titan are seeing a massive increase in interest not just in solar-powered generators that can get you by for a few hours but in entire stations that can power your home for extended periods. This Titan model is designed to be charged from any compatible solar panels, a standard AC wall charger, or a gas generator. With a 3000W power inverter and THREE 2000 watt-hour lithium battery packs, it can power a full-sized refrigerator for a massive 36 hours. But what’s even crazier is that due to its modular design, you can simply keep adding more 2000 watt-hour lithium battery packs and continue to expand the capacity of your solar-powered generator. This solar generator is truly worth its name

Features

  • 6000 watt-hour lithium battery capacity
  • 3000-watt inverter
  • Dual MPPT charge controllers (2000 watts total)
  • Largest portable and expandable solar-powered generator available
  • Pass-thru charging

Specifications

  • Weight: 35 lbs. X 3 (for each battery)
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 18.5″ x 4.5″ X 3 (for each battery)
  • Charge rate: Up to 2000W
  • Six AC ports
  • USB-A ports x 6
  • USB-C ports x 2

13. Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station with Solar Kit

I’m going to end this list with yet another mammoth solar-powered generator that might pique your interest. As we’ve seen recently, there’s no doubt that there is a growing need for families to consider self-sustainable energy to help them get through emergencies and the failure of power grids to properly prepare for what used to be 1 in 100-year events.

This solar-powered generator isn’t cheap. But the price is more than fair when you consider the type of power backup capability this kit has. With 6000 watt-hours of lithium power, there’s pretty much nothing you won’t be able to run or recharge. The portable, briefcase-style solar panels will let you collect some serious power from that giant ball of fire in the sky. Off-grid events, RVing, extended power outages, this amazing kit can handle it all.

Features

  • 2000W AC (3500W surge) inverter
  • Seven charging ports
  • Fast charging 60 USB-C port
  • Multiple USB-A ports
  • Two 120V AC ports
  • Accompanying smartphone app
  • 200 total Watts of solar panel charging
  • 501 Smart phone recharges
  • Will run a CPAP machine for 93 hours
  • Will run a full-size refrigerator for 110 hours
  • Warranty: 24 months

Specifications

  • Lithium-Ion battery
  • Pass-thru charging
  • Weight: 106 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.3″ x 10.1″ x 17″
Sebastian Arciszewski

Sebastian Arciszewski

I'm super excited about the continuing electrification of our infrastructure, much of which is being powered by massive solar installations. Additionally, more and more companies are incorporating the power of solar panels into their proucts. I also write about Electric Bikes and Minimalist Design Products. You can find me on twitter: sebastian_a