clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 5 Best Solar Generators (2022 Review)

A solar generator gives you backup energy from the sun if you’re out camping or if you’re experiencing a power outage.  We’ve reviewed the top solar generators here.

solar generator Courtesy EF ECOFLOW

Solar generators convert sunlight into energy to power your devices and appliances when you don’t have electricity. If you’re looking for a portable power source to take with you on a trip, read our review below to see our top picks for the best solar generators.


Compare Top Solar Generators

Product Power Output Number of Outlets and Ports Weight Warranty Dimensions
Product Power Output Number of Outlets and Ports Weight Warranty Dimensions
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 200 watts 4 5 pounds 2 years 9 x 5 x 8 inches
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 500 watts 5 13 pounds 2 years 12 x 8 x 9 inches
ROCKPALS Portable Power Station 300 watts 6 8 pounds 2 years 11 x 5 x 9 inches
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station 1,800 watts 4 Not listed 2 years 16 x 8 x 11 inches
BLUETTI Portable Power Station 2,000 watts 6 61 pounds 2 years 17 x 11 x 15 inches

Top 5 Solar Generators


Most Lightweight: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

  • $220
  • $300
  • 27% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This solar generator is lightweight at under five pounds and has a textured handle that makes it easy to carry from location to location. Another unique feature of this generator is that it can charge devices while it’s been recharged, and it can be recharged through a wall or car outlet.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has the most affordable price point out of the models in this review

✔ Can charge and recharge at the same time

✔ Has a built-in textured handle for easy carrying

✘ Criticized by some customers for dying quickly

✘ Has the lowest power output in this review at 200 watts

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers praised this portable power station for producing minimal noise, having a long-lasting battery, and being easy to carry. Others said that they had positive customer service experiences. Unhappy customers noted that this model died quickly and lacked power.


Best Medium Output: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

  • $499
  • $600
  • 17% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This solar generator has an output of 518 watt-hours and has eight output ports and outlets, allowing it to charge a handful of devices. Additionally, it can be carried with you on a camping or hiking trip due to its small size, and it features an oversized carrying handle.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has the most affordable price point out of the models in this review

✔ Can charge and recharge at the same time

✔ Has a built-in textured handle for easy carrying

✘ Criticized by some customers for dying quickly

✘ Has the lowest power output in this review at 200 watts

What Customers Are Saying

Customers praised this generator for its ease of use and portability. However, negative reviews complained about the fan not working properly and the manufacturer providing poor customer service.


Best Handle: ROCKPALS Portable Power Station

ROCKPALS Portable Power Station

ROCKPALS Portable Power Station

  • $220
  • $280
  • 22% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The carrying handle on this solar generator is rubberized and textured, making it easy and comfortable to hold onto. With its 300 watts of power and 280 Wh, this generator can handle small home appliances and electronic devices, such as lamps, hair dryers, and laptops.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Can be recharged using a cigarette lighter, three-prong wall outlet, USB port, or solar panel

✔ Has one fast-charging USB port

✔ Has enough power to provide about 40 charges to small home appliances

✘ Not sold with the DC converter

✘ Criticized for feeling cheaply made

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers were happy with this portable power station because of its great value for the money, portability, and long battery life. Some said that it met all of the manufacturer’s claims and was easy to use. Negative reviews noted that this model felt cheaply made, not offering much power and struggling to charge devices.


Most Powerful: EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station

  • $1,099
  • $1,399
  • 22% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Two of this solar generator’s six USB ports are fast-charging to ensure your necessary devices and appliances, such as lanterns and phones, stay charged at all times. The generator provides up to 1,800 watts for refrigerators, window air conditioners, and other large appliances.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Features patented X-Stream Technology to help it recharge faster

✔ Features two fast-charging USB ports and four standard ports for multiple charging options

✔ Can provide power to a laptop for over 25 hours

✘ Doesn’t have all of the ports and outlets on one side for easy access

✘ Noted by some that the wattage didn’t match the advertised output

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon customers praised this power station for having a lot of power, minimal noise, and responsive technical support. They also loved how lightweight and portable it was. However, dissatisfied customers said that it didn’t provide as much power as advertised and that it broke after minimal use.


Best Outlet Covers: BLUETTI Portable Power Station

BLUETTI Portable Power Station

BLUETTI Portable Power Station

  • $1,599

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This solar generator can run several powerful devices at once with 2,000 watt-hours. It has an intelligent temperature-activated fan that keeps the unit cool and quiet. Plus, all of its outlets and ports feature covers to keep them protected when they’re not in use.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a touchscreen to control its settings

✔ Includes a car charging cable

✔ Has small carrying handles on either side of its body

✘ Costs the most out of the options in this review

✘ Weighs 60 pounds, making it more difficult to transport than other models

What Customers Are Saying

Customers praised this power station for being an excellent value for the money. Many loved its easy-to-use touchscreen and long battery life. Some unhappy reviewers experienced temperature errors despite the model’s fan.


Buyer’s Guide

Portable generators that utilize solar charging are a reliable source of renewable energy. Read our buying guide below to learn about battery life, portability, and other factors that will help you decide on the best solar power generator.

Type

Solar generators are available as both portable generators and backup generators. Most solar generators are portable, lightweight, and have a built-in handle. The best portable solar generators are used to provide power for construction sites, campers, events, or other settings where access to electricity is limited.

Backup solar generators provide backup power for when an electrical grid fails, providing an efficient alternative for installing a complete system. Backup solar generators provide enough power to turn on appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, and more in the event of a blackout.

In the video below, Ask This Old House master electrician Scott Caron shows how to use a solar generator:

Battery

When examining the battery of a solar generator, you should consider its overall battery capacity (measured in watt-hours) and its charging method.

Life

The lifespan of your generator’s battery depends on the size of the battery and the amount of power required to run your devices. For example, a battery with a watt-hours rating of 150 can run a 100-watt appliance, various power tools, or several small appliances that equal 100 watts for 1.5 hours.

Charging

The amount of time it takes to recharge the battery depends on the size of the battery and the method of charging, as well as the power of the charger itself. Larger batteries take longer to recharge than smaller batteries. Additionally, while solar generators are meant to connect to solar panels for charging, that’s not always convenient if it’s overcast or if you’re pressed for time. That’s why they typically also offer an electric charging function. A quick charge function may also be available on certain models.

Outlets/Ports

Solar generators come with various outlets and ports to run several devices simultaneously. Common plugs include AC outlets, USB and USB-C ports, and car cigarette lighters.

Price

The price of a solar generator depends mainly on the type you’re purchasing and the power output. For portable generators, some lower-end models that will only power small items can cost $200 or under, while higher-end models can cost well over $500 or upwards of $1,000.

Backup generators also vary in price depending on the model, but smaller generators can cost around $1,000, while generators with higher wattage can cost several thousand or more.

Size

To determine what sized solar generator you need, consider how much power you need for your devices. For example, if using a portable generator on a camping trip, do you need to power a portable fridge, television, or coffee maker? Or do you only need power for small items like a mobile phone or a mini fan? The wattage required to run each item may vary, and most portable solar generators can power in the range of 100-500 watts. Smaller units typically have a lower power capacity and can only charge small devices.

Backup solar generators can typically power at least 1,000 watts, which should be enough to power appliances like small lights, a fridge, or a television. However, if you need whole-home power or need to turn on devices like a washing machine or air-conditioning unit, you will likely need a generator with a power level of at least 2,000-3,000 watts.

Brand

To ensure you’re getting a high-quality solar generator, look for trusted brands that make well-reviewed products. Some of the brands that are well known for making solar generators include Jackery, ROCKPALS, Renogy, BLUETTI, EF Ecoflow, Goal Zero, Kohler, Titan Solar and Flashfish.


What Are The Benefits of a Solar Generator?

When shopping for a new generator, there are several unique advantages to buying a solar generator instead of a gas-powered model, such as:

Noise Level

Standard generators can get noisy, which could be a significant factor if you’re using them while camping, RVing, or even running them outside your home. However, one of the benefits of solar generators is that they run completely quiet since they don’t have any of the parts of gas-powered generators.

Maintenance

Solar generators also require little-to-no maintenance to operate. Solar generators are less likely to break than fuel-powered generators and have fewer parts to maintain. The standard maintenance needed for a solar generator is dusting, removing moisture, and checking the connection.

Fuel and Clean Energy

One of the main benefits of solar generators is that they use clean, renewable energy, which is better for the environment. It can also be better for your wallet, as solar generators avoid having to stock up on fuel to run your generator.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth getting a solar generator?

A solar generator may be worth it depending on how you use it. The cost of the generator easily pays for itself if you live somewhere that receives ample sunlight and you utilize the energy from the generator as a home backup. Alternatively, if you frequently go on road trips, a solar generator is also worth it.

Will my solar generator come with a solar panel?

It depends on the model. Some generators come with the solar panels needed to operate them, and some don’t. If you don’t have a compatible solar panel already, it might be worth it to find an all-inclusive kit, as this cuts down on the cost and the number of purchases.

Are there other types of generators?

Yes. Some generators use electricity or gas for power, and all power generators are able to support off-grid living. However, some people prefer solar generators for the following reasons:

  • They’re more eco-friendly because they use energy from the sun as opposed to fossil fuels.
  • They’re cheaper to operate because you don’t have to buy fuel refills for gas generators.
  • They’re better in emergency situations where you might not have access to fuel.
  • They’re quieter.
  • They’re more portable because they’re smaller and lighter.

What’s the purpose of the inverter in my solar generator?

The power stored in a solar generator’s battery is in direct current (DC), but most devices and appliances use alternating current (AC). This inverter converts DC to AC. If your solar generator doesn’t have a built-in inverter, you will need to purchase one separately.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.