We’ve seen the popularity of solar generators grow immensely. Environmental concerns and a desire for green energy has played a significant role in this. Many are drawn to the idea of free electricity. Using the sun to generate your power, means no gas bills and virtually no service costs. Solar generators don’t require much maintenance.
Top Solar Generators Reviewed
It’s quite likely that you’re new to this technology. A little guidance when buying your first solar generator won’t go amiss. This review of the best solar generators should help you in this search. We’ve done a lot of research into the best solar generators available today. This has led to a comprehensive list of great products to be reviewed.
1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
The Jackery Explorer 240, portable power station is wonderfully compact and lightweight. This makes it the ideal power supply for camping, and even hiking trips. You can carry the nifty little Jackery 240 in one hand, like a portable radio. This is the perfect basic emergency power supply for natural disasters, hurricanes. You can keep it in the car and have power whenever, wherever you need it.
The small size means limited power output, though. With a maximum 110V output of 200W, it is designed for low-watt appliances. You may be able to power an energy efficient LED TV, but not for long periods. The best use for this generator is for lighting and keeping the batteries charged for items like cell phones, laptops, cameras and the like. The Jackery has two USB charging outlets for this purpose. The 240 Watt-Hour (WH) lithium ion battery provides enough storage to charge a smart phone roughly 18 times, and a laptop about 4 times.
The Jackery 240 also has a single, two prong 110V Ac power outlet. It has an automotive, cigarette lighter style 12V outlet, which is great for 12V appliances like a portable fridge. A 12V charging input offers three different ways to charge the battery. You can use a wall charger or the 12V auxiliary outlet in your car, which will charge the battery in about 8-hours. It will also accept a 50W solar panel, taking about 10-hours to charge the battery in good sunlight.
Portability is the main attraction to this little solar generator. The Jackery 240 weighs only 6.6-pounds and is as compact as it gets – Height: 8; and Width: 5”. It has a carrying handle to make things even easier. An LCD display informs you as to the battery charge status and your output wattage.
There must be a 101 uses for this small solar generator. It’s a go anywhere, use anytime powerpack for emergencies, RVs, hiking, and tailgating. Pure sine wave inverter power means that it won’t harm sensitive electronic equipment; and it’s silent and emission free.
2. CHAFON 346WH Portable Power Station Generator
The Chafon 346 WH portable solar generator is similar to the Jackery 240 (reviewed above), in that this is a lightweight, portable power station that can be carried in one hand. It is a little bulkier (11.4” X 4.5” X 5.5”) and it weighs 7.4 LBS. The Chafon is certainly portable enough to take anywhere, even on a hiking trip. The real advantage is a much greater power output at roughly the same price as the Jackery equivalent.
This is certainly a case of dynamite coming in small packages. The pure sine wave inverter pushes out 500W maximum continuous load with an incredible 1,000 watts of peak (surge) power. You can charge the Chafon whilst using the AC outlets, making it ideal to use as a UPS for computers and TVs.
There’s an abundance of outlets: 4 X 110V AC outlets, 4 X 5VDC USB outlets, and 4 X 12VDC outlets. The internal 12V 30AH lithium ion battery provides 346 WH of battery storage, enough to charge a smart phone ±30 times, or use a laptop for about 9-hours. You could even watch TV (32” LCD) for around 5-hours. The Chafon comes with an AC wall charger (5 – 6 hours charge time) and a 12V car charging kit (7 – 8 hours charge time). Using an optional solar charger (up to 120W) could charge the batteries in 14 – 16 hours, depending on the amount of sunlight. There’s an LED display to indicate the battery percentage and a handy, built-in LED light which is great for emergencies and camping.
This must be one of the most versatile little solar generators. Easy enough to take anywhere with a lightweight, compact design and large handle. It has quite a bit of power for a solar generator of this size.
3. ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator Lithium Portable Power Station
The Rockpals looks like a mighty tough little machine, possibly the best solar generator in terms of design and build quality. It may not have the best battery storage (280 WH lithium ion battery), but it has a lot of fantastic technology packed into a perfectly portable size. Measuring only 6.5” X 3.15” X 6.89” (weight 7.5 LBS) this must be one of the most compact solar generators around.
The pure sine wave inverter provides a reasonable 300 watts rated continuous power, with a surge capacity of 600W. This is capable of supplying a TV and a computer simultaneously, but not for too long. It should be able to supply power to a 32” LCD TV for about 4-hours (possibly more), charge a smart phone about 25 times, or charge a laptop about 5 times.
The Rockpals 300W portable solar generator has a wonderful LCD screen, providing all the information you could possibly want in an easy to follow format, with logical graphics. It also has two bright, built-in LED lights. Power outlets comprise a 110 VAC socket, a cigarette lighter style 12VDC outlet, as well as 3 X 12V charger type outlets and a 24VDC outlet. It has 2 X conventional 2.1A USB ports, and 2 X quick charge (QC) USB3 ports. Like the other solar generators in this class, you have three charging options. A wall charger and 12V car charger (6 – 7 charging time) are supplied with the unit. You also have the option of purchasing a solar kit separately. Using a Rockpals 100W solar panel, you could charge the battery in about 8 – 9 hours in good sunlight.
This is a sophisticated and robust little portable solar generator. Being one of the most compact and lightweight of its kind, makes it great for hiking, camping, and tailgating.
4. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
I’m a huge fan of the Goal Zero Yeti range of portable solar generators. These are well-made machines and are amongst the few battery power stations that allow you to extend your runtime by adding extra batteries. This is a major advantage, as small lithium ion batteries may be great for portability and low maintenance, but seldom offer much more than a few hours when utilizing the full power of the inverter.
The goal Zero Yeti 400 is the baby in their lineup of portable solar generators. Though, it still offers a very reasonable 300-watts of continuous power, with a peak capacity of 600W. A good balance between enough watts and good degree of portability. They’ve chosen to use a lead acid, deep cycle battery instead of the more common lithium ion batteries used these days.
There are pros and cons to this choice of battery. Lead acid batteries are cheaper to replace and easier to find, so that could be a plus. But they need more frequent charging, they can’t be left for as long as lithium ion batteries without charging. This means a little more maintenance but it’s not difficult to do. The most noticeable drawback has to be the weight, lead acid batteries are certainly not lightweight, and the Goal Zero Yeti 400 weighs 29-pounds. While this weight is perfectly manageable, it is heavier than many. Despite the larger battery, the Yeti 400 isn’t too bulky: 8” X 10.25” X 8”.
Now for the good news. The internal 12V 33AH battery provides a very reasonable 396 watt-hours. What’s even better, is that you chain additional batteries very easily. Thereby extending the amount of time you can continue using the battery power pack between charges. Like the others, you can charge it using a wall charger (5-hours), a 12V car charger (13-hours), or solar panels, which Goal Zero claim to have a charge time as low as 8-hours.
I like the practical, robust design of the Goal Zero Yeti 400. It has a solid appearance with a low profile handle for easy portability. The comprehensive LCD display offers a full plethora of information in an easy to follow format. It also has the outlets that you want: 2 X 110V outlets, 3 X 12VDC outlets (one of these a cigarette lighter design), and 2 X 2.1A USB ports. The pure sine wave inverter is amongst the best.
The real advantage to buying the Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator is the extendable battery time. This makes them so much more practical when camping for days. Though you will have to transport extra batteries. It also has a great solar charging capacity to keep all those extra batteries charged.
5. SUAOKI Portable Power Station, 150Wh Camping Generator
The nifty little Suaoki S270 portable power station is wonderfully cheap, but far from nasty, and can stand proudly alongside the Enkeeo 155W as one of the best cheap solar generators. The design is incredibly practical, with fold down handles which makes it much more compact than those with molded handles. This little gem has dimensions of only 7.3” X 4.3” X 4.7”, making it one of the best portable solar generators for backpacking, or any situation where a compact size is crucial.
It weighs just under 3-pounds, so it’s also one of the lightest to carry. The lightweight plastic enclosure may not be the toughest; but can withstand camping conditions with a bit of care.
The rated load of 100W (150W peak) is on a par with similar cheap solar generators. You can power a laptop, perhaps an energy star TV, and charge all your devices. A 150WH is not the best for long standby time; but is pretty much the norm for a portable power station in this price range. You can monitor the battery status by means of 5 LED indicator lights on the side panel.
Outlets are excellent, 2 X 110V pure sine wave AC outlets, 4 X 12VDC outlets, and 4 X USB ports. The charging input can be used with a 110V wall charger, a 12V car charger, or a solar charging kit. You can expect a charging time of about 7 – 8 hours using the wall charger, with the car charger taking a little longer (roughly 11 hours) and the solar charger should be a bout the same with the correct conditions.
The Suaoki can rate as the best in several ways. It is one of the very cheapest solar generators with a reasonable quality standard. It is one of the lightest and most compact portable generators you’re likely to find.
6. Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator
This is one of the best value for money portable generators. The price is more than reasonable for a 250W portable solar generator with an excellent (lightweight) lithium polymer battery. Going by the rave reviews from people who have used the Rockpals 250W generator, it holds up fantastically in all conditions.The Rockpals 250-watt is a well-made machine providing 300W of peak power, and 250W rated power for continuous use.
It has a very practical shape measuring 8.86” X 3.94” X 6.3” and weighs only 5.5-pounds. The 240WH battery is up there with the best of them.
Outlets are convenient: 2 X 120V receptacles (supplied by a pure sine wave inverter), 4 X 12VDC outlets, and 2 X USB2 ports. It also has the versatility of three charging methods. A 120V AC wall charger and a 12V car charger are supplied with the solar generator and should charge the battery to full within about 4 - 5 hours. It has a built-in MPPT solar charger, all you need to buy is a 100W solar panel which should fully charge the battery within 9 – 10 hours. Obviously, this would depend on the available sunlight.
Good old-fashioned common sense is the best way to describe the Rockpals 250-Watt portable solar generator. The price is very affordable, and it provides a reasonable power output. A great all-rounder for backup and off-grid inverter power.
7. Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium is one of the most powerful portable solar generators with an outstanding built-in battery. It has the watts to power a refrigerator or room air conditioner. Something none of the other portable solar generators featured in this review are capable of doing. The pure sine wave inverter used to power the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium produces a staggering 1,500W continuously, with a surge capacity of 3,000W.
The lithium ion battery has been upgraded to meet this higher output capacity. With 1,425WH battery storage, the Yeti 1400 will power an Energy Star (70W) TV for over 20-hours.
Despite all that extra power and battery storage, this is still a very portable solar generator. Dimensions are 10.1” X 15.3” X 10.4” and the weight is quite reasonable at 43.7 LBS. I like the handy storage compartment at the top for cables and connectors.
Like any Goal Zero Yeti power station, you can charge the Yeti 1400 using a mains 120V charger, solar panels, or a 12V car charger. This must be one of the most technologically advanced solar generators, with an excellent LCD display and a Wi Fi phone app to check the system remotely. It also has superior outlets. The usual stuff, like pure sine wave 120V power delivered at two outlets, a variety of 12VDC outlets, as well as USB-A and USB-C ports are all present. This model has an additional USB-PD port offering an amazing 60W of super-efficient USB power for laptops and the like.
The Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium portable solar generator is one of the more expensive options. Though, one must concede that it is in an entirely different league to the others. It utilizes an immensely powerful inverter with an excellent battery. Great design and superior technology are more reasons to rate Yeti 1400 Lithium as one of the very best solar generators that money can buy.
8. BEAUDENS 166Wh Portable Power Station
Although the Beaudens 166WH portable solar generator isn’t the most powerful, it can be rated as just about the best if you’re looking for long term durability. The Lithium Iron Phosphate battery can be considered the best battery in the world, outlasting conventional lithium ion batteries by a long shot. With over 2,000 cycles, it can last up to 10-years. The ultra-durable aviation grade aluminum body is another indication that this machine is built to last a very long time. It is also one of the lightest, weighing only 4.85 LBS.
Probably the ultimate in portability, this extremely lightweight solar generator measures only 8.7” X 3.1” X 6.6”. Though the luxury of its compact, lightweight design places the Beaudens at a disadvantage when it comes to power output. Producing only 150W 120V power from the superb pure sine wave inverter, means you won’t be able to run much more than a laptop on this generator. The 166WH battery may last you a very long time but will need to be charged more often than most others in this class. Compared to all the solar generators reviewed this far, the Beaudens battery has the shortest standby time.
It has the same charging capabilities as most, these being an AC wall charger, 12V car charger, or a solar panel. One advantage of the smaller battery is faster charging times. I calculate that the wall charger could charge the battery to full in about 4-hours. It has a great selection of outlets: 1 X 120V AC outlet, 3 X 12VDC outlets (one of which is a cigarette lighter style outlet), 2 X USB 2.4A ports, and 1 X USB3 QC port (5 -12V, 18W MAX). It also has a built-in flashlight with an SOS setting. Information is presented on an LCD scree and is quite basic, giving battery status and outputs used.
The real attraction for me, is that the Beaudens is probably the best solar generator in terms of high-quality build and ultimate durability. It is delightfully compact and could make a great emergency power unit for the car or home, as well as camping.
9. ENKEEO Portable Power Station S155
As one of the cheapest solar generators, the Enkeeo has to rate as the best budget portable solar generators that you can buy. It is, however, fairly basic and doesn’t supply much power. Though, at this price, it offers a great camping and emergency power supply for many who thought a solar generator is unaffordable. The plastic enclosure may look a little cheap; but appears to be quite tough and should withstand the rigors of backpacking and camping.
This does make it delightfully lightweight at only 3.7-pounds. The Enkeeo is also compact enough to fit in anywhere – 8.35” X 3.62” X 7.4”. Output power is somewhat limited, 100W rated output with a 150W peak. The battery also doesn’t have the best capacity at only 155WH. It also takes a bit longer than most to charge, using the AC wall charger will take 10 – 11 hours. The 12V car charger should be about the same. Using the optional solar charger will obviously take longer than this.
The outstanding array of outlets and color LCD screen are more than I’d have expected from such a cheap solar generator. It has two AC outlets and two 12VDC outlets. It also has 2 X USB-A (5V 2A) ports, and a QC USB3 port (5 – 9V 2A). The built-in LED is another unexpected extra.
Although lacking in some respects, the little Enkeeo solar generator is offering you a lot for very little cash. It will serve as a wonderful companion when camping and could be a lifesaver in an emergency. This is, most likely, the best budget solar generator on the market.
Buying Solar Panels for Your Portable Solar Generator
If you have any doubt as to which solar panel is going to be the best for your solar generator, stick to the recommended compatible panels, suggested by the manufacturer. Though, in most cases, solar panels rated for a 12V system will work fine for any solar generator, regardless of the brand.
The specifications to check are the voltage range, and input amperage. Solar panels will have varying voltages, depending on the type of sunlight they receive. This can be anything from around 12V, up to 24V for solar charges rated for 12VDC. Not all solar chargers are the same, some can handle a greater voltage range, and they will be limited to the amps or watts they can handle. A 12V 100W panel delivers 8.3A at 12V.
Most solar generators have built-in solar chargers, this means you can connect the solar panel (or panels) directly to the charging inlet port. Solar generators that don’t have a built-in charger will require an external solar charger, along with the panel. Maximum Power Point (MPPT) solar chargers cost more but are far superior, improving the battery charging capabilities.
Top Rated Solar Panels for Charging Portable Generators
1. ROCKPALS Foldable 60W Solar Panel Charger
This is a very affordable monocrystalline 60W solar charging kit. Although specified for Rockpals solar chargers, it comes with a wide variety of connectors, compatible with most solar generators. The kit also includes a USB QC charging kit, so you can safely charge you cell phone and other USB devices directly from the panel, with excellent efficiency.
With portability in mind, this solar panel kit is ideal for camping. It folds into a very compact carrying case, measuring only 13.78” X 3.39” X 2.36”. When folded, the panels are protected by a durable, water resistant Oxford cloth and has a convenient carrying handle. The Rockpals foldable 60W solar charger weighs only 8.68 pounds.
2. SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar
A total of 10 power connectors are supplied with the kit, including everything from adapters for just about every type of solar generator, to a USB and several laptop adapters, even a car charger and clamps to connect directly to a battery are supplied.
3. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
The more durable design of this solar panel is evident when looking at the weight, 25.9-pounds. This solar panel folds into a briefcase style portable kit. Open (unfolded) dimensions: 43.5” X 26.75” X 1.75”. When folded it measures 26.75” X 21,75” 3.75”.
The boulder 100 Briefcase is designed to provide the best efficiency when using Goal Zero Yeti solar generators and don’t include adapters for other generator brands.
4. Goal Zero Boulder 200 Watt Briefcase Monocrystalline Solar Panel
As you may have guessed the Goal Zero Boulder 200 is pretty much the same as the Boulder 100 Briefcase, just with twice the wattage output. This means it is larger and heavier than the Boulder 100 briefcase. Unfolded, the Boulder 200 measures 40” X 53.5” X 1.75” and folded dimensions are 40” X 26.75” X 3.5”. It weighs a fairly hefty 42-pounds. All other specifications match those of the Boulder 100.
5. Aeiusny Solar Panel Foldable 60W Portable Solar Charger
In keeping with Aeiusny’s budget friendly approach, this is one of the most affordable 60W solar charging kits available. Being cheap solar panels, means that they are monocrystalline variants. This solar panel kit folds into a portable format (13.78” X 12.79”), weighing only 6.9 pounds. It is protected by durable fabric when folded.
The Aeiusny solar charging kit includes input adapters for most solar generators, and a DC laptop adapter.
Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline panels are the most expensive and are more efficient. These panels also last longer than monocrystalline variants. Essentially, monocrystalline solar panels are the budget option.