beach overlanding

best solar generator guide in 2020

 

Big, small and in between. There’s a perfect fit for every situation.

There’s no doubt that solar generators are the way of the future. Clean, renewable, abundant power, where you need it, when you need it.

Let’s take a look at some of the best options currently on the market.

some context

First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight. This is not a one size fits all category.

Finding the best solar generator for power outages is much different than finding the best solar generator for camping. The former needs to power hungry household appliances for an extended time, while the latter only needs to power a few small devices.

Determining your needs here is the first step, so answer this…

What do you want a solar generator for?

Figured it out? Good.

the range

To simplify, we like to classify solar generators as either micro, small, medium or large. This helps to gauge the size, output and inevitably the cost of your system.

Micro – 0-1000 watt inverter

Small -1000-1500 watt inverter

Medium – 1500-3000 watt inverter

Large – 3000+ watt inverter

We will cover micro solar generators in another article. Today we will be looking at the rest of the players in the portable solar generator game.

small

key features:

Lightweight

Compact

Portable

Sometimes the best things come in small packages. If you have determined that all you need is a charging station for a few devices, then a smaller system may be just the ticket.

After all, why lug around enough power (and therefore weight) to power your fridge, when you’ll only be charging your phone?

Designed to be taken anywhere, smaller units are ideal for keeping you connected on the go.

medium

key features:

A balance between power and size

Ability to power the majority of items

With a medium sized solar generator, you get the best of both worlds. Compact design paired with enough power to get the job done.

And depending on that job, you may get it done many times on the one charge.

This size bracket can see you camping in style, while also supporting you through outages when they occur at home.

With the capability of powering TV’s, modems and microwaves, these are a great addition in your emergency toolkit. Your first power outage it’ll pay for itself in popcorn and Netflix!

large

key features:

Capacity, capacity, capacity

Yup, you guessed it. In this case, bigger is better…

That is of course if you are talking about powering your house for an extended period of time.

A large sized solar generator will afford you the most peace in an outage situation.

While they are no Tesla Powerwall, a large generator can keep your fridge and freezer running for days. Fresh food kept fresh, frozen food kept frozen. In an emergency, that’s a make or break. 

And while overlanding, that can mean the difference between eating dehydrated food or T-steaks on day 5 of your trip…

And let’s not forget the pops… no one likes warm pops.

the contenders

Starting with the runts of the litter…

best small solar generator

Jackery Explorer 1000 Solar Generator

Weighing in at only 22lbs, this versatile little unit is ideal for those needing a very portable power solution. It’s 1002Wh capacity (with a 2000W surge) is enough to charge your devices and still run items like your CPAP machine overnight.

It’s efficiency comes through its MPPT charge controller, enabling it to reach a full charge in around 8 hours. It can achieve this by using 200W worth of solar panels at one time.

While on the road, you can plug this little beauty into your car’s 12v port to charge it.  You can also pre-charge before you leave home by plugging it into the wall.

ports

3 – AC outlets

2 – USB-C

1 – USB quick charge 3.0

Check out current pricing on Amazon

 

Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Solar Generator

Another great solution for the lighter traveller. This unit delivers 1400Wh of battery capacity with a max output of 1500W and a whopping 3000W surge.

It’s capacity renders it too small to power household appliances for any length of time. It does, however,  make the perfect companion for using items that don’t require a consistent draw at high wattage. Think jobsites, parties or RViing.  At 44lbs it is small enough and light enough to take with you on your weekend getaways, without getting in the way.

Built in surge allowances offer greater compatibility during multi port usage.

The system comes equipped with wifi, enabling use of the Yeti App. This allows for real time monitoring and port control. The app will also keep you up to date on the latest features and functions as they get released. This ensures you will get the best performance from your investment for years to come.

The one downside is the charge controller. Without utilizing MPPT technology, charge times are far greater than those of its competitors. Taking 11-22 hours using 200W of solar power, it is the turtle in this race.

ports

USB-A port 2.4A

USB-C port 3.0A

USB PD 3.0A

6mm Port 10A

12V Car Port 10A

12V Power Pole Port 20A

120V AC

Visit Goal Zero for more info or to purchase.

 

Bluetti EB240 Solar Generator

The Bluetti solar generator is the next step up on the capacity scale at 2400Wh. With 1000W of continuous power it has the notable disadvantage of it’s low-ish surge rating of 1200W.

The extra battery capacity does add weight, clocking in at 48.5lbs. This can be charged in roughly 15 hours with a 200W panel setup. An impressive 2500+ cycle lifespan ensures that this unit will provide power for many years to come.

ports

2 – AC outlets (1000W max)

1- DC 12V outlet

1-PD Type-C

4- USB 3.0

Check out current pricing on Amazon

best medium solar generator

Point Zero Energy Titan 500 Solar Generator

Boasting a battery capacity of 2000Wh and up to 2000+ cycles, it’s hard to look past the titan 500. Paired with 3000W continuous output and a surge of 6000W, this powerhouse of a system bridges the gap between traveller solar and home backup solar. The MPPT charge controller adds efficiency to the solar charging system.

Weighing in at 35lbs is a very reasonable weight for all of the increases in power and capacity.

A well thought out design allows for the batteries to be replaced when needed. This ensures that this unit serves you well into the future. Additionally, the option to add unlimited external batteries increases its versatility, covering you in emergency situations.

Imagine having a couple of days worth of power stored in the shed!

ports

6- AC outlets

1- 30A RV outlet

6- USB

2-USB Type-C

4- 12V 20A outlets

Visit Point Zero for more info or to purchase.

best large solar generator

Point Zero Energy’s Titan 1500 Solar Generator

The Titan tops the scales with a 4000Wh battery capacity. At 3000W continuous output, the Titan 1500 could get you through some of the worst power outages. 

Weighing in at 35lbs and utilizing an MPPT charge controller, this unit can still be taken on the road and used where a big power draw is needed. Think off grid music venues, RVing or poor weather overlanding.

Once home, you can store supplementary power in a seperate battery bank. There’s great peace of mind knowing that you have enough power to support you during an emergency.

While not on the open road, you can decide to run some of your appliances off of your solar generator! Cut the electricity bill down a peg or two.

It will practically make you money! Sort of.

Visit Point Zero for more info or to purchase.

the final thought

Big, small and in between. There’s a perfect fit for every situation. It is important to consider what you intend on using your solar generator for now, and potentially in the future. Thoughtful analysis at this point will pay dividends later. Your future self will thank you.

The next step is to picture yourself enjoying the benefits of clean, abundant energy. Where you want it, when you want it, for years to come.

Think of it as an investment that will pay for itself over and over again.

 

Happy futur-ing

 

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m.j.johnston@icloud.com

[email protected]

Hey folks, I'm mj. I live in a gorgeous inland temperate rainforest in BC, where i get to enjoy countless facets of nature on the daily. This setting allows me to play in the outdoors in every season with my beautiful family. I'm on a mission to play a role in helping preserve our natural world, so that our collective progeny may also enjoy it for years to come.