Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best portable solar generator 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated May 1, 2019
Best portable solar generator of 2018
Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs. Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time.
Below you can find 3 reviews of the best portable solar generator to buy in 2018, which I have picked after the deep market research. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this portable solar generator win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
№2 – ACOPOWER 150Wh Portable Solar Generator Power Supply Energy Storage Lithium ion Battery Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Cars with Dual AC Outlet
Why did this portable solar generator come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
Why did this portable solar generator take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
portable solar generator Buyer’s Guide
As you can see, the solar panels on their output side give us direct current of small voltage which is storage in the generator. A necessary component in this electrical system when taking into consideration that the home appliances are powered by alternating current whose power is 120v is an inverter. It determines the amount of watts which can be “pulled” from your generator. In fact, the inverter determines the maximum of energy which you can get from your generator at some point in time.
Also the inverter can be upgraded so that it gives you an option to power it from other sources such as electrical grids, gas generators, wind generators etc.
In practice it has been shown that the best capacity relation between the generator and the inverter is 1.5:In our case that would be: 1600w/h generator and 1100w the inverter.
One great thing about the EU2000i is that you can buy the companion generator which would then double your power to 4000 watts. These are daisy-chained together. However, if you need more wattage, we would recommend upgrading to the EU3000i Handi as fewer components is always better as it minimizes your risk of problems.
If you are looking to go boondocking but need some power, this is likely the best portable generator as it is what you will see most in the RV community.
Ideal For: portable home emergency backup power, utilizing the benefits of propane to provide enough power to cover essential circuits in your home.
A huge advantage to propane-powered generators over gasoline-powered generators is that propane can be stored for an indefinite amount of time without the need for stabilizers. In an emergency, gasoline may not be readily available and pumps require electricity to work, so it can be convenient to have multiple propane tanks stored for an emergency.
There are many reasons to own a solar generator. From providing energy during emergencies, to having a clean and green power system for your camping or any other adventure. Solar generators are very much beloved in eco-friendly circles, but their complexity makes them a little difficult to understand. This top solar generators review for 201is aimed at providing you with a buying guide, explaining the important aspects of such a generator, and a list of the top generators for this year.
A home generator can be a massive convenience during a power outage or an emergency situation.
In some cases, a generator could even be your primary source of power. Finding the right generator requires more than just looking at the different models that are available on the market, because you’ll also need to find the right technology that suits your needs.
Portable gas generators can provide plenty of power but require a steady fuel source, while solar generators can provide power that is charged any day when there is sunlight.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. This guide will help you to become familiar with what’s currently on the market and help you choose the best portable generator for home.
Who this is for
For this guide, we focused on portable inverter generators. Unlike larger job site generators, portable inverter generators are generally small enough for one person to carry—kind of like a 40-pound duffel bag—and are covered with an insulated housing to keep them as quiet as possible. And while job site generators can produce uneven power as the engine surges and sags, inverter generators produce steady electricity, which sensitive consumer electronics need to operate safely. If you’re camping in a trailer or RV, going hunting or fishing, working remotely with electronics or power tools, tailgating, or even providing limited backup power in an emergency, a portable inverter generator is ideal. On the other hand, if you need power for your entire house during a blackout, what you want instead is a standby generator, a large, stationary machine installed by an electrician and wired into your breaker box. Below is a breakdown of the differences.
How we picked
All three tested generators are roughly the same size, though their dry weight varies slightly. The Ryobi (right) weighs 5pounds, while the Honda (center) and Generac (left) each weigh 4pounds.
We started with a list of 30 of the most promising portable inverter generators and narrowed it down based on factors like power output and price, as well as customer ratings and reviews from owners and experts using them in recreational and residential settings.
2,000-watt models are the best option for most people because they strike the ideal balance between portability, capability, and price.
Dependability and reliability were the first factors we considered in evaluating the 30 or so 2,000 W models currently available—after all, these machines are for backup purposes in case of emergency or to serve where no other power is available. We thought of dependability as a short-term measurement that we could test, and reliability as a long-term characteristic best assessed through research and reporting. We compared owner reviews to get a better understanding of long-term reliability, noting patterns and recurring problems. We dismissed many models that had either too few reviews (or too many negative ratings) for us to believe they could compete on reliability with the best candidates we found. We considered warranties and service centers among the factors that meant you could have faith in your investment. Overall, this step narrowed our initial list by about two-thirds; the specific brands we investigated but dismissed without testing are in the Competition section.
Beyond dependability and reliability, many other factors come down to convenience. Noise, for example, is a major one. Some generators list “operational volume” as a specification, but it’s not always clear under what conditions the companies make those measurements, and it’s definitely not clear whether all the manufacturers are using the same methods. We wanted to measure the relative differences between the generators but also give some context for just how loud a generator can be if this is your first time shopping for one.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The most obvious feature missing from the Honda EU2000i is a fuel gauge, plus other visual performance indicators. In fact, the only visual cues the Honda model offers are three status lights: running fine, oil low, and overload. Without a fuel gauge on the Honda, it’s a little harder to plan fill-ups if you’re constantly running the machine; you’ll need to turn it off and unscrew the gas cap to see the level inside. In comparison, the Generac iQ2000 has a fuel gauge along with some other handy perks, such as a digital time-remaining display and a power-output meter. Likewise, the Ryobi RYI2200 has a gauge as well as USB power ports.
The Generac’s electronic panel has a handy display that shows the fuel level, the estimated time remaining, and a power-output meter. We’d prefer the Honda to have at least one of these.
Honda is a bit stingy on the accessories you’ll need to start and maintain the generator. Since the engines generally ship dry, you’ll need at least some motor oil and a funnel. Generac provides both in the box, and Ryobi includes a pouch of oil, but despite the EU2000i’s higher price tag, Honda includes neither.
One interface flaw throughout this category: None of the generators we tested have an hour meter, something you do see on larger generators. Like the odometer on your car, a meter tracking the hours of run time on a generator helps you time service intervals so that you can keep the engine in tip-top shape. Later in this guide, we’ve outlined the care and maintenance you need to plan on doing.
As a brand, Generac is a reputable veteran that has been making generators since the early Craftsman models in the 1970s. But the iQ2000 has only two years under its belt so far—the first units sold are still under the original three-year warranty—and we’d like to see a longer track record before we consider those early problems solved. In our tests, the Generac iQ2000 performed well for the most part, with the most notable failure being its sluggish response to the most powerful tools we tested, and the one occasion that our circular saw actually caused it to stall out. It was the most user-friendly model we tested, equipped with an intuitive interface and handy accessories out of the box.
The Ryobi RYI2200 gives you a lot of power for not much money, but was a bit frustrating in our tests. In addition to having a difficult-to-access service panel, it had a spotty starter. A few pulls out of the box or a single pull when restarting, and it was fine. But after we ran it dry and refilled it, a dozen pulls couldn’t get it going again. Beyond that, the Ryobi fell short of the Honda and Generac in ergonomics and portability. Its two-handled design banged against our legs as we carried it. Though it’s the only tested model with wheels, they’re similar to inline-skate wheels and are useless on dirt and grass, where you’re likely to be dragging a generator.
We dismissed eight other models without testing, for various reasons.
The Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart P2200 is another model that’s similar to the Honda and Yamaha, and it also wasn’t available in time for testing. As with the Yamaha, we’re considering adding this model for a future update, if we can get a test unit. However, even assuming its performance is equal, the Briggs & Stratton has a notable disadvantage: It comes with only a two-year warranty, instead of the standard three provided with the other top models.
Two 2,000-watt Champion generators, the 73536i yellow version and the 73540i black version, offer similar power output as our picks, but often at a lower price. We think the savings may cost you in reliability, however—the starter on a larger Champion generator we’ve previously bought for personal use broke in the first year of ownership, deterring us from testing the brand this time. But we are monitoring owner reviews to see if this problem becomes a trend. If we test additional discount brands, we’ll consider Champion for a future update.
The Energizer eZV2200 is nearly twice as heavy as competing models at 7pounds. It also has more negative owner reviews than others in the class, and it has the same side handles that we found uncomfortable on the Ryobi model we tried.
In addition to the negative reviews on the Generac iX2000, we heard from a company rep that the iQ2000 we tested was the newer, more advanced model, so we don’t expect the iX line to stay available much longer.
Owner reviews of the Hyundai HY2000si frequently complain about DOA units, early failures, and reliability issues, all of which are major dealbreakers for a generator, and none of which are problems with our top picks.
Accessories you’ll need
Funnel: Generator oil access is generally through a spout on the side, so you’ll need a funnel to fill it. One with a longer or flexible neck is best for this task.
Gas can: In our emergency preparedness guide, we recommend the No-Spill gas can because it’s easy to use, though if you prefer a more durable metal one, this galvanized-steel can from Eagle should last as long as one made in the good old days. If you plan on reserving your generator for emergencies, we suggest in our Care and maintenance section that you consider using (much more expensive) packaged cans of ethanol-free gas instead.
Fuel stabilizer: Gasoline breaks down over time. That isn’t a problem in most cars, because you drive enough to use the gas before it turns. But it’s easy to leave gas for too long in a generator if you don’t use it for lengthy stretches of time, leading to hard starts, deposits in the engine, or gummed-up carburetors. Fuel stabilizer can make the gas last a couple of months longer; for more than a few months of disuse, draining the tank completely is best.
A service center: Small engines are easier to maintain than a car, but that doesn’t mean everyone has the time or inclination to do it. For anything complicated (or routine, if you like), find a local service center—major brands like Honda list them in the dealer-locator sections of their websites.
Care and maintenance
Removing the Honda’s maintenance panel reveals easy access to the oil fill on the bottom left, and the air cleaner under the black cover.
With the Generac maintenance panel removed, you can see the easy-to-access oil fill on the bottom right and the air cleaner under the black panel on the left, just below the carburetor.
The oil fill on the Ryobi generator is frustratingly placed on the bottom left, with part of the green housing always a little in the way of your funnel or fingers.
Like any combustion engine, a generator requires a bit of maintenance from time to time. Though small-engine mechanics and official dealers in most areas can perform basic services for reasonable fees, common tasks are generally doable even for a mechanical novice.
Changing the oil on a generator is pretty simple, and you should do it either every six months or every 100 hours once you’ve broken in the engine. Honda recommends changing the oil before long periods of storage, as well. Plenty of videos show how to change the oil on a Honda generator.
Generators and emergencies
If you have a portable generator like our pick, the easiest way to use it in an emergency is to set it up outside and run an extension cord or two into the room where you need power—to keep a refrigerator going, or to power a space heater or air conditioner, for instance. You should never run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space. The downside to using the extension-cord method is that this lets you power only a select few items at a time, and you may need to leave a door or window cracked in inclement weather if you want to power something inside. That may be fine as a backup plan, but if you live somewhere remote or somewhere with an unreliable power grid, you may want to add a power inlet and transfer switch or interlock kit to your breaker box.
An interlock kit (left) or transfer switch (not pictured) lets you switch power sources from the power company to a generator plugged into an exterior inlet (right) in case of emergency. It’s serious electrical work, best installed by a qualified electrician.
Take a few minutes to do the calculation what size generator you need. If you need to move your machine regularly then portable generator should be picked. If you need continuous electricity, no power outage is allowed to you then stand by generator is the desired one for you. If you love green energy then solar generators or home wind generators should be selected. Best propane generators reviews could help you most.
Actually, size depends on how many appliances do you have to run with generator power. You can use power calculator to calculate this or you may do it manually from the list given at the bottom of this guideline.
4000 surge watts and 3500 watts for continuous power Modern design and solid construction with 196cc OHV engine Electric remote control starts work for 1hours on full tank of gas at 50% load 120V, 60HZ frequencies single phase AC outlets and one RV receptacle Automated choke feature for a quick start, intelligauge low oil level sensor for engine protection Owns a low fuel consumption, undoubtedly it is a plus point Low noise device, loudness of 6dB at 2feet which is totally acceptable.
Buying a quiet and portable generator is a good power solution if you need electricity for activities away from home. Here are the top generators that you should consider getting.
See More by Zip HD
The modern battery is featured in so many of our favourite technologies that you could almost be forgiven for not spending time learning about their workings.
Read More and stops it when they are fully charged. The inverter takes the DC (direct current) electricity from the batteries and converts it into AC (alternating current) electricity.
That’s the kind of electricity that you need for your home. It’s a pretty simple system with no moving parts. Because of how it works, a solar generator has certain benefits.
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit
Goal Zero has put a lot of thought into designing their solar generators. The base unit is compact, intuitive to use, and can be charged off of your regular home electricity. That means you can charge it completely at home in about hours.
When you next want to use it, it should have close to a full charge. Expect it to take a fair bit longer charging solely off the panels. But once charged, the panels should keep you topped up nicely.
The Yeti Solar Generator kit will cover things like charging a phone or laptop and maybe running a few LED lights quite nicely. High current items like electric motors and hair dryers probably aren’t a good idea with this unit.
Wagan EL254Solar e Cube 1500
The Wagan EL254Solar eCube 1500 has more power than the Goal Zero but not quite enough to carry your home through an emergency.
It could be used to make camping very comfortable, or give you just enough to keep radios and phones well charged for an extended power outage. If you need to run a single heavy draw item, like a fridge or a small microwave, you could do it if that was the only thing attached to it.
The beauty of the Wagan is how compact and self-contained it is. Panels, battery, inverter, and cables all stow neatly in it. It looks like a large cooler.
The Wagan hits a sweet spot between capability and price. Like the Goal Zero, it can be charged off house power or the solar panels. It’s design allows for you to add on to it. That gives you so many more options.
The base unit could be your go-to generator for camping. Keep a few extra batteries at home, and you can hook those up to it to get you easily through small emergencies. Add extra panels for even faster charging when the power is down.
The more power you require to keep your devices running, the more solar panels and battery backup you are going to need. The size of an off-grid emergency solar power system depends on the amount of power that is required (watts), the amount of time appliances and devices are used (hours) and the amount of energy available from the sun (sun-hours per day). Prioritize your list of must-haves and how long you have to run them. Then add up the combined power requirements. Next, compare your critical power list to the total wattage of the solar generator you are considering. It is a good idea to allow for some wiggle room in your calculations. All solar panels are rated in Watts. The watt rating is how much power (amps times volts) the panel will produce in full sunlight at 2degrees C (77F). This is the industry standard (STC) for all PV panel ratings.
Sizing an RV Inverter
Your inverter will need be able to meet maximum draw at a given time. This mean adding up all of the current being drawn at once from all the of the appliances which are powered on simultaneously. If you’ll be vacuuming with the lights on and your laptop charging you’ll need to know the entire current draw of these appliances to size your inverter. If your inverter is too small it you’ll will have to run less appliances at one time.
Sizing Your Charge Controller
Ideally your charge controller amp output rating is about 25% of the total Ah of your battery bank. For example, if you’re battery bank is capable of 450Ah of current you’d like to find a charge controller which can output 112.5Ah of current. This is a bit high for most RV applications as you won’t have an array that can produce that much current. Why does this matter? If your charge controller is too small then it’s a bottle neck of the energy coming in from your charge source (solar). If your panels can produce 3amps, but your controller can only handle 20, then you’re wasting potential charging power. For example we recommend this Outback Power FLEXmax 60 charge controller for 400-800 watt rv solar systems. It can easily handle all of the output of your panels and will feed all that juice to your batteries.
Many of the solar kits we recommend come packaged with smaller 30-3amp charge controllers which are adequate to handle moderate current needs, but for someone with heavy current demands they aren’t up to the task. You’ll need a larger array (perhaps as high as 800 watt) and with it a larger charge controller (60-80 amp). Planning ahead is wise so if you think you’ll be expanding your system in the future it’s wise to buy accordingly.
So for our application let’s suppose we chose the Outback Power FLEXmax 60. This will help us size our array.
Why Many People Choose Solar Powered Generators
There are many reasons people are choosing a solar generator for homes. They work without causing a lot of the noise that comes from most generators, there are no emissions, which means that some generators can be placed inside the home, and they do not require the use of any fuel. They are also easier to maintain than other generators.
The downside is that they are more expensive than fuel generators, but this price is constantly changing as more and more people choose to go with solar powered. They are also a little less portable than many of the other types because they are heavier. With solar power, you do also have to consider the charge. If there is no sunshine, you will not get a full charge and they are typically a little slow to charge. However, once charged, you can expect to have an endless power solar generator on hand.
Below is the easiest way to compare what price range you will be shopping in and what each solar powered generator offers.
Solar Generator Plug N Play Kit
This is a 30watt 1volt polycrystalline solar panel, which is more efficient than mono cells. It is wired using an AC plug that plugs into the battery box. The amp hours on the AGM battery is 1amps. The solar panel is weatherproof. It is safe to use in your home. This makes it a great option for those who live in an apartment and want to have a solar powered generator for home.
Goal Zero 2200Yeti 150
The Goal Zero Generator is a great way to ensure that your laptop, smartphone, and lights all have power regardless of where you are. It has a popup handle to ensure it is one of the most portable solar power generators available. It can be charged using the sun, a wall outlet, or a car charger. However, to take full advantage of the solar power charge, you have to purchase the solar charger separately. It only comes with an 80watt AC inverter.
Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One
This portable generator is very versatile. It can produce various outputs for all devices and it can be charge a USB or AC appliance with ease thanks to the fact it gives you up to 175Wh of energy. It is great when used as portable solar panels for camping because it comes with a flashlight that can also serve as an SOS signal. You can also upgrade it with 10A charge controller to gain solar power and ensure that you have endless power.
Multiple Charging Options
This Aeiusny portable generator can be recharged in three ways. The fastest way to recharge this unit is using the wall adaptor, and it takes about to hours to get to full power – for a 42,000mAh power bank, this is impressive. The second fastest way to recharge the unit is by using its included car adapter that offers you 12v/2.0A recharge speed, attaining full charge in to hours. The third recharge method is via a solar charger rated at below 100W. Recharge time to full power depends on the solar charger you are using.
The unit has three USB ports that give you a charging speed of 5v 6A, which is an excellent charging speed that enables most USB chargeable devices to charge at their maximum speeds. Just below the USB ports are three DC output ports for powering small appliances like lights. The unit also has a three-prong AC outlet with a max output of 100watts. This is enough power for running your small devices such as a lamp. However, if you are powering a 100W light, it will only run for an hour. The lower wattage an appliance requires, the better – allowing you to power your device for a longer time.
Just about all power supplies are heavy and large because of their high power capacities. Of course, this power unit is heavy and large, but when it comes to power supplies, it is actually small. It has a length of 6.inches, a width of 7.inches and a height of 2.inches, and it weighs only 3.pounds. This is good, and its portability is further boosted by the fact that it has a handle.
Joos claims the Orange can be charged in the lowest light and even in light rain. That’s an impressive claim. It can be charged from your computer’s USB or wall charger and the company says that the battery is rated to hold that charge in standby for years. Another bold claim from the maker – Joos says that the Orange can be shot and submerged, and yet still charge. This may be some of the boldest claims for any device I have ever heard.
Limitations of Solar Generators
Thankfully solar recharging is one only option. It can also be charged using a standard wall outlet or the 12V connection from your car. This is important because even with their largest solar panels recharging the unit takes anywhere between and 1hours.
So unless you have multiple solar panels and lot’s of sunshine you have to monitor your power usage somewhat closely if you’ll be using higher powered items like TVs.
Do NOT expect to be able to use a portable heater, hairdryer, or other high wattage device with the Yeti 400. These sorts of electronics are WAY beyond it’s intended load. If you need to power these types of devices you’re better off looking a portable inverter-type generator, which we cover here. It is truly intended for smaller devices and should not be considered as a backup generator for your home unless only used for small electronics.
If you’re looking for something that can provide lots of continuous power you’ll be better off going with a gas powered portable inverter generator.
Key Performance Notes
We found leaving the unit connected to a solar panel when not in use is a great way to keep the battery topped off, healthy, and ready for use. This of course means leaving it in a place that gets regular sunlight.
Cold weather has a very significant impact on the lead-acid battery’s ability to store power. If you’ll be using it in cold weather (below 3degrees), you’ll want to store the unit in a cooler to help keep it warm.
The incredibly loud sound produced by gasoline generators is a huge turn-off for many of us that love adventuring the outside world. This is why solar generators get a higher score given they are ideal power backups yet operate quietly.
Goal Zero Yeti 150
This is another incredible ultra-portable solar-powered generator. It is commonly referred to as the “Plug and Play” generator perhaps because of the use convenience associated with this unit.
Goal Zero Yeti 150 is a versatile unit ideal for emergencies, hiking, picnics or camping. Be sure this compact yet powerful unit never disappoint. It will keep all your smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, MPplayers, DSLR cameras, car adapters and more powered.
Needless to say, the Goal Yeti is your ultimate power solution when you are away from home. Remember, there is no time difference using this generator to charge your gadgets or using the wall socket outlet.
Solarpod 240 Generator
The Solarpod 240 is another great portable solar generator that stands out from the rest. It is a perfect solar power station to back you up when off the grid. Whether at home, office or anywhere outdoor, this ultra-compact and lightweight solar generator stands tall. It boasts of a powerful 240Wh battery that makes this unit self-sufficient. Wherever you need to go, the Solarpod 240 generator will provide power. It is capable of supporting even major powerful electronic devices and lighter gadgets. Not convinced enough? Well, take a look at the key features of this generator.
Key Features • Solar power station – Despite being ultra-compact and lightweight, this generator outperforms many of its competitors. It is a reliable backup anytime anywhere. • Multi-charging options – You can charge this unit using the regular 230V wall outlet, the car adapter or use the solar panel. •An ideal power source when in the outdoor space – You can use the Solarpod 240 to power on your smartphone, laptops, digital cameras, USB devices, lights, tablets and other small household devices. • Incredibly Higher Power Capacity – The Solarpod can make it to 400watts of power at peak levels. It is, for this reason, it is capable of powering larger appliances such as televisions, mini-fridges, high-power fans, and stereos.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your portable solar generator wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of portable solar generator
- №1 — Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Portable Power Station
- №2 — ACOPOWER 150Wh Portable Solar Generator Power Supply Energy Storage Lithium ion Battery Charged by Solar/AC Outlet/Cars with Dual AC Outlet
- №3 — 10-Watt Solar Generator Portable kit