Best solar-powered generator: top-rated reviews
We rely on electricity so much that many people don’t realize that an extended power outage could result in hundreds of dollars of wasted groceries and even refrigerated medication going bad. (1) Electronics such as laptops can also be vulnerable to power surges as the electricity comes back on, especially when it’s sporadic. (2)
It’s better to prepare yourself, and the best solar generators have brought backup power into more contemporary times compared to old gas-powered options. We’ve researched some of the top choices to give you reliable solar generator reviews.
Jackery 1000-watt (Best Overall)
For those who want the best solar generator for all-around use, that’s not too cheap, yet still a reasonable price; this is our top overall solar generator.
Solar Generator Reviews
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|EF ECOFLOW 1800-Watts||
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We’ve spent several hours researching solar generators, exploring features, and testing some of the models out ourselves. Here are our in-depth results to aid your search.
1. Jackery 1000 Watts (Best Overall)
The Jackery 1000 Watt solar generator is robust and sufficient for most individuals as an emergency device, and we’re labeling it the best overall solar generator. We tested it and could get 1000 watts from this generator for a solid hour without interruption. We like that you have four ways to recharge the Jackery (solar, car outlet, wall outlet with 163W max, or another generator).
This portable model is our personal favorite for the best solar generator, thanks to several features. First, you get plenty of outlets—USB-C, USB-A, car outlet, and three AC outlets. The Jackery 1000 can also power devices like mini-fridges, coffee makers, electric grills, blenders, and even support larger home appliances like a fridge.
Keep in mind; this model will not power items that are more intensive power-suckers, like a microwave or a hairdryer (although only the most robust models will).
You get pure sine wave energy with a long-lasting battery, and this generator is also lightweight, making it simple with which to travel. Better yet, this generator is incredibly quiet.
Compared to some generators we’ve researched, which can go for a few thousand dollars, this one is reasonably-priced. The fair price combined with the quality, longevity, low sound output, and the ability to use this generator while charging it makes it our top pick for the best overall solar generator. You’ll feel satisfied with the investment on this generator when the power goes out.
The combined low cost mixed with the quality of Jackery models made this model our top budget pick solar generator. After hours of research, we’re a fan of Jackery solar generators, as you’ll see from our top overall pick. For a more affordable option—and we’re talking a remarkably budget-friendly model as far as generators go—the Jackery 500 is outstanding.
This ultra-lightweight solar generator can power items like small blenders (not full-sized models), RV lighting, portable movie projectors, and mini coolers. We recommend this model for those who only want a quiet solar generator for camping items, as it doesn’t have enough power to support things like drills, coffee makers, large blenders, or hairdryers.
While the wattage is lower, we love this generator for devices like laptops when you’re on the road. The Jackery 500 has a pure sine wave inverter, which means you can safely use it with laptops, phones, and tablets without damaging them. The inverter also makes this generator quieter and guards your electronics against overheating or voltage overload.
You get four ways of charging this model: solar, wall outlets with 80W max, a car outlet, and another generator. We’ve also noticed that Jackery generators hold their charge for a long time (several months and even a year).
With 2000 watts to run high-energy devices, this is our favorite for the most powerful solar generator. If you want a robust generator that also has the eco-friendly and quiet benefits of solar, the Pecron Q3000S is one to consider. This 2000 watt power station can offer peak output of an impressive 4000 watts and has a lithium battery backup for those weeks when the clouds won’t dissipate.
This generator has pure sine wave output that can power a mini-fridge, a pressure cooker, electric grills, drones, laptops, and even an induction cooker (up to 1300w). Are you concerned about charging your laptop or tablet with this powerful solar generator? You’ll have no worries with its overcharge, over-voltage, and overheat protection.
This generator is slightly larger than the lower-output models, but it comes with wheels and a handle to roll it around with ease, much like a small rolling suitcase. You won’t get the lowest price tag with this eco-friendly generator, but for those who need a robust, quiet, solar-powered option for frequent RV trips or as an emergency backup for a house, it could be an ideal fit.
Not everyone wants a tiny device just to charge a smartphone, so for home power-outages, this is our pick for the best 1000W “high-load continuous” solar generator. For those who want a solar generator that will serve as an emergency backup for their home, the MAXOAK 2400 is an excellent option. You can power a standard refrigerator to this thing and run it for a couple of days! When you experience a blackout (3) for more than a day, you’ll be thankful for this eco-friendly generator.
With ample power and more prolonged use, overheating could be a concern. However, this generator has a cooling fan that automatically starts when attached to appliances with over 100 watts.
This solar generator is best for more extended use on emergency items, such as a refrigerator. For electric drills, emergency lighting, appliances like a full-sized fridge, laptops, a TV, and even a CPAP machine, this model is excellent.
You also get a convenient carrying handle and an LCD screen to monitor the amount of power left on the generator. One notable perk with this product is the customer service. As we sifted through hundreds of reviews, time and time again, feedback on the customer service was outstanding.
Many solar generators are technically “solar compatible” but don’t include panels, so we found the Alpha2400 for the best solar generator kit. The Alpha2400 is a full solar generator kit with a detachable solar panel, an adjustable stand to catch the best sunlight, a cable to hook up the panel to the generator, and the device itself. This power source is heavy and durable. While something super heavy might not sound ideal at first, it does work as a slight theft deterrent, so that’s a feature to keep in mind.
You can power a decent array of electronics with this model, such as a mini-fridge, game consoles, fans, a CPAP machine, TV, laptops, and even a washing machine. Two standard, 1000-watt AC outlets pair with four USB ports to plug-in appliances and devices such as tablets or smartphones.
Like the other top picks on this list, the ExpertPower Alpha2400 also has over-voltage, low-voltage, and temperature protection for your more delicate electronics. This kit is convenient for smart buyers who want the whole solar setup in one package.
I like the FF FlashFish solar generator for the pure value you get from this little power source. This model is super budget-friendly, and you get a surprisingly long draw time from a single charge.
While you aren’t going to get days of power for a full-sized fridge out of this device, you can use it with a mini-fridge for up to seven hours. You also can power laptops, a TV, a CPAP machine, and an outdoor projector.
I like that this lightweight generator has three USB ports for charging a few electronics at once, as well as two three-pronged AC outlets. Built-in safety guards protect sensitive devices from over-voltage, and a cooling fan prevents overheating.
The solar panels come separately, and the manufacturer recommends an 18v/50w solar panel (that does not exceed 100 watts). So, you’ll have to get the right panels and connecting cables to use this generator. Still, it’s an affordable option for emergencies and road trips.
You won’t find an abundance of small, super-portable, budget-friendly solar generators that offer such a reliable charge. For those who want an affordable generator that is lightweight and can help with emergency lighting or small devices, this is one to consider.
This portable solar generator is lightweight (only 7.1 pounds) and simple to use. You only need an MC4 cable connected to a solar panel to get it up and running, and it does not require an MPPT or PWM charge controller. For lightweight, easy-to-use solar generators, this one is an excellent option.
This generator has a lower wattage than some of the heftier models, but the upside is that the charge time is relatively short. You can fully juice this one up in about six or seven hours instead of 12 or even 18.
Note: the solar panels are sold separately, and the manufacturer recommends TogoPOWER panels.
Don’t expect to power blenders, coffee makers, hairdryers, electric kettles, or other devices over 330 watts with this generator. However, you can run a mini cooler, 32” TV, emergency lighting, tablets, phones, and laptops with the BALDR 330.
Even with the small size and lower wattage, you can still power a CPAP machine for a few nights with this generator. Another bonus—customer service is fantastic when dealing with BALDR. If a reliable brand with a fast-response service is crucial to you, BALDR might be an ideal fit.
So far, we’ve covered a handful of solar generators that can power many smaller devices, and a few that can support a mini-fridge, or even a full-sized refrigerator. However, if you want an eco-friendly generator with enough power to handle everything from a microwave and a standard refrigerator to a circular saw and air compressor, look at this model. You can even run a welding machine (up to 1800 watts) from this generator.
You’d have to pay a bit more than some models for this solar generator, but the battery life and power do not disappoint. Whether you want a power source for your RV or a reliable emergency backup to power your fridge and lights at home during a blackout, this is a worthwhile investment.
This generator has plenty of safety features, including sensors that will prevent quick-charging right after you quickly drain it. However, most of the time, you can get a rapid charge of roughly four hours through the solar panels.
Pure sine wave energy makes this generator safe for juicing up your laptop, and it’s compatible with any solar panel (up to 400 watts).
If you like the MAXOAK brand and considered the BLUETTI 2400, but don’t want to spend that much on a solar generator, the 1500 version of the BLUETTI is worth considering.
You don’t get quite the “oomph” as the 2400 model with this one, but it’s still robust enough to power a mini-fridge, a car vacuum, a 32” TV, an electric drill, and even a full-sized refrigerator for up to an hour and a half.
Customer service is excellent. For most users, this handy solar generator works well and holds a charge for a long time. This model can blend the reliable power you might need in a blackout with a savvy sense of purchasing something that won’t break the bank.
Like the other generators in our top picks, the pure sine wave energy makes it safe to charge electronics like laptops. Over-voltage, overcurrent, and temperature control are some of the added safeguards. We particularly like that the LCD screen shows the remaining power and error codes for potential malfunctions. Like some of our other favorite generators, you can juice this one up with solar panels or a wall socket for those rainy days.
The Aeiusny solar generator comes fully charged, which is a nice little perk for this portable, affordable power source. This model is also super quick to power up—you’ll probably be able to juice it up faster than you can figure out how to pronounce the company name.
Don’t let that stop you from considering this handy generator, though. Customer service is easy to reach with their email, and this device is well-built. You can refill the battery with solar power, but you can also recharge with a wall outlet, cigarette lighter socket, or another generator.
This generator is not suitable for keeping a full-sized fridge going during a blackout, but it’s fantastic for camping trips. You can run a computer, car cooler, camping lights, and even a CPAP machine (with the heater and humidifier off) with this portable generator.
This solar generator works best if you refresh its charge at least every six months. For the person on a tight budget who wants a backup generator for their smartphone, laptop, small lights, and would also like an emergency flashlight built into the unit, the Aeiusny is one to check out.
Westinghouse is an exceptionally reputable name in generators, whether they be solar-powered or traditional gas-powered. So, when we found this portable, budget-friendly, solar-optional iGen 160s model from Westinghouse, we had to take a look.
I like that you get a two-prong and three-prong outlet, a USB-1, USB-2, and USB-C ports, as well as three 12-volt DC ports on this small generator. This ultra-quiet generator can power laptops, tablets, headlamps, cameras, and other small devices. All of the standard electronic safety features are built-in, including over-voltage, over-current, low-voltage, and short circuit protection.
A handle and a flashlight are also designed into this 3.75-pound generator. Solar panels are sold separately, but you can plug in any solar panel to the DC13V-25V/2A max port that fits 5.5 x 2.1mm.
If you don’t get a solar panel immediately, or have a long stretch of rainy weather, you can charge up this model with a house outlet or car cigarette lighter. Those who want a small generator with a reputable name and top-notch quality will be happy with this long-lasting, tiny powerhouse.
Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Generator for You)
Investing in something potentially-pricey like a generator can be daunting. We did the homework first to make it simpler for you.
1. Know how much wattage you’ll need (in 3 easy steps)
Wattage is crucial and one of the most vital components when selecting a generator.
STEP 1: Find out the “wattage draw” of your equipment (estimate: minimum, maximum, & continuous draws)
If you don’t know where to start, you can try out an energy calculator (4) to get an estimate. For appliances like refrigerators, you can multiply volts x amps. Most refrigerators will have a sticker with these numbers either within the door, at the back, on a kickplate, or listed on the rear interior wall.
Typical fridge use consumes somewhere between 100 and 250 watts or roughly 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in a single day. (5)
If the power goes out, a fridge can be an essential item to keep running. However, many people think big appliances like these suck up the most energy, partially because they need to stay powered to keep your food cold.
You might be surprised to find that running a hairdryer takes about 1500 watts—15 times the power it takes to keep your fridge going! (6)
A standard-sized microwave can suck up between 850 and a whopping 1800 watts during use.
STEP 2: Estimate the “runtime(s)” you’ll need for your equipment
If you purchase a small generator that cannot power hefty power-users, like a microwave, the runtime won’t matter because you won’t be able to utilize these items with your power source.
If you get a more robust generator, you should be able to keep a full-sized refrigerator going, and even items like a blender (which can use up to 1000 watts) or a coffee maker (anywhere between 600 and 1500 watts) when in use.
You’ll need to keep track of a general runtime for any item you plan to plug into your solar generator. A hairdryer might only use five minutes of energy at 1500 watts. A full-sized fridge using around 200 watts is less but needs to remain on continuously.
List all items you will need to plug into your generator, roughly how many minutes they will continuously run, and what they drain in wattage.
STEP 3: Find a solar generator that can both power all your equipment and satisfy your desired runtime(s)
If you know that you won’t use a generator for much besides powering your smartphone and a small fan while camping, a small, budget-friendly model will likely work well for you.
However, if you plan to invest in a solar generator that can help out while traveling in addition to being an energy backup for your house in the case you lose power for a couple of days, consider something heftier. Generators can be tough to justify when everything is fine with your energy, the weather, and you have no plans for travel.
If your entire city loses power, and hotels aren’t even a backup option, what sort of generator will you need to keep your food fresh and at least a small heater or a few lights running?
2. Look for bonus features that excite you
Once you’ve settled on the general requirements you need in a solar generator, check the “extras.” Each model has specific little features that set it apart from others for varying reasons. Some things to consider that might or might not work best for you:
- USB ports to charge smartphones, work laptops, or tablets for kids
- A built-in flashlight
- Lightweight to carry with you
- Heavier to prevent theft if you leave it outdoors
- Three-prong outlets to plug in anything from a mini-fridge to an electric grill
- Various charge options, such as recharging via your car, a solar panel, or your wall outlet
- Included solar panels (some are not)
- The ability to support a variety of power tools
- Extra-long battery life when not in use
- Weather resistance
- Pure sine wave energy (just like our best pure sine wave inverter of the year)
- Notably-exceptional customer service
- Rolling wheels or a carrying handle
- LCD display to monitor the remaining charge
3. Find the best deal for you
Just because generators can be expensive doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Don’t forget to check these factors when picking your solar generator.
If you’re buying through Amazon (worth doing if you want an ample amount of reviews to check through), you can get free shipping on many solar generators. Prime members don’t have to worry about shipping.
However, if you’re not a Prime member (even if you shop elsewhere), consider shipping before you checkout. Bulky items like generators can cost a heart-stopping amount to ship if you buy from a random outlet or don’t get Prime’s benefits from Amazon. Next to “shipping,” click on “details” to read the short but fine print.
Limited Time Deals
Sellers will often lower an item’s cost, like a solar generator, during off-seasons or around certain holidays. You can keep an item “saved for later” in your cart and check back on the price. Our favorite way to get notified of lowered prices lately is Honey. (7) You might have heard of Honey recently, as it’s become huge for snatching deals.
It’s free, and you install it into your internet browser. We are not always the best at keeping track of the exact amounts of items we plan to buy in the next few months, and we’ve used this add-on to automatically notify us when something we’re looking at falls to a lower price.
Most generators will come with the option for a warranty, usually a one-year or three-year option. The decision on a warranty for your unit will ultimately be up to you, but a few things to keep in mind:
Most warranties will not cover damage such as you accidentally cutting the cable that connects your unit to the solar panel, the only breakdown of manufactured items or batteries that are “lemons.”
If you only plan to use the generator as an emergency backup, you may need a warranty in the first year or initial few years, but less likely than ten years from now.
Consider the cost of a more extended warranty versus the price of the generator you choose. If you spend over $1,000 on a solar generator, getting a more extended guarantee is likely a smart idea.
Remember that your final price will include the product cost, tax, shipping (if applicable), and any warranty you decide to purchase. Some of these costs might bump up the price of your solar generator a bit.
Don’t let this scare you out of buying a piece of equipment that can help keep you warm, keep you fed, and charge up potentially vital devices like a phone when you need one. A unit can be like insurance—when you don’t use it, you might grumble, but when the day comes you need it, you won’t regret investing in it at all.
Here we answered some of the most frequently asked questions to know before buying one of the best solar-powered generators of the year – to further aid your search and help ensure you find the perfect one for you.
It’s not so much the generator’s physical size, but instead, the power it can support that matters. Check back to the three steps on calculating your wattage needs and run time of the equipment you plan to use your solar generator with and focus your sights on models that can handle your power needs.
If you don’t have any units at all, you might want to consider one that can power your fridge in case of a home blackout, and will also work for trips in an RV. Make sure you use proper safety when utilizing any generator. (8)
In our opinion, solar generators are an exceptional innovation and worth it when you need them. Not dealing with the noise, fumes, and handling of gasoline is a perk, no doubt, and getting the variety of charging methods is also a bonus.
If a real emergency arose, these units could supply you with power and keep that power going without any electricity to charge the battery, and without needing to travel to a gas station to refill your gas can.
All you need is the power of the sun and a proper setup, and then you’re ready for a wide range of situations.
Consider this: A solar generator could be potentially lifesaving. If you need to keep a small heater running during a frigid winter power-outage, you don’t have to worry about poisonous fumes from a solar generator as you do with a gas-powered model. You don’t have to keep a solar generator outside for that reason. (9)
You can charge most solar generators with a wall outlet, so even if solar panels aren’t ideal in the winter, you can still use these and have them on standby for such situations.
As we mentioned, a generator is much like insurance—you might not want to spend the money at the moment, but when you desperately need it, you’ll feel so thankful you invested in protecting yourself. Setting out a solar panel to recharge your generator in a potential city-wide loss of power is a benefit worth every penny if you ask me.
In our books, the best solar generator to buy this year is the Jackery 1000-watt, our best overall choice. At the end of the day, the best unit for you will depend mainly on what equipment you’re looking to power, what main features you’re looking for, and your budget — but overall this model provides most with what they’re looking for.
The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar-Powered Generator to Buy Today?
Now that you’ve seen all our top solar generators of the year, most important buyers’ tips, and answers to the most popular faqs – you’re well on your way to choosing the best one for you.
However, if you’re still not quite sure which one to go with, we highly-recommend our #1-rated Jackery 1000-watt. For most people, this model would work well in many situations, it’s able to power a massive range of equipment, and it’s in a sweet spot when it comes to price. It’s not too cheap and tiny, but it’s not the most expensive option by a long shot. Ultimately, it’s pretty tough to beat!
Want more top-rated solar gear for your home, off-grid living, and more? Check out our best solar charge controller of the year to help bring your home into the future, or check out our Homepage with our full list of highly-reviewed equipment.
- Power Outages | Ready.gov. Retreived from: https://www.ready.gov/power-outages
- Be Prepared For A Power Outage. Retreived from: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/power-outage_information-sheet.pdf
- How to pick the right generators to keep power on during outages | WEYI. Retreived from: https://nbc25news.com/weather/stormready-survival-guide/how-to-pick-the-right-generators-to-keep-power-on-during-outages
- Electricity usage of a Refrigerator – Energy Use Calculator. Retreived from: http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_refrigerator.htm
- How Much Power a Fridge Uses – in Watts, Cost & kWh. Retreived from: https://reductionrevolution.com.au/blogs/news-reviews/fridge-power-consumption#:~:text=Domestic%20fridge%20power%20consumption%20is,%24150%20per%20year%20per%20fridge.
- Electricity usage of a Hair Dryer – Energy Use Calculator. Retreived from: http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_hairdryer.htm
- My Explore | Honey. Retreived from: https://www.joinhoney.com/explore
- Using Portable/Emergency Generators Safely | Department of Energy. Retreived from: https://www.energy.gov/ceser/activities/energy-security/emergency-preparedness/using-portableemergency-generators-safely
- Winter Weather | Ready.gov. Retreived from: https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Hi, Im Dara. Born and raised in Farmingdale NY and I spend my time online covering alternative energy news and local developments,in the space. My mission is to help more people realise the benefits of using alternative energy. When i’m not blogging about energy you’ll find me walking my dog, working out, or practicing meditation!