Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living Power Needs

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Solar generators are rising in popularity as more people seek ways to become more independent by minimizing their reliance on the electricity grid. In addition, living off-grid is becoming more necessary than optional due to an outdated power grid and increased unpredictability of weather events. When you combine these factors with the price hikes of fossil fuels, you have all the necessary ingredients for a perfect storm.

Living in peace with nature is becoming increasingly popular, and solar generators are a terrific way to do so. This article will list the best solar generators for off-grid living and the factors you should look out for when shopping.  

What is a Solar Generator?

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A solar generator, also known as a solar power generator, is a portable device with a battery unit that uses solar power to create and store electricity. They use the sun as the primary energy source, meaning there will be no need for fuel, making them a safe and reliable power source, unlike other generators.

Anyone can use solar generators, but they are necessary for preppers, campers, or individuals who like hunting or fishing and want to avoid running back to their car whenever they crave a cold drink. It will also be handy for anyone who enjoys off-grid living conditions or nature or avoids contact with other people to relax.

1. Bluetti AC200P

BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P, 2000Wh LiFePO4...
  • [Power Monster] - With the remarkable 2000Wh of capacity and a...
  • [3500+ Life Cycles to 80%] - The ultra-safe LiFePO4 battery cells...
  • [Efficient Recharging Rate] - AC200P supports up to 700W solar...
  • [17 Versatile Outlets] - 6 AC ports, standard USB-A/Type-C/Car...
  • [What You Get] - BLUETTI AC200P portable power station, AC...

Our favorite is Bluetti AC200P portable power station which we found to be a powerhouse for storing solar energy and supplying electricity to your house, camper, or RV. This portable solar generator can more than meet your camping or RV needs because it generates enough electricity to run practically all the devices or appliances in your off-grid home.

We realized that the BLUETTI power station offers a wireless charging pad, 6 AC power ports, 4 USB-A ports, and 1 USB-C port for all your gadgets or camp gear.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The portable power station also features a DC5521 outlet, a regular vehicle plug, and an RV DC outlet. So whatever your equipment requires, it's likely to be available at this power station.

Other notable features we enjoyed were the solar generator can handle up to 700W of solar power and the battery can be fully charged in 2.5 hours. It is also one of the best solar generators we found to charge the quickest, which is also a plus.

Pros:

  • It has a warranty that lasts for two years
  • The batteries can be quickly charged
  • Fast charging
  • It comes with a lot of power outlets

Cons:

  • It doesn't include solar panels
  • Heavy
  • It needs multiple solar panels to charge

2. Goalzero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station

Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Portable Power Station for Homes,...
  • PROFESSIONAL-GRADE POWER: Equipped with 6,071 Watt-Hours and...
  • EXPERIENCE BACKUP POWER LIKE NEVER BEFORE: Increased 2000W AC...
  • EASY TO USE: Power a wide range of devices with seven different...
  • THREE WAYS TO CHARGE: Plug the Yeti 6000X into any 600-watt wall...
  • POWER IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Monitor, control, and optimize...

Our second recommendation is the Goalzero Yeti which lives up to its name of being a beast in producing solar power for living off-grid. No matter where you are or the circumstances, you can be sure that you will have access to electricity for days thanks to the 2000-watt AC inverter and a 6071-watt-hour generator.

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We were impressed that many professionals use this off-grid solar generator to power up equipment and offer assistance in disaster zones confirming its durability. Despite being expensive, we recommend Yeti 6000X for anyone wishing to maximize the performance of their solar generator.

The powerful solar generator is ideal for people who need to maintain the power of heavy appliances like handsaws or even when they desperately need to add a few more miles to their electric cars.

Pros:

  • Professional grade power
  • You can charge it in three ways
  • Provides enough backup power for any power outage

Cons:

  • It is quite costly

3. Ecoflow Delta Pro

Sale
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station DELTA, UPS Power...
  • 【Multiple Charging Outputs Provide More Options】DELTA...
  • 【Triple Rechargeable Modes Efficient Solar Generator】EcoFlow...
  • 【Recharge From 0% TO 80% Within 1 Hour】EFDELTA can be...
  • 【High Performance and Handy Power Source】DELTA is a portable...
  • 【Product Guarantee & What You Can Get】 EcoFlow provides our...

If you are looking for an off-grid solar generator that will offer you the versatility that not all solar generators have, we recommend this Ecoflow Delta Pro. You will love this solar generator since it can be charged using solar panels, AC power, or your vehicle's battery.

This will help for off-grid applications, especially if you want to charge your solar power generator on the move. We also appreciated this solar generator's incredibly good display panel, which provided us with more system information than the other best solar generators on this list.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The EF ECOFLOW Delta, in addition to having a lovely display, features 6 AC connectors, 4 USB-A connections, and 2 USB-C ports, allowing you to use it at home in an emergency or to run most of the appliances you would require when camping.

In conclusion, the EF ECOFLOW Delta power station has a rapid recharge time and performs well while running various appliances simultaneously. You will also love that it's portable, making it easy to move around.

Pros:

  • It includes enough output ports for 13 devices
  • Full solar charging takes one hour
  • It can use any solar input of up to 400W

Cons:

  • It has lower input watts than other portable generators

4. FlashFish Solar Generator

Sale
300W Solar Generator, FlashFish 60000mAh Portable Power...
  • 222Wh Back-up Power Supply: Wide applications make it suitable...
  • Cool Features: The silver case is metal and the black ends are...
  • Recharge Solar Generator: The battery pack can be recharged from...
  • Safety Warranty: Built-in multi safety protections like...
  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Our generator has an easy-to-carry...

Since for appliances like powerful solar generators, it's better to choose a popular option, we recommend this is the most powerful solar generator at a price. In addition, we loved the 60,000 mAh built-in battery capacity, which offered a 300 watts output capacity meaning it can be one of the best solar generators for off-grid living to power low to medium-range electronic devices.

Image Credit: amazon.com

You will love the 2 conventional 1120 volt AC outlets, 2 12 volt DC ports, and additional USB ports for USB-powered devices on this solar-powered generator. It is also considered the best solar generator for its build quality since it's protected by a silver metal shell with plastic ends to increase its durability and make it appropriate for outdoor use.

You will also love this generator outdoors on your travels since it's super lightweight at barely 6 pounds. In addition, you can have a completely charged solar generator in as little as 6 to 7 hours if you use an AC outlet to charge it and prevent extended power outages.

Pros:

  • It has a durable exterior design
  • Lightweight and compact option
  • Built-in battery capacity of 60,000 mAh

Cons:

  • It has a battery capacity that might be too low for long camping trips

5. ROCKPALS Portable Solar Generator

ROCKPALS 250-Watt Portable Generator Rechargeable...
  • UPGRADED 250-WATT POWERFUL AC, USB AND 12V OUTPUTS: Comparing to...
  • HIGH CAPACITY LIGHTWEIGHT LITHIUM POWER PACK: 240WH(3.7V...
  • EASILY RECHARGEABLE VIA THREE WAYS: 1)The solar generator can be...
  • PURE SINE WAVE INVERTER: Better than modified sine wave and clean...
  • WHAT YOU GET: Rockpals portable generator (240Wh Portable Power...

For electrical products, particularly portable power stations and generators, ROCKPALS is another well-known brand name we would recommend. You will love the built-in battery capacity for this choice, which is 64800 mAh and has an output power of 250 watts.

As a result, you may use the dual AC output of the ROCKPALS Portable Generator for various low- and medium-grade tasks, such as charging your laptop or running a TV or fan in your RV. Also, when completely charged, the ROCKPALS Portable Generator can charge a typical laptop 3 to 5 times while charging a smartphone roughly 25 times.

Image Credit: amazon.com

If you want to charge the ROCKPALS Portable Generator using solar energy, it is compatible with 60 and 100 watts solar panels. Additionally, you may put it directly into an AC power outlet for faster-charging performance, which will finish the process in about 8 hours.

The solar-powered generator is also safer for your electronic devices because it is a pure sine wave inverter. You will also receive a 1-meter-long car charging cable, a DC to cigarette plug adapter, and a 6.5-foot power cord with an AC adaptor straight out of the box with the generator.

Pros:

  • Built-in battery capacity of 64800 mAh capacity
  • It offers a 250 watts output capacity
  • Compatible with 60 and 100 watts solar panels
  • It offers a fast and quiet operation
  • Affordable budget range

Cons:

  • Low battery capacity

6. Jackery Solar Generator

Jackery Solar Generator 1000, 1002Wh Capacity with 2x...
  • Clean and Unlimited Solar Energy: 100% green energy with smart...
  • Easy to Use in Seconds: Just one simple touch to finish setup...
  • Safe & Reliable for Outdoor Camping: Features industry-leading...
  • Power Pretty Much Anything: Power 90% home appliances with 1002Wh...
  • Quiet & Strong: At a such large capacity, this Explorer will...

We recommend this Jackery solar generator as one of the best off-grid solar generators, especially for people who prefer a full solar generator kit and not only a solar generator. It is among the best portable solar generator for an off-grid cabin, thanks to the high battery capacity of 92300 mAh.

You will also receive 3 pure sine wave AC outlets with a combined 1000 watts of power output to effectively use this power storage. Consequently, there won't be any issues when you try to put practically any electronic equipment into the generator.

Image Credit: jackery.com

Another reason it made the list of the best solar generators for off-grid living is it comes with two SolarSaga 100 solar panels, which ensure you will hardly get power outages. The additional solar panels each have a 100-watt power output, allowing quicker charging. As a result, it is among the best solar-powered generators. It can simultaneously power up to 8 electrical devices when fully charged using its 3 AC outlets, 1 12-volt DC outlet, and 4 extra USB outlets, including 2 ultra-fast USB Type-C ports.

In addition, due to its 1000-watt power output rating, you may use this device to power various powerful appliances, like a coffee maker, an electric grill, and even a blender for off-road barbecuing excursions. Additionally, if you are looking for reliable renewable power, the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 comes with a good 2-year warranty considering its cost, unlike other portable power stations.

Pros:

  • High wattage output rating of 1000 watts
  • It powers up to eight devices simultaneously
  • Built-in battery capacity of 92300 mAh capacity
  • It is the right solar generator for anyone looking for a full solar kit with a solar generator and accessories.
  • The full-size solar generator has 2100 watts of solar panels

Cons:

  • It is an expensive option for the specifications it comes with

Can You Live off a Solar Generator?

Solar generators are becoming increasingly common to minimize dependence on the grid. However, unlike gas generators, is it possible to survive only on the best solar generator? You need to make a few considerations for an off-grid setup.

Depending on your needs, you might first need to purchase additional solar panels to create enough power. Second, you must set up an off-grid system with the most powerful batteries you can get to store energy for usage at night or on cloudy days.

The last step is to get a reliable solar generator for off-grid living to meet your needs for sustainable energy. With proper planning and execution, one can live off a solar generator.

What Solar Generator Size is Enough?

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Before you choose the best solar generator for your off-grid life, you must know your needs to get the best size for your home. Start by listing all the things that use energy in your home and add the power needs.

For off-grid living, this could be:

  • Refrigerators
  • Chargers and power tools
  • Lighting
  • TVs
  • Laptops
  • Phones
  • Small appliances
  • Medical devices like the CPAP machines

Find how much power each item draws from its label and use an off-grid calculator to get a rough estimate. It will also help you determine how many sun hours your area gets during the winter and summer.

Using that number, you will figure out how large of a solar generator you need for your day-to-day off-grid use and the solar panels you need to charge your generator.

Notably, we recommend adding about 20% buffer to generation, storage, and the available capacity if you can accommodate the days with an unusual power draw or cloudy days.

Factors to Consider Before Shopping for the Best Solar Generators for Off-Grid Living

Image Credit: jackery.com

Wasting money is a relevant fear most people have when shopping with countless options available in the market today.

When shopping for a solar generator for off-grid living, you need to know the most important factors to consider and find products that match your needs.

1. Power

The size of a portable solar generator does not necessarily indicate how much power it can store. Portable solar generators come in a very wide range of sizes. In reality, most of them are sadly inadequate and unable to hold much more power than a portable charger.

To check the generator's storage, you must check the capacity measured in watt-hours (Wh). The most effective solar generators have a few hundred to a few thousand watt-hours capacity. But that doesn't imply that it will last a few hundred or a few thousand hours.

Depending on what is plugged into any generator, it will ultimately operate for a variable period.

2. Battery Capacity

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Capacity, measured in Watt-hours (Wh), is the displayed number on any generator. It informs you of how much power a generator can provide throughout a given period.

This means a battery capacity of 1000Wh can deliver 1000 watts for an hour or 500 watts for two hours. Ensure your solar generator can handle the baseload, which is the continuously operating appliances, but also factor in the daily generation capacity.

Most solar generators we have listed belong to the 1000-watt to 2000-watt generator, which is enough to operate the necessary appliances daily while allowing the charging of small electronic devices.

3. Battery Type

The type of battery used in a solar generator directly affects the lifespan and performance, with the two most common types being lithium-ion/LiFePO4 and AGM lead-acid.

Lead-acid batteries are initially cheap but are inferior compared to lithium-ion batteries in terms of lifespan, performance, or depth of discharge. For example, if you want to maximize the lifespan of an AGM battery, you should only discharge it to a 50% total capacity. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries can be discharged as high as 90% capacity in every solar charging cycle without reducing the lifespan.

A lithium battery with a 100Wh rating will have a 90Wh working capacity, while an AGM battery with a 100Wh rating will give a 50-60Wh working capacity. In addition, a lithium battery lasts up to six times more than an AGM battery.

4. Output Capability

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For a solar generator, the output is as important as capacity since, although a generator might have a high capacity, you won't be able to access all of it at once. Therefore, Max output and continuous load determine how much power can be drawn out at once.

Any portable power station that gives you value for money will have a high output capacity, allowing you to charge numerous gadgets, even those that are power-hungry. Therefore, the maximum output of a generator should be significantly more than its maximum solar input capacity.

Even while a specific model may only be able to consume a few hundred watts at a time, it will typically produce considerably more. So for smaller chores, you'll need at least a 300-watt generator; for bigger jobs, you'll need a 500-watt generator.

The top solar generators should provide a wide range of output plugs, such as AC outlets, USB-A and USB-C ports, and even 12-volt DC outlets similar to vehicle dashboards. This makes it possible to charge multiple devices, regardless of the plug type, simultaneously.

It should contain at least a few AC outlets and USB-A ports, though the number of ports you require will depend on the devices you need to power.

5. Charging Capability

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Since no solar generator will ever be able to maintain a charge indefinitely, you should look for one with the quickest and easiest solar charging capabilities. The "renewable" in "renewable energy" is added at this point. 

Since solar panels may be used to charge all of the power stations in this roundup, they are all referred to as "solar generators," but you should also seek power stations that can also be charged from other sources, such as wall outlets and the 12-volt socket in your car.

This makes it possible to recharge while you're off the grid and in the sun, plug in when cooking at home, or while traveling via your dash socket. Additionally, pay attention to a model's watt-based charging input capacity (W). For example, a solar generator with a maximum input of 100W can accept a continuous flow of up to 100 watts, which is roughly the minimum you should ostensibly seek out.

A 50- to 200-watt solar panel will be enough to fully charge most of the generators listed below, which have an input capacity of at least a few hundred watts when charged by sunlight.

6. Solar Charge Controller

Charge controllers control battery electricity from solar panels. A charge controller known as MPPT, or three-point power tracking, is currently found in most solar generators (MPPT). Therefore, there is no risk of the battery overheating if you connect many solar panels in succession. However, you will need adapters if your solar generator lacks an MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controller.

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There is always the possibility of issues like overcharging or overcurrent being delivered to the unit. At the same time, the solar generator is being charged via a solar panel or an AC or DC outlet, which might seriously harm the battery. The installation of these charge controllers prevents this. These charge controllers have a rather straightforward task at hand.

All they do is control the amount of current sent to the generator while it is connected and halt the flow of current when the generator is fully charged. As a result, the battery won't be harmed if you keep the solar generator charging all day or evening. Compared to their predecessors, MPPT is a relatively new addition to charge controllers, which are also more secure.

7. Inverter

Direct current (DC) from your solar panels must be converted into alternating current (AC) before being used by your electronics or home appliances (AC). An inverter, a component of your solar generator, does this.

Modern electricity generated by solar generators is frequently referred to as "clean power." Typically, when an inverter creates AC currents, it does so with just pure sine waves. This power is significantly superior for delicate devices like smartphones and laptops and generally works better.

Image Credit: offgridliving.net

8. Portability

Although portable power sources have been around for a while, they have often been large and heavy throughout the past few decades. One of their most exciting features is that the newest solar generators are significantly more physically compact.

The solar generators are intended to serve as a backup power source for important electrical appliances outdoors, or in some circumstances, for heavier and entertainment-focused appliances.

As a result, portability is a key consideration for solar generators. The form factor of a device is one of the key factors that influence portability. As you may have seen, solar generators have a strong batteries.

However, as the battery capacity increases, the overall size of the solar generator will increase where the large battery solar generators have a large size and hence are difficult to carry. Therefore, a solar generator is unsuitable for off-grid living situations if it is too heavy to carry or unwieldy to operate outside.

9. Weight

Since most solar generators aren't as large as gas ones, we're discussing something that should weigh less than 100 pounds when discussing a generator's weight.

Solar generators must be lightweight and portable because their main purpose is to provide access to electricity in remote locations, such as off-grid stations, or in times of emergency. 

10. Budget

For most people, price is important when shopping for the best solar generators, so we recommend you figure out your budget before shopping. In general, prices increase as wattage increases. But there are also excellent, cost-effective solar generators on the market that deliver plenty of strength and endurance for a reasonable price.

Conclusion

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Solar generators have increasingly become the best choice for individuals looking for power for an off-grid home since they offer the best combination of long-term reliability, affordability, and self-reliance.

Our recommendations are listed here, along with all the details you need to know before making a purchase. Additionally, you can refer to our buying guide to know what to find when choosing the best solar generator.

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.