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Never be Left in the Dark with One of These Solar-Powered Generators

SPY logo SPY 3/6/2021 Jonathan Knoder
a truck driving down a dirt road © Courtesy of Amazon

Power outages can happen at any time. A blistering heatwave can knock out power (see LA Blackouts in the 1980s) to freezing cold temperatures (see freezing cold temperatures in Texas in 2021). Power outages are bound to happen, but when they do a solar-powered generator can be the ultimate backup plan.

Solar-powered generators are an incredibly smart solution to power outages, or the need for a power generator while you are out camping. Because they harness the power of the sun, they don’t emit anything toxic like a gas generator when running, and solar generators essentially don’t make any noise when in use. This makes them great to use both inside of the home and out. And when the generator needs to be charged, there is virtually an endless supply of power thanks to the sun.

  

Picking the Best Solar-Powered Generator For You

Depending on your power needs, you might be better off with a 200Wh solar-powered generator as opposed to spending $1,000+ dollars on a hefty 1500Wh power juggernaut. This handy calculator can help you determine the amount of power you need from your generator. But when you’re picking your generator make sure it has at least:

  • Two USB ports
  • AC Outlet
  • DC outlets
  • 12V outlet

Most solar-powered generators don’t come with solar panels, so that will most likely be an additional cost. But just know that most solar generators can also be charged by being plugged in, so if you opt to skip the panels, you aren’t left with a big ol’ battery you can’t charge.

Below are our recommendations for the best solar-powered generators available. So, next time you’re without power, whether camping or reeling from a power outage, you’ll have a great backup plan.

  

1. MaxOAK Portable Power Station EB150

BEST OVERALL

The MaxOAK and its 1500Wh can power anything from the refrigerator and TV to small appliances like your blender, laptop and phone. But all that power storage is neatly packed into a solar generator that is only about 14 inches tall and long, and weighs just under 40 pounds. It takes about eight hours to charge from an outlet, but with three 150 solar panels, it can be fully charged in as little as three to four hours. It’s one of the most powerful solar generators available, and for around $1,000, it is also one of the most affordable when you consider the power.

graphical user interface © Provided by SPY Buy: MaxOAK Portable Power Station EB150 $999.99   

2. EF ECOFLOW Portable Powerstation Delta

RUNNER-UP

Whether you have a power outage at the home, or you need a reliable power source while you are camping, the EF Ecoflow has plenty of renewable battery storage to fulfill your electricity needs. The size may fool you, but with 1260Wh of stored power, as well as two USB-C, two USB-A, one DC outlet and several AC outlets, you’ll have plenty of ports to power a wide range of appliances from your laptop to a fridge. It’s a little pricier than the MaxOAK, but one of the best solar generators available today.

graphical user interface © Provided by SPY Buy: EF ECOFLOW Portable Powerstation Delta $1,149.00   

3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

ALSO GREAT

Instilling confidence with 4.9 stars and 2,177 ratings on Amazon, the Jackery Portable Power Station is as reliable of a solar powered generator as they come. The 1,000 watt generator doesn’t store as much power as the Ecoflow, but with three AC outlets, two USB-C outlets and a quick-charge port, you don’t have to worry living without your laptop or your phone when power isn’t available. The Explorer 1000 can be purchased with solar panels for $500 more, or sold solo.

graphical user interface: Jackery Portable solar powered generator Station Explorer 1000 © Provided by SPY Jackery Portable solar powered generator Station Explorer 1000 Buy: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 $999.99   

4. Goal Zero Yeti 400

AMAZON CHOICE FOR SMALL ELECTRONICS

Need a little power to fire up your toaster oven or blender in the morning, or need to check your emails while you are camping (not recommended)? The Goal Zero Yeti has 400Wh of stored battery power and 600 watts of output. It’s compact enough to keep in your car or stored in a cupboard in your RV, but has enough power to keep your small appliances operational when you need them. It doesn’t make a peep when in use, and it’s virtually zero maintenance when stored away. A solid choice for small gadgets and appliances.

a close up of a camera: Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar powered generator © Provided by SPY Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar powered generator Buy: Goal Zero Yeti 400 $449.95   

5. AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Solar Generator

BEST BUDGET

The Aimtom 540Wh solar generator is as affordable as it is portable. Weighing in at 11 pounds, you can move this generator wherever you need with one hand, and since it’s only 10.2 x 6.69-inches, you can store it just about anywhere you need as well. With one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, two AC ports and two DC ports, all of your small device charging needs are covered. Plus, it can even charge your devices while the solar generator charges itself.

graphical user interface: AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Solar Generator © Provided by SPY AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Solar Generator Buy: AIMTOM 540Wh Portable Solar Generator $399.97   

6. TACKLIFE Outdoor Solar Generator

GREAT FOR SMALL DEVICES

No need to worry about your gadgets going dead out in the wilderness as this solar generator stores up to 37 phone charges, nine laptop charges and can keep a small camping light operating for over 80 continuous hours. With two AC outlets, four USB ports and two DC outlets, including a 12V outlet, all your bases are covered. It’s not the most powerful solar generator, but for small appliances, it’s more than enough.

graphical user interface: TACKLIFE Outdoor Solar Generator © Provided by SPY TACKLIFE Outdoor Solar Generator   

7. Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station

MOST POWER STORAGE

For those who need to run a lot of appliances in their RV while camping, a small solar generator isn’t going to cut it. The Yeti 1500X can power a full-sized fridge for almost 30 hours and still has plenty of juice for all of your small appliances, so you’ll be covered whether camping or out of power at home. It’s rugged enough to handle inclement weather and is backed by a two-year warranty. It’s pricey, but this is one of the most powerful backup plans you can have.

graphical user interface: Yeti 1500X Portable Solar Power Generator Station © Provided by SPY Yeti 1500X Portable Solar Power Generator Station Buy: Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station $1,999.95   

8. PAXCESS Portable Solar Generator

VALUE PICK

It’s only a 200W/230Wh solar generator, but it’s great for powering small devices while you’re out on the road, and even keeping a refrigerator running for a little while in a pinch. On the front, there are three USB ports and one USB-C with an AC outlet on the side. Its tiny frame makes it a great backup plan on a quick road or camping trip without taking up too much valuable room. And it won’t cost you too much of that hard-earned cash.

PAXCESS Portable Solar Generator © Provided by SPY PAXCESS Portable Solar Generator Buy: PAXCESS Portable Solar Generator $179.99   

9. Anker 24W 3-Port Solar Charger

SOLAR-POWERED PHONE CHARGER

This obviously isn’t a generator that can power an appliance, but for your phone or laptop, it can be a lifesaver. The 12W of charging power puts to bed the myth that solar chargers can’t charge quickly. And as long as the sun is out, this charger will always ready to charge up your devices. You’ll be happy you have this on you on your next camping our hiking outing.

a close up of a device: Anker 24W 3-Port Solar Charger © Provided by SPY Anker 24W 3-Port Solar Charger Buy: Anker 24W 3-Port Solar Charger $79.99   

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