Prepping with Portable Solar Generators
We need power. That’s a fact of modern-day life. From phones to laptops to fridges and power tools, most of the stuff in our house relies on power to function. This means if there’s a power cut our lives can be heavily disrupted as the tools and devices we rely on die and won’t turn back on.
If you’re a prepper, one of the most fundamental pieces of equipment to get is a generator. Most people tend to think of generators as loud, diesel-chugging, smoke-spewing machines that make more than their fair share of air and noise pollution.
Well, generator technology has changed pretty radically in the last decade and now the most popular generators on the market tend to be small, compact, silent machines that you can charge using sunlight.
A portable solar generator is a great tool for giving you peace of mind when it comes to keeping your devices and appliances running in an emergency. With multiple methods of charging, your portable solar generator will never die.
In this guide, we’ll outline a few of the key factors you want to keep in mind when you’re comparing the different portable solar generators. Plus, we’ll give you a list of the top 5 portable solar generators on the market today. we’ll give a quick outline of their specific features as well as the pros and cons of each generator.
It should help you get a much clearer idea of what’s out there and what separates the best from the rest. By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of which portable solar generator is right for you.
Key features of a portable solar generator
To make finding the right portable generator for you, take a look at the following key features. Whether it’s power capacity or ports, you’ll want to know how generators can be different from each other and what makes a generator right for you.
One of the key specs to keep an eye on with portable generators is their power capacity. The power capacity of generators is measured in watts. Industrial generators can go up to 10,000 watts and above but for a portable generator, most are between 150W on the low end and 1,500W at the upper end.
When it comes to picking your generator’s capacity, think about what you’ll most likely use it for. If you’re charging one device or powering camping lights, a 500W will be more than enough. If you need your generator to power a fridge, microwave, or multiple devices, 1,000W may be more suitable.
When you’re buying a portable solar generator, one of the specs you should check is the recharging capabilities. Generators can be charged in a few different ways, depending on what power outlet you have access to.
The three main ways of charging portable solar generators are solar panels, car cigarette lighters, and wall outlets. Most of the generator suppliers you’ll see on this list also sell solar panels designed to be easily paired with the model.
Ports & Outlets
One of the major features that can change between generators is the style and number of ports and outlets. Most generators have some kind of combination of AC outlets, DC ports, and USB ports. Some high-end models have quick-charge USB ports called USB-PD ports.
One of the biggest differences between generators is how many ports they offer and it can range between 5 outlets and 20. Make sure your generator has enough of the right kind of ports and outlets to match your requirements.
A few extra features that some companies add to their generators can include LCDs, integrated handles, and integrated lights. While these might add a bonus, they aren’t the most important features of a generator and shouldn’t play too big of a role in your decision.
If you’re going to be charging your portable generator using solar energy, there are plenty of compatible panels to choose from. You can normally buy a solar panel from the same company that makes your generator. Some companies offer special deals if you get the two. Plus, you’ll know that the generator and panel are compatible. Most solar generators do not come with panels – the “solar” part means that they are compatible with solar power, not that the panels are built in. Old school generators typically aren’t compatible with solar panels, which is why this distinction exists.
Top 5 Portable Solar Generators
Out of all the portable generators on the market, these 5 stand out. Some of them, like the Jackery Portable Power Station, are better-suited for camping and festivals, while others, like the Goal Zero Yeti 1400, are heavy-duty generators, perfect for running your home appliances in an emergency.
You’ll see a decent variety of price points, features, and designs. This is to ensure one of these top 5 portable solar generators is right for you.
Take a look at these key points to keep in mind when you’re buying a portable solar generator. Whether it’s for a camping trip, a festival, or emergency power supply, answering these questions will guide you towards finding the right generator for you.
What’s your portable generator for?
If you’re buying a generator to power your phone on a camping trip then you’re going to need a very different model than if you’re buying it to power your fridge in a power cut. Figuring out why your buying a portable generator is the perfect way to start narrowing down the options.
How much power do you need?
The amount of power you’ll get from your generator is one of the primary features when it comes to picking the right generator for you. Appliances like fridges and microwaves need at least 1000W output.
If you’re going to be charging a device like a phone, laptop, drone, or camera, you won’t need that much. 500W will do the job and even 150W will work if you’re only charging one or two devices at a time.
Do you want lightweight or heavy-duty?
If you’re going to be carrying your generator to your camp spot or throwing it in the back of the car, you’ll probably want a relatively small and compact generator. If you’re going to keep it in the garage or the basement, then size and weight doesn’t matter so much.
The more power you want, the bigger the generator will tend to be. The size and weight of your generator can be a useful way to eliminate some of the choices from the list and narrow the options to find the perfect generator for you.