The Best Portable Solar Generators: Don’t Sit in the Dark When the Lights Go Out

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The power can go out for several reasons: a snow or ice storm, thunderstorm, hurricane, or even a blackout during the sweltering heat or winter cold. Regardless of the cause, the result is the same: your lights are off—as are your essential devices and appliances. A portable solar generator can certainly help.

Portable solar generators can be a lifesaver in a number of different scenarios. Be advised, it’s not going to power your entire home. However, it can charge your laptops and phones several times—and some can even power a mini-fridge, TV, electric stove, space heater, etc.

And the best part is that you can charge a portable solar generator using solar panels in just a few hours—although you also have the option to charge them using a wall outlet or even your car port (via the cigarette lighter). Plus, solar generators aren’t just for power outages. You can also use them when camping to power a mini cooler or electric grill, or when traveling across the country— and they can come in handy if you’re ever stranded in your car in the middle of nowhere.

Besides, you have to love that solar generators don't cause pollution or noise, and they operate with a single press of a button. We rounded up the best solar power generators so you can pick the best one for your needs.

The Jackery Solar Generator 1000

You’ll have limitless power with this solar generator, which includes 2 portable, foldable, solar panels. It can provide 100 phone charges and 8 laptop charges, power a light for 76 hours, a fan for 57 hours, a blender or TV for 13 hours, a projector for 7.6 hours, a coffee maker for 50 minutes, and a microwave for 45 minutes.

My power went out one night when I was working on an article, and I was beyond grateful that I could use my Jackery to make a pot of coffee, microwave a meal, and then carry the 22 pound Jackery over to my desk to plug in my desk lamp, laptop, and phone so I could continue working.

This model has 1000 watts of output power and includes 3 places for AC plugs, in addition to a USB-A and USB-C ports. The smart LCD screen lets me know the remaining time until the Jackery is fully charged and also the remaining discharge time. It has over-current protection, and also short-current, over-discharge, over-charge, over-voltage, and thermal protection.

Buy The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 at Amazon, $1500

Anker 545 Portable Power Station

This power station can charge 11 devices simultaneously. High-speed dual USB-C charging can charge a MacBook Air 2020 from 0 percent to 50 percent in 41 minutes – and it can charge a laptop 11 times, an iPhone 12 up to 55 times, and also power a mini fridge for 11 hours, a fan or CPAP machine for 14 hours, and a waffle iron for 1.7 hours.

Using the company’s 120W solar panel, you can charge the portable power station in eight hours. If using the in-box adapter, you can charge it in 7.1 hours, and using your car, you can recharge it in 7.9 hours. However, if you use the dual 60W USB-C and the in-box adapter together, you can recharge in 4.9 hours. There are even three flashlight modes (low, high, and SOS) as well as 3 ambient modes (low, medium, and high). The power station has 2 AC outlets, 2 USB-C ports, 4 USB-A ports and a digital display to show both the charging and remaining time. Anker’s solar panels are sold separately.

Buy Anker 545 Portable Power Station at Amazon, $700

EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station 720WhDown from $680

If you want to charge really fast, the portable power station can go from zero to full in 1.6 hours using a wall charger. The solar panels are sold separately and can fully recharge in 6 to 12 hours, and your car can recharge the power station in 8 hours. The device also has 3 AC outlets, 3 USB-A ports (1 is a fast charge port).

Once it’s charged, you can then recharge you phone 140 times and laptop 26 times. You can also power a mini fridge 25 hours, CPAP machine 22 hours, TV 12 hours, coffee maker 1.5 hours, and air fryer 1 hour. There’s also an app that lets you access, monitor, and control the power station via your phone. Protection types include overload, overtemperature, short circuit, low voltage, and overcurrent. The solar power station weighs just18.6 pounds.

Buy EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station 720Wh at Amazon, $580

Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator Built-in Solar PanelDown from $450

This portable generator is the ultimate when it comes to portability. It’s like carrying a briefcase and only weighs 11.7 pounds. When you open it up, there are built-in solar panels. On the side of the case are the controls, which include USB-A and USB-C PORTS, and AC outlets.

There’s also an emergency LED flashlight on the side that can be set to bright, dim, and SOS. On the front side of the device is the LCD screen, which shows the battery level, input and output power, and any error codes.

Combining the built-in and solar panels, you can recharge in 3.5 hours. Other charging methods include using an AC adapter, which takes 6 hours; the USB-C wall charger for 6 hours, or you can combine the AC adapter and USB-C wall charger to recharge in 3 hours. Or, you can use your car socket and recharge in 6 hours.

Buy Renogy Phoenix Portable Generator Built-in Solar Panel at Amazon, $380

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500Down from $600

A more economical version of the Jackery Solar Generator 1000, this model has 500 watts of output power. It’s also a more lightweight version, weighing 13.3 pounds.

While this solar generator has roughly half the power of the Jackery Solar Generator 1000, it’s still pretty impressive. It can provide 53 phone charges and 4.5 laptop charges, power a light for 38 hours, a fan for 30 hours, a TV for 13 hours, and a projector for 4.5 hours. The power generator has all of the layers of protection (over-current, over-discharge, etc.) found in the Jackery Solar Generator 1000.

Buy Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 at Amazon, $500

Generark HomePower ONE

If you’re the type of person likely to forget to charge your solar generator, consider the Generark HomePower ONE. After you fully charge it, the portable power station can hold a charge for a full year. It can be charged using the Generark solar panels, or you can use an AC outlet or your car - and you can recharge it while also charging other devices.

It provides up to 100 cell phone charges and eight laptop charges, in addition to powering a refrigerator for up to 14 hours, a coffee maker or fan up to 4 days, a microwave, blender, hair dryer or dishwasher up to 7 days, and a CPAP machine for up to seven days. The portable power station weighs 23.37 pounds and uses electric-vehicle grade Lithium-ion NMC battery cells.

Buy Generark HomePower ONE at Amazon, $900

Anker 757 Powerhouse

The Anker 757 PowerHouse Portable Power Station is a beast—in more ways than one. It’s the heaviest solar power station on our list, tipping the scales at 43.9 pounds, so you definitely won’t be swinging this around like a portable speaker. The top even has a dual-grip design to make it easier to carry with both hands. However, the real reason we think it’s a beast is that it’s also the longest-lasting portable power station we’ve seen yet. In fact, it can provide 3,000 battery cycles— compared to the industry standard of 500 battery cycles.

And the HyperFlash Technology allows the power station to recharge up to 80 percent in just an hour, and fully charge to 100% in just 1.5 hours, compared to the five to six hours standard charging time. However, you’ll need to plug it in to get those results. Using three solar panels, it takes 3.6 hours or more to reach 80% - which is still impressive.

Buy Anker 757 Powerhouse at Anker, $1400

Goal Zero Yeti 1000x

Another powerful yet portable solar generator is the Goal Zero Yeti 1000X. Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or trying to achieve a level of normalcy when the lights go out at home, the durable and weather-resistant power station can meet your needs. It charges in six hours with the optional 200W solar panel (although you can chain several panels together to charge even faster). The power station charges in nine hours via the wall outlet (or in just 2 hours with the optional 600W power supply), and nine hours via the car charger.

Once charged, you can power a light bulb for 90 hours, a 42” TV for 10 hours, a fridge for 18 hours, a CPAP machine for 15 hours, and a pellet grill for 17 hours. In addition, you can recharge a smartphone 82 times, a tablet 33 times, and a laptop 20 times, The power station, which weighs 36.7 pounds, has an LED screen that shows both input and outputs in watts, along with remaining battery life. It can simultaneously recharge and discharge, and has two outlets and two USB-A ports as well as a car outlet, USB-C port, USB-C PD port, and 12V HPP. A charge can last from three to six months.

Buy Goal Zero Yeti 1000x at Amazon, $1500


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