For RV enthusiasts that are series about boondocking and going off-grid, solar generators are necessary. Solar generators allow you to have electricity and the comforts of home while setting your rig up in the middle of the desert, at a national park, or wherever else you want where electrical hookups aren’t available.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and investing in the best solar generator for RV living, you’ve come to the right place. No matter your budget or how big of a generator you need, you’ll find an option on this list.
What is a Solar Generator, and How Do They Work?
The short explanation of a solar generator is that it’s a machine that converts sunlight into storable and usable electrical energy. Solar generators come in many sizes, and the larger the generator is, the more storage capacity it has and the more electricity it can produce. The standard way solar generators harness energy from the sun is with solar panels.
However, modern solar generators have alternative methods of charging up. The sun isn’t always shining, so you can’t always rely on solar panels to absorb its energy. Here are a few other ways the best solar generator for RV living can get its charge.
Plugging it into an outlet
Most modern of the best modern solar generators for RV living have a cord or 110V battery charger that you can plug into a standard wall outlet. This feature allows you to fully charge your solar generator at home before heading out on a camping trip off-grid.
Using your car charger
If you’re in a pinch and forgot to charge your generator at home, many newer best solar generators for RV living have a 12 V DC car charger. This method won’t be as fast as plugging it into a 110V outlet, but it will get the job done. Make sure that your car is running when you’re doing this, as your generator is liable to suck the life right out of your car battery.
Using another generator
Plugging a solar generator into a gas generator may seem silly, but it’s an option when necessary.
Like we said before, solar panels are the standard way to charge a best solar generator for RV living. Panels often don’t come with the generator when you purchase it, which will be an extra investment.
However, the panels are fairly easy to connect to your generator once you have them. They do an excellent job of capturing the energy and transferring it to the generator or battery pack on the generator.
All solar generators come with an internal battery bank that stores energy after being captured by solar panels or from being plugged into an electrical source. However, the best solar generator for RV living will have multiple backup batteries that you can charge individually and build up a surplus of stored electricity.
How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for RV Living
One of the first things you should look at with a best solar generator for RV living is the storage capacity. The storage capacity will determine how much electricity you’ll have on hand when the generator is fully charged. The higher the capacity, the more likely you are to be able to use your generator to completely power your RV.
While storage capacity is important, it’s not the most important thing to everyone. If you only use your generator to charge phones and laptops or power a single light, a massive storage bank isn’t necessary.
Charging capability refers to all the different ways to charge your best solar generator for RV living. While all solar generators can get their charge from solar panels, other charging options are a huge benefit. Like we said before, the sun won’t always be shining. This means that having the ability to plug your generator into an outlet or car charger is a big plus and the best solar generator for RV living should have this capability.
What good is a massive amount of stored electricity if you can’t use it the way you want? Output capability refers to how quickly your generator can disperse its stored electricity. It also refers to how many different devices it can power simultaneously.
If you’re planning to head out on a camping trip, the last thing you want to do is sit around and wait for your solar generator to charge. Not all generators are the same or have the same charging capabilities. Although extremely important, charging speed is one of the most underrated and overlooked features of a solar generator.
Quick charging speed means that the initial charge is fast, but it also means that your generator will charge faster as you’re using it. The quicker the charging speed, the more use you’ll get out of your solar generator.
To be the best solar generator for RV living, it has to be highly portable. Most solar generators are similar in size and weight to portable gas generators and can easily be carried wherever you go.
However, some solar generators are much bigger than others, which means they also have more storage capacity. Finding a happy medium between size, portability, and storage capacity is difficult but necessary.
Number of Ports
Believe it or not, some solar generators don’t have a lot of options when it comes to the types and number of outlets and ports they have. The more ports a solar generator has, the more likely you are to be able to use it for all your needs. Multiple ports also mean that you can charge or power multiple devices at once. The more ports, the more likely its one of the best solar generators for RV living.
Finally, you don’t want to be replacing your solar generator every other year because it gave out on you. A great solar generator should be durable, long-lasting, and able to survive a few bumps and bruises. After all, if you’re using your generator in an RV, there’s a good chance you’ll run into situations where it gets dropped or mishandled at some point.
Overall Best Solar Generator for RV Living
1. Bluetti AC 200P Solar Generator
No matter which list of best solar generators you check, there’s a good chance that a Bluetti generator will be at the top. In most cases, it will be the Bluetti AC 200P Solar Generator. This generator is considered by tons of campers across the nation to be the best solar generator for RV living, tiny houses, and off-grid living.
The Bluetti 200P features very quick charging abilities and can usually fill up its battery bank within three or four hours. This best solar generator for RV living also has over a dozen ports that can power multiple devices simultaneously. You can charge your phones and laptops and even operate multiple appliances within your RV, thanks to the 2,000 watts of continuous power this bad boy offers.
Best of all, this model is reasonably lightweight and easy to move from place to place. Weighing in at just 60 pounds, it’s slightly heavy for one person but manageable, especially with a dolly or cart. It’s also one of the quietest solar generators while it’s charging, meaning that it won’t disturb you during the day.
- It can fully charge itself within three or four hours
- 2,000 watts of continuous power
- Can get charged via solar panels, outlets, or car chargers
- 2,000-watt output rating, meaning it can power many devices at once
- At 60 pounds, it’s not unbearably heavy but tough for one person to manage
- At $2,500, it’s slightly on the expensive side
Best Solar Generator for RV Living on a Budget
2. Jackery Explorer 1000
What Bluetti is to expensive, high-tech solar generators, Jackery is to affordable ones. However, the Jackery Explorer series never sacrifices quality for affordability, especially the Jackery Explorer 1000.
While it doesn’t have as many features as the Bluetti generator we just mentioned, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is considered by some to be the best solar generator for RV living, not just those on a budget. The main reason for this is because of how lightweight and portable it is, as it weighs right around 20 pounds and is slightly larger than a picnic basket.
Another benefit of this best solar generator for RV living is its built-in solar panel. It also has multiple ports, including several for 110V outlets and others for phone and device chargers. The downside is that it has half the storage capacity and operating power as the Bluetti. However, 1,000 watts of storage and output power is enough for one or two people in most situations.
- One of the most lightweight and portable generators based on its storage capacity
- The built-in solar panel is a plus
- Very quiet operation and charging
- Jackery also offers a 300W, 500W, and 1,500W generator for larger and smaller options in the same series.
- Very affordable and high-quality series of generators
- The charging time is slightly longer than other models.
Best Heavy Duty Solar Generator for RVs
3. Bluetti EP500 Solar Generator
If you have some extra room in your budget and your RV, the Bluetti EP500 Solar Generator is the option for you. It comes with the guaranteed quality and longevity of a Bluetti generator, but it’s also big enough to power your entire rig. This Bluetti model is better suited for full-time boondockers who live and work off-grid. It’s big and powerful, but it isalso expensive.
The Bluetti EP500 has a storage capacity of up to 5,000 watts and an output capacity of 2,000. It also has a surprisingly fast charging time of between four and five hours in most cases. This model from Bluetti is one of their biggest and comes packed with ports and outlets of all kinds. Depending on the size of your rig, there’s a good chance it can power the entire thing.
Beware, however, because the Bluetti EP500 is big and weighs in at just over 170 pounds. Luckily, it also comes with wheels and a handle, making it reasonably easy to move around by yourself or with a helper. There isn’t a whole lot that this solar generator can’t do, and it’s the best solar generator for RV living where you spend a ton of time off-grid.
- Has more storage capacity than you’ll likely use in a single day or even weekend
- Has the ability to power many devices in your RV simultaneously
- The battery is one of the best and longest-lasting on the market
- You can charge it with an outlet and solar panels at the same time
- The wheels make it manageable to move from place to place
- Unless you have a big RV and a full household, it might be overkill for you
- Very expensive and heavy and not ideal for all RVing situations
Runner-Up for Best Solar Generator for RV Living
4. ECOFLOW Solar Generator
Although it only gains honorable mention on our list of best solar generators for RV living, the ECOFLOW solar generator is an excellent option. It is reasonably powerful and portable, but it’s also extremely affordable. The ECOFLOW doesn’t have all the capabilities that Bluetti or even Jackery solar generators do, but they may be the best at combining quality, portability, and price.
The ECOFLOW solar generator has a storage capacity of 1800 watts and an output rating of 3300 watts, which is outstanding. As a bonus, most ECOFLOW generators come with a solar panel and all the accessories you need to get up and running off the grid. It’s powerful enough to power most of the devices in your RV simultaneously, outside of larger ones like ACs or dryers.
As a bonus, you can connect up to five solar panels to the generator at once for a faster recharge. With an AC power outlet, the generator recharges in one to two hours, and with solar panels, it recharges in two to four hours, depending on how many you use. It also features thirteen ports and outlets and is extremely portable, even with solar panels.
- One of the highest-quality and most affordable generator options
- Enough capacity and strength to power thirteen devices at once
- Extremely fast charging capabilities
- Excellent surge power and protection despite its moderate storage capacity
- Won’t be able to power your entire RV for very long
- On the smaller side for full-time RVers who rely on solar electricity
Wrapping Up the Best Solar Generator for RV Living
A solar generator is an absolute must if you’re serious about boondocking or spending more time RVing off the grid. The best solar generator for RV living will be able to sustain your needs while you explore all that the country has to offer. You’ll be able to go places you never thought possible while enjoying the comforts of home.
Make sure to choose the right solar generator for your needs and one that you’ll get lasting use out of. If you’re still on the fence about which is the best solar generator for RV living for you, check out this post on The Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living.