Whether you’re a hardcore camper or survivalist or simply like the idea of living off the grid, having a solar generator is extremely important. The best solar generator for off-grid living will offer you the chance to live emission-free and save tons of money on gas and fuel for refilling a traditional generator.
Regardless of your motivations, solar generators could be extremely beneficial to your off-grid lifestyle. So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to find the best solar generator for off-grid living and how to go about choosing one.
What Is a Solar Generator, and How Do They Work?
Solar generators use solar panels to harness energy from the sun to convert it into electricity. Each generator can attach to solar panels that harness the energy, then transfer it to the generator. The generator then stores this energy until it’s at total capacity and is ready for use.
Solar generators are mostly designed to power small devices such as laptops and phone chargers or lights. However, advancements are being made in solar technology, and generators are being designed bigger and better than ever. While solar generators are still recommended as a backup or supplemental source of power, there are a few that can power your desire for off-grid living.
How to Choose the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
When choosing the best solar generator for off-grid living, the main things to keep in mind are your goals and how big of a generator you need. Each of the below considerations affects your generator’s capabilities and what you can use it for.
A generator’s power storing ability is measured in watt-hours. Most solar generators have storing capabilities of less than 100 or 500 watt-hours, which is only enough to power a light bulb or charging device.
However, a heavy-duty generator, the best solar generator for off-grid living, will have power storage capacities of several thousand-kilowatt hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you can power your home for several thousand hours straight. To figure that out, you have to add up the wattage amounts of each of the appliances and devices you want to power.
For example, if you want to power a refrigerator that uses 500 watts and your generator has a capacity of 2,000 kilowatt-hours, you could power your 500-watt refrigerator for four hours. Simply take the wattage of what you’re powering and divide it by the storing capacity.
Along with power storing abilities, the best solar generator for off-grid living should be able to recharge quickly is extremely important. The size and amount of solar panels you have will largely determine how quickly your generator recharges after using its stored power. If you hope to continually run appliances or have permanent power, charging capability and speed is vital.
You’ll also want a generator that you can charge via other means, such as a 12-volt battery. If the sun isn’t shining and you need your solar generator to recharge, batteries, outlets, and other power sources are necessary.
Output capability refers to how many different devices the generator can power at once and how many different sources of power it has. Sources of power refer to the types of outlets, plugs, and ports on the generator itself. The best solar generator for off-grid living should have many different styles and sizes of ports and a maximum output that’s higher than its maximum input.
You also want a solar generator that’s portable and easy to move from place to place. This is especially important for off-grid living, including camping, boondocking, and any other living situation you can think of. The typical best solar generator for off-grid living will range in size from 10 to 100 pounds, but don’t forget about any cords, batteries, or solar panels you have to transport.
Finally, you don’t want a solar generator that works well enough but will need to be replaced often. For true off-grid living, you should have a solar generator to match. Conditions might get rough and dirty, and having the best solar generator for off-grid living means having one that can withstand bumps and bruises and last a long time.
Overall Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
1. Jackery Explorer 1500
The Jackery Explorer 1500 offers excellent output capability, portability, durability, and comes in a tiny package. Each of these things are important to consider when purchasing the best solar generator for off-grid living. While it might not be as good in each area as other generators, it does the best job of combining each aspect and taking our top overall spot.
With a power storage capacity of right around 1,500 Wh and an output capacity of more than three times the input capacity, the Jackery Explorer is considered by many to be the best solar generator for off-grid living. It’s also fairly lightweight and small, making it easy to move from place to place.
Whether you’re looking to hunker down in a cabin and need an alternative power source or go on frequent camping trips, the Jackery Explorer is the generator for you.
- Offers extremely fast charging and significant input to output ratio.
- At 35 pounds in weight and about the size of a large toolbox, you can take this bad boy with you wherever you go.
- Lots of ports and outlets to choose from to power multiple things simultaneously.
- Durable and easy to setup up and use.
- The storage capacity is good but insufficient to power an entire cabin or home.
- The DC charging cable tends to overheat with certain vehicle plugs.
Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living on a Budget
2. Westinghouse iGen600s
If you’re looking to spend less than $1,000 but still want the best solar generator for off-grid living, the Westinghouse iGen600s is a solid option. It’s often considered the best budget-friendly option for solar generators and rings in at right around $500 or $600.
Westinghouse makes a number of solar generators, and the iGen600s is a happy medium between them all. They offer sizes ranging from 160 Wh to 1,000 Wh. The iGen600s has a storage capacity of 1200 watts, a total of eight different output options, a decent charging speed, and a solid input to output ratio.
Weighing just 11 pounds and about the size of a small toolbox, this little guy is full of surprises. While it certainly doesn’t have all the capabilities of some of the other solar generators on this list, there’s a lot to love about the Westinghouse iGen600s. It’s best served for light camping or off-grid living to power smaller appliances rather than for a whole house.
- Small, lightweight, and very versatile
- Perfect for car or van living or camping
- Very affordable
- Lots of power output options for its small size
- Not as much storage capacity or power output as larger generators
- It takes eight to ten hours to recharge, depending on your power source
Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living or Camping
3. Goal Zero Yeti 1000
Although Yeti is most well-known for its outstanding coolers and drinking cups, they also make a mean solar generator. The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 is one of their smaller generators, but it’s ideal for camping or van life.
The Goal Zero 1000 from Yeti has a storage capacity of right around 1000 Wh and an output that’s double the input. While the storage capacity is on the low side, the recharge time is lightning quick, which helps make up for it. This generator is also compact and weighs just over 30 pounds, making for easy transportation.
This bad boy is also one of the most stoutly constructed and durable solar generators on the list. It’s worth noting that any product carrying the Yeti name will be durable and reliable, but it will also be expensive.
- Very compact and portable
- Very fast recharging capabilities
- Lots of plugs and outlets to power multiple devices simultaneously
- Extremely durable and reliable
- Relatively low storage capacity
- On the expensive end for its size and storage
Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living for an Entire House
4. Bluetti AC 300
If you’re looking for the best solar generator for off-grid living that’s big, bad, and ready to go, Bluetti is one of the top brands to consider. They offer a number of excellent solar generators in all shapes and sizes. However, the Bluetti AC 300 is one of their best and takes our place as the best solar generator for off-grid living to power an entire house, within reason, of course.
The Bluetti AC300 offers a storage capacity of over 3,000 Wh and a surge capacity of 6,000 watts. It comes with a detachable battery with a storage capacity of 3,000 Wh and the option of adding two more, this solar generator can power an entire small home for nearly half a day.
With an output of roughly four times the input and multiple battery attachment options, the Bluetti AC300 is our top pick for powering an entire house. Despite all this, it’s fairly easy to carry from place to place, making it usable as a portable generator as well.
- Tons of storage capacity
- Easy to use and setup
- Very high output to input ratio
- Quick charging
- Very durable
- The generator and additional detachable batteries come at a steep price tag
Other Contenders for Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
5. Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
In terms of size and powering capabilities, the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X is right up there with Bluetti. While the storage capacity is slightly less, and there aren’t as many additional attachment options, it’s still one of the best solar generators for off-grid living and perfect for powering an RV, van, or tiny house.
As with all yeti products, including the generator listed above, the 6000X is durable, reliable, and carries the promise of the Yeti brand. It also includes seven different port options and can power many devices at once.
- Extremely durable and solidly built
- Lots of different port options and possibilities
- Very safe and user-friendly in terms of setup and recharge
- Great storage capacity at 3,000 Wh for the 3000X and 6,000 Wh for the 6000X
- On the pricy end at $3,500 for the 3000x and $6000 for the 6000X
- Both solar generators are fairly heavy at 80 to 120 pounds
6. Bluetti Solar Generators
In general, any Bluetti solar generator that you stumble across will be high-quality and worth the money. Specifically, however, the Bluetti AC200 Max is a longtime favorite. The AC200 Max is the ideal middle-of-the-range size in terms of physical dimensions as well as storage capabilities.
Like most Bluetti solar generators, this version allows you to daisy-chain and hook up multiple batteries for extended use. It has a storage capacity of just over 2,000 Wh and a solid output to input ratio. The charging speed is also relatively rapid when you require power in a hurry.
- Massive capacity for its size
- Daisy-chain capability for extended use
- Extremely fast input and output capacity.
- A 30A plug for adapting to an RV
- Surprisingly affordable for what it offers at right around $1,500
- Pretty heavy at 62 pounds in weight
- The fan can get loud, especially in hot weather
7. EcoFlow Delta
The EF EcoFlow Delta is another great option when it comes to the best solar generator for off-grid living. Considered by many to be in the top 5 in terms of overall rating, the EcoFlow Delta offers substantial power capabilities at a very affordable price. It comes with a built-in solar panel, one battery pack, an AC/DC charger, a power inverter, and more.
This is one of the most efficient and fast-charging solar generator options. It offers 1260 Wh of storing power and can power up to 13 devices simultaneously. To top it all off, the EcoFlow Delta is waterproof, weather-resistant, and one of the most durable generators on this list. If 1260 Wh isn’t enough power for you, you can opt for the larger version, the EcoFlow Delta Pro.
The Delta Pro has a standalone storage capacity of 3,600 Wh and has enough battery attachment and additional power options to top out at 25,000 Wh. This makes the Delta Pro large enough to power your entire home, RV, or an off-grid cabin.
- Very reliable and durable and can be submerged in water for up to thirty minutes.
- Outstanding value for the price it costs
- Extremely fast charging capabilities
- Offers ample additional power storage options
- Lots of different outlets and ports, perfect for powering multiple devices at once
- The bigger of the two options is quite heavy
Wrapping Up the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
For anyone who truly wants to go off-grid while maintaining their normal lifestyle, a solar generator is an absolute must. Whether you use it as your primary source of power or as a supplemental one, there are plenty of great options on this list. By choosing any one of them, you can rest assured that you have the best solar generator for off-grid living!
If you’re looking to learn more about living off-grid, check out this post about How to Build an Off-Grid Water System.