What is a Portable Solar Generator?

25 Best Portable Solar Generators

A Portable Solar Generator is a portable lithium ion battery, weighing 10 pounds or less, with inbuilt AC, USB, USB C, DC 12 V and Cigarette Charger outlets.

Ideally suited as a charging station for Mobile phones, Laptops, Boomboxes, mini Fridges, TV's and most small power appliances.

LCD displays with battery charging and remaining capacity indicators are common. 

Quick charging from a wall AC outlet is best.  Solar Panels are almost always optional and solar charging is very slow.

Portable Solar Generators are a terrific portable power solution on a camping trip, RV, Boat, Tailgate or Beach Party or just a power outage.

What is a Portable Solar Generator ?

A Portable Solar Generator is really an oxymoron. Most Portable Solar Generators never end up either seeing the sun or using solar on a regular basis.

What? Are you kidding me?

I kid you not. It is an appropriated name to take the positive connotations of clean renewable solar power

So should you just kick the can and give up on Portable Solar Generators. 

Certainly not, just make sure you know what you are getting into. Here is what they are really good at :

Indoor Charging

charging in a car

Powering up or recharging in your kitchen or inside your car or in your camping tent.

RV adventure or the great outdoors while hiking on trails or simply curling up at your mountain cabin.

On your boat or in your tool shed or even your basement or garage, these are portable and reliable sources of power.

Most Portable Solar Generators are usually smaller than a milk gallon carton, but bigger than a smart phone.

Light and easy to move around, they fit in right at the Tailgate or Beach party.

Truly Silent, clean and emission free sources of green power.

Silent Indoor Generators are related as they produce power too, but they are noisier as they mostly run on gas.

Powering small appliances

At a party blasting out Sia to the moon or writing the next story on your laptop you always need a power outlet.

Power outage or simply off grid situations are the  perfect entry  for the Portable Solar Generator.

Power up Smart Phones, Laptops, small CPAP machines, Drones,  Mini Fridges, smaller TV's, camping blankets and lamps and DC lights.

cant power
can power


Most Portable Solar Generators have a power rating of 200 watts or lower.

They are unable to power larger devices like Hair Dryers, Cookers, Heaters, Tools, Microwaves, Blenders etc.

Interested in larger solar generators that can power these power hungry appliances : click here.

Power on the move

The Portable in the Portable Solar Generator is the only truth you will find in that name. All these devices are typically lighter than a gallon of milk and a shade smaller.

In the crook of your arm or over the backpack or into your handbag, they make very little fuss.  Mostly powered by Lithium based batteries, Portable Solar Generators are light and really portable.

Baldr
Rav Power

What about the Solar and the Generator?

Yes, where in the heck does the Solar come in?  The Portable looks good but Solar would be terrific too.

When the rubber hits the road, your Portable Solar Generator is just a battery that stores power for your use later.

And Surprise Surprise : You will have to charge that Battery before you use it. And voila !  that's where the Solar comes in. All Portable Solar Generators can be charged using Solar Panels. 

Now the bad news and the reason a Portable Solar Generators is really an oxymoron.  The morons who sell these: they never give you the solar panels.

95% of them are shipped without solar panels. The very few that are shipped with panels usually are under powered and take forever; I mean 15 plus hours to charge with Solar Panels. The good news is that charging from a wall AC outlet is much easier and much much faster.

yeti 400 lithium solar generator

So! If you plan to use Solar Panels to charge your unit, be prepared to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for additional panels and charging cables. 

Me, I am happy without the Solar Charging.  Good old  charging from a wall outlet is always fast and quick. Once fully charged they are good for a few days.  And in an emergency you can always charge from your car cigarette charger.

Ahh... no I haven't forgotten... why call them generators? 

That's because they do a similar job to those pesky noisy smelly portable gas generators. They provide power and hence the generator in the name.  But, the truth is they are a battery storage device - not a generator at all.

I rest my oxymoron case !!

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Portable Solar Generator Goal Zero Yeti 150
Goal Zero Yeti 150
  • Weight : 12 pounds Power : 168 watts capacity
  • 80 watts AC modified sine with 160 watt surge
  • Charge phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and most small devices 
View Latest Price
portable solar generator suaoki 150
Suaoki 150
  • Weight : 3 pounds Power : 150 watts
  • 100 watts AC modified sine with 150 watt surge
  • Charge phones, tablets,laptops, cameras and most small devices
View Latest Price
Portable Solar Generator Paxcess 150
Paxcess 150
  • Weight : 3.5 pounds Power : 150 watts capacity
  • 100 watts AC modified sine
  • Charges phones, tablet, laptops, cameras and most small devices. 
View Latest Price
Portable Solar Generator Aimtom 155
Aimtom 155
  • Weight : 3.48 pounds Power : 155 watts
  • 100 watts AC pure sine
  • Charges Phones, Laptops, Tablets, Cameras and most small devices.
View Latest Price
Solar Generator Renogy Phoenix
Renogy Phoenix
  • Weight : 12.8 pounds Power : 210 watts capacity
  • 150 watts AC pure sine with 20 watt in built Solar panels ​
  • Power small Refrigerator, TV, XBox in addition to smaller devices
View Latest Price
Portable Solar Generator Anker Powerhouse 400wh
Anker Powerhouse 400
  • Weight : 9.26 pounds Power : 434 watts capacity
  • 120 watts AC pure sine
  • Power small Refrigerator, TV, Playstation ,Laptop and communication devices
View Latest Price
Portable Solar generator jackery 500
Jackery 500
  • Weight : 12.5 pounds Power : 500 watts capacity
  • 300 watts AC pure sine
  • Power small Refrigerator, TV, Xbox, Laptop and communication devices.
View Latest Price
Portable Solar generator Chafon 346
Chafon 346
  • Weight : 7.6 pounds Power : 346 watts capacity
  • 500 watts AC pure sine
  • Power Regular Refrigerator, small tools, TV, Laptop and communication devices.
View Latest Price
Solar Generator Suaoki 500
Suaoki 500
  • Weight : 22 pounds Power : 500 watts capacity
  • 300 watts AC pure sine with 600 watt surge
  • Power Regular Refrigerator, small tools, TV, Laptop and communication devices.
View Latest Price

VIDEO REVIEWS – Portable Solar Generator

Video Review of Chafon 346

Yeti 400 Lithium Video Review

Video Review Suaoki 500 vs Anker Powerhouse 400

Aimtom 155 Portable Solar Generator Video Review

Portable Solar Generator Buying Tips

Planning to use the unit outdoors :  You will have to think about how long you plan to be outdoors. If it is a 2 to 3 day trip, you could get by without recharging your unit, so the optional solar panels may not be necessary.

Planning a longer Trip :  Buying external Solar Panels might be the way to go.  Make sure you match the Solar Panel specs to the Input specs of the Solar Generator.  Buying the wrong panels and connectors is a very common mistake.

Planning to us it as a backup power for your AC appliances :  Look for a unit with high AC output watts in their specifications.  Make sure the AC output watts are more than your devices requirement.  

Be extra careful as some units have a high power rating in watt hours but a relatively small AC power output. And some units may not even output AC power. 

Backup Power for DC appliances : If you are carrying just smart phones, a CPAP machine that can work off DC power, a mini fridge that works on DC, Lights that are DC powered etc then you ought to make sure the unit has DC 12 volt outputs.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
easy focus 300
Easy Focus 300
One 3 pin AC socket supporting max AC load upto 300 watts (pure sine wave AC) .

3, 12 volt DC outputs max output 4 amps / 48 watts each.

A 12 V Cigarette Lighter Charger Output max 8 amp output.

24 volt 3 Amp DC outlet. Two 5 volt USB outputs 3.1 amp and 2 more USB 3.0 outlets

What can the Easy Focus 300 power?

  • Laptop : 5 charges
  • Smart Phone / Go Pro : 56 charges
  • 32 inch TV / Mini Fridge : 5 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 4 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 2 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • RV / Window AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
portable solar generator rockpals
Rockpals 178Wh
One 3 pin AC socketto power devices up to 150Watts with initial surge upto 200 watts.

Additional 3, 12 volt DC outputs max output 100 watts Two 5 volt USB outputs with 3.1 amp max output.

150 watt hrs Li-ion Battery.

What can the Rockpal 178 power?

  • Laptop : 3 charges
  • Smart Phone / Go Pro : 36 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 3 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 3 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 2 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window / RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
portable solar generator grantmaya 220
GrantMaya 220
2 AC sockets : AC devices up to 300Watts (Peak Power Output: 600W) 4 USB Outputs 5V @ 3.1 amps. 2 DC output (12 V and 10 amp max) 220 watt hrs of Power and a mere 5 pounds in weight.

What can the GrantMaya 220 power?

  • Laptop : 4 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 44 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 4 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 3 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 2 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer & Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Solar Generator Renogy Phoenix
Renogy Phoenix
Award winning design with in-built high efficiency 20 watt mono Renogy panel this can run continuously offgrid.

Briefcase sized Phoenix is light at 13 pounds.

Lithium battery has a capacity of 210 watt hours and delivers 150 watts of AC power.4 high-speed USB ports and 2 DC outlets.Comes with its own Solar Panels which can be expanded.

What can the Renogy Phoenix power?

  • Laptop : 4 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 42 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 4 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 3 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 2 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Portable Solar Generator Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Li
2 Pure Sine wave AC outputs at steady 300 watts. The single 12 V DC Port is good for lighting. Three fast charging USB ports to charge mobile devices.

A cigarette lighter socket for Mini Fridge or Mini Air compressor.

Small and light at 16 pounds the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium can power upto 7 devices simultaneously with its high capacity 428 watt hour battery.

What can the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium power?

  • Laptop : 8 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 86 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 8 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 6 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 3 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Customer Review

M Gordon @ NC : My Amateur Radio and Drone hobby have driven me to use Solar Panels for years. However, it was always inconvenient carrying a large Solar Panel or Panels, a big klunky AGM battery, the Solar Charge Controller and the Solar Inverter and the wires. 

Now, I am packing very light - the 17 pound Yeti 400 Lithium and 4 Boulder 30 solar panel .  All those extra components are now gone, I just grab the Yeti 400 Lithium and its got is all packaged; the charge controller, Li battery and inverter; plus a large informative display.  

The lithium battery can be discharged regularly to 20  or 30% and it does not degrade. Lead acid batteries abhor deep discharge and significantly loose life span.  

The sine wave inverter is bang on the money. I used a Fluke scopemeter and the Yeti 400 Lithium was generating perfect sine waves at 118 V RMS. Even after 50% discharge its output was  117.8 V RMS pure sine.

The three Boulder 30 solar panels generate 2 amps each so at 6 amps thats below the max 10 amps which the Yeti 400 Lithium can take as a charging input. You could go up to 5 panels though Goal Zero advises stopping at 4.

With the 3 Boulder Solar Panels the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Li will go from zero (not advisable to let it discharge that low) to 100% in about 7 hours.

I am a Goal Zero Fan now and would recommend this Solar Generator in a heartbeat.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
goal zero yeti 400
Goal Zero Yeti 400
Goal Zero's mid range products all come standard with AC/DC and USB ports.The Yeti 400 has 2 Pure Sine wave AC outputs at steady 300 watts.

One 12 V DC Ports for lighting,three fast charging USB ports to charge mobile devices

and a cigarette lighter socket.

Small but a little heavy at 29.5 pounds the kit includes Nomad 20 watt Solar Panel. Capacity 396 watt hour battery and the unit can be daisy chained for extra power.

What can the Goal Zero Yeti 400 power?

  • Laptop : 7 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 80 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 7 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 6 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 3 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Customer Review

Steve K @ VT : I have had a couple of Goal Zero Yeti 400's now for the last 3 years. With the growing number of new Portable Solar Generators with Lithium batteries, I am tempted to buy something lighter.

However, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 is an old and reliable product. It has adequate capacity for my needs and I have two of them to give me some additional power on my longer camping trips. I  would recommend the Yeti 400 given its a good combination of price and value.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Portable Solar Generator Suaoki 500
Suaoki 500
Suaoki's new medium sized Portable Solar Generator is getting great word or mouth. Two 110 volt AC outlets generate 300 watts (600 watt peak) pure sine wave output.

One USB 3.0 port and two fast charging USB ports, 2 12V DC outputs and 1 DC Car Charger Port are more than adequate for a long outdoors trip.

At 22 pounds with a convenient handle, large informative LCD display and a protective battery management system, this is a powerful well designed top of the line Suaoki Portable Solar Generator.

What can the Suaoki 500 power?

  • Laptop : 9 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 100 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 9 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 7 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 4 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price

Suaoki 500 - A terrific Portable Solar Generator for your RV

A Portable Solar Generator made for your RV. Powerful to last through long trips, a plethora of DC and AC outputs and simply superb reviews on Amazon.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
portable solar generator schumacher 700
Schumacher 700
AC: 2 Pure Sine wave AC outputs at steady 700 watts and 1400 watts surge for devices including power tools.

Two fast charging USB ports, 1 12V DC output.

A tad heavy at 55.6 pounds, but the addition of wheels and a handle make it reasonably easy to move around with.



Compatible Solar Panels : This unit does not support charging using solar panels. What can the Schumacher 700 power?

  • Laptop : 11 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 132 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 11 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 9 hours
  • Regular Fridge : 5 hours
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : 1.4 hours
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Portable Solar Generator Portable
PowerAdd ChargeCenter
AC: 1 Pure Sine wave AC outputs at steady 110 watts , Three fast charging USB ports and 1 quick charge USB, and 1 DC Cigarette Charger output.

Just 2.8 pounds this is a really small light weight portable solar generator.

What can the PowerAdd 185 power?

  • Laptop : 4 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 37 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 4 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 3 hours
  • Regular Fridge : Wont Work
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price

PowerAdd Charge Center Customer Review

Jackson Lou, AL : This portable solar generator works really well if you have small loads. I have seen some reviews of folks trying to load it beyond the 100 watts it can support. You should look at the larger Portable Solar Generators.

My Charge Center powers a cash register in my store at a local flea market. It works perfectly during my 6 hour day and still has charge left over. The USB ports were able to charge my laptop and phone and flashlights simultaneously.

I have a small coffee pot and I was able to use it on the AC plug. As long as its below 100 watt this baby is great.

This portable solar generator is very handy. It has enough power to back up lights and small home appliances at home or outdoors or in your vehicle.

Suaoki 150 Portable Solar Generator - A Winner

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
portable solar generator suaoki 150
Suaoki 150
The Suaoki 150 Lithium has over 300 reviews and a solid 4 star rating. It's small with a 7 by 4 by 5 inch footprint and very light just 3 pounds. It's Lithium Battery at 150 watt hours has the same power as the Yeti 150.

The Suaoki 150 has four DC Ports, two AC outlets that belt out a steady 100 watts of modified sine wave power (peak of 150 watts), 3 high speed USB port and 1 USB C port.

What can the Suaoki 150 power?

  • Laptop : 3 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 30 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 3 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 2 hours
  • Regular Fridge : Wont Work
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Portable Solar Generator Goal Zero Yeti 150
Goal Zero Yeti 150
The Goal Zero Yeti 150 makes it to our top ten list by sheer dint of effort. The Yeti 150 has been delivering value for the last many years thanks to its solid AGM Battery Pack which has proved very reliable.

The 150 watt hour Yeti 150 supports one AC outlet that produces a steady 80 watts of modified sine wave AC power. It also has 2 USB ports and 3 DC 12(v) ports.

It is slightly heavier than its peers at 12 lb because of its 168 watt hour AGM battery.

What can the Yeti 150 power?

  • Laptop : 3 charges
  • Smart Phone/ Go Pro : 30 charges
  • 32 inch TV/ Mini Fridge : 3 hours
  • CPAP Machine : 2 hours
  • Regular Fridge : Wont Work
  • Circular Saw : Wont Work
  • Desktop Computer and Monitor : Wont Work
  • Window or RV AC : Wont Work
View Latest Price

Portable Solar Generator FAQ's 

Will I have to buy Solar Panels?

Only if you plan to be outdoors, camping or in an RV for long, should you consider buying the optional solar panels along with your Portable Solar Generator.

You will likely have to buy them separately as they are optional accessories with most models.  Fortunately, all of them can be charged directly from the wall AC outlet too. So, it's pretty common to use them without panels, charging them directly from a power outlet.

What kind of Solar Panels are compatible with my solar powered portable generator?

Be ultra careful while reading the user manual or specifications. Solar Panels come in a wide variety of voltage and current specifications.  Most of the smaller units might require smaller panels under 60 watts and input current of below 2 amps.

60 watt to 100 watt panels would be ideal for Portables above 200 watt hour capacity.  But, read the specs - make sure you are buying the correct size.

Here are three very popular Solar Panels, one of  which is likely to be compatible with any one of the Portable Solar Generators in this article :

  1. HQST 100 watt Solar panels for the larger more powerful capacity units. 
  2. Goal Zero Boulder 60 watt  watt and 100 watt panels for Goal Zero Products.
  3. Rockpals Foldable 60 watt panels.

How long does it take Solar Panels to charge my solar powered portable generator?

A very rough back of the napkin estimation would work like this.  Check the generator power - say 220 watt hours. Then check the panel watts - say 60 watts.  

Divide the Generator power by the Panel Watts and multiply that by 2.5. 

220 / 60 = 3.67  and multiply by 2.5  = around 9 hours.  

Since, Solar Panel production varies widely by amount of sunlight, your location, panel efficiency and panel age; use this figure as a rough and tumble estimate.  

What size Portable Solar Generator should you buy?

The Generator should be matched to your power requirements. If your needs are purely for your personal electronics, the smaller units under 150 watts  will work for you.

For use with appliances with power requirements of more than a 100 watts but less than 300 watts : like a Drone, DVD player, XBox etc; a unit under 300 watts would work best.

Kill a watt meter

The products under 400 watts are slightly more powerful and can be used for a desktop computer and printer or to power a small cabin with lights and a small fridge and a fan. They will provide power for much longer as compared to the smaller units.

If you are not sure of what your power usage is likely to be, you probably need a Kill a Watt Meter. This handy plug in tool will tell you the wattage of your device.

They makes it easy as pie to properly size the portable solar generator.

But if you want to look at all the options, a complete list of solar generators starting from the portable and going up to the home solar generators, check this article on all the solar generators .

What can a portable solar generator power?

A portable solar generator is an effective source of power for  your mobile phones, smart phones, laptops, camping lights, CPAP machine, small fridge, a fan or a desktop computer etc.

They are not suitable for heavier tools like a power saw or for a window AC. Those are better powered by Heavy Duty Solar Generators or by regular Generators. 

How is a portable solar generator different from a regular portable generator?

They are very useful as a power backup solution for compact devices. Also far more portable than a regular portable generator since they are lighter and smaller.

You can use them indoors safely  unlike regular portable generators.  They are completely silent and environmentally friendly. 

What kind of batteries do they use and how long will they last?

Most Portable Solar Generators use Lithium Ion Batteries. Some use AGM batteries which are slightly heavier and need to be kept regularly charged. Those models should last between 2 to 4 years.

The more advanced Lithium ion batteries require much less care, they are lighter and they last longer, between 4 or 6 years. However, they are more expensive.

I hope you enjoyed this article on all the different Portable Solar Generators.  You might want to  check out these specialized portable solar chargers as well.