6 Best Portable Solar Generators

Last Updated October 29, 2023
Top 3 Best Portable Solar Generators
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
  • 518Wh/144.4Ah battery capacity with 500W working and 1000W surge current.
  • Versatile charging: Jackery 100W solar panel, 110V AC, and 12V DC outlet.
  • Multiple ports: AC, DC, and three USB ports, with a detailed LCD display.
  • Integrated flashlight for emergency situations.
Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Lithium Portable Power Station
Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station
  • 1516Wh lithium-ion battery with 2000W operating and 3500W surge capacity.
  • Seven versatile port options including AC and DC ports.
  • Ability to chain multiple batteries for increased capacity.
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity for advanced control options.
ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
  • 280Wh solar power system with 300W operating and 600W surge capacity.
  • Ten different ports including AC and DC options.
  • Rapid charging: 6 to 7 hours via AC/DC, adaptable to various solar panels.
  • Built-in flashlights and large digital display for monitoring charging details.
Outdoorsman Toolkit is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Over the last several years great strides have been made in off-grid and portable power generation. Solar panel tech has advanced to the point where you can easily and affordably power your essential electronics when camping or in a survival situation. The real problem is taking the power from solar panels and making it usable. A solar powered generator is the solution. Today we’re covering the best solar powered generators to help you pick out the one that provides the best mix of features and quality for your needs.

What is a Solar Powered Generator?

Solar generators are interesting in that they don’t generate power on their own. They’re basically battery storage devices designed to process the sometimes inconsistent power from a solar panel and make it more useful.

They’re made up of three core devices:

  • Charge Controller
  • Battery
  • Inverter

The charge controller protects the battery from the changes in voltage and amperage produced by solar panels. It allows you to charge your battery up steadily and ensures the greatest longevity for the battery.

Once the power is stored in the battery the inverter changes it from DC power to AC power. This allows you to charge devices the same as you would from your home.

Best Portable Solar Powered Generator

There are literally hundreds of solar generators you can choose from now. Picking out the best one requires you to figure out a few basic needs.

The biggest one is how much power you actually need, and how long you need it to last. As you’ll see below these two features can make or break a solar powered generator.

We’ve gathered together some of the best solar powered generators across a range of prices, styles, and capacities to help you make that decision.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 – Solar-Ready Generator

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
The Jackery portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

Having a penchant for outdoor escapades, I often find myself nestled in the lap of nature. Whether it’s hiking up a rugged trail or setting up camp under the starlit sky, the essence of adventure fuels my soul. Yet, the contemporary adventurer in me craves for a slice of modernity amidst the wilderness. Enter the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, a gadget that seamlessly blends into my adventurous lifestyle, ensuring I stay connected even when I’m miles away from the nearest power grid.

The Jackery Explorer line boasts various models, but the 500 caught my eye for its balanced blend of power and affordability. With a robust 518W/144.4Ah battery capacity, it’s primed to offer a solid 500W of working current, surging up to a whopping 1000W. This powerhouse is more than capable of energizing my essential gadgets, right from my trusty mini-fridge to the CPAP machine that ensures a serene sleep under the canopy of stars.

As someone who’s always on the go, I appreciate the versatility in charging options that the Jackery 500 provides. The trio of a Jackery 100W solar panel, a 110 AC, and a 12 V DC outlet ensure I’m never far from a full charge. Though it takes about 7.5 hours via AC or DC and around 14 hours with the solar panel, the patience pays off with a plethora of charging possibilities afterward. The array of ports including an AC outlet, a DC car style outlet, and three USB ports, accompanied by a detailed LCD display, lets me plug in a variety of devices while keeping a close eye on power usage.

One of the thoughtful additions is the flashlight embedded on one end of the generator, proving its worth during those unforeseen emergency situations in the dark woods. The light it casts pierces through the dark, a beacon of modernity in the wild.

Having used the Jackery 500 across various scenarios, its performance has only grown on me. Initially utilized to power up a humble camping light, it soon turned into a reliable companion during family road trips. The ability to juice up multiple devices on the go, including the demanding Nintendo Switches and iPads for the kids, while still managing to keep the CPAP machine humming through the night, showcases its exceptional utility.

During a particularly long road trip, the Jackery 500 proved its mettle by continuously charging through the van’s cigarette lighter adapter. Even when the gadgets were gulping more power than the Jackery was receiving, a quick management ensured it was back to net positive charging, arriving at our camping site with a 100% charge, ready for the night.

The Explorer 500 has not just been a power station; it’s been a catalyst for creating unforgettable memories. Whether it was watching a classic movie on our portable TV amidst the chirping crickets or ensuring our electric grill stayed hot for that perfect evening barbecue, the Jackery was up to the task.

Over the years, the Jackery 500 has endured, showcasing the same vigor as it did on day one. The peace of mind knowing that I have a reliable power source, whether I am exploring the wilderness or facing a power outage at home, is priceless. The Jackery 500 has morphed from being a mere gadget to an indispensable part of my outdoor adventures. It’s more than just a portable power station; it’s a bridge between the primal and the modern, a companion that I wholeheartedly recommend to any modern-day adventurer.


  • Versatile Charging Options: With a variety of ports and compatible with AC, DC, and solar charging, it provides a flexible charging solution for diverse needs.
  • Substantial Battery Capacity: 518W/144.4Ah capacity with a working current of 500W and surge capacity of 1000W, capable of powering a range of devices including larger ones like mini-fridges and CPAP machines.
  • Portable and User-friendly: Easy to move around and user-friendly interface including a detailed LCD display to monitor power usage.
  • In-built Flashlight: Handy flashlight for emergency situations, particularly useful during camping or power outages.
  • Long-Term Reliability: Performs well even after extended use, retaining its efficiency and reliability over time.
  • Solar Charging Capability: Ability to charge via a solar panel, making it a sustainable choice especially in remote or off-grid situations.


  • Slow Solar Charging: It takes around 14 hours to charge fully via a solar panel, which might be inconvenient for some users.
  • Connector Compatibility: Some users might find the need to search for compatible connectors or adapters for their specific devices.
  • Initial Learning Curve: Might require some initial understanding or additional accessories for optimum usage, particularly for specific devices like CPAP machines.
  • Size and Weight: While portable, its size and weight might be a concern for those with limited space or those who prefer ultra-lightweight solutions.
  • Price: Might be on the pricier side compared to smaller models or other brands, though the cost reflects its capacity and versatility.

The Jackery Explorer 500 stands as a robust and reliable choice for adventurers, road trippers, or anyone in need of a dependable power source during outages. The cons are minor hiccups in what is otherwise a highly capable and user-friendly portable power station.

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X Lithium Portable Power Station

Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station
The Goal Zero portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

Goal Zero is one of the biggest names in camping, preparedness, and off-grid solar. They offer a full range of rugged solar panels, solar generators, and lighting solutions. Their Yeti line of solar generators offers a full range of power options and battery types.

The Yeti 1500X Lithium is their flagship generator product. It uses a 1516Wh lithium ion battery rated to provide 500+ full discharge cycles. It offers 7 versatile port options including a variety of AC and DC ports.

That’s large enough to power everything up to refrigerators and major appliances for multiple hours. The ports allow you to plug in multiple items at once. It has a 3500W surge capacity and a 2000W operating capacity.

Because it’s got such a large battery it takes a while to charge up. From wall power you’re looking at around 14 hours. With the recommended 100W of solar panels it can fully charge up in between 18 to 34 hours. This depends heavily on the amount of sun exposure and the solar intensity.

What’s really cool about the Yeti 1500X is its ability to act as the control system for multiple batteries. Goal Zero offers chainable lead acid batteries that you can connect to the Yeti 1500X. This greatly increases its capacity and improves its capability as a home based battery backup.

We also love how advanced the control options for it are. Goal Zero incorporated a full Bluetooth and wifi connectivity system that allows you to pair it with your phone. You can do everything from check the level of charge to remotely activating/deactivating different ports.

One thing to keep in mind is the weight and size of this generator. The base unit weighs 43 lbs. That makes it suitable only for car camping or use as an emergency preparedness and off-grid living tool.

When you add together its high battery capacity, pairing capabilities, and advanced control options it’s clear that the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is a great solar powered generator.

ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator

ROCKPALS 300W Portable Generator
The ROCKPALS portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

The ROCKPALS portable generator is a 280Wh solar power system. It provides you with 300W of operating current and up to 600W of surge capacity.

That’s enough to provide power for smartphones, laptops, and other small electronics/appliances. It gives you 10 different ports including AC and DC options.

It’s designed to charge up rapidly three different ways. AC and DC power options charge it up in about 6 to 7 hours. It can charge from up to 100W of solar panels.

The whole thing weighs just 7.3 lbs and comes standard with an MC4 adaptor. This allows you to use any standard solar panel on the market.

Other really cool features include a pair of built-in flashlights and a large digital display. This allows you to monitor all the charging details and other important information at a glance.

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck it’s hard to beat the mix of features the ROCKPALS 300W portable solar generator offers.

ExpertPower Portable Lithium Polymer Solar Generator

ExpertPower Portable Lithium Polymer Solar Generator
The ExpertPower portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

The ExpertPower Portable Lithium Solar Generator is a large capacity backup power system. It offers 2400Wh of power, plenty to run just about anything needed.

It has both a pure sine wave inverter and an MPPT charge controller. This helps it capture the most power from connected solar panels and use it efficiently. It can be charged from solar, AC power, or DC connections.

What’s really cool about the ExpertPower generator is the speed with which it can be charged. It can connect to fully 500W of solar panels. That allows it to charge up a lot faster than many similar solar generators.

The inverter provides 1000W of continuous current and up to 2000W of surge capacity. That’s enough to power everything up to a full size refrigerator. This is aided by the impressive range of output ports it offers.

Not only does it have standard AC and DC ports, it even includes a USB-C port to rapidly charge your most advanced electronics.

It’s not without flaws though.

It weighs a full 48.5 lbs and is kind of unwieldy. It’s shaped like a briefcase with a top mounted handle. That shape with that weight makes it more susceptible to tipping over if you aren’t careful.

All in all the ExpertPower Portable Solar Generator is a high-tech and highly capable option. It offers some of the best performance available, though at a high price.

EF ECOFLOW River 600 Max Portable Power Station Generator

EF ECOFLOW River Portable Power Station Generator
The EF ECOFLOW portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

The EF ECOFLOW River 600 Max is a portable solar power station that provides 576Wh of capacity. It’s designed to charge rapidly with either ECOFLOW’s own solar panels or third party panels.

The first thing we noticed about the River 600 was how many ports it had. This bad boy gives you a three AC outlets, a DC cigarette style outlet, and a pair each of round DC, USB, a USB Quickcharge, and USB C ports. That allows you to plug in anything the River has the capacity to power.

With all that capability it’s almost shocking how light it is. The River 600 Max weighs just 17 lbs and is easy to move around. It has a compact design with an easy-to-carry handle that’s comfortable to hold.

All these features combined create one of the best portable camping and outdoor solar generators available. It’s powerful enough to charge up any devices you might need while out and about while still being light enough to easily set up in a campsite.

Renogy Phoenix Elite Portable Generator with Built-in Solar Panels

Renogy Phoenix Elite Portable Generator
The Renogy portable solar generator product picture

Buy from Amazon

The Renogy Phoenix is an all in one portable solar generator with a really unique design. It looks just like an old-school folding briefcase. When you fold it out an internal 20W solar is exposed to power up the battery.

The included solar panel can charge it up to full in just 6 hours. If you have more solar panels it can be charged in as little as 2.5 hours. Considering it provides you with 300Wh of power.

That’s enough to charge up small electronics like GoPros and smartphones over a dozen times. You can even power larger items like laptops and torch style flashlights.

Port wise it offers a comprehensive array of DC and AC charging ports. This allows you to easily connect multiple devices to the Phoenix at once.

The Renogy Phoenix is a durable, sleek, and well-made solar generator. It’s on the pricey side for its capacity but gives you a lot of performance for your money.

Best Portable Solar Generator Comparison Table

Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Portable Solar Generator

Solar powered generators are actually a little misnamed. They don’t actually generate power on their own, instead they take the power generated by solar panels and make it more usable.

Picking out the best solar generator comes down to a few key features, with capacity, charging capability, and battery type some of the most important.


We’re not going to sugarcoat it, solar powered generators are expensive. Entry priced models start around $200, with high capacity ones running as high as $2,000+.

There’s a clear connection between battery capacity and price. As the inverter and battery improves it becomes much more expensive.

Charging Options

The majority of solar generators offer multiple charging options. Solar panels are of course one of the options available, though you should check the type of panels they accept.

Some manufacturers have proprietary ports that only allow you to use their solar panels to charge their solar generators. Smaller solar generators often charge only using a USB type plug from solar panels less than 50 watts.

For larger solar generators the most important solar specific plug is the MC4 connector. This is rapidly becoming the standard for small scale and portable solar panels.

You can also charge your solar generator from a standard wall outlet or a car cigarette lighter port. Some generators come with an adaptor for this but you may have to purchase one separately.

Output Options

Small solar generators usually have one to two ports for charging other devices. Most often this is a standard USB style port that allows you to charge most small devices.

As they go up in size and capacity more ports become available. Common ones include standard household 110 V AC, cigarette style DC, and some specialized DC ports for outdoor and survival equipment.

Really advanced solar powered generators even offer ports to connect with other batteries. This allows you to use the inverter and charge controller of the solar generator to charge up and use the capacity of the other batteries.

Battery Type

There are two battery types that power the vast majority of solar generators. These are absorbent glass mat (AGM) lead acid batteries and lithium batteries.

AGM batteries rely on a similar chemistry to the lead acid batteries in your car. They’re designed to be maintenance free and to function well over at least several hundred charge cycles.

AGM batteries aren’t as flexible as lithium batteries. They shouldn’t be drained below about 30-40% for maximum battery life and they’re heavier than lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries are basically larger versions of the batteries in your phone and other devices. They offer excellent energy density, can be drained fully, and provide close to a thousand charge cycles. The only real downside to lithium batteries is their price.

Lithium solar generators are consistently more expensive than AGM and similar batteries.

Charge Time

Charge time for solar generators is affected by the battery capacity and the type of charging. Solar charging generally takes the longest because of how inconsistent it can be. The sun only shines for so many hours a day after all.

Smaller generators can charge up in as few as 4 to 5 hours but larger ones can take over 24 hours. Wall outlet charging is consistently the fastest method available.

If you’re purchasing a solar powered generator for outdoor or emergency use we recommend you keep it plugged into the wall. This allows the charge controller to maintain the optimum charging pattern on the battery and makes sure it’s ready to go when you need it.

For those looking for a dedicated off-grid power source it’s important to monitor your incoming and outgoing power. You don’t want to draw the solar generator down to zero if you’re depending on the power.

Run Time – Storage Capacity

The capacity of a solar generator is determined by the size of its battery storage. This is measured in either watt hours or amp hours. Smaller generators may even be measured in milliamp hours.

There’s no one size fits all capacity for solar generators. Figure out what you want to power and how long you need to power it for. That will help you determine how much battery capacity you’ll need.

Generator with MPPT – Charge Controllers

One of the most important technical considerations when comparing solar generators is the type of charge controller. At this point you should only consider an MPPT charge controller.

That stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking and refers to the method of converting inconsistent solar power into stored power. It captures 93% to 97% of the power produced by the solar panels.

Older PWM charge controllers have much lower efficiency. They cut into the amount of power your solar generator can capture from solar panels.

Surge Power Capacity

Something to consider with any solar generator is the surge capacity it offers. Most generators have two different capacity numbers, their operating watts and surge watts.

Many appliances and devices make an initial watt draw higher than what they need to operate. Surge capacity allows your solar generator to start up these devices.

It’s important to remember the difference between surge capacity and operating capacity. Most generators can maintain surge capacity for a very short length of time only. Check that any product you’re planning to power falls within the operating capacity of your solar generator.

Intended Use

Different solar generators are designed with different uses in mind. Some are just large enough to power a few small devices like your smartphone or laptop. They’re designed to act as larger than normal charging banks that can be powered by a solar panel.

The next level of solar powered generators are capable of powering small appliances like fans, microwaves, and small refrigerators. These have much greater storage capacity and higher surge capacities.

This size of generator is great for one to two day long camping trips where you want some of the comforts of home. They can also be used as an emergency backup in case of power outages or disasters.

The largest solar generators can be used to run substantial appliances like full size refrigerators, freezers, or multiple smaller appliances. These are very large, quite heavy, and offer substantial surge and operating capacity as well as storage.

These are great for fully off-grid cabins and longer duration trips where you need to power equipment. They’re frequently used by activists in developing nations and for disaster preparedness.

Portability – Size and Weight

Solar generators range in size from hand held all the way up to wheeled carts. Entry level ones are designed to work with small solar panels and provide enough power to charge your phone or other small electronic.

These weight just a few pounds and often only have one or two charging ports. From there they rapidly increase in size and weight.

General purpose solar generators have sturdy handles to hold them by and usually weigh at least 15 to 20 lbs. They can be difficult for kids or smaller adults to move around. They’re definitely not something you want to cart in on a backcountry camping trip.

The largest solar powered generators can weigh over 100 lbs and are almost always mounted to some kind of cart. They often have telescoping handles that allow you to roll them like a rolling suitcase.

Display Panel

The smallest solar generators will have an indicator that shows battery level but not much else. As you move up the capacity ladder more detailed displays start to become standard.

Medium to large generators can show you breakdowns of power levels, input/output information, and battery voltage. Some even offer the ability to turn on and off different output sections as needed.

Top Portable Solar Generators Video

FAQ – Best Portable Solar Generators

When it comes to outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, or survival situations, having a reliable source of power is crucial. This is where portable solar generators come into play. These innovative devices harness the power of the sun to provide you with a sustainable and portable energy solution. However, you might have some questions about how they work, what they can power, or how to choose the right one for your needs. In this FAQ section, we address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the best portable solar generators. So, let’s dive in and get answers to your queries to help you make an informed decision and ensure you have the power you need for your outdoor expeditions.

What is a portable solar generator?

A portable solar generator is a device that captures sunlight through solar panels and converts it into electrical energy. It typically consists of solar panels, a battery for energy storage, an inverter to convert the stored energy into usable AC power, and various output ports to charge or power different devices.

How does a portable solar generator work?

Portable solar generators work by harnessing the power of the sun. The solar panels on the generator capture sunlight and convert it into DC (direct current) electricity. This electricity is stored in the built-in battery for later use. The stored energy can then be converted into AC (alternating current) power using an inverter, allowing you to charge or power your devices.

Why should I consider using a portable solar generator for camping or hiking?

Portable solar generators offer several advantages for camping and hiking enthusiasts. They provide a reliable and sustainable source of power when you’re in remote areas without access to traditional power outlets. They are also quiet, emit no fumes or pollutants, and are generally lightweight and portable, making them ideal for outdoor adventures.

What can I power with a portable solar generator?

The devices you can power with a portable solar generator depend on its power output and the specific devices you intend to use. In general, portable solar generators can power small appliances like smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, LED lights, portable fans, CPAP machines, and even small kitchen appliances like mini-fridges or electric stoves, depending on their wattage capacity.

Can I use a portable solar generator indoors?

While portable solar generators are primarily designed for outdoor use, some models can be used indoors. However, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent any safety hazards. Additionally, note that indoor lighting may not provide sufficient sunlight for effective charging.

How long does it take to charge a portable solar generator?

The charging time of a portable solar generator varies based on several factors, including the solar panel wattage, the capacity of the generator’s battery, and the amount of sunlight available. In optimal conditions, a portable solar generator can fully charge within 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. However, factors like cloudy weather or shade can extend the charging time.

Are portable solar generators weatherproof?

Most portable solar generators are designed to be weather-resistant and can withstand exposure to rain, snow, and moderate heat. However, it’s important to check the product specifications or user manual to confirm the specific model’s level of weatherproofing. It’s generally recommended to protect the generator from extreme weather conditions whenever possible.

Can I use a portable solar generator as a backup power source at home?

Yes, portable solar generators can serve as a backup power source for your home during power outages. However, their capacity is usually limited compared to traditional backup power options like gas-powered generators or whole-house battery systems. They are more suitable for powering essential devices or small appliances temporarily until power is restored.

How do I choose the right portable solar generator for my needs?

To choose the best portable solar generator, consider factors such as power output, battery capacity, weight, size, portability, and the number and type of output ports. Assess your power requirements and the devices you want to charge or power. Additionally, read reviews and compare different models to find one that aligns with your specific needs and budget.

Are portable solar generators expensive?

The cost of portable solar generators can vary depending on the brand, capacity, and features offered. Generally, they range in price from around $200 to $1,500 or more. While high-quality models may be more expensive, they often offer better performance, longer battery life, and additional features. Consider your budget and the value you expect from the generator when making a purchasing decision.

Best Portable Solar Powered Generator Recap

Final Thoughts

Picking out the best solar powered generator requires you to know how much power you need and what you’re willing to spend.

You have to balance out performance and capacity with your budget. As long as you know the basic power requirements you have a good starting point for picking out the perfect solar generator for your needs.

1 thought on “6 Best Portable Solar Generators”

Leave a Comment