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Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Portable Solar Generator

by Jefferson Ebasan June 07, 2021 6 min read

People want to know if a portable solar generator would meet their demands, choose the best solar-powered generator, and calculate the required wattage and size. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, and keeping up with the quick speed of solar invention is difficult.

The majority of people who are interested in portable solar generators are new to the solar field. It's usually a guy who lives in a regular home but wants to start dabbling in solar energy. He could want to live in a tiny house or perhaps buy a complete solar panel system to power his regular-sized home someday.

It's worth noting that the phrase "solar generator" is a misnomer. A power pack with solar panels is usually what people are referring to. It's either a DIY project or something you can buy off the shelf. These are low-wattage devices. They can be costly because they're a turnkey solution, but they're a great way to get your feet wet in the solar field.

Without prior experience, making the switch to solar panels is a daunting undertaking. It's also a substantial expense, as my friend discovered after writing a $19,000 check for his tiny house's solar panel installation. But, if you get past the first shock of paying so much for the system, it's well worth it. It isn't easy to put into words how wonderful it is–A guy I know hasn't paid a power bill in years! Not to mention the fact that 55% of his system qualified for a tax credit.

As a result, solar-powered generators are a great way to get a taste of the solar world without making a significant investment. The majority of folks who inquire about solar generators have a do-it-yourself mindset. They frequently ask as to whether solar is something they can do on their own. Can people build a small solar power system themselves using a Harbor Freight kit?

Is it worth it to invest in solar generators? Before you invest your money in a portable solar generator, here's what you should know.

Solar Generators: Managing Expectations

The most important advice we can give to anyone interested in solar generators or solar electricity, in general, is to keep their expectations in check. To be sure, it took a lot of time and money to get everything up and to run. There are also drawbacks.

When you go off the grid with a solar panel system, you'll need to make several lifestyle adjustments:

Bad Weather — if it's been raining for a week, you might be reaching for a blanket while your battery runs out.

Snow -Are you prepared to get out in a blizzard and clean snow off your panels?

Can't use the Telephone - if your power goes out, you are alone.

Also, you need to keep in mind that the batteries must be charged, terminals must be cleaned, fuses must be changed, and panels must be cleaned.

A portable solar generator is an ideal gateway choice before going entirely solar. It enables you to learn about the foundations of solar power generation and how larger systems operate. It also allows you to acquire a sense of capacity (on a modest scale) before scaling up later. This is quite beneficial since you learn to understand exactly what you need to complete specific tasks.

The tiniest solar-powered generators aren't that practical. The tiniest ones are only capable of charging a cell phone or a small laptop. So expecting a minimal investment or even a little DIY solar generator kit to provide enough power to live off the grid or run your household appliances is unrealistic.

The majority of small solar generators have less than 500 watts (typically around 2-300 Watts). The battery and power pack will set you back $500 or more, and you'll need one or two panels that cost $3-400 each. These solar generators will not be able to power your stove or air conditioner.

A traditional larger-scale system with lead-acid batteries may be had for $1 per watt. A solar generator should cost $2-$3 per watt because it is turnkey and often uses higher-performing lithium-ion batteries.

What Are the Benefits of Portable Solar Generators?

When you're camping or in an emergency, portable solar generators are beneficial. If you're caught in a hurricane or your city experiences a significant power outage, a tiny solar-powered generator is a terrific asset to have. They're commonly bought for emergency preparedness kits and shelters. Of course, you won't be able to power your entire house with it, but you will have light and the ability to charge your tiny electronics, which can be lifesaving in some situations.

These small solar generators are also useful for camping and tailgating. You can utilize the portable solar generator to power your needs for a weekend trip if you own an RV or a teardrop trailer. They're great for charging your phone or providing a tiny quantity of electricity to a device (like a light). If you frequently tailgate, a solar generator can easily keep your radio running without exhausting your car battery.

Small fans, LED lights, charging your small portable electronics, and other low-power jobs work well with solar generators. Solar-powered generators work well with several high-efficiency televisions. A solar generator can also be used to charge a laptop or tablet.

We know many construction workers and builders use these portable solar generators to keep their gear charged while on the job. A solar generator can be used as a continuous power source for battery-powered drills, saws, power tools, and other small pieces of equipment on a construction site. If your construction site is far from a power supply and you'll be working for a few days, solar-powered generators are ideal. Likewise, a solar generator will keep your tools running if you're building a cottage or tiny house in the country.

Many jobs, however, are not suitable for a solar generator. These gadgets consume far too much energy to run effectively (or at all) on a portable solar generator.

The following items will not run properly on a portable solar generator:

  • Coffee maker, hair dryers/straighteners, hot plates, toaster ovens, and anything else with a heating element.
  • Microwaves, slow cookers, and blenders are examples of small appliances.
  • Desktop computers, game consoles, and some projectors are examples of large electronics.
  • Heating and cooling: Any size air conditioner (window or otherwise), as well as any size heater.
  • Refrigeration: A huge solar generator can only run a tiny modern fridge for a few hours.

It's all about having the correct tool, as it is with most occupations. In any situation, we give the following advice: if you want to accomplish a good job, you must invest in the proper equipment. On the other hand, if you choose the incorrect tool for the job, it will not meet your expectations.

How to Choose the Right Solar Generator for You

Suppose you've assessed the advantages and disadvantages of solar generators and believe you have a good notion of what you need (and what the solar generator can do). In that case, it's time to choose the finest solar generator for you.

Our most important piece of advice for anyone considering switching to solar power is to find out precisely what you want to charge first. Next, determine your power needs (often referred to as your power profile). Finally, what is the breakdown of what you will need to assess and utilize when using your solar generator?

Exploring your needs first is crucial, even if you're just getting started with a portable solar generator because these are significant investments. A tiny solar generator with panels and a power bank will set you back a lot of money. So before you spend a few thousand dollars on anything that can only charge your phone or run an LED light, make sure you know exactly what you need.

After you've decided what you want to charge and how big a solar generator you'll need, it's time to plan your strategy. Are you more of a do-it-yourselfer? Do you think you'd be more comfortable buying the parts and putting together a solar generator yourself, or would you prefer an off-the-shelf generator system?

If you're buying something off the shelf, make sure to ask the following questions:

  • Can you use a power manager to plug it into the wall as a backup?
  • Does it fulfill your requirements?
  • Does it employ proprietary components, or is it compatible with other connectors and components?
  • Does it fit your needs in terms of portability?
  • Will it charge from a home outlet, a car outlet, or solar panels?
  • Does it come with a variety of power outlets?
  • Is it possible to daisy-chain panels to increase power?

Purchasing off-the-shelf is a fantastic alternative, but keep in mind that different companies employ unique connectors. Always double-check before buying a product that won't function with the parts you currently have.


Our main piece of advice for solar generators is to keep your expectations in check. You won't be able to use a solar generator to power your refrigerator, blender, microwave, or television. It's not going to work out. You may, however, learn how solar works by using a solar generator. Before you move up to a whole system, it can help you get acclimated to the oddities of relying on solar electricity.

Camping, charging equipment, and hobbyists all benefit from solar generators. If you're interested in solar energy but don't know where to begin, solar-powered generators are a great place to start.

Jefferson Ebasan
Jefferson Ebasan

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