Living off-grid offers a raft of benefits, especially for those who enjoy roaming free and escaping the stresses and strains of a busy schedule. While some may dream of unplugging and getting back to basics, even the hardiest travelers need access to electrical appliances and devices. Thanks to innovations like solar generators, it’s possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can live off-grid while having the option to make the most of creature comforts and everyday essentials.
A solar generator is essentially a giant battery pack, which turns sunlight into energy. With a solar generator, you can keep a fridge cold and power mobile devices without worrying about the cost of electricity or having to find charging points or public facilities and amenities while overlanding.
If you’re keen to embrace a new lifestyle, you’re planning an off-road adventure, or you’re considering going off-grid for a while, you may be wondering which solar generator to buy. In this guide, we’ll discuss the uses and benefits of solar generators and highlight some of the best products on the market at the moment to help you choose.
MUST READ: What is Overlanding?
When and why would I need a solar generator?
Solar generators are a popular investment for people who live off-grid, as well as those who like to explore and travel. Whether you live in an off-grid cabin, you have an RV or a caravan, or you enjoy road trips and far-flung adventures off the beaten path, it’s worth considering buying a portable solar generator. Solar generators are suitable for the following activities, trips or lifestyles:
- Living off-grid
- RV road trips
- Long-distance journeys
Portable solar generators are like a portable power station, which uses solar power to run devices and appliances. Most solar generators collect and convert energy from solar panels and convert it into electricity.
What are the benefits of a solar generator for off-grid living?
There are several benefits of using solar generators for off-grid living. These include:
Solar generators provide portable power for people on the go. With a solar generator, you don’t have to worry about getting back to the city or finding places with a power supply to keep your devices running.
Solar generators offer a reliable power source without grid power, enabling those who live off-grid and like to travel to benefit from a constant supply of power without being close to major towns and cities. Having a solar-powered generator also provides backup power for emergencies.
One of the main reasons why people buy a solar-powered generator is to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of living off-grid and traveling wherever and whenever they want. Off-grid solar generators make it possible to embrace a different lifestyle without sacrificing all the advantages of modern technology.
Most solar generators have substantial battery capacity with a power output capable of running multiple devices at the same time.
Unlike gas generators, even the most powerful solar generators are relatively quiet.
Many of us are concerned about energy usage and the cost and impact on the environment. Solar power is a form of renewable energy, which facilitates sustainable off-grid living.
Features to look for in the best solar generators
If you’re buying a solar generator, it’s natural to want to find the best solar generator. When you’re shopping and browsing, it’s wise to consider these key factors and look for these features:
Most solar generators have lithium-ion batteries, which offer enhanced battery capacity to enable you to use your devices for longer. Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy rating than lithium iron phosphate. The bigger the battery capacity, the higher the power output and the longer the battery will last. It’s important to remember that bigger batteries take longer to charge. Consider your power usage and requirements when deciding whether you need multiple batteries.
It’s crucial to consider how you’re going to use your solar generator before you decide which product to buy. Portability is essential for those on the move and people who like to travel and explore the great outdoors. If you’re buying a generator for an off-grid cabin, portability is less important.
A solar generator setup usually involves connecting the unit to the solar panels directly, but this is not the only option. You may want to explore solar generators that have additional input ports, including DC and AC ports. It’s also wise to research output ports. Using a generator with multiple AC ports and USB ports, including USB A ports, enables you to run several electronic devices. From a portable fridge and an electric grill to a car charger, you can power multiple devices.
What are the best solar generators for off-grid living?
Here are our top 5 solar generators for off-grid living and overlanding:
1. Jackery Solar Generator 1000
Jackery is one of the leading names in solar generators for off-grid living. The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 is a comprehensive solar generator setup with impressive power output. This generator has built-in battery capacity of 92300 mAh and 3 sine wave AC outlets, offering 1000 watts of power storage. There are two solar panels, which each provide 100 watts of output for rapid charging. The unit can run up to eight devices and it has four USB ports.
- Powerful solar generator
- Quick charging
- Run multiple electronic devices simultaneously
- 2-year warranty
- Complete setup with accessories and two solar panels
- One of the most expensive options
2. ROCKPALS Portable Generator
ROCKPALS is another well-known manufacturer. This portable solar generator has an output wattage rating of 500 and built-in battery capacity of 64800 mAh. There is a dual AC output and you can charge this portable power station via solar panels or an AC wall socket. This option is best suited to small and medium-sized appliances. If fully charged, it will charge an average smartphone around 25 times.
- Fast and quiet operation
- Built-in battery capacity of 140400 mAh
- Compatible with 100 and 60 watt solar panels
- Suited to many appliances
- Excellent choice for buyers on a budget
- Solar panels purchased separately
3. FlashFish Solar Generator
The FlashFish Solar Generator for off-grid living is one of the most popular products on the market. It offers 60000 mAh battery capacity and up to 300 watts power output. Suitable for small appliances and electronic devices, it has 2 AC outlets, 2 DC outlets and extra USB ports for compatible devices. This is a durable, hard-wearing solar generator, which is suited to outdoor use. Charging takes 6-7 hours.
- Quick charging
- Built-in battery capacity of 60000 mAh
- Portable and lightweight
- Some buyers may prefer a unit with a higher battery capacity
4. Bluetti MAXOAK Solar Generator
One of the most powerful solar generators available, MAXOAK’s solar generator has in-built battery capacity of 101351 mAh and an output wattage rating of 1000 watts. This unit is capable of powering everything from blenders to hairdryers and it has an array of ports and outlets to run a diverse range of appliances and devices. The generator connects to two solar panels with a combined output of 400 watts. A full charge takes around 5 hours. There is also an AC wall outlet.
- High power output
- Fast charging
- Able to run all kinds of devices and appliances
- In-built battery capacity of 101351 mAh
- Some solar generators have a better reliability record
5. GOLABS R300 Solar Generator
The GOLABS Solar Generator is one of the best all-rounders for those who overland or live off-grid. Providing a reliable power source combined with portability, this is a great choice for running and charging smaller electrical appliances, such as smartphones and laptops. The GOLABS unit has in-built battery capacity of 93437 mAh and it’s the same size as a wireless speaker.
- Compact and portable
- Multiple outlets
- Other generators have higher output wattage
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Solar generators offer an array of benefits for people who live off-grid and those who like to travel and enjoy camping and outdoor living. We hope this article helped you find the right solar generator for your next overlanding or off-grid adventure. As always we recommend being fully prepared for the worst when overlanding, that's why we created the best recovery gear in the industry. Check out our Rhino USA store for the highest quality off-road and recovery gear, and don't forget, our product always come with a lifetime guarantee!
Overlanding involves making long journeys over land so it’s essential to look for a solar generator that is portable and reliable. Assess your power usage and make your decision based on the appliances and devices you want to use, the max power output required and your budget.
It’s difficult to give a universal answer to this question, as every buyer has different requirements and preferences. However, our top pick is the Jackery Solar Generator 1000, due to the fact that it has a large battery capacity, and includes the comprehensive package with solar panels. The best solar generators for off-grid living provide a reliable power supply and sufficient battery capacity and power output to run the desired appliances and devices.