Updated Jan 12, 2023
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We analyzed 50 Solar Generators across more than 1000 unique data points to bring you our recommendations for the best Solar Generators on the market to suit a variety of uses.
As solar technology improves and our understanding of the climate crisis deepens – especially in the face of steep price hikes to gas and oil – more and more of us are turning to alternative renewable energy sources to meet our needs. Solar generators, whether intended to be portable or stored at home, provide all-in-one solutions for both storing and using powerful solar electricity.
However, it can be near-impossible to separate sales jargon from genuine user reviews in a burgeoning solar market. At House Method, we only deal in clear and concise information gleaned from our expert research and personal experience to give you a straightforward, no-nonsense breakdown of the best solar generators available to you for various purposes and to suit a range of budgets in 2023.
House Method is an educational website focusing on home improvement, with a focus on DIY solar and wind energy solutions for the home, business, and individual. We are a proud member of and contributor to the broader renewable energy community, and our team is made up of clean energy enthusiasts. We spend most of our time scouring reviews, forums, and online stores to find the best products and the most reliable information with which to inform our readers.
From our own personal experience, we know that renewable energy – and in this case, solar generators – often requires significant initial investment before the long-term pay-off can be enjoyed. We know that what a manufacturer says about its product isn’t necessarily representative of the real-life experience of that product’s users, and we know that not all solar generators put out the advertised continuous inverter wattage, hold the advertised battery capacity, or last for the battery life cycles they are supposed to.
Here, we have collated a list of our favorite solar generators available on the global market today.
We haven’t just picked five random solar generators, nor have we been paid to advertise these specific units. Instead, we’ve carefully and meticulously selected the products on this list based on a few key metrics and with a variety of potential solar enthusiasts in mind.
First, we compiled a product tracker to chart the specifications, reviews, and real-life output of over 50 different solar generators across 30 parameters, from price to protection systems, voltage, battery capacity, number of ports, and more—all in all, that equates to a comprehensive product tracker covering over 1,000 unique data points. The full table can be found at the end of the article.
Next, we identified the 3 key parameters which matter most when choosing the right solar generator for you. They are battery capacity, weight, and price. Whilst other metrics are, of course, also important to factor into your final decision, it’s these three parameters that affect the portability, affordability, and versatility of any solar generator. Thus, it’s these three parameters that dictate how suitable a given generator is for your purposes.
Here’s a look at how our research helped us to chart which were the optimal solar generators available to buy across our three primary concerns:
Having researched the market, here are our top picks for solar power gate openers, at a glance.
Best for Budget and Solo Adventurers: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160
Now that you know who we are, why we’ve written this solar generator product review for you, and how we came to pick our top 5 solar generators of 2023, let’s dive straight into the product reviews themselves. With each solar generator, we’ll lay out all of the essential information you need to know, and then examine the product in greater depth, with a range of specific use-cases in mind, and stemming from our own personal research.
The Bluetti EP500 is at the forefront of domestic-scale solar generation and storage, with some of the most impressive specs we’ve seen to date. If used for a full battery cycle every day, this solar generator has an estimated lifespan of a little over 16 years. Best suited to the homeowner with a large-sized solar array, the sheer bulk of this thing prohibits it from use as a portable generator, though its wheels do allow for mobility around the home.
At the time of writing, Bluetti’s EP500 is fresh off the production line, hitting stores for the very first time. As such, it’s hard to say just how accurately the final product is living up to the hype. Having said that, it’s hard not to be impressed by the specs on this monster. Building on a long history of quality machines, Bluetti have sought to push the boundaries of contemporary solar generator design with the EP500.
It also retains some of the much-beloved features of other Bluetti generators, such as the inverter from the AC200P series which kicks out 2,000W of continuous power (enough to power a range of small to medium-sized household appliances and gadgets at once), with a surge capacity of 4,800W. We like the innovative battery, too, which is a LiFePO4 (Lithium-Iron-Phosphate) unit designed to retain a full charge for several months with minimal loss. Additionally, the technology to pair two EP500s together to double their potential output is also in production.
What all of this means for you is that the Bluetti EP500, once available, will serve as a super-reliable home backup power generator for use in sudden, unexpected emergencies, whilst at the same time doing a fantastic job on a more daily basis as an additional source of power for most average household appliances. On the downside, it’s just so heavy that we feel its applications are somewhat limited. We don’t think, for example, that most buyers would be able to lift this generator upstairs or push it along carpeted flooring without significant help. And it most certainly is not suitable for transportation outside the home.
The price may be high, but we think it’s worth it, especially if you already have a large solar array installed and intend to use it regularly; though only at home, and only on the ground floor.
Find the EP500 on:
We were hoping to find a nice mid-market solar generator option for those who want a quality piece of kit but who are working with a relatively tight budget, and in EcoFlow’s RIVER Max we think we found it. Perfectly suited to camping, hiking, and road trips due to its durability and light weight, we would however recommend against purchasing the RIVER Max as a home-based backup generator, as it doesn’t hold a charge for long.
Let’s get one thing straight, the EcoFlow RIVER Max is of no use to you if you’re looking for a home-centered backup generator. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that even as an additional source of power around the home, you’d be better looking elsewhere. Home solar generators tend to be in fairly constant use, which would render the RIVER Max (with a battery life of around 500 cycles) obsolete within a year and a half. Moreover, the RIVER Max can’t hold a charge for very long (despite claims made by the manufacturer). As such, it’s not going to be of any use as a backup generator in a blackout.
Where the EcoFlow RIVER Max does shine, however, is in its use as a lightweight, portable, and highly-functional solar generator for up to week-long camping, hiking, and road trips. Fully charged, the RIVER Max can quite comfortably look after your smartphones, laptops, GoPros, drones, speakers, camping lights, and other gadgets, with the capacity to charge up to 9 devices at once. Here, 500+ life cycles mean 500+ adventures with your solar generator in tow which, depending on how often you venture out, could give it a lifespan of a decade or more.
For a decent battery capacity and an inverter with continuous 600W output and 1,200W surge capacity, the price point on the EcoFlow RIVER Max is definitely impressive and would be our number one choice for portable purposes only. It’s also reputedly very durable – one customer remarking how his RIVER Max survived a fall from the roof of his car whilst traveling along a highway at speed.
Find the EcoFlow RIVER Max on:
If you’re here, as we know many of you are, looking for the best solar generator for off-grid living – be that in an RV or motorhome, on a boat, or in an off-grid home on private property – then look no further. Hysolis are a truly trustworthy and reputable brand, and the MPS3K of theirs is a no-thrills, heavy-duty workhorse with exactly the right kind of battery capacity, life cycle, and surprisingly-impressive inverter to work perfectly in both sedentary and nomadic settings.
Here’s why we chose to include this (let’s face it, kind of ugly) solar generator on our list of the very best top 5 generators on the market: it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. At first appearance, the MPS3K from Hysolis is bulky, heavy, and unattractive, but that’s because the manufacturers have put their time and money, not into aesthetics, but into performance.
Note that, despite the fact the MPS3K has a Lithium-Ion battery (rather than the slower-draining LiFePO4 of the Bluetti EP500), its battery capacity is almost equal to that of the first entry on this list, despite being markedly cheaper and lighter. Similarly, it has an impressive life cycle and would last you at least 5.5 years if charged and drained every single day. What’s perhaps most impressive, however – and the aspect which we think makes the Hysolis MPS3K perfect for off-grid living – is the inverter inside it. This thing is more powerful than any other solar generator inverter on the market. It has a continuous output of a staggering 3,000W and can surge up to 6,000W. Thus, whether you’re running your off-grid refrigerator-freezer, your TV, your power tools, your lighting, or a small mix of everything, the MPS3K is – for its price – the best your money can buy.
Naturally, there are a few downsides to all these positives, the major one being the weight. Though small, the MPS3K is super heavy (121lbs or 55kg). Thus, whilst still just light enough to be portable on an RV, boat, or around your off-grid complex, it is of no use in scenarios such as camping or on a casual road trip. Equally, there are no techy extras to whet your appetite. It’s a simple machine that does the job it’s built for well. But then, that’s kind of what we love about it.
Find the Hysolis MPS3K on:
We’d be loath to write a list of the best solar generators in 2023 without including the most powerful solar generator of them all: the Yeti 6000X from Goal Zero. With a battery capacity of 6,071Wh and an inverter with a continuous output of 2,000W (3,500W surge), the Yeti 6000X is what we’d turn to if looking for a full-blown green energy backup generator for our home.
What is perhaps most surprising about the enormously powerful Goal Zero Yeti 6000X is that it’s actually lighter than many other units of far lesser power. That’s not to say it isn’t still bulky, however. At 106lbs it’s no spring chicken. Thankfully, though, it comes with a carrycase-type handle and wheels, which means that lifting it won’t often be a necessity. Though not suited for camping trips, it could certainly be taken with you on road trips, or incorporated into an off-grid mobile (or stationary) lifestyle.
6,000+W capacity battery and a decent (though, to be honest, weaker than we’d like) inverter, a large number of small and medium appliances can be run with the Yeti 6000X, including a not-insubstantial number of larger appliances too. Where the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X works best is as a backup generator, since it will hold a charge for almost a half year before requiring recharging (which is an especially good thing considering it takes about 11 hours to fully charge with solar panels). In such a role, its short lifespan (500+ cycles) becomes a negligible issue.
A few downsides to consider: It only has two AC outputs and has a surprisingly low voltage (10.9V) for its size. It also doesn’t come with any fancy extras (though, as we stated in the previous review, this doesn’t have to be a negative). On the upside, the Yeti 6000X is competitively priced, especially considering its rank as the most powerful generator around. All in all, it’s our top-rated product on this list (provided it’s only used as advised).
Find the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X on:
Don’t be put off by the low price point or the meager 167Wh battery capacity. For the price you pay, the Jackery Explorer 160 is an absolute powerhouse, and both our highest recommended budget option, as well as our highest recommended personal camping and road trip option. It’s got respectable battery voltage, an in-built inverter (which to have at all at this price is commendable), and 500+ life cycles: especially impressive when you consider the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X above has the same lifespan.
Forget about using the Jackery Explorer 160 at home, as a backup power generator, or as a permanent off-grid solution; it simply wasn’t designed to cope with the associated demands. Even in your RV, motorhome, or boat, the 100W continuous inverter power (150W surge capacity) from a 167Wh battery isn’t going to cut it. But when taken out into the field on a camping, hiking, or road trip, that’s where this little monster really shows off.
As you might expect, given its name – Explorer – the Jackery 160 is built to be taken on adventures. Fast-charging (needing just 4.5 hours solar power to reach full charge), it will then hold its charge for long enough to cover the duration of most long-weekend trips. During that time, you’ll find that its 3 AC outputs and multiple USB ports will keep your smartphone, speakers, camping lights, and camping stove topped up. Paired with a portable solar panel for charging on the go, the Jackery Explorer 160 becomes quite the unstoppable force.
Now, don’t get us wrong, there are limitations to a solar generator this small. However, we just don’t think you can argue with the price here. There are lots of other solar generators boasting a $100-$200 price range, and yet the vast majority of them tend to malfunction, put out less power than advertised, or come with some questionable user reviews. Not so the Jackery Explorer 160. This is one of the most beloved portable solar generators in the entire world, simply because it does what it says it will.
Provided you are using the Explorer 160 for your own, small personal devices and appliances, and only for relatively short trips out into the backcountry, you’ll find that you’ve struck serious gold. If you need to power larger appliances, though, or wish to share your portable power source with friends, we’d recommend you look at the EcoFlow RIVER Max, instead.
Find the Jackery Explorer 160 on:
Our top 5 best solar generators available to buy in 2023 cover a range of needs, from the full-blown daily home generator and reliable backup generator to the off-grid power supply, portable powerhouse, and pocket-size personal gadget-charger. Though there are other great brands and fantastic products out there, based on our research into solar chargers – framed against our priority for weight, price, and battery capacity – we strongly believe that the best 5 solar generators in 2023 are: Jackery Explorer 160, Hysolis MPS3K, Goal Zero Yeti 6000X, EcoFlow RIVER Max and, of course, the Bluetti EP500.
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