If you’re someone who loves exploring nature, sleeping outside and spending time away from the creature comforts of home, then a solar generator might be the perfect addition to your set-up.
Portable solar generators are of course devices that you can use to power cooking appliances, mobile phones and more to help you get more out of your travels. Unlike conventional power generators though, a portable solar generator will have the considerable advantages of being renewable (meaning that it’s free to refuel and you’ll never ‘run out’ of gas) and of being less invasive and kinder to the environment.
Being a great camper should mean that you leave the environment exactly as you find it, without even disturbing any of the local wildlife – and a solar generator will help you to do just that.
So what are the benefits of solar generators?
For starters, a solar generator doesn’t make any sound and doesn’t make any smoke or gas. This means you can bring it inside your tent or RV without worrying about poisoning yourself with noxious gasses and of course it means you’re not polluting the atmosphere either.
Because your solar generator won’t rely on petroleum, that means that it doesn’t need to be ‘refuelled’. This will be a one-off expense and from then onward, the sun will help you ‘top up’ completely for free whenever you need to. As well as being much cheaper in the long-term, that also means you’ll never be caught out.
The worst case scenario is that you have to wait a while to recharge – but you’ll always have means of getting more energy. As an added bonus for boat lovers, the lack of fuel means that a fully-charged solar generator is much lighter and so it won’t slow you down.
Solar chargers now also come in a variety of different models with different specifications to suit any needs. There are also a wide range of similar devices, including folding solar chargers, mobile chargers, solar lanterns and full blown generators capable of powering multiple devices for long periods.
With all that in mind, how do you go about choosing a portable solar generator and what should you be looking for?
The first and most obvious factor is the design. A good solar generator should have a portable design and this will partly this will depend on your intended use. If you want to use your portable generator in the garden and occasionally bring it with you on a trip, then it won’t need to be as portable as something you want to camp or boat with regularly. Look for handles and consider the weight. Wheels can also be a help.
Another thing to consider is just how much energy you need, many chargers will come with a chart showing you how long a variety of different devices and appliances will be able to run off of a single chart. You should also ascertain whether or not the charger can be ‘expanded’. Some solar generators will allow you to expand the panels by adding to your array. This of course means you can increase the capacity to meet your specific demands!
Consider too just how long your generator will take to charge and what ports and sockets it has available. Of course, if you often need to share your portable generator with other campers/travellers, then it’s all the more important that it be able to let everyone plug in at once!
Keep all this in mind as you consider our picks for the top 3 portable solar generators on the market right now…
Goal Zero is definitely one of the leading names in solar generators and you’ll find a lot of different products from the company filling up the top spots.
This is a seriously heavy duty solar generator that has enough power to run everything from laptops and phones (of course) to refrigerators and televisions. While this is a good fit for camping, boating and taking in your RV, the device is actually powerful enough to be used as a back-up generator solution for any home or business, which should give you an idea as to its capabilities.
That power brings with it a little more weight but thankfully the design includes a suitcase-style extending handle and wheels to make it easy to move around. Fast recharging is also possible through a wall plug if you don’t have time to charge properly and it can be extended with a BOULDER 15 or 30 solar tripod.
In other words, this is the full package and a great option for anyone looking to supply some eco-friendly power to their trips.
Like we said, Goal Zero are really dominating the market right now with their wide variety of different high quality products. This option needs to be connected to an external solar panel however and is a smaller and more portable option.
If you already have panels, if you’re looking to spend less, or if you want something a little lighter and even more portable, then this is the better model to choose – but you’re still getting to benefit from the very excelling Goal Zero Yeti brand and everything that comes with that!
While the previous model can power fridges and the like, this generator is better suited to smaller household appliances and laptops.
And now we have the ‘other end’ of the spectrum. The solar pod 240 is a small and highly portable solar generator that is particularly well suited to camping and even light enough to be throw in a backpack potentially.
It is capable of charging laptops, phones and more and can also be fast-charged from a car or 12V DC plug. Solar panel accessories come with the package, so there’s no need to look elsewhere to build your array. Despite its small size and cute form factor, this product has a surprisingly decent capacity at 240Wh.
We’ve seen a few different portable chargers here and each has its own unique advantages. Ultimately, finding the right product for you is going to come down to getting the perfect balance of portability versus affordability and power. For those who want a lot of power and plan on keeping their generator largely in an RV for instance, something like the Goal Zero Yeti With Roll Cart will provide the very most power and greatest range of features.
But if you’re looking for something lighter that can be brought on a camping trip and even perhaps taken camping, then the SolarPod is the better choice. Whatever you decide though, you’re bound to find that it adds a great deal to your adventures being able to silently charge your devices and appliances on the go with zero noise and zero fumes. Happy camping and be sure to let us know what you choose in the comments below!