10 best solar Powered generators to Buy 2021: What size Solar Generator do you need?

When we think of renewal energy from the sun, we often consider it good for emergencies or appropriate for places where electrical power isn’t installed. That’s still true, but solar power runs so much more these days. Any large array, standalone panel system needs a solar generator to turn that energy into power to run your home, campground or equipment. 

Solar generators run quietly, efficiently and reliably without you having to do much of anything. If they serve as your backup power at home, you may need to flip a switch, but automatic starters are also available. For mobile uses like camping, you can find generators that are lightweight and portable to carry anywhere. 

Perhaps the best reason to have a solar generator is to ensure the safety and security of having continuous renewable power brings. If you rely on home medical equipment or sump pump and live in a disaster-prone area, a solar generator is a must for peace of mind. Our list provides comparisons of systems and their most common uses, but many cross over and can be applied to multiple needs. 

See a related article we have written on the Best Hydroelectric Generators to see other renewable energy options that may work for you.

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10 Best Solar Powered Generators

Best Overall: Renogy Phoenix

Regogy Phoenix Solar Powered Generator
Renogy Phoenix

Style: Portable 

Wattage output: 150W 

Panel output: 20W 

Charging time: 4 hours 

Size: 14” x 13” x 4” 

Weight: 12.8 lbs. 

Sometimes it’s good to start small and expand down the line. Renogy is a proven leader in portable solar technology, and this standalone system is no exception. Add on more panel capacity to take the unit to full battery capacity with a faster charge time. 

This suitcase unit is easy to transport, and it’s ready to serve with four USB ports, an AC connection, and two DC outputs. It can be charged on an AC plug at home, via a car charger, or with solar panels. The two built-in 10W solar panels keep it topped up, and connections allow you to add on external units too (Renogy 100W recommended). 

Note that this system should not be left in conditions where the temperature can exceed 104⁰F to avoid overheating, so leaving it in a closed vehicle on warm to hot days is discouraged. Some connections and cables need to be purchased separately. Expanding now or in the future makes this a flexible and versatile solution for personal electronics in the field and security at home. 

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Best for Small Equipment: Jackery Portable Explorer 500

Jackery Portable Explorer 500 Solar Powered Generator
Jackery Portable Explorer

Style: Portable 

Wattage output: 500W 

Panel output: Add on 

Charging time: 14 hours 

Size: 12” x 8” x 10” 

Weight: 13.3 lbs. 

This is a terrific generator to keep plugged in around the house for those times when the power goes out and your medical equipment needs to keep functioning. It charges three ways: from a solar panel (Jackery SolarSaga 100W suggested, sold separately), from a standard plug in your home, and from a car charger. The charging time noted is for the solar panel; home charge is eight hours and car charge is 16 hours. 

What makes this a great emergency generator is the ability to keep it topped off under normal daily living. When the power goes out, you have a single AC plug to use with medical or office equipment, plus three USB ports for personal electronics. A DC plug handles your vehicle needs too. 

Note that this system cannot support devices that call for more than 500W of power, so it does not have the capacity for coffeemakers and microwaves. There is an even larger 1000W system with three AC plugs if you need those more than you need USB ports (it only has one). For a reliable system you keep plugged in and ignore until the big one hits, this Jackery keeps your personal needs covered. 

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Best for Vehicle Camping: Goal Zero Yeti 1000 (Paired with Boulder 100 Briefcase)

Goal Zero Yeti 1000 Solar Powered Generator
Goal Zero Yeti 1000

Style: Movable 

Wattage output: 1000W  

Panel output: 100W 

Charging time: 12-24 hours with Boulder 100 Briefcase (4 Hours plugged into the wall)

Size: 9.86” x 15.25” x 10.23” (Panels: 26.75 x 21.75 x 3.75)

Weight: 31.7 lbs. (Panels: 25.9 lbs.)

The Goal Zero Yeti 1000 paired with the Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panels is the best combination for a traveling vehicle or camper van. This item produces more than enough power for all electronics while on the road.

For the amount of power gained the medium-sized unit and panels are worth saving the space in the vehicle. Low maintenance, versatile and convenient for long travels with many stops.

It runs three AC plugs, three USB ports and DC connections with cables included. It can surge up to 1300W for variable power needs. 

This unit is also sold as the generator alone, so make sure you select the kit with panels included. Upgrade the panels to Boulder 200W for faster charging (6 to 12 hours). For reliable and warrantied power coverage, Goal Zero is a proven manufacturer.

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Best for Fast Recharging: Generark Solar Generator

Generark Solar Powered Generator
Generark Solar Generator & Panels

Style: Movable 

Wattage output: 1000W 

Panel output: 100W 

Charging time: 7 hours 

Size: 13″ x 9.15″ x 9.57″

Weight: 23.0 lbs. 

If you want something that recharges quickly, this model might do the trick. It includes USB-C (2), USB-A, USB-A quick charge, Car Outlet and AC socket (3) outputs and can run multiple devices at once. It has the juice to run a TV, fridge or other essential high-wattage items alone.  The generator can be fully charged after just 7 hours in the sun.

The Generark is incredibly easy to operate. Because this unit is heavy, you’ll want to target its uses to RV or car camping, tailgating, or emergency home use. It’s good for off-the-grid applications as well, running myriad pieces of cabin equipment. For a solution that bridges portable and movable with heavy-duty capacity, look to this Generark Solar Generator solution.  

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Best for Heavy Duty: BLUETTI Portable Power Station

Bluetti Portable Solar Powered Generator Station
Bluetti Power Station

Style: Movable 

Wattage output: 2000W

Panel output: Add on 

Charging time: 12 hours 

Size: 16.5″ x 11″ x 15.2″ 

Weight: 60.6 lbs. 

If power tools, fridges and TVs are the things you like to run, you need a heavy-duty solar generator to provide the charge.  You’ll be able to see the remaining lithium-ion battery life, usage and charging time on the smart touchable LED display.

The system is not light and therefore is something you’ll want to consider moving by vehicle to those off-the-grid sites. This generator can handle up to 10 devices at once. It holds its charge for months if you forget to plug it back in the AC socket at home. 

This is a unit that should not be exposed to temps below 32⁰F and above 104[Equation]F. Charging devices through the array of AC, DC and USB plugs makes staying protected easy. Partner this with the Boulder 200 solar panel briefcase for a kit keeping you power-ready indefinitely. 

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Best for World Travel: GOLABS Portable Power Station

Golabs portable Solar Powered Generator
Golabs Portable Power Station

Style: Portable 

Wattage output: 160W 

Panel output: Add on 

Charging time: 8 Hours 

Size: 7.5” x 6.7” x 4.7” 

Weight: 6.51 lbs. 

If your plan includes world travel and the differences in electrical needs this implies, this GOLABS could cover you. It fits in a backpack or suitcase easily (add a travel-worthy foldable solar panel like the MOOLSUN 21W Portable Solar Panel). It keeps your devices charged through USB, AC and DC ports. 

Perhaps the biggest issue with this little unit is the charging time. While connecting to an AC plug gets the job done in seven hours, it can take up to three days relying on solar panels. It offers output in dual AC output so you can charge it and use it for foreign adventures, though some cables are sold separately. 

The battery management system is said to maximize the life of your power. The LED screen gives you status and lets you know how low your supply may be running. For trips around the world and uncertainty about power access, consider throwing this into your pack for power no matter what you find. 

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Best for Mobile Offices: CHAFON Power Station

Chafon Solar Powered Generator
Chafon 330W Solar Generator

Style: Portable 

Wattage output: 200W 

Panel output: Add on 

Charging time: 9 hours 

Size: 9.06″ x 5.31″ x 4.33″ 

Weight: 6.26 lbs. 

If you need to run office equipment in a location where no power is available, this CHAFON system will keep you going. Plug it in back at the home office and let it charge fully, then grab and go when you need to hit the road. It supports solar panels of 40-80W (SunPals 80W 18V Portable Solar Panel), with a total charging time of four hours on plug in and ~9 hours on solar. 

What makes it great for many types of office needs is the variety and number of plugs. Two AC plugs can charge anything up to 200W (sorry, coffeemakers), plus four USB plugs keep the small electronics going. It also has one DC 12V connection. 

What makes this great for emergency use is the UPS surge protection, so you can run a mini data center without worries in heavy storms. Some users note what they consider to be a rapid decline in device charging, though it is not clear how many devices they have plugged in at once or if the battery was fully charged to being with. If your need is for a small office solution when electrical power is off, consider this generator to solve your temporary problems. 

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Best for Off-the-Grid: Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W

Nature's Generator Gold System - Solar Powered Generator
Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W

Style: Movable 

Wattage output: 1800W 

Panel output: 100W 

Charging time: 13 hours 

Size: 23” x 22” x 17” 

Weight: 118.0 lbs. 

If you want to keep your movable generator near your tiny house but that’s not best for sun exposure, you’ll appreciate the 50-foot cable attaching the included solar panel to this Nature’s Gold system. It produces plenty of power to run a cabin in the woods or charge lawn equipment in a shed. If you want even more renewable energy, it’s ready for portable wind turbine input as well. 

Charge this unit with standard AC power at home and keep it topped up once you reach your destination via solar power. The built-in big wheels make it easy to roll over uneven surfaces. The solar panel rack tilts to the optimum sun exposure angle. 

Note that this is a heavy system, which is why many users prefer to set it up and avoid moving it often. Adding a second solar panel to the system speeds charging time. Users say recharging it at least once every three months keeps this in ready-to-use shape. 

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Best for Fixed Location: ECO-WORTHY Complete Solar Panel System Kit

ECO-WORTHY Complete Permanent Solar Panel System Kit
ECO-WORTHY Complete Solar Panel System

Style: Permanent 

Wattage output: 1000W with Battery and Inverter

Panel output: 195W 

Charging time: N/A  

Size: N/A 

Weight: ~120 lbs. 

If you’re thinking what we listed so far isn’t what you need to run a remote pump and irrigation system year-round, consider this ECO-WORTHY kit. Your charge comes from 6 solar panels that come with mounting brackets for each. Layout your array based on the best sun exposure for the six panels.

We don’t list size, weight and charging capacity, because it is all ‘it depends’. The generator itself is small, but once fully deployed, panels can take up some space. Because it’s built to handle the elements, it’s a set and forget kind of system you won’t need to check constantly. 

Enjoy the off-grid solar power system expected to last for decades as well as withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa).  If you’re looking for the ultimate combo in renewable energy and want to make the most of what Mother Nature offers, this is a permanent solution for you. 

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Best Budget: PAXCESS 200-Watt Portable Power Station

PAXCESS 200 Watt Portable Solar Power Station
PAXCESS 200-Watt

Style: Portable 

Wattage output: 200W 

Panel output: Add on 

Charging time: 10 hours 

Size: 9” x 5.9” x 5.5” 

Weight: 6.4 lbs. 

This lightweight, light on the wallet generator pairs well with the Paxcess 60W solar panel for a kit for the budget-conscious. It charges at home on your standard wall socket or through the add-on solar panel. Power output includes AC plugs and USB ports, and its plugs are adaptable for up to 18 different kinds of devices. 

You will need to recharge the unit every five months as it won’t hold a charge without use for much longer. Its battery does not hold a substantial charge, which disappoints some users. It is great, though, for keeping cell phones and small electronics up to speed when hiking to a site or bike camping. 

When a solar panel is added, this is a good emergency backup system in disaster areas. (An inexpensive charging solution is the Tenergy Foldable 60W Solar Panel). Its size makes it easy to throw in an emergency vehicle and at this price, buying multiple units is not such a stretch. 

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What You Should Know about Solar Generators

Making an informed decision about what solar generator will be best to meet your needs is more than dollars and cents. You want to know what the system includes, how much capacity it can produce, and how difficult it will be to run on an ongoing basis. The good news is that solar generators are often set and forget kinds of things, buying you peace of mind for ongoing power supplies.  

Begin by making a list of what you want the system to run and how often you’ll be using it. If you aren’t familiar with wattage and the requirements of your appliances and devices, consult manufacturer information for those items or a licensed electrician. You’ll soon see that power needs can add up quickly, but solar generator systems can be sized up to meet your requirements. 

Solar Generator Best for Style Wattage output 
Renogy Phoenix Overall Portable 150W 
Jackery Portable Explorer 500 Small Equipment Portable 500W 
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with Boulder 100 Vehicle Camping Movable 1000W 
Generark Solar GenerFast Recharging Movable 1000W 
BLUETTI Portable Power Station  Heavy Duty Movable 2000W 
GOLABS Portable Power Station World Travel Portable 160W 
CHAFON 346WH  Mobile Offices Portable 500W 
Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W Off-the-Grid Movable 1800W 
ECO-WORTHY Complete Solar Panel SystemFixed Location Permanent 1000W 
PAXCHESS 100-Watt Budget Portable 200W 

How does a solar generator work?

A solar generator is a system with components that include the charge controller and battery storage device, and an inverter that converts the battery’s power into the current used by your devices and electronics. Panels (included or added on) collect full power when the sun shines on them at the optimum angle and without obstructions. On cloudy days, they still collect power, but this does not happen at maximum efficiency and is therefore slower to charge the battery. 

In some cases, a solar generator can be charged from a standard AC plug or car charger as well. The battery can be one unit or many that stand-alone, or it can be built into the overall system with the rest of the components. The inverter converts the power used to charge your devices through AC, USB and DC plugs.  

Taken together, the solar generator can power a small number of devices, a cabin that’s off-the-grid, or a whole house. The system can be sized up to meet your needs, with larger arrays of solar panels and more or bigger batteries. The only other limitation is sun exposure. 

See our related article on Best Solar Power Banks which could be a better option if looking for a smaller more convenient renewable energy option.

What’s a watt?

A watt is a standard measure of electrical power. Without getting technical, it is the answer to the algebraic equation of volts (force) times amperes (current). The abbreviation for watts is W, or Wh (watt-hours). 

What you need to know about it is that every electronic thing you own uses watts, and all are ‘rated’ for how much they need. When you total up all the watts everything needs to run in an average day, you know how many total watts you need to generate in an average day. A typical single-family household requires 6000W or 6 kW (kilowatts) a day to run, while a campsite might need 60W. 

What kind of sun exposure is best for solar generators?

To be effective, the panel portion of your system needs maximum sun exposure. This is normally an angle of 30⁰ between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. However, high latitude installations won’t enjoy that kind of exposure in the winter months, and in the summer, the sun is more directly overhead, decreasing the angle. 

If you live somewhere that does not experience a lot of sunshine, the panels will still work, but they won’t generate the same amount of power. When a solar generator is said to fully charge the battery in, for example, three hours, that’s three hours of the best conditions. Temper your expectations if you deploy the system in a place with lots of dense fog or cloudy weather. 

Consider too where you put up the panels. Shady trees won’t help your power in the summer. If the distance from your panels to the battery is too far, you will also experience some charge loss, though this is minuscule when compared to obstructed sunlight.  

Are solar generators only for emergencies?

Plenty of common applications now use solar generators, from remote off-the-grid installations to mobile uses. RVers often use solar generator systems when boondocking, or parking and camping where there are no services. Running medical equipment in areas with frequently interrupted power or sump pumps when the town is flooded are other examples. 

Farmers employ these systems to run irrigation systems on distant crop fields. The advantage is mobility, moving the solar generator system from one field to the next as needs change. They work well too for fire watchtowers, communications towers, powered access gates, and open water systems like lighted marine buoys. 

Don’t count out the benefits of having one of these systems in your emergency kit, though, particularly if you live in an area where power outages due to natural disasters or uncertain power grids are frequent. Safety and security are a given when you don’t need to rely on the electrical meter circling round and round or firing up a noisy and fuel-dependent gas generator. 

Why are solar power generators better than gas-fueled?

Gas-fueled systems depend on fuel to run. If a hurricane sweeps through your area and there’s no gas supply, you’ll only be functioning for as long as you can fill your generator’s tank. They sound noisy, expel toxic fumes, and use expendable natural resources to run. 

Solar generators are renewable energy, often able to run for years with little or no effort from you, other than keeping the solar panels clean. Once you’ve invested in your system, you’re set, with no further payout or bother required. They can run when there’s sun and on cloudy days too. 

How much power can a solar generator create?

The limiting components of a solar generator system are the solar panels and the batteries. Larger solar panels generally produce more power, so the larger your array, the more capacity your system has to make power. Today, materials for solar panels have advanced to a point where relatively manageable arrays produce plenty of power. 

The charge controller is set to adjust the amount of power coming in for the capacity of your battery or batteries. If you have more power available from the panels than your single battery can hold, you can add more batteries and store even more. If your sun exposure varies greatly, installing more panels and batteries than you need on sunny days can be a good strategy to help you over the cloudy periods. 

A typical entire house system might include a roof full of panels plus a large closet full of batteries and other components to make everything work together. In some cases, you may also connect to the power grid of your local utility, feeding back any excess power to the network serving others and earning you a credit instead of a bill. In that case, you become a mini-power company with none of the hassles of running a utility. 

How expensive is solar power?

Fifty years ago, solar power was considered luxury with the initial installation costs and ongoing replacement costs running about $100 per kilowatt. Today that same energy costs less than a dollar to generate using solar power. That puts it in the affordable range for more consumers every day. 

The price has come down due to improvements in the effectiveness of solar panel construction, and reductions in manufacturing costs. Many utilities and local governments offer tax or other incentives to buyers, knocking a solar generator system’s cost down even further. Financing options have also gone mainstream, which means you can often recoup your initial investment through saved utility bills within a handful of years instead of decades. 

If you still can’t afford a whole house system, consider buying a smaller generator for special uses, like pool filters (with heat provided by solar panels), sump pumps (in emergencies), or workshops or outbuildings. Today’s systems are durable and last for years, ensuring your investment will only become more valuable over time. That translates into peace of mind even if a natural disaster or power emergency never happens. 

FAQs about Solar Generators

We know you have more questions about solar generators and whether they’re right for you. We fielded the most common ones here. Some are expansions of our tips above, so consult there as well. 

  • What are some examples of watts required by appliances? 
  • What kinds of appliances or equipment don’t work well with solar? 
  • What happens to sun exposure as my shade trees grow? 
  • Can solar panels be installed anywhere? 
  • What’s not to love about solar generators? 
Solar Generator Panel output Charging time Size Weight 
Renogy Phoenix 20W 4 hours 14” x 13” x 4” 12.8 lbs. 
Jackery Portable Explorer 500 Add on 14 hours 12” x 8” x 10” 13.3 lbs. 
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with Boulder 100 100W 12 hours 9.86” x 15.25” x 10.23” 31.7 lbs. 
Generark Solar Generator 100W 7 hours 13” x 9.15” x 9.57” 23.0 lbs. 
BLUETTI Portable Power Station  Add on 12 hours 16.5″ x 11″ x 15.2″ 60.6 lbs. 
GOLABS Portable Power Station Add on 8 hours 7.5” x 6.7” x 4.7” 6.51 lbs. 
CHAFON Power Station Add on 9 hours 9.06” x 5.31” x 4.3” 6.26 lbs. 
Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W 100W 13 hours 23’ x 22” x 17” 118.0 lbs.
ECO-WORTHY Complete Solar Panel System Kit195W N/A N/A 120.0 lbs.
PAXCHESS 200-Watt Add on 10 hours 9” x 5.9” x 5.5” 6.4 lbs. 

What are some examples of watts required by appliances?

Wattage is reported to you on your electric bill as kWh used, kilowatt hours used. A kWh is the equivalent of 1000 watts. That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t when you consider some standard (average) equipment needs.  

A 60W lightbulb is left on for 10 hours a day. That lightbulb therefore needs 60 times 10, or 600 watts, or 0.6 kWh. But how many of us run only a single lightbulb throughout the day and night? 

A standard refrigerator can require 3500W (3.5 kWh), central air conditioning can take 5 kWh, and an oven comes in at a whopping 12 kWh. None of these figures may seem that bad when taken alone, but when added together with the TVs and computers and all the lights left on, you develop a need for a very big system very fast. The average American household uses at least 30 kWh per day. 

What kinds of appliances or equipment don’t work well with solar?

Because power requirements can add up so quickly, solar generators are most often considered backup power for a limited list of appliances in large homes. Electricians usually install a subpanel attached to your main electrical panel and route whatever you consider essential to it to plug in and run in a power outage. Solar generator systems big enough to run a large house are often too expensive or too difficult for most of us to install.  

Here’s a tip to help you figure out what’s essential. Think water (electric hot water heater, pressure pumps if you live on a well), food (fridge, freezer, microwave), and communications equipment (plugs for cell phones, laptops, and internet in case that’s still running). After that, you can add in niceties like lots of lights and a TV. 

What happens to sun exposure as my shade trees grow?

This can be a real issue, particularly if you moved into a brand new house with solar panels on the roof and tiny trees planted in the yard. As they grow, they might begin to shade your panels, blocking the sun and reducing panel effectiveness. Things will still work in the winter months when trees lose their leaves, but the sun angle then is not optimized. 

If you have trees that are already shading your panels, consider talking with a licensed arborist about how they could be pruned to create more sun shining through. If you’re planting new shade trees, plan for their placement so they can’t later cause solar panel exposure issues later. As a last resort, adjust and decrease your expectations about how much wattage your system can produce. 

See our related article where we break down How To Charge Solar Lights Without Sun.

Can solar panels be installed anywhere?

Solar panels for your generator system can be installed on a roof or on a rack on the ground. If you can maintain as close to the optimum 30⁰ angle to maximize sun exposure, any flat location will do. If you install the array on the ground, make sure it’s in an area where kids or pets won’t try to use it as a playground. 

Check with your local government planning department on any restrictions on solar panel placement. In some areas, they may be limited to the roof, while in others, the percentage of roof coverage is limited. Homeowners associations may also have controls. 

What’s not to love about solar generators?

The primary complaint people have is the speed to charge the battery. That still seems to be slower than most expect, limited even more by less the ideal sun exposure conditions. If you are draining the battery while you’re trying to charge it, that also creates inefficiency. 

While technology continues to improve at an accelerated rate, solar generators still won’t run everything in a big house unless you put in an equally big system. Someday, miniaturization will carry us further, and small systems will be enough, as we’ve seen with solar generators on the tops of coolers to keep the interior as cold as a fridge. Until then, though, remember that the price is dropping annually.  

Panels are becoming more efficient at power production, with an increase in efficiency of about 5% a decade. In that same time, the cost drops to a fifth of what it was ten years ago. Solar generators will be with us in increasing numbers in the future and may someday replace the high tension wires we see around us today. 

Selection Criteria for Solar Generators

In this section, we offer further explanations of the criteria we use to compare systems. Clearly not all systems are designed for the same uses, but they do have common characteristics and features for you to compare. Refer to our Need to Know and FAQ sections for more elaboration. 

Solar Generator Best for Style Wattage output Panel output Charging time Size Weight 
Renogy Phoenix Overall Portable 150W 20W 4 hours 14” x 13” x 4” 12.8 lbs. 
Jackery Portable Explorer 500 Small Equipment Portable 500W Add on 14 hours 12” x 8” x 10” 13.3 lbs. 
Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with Boulder 100 Briefcase Vehicle Camping Movable 1000W 100W 12 hours 9.86” x 15.25” x 10.23”  31.7 lbs. 
Generark Solar GeneratorFast Recharging Movable 1000W 100W 7 hours 30” x 34” x 5” 23.0 lbs. 
BLUETTI Portable Power Station  Heavy Duty Movable 2000W Add on 12 hours 16.5″ x 11″ x 15.2″60.6 lbs. 
GOLABS Portable Power Station World Travel Portable 160W Add on 8 hours 7.5” x 6.7” x 4.7” 6.51 lbs. 
CHAFON Power Station  Mobile Offices Portable 200W Add on 9 hours 9.06” x 5.31” x 4.33” 6.26 lbs. 
Nature’s Generator Gold System 1800W Off-the-Grid Movable 1800W 100W 13 hours 23’ x 22” x 17” 118.0 lbs.
ECO-WORTHY Complete Solar Panel System KitFixed Location Permanent 1000W 195W N/A N/A 120.0 lbs.
PAXCHESS 200-Watt Budget Portable 200W Add on 10 hours 9” x 5.9” x 5.5” 6.4 lbs. 

Style 

The solar generators listed here are either portable, movable, or permanent. Portable units can easily be moved by one person to wherever you need them. Movable ones can also be moved, but they are heftier and therefore require more muscle and personal power. Permanent systems are typically installed on a roof or ground rack and once deployed, do not move. 

Wattage output  

Solar generators are usually designed for the capacity of the batteries in the system. In some cases, a system can flex to something larger based on surge protection. This is the capacity when the system is fully charged; it can produce more wattage as it recharges during the day while in use. 

Another factor is charging time. If, for example, a system needs 12 hours to fully charge the battery, but you can only expose panels to the sun for eight hours, you will not realize the full wattage output. Our figure here is under optimal circumstances. 

Panel output 

If the panel(s) is a component of the selected system, we include the output here. Total capacity of the system is a function of the panel output times charging time. If a solar panel does not come with the system, we include recommendations in the item comments. 

Charging time 

Charging time refers to how long the solar panel must be exposed to the sun under optimal conditions to charge the system to its full wattage output. 

Size 

Portable units can be the size of a squared briefcase to a movable system on rollers larger than a golf bag. Permanent systems are usually dispersed over multiple locations and size is therefore not available. The overall size (minus solar panels) is listed here.  

Weight 

This is the total weight of the system as listed for sale. If panels are not included, these add weight too.