One of the best generators that you can have for your home on the wheels is a solar-powered generator, especially when you don’t have access to any electricity. Green energy today is more reliable and cleaner than most of the other power sources available on the market. Using solar-powered generators is not only environmentally friendly but will also save you a lot of money. It is crucial that you choose the best solar generator for your RV or van by considering different important factors.
|Goal Yeti 400||Convenient with plenty of power output like AC, USB, and 12|
Well-designed for ease of portability
Chainable with other lead-acid batteries
|Wear out quickly|
Low battery output
Battery is not long-lasting and stops holding charge after seven months
|Jackery Explorer 1000||Lightweight but enough capacity|
Affordable for the features it offers
Plenty of charging options
|Cheap-feeling build quality|
|Wagan EL2547||Easy to use|
No connections are required
Has two terminals for solar panel expansion
|A bit heavy at 155 pounds, the plastic body is not durable|
|Peppermint Energy Forty2 Max||Long-lasting power source|
Ultra high-quality design
No setup is required
|No manual guide|
|Ecoflow Delta||Recharges incredibly fast|
Can be charged through multiple solar panels
Six AC outlets
Maximum output higher than others
|Less total capacity than other competitors|
|PAXCESS 100-WATT||Easy to use|
Lightweight at 3.3 pounds
Can charge devices at the same time
BMS to prevent overcharging and overheating
Doesn’t retain charge for long
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station: Most Popular Solar Generators
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station is one of the most popular solar generators on the market. Goal Zero is a manufacturer that is known for producing portable solar power panels, accessories, and generators. This solar generator is known to be powerful and sturdy.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station comes with a 396Wh lead-acid battery that can provide power up to seven 33Ah at 12-volt devices at the same time. Also, the versatile array of power output such as AC, USB, and 12V makes this generator convenient.
It has an informative LCD screen that will let you know your power input and output, position your panels appropriately, and estimate your runtime. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station also comes with an original integrated design that will allow a chainable connection with other 33Ah lead-acid batteries to make sure your power is long-lasting.
With this solar generator, you don’t have to worry about frequent recharging, which makes it an impeccable alternative power source for those who don’t want to deal with any gasoline generator fumes, noise, or maintenance issues.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station only comes with a wall charger, but if you have the extra money, you can purchase a lighter cord separately at a lower price. It also can only take up to 120 watts, and the excess wattage from the panel will go to waste.
This solar generator is great at powering small domestic devices and appliances. It can be doubled by changing extra compatible batteries that can create up to a 100Ah system.
There are a couple of downsides to this unit, however. The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station wears out quickly despite proper charging and storage. Also, it has a low battery output of 33Ah, and it can’t power a device that requires 3.3 amps for over ten hours. The battery is also not long-lasting as it stops holding a charge after seven months.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station is available on Amazon for $449.95.
Jackery Explorer 1000: The Best Solar Generator All-Around
Another highly rated portable solar-powered generator is the Jackery Explorer 1000. It provides a maximum capacity of 1002 watt-hours. Even though this unit has a lower capacity rating, it can power a tabletop fan for 4.5 hours longer than other models on the market. It is also cheaper, lighter, and rated at less capacity, so it is best to keep in mind.
Since the Jackery Explorer 1000 has a maximum output of 1000 watts, you can’t run higher-wattage appliances and tools. It also has three standard AC outlets, two USB-C ports, two USB-A outlets, and a 12-volt car outlet. It can also power a mini-fridge for about 17 hours, charge a laptop eight times, and run an electric grill for about 50 minutes.
Just like other portable power stations, it can be recharged through solar panels, AC outlets, or even your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet. It takes 6.5 hours to charge in solar panels, 5.5 hours on AC outlets, and 11.5 hours to recharge on a 12-volt outlet, respectively.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 is noiseless, strong, and safe to use at such a large capacity. The Jackery Explorer 1000 will leave you with very little to no noise, which will provide you peace and power at the same time. The interior and exterior of the unit are well designed to make sure it is always safe to use.
If you want to get by with less capacity, the Jackery Explorer 500 is available for you. Aside from the smaller battery, it is nearly identical to the Jackery Explorer 1000. If you want an in-depth article on this generator, I have written one out for you!
The downside of this generator is some people complain about the cheap-feeling build quality, but other than that, it works perfectly for your needs.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 is available on Amazon for $999.00.
Wagan EL2547 Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus: All-In-One Renewable Generator
The Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus is the ultimate solar generator that is certainly an ultimate portable power source. It has an all-in-one renewable portable solar generator that is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box. This generator is also user-friendly, and no connections are needed to get it going.
It is also extremely adaptable and convenient, thanks to the additional solar panels and batteries that you can connect for more power. It has two more terminals for solar expansion when you need them. The Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus also provides instant access to your AC power.
It is built with an 1800 watts Pure Sine Wave Inverter with an internal 60 AH battery. With these features, it can help produce 720-watt hours of total output on a single charge. It also comes with a 50-foot power panel cable for easy connecting to the power panel. Assembling the unit is required, but it does come with a manual that you can follow.
The front of the Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus also features a light-up LCD screen that provides information such as battery level, charging status, output usage that can go above 100 watts, and so much more. The unit’s back panel has a 600-volt/175 AMP expansion port connecting an unlimited number of generator power pods.
The best thing about the Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus is it includes a cart that allows for easy movement and transportation of the unit. With the extra power pods, you would have to buy them separately if you want to add more.
Unfortunately, this solar generator cannot run your washer, dryer, microwave, or refrigerator as it only runs on 1500 watts. It is also not waterproof, so you would have to keep this dry as much as possible or keep it inside your rig if it is raining outside.
The downside to the Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus is it is a bit heavy, weighing 155 pounds. Also, it has a plastic body that is not so durable.
The Wagan (EL2547) Solar e Power Cube 1500 Plus is available on Amazon.
Peppermint Energy Forty2 Max All-in-One: A Great Catch
The Peppermint Energy Forty2 Max All-in-One is the best portable solar generator that you can get for your money. It features built-in heavy-duty elements, and all its components come in one suitcase. It is a great feature since you can easily store it in your campervan or RV.
It has an industry-leading battery capacity of 2000 watt-hours that can hold power for up to six months. With 2000 watts of surge power and 1000 watts of continuous sine wave energy, this unit can power the important appliances you need in your rig. You can run your laptop, televisions, and fridge on this solar-powered generator.
The unit runs on both cold and hot days, which is great if you plan to go to locations with different weather conditions. The batteries will last for years under normal operation, and if needed, they can be replaced with the newest version by the factory.
The Peppermint Energy Forty2 Max All-in-One is also designed for one-handed portability. All you have to do is open it up and turn the power on, and then you are good to go. It is also fast charging with lithium-ion batteries that you can charge for as little as three hours.
You can just place it over your campervan or RV roof and leave it harvesting energy while you go out and enjoy the great outdoors. There will be plenty of energy when you return so you can enjoy the evening with a movie or spend some time on your computer or laptop.
The only downside to this unit is there is no manual guide, but the installation is pretty easy, so you don’t have to worry about it missing.
The Peppermint Energy Forty2 Max All-in-One is available on Amazon for $2,499.99.
Ecoflow Delta: Great At Powering Lots of Devices at One Time
If you are looking for a power station that can power plenty of devices at one time, the Ecoflow Delta is the best choice for you. This unit has the most ports and has the ability to charge plenty of things at once. Unlike other generators on the market, this unit is very portable, which is great for campervans and RVs.
The Ecoflow Delta offers 13 ports, which include six AC ports on the back of the unit. It has a capacity of 1260 watt-hours and a maximum total output of 1800 watts. With these features, you have enough power to pretty much any appliances or devices that you may have in your rig. It can also be capable of charging an electric vehicle easily.
The Ecoflow Delta weighs 30.9 pounds, but it will provide the ability to charge so many different devices at the same time. The extra weight that it has is a small price that you have to pay when choosing this solar-powered generator. The best feature that this unit offers is the ability to be recharged quickly.
You can connect it to four 100-watt solar panels that will fully recharge it in four to eight hours. If you plug it into a standard AC outlet, you can recharge it from zero to 80 percent in less than an hour.
The Ecoflow Delta can run a freezer for 10 to 20 hours, a coffee maker can make 50 to 60 cups, a toaster can be used for 0.6 to 1.2 hours, and a laptop can be used for 23 plus hours.
Now, the only downside to the Ecoflow Delta is its lower total capacity than the other units that are on the market.
You can purchase the Ecoflow Delta on Amazon for $1,099.00.
PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station: Convenient and Versatile Unit
The PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station is one of the most convenient, versatile, and large capacity generators on the market. IT is designed for campervans and RVs as well as whenever you need urgent power. It also features adaptable outputs that can charge up to 18 devices like small laptops and phones, as well as other devices that you may have in your rig.
This unit is easy to recharge from an AC outlet with a maximum of eight hours from a solar panel and up to eight hours, depending on the size of your solar panel and condition. It can also charge for up to 13 hours from a 12-volt outlet. The unit has a dual 110V AC which is great for laptops, box fans, camera batteries, and so much more.
It has a three 12-volt DC for a vehicle-powered device that is under 180 watts, such as a vehicle vacuum, refrigerator, 12-volt fan, etc. The PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station has two five-volt USB port for your phones, iPad, GPS, camera, and other devices that you have that needs to be plugged into a USB.
Now, you do need to purchase an extrasolar panel so that it can be charged through solar. The PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station features BMS to prevent overcharge and over-heating when you use it.
However, there are two downsides to the PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station. First, it is not as durable as the other generators on this list due to its poor quality. Second, it doesn’t retain a charge for a long time.
You can purchase the PAXCESS 100-Watt Portable Generator Power Station on Amazon.
Factors to Look for When It Comes to Buying Solar Generators
It is important that you decide what solar-powered generator is right for you, and you need to consider different factors before you go out and buy your solar generators for your campervan or RV. Factors such as the types of appliance or devices that you would need to charge and how often you will be without the traditional power source. The following are some of the crucial factors that you need to consider before shopping for your solar generators.
The Types of Solar Panels Available
There are three types of solar panels that are available on the market. They are monocrystalline panels, thin-film, and polycrystalline solar cells or amorphous crystal panels. Each of them offers different efficiency levels. Monocrystalline panels are the most common type of solar panel and are slightly more efficient than polycrystalline cells.
The thin-film panels are newer to the technology and are flexible, durable, light, and more affordable than the two on the list. However, it is about half as efficient as other types of solar panels. Most times, they are included with the generator and sometimes are sold separately.
Battery Type of Your Solar-Powered Generator
The two most common options when it comes to generator batteries are lead-acid and lithium-ion. Lead-acid is used to power automobiles, while lithium-ion is often used for running power tools. They are increasingly used in solar-powered generators since they are lightweight.
Now, they tend to be more expensive than lead-acid types, but they have a longer lifespan, saving you money on replacement batteries and keeping them out of landfills.
The Battery Capacity and Power Rating of Your Generator
Solar generators run on stored energy, so you will want to consider the battery’s capacity or the total amount of electricity is stored in the generator. You also want to know the power rating, which is how much power is delivered at a time. A battery with a high capacity and low power rating typically delivers less electricity for a longer period of time.
Know the Weight of Your Solar-Powered Generator
Weight is the most important thing that you need to think about when you are living on the road. For portability, look for generator units that are easier to carry and move. You also have to think about whether you can store the generator easily since you wouldn’t have that much space on your campervan or RV.
Charge Controllers on Solar-Powered Generator
The charge controller will regulate the current from the solar panels to keep the batteries on your generator from overcharging. The simplest controllers will cut the connection between the battery and the panel when the maximum voltage is reached. Now, they are reliable, but they are not particularly efficient.
There are generator models that use three-stage or maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to handle current flow more effectively and will squeeze power out of your system.
If you are looking for a generator that has optimal performance, make sure that you look at controllers that are waterproof and have LED screens that will provide information about the efficiency of your system. When you learn more about solar power, it will help you get the most out of your generator.
Things to Avoid When Buying Solar-Powered Generators
Most early solar generators were made with proprietary components that didn’t allow the system to be expanded or even upgraded with off-shelf components. There are some systems today that are made with batteries that aren’t replaceable, and if any part has been damaged, you will need to buy a replacement directly from the manufacturer. Now, not all people would want this in case they need a part for emergency purposes.
Even though proprietary systems can be a great option for your solar-powered generator, you should always know the risk versus benefits and properly weigh them.
Try to steer clear of incomplete kits that need purchasing expensive additional components and proprietary systems for which replacement parts are no longer available for you to buy. Also, avoid any electronic components that are not completely waterproof; this way, you can place your solar-powered generators outdoors and not only indoors.
Lastly, avoid generators with minimal warranties or made by companies that don’t have a solid industry presence or experience.
Choosing the best solar generator will not only offer convenience but will also be a great thing to have while you enjoy your adventures on the road. It can be challenging and overwhelming, but as long as you know what you are looking for, you are good to go. Each brand and options come with different features that may come in handy while you live on the road full time. If you want to know about portable generators, here is an article that I have written for you.