8 Best Reviewed Portable Solar Power Generators for 2017

Perhaps a thunderstorm killed your power, but that thesis still needs to be written. Or maybe you are camping with your buddies and want to crank a little music in the middle of the woods.

Best portable solar power generators (photo credit: PR)
Best portable solar power generators
(photo credit: PR)
Regardless of the exact context, we've all found ourselves in a situation in which a power generator would be immensely helpful. The biggest problem with power generators is that they tend to require a form of energy input to convert to electricity, which often means lugging around several gallons of gasoline, kerosene or firewood -- an inconvenience, put mildly, and a significant decrease in portability. The ability to go solar changes that and opens up an entirely new product market that can be dizzying to the novice. So which portable solar power generator is the best for your household or a budding survivalist? Below we will examine the top eight choices to determine exactly that

1. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit w/Nomad 20 Solar Panel 

The Yeti is not as large as the name implies; the accompanying solar panel easily folds down for storage with handles for convenient transportation, and the battery unit's compact frame takes up about as much space as large lunchbox. The front of the diminutive console sports a beastly amount of gadget charging options with sockets to fit most devices. The generator only effectively supports 12 volts devices, however, and the solar panel provides a slow charge to the main battery. So while the Goal Zero Yeti will keep your phone charged or the music bumping, don't count on it for any larger appliances.
Find it on Amazon.

2. Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator Kit
Goal Zero 39004 Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator KitGoal Zero 39004 Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator Kit

At over a hundred pounds, the Yeti 1250 is not something to be moved around any more than is necessary. Goal Zero's larger generator kit not only has an array of plug-in options for smartphones, laptops and media players, but it also sports functionality for larger appliances like fans and even fridges. Common complaints are that the battery doesn't charge very quickly and that there aren't enough frills to justify the price.

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3. Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator

By itself, this product can be more accurately described as a battery. In fact, it is the battery half of the previously listed Goal Zero Solar Generator kit. The unit is itself handily capable of being charged at the wall, though ideally one would use a compatible solar panel to charge the device as fits his or her needs. It's still a very heavy unit, and adding a wheeled transport option (pictured above) is highly recommended.

Find it on Amazon.

4. 5000 Watt 200AH Solar Generator & (2) 100 Watt Solar Panels

Be Prepared Solar offers up this green solution to emergency power. It is economically priced, offering power output and solar power on par with its competitors at a fraction of the price. The no-frills approach does have its downsides. The battery unit has an industrial, handmade look to it and is also very heavy (though it appears wheels come standard). The instructions are also somewhat frequently cited as difficult to understand, and while there are several 110-volt plugs as well as a single USB port, there are no sockets for smaller-wattage devices; the people at Be Prepared Solar seem quite willing to build custom models to rectify that, should it be an issue.

Find it on Amazon.

5. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator

Once again more aptly dubbed a potentially solar-powered battery than a solar generator, this device doesn't actually produce power on its own, but at fewer than 30 pounds, it can be charged in the car and lugged as far as a person in average shape is willing to carry it. It can also be charged with traditional wall outlets and, of course, one's own custom array of compatible solar panels. For the mobility and utility, the Goal Zero Yeti 400 is good at what it does. Just don't expect it to generate solar power without separately purchased solar panels.

Find it on Amazon

6. Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit

As the name implies, this Renogy piece requires neither a separate purchase to power it nor multiple trips back and forth to set up. What's more, the all-in-one solar power generator only weighs in at an underwhelming 12 pounds. With a briefcase-like appearance and convenient handle-and-plug layout, the Firefly is ideal for keeping phones and radios charged during those outdoor adventures. That it is one of the most moderately priced entries on the list is just icing on the cake.

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7. Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Power Generator

The smallest entry yet in Goal Zero's line of potentially solar-powered power packs is a a cautious entry into the world of solar power. The modest battery unit sports the almost universal connectivity of Goal Zero products as well as the standard back-lit screen with easy-to-read display. It can be charged at a wall socket, in the car or by the user's preferred solar panel. At about $200, this is a great way of finding the solar panel that best suits your needs.

Find it on Amazon.

8. Monerator Gusto 10 Eco Kit (128wh) Portable Solar Generator & 10w Solar Panel.

This little guy just looks like science with its smart hazard-sign yellow paint and toolbox shape. The 15-pound unit is quick to charge at any wall and comes with a tiny solar panel included in case of emergency -- not bad for $200.

Find it on Amazon.

The Verdict

If you just need to keep a few mobile devices charged on an outdoor trip or during a brief power outage, the Renogy Firely All-in-One is the way to go as the best intersection between form, function and mobility. For long-term or higher-duty projects, Be Prepared Solar's 200AH Generator and accompanying panels provide the power necessary without the price hike that accompanies a bigger name.


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