Updated 1 month ago

Best solar generators: pros and cons from our expert testing

Written by Ben Zientara , Edited by Catherine Lane

Solar generators are portable power stations that combine batteries with one or more solar panels to provide electricity almost anywhere you need it. 

But, not all solar generators are created equal. They’re not all meant for the same purpose, either. Each system has different energy storage capacities, output ports, and maximum power ratings. 

No matter how you plan to use a solar generator, at least one will be a great fit for your needs. Our team of solar experts tested a dozen of the latest and greatest portable power stations on the market in 2024 to find the best solar generators for every type of user. You can watch our full video review below or read on to find the right solar-powered generator for you! 

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5 best solar generators of 2024

After testing 12 generators, we narrowed it down to the five best models: 

  1. Best portable solar generator: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro

  2. Best large portable solar generator: Anker SOLIX F2000 (PowerHouse 767)

  3. Best affordable solar generator: OUPES 1200

  4. Best feature-rich solar generator: EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max

  5. Best overall solar generator: Bluetti AC300 + B300

Let’s take a closer look at each one and see what makes a great solar generator stand out.

Best portable: EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro

The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is a small wonder. Weighing in at 17.8 pounds and with 768 watt-hours (Wh) of energy storage, the RIVER 2 Pro packs the most energy per pound of any power station we tested. That’s a great data point, but this battery has a lot more to offer.

Best large portable: Anker SOLIX F2000 (PowerHouse 767)

The Anker SOLIX F2000 (PowerHouse 767) is large and in charge, with just over 2 kWh of energy storage in a really cool, rollable form factor. With a collapsible pull handle and heavy-duty wheels, this thing is like a giant YETI cooler, except instead of beverages and ice, it’s filled with go-juice that makes all your electronics come alive.

When paired with solar panels, Anker re-brands the PowerHouse 767 as the SOLIX F2000, but the names are essentially interchangeable.

Best affordable: OUPES 1200

Even though nobody seems to know how to say OUPES (does it sound like “opus” or rhyme with “hopes”?), we definitely know that we’d recommend their products to anyone looking for a quality solar generator. The OUPES 1200 is our favorite of their lineup, with the perfect match of price, features, and storage capacity.

Best feature-rich: EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max

The EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is truly one of the most full-featured portable power stations on the market. Boasting just over 2 kWh of storage in a compact 52.2-pound package, the DELTA 2 Max is the champion of fast charging, versatility, and compact expandability.

If you’re looking for a portable power station with enough outlets and power output for your whole family, the DELTA 2 Max is a great option.

Best overall: Bluetti AC300 + B300

Now we come to the grand finale! Simply put, the Bluetti AC300 + B300 combo offers the most power, storage, and expandability of any battery we tested.

If you need big-time power for off-grid applications, maximum solar input, expandability, and UPS functionality to keep essential appliances running in a power outage, the AC300 + B300 combo is your best option.

Comparing the best solar generators at a glance

Model

EcoFlow River 2 Pro

Anker SOLIX F2000 (PowerHouse 767)

OUPES 1200

EcoFlow Delta 2 Max

Bluetti AC300 + B300

Superlative

Best portable

Best large portable

Best value

Best features

Best overall

MSRP

$549

$1,999

$549

$1,899

$3,299

Capacity

768 Wh

2,048 Wh

992 Wh

2,048 Wh

3,072 Wh

Max Continuous Output

800 W

2,400 W

1,200 W

2,400 W

3,000 W

Weight (as tested)

17.8 lbs

67.5 lbs

24.3 lbs

52.2 lbs

132 (48.1 + 83.9) lbs

What to look for in a solar generator

There are plenty of solar generators to choose from, but the best one for you largely depends on what you want to use it for. The main factors that determine if a generator will work for you are its wattage and capacity. We’ve broken down what size solar generators are best for certain uses: 

Output

Capacity

Best for

~600 W

~700 Wh

Overnight and weekend camping trips with phones, laptops, small lamps, cameras, etc, with or without solar recharging

~1,200 W

~1,000 Wh

Trips with more power needs (e.g. small coffee maker), with or without solar recharging

~1,800 W

~1,200 Wh

Off-grid living in a van or small RV, with daily solar recharging. Suitable for toasters, hair dryers, microwaves, etc.

~2,400 W

~2,000 Wh

Running all appliances in an RV with daily solar recharging, small home backup for emergencies

How do solar generators work?

Solar generators have four major components:

The solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity that is then passed through the charge controller. The charge controller regulates the voltage of the electricity into the battery, where the solar energy is then stored for use later. 

Graphic depicting the flow of electricity from a solar panel to charging a solar generator.

The diagram above is helpful to understand how everything works together, but it’s important to know that nearly all solar generators sold today integrate the charge controller, inverter, and lithium iron phosphate batteries into a single unit.

When you need to use the energy stored in the battery, the inverter converts the electricity into alternating current energy, or AC power, which is what most appliances and devices use.

Solar generators typically have USB ports, AC outlets, and 12-volt car outputs to allow you to charge multiple devices.

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Pros and cons of solar generators

Pros

Cons

No fuel

Expensive upfront investment

Clean renewable energy

Slow recharging

Quiet and low-maintenance

Limited available power

Solar generators are advantageous for those looking to run devices and small appliances. They’re a great source of backup power for a boating or RV camping trip because of their portability, plus they’re clean and don’t require you to keep lots of fuel on hand. 

Some are powerful enough to power some key appliances in your home in the event of an emergency.

But, solar generators do come at a high upfront cost and have a more limited power supply than a gas generator. While solar generators can be recharged using solar panels, the charge rate can be slow, which isn’t ideal if you need more power right away. 

Testing methodology

We tested these batteries in and around our main office in New Jersey, testing their physical aspects (weight, dimensions, materials) as well as their ability to output power to devices, charge from AC and solar, and do other things people need these batteries to do every day. 

We also brought each battery to various locations in the New Jersey countryside, testing their ability to deliver power away from grid connections. This real-world testing proved vital in forming our opinions about which was the best battery for each category.

Other generators tested

Aside from the five solar generators mentioned above, we also tested the following portable batteries:

  • Bluetti EB55

  • Bluetti AC180

  • Anker PowerHouse 521

  • Anker PowerHouse 555

  • OUPES 600

  • OUPES 2400

All of these batteries worked great, but the top five listed above rose to the top in their respective categories. As time goes on, we hope to test many more batteries from the top brands in the industry, including Jackery, GoalZero, and Renogy.

A note on battery chemistry: All portable solar generators we tested use LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery cells. LFP is an extremely safe, stable, long-lasting, and non-toxic battery chemistry compared to other chemistries. LFP cells make a battery a bit heavier than some alternatives, but these cells have no risk of thermal runaway and last around seven times as long. We only considered LFP batteries for our ranking.

Bottom line: How to choose the best solar generator for your needs

How do you know whether you can get by with an ultra-portable solar generator like the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro or a giant 3-kWh Bluetti AC300 + B300 combo? You have to consider your essential needs carefully, find out how many watts your most power-hungry appliances would draw, plan out how long you need to use them for, and what kind of recharging you can do during that time.

That might sound like a lot of work, so here’s a general guideline: if all you need is to keep a few smartphones and a laptop charged for a weekend, a small portable battery like the Bluetti EB55, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro, or OUPES 600 will do the trick.

If you need to run higher-wattage appliances during a weekend trip, like hair dryers, coffee makers, and refrigerators, you’ll be looking for something more like the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max, Anker PowerHouse 767, or Bluetti AC180.

Finally, if you need to have your larger appliances on an extended trip away from the grid, consider the Bluetii AC300 + B300, or look into expansion batteries for the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max or Anker PowerHouse 767. Each of these companies also offers portable solar panels that can be mounted in any sunny spot to add hundreds of watt-hours per day in extra capacity.

Whatever your needs; there is an option out there that will work for you. We’re lucky to have several companies making excellent portable solar batteries that can help keep our essential devices and appliances running miles away from any power lines.

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Written by Ben Zientara Solar Policy Analyst

Ben Zientara is a writer, researcher, and solar policy analyst who has written about the residential solar industry, the electric grid, and state utility policy since 2013. His early work included leading the team that produced the annual State Solar Power Rankings Report for the Solar Power Rocks website from 2015 to 2020. The rankings were utilized and referenced by a diverse mix of policymakers, advocacy groups, and media including The Center...

Learn more about Ben Zientara