Portable solar power solutions and indeed, solar energy has come a long way – a way that is fortunately, determined to stay.
However, unlike traditional solar energy (which almost everyone is super familiar with), there are still a lot of challenges and gross misconceptions when it comes to portable solar generators.
As the brains behind this site, we’ve seen our fair share of questions that indicate that unlike the universal cognizance and appreciation of the solar panels, inverters and deep cycle batteries almost world-wide; the portable solar generator is still a mystery (at worst) an a little confusing (at best) for many users.
To clear that, we have slatted the 10 most asked questions relating to portable solar power and will discuss them today – satisfactorily.
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Top 10 Portable Solar Generator FAQs Answered
These questions are question that we have been asked here by readers like you.
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered and would love us to treat it in a future update of this post (we’ll get back to you immediately, in the meantime), kindly post it on our contact page.
Get ready, we’re taking the very first question 🙂
1. Can A Portable Solar Generator Power My House Or At Least, A Room?
This is the most recurrent question we’ve been receiving of recent: some of our readers are newly introduced to the solar reality and would really love to switch – for the various great reasons solar energy ensures.
However, some still don’t trust solar 100% and would love to play safe.
Others love the concept but are overwhelmed with the huge initial costs. For such readers, they’re looking for some option that is less expensive and portable solar energy solutions simply fit their bill (like something that is custom made).
If you have this same question, here’s your answer:
A portable solar power generator will serve a whole flat, if you choose a powerful enough unit, have access to great sunshine and importantly, use your unit smartly and sensibly.
However, you’ll need to limit what you plug in to the generator and avoid things like pressing irons, electric cookers, water heaters/kettles and air conditioners.
Importantly, it would be a smart option to only plug your devices in when you actually need them, use the energy intensive gadgets primarily in the day time (preferably when the sun is up) and load the generator smartly, preferably, one gadget/device at a time.
However, for better power and reliable performance, we’ll recommend either the HomeGrid 5000HD Portable Solar Generator (which is a heavy duty monster, outputting a crazy 3700 Wh of power) or the Be Prepared’s 2500 Watt Solar Generator.
2. I Work Mostly Outdoors – In The Elements. Is There A Solar Generator For Me?
There are a segment of our readers whose daily hustle is out – right in the open elements.
This means that, they work in the sun and rain, often, without complain.
Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?), such readers need power to tackle their daily dose of work and are not pretty sure if the mains will hold up.
Or, in some sad cases, the mains is actually several miles away.
And, sometimes too, such readers work way away from civilization: think the open ocean, right in the middle of nowhere or the Sahara, right at the heart of Africa.
If this is your concern, then, you’re in luck – there are some special portable solar generators that are manufactured in a manner that they can brilliantly withstand the elements – whatever they may be.
Luckily, we’ve already mentioned and reviewed such rugged, badass portable power units already in the past.
Read here: best weather-proof portable solar generators.
3. Solar Generators Are Always Heavy – Or So I Think. Any Light, Smart Options?
There is a general misconception about solar generators to the effect that they’re always heavy, bogus and cumbersome.
This has made many readers who would have otherwise been interested in them to actively shy away, hence this question.
First, it is important that we clear the misconception: solar generators are not always bulky.
As a matter of fact, some ‘portable’ variants weigh as low as an impressive 14 pounds (only) and churn out a steady 500+ Wh of power.
Now, this is something!
So, the concept or idea that solar generators are always bulky is completely false: there are good versions that are really portable, light and easy to carry around and about.
One of such is the Kalisaya KP 601 which weighs only 14 lbs and churns out an impressive 558Wh from a super light 38Ah lithium-ion battery.
Currently it also doubles as the most impressive portable solar generator and its energy-weight ratio is something to die for 🙂
You cannot lose anything by checking on it.
Let’s proceed to Q4!
4. I Don’t Love Lead Acid Powered Solar Generators. Any Lithium-Ion Options At The Moment?
Many of our readers have openly confessed to actually hating lead-acid technology and all that this battery technology represents.
This hatred, often, transfers to the technology that is powered by lea-acid, in this case, portable solar power.
This hatred of lead acid batteries is quite understandable: afterall, lithium-ion batteries beat their lead acid counterparts down by almost every metric there is in the book.
Talk about weight, efficiency, discharge, life-cycle and any other metric that makes an awesome battery awesome.
The good thing is that, for such forward thinking readers of ours – and you hence, there are a plethora of options for you.
As a matter of fact, you do not need to worry about the heavy lead acid battery type again.
These options have been brilliantly covered in an article we ran previously.
It is titled: best lithium-ion portable solar generators.
Kindly take a close look at the lithium powered portable solar generators listed there and see how you can rightly benefit from any model of your liking.
Let’s take a look at the next question.
5. I’d Love Portable Solar Generators Dedicated To Hiking & Camping…Can I Get These?
Hiking, mountain climbing, camping and outdoor life is getting popular by the day.
In Summer, things are taken to the extreme – where beaches get crowded – making the great outdoors even more attractive and inviting.
However, there is always one issue that discourages some of our readers when they seek to put on those shorts or adorn those awesome and curve revealing bikini: reliable portable power supply as they navigate, enjoy and take in what outdoor pleasure has to offer.
This challenge is peculiar because, for a solar generator to suite well on the beach, camp or hike, it must meet and posses some certain features:
- The generator must be light.
- It must be capable of being handled with only one hand &
- It must not sacrifice raw power for weight.
If we’re to be sincere, only a handful of solar generators today meet this criteria – and can rightly be deemed super ideal for the beach, camp or hike.
Luckily for you, our dear reader, we have a handy list and review of such generators already.
Read them up here: best solar generators for camping and hiking.
6. Goal Zero Dominates The Portable Solar Generator Niche. However, I’d Love Something Different…Any Ideas/Options?
There is absolutely no single doubt about this thought/opinion…Goal Zero absolutely dominates the portable solar power niche today.
This is not negotiable – and we’re not saying this for anything: its simply the raw truth.
If we’re to estimate, we’re say that, Goal Zero alone accounts for about 70% of the portable solar generator market share, leaving all the other brands scrambling for the remaining 30%!
This means that, the company makes some badass generators, is awesome at marketing and importantly, its customer base is largely in love.
However, for some readers, the very name, ‘Goal Zero’ brings chronic dissatisfaction and they’ll rather go with another (reliable) brand.
The reason(s) may be that:
- Goal Zero does not offer (yet) the features that they love their solar generators capable of (e.g. jump-starting ability and water-resistance).
- They may have had a sad, (rare), horrible experience with any of the company’s products in the past or
- They may simply be from the unconventional school of thought that does not prefer personal gadgets/tools popular or loved by all.
If you’re not a fan of Goal Zero for any of the reason above, a combination of the reasons above or all the reasons above, there’s a brilliant solution for you.
We also sincerely believe that if your reason for not appreciating the Goal Zero brand is not right above, you’ll still, nevertheless, appreciate the alternatives we have.
Click up and read these Goal Zero Yeti alternatives for really smart users.
7. I Love The Goal Zero & The Kalisaya Brand (Almost) Equally. Which Is Better?
We all have been in such a tight spot before.
For some, its either between two boys/men or girls/women that you are in love with and can’t seem to decide which to finally settle down with 🙂
For others, it could be either a similar make or model of a car that they love and cannot fathom exactly which to settle for, even when they visit the dealer and are are due to pay.
Yet still, for others, it could be the university they wish to attend or the course/profession they’re looking to settle down with for the rest of their lives.
For some of our readers here at Best Portable Solar Generators Online, their challenge is basic – but reflects this simple fact and challenge: they cannot wrap their heads around and choose either a Goal Zero Yeti branded portable solar generator or a Kalisaya KaliPAK branded solar generator.
This fix, we must admit, is quite tough.
However, like the other equally tough questions above, we have already treated this issue in a super brilliant article.
You can read the article here: Goal Zero vs Kalisaya: Which is a Better Solar Generator Brand?
8. I Love The Suoaki 400Wh Solar Generator. However, I See That PowerOak Offers (Almost) The Same Thing. Are Suaoki And PowerOak Generators The Same Thing?
Granted, this also confused us too at first.
Or, how do you understand how and why 2 (supposedly) different products are completely the same in form and function save the branding on their shells?
However, when we got this question, we took out time and investigated – for we could not simply understand why a PowerOak will look and function the same as a Suaoki, with absolutely nothing to differentiate them save the branding or lack thereof.
Turns out that our research was fruitful and we landed to the root cause of the confusion.
The 400Wh solar generator sold by PowerOak and Suoaki is an OEM product that is imported from China.
This means that, neither the company produces it and it is exclusive to neither of them.
What this truly means is that, anyone/company/firm who knows the original manufacturer of this generator can import same and brand it for sale in the US or anywhere else they desire it to be sold – all other things being equal.
If you’re interested in taking a detailed look at the article that explains this, you should take a look at this article: Is PowerOak the Same as Suoaki?
9. Is There Any Portable Solar Generator That Can Jump-Start My Car Battery When The Need Arises?
If you use a car with an auto tranny and have been stranded recently because your car failed to start due to a bad – or drained battery, you’ll instantly understand this.
This is why, some of our readers are interested in a solar generator that will also double as a jump-start tool when the need arises.
With such a smart generator in your trunk – or just by your side as you drive, you’re assured of portable power wherever you go and importantly, have the added peace of mind that should your car break down, you’ll certainly not wind up stranded.
Few solar generators fit that bill.
However, the one that fits it – fits it very well and has some added features that will certainly make you fall deeper in love 🙂
- The generator outputs both AC and DC.
- The generator shell is made of solid aluminium – instead of some cheap plastic.
- It has an array of ports – including some USB and traditional socket ports.
- The generator is powered by a lithium-ion battery and not some sad lead-acid stuff.
- Finally, the generator can be charged by a 2 other ways besides the standard solar panel: the wall outlet and the cigarette lighter port of your car.
Now, would’t you fall in love with such an impressive solar generator?
Well, we would…and that generator, for your information, is the Suaoki 400Wh Portable Solar Generator.
We believe a thank you is in order for the revelation 🙂
10. I Have The Need For DC. Is There A Solar Generator For Me?
In our world, there is a wicked conspiracy against all those who use or prefer DC and their cute little gadgets.
Almost all power sources, from the power grid to cute little solar generators all appear to run AC – and AC alone.
This is the concern our 10th question is poised to address, especially with regards to our readers who are interested in actually deploying the use of the almighty DC and are confused if there is anything out there for them.
We’re happy to inform you that there is – there are a few good portable solar generators that have the ability to either exclusively feature DC or feature DC or AC, alternatively.
One of such solar generators is the 400Wh Suaoki solar generator, mentioned earlier.
This solar generator can brilliantly output AC power on demand and is also capable of switching to DC when the need/demand calls for it.
Aside this, there is the Goal Zero Yeti series of portable solar generators.
Some of these generators from Goal Zero are lithium powered while some are powered by conventional lead acid technology.
However, what is common across the lines is that:
- They all feature both AC and DC power alternatives and
- They’re from the market leader of portable solar power in the world today.
Finally, the last option is the brand with the most impressive energy/weight ratio – Kalisaya.
The company’s signature Kalisaya KP601 is famously notorious for ensuring that all lovers of DC that have the foresight to purchase it actually smile.
The one ‘draw back’ of this generator (if you view it that way), is that, like the other conventional (exclusively) AC powered units, the KaliPAK series from Kalisaya do not feature any AC function.
Accordingly thus, it’s either you’re in love/need of DC or you simply get the f*ck out 🙂 !
Bonus Question & Answer: I Need A Very Powerful Portable Solar Generator That Can Power Fridges, Televisions & Power Drilling Tools (One Tool At A Time – And For Relatively Short Periods). Any Luck?
We are the guys that have a solution to any solar challenge, especially if it pertains to power generators.
For this question, we’re glad that it actually included: ‘one tool at a time and for relatively short periods’.
Without wasting much of your time (we’re hungry and want to take lunch now, having been putting up this entry since morning), what you should be looking at should be the Yeti 1400 lithium from Goal Zero.
This generator is a monster – and delivers monster powers.
However, the awesome thing about this solar generator is that it does not look like it at all, thanks to its lithium-ion battery.
It is also not heavy – just an ordinary and negligible 46lbs!
On its abilities however, this monster churns out an impressive 1425Wh from from its 396Ah battery.
Isn’t this something to die for?
It is however important to note that, all that power and portability comes at a steep price.
If your pockets aren’t that deep (at the moment), you should consider the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, the lead acid second best option from the same stables.
This unit churns out 1200Wh from its 100Ah battery.
While this is not as impressive as its lithium superior, it is definitely more pocket friendly and certainly (on the lighter side), more heavier when moving 🙂
These are the top 10 questions we keep getting about solar generators, their use and what they are ultimately suited for.
If your question was answered, congratulations!
However, if you have a question that wasn’t answered, we’ll be glad to answer your question directly via email and update our answer + your question sometimes here so that the whole world can benefit.
You can contact us for that purpose by filling out the contact form.