Regardless of whether you’re are a frequent enthusiast camper or a casual camper, you will need a way to keep the lights on and charge your multiple electronic devices and sometimes household appliances.

Solar generators are a perfect option for sustainable and continuous power. Many options of portable solar generators are available, each with specific features like battery capacity, AC outlets, USB ports, pure sine wave inverter, solar input, and battery types.

Solar generators give you some independence and/or some backup power in case of power outages or if your camping site doesn’t have any AC power. Unlike gas generators or electric generators, they are almost silent and do not release toxic fumes.

If installing a full-on system is too much for your type of camping trip, a portable power station and solar panels are the best things for you!

With portable solar generators, you don’t need specific knowledge on how to install the solar generator or the solar panels, and you keep your appliances running for as long as you want.

We took the time to look for the best portable solar generators available out there, as there are many options.

What to look for in a solar generator for camping

If you are starting to look for solar generators and solar panels and you are out of your expertise, then there are some things you need to ask yourself in order to choose the best solar generator for your needs.

Regardless of your power consumption, you can find a solar generator that fits your needs!

Electricity need and capacity

Knowing your power needs is a good way to start. How much power you will need should be one of your top questions while choosing a solar generator. To give you an idea of some appliances, and potentially high power appliances with their own power needs, that some campers take with them, see the list below

  • For the kitchen, a stove, a portable coffee maker or kettle, a cooler, mini-fridge
  • headlight and camping lights
  • TV and laptop
  • necessary medical equipment or power tools
  • a portable shower that might require a battery

As a result, you will need to look for the battery storage you will require and potentially expand that capacity, for example, a lithium battery pack for a solar generator with lithium batteries.

Weight and size

What size solar generator should be? The size and the weight will vary among the solar generators. The type of batteries will have an influence on the weight.

Lithium batteries are lighter than lead-acid batteries. Many solar generators in our recommendations have a lithium-ion battery. A lithium-ion battery capacity is higher performing as well as a longer lifespan.

Other features

  • car charger: really important if you intend to do a fair amount of driving to go and leave your camping spot
  • number of outputs: depending on the number of devices you need to charge, particularly if you are going as a family and all have a strong need for your tablets and phones or laptops
  • lifecycles: this can be really important depending on the price you are willing to put in, to ensure that your power station has a long lifespan
  • shelf life: this is important to know depending on the type of camper you are. The shelf life is the time you can leave your portable power station unused. If you are a casual camper this will matter to you unless you are using it in your daily life and not only for camping
  • solar panels types: Depending on your car you might want to consider a foldable solar panel to easily slip it into your trunk and unfold it at your camping site. You might need multiple solar panels to increase charging capacity depending on your energy needs
  • charging speed and options: solar charging can be extremely fast and differs per product. Some are extremely fast charging thanks to multiple ways to charge like using solar panels, an AC outlet (grid power), or using a car outlet
  • MPPT controller: maximum power point tracking, which controls the charging from the solar panel

Best solar generators/power stations

We have selected our favorite top 5 solar generators and an extra 5 options to give you a huge choice to make the best decision possible!

All recommendations are portable solar generators known for using solar panels to be charged.

Expandable Power Station
Ecoflow River Max Power Station (288wh to 576wh)
9.8/10 Our Score

EcoFlow is one of the best-known brands and manufacturers of solar generators on the market. The EcoFlow River max is an impressive solar generator with enough ports for your camping trips alone or with your friends and family.

For the quality and the features that it offers, it is definitely a reasonable price and investment for your casual or frequent trips. We consider this solar generator among the best solar generators available.

Pros:

  • Up to 200W solar charging
  • Expandable battery up to 576wh
  • Can power up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Multiple outlets: USB-c, USB, AC
  • Can recharge from 0 to 80% in 1 hour
  • Only 5.5 lbs. (2.5kg)
  • 500 lifecycles
  • Shelf life – 1 year (perfect for casual campers)
  • Can be charged with a solar panel
  • Pure sine wave inverter

Cons:

  • The app was reported to need some updates
  • Some have experienced bad customer service

In case you like the profile of this solar power generator but the power output is not quite right, its big brother the EcoFlow River pro offers the same great features with a storage capacity of 720wh expandable to 1440wh. Even weighing 16.8 lbs., this is still a great option for a portable power station to hook up to your solar panels.

Designed for Portability
Jackery 500
9.7/10 Our Score

The Jackery Explorer 500 has a good storage capacity of 240wh lithium-ion battery. It is very efficient and a great option to power some AC devices and any devices with USB cables. Its 6 months shelf life makes it both a great option for casual or frequent campers, but also in case of a power outage.

Pros:

  • 500+ lifecycles
  • Can charge multiple electronic devices simultaneously
  • Multiple outlets: USB-c, USB, AC
  • 3 ways to charge: AC outlet (wall outlet), solar panel, and car outlet
  • Can run a small portable fridge for 2 1/2 days
  • Pure sine wave inverter

Cons:

  • Heavy for the capacity: 6kg
  • Only 3 USB ports which may not be enough for some

If you are looking for a smaller capacity or a cheaper option within the Jackery range of solar generators, we recommend the Jackery 240 below.

Best Budget Option
Jackery Explorer 240
9.7/10 Our Score

The Jackery Explorer 240 is a baby solar generator among solar generators but is still powerful and efficient to charge your smaller electronic devices during a weekend trip.

It provides enough power for tablets, phones, laptops but also drones, fans, and heating blankets. It makes it a solar generator for outdoor activities as well for a good price.

Pros:

  • Clear display screen telling you how much power is going in or out
  • 500 life cycles at 80% capacity
  • 3-6 months shelf life
  • 3 ways to charge: AC outlet (wall outlet) within 3.5h (80%), solar panel, and car outlet within 5h (80%)
  • Built MPPT charge controller
  • A battery management system
  • Multiple outlets: USB-c, USB, AC

Cons:

  • No flashing light
  • Conflicting results when it comes to charging times: 7h with solar panels and 6.5h with car charger and 5.5h on the wall charger
  • May not have enough USB ports

If you are looking for a smaller capacity or a cheaper option within the Jackery range of solar generators, we recommend the Jackery 240 below.

If neither of these Jackery products are offering enough power for your needs, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is the next level up and can be a better option for a portable solar generator with more capacity.

High Capacity
Rockpals 250w with Solar Panels
9.2/10 Our Score

The Rockpals 250-Watt portable solar generator has been available for a few years and has been very popular among solar generators.

Some of its features stand out, among those is an affordable price and a great performance with small appliances and devices for outdoor activities or home use.

It might have too small a storage capacity for a solar generator to powerhouse appliances, but is a great portable solar generator to power your electronic devices during outages and of course during camping trips.

Pros:

  • Comes with adapters and the panels can be used on any generators
  • Industry leading warranties
  • Can be charged in the car, solar panel, and wall outlet
  • The AC outputs can have any plug from around the world
  • 5.5lbs or 2.5 kg
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Panels: Water-resistant solar panels can be part of the kit 

Cons:

  • You can’t use it while it is charging
  • No quick charging
  • Not many outlets
  • Take 10h to charge from solar panels
  • Battery is not replaceable
  • No 12v socket and no good indicators
  • No USB-C output
  • Panels: Heavy solar panels 

Although this solar generator offers great features, some may find the lack of quick charging and the inability to use it while it is charging off putting. However, others will think that as it will likely be outside charging using solar panels and unlikely to be used, this isn’t a major flaw.

Lightweight
ExpertPower S200
9.5/10 Our Score

For $150, the ExpertPower S200 is a perfect portable solar generator to power your electronic devices during a camping trip.

With its options of power output and multiple device charging capacity, this good-priced solar power generator goes everywhere with you, thanks to its low weight and small size (only 4.4lbs).

It must be on the best portable solar generators list with its small size, but it might not be suited for longer trips that would require more household appliances as it only provides 193wh.

Pros:

  • Recharges very quickly
  • Less capacity than the Jackery but better recharge
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Shelf life 6 months

Cons:

  • Might not be enough for longer trips or will need to be used with another power station

This may not be the best option for backup power if you have large power needs but it can still be a great save if you just need to power your devices, and it still uses solar power to be charged. Power outputs are also an important feature and this solar generator has enough of them to save you in case of emergency.

Universal Compatibility
Anker Powerhouse 200
9.3/10 Our Score

Along with the ExpertPower S200, the Anker Powerhouse 200 is a very powerful small portable solar generator. It was shown to be able to charge a small fridge for 3h.

It can easily be charged during your car trip and provides 213wh for your smaller devices. Definitely a great option in case of emergency and for your phones and tablets.

Pros:

  • Multiple outputs: 12V connection, a USB-C port, two USB ports, and a standard 110VAC outlet. (high-speed charging)
  • Simple and easy to use design
  • Good LCD screen
  • 6lb

Cons:

  • Can’t plug the car plug and AC plug at the same time
  • May not have enough outputs – only one AC plug and no DC output
  • No built-in LED light
  • 100W power output only
  • 6h to charge it on AC outlet consider

It has less power output than the ExpertPowerS200 but is still a great option to consider for smaller power needs.

Extra options

Other brands like Renogy and Westinghouse are known for their efficient portable solar generators and can be relied on for offering great solar power generators.

Easy-to-move
Renogy Phoenix 200
9/10 Our Score

The Renogy Phoenix 200 is a small solar generator ready to power your camping adventures with its 190wh. It can power your devices and small appliances for your camping weekends.

Its small weight and size make it a very practical and easy-to-move portable solar generator.

Pros:

  • Multiple outputs ports to power 7 devices simultaneously
  • Integrated flashlight
  • Has backup charging options
  • Integrated battery management system
  • 2.1 kg
  • High speed charging – less than 8 hours with the solar panel
  • Can be charged in the car, solar panel, and wall outlet
  • 500+ lifecycles

Cons:

  • Might be too expensive for the product capacity
  • Drains fast if all outputs are connected
  • Reports of less than favorable customer service

This would make a great pair with a Renogy 50w solar panel!

Clean & Quiet
Expert Power Alpha 400
9.4/10 Our Score

Despite being a fairly large solar generator among portable solar generators, and its long charging time, the Expert Power Alpha 400 will likely satisfy your power needs for a camping trip or as backup power.

With its 444wh, it can power easily your devices with its continuous power output. This solar generator can be charged with a solar panel (12-24V, 6.2A Max) with an MPPT controller.

Pros:

  • Multiple outputs: 3x USB ports, 2x DC outputs, Cigarette Lighter Socket: 9-12.6V 15A Max
  • Only 10. lbs for its great capacity
  • Has backup charging options
  • Can power a mini-fridge for 8-9h – 50w
  • Built-in MPPT controller
  • AC Voltage: 110V AC

Cons:

  • A bit heavy at 10.9 lbs
  • Long time to recharge 10 to 15h 

This solar generator can easily be stored in your car or be taken on camping trips and any outdoor activities.

Worry-Free Dependability
Westinghouse iGen600
7.4/10 Our Score

Among the top solar generators to consider, the Westinghouse iGen600 is a great power station providing 592wh for only 11.3 lbs.

You might not be able to power things like microwave ovens, air fryers, and blenders. However, you should be able to power phones, laptops, AC units, electric coolers, and mini-fridges.

Any items under 600 watts should be powered efficiently by this solar generator.

Pros:

  • Multiple charging port: 2 AC Ports, 3 USB (2 Quick Charge), 1 USB-C, 12V DC inputs
  • Acceptable weight for its power
  • -600 watts – 1200 peak watts
  • 7-9 hour charge time
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Specially designed without an engine which means no Maintenance, no Fuel, and no noise for completely silent operation
  • LED display and Flashlight
  • 11.3 lbs
  • Can charge 8 devices at the same time

Cons:

  • Cannot charge larger appliances like air dryer
  • Is not rainproof
  • Be wary of temperature changes 

This power station is a go-getter with a long-life battery and a user-friendly digital display!

Revolutionary Speed
Renogy Phoenix 300
9.2/10 Our Score

Last but not least for your camping trip, is the Renogy Pheonix 300. This power station allows you to charge small devices like laptops, tablets, phones, drones, and more. It can also charge medium-sized appliances such as mini-fridges, lights, speakers, and TVs.

Pros:

  • Battery: 23400mAh/337Wh
  • Recharge with solar panels and through car
  • Light
  • Multiple outputs – 8 different charging ports
  • Good in low light environment
  • Universal Compatibility: The 2* pure sine wave 110V AC outlets
  • Only weighs 6.4 lbs and is one of the lightest portable power stations available
  • Fast Charging – 60W quick charge Type-C port and 18W USB-A port
  • Can use any solar panels to recharge as long the voltage is the right one
  • Combining methods means this can get fully charged in 3h
  • 1000 lifecycles
  • Advanced battery management system (BMS)

Cons:

  • Long recharge through a single method – 8h through solar panels or 6h wall plug
  • 10-20+ hours (or more) of solar charging
  • Battery could be bigger
  • Battery indicator only in 25% chunks
  • Can’t use input and output simultaneously
  • Limited applications

The Renogy Phoenix 300 is a great product but has some flaws. Many of our preferred products are presented above and this is why it only arrives at 10th place.

Pros and cons of portable solar generators

Solar generators, or power stations as they are also called, have both pros and cons which need to be considered when you think about purchasing one.

To start with the cons, solar generators can be expensive to invest in the upfront. Usually, those solar generators that provide enough power for a home are the most expensive ones. They usually require professional installation and some installation equipment to become part of the home.

Portable solar generators are more affordable but provide a more limited amount of power. Obviously, while camping or using an RV you don’t necessarily require a continuous amount of power in the same way as at home. A portable solar power station can be large and a little bit heavy and yet provide enough power for a short or longer-term trip. These solar generators can be linked to a portable solar panel or multiple panels. Although they can be slow charging, many have now improved their charging capacity rendering portable solar generators capable to provide power for long periods of time.

These cons are important to keep in mind but they can’t overshadow the pros of using portable solar generators!

Solar power is clean renewable energy. Most portable solar generators have a charge controller, regulating the intake of energy, and can store energy for long periods of time whether you use it or not.

Using a solar panel, you can always have power with you wherever you are thanks to the large storage capacity. And of course, the sun always shines so it is easy and free to recharge! This is a strong advantage of using portable power stations.

We usually think that the best solar generator has a lithium battery, as opposed to lead-acid batteries, which are heavier and have a shorter lifespan. Either of them does not require fuel which is a big advantage when one goes on a trip.

Finally, portable solar generators are quiet and are low maintenance. Regardless of your power consumption, these types of power stations allow you to harness solar power silently and ensure that your devices are powered.

Side note: Goal Zero Yeti

Goal Zero Yeti is another known seller of solar generators, however, we didn’t add it to our list as the best power station.

One of the shortcomings is its low number of lifecycles. Compared to the other solar generators presented above, the Goal Zero Yeti range has a low number of lifecycles despite having a large watt-hours battery. This reduces the number of times you can use the Goal Zero generator to its full capacity.

The company creates great products but given the financial investment someone puts into a solar generator, we felt that the price did not justify the number of lifecycles Goal Zero Yeti offers with its products.

For example, the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X has a 1516wh capacity which can power a lot of appliances that you would need for an off-grid living but it only has 500 lifecycles and it will then run on 80%. This product sells for $2000. If you are a frequent camper or RV adventurer, this may not be the best power station to invest in as its lifespan may be cut short.

However, Goal Zero Yetis 100, 200, and 400 are more likely to be worth the price for the number of lifecycles they offer. However, Goal Zero 200x offers only 187wh which is less than the Jackery Explorer 240 and, the former currently costs $300 while the latter is available for $200.

Goal Zero provides performing products but generally, their lifecycles are not high enough given their prices.

Final words

No matter how much power you need, you will find the right power station here whether it is for a camping trip or for longer trips. Overall, portable solar generators are one of the best investments you can make. They use solar power, a sustainable and clean renewable energy, which can be easily harnessed depending on where you set up camp.