5 Best Solar Generators for Off-Grid Living


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Living off the grid is fast becoming a popular venture for many people whether partially or totally, and for a variety of reasons.

For those living off-grid, it is more common to totally live off one’s own electricity supply, water supply, plumbing, and waste management.

People go off-grid this way to get away from the tension of fast-paced cities and towns in favor of a hassle-free world or remote area where they can observe mother nature with a greater perspective.

Others go off the grid partially due to the fact that where they live may not have immediate access to power, or maybe they simply want to be free of a particular power source.

Most modern solar generators do not totally rely on solar panels to recharge their batteries; manufacturers ensure that you can charge them with wall adapters and even car chargers. Since solar generators are now more diverse, they are sometimes referred to as power stations. Whatever you call them, we will use these terms interchangeably here. 

"solar energy" written out animation

Arguably the most important necessity when going off the grid is power supply, at least for basic things like laptops, phones, bulbs, fridges, deep fryers, pressing irons, cookers, dryers, microwaves, etc. We will look at five of the best solar generators for off-grid living.

The five best solar generators for off-grid living are:

  1. Point Zero Energy Titan
  2. Goal Zero YETI 3000 Lithium
  3. Inergy Apex
  4. Jackery Explorer 1000
  5. Rockpals 500

These solar generators provide a wide range of power capabilities, making them fit most off-grid needs of the user.

Point Zero Energy Titan

The Titan solar generator’s most prominent features include it’s:

  • Inverter strength at 3,000W continuous, 6,000W surge
  • Battery layout where you can add up to six batteries to the generator
  • Solar input of up to 2,000W

Battery Capacity and Battery Type Within the Titan Solar Generator

This solar generator runs on a whopping 2,000Wh capacity battery. The inverter comes with a capacity of 3000W and peaks at up to 6000W for a couple of seconds’ surge. With these outrageous figures, you are sure to use almost anything.

The battery is a lithium (Li-ion) battery, so you can expect not just efficiency but also durability, as lithium batteries are easily the best out there. The battery cycle life is high at 2,000 cycles, so even if you use the Titan daily, you should have around five years of use before any drop in efficiency and a good life span of up to ten years.

The lithium-ion battery pack is removable, so you can further increase the capacity of the Energy Titan anytime you wish, and unlimited expansion is possible with a Titan Lithium-ion battery and up to 24V with a Lead Acid battery. With two Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) controllers, you get maximum output from any and all of its batteries. The battery has a shelf life (before recharge) of up to five years.

Titan solar generator battery pack

The detachable and expandable battery of the Energy Titan

The Titan’s Charging Time and Flexibility

It is somewhat ridiculous that a solar generator of this capacity can fully charge in as quick as two hours, but it’s true. Using an AC wall charger should take four hours to recharge fully.

Understandably, charging the solar generator with your car can take up to 11 hours from empty to full. Energy Titan supports multicharging, meaning you can use multiple ports or multiple methods to charge at the same time.

Input and Output Capabilities

It has a maximum solar power input of 1000W for a single battery and 2000W of input for two or more batteries. It comes with six 110V/15A outlets and four 12V outlets (DC cigarette lighter) that come with removable USB plugs. It also has an RV 30A outlet which should prove essential for recreational activities.

Safety

We all want to be safe when using backup options. The Titan does just that, with its inverter being a pure sine wave type, and so your sensitive devices are safe from damage. Insignificant electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is emitted and no fumes are discharged, unlike with gas generators.

Portable

For a solar generator that is literally equivalent to a jet engine in space, 35 lbs. is not too heavy. Its dimensions are 18.5”. by 12”. by 12”. 

Similar: YETI 1400 vs. YETI 3000 – Goal Zero’s Top Solar Generators

The Titan Solar Generator’s Key Specifications

  • 3000W continuous, 6000W surge power AC ports
  • 19 varieties of outlets (USB-A ports (6), AC outlets (6), 12V ports (4), USB-C ports (2), 30A RV outlet (1))
  • 85W car port charging
  • Battery weight: 35 lbs
  • Power module weight: 32 lbs
  • Battery & power module size: 18.5” x 12” x 12” 
  • MPPT controllers (2) with a charge rate of 2000W max (with two batteries)

Titan solar generator front view

The Point Zero Energy Titan (inverter on top and battery below)

Pros and Cons of the Titan Solar Generator

Pros

  • Comes with a cigarette to SAE (for charging from a car) and an MC4 to SAE (for jump-starting with a solar panel)
  • Batteries are detachable, you can increase battery number and battery capacity, and you can charge them with two charger types at a time
  • Numerous outlets for almost every type of device, including six smart USBs and a 30A recreational vehicle outlet
  • You can use or add an unlimited number of batteries, although six batteries (max) are recommended for ideal charging hours
  • Comes with a user manual and a 20A AC charger
  • Inverter typically consuming a meager 10W without any load on it

Cons

  • Comes with a single battery (1500W). To get the full 3000W capacity out of this solar generator, you have to get an extra battery (using a total of two batteries)
  • If your choice is a lithium (Li-ion) battery, you have to make sure your battery has an in-built battery management system (BMS) for short circuit protection and voltage and temperature regulation, which would ensure your battery does not overheat
  • Has a voltage capacity of 120V, which you cannot connect to your home circuit breaker box, since circuit breakers are usually 240V

The Point Zero Energy Titan is really promising in its construction. Most intriguing is that it offers exactly what’s advertised and is efficient in use. Its compatibility with other products (battery- and charging-wise) gives it an edge over other products, and although you cannot connect it to your home circuit breaker, the two MPPTs still ensure safety and efficiency when manually set up, as well as faster charging times.

Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium

The Yeti 3000 Lithium is well-known for it’s:

  • 3,075Wh lithium-ion battery
  • Inverter which is capable of 1,500W continuous and 3,000W surge power
  • Ability to connect over 600W of solar panels to its two charge controllers

Battery Type Within the Yeti 3000

The Yeti 3000 Lithium, as the name implies, comes with the safest battery of them all—a lithium (Li-ion) battery. Its battery management system (BMS) protects your battery from short-circuiting, regulates voltage and current, and prevents a possible overcharge which can potentially damage your battery. Battery life is 500 cycles before 80% efficiency is experienced. 

Yeti 3000 on roll cart

The Goal Zero Yeti 3000 Lithium in its (trolley-like) mobility cart

Mobility Cart

The Yeti 3000 comes with a mobility cart featuring a strong wheel and carriage handle for balance and easy transportation.

WiFi Control With the Yeti App

The Wi-Fi connectivity means that with the Goal Zero Yeti App enabled on your mobile phone and a Wi-Fi router you can remotely control the Yeti 3000, so you do not have to control it with the inverter. Amazingly, you can turn ports on and off and check your battery percentage.

You can also update Yeti’s firmware with your selected device. The Goal Zero Yeti App also allows you to either connect a single device to multiple Yetis or multiple devices to a single Yeti.

Flexibility – Yeti External Batteries

You can increase output capacity by adding lead-acid batteries to the Yeti 3000 setup. Goal Zero’s lead-acid external batteries are called Yeti Tank Expansion batteries. Its lithium batteries are compatible with other battery types, so you can easily increase productivity.

Charging Times and Options for the Yeti 3000 Lithium

Wall charging time takes up to 25 hours, which is shortened to ten hours when using the Yeti Fast Charge 25 Amp Power Supply. Car charging time using the Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 12V Car Charging Cable.

You can also recharge the Yeti 3000 with a solar panel, with the charging time depending on the capacity of the solar panels. There are several models of solar panels on the Goal Zero lineup, but you can choose third-party solar panels as well. Many third-party panels end up being significantly cheaper than Goal Zero panels. An average time of 18 hours is estimated. A pre-installed MPPT gives you a solar optimization module which increases the battery charge speed by 40%.

Multiple Outputs

As many as ten outputs are available with the Yeti 3000. Its AC and 60W USB-C Power Delivery Ports, ensuring optimum surge while charging more power-hungry devices, have been patented and are unique to the Yeti 3000.

What Can the Yeti 3000 Lithium Power?

The functionality and efficiency of the Yeti 3000 mean it can power your devices repeatedly: a 32” LCD TV for 30 hours and a large fridge for up to 50 hours; it can recharge your laptop over 50 times from start to finish depending on your battery capacity, and your smartphone over 150 times. It also works well with medical equipment.

Similar: Goal Zero Vs. Inergy – Solar Generator Enterprise Match Up

Yeti 3000 – Key Specifications

  • AC ports capable of 1500W continuous, 3000W surge power
  • Battery capacity of 3075Wh
  • 10 outlets, including two USB-A ports (12W max), a USB-C port (15W max), a USB-PD port (60W max), two 6mm ports (120W max), a 12V car port (120W), a 12V Powerpole port (240W), and two 120V AC outlets (1500W)
  • Battery shelf life of 3-6 months
  • Functional BMS featuring low battery protection
  • Weighs 68 lbs., and the cart weighs 8.9 lbs.
  • Temperature range of 32 ̊ F–104 ̊ F
  • Measures 10.1” x 15.3” x 13.1”

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Wi-Fi-enabled control and monitoring with iOS and Android compatible app
  • Multiple charging options – can be charged with both solar and wall chargers simultaneously
  • Mobility cart is pre-installed and easily detachable
  • Comes with two AC wall chargers which can be used simultaneously for faster charging
  • 24-month warranty
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • 20% and below battery notification on the Goal Zero Yeti App
  • Can be used as a UPS (provided the charging input is greater than the power being consumed by the plugged-in device)
  • Self-maintaining battery feature ensures the battery is not damaged if continuously charged when full

Cons

  • Longer charging time, wall charging of up to 25 hours
  • Mostly compatible with Boulder 100s and 200s solar panel for solar charging
  • May not work well in very cold areas or at temperatures lower than 0 ̊ C 
  • Not waterproof, you have to keep away from spills to avoid damage or reduced efficiency

Goal Zero Yeti 3000 front view

The Goal Zero Yeti 3000 up close

The Goal Zero Yeti 3000 brings efficiency and control, with a highly efficient battery of 3075Wh. You are assured of a good output, although it has both a shorter lifecycle and a really lengthy charging time which may deter fast users who are in need of green energy more often than not (the Yeti 3000 can be used and charged simultaneously, if that is any consolation). Its Wi-Fi and app control feature gives you easier access and monitoring of the power station, especially when you consider it is already very mobile with a trolley-like mobility cart.

Similar: Can a Solar Generator Run an AC Unit?

Inergy Apex

Inergy Apex front view
The Inergy Apex

Battery Capacity and Functionality of the Apex

Lithium batteries are arguably the best in the game, which makes the Inergy Apex a more durable product. With the Apex, you get 1500W of continuous surge, and just like most solar generators in this category, it peaks at 3000W. Moreover, the battery is expandable, and you can link it with an external battery for higher functionality. It allows you to add external lithium batteries, lead-acid, and AGM batteries.  

At its normal capacity, you can recharge your mobile phone over 100 times, your tablets over 40 times, your laptop over 20 times, a CPAP machine for up to 30 hours, a refrigerator (55W) for up to eight hours, and a medium TV of about 50W–70W over 15 times.

It could also power heavy devices such as a chest freezer, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a basecamp LED light. The new battery management system protects and regulates temperature, current, and voltage on the Apex.

The draw times of the Inergy Apex

The draw times of the Inergy Apex

Durability

The battery also has an autoprotective feature that automatically powers it off if you plug in a heavy device when the battery is low or almost out, which ensures your battery has optimal durability and protection from damage. At 2000 lifecycles, the Apex is much more durable than its peers.

Utility

The Inergy Apex is a great utility solar generator with a designated RV plug, six AC plugs, two cigarette outlets, two 12V outlets, and four USB outlets, making it suitable for almost any device type.

Portability

It comes with a very grippy handle, and at 25 lbs. it’s one of the lightest inverters out there.

Charging Options for the Apex Solar Generator

Like most top solar generators, the Apex can be charged via a wall charger (110W), which takes about 11 hours to complete.

It can also be charged using solar panels: a solar panel of about 150W recharges the Apex in eight hours, and with a solar panel of 500W, the Apex can fully recharge in just three hours, which is both ridiculous and impressive. The fastest means of charging this solar generator is by using a 240W car charger, which can recharge the battery in four and a half hours. 

While charging the Apex, it can also be used to power your devices at the same time. The built-in MPPT controller ensures a better charging efficiency. The Apex can also be charged through two means. For instance, you can use both the solar and DC charge system to charge the Apex without any side effects.

Key Specifications

  • Battery Capacity: 1100Wh
  • Operates at 32 ̊ F–104 ̊ F
  • Battery cycle life of up to 2000 cycles
  • MPPT charge controller 
  • Two USB-C charge ports, two USB qual comm 3.0 charge ports, three position power switches, allowing you to charge devices without turning on the inverter through the output ports
  • Inergy EC8 to MC4 adapter (for third party panels)
  • Safety presence of pure sine waves
  • Measures 14” x 7” x 8”

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Extremely fast charging (three hours with 500W solar panels and four and a half hours with car chargers)
  • One-year warranty
  • Lifetime support and US-based customer support
  • Comes with an LCD display for charging indicator and battery rate
  • Allows the addition of external lithium batteries, which can be charged alongside the internal battery
  • Relatively cheaper price
  • Allows for simultaneous usage and charging

Cons

  • The Inergy Apex solar charging option uses the less common EC8 connector, which is neither waterproof nor UV resistant, so advisably, during outdoor use, you have to keep it away from heat, sunlight, and spills, e.g. under a shade. You may also silicon glue the cord when charging with solar panels
  • You can only use Inergy solar panels for this product, as other solar panels are largely incompatible
  • This solar generator can only run a 1500W for a meager three and a half minutes before powering off

The Inergy Apex comes in as one of the few solar generators with indeed lifetime US-based support for users that are far from being tech-savvy.

It is relatively cheaper than similar products, weighs much less, and it can be expanded conveniently with even more lithium batteries. Although you need to get Inergy solar panels to enjoy the Apex, they indeed charge very quickly, which is vital for concurrent usage.

Similar: Top 3 Best Solar Camping Lights

Jackery Explorer 1000

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is the largest solar generator model offered by Jackery. It has 1,002Wh of battery capacity and has an inverter capable of 1,000W continuous and 2,000W surge power from its three AC ports. Its additional output ports include four USB and one car port.

Portability

At 22 lbs. and sporting a handle on the top of the power station, the Jackery 1000 is very easy to carry.

Jackery 1000 front view

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is very portable

Jackery Explorer 1000 – Battery Capacity and Charging

The Explorer uses a 1,002Wh lithium battery with 1000W power for continuous use and a 2000W peak surge. The cycle of this battery is 500 cycles before reduced to 80% efficiency. It also comes with a built-in MPPT charge controller for fast and efficient solar charging. The battery management system provides short circuit protection, and voltage regulation and control.

Fully charging using two SolarSaga 100W takes around eight hours, the adapter cable is already included in the pack, and with a single 100W, it recharges fully in 17 hours. An AC car charger of 12V can also be used to charge the Explorer in 14 hours. Using an AC wall outlet takes around seven hours.

The Explorer 1000 Features Multiple Outlets

This power station includes two USB-C, two USB-A (with a QC 3.0 fast-charge port), three AC outlets, and one DC carport. These enable the Explorer to charge a range of multiple devices simultaneously, such as a car fridge or minifridge, coffee makers, laptops, drones, electric grills, ice shavers, blenders, radios, CPAP machines, phones, and other devices.

LCD Display on the Jackery 1000

An LCD display screen on the back allows you to monitor the charge and discharge rates. It also displays the battery status, which is important when used outdoors to help you monitor your battery and when you need to charge.

The Jackery 1000’s Safety Features

The Explorer is packed with a powerful built-in LED flashlight, which has a normal mode and SOS modes. Its three AC outlets use pure sine waves which are safer and protect your sensitive device(s) from damage or current fluctuations. With no fumes, discharge, or emissions, the power station is outdoor-friendly.

Key Specifications

  • Integrated Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) battery
  • AC ports rated at 1000W continuous, 2000W surge
  • 1002Wh (21.6V, 46.4Ah)
  • Built-in MPPT and BMS in the battery
  • Cycle life of 500 cycles
  • Measures 13.11” x 9.17” x 11.14”
  • Weighs 22 lbs.
  • Operating temperature of 14 ̊ F–104 ̊ F

Jackery 1000 with MPPT description

The Jackery Explorer is equipped with MPPT

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Two-year warranty
  • Compact and portable (22 lbs.)
  • BMS with more advanced safety options
  • Comes with a car charger cable (DC to 12V), an AC adapter, and an AC cable
  • LCD screen with battery information (charge, discharge, and status)

Cons

  • Isn’t really helpful for power-hungry devices (at continuous use)
  • USB-PD outlet means a maximum output of 18W

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is just another friendly option. Its portability, handy grip, and light weight ensures you can carry it anywhere you go without lugging around a heavy weight. Its two-year warranty is a plus for this small and powerful solar generator.

Rockpals 540

Rockpals 540Wh generator front view

Quick and Flexible Charging

The Rockpals portable power stations can be charged in a couple of hours, and by various means. A Rockpals solar panel as little as 100W can be used to charge both solar generators, and you can even charge in your car with a 12V car charger or with a simple wall socket of 110V, 90W AC Adapter. Any means of charging usually takes around six to seven hours.

Easy Display

A backup should be a backup, and so it could prove frustrating to suddenly experience the draining of your backup. Sometimes a gentle reminder helps. Knowing how much longer you need to charge your power station or how much power you have left can be quite ambiguous, but with an easy to read charging and discharging display on both solar generators, you always know when and when not to recharge your power station.

Multi-Purpose Power Station

Has the ability to charge your phones, tablets, walkie-talkies, GPSes, pads, laptops, cameras, drones, rechargeable lamps, and bulbs of various kinds. They can charge your multiple devices, such as phones, up to 40 times. They can also power a mini cooler or a minifridge to keep your food and drinks cool. As long as your gadgets do not surpass 500W, you should find them very helpful and useful.

The many purposes of the Rockpals 500

The many purposes of the Rockpals 500

User and Device Safety

Sensitive devices such as your TVs, laptops, or even CPAP machines might be at risk with modified sine waves, but these power stations use pure sine waves, so they are safe. It comes with an effective battery management system that ensures the battery is safe and efficient to use. The power stations are environmentally friendly and do not emit any fumes. EMR is extremely small and negligible with respect to tolerance limits.

Super Bright LED Flashlight

At night, flashlights are essential for routine activities. The LED flashlight uses a meager 1W–4W, meaning it can last for up to 100 hours, or four days, of uninterrupted lighting when fully charged. You can also reduce or increase the brightness and intensity of the LED flashlight on both generators. 

Overheating Protection

We all dislike devices that overheat upon prolonged use. From phones to laptops, overheating devices, can be really dissatisfying. Even after hours of use, both power stations do not overheat, and you should be sure of a temperature below 65.

Battery Management System

This feature on both solar generators ensures voltage control and temperature regulation. The BMS also protects them from overcharge (which may spoil the batteries quickly) and also gives you voltage control while using. There is also a short circuit protection feature on the BMS.

Key Specifications

  • Low battery alarm reminds you when your battery runs down
  • Functional BMS with numerous advanced safeguards
  • Overload protection
  • Built-in MPPT charge controller
  • Short circuit protection
  • Output of 110V, 500W with peak surges of up to 1000W
  • Four USB ports (one type C port, two 2.4A ports, and one QC3.0 port)
  • Cycle life: 500 cycles

Pros and Cons

Pros 

  • Recharge time of six-seven hours, with power usage and battery status display that tells you exactly how much power you are currently using and how much is left
  • Variety of recharge means, no overreliance on solar panels 
  • Durability is relatively high, and it comes with a 24-month warranty
  • Four DC ports with up to 12A max, including a three-pronged port and a cigarette socket
  • Safe pure sine waves, suitable for running a minifridge, egg cooker, TV, projector, Wi-Fi router, laptop, and printer without any risk of damage
  • QC 3.0 fast charge USB port for your smartphones
  • Quick and easy installation, no user manual needed for installation

Cons

  • Cannot be used to power devices and appliances over 500W, such as hair-dryers, drills, rice cookers, electric kettles, microwaves, etc.
  • Do not automatically shut off, until after ten hours of inactivity
  • Only work properly with a CPAP of less than 96W. Higher power CPAP machines can only work with a DC converter. To ensure any capacity of CPAP machine, you might just need to get an S9/S10 DC converter
  • Come with irreplaceable batteries, sadly, and after completing their recharge cycles, efficiency is reduced to 80%

The Rockpals 500 is simply a small version of the highly efficient and “beastly” larger inverters. It has a very efficient battery, although one cannot replace the battery when it wears out or completes its lifecycle. It is very portable, easy to charge, and needs little to no prior knowledge to install. For low and medium power devices, it should serve you well.

Similar: Inergy Apex vs EcoFlow Delta 1300 – Which is the Superior Solar Generator?

Key Comparisons

Although these solar generators are largely different in size, ability, portability, charging type, time, and usage, they can fairly be split into two categories. The Point Zero Energy Titan, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000, and the Inergy Apex make up the higher class (in terms of capacity) and serve for more power-hungry devices.

The Jackery Explorer 1000 and the Rockpals 500 make up the medium and lower class (in terms of capacity) and serve for less power-hungry devices. Here are a few feature comparisons of these five amazing solar generators for off the grid living.

Specifications of the Top 5 Off-Grid Solar Generators

FeaturePoint Zero Energy TitanGoal Zero YETI 3000Inergy ApexJackery Explorer 1000Rockpals 500
Battery Capacity (W/Wh)1500W/2000Wh1500W/3075Wh1500W/1100Wh1000W/1000Wh500W/540Wh
Life Cycles20005002000500500
Warranty24 months24 months12 months24 months24 months
Weight67 lbs.68 lbs.25 lbs.22 lbs.12 lbs.
BMS/MPPTBMS and two (2) MPPTBMS and MPPTBMS and MPPTBMS and MPPTBMS and MPPT
Major Pro(s)Expandable Battery; Best CapacityWi-Fi enabled; Mobility CartFaster Charging; US-based lifetime supportPortableHigh durability; Portable and light
Major Con(s)WeightSlow charging; Low battery cyclesNeed to use Inergy solar panelsLow or medium power devicesBatteries are not replaceable

Getting a suitable solar generator depends on a lot of factors, particularly your reason for using it. From budget to power needs (the kind of device you intend to power with these solar generators), the location of usage, weight, and many more factors.

Whatever the case is, it is always good to check through the product features to understand what the power station you intend to buy can and cannot do.

For occasional power outages and for uses at home for minor appliances, the Rockpals 500 is a very good option. Its batteries are irreplaceable, but they are highly durable as well as very light and easy to carry, so it is highly recommended for low-impact usage.

It is also a very affordable option. Compared with the Jackery Explorer 1000, it is much lighter, although the Explorer offers more power with better battery capacity and a higher price.

For power-hungry devices or high-impact usage, although a bit expensive, the Point Zero Energy Titan arguably has no equal. It has faster charging times, and its amazing battery capacity (when using the extra battery at 3000W continuous usage and 6000W peak surge) is hardly rivaled.

On top of that, it comes with two MPPTs, ensuring faster charging times, battery health, and almost no possibility of battery damage. The Titan is indeed a titan among its peers. But every product has its pros and cons; the major con of the Titan is its weight.

Compared to the Yeti 3000, the battery lifecycle is much better (2000 > 500) and charges much faster than the Yeti (really slow charging), although the Yeti 3000 is more mobile (with a mobility cart) and is Wi-Fi enabled and easy to control.

Compared to the Inergy Apex, the warranty and capacity are far better. So, when all factors are considered, the pros of the   Titan far outweigh the cons, but the choice is really yours!

Man holding solar panel animation

With its growing reliability, you too can trust solar energy today!

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