Top 3 Cheapest Solar Generators: Long-Term Value (200, 500, & 1,500W)

I’ve collected the top three cheapest solar generators that deliver the highest long-term value.

Each model has a different battery size and is the cheapest system compared to its competition.

I’ve factored out other systems that had the following concerns:

  • Came from an unestablished or unknown brand
  • Had mixed customer feedback/ratings/reviews

Below you’ll find my top three cheapest solar generators listed out along with some of their highlights and features.

RankingModelHighlights
1. Cheapest Small Solar GeneratorJackery Explorer 240– 4.8/5 avg. customer rating on Amazon (over 10k ratings)
– Simple, easy-to-use design
2. Cheapest 500W Solar GeneratorBluetti EB55– 2,500 battery lifecycles (lasts longer than most of the competition)
– LiFePO4 battery
– High-powered AC ports – rated for 700W continuous (1,400W surge)
3. Cheapest 1,000-1,500W Solar GeneratorBluetti EB150– 2,500 battery lifecycles
– $500-$1,000 cheaper than similar-sized systems (ex: Jackery 1500 & Yeti 1500X)
I picked each model considering its price as well as its battery cycle life compared to its competition. Most solar generators have similar performance in terms of input and output power, so the long-term value was most important in my ranking process.

If you’re looking for the most affordable small solar generators that are more along with the size of the Jackery 240, I’ve compiled a list of them in my article found here: Top 3 Affordable Solar Generators From $100-$140 – Best Deals.

The power stations in this article all share high quality at a low cost. I could’ve compiled a list of the outright cheapest models, but that doesn’t factor in the overall lifetime value.

In addition to low pricing, understanding how long each one lasts is crucial for solving lifetime value. This is done by reviewing the rated cycle life of each solar generator’s battery.

I’ll be comparing each system to similar models later on, but below you’ll find another table showing the actual cost over the lifetime of each solar generator.

Most notable are the Bluetti models due to their long-lasting batteries.

ModelJackery Explorer 240Bluetti EB55Bluetti EB150
Ranking#1 Cheapest Small Solar Generator#2 Cheapest 500W Solar Generator#3 Cheapest 1,000W-1,500W Solar Generator
Image

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency

BLUETTI EB55 Portable Power Station 700W 537Wh LiFePO4 Battery Pack Solar Generator with 4 AC Outlets, 100W USB-C, Regulated 12V DC, Emergency Backup Power for Outdoor Camping Home Vanlife

MAXOAK Portable Power Station EB150 1500Wh AC110V/1000W Camping Solar Generator Lithium Emergency Battery Backup with 2 AC outlet Pure Sinewave,DC12V,USB-C for Outdoor Road Trip Travel Fishing

Price$200$500$1,100
Battery Capacity240Wh537Wh1,500Wh
Battery Cycle Life500 cycles to 80% capacity2,500 cycles to 80% capacity2,500 cycles to 80% capacity
Usable Power to 80% Battery Capacity (Capacity x Cycle Life)120kWh1,342.5kWh3,750kWh
Cost Per Usable kWh (Price / Usable Power)$1.67 / kWh$0.37 / kWh$0.29 / kWh
Find OnAmazonAmazonAmazon

If you’d like to dive into the specifics of what makes a solar generator worth buying, I recommend checking out my informational post here: Are Solar Generators Worth the Money? How To Decide.

Now, let’s dive into the top three cheapest solar generators and what makes them unique in addition to their low prices.

1. Jackery Explorer 240

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency
The Jackery Explorer 240 is significantly cheaper than similar portable power stations from well-known brands.
ProsCons
Lightweight and easy to carryOnly four output port options
Inexpensive versus competitorsNo USB-C ports
High ratings on Amazon (4.8/5) with over 10k ratingsLonger charging times compared to the competition

The Jackery Explorer 240 is a portable power station designed for on-the-go power needs. Indoor or outdoor, regardless of where you need power, you can count on this compact and affordable unit.

In terms of its battery, Jackery Explorer 240 has an inbuilt 240 watt-hour (16.8Ah, 14.4V) lithium-ion battery.

The power station will automatically turn off in 6 hours when power is being drawn under 10W to ensure power saving.

It weighs just 6.6 lbs which makes it super portable. It is built for outdoor recreational activities, camping, and emergency power needs.

The Jackery power station features an AC outlet (110V 200W 400W Peak), 2 USB-A ports, and one 12V DC car port. It also features an LCD display screen.

This gives you a clear picture of power use, the battery level, and helps you visualize the discharge rate. Its backlight feature also enables easy reading under the sun.

Key Features & Specifications

Dimensions5.19 x 9.05 x 7.67 inches
Weight6.6 lbs (3 kg)    
Battery Capacity240Wh (14.4V, 16.8Ah)
Cell ChemistryLithium-ion NMC
AC Power Output200W continuous (400W surge)
Battery Cycle Life≥500 cycles to 80% battery capacity
Warranty 24 months
The Jackery 240 is similar to its competitors in terms of basic specifications like size, weight, inverter power, and battery longevity.

Although the Explorer 240’s specifications don’t really stand out compared to similar models, its low price creates a higher value to those who don’t mind its simple layout and few port options.

Jackery Explorer 240 vs. Yeti 200X vs. EcoFlow River

Both the Yeti 200X and EcoFlow River came out years after the Explorer 240. Due to this difference, you can see that the newer models have better port options as well as recharging times.

However, the Jackery 240 has continued to be a top-selling power station over the years because it is reliable, inexpensive, and easy to use.

Check out the differences between these systems below.

ModelJackery Explorer 240Goal Zero Yeti 200XEcoFlow River 600
Image

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency

Goal Zero Yeti 200X Portable Power Station, 200-Watt-Hours Power Station with AC Inverter and Fast-Charging USB-C PD, Portable Solar Generator

EF ECOFLOW RIVER 288Wh Portable Power Station,3 x 600W(Peak 1200W) AC Outlets & LED Flashlight, Fast Charging Silent Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) for Emergencies Home Outdoor Camping RV

Battery Capacity240Wh187Wh288Wh+
Price$200$300$300-$350
Battery Cycle Life500 cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity
Output Ports1x 110V AC port (200W continuous, 400W peak)
1x DC car port (12V, 10A)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
1x AC port (120W continuous, 200W peak)
1x 6mm port (12V, 10A)
1x DC car port (12V, 10A)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
1x USB-C port (18W max)
1x USB-C PD port (60W max)
3x 120V AC ports (600W continuous, 1,200W peak)
1x DC car port (13.6V, 10A)
2x DC5521 ports (13.6V, 3A max per port)
1x USB-C port (100W max)
1x USB-A Fast Charge (28W max)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
Charge TimesAC Wall Charging: 7 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 65W): 7 hours
Car Charging: 6.5 hours
AC Wall Charger (60W): 4.5 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 100W): 1.9 hours
AC Wall Charging: 1.6 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 200W): 1.6-3 hours
Car Charging: 3 hours
Weight6.6 lbs5 lbs11 lbs
Individual ReviewJackery Explorer 240 ReviewGoal Zero Yeti 200X ReviewEcoFlow River Max Review

As you can see, the Yeti 200X and EcoFlow River offer more options for recharging or powering devices/appliances.

If you don’t need USB-C ports as well as the fastest possibly recharging times, then the Explorer 240 may be the right system for you.

However, everyone’s off-grid power needs are different.

In The Box

  • 1x Explorer 240 power station
  • 1x AC adapter
  • 1x Car charger cable
  • 1x User guide

Verdict

The Jackery 240W unit is an excellent backup power source for people who don’t need advanced port options. If you want updated tech along with additional features, you can find better models out there. But for the price, the Explorer 240 can be a simple solution to off-grid energy.

You can read more information on the Explorer 240 in my review post found here: The Jackery Explorer 240 Review – Solar Charger for the Outdoors.

Next up is a larger and more advanced solar generator with over ten output ports, one of which is a wireless charging port.

2. Bluetti EB55

BLUETTI EB55 Portable Power Station 700W 537Wh LiFePO4 Battery Pack Solar Generator with 4 AC Outlets, 100W USB-C, Regulated 12V DC, Emergency Backup Power for Outdoor Camping Home Vanlife
The Bluetti EB55 has a powerful AC inverter and LiFePO4 battery
ProsCons
Lasts much longer than the average 500Wh systems at 2,500 cycles – Typically 500 cyclesHeavy for its battery size
13 total output portsLCD screen only shows charging status in 20% increments
Powerful AC portsOnly one USB-C port

Bluetti is one of a handful of popular solar generator companies. Throughout the years they’ve continued to innovate their power stations with advanced features while also keeping their prices competitive.

The EB55 is one of the smallest portable power stations to feature a LiFePO4 battery. This adds a lot of value to it because most similar models from other brands use a lithium-ion battery, which tends to limit its overall lifespan.

Along with good internals are its output ports. The EB55 has thirteen outputs:

  • 4x AC ports
  • 5x USB ports
  • 1x Wireless port
  • 3x 12V ports

I’ll be covering the specs of each port in my comparison table below, but one feature I want to highlight is its AC power. With its four AC ports, you can get a total of 700W of continuous power. This is higher than most other 500Wh power stations.

Its battery is also longer lasting than several other similar competitors.

At 16.5 lbs, it’s not meant for long-distance carry, but it can be a useful tool at a campsite, a tailgate, for van living, or in your home as a backup power source.

Key Features & Specifications

Dimensions10.94 x 7.87 x 7.79 inches
Weight16.5 lbs
Battery Capacity537Wh
Cell ChemistryLiFePO4
AC Power Output700W continuous (1,400W surge)
Battery Cycle Life2,500+ cycles to 80% battery capacity
Warranty24 months

With its basic specs in mind, I’ll be comparing it to yet again another Goal Zero and EcoFlow power station.

Bluetti EB55 vs. Yeti 500X vs. EcoFlow River Max

ModelBluetti EB55Goal Zero Yeti 500XEcoFlow River 600 Max
Image

BLUETTI EB55 Portable Power Station 700W 537Wh LiFePO4 Battery Pack Solar Generator with 4 AC Outlets, 100W USB-C, Regulated 12V DC, Emergency Backup Power for Outdoor Camping Home Vanlife

Goal Zero Yeti 500X Portable Power Station, 505-Watt-Hours Portable Lithium-Battery Emergency Power Station, Solar-Powered Generator

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER Max, 1.6hrs Fully Recharge 576Wh Backup Lithium Battery with 3 x 600W (Peak 1200W) AC Outlets, Clean & Silent Solar Generator for Outdoor Camping RV (Solar Panel Optional)

Battery Capacity537Wh505Wh576Wh
Price$500$700$450-500
Battery Cycle Life2,500+ cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity
Output Ports4x 110V AC ports (700W continuous, 1,400W peak)
1x DC car port (12V, 10A)
2x DC ports (12V, 3A max per port)
1x USB-C port (100W max)
4x USB-A ports (15W max per port)
1x Wireless charging pad (15W max)
2x AC ports (300W continuous, 1,200W peak)
1x 6mm port (12V, 10A)
1x DC car port (12V, 10A)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
1x USB-C port (18W max)
1x USB-C PD port (60W max)
3x 120V AC ports (600W continuous, 1,200W peak)
1x DC car port (13.6V, 10A)
2x DC5521 ports (13.6V, 3A max per port)
1x USB-C port (100W max)
1x USB-A Fast Charge (28W max)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
Charge TimesAC Wall Charger (200W): 3.2 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 200W): 2.7 hours
Car Charging: 6 hours (12V), 3 hours (24V)
AC Wall charger (60W): 10 hours
Car charger (120W): 4.5 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 150W): 3.4 hours
AC Wall Charging: 96 minutes
Solar Charging (at max input of 200W): 2.9 hours
Car Charging: 6.5 hours
Weight16.5 lbs12.9 lbs17 lbs
Individual ReviewN/AGoal Zero Yeti 500X ReviewEcoFlow River Max Review

Looking at what each model offers and then reviewing prices, the EcoFlow River Max is quite competitive with the Bluetti EB55. In fact, I own the River Max because I was impressed with its features.

I like my River Max and would recommend it to anyone who wants some cool features that aren’t found in the EB55, including:

  • Pairing the River Max with your smartphone with the EcoFlow App
  • Fastest recharging time from a wall charger
  • The ability to remove one of the batteries for a lighter and more portable system

However, what sets the EB55 apart from the River Max in terms of long-term value is its battery cycle life, which is five times higher than the River, at 2,500 cycles.

This means that if you were to use both the River Max and EB55 every day, the EB55 would last about 5.5 years longer than the River.

ModelBluetti EB55EcoFlow River Max
Rated Battery Cycle Life2,500 cycles to 80%500 cycles to 80%
Years of Daily Use (1x cycle/day to 80% capacity)6.85 years1.37 years

In The Box

  • 1x EB55 power station
  • 1x 200W AC adapter & charging cable
  • 1x Solar charging cable (MC4 to XT60-F)
  • 1x Car charging cable (Car to XT60-F)
  • 1x User manual

Verdict

It’s clear that when you combine the initial price, specs/features, and battery longevity together, you can distinguish which power station carries the most value for your money.

In the 500Wh range, the EB55 is the best system you can get for a return on your investment.

But there may be features on one system that fit your situation better.

You can check out my review and testing of the River Max power station for a closer look at what it can do.

Since it can be paired to your smartphone, there are a lot of additional features that I didn’t cover in this comparison: EcoFlow River 600 Review – Testing My River Max + Comparisons.

3. Bluetti EB150

MAXOAK Portable Power Station EB150 1500Wh AC110V/1000W Camping Solar Generator Lithium Emergency Battery Backup with 2 AC outlet Pure Sinewave,DC12V,USB-C for Outdoor Road Trip Travel Fishing
The Bluetti EB150 has a large 1,500Wh battery that is rated for 2,500 cycles before it reaches 80% capacity.
ProsCons
Costs significantly less than competitorsAC power is much less than the competition
Long battery cycle lifeNot as many advanced features compared to competitors
5x USB ports (4x USB-A, 1x USB-C)12V car port output is rated for 9A (most others are 10A)

As solar generators increase in battery size, there are fewer competitors. With less competition, it can be difficult to find an outlier that has both high value as well as a low price.

Since Bluetti has several solar generator models that were created after the EB150 model (with more features and higher performance specs), this model has lowered in price with each successor.

The EB150 isn’t the most advanced solar generator, but it carries the fundamentals of a good system, which allows it to retain its value to this day:

  • Long battery cycle life
  • Multiple useful port options
  • Fast recharging times
  • Intuitive LCD screen

Key Features & Specifications

Dimensions14.6 x 6.5 x 14.4 inches
Weight37.9 lbs
Battery Capacity1,500Wh
Cell ChemistryLithium-ion
AC Power Output1,000W continuous (1,200W surge)
Battery Cycle Life2,500+ cycles to 80% battery capacity
Warranty 12 months

Looking at the table above, the EB150 has an average weight for its battery size, long cycle life, and compact dimensions.

One specification to take into account is its AC power output, which is below average as seen in the comparison table below.

Bluetti EB150 vs. Yeti 1500X vs. Jackery 1500

ModelBluetti EB150Goal Zero Yeti 1500XJackery Explorer 1500
Image

MAXOAK Portable Power Station EB150 1500Wh AC110V/1000W Camping Solar Generator Lithium Emergency Battery Backup with 2 AC outlet Pure Sinewave,DC12V,USB-C for Outdoor Road Trip Travel Fishing

Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station, 1516Wh Portable Lithium Battery Emergency Power Station, 2000W Portable AC Inverter Generator, Outdoor Portable Generator, Portable Solar Generator for Solar Panels

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1500, 1534Wh Portable Generator with 3x110V/1800W AC Outlets, for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Overlanding

Battery Capacity1,500Wh1,516Wh1,534Wh
Price$1,100$2,000$1,600
Battery Cycle Life2,500+ cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity500 cycles to 80% capacity
Output Ports2x AC ports (1,000W continuous, 1,200W peak)
1x DC car port (12V, 9A)
1x USB-C port (45W max)
4x USB-A ports (15W max per port)
2x AC ports (2,000W continuous, 3,500W surge)
2x 6mm port (12V, 10A)
1x DC car port (12V, 13A)
1x 12V High Power Port (12V, 30A)
2x Standard USB-A ports (12W max per port)
1x USB-C port (18W max)
1x USB-C PD port (60W max)
3x AC ports (1,800W continuous, 3,600W surge)
1x DC car port (12V, 10A)
1x Standard USB-A port (12W max)
1x USB-A QC 3.0 port (18W max)
1x USB-C PD port (60W max)
Charge TimesAC Wall Charger (200W): 8 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 500W): 3 hours
AC Wall Charger (120W): 14 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 600W): 2.5 hours
AC Wall Charger: 6 hours
Solar Charging (at max input of 500W): 3 hours
Car Charger (120W): 13 hours
Weight37.9 lbs45.64 lbs35.2 lbs

What seems to be standing out in this table are a few things when comparing the EB150 to the others:

  • AC port output – 800-1,000W lower continuous output
  • DC car port output – 9A versus 10A and 13A
  • Price – $500-$900 cheaper
  • Battery cycle life – 5x higher
  • Charge times – Competitive to the others

The main detriment of the EB150 compared to the Yeti 1500X and Explorer 1500 is its AC port output. If you need to run high-powered appliances, you will need to make sure they can run with the EB150.

For example, most large space heaters are rated at 1,500W. Both the Yeti 1500X and Explorer 1500 can run this appliance, but the EB150 can’t in most cases.

The two things that separate the EB150 from the others are its price and battery cycle life.

For the same price as the Jackery 1500, you can get the EB150 and an EB55. You can almost get two EB150s for the price of the Yeti 1500X. Because the price difference is so vast, the EB150 delivers a great value depending on the power needs of the one using it.

The second is battery cycle life. At 2,500 cycles, the Bluetti creates another vast difference compared to the others. The Yeti 1500X and Jackery 1500 have the same 500-cycle lifespan until reaching the typical 80% capacity.

If your battery will last five times longer than another one, that is literally five times the value so long as the other features correlate to your needs.

To add to this, you can get the larger Bluetti EB240 model (Amazon link) with 2,400Wh of battery power for $1,400-$1,500. It has all of the same features as the EB150 except for its larger battery.

In The Box

  • 1x EB150 power station
  • 1x AC wall charger (200W)
  • 1x Solar charging cable(DC7909 to MC4, 1.7 meters)
  • 1x Manual

Verdict

Overall, for what it can do, the EB150 is clearly the cheapest solar generator you can get in the 1,500Wh range – while also retaining high-quality features.

Of course, it doesn’t perform as well as some of its competitors in terms of AC output as well as a few other enhancements, but it retains the core of what makes a solar generator valuable longterm:

  • Long cycle life
  • Fast recharging times
  • Practical port options

Bottom Line

Many solar generators will provide power whenever you need it, but the main thing to consider is if the one you want will provide the power you need at the best price.

Once that question is answered, you’re on your way to a successful off-grid system.

Below, I’ll link some of my comparison articles that may be helpful from the information provided in this article.

Max Peters

Hi! I'm Max and I am passionate about off-grid solar technology and adventure! I'm using my knowledge of solar generators, solar panels, and everything in between to provide you with the best tools to keep you powered while off the grid. Read more about me here: About Max Peters."

Recent Posts