One of the many places where solar generators are very useful is on boats.
The main reason why is because boats are off the grid and may (at some point) need a third-party source of power to keep devices charged among other things.
That being said, some of the best options for portable power on a boat are solar generators.
This is because they:
- Can be lightweight and easily maneuverable
- Have several different ports for both discharging and recharging
- Don’t emit fumes like gas generators
- Are relatively quiet
- Can be recharged at any given time as long as there is sunlight
In the process, we will be looking at how these features can be of enormous benefit to boat owners, passengers along for the ride, and even workers on a boat.
We’ll be discussing each solar generator in this post in order of smallest to largest in battery capacity.
Since several boat owners need portable power for various purposes, we provided the most basic systems along with the ones that can power heavy-duty appliances.
Here’s a short look at the solar generators we will be reviewing in this article:
Quick Look - 5 Best Solar Generators for Your Boat (Small to Large)
|Model||Explorer 240||300||YETI 500X||DELTA 1300||Bluetti EB150|
|Where to find||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon|
So, let’s start with the lithium-ion power station known as the Jackery Explorer 240.
Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station
Basically, the 240 is designed to charge and re-charge devices. For one thing, it is quite portable and box-shaped as seen above.
The components that make up the generator are also chosen carefully to ensure that it is lightweight. It weighs only 6.6lbs, so you can be sure it will fit comfortably on a boat.
The Explorer 240 provides reliable power for mainstream electronics, small appliances, and more.
Basically, its manufacturers made it to cover uses within the scope of outdoor recreation, camping, and emergency preparedness. Its usage on the boat can fall under the category of outdoor recreation.
With multiple powering options that include two USB ports, an AC outlet, and a 12V car output, it is fully fit to power basic devices on a boat. It can also be equipped with an optional 60W solar panel that provides sustainable power anywhere on the waterways as long as the solar panels are exposed to sunlight.
With this build, you can be sure it will take care of your smartphones, tablets, laptops, electric blanket, mini cooler, and other small appliances that could be used on a boat.
Apart from the optional 60W SolarSaga solar panel, there is an outlet to charge the Jackery 240 via a wall socket and a 12V car outlet.
Therefore, you can charge this solar generator overnight if you find yourself on land in an area with access to electricity via the public electric grid or have access to a functional vehicle capable of powering it.
How long does the Jackery 240 last?
You can expect an impressive level of battery longevity when you use it on your boat. This is usually dependent on the charge cycle capacity as designed by the manufacturers.
The charge cycle refers to the number of times a solar generator can go from 100% to 0% before it starts losing efficiency. It is designed to have a charge cycle of over one thousand charges.
Its efficiency is usually a function of the number of hours it spends in charging a specific number of appliances. Once the estimated number of charge cycles is exceeded, solar generators become prone to losing efficiency. However, they can still be used normally. They will just have shorter battery life.
Power Outlet Safety
The Jackery 240 portable solar generator makes use of the US standard AC outlet. This ensures safe connection of your device, 100% compatible with all your small appliances that draw under 200W.
It is designed to go off automatically after six hours when being used under 10W of power for power saving.
Another measure put in place by manufacturers of this solar generator is the use of pure sine wave technology.
With a pure sine wave internal inverter, the power station safely powers electronic devices by producing clean, stable electricity; therefore, you need not bother about the safety of your devices like phones, laptops, and cameras by generating unstable power.
In addition to other features that enhance the generator’s usability, the LCD screen is something worthy of your attention. The LCD screen helps you gauge all you need to know about the working condition of this machine.
This will help users make wise decisions with regards to the thoughtful and intelligent distribution of power stored in the solar generator.
Off-Grid Power for CPAP on a Boat
If you are going to spend lots of time offshore and want to make use of your CPAP while away, the Jackery 240 can be the solution you need. However, don’t forget the fact that most CPAP machines consume lots of wattage. So it would probably be best to upgrade to a larger solar generator like the Explorer 500 if you were looking to use a CPAP machine.
Rockpals 300W Portable Power Station
As you would expect of a solar generator, the Rockpals is clean and silent. What makes this solar generator ideal for usage on a boat?
Well, there are many factors responsible for this – the first being its battery capacity at 300Wh and the second being its many various outlets.
First off, it is equipped with a 110V AC Outlet/12V Or 24V DC/USB for fast, swift charging of a variety of devices you might want to use when on a boat. Also note that the AC output charges devices up to 300W.
The first direct current outlet known as DC1 output can charge devices less than 96W. The second direct current port, known as DC2, has half the power at 48W max. This helps you know the capability of each port with respect to that of the devices you would be using while on the boat.
Its ability to power your CPAP while on the boat
If you are going to be on an extensive boat cruise, chances are that you might want to make use of a CPAP; especially if you are managing a medical condition that requires its usage. With the Rockpals 300W generator, you can power your CPAP for a few hours during a boat cruise.
Make sure to understand the power rating of your CPAP, though, to ensure quality sleep and accurate functioning of the Rockpals.
This you can do in two ways. The first option is to make use of the 110V AC plug or you can use the 12V/24V DC plug. Your choice of outlet should be able to work easily with your CPAP depending on which CPAP machine you have as well as if your CPAP has both AC and DC connections.
How safe is the Rockpals 300 for usage on a boat?
In short, as long as you can keep it in a cabinet or a case that protects it from water, any solar generator will be safe on a boat. The second recommendation when doing this is to make sure the battery doesn’t overheat by checking on it every so often.
This would really only happen if multiple devices were charging for a long period of time all at once. Besides, the generator has cooling fans in it, so overheating should not be a major concern.
In fact, the solar generator is structured to shut down after 10 hours of non-use or if you’re charging a low-wattage device that’s pulling less than 1W for the AC port, less than 1.68W for the 24V DC port, less than 1.2W for the 12V DC port, or less than 0.25W for the 5V USB outlets.
This will save power and prolong the overall life of the battery.
Calculating the working time for your device
Before digging deep into how much working time your device has for usage, it is vital that you pay attention to how much power it draws. You definitely do not want to be stranded in the middle of a body of water. Hence, you need to know how long a Rockpals solar generator can serve your devices when you are off the shore.
The first thing to look at while doing this analysis is the rate at which energy is drained from the solar generator. This is not a stable fixed number. Rather, it is dependent on its battery status. When it draws, it’s near 8.6V, and when it’s fully charged, it drains at about 12.6V.
That being said, for you to calculate the working time for your device, it is essential to note that the AC output working time=280wh * 0.85/the power of your device. For example, assume your power of a device is 1000W, working time will be 280wh * 0.85/100w=0.0085 hours.
The DC and USB output working time=280wh * 0.0085/the power of your device. This is just an estimate that is designed to guide you in going about your calculation.
The final verdict on the use of Rockpals 300 solar generator on a boat
A lot has been said already in regard to the use of this generator on a boat. However, if there is anything that is crystal clear to see, it is the fact that it remains one of the best power options available for use when on a boat trip.
With three USB ports, AC outlet, and five DC output ports, charging up your tablets, iPhone, iPad, and CPAP machine will not be an issue. Additional boat-fitting features of the Rockpals 300 solar generator include its led display & flashlight, making it easy to read charge/discharge rate and battery life status.
One final advantage is its weight. This is a crucial factor when we remember that there is a limited weight of load which water vehicles can carry. The Rockpals 300 solar generators weigh only 7.3lbs with an easy-carry handle, making it less dangerous to be on a boat while traveling.
One thing you shouldn’t forget that this is a solar generator with a small carrying capacity. To this end, it is suggested that you don’t overload it with too many devices at once. If you do, its efficiency will start dropping a little bit earlier than it was designed to.
Goal Zero Yeti 500x Portable Power Station
When we consider the power options open to individuals when on a boat, one other solar generator alternative that often comes in handy is the Goal Zero Yeti 500X.
Basically, this power savior is intended to keep all your small to medium-sized devices and appliances charged. With the Yeti 500X Portable Power Station, you can pack 20% more power into a 20% smaller and lighter shell than its previous version. This indicates that its manufacturers are making a conscious effort to improve the quality of this product so it can serve more effectively in odd climes such as that of life on a boat.
One other thing that makes it a good fit for usage on a boat is its carefully crafted protection case. Although it is not waterproof, you can be sure that the Yeti 400 Lithium/500X Protection Case won’t break or crack easily when packed alongside other essentials that might be needed in the event of a boat cruise.
Its pack also comes with a “Boulder 50” Solar Panel that could serve as an alternate source of power for the generator.
It doesn’t matter where exactly you want to use the Yeti 500x solar generator. It can function in several climes with the help of four different port options built-in with it.
These include an AC, 12V, and 60W USB-C PD—to power everything from phones to your boat engine.
That is not all with regards to its powering prowess and options. Furthermore, it is designed to be able to charge up speedily.
Manufacturers of this solar generator make sure to build it with the latest charging technology, which results in a high-speed charging solution.
Some of the components that help them achieve this feat include a high-speed Power Delivery port capable of charging USB-C laptops, tablets, cameras, and phones to the brim in considerably lesser time.
Equipped with the latest charging technology, including a high-speed Power Delivery port capable of charging USB, you can be confident in its ability to charge up laptops, tablets, mirrorless cameras, and phones in a fraction of the time.
It is designed to get a constant supply of photons while being used outdoors
Solar portable panels are one way of ensuring that your solar generator doesn’t run out of power when being used in an environment that is away from the conventional power grid. A boat cruise is a typical example of an outdoor use that makes users lose access to electricity from the conventional grid.
Remember, there is no way you can have the grid linked on the waterways. Perhaps, future advancement in technology will address that. In the meantime, solar power generator alternatives are an incredible solution.
To make it work more effectively, it comes with portable solar panels that allow you to charge from the sun while you power your devices simultaneously. The MPPT charge controller enhances the effectiveness of this. This component ensures you’re getting the most efficient solar charge possible from the sun.
What Can The YETI 500X Power?
Truly, some of the devices that can be powered by the Yeti 500x has already been mentioned. However, a little bit more information concerning this is not a bad idea. Basically, it is recommended by the manufacturers that only small to medium devices and appliances can be charged with the Yeti 500X.
Now, let’s take a look at some specific items it can charge and how long the charge lasts.
- It is capable of powering a lightbulb for 80 hours.
- It is capable of charging up a typical camera on 70 consecutive recharge cycles.
- It is capable of powering your phone on 40 recharge cycles.
- It is capable of powering your tablet on ten different recharges.
- It can cover the power demands of your laptop for eight consecutive recharge cycles.
- It is capable of powering your medical equipment such as a CPAP for about 10 hours.
- It is capable of powering a television for a period of three hours.
It is important to note that the following estimations are made under the following assumption:
- The solar generator is still relatively new, and its efficiency rate has yet to start declining.
- It is charged to the brim and not connected to any source to continue powering it while being used.
- All examples of devices are the only device connected to it during the period of charge. For example, a tablet is charged to the full, used up to 0%, charged up again, and used for ten times by a Yeti 500x solar generator before the solar generator is finally drained and needs to be powered back before it can charge any device.
Modes of charging the Goal Zero YETI 500X solar generator
There is more to the analysis of the powering prowess of the Goal Zero Yeti 500 solar power generators. Taking a look at the mode of charging, there are a number of ways to charge the Yeti 500x these have been mentioned earlier.
However, we will be looking at their level of effectiveness and how best these modes of charging can be utilized with respect to the use of the Goal Zero Yeti 500 on a boat.
Charging from the Sun
It is no news that you can recharge from the sun by connecting a compatible solar panel, or sticking to the default solar panel that came with it upon being manufactured.
One thing worthy of noting with regards to this form of powering your solar generator is this; the higher the watts of the panel, the faster the charging times. Therefore, it is advisable that you get as many solar panels as the configuration of your boat allows if you are interested in having it charged up real quick while in the boat.
Recharge from the sun by connecting a compatible solar panel, either the foldable Nomads or mountable Boulder solar panels. The higher the watts of the panel, the faster the charging times.
Charging from the Wall socket
This basically means getting power from the conventional power grid. Chances are that you got a little confused on seeing this since there is no way this source of electric supply can be made available on a boat (except if you opt for mini fuel generators that are noisy and toxic to the environment). However, your traveling mode will likely involve you spending the night at home; during this time, you can always charge up at home using a wall socket.
To make use of this charging option, you can plug it into the wall using the included 60W power supply for a full recharge in just 8.5 hours. That is less than the entire twelve-hour period that makes up the night time.
Although you can use any USB-C power supply to charge the power station, it is better when you decide to purchase the Yeti X 120W Power Supply to make the charging process two times faster.
Charging from the Car
The same situation narrative for charging through a wall socket holds true for this charging option because you don’t expect to find a car on the waterways. However, if you own a vehicle and it is your most viable access to power for charging up your solar generator, then you might want to make use of it.
When this solar generator was manufactured, it wasn’t done specifically for usage in a boat. To this end, it is left to users to see how they can make use of all its features to their advantage.
If this is for you, you can charge your Yeti 500x solar generator from your vehicle by plugging it into your vehicle’s 12V outlet using the “Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 12V Car Charging Cable” this device doesn’t come with the Goal Zero Yeti 500x solar generator, so you might want to purchase it separately.
In the quest to charge your Yeti 500x solar generator via your vehicle, note that it is wrong to charge from a 12V source using any other cable. In doing so, you are going to end up damaging the unit.
EcoFlow DELTA 1300 Power Station
The DELTA 1300 Power Station redefines power generation when compared to other types of solar generators previously considered. One major feature that sets it apart from previously reviewed generators that make it more ideal for usage on a boat is its huge power storage capability.
It is impressive to note that it possesses a massive energy storage capacity of 1260Wh. This gives you more options as to how many devices you can power at once on a boat.
A large base of device compatibility enhances the huge capacity. This implies that it is compatible with a wide range of devices, meaning you can stay powered for hours while on the boat.
Most solar options of energy supply have limited output capacity. One of the few solar generator brands and models doing well in this regard is the EcoFlow Delta Power Station.
It is equipped with an output capacity of 1800W (3300W surge). With this, you can be sure the DELTA 1300 Power Station meets any standard of wall outlets.
The fast-charging feature makes it ready for usage on a boat in no time.
The EcoFlow Delta solar generator has one of the swiftest charging mechanisms in the solar generator industry. It recharges from 0%-80% WITHIN 1 HOUR.
If you are wondering how this is even possible considering the large reservoir of battery capacity that is supposed to be filled up, then you will find the explanation interesting. This awesome solar generator makes use of a technology devised by the manufacturing company to achieve this feat.
It is known as “EcoFlow patent X-Stream Technology”. This technology allows the EcoFlow DELTA 1300 to recharge ten times faster than most portable power stations in the market.
Solar panels can fully recharge the EcoFlow DELTA solar generator in about 4 hours and fully charged through a 12/24V carport in 10-12 hours. You would agree that this is definitely awesome considering the battery capacity and its output level.
What can the EcoFlow DELTA 1300 solar generator power?
Most likely, your imagination is already running wide based on what you already know about the capacity of this solar generator. Well, that was expected. The EcoFlow DELTA solar generator can be used to power almost anything you need on a boat cruise.
If you are on a large boat and you could possibly have a television, electric blanket, and other devices for comfort.
With a vast energy storage capacity of 1260Wh, it can power up to 13 devices simultaneously. This incredible solar generator can power/run gadgets such as a mini-fridge, well pumps, lights, and other essentials without any hitch.
One way manufacturers get the users to know that this solar generator is up to the task is by equipping it with multiple outlets.
Other incredible and boat-friendly qualities of the EcoFlow Delta 1300 solar generator
Just like any other solar generator, the EcoFlow DELTA requires no gas and emits no pollution. You would expect it to be heavy due to its incredible capabilities. However, it is not as heavy as you would imagine. In fact, it is considered to be super lightweight by reviews from experts. This is definitely another highpoint for this awesome powerhouse.
For more information on the Delta and EcoFlow’s other portable power stations I wrote a comparison piece that rates their systems against Jackery’s products here: EcoFlow vs. Jackery – Full Solar Generator Comparison (With Specs).
Bluetti EB150 1500Wh/1000W Solar Generator
The Bluetti EB150 is another top solar generator at the same level as the EcoFlow solar power generator. However, there is a little difference in the capacity of the two when compared. It is either rechargeable by solar or by a wall socket from the conventional electricity grid, depending on what suits the user with respect to boat activities.
Usually, it takes 10 hours to be fully charged by an AC wall outlet. On the other hand, charge time varies when the solar panel option is utilized based on factors like the number of panels and sun intensity. However, the MPPT technology makes solar charging quite efficient.
Just like the EcoFlow Delta solar generator, it has a broader capacity and can charge higher power devices like the boat engine, mini-fridge, CPAP, blender, and the likes. However, users should make sure that connected devices should not exceed 1000W.
Solar generators are designed to solve electricity problems both indoor and outdoor. You would agree that the outdoor use of solar generators includes electricity needs on a boat. These solar generator options are excellent for usage on a boat. You can choose which one of them is fitting for your needs if you’re on a boat.