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Last Updated on May 12, 2021 by Scott
Most portable generators on the market are going to be powered by gasoline which requires an engine that can get quite noisy and expel harmful exhaust gases. This prevents them from being used indoors or in close proximity to others.
Table of Contents
- My favorite picks for each capacity size
- Battery concepts and terms to understand
- Small Lightweight Battery Powered Generators ~150 Watt-hours
- Medium Size Battery Powered Generators ~240 Watt Hour
- Large Battery Powered Generators ~500 Watt Hour
- Large Capacity Battery Generators
- Jackery vs. Goal Zero. Who makes better solar battery generators?
- Conclusion – About This Guide
A battery powered solar generator solves these problems as they run off of a rechargeable battery and are virtually silent. This allows you to use these generators inside or at a campsite without worry.
TLDR: The best battery-powered solar generator right now is the EcoFlow EFDelta 1300. It’s not cheap, but it has the highest Watt rating and capacity combination hands down. I say this as a proud Jackery 1000 owner, and I love that thing to death, but the EcoFlow is incredible. Read my full review here.
I have put together this list of the current top 10 battery-powered solar generators to give you a better idea of which one may be best for your application.
Battery-powered generator sizes are grouped by Watt hours, aka capacity. There are 4 common sizes, like drink sizes at a coffee shop. They are:
- Small (~ 150 Wh capacity)
- Medium (~ 240 Wh capacity)
- Large (~ 500 Wh capacity)
- Extra-Large (~ 1000+ Wh capacity)
My favorite picks for each capacity size
Battery concepts and terms to understand
What is a Watt hour?
A Watt-hour, or Wh, is a measure of power over time. In other words, capacity. If a battery has the capacity to run a 50-watt light for 1 hour, that battery would have a 50 Wh rating. Sometimes Watt-hours are expressed in Kilowatt-hours or KWh. A 1 KWh battery would have a 1,000 watt-hour capacity. The Jackery Explorer 1000 has a 1002 Wh capacity or 1.002 KWh (I guess the “Jackery 1002” isn’t as nice a ring as 1000).
What are Watts?
Watts are a measure of power. Certain devices require more “power” to operate than others. This just makes sense, right? Powering an electric chainsaw is going to require more “power” then operating a small LED light.
Do you need long life or short burst of high power?
You’ll want to pick a battery-powered generator based on capacity (Wh) and your power needs (Watts). If you are camping and operating a fridge (50W) that you want to power for a whole day, you’re really more concerned about capacity. 50W is doable by every battery generator on this list, but the smaller 150 Wh picks will only run that fridge for 3 hours, while a larger 1,000 Wh capacity model will run it for 20 hours.
If you need more power or Watts, you’re going to need a larger model as well, since the smaller models are not rated for high power outputs.
If you need to power a medium window size AC unit, that might need 900 Watts of power. An electrical heater on low will need 750 Watts. Both those examples can be run from the larger battery generators.
Once you get over 1,000 Watts ~ your options for battery generators goes down. There are high Watt output options like the Ego POWER+ and the DeWalt Portable Power Station. These options will give you a high amount of Watts (up to 3,000 surge, 2,000 continuous on the Ego) but their capacity is very limited. Great for running a chainsaw for 10 minutes, but not for 2 hours.
What if I need high power (Watts) and capacity (Watt-hours)?
High watts. High capacity. Low price.
Yep, you can only pick two.
If you want high watts, and capacity, your best option is the EcoFlow Delta, which comes in over a grand (check the current price on the DELTA here).
If you need a lower price and high capacity, the Jackery 1000 is a great pick.
I will show you the best picks for each size, depending on the capacity (size) and Watts (power) you need.
Small Lightweight Battery Powered Generators ~150 Watt-hours
This small size is good for lower Watt-power requirements, like a CPAP machine, or phones and computers. Sometimes these smaller sizes are made from lead-acid AGM batteries, like what is in your car. I have a small Goal Zero 150, that fits in this size. It’s great as a backup or swap-out battery generator for my car freezer (which draws about 60 Watts max), as it has a 12-volt cigarette output. I’ll throw in a small generator to power the freezer while my main, extra-large 1,000 Watt Jackery Explorer is charging. I wouldn’t actually recommend the Goal Zero 150, it’s very heavy for it’s capacity. I only got it because it was half off at as an REI return, and so was a good deal. Go with the Jackery 140, which is nearly 1/3 the weight (4 lbs vs 12 lbs of the Goal Zero 150).
OK, let’s look at options in the small 150 Wh range:
Best Small Battery Powered Generator: Jackery Explorer 160
One of the most popular brands when it comes to battery-powered generators is Jackery.
Jackery engineers and manufacturers high-quality battery generators that are great for camping, hiking, and even backup power in a power outage.
The Jackery Explorer 160 is their smallest battery powered portable generator, but it still packs a punch.
- SUPER COMPACT WITH AC OUTLET: Weighing the same as a standard bag of apples, this portable power station makes the smallest while remaining the most compact in the Explorer family. Being able to carry an AC Outlet around brings you flexibility for your short road trips, remote work, or outdoor camping essentials.
Jackery has outfitted the Explorer 160 with three convenient recharge options.
You will get a carport charger, AC outlet, and a solar power outlet for use with your favorite compatible solar panel.
This will allow you to easily charge up your power station before you head out and even while you are out in the wilderness.
When it comes to outlets on this portable power station, you will get a few different ones to choose from.
You will get 2 USB, 1 USB-C, and 1 110VAC AC outlet to power up the most common tools and electronics.
Looking at recharge times, the Jackery 160 is going to give you quick recharge times so that you can get back to enjoying the great outdoors.
With the AC adapter, you can have a recharged battery pack in as little as 5 hours.
The same goes for the 12V car adapter, a 5 hour recharge time will have you back in action.
With the optional 50w solar panel, your Jackery 160 will be fully charged again in 8-10 hours.
The 160 is going to be relatively small coming in at 7.4 x 4.5 x 6.7 in. It will weigh only 3.84lbs, making it very easy to transport with its built-in handle.
The Jackery Explorer 160 is a small battery powered generator that will give you just about everything you need as a low cost. The large LED display keeps you informed of all of the important metrics of your generator to know when you will need to recharge.
While it does not have as many outlets as I had hoped, you will still get some very useful outlets.
Medium Size Battery Powered Generators ~240 Watt Hour
If you need more capacity but not quite the 500 WH level, this medium size can be very versatile, without being too heavy yet.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
If the Jackery 160 is not enough power for you, you can opt for their Explorer 240.
The Explorer 240 is a larger version of their 160 and gives you more power and a different outlet to choose from.
While they are pretty similar, let’s take a look at exactly what is different with this larger power station.
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: The Jackery Explorer 240 portable power station has been featured as the "Best Portable Power Station for use in the outdoors" by Digital Trends. A classic choice for your pick.
Much like the 160, you are going to get three methods of recharging to get your generator charged back up.
The first is going to be with your standard wall charger.
This will allow for you to easily charge your power station up overnight before you want to use it.
The next way will be with a vehicle cigarette charger for on the go charging which is great for road trips or camping.
Lastly, you can opt for an optional solar panel which will allow you to get your 240 charged up just about anywhere.
Outlet selection on the Jackery 240 is going to be pretty versatile with 4 different outlets to choose from.
You will get 2 USB outlets, 1 household-style outlet, and 1 cigarette-style outlet.
This will allow for powering up just about any small electronic or appliance under 200W with ease.
Since this portable power station is larger, it is naturally going to have a longer recharge time.
Luckily, each recharge option is going to offer a 7-8 hour recharge time, making it a great way to get charged back up overnight.
With solar power, you are going to need full, direct sunlight for optimal recharge times.
The Jackery 240 is going to be slightly larger than the 160, obviously, but the weight difference is not too drastic.
Looking at the dimensions, it is going to come in at 9.05*5.24*7.87in.
As far as weight goes, it will come in at a lightweight of 6.6lbs.
The Jackery Explorer 240 is a great option for those who are wanting a portable power station that is powerful, yet very portable.
Capable of powering most electronics and appliances under 200W, this little generator can keep your phone, camera, and radio charged with ease.
It can be used indoors, at the campsite, or on the job site with no problems at all.
Large Battery Powered Generators ~500 Watt Hour
Goal Zero Yeti 400
You can’t talk about battery-powered generators without talking about Goal Zero.
Goal Zero is a very popular battery-powered generator manufacturer that offers a full line of different sized power stations.
Today, they have made the list with the Yeti 400, one of their medium size power stations that still packs a punch.
Let’s take a closer look and see why this power station is so popular.
Update: If you really want a Goal Zero in this larger size, opt for the new 500x model that uses Li-Ion batteries. It is much lighter then the Yeti 400 model.
- BACKUP POWER SUPPLY: Charge this battery through a 8mm or USB-C PD port. Great for GZ Solar Panels
Goal Zero has made recharging this generator very easy with the three common recharge methods.
Since we have discussed these three methods a few times before, you should have a pretty good idea of how this works.
It will have the classic AC, car 12V, and solar panel (sold separately), recharge methods.
The outlet selection on this Goal Zero Yeti 400 will give you plenty to choose from when powering up your electronics or appliances.
For household appliances and electronics, you will get 2 110V AC outlets.
For smaller electronics, you can choose between two USB outlets and a single 12V cigarette-style outlet.
It will also include 2 12V outlets for powering specialty items that don’t use standard plugs.
The recharge times on this portable generator are going to differ greatly depending on what type of recharge method you choose.
For AC wall outlets, you will get the quickest recharge time of 5 hours.
If you are charging with the included car charger, you can expect 13 hours of charging time.
With Goal Zero’s monocrystalline solar panels, you can have your portable power station charged up in as little as 8 hours with direct sunlight.
The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is noticeably larger than the other generators we have discussed on this list, but with this many features and benefits, it is to be expected.
The dimensions of the Yeti 400 are going to be 8 x 10.25 x 8 inches, while the weight is going to come in at 29lbs.
While this is a little heavier than what you would expect, it does have a built in handle for easy carrying.
To sum things up for the Goal Zero Yeti 400, this compact device is going to be great for having around the house or with you in the car for camping trips.
With the weight and dimensions it has, this is not one that I would suggest taking with you on a hike, but if you plan on using it in one stationary place for hours on end, this is one option.
The G500 is going to provide more power, better features, and different outlets to power up larger electronics and appliances.
Let’s dive in to see what Suaoki offers on this larger model.
- 【500WH ULTRA-HIGH CAPACITY】 500Wh (11.1V, 45,900mAh/3.7V 137,700mAh) portable battery pack is powerful enough to charge iPhone X 42 times, JBL GO speaker 120 hours, mini fridge(40W) 9 hours, MacBook Air 6 hours, mini projectors, GoPro, drones, box fans, Xmas lights, CPAP machines, TVs etc., which is the ideal choice for camping, fishing, off-road weekend trips, van life, overlanding voyages. As well as for use at home and office as a backup power source for any unexpected blackouts, hurricanes.
Following the footsteps of others on this list, you are going to get the same 3 methods of recharging: AC, in car DC, and eco friendly solar power.
The solar panel will have to be purchased separately and will need to be compatible with this power station.
An easy pick is the SUAOKI 100@ solar panel that is made specifically for SUAOKI power stations.
First off, you are going to get 2 110VAC household outlets that make it easy to power up just about any household electronics within the specified wattage.
Then, you will get two quick charge USB ports and a single USB type C port for your smaller electronics such as cell phones and cameras.
Next you will get 2 DC ports for specialty plugs and a single cigarette lighter style plug for plugs you would use in a car.
This power station charges up fairly quickly, no matter what method of recharge you use.
Each method will have a recharge time of 7-8 hours, however, you must use a 100W solar panel to achieve these times.
The product dimensions are going to be 11 x 7.5 x 8.3 inches while the weight is going to be 15lbs.
This is going to make it larger than you would want to carry around in a backpack but small enough to bring without on your next camping trip.
The 5000wh power station is going to be in the middle ground of Suaoki’s power station lineup and will be perfect for most users.
It has a great outlet selection, good power levels, and can easily be carried without being too heavy.
This is going to make this power station a perfect fit for camping, tailgating, home backup use for small electronics, and even road trips.
Large Capacity Battery Generators
These battery generators are where the real higher capacity and watts start to come into play. I own the Jackery 1000 and love it for camping, and powering my fridge / freezer when I’m off-grid.
If you were a fan of the Jackery lineup but needed even more power, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is going to be what you need.
With 1000 W rated power and 2000 W starting watts, this power station is going to take your power needs to a whole new level.
With so much to talk about with this power station, let’s waste no time and get right to it.
- MASSIVE CAPACITY & IMPRESSIVE ENDURANCE: With the 1000W wattage and 1002Wh capacity, this Explorer features 3 PURE SINE WAVE AC outlets, 2*USB-C, and 1*Quick Charge 3.0 port. It will power your full-size refrigerator, TV, blender, electric grill, mini cooler, and more for your outdoor and home needs.
Charging methods are going to be pretty standard on this generator with the common three being available.
You will get a solar panel hook up but a solar panel will have to be purchased separately.
We suggest using two SolarSaga 100W solar panels with full sunlight to get it done in around 8 hours.
With three household 110VAC outlets, you can plug in multiple appliances at once to take advantage of the 1000w.
You will also get two USB-C outlets, two quick charge 3.0 USB outlets, and a single cigarette lighter style DC outlet.
When you are looking at recharging your generator, you will need to consider how long it is going to take with each recharge method.
For an AC outlet, you can expect up to 7 hours for a full recharge.
To fully recharge in your car, it is going to take quite long with a 14 hour charge time to 100% from 0%.
Lastly, using two Jackery SolarSaga 100 solar panels (sold separately) you can expect around 8 hours of run time.
Weighing in at only 22lbs, carrying this power station is quite easy with the built-in handle.
It is also about the average size for a generator of this capacity, making it great for use on a countertop, in or out of a tent, or on a tailgate.
For those who are looking for a larger solar generator that can compete with the power levels of a gasoline generator without the noise and toxic gases, this Jackery 1000 is going to be a great choice.
With so many outlets to choose from, you should have no problem powering up an electronic device or smaller appliance that you have.
The LCD screen is also a huge plus as it gives you real time data to know exactly what is going on with your generator.
This is going to be perfect for home, camping, and tailgating use.
EcoFlow Delta 1300
Next on the list is the DELTA 1300 power station.
This power station takes on a more modern look and is designed to be used for more indoor usage rather than outdoor.
Resembling a computer tower, this power station looks very advanced, but let’s take a closer look to see if the looks match the performance and features.
- Kit Includes: 1x 1260wh Solar Generator and all its accessories; 1x 110W Foldable Solar Panel and all its accessories. May be in different warehouses because the products are in the form of a Bundle. Don’t worry when you receive only part of the product, you can send us an email and we will provide you with another tracking number.
The power that this generator is going to offer will be 1800 running watts and 3300 starting watts.
This is going to be great for powering multiple larger appliances that most previously mentioned generators could not handle.
The outlet selection is quite impressive on this generator,
You will get an unheard-of 6 1800W AC outlets on the back of this generator along with a single cigarette style 12V outlet.
On the front, you will notice two USB-A outlets, two fast-charge USB outlets, and two USB-C outlets to get your smaller electronics charged up.
While this generator is going to feature the same three charging methods as all of the other power stations, it has a super quick charge time with an AC plug.
With a wall charger, you can have a full recharged power station in 1.6 hours.
This is going to blow every other generator out of the water.
Most generators are going to see a 7-8 hour recharge time with a wall charger.
For the 12V car adapter, you can expect a 10-12 hour recharge time while using 4 110W solar panels with the full sun will only take around 4 hours.
You can expect this generator to be about the same size as a computer tower, coming in at 15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6 in.
While it may be a little heavy at 30.9lbs, it does have an integrated handle.
The handle is only on one side which is kind of odd, but it is better than not having one at all.
I was a little skeptical about this DELTA 1300 at first due to it looking like it is meant to be used as an indoor power station only.
However, it has some pretty impressive specs and the outlet selection is amazing.
Goal Zero Yeti 1400
Making another appearance on this list, Goal Zero is back with 1000 more watts with their Yeti 1400.
This beast of a pack is going to be loaded up with great features including wifi for wireless controls.
This is great for those who are using it in another room or would like to turn it on before they enter a room.
Let’s see how this Yeti is going to compare to the competition.
As expected, this pack is going to have the same three charging methods seen on every generator on this list.
It is going to offer 1400 running watts which is a great range for powering small electronics all the way up to larger appliances.
The outlet selection on this power station isn’t going to compare to the DELTA power station, but it is going to have a great selection for what it is.
You can find 2 110VAC outlets for plugging up household appliances and electronics, 1 DC cigarette lighter style outlet, 2 DC outlets, and 4 USB outlets for smaller electronics.
Under the lid, you will find an expansion module port that can be used with Goal Zero expansion modules.
Out of the box, this power station does have a rather long recharge time.
With the Goal Zero Boulder 200 briefcase, you can recharge your Yeti with sun in about 14-25 hours.
With the included power supply, you can expect about 25 hours of recharge time.
However, with the Yeti Fast Charge 25 Amp Power Supply that is sold separately, you can recharge your 1400 in as little as 4.5 hours.
With as much as this power station does, it is relatively small in comparison to other generators.
It is going to measure in at only 10.1 x 15.3 x 10.4 in and tip the scale at 43lbs.
It does have dual handles, so the 43lbs isn’t too bad for most.
You can really never go wrong with a Goal Zero power station.
They are highly regarded for their quality and feature-rich generators.
This Yeti 1400 is a prime example of how well they build their power stations as it has just about everything you could think of.
This is not going to be a power station that you will want to carry around all day, but it is perfect for camping, home backup power, and even commercial use with tools.
Duracell PowerSource Quiet 1440
As one of the largest names in the battery industry, it is no surprise to see Duracell on a list of battery powered generators.
The Duracell PowerSource 1440 watt generator is going to give you high performance and reliable power anywhere.
Let’s take a closer look at this power station and see how Duracell stacks up against the others.
The peak output of this generator is going to come in at 1800 watts with 1440 watts running and 2880 watts starting.
You will get to charge up this power station with the three common charging methods to keep your generator charged up no matter where you are.
When it comes to outlet selection, you can tell that this battery is ready to take on the largest of appliances within its wattage range.
The Duracell features 4 110V AC outlets, 2 USB outlets, and 1 12V cigarette style lighter.
Duracell does not offer recharge times with this power station which is a little disappointing.
This power station is going to be a little larger coming in at 19.9x8.9x12.8”.
It is also going to be quite heavy, weighing in at 56.2lbs, the heaviest generator on our list.
With that, it does not include handles which is a huge disappointment.
Duracell did pretty well with this power station, giving you just about everything you may need.
The 12V battery charger on the back was a very nice addition that isn’t seen on many of these power stations.
This would be a great power station to keep around the house or to take to your favorite camping spot, but with no handle, this can be a little difficult.
10. Ego Nexus 3000 Watt 56V
Last but not least is the colorful Ego POWER+ Nexus portable power station.
This rugged power station is built tough and ready to take on just about any type of environment that you can put it through.
With it being a lesser-known brand, we need to see if the looks are going to compare to the performance of the power station.
- 3000W Peak 2000 Watt Continuous
To no surprise, this generator is going to allow you to recharge it with an AC outlet, 12V car adapter, or with the use of a compatible solar panel.
It is going to give you 2000 running watts and 3000 starting watts which makes it the highest-powered generator on his list.
As far as the outlet selection goes, you are going to get 8 outlets to choose from, but they will be spread out between two types: 110VAC household outlets and USB.
You will get 4 USB outlets and 3 110VAC outlets that feature a protective cover to keep them protected from the elements.
This alone shows that it is great for outdoor use.
This power station is rather bulky due to the bracing that is built around the core power station, but this helps to provide protection and integrated handles.
It weighs in at 44lbs which makes it pretty easy to carry with the handles that are built-in.
To sum it all up, I think this power station is one of the most versatile power stations on this list as it has many great outlets, is built to take on the elements, and makes the most power.
While I would have liked to see recharge times, this is something you may be able to find out from them directly.
I would suggest this to the user who is looking for a power station that can take on the outdoors whether it be camping, tailgating, or simply using it with power tools in the shop.
Best High Watt Cheap Pick: Dewalt Portable PowerStation
Handy in a pinch, putting 4 AWh batteries in it, you could get 16 AWh x 20v batteries = 320 Watt Hours. So, for it’s size, not great specs, but this is a different kind of battery generator. It’s more for running an electric chainsaw or Sawzall for a short period, not powered a fridge for 24 hours.
- CONVENIENT: 1800 Watt portable power station powering most variable power tools
Jackery vs. Goal Zero. Who makes better solar battery generators?
It’s not close. Jackery makes the best solar battery generators. Goal Zero’s new X line uses lithium batteries to reduce weight, but the specs per dollar are still nowhere near as good as Jackery. Take a look at the Goal Zero Yeti 200x for example, and compare it to the Jackery 140.
The Yeti 200x can output only a max of 120 W AC (https://www.goalzero.com/shop/portable-power/goal-zero-yeti-200x/). The Jackery 140 can do 100W, with a 150W burst. (https://www.jackery.com/products/explorer-160-portable-power-station). The Yeti 200x has 187 Wh vs 167 for the Jackery 100.
So far, the Yeti is winning on specs, right? Well, look, I took a much smaller Jackery to compare! Jackery has a 240 version, which price-wise, is a much better comparison.
The Yeti 200x is $299 vs the Jackery 140 at $149. It’s half the price for nearly the same specs! Goal Zero just comes with a huge premium for the brand, and in my opinion, it’s not worth it.
I have generators from both Jackery and Goal Zero. I do like my Goal Zero 100 solar panel. It has the same price and specs as the comparable Jackery 100W panel. But besides that, I’m a big Jackery fan vs. Goal Zero.
Conclusion – About This Guide
So there you have it, the top battery generators by size and capacity.
A battery-powered generator can be a great asset to your tool collection as you can use it without having to worry about noise and pollution.
Last update on 2021-09-10 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API