What Is The Best Power Source for Tailgating?

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by mfttherese

three women looking into a tailgate local event that is powered by a generator

It might be difficult to choose the appropriate power supply for tailgating because there are so many devices and gadgets that need to be powered. This is why finding a dependable and effective power source is necessary for a successful tailgate party, whether you want to run a sound system, a grill, or both.

The best power source for tailgating will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Generators, solar panels, and battery packs are all viable options to consider, with each having its own advantages and disadvantages.

The various power sources available will be discussed in this article, as well as the best generator for tailgating. It aims to assist you in choosing the one that best suits your requirements.


When it comes to powering your tailgate party, generators are a popular and reliable option. A portable generator can provide the necessary power to run various appliances and devices, including grills, lights, speakers, and even a cheap way to power up your TVs at a tailgate


Versatility: Generators, like your inverter generator, can act as portable power stations for various appliances, from small devices like phones and laptops to larger items like grills and refrigerators. This versatility allows tailgaters to have everything they need for a successful event since they offer more than enough power for most tailgating parties.

Portability: Generators are typically compact and easy to transport to tailgating events. They come in various sizes. They can fit in the back of a truck or SUV.

High power output: Generators offer high power output, making them suitable for powering larger appliances. This means you can bring all the necessary equipment for a successful tailgating event, even if it requires significant power.


Noise: Generators, such as gas generators, can be noisy, which can disrupt the tailgating atmosphere

Fuel requirement: Generators require fuel, which can add to the overall cost and maintenance of the generator. 

Factors to consider when choosing the best tailgate generator:


The best tailgate generator size will depend on the appliances you plan to power. If you only need to power a few small appliances and devices, a smaller portable generator will suffice. However, if you plan to power larger appliances like a refrigerator or grill, you will need a larger generator with a higher power output.

Noise level

If you’re concerned about the noise level, choose a generator with a lower decibel rating. Inverter generators are typically quieter than conventional generators, making them a popular choice for tailgating.

Fuel efficiency

Look for a tailgating generator with a longer run time and lower fuel consumption to reduce the overall cost and maintenance of the generator. You may also want to look into inverter generators.

You might be interested to read about the best portable power stations for tailgating.

Solar Panels

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and sustainable way of supplying electricity and power to your tailgate party, solar panels are a great option to consider. Solar panels can effectively convert solar energy, which is abundant during the day, into electrical power. They can give your appliances and devices a clean and renewable energy source.


Eco-friendly: Solar panels do not produce any harmful emissions. Because of this, solar charging has become a popular option for individuals looking to minimize their carbon footprint.

No fuel required: You don’t need to worry about running out of fuel or refueling because there are no fuel requirements.

Low maintenance: Solar panels require very little maintenance. Once installed, they can last for years with minimal upkeep.


Weather-dependent: Solar panels rely on sunlight to generate power, which means they are weather-dependent. The panels might not produce enough electricity to run all the required devices if it is cloudy or raining.

Cost: Solar panels can be expensive, especially if you need a large system to power all your appliances. However, the money you save on gasoline and maintenance will eventually make up for the expenditure.

Factors to consider when choosing solar panels for tailgating:


The items you intend to power will determine the wattage of solar panels you require. If you only need to power a few small devices, a lower wattage panel will suffice. However, you will require a greater wattage panel if you intend to power larger equipment like a refrigerator or grill.


How much power your solar panels can produce will depend on their efficiency. To ensure you obtain the most power possible, look for solar panels with a high efficiency rating.


If you plan to move the solar panels around frequently, choose a portable system that is easy to transport. Look for light weight panels with foldable designs that can be easily carried.

Battery Packs

Battery packs are a convenient and portable option for powering your tailgate party, offering a compact and lightweight solution that can be easily transported and charged.

Battery technology developments have led to battery packs becoming more powerful and efficient, making them a feasible replacement for conventional power sources like solar panels and generators.. 


Portability: Battery packs, like your power banks, are small and lightweight which make them easy to transport. 

Convenience: Battery packs are easy to use and require no fuel or setup time. Simply charge them before you go and use them to power your devices as needed.

Quiet operation: Unlike generators, battery packs operate silently. 


Limited capacity: Battery packs can only power your devices for a limited amount of time. Since they cannot power larger items like grills or refrigerators, they are only suited for tiny gadgets like cell phones, tablets, and laptops.

 This isn’t the option for you if you need plenty of power for your tailgate parties

Charging time: Battery packs can take several hours to charge. Considering this, you need to plan ahead to ensure they are fully charged before you go.

Factors to consider when choosing battery packs for tailgating:

Battery Capacity

Your choice of battery pack’s capacity will decide how long it will last and how much energy you may use.


The weight of a battery pack for tailgating will vary depending on its capacity and size. Generally, smaller battery packs will weigh less than larger ones, but they will also have a lower capacity. Lightweight battery packs that are designed for portability can weigh as little as a few ounces, while larger, heavy-duty packs can weigh up to 20 pounds or more.

When choosing a battery pack for tailgating, consider how much weight you are willing to carry and how much capacity you need. 

Charging time

Many battery packs for tailgating come with their own charger that is specifically designed for the pack. These chargers will have a specific output that matches the input requirements of the battery pack, which ensures that the pack charges efficiently and safely.

When choosing a battery pack for tailgating, consider the charging time and make sure it aligns with your needs. However, if you only need the battery pack occasionally and have time to charge it overnight, a longer charging time may not be a concern.

It’s also crucial to remember that some battery packs may be charged in a number of ways, such as with solar panels or even an automobile charger. These alternative charging methods can be useful for tailgating, as they allow you to charge the pack on the go. 

A Quick Comparison of The Best Power Sources for Tailgating

Factor Generator Solar Panel Battery Pack
Power Output High Moderate Low
Noise Level Moderate to High None None
Fuel/Charge Required Yes None Yes
Portability Varies (generally heavy) Lightweight Very Lightweight
Cost Moderate to High High Moderate
Eco-friendliness Low High High
Maintenance Moderate Low Low
Reliability High Moderate Moderate
Safety Concerns Yes (fire, carbon monoxide) None None

Do You need A Surge Protector When Tailgating?

When it comes to tailgating, a surge protector can be a crucial component in protecting your electronic devices from power surges or spikes. Whether you are using a generator, solar panel, or battery pack as your power source, it helps to prevent any potential damage to your devices such as your sensitive electronics.

When choosing a surge protector for tailgating, consider factors such as the number of outlets, cord length, and durability. Look for models that offer a high joule rating, indicating that they can absorb more power surges before needing to be replaced. Additionally, consider models that have LED indicators to let you know when the device is functioning properly.


Choosing the best portable power station for tailgating ultimately comes down to your specific needs and preferences. Generators offer high power output but require fuel and can be noisy. Don’t forget to check out our generator tips and etiquette for tailgating properly article. Meanwhile, solar panels provide a sustainable and eco-friendly option but can be costly and less powerful. Battery packs offer a portable and convenient solution, but have lower power output and require frequent charging.

Before deciding on a power source, consider factors such as power output, noise level, portability, cost, and eco-friendliness. Also, be sure to factor in any safety concerns associated with your chosen power source.

You may select the power source that will deliver the finest experience for your tailgating parties by assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and taking your particular demands into account.

GeneratorGrid.com is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me purchase more generators for testing. - Scott Krager

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