Review of the 10 best portable solar power generators of 2018 – all things boat electricity labs for middle school


I included a couple of rechargeable flashlights at the top of the list. While these items are stretching the definition of a generator, they do have built-in solar panels that re-charge an internal battery. Both include a hand crank as an alternative option to keep a charge on the battery. This is helpful on cloudy days. Of the 2 brands mentioned, I prefer the Compass – as it delivers 2 Amp/hrs, which will get your smartphone charged in half the time as the Esky option. Also, the Compass light connects you to NOAA weather radio service. For under 40$, it’s a smart resource to include in an emergency throw bag or in the trunk of your car.

Before you start thinking about your preferred brand, you need to decide what is the application for your generator. Do you want something to store in your basement for a household power outage… or do you just want something to keep your phone and camera charged for weekend camping trips? I’ve included the ‘ general uses‘ category to help you align a generator with your application. I update this list each year and only include quality models that receive overwhelmingly positive customer feedback on various forums and tech websites.

In the medium size range, I like the Goal Zero 400 and the Anker PowerHouse . I’ve used both on long sailing trips out to the northern Channel Islands. They both deliver in the 400 Watt/hr range. In terms of power supply to weight ratio, the Anker powerhouse wins at only 9 pounds. If you’re contemplating backpacking a generator into the woods, weight becomes an important metric.

As discussed below, the Goal Zero, Anker and Kodiak generators are sold as separate units from their respective solar panels. These generators are designed to receive a power supply from solar panels, but you need to purchase the panels separately. If you don’t want to deal with choosing/installing panels, then I would point you to the Kalipak from Kalisaya.

The KaliPAK 601 is my preferred ‘all-in-one’ portable solar powered generator. I recently used this unit on a 20-day sail trip down the Baja peninsula. It’s packaged in a rugged, black suitcase design. When you open this 14 pound suitcase, you see that one side holds the fold-able 40 watt panel, while the other side houses the lithium ion battery. This model connects with bluetooth to your phone, so you can easily monitor your power supply from an app. Rated at 558 Watt/hours, this unit delivers a lot of power to keep many devices topped off for many days.

Sidenote: The Kalipak 601 unit does not charge 110V AC devices, only 12-volt and USB devices. If you want to charge 110V AC devices, then you need to purchase a small inverter. The Kalipak manufacturers recommended this inverter . Its only $20 and worked great for me. Inergy Kodiak vs Goal Zero Yeti

Both the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 and the Inergy Kodiak deliver large amounts of power. Goal zero 1250 offers 1200/watt hours while Inergy Kodiak delivers 1100/watt hours. These are the units you should be looking at when powering mid-size and large appliances. People often store these generators in their basement to safeguard against a power outage. They’re both high quality, but I prefer the Kodiak from Inergy. At 20 pounds it can still be carried upstairs to keep the fridge cold till the power returns. In contrast, the Goal Zero 1250 Yeti weights 103 pounds. In exchange for that convenience, you pay a few hundred dollars more for the Kodiak.

(If you want to retrofit more storage capacity on the Kodiak, you can daisy-chain a regular 12 -volt marine deep cycle battery onto the Kodiak unit. From my experience, the team at Inergy Kodiak reviews and responds to customer feedback quickly.)