Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping 2021

Best Solar Powered Generators/Power Stations For Camping & RV Living

Portable power stations, also known as solar powered generators, have grown in popularity in the past couple of years. A big reason for that is that the lithium batteries usually found inside of these portable batteries have become more affordable.

Lithium batteries are more lightweight than the old deep cycle lead-acid type battery, which makes a power station a convenient and easy way to stay powered while camping.

Depending on the size, a solar generator can power not only phones, tablets, CPAP machines and TVs, but kitchen appliances as well like an Instant Pot, microwave, refrigerator and freezer, even a whole travel trailer (except the air conditioner).

Related Post: Goal Zero Vs Jackery, The Ultimate Power Station Battle

A power station/solar generator is a box with a battery, a solar charge controller, and an inverter that changes 12V DC power to 120V AC power. That’s what on the inside.

On the outside, there are usually AC outlets, USB ports, DC outputs, a screen, sometimes a light, and DC inputs where you can plug in a wall charger, car charger, or a solar panel.

Most solar powered generators don’t come with solar panels, but they’re still compatible with portable solar panels that will let you charge the battery without using a wall or car charger.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about a specific section of the table.

All of these power stations are excellent options with modern ports and parts. So which one is the best for you? Well, it depends on your needs. The largest number isn’t always the best option for you. Check out the “What To Consider”-section down below so you know what to think about before purchasing anything.

Most Portable
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout
Best Small Option
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER, 288Wh Backup Lithium Battery with 3 600W (Peak 1200W) AC Outlets & LED Flashlight, Clean & Silent Solar Generator for Outdoor Camping RV Emergencies Home
Popular Among Vanlifers
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Portable & Powerful
EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station Delta, UPS Power Supply 1260Wh Battery Pack with 6 1800W (3300W Surge) AC Outlets, Solar Battery Generator for Outdoor Camping RV
Great For RVers
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
Most Advanced
BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P 2000W 2000Wh Solar Generator 700W PV Max. Backup Battery Pack with 6 2000W AC Outlet(4800W Surge) for RV Home Emergency Outdoor Camping Explore …
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
293Wh
288Wh
1002Wh
1260Wh
1516Wh
2000Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
300W/500W Surge
600W/1200W Surge
1000W/2000W Surge
1800W/3300W Surge
2000W/3500W Surge
2000W/4800W Surge
AC Outlets
2
3
3
6
2
6
USB Ports
3 (1 USB C)
4 (1 USB C PD)
4 (2 USB C)
6 (2 USB C)
4 (2 USB C)
5 (1 USB C PD)
Max Solar Input Watts
62W
200W
126W
400W
600W
700W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Weight
7.1 lbs
11 lbs
22 lbs
30.9 lbs
43 lbs
60.6 lbs
Size
9.1 x 5.2 x 7.8 in
11.3 x 7.7 x 7.3 in
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in
15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6 in
19 x 14 x 14 in
16.5 x 11 x 15.2 in

Most Portable

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout
Product (Link)
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
293Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
300W/500W Surge
AC Outlets
2
USB Ports
3 (1 USB C)
Max Solar Input Watts
62W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
7.1 lbs
Size
9.1 x 5.2 x 7.8 in

Best Small Option

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER, 288Wh Backup Lithium Battery with 3 600W (Peak 1200W) AC Outlets & LED Flashlight, Clean & Silent Solar Generator for Outdoor Camping RV Emergencies Home
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
288Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
600W/1200W Surge
AC Outlets
3
USB Ports
4 (1 USB C PD)
Max Solar Input Watts
200W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
11 lbs
Size
11.3 x 7.7 x 7.3 in

Popular Among Vanlifers

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency
Product (Link)
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
1002Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
1000W/2000W Surge
AC Outlets
3
USB Ports
4 (2 USB C)
Max Solar Input Watts
126W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
22 lbs
Size
13.1 x 9.2 x 11.1 in

Portable & Powerful

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station Delta, UPS Power Supply 1260Wh Battery Pack with 6 1800W (3300W Surge) AC Outlets, Solar Battery Generator for Outdoor Camping RV
Product (Link)
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
1260Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
1800W/3300W Surge
AC Outlets
6
USB Ports
6 (2 USB C)
Max Solar Input Watts
400W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
30.9 lbs
Size
15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6 in

Great For RVers

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
Product (Link)
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
1516Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
2000W/3500W Surge
AC Outlets
2
USB Ports
4 (2 USB C)
Max Solar Input Watts
600W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
43 lbs
Size
19 x 14 x 14 in

Most Advanced

BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P 2000W 2000Wh Solar Generator 700W PV Max. Backup Battery Pack with 6 2000W AC Outlet(4800W Surge) for RV Home Emergency Outdoor Camping Explore …
Product (Link)
Battery Capacity (Watt-hours)
2000Wh
AC Outlet Output (Inverter Rating)
2000W/4800W Surge
AC Outlets
6
USB Ports
5 (1 USB C PD)
Max Solar Input Watts
700W
Solar Charge Controller Type
MPPT
Lithium Battery
USB C Port
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
12V Cigarette Port
Regulated 12V Cigarette Port
Can Be Used While Charging
Includes Solar (MC4 to DC) Adapter
Alternatives by Same Company (Link)
Recommended Solar Panel (Link)
Weight
60.6 lbs
Size
16.5 x 11 x 15.2 in

Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones


Each Power Station/Solar Powered Generator Reviewed


1. Jackery Explorer 300

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout

Check Price at Amazon

Features

The Jackery Explorer 300 is one of Jackery’s smaller models, but it’s also one of its best power stations.

With an MPPT charge controller, USB C, two AC outlets, a regulated 12V port, 60W USB C PD, and a great screen, it’s easy to understand why it’s so popular among people that go camping.

Most solar generators this size only have one AC outlet, and the fact that they’re powered by a pure sine wave inverter makes it even better.

A lot of the competitors use modified sine wave inverters, which is less efficient and doesn’t work with all electronics.

These two AC outlets can output up to 300W together, so it will power smaller devices like laptops, 12V fridge/freezers, CPAP machines, TVs, small kitchen accessories, lights, drones, cameras, and portable gaming consoles.

The surge wattage (500W in this case) means that it can output 500W for a short amount of time, usually less than 30 seconds. You shouldn’t rely on the surge watts to power any devices or electronics.

It’s not powerful enough to power large kitchen appliances like microwaves, coffee makers,

The Explorer 300 has a 293 watt-hour battery capacity, so you will be able to run a 50W device for about five hours. It can be used while it’s charging, so you can use it during the day with a solar panel plugged in.

Since the 12V outlet is regulated, you can safely plug 12V fridge/freezers and CPAP machines into it. A regulated 12V output means that it outputs a steady voltage that doesn’t decrease as the battery voltage drops.

There are three USB ports, one being a USB C PD port that can output up to 60W. It also supports input, so you can charge the battery with it.

One thing that Jackery has always done great is the screens on its power stations. It tells you the battery percentage, bars, and the input/output watts. This way you can track how much electricity is being used, and plan usage.

Charging

It takes about five hours to charge the Explorer 300 with the included wall charger, and slightly longer with the car charger.

The Explorer 300 has an MPPT charge controller, which can handle up to 62W solar input. With the included wall and car charger, the Explorer 300 will charge faster at 82W.

Its MPPT charge controller can handle solar panels rated between 12-30V, so you should only connect 12V panels. When connecting two or more, you need to wire the panels in parallel and not series to stay within the 12-30V limit.

Jackery makes the SolarSaga 60W and 100W that can be plugged directly into the solar generator.

To use third-party panels, you need to make sure it has a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector, and use an adapter like this.

Due to the 62W solar charging limit, I wouldn’t connect more than a 100W solar panel to the Explorer 300 since it would be a waste to connect 200W.

I recommend the Renogy 100W or Renogy 100W with kickstand paired with the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

To extend the cables, I recommend the SolarEnz 30Ft 8mm extension cable.

If you do want to connect more than one panel, in case you have two smaller ones, you can do so by wiring them in parallel with an MC4 Y branch.

If you have a USB C PD charger, you can use the USB C PD port to charge the battery at up to 60W.

Since it has a single 8mm port it can only be used with one charger at a time, and as always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Jackery includes a wall & car charger.

Conclusion

The Jackery Explorer 300 is a popular power station because it has a lot of the features people are looking for in a small and portable power station. Lots of ports, regulated 12V port, great screen, common input, MPPT charge controller, built-in handle, and made by a reputable brand.

I like that the USB C PD port can output up to 60W, and that it can be used to charge the battery.

If you only need to power small electronics like a tablet, TV, laptop, CPAP machine, lights, and devices that require less than 300W, it’s a great option.

It’s not the best option, since I recommend the River down below over it, but if you already have a Jackery solar panel you should get the Jackery.

PROS

  • Portable & lightweight
  • Two AC outlets, two USB ports, one USB C PD (60W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Regulated 12V output (10A output)
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Screen shows input/output watts, battery percentage/bars
  • Common input (8mm)
  • Can be used while charging
  • Includes car charger

CONS

  • Handle doesn’t fold (can be both a + and -)
  • Doesn’t allow more than 62W solar input
  • No WiFi capabilities

 


2. Ecoflow River 600 288Wh

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER, 288Wh Backup Lithium Battery with 3 600W (Peak 1200W) AC Outlets & LED Flashlight, Clean & Silent Solar Generator for Outdoor Camping RV Emergencies Home

Check Price at Amazon

Features

The Ecoflow River is a new power station from a company that has been making these portable batteries for a couple of years now.

Its larger Ecoflow Delta can also be found on the list, and was one of the best options on the market for a while due to its features.

What I like a lot about the Ecoflow River is that it’s trying to expand on what a power station of this size can do. With it’s super fast charging (0 to 80% in one hour) and its X-boost mode which increases the output of the already powerful inverter to be able to power kitchen appliances.

If we start by taking a look inside of the River, we’ll find lithium batteries with a 288 watt-hour capacity. You can double this by purchasing the extra battery, which is easily installed on the modular body.

With a 288Wh battery, you can power a 50W device for almost five hours.

We’ll also find the pure sine wave inverter that powers the three AC outlets on the outside. This inverter supports what Ecoflow calls the X-Boost mode, which increases the output of the inverter up to 1800W to allow you to power 80% of “essential home appliances and devices”.

Ecoflow recommends staying below 1200W for the best results, but it’s supposed to be able to reach 1800W.

Note that these inverters might not be exactly as powerful as the rating implies depending on the quality of it. With these types of power stations, I usually expect it to be able to output about 90% of the advertised wattage.

If you plan on using the X-Boost mode a lot, I suggest purchasing the extra battery since a 1200W device would drain the single battery in less than 15 minutes.

Last but not least, the MPPT solar charge controller that lets you quickly recharge the batteries by allowing up to 200W solar input.

On the outside, there are three AC outlets that can output up to 600W together (or up to 1800W with X-boost mode on), a regulated 12V output, four USB ports with a 100W (!) USB C PD port, and two 5.5mm DC ports.

This is the most powerful USB C PD port I have seen on a power station of this size, and the only complaint I have about it is that it can’t be used to charge the batteries in the River.

In addition, there are three USB A ports. One of them is a fast charge port. Having so many ports is great if you have a lot of devices that need to be charged at the same time.

The screen on the River 600 is another thing that makes it an excellent option. It will tell you not only the battery percentage and bars, but also input/output watts and time to empty/full in hours+minutes.

One thing that you won’t find on any other power station of this size are the WiFi features that allow you to control, monitor, and manage the power station with an app on your phone. It also lets you easily update the firmware.

Even though it’s not a feature most people need or require, there is a flashlight on the front of the solar generator. It can be useful to some in emergencies, or if you’re tent-camping. It’s controlled with a button underneath it.

Charging

The Ecoflow River can be fully recharged in 1.6 hours with the included wall charger, or 1.6 to 3 hours with solar panels. With the included car charger, it takes about 3 hours to go from 0 to 100%.

Since the AC and DC inputs are separate, you can use both the wall charger and solar/car charger at the same time.

The BMS (battery monitoring system) inside the unit will regulate the power and adjust it to charge safely but efficiently.

Ecoflow includes an MC4 to XT60 adapter, which means that it’s ready for solar panels with MC4 connectors straight out of the box as long as the panel has a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector.

Ecoflow makes its own 110W solar panel, and one way to quickly charge the River would be to connect two of these in parallel with an MC4 Y branch. You would then connect the MC4 Y branch to the MC4 to XT60 adapter included with the power station.

Of course, you could also do this with two Renogy 100W or Renogy 100W with kickstand.

I recommend connecting two or more panels in parallel since the charge controller can only handle voltages between 10-25V and up to 12A.

It’s not as easy to find compatible portable panels to the River 600 since it uses the XT60 input, so you need to make sure the panel you buy has MC4 connectors.

As always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Ecoflow includes the wall charger, car charger, and an MC4 to XT60 adapter. The MC4 adapter can be used to connect solar panels that have a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector.

Conclusion

The Ecoflow River 600 is the best solar generator around 300Wh, or 600Wh with the extra battery.

It’s the complete package, with several AC ports, USB ports, a 100W USB C PD, a great screen, WiFi features, a regulated 12V port, MPPT charge controller, and very fast charging compared to the competitors.

The modular design not only allows you to add an extra battery, but you could have a couple of extra ones at hand when needed. You can only use one extra battery at a time, but if you would like to store more battery power on the side, you could.

I also appreciate that Ecoflow includes not only the car charger but also the MC4 to XT60 adapter so it’s ready for third-party panels right out of the box.

The only thing I would like to see in the next version is a 100W USB C PD port that also works as an input and not only an output.

PROS

  • Portable & lightweight
  • Three AC outlets, four USB A ports, one USB C PD (100W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • WiFi capabilities (monitor & control with an app)
  • Regulated 12V output (10A output)
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Screen shows input/output watts, battery percentage/bars, hours to empty/full
  • Can be used while charging
  • Includes car charger & MC4 to XT60 adapter
  • Fast solar, car, and wall charging
  • X-Boost mode increases the output to 1800W
  • Modular (you can add one extra battery)

CONS

  • USB C PD port can’t be used to charge batteries
  • Handle doesn’t fold (can be both a + and -)
  • Uncommon input (XT60)

3. Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh Solar Generator (Solar Panel Optional) with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping, Emergency

Check Price at Amazon

Features

This is the largest power station made by Jackery, the Explorer 1000.

As the name implies, it has a 1002Wh battery capacity and a 1000W inverter.

With a 1002Wh battery, you can power a 50W device for about 17 hours.

The pure sine wave inverter powers the three AC outlets that can output up to 1000W combined, with a 2000W surge wattage.

With a 1000W inverter, you can power small kitchen appliances like some coffee makers, microwaves, and mixers. It can also power small space heaters although you might have to use the lowest setting.

It powers electronics like TVs, gaming consoles, RV furnaces, and similar devices without any issues at all.

You can also plug your RV or travel trailer into it with the right adapter, which will power the outlets in your camper and let you watch TV and run the furnace. It won’t run the air conditioner.

Next to the AC outlets, you’ll find four USB ports. Two USB A, and two USB C. The USB C ports can output up to 15W.

There is also a regulated 12V port, so you can safely power 12V devices like a fridge/freezer and CPAP machines with it.

The screen is just like the one found on the smaller Explorers, with the battery percentage/bars and input/output watts.

There is a LED flashlight on the side that is controlled with a button, which can be handy if you’re tent-camping or find yourself in an emergency.

Charging

There are two inputs, an 8mm and one Anderson Powerport. Only one input can be used at a time, and if you’re using both the charge controller will pick the one with the highest voltage.

The Explorer 1000 has an MPPT charge controller, which can handle up to 126W solar input.

With the included wall charger, the Explorer 1000 will charge faster at 126W. The car charger can do up to 80W. This means it takes about seven hours with the included AC charger, and about 14 hours with the car charger.

Its MPPT charge controller can handle solar panels rated between 12-30V, so you should only connect 12V panels. When connecting two or more, you need to wire the panels in parallel and not series to stay within the 12-30V limit.

Jackery makes the SolarSaga 60W and 100W that can be plugged directly into the solar generator. The Explorer 1000 comes with an Anderson parallel connector that lets you connect two SolarSaga panels in parallel.

If that’s something you plan on doing, I suggest getting the kit with the Explorer 1000 + 2X SolarSaga 100W solar panels.

To use third-party panels, you need to make sure it has a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector, and use an adapter like this.

Due to the 126W solar charging limit, I wouldn’t connect more than 200W solar panel to the Explorer 1000 since it would be a waste to connect 300W unless you’re going to be using it a lot during the winter or when the sun is weak.

I recommend the Renogy 100W or Renogy 100W with kickstand paired with the MC4 to 8mm adapter.

To extend the cables, I recommend the SolarEnz 30Ft 8mm extension cable.

If you do want to connect more than one panel, in case you have two smaller ones, you can do so by wiring them in parallel with an MC4 Y branch.

As always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Jackery includes a wall and car charger, and a SolarSaga parallel adapter to connect two SolarSaga (or any 8mm solar panels) in parallel.

Conclusion

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is popular, and while it does have some great features it’s not the best and most feature-packed power station on the market.

It is, however, reliable and made by a reputable brand. I haven’t had any issues at all with my Explorer 1000, and most of the time a simple yet reliable product is better than an advanced non-reliable one. For that reason, I do recommend it if you’re happy with what it has to offer.

You also have to consider how lightweight it is for the power it packs. At 22 pounds, it’s almost 10 pounds lighter than the Ecoflow Delta 1300. Sure, the Delta has a larger battery and inverter, but if the weight is more important you’re still getting a lot of power for each pound.

What I am missing from the Explorer 1000 is faster charging and a higher input limit. If you connect two 100W panels, it takes over eight hours to fully charge the battery. That’s a long time for a power station this size.

It does charge faster if you use the wall charger (5 hours), so that makes it a little more acceptable, but it’s not fast enough.

The USB C PD also needs to be faster than 15W in 2021.

PROS

  • Portable & lightweight
  • Three AC outlets, two USB A ports, two USB C PD (15W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Regulated 12V output (10A output)
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Screen shows input/output watts, battery percentage/bars
  • Can be used while charging
  • Includes car charger & 8mm parallel adapter

CONS

  • Slow USB C (15W)
  • Handle doesn’t fold (can be both a + and -)
  • Relatively low solar input
  • Only one input can be used at a time

4. Ecoflow Delta 1300

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station Delta, UPS Power Supply 1260Wh Battery Pack with 6 1800W (3300W Surge) AC Outlets, Solar Battery Generator for Outdoor Camping RV

Check Price at Amazon

Features

The Ecoflow Delta 1300 is a great solar powered generator with a relatively large battery capacity and a powerful inverter.

At 1260 watt-hours, it’s larger than the Explorer 1000 but not the Yeti 1500X. You would be able to power a 50W device for a little over 21 hours.

The pure sine wave inverter is advertised to be as powerful as a regular 15A household outlet, capable of outputting 1800W continuously and 3300 surge watts.

With an outlet as powerful as a house outlet, you’ll be able to power induction cooktops, microwaves, coffee makers, space heaters, among other things.

Note that these inverters might not be exactly as powerful as the rating implies depending on the quality of it. With these types of power stations, I usually expect it to be able to output about 90% of the advertised wattage.

It won’t run a 13,500 or 15,000 BTU air conditioner, but it would power a smaller unit.

Remember that the battery capacity is a lower than the inverter rating. If you plug in a 1500W space heater and run it on high, it won’t run for a full hour before the battery is drained, unless you’re charging the battery at the same time.

The formula you can use to calculate how long it will power a certain device is: 1260 divided by the required wattage, multiplied by 0.85 (inverter efficiency).

Here is an example: 1260Wh/1500W*0.85=0.71 hours.

Drawing a high wattage from the inverter can also decrease its efficiency, so with a 1500W space heater it might lose its charge faster.

It’s a great mix of battery capacity and power output, and that’s what most people are looking for when shopping for a portable battery that they’re going to take camping or use at home during power outages.

Ecoflow has done a great job with the port-selection and has put six AC outlets, four USB A, two USB C, and a regulated 12V output on the Delta 1300.

Two of the USB A ports support fast charging and are capable of outputting up to 28W, which is an unusually high wattage.

The Delta is not as new as the River 600 I reviewed above, so the USB C ports can “only” output 60W, which is still acceptable and much better than the Jackery Explorer 1000.

Speaking of fast charging, the Delta can recharge from 0 to 80% within an hour, which is the fastest I have ever seen on a portable power station. A full charge takes two hours.

Being able to recharge the battery so quickly is great if you’re out boondocking and need to recharge the Delta with a generator.

Last but not least, the screen on the Delta 1300 is great, and the same one found on the River 600. It shows the battery percentage/bars, input/output watts, and time to empty/full.

Since it’s a little older than the River 600, it doesn’t have any WiFi features.

Charging

I already mentioned how quickly it can charge when using the wall charger (2 hours from 0-100%), but it also does an average job when paired with solar panels.

It has a powerful MPPT solar charge controller so the charging will be as quick and efficient as possible. The MPPT controller can handle up to 400W solar input, which means that you would be able to recharge it fully in 3-4 hours in good sunshine.

To reach 400W solar input, you would need at least 600W solar panels. It can handle solar panels rated between 10-65V, and up to 10A, so to maximize the input you would need to use a series connection, or a series-parallel connection.

Ecoflow includes an MC4 to XT60 adapter, so it’s ready for solar panels right out of the box. The adapter is for panels with a positive MC4 male connector and a negative MC4 female connector.

Ecoflow makes its own 110W solar panel, and one way to quickly charge the Delta 1300 would be to connect two of these in parallel with an MC4 Y branch. You would then connect the MC4 Y branch to the MC4 to XT60 adapter included with the power station.

Of course, you could also do this with two Renogy 100W or Renogy 100W with kickstand.

It’s not as easy to find compatible portable panels to the River 600 since it uses the XT60 input, so you need to make sure the panel you buy has MC4 connectors.

For permanent installations, I suggest going with two Newpowa 120W 24V panels wired in parallel with an MC4 Y branch.

If you would like to reach the maximum input, please leave a comment at the bottom of the article and tell me what your plan is. Do you want a permanent installation, a portable one, or a mix? The more information, the more I can help you.

It takes 10 hours to charge the battery to full with the included car charger.

As always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Ecoflow includes a wall and car charger, an MC4 to XT60 adapter, and a carrying bag.

Conclusion

The Ecoflow Delta 1300 isn’t the newest power station on the market, but it’s still an excellent option with a lot of power and a relatively large battery.

I like it because it has a great mix of features. Sure, it would be nice to have more battery capacity and WiFi features, but it weighs almost 50% less than the AC200P.

Take it camping and recharge it with solar panels or a generator, or use it at home during power outages. No matter where you use it, I think you’re going to appreciate the number of ports, and how quickly it recharges.

But there is always room for improvement. A faster USB C PD port, WiFi features, a more common input port, and a solar charge controller that could handle more than 400W comes to mind.

Even though 400W solar input is a lot and twice what the River 600 can handle, you have to consider how many hours it takes to charge the battery from empty to full.

It’s also not as easy to build a solar panel setup for the Delta 1300 as with something like the Yeti 1500X, due to the 10A input limit. It takes more knowledge to do a series-parallel connection, and that makes it less user-friendly overall.

But if you don’t plan on connecting a lot of solar panels, it will still do a good job at charging efficiently.

All in all it’s the best solar powered generator that is not only portable and powerful, but has a lot of ports.

PROS

  • Portable & lightweight
  • Six AC outlets, four USB A ports, two USB C PD (60W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Regulated 12V output (8A output)
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Screen shows input/output watts, battery percentage/bars, hours to empty/full
  • Can be used while charging
  • Includes car charger, MC4 to XT60 adapter & bag
  • Fast wall charging

CONS

  • USB C PD port can’t be used to charge batteries
  • Relatively low solar input (400W max)
  • Handle doesn’t fold (can be both a + and -)
  • Uncommon input (XT60)

 


5. Goal Zero Yeti 1500X

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

Check Price at Amazon

Features

Goal Zero has been in the power station game for a long time now and recently released its latest models.

The Yeti 1500X is one of them, and while not a lot has changed from the older models, the things that has changed makes it a strong competitor to the more advanced models on the market.

I have been using one of the older ones daily for over a year now, the Yeti 1000, and have been very happy with how it has performed. I plug my whole travel trailer into it and can run everything except the air conditioner.

The Yeti 1500X has a 1516 watt-hour battery capacity, which means that you can run a 50W device for almost 26 hours.

Goal Zero has upgraded the pure sine wave inverter and it can now output up to 2000W, and 3500 surge watts. You shouldn’t rely on the surge watts to power anything, since it can only output so much for a couple of seconds at best.

On the front, you’ll find two AC outlets, two USB A ports, two USB C ports, a regulated 12V output, an Anderson Powerpole 12V and two 6mm ports.

Next to the outputs, there are two inputs, an 8mm and an Anderson Powerpole (Goal Zero calls them High Power Port now).

The two USB A ports can output up to 12W. One of the USB C ports can output up to 18W, and the second USB C port is a PD port that supports both input and output up to 60W.

Since the USB C PD port supports input, you can use a 60W PD charger to charge the batteries inside the Yeti.

Goal Zero has finally decided to use regulated 12V ports, so the cigarette port is safe to use with 12V fridge/freezers that have a low-voltage cutoff.

The screen is also on the front, and it tells you the battery percentage/bars, input/output watts, output amps, watt-hours used, time to empty/full, and the battery voltage.

One neat feature with these large Yeti Lithium models is that you can add a Yeti Link and then expand the battery capacity with a Yeti Tank.

Unfortunately, the extra batteries are AGM batteries and not Lithium, so they’re heavy and cumbersome. But it’s nice to have the option.

If you don’t want to expand the battery capacity, you can install a second MPPT solar charge controller to increase the max solar input.

Another great feature is the built-in WiFi features, that let you monitor and control the Yeti with an app on your phone. You can even change how it handles charging, to increase the longevity of the batteries.

Charging

It takes 14 hours to charge the Yeti 1500X with the included 120W wall charger. If you max the solar input or purchase the 600W power supply, you can charge it fully in about three hours.

The Yeti 1500X has a built-in MPPT solar charge controller that can handle up to 600W of input. You can reach this by connecting several wall chargers or solar panels to the High Power Port (known as Anderson PowerPole).

The 8mm inputs can handle up to 120W (10A) each, with solar panels rated between 14-50V. The Anderson input can handle panels rated 14-50V, up to 50A, which is how you can reach 600W solar input.

Only one input can be used at a time, so you can’t use both the 8mm and Anderson input to increase the input wattage.

Goal Zero makes its own solar panels, and two of the popular ones are the Boulder 100 and Boulder 200.

There are also the more portable and foldable Nomad 100 and Nomad 200.

To combine several Goal Zero panels with the Yeti 1500X, you’re going to need either the 8mm combiner or the Anderson combiner.

The 100W models use the 8mm connectors, and the 200W use Anderson connectors.

To connect third-party panels, I recommend reading this article I have written.

As always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Goal Zero includes a 120W wall charger.

You can purchase a car charger, and a 600W power supply for faster charging.

Conclusion

Goal Zero has fixed a lot of the issues that the older Yeti 1500X had, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

We finally got a regulated 12V output and a built-in MPPT charge controller, but that’s about it.

I have recently read about some charging issues with these newer models, and you should be aware of that and make sure you purchase it from a seller that will honor the warranty.

Other than that, there is still room for improvement. For how big and heavy this is, it should have more than two AC outlets. It’s great that the USB C PD port is both an input and output, but it should be able to handle 100W. Some extra USB A ports would’ve also been nice.

The biggest issue I have with the Yeti 1500X, and the other Yeti X models for that matter, is that they only accept input from one port at a time.

I can connect panels and chargers to several inputs on my Yeti 1000 to charge it faster, so this would be a downgrade when it comes to that.

Goal Zero should also include a faster wall charger and a car charger, but they don’t.

So which one should you choose, the Yeti 1500X or the Ecoflow Delta 1300? Well, the Yeti does have a more powerful inverter, and more battery capacity. It weighs 12 pounds more though, and won’t charge as quickly when using a gas generator.

I would still go with the Yeti due to the extra battery power and output, but that’s because I don’t need to move the power station around in my camper. And I can connect a power strip for more outlets when needed.

If you plan on using a solar powered generator in a lot of different places and moving it around, portability should be your main concern after power output, and the Delta 1300 is hard to beat there.

On the other hand, if you don’t need to run devices requiring more than 1000W, maybe one or two Jackery Explorer 1000’s will be better for your needs? The Explorer 1000 even has an extra AC outlet.

PROS

  • Two AC outlets, two USB A ports, two USB C (18W& 60W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Regulated 12V output (10A output)
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Screen shows input/output watts, battery voltage, amp output, watt-hours used, battery percentage/bars
  • Can be used while charging
  • WiFi features (control and monitor with app)
  • Common DC inputs (8mm and Anderson)
  • Upgradeable/expandable (Yeti Link or MPPT charge controller)

CONS

  • Doesn’t include car charger
  • Only two AC ports
  • Only one input can be used at at a time

6. Bluetti AC200P

BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P 2000W 2000Wh Solar Generator 700W PV Max. Backup Battery Pack with 6 2000W AC Outlet(4800W Surge) for RV Home Emergency Outdoor Camping Explore …

Check Price at Amazon

Features

The most advanced solar powered generator on the list today is from a company called Bluetti.

It’s a company that has slowly but surely been gaining market shares in the power station category, because of its Bluetti EB150 and Bluetti EB240 which offers a lot of battery capacity in a portable package.

The AC200P is yet another impressive product that has not only a lot of battery capacity but also a powerful pure sine wave inverter among a couple of other features that make it unique.

A 2000W inverter with a 4800W surge rating powers the six AC outlets found on the front. With a 2000W inverter, you’re going to be able to power kitchen appliances and power tools without issues.

With the 2000 watt-hour battery capacity you’ll be able to power a 50W device for about 34 hours.

All of the different type of ports on the front have its own dust-cover, to protect the ports from dirt and debris. This is something I wish more companies would care about, since a lot of people are going to be using these outdoors when camping or in a garage.

There are four USB A ports, and one USB C PD port capable of outputting up to 60W.

A regulated 12V cigarette port can output up to 10A, which makes it safe and powerful enough to use with 12V fridge/freezers, CPAP machines, and similar devices you would usually plug into the 12V outlet in a vehicle.

There is also a 12V port that can output up to 25A, and it’s designed specifically for RV- and van-travelers that want to wire lights and 12V devices directly to the power station.

One of the best features of the Bluetti AC200P is the type of batteries used. They’re LiFePO4 batteries, and Bluetti advertises that they will last over 3500 cycles.

On the top of the power station, there are two 15W wireless charging pads, that allow wireless charging with Qi-supported devices.

The touchscreen on the front is the most advanced screen I have seen on a power station. It lets you control and monitor pretty much everything going on inside the box.

Even though it’s more advanced than the rest, it’s still a plug-and-play power station, but unless you plan on using all of its features and connect a lot of solar panels you might want to go with one of the other two big batteries I reviewed above.

Charging

It takes 5.5 hours to charge the battery from 0 to 100% with the included wall charger. If you add another charger, it will only take three hours.

If you max the solar input and use two wall chargers at the same time, the battery can be fully recharged in 1.7 to 2.7 hours.

The MPPT solar charge controller inside of the AC200P accepts up to 700W solar input, which would recharge the battery in 3-3.5 hours.

Due to a 35-150V and 12A limit, you’re going to have to either connect two 12V panels in parallel, or use a 24V panel.

Bluetti includes an MC4 to XT90 adapter, which makes it ready for third-party solar panels right out of the box.

I recommend wiring one to three Rich Solar 200W in series. They’re large panels though, and a more portable way to go would be to wire two Renogy 100W Suitcases together in series.

You can also connect two 24V panels in parallel with an MC4 Y branch.

Before connecting any panels wired in series, make sure that the total voltage is within 35-150V.

As always when picking a solar panel for a solar powered generator – do not buy a solar panel with a built-in charge controller, since the solar generator already has one built-in.

In The Box

Bluetti includes a 400W wall charger, an MC4 to XT90 adapter, a car charger, and an XT90 to Aviation adapter.

Conclusion

The Bluetti AC200P might not be as portable as the other products on the list, but it sure is powerful.

With wireless charging, lots and lots of ports, LiFePO4 batteries, a touchscreen that allows you to monitor and control almost everything, a regulated 12V output, a specific DC output for wiring RVs and vans, a very powerful MPPT solar charge controller, and a 2000W pure sine wave inverter on top of all of that, it’s a beast.

But is it the best option for your needs? Well, for a fulltime RVer that likes technology and want to be able to monitor their power station down to the voltage and temperature, then yes it’s great!

For the homeowner, traveler, or vanlifer that just want a portable battery to charge phones, laptops, speakers, and lights, it’s a little overkill and you’re probably going to be happier with a more portable and less advanced power station.

What I am missing is WiFi. As it is now, you can control a lot of things using the touchscreen, but not with an app on your phone.

PROS

  • Six AC outlets, four USB A ports, one USB C (60W)
  • Pure sine wave inverter
  • Regulated 12V output (10A output)
  • A 12V/25A DC plug for RV/vanlifers
  • MPPT Solar Charge Controller (max 700W solar input)
  • Advanced touchscreen
  • Can be used while charging
  • Wireless charging
  • LiFePO4 batteries
  • Includes car charger, MC4 to XT90 adapter & Aviation adapter
  • Fast wall, solar and car charging

CONS

  • No WiFi features
  • Heavy

What To Consider When Buying A Solar Powered Generator

Watt Hours/Capacity – Considering how much capacity you need is the first thing to do.

If you know that your device requires 50W to run, and you want to power it for 10 hours, you’re going to need at least 500 watt-hours of battery capacity.

An easy way of figuring out how much capacity you need is to buy a Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor. This lets you plug your appliances into it and tell you how many watts each appliance is using.

So if you plug your laptop in and it reads 50 watts, that’s how many watt-hours it will be using every hour it’s plugged into the power station. If a power station then is 300Wh, we’ll do 300/50=6, and then we know that the battery will run our laptop for 6 hours at most.

An important thing to know is that an inverter is not 100% efficient, so if you’re going to power your device via an AC outlet (like the outlets in your home) you should expect an 85% efficiency.

With the laptop example above, a more accurate estimate would be 300/50=6*0.85=5.1 hours.

Inverter Size – The inverter is what allows us to use AC outlets on the power station. It changes the 12V DC battery power to 110/120V AC power.

When I am talking about the size of the inverter, I am not talking physically, but how many watts it can output continuously, the output rating.

To know how big of an inverter you need, you must know how much your appliances draw. For example, the microwave in my RV is rated at 900W.

So I am going to need an inverter rated at around 900 at least, preferably more since the input and output watts of a microwave differs.

My gaming laptop charger is rated at 240W, so a power station with a 120W inverter won’t be enough. If you don’t know how many watts your appliances need, you can use a Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor.

Most small electronics like phones, tablets, CPAP machines, laptops, TVs and lights use less than 100W.

Weight – Depending on what kind of camping you do, the weight will become more or less important.

If you’re in an RV and plan on leaving the power station in one place, the capacity and inverter size will matter more. If you want a power station to bring with you hiking, the weight will be extremely important.

Solar Capabilities – To me, charging with solar is really cool. I can’t get over how great it is to be able to be out in the woods, far away from any shore power, and be able to keep all my devices and power station charged up.

Some power stations can’t take very high inputs though, so charging with solar becomes extremely inefficient and frustrating.

If you’re planning on charging with solar power, make sure you check how many watts it can handle and that the solar panel you buy has the right voltage and amps supported.

Outlets – If you’re only planning on charging USB devices, well maybe you won’t need an AC outlet. Then I recommend reading my article about the best portable power banks, they’re more portable and lightweight.

The difference in the number of outlets in the power stations we’ve looked at today aren’t huge, but some have one or two more USB ports or one additional AC outlet. Think about what kind of appliances you will be plugging into your power station and choose the one that fits the best.

Another outlet that matters is the 12V cigarette port. If you want to use a 12V fridge/freezer with your solar generator, you should buy a power station that has a regulated 12V output.

Otherwise, the fridge won’t run properly when the battery is below a certain percentage.


Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Solar Generators

How Long Will It Take To Charge My Power Station With Solar Panels?

When plugging solar into your power station, you have to be aware of what limits it has. There is often a voltage limit and an amp limit. These should be easy to find in the manual or the specifications.

Now, how long will it take to charge from 0 to 100%? First, we need to know how big the battery is in the power station, let’s say it’s 500Wh.

If we get a solar panel rated at 100W, we should expect to get about 60-70W out of it in good sun. Solar panels aren’t 100% efficient, and it also matters what kind of charge controller is in the power station. But we’ll say 60W average.

What we need to do then is take 500/60 which equals 8.33. That’s how long it takes to charge our battery from empty to full if we have good sun for that long. Realistically speaking, you most likely won’t get 8.33 hours of good sun in a day, so it might take two days of pretty good sun to reach a full charge.

If we had two 100W panels, and an MPPT charge controller, maybe we would get 70W on average from each panel, 140W per hour.

So we’ll do our calculation again, 500/140=3.57 hours. It’s realistic that we will get about five hours of good sun, so that would take our battery from 0 to 100% in just a couple of hours.

A battery doesn’t charge 0 to 100% at the same speeds, so you might see the power station charge 0-80% faster than the last 80-100%.

Can I Use A Power Station In Freezing Temperatures?

It depends on the power station, so I recommend reading the manual or the product specifications of a specific power station to get the answer.

In general, lithium batteries don’t like the cold very much. Most lithium power stations can be discharged in freezing temperatures, but shouldn’t be charged when it’s below freezing.

MPPT Vs PWM Solar Charge Controller?

An MPPT solar charge controller adjusts its input voltage to use as much electricity generated by the solar panel as possible, this makes it a much more efficient and useful charge controller when compared to PWM.

What Size Power Station Do I Need To Power A Whole RV/Camper?

I have a Jackery Explorer 500 and a Goal Zero Yeti 1000. I have plugged my travel trailer into both of them without any issues.

The Jackery can output 500W at most, so I can’t run anything larger than my TV and laptop at the same time since it also starts charging my house batteries which use 50-300W on its own.

The Goal Zero powers everything in my camper except for the compressor in the air conditioner. I even use my microwave and turn my fridge to electric on sunny days. Note that I have paired the Yeti with 400W of solar panels so I can use it all day while it’s charging.

There are newer power stations with even larger inverters, like the Ecoflow Delta which will power everything in a camper as well except for the air conditioner.

If you don’t need to run the microwave, I recommend the Maxoak EB240 which has a 2400 watt-hour battery capacity. My Yeti “only” has 1045Wh.

It connects to my travel trailer with a Camco 15A to 30A dogbone adapter. They also sell a similar adapter for 50A RV campers.

Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Cloudy?

Most solar panels work when it’s cloudy, but a 100W panel that generates 70W on a sunny day might only generate 5-30W depending on how cloudy it is.

How Can I Improve The Charging Efficiency When Charging My Power Station With Solar Panels?

The easiest way to improve the charging speed when using solar panels is to tilt the panel so it’s facing the sun directly. This will be important in the morning and evening hours when the sun is low on the horizon.

You should also make sure that the solar panel isn’t shaded even a little bit.

How Long Can I Use A Specific Appliance/Device?

To see how long we can use a specific device we need to know how many watts it uses. That is something that is easy to check with a Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor.

Plug your appliance into this and it will tell you exactly how many watts the device is drawing. I have used my 60W MacBook as an example throughout the whole post, so now let’s see how long a battery would last with my 12W phone charger.

If I have a power station like the Maxoak 500Wh which has a 500Wh hour battery, I can easily do the calculation by taking 500/12=41.66. So in a perfect world, I could charge my phone for almost 42 hours.

But since my phone charger is an AC appliance, we have to count in the efficiency of the inverter, which averages 85%. We’ll take that 41.66 and multiply it with 0.85: 41.66*0.85=35.41 hours. This is a more realistic number.

How Much Battery Capacity Do I Need?

The easiest way to find out approximately how much battery capacity you are going to need is to make a list. If you’re going away for three days and plan on bringing your laptop, phone, and tablet, all three of them need to be on the list.

Let’s say that I plan to use my laptop for two hours, my phone needs to be charged every day for two hours, and the tablet needs to be charged once for an hour. If you don’t know how many watts your device use, you can use a Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor.

Here are my devices and how much they would use based on the numbers above

Laptop – 60W * 2 = 120Wh

Phone – 12W * 3 = 36Wh

Tablet – 20W * 1 = 20Wh

120+36+20=176

176*1.15 (inverter inefficiency) = 202.4 watt-hours is what I will need.

This is an easy way to figure out how much capacity you need.

What Is An Inverter?

The outlets you have in your home deliver AC power, it stands for alternating current and is 110/120 volts. The power in most RV batteries is DC, direct current, 12 volt. An inverter turns DC power into AC power and lets us use outlets, even though we’re far from the power grid.

Inverters aren’t 100% efficient, and while converting DC to AC it loses some power, which is why I often multiply by 0.85 at the end of a calculation when it comes to inverters. That way I assume that the inverter loses 15% of the power and ends up being 85% efficient.

It’s a good idea to overestimate how much power your appliances and devices use, instead of the opposite, so you won’t be disappointed when your power station won’t charge your laptop as many times as you thought it would because you assumed the inverter would be 100% efficient.

Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions. If you still don’t know what you need, let me know what devices you want to be able to power and for how long, and I will do my best to help you.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

22 thoughts on “Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping 2021”

  1. Hi Jesse, can you help me in which power station would be best for my use. I’m thinking to get a small t.v. Between 17-20ft max. I want to be able to have the receipt on while driving, I’m sure the batteries would do. But at night i might want the a/c on as well for few hours, since I’m thinking on summer trips. And if emergency preparedness.
    Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely ,
    Camper gypsy

    Reply
    • Hello Victoria, thanks for stopping by.

      Air conditioners use a lot of power and will unfortunately not run on any portable power station. Most RVs come with a 13,500 BTU A/C that use around 2750 watts to start up, and about 1250 watts on average to run. This means that even if you would get the biggest Goal Zero power station (https://amzn.to/2U61H3H) it would only run an A/C for about 2.5 hours before having to recharge, which makes it inconvenient.

      For running a TV and smaller devices I still recommend the Aeiusny (https://amzn.to/2WzRjhs). A 50 watt TV would run for about five hours and the unit can then be recharged in your vehicle while driving.

      Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

      Reply
    • Hello,

      The car charger puts out about 110-120 watts when set to 10 amps, so it would take about 9 hours to go from 0 to 100% with the Yeti 1000.

      Reply
  2. Hi Jesse,

    Can you help us find a power station for our needs?

    My wife and I don’t have a RV. We built a sleeper platform in a camper shell in the bed of a Toyota Tacoma,…so very minimalistic . We’re thinking of purchasing a 12 v fridge (Alpicool cf 20) for our food storage, rather than a Yeti cooler. The other items that we need powering are our phones / laptops and small fans to cool and circulate air on hot days.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello John,

      Sure, I’ll do my best. Let’s consider your power needs.

      I did some research on the Alpicool C20 and it appears to use at most 72Ah @ 12V per 24h, which is 864 watt-hours. I’d expect it to use slightly less than that since it won’t be running the compressor 24/7. I recommend using the 12V DC cigarette plug since it’s more efficient than the 120V AC, so therefore a regulated 12V output would be necessary. Between 500-800 is what I would expect depending on the ambient temperature.

      Most laptops use anywhere from 30-150W, so if you want to charge a 70W laptop for three hours a day that would be at least 210 watt-hours. Phone chargers and small fans usually require less than 10W, so let’s say you use 100 watt-hours to charge two phones for an hour and run 2 fans for four hours.

      That puts you at 1174 watt-hours per day. Again, the 12V fridge will probably use less. With needs like that, I recommend a power station like the Sungzu 1000, Suaoki G1000, or Yeti 1000. With the Yeti, you’d need the 12V regulated cable to regulate the 12V output.

      If those sound too large for you, let’s consider an alternative.

      For example, if you would go with the Dometic CFX28 instead which only uses 0.75A per hour, it would most likely use less than 300 watt-hours per day. Then a power station like the Jackery Explorer 500 could do the job, as long as you have a way to recharge the battery.

      Let me know if you have any questions, or are interested in how you could set up solar for a specific power station on your Tacoma.

      Reply
  3. What do you think of the new Titan by Point Zero Energy. It seems quite versatile, with the cool options of having replaceable and add-on batteries. It is quite heavy, but comes in two manageable components that snap together. It has much more than I will need for my trailer (Intech Explore) but it would likely suffice as a home survival generator. It is pricey. I am impressed with how you set up Yeti to work in a cabinet.

    Reply
    • I haven’t tested the Titan yet but I have read a lot about it. It’s definitely a heavy but powerful power station, and being able to replace or add more lithium batteries is a great feature I’d like to see in more products. I probably wouldn’t put it in my camper due to the size and weight, but I agree that it’s a good option for preppers.

      And wow, that Intech Explore is neat!

      Reply
  4. First off i must say its awesome that you give such good clear advice! Feel very grateful to have stumbled across your website!
    My wife and I have a older tacoma as well as a larger tundra with a fourwheel camper on the back. The Tundra has 380watts of solar on the roof and that keeps our 2- 6 volt deep cycle batteries pretty full for the most part. In our tacoma we have a Dometic fridge (no freezer) that we want to power full time while on extended trips as well as charge 2 laptop computers, 2 cellphones, some small led lights in the evening and for about 8 hours a day a remote satellite dish and modem we use for internet. The modem and satellite maybe will pull 2.5 amps at 120 volts. We’ve been looking at the goal zero 500x or the older 400 to be our main source of power in the tacoma and a great back up option in the tundra build we have. I’ve read in some of your info that we can purchase cables that we can purchase other solar panels other then goal zero. In your opinion what might be the best way for us to go? 500x with 100 or 150 watt panel? 400 with what panel? i’d like to say money is no object but that’s just not the case. I do however want to purchase something that will work for our needs as well as get some miles out of it and keep it light and somewhat compact…maybe asking to much? lol

    I really appreciate your time and expert advice as i’d love to pull the trigger soon.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Charles. Nice setup!

      Hmm, that’s a tricky one. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing how much power the fridge uses. If the fridge uses 40W when it’s on, and it turns on 12 hours a day, you’ve used up pretty much all of the battery capacity in either battery. If you can figure out how much power the fridge uses in a day, it will be easier to make a list and calculate watt-hours.

      When it comes to Yeti 400 Lithium Vs Yeti 500X, I would pick Yeti 500X every time. Faster charge controller, USB C (in/out), regulated 12V output (a must for 12V fridges in my opinion), and higher resale value. It’s easy to connect third-party panels to it, and I would suggest a Renogy 160W panel that connects to the Yeti with an MC4 to 8mm adapter.

      The Yeti 500X with a 160W panel would not have any issues powering your computers (as long as they’re not gaming computers), your dish satellite, modem, phones, and lights. The big question is how much power your fridge needs.

      Let me know if I can help out further.

      Reply
      • Jesse,
        Thanks so much for getting back to me! It looks like the fridge watt’s used are ruffly around 0.87 Ah/h at 12v. I was able to talk to a friend who said they have a Yeti 500x and mentioned it not performing as well as they had hoped it would, with similar wattage consumptions as we are looking for. That being said, we are now considering the larger yeti 1000 or another brand options that will give us peace of mind. If that was the case, what would be your recommendations for paring more watt power station with a good panel? But if you think the 500x will have us covered we are def happier to save the cost and weight…lol!
        Again Jesse we really appreciate the recommendations!!

        Our best,

        Reply
  5. Jesse,
    Thanks so much for getting back to me! It looks like the fridge watt’s used are ruffly around 0.87 Ah/h at 12v. I was able to talk to a friend who said they have a Yeti 500x and mentioned it not performing as well as they had hoped it would, with similar wattage consumptions as we are looking for. That being said, we are now considering the larger yeti 1000 or another brand options that will give us peace of mind. If that was the case, what would be your recommendations for paring more watt power station with a good panel? But if you think the 500x will have us covered we are def happier to save the cost and weight…lol!
    Again Jesse we really appreciate the recommendations!!

    Our best,

    Reply
    • Sorry for the late reply, I don’t have any service where I’m camping currently.

      I understand, as somebody that has both a 500Wh and 1000Wh power station, I would recommend the larger one if you have space for it. I depend on my batteries every day, and having the extra battery capacity means that you will be prepared for a cloudy day. I have realized though that what’s even more important is doing what you can to max out the solar charging so it only takes a couple of hours to recharge the battery.

      If you could wait, Goal Zero is releasing new models soon. It’s hard to say how soon though, it might not be until late summer due to the pandemic.

      I don’t recommend buying the Yeti 1000 right now at full price since it’s an older model. If you want to order one today, I recommended the Jackery Explorer 1000 paired with a Renogy 160W via an MC4 to 8mm adapter. For extension cables, I recommend Windynation MC4 cables. You could also go with two 100W panels wired together in parallel to increase the charging speed.

      The Explorer 1000 is lighter than the Yeti, has three AC outlets, MPPT charger built-in, USB C, and a regulated 12V. The downside with the Explorer 1000 is that its max solar input is about 175W, while the Yeti 1000 can handle about 400W input or more with the MPPT upgrade. You’d have to spend extra money to add a regulated 12V output and an MPPT charge controller to the Yeti though. If you think you’ll use more than 200W of solar, let me know and I might have a better option.

      Reply
      • Jesse,

        Thanks and good to know on the goal zero 1000. i think for budget purposes we might go with the Explorere 1000. Even with the new GZ coming out soon it will more than likely be still up there in price. Not in a huge rush so maybe we wait and see what the new GZ’s go for and what the older models start to sell for…lol

        Thanks again for the great info!!

        Reply
  6. Hi Jesse –

    First of all, thanks for sharing your knowledge and putting this together. It would have taken me a year or more to gather and digest this information. Much appreciated!

    To get to my question – I haven’t yet processed all of the math so maybe I’m missing something, but is there any disadvantage to buying the Renogy panels, which are relatively inexpensive and waterproof – and using the adapters and extension cables you mentioned – to plug into our Jackery 500 rather than buying the (more expensive and not waterproof) Jackery, GoalZero or Rockpals panels? The only “con” I can see at the moment is that the Renogy panels are stiff and not foldable. We’re in a travel trailer so we can make the rigid panels work.

    Thanks for any information you can provide!

    Our Best Regards,
    JT Walker

    Reply
    • Hello JT,

      Thank you for your comment, glad I can help out.

      You’re correct in your assessment! All you’ll miss out on is the convenience of not having to use an adapter and the portability.

      I have tested panels from all of the companies you mention and none of them perform better in any way than my Renogy panels. I wrote this post about connecting panels to Jackery power stations because I want people to know that there are more affordable options.

      Jesse

      Reply
      • Thank you Jesse! We really appreciate your time and insight. Good luck to you out there!
        All Best,
        JT and Kimberly

        Reply
  7. Hi Guys,
    Thanks so much for your great info! I am looking for a power station to power electric blankets for warmth during winter camping in my rooftop tent. Can you make a recommendation for this kind of use?

    Cheers,
    Keith

    Reply
    • Hi Keith,

      Without knowing how many watts electric blankets use, I recommend the Ecoflow River 600. You can upgrade the battery capacity on it which is pretty neat, and it comes with a car charger so you can recharge the battery in your vehicle.

      For more built-in battery capacity, the new Maxoak Bluetti AC50S with the regulated 12V output is a great option.

      Both of them include an MC4 to DC adapter so you can use solar panels with MC4 connectors.

      Jesse

      Reply
  8. Great information, I have been looking at these as well. A few factors you may want to add to your table:
    Lifetime power cycles – can range from 500 to 3000, mostly depends on use of LiFePo batteries.
    Is the battery replaceable? EfDelta is not – perhaps also Yeti. Combined with power cycles this may be important.
    Solar input voltage, some (AC200p, PointZero, Sungzu, Others?) require 24v which may not be available on some rigs.

    Others not listed:
    https://www.pointzeroenergy.com/ – nice concept but expensive
    Renology lycan looks interesting, but is heavy. https://www.renogy.com/the-lycan-powerbox-with-suitcases-solar-power-generator/

    Reply

Leave a Comment