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Whether you’re hoping to ride out the next blackout in style and comfort, play video games in the middle of the woods, or live an off-the-grid lifestyle, a solar generator is becoming a modern must-have. They’re lighter and more mobile than gas generators, and you don’t need to keep a supply of degrading gasoline on hand to power them.

You have a lot of options for solar generators, and choosing the best one for you involves considering factors like capacity, weight, output and input options, and charging time and efficiency. But above all of those factors, your choice will come down to how you intend to use it. Whatever you buy, the solar generators on the market right now are generally better options than what was available just a few years ago—and the following are some of the best, based on different use cases.

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Credit: Product image courtesy of Amazon

Jackery Explorer 1000

Great for: Flexible use

With a capacity of 1002 watt-hours and the potential to charge at 200 watts for relatively fast recharges, the Jackery Explorer 1000 has enough juice to be a great short-term backup generator for the house. It has three AC outlets, a DC outlet, two USB A and two USB C outlets, so it’s capable of powering up to eight things at once. That 1000-watt output means it could run your fridge for a day or so without needing to be re-charged (longer if it’s hooked up to solar panels simultaneously), so it’s a workable solution for getting through a blackout without spoiled food.

At the same time, the Explorer 1000 weighs just 25 pounds—which isn’t exactly light, but makes it portable enough that it’s also a good solution for outdoor uses like camping or just powering your patio. It’s got a durable (and fireproof) casing designed to take a little punishment, too, so this is a solar generator that can sit at home in case of emergencies or come with you on your next road trip. The interface isn’t exactly rich, however, providing just the bare minimum of information, and the lack of a DC input isn’t ideal.

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Credit: Product image courtesy of Amazon

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X

Great for: Off-grid use

The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X can charge at a 600-watt clip, and has a 1,500+ watt capacity, making it an ideal choice if you’re going to be far away from a wall outlet for a while. It can put out enough juice to run a camper, and if you invest in the panels to get that full input, it can recharge in just a few hours.

The 1500X is also equipped to integrate into your house so it can be a true home backup unit, and it can even charge off your car’s alternator, so you can top it off while you’re traveling without having to ziptie your solar panels to the roof. It’s also built with an incredibly tough exterior, making it a perfect choice if you’re going to be living in relatively rough conditions but want to be able to run a small army of gadgets and appliances while you’re out there.

It’s a little confusing to navigate the interface, but the availability of a smartphone app helps a little in that department. If you’re routinely off the grid, this is your best choice.

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Credit: Product image courtesy of Amazon

EcoFlow Delta 2

Great for: Blackouts

If your main concern in this life is what happens when the power goes off, the EcoFow Delta is a great choice. With 1000 watt-hours of output (the Delta 2 Max model offers 2000), you’ll never need to break out the candles again, because you’ll have enough power to light up the house and run many of your appliances for the duration. And if the blackout lasts longer than expected, it can charge up in a few hours in full sun.

It’s heavy (about 50 pounds), so you’re not lugging this one around on your camping trips, but its power, fast charging time, and ease of hooking into your home’s electrical panel (if you have a transfer switch installed) make it ideal for those occasional emergencies. Plus, it’s easily expandable with batteries chained together, which can increase your power output to 3000 watt-hours if you need it.

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Credit: Product image courtesy of Amazon

Bluetti AC200Max

Great for: House backup

If you’re thinking beyond blackouts and want a whole-house solution that can keep everything humming any time you lose the grid, the Bluetti AC200Max is an ideal choice. It can punch into a transfer switch, making it easy to jump over to battery power in a pinch without having to run extension cords all over the place, and it starts with 2200 watt-hours of power—but it’s expandable to a whopping 8000 watt-hours by chaining in some batteries. It’s pricey with all those batteries, but that kind of power means you can run your whole house off of the AC200Max for a couple of days.

The whole system is controllable via an app, and it offers 16 outlets so you won’t have to agonize over what gets powered during a storm. It can take a long time to charge up if you go for the full capacity, but you can use solar panels simultaneously with an outlet to get up to 1400 watt-hours of charge and cut the charging time down considerably.

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Credit: Product image courtesy of Amazon

Anker SOLIX C1000

Great for: Small spaces

Maybe you want a solar generator for emergencies, but you live in a shoebox-sized apartment, and many solar generators are big enough to be problematic for storage. The Anker SOLIX C1000 provides solid power (1000 watt-hours or so) in a very small footprint, which means it’s easy to store when not in use.

A great feature that makes it a good choice for a home generator is the LED light bar, which provides quick emergency lighting. If you’ve ever been surprised by a blackout and found yourself stumbling around in the dark, you know that having an easy source of light is a very good thing. It also charges up exceptionally quickly—the SOLIX C1000 can reach full capacity in an hour in strong sunlight or when plugged in. That means if your blackout situation lasts more than a day you should be able to charge the battery back up during the daylight hours without much trouble, making it a great choice for a small place.

Solar generators are getting more powerful, more sophisticated, and more necessary every day. Buy one of the best solar generators available and sleep easy tonight.

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