The solar generator market is growing exponentially by the day. Every outdoorsman wants a cleaner, reliable, renewable, noiseless, compact, lightweight, and efficient power source for camping, Overlanding, and RVs. With the travel and outdoor camping become popular, solar generators are slowly making their way into the list as a backup power source as well.
I have seen hundreds of people in life relying on portable power stations with solar panels for power outages instead of portable inverter generators because they charge and use their units directly from the portable solar panels instead of spending on fuel. We have written this comprehensive guide to give you guide about how to choose the best portable power stations and the best portable solar panels for the generator in the future.
Things to be Considered When Picking Portable Power Station
The following things are extremely necessary for a portable power station to have. If you are planning to purchase one, read each thing carefully then make a purchasing decision.
1. Lithium-ion battery cells
At present, portable power stations mainly use lithium-ion batteries with light weight, small size, long cycle life and stable performance. However, some lithium batteries are prone to fire and explosion due to short-circuit or overcharge because of poor technology or improper use. Therefore, we should select the portable power stations with explosion-proof and fire-proof functions.
When purchasing a portable power station, you should also choose the standard voltage one, in order to better adapt to other electronic equipment, maintain the high efficiency and stability of the voltage and current output, and will not cause damage to the devices.
3. Battery capacity
The larger the capacity of the battery, the longer the continuous output of electric energy. On long trips, if the power of electronic devices is insufficient, it will not only cause inconvenience, but also easily lead to accidents. Therefore, the capacity size is a parameter that must be paid attention to when purchasing portable power station.
The more wattage a portable power station has, the more devices it can power. When doing outdoor sports or camping, it is usually necessary to carry certain electronic equipment, including not only basic equipment such as mobile phones and flashlights, but also laptops, cameras, video cameras, drones, stoves, small refrigerators, headlights, and even small microcomputers. Medical emergency equipment. The more equipment you carry, the more powerful the portable power station should be.
5. Power station interface
The more types of interfaces supported by the portable power station, the stronger the compatibility and the more applicable electronic devices. Therefore, portable power station that supports AC, USB, Type-C, car charger and other interface outputs should be selected to meet the needs of different devices.
6. Charging method and efficiency
At present, portable power stations generally have car charging, solar panel charging, and some are also equipped with PD fast charging adapters. For users, the more charging methods of the portable power station, the better for users, and the higher the charging efficiency, the better for users too. If you’re someone who loves outdoor adventures, you definitely need to have a portable solar panel in your outdoor gear collection.
Portable power stations are mostly used in outdoor scenes, so portability is very important, especially in emergency rescue situations, if the portable power station is too bulky, it is likely to delay the rescue time.
Main factors to consider when picking portable solar panel
1. Surface area
The larger the surface area of portable solar panel, the more sunlight it collects and the faster it is converted into electricity that is stored in the battery. A smaller portable solar panel, while easier to pack, but takes longer to charge the battery. Large-area portable solar panels are also best for use in cloud cover or low-level, low-intensity light in winter, or when logistical constraints allow you to leave it exposed to the sun for more time. Depending on surface area and lighting conditions, the same battery can take anywhere from 4 to 16 hours to charge in sunlight.
2. Output capability
portable solar panels are rated in watts. The higher the number, the more electricity is generated during a certain period of time.
3. Semi-flexible or rigid panels
Semi-flexible portable solar panels can be folded or rolled up for easy transport and open up to provide a larger surface area than many rigid panels. Also consider how the solar panel is attached so you can securely attach it to your backpack, bike, rowboat or tent.
4. Power storage (battery pack)
Portable solar panels are best used to charge batteries or an outdoor power station, not directly to charge electronic devices. As a power source, the current generated by these solar panels directly flows into the electronic equipment without any current regulation circuit, which is likely to cause damage to the electronic devices.
You can check out the full review from ChargingGeek for some of the best portable power stations and the best solar panels on the market today. Based on your budget, the number of days out, the number of devices you carry, and usage scenarios, it is easy to make corresponding choices for your solar generator.