What are the most important factors to consider when buying a portable solar generator?
There are many useful fun items out there that everyone loves and may want to purchase. For instance, I’m a huge lover of fancy automobiles, even if I only have an ageing – but quite reliable one.
So, let’s assume that I can now afford my dream ride. I’m not just going to go out there to pick just any car. There are certain things that mean a lot to me and I must look out for these things in the new vehicle.
This isn’t about cars but let’s just say ground clearance will be a very important factor I’d watch out for.
So, you wanna go buy a portable solar generator? There are things to look out for!
As is applicable to the car illustration I made above, the factors to look out for when purchasing a portable solar generator really do depend on the taste and power requirements of you, the individual purchaser.
That being said, one must note, however, that some very important factors stand out in determining what portable solar generator to buy.
Anyone that knows what they are doing would have to consider these factors!
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The 8 Most Important Factors To consider When Purchasing A Portable Solar Generator
The factors below are not in any particular order of importance. Each factor carries peculiar significance. As important as it may be to consider power requirements, what is the use if you purchase a very “powerful” portable solar power station from a fake brand or a fake seller and your product ‘retires’ itself in a few days?
1. Capacity Of The Portable Solar Generator
As portable solar generators are notorious for being really divers in capacity, a purchaser’s eyes must be open to the capacity of the gadget they wish to purchase.
The capacity of a portable solar generator is measured in Watts (W). The Watts, when applied to power usage, translate to Watt hours (Wh). So it is important to check the wattage of the portable solar generator before purchase.
Whilst the inverter’s capacity is measured in watts (W), or in volt amperes (VA) the output capacity of the battery, in which solar-obtained electricity is stored is understood in terms of watt hours (Wh) or ampere hours (Ah).
The whole watt, watt hours, volt and volt amperes language can get a bit confusing, but it is important to basically know your power requirement and purchase the solar generator with the requisite capacity.
You definitely want to purchase a portable solar unit that is capable of powering your energy needs. The more the wattage of the contraption, the greater the purpose it can serve. If in doubt, ask the purchaser, study the manual or do some DIY search online!
It also helps that each unit is convertible to another.
2. Power Requirements Of The Consumer
Having regard to the power capacity of the portable solar generator as a guide in purchasing one is paramount. An accompanying factor would thus be the power requirement of the consumer. Simply put, what does the consumer require the portable solar generator for?
Some require portable solar power stations just for charging rechargeable devices like phones and laptops or just to be able to use for jump-starting dying car batteries. If that is the case, you may choose to go for a lightweight low capacity portable solar unit with a battery durability of 300 to 400 watt hours (Wh).
Then there are people with higher power requirements. These may need to power fridges or even a heater or two. If you belong here, you would definitely have to go for a portable solar generator with a battery capacity in the range of 1400 to 1500 watt hours (Wh).
Portable solar generators vary in capacity and serve a variety of needs according to their sizes.
3. Expandability Of Power
Talking about the power requirements of a consumer, it could be that a prospective buyer may not be sure what their precise power requirements may be.
If that is the case, there is a glorious way out! There are models of portable solar generators that offer the advantage of extra solar panels and even an extra battery or two.
Seeing as this is a very beneficial feature,a purchaser may want to ask about this feature when trying to buy.
4. Specific Activity Of The Consumer
Potential consumers would also be counselled to purchase the type of portable solar generator that matches their intended activities.
Many are purpose-built for specific activities. While many are specially suited for home use as a back-up power source, some are purpose-made for camping and hiking. So, it might be useful to check out this factor so as to purchase the most appropriate one.
Also, if you would need the use of specific features of a portable solar power station, then you might want to particularly look out to buy a product with that feature.
You may have a car whose battery may need jumpstarting from time to time; you would, therefore, need to be on the lookout to ensure that you buy a portable solar generator with the added utility of jump-starting car batteries!
An excellent example of such a portable solar power station would be the Audew 500Wh Portable Solar Generator.
5. Reputation & Integrity Of The Brand
There may not be much talk about this point but it is dead-important!
The internet is filled with all kinds of ‘selling sites’ with very many selling ads scattered all over the place.
You see, the word ‘authentic’ exists because there are very many counterfeits! So not everything on Ali Baba or on Wish is genuine. Not every portable solar generator appearing in a pop-up ad on Twitter or Facebook is for real!
Many have bought fakes. There are stories of woes all over YouTube – people buying portable solar products that turn out to be a far cry from what they were made out to be. Believe me, you don’t want to be in this shoe!
It is also worthy of note that the products that turn out to be huge disappointments are of obscure, unreliable brands. Sometimes, these products have no brand names at all (OEM stuff)! So checking for brand reliability is a must!
As a guide, certain names stand out. They may not, for now, be as widely known as the Samsungs and the Toshibas of this world, seeing as the portable solar generator is a relatively novel invention.
Nevertheless, I recommend that well known brands (such as Goal Zero, Audew and Kalisaya) top the list of considerations when contemplating a portable solar powered generator.
It is very useful, as well, to consult and consider the opinions of those who have previously purchased and used the product you are interested in buying.
Online reviews provided by professionals (such as my work here on on Solar Generator Genius) as well as YouTube videos, can help in this regard.
6. Availability Of Charging Ports And Electrical Socket Outlets
The 21st Century is, in a sense, a charged-up century! Never in the history of humanity has there been so many things to connect to a charger!
The average person today has to plug in – via USB ports or regular sockets – a minimum of three devices, all of which the regular Joe probably has:
- A smartphone or two;
- A tablet and
- A personal computer.
So, if you’re like the regular Joe – and would like to keep your devices juiced up – you’ve got to ensure that the portable solar generator that you want to buy provides enough outlets to enable you power up your appliances, in a manner that matches your lifestyle and actual needs.
For instance, the Aeiusny 400W portable power station earlier mentioned has 4 good USB ports (of various power ratings) and 3 AC ports!
With such an option, if you’re a tech or gadget freak, you’ll be duly served. Anything less would only ensure pain and frustration.
7. How Fast Does The Device Charge?
Portable solar generators are largely known to charge really slowly.
However, some charge faster than others.
If you’re like me and would not want to spend an eternity charging your solar generator, it will be wise to look out for one that can at least charge up in a matter of hours and not the traditional days most are used to.
It would also be smart to be on the watch out for an option with the hybrid charging reality so that you can alternate your charging spots from solar to AC right to DC, depending on convenience.
8. How ‘Portable’ Is The ‘Portable Solar Generator’?
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a portable solar generator is its portability. This is the whole point of it, isn’t it?
You do not want a large device (that would occupy a ton of space and cost an arm and a limb) if all you would need the portable solar unit to power is your smart phone and laptop.
Tying Matters Up
The maxim is, “caveat emptor”. It means “buyer, beware”. It is very important for the purchaser of a portable solar generator to watch out for what they are purchasing.
Everyone has their own unique taste in products and it is the same for the portable solar generator. The above guide will come in handy for prospective buyers. It is also a fail-safe guide, no matter what your requirements and inclinations are.
However, if you’re not the tech type and the process of selecting the right unit appears too tasking (even with this exhaustive guide), I’ll suggest you take a look at my list of the best portable solar powered stations money can buy at the moment.