Solar Generator

Solar Generator Options for Power Tools

It’s no secret that most portable generators run on liquid fuel, it’s just how things have been done for years. The problem is this is not only expensive and inefficient but it’s also damaging to environment. Diesel generators have been around longer but most of the newer solar generators outclass the standard diesel, it’s just that people are scared of the “new” technology. Solar generators are less mechanic and consumer nothing in order to produce energy. These use solar energy and convert it to electrical current, which means that as long as there is light there are solar rays coming through to charge the generator, even when it’s cloudy.

Solar generators are much quieter and operate quietly which can be a blessing on sites where noise is an issue. It’s also more efficient as it never requires buying fuel and you don’t have to worry about fumes so it can be used anywhere.

What to look for

Generators can get pretty expensive but it’s often a question of getting what you pay for, and you may not need all of that power. Start by looking at the wattage you’ll need for your tools, the average hand held power tool runs between 300 to 1200, while larger tools can run up to 2000 watts if you are running a 1hp air compressor. If you’re running pumps this number might be higher still.

One method is to add up the wattage of everything you want to power at one time, but this may give you a larger number that will only occasionally be used. Most electrical items have a starting wattage and a running wattage, the starting wattage is higher so as long as you’re not starting all the tools at the same time you can actually have them running using a much lower wattage. This is continuous power need vs occasional power need and as long as you exercise good management with which tools are starting and running you can get away with a smaller generator.

Which to Choose

Goal Zero 31901 Yeti 1250 Silver/Black XX-Large Solar Generator

GoalZero is one of the biggest names in solar power, there are options for this generator starting at 150WH (up to this 1250WH)and you can also boost the charging time by buying an extra boulder solar panel for the unit.

This is entirely silent, it’s like it’s not even there, and other than your own cords there are no extra cables to worry about in the work area. The unit has an included rolling cart to make moving it easier which at 100lb is a considerable weight. It has a 12V DC current and is only 16x15x12 so it’s really compact at a size smaller than the average mini fridge.

There’s also an AC inverter with three outlets and three USB outlets so you can also charge a phone or other device at the same time. With two solar panels and 40 hours of charge the generator will run a full sized refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit w/Nomad 20 Solar Panel

With only 300 watts you might be thinking this is to small to be of much use, but the real beauty of the small unit is that it can be chained with others so you can run longer if you don’t have huge power demands.

This may be a better option for someone who needs fewer tools running concurrently but wants to work all night or all day using only the generator. It can also be charged via a car adapter or plugged in to an AC outlet and charged. It has two AC outlets and 2 USB adapters.

Humless Solar Generator Power System & Backup Power/UPS with 2-Solar Panel Bundle

Intended for constant every day use this is a more rugged option that the Goal Zero units. The 1500 Watt power is enough to power several units at once and it also has a large 200Watt solar panel for charging so it’s quick to recharge and is considered to be the longest lasting system. Can also be run as a UPS. It’s easy to use and has 2 standard outlets, 4 USB ports and a 12V DC socket. It can also be charged by AC if needed. At only 47lb it’s also half the weight of the Yeti 1250 while having more power, only it doesn’t come with the handy cart to move it.

Enerplex Generatr 1200E Portable Lithium-Ion Battery

At 42lb it’s a little lighter than the humless and far lighter than the Yeti 1250, it operates absolutely silently and has an LCD to let you know how much charge it has. You’ll have to purchase the solar panels separately though. It can also be charged via AC current and has a maximum capacity of 1231, which is almost as good as the Yeti 1250. It’s actually almost identically sized though, even while being lighter. There are three standard outlets and two USB outlets.

Be Prepared Solar 2500 Watt 200AH Solar Generator & (2) 100 Watt Solar Panels

With a massive 5000 Watt peak this is enough to power a lot of devices at once. The two solar panels (100W) are also enough to give a quick charge, especially when you take into account the fact that the Yeti 400 is only working on a 20 Watt. The large case is wheeled so it’s pretty portable even though it’s quite big and bulky. This is a good no frills generator and it has two outlets and that’s it. The solar panels do come with a 30 foot cable however so it means that you can run the panels outside even while using the unit inside. Choose this unit if you need a lot of power at once and don’t really need USB or the option to charge by AC or an indicator of power level.

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