Self-sufficiency and independent living are just some of the reasons why more and more people are choosing to live off the grid (over 250,000 people in the U.S. to date). Living independently from “the system” is empowering, knowing you can live a self-sustaining life. And suppose you’re pondering about switching to this radical lifestyle in the foreseeable future. In that case, we’ll guide you through one of the trickiest parts of living off-grid, which is finding reliable power.
If you’re planning to cut ties with traditional utility providers, solar power, particularly solar generator, is a popular option when it comes to finding a source of reliable power. Are you thinking, “What is the best solar generator for off-grid living?” An ideal solar generator should have the following features: runs quietly and is low maintenance; has enough power to supply your needs; has sufficient watt hours/run time; and can be expandable.
In this blog, we’ll share with you some important things to know about solar generators and some tips when purchasing so you can pick the one that’s suited for your needs.
Let’s get started…
Can you live off-grid by a solar generator?
If you read our previous article, we answered this question with a “yes” and “no”. It’s not impossible for you to run your whole household using a solar generator so long as it can meet the electrical demands of your often-used appliances and devices.
Most portable solar generators in the market can power small appliances and recharge devices (e.g. chargers, lights, TVs, microwave ovens), which is ideal for off-grid camping or RVs. They are also good to be used as backup power for brownouts and blackouts, which, unfortunately, are becoming more common due to climate change and the country’s aging power grids.
On the other hand, if you have power-hungry appliances in your off-grid home, like a natural gas furnace or portable AC, not all solar generators can supply the demand. Luckily, there are newer and larger models from Nature’s Generator that can and are designed to power an entire household. If that doesn’t make it to the list of the best solar generator for off-grid living then we don’t know what will make the cut!
So again, you can power your house with a solar generator so long as you will use the correct size that can meet the demand of your appliances and devices. We recommend that you make yourself familiar with which electronics you run in your household to determine how much wattage you require.
A quick way to do this is to look at your electricity bill and find out how much kWh your household uses each month. Also take into consideration that these appliances won’t be running 24/7 (except for your refrigerator, of course) and at the same time.
Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing the Best Solar Generator for Off-Grid Living
Solar generators come in various sizes and electricity it provides, and to determine the right one for you is to know which generator can address your energy consumption needs. BUT, it’s not only about if the solar generator can provide enough power for your lifestyle, there are also some factors that make the best solar generator for off-grid living.
Probably one of the major reasons why you’re choosing to disconnect from society is because we live in a world where there’s too much noise (literally and figuratively). To many, living off the grid means reconnecting with nature and enjoying the beauty it offers. And it will be contradictory if you’re going to use a power source that makes too much noise. So when buying a generator, it’s important to consider the noise level it produces when it's in operation.
The good news is that, unlike gas-fueled generators, solar generators are super quiet. Solar generators do not use an engine and have no moving parts like their conventional counterparts. The “loudest” sound you may hear from solar generators is from ambient fan noise or from the minimal buzzing sound of the inverter.
OK – technically, all solar generators will have this feature, so let’s take a look at other qualities to determine which ones are the best.
One amazing feature of solar generators is that they require less maintenance. Traditional generators have moving parts and burn gasoline or diesel that leave behind deposits, which requires periodic maintenance.
On the other hand, solar generators are low maintenance. Products from Nature’s Generator, for example, do not require monthly maintenance. You only need to keep the generator plugged in or recharge it every four months of non-use, and you’ll have a great power source or a good backup for power interruptions.
A feature that will make other solar generators stand out from the others is their battery capacity. The battery capacity refers to how much energy (amount of electricity) a solar generator can store. Knowing this will help determine if the solar generator you’re planning to purchase will meet your electric consumption.
Note that the battery capacity is typically measured in watt-hours (Wh). For off-grid living we recommend you use at least a minimum of 1000Wh. You can check out Nature’s Generator Elite, which has a 1200Wh capacity. If you’re planning to use devices plus large appliances, such as a fridge, for longer periods, you can add Nature’s Generator Power Pod for a total combined capacity of 2400Wh.
For bigger battery capacity, Nature’s Generator Powerhouse is one thing to consider. It has a 4800Wh battery capacity, which has enough power to support your household’s electric demand.
A quick tip to keep in mind, the higher the output capacity the generator has, the better.
Power Output Voltage and Wattage
Another important factor that you need to consider when purchasing a solar generator is power output voltage and wattage. You need to decide if you need a 240 volts or 120volts system. You always can tap 120V from 240V system, but you cannot get 240V from a 120V system. That's why Nature's Generator 240V/7200W Powerhouse is such a great solution for people who wants to live off grid. Beside the voltage, the wattage also matters. The big wattage there is, the more appliances you can power.
If you’re going to look for the best solar generator, you want to make sure that it allows for expandability. The Nature’s Generator Power Pod, which should be used with Nature’s Generator will add 1200Wh of battery capacity and 200W of solar input.
With our Powerhouse line, you have infinite expandability and upgrade your system with Solar Panels, Power Pods, Wind Turbines, security camera systems, etc.
You can check accessories for your solar generator here.
Looking at available solar generators for off-grid living in the market could be overwhelming, especially if you’re not well-versed in this area. Hopefully, our tips above will help you narrow down your list so you can choose the generator that will cater to your needs.
If you want to make your life easier, you can browse our Nature’s Generator products and you’ll find everything you need, plus useful information to help you make a decision. If you have more questions our customer support will be more than happy to assist.
* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Ishna Sablaya, contributed research and content to this blog titled: Best Solar Generator for Off-grid Living Thank you, Ishna, for your contributions!