10 Best Portable Solar Power Systems

Updated: Jan. 29, 2024

From charging a laptop to running a welder, here are some of the best portable power stations you can run with the sun.

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10 Best Portable Solar Power SystemsVIA MERCHANT

Buying a Portable Solar Power System

Portable power stations that recharge via solar panels have changed the game for working and playing in off-grid locations.

We use ours to power our computers, electric cooler, coffeemaker and shower while camping and traveling. We also run tools and recharge drill batteries anywhere it’s inconvenient to reach an outlet. Other people use them to power speakers while tailgating, or integrate them into van build projects.

Most portable solar power systems — aka solar generators, power stations, portable power banks or battery boxes — can be charged via solar panels, a wall plug or a 12-volt car outlet. If you’re thinking about adding one to your life, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

  • How much power you need: Power stations are usually rated in watt hours (Wh). So add up the watts of the devices/appliances you need to power, then find a unit with a storage capacity that matches or exceeds that amount. Also, if you’re running heavy draws like power tools, microwaves and coffeemakers, check the inverter’s max AC watt output to make sure it can handle each device.
  • Your budget: Prices vary greatly, but a general range is $1 to $1.50 per Wh. The primary features for comparison units are watt hours, battery chemistry and inverter size.
  • Solar features: Not all power stations can be recharged via solar. If that’s important to you, confirm the model includes the option to connect solar panels and comes with a built-in solar charge controller.
  • Receptacles: Depending on the unit, it might have USB-As, USB-Cs, 120V household plugs, 12V cigarette-lighter-style outputs and 30-amp RV-type outlets.
  • Charging speed: Different units recharge at different rates based on battery chemistry, the wattage of included wall chargers and the number of solar panels they can accommodate.
  • Battery chemistry: The two main types are lithium-based: lithium-ion NMCs (or LiNiMnCoO2) and LFP (or LiFePo4). While both have advantages, LFPs offer better safety and environmental aspects and can recharge six to 10 more times over their lifespans.

My partner and I field-tested a number of portable solar power systems. Here, we’re focusing on the more portable sizes, models between approximately 250Wh and 2,000Wh. These are some of our favorites, organized from largest to smallest in watt-hours.

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Anker Powerhouse 767
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Anker PowerHouse 767

With a 2,400W inverter, Anker’s PowerHouse 767 can charge your power tools while also running the refrigerator and the microwave, all for less than $1 per watt-hour. Thanks to new GaN technology, it recharges in just two-and-a-half hours with a solar array or the built-in 1,000W AC charger.

It contains commercial-grade internal electronic components, and the sturdy and attractive unibody design also includes wheels and a collapsible handle. It also features a 30-amp plug for RVs and a pleasing warm-white multi-mode accessory light bar. Get an expansion battery to double the watt-hours.

Outlets: One 30-amp, four 120V AC, two 12V, two USB-A, three USB-C.

Specs: 2,048Wh, max solar input 1,000W (or 1,440W via wall power), LiPo4, Bluetooth monitoring, 20.67 inches x 9.84 inches x 15.55 inches, 67.3 pounds, five-year warranty. Pair with Anker’s 767-specific 200W solar panels.

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Goal Zero Yeti 1500x
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Goal Zero Yeti 1500X

We recently tested Goal Zero’s Yeti 1500X on an overland camping trip, off-roading to remote areas over several weeks. Its impressive 2,000W inverter ran our electric cooler, coffeemaker and laptops day after day, solely with charging the unit via solar panels.

Its sturdy aluminum case includes a storage compartment for cables. Goal Zero also makes optional expansion batteries. The included wall charger is 120W, so consider upgrading to their 600W for faster AC charging.

Outlets: Two 120V AC, one 12V, one in/out PD, two USB-A, two USB-C.

Specs: 1,516Wh, max solar input 600W, lithium-ion NMC, Bluetooth monitoring, 15.25 inches x 10.4 inches x 10.2 inches, 45.64 pounds, two-year warranty. Pair with Goal Zero Nomad 100W or 200W solar panels.

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Biolite Basecharge 1500
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BioLite BaseCharge 1500

BioLite’s BaseCharge 1500 is more compact than its competitors’ models. The recessed handles mean nothing protrudes from the box, which makes it easy to pack but a little tricky to strap down in a vehicle.

Its resettable odometer monitors energy usage. It features a max output of 1,200W and can charge from solar in as little as four hours. One neat feature: It can wirelessly charge a smartphone on top of the case,

Outlets: Three 120V AC, one 12V, two DC barrel connectors, one in/out PD, two USB-A, two USB-C.

Specs: 1,521Wh, max solar input 400W, lithium-ion NMC, 14.4 inches x 12.2 inches x 8.2 inches, 28.5 pounds, two-year warranty. Pair with BioLite Solar Panel 100Ws.

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Anker 757 Powerhouse
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Anker 757 PowerHouse

The 757 PowerHouse, another winning design from Anker, charges to 80% in just one hour (100% in 90 minutes) thanks to its HyperFlash Technology. It features smart temperature control, an aluminum frame and durable commercial-grade electrical components. Anker claims it will last ten years, twice as long as its warranty.

With a 1,500-watt inverter, it’s strong enough to power most appliances, including electric grills and refrigerators. That makes it good for camping and home backup.

Outlets: Six 120V AC, one 12V, four USB-A, two USB-C.

Specs: 1,229Wh, max solar input 300W (1,000W from wall power), LiPo4, Bluetooth monitoring, 18.2 inches x 11.3 inches x 9.3 inches, 43.9 pounds. Pair with Anker 625 Solar Panel.

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Bouge Rv Fort 1000
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Bouge RV Fort 1000

With a 1,200W inverter, BougeRV’s Fort 1000 powers larger tools and appliances more efficiently than most other models with similar watt-hours. It can even be a reliable backup power source for full-size refrigerators. Plus, it can run space heaters and BougeRV’s portable air conditioner.

The aluminum shell adds durability and helps with heat dissipation. It recharges in around five hours.

Outlets: Three 120V AC, one 12V, three USB-A, one USB-C.

Specs: 1,120Wh, max solar input 200W, LiPo4, 12.59 inches x 9 inches x 11 inches, 28.7 pounds, one-year warranty. Pair with BougeRV 130W Mono Portable Solar Panel.

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Lion Energy Summit
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Lion Energy Summit

The Lion Energy Summit is great to throw in the work truck, with reinforced rubber corners, a rugged case to withstand harsh elements and a comfortable carry handle.

Its 530 watts are enough to power a CPAP or electric cooler and recharge power tools. Add an optional LED light strand for extra ambiance. It takes around four hours to fully recharge with solar or house power.

Outlets: Two 120V AC, one 12V, two USB-A, two USB-C.

Specs: 665Wh, max solar input 150W, LiPo4, Bluetooth monitoring, 13.25 inches x 7.25 inches x 8.5 inches, 18 pounds, one-year warranty. Pair with Lion 100W solar panel.

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Go Power Duracube
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Go Power DuraCube

Go Power’s DuraCube comes with battery jump clamps, a standout feature we’ve successfully used to restart our camping van after it sat idle for a while. Beyond that, its anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum case is rugged. Plus it’s nice and compact, yet still powerful enough to run a mini-fridge or small CPAP during a power outage.

Outlets: Two 120V AC, one 12V, four USB-A, one USB-C.

Specs: 512Wh, 500W inverter, max solar input 120W, LiPo4, 9.84 inches x 7.48 inches x 9.45 inches, 18.7 pounds, two-year warranty. Pair with DuraLITE 100W expansion solar panel.

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Renogy Phoenix 500
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Renogy Phoenix 500

With its 800W inverter, Renogy’s Phoenix 500 delivers extra oomph over similar boxes its size. It comes with a beefy 495W charger, recharging from zero to 80% in an hour on wall power.

Paired with Renogy’s E.FLEX 220W portable solar panel, it can recharge to 80% in two-and-a-half hours. It’s stackable with a second unit for a combined 990Wh with AC output of 1,440W. It also comes with a light strip.

Outlets: Three 120V AC, one 12V, four USB-A, one USB-C.

Specs: 495Wh, max solar input 495W, LiPo4, Bluetooth monitoring, 12.76 inches x 8.19 inches x 9.43 inches, 16.71 pounds, one-year warranty.

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Anker Powerhouse 521
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Anker PowerHouse 521

Perfect for charging electronics and tools on the go, the durable, compact Anker’s PowerHouse 521 holds enough juice to recharge a phone 20 times. (Note: Its 200W inverter means it can’t power more demanding devices like a a CPAP or microwave, but it can run a mini-fridge for five hours.)

The PowerHouse recharges to 80% in one-and-a-half hours via USB-C while offering a 50,000-hour life expectancy. It also comes with a warm LED light bar with an “SOS mode” and a five-year warranty.

Outlets: Two 120V AC, one 12V, two USB-C, one USB-A.

Specs: 256Wh, LiPo4, 8.5 inches x 8.32 inches x 5.67 inches, 9.57 pounds, five-year warranty. Pair with Anker’s 100W solar panel.

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Power Banks
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Power Banks

When you just need a power boost for a phone, laptop or portable speaker, small power banks can be particularly useful. Many can be charged via solar and fit in a backpack. They’re also great for home use if you’re hanging out where there’s not an easily accessible wall plug.

We particularly like BioLite’s 80 PD (74Wh, $80) paired with their 10W solar panel, and Goal Zero’s Sherpa 100PD (94Wh, $200) paired with their Nomad 50 solar panel.

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Bluetti Ac200 Max Portable Power Station
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Bluetti AC200MAX Portable Power Station

Another power station that offers a 30-amp plug for RVs, Bluetti’s AC200MAX is a powerhouse for camping, workshops and emergency home backup. It has 17 output plugins, two wireless phone chargers on top to make cell charging hassle-free and a strong 2,200 AC inverter.

This is also Bluetti’s first expandable power station, so it can grow to 6,114Wh with expansion batteries. That’s enough to power a full-size fridge for 24 hours, even without the help of the sun. It also includes a smart control monitor and app. 2,048Wh, max solar input 900W (1400W combined with wall power), LFP, four-year warranty. Pair with Bluetti PV200 Solar Panel (200W).

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