Best Generators For Off Grid Living

While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.

In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.

Moving off grid isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of planning for both  everyday, and emergency situations. No one wants to lose power at an important moment, but if you don’t have the grid providing you with juice, you have to rely on your own source.

Best Generators For Off Grid Living

To go completely off grid, you need a generator that can keep up with your power demands. But it has to do more than that. It needs to be a generator that you can rely on, that is pleasant to use, and that can be charged consistently.

For these reasons, we recommend a solar-powered generator. Drawing power from a natural resource, these generators are safe, clean, and powerful. To help you decide if a solar generator is right for your self-powered life, take a look at our guide to the best generators for living off grid.

The Top 5 Generators For Off Grid Living

OUR TOP PICK

Our top choice of generator for off grid living is the BLUETTI Portable Power Station AC200P. It can store a great deal of power, and easily convert it into a safe charge for use with multiple devices.

While it isn’t a budget buy, it is an affordable option. The BLUETTI AC200P has 2000Wh of battery capacity, and a 2000W inverter.

With this, it can be used to power a full-size refrigerator for up to 28 hours. As an inverter generator, it creates a smooth and safe current, making it safe to use with almost all devices found in the home.

With 17 outlets, including 6 AC ports, the BLUETTI can be used to power an incredible array of electronics. We also love the fast charge of the BLUETTI AC200P.

It can be fully recharged in just 2.5 hours using a combination of AC and solar charge.

Equipped with a LiFePO4 battery cell, the BLUETTI can be used and reused safely, offering you a reliable generator with potentially up to a decade of use.

Pros

  • 2000Wh battery capacity - A large battery for longer lasting power.
  • 17 outlets - Versatile ports for charging multiple devices at once.
  • Over-current, -charge, and -voltage protection - Safe and reliable to use.

Cons

  • Although the generator is a decent price, the solar panels have to be purchased separately.

Also available for purchase from BLUETTI Power and Shop Solar Kits.

EDITORS CHOICE

The compact design of the ECOFLOW Delta masks a massive amount of power, making this an excellent choice for off-grid living in a camper or RV.

The efficient ECOFLOW Delta generator comes with multiple charging modes, with a 1260Wh battery pack that can be charged to 80% in just one hour.

It can take just 4 hours to recharge using solar power alone. Thanks to this, the ECOFLOW Delta can run frequently, with minimal charging breaks.

Offering a 3300W surge output and a running output of 1800W, the ECOFLOW Delta is a highly powered generator. Using the 13 built-in outlets, it can be used to charge multiple different devices at once.

An exceptionally compact design, the ECOFLOW Delta measures just 15.7”L x 8.3”W x 10.6”H. It also has a noise level of just 50dB at a two-meter distance, so you can charge quietly in a small space.

And as it’s fume free, you’ll be happy to use the generator around the home.

Pros

  • 6 pure sine wave AC output - Can be used to power even sensitive electronics.
  • 4 to 6 hour solar charge time - Reaches 100% charge in a limited time frame.
  • Compact - Easy to carry and transport, for lives on the go.

Cons

  • A smaller battery than similarly priced generators.

Also available for purchase from ECOFLOW and B&H.

BEST VALUE

For those who like to travel off grid, the Jackery Solar Generator Explorer 1000 is a lightweight and portable generator with a decent amount of power.

Featuring a 1002Wh capacity, the Jackery explorer has an excellent battery for its size. The generator has a surge power output of 2000W, and a running output of 1000W.

This isn’t the most powerful generator available, but it can still power multiple devices at once. And thanks to the smaller battery size, it can be powered quickly using just solar energy.

The Jackery Solar Generator Explorer 1000 doesn’t have the same impressive battery of larger devices, but it does have excellent portability.

If you prefer to live your off grid life on the go, the easy handling and compact size of the Jackery Explorer should appeal. It weighs only 22lbs, and comes with an integrated handle for lifting.

Quick to set up and with a minimal noise output, the Jackery Explorer is a portable generator that can still be used to deliver exceptional power.

Pros

  • 22lbs - Incredibly light, it’s easy to travel with the Jackery Explorer.
  • ETFE material - A durable build for a longer lasting performance.
  • 3 pure sine wave AC outlets - Power sensitive electronics.

Cons

  • Small battery - The Jackery isn’t ideal for charging large units.

Also available for purchase from Jackery and Shop Solar Kits.

RUNNER UP

For many of us, off grid living represents an opportunity to get away from a reliance on electricity. Because of this, you might not have much need for a large, powerful generator.

If you only have a small amount to power, then the budget ROCKPALS Portable Solar Generator is an excellent pick.

Weighing just 7.7lbs, the ROCKPALS solar generator is unbelievably lightweight, and can be carried for long distances with no strain.

The built-in handle makes it easy to lift, while the compact design improves storage. If you’re looking for a backup solar generator for a larger generator, the ROCKPALS small build is good to have to hand.

In terms of power, the overall level is reduced. The ROCKPALS generator has a 280Wh battery, and an AC output of 300W continuous, and 500W surge.

This does limit the usage of the generator. However, with a clean current, it can be used to power delicate electronics such as phones and laptops.

The ROCKPALS generator also includes multiple outputs. Compared to larger solar generators, the ROCKPALS can seem underpowered.

But for the size, the performance is fairly impressive. And if you’re trying to move off grid on a budget, the ROCKPALS is an affordable choice.

Pros

  • 7.7lbs - One of the lightest generators around.
  • Pure sine wave inverter - A clean current to charge sensitive devices. 
  • Multiple outputs - Can be used to power various devices.

Cons

  • Limited power output - The ROCKPALS can only be used for smaller electronics.

Also available for purchase from ROCKPALS.

RUNNER UP

If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable solar generator, and you don’t mind the price, Goal Zero Yeti generators are a quality brand.

Our top pick is the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X portable power station. It has excellent battery life and a large power output, but the compact build also makes it a portable choice.

The Yeti 1500X comes equipped with the Boulder 200 briefcase, a portable solar panel that can be folded away when not in use.

Featuring a 1500Wh battery and a 1500W output, with 2000W surge output, this is a powerful generator with multiple uses.

The clean current is safe to use with sensitive electronics, and the numerous power ports provide versatile charging. The Yeti 1500X is also easy to use, thanks to a clear screen display.

But what we like most about the Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is its durability. Despite the larger size, this is a portable generator designed to be used on the go.

The strong build will allow you to transport, use, and reuse the generator, over and over. It might come at a higher price point, but this is an investment generator.

Pros

  • Boulder 200 Briefcase solar panel - A portable solar panel that aids a quicker charge.
  • Clean current - Charge multiple devices safely.
  • Dependable - A reliable generator that can provide power in tough conditions.

Cons

  • Fewer outlets than similar sized generators.

Also available for purchase from Goal Zero and REI (without solar panel).

Best Generators For Off Grid Living Buying Guide

Living off grid is a serious commitment. If you want to make the move, then you need to do your research. And that includes choosing the right generator. Otherwise, you might find yourself going back to the grid in no time at all.

To help you live off grid successfully, we’ve put together this generator buyer’s guide. These are the features you need to consider when choosing a generator for off grid living.

Solar Or Other?

The generators we’ve listed above are all solar-powered, and there’s a reason for that. Solar-powered generators are clean and efficient, and you are never without a source of power!

Whereas other generators require finding an electrical connection, or searching for gas, the sun consistently provides clean, free energy (at least, most of the time). This makes it an excellent choice for off grid living, as you can charge no matter where you are.

Another advantage to the solar generator is a lack of fumes and noise. For off grid living, you will need to be using the generator frequently, and in a potentially small space. A solar generator is simply nicer to use than a gas-powered generator.

Battery Size

The battery size is how much wattage can be stored in the generator at any one time. The battery is measured in Wh, or watt-hours. The bigger the Wh number, the bigger the battery. And the bigger the battery, the longer the generator can be used for.

There are few disadvantages to a bigger battery, but they are worth being aware of. Bigger batteries tend to mean larger generators with reduced portability.

They also take longer to charge, and come at a higher price. However, with a fully charged battery, you can spend longer away from a power source.

Power Output

The power output, or running watts, will tell you just how much juice you can get from the generator. This is typically listed in two ways: surge watts, and continuous watts.

The surge watts is the maximum total the generator can produce in a very brief period, while the running watts is the standard power level the generator produces continuously. A higher power output will allow you to charge more items.

However, higher powered units are more expensive, and you might be paying for power you never use. To find the right size generator for you, add up the wattage of all the items you need it to power. The total wattage is your needed power output.

Recharge Time

Solar generators need time to recharge, and unless you choose one with a tiny battery capacity, this is going to take several hours. Manufacturers do give you an estimate of how long a total recharge will take, but keep in mind that this is a rough guess.

The weather conditions can have a noticeable impact on overall recharge time. Most solar-powered generators also come with other methods of charging, including AC power.

This means if you’re going through a consistent patch of bad weather, there are potential methods for charging your generator. Also, some generators do allow you to charge when in use, so you won’t need to stop for 8 hours while the battery builds up.

Portability

The importance of portability will really depend on just what your off grid lifestyle looks like, but we recommend choosing a generator that you can travel with. It’s likely that at some point you are going to want to move the generator, even if it is just finding a better patch of sunlight to charge in.

There are three main factors that influence portability: weight, build, and handle. A lower weight generator is preferable as it can be carried and transported with less effort. A compact build improves storage. And an in-built handle makes it easier to carry the generator around.

Outlets

It doesn’t matter how powerful your generator is if it doesn’t have an outlet that matches the devices you need to charge. Larger generators tend to come with multiple outlets of different types, allowing you to power several things at once.

Multiple outlets are essential for off grid living. Check what’s included when making your purchase.

Inverter

An inverter generator produces a smoother, cleaner current that can be used to power sensitive electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. They are more expensive, but it really is worth investing in an inverter generator if you want to move off grid.

Otherwise, you might find your power isn’t safe to use across the home. On the whole, solar-powered generators produce the kind of clean current necessary for charging delicate electronics.

Solar Panels?

Does your chosen generator come with solar panels included, or do they need to be purchased separately? Unfortunately, most solar-powered generators are sold without the solar panels, and you will need to pay extra to effectively charge your generator.

Sometimes solar panels are sold alongside the generator, and this will often offer a slight discount. Many solar-powered generators will only work, or will work best, when used alongside solar panels of the same brand.

Budget

If you want to move a house completely off grid, then you will need to invest in a high quality, large generator. Solar-powered generators can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars, to several thousand dollars, with the price difference typically reflecting the size of the battery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Difficult To Maintain A Solar Generator?

It’s no more difficult to maintain a solar generator than a standard generator. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, but clean solar power is relatively easy to use.

However, solar-powered generators do need to be monitored closely, so you can keep an eye on the battery level, and the battery health.

How Many Solar Panels Does A Solar Generator Need?

The number of solar panels is less important than the quality and power of the solar panels. Solar panels can be the same size, but charge at completely different rates. We recommend investing in a single, higher wattage solar panel, rather than multiple, less powerful solar panels.

What Size Generator Do I Need For Off Grid Living?

There is no single size generator that will work for everyone, so it’s important to consider your own situation when making a choice. How many items does the generator need to power? Does it need to be portable?

How many people will be using the generator? For an entire house, a 7000 watts generator is necessary. On a smaller scale, you can get by with less than 2000 watts.

Final Thoughts

A solar-powered generator draws from an abundant natural resource to provide you and your home with consistent, clean electricity — completely off the grid. We love the BLUETTI portable power station, but we hope this guide has helped you discover the right generator for your off grid lifestyle.