These days, everything we do depends on electricity. It’s all fine and dandy, until there’s an emergency and the power gets cut off. Do you remember last year in Texas when the power grid went off for days? That could be scary stuff if you don’t have a plan!
I always tell my friends to prepare themselves with a spare battery or small generator, always fully charged. Bonus points if it has the potential to attach solar panels. “It could save your life,” I tell them. The main issue my friends seem to run into is determining what to prioritize: price, portability, or power?
Well, how about the best of all worlds? Let me introduce you to the future of power.
Sure, most battery backups are only meant for small devices, but there are a few that can even power a microwave enough to cook dinner after a just a couple of hours catching the sun’s rays. It’s crazy stuff! No, these things aren’t going to power your entire home all day, but they can definitely keep your essentials juiced. I can’t think of a better way to disaster-proof yourself than with a high-capacity battery backup that can charge using the sun’s energy, can you?
Hint: a good rule of thumb when converting watt hours (Wh) to real-life terms: 10Wh = 1 complete phone charge.
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The Jackery Solar 1000
CAPACITY: 1000Wh | OUTPUTS: USB A/C/3.0, 12V, & 3 AC Outlets | INPUTS: Solar Panels, Car Socket, Wall Socket | SOLAR PANELS INCLUDED: Yes | PASS-THRU CHARGING: Yes | SUPPORTS 500W+ APPLIANCES: Yes | WEIGHT: 22lbs
There’s not much to say about this all-around beast of a solar-capable battery backup, because I feel like the impressive stats speak for themselves. In fact, the Jackery solar panels (which are included) go above and beyond what you’d expect from consumer-grade solar panels, making this the ultimate package. The Solar 1000 can power a camper fridge for up to 16 hours on battery power alone, meaning the possibilities are endless with good sunlight. This is perfect for folks looking to harness the sun on a road trip, both in a tiny car or giant RV.
Charge time (approx): A/C: 4-6hr | Solar: 7-9hr
The Anker 545 Portable Generator
CAPACITY: 778Wh | OUTPUTS: USB A/C/3.0, 12V, & 2 AC Outlets | INPUTS: Solar Panels, Car Socket, Wall Socket | SOLAR PANELS INCLUDED: No | PASS-THRU CHARGING: Yes | SUPPORTS 500W+ APPLIANCES: No | WEIGHT: 15lbs
If you’re not looking to power your microwave but still need substantial stored energy, the Anker 545 Portable is perfect for you. The 545 has basically all the features of the Jackery Solar 1000, just without the heavy-duty output and included solar panels. It’s also about half the weight and size, ensuring you can bring this thing anywhere. Perfect for camping and trips to the beach, but durable enough for anything you can throw at it!
If you need a solar panel for this one, we recommend the ultra-portable Ecosonique 120 Watt!
Charge time (approx): A/C: 3-6hr | Solar: 8-12hr
The EF ECOFLOW Battery
CAPACITY: 720Wh | OUTPUTS: USB A/C/3.0, DC, 12V, & 3 AC Outlets | INPUTS: Solar Panels, Car Socket, Wall Socket | SOLAR PANELS INCLUDED: No | PASS-THRU CHARGING: Yes | SUPPORTS 500W+ APPLIANCES: Yes | WEIGHT: 17lbs
This is one is definitely the most well-rounded battery on this list. The ECOFLOW RIVER is compact and light-weight, but is also capable of 1800-watt output, enough to power large appliances or as many as 10 smaller devices at once. It has every input/output combination possible, including the latest technology like USB-C, allowing you to stay future-proofed for a while.
If you need a solar panel too, you may as well get the accompanying one from ECOFLOW!
Charge time (approx): A/C: 2-4hr | Solar: 7-11hr
The Renogy Pheonix Elite Portable Generator
CAPACITY: 300Wh | OUTPUTS: USB C, DC, 12V, & 1 AC Outlet | INPUTS: Solar Panels, USB C, DC, Car Socket, Wall Socket | SOLAR PANELS INCLUDED: Yes | PASS-THRU CHARGING: No | SUPPORTS 500W+ APPLIANCES: No | WEIGHT: 12lbs
If you’re looking for the smallest solar backup package possible, look no further than the Renogy Phoenix Elite. The other options might be more powerful, but they are bulky, expensive, and require a lot of space. This complete package (literally) is fully capable of charging during the day, keeping your electronics powered on without having to buy and carry tons of different components. At the cost of what others charge for just the solar panels alone, you’ll have secure backup power in any situation.
Charge time (approx): A/C: 6hr | Solar: 8-11hr
The Jackery Portable 500
CAPACITY: 518Wh | OUTPUTS: USB A, DC, 12V, & 1 AC Outlet | INPUTS: Solar Panels, USB A, DC, Car Socket, Wall Socket | SOLAR PANELS INCLUDED: No | PASS-THRU CHARGING: Yes | SUPPORTS 500W+ APPLIANCES: No | WEIGHT: 13lbs
This might be the smallest battery on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful! Actually, the Jackery 500 isn’t even the smallest battery backup Jackery makes, but it’s the smallest I’m willing to recommend for use with solar panels. Any less, and it doesn’t store enough power to be worth your time and maximise 8 hours of sunlight. The 500 is built with all the quality and dependability Jackery is known for, which is why they offer a 24-month warrantee on all their products. The only thing missing is the a USB-C port, but I can’t imagine that is a huge selling point for most people.
Jackery recommends the SolarSaga 100 solar panel, which pairs beautifully with the 500 for seamless power.
Charge time (approx): A/C: 6hr | Solar: 9-12hr