Generators are not some new technology. Some additions, like solar power, have given way to many new developments in the generator industry in recent years. Thus, many of us now have to choose between solar generators and gas generators when deciding on a unit.
Generators help to light up your home and maintain a normal lifestyle, even during power cuts. But when it comes to buying one, you may have a lot of confusion going in your mind. Well, no one can blame you when there are so many options.
However, you don’t like to spend time in darkness either, do you? Let’s be honest here – we all love spending those “romantic” candlelit moments, but not for hours. Therefore, generators are essential, and you should buy one as soon as possible.
This comparison of solar generators vs. gasoline generators will help you decide which one you should buy and for what purpose. In the end, you’ll also find a list of the best solar generators and best gasoline generators, specially handpicked by our team. But before we start, let’s give a basic introduction of both these types.
Table of Contents
- 1 Solar Generators – The Rising Star
- 2 Gasoline Generators – The Conventional Beast
- 3 Features of Differentiation:
- 4 Best Solar Generators
- 5 Best Gasoline Generators
- 6 Our Ratings
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
Solar Generators – The Rising Star
We can’t deny that solar power is gaining popularity, with several advanced developments and increase in usage. Nowadays, people are even using solar electricity as their primary source of electrical energy. Solar generators use the same technology to store up the power and provide you with the same when required.
Solar generators run on a battery or a battery pack that receives its power from the solar panel. The sunlight hits the solar panel and creates a collision of electrons and photos inside the solar cell. Direct current electricity is produced and sent through the battery and an inverter when converted to AC power.
Solar generators are loaded with benefits. These generators are basically small and compact and suitable for powering small appliances or charging electronics during a blackout.
You can also use solar generators for camping since they have their sources everywhere. Most importantly, using these generators is extremely easy and safe. You cannot use a solar generator for charging larger home appliances or powering the whole house.
Gasoline Generators – The Conventional Beast
Gas generators are the conventional type of generators that run on gasoline fuel and resemble a combustion engine. The engine of this generator rotates a rotor inside the alternator.
The motor is made from copper wire and spins next to two magnets. Thus, it generates electricity that you can use immediately. Unlike solar generators, gasoline generators do not require any external parts.
These generators solely run on fuel – gasoline – and when the fuel ends, you have to refuel them. The most prominent feature of gas generators is that they can produce a considerable amount of energy right from the moment you put the fuel in. Using these generators, you can power multiple small and large appliances, as well as charge your electronic devices.
Gas generators are available in many sizes. You can pick a small portable inverter generator or a large standby generator, as per your convenience. These generators are widely available in the market, owing to their popularity.
With all these benefits, they have some disadvantages too, which we will discuss later in this comparison.
Features of Differentiation:
Size is one real factor in charge while comparing solar generators and gas generators. So, how does size help? It greatly depends on your purpose. For example, if you are looking for something handy, say to carry for camping or for lighter use, a small and compact device has more utility than a large one.
Moreover, larger machines require more space. So, people with space problems may prefer a portable generator. Solar generators have a much smaller, compact, and lightweight design than gasoline generators. These generators have a light body, consisting mainly of a battery and an external solar panel.
On the contrary, gasoline generators are larger because of added engine and framing, therefore taking up more space in your truck or garage. People who prefer space over power backup might not like these generators for this very reason.
So, in the context of size, solar generators clearly win the fight.
Best Comparison:- Portable vs Standby Generator – Who’s In-Charge?
For most people, power is a more important feature than the size of a generator. After all, we buy generators for power backup during outages. So, which of these generators provides you with enough power?
As a straight answer, we would say that gasoline generators provide more energy than solar generators. But, in this context, your definition of “enough” matters a lot. What are you planning to power using your generator? This is the primary question you should ask yourself before buying any generator.
If you plan to power only some smaller appliances or charge some sensitive devices like smartphones or wearables, a standard solar generator would be sufficient. Or if you are planning to purchase something for camping needs, a solar generator’s performance would be satisfactory.
But in case you have a greater power need, say you want to power your whole house or several multiple larger appliances (such as refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.), you would definitely require a gas generator.
In short, gasoline generators do produce more energy and can provide better backup to your large appliances than solar generators. Therefore, in the context of power generation, gasoline generators are clearly the winner.
3. Run Time
You never know when the electricity will be back. It can be minutes, hours, or even some days. Our life has become so dependent on electricity that living without it even for some minutes seems forever. Buying a generator has this exact reason behind it – that you have power even when your block is in darkness.
So, you would never want your generator to stop so soon. Therefore, run time plays a vital role in choosing a generator. Which of these generators provides you a longer run time? The run time of a generator depends on several factors, including the load, fuel capacity, etc.
In general, gasoline generators provide a more extended backup time since they have a larger capacity than solar generators. Solar generators store their power in a battery, from which you get to use it. Batteries have a lifecycle that’ll soon end. So, you would need to change them after some time.
On the contrary, gasoline generators have a tank that requires refueling. So, not only do gasoline generators provide you a more extended backup, but also last longer than solar generators. It is a valuable feature if you live in an area where power outages are frequent, or generally for a longer time.
Safety is another big concern with generators. According to a report from The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, there were 665 reported accidents related to generators occured between 2015 to 2017, killing 880 people. In 2017 alone, sixty-nine deaths were reported in these 54 fatal CO incidents.
So, while purchasing a generator, one should be all the more concerned about generator-related accidents and fatality. However, with technological developments taking place, the frequency of these accidents has decreased. But, as they say, prevention is better than cure.
In terms of safety, we can reliably say that solar generators are much safer than gasoline generators. The former do not emit CO or carbon monoxide – a tasteless, colorless, odorless harmful gas. Solar generators, thus, create no emissions. You can use these indoors, in tents, or even in your vehicle without any worries.
On the contrary, gasoline engines produce exhaust gases, which are dangerous and can prove fatal, at times. Therefore, you have to use these generators outdoors in a well-vented area. Make sure you keep your gasoline generator’s exhaust point away from your home.
That said, in terms of safety, solar generators are a much safer and smarter choice and a clear winner of the competition.
The last thing anyone would ever want during power outages is noise. Well, we understand that you could have power in your home, but that doesn’t mean your neighbor would, too. However, we can assure you that even you wouldn’t prefer a noisy generator under any circumstances.
Considering that, manufacturers are now focusing on developing quiet generators that would not produce much disturbing noise. Neither solar nor gasoline generators cause any disturbance in terms of noise. However, if you prefer a clear distinction, we would say that solar generators are quieter than their competitors.
Solar generators use a battery to provide power backup. Unlike gas generators, they don’t have a rotator inside the alternator that the engine rotates. So, they don’t create much noise and offer an almost silent performance.
On the contrary, gasoline generators have a huge tank and massive engine that creates noise. Although low, they are considered noisy as compared to solar generators. Therefore, if you want some exact answer, we would say that solar generators are much quieter than gasoline generators.
While talking about the price, we would compare solar generators vs. gasoline generators in two sections – the upfront cost and the recurring cost. The upfront cost is the machine’s purchase cost, whereas the recurring costs are the costs you’ll pay over time.
While solar panels are costlier and increase a solar generator’s price, the recurring cost for them is much lower than gasoline generators. It is primarily because the fuel source of solar generators is infinite. So, you don’t have to refuel the machine when it’s out of charge.
On the contrary, gasoline generators run on gas. So, when the fuel finishes, you have to refuel the machine. The price of gasoline would effectively cost you more in the long run. Hence, although the upfront costs might be low, the price you’ll have to pay overtime is considerably higher than solar generators.
Read More:- How to Ground a Portable Generator?
Best Solar Generators
If you are looking for the best solar generator, the Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station might be a fascinating option for you. Goal Zero is one of the most popular manufacturers of solar power generators in the USA. The Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station is one of their high-capacity power stations that supply electricity efficiently.
It is a lightweight, portable device with enhanced waterproofing that weighs around 43 pounds. The lithium battery in the Yeti 1500X supplies 1500-watt hours. So, you can charge your phone 127 times, and it lets you run a full-size fridge for up to 28 hours. The 2000W AC inverter is one of the most powerful inverters on the market.
Operating the generator is super easy. You can start it by pressing a single switch or using the Yeti 3.0 app. All these features are backed by a fantastic two years of warranty, making it one of the best solar generators on our list.
The Kalipak 401 is one of the most lightweight and efficient solar generators of the Kalisaya brand. The solar generator comes with a reliable solar panel and battery power that can charge an iPhone up to 64 times. For easy accessibility, you can monitor PAK’s consumption via a Bluetooth transmitter and the KaliAPP.
The solar generators also come with an AC/DC wall charger, car-lighter adapter, and a 40W solar panel. Kalipak 401, with Grade A, high-capacity lithium-ion cells, offers long-lasting performance. With its 4X USB ultra-fast charge ports, you can simultaneously charge up to four devices, such as phones, cameras, or laptops.
If you are looking for the best solar generator, the MaxOak Bluetti Portable Power Station might be good for you. This generator is one of the most powerful solar generators on our list. It comes with a 1500-watt-hour lithium-ion battery that can provide ample power to most of your home appliances during a blackout.
It has a lightweight and compact design and weighs 37.9 pounds. It includes five USB outlets and two AC ports, and a 12-volt DC outlet for powering a mini-fridge (40W). There’s also a nifty LCD display for tracking the generator’s performance.
Best Gasoline Generators
Honda is one of the most famous manufacturers of portable inverter generators. The EU2200i is one of Honda’s best gasoline generators that provide a quieter performance. It features a powerful 121cc engine that can generate power up to 2200 running watts.
The generator offers a serene performance of 53 to 59 dBA, sound levels less than a normal conversation. The generator has a portable and compact design that weighs only around 46 pounds. Thanks to such a lightweight design, it can be your best camping generator choice. You can read more about the Honda EU2200i here.
The DuroMax XP12000EH is a powerful portable generator that features a powerful 457CC engine that provides a maximum starting power of 12,000 watts. It features dual-fuel technology. Therefore, you can use both propane and gasoline to run the generator.
The generator’s heavy-duty metal frame protects it from many natural calamities, such as stormy weather, heavy showers, etc. The power panel incorporates enhanced individual breakers to ensure safety. It also features a user-friendly electric start for easy operation.
Although it is heavy in terms of weight, its solid-fill wheels ensure smooth maneuverability around your home, whenever necessary. Like all other Duramax generators, the DuroMax XP12000EH is both EPA and CARB compliant and offers a three-year warranty.
Briggs & Stratton are one of the most reputed manufacturers of gasoline generators. The Briggs & Stratton S3500 is a powerful gasoline generator that comes with a Multi-Featured Control Panel with RV Outlet. So, you can consider it as the best RV generator on this list.
The generator has a powerful 208cc OHV engine that can produce 3500 running watts – enough to power one large appliance and several smaller appliances simultaneously. It has a metal 4-gallon fuel tank that makes the machine even more durable and fuel-efficient.
The best part about the generator is its safety. The Briggs & Stratton S3500 features CO Guard Carbon Monoxide Shutdown Technology that immediately turns off the machine when it detects a harmful carbon monoxide level.
For Solar Generators
Solar generators are gradually gaining popularity. With solar power becoming mainstream, these generators are now more advanced and can provide a sufficient power backup for your home’s smaller appliances.
Solar generators are quiet, small, compact, portable, and ideal for camping needs. Plus, these generators do not need refueling, which saves a considerable amount of money over time. If your requirement is mainly charging or powering some sensitive and smaller appliances, a solar generator would be ideal.
In comparing solar generators with gasoline generators, we have discussed all the essential distinguishing features between them. Depending on that, our team has rated solar generators 4.6/5.
For Gasoline Generators
Gasoline generators are a conventional model of generators that are already predominant in the market. Unlike solar generators that run on solar power, gas generators require natural gas as fuel. These generators produce more energy and can provide power to your whole house.
Gasoline generators are a reliable source of power and do not require charging. These generators are available in many size variants for different purposes. You can use them as camping generators, RV generators, or as the best whole house generator.
Depending on the comparison between solar generators and gasoline generators, our team has rated the gas generators 4.8/5, making it the match’s champion.
Q1. Is a solar generator better than a conventional generator?
Ans. Well, that certainly depends on what you are using the generator for. With solar power becoming mainstream, solar generators are gaining immense popularity. These machines are ok if you plan to use them for powering smaller appliances or charging low-load electronics. However, if you plan something else like powering multiple large devices or your whole house, you might not like their performance. In such a case, a gasoline generator would be a better choice.
Q2. Are solar generators quiet?
Ans. If we are asked to suggest only one advantage of a solar generator, we would mention how quiet it is. Solar generators offer a remarkably noiseless performance. Therefore, you can use them anywhere you want without creating much nuisance. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons people prefer solar power over conventional energy sources.
Q3. Will a 22kW generator run my whole house?
Ans. A 22kW gas generator is a perfect choice for home-owners wanting an entry-level whole-house standby generator. These generators can provide you with enough power to run almost every appliance in your home at the same time. Thus, it can provide power to your whole house during a power outage. Plus, they can serve you with a continuous power supply for a day or two due to their tank capacity and fuel efficiency.
Now that we are at the end of the discussion, who is the winner of the solar generators vs. gasoline generators comparison? We are pretty sure that you have got your answer by now. But, we can also tell that most of you are still confused, right?
It is, after all, a confusing topic. On the one hand, solar power has many benefits, such as noiselessness and a safer performance with a compact and portable design. These generators, although with a high upfront cost, are a much pocket-friendly option over time. So, they are ideal for people wanting to power smaller appliances or charging phones or other devices.
On the other hand, people wanting to power larger appliances for a longer time would prefer gasoline generators more. These generators have a low purchase price and are available in many sizes and power variants. In fact, gas generators offer more reliable performance and provide enough energy to power your whole house for hours or even days.
So, which one should you pick? It all depends on your need. If your requirement is to power larger appliances, you should go for a gasoline generator. But, if you value safety and have an essential power requirement during blackouts, a solar generator would be better.
But we can’t deny that gas generators offer versatile performance and, if used safely, can provide you with more benefits than their solar counterparts. That said, we would recommend you go for a gas generator that would suffice most of your needs.
It all started when I lived in a place where electricity wasn’t still available properly. Frequent power cuts accompanied me till I turned 12 and started taking an interest in Generators. Since then, I have decided to bring out the best knowledge in me and make the world aware of generators. This website reflects the same and is on the way to cherish my dreams.