Solar Panels

Solar Generators! Who Knew This Would Be My Favorite Purchase of 2022?!

Updated: Oct 13


I love finding new products that benefit my community in more ways than one! If you happen to have a show dog like myself, you've probably been lugging around a gas generator for years along with its oh-so-fragrant gas can. 😳 Or perhaps you have lived through Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Ian or other catastrophic storms where the weeks that followed were harrowing without power, among other things. While many of us use gas-powered generators in these situations, who wants to travel with gas or keep enough gas on hand in case needed? Not me!


So after returning from some shows high on gasoline fumes 🤯, I decided to research whether solar generators even existed... they did!! I went through some lengthy weeks of research and landed on a phenomenal (and I mean seriously pheee-nom-enn-aal!!) solar generator / power bank made by EcoFlow (I bought the EcoFlow Delta Mini, to be exact). It perfectly powers blow dryers and fans for my super-spoiled doggie 🥰, runs my coffee machine, and I can safely take it on the road with me without getting high on gasoline fumes!! 🥴


EcoFlow generators/power banks come in a variety of sizes, so if you're looking to make the switch from gas, you are sure to find a size that meets your needs! Best of all, if you're an Amazon Prime Member you can benefit from the huge discounts going on right now with Prime Day via the links I've provided below!


Smaller Capacity Solar Generator/Power Bank

EcoFlow Delta Mini - this is the version that I purchased


Medium Capacity Solar Generator/Power Bank

EcoFlow Delta Portable Power Station


Large Capacity Solar Generator/Power Bank

EcoFlow Delta Max 2000


Extra Large Capacity Solar Generator/Battery for Homes

EcoFlow Delta Pro - available in multiple capacity sizes from 3600Wh to 12500Wh



A Few Things I Learned Along the Way

Full disclosure here - the guidance below is based on my own research into portable solar generators and power banks that I could safely take on the road with me (without getting high!) to power blow dryers and fans for my super-spoiled doggie 🥰. I am not an expert on EcoFlow generators and can only speak to my own experience and my own research. That said, I'm always happy to share what I've learned to help you find what is right for you!!


Without further ado, below are some tips I learned that I hope will help you determine what might fit your needs!


1. Start by Knowing Your Usage Needs.

Make a list of all the items you need to power concurrently, the wattage requirements of each (typically found on a tag or label), and how long each item would need to run or be powered in a given day. Total up your wattage needs.

As an example, my biggest needs were to run an 1800W hairdryer for at least 15 minutes (to fluff and dry my pup's locks), run an 85W fan to keep said spoiled doggie cool for at least a few hours, and perhaps charge my 100W laptop and 15W phone. My total wattage equated to 2000W (1800+85+100+15 = 2000, which is relatively small scale compared to what others may need); note that I would rarely use all of those devices at the same time.


2. Calculate Your Generator Needs.

Get out your No. 2 pencils everyone! <<Kidding!>>

I've tried to keep this easy! The generator size most suitable for you boils down to the generator's storage capacity, the total Watts you expect to use (using the total wattage you determined above) and how long you need to use the total wattage you've calculated. The basic calculation is:

(a) the generator's Storage Capacity mesured in Watt Hours (Wh), divided by

(b) the Total Watts you need (as you calculated above).


The result is equivalent to the number of hours your combined devices will run on a given generator at a full charge.

For example: the storage capacity of the EcoFlow Delta Mini I purchased is 882Wh. My total wattage needs are 2000W for at least 15 minutes, so 882Wh divided by 2000W = 0.44, or about 25 minutes. If I isolate these items, I can use the hairdryer for about 30 minutes, an 85W fan for about 6.5 hours, and charge my laptop and phone for about 4.5 hours. Note that I rarely use all of these at once, so this is perfect for me.


3. Consider the Weight, Size & Realistic Portability.

Most EcoFlow solar generators range from about 25 pounds (EcoFlow Delta Mini) to 65 pounds (EcoFlow Delta Max 2000), although the EcoFlow Delta Pro can go up to 100 pounds (albeit it has wheels and will power your whole house!). The EcoFlow Deltas range from roughly 2 to 3 shoeboxes in size, so they don't take up too much room! I find mine easy to tote around.


4. Durability.

I don't know about you, but I want (and expect) any purchase of this nature to feel sturdy, and it better last!! I lug my generator around on road trips all.the.time. Its hard to determine durability from a spec sheet, and hard for me to attest to given I've only been using the EcoFlow Delta Mini for a few months. However, mine feels super well made and I've had zero issues so far! Its worth noting that I travel with, and bang this baby around, at least once a week!


Other Key Considerations

1. Storage Capacity.

A solar generator & power bank's storage capacity will be measured by watt-hours ("Wh"). One watt-hour is the equivalent of one watt being used over the course of an hour. Depending upon your needs, you'll want to ensure your solar generator has capacities for several hundred watt-hours (at a minimum!) and in some cases several thousand watt-hours.


Please note that this does not mean the solar generator you choose will provide power for several hundred or several thousand hours! It will run for varying amounts of time depending on what is plugged into it (meaning how much each item's wattage draws from the stored watt-hours). The amazing news is that EcoFlow designed their generators to tell you exactly how much time you can run each item (or multiple items) via the digital screen on the front of the generator.

Just in case you are dead-set on whipping out that No. 2 pencil, here is a simple example:

- For a generator with 500Wh, a 100 watt light bulb would stay lit for 5 continuous hours. If you added a 50 watt portable fridge, a 5 watt mini-fan and an 15 watt cell phone using the same 500Wh generator, you would be able to run these items for just shy of 3 continuous hours (500 divided by 170 = approx. 3 hours). The key here is the more storage capacity (Wh), the better!


2. Charging Capability & Max Input.

Newsflash! Solar generators will not hold a charge forever!

You'll want to ensure you choose a generator that can recharge via multiple methods as efficiently as possible. One of the best features of myEcoFlow Delta Mini is the optionality it offers in terms of recharging - I can recharge the generator/power bank via a wall (AC) outlet, solar panels, or with my car's 12-volt!! The most efficient is the wall outlet (0 to 100% in under two hours), followed by my 110V solar panels (which take about 4 hours from 0 to 100%, but is GREAT if I need more juice on the go); I can even charge from the sun while running another device! The least efficient charge is the 12-volt in my car (takes about 9 hours from 0 to 100%) but is still a great option to have when on the road!


You'll also want to pay attention to your generator's max charging input capacity (max input), which is measured in Watts (W). For example, generators with a max input of 100W can recharge with a continuous energy flow of up to 100W; notably, a few 50 to 200 Watt solar panels will max this example out! For this reason, I would suggest a max input of at least 100W, preferably more.


3. Max Output & Output Capability.

Any solar generator/power bank worth your money should have a high output capacity, which will allow you to charge or use several devices at the same time for a longer period of time, even if significant juice is required. The generator you choose should have a max output that is much higher than its max input, so that even if a particular generator can only take in a few hundred watts at any given moment, it will usually have the ability to put out exponentially more.


You'll also want to ensure your solar generator/power bank offers a variety of output plugs (AC, USB-A, USB-C, 12-volt DC, etc.) in order to ensure you have the ability to charge several different devices at the same time, regardless of the type of plug they use. EcoFlow typically offers all of these options.


Summary: EcoFlow Solar Generators & Power Banks

Below is an overview of the most popular EcoFlow solar generators & power banks. Please note that the power banks/generators are typically sold separately from the solar panels. That said, you can buy just the power bank/generator and everything will work just fine! The only difference is how you will be able to recharge it, which will be by wall outlet and 12V only, but you can always add the solar panels later!


The generators/power banks included on this list span a wide range of budgets and use cases. I only own and use the EcoFlow Delta Mini, and cannot give it enough 5-star reviews!! Only you will know all the factors that make one of these the best option for you - I'm just here to share my experiences and hopefully help make the process a bit easier!!

Storage Capacity

882Wh

1260Wh

2016Wh

3600Wh

Max Input

300W

400W

800W

1600W

Max Output

1400W

1800W

2400W

3600W

Surge Output

2100W

3300W

5000W

7200W

Weight

24lbs

31lbs

48lbs

99lbs

(on wheels)

Size

14.9 x 7.2 x 9.4 inches

15.7 x 8.3 x 10.6 inches

19.6 x 9.5 x 12 inches

25 x 11.2 x 16.4 inches

Charging Capability

Solar, Wall (AC), 12V

Solar, Wall (AC), 12V

Solar, Wall (AC), 12V

Solar, Wall (AC), 12V

Final Thoughts

The EcoFlow Delta Mini is, by far, my FAVORITE PURCHASE OF 2022!!!

Pros:

- Lightweight, compact and easy to transport

- Durable (from my experience)

- Runtime is as expected (1800W hairdryer for approx. 30 minutes; Dog's hairdryer for approx. 1 hour; Box fan for 6.5-10 hours)

- Quiet as a churchmouse!

- Multi-charging sources (wall, solar, car)

- Digital screen shows the battery life remaining, time remaining, wattage input, wattage output, etc.

- Multiple outlets (AC, 12V, USB, etc)

- 110v solar panels can be connected, and charging can occur concurrently with usage of the generator

- Solar panels come with compact, soft carrying case with handles

- Helpful app that monitors battery life, voltage, current, short circuits and temperature in real time

Cons:

- Solar panels sold separately

- Solar and car charging takes a bit of time

- Cannot run multiple 1800W devices at one time or for very long

- Solar panels are a bit clunky to set up


Purchase Your EcoFlow Delta Mini with Solar Panels Here

Purchase Your EcoFlow Delta Mini without Solar Panels Here


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