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Solar vs. Gas Generator: Pros and Cons of Each

It’s all fun and games until you have to choose between a solar and a gas generator. Everyone knows that solar generators are eco-friendly. But you can’t just dispute gas generators. They are more affordable upfront and work round the clock, provided there’s a fuel supply. 

The choice isn’t as black and white as everyone would love. We compare solar vs. gas generators in-depth, going over their pros and cons to help you make a better and more informed decision.

All About Solar Generators

Solar generators convert and store solar energy (sunlight) into electricity. I like to think of them as mini power plants that you can carry wherever you go, which is rather nifty. Pictured above is the Jackery Explorer 550.

Solar generators normally consist of an inverter, charge controllers, batteries, and solar panels. A lot of science is involved in how they work, and it’s not just plugging them in solar panels and getting free energy. 

But to put it simply, the panels are responsible for capturing the sun’s energy. This is then sent to the charge controllers, which pump the electricity into the batteries till they are full.

Most, if not all, solar generators are portable and have multiple outputs for powering different devices simultaneously. It also goes without saying that solar generators are rated highly for their environmental friendliness.

If you are in the market for a solar generator, check out our recommendations for the best solar generators.

Pros

  • Solar generators are eco-friendly. They don’t require fossil fuels. When you use a solar generator, you’re doing less damage to your home and the air you breathe. 
  • They are also generally quiet. They don’t have any moving parts, so you won’t have to deal with noise like with gas generators.
  • The generators are more expensive upfront but don’t require any maintenance costs.
  • Are long-lasting and have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Cons

  • Are expensive upfront.
  • Heavily affected by the weather.
  • While they are easy to maintain, setting them up can be complicated.

All About Gas Generators

Gas generators are the mother of all generators – the traditional generators that use gas or propane to generate electricity. Chances are, you’ve seen or used them. They normally have a button or pull cord that starts the machine.

There is a ‘hybrid’ of these generators known as dual fuel generators. These generators run on two different fuel sources, allowing you to choose between liquid propane or gasoline.

Looking for the best gas generators for your home use? Check out our collection for the best gasoline generators. There’s something for everyone.

Pros

  • Cheaper upfront.
  • Very reliable and aren’t affected by the weather.
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Are very noisy.
  • Not eco-friendly.
  • Difficult and expensive to maintain.

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Which Type Should You Buy?

There is no one-size-fits-all type of generator. Your decision narrows down to your specific needs and preference. Here’s how the two generators compare in different scenarios.

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Noise

If you hate the noise from your neighbor’s lawn mower on a Sunday morning, you’ll hate gas generators. These aren’t the quietest machines, and they are known for being loud and obnoxious.

Solar generators thrive in this category. They don’t have any moving parts, so the noise produced is minimal. They are your go-to choice if a quiet operation is at the top of your list. 

But hey, if you really need power, the noise from gas generators will be the last of your worries. Plus, you can always use it to retaliate against your neighbor’s noise. 

Winner: Solar Generator

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Eco-Friendly

Why use ever-depleting fossil fuels when you can use free energy from the sun? Nature gave us one of the most powerful sources of energy, free of charge. And you get to use it for as long as your generator lasts, ideally 20 to 30 years. It’s a no-brainer who wins in this category.

Winner: Solar Generator

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Reliability

There is no doubt that gas generators suck in terms of environmental friendliness. But when it comes to reliability, they are a beast. Solar generators don’t stand a chance.  

For starters, gas generators are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. Solar generators require the sun unless they are fully charged. 

Secondly, gas generators will give you more power for longer durations. A solar generator's power depends heavily on the time of day and weather conditions.

Winner: Gas Generator

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Cost

One of the main reasons why gas generators are very popular is because they are relatively affordable. Everyone wants to own a generator that is friendly to the environment, but unfortunately, not everyone can afford it.

Solar generators are expensive upfront, but that’s just it. You buy the generator, and that’s it. No additional charges for gas or diesel.

Also, these generators don’t have any moving parts, which means you are less likely to incur maintenance costs. Don’t forget that the best solar generators will last you between 25 to 30 years, of course, with proper maintenance.

Gas generators are cheaper to buy than their solar counterparts. But on top of that, you also have to cater for fuel and maintenance costs. And with gas prices skyrocketing, who knows what the future holds.

The saying ‘cheap is expensive’ has never been more accurate than in this case. I’d rather spend a few hundred extra bucks and forget about everything else.

Winner: Solar Generator

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Ease of Use

Gen Zs are so conversant with the most complex technology and can operate almost anything. For older generations, you put a few buttons and cables in a device and you’ve completely lost us. 

With this, we’re always looking for something we can easily use without seeking help from the internet. Gas generators are typically easier to set up and use. You only need to pull a cord or push a button to start them. They’ll also keep on running, provided there’s fuel.

While solar generators are easier to maintain, setting them up can be a pain in the A. But you can always call in a professional to assist you. Also, their performance is highly reliant on the weather condition.

Winner: Gas Generator

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Portability

With technological advancement, both solar and gas generators are more or less equally portable. How portable a generator is will depend on its size. Of course, smaller generators are more easily portable than their larger counterparts. 

Some solar generators are designed so compact that you can easily fit them in your backpack and carry them with you. Their only downside is that they are not powerful enough to light large devices.

Winner: Tie

Solar Vs. Gas Generator: Safety

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking twice before bringing a gas generator into my living room. One, it’s noisy. It will be more of a pain than it is useful. Two, it’s messy. Refueling your gas generator means spilling gas around. Who’s going to clean that up?

Finally, it’s gas. You don’t need a degree to know that it is highly flammable. The only thing you should be careful about when using a solar generator is not to trip over the cables.

Even so, it’s important to state that quality gas generators are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that they are up to the national standards and regulations. Features such as emergency shut-off systems are in place to ensure your safety.

Winner: Solar Generator 

Solar Vs. Gas Generator:Your Power Needs

If you are out in the dead night camping or fishing, you want something small that is easy to set up and that will power a few of your devices. It’s highly unlikely that you will use a lot of power. In such a case, it makes more sense to have a solar generator.

A solar generator is quiet, giving you ample time to enjoy nature. It may take you slightly longer to turn it on, but once you do, it can last you for days.

But if it’s during the winter, when blizzards and hurricanes are common, gas generators will be up for the challenge. They will instantly run in case your power goes off, and they are more than capable of powering numerous electronics.

Summary

Solar Generator

Gas Generator

Lifespan

20 to 30 years

15 to 20 years

Noise

Minimal to no noise

Very loud

Power Output & Reliability

Heavily dependent on the weather condition and time of day.

Very reliable. Will work continuously provided there’s fuel

Portability

Easily portable depending on the size

Easily portable depending on the size

Ease of Use

Difficult to set up but easy to maintain

Easy to set up but difficult to maintain

Eco-Friendliness

Uses clean and green solar energy

Uses dirty fossil fuel

 

Conclusion

In summary, both solar and gas generators have their advantages and disadvantages. And as mentioned earlier, the choice to settle for will depend on your needs and preferences.

Buy a solar generator if:

  • You care for the environment and want to use clean, green energy.
  • Love a quiet and peaceful environment.
  • Your safety and those of your kids are a top priority.
  • You are out camping or fishing. 

A gas generator is an excellent choice if:

  • You are tight on budget and want something cheaper upfront.
  • Are looking for something that is easy to set up and use.
  • Want something reliable, and that isn’t affected by the weather.
  • You don’t mind the noise. 

Solar Paradise is your haven for all your generator needs. Whether you are looking for a clean solar generator, a gas generator or even dual generators, we’ve got you covered. Spare a few minutes and check out what we have to offer.

What generator are you settling for? Feel free to reach us with any comments or questions. We’re always happy to help!


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