///
Gas Generator vs Solar Generator: Which is Best for Home Backup Power?

Gas Generator vs Solar Generator: Which is Best for Home Backup Power?

Times are changing, and more of us are thinking about the risks associated with our energy supply. You don’t have to be conspiratorial to understand that without reliable home backup power, we would be in trouble. One of the strangest stories to periodically re-emerge is that of the super-rich elite preparing for the end of the world with bunkers and tech. While these cases are extreme, there is an important principle there: it pays to plan a little and control your future. 

Organizing a backup power source for your home is one way of doing this, and with the rise of solar powered generators there is more choice than ever before. Ultimately, the choice is between traditional gas generators or solar generators. Gas generators have been used for decades as an emergency power source, but they have several drawbacks that make them less than ideal compared to their solar counterparts.

In this article, we look at the differences between gas and solar generators for home backup power, so that you can make an informed choice about which option fits your needs. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both systems, as well as look at popular models such as the Anker Solar Generator 767 and some common gas-powered units.

 

Going With Gas Generators for Backup Power

A long-time stalwart of home backup power, gas generators remain a popular choice due to the easy accessibility of fuel and cheap upfront cost. They use gasoline, diesel, or propane as fuel sources to generate electricity. Being dependent on gas generators also means being dependent on their fuel source, but they can be a great solution for those who need power in the event of a blackout.

There are many models of generators, from small portable units that fit in the trunk of your car to large stationary models that can provide enough energy to run an entire house during a blackout. With a little help, you can find the right generator for your budget and lifestyle.

However, there are some safety issues associated with gas generators that you need to be mindful of. Here, we look at the risks involved with operating them safely for you and your family.

 

Use Caution When Operating

When it comes to operating a generator safely, there are several important steps you should take before turning it on:

  • Check the connections and make sure they’re secure

  • Read through the owner’s manual thoroughly

  • Make sure the area around the generator is well-ventilated, and don’t use them indoors – generators produce noxious fumes

  • Keep combustible materials away from open flames

 

Once you’re set up safely, turn on the switch and let the generator warm up before plugging anything into it. It's also important to remember that running a gas-powered generator produces carbon monoxide which is toxic if inhaled, so be sure to never use generators in enclosed spaces without proper ventilation.

 

Gas generators require frequent refueling and cannot be used safely indoors

 

 

The Historic Problem with Gas Generators

Gas generators have been tried and tested for years, and they are a reliable source of backup power in an emergency, but they come with their own set of disadvantages. Let's review some of the issues with generators, and consider the alternatives.

 

Toxic Emissions - Not For Use Indoors!

We’ve mentioned this, and it bears repeating - gas generators produce toxic emissions like carbon monoxide which can be hazardous if not used outdoors. Also, be mindful of where the fumes could end up - keep generators away from windows or doors leading into your home.

 

Frequent Refueling

Gas generators also require frequent refueling and have limited runtime on gas, often in the range of 4-10 hours of moderate use on a single tank. This means that you need to be prepared in advance for outages or other emergencies and have enough fuel on hand to last the duration of the outage. This of course puts you at the mercy of current fuel prices, so budget accordingly.

 

High Maintenance

Gas generators are mechanical, and as such require regular maintenance such as changing oil filters and spark plugs. This can be time-consuming and costly over time if you’re not mechanically minded, with costs estimated as high as $700 per year.

 

Short Lifespan

Another major disadvantage of using a gas generator is its short lifespan compared to solar-powered alternatives. Gas engines typically last between 1-3 years before needing replacement parts or an entirely new unit due to wear and tear from running at full capacity during extended periods of use. This can vary depending on conditions, with more humid locations likely to reduce their lifespan further.

 

Noisy

Many generators are quite noisy when running. Your family and neighbors won’t thank you if you’re providing power but it’s too loud to get anything done!

 

Limited Flexibility

Gas generators are reliable in a pinch, but the reality is that their utility is limited when it comes to producing DC voltage. Most generator models can only produce AC power, meaning that powering devices directly with DC voltage is not possible. This eliminates the ability to power smaller USB-powered gadgets like cell phones and laptops, which primarily run on DC.

Gas generators get the job done, but they can be noisy, dirty, and expensive to maintain. Solar generators, on the other hand, offer a cleaner, quieter alternative with many benefits that make them a great choice for home backup power.

 

 

 

Solar Generators - Cleaner Backup Power

Solar generators have become increasingly popular lately, with more people turning to the sun as a way to stay sustainably powered. The percentage of power created by solar is increasing year on year, making solar the power source of the future. 

To the uninitiated, a solar generator combines a portable power station with portable solar panels, creating an all-in-one energy solution that stays charged with solar energy. We’ve written previously on the many benefits of solar generators for van-lifers and those living off-grid, but they are also a great solution for backup power at home.

 Using energy from the sun, a solar generator captures sunlight and converts it into direct current (DC) electricity, which is then stored in the portable power station’s battery. From there, the energy can be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity, which can then be used to power nearly anything. It's an extremely efficient and eco-friendly way to reap the benefits of renewable energy.

 

Advantages of Solar Generators

Solar generators are a great alternative to gas as a backup power source and offer many advantages. Here, we explore these advantages and why solar-powered generators might be the best backup option around.

 

Safety

Unlike fuel generators, solar models can be used safely indoors because they don’t produce harmful emissions. Gas generators use combustion engines that create fumes from fuel and carbon monoxide, making them unsafe to operate indoors. This is evident in natural disasters in the US, where spikes in poisoning occur linked to the use of gas generators.

Conversely, solar generators simply use solar energy, with no risk of carbon monoxide exposure. For battery safety, Anker generators use LiFePO4 batteries, which are more chemically stable than alternatives and eliminate the risk of fires, explosions, and leaks.

 

Unlimited Runtime with Sunlight

Under the right conditions, a solar generator can capture sunlight and convert it into an unlimited supply of renewable energy, making it a cost-effective and reliable form of electricity. With typical battery life estimated at ten years plus, in many cases, solar generators can match a gas generator but without the downside.

 

Ease of Use

Solar generators are designed to just plug in and work. This means that they don’t require installation or additional supplies to get up and running. Simply lay out your solar panels in direct sunlight and connect the portable power station for easy, renewable energy. As an all-in-one solution, these systems provide everything you need to stay powered during emergencies.

 

Portability

With no fuel tank or exhaust system needed, you can easily take solar generators on camping trips or store them away when not in use without worrying about fumes or leaks. They’re also lightweight, meaning you can carry them around without assistance. Anker’s top models also make use of smart tech like wheels and tow handles to improve transportability.

 

Longer Lifespan

The simplicity of solar generators also increases their lifespan. Gas generators are likely to require fixes and maintenance work, in the same way as any engine. If you’re not able to do this work yourself, it adds another expense. Mechanical parts are liable to wear over time, whereas solar generators feature a durable, unibody structure that is less likely to break down.

 

Anker generators use LiFePO4 batteries, and their InfiniPower™ technology means that you can rely on them to work safely for over 3,000 charge cycles. In real terms, this is around 10 years of typical use, after which they still retain 80% of their original battery capacity. Anker uses higher-quality components typically found in industrial-spec products. This advanced manufacturing is why Anker guarantees their products with a 5 year warranty.

 

Versatility

Solar generators are great for charging portable devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops due to their greater connectivity. This extends to 12V devices like portable fridges with their car outlet adaptors, which are included as standard. You also gain comprehensive access to solar electricity anywhere there is sunlight, meaning you will never be without power when you need it.

They can also be used in many different conditions. Anker’s LiFePO4 batteries can withstand extreme temperatures, giving them a huge amount of versatility compared to the equivalent gas models.

 

Silent Operation

Anyone who’s used a gas generator will know they are extremely noisy, at times bordering on dangerously so. By comparison, solar generators are virtually silent. Not only will you have the peace of mind of keeping your home powered, but you will maintain a peaceful environment without the loud rumble of a nearby combustion engine.

 

Expandable Power

We’ve established that solar generators offer a reliable energy source for home backup power, but they also come with additional storage capabilities. As well as large-capacity batteries capable of outputting up to 2400W of power, ones like the Solar Generator 767 are capable of additional expansion.

The Anker 760 Portable Power Station Expansion Battery gives you the flexibility to make the most of periods of low energy by storing up to 4,096Wh of power for use when needed. This expandable battery simply plugs into the main PowerHouse 767 unit and doubles your total storage capacity, giving you more control over your energy supply.

 

Anker PowerHouse 767 with Expansion Battery for reliable home backup power

 

Potential Drawbacks of Solar

Solar generators offer clean, simple power, but they do have some drawbacks. As we explore below, these are typically related to the high initial outlay and some of the more unpredictable elements relating to weather conditions. 

High Initial Cost

The upfront investment of purchasing the portable power station and the solar panels might seem high, but this does not account for the ongoing expenses like fuel or maintenance that come with gas generators. 

Although solar generators have a higher upfront cost than gas generators, their long-term utility and zero running costs mean that solar energy may be the more efficient and cost-effective choice. Data suggests that fixed solar panels may pay for themselves in 6 to 8 years, and the principle is the same for Anker solar generators. The longer they are used, the more value they provide you with. 

Sunlight-Dependent Charging

Because solar panels primarily rely on direct sunlight in order to generate electricity, they can struggle if there isn’t enough sunshine. This means that your generator won’t recharge as quickly as it would with clear skies.

Particularly in winter months, you should ensure that your solar generator’s battery is fully charged in advance of poorer weather conditions, as your battery runs out faster than expected during periods of low light.

That is not to say that it won’t work at all on overcast days. Interestingly, the UK – not exactly known for its year-round sunshine – is currently the third-highest solar energy producer in the EU. If the technology relied solely on direct sunlight then this probably wouldn’t be the case!

 

Unpredictable Weather Conditions

Location plays an important role when using a solar generator, as we’ve touched upon already. Different areas receive varying amounts of sunlight throughout the year, and frequent cloud cover limits your ability to generate power.

It’s worth remembering that exposure to extreme temperatures (colder than -4°F and hotter than 104°F) can reduce the generator’s efficiency, so it's important that these types of environmental factors are taken into consideration. Be cautious if you’re investing in a generator specifically for long-term outdoor use or while traveling in more extreme climates.

Solar generators inevitably do have some drawbacks, but they offer a reliable and sustainable alternative to gas generators. Anker's Solar Generator 767 lets you enjoy the convenience of backup power without the disadvantages associated with the noise and mess of gas.

 

Anker Solar Generator 767 vs Gas Generators

Gas generators have been the de facto option for domestic backup power for years. With the introduction of solar generators in recent years, homeowners now have a more sustainable and reliable option. Let’s compare some popular gas generators to the Anker PowerHouse 767 and see how the numbers stack up in real terms.

 

Energy Sources - Fuel Tank vs Battery

It’s difficult to compare gas generators to portable power stations for obvious reasons - their power sources and capacities are determined by completely different criteria. While the fuel capacity of the former refers to its tank size, the battery capacity of the latter refers to how much energy it can store measured in watt-hours (Wh). The ‘fuel’ for a solar generator is effectively the power of the sun.

When deciding which generator is best for you, you should consider how much energy you actually need, how long you need to run the generator or power station, and the devices you might need to power.

To determine the runtime of a gas generator, you can refer to the manufacturer's specifications. These typically provide information on the amount of fuel consumption per hour, the load capacity of the generator, and the estimated runtime. For a solar generator, you can refer to the battery capacity, the power requirements of the devices, and the efficiency of the inverter.

It's worth remembering that when a gas generator is under heavy load, it generally consumes more fuel, becomes noisier, and is more likely to break down. On the other hand, a solar generator maintains consistent efficiency no matter how many devices it is powering at once. This makes it a more dependable and reliable option for many people.

Below we dig into the data around alternative backup power solutions to help you understand what’s best for you.

 

Home Backup Solutions Compared

 

 

Model
Price
Cost to Recharge 30 Times
Output Wattage (continuous)
AC Outlets
Ports
 
Capacity
Warranty
Honda EU2200i
$1,199
~$105
1800W
 
2
0
1 gallon
3 years
Generac GP2500i
$650
~$105
2200W
2
2× USB-A
1× L5-30R
1 gallon
3 years
Briggs & Stratton P2400
$799
~$105
1800W
2
2× USB-A
1× 12V DC
1 gallon
3 years
$2,899
 
Free
2400W
 
4
3× USB-C
2× USB-A
2× 12V DC
1× TT-30R
 
2048Wh (4,096Wh with Expansion Battery)
 
5 years
 

 

 

Which Power Source Is Right for You?

When taking into consideration all the advantages of solar generators - safety, reliability, longevity, sustainability, and long-term costs - it is clear they are a superior form of backup power. But which model is right for you?

 

Gas Generators = Lower Cost (?)

Given the initial cost, you may be inclined to think that gas generators are the better buy. For instance, if you only need to rely on backup power quite rarely or if you only need a temporary power source to supplement your current system.

However, the lower upfront cost of a gas generator isn’t quite as enticing as it seems. Generally speaking, the yearly upkeep cost of a gas generator can add up to be quite substantial. While the cost of fuel may vary depending on your location, as well as the amount you burn through in a given year, there is no denying that this is an inefficient use of energy.

Maintenance costs are also a problem. Although it depends on how often you use your gas generator, the constant upkeep of oil changes, air filter replacements, and spark plug replacements can feasibly add up to several hundred dollars per year.

 

Solar Generators = Renewable, Versatile Power

With the higher initial costs, solar generators' true value should take into account how they will be used. It’s unlikely you will ever fire up your gas generator to passively generate energy due to the fuel requirements and noise, whereas with a solar generator, you may run it regularly in your home to power your devices.

You’ll notice it can lower your bills if used consistently – and eventually pay for itself, which cannot be said about the gas equivalent. It’s also worth remembering that fuel costs are unpredictable, with the cost of fuel increasing year on year.

If you intend to power multiple devices that use both AC and DC power, or if you have other uses for a generator, such as for travel or professional use, then the portability and features of a solar generator make them an unbeatable solution.

For the most sustainable, versatile, and portable all-in-one system for home backup, we recommend the Anker Solar Generator 767 as a reliable backup source that gives you long-term energy security in your home.

Anker Solar Generator 767 in front yard

 

Anker Solar Generators – Powering a Secure Future

With the energy crisis coming to a head in recent years, more of us are thinking about where our energy comes from to protect ourselves against unpredictable global events. For many, the current situation is a turning point for how we think about our means of energy production, and while we as consumers are only thinking on a small scale, it makes sense to consider these issues for our own protection.

When it comes to the debate of gas vs solar generators for home backup power, the choice is clear. Solar generators are a more reliable and sustainable option and give you ultimate control of energy production without being held hostage to global fuel price movements.

Solar generators by Anker are also a cleaner, neater, and more modern solution for modern homes. Anker's Solar Generator 767 is an example of a powerful yet affordable solar generator that can provide clean energy anytime, anywhere. Its portability and long-lasting battery life make this generator the ideal way to power your home into the future.

Anker Portable Power Station

Be the First to Know

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website and to assist with our marketing efforts. By continuing to browse, you agree to our use of cookies and our sharing of information about your interactions on our site with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners.