Portable Power Stations vs. Solar Generators: What’s the Difference?

When shopping for a power storage device, it can be easy to confuse portable power stations and solar generators, as these terms are sometimes mistakenly used in place of one another. Here, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between solar generators and portable power stations, and we’ll also go over some scenarios where one might be preferable to use as your power source.

Solar generators and portable power stations (PPSs) are both portable machines that store power, which can then be transferred to various devices and appliances. The primary difference between them is the presence of a solar panel and the ability to generate power—not just store it. PPSs are like giant power banks. They can power much more than just your smartphone, including larger home appliances like your refrigerator. However, PPSs can only store energy, but solar generators can generate power through solar panels. They absorb sunlight via the panels, convert it into energy, and store the power for you to use on demand. In reality, a solar generator can be manually assembled from separate parts, namely a rechargeable battery (or PPS) and solar panels. In other words, a portable power station can be turned into a solar generator as long as it is paired with solar panels.

Portable power stations require an external energy supply to recharge their batteries. Usually, it requires a grid connection, such as through a wall outlet or car charger. You can also attach solar panels, but you’ll need to purchase them separately. Solar generators come ready-made. You can charge them using a wall outlet, a car charger, solar panels, or any combination you like. For this reason, solar generators are far more versatile and allow you to go off-grid without worrying about how to source your power.

Though both devices are handy for keeping you connected, there are specific scenarios where one has the edge over the other. A PPS by itself can be a reliable source of backup power during a sudden outage at home to handle high-wattage appliances like your refrigerator, TV, microwave, coffee maker, hairdryer, and more. In comparison, a solar generator might be more ideal for situations without a grid connection, such as multi-day camping trips or other outdoor events. With solar, you know you will have enough energy to keep you going without needing access to the grid.

The Vanpowers Super Power Pro 2000 portable power station is a great example of a robust portable power station. With a 2096Wh capacity, it can charge any of your electronic devices. Eight recharging options ensure backup power wherever you go. For users on the go, it is portable enough to roll from place to place easily with its telescopic handle and industrial-grade wheels. It's also sturdy enough to stack another item on top of it. In addition, you can construct your own solar generator by bundling it with a Vanpowers SP200 solar panel to prepare for an off-grid vacation. Whatever the occasion, Vanpowers is always ready to keep you powered up.