Top 5 Indoor Generators | The Definitive Guide
What is an Indoor Generator?
An indoor generator, also known as a portable battery power station, is an electricity storage device that can be used (and reused) to safely power electronics indoors. Indoor generators have become a popular alternative to traditional gas generators, which can be loud, expensive to use, and unfit for indoor use. In order to a generator to be considered safe for indoor use, it must be:
- Fume Free
- Smoke Free
- Fuel Free
As a bonus, most indoor generators do not make nearly as much nose as their gas powered predecessors. This makes them popular for powering sleeping devices such as CPAP machines. Indoor generators are sometimes referred to as solar generators as well since they are powered by clean, renewable energy and are safe for indoor use.
Looking for outdoor generator? then visit our tailgate generator guide.
How do Indoor Generators Work?
The most important part of an indoor generator is its battery. As opposed to burning fuel, an indoor generator, or a portable power station, can power electronic devices and appliances with its pre-charged battery capacity.
Indoor generators power said electronic devices with a built in set of output options. Generally, indoor generators have a combination of AC (wall) plugs, DC (carport) plugs, and USB (type A or C) ports.
When it comes to recharging indoor generators, there's usually three main ways to recharge them:
- Recharge your indoor generator from a standard AC wall outlet
- Recharge the indoor generator from you car's DC power port
- Recharge the indoor generator with a compatible solar panel
Also consider checking: How A Solar Generator Works
Benefits of Indoor Generators
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to being able to use a generator indoors. We've listed a few of the most popular reasons people are opting for indoor generators over traditional gas powered.
- Ability to power medical devices at night such as CPAP machines
- Safe, accessible indoor power for storms and power outages
- Indoor emergency back up power
- Perfect for using inside camper or tent when boon-docking or camping off the grid
What to Look for When Buying an Indoor Generator
Shopping for an indoor generator and wondering what you should be considering? Whether you are interested in a backup source of electricity for your home or a permanent power station for your RV or van, there are a few main things to consider when choosing an indoor generator.
Indoor Generator Battery Capacity
Above all, an indoor generator’s battery capacity will determine its true potential. The more watt hours (wH) a generator can pack in, the more hours of electricity it can provide your devices and appliances. Of course, battery capacity has a direct correlation with an indoor generator’s price and weight, both of which will increase in larger sized units. To calculate how much battery capacity you need with your indoor generator, you'll first want to consider everything you're trying to power with it and from there, calculate your average load in watts.
For example, if you wanted to power a TV (65 watts), some lights (20 watts) and a small fridge (75 watts) you're total load here would be 160 watts. Then you simply divide the battery capacity of the generator in watt hours by your total load in watts and this will give you the total hours it can power that load.
So if you were to go with something like the EcoFlow Delta 1300, it has a 1260wH battery so 1260/160 = 7.8 hours of run time at a 160 watt draw.
Indoor Generator Output Potential
There are two things to consider when analyzing an indoor generator’s output: capacity and outlet availability. Depending on what you want to run, you may need multiple AC (wall) plugs or USB ports. If you want to run high powered devices like power tools or an air conditioner, then you will also need to make sure that your generator is rated to withstand continuous amounts of high wattage.
This means considering the size of power inverter inside your indoor generator. These range in all sizes but the bigger the inverter, the bigger the appliances you can run. We usually recommend going with a minimum of a 500 Watt inverter to ensure you can run most standard household appliances.
Indoor Generator Charging Capabilities
Lastly, it is crucial to understand the full charging capabilities of your indoor generator. Can the device simply be plugged into a wall outlet? What about a car? How about solar panels? Additionally, how long will it take to fully recharge? If you are looking for continuous indoor power in the event of a blackout, you will want to make sure that your generator can be recharged both quickly and efficiently.
To calculate how quickly you'll be able to recharge your indoor generator with each of the three charging methods, you'll need to know the following equation:
Solar Generators: The Best Generators for Indoor Use
When it comes to indoor generators, those that can be recharged using solar energy have a distinct advantage above the rest. For most people, indoor generators are backup sources of energy for when the power goes out at home.
If this lasts longer than expected, solar generators have the ability to generate an endless amount of power with a completely free and unlimited supply of energy (from the sun). Therefore, the long lasting, and most cost effective indoor generators can be recharged using solar panels. As a bonus, most solar generators are completely portable and can be used as indoor generators even while being charged from the sun.
Top 5 Indoor Generators for 2020
As renewable energy grows in popularity, indoor generators are constantly pushing the envelope for what clean power is capable of. Below, I will highlight some of the best indoor generators available in 2020.
1. EcoFlow Delta Portable Solar Generator
The EcoFlow Delta revolutionized the convenience of indoor generators. The product’s famous Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $3 million dollars when the company announced the 1295wH battery could be recharged in as little as 2 hours when plugged into an AC wall outlet! This record shattering charge rate overshadowed other indoor generators with double the charge time for half of the battery capacity.
The Delta boasts a 1600W inverter large enough to power microwaves, AC units, or power tools. With 6 AC wall outlets and such a large battery capacity, the Delta can run entire weekends worth of fun, or be used as a powerful home battery backup.
2. The MaxOak Bluetti Solar Generator
MaxOak has a line of indoor generators called “Bluetti,” each one more capable than the next. The Bluetti is famous for packing a lot of battery capacity into an affordable package. In fact, the company’s latest Bluetti EB240 has a built-in 2400Wh battery capacity. This massive bank is large enough to power a CPAP machine for over 80 hours, run 400 hours of LED lights, or even power large devices such as refrigerators or microwaves. In the event of an emergency, the Bluetti’s large battery and high output capacity combine to create a great back up source of power.
3. Titan Solar Generator
If you are worried that switching from a gas generator to an indoor generator will limit your power capacity, think again. The Titan solar generator from Point Zero shatters objections and works well to power entire homes with renewable energy.
The Titan has a remarkable 3000W continuous power output rating (and 6000W of surge). It is packed with output options like wall outlets, USB ports, and even a 30 amp RV plug. Storage for the Titan is completely stackable, as 2000wH batteries can be easily added and removed from the system. Plus, the Titan has two built in MPPT charge controllers and up to 2000W solar input for large capacities of efficient charging.
4. Inergy Indoor Generators
Looking for the next best thing in indoor generators? Then you may want to hold out for the Inergy Flex which is set to debut sometime in 2020. The Flex comes from the same company that brought us the Inergy Apex and the Inergy Kodiak, which are both very high powered and portable indoor generators. I am hoping that the company's third edition will continue to improve their already impressive hardware.
5. RockPals Portable Power Station
If you’re only looking for a small indoor generator to power a few devices, then you may want to check out something from RockPals. RockPals has a few convenient, lightweight, and affordable indoor generators that are perfect for charging phones and laptops as well as running small medical devices such as CPAP machines.
Indoor Generator Conclusion
Indoor generators are rising in popularity due to their increasing power output and battery storage capabilities. Furthermore, we believe it makes the most sense to get an indoor generator that can be recharged with solar so that no matter what happens you never have to worry about being without power again!
Looking for more information on solar generators? Read the most in-depth solar generator buyer's guide ever written!