Patriot Power Generator Review – Is it Worth It? + Best Alternative Options
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A solar generator is an incredibly useful piece of equipment. When paired with one or more solar panels, a solar generator is almost an all-in-one solar power station. The best solar power generators feature an integrated, high-capacity solar battery, an efficient and powerful charge controller, a built-in power inverter, and a variety of practical power output ports. In other words, a high-quality solar generator lets you generate, store, and access solar power from even the most remote, off-grid locations.
To help you choose the right solar power generator for your needs, we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the most well-known options on the market today – the Patriot Power Generator 1800 from 4Patriots. After taking a thorough look at the Patriot Power Generator, we compare it to some alternatives to discover whether or not it is the best option out there.
Review of the Patriot Power Generator
4Patriots is the brand behind the Patriot Power Generator 1800. The brand itself is a well-known manufacturer of survival food kits and self-reliance equipment. While they are not a specialized solar company, their Patriot Power Generator 1800 has proven to be a fairly popular item.
While it remains an expensive solar generator, the truth is the Patriot Power Generator first launched over five years ago. Given how quickly solar technology improves, five years is quite a long time, which is why it is worth taking an in-depth look at this unit’s internal components to see how they stack up to some of the other solar generators out there.
The Capacity and Shelf Life of the Patriot Power Generator
One of the first things we have to clear up about the Patriot Power Generator 1800 is the unit’s battery capacity. While some believe that the 1800 in the name refers to the total watt-hours the unit can store, the truth is it only holds an unimpressive 652Wh.
In truth, anything under 1,000Wh is fairly dated, especially when you are talking about a solar generator that is as large and as heavy as the Patriot Power Generator 1800.
While the internal 12V LiFePo4 lithium-ion phosphate battery is made to a fairly high standard, the capacity falls short of the industry standard, which is somewhat unsurprising. 4Patriots has not updated the battery since it first released the unit.
If you plan to use your solar generator for backup power during power outages and emergencies, a high battery capacity is one of the most important attributes to look for. Simply put, a 652Wh battery is hardly going to be enough to run your electronics for any significant period, especially if you are looking to run multiple electronic devices.
To put things into perspective, a 652Wh deep cycle battery would struggle to power a standard refrigerator for much more than 5 hours, which is not much help if you are in a situation where the grid power is down for over a day.
Battery Shelf Life:
One of the major downsides of the Patriot Power Generator is its unimpressive shelf life. Essentially, shelf life refers to the amount of time you can leave a battery charged before the power drains. While all batteries suffer from natural drain over time, some batteries are better than others at holding their charge. Shelf life is an incredibly important factor for those planning to use their solar generator as a source of backup or emergency power.
According to 4Patriots, the shelf life of the Patriot Power Generator is 6 months; however, most users find the actual shelf life is significantly less and comes closer to just a single month. Once again, this is simply a symptom of using a dated deep cycle battery. For comparison, most solar generators you will find at this price point have a shelf life of closer to a year, with many lasting even longer. So, if you are looking for reliability, you will want to keep a keen eye on the shelf life of the internal battery in your chosen solar generator.
Patriot Power Generator Inverter and Output Ports
The Power Inverter:
The Patriot Power Generator 1800 comes with a built-in 1,800W power inverter, which gives the unit its name. Since power inverters perform an incredibly important function, they are one of the most important internal components in any solar generator.
Essentially, the power inverter converts the DC power your solar panels generate into AC power, which you will need to run and charge most of your electrical appliances and portable electronics.
While the Patriot Power Generator’s 1,800W power inverter is respectable, it does not stand out compared to those on offer from other solar generator models.
Aside from the low battery capacity, where the Patriot Power Generator falls short is the number and variety of output ports it offers. The Patriot 1800 features two AC wall-style outlets, a single DC 12V car-style output port, and four USB outputs. While this may sound respectable at first glance, it is fairly dated.
More recent and updated solar generators almost always feature more output ports and newer options, like USB-C outputs. Again, this is simply a result of the Patriot Power Generator not being updated in over five years. Given how quickly solar technology is advancing, it is surprising that the brand hasn’t done more to keep up with technological improvements that are now becoming standard in the portable solar industry.
While you might assume that all solar generators are equally capable of storing solar power, the truth is several factors will determine how quickly and efficiently a solar generator can charge its internal battery with solar power.
For starters, the solar panels you choose to pair your solar generator with will play a significant role in determining overall performance. 4Patriots packages the Patriot 1800 with a single 100W solar panel. Since solar panels have a power rating based on how well they perform during ideal conditions, this means that a fully drained Patriot Power Generator 1800 would take about 6 to 7 hours to recharge using the included solar panel. It also assumes that the solar panel would get at least six continuous hours of direct, peak-hour sunlight, which would not happen during a typical day.
Even on a sunny day, a single 100W solar panel would struggle to generate 75 watts per hour, which is why most people pair their solar generator with multiple 100W panels or a single solar panel with a higher power rating. However, the problem with the Patriot Power Generator is it has a maximum solar input of 240 watts, which means it cannot handle more than 240 watts at any given time. In other words, even if you wanted to add additional solar panels, you could only increase the charge rate by 140 watts, which is rather low, especially when compared to other solar generators at the same price range.
In simple terms, if you want a solar generator that offers serious off-grid capabilities, choose one that comes packaged with more than just a single 100W solar panel; or failing that, you will at least want a generator that has a higher solar input rate than 240 watts.
Our Overall Impression of the Patriot Power Generator 1800
At first glance, the Patriot Power Generator 1800 seems like a capable solar generator. It has a built-in deep cycle battery, power inverter, MPPT charge controller, and several output ports; however, when you compare its actual specifications against other generators in its price range, the Patriot Power Generator falls short.
Poor Storage Capabilities and Overall Performance:
As we explained above, the battery capacity is just not there, especially not for a solar generator that comes in nearly $2,500! Granted, you also get a 100W solar panel for that price, but you will struggle to fully charge the internal battery with a solar panel with such a low power rating. On top of that, at 240 watts, the solar input rate is low, limiting your ability to expand your solar array. Worse, the shelf life is pretty dated. The truth is, you can get a solar generator with a far better battery capacity and shelf life for about half the price.
Limited Surge Protection:
Unfortunately, the Patriot Power Generator’s issues do not end at the battery. At just 3,048W, it also offers relatively little in terms of surge protection, which, once again, limits the number of solar panels you can connect to it. For this price, you would expect a more capable and efficient charge controller.
There are also issues with the number and variety of charge ports. As mentioned above, it only has two 110V AC outlets and four USB-A outlets, which is limited compared to what more up-to-date solar generators offer.
Slow Recharge Time:
The recharge time leaves a lot to be desired. Other solar generators can be charged quickly through a standard wall outlet, which is helpful if you are about to set off on a camping or RV trip or if you have an advanced warning of an incoming storm, but this is not the case with the Patriot Power Generator.
Charging the unit takes far too long; in fact, generators with twice the battery capacity usually take half as long to charge! The unit can also not charge directly through the 12V cigarette lighter outlet in your vehicle, limiting flexibility, especially for RV enthusiasts and campers.
Bulky and Heavy:
We also had major issues with the weight. With a total weight of 46 lbs, this unit is quite cumbersome, which can be an issue for seniors and those that value portability. Once again, the excess weight traces back to the fact that the technology is dated. For comparison, it is easy to find solar generators with twice the battery capacity that weigh closer to 30 lbs.
As you can see, the cons certainly outweigh the pros. While the 4Patriots brand offers some high-quality survival gear and they do some great things for our veterans, there are far more advanced solar generators out there from more specialized solar companies.
By choosing a solar generator from a specialist company, rather than one that covers a wide range of survival and emergency preparation gear, you can get a much more capable product at a more affordable price.
Best Patriot Power Generator Alternatives
Now that we have given our impression of the Patriot Power Generator 1800, we can take a look at some solar generators that we feel offer better value and performance:
For almost the same price as the Patriot Power Generator, you can opt for the AC200P solar generator from Bluetti.
Not only does the AC200P quad kit come packaged with four highly efficient corrosion-resistant 100W solar panels, but the generator itself is also a much more powerful, practical, and efficient solar generator than the Patriot Power Generator.
Output Charging Capabilities:
As far as outlets go, the AC200 offers outstanding versatility. The Patriot only features two AC outlets, but the AC200P has six separate 120V AC wall-style outlets, which means you can plug in numerous devices simultaneously. It has the potential to run up to 2,000W continuously from the 120V outlets, which is great news for those planning to use their solar generator as a power hub for camping trips, emergencies, or for any off-grid outdoor event.
It also features multiple 12V DC car-style charging ports, five USB outlets, and a single USB-C 60W high-speed port designed to quickly charge the newest Apple iPhones and Android smartphones.
The Battery, Power Inverter, and Charge Controller:
Where the AC200P shines is its integrated 2,000W Pure Sine Wave inverter and highly efficient MPPT charge controller. Where the Patriot only offers 3,048W worth of surge protection, the AC200P has a more robust 4,800W.
With 700W rather than 240W, the solar input capabilities are also drastically better, which means you can charge the unit using solar panels much faster. The quad kit comes packaged with four 100W panels rather than just one, so the off-grid capabilities are a vast improvement over the Patriot.
The battery capacity of the AC200P is also incredible. With its highly efficient deep cycle battery offering 1,700Wh worth of storage capacity, rather than 652Wh, you will not have to worry about rapid battery drain or inadequate power.
With four solar panels, an efficient charge controller, a high-capacity battery, impressive surge protection, and a capable power inverter, this unit is a massive improvement over the Patriot Power Generator and has practically the same price tag.
Charging the AC200P:
Charging is slow and options are limited with the Patriot, but the AC200P is extremely versatile and efficient. If you are planning to use the AC200 as a portable power bank and want it fully charged before you head out, you have the option to charge it through any standard wall outlet or even through a 12V car outlet while you drive. For an even faster charge, you can use a solar charge and AC wall charge at the same time.
You also can over-panel, meaning you can connect more than 700W worth of solar panels to the AC200 to charge the battery as quickly as possible, helping to compensate for reduced solar panel efficiency, which can occur on cloudy days or during non-peak sun hours.
The AC200P VS. The Patriot Power Generator Overall Comparison:
There is no argument when it comes to choosing between the two solar generators. The AC200P has the Patriot beat in every single category, and it comes packaged with four 100W solar panels rather than just one. It all comes down to the fact that the AC200P is a far more advanced and updated unit. The fact that they come at the same price makes the decision a no-brainer.
Where to Buy
The EcoFlow Delta 1,800W is another high-quality alternative to the Patriot Power Generator. It features a 1,800W pure sine power inverter and a 1,300Wh lithium-ion battery capable of providing power to everything from handheld electronics to electrical appliances, like refrigerators and televisions.
It also has a unique chaining function, meaning you can quickly and easily wire multiple Deltas together to expand the storage capacity and power capabilities. Given that it comes packaged with two 100W solar panels and it has a solar input potential of 400W, rather than 240W, you will be able to charge the Delta’s much larger battery even faster than you could charge the Patriot’s 652Wh battery.
The Delta also charges in as little as 2 hours through a standard wall outlet. This rapid recharge rate is incredibly valuable, as is the ability to charge the unit through a 12V car charger. At just 30.9 lbs, it is also much lighter than the Patriot.
With six AC wall-style outlets, two standard USB ports, two USB- fast-charge ports, two USB-C outputs, and a 12V car-style outlet, you also get far more versatility than you get with the Patriot.
Best of all, the EcoFlow Delta is available for just under $1,500, and that price includes two solar panels! Essentially, you are getting a more efficient, higher-capacity solar generator that weighs significantly less for nearly half the price!
Where to Buy
For those on a tight budget, we would highly recommend the Lion Energy Safari LT as an alternative to the Patriot Power Generator. This compact and affordable solar generator packs a lithium-ion deep cycle solar battery with a rated capacity of 450Wh and a shelf life of over one year. While the battery capacity is a little bit less than what you get with the Patriot’s internal battery, it is worth noting that the Safari is priced at under $500!
It features four USB outputs, two AC outputs, and a 12V car port. In other words, you get a solar generator that offers roughly the same specifications as the Patriot, at just 1/5th the cost! Not only that, the Lion Safari weighs just 11 lbs and features a compact yet sturdy exterior. At this price, you might as well buy two Lion Safari generators and still save yourself nearly $1,500!
Where to Buy
While 4Patriots offer some high-quality survival gear, their solar generators have fallen behind industry standards. In terms of performance and value, you are much better off going with the more advanced AC200P, or even the EcoFlow Delta, which still beats the Patriot in just about every way, despite costing significantly less.
In simple terms, there are far more advanced and efficient solar generators and solar generator kits available from more specialized solar companies that offer better performance at much lower prices.
For more related topics, check out our other articles.