The 6 Best Home Battery Storage Systems of 2021

Never run out of clean power with these top systems.

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Home battery storage systems have skyrocketed in popularity during the past few years for many different reasons. Besides the obvious fact that they provide clean power, more and more people are recognizing that the grid isn’t always reliable. “Energy independence is one of the biggest reasons people install home battery storage systems,” says Gerbrand Ceder, professor at UC Berkeley and faculty staff scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. “It’s seamless so you don’t even notice when power switches from the grid to your battery backup system.”

These systems can be charged by either electricity from your utility or solar power. Grid charging will provide backup power for 10 to 20 hours, depending on usage and the size of the unit. Although you’ll have a finite amount of power, it may be adequate if your outages typically are brief and spotty. However, when coupled with a solar panel system, the battery can recharge for as long as you need it until the grid kicks back on. Ceder says one important thing to remember is that if you have a solar panel system without a battery storage system, you won’t have power if there’s an outage. That’s because your solar panels will shut down during outages so power isn’t sent onto lines while utility workers are trying to repair them.

Recent events have spurred demand even further for these systems. In places such as California, where utilities have instituted public safety shutoffs, planned outages have become more frequent (and admittedly, somewhat inconvenient) during fire season. No one in Texas will forget the massive outage that occurred in February 2021, leaving millions in the cold for days. With the increasing interest in clean energy, many consumers report having to wait months for delivery.

Ahead, our top picks for the best home battery storage systems:

The Rundown
It’s currently the most powerful of any residential battery storage system on the market.
Best Integrated Solar System:
Tesla Powerwall at Tesla.com
You’ll be able to provide whole home or partial home backup depending on how many Powerwalls you install.
Best System for Installation Flexibility:
Panasonic EverVolt Home Battery Storage at Panasonic.com
This battery system works with existing or new solar installations.
This petite package can be wall-mounted both indoors and out.
Best Budget Solar Generator:
Jackery Solar Generator 1500 at Amazon
This mini generator uses solar panels to capture and store energy so you can run critical items during a brief power outage.
Best Portable Solar Generator:
Goal Zero 6000X Portable Power Station at Amazon
If you’d like backup power but can’t make the investment in a whole house system, this portable unit could be the solution.

Best Overall: Generac PWRcell

Generac PWRcell
Key Specs

Power: 9 to 18 kWh | Dimensions: Cabinet: 68 x 22 x 10 inches | Battery: 17.3 x 17.7 x 3.3 inches | Warranty: 10-year limited

This DC-coupled storage system is scalable so that you can provide 8.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) of capacity up to 18 kilowatt hours per battery cabinet for flexible installation options. You also can connect two cabinets for a max of 36 kilowatt hours. The system works with new solar installations and is rated for both indoor or outdoor installation.

It’s currently the most powerful of any residential battery storage system on the market, and, in fact, one battery can provide enough power for starting energy hogs such as large air conditioners or well pumps.

Best Integrated Solar System: Tesla Powerwall

Tesla Powerwall
Key Specs

Power: 13 kWh (estimate of how much energy can be stored) | Dimensions: 62.8 x 29.7 x 6.3 inches | Warranty: 10-year limited for Powerwall+, 25-year for solar panels or solar roof

The name is instantly recognizable, and its sleek aesthetic means this storage system fits into any design, indoors or out. The AC-coupled battery backup is included when you purchase solar tiles (which sit on the roof) or solar roof tiles (solar tiles that replace your existing roof).

Both panels and tiles have a 25-year warranty, and you’ll be able to provide whole home or partial home backup depending on how many Powerwalls you install. For example, one panel typically is able to power lights, outlets, and small appliances but no large appliances. Two panels generally can accommodate a range, some central air conditioning units, and electric vehicle charging. The units can be wall or floor-mounted, and you can stack up to 10 Powerwalls for whole home backup. The app allows you to manage and monitor the system.

Best System for Installation Flexibility: Panasonic EverVolt Home Battery Storage

Panasonic EverVolt Home Battery Storage
Key Specs

Power: 11 to 17 kWh | AC coupled dimensions: 33.7 x 18 x 6 inches | DC coupled dimensions: 39 x 17.6 x 5.9 inches | Battery (both systems): 29x 47x 18 inches | Warranty: 10-year limited

This system works with existing or new solar installations. Choosing the AC versus DC coupled system depends on whether you’re connecting to existing solar (AC) or installing new (DC). Both systems have a modular design with storage from 11 to 102 kilowatt hours, so you can build the system you need to provide backup power to your entire home. It’s compatible with all existing residential solar systems.

You can monitor details such as battery usage and battery consumption of the system through the remote controller or online application. It’s rated for indoor installation only, but it can be integrated with an external generator or installed by itself without solar (your battery will charge from the grid and won’t recharge until the grid is restored).

Best Compact Installation: LG Energy Solution Home Battery

LG Energy Solution Home Battery
Key Specs

Power: 9.8 kWh | Dimensions:  29.3 x 35.7 x 8.1 inches | Warranty: 10-year limited

Paired with solar, this AC or DC-coupled system has a 9.8 kilowatt hour capacity and can be installed with the grid, an existing solar system or a new solar system. It can be wall-mounted both indoors and out. Its main selling point for consumers is that it’s a more petite package. It’s designed to work both with LG panels and most other common solar panel brands.

Best Budget Solar Generator: Jackery Solar Generator 1500

Jackery Solar Generator 1500
Key Specs

Power: 1534 Wh | Explorar 1500 dimensions: 14 x 10.4 x 12.7 inches | SolarSaga 100 dimensions: 48 x 21 x 0.2 inches | Warranty: 2 years

This mini generator uses solar panels (sold packaged with the unit) to capture and store energy so you can run critical items during a brief power outage, such as a recharging your phone or running a CPAP machine. It charges on solar from 0 to 80% on in four hours. It’s also a handy tool for camping trips.

Best Portable Solar Generator: Goal Zero 6000X Portable Power Station

Goal Zero 6000X Portable Power Station
Key Specs

Power: 6071 Wh | Dimensions: 15.3 x 10.1 x 17 inches | Warranty: 2 years

If you’d like backup power but can’t make the investment in a whole house system, this portable unit could be the solution. Recharge the generator with solar panels (sold separately) or wall outlet so you can back up critical items during power outages.

For example, a fully charged unit will run a full-sized refrigerator for 110 hours. In a pinch, you can top off the unit’s charge using a car outlet. The generator has seven ports including a fast-charging USB-C, USB-A, 12 Volt, and two 120 Volt AC ports. Wheels make it easy to move around to where it’s needed. It’s a more manageable investment if you need backup power but still want to rely on clean energy.

Final Verdict

Because every home is different, there’s no one-size-fits all system. However, our top pick is the Generac PWRcell (view at Generac) for its flexible installation options and power capacity. Our budget pick is the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X Solar Generator (view at Amazon) for backing up critical items while using clean energy.

What to Look for in Home Battery Storage Systems

Stackability

A single battery may not be able to power your whole home, so you’ll need to prioritize what’s essential, such as lights, outlets, air conditioning, the sump pump and so on. But if you want to run everything in your house, some systems allow you to stack or piggyback more than one unit to achieve the level of backup you need.

AC vs. DC Coupled Systems

Batteries and solar panels store energy as direct current or DC. Connecting DC coupled systems to solar results in less power loss. The grid and your home runs on alternating current, or AC power. AC systems are slightly less efficient but more flexible and easier to install, especially if you already have solar. Typically, the manufacturer can guide you through what will work best in your home but DC typically is used for new solar installations and AC for use with existing solar systems.

Load Start Capability

Some appliances, such as central air conditioning or sump pumps, require more power to start up than once they are running. Make sure the system can accommodate your home’s specific appliance needs.

FAQs

Are lithium ion or lead-acid batteries better for home storage?

Lead batteries have been around since the 19th century, but they’re not super-powerful and they take up a lot of space. “Lithium ion pack more energy in a small space,” says Ceder. “They’re much less expensive than when they were introduced and most of the major players now use lithium ion in their home battery storage systems.”

How do I calculate how much battery storage my home needs?

Most manufacturers and installation experts have tools to help you figure out your specific needs. Otherwise, if you have plenty of time (and patience) you can find the wattage of each individual appliance you want to power here, then follow the Department of Energy’s steps here for correctly sizing your battery storage system. Also, remember that a system paired with solar panels can power your home indefinitely.  

Do battery storage systems pay off in the long run?

Depending on the complexity of your system, upfront costs typically start around $6000, plus installation fees. There’s also the cost of adding solar at the same time, if you don’t already have it. However, you can use the energy you’ve generated from solar during the day at night – thus saving money because you’re operating off-grid.

If your utility charges time of use rates (TOU), which cost you more for electricity at peak power usage times, you can use the energy stored in your battery instead of pulling from the grid when electricity is priciest. In addition, some utility companies offer net metering, meaning you sell your unused energy back to your utility company to earn credits toward your bill. You’ll have to weigh the upfront costs with potential savings in the long-run, but some manufacturers say you can reduce energy costs by up to 80% due to utility cost savings.

Who should install my system?

You may already know this, but installing a home battery storage system is not a DIY job. A licensed electrician must install the system, and most manufacturers have links on their websites to certified or preferred installers who may receive additional training.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is dedicated to educating readers about the benefits of clean power, and helping provide tools to transition away from fossil fuels. Arricca SanSone specializes in writing about home, shelter, and gardening.

She spoke with Professor Gerbrand Ceder, an expert in energy storage, about home battery systems. She also researched the market to find the top-rated battery systems, including pricing out different home energy storage systems for her own home.