Are you in need of emergency off-grid electricity to power your devices?
Most people don’t realize the importance of electricity until they can’t access any source of power.
Hand crank generators are a great source of power that you can use to charge your phone when you are far away from electricity. The generators can also help you charge other traveling gadgets, including an emergency radio and a flashlight (check out our separate roundup review of the best solar flashlights).
You ‘don’t have to stay in the dark or fail to communicate for days just because you have no electricity, and you can make it yourself.
In this article, we are going to explore some best hand crank generators that are available in the market today.
5 Best Hand Crank Generators Reviewed in 2023
Here are several descriptions, features and pros/cons of the top hand crank generators to buy.
1. HUABAN Hand Crank Generator High Power Charger – Best Overall
The first, hand-cranked generator on our list is the HUABAN Hand Crank Generator. The 28V hand power generator can comfortably power a battery with an average of 5 to 28V direct current.
It’s probably overkill if you just need a way to charge your phone while camping (keep reading to see what we recommend for that), but for more serious users the Huaban is a great choice.
With this product, you can quickly crank at an amplified torque, lower the revolutions per minute (RPM) and still produce the same power but in minimal time. Although the HAUBAN generator ‘doesn’t include an integrated battery, you can connect your battery, as well as your devices directly.
This is possible as it comes with alligator clips, a USB 2.0 plug, and a mini USB plug.
Benefits of Using this Product include:
- Lightweight, and very handy.
- Offers free shipping by DHL when shipping from China.
- Provides a max power of 30W, 0-28V output voltage, a rated current of 1.5-2Amp, and a maximum current of 3Amp.
- Size dimensions of 106 by 64 by 9mm with a generator net weight of 480g.
- A hand crank generator kit that includes one generator, one Regulator, one 12mm Aviation Socket and one alligator Clip 5.5mm Plug.
- It is built of aluminum alloy material.
- Many output ports with cables.
Therefore, when in need of an instant off-grid power production, HAUBAN generator offers the best option. As one of the best and top selling hand crank generator, you can not make a better choice.
2. Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank Charger – Best budget option for camping and hiking
If you want a device that is more than just a hand crank generator, then the Epica Digital Solar Hand Crank is an excellent choice as you get a AM/FM/NOAA Radio, flashlight and smartphone charger all in one.
Thanks to the built in solar charging capability, you may not even need to rely on your own sweat. Not only does this product offer the best solution for emergency calls during your off-grid vacations, but it also provides much more.
With an additional 3-band radio, a solar panel, an LED flashlight, and a plug-in, your outdoor adventure is all sorted.
Benefits of Using this Product include:
- The device is versatile and portable as it comes with a carabiner clip which you can use to fasten it to your belt.
- Includes a digital tuner radio in its package, LED flashlight, and a solar panel.
- Although it ‘won’t fully charge your phone, with just one minute of cranking, you can get 20 full minutes of power.
- It has multiple power sources, including hand cranking, a solar panel, and a plug-in.
- Simple backlight with a digital liquid-crystal display which makes everything visible.
- Their guarantee is incredible with a 100% replacement in the event you ‘don’t like your device.
- You ‘don’t require batteries as you can crank, or use solar to have your flashlight, radio, and phone working.
At an affordable price you’re getting a generator that’s perfect for camping, hiking or anytime you’re going to be off the grid.
The Qianson 4W Hand Crank DC Power Generator is an exceptional hand crank power generator with the capability to charge your phone and give you enough minutes to make that emergency call.
The generator has an output voltage of 15V/1000r and an output current of 100-300mA/l000r.
This type of hand crank generator is an excellent device for outdoor, off-grid adventures, and it ensures that you ‘don’t run out of power for your small gadgets.
You can also use it to charge a flashlight and therefore when it comes to darkness, you are all sorted.
- The handheld generator is not costly and therefore, affordable to many.
- Can help you charge a wide range of your small devices including phones and flashlight.
- Very portable and easy to generate electrical power with.
- High quality with a long lifespan of around ten years.
- You can use it as a portable lighting tool.
If you want to spend a little more than our second pick, the C Crane solar/windup emergency radio is an excellent option.
Don’t let the retro look fool you, there’s a lot of modern conveniences here.
8 Hours of solar charge time will give you 4-6 hours of radio play. More than enough for keeping up with the latest news or playing some music around the camp fire.
No sun? Just 90 seconds of cranking will give you 15-30 minutes of play time. And if you want to be extra safe, the unit will also run for 60 hours on 3 AA batteries but you shouldn’t really need batteries to use this.
Sound quality is better than you would expect.
The included radio-to-USB adapter allows you to charge your phone using a standard USB cord.
Even if you never plan on taking this camping, it’s a handy device to have around the house and yard, and will allow you to enjoy the radio (and charge your phone) without worrying about connecting to the power.
K-TOR are known for selling crank generators, as well as pedal ones. At 120 volts, their hand crank generators can produce around 10W of power which you can use to charge your devices. The two-prong outlet interface makes all this easy.
K-TOR hand crank generators are intended for cameras, mobile phones, GPS navigators, rechargeable lights, radios, as well as other emergency devices. Also, the generators can help charge AA, as well as AAA battery chargers.
- It can help you charge a wide variety of devices ranging from smartphones, radios, to cameras.
- It comes with an easy-to-grip knob which makes it easy for you to crank.
- The K-TOR pocket socket offers you an option to connect a European adapter, as well as an international converter. However, you have to purchase these items separately.
- The generator is lightweight, which makes it extremely portable.
- K-TOR offers a two-prong interface which makes your charging easy.
When you need emergency power for your devices, and you are far from the utility grid, K-TOR Pocket Socket is an option you can rely on. The hand crank generator is operational anywhere, at any time, no matter the situation. Pocket Socket is not only a generator but also an eco-friendly source of backup or emergency power.
Don’t let lack of power cut your communication. The K-TOR Pocket Socket is indeed one of the best hand crank generators we have around.
What are Hand Crank Generators?
A crank generator is a device that is used to generate power by cracking a lever or a pedal attached to the device. The generators are portable and can be used to power multiple travel devices which ‘don’t require much electricity such as phones.
Hand crank generators are lovely devices for vacations, and which you can rely on for powering your small electronics.
The best thing about hand crank generators is that they only require your strength to generate power. These generators do not rely on gas, stored energy, or various weather aspects such as wind or sunlight.
All you need is your muscle, and you are good to start charging your devices.
Most people may view them as an outdated source of power, but wait until all your devices, including your power bank, runs dry.
How a hand crank generator works
With hand crank generators, you are practically the source of power. These devices will use your power when you are turning the crank, to generate electrical energy. When you turn the crank, the generator converts your muscle energy into electrical energy.
These devices can generate energy using an inbuilt dynamo. The cracking process alternates the dynamo, making it generate power in turn. When the dynamo generates the power, the power is then stored in an integrated battery from where you can use it later.
Most of the generators contain an output port to allow you to connect and charge your devices. They provide you a simple way to produce off-grid power, no matter where you are in the globe.
With these hand crank generators, the amount of voltage they generate is directly dependent on your effort. The longer and faster you turn that crank, the more the resulting power you will get.
Since the generators have an in-built voltage regulator, you need not worry as it will maintain a steady flow of current to avoid problems when charging.
Also, although some hand crank generators are built for specific devices, most of them are versatile and can charge multiple devices. Most of them contain a cigarette lighter socket, a typical electrical socket or electrical lead which enable you to plug in various devices.
With just 1.5rpm, most modern hand generators will give you around 5 volts. For 2rpm, you can get about 6.2 volts. In most cases, the generators can generate up to 6V although, some come with gearings, which enhances the cranking and therefore can create higher voltages.
Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase
Knowing what exactly you are looking for can make things a lot easy for you. Based on your needs and preferences, it’s good to consider the following aspects of the hand crank generators before you buy one.
You ‘don’t want to buy a generator that will not give you enough energy to charge your gadgets. That would be a waste of time and money, and it might frustrate you in the end. You should be sure of at least how much power you require to make it easy for you to search for a device that suits you.
Various uses for your hand crank generator will determine how much energy output you need.
If you are going for an outdoor adventure or backpacking, carrying a massive or heavy hand crank generator may cause a lot of unnecessary inconveniences.
It will be bulky to move with it around, and you will not be able to carry it for long. Therefore, you should look for a lightweight device that ‘won’t be cumbersome for you to take around.
Another important thing you should consider is your budget and the price of the generator. You ‘can’t afford to throw too much money that may affect your whole budget. Buying a gadget that is within your budget will help not to strain your finances.
Also, you should avoid buying the cheapest generators as the low price may also translate to fewer and unreliable feature.
Durability and efficiency
You must find a hand crank generator that will not break with the first exposure to harsh conditions. Especially if you are going to a place where weather conditions are not very conducive, a hardy device would be necessary. Also, the efficiency of the generator to produce electrical energy is of immense importance.
The main intention of getting the device is to ensure you can get that energy when you most need it. A generator that is not efficient in that will spoil your travel.
See Related: DIY Solar Generator Guide
Conclusion on Best Hand Crank Generators
Although the advancement in technology has brought about many portable devices for storing energy, sometimes they will not be what you require. Some like power banks have limited storage capacity, and if you use it for long without recharging, it will exhaust the stored energy.
For those who seek to have long outdoor travels, this list on the best hand crank generators will help you identify a portable generator that needs your muscle to create energy.
For enthusiasts, we recommend the HUABAN Hand Crank Generator High Power Charger. Or if you just want a simple radio with solar and USB charging, the Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank Charger is a great choice.
Have you ever used a hand crank generator, and how was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.