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Whether you’re looking to implement clean energy solutions at your home, or you just need a handy method of sourcing power when you’re off the grid, a water turbine generator can be a clever way to generate reusable hydroelectric power quickly and easily. There are many different designs that operate in widely varying ways, delivering a range of wattage and functionality.
Also called hydroelectricity, a water turbine generator can provide a clean, alternative source of energy in your home or for temporary off-grid excursions. Based on a centuries-old technology that harnessed the kinetic energy of moving water to create an output of power, water turbine generators convert the kinetic energy of pressurized or naturally flowing water into usable energy that can be stored or immediately accessed. And there are a wide range of methods for doing so.
Best Water Turbine Generators
We’ve gathered a list of the best water turbine generators reviewed to help you enjoy full hydroelectric power access for camping & offgrid living:
Boasting up to 15 watts of power on demand and a perfected design from years of subsea research, the 12V WaterLily USB water turbine generator is a handy accessory for any off-grid excursions and camping trips. Since it can also be powered by wind, river proximity isn’t required to get the most out of this portable power station. While some water turbine generators are meant to attach to plumbing lines, this device is made for outdoor, off-grid power generation.
Other than its heft, the WaterLily water turbine generator is a super convenient camping accessory. It’s USB capable, so you can plug it directly into your devices or a power block of any kind, making it highly versatile and super easy to use. It’ll power small mobile devices in the same amount of time it would take charging from an electricity source at home. And if you want to generate even more juice, it’s designed with an SAE connector so you can daisy chain multiple water turbine generators together for maximum efficiency.
Another benefit of the WaterLlily is how easy to use it is. Just drop it into a river or stream and use the 4 stainless steel lanyards to mount it however you need or want to. They’re removeable and make for versatile setup. The power cord is 10 feet long, so you can keep your devices plugged in at a safe distance from the river. And the casing and blade on the water turbine generator is sturdy and drop-proof, so you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged while in use or during travel. Just toss it into the river and go about your day.
For anyone looking for alternative energy sources to use during any outdoor, off the grid adventures, the WaterLily USB water turbine generator is a really solid option. It’s durable and built to last, and the engineering behind it has produced really effective technology for energy generation. And since it can be used in a river as well as wind, you can rely on it when you’re out in nature with no electricity or no sunlight, unlike a solar unit. If you’re comfortable hauling it around, it’ll really enhance your outdoor experiences.
|Charges in flows less than 1mph|
|Charges in wind|
|Durable and sturdy casing|
|Versatile mounting and setup|
|Capable of daisy chaining multiple devices|
|Heavy and bulky|
|Requires strong winds|
The Tinsay model is a 12V in-pipe micro-hydro/water turbine generator that can produce up to 10 watts and is designed to easily attach to a water source in your home, such as a shower or irrigation line. And while one of these by itself won’t replace all electricity in your home, it can certainly supplement power for charging smaller, handheld mobile devices. Affordable and easy to install, it’s an interesting add-on for supplemental, alternative energy in your home.
Since it’s in-pipe, it’s important that it’s compatible with your plumbing, and the Tinsay water turbine generator is a designed to fit on a standard pipe. So just keep in mind, an older home may have the wrong size pipes and an adaptor may be necessary. But otherwise, it’s very easy to hook up, so you can start benefiting from it right away. Using it with high-flow pipes, like those that connect to your shower or garden hose, will guarantee efficient energy reclamation. High-flow is key, however.
Even though on its own it won’t provide enough energy for your entire home or reduce your electric bill significantly, it can certainly make a difference in your overall energy consumption at home. Plus, you’ll be getting even more out of your water usage and reducing your carbon footprint even in a small way. With 10 watts of power output, you can easily use it to charge all of your small, handheld devices or rechargeable batter units.
Since it’s so affordable and easy to use, the Tinsay water turbine generator is an ideal in-pipe energy alternative. It doesn’t produce massive amounts of power, but it will supplement your usage and allow you to get more out of the water you run. We would recommend this product for anyone looking to make a small but meaningful impact on their carbon footprint and save even a little on their electric bill.
|Easy to use|
|Fits standard plumbing|
|Discreet and quiet|
|10W or 12V|
|Small and less effective than larger models|
The Yosoo water turbine generator is another in-pipe option that easily attaches to your home plumbing system for a supplemental energy supply. It’ll generate 12V with adequate water pressure and is great for charging battery units or other small devices. Hook it up to your water main or even your kitchen sink and let it roll, reaping the benefits of the free, renewable energy that it generates. And since it’s so budget-friendly, you can easily hook several up to numerous pipes throughout your home for extra juice.
If you’ve got the pressure, then you’ll likely be very pleased with this water turbine generator. It’s super quiet and solidly built to last, and it won’t rust. With some plumber’s tape, it’s easy to install to any line or faucet where the pressure is highest. The DC connector may not be as convenient as a USB connector, but it’ll work with a rechargeable battery unit. You could also always connect multiple for even more efficiency.
This particular water turbine generator may require a decent amount of pressure, but the good news is that it won’t inhibit that force of flow on the output. It’s got a capacity of up to 1.2 mpa (or about 175 psi), so using one won’t cause your pressure to diminish whatsoever. Just be sure to keep it dry, especially the wires. It isn’t a submersible unit.
The YoSoo water turbine generator is a budget-friendly option for alternative energy right in your home. And you can easily install it without any expertise required. And while it does demand a significant amount of water pressure to function at its peak voltage, even substandard pressure will generate some power. Handy for power outages or as an alternative means for charging small devices, it’s perfect for anyone looking to invest in a new energy source.
|Easy to install|
|High pressure output|
|10W or 12V|
|Needs minimum 60 psi for peak function|
Water Turbine Generators Buyer’s Guide
Picking the right one will depend on several different variables and it’s important to understand these before making a decision. And to be clear, there is a bit of math and physics involved here. To help you understand the devices and ensure you’re choosing the right type and model, we’ve put together this comprehensive buyer’s guide about water turbine generators and how they work.
Types of Water Turbine Generators
There are several types of water turbine generators, from large-scale models that are more for commercial use, to medium sized options for powering homes, to mini and portable models that are far easier to use though much less effective. We’ll go over the latter three options to help clarify their uses and functions.
This type of device is a more large scale option designed to harness energy from a body of water near or on your property. It’s difficult to install but does generate a significant amount of power when functioning at its peak. Before investing in a water turbine generator like this, you’ll need to know the flow and head of the river you’ll be using. To find those numbers, you’ll need to do some rather complex math. So a system like this would really require a professional to install. But if that’s something you’re considering for your home, be sure to consult an expert.
The portable water turbine generators are ideal for folks who do a lot of outdoor recreational activities. You’ve probably seen solar charging units, and these are a lot like those in purpose and function. They’re designed to harness the energy of a river when access to an electric grid is not available. They’re easy to use and don’t require installation. You simply attach it to a rock or riverbank and let the flow of the river juice up your devices. The benefit of this type of product versus a solar charger is that it can function in day or night, and they tend to be a bit sturdier. However, without access to a river they aren’t helpful.
Mini/Micro Water Turbine Generators
Designed to attach right onto your pipes, these little devices are handy and affordable. They screw right onto a faucet or pipe and turn your pressurized water into usable energy. Though they don’t generate a ton of wattage, they are effective in their own right. Use them with rechargeable battery units to keep LED lights or small devices charged without using your home’s electricity source. When purchasing one of these, keep in mind the psi of your plumbing system. Higher pressure is required to get the most out of them. Otherwise, they’re easy to use and perfect for implementing a small amount of clean energy into your overall electricity consumption.
What Do You Need to Power
Choosing the right water turbine generator ultimately comes down to this question. For reference, the average home uses over 10,000 kilowatt-hours per month, which translates to several thousand watts. So if powering your home is what you have in mind, then micro and portable options (even likely medium sized options) are not going to come anywhere near what you need. But if you’re just looking to charge small devices or LED lights, or possibly just generate some backup power in case of an outage, the in-pipe and portable models will all produce enough juice to meet your needs. A smartphone, for example, uses between 2 and 6 watts, so a 10 watt water turbine generator will produce enough energy to charge the phone twice.
Access to Water
Of course this goes without saying, but it’s important to remember that water turbine generators require a flow that will generate enough kinetic energy to actually convert into energy. The smaller units will work with minimal flow, but it’ll take far longer to actually produce a useable amount of juice. Natural flowing and pressurized water all have different psi, so bear that in mind. If you’ll be relying on the pipes in your house, it would be in your best interest to check the pressure beforehand to ensure you’re getting enough to utilize the water turbine generator effectively. If you’re using a portable device, you shouldn’t need to actually calculate the head and flow of the stream or river. More than likely, even a slow stream will be sufficient. Just remember, the more pressure the more power.
As a means of alternative, clean energy, small water turbine generators are a low-cost solution that anyone can implement with relative ease. For emergency backup or to charge phones or other handheld devices, they produce the power you’ll need for the most part. But since there are so many variables to consider first, it’s critical that you’re prepared before you make an investment. Knowing how they work and understanding your specific power demands is essential to picking a product that’s actually going to work the way you need it to. Be sure to use this buyer’s guide when purchasing a water turbine generator so you can ensure you get the type and model that’s best for your needs.