If you’ve ever been stuck without electricity, you know how difficult it can be to keep your small gadgets charged. This can become even more difficult if you don’t have access to a heavy-duty generator. A hand crank generator can solve this problem by allowing you to charge small devices without access to fuel-powered generators. You can simply turn the crank and have enough power to ensure that your phone and other essentials stay charged.
Hand Crank Generators Explained
This type of generator does not require fuel, electricity, or a significant investment. These models come with a hand crank with resistance that you turn to produce electricity. Hand crank generators convert your kinetic energy into electrical energy. Many of these devices come with a battery that can store the power. Once you crank for a bit, you'll have stored power.
Advantages of Having Hand Crank Generators
Big fuel-powered generators can be expensive. Not to mention, if you are in an emergency situation, you may not have access to gas, propane, or diesel. As many of you may know, when there's a natural disaster, resources become scarce.
Hand crank generators eliminate these problems. They do not require any fuel except your own muscle energy. Since they are small and lightweight, they are easy to transport anywhere. Another great benefit of hand crank generators is that they are so easy to operate; basically, anyone can do it.
Buying High-Quality Hand Crank Generators
These models typically produce anywhere from 10 to 400 Watts depending on the model. The wattage that a hand crank generator produces is important because it will tell you what you can power. If your phone battery requires around 6 watts to power, then you know you need a hand crank generator that will produce at least that amount.
Most hand crank generators produce at least about 6 volts of power. Voltage is vital since it is the amount of pressure that is required to conduct electricity. It determines how many electrons move through the current to power your device. The smaller amount of volts, the harder you will have to work to power the hand crank generator.
This unit of measurement is the number of electrons that are flowing through a circuit to produce electricity. The number of amps that your hand crank generator produces is relevant to the amount of time it will take to charge a device. Some hand crank devices come with 1 amp of power, while other models may include a bit more.
This term relates to the amount of energy that you have to expel to create electrical currents from your hand crank generator. If you crank the handle and it completes 60% of a revolution, then the model is 60% effective. In simplistic terms, the more you have to crank to produce power, the less efficient your hand crank generator is.
Most hand crank generators will include some sort of resistance feature so that you can get more power from each turn of the crank. This resistance causes more power to be pushed through to the resistor. The resistor will translate your kinetic energy into electrical energy for use. Without any resistance features, the hand crank would be too easy to turn and not create enough power.
It is important to note what type of material your new hand crank generator is made of. If you are looking for something more durable, then you should stick with heavy-duty materials, such as metal materials. They tend to last longer than plastic models. Some models also come with material that is waterproof and shock-resistant.
Price and Warranty
While hand crank generators are generally very affordable, there are still variations in the price of these devices. The smaller, plastic models will be less expensive than the high-grade stainless steel models. All of the devices in our buyer’s guide will come with a warranty in case anything happens to your device. There is something for everyone’s budget in our buyer’s guide below.
5 Best Hand Crank Generators Reviewed
Best Hand Crank Generator for Camping
4.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches
One of the best activities for almost any time of the year is family camping. While you may want to disconnect completely, you still may want to have one phone or GPS charged for emergencies. You don’t need a huge generator to do this, but you can use the HUABAN hand crank generator. We named this model the best hand crank generator for camping for many reasons.
This model can provide 5 to 28 volts of power to your devices. This is enough to power a battery for most of your small electronics. You can use an amplified torque to allow for fewer revolutions per minute, which will produce the same amount of power with less energy. While this model doesn't include an integrated battery, you can easily connect your battery as well as other devices.
I loved that this model came with a USB 2.0 connection and a mini USB port. These are essential for modern devices. When I brought this on my last camping trip, I had no problem keeping my phone charged to halfway. It was also effortless to crank with the amplified torque function.
2. Genius Factory Deluxe
Best Model with Low Output Switch
18 - 22 rpm
4.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches
Yes, 1 year
If all of you can remember doing small science experiments in school, then you may be well aware of these types of hand crank generators. They are perfect for generating small amounts of electricity and are easy to control. We named the Genius Factory Deluxe model as the best model for educational purposes. This includes small science projects, experiments, or electrical engineering instruction.
The Genius Factory Deluxe model can be used for any experiment up to 15 volts of direct current. It comes with a low and high output switch so that you don’t have to worry about blowing any small circuits. This switch will limit power when you need to be cautious of LED lights or bulbs. It features high strength POM gears that are durable and reliable for hand cranking quickly.
One factor that I really liked about this model was the ease of cranking in full revolutions. The placement of the lever makes it so simple to crank quickly to generate even more power. One purchaser gave this product 5 stars, so it seems to be a highly rated product.
Top Rated Model
4.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches
One of the first things that every potential buyer looks at is the reviews of all of their product choices. This is a great way to understand, from an actual user, what kind of product you are getting. We chose the Tech-L hand crank generator as the top rated model in this roundup. We found nothing but good reviews for this product.
This model is similar to the first model HUABAN model that we reviewed. There aren't many differences, but this product seems to be higher rated and purchased more often. It features 30W of power, which can easily power most of your smaller devices.
This model comes with a water and shock-resistant body construction. It features high tech magnetic conversion technology. I really enjoyed using this product. One of the most exceptional features is its water-resistant steel construction. It is not entirely waterproof, but if a little rain gets to it, you won't have to worry about it malfunctioning.
Best Hand Crank Generator for Emergencies
7.68 x 3.15 x 6.69 inches
Yes, 1 year
Everyone knows how scary it can be in an emergency situation. Whether it is caused by a natural disaster or shortage of supplies, it is essential to be able to generate your own off-grid power for small devices. We chose the PROMOTOR model as the best hand crank generator for emergencies. It has proven its worth in more than one power outage. This model comes with a max power output of 20W, which is plenty to charge up your small devices. It features a USB and mini USB port, which is the most essential charging port for cell phones.
The small anti-slip footpads make this device more stable than others. You can set it up on a table, and it won’t go anywhere. It is ideal for rescue operations, emergencies, and field operations. One factor that I thought made this hand crank generator stand out is the anti-slip footpads. I could set this up on the edge of a table to allow for easy cranking. It never budged, even while I was cranking the lever rapidly.
As Luis noted,
“It really gets the job done, feels good in the hand and it isn't hard to crank.”
5. American Educational 7-1853 DC
Best Budget Model
18 - 22 rpm
6.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches
Yes, 30 days
Everyone loves a good value. If you are searching for a device that will be reliable but also budget-friendly, then you have come to the right place. The American Educational 7-1853 model is the best budget hand crank generator available. This product is a bang for your buck value.
This model is similar to the Genius Factory model that we reviewed earlier in this buyer’s guide. It comes in a handheld design that is easy to crank continuously. It provides 12V of direct current power to allow for charging many different small items. It is great for small science experiments to explain how DC currents work. It also comes with 2 light bulbs and a pair of LEDs.
One feature that I loved about this product is that it is so affordable and simple. I purchased more than one so that I could have one in my car and at home for emergencies. I had no problem using the crank lever to generate power. One purchaser from Ebay gave this item 5 stars across the board.
How to Use a Hand Crank Generator
Now that you have chosen the product that suits you best, I’m sure you are wondering how to get it working. Hand crank generators are designed to be simple and straightforward so that almost anyone can operate them. They work by turning the included crank lever. Once you apply speed to the crank, then the generator will begin charging your devices.
The faster you turn the crank, the more voltage will be produced. Internal voltage regulators ensure that the device maintains a steady current. These generators are ideal for small devices only. They were not designed to power large fans or appliances.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do these hand crank generators last?
Every model that we reviewed in this buyer’s guide comes with some type of warranty. The best warranty offered is the lifetime warranty, which guarantees, under normal conditions, the device should not wear out. If it does, then you can get it replaced. In general, hand crank generators should last around 1 year without noticing any wear and tear or malfunctions.
How much power does a hand crank generator produce?
Most of the devices above will produce anywhere from 20 to 30 watts of max power. They usually produce around 5 to 28 volts. This will be enough power to charge up small devices, such as cell phones, radios, GPS units, etc.
What safety precautions should I consider when using?
You should always remember to crank the generator so that it is comfortable for you. Don't exert yourself too much to generate power. The hand crank generator should do most of the work for you.
What are the differences between cheap and expensive models?
Most of the cheaper models are made of a plastic casing with plastic gears. They are generally not as durable as expensive models since the plastic gears can strip. Expensive models are usually made of stainless steel or another alloy that is weather resistant. More expensive models often have more outlets for devices as well.
In this article, I have provided a breakdown of all the best hand crank generators on the market. I have also given you many different tips and tricks to help you use your new wind up generator. These models are ideal for generating off-grid power without worrying about fuel sources since your kinetic energy is the fuel.
I bet you are wondering by now, what is the absolute best hand crank generator to buy? In this roundup, we have separated the devices into the best for different situations. In my opinion, the best hand crank generator to buy is the PROMOTOR Portable Crank Generator. This model comes with everything that you need to power your small devices. It is durable and lightweight. It also comes with a USB port, which is essential for modern smartphones.
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