Nowadays, it’s easy to take our modern living for granted, like having access to electricity at any time of the day. But all these changes when you go to a place where there is no electricity – meaning, no outlet to plug your precious phone into. Bringing a power bank can be wise, but what happens when it runs out? If you’re heading out past the edge of civilization for a couple of days or weeks, you may consider investing in a hand-crank power generator.
A hand-crank power generator does not rely on stored energy on battery, gas, or weather like that of solar chargers. It relies on your muscle power to get a decent charge. You may not rely on it for day-to-day use, but only in emergency situations or when you decide to travel in the wilderness. In the aftermath of powerful storms, it may take a long time for utility companies to restore downed power lines, so the batteries of your gadgets are only going to last for a while. A hand-crank generator can help you with that.
This type of generator is smaller and more portable than any other types of generators. It’s a travel gadget that can provide power for all your other travel gadgets, your phone, flashlight, and emergency radio.
How Does a Hand Crank Power Generator Work?
With a hand-crank generator, you literally produce your own electric power to charge or run devices. You simply need to turn the crank and the generator transforms your muscle power into electrical energy. It works because of a dynamo. Your cranking alternates the dynamo and generates power in turn. Most hand-crank power generators have an integrated battery to store the harvested power. You don’t have to worry about connecting the generator to anything or filling it up with anything because it all works internally.
Some power generators are meant to be used with a specific device, such as a certain brand of cell phone. The special connector allows you to hook it up to the phone. Then, you can simply turn the crank for a couple of minutes to start charging the phone’s batteries. The voltage you will generate depends on how quickly you turn the crank, so the longer you crank, the more power you create. With a built-in voltage regulator, you can maintain a steady current so there won’t be a problem when it comes to charging.
Other hand crank generators are more versatile. They have either a common electrical socket, a cigarette lighter-type socket or electric leads so they can plug in any device to give it power. A modern hand crank generator that is used to recharge a cellphone can give about 5 volts of power at 1.5 revolutions per second, and 6.2 volts at 2 revs per second. They can provide up to 4.5-6 volts, so this output is satisfactory for recharging phones. Most hand crank generators typically generate up to 6 volts, though some have gearings that step up the cranking rate and can produce higher voltages.
Best Hand Crank Power Generators
The Powertraveller Crankmonkey Mobile Generator is a robust emergency solution for your phone charging needs. It can deliver power instantly upon winding and can enable you to make emergency calls after two minutes of cranking. According to the manufacturer, if you keep cranking for 10 minutes, power will be enough to make an 18-minute phone call. It has a 32:1 gearing system that allows users to produce power at a comfortable speed.
The body of this generator is made of anodized aluminum that gives an outdoorsy, military aesthetic. This generator is also rated IP65, meaning it can resist exposure to moisture and can survive rain, but don’t let it get submerged in the water. It also has a lifetime guarantee that makes it suitable for use in wilderness adventures.
The Huaban Hand Crank Generator is a very handy and lightweight 28V generator that can power a battery within a range of 5 to 28 V DC. Its rated current is at 1.5 to 2A, but it can produce a maximum current of 3A. It’s a traditional hand crank generator that doesn’t pack a battery but allows you to crank at an increased torque and lower RPMs to produce more power in less time.
As mentioned earlier, this generator is handy and lightweight with the dimensions of 4.2 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches and a weight of just 1.6 lbs. It’s also lightweight because it’s made of aluminum alloy. You can directly charge your devices as you crank via different adapters and ports with cables, like a mini USB plug and USB 2.0 plug.
A versatile hand crank generator, Epica Digital Emergency Solar Hand Crank Charger is really meant for emergency situations and off-the-grid adventures. More than a hand crank generator, it also includes a 3-band radio (AM, FM and NOAA VHF weather frequencies), an LED flashlight, a solar panel, and a plug-in. The radio has a digital tuner, not an analog one, so you can easily get to the right station. Also, its simple backlight and digital liquid crystal display make everything easy to see.
Using this charger, you can power up effortlessly via cranking, plug-in or solar panel. A lot of reviewers say the solar panel isn’t up to much, but the device is top-rated at Amazon for its multi-functionality and decent charging ability. A minute of hand cranking can provide you full 20 minutes of power, so that’s really something. It’s also extra portable – not only is it compact and easily handled by hand, but it also has a carabiner clip that allows you to attach it to your belt.
Tuopuke Hand-Crank Emergency Power Generator is a more advanced hand crank generator with a DC converter and a high-tech magnetic conversion technology. It’s rated at 30 watts and can convert the output to DC voltages ranging from 0 to 18 volts. So it doesn’t only work for gadgets – you can also use it as a generator for some emergency appliances!
This includes multiple output adapters and ports to cater to your charging needs. Its body is made of sturdy aluminum alloy and is shock-resistant. It’s available in two variants: green and black, and the green one is water-resistant. Overall, it’s very lightweight and handy, making it a great companion for traveling off to the wilderness or your grandpa’s secluded cabin.
K-TOR is a known creator off crank and pedal generators. This hand crank generator can deliver 10 watts of power at 120 volts with a two-prong outlet interface for your gadgets. It’s meant to be used to generate power for mobile phones, cameras, radios, flashlights, rechargeable lights, GPS navigation, and other emergency devices. It can also charge your AA and AAA battery chargers to keep battery-powered flashlights working.
It features an easy-to-grip knob to make cranking a breeze. You can connect a European adapter and international converter with it, but these are sold separately. It weighs less than a pound and is about the size of a water bottle, making it extra portable.