Water turbines have existed for over a century, but most of us know them as giant hydroelectric plants.
Yet, if you live near a river or stream, small water generators for home use could be a great alternative to the environmentally harmful gas powered generators.
The concept is still new, and only a few companies produce these machines. Nevertheless, there are quite a few models to choose from.
Read on to find out how small water generators work and which are your options.
Small Water Generators
SAVEMORE4U18 10W Water Turbine Generator
Pmsanzay Universal DC Water Turbine Generator
Pulsar G10KBN Space Gray
What Are Water Generators?
Water generators, also known as water turbines, are devices developed in the 19th century and widely used for industrial power before the emergence of the electric grid. Today, they are mostly used for generating electricity, and the main form we know them is hydroelectric power plants.
Smaller, home use generators also consist of a hydroelectric turbine that turns water motion into kinetic power, and you can typically choose from portable and fixed systems.
Portable Water Generators
These small devices for home use are ideal for camping, tailgating, RVs, and even to power up your gadgets in case of a shortage if you live near a stream. They consist of a small turbine and usually can’t produce more than 12V DC; nevertheless, with the right converter, you could use them to power up a small AC device.
Waterlily USB - Portable Power for Paddlers, Campers, RVers, and Outdoor Adventurers
While the concept is rather new, a few manufacturers already offer a range of high-end and entry-level small water generators, such as the Waterlily.
Perhaps the best small water generator for home use, the Waterlily outputs up to 15 watts and is designed to charge all your DC devices including smartphones, batteries, power banks, Bluetooth speakers, GPS devices, LED camping lights, 12V radios, and more.
Comparable to a 100W solar panel, this water generator comes with the big advantage that it can be used 24 hours a day as long as you camp near a river or stream. It needs nothing but the force of water to work, and it may even produce energy when exposed to wind; alternatively, you can even operate it by hand.
In an average river, this small device can charge most small electronics at the same rate as a wall charger; furthermore, the unit is very compact and easy to carry in a backpack.
Trusted by campers and adventurers in over 50 countries, Waterlily is not cheap, but it’s definitely worth the investment.
Cheap Small Water Generators for Home Use
For a cheaper alternative, you could try the SAVEMORE4U18 10W Water Turbine. As its name suggests, this water generator produces only 10 watts. It won’t charge your small electronics as fast as the Waterlily, but it will still do a decent job.
It works on the same principle; immerse it in a river or stream, connect your device to the generator, and wait for the magic to happen.
SAVEMORE4U18 10W Water Turbine Generator Micro Hydroelectric DIY LED Power DC 12V Water Flow Generator Micro-Hydro Water Charging Tool (Yellow)
Pmsanzay Universal DC Water Turbine Generator Water 0~80V（5V, 12V，24V，48V, 80V ） for DIY LED Power Light DC 10W Micro-Hydro Water Charging Tool/Small Hydroelectric Power Generator
Pmsanzay Universal is similar to the SAVEMORE4U18, but it can produce up to 80V. Both generators have entry-level price ranges and are ideal to use to light up outdoor LED lights, for example, if you live near a river or stream.
The nice thing about both units is that you can connect them to a water hose. With this in mind, you’re not limited to living near a stream as long as you don’t mind using water to power up the generator. No doubt, these small devices can be a great alternative to a plugging your lights into a wall outlet if you get water from a well.
Fixed Small Water Generators for Home Use
The fixed small water generators for home use may be small compared to a hydroelectric plant, but they are definitely larger than the portable generators. Comparable to the backup generators from the standpoint of size, they are designed to power up your entire home.
The main difference between these generators and the gas-powered models is that they produce green electricity.
However, they are only suitable for homes located near a river or powerful stream. Indeed, using your main water supply to power them up would be ridiculously expensive.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a water source, though, these generators could successfully replace gas generators and sometimes even the main power supply altogether.
These generators can be of two types:
- Cabin DC direct generators: Are ideal for use in mountain cabins or to power up basic systems that can use battery power directly. For instance, they are ideal for use with 12V cabin lights, portable TVs, and radios, as well as RV style DC appliances that can adapt to a basic system. These generators have no regulators and are nothing but oversized versions of the portable water generators above.
- Conventional 110V generators: Perfect for city homes, are bigger than the DC ones and contain a regulator, DC/AC converter unit, as well as an energy storage battery. This configuration is usually ideal to use for homes or situations where 110V AC current is needed to operate conventional appliances.
Due to their size and cost, fixed water generators can only be sourced directly from manufacturers or dealers specialized in commercializing this type of machines.
The nice thing is that in most cases, both full-size configurations are compatible with most DC charging systems including 12V, 24V, and 48V systems, photovoltaic cells, wind charging systems, as well as generator operated battery chargers.
Depending on the size of your home, you can also opt for different types of turbines capable of outputting more or fewer watts.
Pelton Water Wheel Turbine 8.25" (210 mm)
If you find the cost of a fixed system for DC current prohibitive but still want to use a similar solution for your mountain cabin, you could potentially make your own water generator. The system is rather easy to make and the parts, such as the necessary Pelton water wheel turbine, are readily available on the market.
Down to You
Small water generators for home use are undoubtedly a great alternative to gas generators if you live in an area with streams or creeks that can power your turbine.
The even smaller, portable variants can successfully replace a camping photovoltaic panel, and you can use it to recharge your small devices and batteries.
Whether you decide to give this technology a try or not and which is the best one is down to you. If you were to ask us, such a device is certainly a great investment.