alternatives to the tesla powerwall

Tesla Powerwall alternatives: Generac PWRcell, LG Chem RESU, sonnen eco, Enphase IQ Battery

Now more than ever, home batteries are becoming a smart purchase either with or without a solar panel system. Batteries offer many benefits, from electricity bill savings to resiliency against grid outages and more.

One popular home battery is the Tesla Powerwall. This battery became available to the public in the mid-2010s and has seen multiple upgrades since then. But, either due to access, affordability, or personal preference, many homeowners choose to explore Tesla Powerwall alternatives. Fortunately, both established manufacturers and up-and-coming smaller players offer unique products that make them a viable Powerwall competitor. In this article, we’ll review some of today’s most popular home battery options to see how they stack up against each other, and against the highly popular Tesla Powerwall.

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Key takeaways


  • The key factors to assess when comparing solar batteries include size, warranty terms, and price.
  • You may consider Tesla battery alternatives due to Tesla’s long wait times, not offering standalone storage, and poor customer service.
  • Generac, LG Chem, sonnen, and Enphase offer some of the best Tesla battery alternatives.
  • Solar-plus-storage shoppers should use the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes from pre-vetted installers. 

What’s in this article?

How to compare home batteries

When comparing options for home batteries, there are a few key data points to keep in mind: size, warranty terms, and price. While these aren’t the only factors to consider when shopping for a battery, they’re a great place to start and can help you better understand the costs and benefits you’ll get with each option.

BatteryUsable CapacityContinuous PowerPrice
Tesla Powerwall

13.5 kWh

5.0 KWh

$7,600+
Generac PWRcell8.6 kWh - 17.1 kWh3.4 kW to 6.7 kW

$5,000+
LG Chem RESU9.3 kWh5.0 kW

$5,000+
sonnen eco5 kWh to 20 kWh

3 kW to 8 kW

$10,000+

Enphase IQ Battery3.36 kWh to 10.08 kWh1.28 kW to 3.84 kW$5,000+

Size

When we talk about the size of solar batteries, we’re referencing two metrics: usable capacity and power. Power (measured in kilowatts, or kW) determines the maximum amount of electricity that can be output at a single time, while usable capacity (measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) is a measure of the maximum amount of electricity stored in your battery on a full charge.

You can think about these key size metrics like water running through a pipe. Usable energy capacity is the volume of water available to push through the pipe, while power is the size of the pipe. Larger pipes let more water flow through at one time, which depletes the total water stored faster. Similarly, a battery with high power can deliver more electricity at one time but will spin through its available energy capacity faster too.

(To add a bit more complexity to the equation, there are typically two power metrics on battery spec sheets: continuous and startup, or instantaneous, power. We’ve written a handy article that compares the two, but for now, it’s enough to know that continuous power is how much your battery can output steadily over the course of hours, while startup power is the surge of power your battery can provide for a few minutes or even a few seconds to help kick-start large appliances like an HVAC or a sump-pump.)

A battery’s power determines what appliances you’ll be able to run with it all at the same time, and usable capacity determines how long those appliances can keep running on the battery. Batteries with a higher power rating can power more energy-hungry appliances or many appliances at once, while batteries with a higher usable capacity can store more total energy and thus can keep appliances running for longer periods of time without needing a recharge.

Warranty

In general, batteries will come with a capacity warranty, which guarantees that a certain percentage of the original battery energy capacity will remain after a set period of time (often 10 years.) In addition, some batteries have one of two other types of warranty: a throughput warranty (usually measured in megawatt-hours, or MWh) and a cycle warranty (measured in full charge/discharge cycles). Throughput warranties add a limit to how much energy you can cycle through your battery within the warranty period while remaining eligible for the guaranteed energy capacity warranty. Cycle warranties are another way to measure the time bounds on a warranty period – they specify the number of times you can charge and discharge your battery before the warrantied capacity is no longer applicable.

Price

Price is another important factor to consider when evaluating your home battery options. Similar to comparing prices for solar panels, there’s a difference between the cost of the equipment itself and the cost of a full system installation. Additionally, solar battery installation prices can depend heavily on your property – for example, your electrical panel setup and existing wiring might mean more or less work for an installation crew. As such, the actual “price” for installing a solar battery is different for everyone.

Why you may want to consider Tesla Powerwall alternatives

The Tesla Powerwall is an excellent option for home energy storage; however, it isn’t ideal for everyone. Here are a few factors that have made the market more competitive for Powerwall alternatives:

Long wait times

The time it takes to get a Powerwall (and required solar system) depends on a few factors, such as third-party involvement and location. Many Powerwall users have commented on wait times exceeding a year for their installation.

Limited to solar installs

Recently, Tesla began only selling the Powerwall with their solar installations. Because of this, customers with an existing solar system need to find an installer willing to sell a Powerwall without a system or explore Powerwall alternatives.

Poor customer service

Tesla’s customer service has been the topic of multiple news reports over the last few years, and reviews featured on sites like ConsumerAffairs and Trustpilot seem to support the popular opinion about Tesla’s customer service. 

Comparing popular home battery options

As batteries become more and more common around the country, new products and manufacturers are constantly emerging. Four of the most widely-known battery manufacturers today are Tesla, Generac, LG Chem, and sonnen. Read on below to learn more about each of these manufacturers’ key battery offerings.

The frontrunner: the Tesla Powerwall

Key metrics


  • Usable capacity: 13.5 kWh
  • Peak power: 7.0 kW
  • Continuous power: 5.0 kW
  • Warranty: 10 years, 70% capacity
  • Price: $7,600 before installation

Perhaps the most recognizable home battery available, the Tesla Powerwall has been a favorite for shoppers since the product launched in 2015. The Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery designed to be paired with solar panels, but can also be a standalone battery for home backup without solar.

The Powerwall has a companion app for your smartphone that you can use to manage your home energy system wirelessly. It has built-in software that helps you automatically optimize your energy usage patterns to take advantage of time-of-use rates in places like California, where the time of day you use or produce electricity has a big impact on your overall savings.

The Tesla Powerwall is a modular battery, meaning that while Tesla only offers one size of their battery, you can stack multiple together to create a larger storage system. The Tesla website indicates that you can add up to 10 Powerwall units together.

Check out our full review of the Telsa Powerwall for a more in-depth breakdown of their product.

Powerwall Alternatives: Generac vs Tesla Powerwall

 PowerwallGenerac PWRcell
Depth of Discharge100%84%
Type of BatteryNMC NMC
Roundup Efficiency90%96.5%

Generac PWRcell

Key metrics


  • Usable capacity: 8.6 kWh to 17.1 kWh
  • Peak power: 5.0 kW to 10.0 kW
  • Continuous power: 3.4 kW to 6.7 kW
  • Warranty: 10 years, 22.6 MWh to 45.3 MWh
  • Price: $9,999 and up before installation

Generac has been in the energy backup business for many years with their staple gas generator products, but with their acquisition of battery manufacturer Pika Energy in 2019, they’ve entered the home battery market and added the PWRcell home battery to their product lineup. 

One of the hallmarks of the PWRcell (and before the PWRcell, Pika’s battery products) is its high instantaneous power rating. The PWRcell has the ability to provide instantaneous, or surge, power at a higher rate than most other batteries. This means that it’s able to handle sending a large amount of energy in a single instance to start appliances that require more instantaneous power to start up than continuous power to keep running, like an air conditioner.

Like the Powerwall, the PWRcell has a companion app (called PWRview) that lets you review all of your energy and savings metrics right from your smartphone. 

Check out our full review of the Generac PWRCell for a more in-depth breakdown of their product.

LG Chem RESU

Key metrics


  • Usable capacity: 9.3 kWh
  • Peak power: 7.0 kW
  • Continuous power: 5.0 kW
  • Warranty: 10 years, 60% capacity, 27.4 MWh throughput
  • Price: About $5,000 before installation

LG Chem is the chemical subsidiary of LG, one of the world’s largest electronics companies. Their battery product, the RESU 10H, has been one of the most popular residential batteries for many years. 

While LG Chem only offers one size of battery, they say you can combine batteries in a modular system to create a larger storage setup. However, they also recommend that you wire no more than two RESU batteries together in parallel. The LG Chem RESU is compatible with a wide range of battery inverters, which makes it easier to pair with and potentially easier to install. While it may not come with all of the bells and whistles some of LG’s competitors offer, the RESU battery is a time-tested, reliable home battery option that remains popular due to its dependability and cost. 

Check out our full review of the LG Chem RESU for a more in-depth breakdown of their product.

Powerwall Alternatives: LG Chem RESU vs Tesla Powerwall

 Powerwall

LG Chem RESU

Depth of Discharge

100%

95%
Type of Battery

NMC

NMC
Roundup Efficiency

90%

94.5%

sonnen eco

Key metrics


  • Usable capacity: 5 kWh to 20 kWh
  • Peak power: 6 kW to 12 kW
  • Continuous power: 3 kW to 8 kW
  • Warranty: 10 years, 70% capacity, 10,000 cycles
  • Price: About $10,000 and up before installation

Typically seen as a more expensive, luxury battery product, the sonnen eco is also an established battery manufacturer with worldwide operations. Perhaps more than any other home battery on this list, the sonnen eco is an intelligent full-home energy management system that can help you integrate your solar panel energy production with the usage in your home, all while factoring in grid prices and energy efficiency to help you save the most money possible.

The size to price ratio of the eco is lower than most options, but sonnen makes up for lost ground on pricing with functionality. You can even integrate with a smart thermostat or home energy monitoring system to fully automate and optimize your energy use. 

Check out our full review of the sonnen eco for a more in-depth breakdown of their product.

Powerwall Alternatives: sonnen eco vs Tesla Powerwall

 Powerwallsonnen eco
Depth of Discharge100%100%
Type of BatteryNMCLFP
Roundup Efficiency90%81.6%

Enphase IQ Battery

Key metrics


  • Usable capacity: 3.36 kWh, 10.08 kWh
  • Peak power: 1.92 kW, 5.7 kW
  • Continuous power: 1.28 kW, 3.84 kW
  • Warranty: 10 years, 70% capacity, 4,000 cycles
  • Price: Starting around $5,000, more for larger systems

Enphase has historically been a major player in the inverter industry, and recently forayed into battery storage with their IQ Battery line. IQ Batteries are AC-coupled storage systems that can manage time-of-use rates, integrate with solar for efficient self-consumption, and help you save money on electricity bills.

The IQ Battery starts on the smaller end of the home battery size spectrum, and steps up to a larger size (the IQ Battery 10). Additionally, IQ Batteries are modular, so you can add multiple units together to create a larger storage system. Perhaps most importantly, IQ Batteries come fully integrated with Enphase’s IQ Series microinverter technology to keep your storage setup working seamlessly with both a solar array and your home electrical setup.

To learn more about the IQ Battery, check out our full review.

Powerwall Alternatives: Enphase IQ Battery vs Tesla Powerwall

 PowerwallEnphase IQ Battery
Depth of Discharge100%100%
Type of BatteryNMCLFP
Roundup Efficiency90%89%

Other home battery options

These aren’t the only Tesla Powerwall alternatives on the market, but are some of the most popular and talked about. If you’re curious about other home batteries available to help you save money and optimize your energy use, we’ve written reviews of several other major products:

Frequently asked questions: what are Tesla Powerwall alternatives?

There are a lot of questions about Tesla Powerwall competitors, the Powerwall itself, and if it’s worth the price. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about home batteries.

What is comparable to a Tesla Powerwall?

Home batteries offered by sonnen eco and Generac especially are excellent Powerwall alternatives. LG Chem’s RESU and Enphase’s IQ Battery models can be stacked to create a larger battery. 

How do you get a free Powerwall?

Residents of California can qualify for the SGIP Residential Equity Rebate, which provides a Powerwall to residents that meet a particular set of requirements. Currently, that is the only way for homeowners to receive a free Powerwall. 

Is Tesla Powerwall worth it?

Whether or not Tesla Powerwall is worth the investment depends on the situation and personal preferences. Many of the Tesla Powerwall competitors have comparable systems without the frustrations or wait times that current customers have expressed and without having to buy a new solar system.

What is special about a Tesla Powerwall?

Many Powerwall alternatives offer the same advanced features, attractive pricing, and comparable quality as the Tesla Powerwall. The most significant difference between Powerwall competitors and the Powerwall is the Tesla brand. 

Who else makes Powerwalls?

The Powerwall is a Tesla product; while there are other Powerwall alternatives, no one else makes Powerwalls.

How long will a Generac PWRcell last?

The Generac PWRcell has a 10-year limited warranty, but it depends on how long it takes the battery to cycle through a certain number of MWh. The PWRcell warranty covers between 22.6 MWh and 45.3 MWh, depending on the model. 

Start your solar-plus-storage journey on EnergySage

Adding energy storage technology to your home is a complicated process that requires electrical expertise, certifications, and knowledge of the best solar-plus-storage installation practices. A qualified EnergySage-approved company can give you the best recommendation about the best home battery for your unique property, whether that be a Powerwall or another brand. If you are interested in receiving competing installation quotes for solar and energy storage options from local installers near you, simply join the EnergySage Marketplace today and indicate what products you’re interested in your profile’s preferences section.

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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

8 thoughts on “Tesla Powerwall alternatives: Generac PWRcell, LG Chem RESU, sonnen eco, Enphase IQ Battery

  1. Kevin Fenimore

    I live in a community that does not allow solar on the roof due to the Condo Owner Association is responsible for the roof.
    There is a market here for the Powerwall battery as this is no generators allowed either.
    Is there a way or a manufacturer that you can get a home 120v or even 240v charger to maintain the battery once it is connected to our home/. If so please share as I am unaware.

    Reply
  2. SteveP

    We purchased a PWRcell 12KWHr system this year. Tesla installers did not even return my calls/emails, and I was of course hesitant given their poor customer service and track record. We have a small house but with good sun exposure and 5600W of panels. We are also replacing an old AC LPG-fired backup generator with a DC model,whenever the “supply chain” issues are fixed.

    We are grid-tied (1-1 offset) so the battery is kept at 100% and used only as backup. The usable capacity is set at 90% (10% cutoff). We can add two more 3KW cells to the battery pack to go to an 18KWHr backup, but I don’t think it is worth the $4K price (zero payback unless our utility moves to time-of-use or premium purchase tariffs).

    The PWRcell install and backup has been excellent. The BMU on the battery pack had a recurring fault (apparently due to a component switch) and required three replacements right after initial startup – all handled with alacrity. The system has been trouble-free since

    I would say the weakest part of the PWRcell system is the user information view. The inverter itself has a tiny LCD with some basic info, as does the phone app. The web data interface is quite dated and lacks clarity. PWRcell techs have a more detailed view of the customer’s data than the customer does. I understand they want to prevent the customer meddling with settings, and that many customers are not particularly energy-savvy, but to me the data sharing needs to be improved. It should be simple to export data to a spreadsheet or other program, for example

    Reply
  3. Kymberly

    I live in the mountains with too many trees so solar options are just about ‘null’. What kind of system can I install that will run a refrigerator, small stand alone freezer, water heater and furnace kickstart and a couple of lights at any given time? We use natural gas. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Stan Rusnak

    We have a 10 MW system with 29 solar panels. Have annoying power outages from time to time. Couple of hours to 1-2 days mostly. Looked into Tesla batteries and gas generators for backup systems. All cost $10K+ dollars to install and depending on how much more we wanted to spend would not cover the whole house but certain circuits. Realized that all we wanted was to be able to have the tv, internet, couple of lights and the fridge work for the duration of most blackouts. After much research decided to get a Yeti Goal Zero 1000 Lithium battery with portable solar panels for $1000+ on sale at the time. It is 15” L x 10” H x 9” D and sits next to the TV/Modem and is plugged in and ready to go. Solar panels are in the closet and can be plugged in if needed for continuous power. Have had it for 9 months and have not had to use it yet. Could move it to be near fridge or run an extension cord to it. So far very happy that we didn’t spend all the extra money to watch something sit around unused for 99% of the time. So if you just want to have a few lights on and be able to watch tv and be on the internet at times during a blackout I would encourage you to consider this less expensive alternative.

    Reply
  5. Kavita Willesen

    I have a solar system that is meeting my energy needs.
    The square footage of my house is 4700.
    Basement stays cool. 2nd floor gets hot.
    I want to install a battery that has enough storage for
    Me to get off of the Grid. The reason is transmitting power to the grid is inefficient.
    Could you give me some guidance what battery is the best purchase and is getting off the grid realistic.

    Reply
    1. Joey

      Really, you need to learn how many KWH you use in a day’s time at the extremes of winter and summer. You can’t go another step without knowing that. I read everything BackWoods Solar has to read.

      Reply

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