In this day and age, so many of our devices run on an internal battery. We use these devices every day and have become an important part of our life, but when their batteries die, we are left without them. A mobile phone, for example, is something everybody has with them at all times and is now used for more than simple phone calls.
They are what we use to stay connected to our social groups at all times as well as our lifeline when we are lost, to save memories we make and to keep us entertained on long journeys.
All these devices still require power and we cannot always keep them alive during lengthy trips or on hiking journeys, this is where portable solar chargers can come in. Absorbing sunlight, they gain and store power that can be transferred to any small device when needed.
Below we will review 7 of the most popular portable solar chargers, as well as what to look for so you know you are getting the best portable solar charger to fulfill your needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 What To Look For In A Portable Solar Charger
- 2 Our Choice For The Best 7 Chargers
- 3 Best Portable Solar Charger Under $20
- 4 Our Favorite Solar Batter Charger
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Getting The Most Out Of Your Solar Charger
What To Look For In A Portable Solar Charger
Charging performance and storage: Knowing the performance of a solar phone charger can be a deal breaker. The primary purpose of theses devices is to charge but there are several components to this.
In most designs, the device needs to not only collect the solar energy but must also store this energy before transferring it to a mobile device quickly and at a safe voltage. Be sure to bear in mind the recommended charging voltage and mAh capacity of your mobile device’s battery and select a charge appropriate for the device you plan to charge.
You’ll often want to make sure your product of choice at least matches your mobile devices battery capacity, which will allow for a full charge every time.
Solar panel details: The solar panels are the key part of a portable solar charger so always making sure you have good quality solar panels is crucial.
The efficiency of your solar panels is what will allow your charger to collect energy. Simply put, the better the solar panels, the higher the voltage that your solar charger will produce.
Obviously, all solar panels will produce energy at different rates based on the lighting in the panels current environment but, for consistently quicker charging, in any comparative environment, look for higher quality panels.
Physical characteristics: We all want something that looks appropriate for its usage while not looking aesthetically displeasing. No matter what purpose you’re looking to purchase a solar charger for, it is best to have something that isn’t bulky and unappealing.
With a huge range of products on the market, you will want to look for something sleek and suited to your tastes. Regardless of whether you are fashion conscious or looking for pure practicality, you will want to bear this in mind when selecting a product to match your devices or demands.
Ease of use: It’s all well and good having a portable solar charger with great functionality, but if it is hard to use then it does not fulfill its needs. The best chargers are the ones that offer ease of use so that everyone can use it without hesitation or a lengthy setup process.
There are many minor tweaks you can make in how you use your solar charger to boost its performance but you do not want to have to spend time and always be consciously considering how to use what should be simple!
Weight: All these products are going to be carried so its weight is something that should always be considered. They may not be the lightest device you will use but you want to make sure that it does not feel like you are carrying a brick with you when you’re walking.
Many things will come into play to change the weight of these devices with battery capacity or price of materials often being key factors. Remember to decide what features are really important to you and what you could sacrifice to potentially find a lighter product.
Cost: Pricing can be the make or break option for many. Getting the right product does not mean you have to put down a large sum of money.
You need to decide what you are looking for in the product based on what we have mentioned you should look for.
whether you need a charger for those rarest of weekend camping trips or you are a seasoned hiker who completely relies on this technology to keep in contact with the world you will find something at an appropriate price point.
Our Choice For The Best 7 Chargers
Below you will see our 7 picks for portable solar chargers. We haven’t ranked these products as we believe whilst there may be one best suited for our needs but everyone will be looking for different features and price ranges. So, in no particular order:
Voltaic System Fuse 6W
The fuse 6W portable solar charger is a device created by the company Voltaic. It is a light weight and a powerful solution to your charging needs, ideal for most tablets and smartphones. Using a universal attachment system, it can quickly attach to any bicycle or backpack as well as MOLLE gears.
Doing this will allow the device to easily face the sun to generate power that can be transferred to any device when needed, even on the go. Even when sunlight is not an option, you can use the Voltaic system fuse 6W has a built in removable 4,000mAh/ 15Wh rechargeable USB battery pack so you can charge it when indoors for use when outside. This pack can be charged with any available USB port.
Available in 3 distinct colors, they can come in orange, silver or charcoal. Each one is individually designed, tested and covered by Voltaic systems. The solar case is covered for 2 years and the battery comes with 1-year warranty.
The beauty of this product is its versatility in how you choose to deploy it. They solar panels design makes it ideal for strapping to the outside of your backpack or onto your bike.
If you are after a portable solar charger to use whilst on the move this is an excellent option. Although coming in at a higher price mark than some on the market you will have peace of mind with its waterproof design, rugged build and two-year warranty ideal for anyone who needs an ultra reliable charger for regular use.
Features & Details
- 1 rugged monocrystalline solar panel with 6.15W, total peak output is 6V.
- The solar panel is waterproof, lightweight and coated in self-healing urethane to resist external damage like scratches or wear and tear.
- Features a removable battery and portable V15 backup battery pack.
- The battery can be charged using any USB port with the use of a micro USB adaptor and standard USB cable that comes with the kit.
- Charges an average smartphone in 3 hours of direct sunlight to full capacity.
- 1 hour of direct sunlight averages 4 hours of smartphone
- Charges most 7” tablets in 8 hours of direct sunlight to full capacity.
- 1 hour of direct sunlight averages 1.1 hours of usage on 7” tablets.
- Can charge most 10” tablets in 11 hours or direct sunlight to full capacity.
- 1 hour of direct sunlight can average 50 minutes of usage on a 10”
- Created to be compatible with a wide array of devices that can be charged via a USB port, the Voltaic System Fuse 6W can charge USB cameras and smartphones, regardless of branding like Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung Galaxy, Sony, Nikon, Canon. Blackberry and others.
- Made from UV resistant fabric created from recycled PET (soda bottles).
- PANELS - 1 rugged monocrystalline solar panel with 6.15W total peak output at 6V. The panel is waterproof, lightweight, and coated in self-healing urethane to withstand abuse and resist scratches.
- BATTERY - The system includes a removable and portable V15 backup battery pack; a 4,000mAh, 15Wh universal battery to store power and charge your devices. The battery can also be charged from any standard USB port with the included micro USB adapter and USB cable.
- CHARGING - 3 hours in direct sunlight fully charges a typical smartphone, 8 hours in direct sunlight charges most 7" tablets completely, and 11 hours in direct sunlight charges most 10" tablets completely.
Best Portable Solar Charger Under $20
The PowerBank CVADG-S81 comes designed with many features to assist you in your day to day life. Using an external battery pack, this device can be used to charge iPhones, smartphones, tablets and Nexus, any GoPro camera or even a GPS.
It uses a single crystal silicon solar panel to generate power when exposed to sunlight. The power created is stored in a portable, lightweight, durable and reliable lithium-ion battery. The overall product is created for use outside for people on the go, its design allows it to be water resistant, dust proof as well as shock proof for those that are going to be extremely active.
As an added bonus, the PowerBank also comes with a built-in torch, either for simple, quick exploration or for emergency usage. The torch itself are dual LED lights with 3 modes of use. Once purchased, the PowerBank also comes with a hanger, USB charging cable and a manual.
Packing a 10,000mAh battery you can be sure that you will always have enough charge to keep your smart phone or even larger devices running.
With its rugged design and inbuilt flashlights, this product is ideal for any adventurer who is always on the go! It is very small and portable design with an inbuilt compass, light, and hanger all of which is in a water and dust resistant shell.
The product will be a great companion for anyone who loves the great outdoors but needs a reliable source of power for their camera or phone.
Features & Details
- The PowerBank is highly resistant to external damage or hazards, it is water resistant, dust proof and shock resistant.
- Has built in LED in case of emergency or when needed as a torch
- Can be attached to the back of a backpack using the hanger for hands-free usage
- Extremely high capacity 10,000mAh battery
- 1. Outdoor solar charger: water-resistant shock-resistant and dust proof solar phone charger, equipped with compass and 2LED flashlight. Perfect for outside activity as camping travel hiking constructions and many other emergency use.
- 2. Dual USB covered by the side: universal 5V/1A and 5V/2.1A outputs are available for most digital devices; 2.1A port for iPad/Tablets, 1A ports for phone/Bluetooth or other 5V USB supported devices. Automatic Smart Identification, more convenient and practical.
- 3. Superior portable design: made of durable and reliable material ABS+PC+Silicone, power bank come with hanger and compass, easily hang on bagpack and hands free on the go, never worry about losing your way.
The Solio Bolt solar charger is a great solution for recharging electronics on the go or when in the back country as well as a potential backup power supply to be used in an emergency. Using an on-board battery and rotating solar panel face, it can be used to charge any mobile device such as a smartphone or MP3 player to a GPS or camera.
With multiple methods of charging, the bolt allows you to charge it when and where you want, either with direct exposure to sunlight, through a USB cable into a USB port or with the use of the wall adaptor.
The bolt uses a high temperature rated Li-Poly rechargeable battery for effective and efficient charging usage in areas with high heat. Coming paired with a pencil, the Solio Bolt can be converted into a makeshift sundial when the pencil is placed in the center to maximize the solar panels exposure to the sun when on a break from traveling.
It also comes with a micro-USB to USB cable, usable to either charge devices or to charge the bolt via USB port or wall adapter
With it’s sleek and foldable design the Solio Bolt is a popular choice for anyone who needs to have a backup source of power on hand. The Solio will comfortably and discreetly hide in your bag until needed.
With its ability to be charge like a traditional power bank you can make sure the Solio can be kept fully fuelled ready for use with your device and topped up using its solar panels.
The folio comes at a fairly reasonable price mark and will give you peace of mind knowing that as long as the sun is shining you will have a backup for your phone.
Features & Details
- The Solio bolt may come with a USB cable but any cable can be used as a replacement.
- Can hold a full charge for almost a year, ideal for those that plan to only use it on rare occasions.
- At a full charge, it possesses enough power to fully charge 2 average smartphones.
- Features multiple charging methods, from direct sunlight, USB port charging or with the uses of the wall adaptor.
- Comes with accessories like the USB charger into micro USB charger out, pencil and quick start guide.
- Widely compatible with most well-known brands like Apple as well as thousands of USB gadgets.
- Built LED lights to indicate the devices status and current power levels.
- Can be charged to capacity in 4.5 hours via a USB port or wall adapter.
- Can be charged to capacity in 8-10 hours in direct sunlight depending on intensity.
- The average lifespan of the battery is 3 years.
- Anything - Simply connect to the Bolt using your device's own USB charging cable, no need for extra tips or unneeded cables.
- Anytime - Holds charge for up to a year in it's 2000mAh rechargeable/replaceable battery. The Bolt will give most Smartphones two complete charges.
- Anywhere -Charge the Bolt from the Sun, USB port, or the wall. Just insert a pencil into the middle - and prop towards the sun, use the included USB charging cable, or by using a USB wall adapter (sold separately)
The XTG-SOL1500 is a ultra-slim solar portable battery pack and charger, ideal for use as an emergency power source or to provide power for devices on the go. Using a built-in Lithium-ion battery, the XTG can be charged from direct sunlight with its solar panel or through a USB cable.
It uses its USB output to charge smartphones, MP3’s, Bluetooth headsets and more when on the move. Featuring a powerful built-in LED torch, the device can be used in low light environments for reading and its built-in capacity indicator on its back will show you its remaining power level as well as its charge status.
The XTG-SOL1500 is definitely the cheapest solar charger on the list and a viable option for anyone on a budget. Although the price is tempting the lower capacity battery and 1amp output may be a deal breaker as it will only just cope with charging most smartphones once.
If you are not looking at dropping a large amount of money on a solar charger but want one to carry as a backup power source for your commute this is an option although we wouldn’t recommend it for a hardened trekker.
Features & Details
- Can be charged to 50% capacity using only solar power, USB will allow for full capacity
- Charging and capacity levels are indicated on the back of the device to show charge status and remaining power level.
- Built in LED flashlight with adjustable position designed for use when the situation arises like camping or exploring.
- 1500mAh battery
- 1amp charging port.
- Portable Battery and Charger - Charge Via Solar Power (up to 50%) or USB Port (USB cable included)
- 1500mAh Battery and USB output will charge USB powered devices including cell phones, Mp3s, & more. Output?DC5V±5% 600mAH Max. Solar charge: 120mA. Charging and capacity indicator on back show charge status and remaining power level
- Includes Micro USB Charge Cable & 2 Window Suction Cups. Ships in environmentally friendly, easy to open packaging
Our Favorite Solar Batter Charger
The Voltaic amp is the most compact, lightweight and portable solar charger that Voltaic offer. Its small design allows it to easily fits into any bag and can unzip to provide 4.4W of power and 4,000mAh of USB battery storage.
This is 4 times the power of other similar portable solar generators in the same class as well as twice the storage that they could offer. Offering the possibility of charging devices at a different amount of voltage, you can make your charge times more efficient depending on the specification of the device, from 5V for most USB battery packs or 12V for DSLR batteries and other 12V devices.
Available in 3 distinct colors, the Voltaic Amp can come in Orange, silver, and charcoal. Each Amp is individually designed and tested by Voltaic as well as being covered by their 2-year warranty.
Although the Voltaic Amp certainly isn’t the most feature-rich or versatile solar battery charger on the market it excels at its primary function. Due to the respectable capacity of the Amp’s internal battery and variable voltage, this device is ideal for a working professional who needs to keep a range of devices from their phone, tablets or DSLR charged, you can rely on the Voltaic Amps output.
Although the Amp does require you to unzip it to get the most out of its solar panels although with the ability to still hang this from your bag it is a great choice for anyone looking for a solar charger to use regularly.
Features & Details
- Uses 2 rugged monocrystalline solar panels with 4.4W total peak output at 6V or 12V.
- Panels are waterproof, lightweight and coated in self-healing urethane to allow endurance against abuse like scratches and natural wear and tear.
- Contains a removable and portable V15 backup battery pack
- The battery can be charged via solar energy or by a USB port with the use of a micro USB micro adapter and USB cable.
- Can fully charge a most smartphone with 3.5 hours of direct sunlight.
- 1 hour of direct sunlight can provide enough power to run a smartphone for 3 hours.
- Can fully charge most 7” tablets with 8 hours of direct sunlight.
- 1 hour of direct sunlight can provide enough power to run a 7” tablet for 1.1 hours.
- Voltaic Amp can charge all smartphones from Apple to Android and HTC.
- 4,6 hours of direct sunlight will charge most DSLR batteries.
- Created using UV resistant fabric manufactured from recycled PET (soda bottles).
- RAPID CHARGING | Four times the power and twice the battery storage of most solar chargers in the market. 3.5 hours in direct sunlight charges most smartphones completely. 4.4W total peak output at 6V or 12V (selectable depending on application)
- TOUGH IN THE SUN - HIGH QUALITY, TESTED MATERIALS | 2 rugged monocrystalline solar panels are waterproof, UV, and scratch-resistant built to last and go wherever you go. Folding panels uses self-healing urethane coating to withstand abuse and last outside at least 5x longer than competitors' products (10+ years)
- BACKUP BATTERY INCLUDED | Includes a removable and portable lightweight V15 USB backup battery power bank which stores solar power so you can charge your device even when the sun's not shining. 1.5x smartphone charges from the included V15 battery (4,000mAh)
Solio Classic 2
The new and improved Solio Classic 2 charger boasts twice the capacity of the original charger meaning that a day of direct sunlight can provide 3 complete charges for mobile devices. Using multiple USB ports, the Solio can support multiple devices at once allowing for mass charging when needed.
Designed to be slimmer than the older version, this newer iteration uses larger solar panels to increase the amount of solar energy that can be captured and used. Boasting the power to recharge mobile devices from empty to full in under 90 minutes.
With amazing developments in battery and solar technology, the Solio Classic 2 is one of the most portable devices on our list. If portability is your main concern then this is the obvious choice.
Although not as rugged as some of the other previous mentions, the simplicity, decent capacity and portability of this device make it a very popular choice if you can justify its price mark.
Features & Details
- Can be charged by the sun or via a USB port.
- Extremely lightweight, 10.1 ounces.
- Can provide charges for multiple devices at once.
- The ingenious design allows the device to be fanned out to capture the most sun possible.
- Compact design allows the device to fit into the palm of your hand when packed away.
- Simple Fast Charging - The CLASSIC2 1Amp USB output charges. the CLASSIC2 easily tucks into a backpack or messenger bag and provides battery back up for a multitude of small electronics while on-the-go.
- Sundial For Energy Capture - The ingenious design of the Solio CLASSIC2 allows a pencil to be inserted into a central pivot point to make it possible to track the sun like a sundial.
- Charge When The Sun Goes Down - When the sun goes down, the BOLT battery can be re-charged via the micro-USB port. From USB power, the 2000mAh battery charges in 4.5 hours.
The Opteka BP-SC4000 is an ultra-thin, solar-powered mobile device charger. It was created so you can charge your mobile device when a wall outlet or USB port is unavailable for your charging needs or when you are on the go and need a top up.
Using a 4000mAh lithium-polymer power bank to store energy gained from the sun or power gained by charging via a USB port. Compatible with a huge range of devices that use USB cables like Samsung mobile phone and iPhones to an iPad and a Nintendo DS or even digital cameras.
Coming in at one of the cheapest devices on our list the Opteka is a great produce for anyone on a budget. The 4000mAh battery provides a great capacity giving you a couple of charges for your phone. If you need a cheap solar charger for occasional use this could be the one for you.
If you ever find yourself needing to keep your devices powered on a long journey this would be a great and simple device that lets you keep track of just how much power is left for your device.
Features & Details
- Can fully charge mobile devices using solar or USB power.
- Has a high storage capacity of 4000mAh.
- Automatically shuts off when the device has finished charging an object to maximize the remaining power remaining for further usage.
- Uses a LED display to show power capacity
- Will fully charge your mobile device using solar or USB Power
- Ultra high capacity of 4000mAh
- Includes 10 charging tips with USB port to maximize compatibility
The portable solar chargers above are some of the most popular in use today. Effective and created to be a green, portable way of charging your everyday mobile devices, you can go along with your day knowing you got a backup power supply nearby ready to go when you need to use them.
We hope you found this article helpful and that we aided you finding the perfect portable charger for you.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Solar Charger
When buying any solar charging tech there are always a few things to remember to get the most out of your new or existing product. Although from time to time your charging needs may change it is always good to know what you will primarily want to be charging with your solar charger.
If you know what voltage and capacity your device require you can shop appropriately and if not there are high capacity, variable voltage chargers to suit you as well.
If you use With the inclusion of smart batteries in most solar chargers you can be sure that even running at the optimal output in the strong sunlight that the battery you are charging will be safe by correctly managing the generated power.
When it comes to the operation of your new charger remember to make the most out of bright times of day, keep your panels angled correctly and of course, keep them, clean!