Written by 8:34 pm Camping, Travel Gear

Best Portable Solar Chargers

Photo of a phone and Battery solar energy lies on wooden log with a sandy beach background

There is nothing more frustrating than running out of charge when out and about with your friends. Whether it be a festival or at a garden BBQ where you are in charge of the music. Losing your charge is never convenient. That is why the power of solar panels are taking the world by storm, solar phone chargers are becoming a large trend in the phone accessory industry for good reason.

Many solar panel chargers can now charge multiple devices in a small amount of time. But which solar charger is the best for you and is the best sellers on the market, the solar panel power bank that will truly save you from a dead battery?

There are many things to consider when you look into purchasing a new portable charger for your laptops and mobile phones. Such as the weight of your portable solar charger and can it charge multiple devices at any one time. But also don’t forget about the basics such as how heavy is the charger and how quickly is it going to charge your phone?

Take a look below where we have a full review of the best solar top players in the portable solar charger market and found the best you can buy. Never again will you find yourself missing that important photograph or lose contact with your friends again, as your phone will soon be powered by the sun.

Types of Solar Charger

When deciding on your solar charger we have broken them down into two different categories to work out which is best for you. The charging panel which can charge your phone anywhere using the power of the sun alone is a good option for those who are spending long periods of time away from a power source. However, if you are looking for a device that you can pre-charge every morning and top it up with the sun’s power, then you may be more interested in a power bank. Take a look below to see which one suits your needs better.

Charging Panel

Charger panels are a great invention for people who spend a lot of time outdoors but need to keep their devices charged. Most solar panel charger panels come with smart folding designs that can fit snugly in a bag when not being used. These can then be unfolded and positioned into direct sunlight to transform the sun’s energy into free power for your devices.

It can take a little while to get the hang of where to position your charge but over time you will know what is best. Depending on the charging panel you purchase, you may even have the luxury of saving the power from the day to the evening. Meaning that long after the sun has set, the charger can keep being used to power your important devices.

Power Bank

Alternatively, another option for anyone that may find them away from electrical mains for some time, is the power bank option. These are usually a lot smaller in size and can easily fit in your bag, or sometimes your pocket. Though these devices also come with solar panels attached, they are not exclusively powered by the sun.

The devices are just like the name describes, a place to bank your power for a later time. The solar panels can help keep that level of charge high and will keep it topped up during the day. If you will have a power source available now and again this could be a good option to juice it up and then go on your way. This may not be a good option if you are planning on relying on the sun alone.

Top 10 Solar Phone Chargers –

1. Nektek 28w Portable Solar Panel Charger

Type: Charging Panel   | Weight: 23 oz | Ports:  2 x USB

This portable solar charger comes with some of the best solar panels in the game. The solar panels fold neatly into your bag and can be easily accessed when you need a phone charger. The solar charger comes with 2 USB ports which means you can easily charge two phones at the same time. The solar charger does come on the heavier side so make sure you save space for it on your trip.

Pro's:
  • Foldable design for easy transportation
  • Heat and cold resistant, as well as water-resistant
  • Charge two devices at one time
  • Comes with one year warranty
Cons:
  • The charger is on the heavier side
  • Some users complain about a slow charging time

2. Goal Zero Nomad 7

Type:  Charging Panel  | Weight: 16.2 oz | Ports:  USB (5v)

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 comes with two solar panels the fold neatly like a book. Not only will the charger slip very comfortably into your bag but it also comes with a handy kickstand which helps you catch the sun easily. This solar charger does come on the more expensive end and for the price, you would hope for the best. Some users are reporting that the solar phone charger.

Pro's:
  • Comes with a kickstand for maximum sunlight optimization and natural shade for your device.
  • Easy to read LED lights show the level of charge
  • Smart charging to maximize charge
  • Simple folding design
Cons:
  • The charger is on the heavier side
  • Some users complain about a slow charging time
  • Pricey

3. RAVPower

Type:  Charging Panel | Weight: 15.9oz | Ports:  2 x USB

This solar charger has a clever foldable design that can help it fit into most bags. The USB solar charger is one of the most compact chargers on the market. The power output is efficient and the charger comes with smart charging to allow sufficient energy through the duo USB ports. This solar charger often sells out and we struggled to find any in stock at the moment, which can only mean good things.

Pro's:
  • One of the most compact chargers
  • Charge two devices at any one time
  • Highly efficient solar panel conversion
Cons:
  • Sells out often
  • Minor connection issues

4. BigBlue 28w 3 Solar Charger

Type:  Charging Panel | Weight: 21.5 oz | Ports:  3 x USB

As far as portable phone chargers go the BigBlue charger is a very handy charging panel full of solar juice. The BigBlue solar phone charger comes with plenty of accessories to ensure that you can easily connect your phone. As far as solar chargers go, the BigBlue can connect the most phones at one time. BigBlue is quite pricey but it seems that it is for good reason. Some compatibility issues are reported with this BigBlue portable solar charger, but not enough to cause worry.

Pro's:
  • Recently upgraded to improve performance
  • Charge three devices at any one time
  • High energy conversion
  • Comes with many BigBlue 28w accessories/charging wires
Cons:
  • Some users state that the device has compatibility issues with their phones.
  • More pricey than other chargers

5. Biolite Solar Panel 5+

Type:  Charging Panel | Weight: 3.53 oz | Ports:  1 x USB

This ultra-slim design portable solar charger is one of the lightest chargers on the list. It comes with an ingeniously integrated sundial that no other solar chargers come with. This means that you can easily find the best sunlight to ensure you get the best power source. This charger also sells out quite quickly so act fastly to get your hands on this.

Pro's:
  • Comes with the integrated sundial to find maximum sunlight
  • Ultra-slim design
  • The charge can be topped up using an electric supply
  • Rechargeable battery holds on to charge after the sun has gone down
Cons:
  • Sells out often
  • A small number of solar panels

6. Beartwo Portable Solar Charger

Type: Power Bank  | Weight: 7.4oz | Ports:  2 x USB

Being one of the only two power banks to make it onto the list, this small phone charger packs a punch. The USB solar charger comes along with an led light The dual USB ports mean that many phones can be charged at any time and it really shows why many people call this the best solar panel charger in the game.

Pro's:
  • Built-in mini LED flashlight
  • Fully waterproof design
  • Compact and portable design
  • Dual USB ports allow the charge of multiple phones together
Cons:
  • Sells out often
  • Slower charging times from the solar panels

7. Nektek 21W Solar Panel Charger

Type: Charging Panel  | Weight: 18oz | Ports:  2 x USB

This is the second Nektek Solar to make it on to the list and this is the slightly less powerful brother to our number 1 charger. Considering it has less wattage, it is still a fantastic portable solar charger. Not only does it fold up nicely, but it comes along with hand hooks to make the charger even more portable.

Pro's:
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Portable and foldable design
  • Advanced intelligent charging available
  • Comes with hooks for easy storage
Cons:
  • Not a budget option
  • Not necessarily beginner-friendly

8. Anker 21w Solar Panel Charger

Type:  Charging Panel  | Weight: 14.7oz | Ports:  2 x USB

This solar charger has an incredibly durable design that folds up just like the rest. The best part of this is the impressive level of electricity that can be produced by solar chargers. Not to be sniffed at this can be seen as one of the best solar chargers in the market with duo USB ports.

Pro's:
  • Incredibly durable design
  • Highly portable with a foldable design
  • Fast charging technology
Cons:
  • Does not hold charge away from the sun
  • Issues from users stating that they struggle to get a charge

9. Hiluckey Solar Charger

Type: Charging Panel   | Weight: 20.8 oz | Ports:  2 x USB

This solar charger is much more simple than some others on this list. There are no folding parts or excessive panels, but instead just a single panel to charge up your phone. This is certainly the best in terms of built-in lights with 9 lights included in the price. On a negative note, it is harder to point this one at the sun because of its unique design.

Pro's:
  • Battery pack included allowing charge away from the sun
  • Has 9 built-in lights for emergency lighting
  • Dual USB ports to charge multiple devices
  • Weatherproof and shockproof
Cons:
  • Sells out often
  • Not easy to stand at an angle to catch the sun

10.Nylon 294, LAO XUE

Type: Power Bank  | Weight: 15 oz | Ports:  USB/Type C and Wireless Charging

The last on our list is one of our other power banks. It comes in a very easily transported design which makes it one of the best solar chargers and battery packs around. What describes the best solar charger other than various ports for various phones, including USB, as well as including wireless charging. Power banks can often be in high demand and can sell out often.

Pro's:
  • Compact size for easy transportation
  • Comes with a wireless charger as well as three charge ports
  • Comes with an emergency flashlight
  • Can be charged using a plug socket
Cons:
  • Sells out often
  • More premium models available

Considerations for the best solar phone charger

Type

There are many different types of solar phone chargers currently out on the market. It can be really hard to work out which is best for you. Firstly, you need to try and understand what are you purchasing this solar phone charger for? Are you wanting to charge your phone purely from the sun and nothing else whilst you camp in the natural world for a few weeks? Or are you looking for a smaller, compact device that can top up your device during the day?

We break down the types of solar phone chargers into two categories. A charging panel and a power bank. Though these on the surface look like similar products, when we look deeper we can see that they achieve very different results.

A charging panel put its focus predominantly on the power output coming directly from the sun. These are essentially portable solar panels that you can fold up and take anywhere you like. Something to look out for when considering this type of solar phone charger is that some of them do not come with built-in batteries. This means that all the charge you get from the sun will soon disappear once the sun sets. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to find a charging panel that can also come with a battery that can save this problem and you can charge your phone to your heart’s content.

Alternatively, you can look at another type of solar phone charger which we class as a ‘power bank’. These are much smaller packs that are usually around the same size as your phone. As the surface area of the solar panels is much smaller, you cannot expect the same amount of solar power to charge your device. These devices have the ability to charge up the battery before you head out on to your adventure with the solar panels there just to keep topping it up throughout the day. This means that the battery life is extended beyond what a normal battery can do and you should get plenty of solar power to your phone.

Which suits you is purely down to how you are planning to use the solar charger and how often you will need to charge your phone.

Power Output

The amount of solar power your phone chargers can make should be a very important part of which charger you decide to purchase. Firstly, if you want your solar phone chargers to give out the best energy it can then you will want a solar charger with a sufficient amount of surface area on their solar panels. This will most likely mean looking into the charging panel category.

However, power output could have nothing to do with the amount of solar power the phone charger is getting. Instead, it could mean how much the charging speed the device can pump out that energy to your phone. The amount of solar energy the charger can create is almost useless if it cannot translate that to battery life on your phone.

This is why many solar charging panels and power banks with solar now come with smart technology that can understand what type of devices are attached and how much energy they need to work. This means that the charger doesn’t throw too much energy out to devices that don’t need it.

It is also worth noting how many devices you can charge at any time and if that would affect the power output.

Size

When picking your solar charging panel or power banks with solar it is worth understanding what size you are able to carry around with you. If you are going on a camping trip or at a festival site where you are carrying lots of tents and gadgets with you then you don’t really want to carry much more weight with you.

The different solar chargers come in many different shapes and sizes. For example, a power bank will most likely fit into your pocket or tuck away at the bottom of your bag. Whereas a solar charging panel will take up a lot more room in your bag and may feel heavier to carry. For example, the average weight of a power bank can range from around 3-9 ounces.

However, solar charging panels can have a much wider and sometimes heavier weight. Ranging from 3 ounces to over 20 ounces. Another thing to consider is the solar charging panels’ ability to hook on to things. A lot of users choose to hook their solar panel onto the back of their backpack so that it will charge their phones or devices and getting the maximum solar exposure.

Finally, when you are deciding on the size or your solar charger it is worth remembering that the size can have a big impact on how much power the solar panels will get from the sun. The bigger the surface area the more you will maximize the number of solar rays which will translate into more power for your phone. Therefore, it is definitely worth considering what size of solar charger you can fit into your packing plans and to think about how much power you will need. Can you take the extra weight and will it fit into your bags or pocket?

Compatibility

The final but possibly most important thing to note on your solar charger is if it is compatible with the types of phones and devices you are looking to charge. With there being many phone companies releasing devices with different charging ports it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a solar phone charger that can suit all needs.

One way most solar phone chargers are getting around this is by using a USB port that can plug in various different types of wires that can charge all types of phones. This can also be the same for a power bank but it is worth double-checking the specification when looking to purchase.

Because of the complicated technology involved in making a solar panel charger there are often further issues that can stop a phone from charging properly. It is therefore really important that you read the reviews and read handy guides like this one to check if there have been further reported issues. Sometimes a solar phone charger can have a fault, this does not necessarily mean that all of that same type are faulty. It is wise to check if there are multiple reports of the same issue, which may be a red flag notifying you that there could be a potential issue.

FAQs

How do solar phone chargers work?

The solar panels in your portable phone chargers or power bank are not too different from the solar panels you will find in someone’s house. The solar technology is very similar and exists in a smaller form than the solar panels you see on the roof.

Solar panels contain a thing we call Photovoltaic cells which have been specifically designed to absorb the solar energy that comes from the sun. This energy is then transformed into useable electricity by the solar panel. For solar panels to get the best solar energy it is necessary for the solar panel to be in direct sunlight. This way the solar panel can soak up the maximum amount of solar energy and can be transformed into the maximum amount of electricity.

How do I know if the solar phone charger is compatible with my phone?

Most solar chargers will give a handy list on the product description that will tell you if your phone is compatible with this particular solar charger. Most chargers come with a USB port which will help make it compatible with most phones and is often the best option. It is also worth exploring if your solar chargers come with smart technology that will ensure it charges your phone the correct amount. This is a very good way to tell if the charger will be compatible with your phone.

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