Portable Solar Panel Buying Guide

Categories: Review and Solar PV Panels.

Portable Solar Panel Buying Guide Helps Your Search

Portable solar panel buying guide shows the renewable technologies have grown in popularity.

You can have portable solar panels for home, portable solar panels for camping, portable solar panel for caravan use and portable solar panel for RV and the good news is that the same panels can be used in all places.

Portable solar panel

That’s partially because everyone is looking at staying connected, no matter where they are in the world.

When people go camping, hiking or boating they still want to be connected to the outside world.

People have lots of reasons for wanting to stay, they may need to stay into touch with their job/business, or they just want to post their crazy pictures of life’s adventures.

Portable panels do a great job of doing they are designed to do, they provide portable energy. 

Portable Solar Panel Kit for Camping

Portable solar panel buying guide

Portable Solar Panels for RV 

Portable solar panel

Although it would be great to cut ties with all electronic devices, sometimes people escape from their hassles of the connected world unintentionally. The portable solar panel buying guide provides information in a summary list.


Your phone or iPad or computer batteries will lose charge and the particular device will die. A portable solar panel will recharge your batteries and reconnect you to the World Wide Web.


 Having a portable solar panel will let you do two things at once; escape for the weekend while being available for work, friends or family. Isolation may not be your thing.


Okay, the desire to stay connected might be a small part of why you are here! It’s understandable that before you spend your hard earned cash you will want to find the best portable solar panel for your needs. That may be in the form of a portable solar panel kit, which can become the portable solar panels for home, camping, RV, caravan or mobile home.


This portable solar panel buying guide has five mini reviews of great portable backpack solar products to help you plus three mini reviews of great portable RV solar panel kits; products that we feel are worth you having a look at. 

Why Should You Use A Portable Solar Panel Buying Guide?

If you are not sure if you need a portable solar panel, let us explain why these new gadgets are so handy. These gadgets are easy to set up and super easy to use. There are two sizes in portable solar panels: the RV portable roadside charging solar panels and the personal backpack carry type. No assembly is required.


Once you open up the solar charger kit you simply position it facing the sun. Secure it by attaching it to something so it will not blow away or fall in the water. That way you can do something else while the sun and solar panel do their job.


It is important to choose the right quality portable solar panel. You want to have all your gadgets power up when you need them. You want to charge up all of your electronic devices while the sun shines; everything that requires being charged.


It’s sensible to do some research on the portable solar panels that are available before you buy. Portable solar items can range from tens of dollars up to several hundred dollars, so, I hope this article helps you choose.

Features For Choosing The Best Portable Solar Panel

The portable solar panel buying guide lists some portable recharging gadgets that might be new to the market; but you are reading this so you may have already seen them being used.


It's tempting to rush out and invest, but do your research. This portable solar panel buying guide will help your search in some product information.


Decide on the electronic items that you will want to charge. Usually you avoid taking too many electronic appliances on holiday. While you are away hiking, camping in your trailer or out on your boat why load up with electronic gear?


Electronic gear needs to be useful and working. Mobiles help to capture the moment; laptops are there for email and entertainment. This portable solar panel buying guide suggests that the portable solar panel's capacity will mostly determine what gear gets charged. Set up whatever best suit your needs. So here are some things that you’ll want to consider. Decide what gadgets you will take on holiday and their charge requirement before you pull out the credit card to purchase your portable solar panel.


If you’re ever going to use the solar charger on a boating trip make sure the gear resists water. Many solar kits say they are waterproof but it depends on how you are going to use it. Yes, kits can be rain resistant but if they are used over water it’s really important to be waterproof.


Make sure the panel cell is efficient. Both Polycrystalline & Monocrystalline solar cell systems work well. But a smaller portable solar panel is more portable than a larger one. The smaller the cell, the more efficient it needs to be. Usually a Monocrystalline cell has better efficiency so they can be made smaller.


A better or higher solar cell efficiency means you need less panel area to achieve a given wattage output. The best portable solar panels for camping might be different to the best portable solar panels for hiking. Your hiking experience might be better with a mobile phone with a good inbuilt camera that sits on your belt but a solar charger that isn't light weight and easy to carry is likely to stay at the car or tent site.

Carrying Your Portable Solar Panel

Some portable solar panels are flexible and easy to pack away. That is useful when you want to move the panels.


This portable solar panel buying guide proposes that your solar panel kit should at least be foldable to make it a manageable size.


Most portable solar units come with a storage bag provided. Some portable solar panels fold up to a suitcase-sized box. Others fold or roll up and fit into a bag with handles.


Some portable solar panels are small enough that you can fold or roll them into a backpack. Some personal panels even attach to the outside of your backpack to charge your phone while you are hiking.

Size Of The Portable Solar Panel

One personal portable panel may be used for charging a phone, tablet, computer or rechargeable battery. They only need a panel and a USB port. Maybe you want two solar panels if you are charging your phone and a tablet.


When it comes to charging your laptop computer or a similar sized battery you might have to look at using a bigger portable solar panel.

  • Battery – if you are charging a battery make sure that the system comes with an external controller. We suggest you get it with an HQST 20A PWM Controller.
  • Make sure there is a built in Ammeter in the panel or attach an external one to read the power being converted from the sunlight.


The size (wattage) of the portable solar panel will depend on what you’re preparing for re-charging. A lightweight portable solar panel on a backpack should be enough if you want to top up your mobile phone.


If you expect to recharge your car battery, or the battery for a boat, you will need a larger system. It can still be portable but it's not going to be the size you want to carry any distance. Running the appliances in an RV while you’re camped in an off-road site will need some extra panel area. That’s especially true if you want some charge in a battery bank for after sundown use later.

Portable Solar Panel Weight

A lightweight portable solar panel can be as light as a half a pound. The larger portable models can weigh up to 30 pounds.


Weight matters when you’re carrying anything from place to place. Most people prefer the small light portable solar panels when they are hiking. The same applies if you need to be manually moving portable solar panels for RV use from your vehicle to the site to set them up and later when the campsite is being cleared, moving them again to storage.


The more efficient the panels, the lighter the panels can be. Lighter panels are so much better for moving around.


The weight won’t matter as much if you have the panels attached to your RV or can be unpacked from the RV and set up to close to where you stop.


To charge your battery you unfold it, plug it in and lean the panels back on its support frame. The same set up goes for charging or operating any appliances. 


If you are buying a portable solar panel for charging a battery on your boat, or for using near water, make sure that you get a marine grade system.

Capacity And Wattage

Everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck!


No one wants to be paying for something that they don’t need. There is no extra benefit from buying a system that is too big.


Bigger costs more, takes up more space and will need care and maintenance. Take a look through the reviews in the portable solar panel buying guide. There are links in the reviews to pricing.


If you are unsure about how much wattage you need from your portable solar panel, list out the wattage of the things you are going charge with it. Then, consider the largest wattages items that would be charged together. Add wattages for the multiple items needing a re-charge at the same time.


If the most items you can charge in a group is 4, due to the number of outlets, add their wattages and find the charger that has a capacity slightly larger than that number.


Small Portable Solar Chargers - Recommendations

Hopefully, you know more about what you are looking for in regard to portable solar chargers. The reviews provide some guide as to quality and service you might expect from the portable solar device. The star rating provides an indicator for customer satisfaction from validated purchasers. A table in this portable solar panel buying guide should make comparisons easier.

Below are our top five choices in small personal portable solar panels for charging. These are the best portable solar panels for tent camping and often used for hiking, or use in a small boat to charge small portable things on the go. Our selection preference is the Apollo 2 Poweradd and then in the order of listing below but each person has a different reason for buying a charger so extend beyond as necessary. 

Portable solar panel buying guide

Each experience of camping will depend on where you go, what gear you take, who you go with and how long you are out with nature. I can't know these things for your hike but the selections below may help. For more information click on your preferred panel name below to see the review article of that portable solar recharging panel.

Poweradd Apollo 2 Portable Solar Panel

Features

  • The Poweradd Apollo 2 Solar Charger  is an upgraded solar charger that delivers a fast charging speed. The maximum output of dual ports is 3.4 amps
  • Ample Power Supply - 12000mAh power bank puts 4.5 charges into an iPhone 6s, or 3 charges into a Samsung Galaxy S5, and more than one charge to an iPad Mini
  • Outdoor Compact Design - The housing is built-with IPX7 waterproof material. That ensures the Apollo 2 works in rainy days 
  • It is shockproof and dust-proof 
  • The hook included makes it easy to hang on your backpack
  • Adjustable LED Flashlight - Built-in dual LED lights. There are 3 light modes, including an SOS function in an emergency

RAVPower 24W Solar Charger

RAVPower 24W

Features

  • The Solar Charger RAVPower 24W  Solar Panel with Triple USB Ports Waterproof Foldable for Smartphones Tablets and Camping Travel is field reliable: it’s durable and waterproof. Constructed with waterproof nylon and equipped with four hooks to hang anywhere
  • Packaged with two micro-USB cables for added convenience
  • Signature Solar Cells: 24W Sunpower solar charging technology gives 21.5% - 23.5% efficiency of charging
  • Easy To Carry: Half the weight of similar solar chargers but equal in power
  • All three USB ports are equipped with iSmart technology, which automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for connected devices; up to 2.4A per port or 4.8A overall when used under direct sunlight
  • Triple Port Power: Smart IC frequency technology detects and evenly distributes output current to all three USB ports ensuring every device is evenly charged

The BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charger Panel 

BigBlue 5V 28W

Features


Built-in Ammeter and Chip:

  • The solar charger has a digital ammeter that shows the amount of Amps present
  • The internal chip assures a stable charge rate

Wide Compatibility:

  • There is an attached micro USB cable for almost all the Android devices and some of the digital single-lens reflex cameras
  • You will need extra cables for other device types

Safe Charge:

  • SunPower Solar Panels with high solar conversion efficiency

The BigBlue Solar Energy Charger is Lightweight:

  • It’s easy to carry when folded. It is the size and thickness of a magazine

Robust Design:

  • Used for trekking, hiking, climbing, picnics, etc
  • Ideal for outdoor activities needing power such as camping, boating, fishing, etc

Special PET Polymer Surface:

  • This protects your solar panel and your devices from occasional rain or wet fog
  • Waterproof to IPX4 level. (i.e. resistant to water splashes from any direction)
  • Keep it away from water when you have any devices on charge

Package & Warranty:

  • BigBlue uses industrial-strength PET polymer fabric
  • 24-month warranty on the complete package

The Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit with Nomad 7 Solar Panel

Goal Zero Venture 30

Features

The Goal Zero Venture 30 is a high capacity, powerful battery.  It is linked with the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel making it a rugged, durable, weatherproof Solar Recharging Kit. You can charge both a phone and tablet from its solar panel or the Venture 30 battery.


The Pros

Goal Zero understands what most backpackers want from their Venture 30 battery.


The Goal Zero Venture 30 battery has these features:  

  • Three USB ports (two standard and one micro)
  • A built in cable that won't tangle, and it is removable
  • Light weight unit that's right sized for a backpack
  • Enough battery storage for two smart phone charges
  • Field reliable: rugged and waterproof

The Goal Zero Venture 30

  • is easy to use, and it does a great job fully charging two iPhone 6s daily

The Cons

  • The power bank has a rugged well-engineered hard plastic shell combined with rubber bumpers. The unit is IPX6 rated for water resistance (it’s not submersible but can handle splashes and rain)
  • The USB ports are IPX6 also rated as water and dust resistant. Of course in a field of dust you'd clean them out before plugging something in
  • The Venture 30 is a 30 Watt hour or 7,800mAh power bank that is more expensive than similar capacity rivals. If you like it and intend buying one, check for deals.

Renogy E.Flex 5W Portable Solar Panel

Renogy E Flex 5W

Pros

  • It uses automatic charge optimization to recover from reduced power that is caused by shade.
  • When you're back in the sun your E.Flex5W Plus will automatically determine your charging requirements.
  • Lightweight and very slim
  • Water-resistant
  • Different mounting options - comes with two carabineers & four suction cups
  • Compatible with any USB device
  • Overcharge Protection
  • You can charge any portable USB device with this portable solar power source!
  • No pocket, no protective cover for panels, single USB port

Cons

  • E.Flex5W Plus will stop charging when the sun is not shining on the surface of the whole panel
  • It has a very small surface area covered with solar cells
  • This portable solar panel has no pocket, and no protective cover for panels
  •  It has only a single USB port
  • No built in battery


  • Product Dimensions          10.3 x 6.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Item Weight                         5.6 ounces

Portable Solar Panel Buying Guide - 100w Panels

The Portable solar panel buying guide also lists the large panels as well as the portables. Below are our top three choices in portable solar panels for charging electronics and batteries. These are the portable charger panels that you might use for outdoor camping with an RV or van.

Portable Solar Panels

Our selection preference is in order of listing below and again each person has a different reason for buying a panel.

HQST 100 Watt 12-Volt Portable Foldable Solar Panel

HQST 100 Watt 12volt portable solar panel

Features

The HQST 100 watt 12-volt solar panel understands what campers want from their charge station.


It has these features:

  • Anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron-tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance
  • IP65 rated junction box provides complete protection against environmental particles and low-pressure water jets
  • High module conversion efficiency. Ideal output: 500Wh per day (depending on the availability of sunlight)
  • Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments
  • Advanced encapsulation material with multilayered sheet laminations to enhance cell performance and provide a long service life

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volt Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts

Features

Here is a solar charger kit that is an all-in-one unit:

  • Two pieces of Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volt Monocrystalline solar panel: A folding solar panel suitcase
  • Compact design makes it very portable and versatile. Ideal output: 500-watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • Comes with adjustable corrosion resistant aluminium stand, heavy-duty handle, latches for longevity, and protective casing
  • 30A built-in 4-stage solar charge controller provides overcharge protection, reducing fire risk
  • Perfect for 12-volt battery charging or multiple panels can be wired in series for 24/48-volt battery charging
  • The panel will withstand high wind loads (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa)
  • Advanced encapsulation material with multilayered sheet laminations to enhance cell performance and provide a long service life
  • Anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron-tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance

Portable Solar Charger;  ACOPower 12V 105W Foldable Solar Panel

ACOPOWER 12V 105W Foldable Solar Panel

Features

  • Conversion Efficiency: ACOPower 12V 105W Foldable Solar monocrystalline photovoltaic panels from Sunpower - the solar conversion efficiency panel up to 23.5%
  • Multi-purpose: this portable solar panel kit charges 12 Volts lead acid batteries including Sealed, Flooded, GEL and AGM, which mostly serve in boats, cars, RV and campers
  • USB 5V output for phones/USB devices, the charge controller is removable for power bank or generator with regulator itself
  • Highly Portable: ultra lightweight of 7.9 lbs, ultra compact of folding size 22.05x17.32 inch with 50.39x22.05 inch unfolding film surface
  • Outdoor Durability: weather-resistant, water-resistant, industrial-strength PET polymer laminated
  • ACOPower 12V 105W Foldable Solar has 12 month material and workmanship warranty
  • Pre-wired Solar for RV or Camper

This is the perfect charging pack to add a quick recharge anywhere there is sunlight.


Portable Solar Panel Kit - Wash Up

Your experience of camping will depend on where you go, who you go with, what gear you take to use and how long you are out mixing it with nature.


Find your panel choice for portable solar panels in the tables below and use the buttons to see a review of the solar panel kits described and check the price at Amazon.

Portable Solar Panels: RV Portable Standard

Portable Solar Panels: The Backpack Standard

Enjoy camping with the convenience of portable solar panel kits for camping. Being equipped with your portable solar backup, your gadgets will continue to provide a useful service without the yards of extension cord to the RV plug in point.


We hope this Portable solar panel buying guide has been useful.


Feel free to share it and pass on the information, and share your experiences with these portable solar chargers in the comment box below.

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