What Are The Top 5 Portable Solar Chargers?
The sun is the source of pure reliable solar energy. Solar-powered devices use an effective photovoltaic technology to convert light energy into direct electrical charge for powering batteries, to run calculators, watches, lights and similar mobile devices. We will look at the top 5 portable solar chargers for your on the move lifestyle.
Modern gadgets are regularly equipped with rechargeable batteries that can be charged using a solar-powered charger. Your laptop, iPad and cell phones can connect to these chargers.
With any one of the top 5 portable solar chargers, you can charge a backpack full of gadgets that have been integrated to work with this technology.
Solar chargers are not the one-size-fits-all solution: but they are available for different voltages. And you can buy a solar charger according to your gadget power requirement.
Most of the top 5 portable solar chargers come in battery capacities of 12, 24, and 36 volts.
There are also battery chargers as low as 3 volts that can be used to for charging a 6-volt NiCad cell phone battery.
How Solar Chargers Work
These portable solar panels convert light energy into electricity using a photovoltaic principle where light particles (called photons) impact layers of crystalline silicon, which cause electrons to move or flow. Solar panels produce electricity as direct current (DC).
The products below are all portable solar chargers but they have features that make them each different from the others.
Benefits Of The Top 5 Portable Solar Chargers
Disadvantages Of The Top 5 Portable Solar Chargers
Types of Solar Panels
There are three types of solar panels, each having advantages and disadvantages:
Understanding them may help understand whether features of your charger panels will affect the devices in particular lighting environments.
Features Of the Top 5 Portable Solar Chargers
Number of Devices
A key consideration for the right size of your charger is the number of devices you plan to charge using the solar charger. A charger with multiple USB ports will be able to charge several devices at the same time, thus saving time.
Take into account the number of devices being carried by you on your trip, and also the number of people going along with you with similar devices.
Compatibility With Other Devices
The charger you carry needs to be compatible with all the devices you intend to charge with it. Bear in mind what kind of devices you expect to charge, as it is possible one charger won't fit all things you carry or work well in all environments.
You might be able to help someone else if you have spare capacity or even borrow capacity from them. You don't want to be carrying around multiple chargers.
Solar Charger Ports
Some chargers recharge a device directly from the solar panel while others do it through an included rechargeable battery.
Select the type of charger that suits your needs.
Check to see if the solar charger has USB ports, micro USB ports or both types.
Depending on your needs, you can select from a 2.5 watts (for cell phones), 5 watts (for iPhones), 10 watts (for large-screen smartphones), or even 50 watts solar charger (for laptops).
Different chargers have different charging and re-charging time frames. The bigger panels usually provide more power more quickly.
Remember that portability and weight are important when planning to be on the move (hiking where you are charging your devices throughout the day on the go need lighter efficient chargers), or maybe bigger and less portable efficient charging for when you plan spending that time fishing and camping.
Look at the design of the charger and see whether you can fold it so it can be carried on or in a backpack.
And does it come with carabiners that enable you to hang it on your backpack while you move around to catch the sun while you walk?
Decide if you intend to actually use the solar charger while you are walking, hiking and moving about or will you be returning to a central camp location and charging the devices there.
When camping decide to buy a solar charger that is flexible and suits what you intend to use it for. Yes something small, lightweight and portable can power a mobile phone in direct sunlight. But that can take much longer to charge when moved in and out of the sunlight.
Likewise, when you think about the charger output, and the number of ports, how many gadgets will you actually need to take camping or hiking?
When you are out there doing the hiking trips, a good solar charger must-keep on going through all conditions.
That means waterproofing, dust proofing, and shock resistance are essential solar charger life extenders.
Solar Charger Accessories
Clamps for attaching the charger to trees, tents, and backpacks are an important accessory that makes it easy to charge the batteries while you are stationary.
Extra connection cables as part of the solar charger kit design can set one charger apart from the others.
Charge Interruption And Recovery
When chargers feature a power pack, which provides power when and if the light source is disrupted by shadow they continue charging and powering at the same time.
This is similar to an uninterruptible power backup battery, which keeps you powered up after the electricity flow fades or stops. Without this feature some chargers will need to be reset after a temporary disruption.
Solar Charger Speed
Charger speed is important!
When you have been hiking away from camp base, it's late in the day and particularly if your phone has lost charge while taking a million pictures or video, and you need to make this call, to provide information or to get help.
You may have a limited time to make the call (the sun is setting) and a fast charge speed is paramount to making the contact or not.
Top 5 Portable Solar Chargers
Wildtek Source 21W Waterproof Portable Solar Charger
The Wildtek Source 21W is compatible with most devices. It has dual USB ports which helps makes it one of the top 5 portable solar chargers.
It offers an incredibly quick charging time, as compared to most solar chargers available. This can be attributed to its efficient solar cells providing 21W of power.
Wildtek weighs in at 2.1 pounds making it a lightweight solar charger that is also foldable. You can lay it out flat while charging and fold it right back up for storage. Both these qualities make it easy to carry this charger in a backpack.
There is a built-in stand to help in setting up the charger at an angle as close to perfect to absorb as much sunshine as possible and therefore it's one of our best solar chargers for backpacking.
This charger has carabiners included which helps in clipping it to a backpack. So, you can charge your appliance on the go. Charging on the go is not going to be anywhere as efficient as positioning the charger into the sun in a fixed position and letting it do what it was designed to do.
However, it will work to charge a device while strapped onto a backpack while walking, albeit not as effectively as it would soaking up the rays on a rock in the open.
Wildtek chargers are both dust and waterproof.
X-DRAGON 20W SunPower Solar Panel Charger
These chargers prove that good things don’t always come for a huge price. Equipped with a super-sized 20W solar panel charger, the X-Dragon 20W SunPower can provide 5V2A (Amps) of power. With this capacity it can easily re-charge smartphones, tablets and some laptops.
It has a built-in 5V/2A charging port for a 5V gadget and an 18V DC output (18V/2A) for charging a laptop or other 18V powered devices.
This solar charger comes as a slim, compact and foldable power asset. Included carabiner that hooks directly to your backpack makes it easy to charge your phone while you are hiking.
The DRAGON has an incredible 22% - 25% efficiency. That is 50% higher than most panels. With this efficiency, it provides enough energy to charge your an iPhone and iPad (or android equivalents) at the same time.
This charger scores well on all parameters like output, portability, and an extremely reasonable price. It is a great solar charger for backpacking and presenting as the best portable solar panels for camping.
Voltaic Arc 10 Watt Solar Laptop Charger Kit
This portable solar charger is powerful and yet light weight enough for taking hiking. It also folds up so you can store it when not in use making it the best portable solar powerbank.
The Voltaic Arc 10W solar charger kit is waterproof and scratch-resistant, a backpacking solar charger that offers this great benefit when you carry it on hiking trips. This unit is an ideal portable solar panels for camping.
You can charge your iPhones, iPad or androids equivalents directly from the sun or if they are fully charged store the electricity in the 15V battery pack for later use.
This power pack gives you access to power to recharge your electronic devices after the sunset or when it isn't shining as brightly.
As long as you charge the battery when it is sunny, whether you do that hiking or leave it attached to a tent during the day, you can charge your phone when you stop for the night.
Jetsun Solar Charger 16750mAh Portable Solar Power Bank
The Jetsun Solar's best feature is its 16,750 mAh battery and compact solar panel.
It comes with dual USB output ports which can charge your cell phone and another device at the same time.
There is a built-in LED light that serves as a nightlight and an indicator that shows you the amount of charge left in the power bank. It is a perfect companion for campers, a fantastic portable solar charger for camping.
The Jetsun Solar charger 16750mAh scores well with campers having standard features like waterproofing, shock proofing, and dust proofing.
It takes between 8 and 10 hours to charge it's battery but in turn it can recharge a completely discharged smartphone in two hours.
Campers like its portability, durability and price relative to the top 5 solar chargers.
Rockpals 100W Portable Folding Solar Charger
The Rockpals 100W holds top place for users 5 star feedback rating putting it in the top 5 portable solar chargers because it is a water-resistant solar panel suited to most weather conditions. This durable solar charger that pumps out a massive 100W is ideal for outdoor activities such as camping, climbing, hiking and picnics.
The Rockpals 100W comes with USB charging ports that detect your device, and provides its fastest possible charging speed up to 2.4A per port.
When unfolded the dimensions of the Rockpals 100W are 21.60 inches x 15.20 inches x 2.50 inches which is a bit too long a size for attaching the charger panel to your backpack while you are walking.
And at 10.8 lbs it's kind of heavy for a folding solar panel, a bit of weight when attaching to a backpack with hooks.
Portable Solar Charger vs Portable with Battery Pack
If you buy a portable solar charger like the Jetsun Solar you will get a small portable charger with an internal battery pack. They give you a charge during their hike but need putting onto a power socket in the evening.
The portable fold out solar charger is ideal for someone like an engineer who might spend time in a vehicle working and talking over the issues. While you do that fold out the solar panels and lay the charger panels in the windscreen on top of the dashboard and charge the device of choice.
As a civil engineer myself I know no engineers who strap one of these charging panels on their back while they walk around or survey the area.
It's much easier and more convenient to fold out a solar charger like the Rockpals 100W or the 20W X-Dragon and charge a phone, GPS or battery pack brick while it is positioned under the solar panels resting on the windscreen. You can work in the field while the batteries are being charged. A solar charger will re-energise the Jetsun solar battery pack while the vehicle is parked in the sun.
For day hikes, a battery pack has plenty of power for your phone, GPS and camera too. If you get a battery pack to attach to your solar charger find a battery pack with sufficient capacity so you won’t drain it after only one gadget has been plugged into it. A standard compact, lightweight power pack could charge an iPhone X twice.
With thin film solar innovation we have choices that include the rollable solar panel chargers that can be rolled around the battery tube. I have not used those products but they present a portable alternative to the multiple fold panels reviewed above.
Portable chargers can be rolled and carried comfortably in a backpack and is easy to set up. Apart from the comfort of carrying it, the rollable solar panel is easy to pull out, set up and put away. One is pictured below.
The material used in these chargers allows the panel to fold like a sleeping bag. These solar chargers are made to allow flexibility.
I hope we can help you choose a portable solar charger.
Our recommendation for the best charger is the Rockpals 100W, mainly because of its capacity.
It is bigger and a heavier than the others, and possibly an unfair comparison when all the other panels are in the 20W range.
There is a Rockpals 30W solar charger option with three panels.
The compatible battery bank with our preferred 100W solar charger is the Jetsun Solar charger 16750mAh because it will hold power in the after hours that it received while sitting on your dashboard. These two devices will work together and separately.
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