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Best Solar Charger [2019]

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger
  • Up To 4.8A And 24 Watts Of Output In Full Sunlight
  • Can Power Three Devices At One Time
  • Foldable And Portable


With the ability to charge up to three devices at one time, the RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger is hard to bet against. Even though it doesn’t have a built-in battery, you won’t need it if there is a little bit of sun.

RAVPower Solar Charger
  • Built-In 10,000mAh Battery
  • Overcharging And Overcurrent Protection
  • Supplies Power To iPhone XR Up To 3.3 Times


With its small size, built-in battery, and the ability to charge multiple devices at one time, the RAVPower Solar Charger offers easily the best value on our list.

SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger
  • 100-Watt Maximum Power Output
  • Foldable, Portable Design
  • Multiple Connection Options


If you want power, then you want the SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger. It cranks out a mind-blowing 100 watts of power to multiple devices from smartphones to laptops.

How We Picked

It’s 2019 and technology has evolved tremendously over the years. In the past, you had to have large, bulky batteries (think “D” batteries) to run anything – thank God we are past that! Now, we have batteries that last forever and barely take up any space. However, some devices still drain batteries extremely fast. Smartphones, portable speakers, portable lighting devices are just a few of the products we are thinking of.

Keeping these devices charged can be hard. They pull a ton of power and can leave you hanging in a matter of minutes. If only you had something to keep it powered up, even when you aren’t near a charging port/power outlet.

A solar charger doesn’t need a power outlet, just sunlight. You can use a solar charger at home, work, or on the road. When you want to keep your portable devices charged, this is the way to go. If you think ahead, you can keep all of your portable battery banks filled and then have a solar charger as a backup if you somehow manage to drain all of your extra battery banks.

Today, we are going to look at the best solar chargers currently on the market. We look beyond the marketing jargon to see what features actually matter. We’ll explain what we used for ranking each, what we like, and even try to answer the most commonly asked questions too. Our goal is to help you find the perfect solar charger for your needs.

iBose Solar Phone Charger

iBose Solar Phone Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: Yes
  • Charging Ports: 2
  • Weight: 13.4 Ounces

iBose has developed into a trustworthy brand in the electronics market. In the past, they were considered budget-only options, but now they have the reliability metrics that make them highly desirable.

iBose Solar Phone Charger and power bank

The first solar charger on our list is built for the smartphone/tablet user that needs a lot of extra juice when away from a power socket. It is extremely portable, with a multi-fold design that makes it perfect for hikers, bikers, and campers. When folded up, it is only 6.1” x 3.1” x 0.9” inches.

iBose Solar Phone Charger used for camping

When folded out, it has four solar panels and a built-in battery that stores a massive 10,000mAh; the battery bank can be removed if desired. Power output is capped at 3.5w but it managed by a built-in IC that will automatically detect the device you are using and regulate the power output accordingly (helps to prevent overcharging).

Other features include a built-in LED flashlight with SOS functionality (great for emergencies), detachable power bank, waterproofing, padded carrying case, plus a compass and hook to keep you going the right way. The LED flashlight has three different lighting modes (strobe, steady, SOS) to help you navigate when the lights go out and the strobe feature can be used to disorient attackers (animal or human). And finally, it is protected by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty through iBose.

What We Like

This is great for anyone who stays outdoors a lot. It has a built-in battery that can store up to 10,000mAh while providing 3.5w of power at full charge. It has two charging ports that are controlled by an IC to prevent overcharging, no matter what device is connected. The built-in flashlight also provides an extra layer of protection for those who might get caught outside after the lights go out.

Overall

If you want a solar charger that can keep your smartphone and/or tablet running, this is it. Equipped with four solar panels, you’ll be able to supply up to 3.5w of juice when the sun is out. If the sun goes down, you still have power with the built-in battery pack. It’s extremely small when folded up and comes with a bevy of features that absolutely crushes higher-priced solar chargers.

iBose Solar Phone Charger

  • Feature-Packed, Budget-Friendly
  • 3.5w Total Power Output
  • 10,000mAh Battery

RAVPower Solar Charger

RAVPower Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: Yes
  • Charging Ports: 2
  • Weight: 9.9 Ounces

The next brand is a little of an unknown, but they make up for the unknown with their massive warranty. For those worried about the brand, the reviews easily make up any fears you may have.

RAVPower Solar Charger

This next charger finds a way to keep everything nice and compact, with a footprint of only 6.9” x 3.4” x 0.6”. It does not fold up but rather is protected by a heavy rubberized outer. It looks bold with an orange and black outer that makes it stand out, but not in a bad way. This is another solar charging option that is great for hikers, bikers, and campers. It can easily be tucked away into a purse or backpack and weighs almost nothing.

RAVPower Solar Charger for backpacking

It only has one solar panel that is built directly into the face of the charger. Power output is limited to 2A with no mention of wattage. It does have a charging port that helps to fill the battery up before going out and using the solar feature as a backup. At the top of the charging panel are four LED indicators that identify how much power the charger still has; you’ll never be caught off guard with a dead battery.

Other features include a built-in LED flashlight, rubberized outer cover, solar charging indicator, four battery indicator LEDs, overcharge protection, overcurrent protection, short circuit protection, a built-in battery, and more. The warranty covers this solar charger for up to 30 months (18 + 12 months after registration).

What We Like

This is an extremely small solar charger that gives you plenty of power without weighing more or taking up a lot of space. It’s protected by a soft rubber outer and the color scheme is “woodsy” too. It has a built-in battery that can fill up an iPhone XR 3.3 times on one charge (without using the solar charging feature). The built-in battery indicator is a nice touch too!

Overall

If a folding solar charger isn’t on your list, this might be the next best thing. The RAVPower Solar Charger has plenty of juice with its 10,000mAh battery. The footprint is minimal and it barely weighs anything. What really makes this stand out is the 30-month warranty which crushes the competitors.

RAVPower Solar Charger

  • Built-In 10,000mAh Battery
  • Overcharging And Overcurrent Protection
  • Supplies Power To iPhone XR Up To 3.3 Times

JETSUN Solar Charger

JETSUN Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: Yes
  • Charging Ports: 2
  • Weight: 11.0 Ounces

If a 10,000mAh battery isn’t enough for you, then the JETSUN Solar Charger will make you happy. It’s equipped with a 16,750mAh battery that dwarfs the previous two chargers we’ve looked at.

JETSUN Solar Charger

It’s still fairly small with a footprint of 6.3” x 3.3” x 0.9” which means it does a better job of storing all that power (more expensive battery; better technology). The outside looks like a miniaturized taser with a rugged black case with a dash of blue around the inner bezel. The front of the solar charger has two LED lights which can be used to light the path in front of you if the sun goes down on your fun.

JETSUN Solar Charger and accessories

There is only one solar panel built-in, but it puts out a max of 1.8w from that single panel. It can be charged using a DC 5A/1A charging cable before you go out if you don’t want to depend on sunlight for extra juice. The dual-USB ports are capable of providing up to 5V at 2.1A per side which is more than enough for most high-drain devices like an iPhone or Galaxy Note. At the top of the charging panel are four LED lights to indicate how much power you still have left.

 

Other features include a built-in LED flashlight with three lighting modes, a heavy-duty and waterproof outer cover, charging indicator, battery life indicator, and a high-capacity LI-Polymer battery. As for warranty, this is one of the only solar chargers on our list that gives you a lifetime warranty!

What We Like

Even though it is small, it manages to pack in a TON of battery juice. It comes with the ability to recharge using a DC cord (takes around eight hours) and provides 1.8w of power when disconnected.

Overall

If you chew through battery juice like a ravaged bear in a camper’s tent, then you’ll love the JETSUN Solar Charger. It’s got a massive battery that holds 16,750mAH of juice for all of your devices. It is waterproof and shockproof, with a rugged outer that looks industrial. Making it even more impressive is the LIFETIME warranty that almost no one else can/will match.

Sale
JETSUN Solar Charger

  • Massive 16,750mAh Battery
  • 2 Ultra-Bright LEDs For Nighttime Navigation
  • Can Provide Power To Two Devices Simultaneously

ALLPOWERS 18-Volt 5-Watt Solar Charger

ALLPOWERS 18-Volt 5-Watt Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: No
  • Charging Ports: 1
  • Weight: 1.65 Pounds

While we like portable chargers than can keep our phones working, there is something to be said about having a charger that will keep your car and/or boat battery charged. This is not as compact as the others on our list; its footprint is 13.4” x 5.2” x 1.4” and it cannot be rolled up. However, that extra space gives the ability to convert more sunlight into power. In fact, this charger can blast out 5 watts of power at up to 18 volts!

ALLPOWERS 18-Volt 5-Watt Solar Charger and accessories

As this isn’t designed to work with phones, it uses a different type of cabling/connection. To make this work, you can connect it straight to your battery using red/black clamps or you can use a cigarette adapter inside of your vehicle. It is equipped with a specialized diode that protects from battery discharge so you can leave it connected day and night. It comes with suction cups to mount it inside of your vehicle for all-day charging.

ALLPOWERS 18-Volt 5-Watt Solar Charger in a car

While it’s focused on the ability to keep your car battery charged, this will also work for boats, ATVs, lawn equipment, water equipment, and more. If it has a battery, you can charge it as long as the sun is out. And finally, we can’t leave out the fact that this is covered by an 18-month warranty.

What We Like

Though it does not have a battery, it can pump out a TON of power. This is weatherproof (some rain), just not waterproof (don’t drop it in the water). The included accessories really make this a great value option for anyone worried about the chance of their battery going dead.

Overall

Even though this isn’t built for portable devices, it is built to keep you safe when you are away from large cities and landmarks. Enjoy the outdoors without worrying about a dead battery. Take the boat out, drive a little further, enjoy life! This charger will make sure that you have enough juice (as long as the sun is out) with its 5-watt, 18-volt maximum output!

Sale
ALLPOWERS 18-Volt 5-Watt Solar Charger

  • Ultra-Efficient Solar Panels
  • High-Output Power Discharge For Fast Charging
  • Built-In Diode To Protect From Reverse Discharge For All Day/Night Connections

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: No
  • Charging Ports: 3
  • Weight: 21.0 Ounces

The next solar charger on our list is built for multiple devices with TONS of power to work with.

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger and smartphone

Folded up, this only takes 11.8” x 6.5” x 0.2”. While we do break away from portable device charging, we are back on the “horse” so-to-speak. This folds up nicely for easy portability but gives you even more juice than all of the others on our list so far.

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger

This solar charger uses flexible solar panels that are extremely efficient, providing up to 24 watts of power in full sunlight. All three USB charging ports are equipped with iSmart technology, so they don’t overcharge or send too much current to your device. Each port can provide up to 4.8A of charging capacity.

 

One thing we don’t like is the fact that there is no built-in battery. And finally, this comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

What We Like

If you travel in groups, the high-power output is perfect. With 24 watts of juice and up to 4.8A of discharge, all of your devices will charge quickly and safely. The included iSmart technology ensures a clean charge without any chance of overcharging.

Overall

This is the second RAVPower product mentioned on our list. Even though they aren’t a well-known brand, they are proving to be a juggernaut in the solar power industry. If size isn’t as important, then you’ll love this powerhouse. The only negative that we have is the lack of a built-in battery.

RAVPower 24-Watt Solar Charger

  • Up To 4.8A And 24 Watts Of Output In Full Sunlight
  • Can Power Three Devices At One Time
  • Foldable And Portable

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: No
  • Charging Ports: 2
  • Weight: 13.4 Ounces

Anker is one of the most respected and trustworthy brands in the charging market. They’ve developed some of the most powerful charging devices on the market right now and this folding solar charger is no exception.

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger

Folded, it has a footprint of 11” x 6.3”. Unfolded, it has a footprint of 18.1” x 11”. It is designed to hook to backpacks and over-the-shoulder setups. Power is distributed to two USB ports with a maximum output of 2.4A. It does not include a battery, so power is fully dependent on sunlight.

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger in the sun

It is encased in a polyester canvas and protected by an industrial-strength PET polymer to protect the screen from cracks and water. One other feature worth mentioning is the built-in pocket that can hold your smartphones safely inside.

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger on backpack

To finish it out, this is covered by an 18-month warranty.

What We Like

Even though it doesn’t have a built-in battery, it can easily power two massive smartphones. With up to 21 watts of power and 2.4A per USB port, you’ll easily have enough juice when the sun is out. The ability to hang/hook the solar charger over your shoulder/on your backpack makes this an ultra-convenient charging option.

Overall

Anker absolutely crushes it with this solar charger. While it may not be equipped with its own built-in battery, it can easily supply power to two larger smartphones or tablets. With one of the smallest footprints for such a massive output, this is easily one of the best solar charging options on our list.

Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Solar Charger

  • 2.4A, Dual-USB Connection
  • 21-Watt Maximum Power Output
  • Compact, Three-Panel Design with Storage Pocket

SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger

SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger

Specs:

  • Built-In Battery: No
  • Charging Ports: 1
  • Weight: 7.3 Ounces

Finishing out our list, we wanted to slip this one in. It breaks a few of our rules, but it’s an absolute beast. For the on-the-go elites who have to have power everywhere, this is it! This is built to power everything from a smartphone to a laptop, with power to spare.

SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger folded up

It is fairly massive with a footprint of 21.5” x 1.2” x 21.3” inches – it is not small! However, it puts out a whopping 100 watts of power in full sunlight. This is more than enough for most laptops and that’s what it was built for. It comes equipped with one USB port that can provide 5V at 2A and a DC port that can provide 18V at 5A. Included with it are multiple DC cables to send power down the line as needed; you can buy other DC jacks if needed.

 

Other features include TIR-C Technology that protects from reverse charges, overcharging protection, overvoltage protection, overheating protection, and it’s waterproof too! Even better, it is equipped with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.

What We Like

This is the most powerful option on our list. At 100 watts, nothing else even comes close. It works with USB devices and even DC-powered devices. If you are an on-the-go workaholic, this will make your office as portable as you need. Now all you need to do is make sure you have a good cellular hotspot and the world is your new office.

Overall

Solar power charging has come a long way. This 100-watt solar charger is what dreams are made of. If you want power for ages, then you cannot skip past this one. While it may be a little big (and a little heavy), you’ll love how much power it has. It works in low-light conditions and gives you more than enough juice. Now, where do you want to go today?

SUAOKI 100-Watt Solar Charger

  • 100-Watt Maximum Power Output
  • Foldable, Portable Design
  • Multiple Connection Options

Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Solar Chargers

Knowing what to look for in a solar charger can help you avoid buyer’s remorse later down the road. Companies pay a lot to market their products to you. They use a ton of marketing terms to convince you that they have the best products. We cut through all of the mumbo-jumbo and focus only on what actually matters.

Size / Weight / Portability

When we look at solar chargers, we expect them to be portable and easy to transport. There are larger, more powerful solar chargers, but they tend to be less convenient. We expect most people will want to use these while they are outside (away from power outlets). As such, we think that the size, weight, and overall portability matter the most.

Looking at the best solar chargers, the smaller it is, the better. However, we still want them to be able to supply our devices with plenty of juice. So, we still want it to be small, but not too small. For us, anything under 10” x 5” with a depth of 3” is perfect (especially if it folds out).

As for weight, we don’t want to feel like we are lugging around a brick. If it weighs that much, we are probably going to walk away from it. Instead, we want something that will feel more like a few large smartphones (less than three pounds). The heavier it is, the more it will weigh us down on treks out in the woods and at the beach.

And finally, it has to be portable. Some solar chargers are very large and bulky; these are not on our list. The more it focuses on portability, the more we want it. If it folds up and/or shrinks down, this is more what we want. If it can fit into a purse, backpack, or duffle bag – that’s what we want.

Power Output

Most of the solar chargers on our list will be able to power a large smartphone or tablet without any problem. However, there are a few that will be able to power a small laptop when exposed to full sunlight.

A few solar chargers can put out a massive amount of power, think 25W+. If you have a mid-draw device, this would be a great option to keep on you. Plus, solar chargers with this much power output can push out power to a lot of devices (3+). However, these solar chargers tend to be fairly large and somewhat expensive. As such, the portability factor is minimized but the functionality increases.

Consider your power needs and base the power output strictly on what you discover. While you might have a 25W+ solar charger, you may never use it fully; if so, you are just wasting money on an expensive charger that you didn’t need.

Connections

How many devices you can connect at one time matters, especially when you are out with friends. When your friends and/or family find out that you have a “power outlet” that they can plug in to, they are going to be like sharks in a feeding frenzy. If you intend to use your solar charger a lot when you are away from the house, you’ll need to consider if it is just for you or for everyone around you (this is where power output really matters).

Most solar chargers can charge two devices, with some being able to charge 5+ devices. The more devices you can charge simultaneously, the more expensive it will be. Consider your charging needs (and those with you) before making your purchase.

Extra Features / Functions

These are the features that aren’t required but help to make it more enjoyable and last longer. Features like a built-in flashlight and/or battery, waterproofing, bendability, mounting options, and more.

In fact, one of the solar chargers on our list can actually be used to jumpstart a car. It comes with suction mounts to stick it to your windshield for maximum sunlight exposure and it is waterproof. While this isn’t required, it sure doesn’t hurt. In fact, we would keep one in our vehicle if we didn’t have a pair of jumper cables (which you should have).

Warranty

The industry average is only 90 days. However, there are certain companies that truly trust the products that they make. If you want a durable solar charger, look for a warranty of at least one year with a focus on any brand that goes above this.

While we don’t expect these to break easily, they are still electronic devices and there is a chance you’ll end up with a “lemon”. If that happens, the warranty will protect you from wasting your money.

Price

And finally, you have to consider how much you are willing to spend. The price range for solar chargers is absolutely staggering – from $20 to $2000. Does that mean you have to pay $2000 to get a quality charger …? nope! There are plenty of solar chargers that cost less than $100 that will handle most of your needs. Our goal is to provide you with a list of budget-friendly chargers that handle most needs just fine.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Chargers

Q: How do solar chargers work?

A: Solar chargers work through solar panels and specialized gels that react to sunlight (and other incandescent light sources). Whenever the gels are introduced to light, they react. This reaction creates a small electrical charge that can be stored or distributed. Solar chargers are supposed to distribute this energy as they generally don’t have a built-in battery. There are different types of solar panels, each with features that make it better for certain applications.

Without light, solar chargers will not work. If they have a built-in battery, they can store power for use later, but they will not send power out if the sun is not available.

Q: Could a solar charger catch on fire?

A: Anything electrical could catch on fire. Solar chargers are used in high-heat applications (in the sun) so they get warm fast. Plus, they store and send power to other devices. If you’ve ever felt a power cord when it is hooked up to your phone, it is warm.

If you place a solar charger on a dark surface with flammable materials around (i.e. leaves, papers), there’s a chance that it could catch on fire. In most cases, a solar charger will not spontaneously combust, but if you’ve dropped it or submerged it in water, there’s a chance you might have damaged the internals; this could cause a fire. If this concerns you too much, you might want to consider an alternative solution such as a portable power bank.

Q: Are solar chargers waterproof?

A: If you decide to give your solar charger a bath, it might not function well afterward. While the solar panels are protected by glass, they aren’t sealed completely. They will keep the photovoltaic gel inside, but water can cause issues. Not only that, but these are electrical devices – they aren’t designed for submersion. If it is raining outside, you don’t need these because they won’t get enough power to matter.

Q: How much power can a solar charger put out?

A: This depends on the size of the solar charger and the type of solar panels it uses. In most cases, a solar charger can power up a small device like a smartphone or tablet without any problem. If you need to power up a laptop or something larger, then you will need to look at larger solar chargers.

Most solar chargers, especially portable, are limited in their power output. For instance, most of the solar chargers on this list are limited to less than 20ma and 12v of power. Even so, this is still enough for most portable applications.

Q: Could I run my devices straight from a solar charger?

A: Some solar chargers have a high amperage rating making it possible to run low-power devices. However, most of the solar chargers on our list are designed to restore power to a drained device. If your smartphone is low and you aren’t using it, then a solar charger would be able to refill the battery. If you were trying to watch YouTube videos while the solar charger was connected, you would slow down the battery drain, but it would eventually die as the amperage is not enough to keep up with the drain-rate.

Depending on the size of the solar charger, this could be theoretically possible. If you need to run your device from a solar charger, you will need to look for larger chargers with multiple solar panels. It is possible, but the size becomes a factor quickly. If you want something easy to carry, that doesn’t take up a lot of space, then you will not be able to use your device strictly from the solar charger.

Q: Are solar chargers environmentally-friendly?

A: By the definition of environmentally-friendly, yes they are. They help to reduce the overall dependence on coal and/or nuclear power options when they are finished being manufactured. Even though most are used sparingly, they can offset how much power is required from the larger power plants.

Why we said by the definition is because they are still made using plastics and other products that are built in large manufacturing plants that have fairly large carbon footprints. As such, being made, they are not – in use, they are.

Q: How durable are solar chargers?

A: Most solar panels are very rigid, making it easy to break them if you bend them. Some panels are made from a more flexible material, though they sacrifice quality for durability. The best solar chargers are not very flexible, making them easy to break – unless they are surrounded by padding of some type.

Most of the solar chargers on our list our surrounded by a carrying case with some padding included. Even so, when they are open and facing the sun, they will not do well if a rock or heavy object is dropped on them. In fact, they might break and/or bleed out completely if this happens. If you need a durable, flexible solar charger, it’s possible – you’ll have to sacrifice performance though.

Q: Why do some chargers work better than others?

A: Even though they all look “the same”, they might be equipped with better solar panels. There are five primary types of solar panels:

  1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Mono-SI)
  2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels (p-SI)
  3. Thin-Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels (A-SI)
  4. Concentrated PV Cell (CVP)
  5. CIGS

Mono-SI is the oldest type of solar panel available. These are fairly inexpensive and work extremely well as they’ve had a lot of time under research and development. Mono-SI is used heavily in commercial applications and has a high life-to-time value. However, these are very rigid and tend to break easily.

p-SI is a newer technology that uses different grades of silicon. These are more affordable due to their design and manufacturing costs. p-SI is almost as efficient as Mono-SI, though it still has a few hurdles to jump over first. These are durable, but extremely heavy and they don’t do well in high-temperature situations.

A-SI is another new technology that uses a non-cellular silicon structure mixed with other metals and compounds, plus it is cheap and easy to manufacture. It is still in the development phase but shows promise to become a big competitor in the solar energy market.

CVP uses optical concentration to gather light into a smaller area. As such, it gets hot easily and requires focus towards the light source (might have to be adjusted throughout the day). This is generally used for roof-mounted panels.

CIGS is another A-SI alternative, but it’s built using tiny PV cells. It is extremely new and is not used commercially. Right now, they are struggling with concentrating the light absorption and energy dispersion rate for it to be used commercially.

Most of the solar chargers on our list will be made from Mono-SI, p-SI, or A-SI solar panels. The amount of surface area is the biggest performance factor. If you only have one panel, you’ll be limited significantly unless it is a 12” x 12” panel. If you need a lot of power, look for solar chargers with multiple panels with a lot of surface area.

Q: How does a solar charger have an LED flashlight if it needs light to work?

A: Solar chargers use light from the sun to charge. The wavelengths from the sun excite the “stuff” inside of the solar panels and it converts this excitement into power. While you can get power from LEDs and other incandescent light sources, it is not much and it is not economical. For a solar charger to have an LED flashlight, it has to have a built-in battery that has power stored up. Generally, this battery will be charged first while the power is being distributed to your other devices. Since LEDs don’t require a lot of power, the battery can last a while without any interruption to your other devices. However, if you hook your solar charger to a device when there isn’t any sunlight, the LED flashlight will be rendered useless almost immediately because the battery will drain quickly.

Flashlight LEDs are an “extra” feature that tends to increase the price of the solar charger. If you are on a budget, this may not be an option for you.

Q: What types of devices can a solar charger power?

A: Solar chargers can power all kinds of devices. The most common uses include smartphones, tablets, portable speakers, portable lighting, portable cooking devices such as electric kettles, WiFi and cellular hotspots, portable fans, radios, televisions, and even car batteries. Honestly, the limits are nearly endless, though the ability to keep these devices running might be limited.

For instance, charging a car battery could take days. Solar chargers that do this are considered trickle-chargers and their job is to make sure the battery doesn’t go dead – not provide a jumpstart. A television, radio, or electric kettle may run for a bit, but once the sunlight goes down, you’re out of luck if you don’t have a battery bank.

Think about it like this, if you can power it in your vehicle using a 5v/12v outlet, there is a good chance you can power it up using a solar charger.

Q: Why are solar chargers slower than wall outlets and automotive outlets?

A: First off, wall outlets and automotive outlets are power by a consistent flow of energy (i.e. power plant, alternator). Wall outlets can push out a staggering 120v of constant energy and automotive outlets generally push between 5v and 12v of constant energy.

Solar panels can put out voltage anywhere from 0.1v to 18v, depending on the size and wiring. However, most of the solar chargers on our list our not that stout. The type of solar panels that can put out 18v fit on the roof of your home. Secondly, amperage is a big factor. I’ve you’ve ever been inside of your circuit box at home, you’ve seen switches with 20, 30, and 50 written on them. Those numbers represent amperage (amps). Most of the solar chargers on our list our limited to less than 20mA (milli-amps). To give you a quick breakdown, this means that 20mA is equal to 0.02 amps – a 20amp outlet is 1000x stronger!

So, your solar charger just doesn’t have the juice to power your devices at the same rate as your home and/or automotive outlets – unless you carry around a roof-mounted solar charger/panel.

Q: Why don’t solar chargers have their own built-in power bank?

A: Some solar chargers are equipped with their own built-in power bank. However, this is a feature is found on more expensive units as the built-in battery adds to the cost of the unit. Where the built-in power bank comes in handy is when the lights have gone out for the day and you still have the power to work with. Some even include flashlights to make it easier to navigate in the dark.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly solar charger, there’s a good chance that this feature will not be included. If you need a built-in battery, the price of your solar charger just went up. The price will not be egregious, but it will be higher. Unless you are afraid you’ll run out of juice in the dark, this isn’t a big deal.

Q: Can I charge multiple devices at one time with a solar charger?

A: The ability to charge multiple devices at one time from a solar charger depends on several factors. Some of the most common factors include amperage and ports. Smaller solar chargers generally cannot provide enough amperage and/or wattage to support multiple devices. Plus, solar chargers are generally only equipped with up to two power ports, limiting their ability to charge multiple devices.

Most of the solar chargers on our list are fairly small and compact (portable) with the focus being on versatility convenience. There are larger solar chargers that can easily handle multiple devices. However, most of these are bulky and heavy, limiting their usefulness. Where small chargers can fit into purses and backpacks, larger solar chargers tend to be stored in the back of your vehicle.

In most cases, it would be better to purchase a solar charger for each device that you need to charge rather than by a large, bulky, heavy solar charger that is hard to transport.

Conclusion

We hope that you were able to find a solar charger on this last that met all of your needs. Each solar charger was selected because it was a great value, worked well with multiple devices, was easily portable, and had other features that helped it stand out.

In helping you understand our thought process, we included a buyer’s guide which highlighted the features and functions we looked at. If you didn’t find the solar charger that is perfect for you, the buyer’s guide should make it easier for you to find it now. We also tried to answer as many questions about solar chargers as we could. If we missed a question that you had, please let us know so that we can answer it for you and all of our future visitors.

Ultimately, our goal was to help you find the perfect solar charger that met all of your needs. We did our best to weed through the marketing mumbo-jumbo to find the best chargers – period! If you found your next charger, great! If not, we hope you can use the information we provided to find it quickly.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API