Top 5 Best Portable Solar Chargers: Solar Phone Charger Reviews
What is the best solar phone charger? When preparing for an emergency situation, the first thing that most people consider is a bug out bag, followed by food and water, a first aide kit and weapons. However, there is something else that you might find incredibly handy, especially if you have children with electronic gadgets: a portable solar charger.
Regular solar panels must be mounted, facing the rising sun, and attached to a solar power bank that can store the charge. From there, wiring is routed into an inverter, which converts the power to something that can be used in the home, and then wired into the panel box.
Portable solar chargers, on the other hand, are small, compact pieces of equipment that can be carried with you and the inverter is usually built into the unit itself. This allows things to be plugged directly into the unit, thus utilizing the strait from the source. The drawback to these chargers is that the power they produce is passed directly to the items they are charging. Energy cannot be stored within the unit itself, but there are packs you can purchase that will hold that charge as well as inverters that can allow some regular devices to be plugged into it.
We will be looking at five different solar powered phone chargers that can be used camping or backpacking in this article. For comparison purposes, we will see the differences between them in these four areas in particular:
- Size:How big is the solar power charger? Can it be transported easily?
- Weight: How much does the solar battery charger weigh?
- Wattage: How much can the solar charger actually charge?
- Devices It Will Charge: Is this a USB solar charger? Will it work as a solar iPhone charger?
Here are our Top Picks
|Devices It Will Charge||cell phones, mp3/mp4 players, tablets, USB battery packs and other USB devices||cell phones, tablets, small game devices||headlamps, cell phones, tablets, ipads, digital cameras||cell phones, tablets, cameras|
|Wattage||20 watts||15 watts||20 watts||2 watts|
|Size||12.9 X 6.7 X 1.7 inches||18X11 inches deployed; 11X6 inches when folded for storage||13.2 X 7.8 X 1.5 inches||6.3 X 0.79 X 3.11 inches|
|Weight||20 ounces||12.5 ounces||1.65 pounds||7.84 ounces|
|Price||See Price on Amazon||See Price on Amazon||See Price on Amazon||See Price on Amazon|
Nekteck 20 Watt Solar Charger Review
The Nekteck 20 watt Solar Charger comes equipped with 2 USB ports and high efficiency panels to charge smart phones and other USB devices quickly even when charging two devices at the same time. The smart IC chip that is built in helps identify what is plugged in and what it’s specific charging needs are, thus allowing for the fastest charge time for the device. Its weight and size make it the perfect portable solar battery charger for your phone or other devices. Bring this along for all your sunny day charging needs.
The Nekteck is also a very durable solar cellphone charger, covered with a canvas that was created for rugged outdoor use. Damp conditions won’t damage the outside of the unit either, allowing you to take it with you with no real worries on rainy days.
Your package deal includes the 20 watt solar panel charger, the USB cable and users manual and the item is covered by a one-year warranty. While this little charger works great for most applications, there are some places in which you may need to lay the panels at a specific angle to receive the most sunlight. All solar panels work in this way, but sometimes the smaller ones need more positioning than the big ones.
- Size: 12.9 X 6.7 X 1.7 inches
- Weight: 20 ounces
- Wattage: 20 watts
- Devices It Can Charge: cell phones, mp3/mp4 players, tablets, USB battery packs and other USB devices
The Anker Powerport Solar Lite Review
The Anker Powerport Solar Lite is small and lightweight, making it very easy to carry with you. It is perfect for charging small devices such as phones and tablets, though it will charge phones much faster than tablets, and does so with less than a full day’s worth of sunlight.
While all portable solar chargers will slow down dramatically under cloud cover, the Anker will resume full speed as soon as the clouds are gone. This solar powered USB charger can add a battery pack to hold a charge obtained from the solar panels, thus extending your charging abilities in emergency situations.
With Anker’s PowerIQ Technology, it is claimed to be able to replicate your device’s own original charging capability in the fastest time possible, with direct sunlight. It has sewn on loops of parachute cording which makes it easy to hang just about anywhere and doesn’t add the extra weight that some metal grommets will.
While the Anker is a favorite among anyone with a need for solar equipment, this particular unit had one major complaint: the small pocket made to hold a device while it charges does not allow for the Velcro tab to close once it’s in place. The average smartphone is just too large for the small space and it often dropped out of the pocket.
- Size: 18X11 inches deployed; 11X6 inches when folded for storage
- Weight: 12.5 ounces
- Wattage: 15 watts
- Devices It Will Charge: cell phones, tablets, small game devices
X-Dragon High Efficiency 20 watt Solar Charger Review
Next we will look at the X-Dragon High Efficiency 20 watt Solar Charger, which comes with iSolar technology that is exclusive to this brand.
This technology allows the unit to automatically detect the device which is plugged in and then adjust the charging output for maximum charge of the device. The high efficiency solar cells, made in the USA, boast up to a 25% efficiency rate, while most competitors don’t reach that mark.
Dual USB ports allow for charging of two items at once while the built-in eyehooks allow for easy attachment to backpacks or knapsacks.
This solar cell phone charger also comes with a one-year warranty so no worries in purchasing it. The included USB cords are highly compatible with a wide variety of products and its portability and free hook make it easy to take on the go.
- Size: 13.2 X 7.8 X 1.5 inches
- Weight: 1.65 pounds
- Wattage: 20 watts
- Devices It Will Charge: headlamps, cell phones, tablets, ipads, digital cameras
iBeek Solar External Battery Pack Review
The iBeek Solar External Battery Pack is a portable all in one charger that also comes with an LED light made into the device, which makes it a great emergency-use device. It contains a built in high polymer battery that is charged via the solar panel and has dual USB ports.
It can charge and support any device that that has a 5V/1A-2.1A input. The LED emergency light works great in the darkness. Pressing the button once allows it to go into flashlight mode, while pressing again will cause the LED to blink in emergency mode.
- Size: 6.3 X 0.79 X 3.11 inches
- Weight: 7.84 ounces
- Wattage: 2 watts
- Devices It Can Charge: cell phones, tablets, cameras
Matone Solar Charger Battery Review
The Matone Solar Charger Battery is a solar powered all in one that boasts features such as rain resistance and shockproof with a lifespan that allows for about 500 charges from its built in lithium battery. It’s portability not only makes it a great choice as a backpacking solar charger, but it can be attached to many different things, making it’s use hands-free if you need that option.
It hosts universal device compatibility to easily charge Apple products, Samsung, Nexus, LG and HTC as well as GoPro cameras, GPS devices and much more.
This waterproof solar charger comes with a built in flashlight as well as LED indicators that let you know the charging status of the device. There is, however, an attached note that the device’s solar panel charges devices very slowly on its own and advises that the device be fully charged before attempting to charge something else with it.
- Size: 7.8 X 6.2 X 1 inches
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Wattage: 2 watts
- Devices It Can Charge: cell phones, tablets, GPS and small cameras
My Vote for Best Portable Solar Charger
If I had to pick one of these as the best solar charger, my pick would be the Anker portable solar charger. Given its size, weight and wattage abilities, it seems to be the best of the five.
Another factor in my decision is it’s ability to add on a battery pack, of any size, if I want further charging abilities for my devices. This makes is a solar battery charger as well. Additionally, the Anker name is a well-respected one among solar products and has the trust of many people who rely on such products.