11 Best Portable Solar Chargers for Charging in the Wild

Running out of battery is the biggest problem during outdoor activities. Many people rely on electronics for navigation or immortalizing their trips, and, with no socket near, it is crucial to have some juice on you. That’s where portable solar chargers come into play. Once a costly gadget, solar chargers are now widely available in many shapes and sizes.

After testing many products, we’ve come up with a comprehensive selection of 11 portable solar chargers. Here you will find portable solar chargers with built-in batteries, Stand-alone solar panels, and portable even solar generators. Let’s get started!

Solar Charger - 30000mAh Solar Power Bank Wireless Portable Charger Quick Charge 3.0 Type C Input...
Solar Power Bank, Qi Portable Charger 10,000mAh External Battery Pack Type C Input Port Dual...
Solar Charger 25000mAh FEELLE Solar Power Bank with Dual 2.1A USB Output Portable External Battery...
PSOOO Solar Power Bank 50000mAh Phone Charger for Caming Supply with 4 Output 2 Input Ports Type C...
Solar Power Bank 30000 mAh, Wireless Portable Charger Solar Panel External Battery Type-C 5V Dual...
Hiluckey Solar Charger 26800mAh, Wireless Portable Charger 18W PD USB C Power Bank with 4 Outputs...
Capacity
30000
20000
25000
50000
30000
25000
No. Ports & Type
2 Type-C, 2 Micro-USBs, 1 USB, 1 Lighting
1- Micro-USB
3 USBs
4 USBs
2 USBs, 1 Type-C, Micro_USB
2 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
6.9 x 3.3 x1.2
6.9 x 3.5 x 1.1
7.0 x 3.8 x 1.1
7.4 x 4.6 x 2.3
6.7 x 3.6 x 0.95
6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37 (folded) 6.1 x 13.9 x 0.46 (unfolded)
Weight (ounces)
6.9 x 3.3 x1.2
22.4
19
32
20
21.2
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$43.99
$28.99
$43.99
$56.99
$42.99
$38.99
Solar Charger - 30000mAh Solar Power Bank Wireless Portable Charger Quick Charge 3.0 Type C Input...
Capacity
30000
No. Ports & Type
2 Type-C, 2 Micro-USBs, 1 USB, 1 Lighting
Dimensions (inches)
6.9 x 3.3 x1.2
Weight (ounces)
6.9 x 3.3 x1.2
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$43.99
Solar Power Bank, Qi Portable Charger 10,000mAh External Battery Pack Type C Input Port Dual...
Capacity
20000
No. Ports & Type
1- Micro-USB
Dimensions (inches)
6.9 x 3.5 x 1.1
Weight (ounces)
22.4
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$28.99
Solar Charger 25000mAh FEELLE Solar Power Bank with Dual 2.1A USB Output Portable External Battery...
Capacity
25000
No. Ports & Type
3 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
7.0 x 3.8 x 1.1
Weight (ounces)
19
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$43.99
PSOOO Solar Power Bank 50000mAh Phone Charger for Caming Supply with 4 Output 2 Input Ports Type C...
Capacity
50000
No. Ports & Type
4 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
7.4 x 4.6 x 2.3
Weight (ounces)
32
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$56.99
Solar Power Bank 30000 mAh, Wireless Portable Charger Solar Panel External Battery Type-C 5V Dual...
Capacity
30000
No. Ports & Type
2 USBs, 1 Type-C, Micro_USB
Dimensions (inches)
6.7 x 3.6 x 0.95
Weight (ounces)
20
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$42.99
Hiluckey Solar Charger 26800mAh, Wireless Portable Charger 18W PD USB C Power Bank with 4 Outputs...
Capacity
25000
No. Ports & Type
2 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37 (folded) 6.1 x 13.9 x 0.46 (unfolded)
Weight (ounces)
21.2
Type
Portable Solar charger with built-in battery
Ratings
Price
$38.99
BigBlue 24W Solar Panel Charger with 3 USB Ports (5V/4A Max Total), Lightweight & Slim, Foldable...
Solar Panel, Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel, PowerPort Solar for...
Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave...
450W Portable Power Station, 532Wh Solar Generator Backup Battery with Pure Sine Wave 2 AC Outlet...
Capacity
n/a
n/a
n/a
144400
144000
No. of Ports & Type
3 USBs
2 USBs
2 USBs
3 USBs, 2 DC outputs, 1 AC socket
6 USBs, 2 110V sockets, 2 DC outputs
Dimensions (inches)
11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 9 (folded) 33 x 11.1 x 0.33 (unfolded)
11.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 (folded) 26.4 x 11.1 x 0.2 (unfolded)
12.1 x 7.9 x 1 (folded) 12.1 x 31.6 x 0.1 (unfolded)
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.5
12.4 x 5.2 x 8.1
Weight (ounces)
20.6
14.7
40
208
184
Type
Stand-alone solar panel
Stand-alone solar panel
Stand-alone solar panel
Solar Generator
Solar Generator
Ratings
Price
$61.96
$69.99
$221.48
$199.99
$278.99
BigBlue 24W Solar Panel Charger with 3 USB Ports (5V/4A Max Total), Lightweight & Slim, Foldable...
Capacity
n/a
No. of Ports & Type
3 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 9 (folded) 33 x 11.1 x 0.33 (unfolded)
Weight (ounces)
20.6
Type
Stand-alone solar panel
Ratings
Price
$61.96
Solar Panel, Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel, PowerPort Solar for...
Capacity
n/a
No. of Ports & Type
2 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
11.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 (folded) 26.4 x 11.1 x 0.2 (unfolded)
Weight (ounces)
14.7
Type
Stand-alone solar panel
Ratings
Price
$69.99
Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel
Capacity
n/a
No. of Ports & Type
2 USBs
Dimensions (inches)
12.1 x 7.9 x 1 (folded) 12.1 x 31.6 x 0.1 (unfolded)
Weight (ounces)
40
Type
Stand-alone solar panel
Ratings
Price
$221.48
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave...
Capacity
144400
No. of Ports & Type
3 USBs, 2 DC outputs, 1 AC socket
Dimensions (inches)
11.8 x 7.6 x 9.5
Weight (ounces)
208
Type
Solar Generator
Ratings
Price
$199.99
450W Portable Power Station, 532Wh Solar Generator Backup Battery with Pure Sine Wave 2 AC Outlet...
Capacity
144000
No. of Ports & Type
6 USBs, 2 110V sockets, 2 DC outputs
Dimensions (inches)
12.4 x 5.2 x 8.1
Weight (ounces)
184
Type
Solar Generator
Ratings
Price
$278.99

Best Portable Solar Chargers with Built-in Batteries


Solar Charger - 30000mAh Solar Power Bank Wireless Portable Charger Quick Charge 3.0 Type C Input...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 20
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.9 x 3.3 x1.2
  • Capacity (mA): 30000
  • x6 ports
  • Wireless charging
  • IP66 rating
  • Built-in cables

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Talking about multiple ports, we have this beauty/ The LICORNE has three built-in cables: Lighting, Type-C, and micro-USB. But it also has as many ports. All of them support up to 5V and 3A. And if that is not enough, the LICORNE portable solar charger also supports wireless charge! This means that you can theoretically charge up to six devices simultaneously, more than any of the other chargers.

It comes with an built-in dual LED flashlight with three operating conditions: strong, light, SO, and strobe. The rubberized frame guarantees the charger won’t slip out of your hand. But if it ever does, the thick body will handle the strain without breaking a sweat.

As it couldn’t be otherwise, the LICORNE enjoys an IP66 waterproof and dustproof rating. This means that it can cope with splashes and waterfalls. But beware, you can’t submerge it.

The panel is the Achilles heel. Like most of the solar panels out there. It is simply too small to charge the giant 30000 mAh battery. Make sure to charge it before your trip.

Likes:

  • Multiple connection options
  • Wireless charging
  • Battery indicator

Dislikes:

  • Wireless charging doesn’t always work
  • Cables are prone to break

BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank 18W, QC 3.0 Portable Wireless Charger 10W/7.5W/5W with 4 Outputs &...

Features:

  • Capacity (mAh): 20,000
  • Weight (Ounces):22.4
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.9 x 3.5 x 1.1
  • Ports: Micro USB, Type-C, and full-size USB
  • IPX5 rating
  • Built-in dual LED flashlight
  • Qi Wireless charging

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Only a handful of portable solar chargers offer this kind of value for your money. It has some flaws, of course. But it is arguably one of the best solar chargers under 50 bucks.

It has a 20000mAh capacity. It sits on the lower site. However, it is plenty of juice to power your phone several times.

Sadly, the solar panels are relatively small and inefficient. Thus, it will take several hours of sunlight to get fully charged. So, charge it completely before going out. According to Blavor, this portable charger offers up to 10W of wireless charging. It is nothing breathtaking. But at least you have that wireless charge.

Naturally, wired charging is faster, offering up to 18W of power output. On the other hand, this solar charger has a simplistic port layout. It has a single USB Type-C port, two full-size USB ports, and a micro-USB port for charging the solar power bank.

Likes:

  • Rugged design
  • Affordable
  • It comes with a compass
  • Dual LED flashlight
  • IPX5 rating

Dislikes:

  • Small solar panel
  • Extensive charging times

Solar Charger 25000mAh FEELLE Solar Power Bank with Dual 2.1A USB Output Portable External Battery...

Features:

  • Weight (Lbs): 1.18
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.1x 3.35x 1.37 in folded or 13.9x 6.1 in unfolded
  • Ports: 2 full-size USBs, micro-USB
  • Built-in LED light with 3 modes
  • Over-current, overcharge, and over-voltage protection

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If you want the best bang for your buck, try the FEELLE portable solar charger. It retails for around 30 dollars, which we think is a terrific deal for what you are getting.

First, you get a rugged ABS exterior with PC Silicone corners. Sadly, the solar panel isn’t that big. The 4 foldable solar panels max charging energy is 6W , which is equivalent to a 5W wall charger. In fact, according to FEELLE, it will take over 80 hours of sun to fully charge. But look at the bright side; this comes with a superb battery capacity.

There are USB type 2.0 & micro-USB ports. Allegedly, all of them offer fast charging. Naturally, the more electronics you connect, the slower they will charge. You also get a 36 LED flashlight on the other side from the solar panel.

The FEELLE portable solar charger panels are waterproof, which can handle the occasional splash. But make sure to keep it at camp while you swim, as it won’t stand being submerged.

Likes:

  • Impressive capacity
  • Great value for your money
  • Battery level LEDs
  • Sturdy built

Dislikes:

  • DC adapter not included
  • It takes a lifetime to solar charge
  • Bulky

PSOOO Solar Power Bank 50000mAh Phone Charger for Caming Supply with 4 Output 2 Input Ports Type C...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 32
  • Dimensions (inches): 7.4 x 4.6 x 2.3
  • Capacity (mAh): 50000
  • x4 USB ports
  • IP65 rating
  • Built-in flashlight

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This thing looks more like a brick than a portable solar charger. However, there is a reason for it. The PSOOO solar power bank packs a massive 50000 mAh battery capable of charging any smartphone more than 8 times. More than enough for the average user.

You get not two but four full-sized USB ports. And like we said before, the PSOOO has enough juice to power several electronics simultaneously. Just one thing. Don’t think for a moment about relying on solar power alone. It will take ages to get a full charge through direct sunlight. Use the Type-C input port to fuel your portable solar power bank, and use the solar panel as a secondary energy source.

With 2.14 pounds, it is the heaviest portable solar charger. It is also larger than most other backpacking solar chargers with an built-in battery. But you also get an insane capacity.

The IP65 rating means that neither dust nor water will damage your device. Plus, an ABS plastic body with rubber corners will absorb shock and keep the solar panel from shattering.

Likes:

  • Superb battery capacity
  • Four USB ports
  • Best price-to-capacity ratio

Dislikes:

  • Less portable than similar solar chargers
  • Slow charging times

Tekpluze Portable Solar Power Bank

Solar Power Bank 30000 mAh, Wireless Portable Charger Solar Panel External Battery Type-C 5V Dual...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 20
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.7 x 3.6 x 0.95
  • Capacity (mAh): 30000
  • Ports: x2 USB, Type-C, and micro-USB port
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • IP65 rating
  • Over-current, overcharge, and over-voltage protection

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Although it is not a widely known brand, this portable solar charger extremely surprised us by Tekpluze. And you will be too.

With a 30000 mAh capacity, it has the biggest battery thus far. It has enough power to juice a Pixel 5 several times. And it does so reasonably quickly thanks to its dual USB ports that deliver up to 5V/2.1A. But you also get a micro-USB port and up to 5W of wireless charging. According to Tekpluze, the portable solar power is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

In the construction department, you get the same old ABS plastic body. It looks strong enough to handle falls. Tekpluze embeds the panel deep into the frame. This way, the solar panel is less likely to get hit. Additionally, you can enjoy its IP65 water and dustproof rating. In other words, it can handle water splashes and rain.

Likes:

  • 3 charging ports
  • Wireless charging
  • Embedded panel
  • Battery level indicator
  • IP65 rating

Dislikes:

  • Takes 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to charge 10% of the battery
  • Heavy

Hiluckey Portable Solar Charger

Solar Charger 25000mAh, Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank with 4 Solar Panels, Fast Charge...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 21.2
  • Folded dimensions (inches): 6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37
  • Deployed dimensions (inches): 6.1 x 13.9 x 0.46
  • Ports: Two USBs with adaptive charging up to 2.1A
  • Water, dust, and shockproof

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a solar charger with huge panels and a battery? Thankfully, Hiluckey created just the thing. 

You get four 6.1 by 3.35 solar panels and a decent 25000 mAh battery. The solar charger comes with two USB ports that offer a 2.1A adaptive output. All panels and circuits are splash, dust, and shockproof. Thus, you can be confident this solar charger will handle any kind of outdoor activity.

Like most portable solar chargers, this one comes with a flashlight. It is in an awkward position, though. And it is not as bright as other models on this list. Nevertheless, it gets the job done.

So far, so good, right? Well, it is time to express our prime concern. The thing is that charging the portable solar power bank on the go is somewhat tricky. You must unfold it and fasten it to your hiking backpack, which will cover it entirely. So, if you need to grab something, you must first take the solar charger off, get everything you might need, and put it back on.

Likes:

  • Larger panel area
  • Fast charging profs
  • Water, shock, and dustproof

Dislikes:

  • Heavy
  • Inefficient solar panels

Best Stand-alone Solar Panels

Best Overall Stand-Alone Solar Charger: BigBlue 3 Portable Solar Charger

[Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max), Foldable Portable Solar Phone Charger...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 20.6
  • Folded dimensions (inches): 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3
  • Deployed dimensions (inches): 33 x 11.1 x 0.33
  • Power Output (W): 28
  • Ports: Three full-size USBs
  • IPX4 rating
  • Over-current, overcharge, and over-voltage protection

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Do you need something with more ports and a greater output? Then, the BigBlue 3 is for you as it has three ports. The only problem is that all of them are full-size USBs. So, make sure to get some compatible cables to use it.

BigBlue 3 has four solar panels with a combined output of 28 watts, a lot higher than the one we reviewed before. This time, however, you don’t get any battery. Hence, you must keep your device connected to harness energy. That’s the price you pay for higher output and a larger solar panel.

[Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max), Foldable Portable Solar Phone Charger...

Although it packs small, you will need a large area once deployed. But don’t worry. BigBlue thought ahead and added a couple of rings so you can fasten them to your backpack. Make sure not to fall, as it is not shockproof.

BigBlue claims that its solar panels have a 23.5% efficiency. It might seem a little low. But solar panels are not as efficient as other energy sources. That’s why having a large surface is vital.

Likes:

  • Plenty of ports
  • Large solar panels
  • Amazing power output
  • IPX4 rating

Dislikes:

  • All ports as full-size USBs
  • It takes a large area once deployed

Best Portable Solar Panel: Anker Solar Charger 21W

Solar Panel, Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel, PowerPort Solar for...

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 14.7
  • Folded dimensions (inches): 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.1
  • Deployed dimensions (inches): 26.4 x 11.1 x 0.2
  • Power Output (W): 21
  • Ports: Two USBs
  • Fast charge
  • Over-current, overcharge, and over-voltage protection
  • Foldable solar panel

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Year after year, Anker continues to deliver exceptional backpacking solar chargers. Let’s look at the Anker 21W.

As you might have guessed, it has a 21W output. You can harness this power by using two USB ports. Thankfully, both of them support up to 2.4 amps of fast charge with direct sunlight, so it won’t take the entire day to power up your dead smartphone. Yes, the BigBlue 3 has three USB ports. But neither of them offers this kind of speed.

Yes, it is a little large. But it comes with two tying points at both ends. Use them to secure the Anker 21W to your backpack and charge your phone on the go.

There is not much to talk about in terms of construction. The tri-fold polyester canvas holds three PET plastic-faced solar panels. The fail-safe protection gives some peace of mind, with hits and falls. However, try your best to avoid them. Stand-alone solar panels are inherently more fragile than their brothers with built-in batteries.

Likes:

  • Highly efficient solar panels
  • Both ports support fast charge
  • It comes with a 3ft micro-USB cable
  • Anker offers an 18-month warranty
  • Remarkably light for its size

Dislikes:

  • It is not waterproof
  • Doesn’t look very durable

Goal Zero Nomad 28 Camping Solar Panel

Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel

Features:

  • Weight (Ounces): 40 without a kickstand
  • Folded dimensions (inches): 12.1 x 7.9 x 1
  • Deployed dimensions (inches): 12.1 x 31.6 x 0.1
  • Power Output (W): 28
  • Ports: Two USBs
  • Over-current, overcharge, and over-voltage protection
  • Water-proof
  • Foldable solar panel

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Let us start by declaring that this thing is a brick. It weighs 2.5 pounds without the kickstand, making it the heaviest solar charger on this list. That’s why most hikers might skip it. However, things are different for campers. Let’s see why.

The Goal Zero Nomad 28 provides a 28 Watt output at direct sunlight. The built-in LED indicators help choose where to deploy the panel, as they show how intense the solar rays are in that area. It is a handy and previously unseen feature. 

You can charge up to two devices with the Nomad 28 camping solar panel. Yes, other options offer more ports and cost less. But this one has higher power output, and each port delivers up to 2.4A of adaptive charging.

Once deployed, the Nomad 28 solar charger covers an enormous 12.1 x 31.6 area. People looking to charge their electronics at camp are the ones who will benefit from it the most.

Construction-wise, it’s pretty similar to others reviewed here. The fabric looks sturdy. Panels and electronic components are waterproof. And you get a removable kickstand that you can use to pinpoint the panel towards the sun.

Likes:

  • Enough power output for two electronics at the same time
  • Large panels
  • Sun strength indicator
  • Removable kickstand

Dislikes:

  • It is a brick
  • Expensive
  • Not the most portable option

Best Portable Solar Generators

Best Solar Generator for Camping: Jackery Portable Solar Generator

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery...

Features:

  • Weight (Pounds): 13
  • Dimensions (inches): 11.8 x 7.6 x 9.5
  • Ports: Three USB Type-A, Two DC outputs, and one AC output

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The Jackery Portable Solar Station is an ideal candidate for those campers looking for more power. It has a 518 Wh capacity and more than enough juice to charge any electronics that you might have on you.

Needless to say, this solar generator is not as portable as a solar power bank or stand-alone foldable solar panel. This is what you leave at base camp while you hike.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Mobile Lithium Battery...

Although it has a large battery, a full charge takes around 9 hours of direct sunlight. Sadly, the solar panels aren’t included. But here you have the link if you really want this portable solar generator.

The Jackery portable solar station has three USB Type-A ports, two DC outputs, and one AC output. According to Jackery, you can even power a 60W mini-fridge and electric stoves. A handy feature that most campers will appreciate. Check our best camping stoves selection while you are at it.

Likes:

  • Enough juice for anything you throw at it
  • Small form factor
  • Plenty of ports

Dislikes:

  • Expensive
  • It doesn’t come with solar panels

MARBERO Portable Solar Generator

450W Portable Power Station, 532Wh Solar Generator Backup Battery with Pure Sine Wave 2 AC Outlet...

Features:

  • Weight (Pounds): 11.5
  • Dimensions (inches): 12.4 x 5.2 x 8.1
  • Ports: 6 USB ports, 2 110V sockets, and 2 DC outputs

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The 450 Wh MARBERO solar station is the safest bet for those looking for a portable solar generator without breaking the bank. It retails for around half the price of the previous option and offers a lot of features.

It packs a 144000 mAh battery that can be charged using any 30 to 120 W solar panel or by plugging it into a socket. Once again, the solar panel isn’t included. Here you have a solar panel monocrystalline kit compatible option, which is also cheaper than the previous one.

450W Portable Power Station, 532Wh Solar Generator Backup Battery with Pure Sine Wave 2 AC Outlet...

The MARBERO solar generator comes with two DC outlets, two 110V sockets, and 6 USB ports. Surprisingly, it has more port options than the previous model while sacrificing little power and capacity.

If $300 bucks are way out of your budget, you can go for the M440 model. It has less capacity and fewer port options. But it gets the job done, nonetheless. 

Likes:

  • Plenty of ports to choose
  • Small footprint
  • Built-in electric protection against overload, short circuit, and overheating

Dislikes:

  • Inefficient charge
  • Phones overheat when connected to the quick charging ports

Best Solar Powered Multi Function Chargers

Best Multifunction Battery Phone Charger: Renogy E.Lumen 500 Solar Powered Flashlight Charger

Renogy E.Lumen 500 Multi-Functional Flashlight Rechargeable Battery, Lumens, Glass Shattering Hammer...

Features:

  • Weight: 0.63 oz
  • Dimensions (inches): 9.6 x 3.7 x 2.1
  • 3 types of headlights
  • Built in- Safety Hammer, Seat Belt Cutter

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Renology E.Lumen Solar Powered Flashlight Charger is well built and better than we expected.

It has 500 lumens, bright enough for emergency needs or to light your campsite pathway. The seatbelt cutter and glass breaking tool is a nice added feature for emergency situations. Especially great for and college kids if they get in a jam.

The Renology only gets about 3 hours of flashlight use before charging, which isn’t ideal. Still, its meant for emergency use and not a substitute for your traditional solar power banks.

Likes:

  • Flashlight, seatbelt cutter and glass breaker
  • Lightweight
  • Quality construction

Dislikes:

  • Takes about 65 hours to charge by sunlight
  • Only charges by USB or sunlight

Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Panel Hand Crank USB Recharger

Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight, Lantern and USB Recharger with Integrated Solar Panel

Features:

  • Built-in solar panel
  • Hand-crank for light anywhere

Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Panel allows you to recharge the flashlight power bank mostly anywhere, and by that I mean sunny places like California or Texas. Namely, its because the solar panel is a small and not a reliable way to charge your flashlight power bank. Instead, GoalZero offers two additional options to charge.

The two hooks in the back is useful to hang from loops and used as a floodlight to light up 4 -person tent. Additionally, Goal Zero Torch 250 is a versatile flashlight, with a 250 lumen output for pathways and an emergency red light.

This is a pricey, backup option should all your other flashlights fail and you forgot to charge your portable solar power banks.

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Likes:

  • 3 ways to charge: Hand-crank option, solar, USB
  • Has more then one light on the device to light your way
  • Multiple ways to position charger
  • Plug the USB into a device and charge it at least twice from empty to full
  • Run time 7-48 hours

Dislikes:

  • Short built-in regcharging cord
  • Needs direct sunlight to charge by solar
  • The crank will take a lot of work to get any amount of charge out of it

Backpacking foldable solar charger

What to Look For in Solar Chargers

Solar chargers come in many shapes, sizes, prices, power output, and colors. It might be a good thing because you are more likely to find the solar charger that best suits your needs. But it will take you some time if you don’t know what to look for. Thankfully for you, we’ve taken the time to summarize all the features we looked into when testing portable solar chargers for this review.

We will discuss everything from size, price, to power output and option features. In the end, you will also find some answers to frequently asked questions about portable solar power banks. Let’s start.

Portability

Portability is, arguably, the second most important feature after price. Why? Well, as we said before, solar chargers come in all shapes and sizes. So, you must first decide; how portable do you want your portable solar bank to be? Do you want to buckle it onto your backpack or belt? Or would you rather deploy it when you arrive at the camping site?

Portability influences other features like battery capacity, how many devices you can connect, and charging time, to name a few. For instance, pocket-size portable solar chargers can handle up to three connections.

Renogy 175 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel, 175W
Flexible Solar Panel
Goal Zero Nomad 100 Watt Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel
Goal Zero Foldable Solar Panel
Anker PowerCore Solar 20000, 18W USB-C Power Bank 20,000 mAh with Dual Ports, Flashlight, IP65...
Anker Solar Power Bank
Solar Charger, Anker 24W 3-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable CIGS Panel for Camping,...
Anker Foldable Solar Charger

The built-in solar panel is also smaller. Thus, they will take the most time to charge and typically have a lesser output.


Portable Solar Charger Type

It might catch you by surprise. But there are several types of solar chargers. All work using solar energy, yes. Yet, they charge devices differently. There are three common solar charger types:

  • Panel-only solar chargers
  • Panel and integrated battery solar chargers
  • Panel and removable battery solar chargers

Panel-Only Solar Chargers

As the name suggests, panel-only solar chargers are stand-alone solar panels with no storage means. You need to connect them to a phone, battery, or any other device to reap energy. They are useless otherwise.

So, why should you purchase a panel-only solar charger at all? Well, these are ideal for people looking to stay in one place for several hours. You can also benefit from panel-only solar chargers if you already have a power bank. Specifically, just leave the two connected and take the juice with you after.

foldable solar panel

Panel Solar Chargers with Integrated Batteries

This is the most common type of portable solar charger you can find. It looks like any other portable solar power bank around, but it has a small panel on one side. Likewise, you can charge the charger itself and the phone at the same time while you hike. Plus, having a battery means that all the energy gathered by the solar panel will get stored for later use.

Naturally, you need to keep your solar charger out at all times. It won’t charge the battery otherwise. Therefore, you must be careful not to hit the panel, or you will render the solar charger useless.

The panel size is another drawback. Don’t expect the built-in battery to be charged in the blink of an eye.

Panel and Removable Battery Chargers

For those looking for the best of both worlds, we have solar chargers with removable panels. They are highly versatile, as you might imagine. In fact, you can leave the solar charger charging a backup battery at base camp and bring the primary power bank with you. For instance, you will be reduce the weight of your pack and avoid damaging the panel in a hike.

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Solar Generator

Solar generators are typically more expensive and feature a larger battery capacity than any of the other solar chargers. But also wieldy and heavier. Thus, this type of solar charger is more suitable for people looking to camp for a long time. You can power almost any electronic device with them, ranging from phones and lanterns to electric stoves and fridges.

Solar Charger Effective Surface

You don’t need to be an engineer to know that the larger the panel is, the more energy it can harvest from the sun. As a result, the faster it will charge its battery, provided it has one, and your device. Ideally, you want your solar charger to have the most gigantic panel possible. For instance, if you have a pocket-sized power bank, you want the solar panel to take a whole side.

However, having a large solar charger is not the best decision from a portability point of view. Thankfully, you can get one with foldable solar panels. It packs small, and it has a large effective area once deployed.

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Solar Charger Power Output

Wattage and amperage are the most relevant technical features of any charger. First, let’s talk about the first feature.

Wattage refers to the amount of power passing through the charger. A higher wattage rating means more power. Thus, the faster it will charge your phone. Also, keep in mind that a solar charger with a low power output might not even charge your phone. For example, if your device charger is at 10 W, having a 7 W solar charger won’t cut it.

Aim to a solar charger with at least 10 or 15 W output. Check your phone specs to see the recommended wattage. Keep in mind if you are looking to charge multiple devices simultaneously, you need an even greater power output.

Solar Panel mAh Rating

Amperage rating only applies to solar chargers with batteries. It refers to the amount of current it has stored. The higher the number, the more charge you can draw from it. For example, my Pixel 5 has a 4080 mAh battery. So, a 32000 mAh portable solar charger should give me enough juice for charging my phone three times at least.

Keep in mind that 32000 mAh is a theoretical value. The actual solar charger capacity depends, among several things, on its efficiency, which declines over time. For example, that the efficiency is 65%. This means that my realistic capacity is 20800 mAh, not 32000 mAh. Thus, I’ll be getting roughly five complete chargers with it.

Always go for the highest mAh rating that your budget allows. You’ll never regret it. 


Solar Charger Port Layout

portable power bank

As technology advances, ports also change in size and shape. It is crucial, then, to choose one that has ports compatible with your devices. Take my Pixel 5, for example. I can charge it wirelessly or use a type-C cable. Likewise, I also have a portable lantern which I can charge using a micro USB. So, it will be ideal if it has a micro USB as well.

The number of ports is also significant. You can charge multiple devices at the same time if you have more than one port. Of course, remember what we talked about earlier. If you want to charge several electronics, you will need something with high power output.

Things are somewhat different for laptops. First, check if the solar charger has DC ports. If yes, then you can charge the PC with no power brick. But, if you don’t, look for an alternative.

Qi Wireless Compatibility

Although it is a somewhat new feature, some portable solar chargers are already supporting Qi wireless charging. It could be an excellent investment for you to charge your phone wirelessly.

However, you should know that wireless charging is less efficient than a wired connection. In addition, the power output is commonly lower. Thus, a phone will take longer to charge.

Shock and Waterproof Capabilities:

While these are not strictly necessary, having them is much appreciated. This way, you don’t have to worry about taking care of your solar charger since it can take on its own. Therefore, it is wise to get a dustproof and waterproof solar charger, as long as the budget allows it, of course.

You will know if a portable solar charger is water-resistant or dust-resistant because of its IP rating. Such a rating has two numbers. The first one refers to how capable it is of keeping debris like sand outside. While the second shows moisture protection. In the following chart, you can see what each number means.

NumberFirst number (Intrusion Protection)Second number (Water Protection)
0No protectionNo protection
1Protected against solid objects over 2 inchesProtected against vertical drops of water
2Protected against solids over 0.5 inchesProtected against vertical and up to 15 degrees from the vertical water splashes
3Protected against solids over 0.1 inchesProtected against vertical and up to 60 degrees from the vertical water splashes
4Protected against solids over 0. 04 inchesProtected from all water sprays
5Protected against dustProtected against low-pressure water splashes
6Total protection against dustProtected against high-pressure water splashes
7Not applicableTotal immersion protection up to 30 minutes

Portable Solar Chargers: Power for Your Off-Grid Adventures

Now that you’ve come this far, it is time to decide which solar charger best suits your needs. Here, we think that the LICORNE 30000 mAh is the best backpacking solar charger. It has enough battery to power your phone, GPS, or portable camera several times. It also offers multiple connections compatible with most modern electronics. Plus, it has the highest IP rating of all portable solar chargers on this list. Click here to get yours.

Also, if solar generators are your thing, then the Jackery Portable Solar Generator will not let you down. It has a remarkable capacity and power output to juice anything ranging from phones to fridges and stoves. True, it isn’t the most affordable option. But it will pay itself in time, especially if you camp a lot.

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Last update on 2021-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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