Best solar chargers: Portable battery packs that harness the sun’s rays (2022)

W

hy is it that tech gadgets always run out of battery at the most inconvenient times?

Whether it’s maps’ essential GPS shutting down halfway through your adventurous weekend hike, no juice when you need to book a cab home or your phone powering off as you try to snap yet another picture of your festival outfit, being without the devices we rely on the most is never ideal.

Enter the solar charger - a nifty device that generates electricity through the power of sunlight. The sun’s rays are turned into energy that charges up all types of gadgets including mobile phones, laptops and tablets. This must-have item can be as small as your usual portable charger and is reliable and long lasting.

Our phone battery life only lasts an average of one day (if you’re lucky) and yet with the cost of living rising, it can be draining to charge up all your favourite tech and keep them at maximum battery. That’s why a solar charger has never been more essential than now - just a glimpse of sunlight will keep your gadgets powering on for hours.

There are seemingly endless varieties on the market, and we’ve rounded up everything from the small and portable to the large and foldable. There are also models that can charge multiple devices at one time - perfect for that family camping holiday - as well as ones that are large enough to power car and motorhome batteries. You’ll find that most solar chargers come with a battery pack as not all of them can be plugged directly into a device.

If you’re planning an outdoor adventure where you might not have access to a socket for a long period of time, it’s worth investing in a solar charger that will keep your power-hungry gadgets satisfied.

Shop our top reccomended below.

Riapow Solar Power Bank

- Capacity: 26800mAh

- Connectivity: USB Type C and USB

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- Output ports: Three

- Charging: Plug socket and solar

- Additional features: LED lights on back

This solar power bank has an enormous capacity - at 26800mAh there’s enough power to charge the iPhone 13 seven times and the Galaxy S20 over five times. Not only can you juice up your gadgets over and over, but phones can be powered up from zero to 50 per cent in just 30 minutes, whilst the rapid recharge means it’s ready to go again in eight hours. If you want to charge your headphones and tablet as well, you’re in luck as three devices can be plugged in simultaneously.

The 60 bright LED lights on the back of the charger is the perfect bright light for when you’re camping, and it comes with various modes including strong, strobe and SOS. Designed specifically for the outdoors, it’s incredibly durable as well as being water and shockproof.

BigBlue 28W Solar Charger Foldable

- Capacity: 28W

- Connectivity: USB

- Output ports: Two

- Charging: Solar

- Additional features: Comes with USB-A to USB-C Cable and four hooks

One of the most capable solar panels on the market, BigBlue has a panel efficiency of up to 24 per cent and comes with a built-in ammeter and chip that will ensure a stable charge and show the number of amps present. It’s best for use with Android products as it comes with an attached Type C cable. At its full size it measures 33 inches in width, but can be easily folded down to a mere 11 inches.

We were impressed with the stainless-steel eye holes on each corner that allows for easy attachment to a tent or backpack if you’re on the move and the Exclusive Smart IC Technology is intelligent enough to detect what device is connected in order to deliver the fastest possible charging speed.

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Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel

- Capacity: 20W

- Connectivity: USB

- Output ports: One

- Charging: Solar

- Additional features: Comes with integrated charging cable

This foldable high efficiency 20W solar panel is perfect for charging small to medium devices such as phones and tablets. The built-in kickstand allows for the panel to be placed at multiple angles so it can be positioned towards the sun for optimal solar collection. It comes with a 8mm cable and a USB port so there’s no need for an additional power bank. The foldable nature means it’s easy to pack in a rucksack and at just 1kg it’s impressively lightweight.

BioLite SolarPanel

- Capacity: 220mAh

- Connectivity: USB, Micro USB

- Output ports: one

- Charging: solar, rechargable batteries

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At 6.6mm in depth, this ultra slim solar panel is the perfect gadget to take on your next outdoor adventure. At peak sun, it provides a power output of five watts per hour meaning it can charge most small and medium-sized devices. The 360 degree kickstand is an impressive feature as it can help with the panel’s positioning on uneven terrain.

Coupled with the Optimal Sun System - an integrated sundial that captures energy efficiently - you’ll have 100 per cent battery in no time. It also comes with an integrated 2200mAh battery pack that provides a full mobile phone charge.

Pxwaxpy Solar Power Bank

- Capacity: 26800mAh

- Connectivity: Type C USB, Micro USB

- Output ports: Three

- Charging: Plug socket and solar

- Additional features: External battery pack

As the cheapest solar power charger on our list, this option offers real bang for you buck as it boasts many of the same features as the more expensive alternatives, but at a fraction of the price. The power bank has a 26800mAh large capacity that can charge mobile phones and tablets several times over.

There are various charging ports including dual USB output, Type C and Micro USB. The device supports two gadgets at the same time and has 2.1A fast charging built-in. Its portable design makes it perfect for slipping into a pocket for on-the-go usage at outdoor events and festivals. The 4 LED indicators on the bottom show how much charge the power bank has left, so you’ll never be caught out again.

Topsolar SolarFairy 30 Foldable Solar Panel

- Capacity: 30W

- Connectivity: Dual USB ports

- Output ports: Two

- Charging: Solar

- Additional features: Comes with 14.4V output to charge car and boat batteries

If you’re after a solar panel that can charge more than just your small devices, look no further than Topsolar. As well as its USB smart charging technology that is designed for smartphones and tablets, it comes with a 14.4V output meaning it can charge 12 volt batteries for cars and boats. At its longest, it features four solar panels that measure almost 34 inches in width, and this can be folded up to a compact size that’s easy to transport and hook on a backpack or tent.

(Video) 👉 TOP 10 Best Portable Solar Chargers & Solar Panels for Camping [2020-2021]

BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger

- Capacity: 28W

- Connectivity: USB

- Output ports: three

- Charging: solar

- Additional features: comes with Type C cable (65cm) and four hooks

This BigBlue solar charger is one of our top rated thanks to its triple USB port that has SmartIC Technology that supplies optimal charging efficiency up to 5V/2.4A. The temperamentality of British weather means we can’t always rely on a cloud-free day, so we love the Automatically Adjust Current and Auto-Restart functions that will easily reconnect charge after passing through a cloudy patch.

It has a 23 per cent energy conversion which is one of the highest in our roundup and the special polymer surface and cloth flap protect from rain and fog interference. Its compact size measures just 11 inches in width.

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FAQs

Which portable solar charger is best? ›

Solar panels: the best solar charger without a battery
  • BigBlue 5V 28W Solar Charger. ...
  • Ryno Tuff Portable Solar Charger. ...
  • Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel. ...
  • Goal Zero Nomad 20 solar panel charger. ...
  • Anker PowerCore Solar 20000. ...
  • Addtop Solar Charger Power Bank. ...
  • DJRoll 36,000mAh Power Bank. ...
  • Hiluckey Wireless Solar Charger.
15 Sept 2022

What is the most powerful solar power bank? ›

Best Overall: QiSa Solar Power Bank

With an enormous 38,800 mAh battery, the QiSa Solar Bank is one of the largest while still offering a reasonable price tag in a portable size, making it our top choice. The heavy-duty device is ideal for staying plugged in on long camping trips.

What is the difference between a solar charger and a solar power bank? ›

Solar power banks store generated energy in built-in batteries, so you can charge devices even when there's no sun. Solar chargers are designed without batteries and do not store energy. They have to be exposed to sunlight when they're charging your devices.

Do solar battery chargers need direct sunlight? ›

What if my solar panels can't be installed in direct sunlight? Solar panels produce electricity from the photons present in natural daylight, rather than from the sunlight itself, so panels don't actually need to be installed in direct sunlight to work.

Do solar chargers work on cloudy days? ›

Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds.

What is a good mAh for a solar charger? ›

While a 10,000mAh is suitable for a quick charge on the go, you will want to consider a higher battery, around 25,000mAh or more, if you plan on charging multiple devices or living remotely for a few days.

Are solar battery packs worth it? ›

Are solar backup batteries worth it in the long run? Absolutely. From supplying your home with power during an outrage to helping minimize the amount of electricity to pull from the power grid, a battery is a practical and beneficial addition to any home solar system.

How do I choose a solar battery bank? ›

  1. Capacity & power. Capacity is the total amount of electricity that a solar battery can store, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). ...
  2. Depth of discharge (DoD) Most solar batteries need to retain some charge at all times due to their chemical composition. ...
  3. Round-trip efficiency. ...
  4. Battery life & warranty. ...
  5. Manufacturer.

Do solar panels work through glass? ›

Solar panels will work behind glass, but with limitations. They are designed for direct sunlight and have special low iron glass to allow easy transmission of light. If you put a panel behind normal glass or a plastic window its efficiency will be severely reduced.

What is the disadvantage of solar power bank? ›

High initial costs for material and installation and long ROI (however, with the reduction in the cost of solar over the last 10 years, solar is becoming more cost feasible every day) Needs lots of space as efficiency is not 100% yet. No solar power at night so there is a need for a large battery bank.

How long does a solar power bank last? ›

As with any product, batteries degrade over time. This is a natural process and unavoidable. A solar battery could last anywhere between 5 – 20 years, however there are many variables that affect this.

How long do solar powered chargers last? ›

Performance from a solar panel will vary, but in most cases guaranteed power output life expectancy is between 3 and 25 years.

Does the ring solar panel have to be in direct sunlight to work? ›

Ring solar power devices require three to four hours of direct sunlight a day. If your installation area is frequently very cloudy or gets a lot of rain or snow, this could limit the amount of sunlight that your solar power device receives. Note: The solar charger or solar panel requires direct sunlight.

What happens to solar power when batteries are full? ›

What Happens When Solar Power Batteries Are Full? Solar power systems use batteries to store solar energy. However, if the power generated exceeds the solar battery's capacity, it can overcharge the system. An overcharged solar system can severely damage a battery's life.

Which solar panel works best in shade? ›

Solar panels with microinverters

Solar panels fitted with microinverters are best equipped to combat shade problems, because if one panel is shaded it is not going to have an impact on the rest of the panels. Microinverters work like Christmas lights, when one goes out the others still work.

How many watts does a 100w solar panel produce on a cloudy day? ›

With a100 watt portable solar panel on a cloudy day, you can get between 7 watts an hour and 20 watts an hour depending on how cloudy it is and what time of day it is. In contrast, on a fully sunny day, you can be getting between 30 to 60 watts an hour.

Do solar panels work on Moonlight? ›

Seeing as moonlight is just sunlight reflected off of the moon, you will be happy to hear that the answer is yes: solar panels do technically work with moonlight.

What could we do to keep solar power working at night? ›

As mentioned above, solar panels produce no electricity at night. But they tend to produce extra power during the day when the sun is out. In order to balance things out, and keep the electricity running after dark, solar customers use either solar battery banks to store energy or net metering.

What is the difference between 10000mAh and 20000mAh power bank? ›

As for the input power, the 10000mAh standard version supports just 5.1V/2Aoutput while the 20000mAh fast-charge version supports 5V/2.1A, 9V/2.1A, and 12V/1.5A outputs.

How many mAh is a good power bank? ›

Anything from the 5000-2000 mAh in a power bank will work best for you, but you must remember you will more than likely not have multiple options for power included with a smaller device.

Is 10000 mAh power bank enough? ›

10,000 mAh Power Bank

The average battery capacity of a standard smartphone falls below 4,000 mAh. So, a power bank with a 10,000 mAh capacity (actual capacity 6,000-7,000 mAh) is enough to fully charge most handsets at least once and charge small phones like the iPhone 12 mini three times.

How many batteries do I need to go off-grid? ›

If you want to keep the power on when the grid is down, you'll usually just need one solar battery. If you want to go off-grid completely, you'll need far more storage capacity, more along the lines of 8-12 batteries.

What size solar panel do I need to charge a 12v battery? ›

Charging your battery at 12 volts and 20 amps will take five hours to charge a 100 amp hour battery. By multiplying 20 amps by 12 volts, 240 watts is how big of a panel you would need, so we'd recommend using a 300w solar panel or 3 100 watt solar panels.

How much is a Tesla Wall battery? ›

Key takeaways about the Tesla Powerwall

The Tesla Powerwall costs $11,500, including installation, when purchased from Tesla. Tesla Powerwalls are not available for individual sale through Tesla, however a standalone Powerwall can be purchased from a Tesla-certified installer.

Which solar batteries last longest? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Batteries
  • Residential solar batteries can last 5 to 15 years, with lithium-ion batteries lasting the longest. ...
  • Lithium-ion solar batteries last the longest.
15 Aug 2022

Is it better to have more solar panels or more batteries? ›

The energy produced over the lifetime of typical rooftop solar panels more than makes up for the energy it takes to make, mount and then eventually recycle them. But adding a home battery usually lowers those dividends, according to new research from Stanford University.

How big should my battery bank be? ›

To determine the kwh usage of a battery, you simply need to multiply the Amp Hour (Ah) rating by your desired voltage system. To meet the requirements set by the previously mentioned average kWh the best battery bank size would be the 225Ah @ 12 Volt system with 2 batteries.

Do solar panels work in winter? ›

Solar panels work through all four seasons of the year, come rain or shine, or even hail or in light snow. But solar panels do generally produce less energy in winter. That's because the days are shorter, so there are fewer hours of daylight and the sun is lower in the sky, on average.

Can you put plexiglass over solar panels? ›

Most Effective Types of Plastics for use With Solar Panels

Another is plexiglass, though some do not recommend plexiglass as it can retain too much heat, which can damage the solar cells. The only downside of acrylic is that it can be brittle.

What size portable solar panel do I need? ›

If you have a single 12 volt battery, at about 100 AH, you should have 300 watts of solar panels, minimum. With two 12 volt batteries, or two 6 golf cart volt batteries, with between 200-250 AH, you should have 400 watts of solar panels, minimum.

What is the biggest problem with solar energy? ›

Intermittency. One of the biggest problems that solar energy technology poses is that energy is only generated while the sun is shining. That means nighttime and overcast days can interrupt the supply.

Why is solar power not widely used? ›

Solar system is expensive than buying an AC, TV, Refrigerator, Fan, etc. There are two major costs involved in installing a solar system – installation and maintenance cost.

Does solar batteries work during power outage? ›

That energy is then used to power your home at night. But some solar batteries can supply power to your home during blackouts too! Many solar batteries feature a 'blackout mode'. This mode kicks in automatically when the grid fails as long as the battery has enough energy stored.

Can a solar panel overcharge a battery? ›

Will solar panels overcharge a battery? The answer is YES. It is possible to overcharge a battery if batteries are not connected to a charge controller or the charge controller is not properly configured to regulate the amount of power entering the battery.

Why my solar battery is draining fast? ›

So there are various things to consider. But the overall thing to keep in mind is if a solar panel is draining a battery it's mainly because the diode of the panel is broken. Otherwise, the solar charge controller has faulty settings, the battery is damaged or there are problems with the wiring in the system.

How many 100w solar panels does it take to power a house? ›

According to The U.S Energy Information Administration, the average household uses 29,530 watts per day. Assuming 4 hours of continuous sunshine and perfect weather conditions. That equates to around 75 x 100-watt solar panels to produce that many watts.

Is a 20 amp controller enough for a 200 watt solar panel? ›

A 200W solar panel will produce around 8-12 amps of current, so you'll want to get a charge controller that can handle 15 amps or more. Keep in mind that the charge controller's multiplier is around 1.25, so make sure you select a device with the correct wattage for your solar panel.

How long do Tesla solar batteries last? ›

Tesla PowerWall degradation schedule. LG warrants that its system will retain at least 60% of its nominal energy capacity (9.8 kWh) for 10 years. The battery must operate between -10 degrees Celsius and 45 degrees Celsius to remain warranted. Total throughput of energy within the warranty is limited to 27.4 MWh.

How do I choose a solar phone charger? ›

The larger the surface area of the solar panel, the more solar energy can be absorbed. A bigger size means faster battery charging, whether for the onboard battery in a power bank or the device plugged into the panels. Choose the panel size based on what's most convenient for the intended use.

How many watts of solar do I need? ›

Divide your average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for your area. This gives you the amount of energy your panels need to produce every hour. So the average U.S. home (900 kWh/month) in an area that gets five peak sunlight hours per day would need 6,000 watts.

Do solar phone chargers really work? ›

Solar technology is viable for charging your mobile devices, but some chargers definitely work better than others, and not all are designed to handle every situation.

What size solar panel do I need to charge a 12v battery? ›

Charging your battery at 12 volts and 20 amps will take five hours to charge a 100 amp hour battery. By multiplying 20 amps by 12 volts, 240 watts is how big of a panel you would need, so we'd recommend using a 300w solar panel or 3 100 watt solar panels.

How long do solar powered chargers last? ›

Performance from a solar panel will vary, but in most cases guaranteed power output life expectancy is between 3 and 25 years.

What size solar panel do I need to charge a cell phone? ›

A wattage between 10 watts and 15 watts of power is a good rule of thumb when looking for a solar phone charger.

How much does a portable solar panel cost? ›

Portable Panels & Chargers: Cleaner Camping and Job Sites
Panel System NamePanel CapacityCost
Go Power GP-Flex-100100 watts$600
Cabin AC 320320 watts$1,521
Goal Zero Yeti Ultimate Solar Generator240 watts$1,995 – $5,699
WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Panel100 watts$530
5 more rows

Can a 100 watt solar panel run a refrigerator? ›

A 100-watt solar panel may be able to run a fridge for a short period, but it will need a battery. In general, a 100-watt solar panel alone will not be able to generate enough daily power to keep your food consistently cold.

How many solar panels do I need to run a TV? ›

A 110V fridge and TV requires at least 500 watt solar panels and 200ah batteries. But a 120 watt solar panel can run a 12V refrigerator and a 50 inch LED TV for 2 to 3 hours. How To Calculate Solar Panel Needs: TVs have no problem with solar panels.

How many solar panels do I need to power a refrigerator? ›

How many solar panels do I need to run a refrigerator? The average refrigerator takes about three or four average solar panels to run. The average refrigerator found in the United States uses approximately 57 kWh per month while the average freezer uses 58 kWh. Adding those together brings a combined total of 115 kWh.

What happens if you leave your phone charging all night? ›

Batteries decay from the moment you start using your new phone. This means they gradually lose their ability to hold a charge. By charging your phone overnight, you're increasing the amount of time it spends with the charger. As a result, it degrades the capacity much sooner.

Do solar panels work through glass? ›

Solar panels will work behind glass, but with limitations. They are designed for direct sunlight and have special low iron glass to allow easy transmission of light. If you put a panel behind normal glass or a plastic window its efficiency will be severely reduced.

Are solar powered power banks any good? ›

Solar power banks are great for nature lovers, especially for long trips without the reliable availability of outlets to charge your electronic devices. This way, you will be able to take your phone or laptop with you and charge it wherever you are.

Why is my solar battery draining so fast? ›

So there are various things to consider. But the overall thing to keep in mind is if a solar panel is draining a battery it's mainly because the diode of the panel is broken. Otherwise, the solar charge controller has faulty settings, the battery is damaged or there are problems with the wiring in the system.

Can you overcharge a battery with a solar panel? ›

A solar panel will not overcharge your battery if you have the appropriate equipment (a solar charge controller) or when there is no light. But even without them, it won't cause any damage to your system as long as the voltage is within the required range for charging!

How long will a 100 watt solar panel take to charge a 12V battery? ›

As a general rule, a typical size 12v 50Ah auto battery at 20% discharge will need 2 hours to fully recharge with a 100 watt solar panel. A lead-acid deep-cycle 12v 50Ah battery at 50% discharge will take about 4 hours to fully recharge using a 100 watt solar panel.

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