This report reveals you the best solar power chargers 2018. After several weeks of research, I am ready to share my judgments, recommendations, and experiences.
There are different variants of such devices and I have examined them all. From simple solar panels with USB outlets to sophisticated backpacks equipped with solar cells and power banks.
I have come to the conclusion that the choice of the best and most effective tool for you is not easy. With the help of various application scenarios, I will help you to find what you need.
The advantages and disadvantages of the various options will become apparent and, in addition, I will present here some product combinations that, in my opinion, cost less and best satisfy your needs.
Table of contents:
Which are the 27 products I can recommend as the best?
Right from the start, I have to say that not all of my tested products meet my expectations. I have written reviews about all of them but I can not recommend some of the articles.
The 27 best products of this solar power series include 3 groups of solar chargers. Solar battery charges, solar power banks, and solar power backpacks.
All of these products are suitable for supplying your gadgets with solar power in appropriate situations. I have published 3 posts with the best products per segment.
Below you will find different scenarios describing what product for a particular situation in my eyes is best suited.
I think that if you are interested in a solar power charger, you should be aware of which scenarios you want to use the tool for.
10 Best solar powered battery chargers.
I started with the selection of solar powered battery chargers. These are various solar cells, some of them built into folders, small and compact, some larger and able to charge batteries from smartphones to car batteries.
All my solar powered battery charging devices are portable and have at least one USB port.
There are no power banks involved in this series. Only larger and smaller solar cell units providing correspondingly more or less electrical power.
9 Best solar power banks.
The second series I have studied are so-called solar power banks. These are power banks that are either in one-piece form, just like normal-sized power banks.
Or, the truly functioning solar power banks, which are equipped with collapsible solar panels.
On what I look at these products the most is whether the device really gets along without grid power and how much charge you can reach in which time for what gadgets.
8 best solar power backpacks.
As a third variant are still the solar-equipped backpacks on my list. There are also different variants but at the moment there are not so many recommended models on the market.
The main criteria here are if a power bank is included and whether the solar panels are fix or detatchable.
10 Best Solar-Powered Battrey Chargers 2018
9 Best Solar Power Banks 2018
8 Best Solar Power Backpacks 2018
Why you should buy solar powered chargers?
There are, of course, a number of reasons that are most important to me, that a solar exaggerated charger allows me the greatest possible freedom is my favorite I think. You probably too have your reasons why you visit this page.
A well-known reason is an environmental compatibility. However, to really help the environment, such a device must also be used as often as possible.
Saving money can be a reason. Since solar energy is free, you can even save money in the long run with an optimally used device. Even non-solar charging devices cost money, have to be bought, and are often not much cheaper.
You can put a sign. Unfortunately, the solar options are only slowly coming to the center focus of energy production. Anyone who joins in and uses a solar-powered charger or any solar powered product helps the popularity of the whole idea.
Emergency power supply. Not always our most reliable power supply works. There are exceptional situations such as floods, avalanches, landslides, vehicle breakdowns, hiking injuries and much more.
In all these cases, it is important for us to request help as quickly as possible, but also to inform our loved ones.
A misfortune rarely comes alone and if you happen to be in such a disaster with empty smartphone batteries, you will understand what solar energy can mean.
I think it also makes a lot of fun knowing, to have the opportunity, wherever I want to lay out a solar cell and for any kind of purpose to draw electricity from the sun.
What to pay attention to when buying.
To decide which of the many solar power chargers is right for you, two questions come up first.
- What do I want to charge, which and how many devices do I have in mind to supply with solar power.
- In which situations do the best solar power chargers have to do their job?
The first question is probably relatively simple answered. This and that electronic device plus maybe the batteries of your drone or camera etc.
What is important to know when choosing smartphone, tablet, and laptop battery chargers and power banks is that you have some idea of how much the total power of these batteries is.
Of course, not all batteries are empty at the same time and certainly will not all have to be loaded at the same time but to get an idea this information can help. Here I have put a few mAh calculations and charge data together.
The power needed to charge your battery is easy to calculate. You take your battery out of the device and see how much mAh it stores.
Since a loss is due to converting the power bank voltage from 3.6V to USB voltage of 5V and back, your power bank needs about 1.25 times more mAh than your gadget battery.
So you have to multiply the mAh indication of your smartphone or tablet etc battery by 1.25 to calculate the mAh power the power bank needs for a full charge.
Example: An iPhone 7 plus has a 2’900mAh battery. Then your power bank needs at least 3600mAh to charge the battery.
To help you answer the second question, how and where or why you need which solar power charger, I have listed below various application scenarios and introduced my favorite products.
I hope you find your application again and can with my help narrow down the product selection.
Advantages of the Best Solar Power Chargers:
The main advantages of having a properly chosen solar power charger, of course, is that you are always and everywhere equipped with enough power for your mobile devices.
The second most important aspect is that you can protect nature by using a durable device to protect fossil fuels and thus reduce the environmental impact of power usage.
Next is provided for emergencies. Wherever you are in an emergency situation, cut off from the power for an unexpectedly long time, you have your charging station with you. Of course, this does not apply to stays in cellars.
I’ve read that the sun sends enough light to the earth every hour that it would be sufficient to meet all our needs for electricity, worldwide, for a year. This statement should give us food for thought.
There is still a lot more money and labor being invested in the development of nuclear and petroleum power generation than in the free, clean and environmentally friendly solar energy.
The more people are willing to contribute a small contribution to the commercialization of solar power, the more the industry will realize that we, the end users, are serious about it.
There are also disadvantages.
Not all solar power products are worth the effort. Cheap and inadequately functioning products not only harm the environment but also the solar power movement.
We all know that the production of solar power chargers consumes a lot of energy. So we should make sure that this production is justified.
Solar power disposable products are contra productive. We should shop responsibly and, as a result, use these purchased items as often as possible.
As in every niche, there are grumpy people here, who offer fake products at the lowest prices, but make a huge profit, leaving unsatisfied customers who may never again believe in solar-powered products.
With these scenarios, I would like to help you get to know the possibilities of optimal solutions in different situations.
Scene 1, The Loner:
There are many people who, for whatever reason, choose to retreat away from civilizations for several months. Despite all this, the claim exists to be able to use modern communication devices.
Somewhere in a hut without electricity but with clear clean skies and preferably several hours of sun every now and then. This is tempting but associated with various difficulties.
Electricity, however, is no longer the problem these days. There are portable solar panels with the necessary power and connections to provide all conceivable electronic devices sufficiently.
In the extreme case, you are someone like me who works many hours a day on a laptop, even at night, and has to share a blog or other work online.
What I would take with me in this situation:
In this case, you should have a maximum designed solar panel and an extra strong power bank.
I found a combination, Suoaki, they make all this and more possible.
That would be 2 combinable devices. A 60W solar unit with an 18V 3.4A output and a USB output with 5V, 2.1A. These solar panels can be connected to a 150W solar generator, which contains a power bank that produces 150Wh.
I think this is an extremely interesting combination that you should definitely look at if you really need great performance over time. According to my calculations, it should be possible to work on your laptop at least 8 hours daily.
For the moment about for the price of about $ 300.00, you are fully equipped. The total weight of about 5.5 Kg is a lot to be transported by foot, but I assume that you have a vehicle available to bring all your equipment in place at least in the beginning. (1-year warranty on Solar Panels, 18 months warranty on Solar Generator.)
As well as sufficient an alternative comes for me still the Voltaic System solution in question. An about as expensive set, but that delivers fewer watts from the solar cells and includes only a half as big power bank.
This set is lighter with, only 1.5 Kg and can be transported in a backpack. A 20W super solar unit that can directly power the included 24’000mAh power bank or the laptop.
The voltaic system is, in my opinion, the most advanced company producing portable solar power chargers.
Scene 2, The Environmentalist:
By this I mean a person who leads a normal life, lives in a city and only occasionally has time to go nature. A person who still wants to help protect the environment, among other things, with the charging of the USB devices by solar power.
Today you have the possibility to charge your mobile always from the sun. With a combination of power bank and solar cells that are sufficient to deliver the daily ration of solar power.
During the week, you can leave the power bank at home, at the shop, in a sun-drenched place during the day. The iPhone battery powered by the solar power bank at night should be enough for a day at work.
For multi-day trips, the Solar Power Bank comes with, naturally, and can either be mounted on the back or on the beach, hung on the tent or laid out on the garden tablet in your weekend house to consume sunlight and convert into clean power.
What I would take with me in this situation:
In this situation, I would buy myself a solar power bank, which is designed as a case merged not much bigger than your actual smartphone.
What is not the right choice is a so-called compact device, which has a small solar cell installed in the housing of the power bank. These cells are never enough to charge the power bank.
I’m talking about solar panels that have a minimum of 7W solar energy output.
There is a very cheap but extraordinarily good product from Feelle. 20W solar cells connected to a 25’000mAh power bank. For under $ 50.00 with 12 months warranty.
Of course, with the 20W solar panels it is not possible to fully charge the strong power bank in one day, which is usually not necessary. What’s enough is to recharge the power your one or two smartphones consume daily.
With a total weight of just over 500g and the dimensions of a normal iPhone, about 5 times thicker of course, this device is conveniently in any bag or backpack.
For me, there is no alternative for such a use which I can recommend with a clear conscience. This solar power bank can do it all.
Scene 3, The Marathon Runner or Bicycle Touring Athlete:
Many of you might be often and for many hours practicing sportive activities. It seems obvious that you have a solar power backpack with the most important utensils to go with you.
In order to properly use a pre-fabricated high-quality solar backpack, it is important that you are mainly interested in charging solar power during the movement.
This is because the really good solar backpacks have the solar cells firmly installed in the backpack and a cooling of the backpack contents is only possible in motion.
So you leave the house and go on tour for quite a few hours. If you arrive in the evening either at home or at a night’s lodging, your solar energy should be stored.
Of course, in such cases, I do not recommend directly charging your mobile devices, but a power bank. As the charging power on the backpack is not always the same, the power bank has to deliver a steady charging current.
iPhones, for example, switch off the automatic charge if there is not enough power flowing, and charging is reactivated only with special electronics or manually.
A Power Bank, on the other hand, takes the power it gets and charges when the power is strong enough.
What I would take in this situation:
In this case, I definitely recommend one of the Voltaic System Solar Backpacks. These products are extremely qualified. The American company always strives to be up to date and make improvements if customers complain about something.
There is a small series of such Voltaic System solar power backpacks. They are not cheap but you are guaranteed to have an environmentally friendly product that will serve you for many years to come.
At the moment there are 4 different models which all contain a powerful power bank. The smallest, 20lit, with a 5W solar cell and a 4,000mAh battery pack, is available for around $ 130.00.
Then there is a 25lit, 9.5W, 12’000mAh version, a 25lit, 10W, 12’000mAh and an ultra power version with which you can even load a laptop.
Since I do not believe that you take a laptop with you on your tours, but are mainly interested in going everywhere and be reachable by mobile phone, I believe that a small 20lit 5W solar power backpack is sufficient.
Daily charging the power bank in the sun is enough to replenish your smartphone batteries over and over again. The backpack is lighter but has enough space to pack food, drinks, camera and whatever else has to go with.
Scene 4, The Festival Visitors:
There are two categories here, either you are traveling alone on a multi-day festival or you go with the whole family to enjoy such an occasion.
In both cases, I’m assuming that the morning is relatively quiet and that playing with smartphones, and charging the batteries you need, is part of a festival visit these days.
Many thousands of visitors are there with their tents and mostly there are not enough food stalls, restrooms, and battery charging stations. Especially the charging stations are usually overcrowded and hours of waiting can spoil the festival visit.
However, this can be avoided with your own charging devices.
What you should have as an individual:
If you are traveling alone, and only have to charge your own mobile device, a solar power bank is sufficient. With full batteries at the festival start, 24’000 mAh, plus solar charging possibility you should not run out of power, not even if you stay there for a whole week.
This implies to bring an inexpensive but effective solar power charger, the same as the one I have recommended above for “The Environmentalist”.
For multi-headed companies such as families:
It gets a bit trickier to stand above in this situation. Assuming you are two adults and two children, the 24’000mAh will probably be used up pretty quickly.
Kids play, in my experience, quite often and sometimes for several hours. Like this one or two tablet batteries can be emptied per person each day.
That means with about 7’000mAh a tablet battery can be made full. Per day for all, in the extreme case, you need about 35’000mAh if you and your partner do not exaggerate.
Achieving such power in half a day with solar energy requires a slightly more powerful solar charging station. plus if possible several power banks.
The best way to get away is with two 24W RAVPower solar chargers. These have each 3, 5V 2.4A quick charge USB ports on which you best each load a 24’000mAh power bank. You can get even more out of the cell because 24W can give 5A in good conditions.
So you can optimally have a strong power bank per RAV unit and a tablet at the same time. This should be enough to provide your family with sufficient solar power.
The RAV cells are not overpriced, so you pay even less for 2 such systems than for a 60W Suaoki panel, around $ 150.00 for two.
The reason why two smaller panels are better than one big one is the fact that with a large cell and only one USB output, you can not get the full power out of it.
For this variant, you need of course at least 2 power banks. The advantage of this variant is that you can use all the items, the solar panels, and the power banks comfortably for further adventures or at home.
The whole set I recommended above in “The Loner” scenario. With the 60W Suaoki solar charger you can charge the Suaoki solar generator and this has 4 USB outputs that can be used simultaneously.
As already mentioned, this option would be about twice as expensive as the RAV variant, except that it includes a very valuable solar generator system.
Now you have to decide what you can use later, not only at festivals, more often and more targeted.
This same scenario applies even if you are a lover of outback camping. If you camp wildly for weeks, you go far from civilization or at least not have the opportunity to charge your batteries on the grid.
Scene 5, The Nature Friend, Hiker:
This is about people who want to live the wanderlust on weekends or even over several days, weeks in the mountains, in nature, where it often happens that, in the evening somewhere, is where there is no electricity network.
I assume that you are only responsible for your own mobile device and you are interested in not carrying too much weight around with you.
In such a case, I think it is advisable to buy a solar power charger which can be mounted, attached to the backpack on the one hand, but can also be hung or laid down independently in any sunny spot.
Why I would not like to talk about a solar backpack, in this case, is that for this purpose I have no optimal products.
As already mentioned, the good solar power backpacks are provided with solar cells that are firmly sewn into the backpack. I find this impractical under these circumstances since every time you want to put the solar panel in the sun you have to empty the backpack.
Prefabricated solar backpacks, however, which make it possible to remove the solar part, in my opinion, are not necessarily worth your money.
Often the backpack is not of good quality or the combination is simply too expensive for what it offers.
What I would take with me in this situation:
I recommend you buy a normal backpack made to your liking if you do not already have one. A backpack, big or small, depending on your needs.
If you do so, you have a huge selection of backpacks that I will not go into, as they are not solar power products in that sense.
What I can recommend, however, is a set that consists of a solar cell and a power bank. There are several options that you can find on my page 9 best solar power banks.
However, do not try to achieve the solution with a compact solar power bank, these products are too weak to be of help on the go.
All multipart solar cell power banks, however, have fixing eyelets or loops provided so that you can attach them to the backpack or tent or anywhere else.
However, I have found an almost perfect solution for you.
Once again from Voltaic System, the best manufacturer of such transportable solar charging devices. Like me, Voltaic System has probably come to the conclusion that you are served best when you select your personal backpack.
This company has now developed a solar panel with 4 snap fasteners and straps so you can easily attach it to any backpack you want.
The whole thing is a bag set that does not apply much and also has almost no weight, 1.3lb including power bank. The solar cell delivers 6W in good conditions and the included power bank has 4’000mAh. It takes 3h of the sun for a smartphone battery charge.
With these properties, this is a great day by day charging device. Not suitable for tablets but sufficient for all smartphones, cameras etc. The solar cell has a voltage of 6V, so it can not feed every power bank.
The set is not exactly cheap with just over $ 100.00, like all Voltaic system products in general, but if you’re looking for the best quality, it hopefully may cost a little too.
As with all their products, the Voltaic System can provide a 2-year solar cell and bag warranty. The power bank has a 100% warranty period of 12 months.
If this variant is too weak for you, you have even stronger models to choose from, those that can also charge tablets in less than an 8-hour day.
If you already have a good power bank this would be the cheapest option but still prevents disappointment. You can hang only a solar cell of 10W with 5V USB output to the backpack.
This is the simplest yet most reliable model I’ve found for this purpose, only about $ 50.00. Also from the same company with the same warranty.
This model comes without a bag, without power bank, just a two-piece collapsible solar panel, which is provided with a stable eyelet at each corner, that you can easily install the charging station anywhere.
Your best solar power chargers normally don’t require any maintenance. If the cells are a bit dusty you can dust them off with a fine cloth.
Before you go with any cleaning agents behind it I would try it with clear water. If that’s not enough you can safely remove everything with normal soapy water or isopropyl alcohol.
Slight scratch marks that have arisen despite the usually extremely robust solar panel surface normally melt away in strong sunlight or, if necessary, with a hairdryer.
Whether your solar charging units are expandable you have to individually find out for your self. Many brands and devices are compatible but for details, I would either publish a question on Amazon or ask the manufacturer.
It’s best to look from the beginning at the requirements your chargers have to meet. Often you have the best and cheapest variant available if you buy the right size. It is recommended to have a bit too much power rather than too little.
How does heat influence the solar panel efficiency
Thank you for your visit.
I hope I could help you a little bit further with this post. There is so much that is worth knowing if you want to buy the best solar power charger.
For now, this is the last article about this segment. Next, I will deal with solar-powered products that you can apply around or in the house, I’m all excited already 🙂
I hope you’re back, see you soon, Stefan 🙂 allsopo.com