Having a solar charger to boost the power of your device is a great idea. Especially if you like to go camping, traveling, or even attending music festivals, this can certainly be a handy product to have in your kit.
But not all solar chargers work as well as others. Some require excessive exposure before it will have any real effect on powering up your battery. Some also have better IP ratings, which shows how well it can handle exposure to elements like dust and water.
Luckily we have created this review of the best solar chargers currently on the market, so let’s go through it and find the perfect solar charger for you…
- 1 Top 8 Best Solar Chargers In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 BigBlue Foldable Portable Solar Charger – Best Basic Solar Charger
- 1.2 2 Anker 21W Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel – Best Affordable Solar Charger
- 1.3 3 ECEEN Solar Charger – Best Compact Solar Charger
- 1.4 4 AllPowers Portable Foldable Solar Panels Charger – Best Solar Charger
- 1.5 5 Giaride Portable Solar Charger – Best Compact USB and DC Solar Charger
- 1.6 6 TopDC High Efficiency Solar Panel Charger – Best Midsize USB and DC Solar Charger
- 1.7 7 Nekteck Portable Solar Charger – Most Efficient Solar Charger
- 1.8 8 iMuto Solar Charger Panel – Best 6 Cell USB and DC Solar Charger
- 2 Best Solar Chargers Buying Guide
- 3 So, What Are The Best Solar Chargers?
Top 8 Best Solar Chargers In 2021 Review
1 BigBlue Foldable Portable Solar Charger – Best Basic Solar Charger
Coming from a relatively unknown company BigBlue is this great value, efficient product. It will charge your electronic devices with ease. Although it is a little bigger and heavier than some of its competitors, it’s definitely not a deal breaker.
This 28 W solar charger’s positives certainly outweigh the negatives. It can charge multiple devices simultaneously and can act as a base charging station. We would recommend charging one device at a time to maximize efficiency, though.
As an example, after 30 minutes of charging, our smartphone had gained 9% battery life. This falls somewhere right in the middle of what these types of products are capable of. Given the affordability, we were pleased with this result.
On the plus side, this product features charge interruption recovery. If there is any interruption during charging, there is an auto-restart function. This avoids your device not charging at all because of instances like cloudy days or shadows appearing.
Features worth knowing…
Having a canvas material covering the outside makes this product resistant to abrasions and wear. A rating of IPX-4 ensures that this device will continue to work in the toughest conditions with a degree of resistance to both dust and water.
It’s important to note that this device does not store power. Your electronic device must be connected while it is exposed to the sun in order to provide a charge. It is also not compatible with the iPad Pro.
- Affordable option.
- Can charge multiple devices simultaneously.
- IPX-4 rated water and dust resistance.
- Does not store power.
- Not compatible with iPad Pro.
2 Anker 21W Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel – Best Affordable Solar Charger
Another affordable option is this solar charger from Anker. Using reliable, high-quality panels results in a lightweight, high-performance product. Anker is known for making dependable, well-made products, and this is no different.
This panel excels in most areas, but especially in multi-device charging capabilities. Like many of the other panels here, you should be aware that this is not a power storage device. It can only charge on the go and is not a battery power pack.
Just like the BigBlue, there is the same interruption recovery feature. As far as speed goes for charging a single battery, we were impressed. From completely flat, a 6,000 mAh battery can be fully charged in just under four hours. That is compared with about two hours on a wall charger.
There are two ports available, meaning you can charge two devices at the same time. With two smartphones connected side-by-side, after 30 minutes, each device had increased by 4% battery life. That is impressive given the panel’s small size and 21 W capacity.
Bring it anywhere…
The panels themselves are PET polymer faced and are surrounded by durable polyester canvas. This panel can withstand even the harshest conditions the outdoors can throw at it. We felt confident in the quality of construction.
Being incredibly lightweight and having a tri-fold design means ultimate portability. It can easily be thrown into a backpack. Once folded, it’s comparable in size to a small book or magazine; however, it has a decent surface area once unfolded.
- Fast charging at an affordable price.
- Strong, durable construction.
- Multiple device charging capability.
- Cannot store a charge.
- No IP resistance rating.
3 ECEEN Solar Charger – Best Compact Solar Charger
This is the most compact design out of all the Best Solar Chargers that we’ve reviewed. It’s easy to just throw it into your backpack, or better yet, attach it to the outside of it. That way, your smartphone, GoPro, Tablet, or any electronic device can be charging as you walk around.
This is not a portable battery but a portable power source. In other words, it doesn’t store any power; it simply supplies it from the sun. Being much smaller and only having two panels, can it keep up with the competition?
Better for maintenance than top-up…
As far as speed goes, in full sunlight, a 3,000 mAh battery can be fully charged in about four hours. It isn’t really the purpose for completely recharging a device, though; it works much better if you use it to maintain a charge.
There are two USB ports available, and it is possible to charge a pair of devices simultaneously. At just 13 W, this device has the smallest capacity; however, it still performs amazingly well. If used as suggested to maintain or top up a charge, you’ll find it very useful.
Will it last?
Monocrystalline silicon panels made by Sunpower can withstand being bent up to 40-degrees without damage. They are extremely tough and can take long periods of exposure to direct sunlight.
The surrounding material is constructed from canvas. It provides good protection for the panels themselves and the other components. High quality zips are used to keep the panel folded away when not in use.
- Small, lightweight, and compact.
- Surprisingly fast charging for its size.
- Can charge two devices simultaneously.
- No IP rating.
- Lacks interruption protection.
4 AllPowers Portable Foldable Solar Panels Charger – Best Solar Charger
Compared to the other chargers so far, this thing is a beast. Comprising of a massive 15 solar panels, the capabilities of this 100 W monster are incredible. This really is the ultimate solution to outdoor power requirements.
Just like the other panels, you can charge devices like smartphones, tablets, and cameras via USB. But there is also a DC power output for charging 12 V items like your laptop or even a car battery.
Take it anywhere…
Even though when unfolded, there are a whopping 15 panels, when folded, it is no bigger than a small briefcase. Weighing only 45 oz (1.28 kg) makes it easy to carry on camping or hiking trips.
Included in the pack is the panel itself, five various DC connections, two USB cables, and some carabiners for mounting. We feel this would be an essential piece of equipment for those with a caravan or RV.
Built to last…
The solar cells themselves are produced by SunPower, a well respected US leader in solar cell technology. They are constructed of a durable, lightweight material that can withstand all types of conditions.
Featuring IP65 water and dust resistance for use in any type of weather. Additional safety features include both surge and short circuit protection. Now you can feel confident plugging in your expensive electronic devices.
- Both USB and DC power supplied.
- IP65 water and dust protection.
- Surge and short circuit protection.
- Bigger and heavier than other panels.
- May need to purchase additional connectors.
5 Giaride Portable Solar Charger – Best Compact USB and DC Solar Charger
Just like the AllPowers panel, this compact design is from Giaride. It, too, can power both USB and DC devices. Everything from smartphones, and tablets, right up to laptops and even small appliances.
Being a smaller panel and having only three cells producing 21 W, you may struggle to receive a decent charge on the DC output. That is unless you have absolute direct sunlight. It’s still great to have the option available, though.
Quality materials and construction…
This panel also uses SunPower PET cells with a transformation efficiency of 22%-25%. That is well above the average 15% of other cells. The output of the USB is 5 V at 2.5 A and DC 18 V at 1 A.
Using PET technology for the cells allows for temperature, scratch, and shock resistance. This makes the panel more than worthy of being packed in alongside all your other camping equipment without any fear of damage.
You can be confident connecting your expensive devices to the panel. There are plenty of in-built protection, including circuit, overload, overcharge, discharge, over-current, and overheating.
Using stainless steel eyelets, along with the included carabiner, gives a solid foundation for mounting. With the cover being constructed from tough canvas, it is more than sufficient for providing protection to the cells and components when folded up for storage.
- Both USB and DC power output.
- Compact design.
- SunPower cells.
- 21 W is not that efficient for DC charging.
- Larger sized panels are more effective.
6 TopDC High Efficiency Solar Panel Charger – Best Midsize USB and DC Solar Charger
If you thought the AllPowers was a little too much and the Giaride not enough, then this may be what you’re looking for. This panel from TopDC offers 39 W using six solar cells with both USB and DC power output.
It represents great value; in fact, it’s probably the best value for the money solar charger you can buy. Featuring a single USB and DC output, the package contains ten different DC connectors, however no USB cable. If there is a device that needs charging, chances are it can be charged using this panel.
Using the USB port provides 5 V at 2.1 A, and the DC output provides 18 V at 2.17 A, which can provide sufficient charging for both outputs. Charging a completely flat smartphone can be achieved in under three hours with direct sunlight.
Built-in IC chip technology intelligently detects your device and maximizes its charging speed. It also protects your device from overcharging, so you can feel safe leaving your devices connected while doing other tasks.
Built to last…
Using waterproof PET cells provides a durable, scratch-resistant surface. The cells are built into high-wear oxford fabric, offering weather-resistant durability for all types of outdoor environments and activities.
This panel does a great job of providing a charge, even on overcast days. Of course, it is more efficient if placed in direct sunlight; however, it can still comfortably charge devices such as smartphones or tablets in less than optimal conditions.
- USB and DC power outputs.
- Great value panel.
- Still performs well in overcast conditions.
- No USB cable included.
- Only a single USB port.
7 Nekteck Portable Solar Charger – Most Efficient Solar Charger
For a panel that doesn’t try to overreach on expectations in a convenient, compact design, look no further than the Nekteck. This USB only charger uses three cells to convert all that beautiful sunshine into power for your device.
Being one of the most affordable options here, you know there must be some compromise made. When you first pick up the panel, you can tell it’s certainly not the build quality that has suffered. So what is this panel capable of?
Playing to its strengths…
You may not be able to power any DC devices like some of the other panels here. But that’s not what this panel was designed for. It has one focus in mind, and that is replenishing the battery in your smartphone, tablet, or GoPro style device.
It does this with the help of an IC chip that ensures your device is charging as efficiently as possible. You can also charge two devices at once, thanks to the dual USB ports. Although charging one device at a time does provide superior results.
Goes the distance…
As mentioned, the build quality is top-notch. The cover is constructed from tough, durable canvas. It can easily withstand both being banged around in your backpack with the other gear and the outdoor elements.
The cells themselves have a strong PET polymer cover, giving them the best chance of survival in all weather conditions. This is enhanced further with an IPX4 water and dust resistance rating.
- 3 A power output provides efficient charging.
- Dual USB ports.
- IPX4 water and dust resistance.
- No DC power output.
- Performance suffers in overcast conditions.
8 iMuto Solar Charger Panel – Best 6 Cell USB and DC Solar Charger
Last but not least, we have this all-rounder panel from iMuto. It appears to tick all the boxes in terms of what we’ve seen here today. Featuring both USB and DC outputs, it is capable of charging basically any electronic device.
Using six solar cells to convert all the sun’s energy into battery power, it also folds down into about the size of a small book. So let’s dive a little deeper into the features to see how this stacks up in comparison.
Can it deliver?
Rated at 36 W of power puts it right in the middle of the field. The output from USB lands at 5 V and 2.7 A, while DC is at 18 V and 1.5 A. These are sufficient figures for all your device charging needs.
All the power delivered is done, so using an IC chip for improved efficiency. There is a single USB port, along with a single DC port. The panel does support the charging of two devices at the same time.
A high-wear PVC canvas material is used for the construction of the panel. This should survive all types of outdoor conditions. Combined with SunPower solar cells, which are market leaders in toughness, this panel is built to survive most conditions.
There is also an IP54 water and dust resistance rating, ensuring that the panel can be taken just about anywhere. Overall, the solid construction of this panel with the use of quality components puts this product in a great position.
- Both USB and DC outputs.
- Rugged construction.
- Small and compact.
- Mounting options are limited.
- Not as affordable as other options.
Best Solar Chargers Buying Guide
As you can see, there are many different variations of the same technology. What doesn’t differ is the fact that using the sun to charge your device instead of a power outlet is a great idea, especially for those who enjoy being outdoors.
We think this is also a superb option for those who do a lot of international travel. As you’re probably already aware, bringing along your device’s charger does not always mean it will work in an international socket. So, having one of these is perfect as a back-up if you forget your adapter.
Which Product Should You Choose?
If you’ve now decided that owning a solar charger is a good idea, how do you know which one is right for you? Well, that’s where this buying guide comes in, and cover how each of these products differ, to assist in your decision.
There are two main differences that each of these products have – the power output is delivered by either USB or DC. All of these panels offer USB output; however, they don’t all offer DC output.
Choosing USB or DC Output
If your device can be charged using a USB cable, then you will only need a panel with USB capabilities. These types of devices usually include but are not limited to smartphones, tablets, cameras, and smartwatches.
For DC power output, then your device receives power from one of those cables with the small round plug, often attached to a power brick. You most likely will need this feature for charging a laptop, but they are also capable of charging the latest lithium generators.
Where Do You Intend To Use The Panel?
All of these panels come in different sizes. All can be folded down into a light and compact size, but when some are unfolded, they can be rather large. Ranging from three solar cells all the way up to 15 cells. Obviously, the larger the size, the more power output will be received.
If you wish to attach the panel to your backpack so you can charge your device while riding, or hiking, then you will need something more compact. If you prefer to have something set up at a campsite, then the larger sized panels may suit you better.
Join us next as we reveal our choice for the best solar charger and why, but before that…
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So, What Are The Best Solar Chargers?
For us to decide on which product is the best solar charger, we have made the following considerations. The product must, first of all, be able to charge a device efficiently. It also must be built to last. Finally, it must also have some great features.
The panel we feel performs the best in all these areas is the…TopDC
With both USB and DC output, it can sufficiently charge any device. It has been built with quality construction and has some great safety features.