Portable solar chargers can be used for a variety of purposes. Sure, you can put permanent panels on your house’s side or roof to reduce your carbon footprint and energy bill, but the fun doesn’t end there. When travelling or moving about, a portable solution provides flexibility and unlimited energy, and it often does not cost a lot to get started.
Portable solar chargers will power most of the gadgets you need, whenever and wherever you need them, whether you’re RVing full-time, going camping for the weekend, or simply want something you can move around the property. Not only that, but there are also low-cost, lightweight options that won’t slow you down during your outdoor activities.
These are significantly more convenient than lugging about a bulky power pack and wondering if it would last the whole of your trip. It’s worth noting, though, that charging a small-ish portable battery from your solar panel and then charging your smartphone from the battery is usually more reliable than plugging the device straight into the panel for USB-powered gadgets.
If you’re worried about how you’ll charge your devices on the road and if you’ll be able to keep them charged no matter where you are, a solar charger might be the answer. These are the finest portable solar chargers in 2021, ranging from small, affordable solar panels for phones and flashlights to larger, more powerful alternatives for charging your RV batteries.
1. Best Overall Portable Solar Charger: BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank
The BLAVOR Solar Charger Power Bank is the way to go if you want a solar charger with the convenience of an inbuilt battery and USB charging that can also power your gadgets wirelessly. It just has one USB port, but if your gadgets support Qi wireless charging, you won’t need any more than that: this solar charging bundle is one of the few that does.
The battery’s 18W Power Delivery output allows you to quickly charge most phones and tablets, as well as (slowly) power some laptop models. It includes both micro-USB and USB C ports, allowing you to charge quickly from an outlet rather than relying on the sun. It weights a hefty 1.5 pounds because to the integrated battery, but the included strap makes it a little easier to carry.
A directional, front-facing flashlight is included, as well as a larger version on the bottom that casts a wider light strong enough to illuminate objects up to 30 feet away. The larger light has three brightness levels, and the SOS and strobe modes are useful for any camper or hiker who is in trouble. There’s also an emergency compass built-in.
The strong plastic shell has reinforced rubber edges and water-resistant port covers, and the design is tough. While the high-capacity battery performs admirably, charging it with the three solar panels can take a long time. Even in direct sunlight, they can take two or three days to fully recharge the battery with a maximum output of 1.2 amps. You’ll have the best luck if you start with a fully charged battery before heading out into the bush, and then top it off each day with sunlight.
- Rugged, durable design
- Qi wireless charging
- Integrated battery
- Built-in flashlight and compass
- Great value
- Somewhat heavy
- Solar panels can take a long time to fully recharge the battery
2. Best Smart Portable Solar Charger: BigBlue
This Big Blue model, one of Amazon’s best-selling portable solar chargers, was recently improved. The built-in information screen keeps you informed about how your devices are charging via the three 2.4A USB outputs, and the voltage regulator ensures safer, more reliable charging.
The charger is about 20 ounces in weight, making it quite portable. When not in use, the folding design reduces the physical area of the four panels while allowing them to expand to 33 inches. It’s also water-resistant (IPX4) and comes with a zippered compartment to keep your gadgets safe while charging.
Even its most basic features demonstrate attention to detail, maximising usability and making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to take their electronics on a tough trip. It’s made of an industrial-strength PET polymer, for example, which will withstand the rigours of travel. The grommeted holes allow you to hang it from a tree, the exterior of your tent or backpack, or anywhere else where it will receive the most sun.
However, there are a few drawbacks to all of its great qualities. It’s collapsible and lightweight, but it’s a little hefty, and it sometimes struggle to charge numerous devices at the same time. To get around this, charge a portable battery with the solar panels and use it to power some of your electronics.
- Great value
- Voltage regulation
- Three USB outputs
- Water resistant
- Durable yet lightweight
- May struggle to charge multiple devices
3. Best Value Portable Solar Charger: Eceen 13W
The Eceen is the finest alternative for a simple, elegant, and economical solar charger. It provides steady performance in a small package, weighs only 12 ounces, and has two USB ports for charging two devices at the same time. It’s simple to use and, as long as you’re only charging one phone at a time, it’ll charge most phones just as quickly as higher-capacity panels.
It features clip-on points so you can connect it to your bag, tent, or tree and folds neatly into a zippered pouch for mobility. Both USB ports give a handy two amps of power, but the total output is likewise two amps, thus charging can be slow if you have two items plugged in. The great thing about this solar charger is that you get a lot of hidden benefits for the price.
Automatic sun detection, overcurrent, overcharge, and over-voltage protection, as well as short circuit protection, are all included. While the device is inexpensive, it only has 13 watts of electricity, which means it won’t be able to power larger devices.
In partly cloudy situations, it likewise struggles. Eceen also produces a 20W variant if you require more power.
- Simple design
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and fast charging
- Charges multiple devices, albeit slowly
- Clip-in points could be more durable
4. Best Portable Solar Charger for RVs: DOKIO Folding Solar Panel Kit
The DOKIO foldable solar panel system is one of the best semi-permanent alternatives for folks who want to RV or camp for longer periods of time, despite its large 11-pound weight. Fold it up, carry it with you, and put it up when you arrive. It’s ultra-thin and attractive, making it simple to stow and a terrific addition to your campground without being unsightly.
Although the control unit is primarily intended for charging 12v batteries and DC generators, it also has two USB connections for charging smaller devices. The device also indicates when your battery is charged and protects your devices from overcharging, reverse currents, reverse polarity, and short circuits.
The set includes a 3-meter cable, a one-meter cable with a crocodile clip, a JY60 short connector, and five different DC plug tips, as well as all of the cables and connections you’ll need to power various types of 12v batteries or portable generators. Many solar panels will promise a specific output, but the performance in the real world will be significantly different.
This one can provide the advertised 220-watt power, at least in ideal settings, which is unexpected given the high rating. There are different models with larger and lesser capacity. The external fabric is mildew- and water-resistant, and the panels fold and Velcro together to fit into the supplied waterproof bag and be transported more simply. A little but nice benefit is that the backpack has pockets for all the wires, plugs, and extras.
- Semi-permanent solution for campsites and RVs
- Thin and stylish
- Several cables and accessories
- Waterproof and mildew proof
- Not as portable as other solutions
5. Best Portable Solar Charger for Hiking: NekTeck 28W Foldable Portable Solar Charger
The NekTeck solar charger is available in a range of sizes, but the 28W version is ideal for simultaneously charging many devices. It’s tough, but the design is adaptable enough to be helpful in a variety of situations. Because of its collapsible shape, high power output, many connection hooks, and waterproof fabric, this is one of the best portable solar chargers for hiking.
It features two USB ports that will recognise the type of connected item and prevent it from being under or overcharged. It weighs only 18 ounces and folds up small enough to fit in or on a pack, making it ideal for camping, hiking, riding, and most other outdoor activities. The grommets and stitching are sturdy, and the construction quality is greater to many other inexpensive ones.
However, the accompanying carabiners are of poor quality, so if you wish to tie this solar panel to your bag or tent, you may need to invest in some better hooks. It can charge most portable electronics swiftly at up to 12W from a single USB connection when tilted squarely towards bright sunlight. It is, however, less effective in indirect sunlight or when there is cloud cover, as are all panels.
- Two charging ports
- Fast charging under ideal conditions
- Built-in protection from overcharging
- Rugged design
- Low-quality carabiners