How to Choose the Best Solar Battery Charger: The Ultimate Guide

Exploring the outdoors is refreshing and, most of the time, a source of great adventures. 

I always bring my electronic devices to capture the moment. However, lately, I have been frustrated by the short battery life of my phones and laptop, and when you are off grid, there’s nowhere to plug your gadgets.

Luckily, I discovered the solar battery charger, a foldable, mini power generator that you can bring with you anywhere.

There are dozens of models available for all kinds of use. To get a clearer picture and to help you make a wise buying decision, I wrote this guide that includes our selection of the best portable solar chargers for phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.

If you want to take a quick look, check out our top picks. You will find the best solar battery chargers sorted by power output.

In our buyer’s guide, I have summarized all the information you need to wisely pick the best solar powered charger and how solar battery chargers work.

I have included an FAQ to answer the most common and useful questions. If you are missing a point, reach us in the comment section.

Contents

Top Picks

Since there are many types of chargers ranging in power output, our editor’s selection of the best solar battery charger is sorted by their power output from 15W for single phone charging to 100 W and more for laptop and solar power battery packs. 

It is important to note that in our review, we didn’t consider solar battery chargers below 15W as they won’t be able to efficiently charge your USB devices. 

  1. Best solar battery charger 15W – Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger 
  2. Best solar battery charger 20W – Portable Solar Chargers X-DRAGON 20W
  3. Best solar battery charger 30W – BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger  
  4. Best solar battery charger 60W – Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger
  5. Best solar battery charger 100W + – TwelSeavan Solar Panel 120W, Foldable Portable Solar Panel Charger 

The Importance of Solar Battery Chargers

When fully charged, most of your electronic gadgets (phone, tables, laptop, etc.) will give you enough power for a full day of use. 

If you’re planning activities outdoors, your autonomy will be limited, and obviously there is no electric plug in sight when hiking the mountains. Thus, you might want to bring a power bank to extend your autonomy. However, power banks also drain quickly and will end up as unwanted weight in your bag. 

Therefore, solar battery chargers are the solution of choice. 

They are versatile and extremely durable devices that will provide reliable power during the day. They are designed to be portable, and some models will fit in a backpack. Furthermore, they only use sunlight and act as a solar USB charger. 

Let’s have a closer look at their main components and how they work.  

10 Best Solar Battery Chargers of 2021

1. Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger

Anker is a renowned brand specialized in charging technology. Their products include all types of charging applications. Naturally, they also developed solutions for solar battery USB charging. 

Let’s have a look at their latest product, the 15W solar charger.

Features

The Anker solar charger features two foldable solar panels, with a 21.5–23.5% efficiency and a total maximum rated power of 15W.  It can charge up to 2.1Amps through the USB connector when exposed to full sun. Regarding its power output, the Anker solar charger will have no problem charging a phone in a few hours during a sunny day. 

It has two USB ports, so you could charge two devices at the same time, but the charging time will be double. In terms of performance, it could charge a regular smartphone up to two times on a sunny day. 

It is one of the lightest solar battery chargers of our review weighing only 0.78lbs. When folded, it is the size of a book and can easily fit in your backpack. 

It is built with high-quality materials like multilayered PET plastic to protect the solar panel and has an overall tough design with its polyester canvas and hooks to hold it anywhere. 

One of the features we love the most is the canvas pouch. Here, you will find the USB connectors. It is also a safe space to leave your phone while charging. 

Pros
  • Light and compact
  • Has a pouch to leave your phone charging
  • One of the cheapest models
  • 18 months warranty
Cons
  • Limited power; will only charge cell phones
  • No USB-C connectors

Final Thoughts

This is a great, small solar charger for a low budget. Built with quality material, you don’t have to be scared of bringing it in your adventures. Light and compact, it is perfect for small hikes. However, if you are looking for fast charging, you might want to consider a more powerful model. 

Solar Panel, Anker 15W USB Solar Charger with Dual-Port and Foldable Panel, PowerPort Solar Lite for iPhone 11/Xs/XS Max/XR/X/8/7, iPad Pro/Air/Mini, Galaxy S9/S8/S7/S6, and More
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 65 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Fast Charging Technology: PowerIQ delivers the fastest possible charge up to 2.1 amps under direct sunlight. 15W SunPower solar array is 21.5-23.5% efficient, providing enough power to charge two...
  • Incredibly Durable: Industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.

2. Portable Solar Chargers X-DRAGON 20W

Specialized in solar gadgets, X-DRAGON has been recently gaining popularity. Thanks to a good field team, they were able to capture the essentials of outdoor products – robustness and durability. 

They have a large range of portable solar chargers. Thus, let’s have a closer look at their 20W model. 

Features

X-DRAGON offers 20W of peak power (under full sun) in a foldable design, enough to charge a phone from 0% to 100% in about 3 hours through one of the two USB ports (5V 2A). 

It is made of three solar panels, with an efficiency of around 22%. When folded, it is roughly the size of an A4 page, and when spread, three A4 pages. It weighs 1.34 lbs, not the lightest in its category.

Its design is clever as it fits in any backpack. You can spread it open and attach it on your bag while walking – thanks to the many eyelets and loops. Overall, it is built in good-quality material, with a waterproof canvas cover and a mesh storage compartment. 

This product will last for years even in rough climates. 

Pros
  • Can fully charge a phone in 3 hours
  • Two USB ports (5V 2A)
  • Clever design
  • Waterproof canvas
  • Good pricing
Cons
  • No USB-C port
  • Heavy

Final Thoughts

While this solar battery charger might be heavier compared to similar models, you will get this extra durability and quality that any outdoor products should have. It is cleverly designed and waterproof. Likewise, the solar panel will give you 15 years of power. This is one of the best solar power phone chargers in our review.

Portable Solar Chargers X-DRAGON 20W SunPower Solar Panel Waterproof Foldable Camping Battery Charger with Dual USB Ports & SolarIQ Technology for iPhone, iPad Mini, Samsung, Other Cell Phones
  • Exclusive SolarIQ Technology: It can automatically adjust the current and voltage to achieve maximum power,delivering its fastest possible current up to 2 amps per port or 3 amps overall under direct...
  • High Efficiency: SunPower solar cell is made from US, up to 22%-25% efficiency, while most panels in the market are 15% efficiency
  • Dual-USB Power: 20 watt sunpower provides enough power to charge cellphone and ipad at the same time

3. BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger

Like its competitor X-DRAGON, BigBlue was an anonymous company until it released the BigBlue 28W solar charger. Thanks to its flagship product, BigBlue gained instant notoriety in the world of solar battery chargers. 

Let’s see why the 28W solar battery charger model is so acclaimed. 

Features

The BigBlue solar battery charger comes in a compact foldable design. When folded it is the size of a magazine (smaller than an A4 page) and when spread, around four A4 pages. With a weight of 1.3lbs, you can carry it in your backpack. 

When spread out, you can tie it at the back of your bag and keep charging on the go. 

With four solar panels of 7W (28W total), it is one of the best solar-powered phone chargers and can fully charge a phone in 2–3 hours through one of the two USB ports (5V 2A). 

It benefits from a high-quality manufacturing process. The solar panels are well-encapsulated, and the rough canvas contains splashproof abilities. We also love the zip pocket to put your phone in while charging. It is clearly fit for the outdoors and will never disappoint you if you need power. 

Pros
  • Great price/quality ratio
  • 2 USB ports (5V 2A)
  • Best solar phone charger (2–3 hours to full charge)
  • Strong for the outdoors
Cons
  • Heavy

Final Thoughts

In its category, this is one of the products that gives you the best value for money. It’s powerful and comes in a clever design built with good-quality material. It will last for years (up to 15 years for the solar panel). The BigBlue will be your solar charging station of choice outdoors. 

Sale
[Upgraded]BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger(5V/4.8A Max), Foldable Portable Solar Phone Charger with SunPower Solar Panel Compatible with iPhone 11/Xs/XS Max/XR/X/8/7, iPad, Samsung Galaxy LG etc.
  • Upgraded Triple USB-A Ports: Each maximum output is 5V/2.4A and total maximum current is at 5V/4.8A. BigBlue 28w solar charger allows you to charge multiple devices at once. It comes with smart charge...
  • Portable Camping Solar Panel: BigBlue USB solar charger is a great option if you’re taking an extended camping trip or if you’re traveling somewhere with an unreliable power grid. With compact...
  • High Solar Conversion: Highly efficient SunPower solar panel convert up to 24% of solar power into free energy in enough sunlight, which is the most durable panels at present, standing up to elements...

4. Nekteck 28W Foldable Portable Solar Charger

Nekteck is a young electronic gadget company. They have a large range of mobile phone accessories, including chargers.

They recently developed a foldable solar charger for phones which is a direct competitor of the famous BigBlue solar charger at a slightly lower price.  

Features

The Nekteck 28W foldable portable solar charger features four solar panels of 7W for a total maximum power of 28W. 

You can recharge your device through one of the two USB ports (5V 2A). It has a built-in smart solar charger that will adapt the charging speed to the output of the solar panel if temporary shadowing happens.  It will charge your smartphone in about 2–3 hours max. 

The solar charger is IPX4-certified (splashproof) and is built with a strong canvas, perfect for the outdoors. 

When folded, it is quite compact – the size of a small magazine, and it will easily fit in your backpack. When unfolded, you can use the two metal hooks and the five eyelets to attach it anywhere. One feature we specially like is the built-in storage pouch to protect your phone while charging. 

Pros
  • The cheapest in its category
  • Good solar cell phone charger (2–3 hours to full charge)
  • Many hooks and eyelets
  • Built-in pouch
  • IPX4-certified
Cons
  • A bit heavy
  • No USB-C

Final Thoughts

The Nekteck 28W solar charger is recommended as a solar cell phone charger for the outdoors. Regarding performance, it is quite similar to other 28W solar chargers. Also, it is the cheapest in its category and comes with extra metal hooks to hang it anywhere. 

Sale
Nekteck 28W Foldable Portable Solar Charger with 2 USB Port, IPX4 Waterproof Hiking Camping Gear Sunpowered Charger Compatible with iPhone 12/11/11pro/Xs, iPad, MacBook, Samsung Galaxy, Camera etc.
  • HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY Built with highly efficient SunPower Maxeon solar cell that is known to perform better than conventional panels in the market. It can produce up to 28W which is higher...
  • DURABLE AND WATER RESISTANT Highly reliable for outdoor use like hiking, camping and long travels. With its IPX4 waterproof technology, robust canvas surface and stitching it can withstand different...
  • PROVIDES POWER FOR 2 USB DEVICES: It can simultaneously charge 2USB devices up to 2.4A(5V) max per port or 4.0A (5V) as its maximum charging power. And it is compatible with majority of mobile phones-...

5. QiSA Solar Charger 30W 2USB and 1DC Ports Solar Panels

QiSA has only released a few products on the market, but their solar charger is the most advanced regarding output connectors. Let’s have a quick look below at its main feature and why we recommend it. 

Features

Among all the solar battery chargers for phones below 30W available on the market, the QiSA solar charger is the only one with a true high-speed charging USB port. 

The solar charger has one DC output and two USB ports, with one being QC 3.0-certified (up to 18W). Under full sun, it can charge a phone in less than 2 hours or an iPhone 11 to 50% in 30 minutes.  

Like other models, it embraces the foldable design with three solar panels and one very useful zip pouch. 

It is built with a good-quality splashproof canvas, a good choice for the outdoors. It also has four eyelets to hang it anywhere. When folded, it is roughly the size of A4 paper; therefore, it will fit in a backpack. Weighing 2.27lbs, it is a bit heavy though. 

Pros
  • True quick charge (QC 3.0 USB)
  • Can charge iPhone 11 to 50% in 30min
  • 1 DC output port
  • Built-in zip pouch
  • Good pricing
Cons
  • Heavy
  • No USB-C

Final Thoughts

We love it! The only solar cell phone charger in its category with a quick-charge USB port. Regarding its price, the QiSA solar charger is almost perfect. The only negative point is its weight – 30% heavier than similar devices. 

Sale
Solar Charger 30W 2USB and 1DC Ports Solar Panels with 3 Foldable Panel Upgrade Has High Conversion(5V/5A Max) Rate Portable Solar Phone Charger Compatible with iPhone Samsung More USB and DC Devices
  • High Energy Conversion.Uses the latest upgraded high-density monocrystalline silicon solar panels convert up to 26%.(The data comes from laboratory tests, there may be slight deviations in actual...
  • Extensive compatibility.The extensive compatibility enables it to charge almost all electronic products, in the sun for mobile phone/tablet PC/laptop/mobile power supply /PSP/MP4/GPS/ Bluetooth...
  • Upgraded USB ports.2 USB charging ports.Among them, the white USB port supports fast charging(each Max.5V3A/9V2A/12V1.3A) and one DC charging port, smart charging technology, built-in smart chip smart...

6. Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel

Topsolar is a small brand dedicated to portable solar battery chargers. They only have a few products available, but they are all well-designed and built with quality material for the outdoors. 

Let’s have a look at their 60W model. 

Features

The Topsolar SolarFairy 60W has a unique design.It is made of ten 6-watt solar panels protected in a splashproof canvas. When folded, it is the smallest of all our solar chargers, with the size of a small magazine (9.84 x 7.87 x 2.36 in). Therefore, you can bring it with you anywhere. When unfolded though, it is much larger, and it won’t really fit on your backpack. However, thanks to the eyelets and stand, you can install it anywhere.

It offers one USB and one USB-C output, both allowing high-speed charging, and one DC output to connect your laptop. It comes with many accessories – a 10-in-1 plug, a car plug, an alligator clip cable for 12V Battery, and more. This is a very complete set, including an extension wire. 

Finally, it performs quite well under full sun. Thanks to 60W of power, it can fully charge two phones at the same time in 2 hours. Through the DC, port it will also directly charge your laptop. 

Pros
  • Best foldable design
  • High-speed USB charging
  • DC output to charge a laptop
  • Complete connector set
  • Quality material
Cons
  • Only one USB-A port
  • No built-in stand

Final Thoughts

Given its price, the Topsolar SolarFairy 60W is a good entry-level laptop charger with a great compact design. Bring it outdoors, it will have no problem charging your smartphones as fast as a regular wall plug. We are just missing an extra USB-A port. 

Sale
Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger Kit 18V DC Output for Portable Generator Power Station + 12V RV Boat Car Battery + USB & Type C for Cell Phone Tablet
  • 【Designed For Most Portable Power Station】The 19V DC port is specially designed for charging portable power stations and equipped with cables and connectors of different specifications
  • 【USB Smart and Fast Charging Technology】 Dual USB Ports QC3.0 & 2.0 (5V/9V/12V 2A max), and the USB-C port support PD3.0.Designed for smartphones and tablets (compatible with iPhone, iPad, Samsung...
  • 【Foldable&Portable】After being folded, the size is only 9.85*7.90*2.40 inch. You could easily pack it into backpack or trunk to explore the world. At the same time, the panel is equipped with...

7. CHAFON Portable 60W Solar Panel Charger

CHAFON is a brand dedicated to portable power for the outdoors. They have developed a complete range of products to stay autonomous everywhere. We review here their 60W portable solar battery charger. 

Features

The Chafon portable solar panel charger features three 20W solar panels, embroidered in a durable canvas, with IP65 certification. It is totally dustproof and will also work under the rain. 

The design is classic. When folded, it is the size of a briefcase (16.7 x 12.6 x1.9 in), so you can easily bring it on a camping trip. It has two built-in adjustable stands, perfect to follow the sun. We love the zip pouch where you can put your phones and all the connectors. 

You will find three high-speed USB outputs (two QC 3.0 and one USB-C) together with one DC plug for your laptop or solar battery packs.

The performance of the CHAFON 60W solar panel charger is, overall, very good. It is capable of charging three devices at the same time (3–4 hours to full charge). If you only plug in one phone, it will charge as fast as a wall plug. With 60W, it can also charge a laptop. 

Pros
  • 3 high-speed USB ports
  • Complete set of DC connectors for laptop and power stations
  • Built-in pouch and stands
  • IP65-certified (perfect for outdoor)
  • Friendly price
Cons
  • A little bit too large to fit in a backpack

Final Thoughts

This is a great product at a fair price. Built with quality canvas, it will last for years even in rough outdoor conditions. We especially like the three high-speed USB ports, making this model the best USB solar charger. 

CHAFON Portable 60W Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator / 8mm Goal Zero Yeti Power Station/Jackery Explorer 240 Solar Battery Backup on Camping Van RV Travel,USB A/USB C Ports
  • ✅[Portable Solar Power Supply System]: Compatible with most portable power station solar generator gel, sealed, Lithium and flooded batteries,together with Jackery/Chafon/Suaoki/Goal Zero...
  • ✅[Folding & Solar Charger with Kickstand]: Foldable design with a soft poly urethane handle,Adjust the angle with the strong kickstand,get up to 30% more sunlight than flat laying,shorter the...
  • ✅[High Conversion Efficiency Solar Source]:CHAFON 60W solar charging technology increases the efficiency of charging by up to 21.5% - 23.5% of solar power into free energy;high-efficiency solar...

8. X-DRAGON Solar Charger, 70W Foldable Solar Panel Charger

The product is the second entry of X-DRAGON in our review. This tells how much we love and trust this brand. It’s classic solar chargers packed with innovation. Let’s see why.

Features

Similar to the Topsolar 60W, X-DRAGON is using the super compact foldable design with nine solar panels. This is certainly one of the most clever designs. When opened, it allows more flexibility in the arrangement of the solar panels. When closed, it is an extremely compact A4 size and light with a weight of 3lb. You’ll have a mini power station of 70W in your backpack!

Indeed, with two USB (5V,2.4A) and one DC (18V/3A), you can charge all your USB devices, plug your laptop, and have a portable power station. With an IP65 enclosure, it is resistant to strong rain. 

One of its unique features is that it allows connection with a second X-DRAGON solar charger for two times more power! It comes with all the needed connectors (more than ten) and four metal hooks to hold it anywhere.  

Pros
  • Powerful and compact
  • Can be connected to a second solar charger
  • IP65 (resistant to strong rain)
  • Great foldable design
Cons
  • Only two USB ports and no USB-C
  • No high-speed USB charging
  • No stand

Final Thoughts

Near perfection, a benefit from a super compact design is that it fits in a backpack. With the ability to double its power when connected to a second solar charger, we just need a high-speed USB charging port (QC 3.0). 

X-DRAGON Solar Charger, 70W Foldable Solar Panel Charger (5V USB with SolarIQ + 18V DC+ Parallel Port) Compatible with Notebook, Portable Generator, car Battery, Cellphone, Tablet, and More
  • ☀4-in-1 : X-DRAGON portable solar panel 70W has 2 USB ports (5V/2.4A per port) for charging your 5V devices ( like smart phones) , and 1 DC output(18V/3A) for charging your laptop portable generator...
  • ☀High Efficiency: X-DRAGON portable solar panel 70W uses solar cells which is made from US, up to 23.5% efficiency, and the waterproof surface treatment effectively protects solar charger. X-DRAGON...
  • ☀Slim and Powerful: 70W portable solar charger is only 4lb, 1/3 lighter than the same power of solar silicon. The total power increased by 1/3 in compare with the same foldable solar panel size....

9. ROCKPALS RP082 100w Foldable Solar Panel Charger with Kickstand

ROCKPALS is a small brand already known for its power stations. Naturally, they developed their own charging solution. Let’s have a closer look at their 100W version, an Amazon #1 Best Seller. 

Features

The design is classic but clearly fitted for the outdoors. It has four foldable solar panels and a strong water-resistant canvas (made of Oxford cloth). When folded, it is the size of a mini briefcase. 

It is a very durable solar battery charger with the latest high-speed charging technology – one USB-C (18W) and one USB QC 3.0 (24W) output. The DC output (18V/5A) enables powering laptops and all types of power station – thanks to the five connectors. 

We like the built-in stand for better orientation of the panels. Ultimately, with 100w, it is really powerful and will easily charge multiple devices at the same time. 

Pros
  • High-speed USB charging
  • Powerful
  • Will charge laptop and power station
  • Built for the outdoors
Cons
  • Only two USB outputs
  • A little bit pricey

Final Thoughts

With this model, you will never be out of power for your small electronic devices even during cloudy days. The ROCKPALS foldable solar panel charger is very powerful and strongly built – a good choice for camping trips. 

Sale
ROCKPALS RP082 100w Foldable Solar Panel Charger with Kickstand, Parallel Cable, QC 3.0 and USB-C, Upgraded Portable Solar Panel for Jackery/Rockpals Power Station
  • UPGRADED VERSION FOR SOLAR GENERATOR: Rockpower solar panel 100w can be compatible with the most solar generators on the market (Anderson connector for Jackery Explorer 1000, 5.5*2.1mm DC for ROCKPALS...
  • HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY: Rockpower solar panel foldable has high conversion efficiency up to 23.5%, generate more energy and perform better than conventional panels in strong sunlight. Ideally...
  • 4 TIMES FASTER CHARGING: Rockpower 100 watt solar panel is equipped with 1* USB QC 3.0 and 1*USB C Output (5V/9V/12V, 3.4A max), provides 4 times faster charging speed for your smartphones, tablets,...

10. TwelSeavan Solar Panel 120W, Foldable Portable Solar Panel 

Charger 

TwelSeavan is a brand specialized in portable solar panels. We have selected their 120W model which is the most powerful portable solar battery charger on the market. Let’s see how they were able to combine power and portability.

Features

Like the ROCKPALS 100W, this portable solar battery charger has a classic foldable design with four solar panels of 30W each. 

You will have no problem bringing it on a camping trip or fitting it in your camper van as it is the size of a small briefcase, with a total weight of 9.5 lbs. When unfolded it is 64.6 x 20.5 inches, and the four solar panels are maintained by their built-in stands. 

It comes with one USB (5V 2.4A), one USB QC 3.0 (24W max), one USB-C PD (60W ) for MacBook, and one DC output (6.6A). It will charge everything from your phone and laptop to your solar-powered battery pack. 

Pros
  • Super powerful
  • The latest high-speed USB charging
  • Ten DC connectors for all kinds of devices
  • Perfect pricing
  • Built-in stand
Cons
  • Cannot fit in a backpack
  • Cannot be connected to a second solar charger

Final Thoughts

This is the most powerful solar battery charger on the market with an affordable price. It will charge all electronic devices in high-speed mode. It is perfect for longer camping trips and is the companion of choice for your power station.

Sale
TwelSeavan Solar Panel 120W, Foldable Portable Solar Panel Charger for Jackery/EF ECOFLOW/Goal Zero/Rockpals Power Station, 4 Ports with USB3.0, TypeC for Outdoor Camping RV Phone Laptop Tablet Camera
  • 【HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY】Constructed form high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells, with efficiencies of up to 23%, convert more solar power into usable energy, which enables higher power...
  • 【HIGH COMPATIBILITY】Includes a variety of connectors, compatible with most portable solar generators, ①DC5521-to-C4 cable, ②DC5521-to- anderson cable, ③DC5521-to-5521 cable and 10...
  • 【4-PORT SMART CHARGING TECHNOLOGY】Equipped with 1*DC port(18V/6.6A max), 1*USB port(5V/2.1A), 1*USB QC3.0 port(5V⎓3A/9V⎓2.5A/12V⎓2A 24W max), 1* USB-C PD port(5V⎓3A...

Solar Battery Chargers: A Buyer’s Guide

Portable solar powered battery chargers were recently introduced to the market, and you might not be familiar with their specifications and abilities. 

Indeed, there are solar chargers for all uses, from phone to power station charging. 

In this section, I will give you the most complete picture of what you need to consider when choosing a portable solar battery charger.

Portable solar battery chargers have two main functions:

  • Produce electricity from the sun.
  • Convert it in usable USB-A, USB-C, and DC power.

Have a look below at the five main criteria we have considered to choose the best portable solar battery charger.

Five Criteria in Choosing the Best Portable Solar Charger

Maximum Power Output

One of the most important criteria in choosing the best portable solar power charger is the maximum power output. The power output is rated in Watts. 

It is important to note that the value indicated is the maximum value reachable by the solar panel. It will only happen when the best conditions are combined – the sun is at its zenith on a clear day, the panel is favorably oriented toward the sun, and the temperature of the panel surface does not exceed 113°F. 

Therefore, you would understand why most of the panels rarely reach the value indicated by the manufacturer. Have a look at our tips to optimize your power output. 

Number of Output Connectors

The higher the number of connectors, the better. To maximize your solar charger, it is best to find one that can charge at least two devices at once. This will allow you to save valuable time and avoid the hassle of having to unplug the wire to charge the other device. 

Type of Output Connectors

There are now multiple types of USB connectors, with different charging speed (USB-A, USB-C, etc.). Before purchasing a solar charger, make sure it matches your device’s USB connector. Otherwise, you will have wasted your money on something you couldn’t even use.

Aside from this, the type of USB connector also affects your charging speed. For example, there are existing products that feature a quick charge (QC) USB charging from 18W up to 60W for MacBook laptops. 

Portability

This is definitely a criteria of choice, as the solar chargers should not be bulky. Many products feature foldable solar panels, ranging from the size of a small pocket book to a tiny briefcase. Most of them can fit in a backpack.

When going on a hike, weight is one of the most important criteria, which is why we have chosen only light weight products from less than 0.6 lbs to 6.6lbs.

Durability

Any product designed for the outdoors must be durable. Thus, it is important to find solar battery chargers that are water and dustproof. Likewise, they should be built with quality material. Solar panels that offer more than 15 years of power production are also a plus.

How Solar Chargers Work

Solar battery chargers are made of few components:

  • Mini solar panels
  • USB, and other output connectors
  • Electronic solar charge controller
  • Water and dust resistant cover

The main part of the solar charger is the solar panel. Solar panels are electrical devices made of silicon that convert sunlight into DC (direct current) electricity. 

They take advantage of the photovoltaic effect. When the silicon surface of the panel is hit by photons from sunlight, electrons (electricity) will be produced. 

The electric current generated by the solar panel is regulated by the charge controller, which will provide power to the different connectors (USB-A, USB-C, DC, etc.)

Let’s now see how we can optimize solar charging. 

Tips to Get the Most of Your Portable Solar Charger

Our sun is a natural source of energy. Therefore, it is intermittent. It will not shine the same depending on the weather and time of the day. Consequently, the power output of your solar battery charger will vary. 

That will greatly affect the charging speed of our electronic devices. 

Luckily, all the panels we featured included a smart solar charger that will stop and restart charging quickly in case of temporary shading.  

Below, you will find our tips to optimize the solar charging.

Expose Your Portable Solar Chargers to Full Sun

Because of their technology, solar panels work best when exposed to direct sunlight. Therefore, try to avoid local shading by trees, for example. 

Although your solar battery chargers will still work when held vertically, their power output will be greatly limited.  Find the optimal solar panel orientation (usually an angle of 25°) by entering your location in the World Solar Atlas

Cool Down Your Solar Panels

Your solar panel power output is influenced by its surface temperature. For every °F increase, you will lose around 0.4% of power output. Consequently, your panel can reach temperatures as high as 176°F. Therefore, you might lose up to 20% of power. 

To avoid that, we recommend spraying the surface of your panels with water from time to time. It has proven to be very efficient in reducing surface temperature.  

If you follow those two tips, you can easily reach and exceed the expected charging abilities below.

Solar charger powerSunny dayCloudy/rainy day
15–20W 1–2 full phone charges50% charge
30–40W3 full phone charges1 phone charge
60–70W1 full laptop + 3 phones1 full laptop
100–120WCharging stationCharging station

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Battery Chargers

Below, I have summarized the most common questions about solar battery chargers. If you are missing a point, reach us in the comment section. 

How Many Watts Can a Portable Solar Charger Produce?

Depending on the type of solar charger, you can produce from 15W to 120W when the best conditions are combined. 

How Much Energy Can a Portable Solar Charger Produce?

It will depend on the maximum power of your solar charger and your location (the sun doesn’t shine the same way everywhere). For an accurate answer, enter your location in the Global Solar Atlas

To give you a rough idea, on average, in the USA, a 15W small solar charger will produce 40Wh per day. Meanwhile, a 50W solar charger will produce 135 Wh per day, and a 120W solar charger will produce 320Wh per day. These variations are huge, and you will produce two times more in San Diego than in Seattle, for example. 

How Long Does It Take to Charge a Phone?

It can take around 3 hours with a 20W solar-powered phone charger. For 30W and above, it can be as quick as 1–2 hours during a sunny day. If the weather is not favorable, it might take as long as a day.  

Can You Charge a Laptop with a Solar Charger?

Yes, it is possible for solar battery chargers with a minimum of 50W power. The best would be a 100W solar-powered battery charger.

How Long Does It Take to Charge a Laptop?

On a sunny day, with a 100W solar laptop charger, it can take as little as 2–3 hours. Likewise, it takes much longer on a rainy or cloudy day. 

Can You Charge Multiple Devices with a Solar Battery Charger?

Yes, most of the devices feature at least two USB output connections.

Will It Charge Under the Rain?

Yes, it will charge your electronic devices under the rain, but charging time could be extended by three to four times compared to a sunny day. 

Will It Charge Under the Snow?

No, the surface of your solar battery charger should be free of any obstruction to maximize sun exposure. 

Will It Charge During the Night?

No, it can only charge with the sunlight, not the moonlight. 

What is the best time to use your portable solar charger?

Your solar charger will give its best around noon time. 

Can You Bring a Small Solar Charger on a Plane?

Yes. Unlike battery banks, there is no restriction about carrying solar battery chargers on planes. 

How Much Is a Portable Solar Charger?

Their price mainly depends on their maximum power output, from $50 for the 15W models to $240 for the 120W models. 

Why Is My Portable Solar Charger Not Charging Fast?

It might be due to low light exposure. Try to expose your solar charger to full sun to test its charging abilities. If there is still no power output, contact the manufacturer. 

Can You Charge a Nintendo Switch with a Solar Charger?

Yes. Even a 15W solar charger can charge the Nintendo Switch in around 4–5 hours and as low as 2 hours with more powerful solar battery chargers. 

How Long Will My Solar Charger Last?

They are extremely durable. The solar panel will last for at least 15 years. The life duration of your solar battery charger will be mostly limited by the other components.

Can You Charge a Power Bank with a Solar Battery Charger?

Yes, for example, on a sunny day, a 15W solar-powered battery charger will take 5 hours to charge a 10,000mAh power bank.

Can You Charge a Solar Battery Pack with a Solar Battery Charger?

Yes, we recommend larger solar battery chargers of 60W at the minimum. 

Can Solar Chargers Store Electricity? 

No, they don’t have built-in batteries. 

Conclusion

Solar battery chargers are robust and durable.They are more than just a small electronic gadget. They are power stations that will last for years producing green electricity. 

We hope that you now have all the keys to wisely choose the best solar battery charger according to your needs. 

If you are missing a point, please reach us in the comment section below.

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