The Best Solar Power Charger (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Solar power chargers are great for when you need power in a pinch
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON November 17, 2020
Solar power is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to get electrical power. Solar power is everywhere, from solar panels on the roofs of houses to solar-powered batteries and tech devices. And it isn’t as rare or as costly as you might think—you can even power and recharge your smartphone or tablet with solar power. You just need a reliable solar power charger.
Having a solar power charger is convenient since you can charge the battery pack or power panels in many ways — and they’re perfect for camping, hiking, backpacking, or simply being outdoors. You can rely on solar power when you’re without any plugs, outlets, or traditional sources of electricity. And that can give you the right amount of power in a pinch. If you’d like to start using a solar power charger, check out some of the best options and features below.
This portable charger has a built-in, ultra-high-capacity solar panel with a 25,000mAh Li-polymer battery. It comes with three USB ports.
- Charge three devices at once, and can be used it as a flashlight
- It can charge a variety of smartphones and tablets
- Big and bulky to comfortably store in a backpack or messenger bag
- Can take several hours to charge a battery
It has a 20,000mAh high-capacity polymer battery and a compact solar panel on the exterior. It features two USB ports for charging smartphones and tablets.
- Has a compass and two LED flashlights
- Made of durable materials, so it won't break very easily if exposed to wet conditions or impacts
- Can take a very long time to charge, even if the day features full sunshine
This device has a 10,000mAh battery that can be charged via sunlight or a power outlet. It features two USC ports and can charge devices wirelessly.
- Compatible with the newest Apple and Samsung devices
- Very durable and features ABS fireproof construction
- Compact and lightweight
- A little slow and takes a while to charge devices
- Some users complain that the solar panel doesn't work very well
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Solar Power Chargers
- They recharge phones and tablets. One of the best things about using a solar-powered charger is that they work with iOS or Android devices. They are specially designed to charge smaller electronic items.
- They're convenient. If you're camping, hiking, RVing, boating, or spending time doing other outdoor activities, a solar-powered charger is a good option because you have a lot of sunlight at your disposal. They are also great if you need a quick car charger.
- No electrical outlets required. If you're in the backcountry or in an area without access to an outlet or a standard mode of electricity, you can use a solar-powered charger. Simply expose it to the sun and wait for it to get juiced up to supply power to your devices.
Types of Solar Power Chargers
Direct Solar Chargers
With this type of device, the solar panels produce energy that connects directly to your device's battery. This is a good option if you plan to stay off the grid and require a power source. The solar panel acts as supplemental power and can aid in recharging your device, i.e., your cell phone, multiple times.
Battery Bank Solar Chargers
This type of charger uses the solar panel to charge a power bank. Instead of connecting the phone directly to the solar panel, it connects to the power bank. It's a good option if you want to recharge a portable power pack, but you don't have any access to power outlets.
Based in Pennsylvania, Nekteck produces a wide range of mobile phone accessories, including solar power chargers. It thoroughly tests each of its products before building them for consumers. We recommend the Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger.
Based in Placentia, Calif., SunJack makes portable solar panels that charge and power USB-powered devices, including smartphones, tablets, and GPS units. One of its top products is the SunJack 15W Solar Charger Portable Solar Panel.
Solar Power Charger Pricing
- $20-$100: You can pay very little for a solar power charger or splurge on a more premium model. Cheaper units tend to have fewer watts, which means they're less powerful. More wattage equals more efficiency, which can drive up the cost.
- Over $100: More expensive models may be larger and heavier, making them less suitable for backpacking activities. If you are a casual user, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a highly functional device.
This is critical because the solar power charger needs to have enough juice to maintain the battery in your smartphone, tablet, or other gadgets. You will need a different product if you plan on charging just one device versus one that can charge multiple items. More power will be required if you want to charge larger devices, such as an iPad. Make sure the charger has between 10 and 15 watts of power for optimal performance.
While many solar power chargers work with USB-compatible devices, make sure the brand you choose is appropriate for the smartphone, tablet, etc. you plan on hooking up to it. Also, make sure it has the number of charging ports you require, especially if you plan on charging multiple gadgets at once.
Most people opt to use a solar power charger in instances in which electricity is unavailable. However, it can take a while for these products to charge your devices. Depending on how quickly you want to charge your phone, the charging speed can be an important consideration. If the product description doesn't reveal how long it takes to charge a phone or tablet, read user reviews.
- Size: Some solar power chargers are larger than others. If you plan on using the unit when you're traveling, particularly if you're backpacking and want to limit your gear's weight, opt for a lighter weight device. Some feature foldable solar panels for portability, while others have backup battery packs, making them heavier.
- Durability: Due to their nature, solar power chargers spend a lot of time in the elements. As a result, they need to be tough and long-lasting, whether you take them into the woods or they end up getting wet in the rain. Make sure the unit you choose is constructed of tough materials that can withstand a variety of conditions.
Best Solar Power Charger Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- It's worth noting that these units don't charge devices very quickly, even if they have a high power output and are exposed to direct sunlight. Allow a minimum of five hours for the device to fully charge your phone or tablet.
- Portable solar panel chargers are not designed to be the primary source of power; instead, they're meant to act as a backup. Keep that in mind because they typically charge items quite slowly.
- You can juice up a solar power charger in your vehicle by simply leaving it on the dashboard to soak up the sun’s energy. You can also use it at home if you have a window that gets a lot of sunlight during the day.
Q: How long does it take for a solar charger to charge?
It can take at least five hours (or longer) for a solar power charger to get juiced up in the sunlight and store enough energy to charge your device.
Q: How do I choose a solar charger?
Look for a product with enough power to charge your devices, which features the number of connections you require. Also, make sure it isn’t too heavy if you plan on carrying it around for extended periods.
Q: What is the best solar charger for camping?
Many brands are great for camping, including the ones we feature on this list. Just check out the features to make sure the product you choose checks all the right boxes.
Our pick for the best solar power charger is the GoerTek Solar Charger. It's specifically designed to charge specific Apple and Samsung devices and comes with three USB ports so that you can charge multiple items at the same time. You can also use it as a backup flashlight. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Oukafen Solar Charger.