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Best Solar Chargers in 2017 – Reviews From An Outdoor Sportsman

If you’re constantly on the go and you like to hike, camp or climb, then you know how important it can be to keep your battery charged on certain devices. However, if you don't have access to power, you can’t charge your devices and a standard portable battery charger won’t work because once that is drained, you can’t charge it.

This is where the solar chargers come into play. Solar chargers rely on the sun to charge up the battery that in turn will charge your phone. If you are constantly on a go, these chargers are a great way to ensure that you don’t get stuck with a dead battery.

Things To Consider - Best Solar Chargers in 2017

Wattage

The wattage you should look for is dependent on what you plan on charging with the charger. For example, a four or 5 watt panel is going to be great for a lot of the smaller handheld devices like an mp3 player or a smaller cell phone. Unfortunately, most smartphones, especially iPhones, are much more power hungry and will require you to get a seven watt panel in order to charge it properly.

Additionally, you can continue to go up if you want to charge bigger devices or multiple devices at onces. If you want to charge an iPad, then you’re going to need to go all the way up to 15 watts, which is where things start to get expensive and pretty bulky.

Output Power

The output power of the charger is going to be incredibly important because it can make the difference between whether or not something is going to charge. You need to make sure that you match your needs to the amps. For example, a 2.1 amp will charge your iPad a lot better than a 1.3 amp port would. Be careful when you look at the reported amperage that the manufacturer reports.

Some of them list the maximum for each individual port but there are some places that combine the two and list the sum, so be sure you know which number is listed.

Connections

Pretty much every single solar panel charger that you are going to look at is going to include USB ports, and many of them are going to include multiple to choose from. Additionally, some of them even have one port that has a higher amperage than the others to help meet the power demands of some of the newer iPhones and tablets.

Despite how universal the USB port is, it’s important to note that it isn’t going to be able to charge everything you want. For example, if something plugs into a wall outlet or a cigarette charging port, you’re going to need to have a different device to charge it.

Integrated Batteries

Some of the chargers that you are going to find have a battery included so that you can leave the charger out in the sun all day to charge up the battery and then take it back to your camp at night to plug in your devices. These types of charger are become very popular for their efficiency and effectiveness.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few drawbacks to these devices because they do a lot of things okay, but they don’t do anything really perfect. The solar panels can be too small to charge the battery at a quick rate and it leads to a poor lasting battery.

Ease Of Use

Since you might want a solar charger because you’re going out into the woods or camping or something but you don’t want to stay disconnected, it’s pretty ironic if you have to mess around with the charger because it isn’t working. If you’re buying a solar charger, make sure it has an auto-restart feature.

Some of the panels automatically stop charging if a cloud passes or someone casts a shadow over the charger. Without the auto-restart, it will not charge again until you unplug it and plug it back in, which is a huge dealbreaker. Additionally, make sure the setup suits your needs and there are not excessive adapters or cords needed.

Weight

If you are trying to buy this portable charger for traveling or to keep in your backpack, then you want to find one that is going to weigh very little so that it doesn’t weigh down your backpack. Be careful when you go to look at the weight of the product because not all of them list the weight of the unit as a whole.

Some of them are only going to list the weight of the panels themselves. Remember as well, if you choose to go with one of the most lightweight ones on the market, there’s a chance that it won’t be as durable if you drop it.

Size

Similar to the weight of the product, the size is going to be incredibly important if you are planning on bringing it with you wherever you go. Most of these portable chargers can be pretty big, which is not ideal if you plan on bringing it with you. However, if you go with some of the smaller ones on the market, it will not hold as much battery in it and you will need to recharge it more often.

There are positives and negatives to both sizes, so if you value size over performance, then go with a smaller one.

Versatility

The versatility of the portable charger is going to be one of the most important things for you to consider because you want to make sure that it is able to do everything that you need it to do. For example, make sure that it has one or two USB outlets depending on what you need and make sure the amperage is what you’re looking for as well.

There are other ways to charge things that require a standard wall outlet, but the safest and most efficient way to charge with a solar charger is through a USB outlet.

Best Solar Chargers in 2017 - Reviews

1. Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger

Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger

Anker Dual USB Solar Charger is a 15 watt charger powered by Anker technology which has over 10 million users already using their technology.

This particular charger has a fast charging feature that allows you to charge up to 2.1 amps under the direct sunlight. Additionally, the solar array is around 22% efficient and can provide enough power to charge two devices at the same time. 

​Durability will be no problem when it comes to this charger because it includes industrial strength PET polymer solar panels that are sewn into the rugged canvas so that it is weather resistant as well.

The solar charger is also incredibly portable and it allows you to bring it with you anywhere you go. When it is open, it measures about 18.1 inches by 11 inches and when it is folded, it is about 6.3 inches by 11 inches. Additionally, there are elastic loops on each of the corners that allow for easy attachment onto your backpack or tent.

Last but not least, you’re going to get a 3 foot micro USB cable to charge it as well as a long 18-month warranty that will protect against any problems that you may come across.

Pros:

  • Fast charging technology
  • Incredibly durable
  • Highly portable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Can overheat
  • Takes too long to charge certain items

2. Goal Zero 42020 Venture 30 Solar Recharging

Goal Zero 42020 Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit

If price isn’t really a problem for you and you’re looking to find the best of the best, then Goal Zero 42020 Venture 30 is going to be the solar charger kit that you want to buy. It comes with a built-in Micro USB that can be used to charge phones and tablets.

All of the cables are certified to help provide you with safe and efficient charging and with the tips built in, you’ll find that there are no extra cables to lose.

You can charge up to four hours from USB or nine hours of full sun. Perhaps one of the nicest features that you’re going to find when it comes to this solar charger, it is waterproof so that you can use it in anyway possible. You can dunk it or spray it or use it in the pouring rain and you will get power at all times.

No matter what Mother Nature throws at you, you’ll be ready. It gives you 4.8 amps of power across all of the ports and the battery on a full charge can charge your phone two to three times and your tablet at least once. Plus, it is lightweight and packable so that you can bring it with you wherever you travel.

The two high-speed ports provide you with the fastest charge possible at the same time so you can power two devices at once.

Pros:

  • Built-in cables
  • Waterproof
  • 30 watt, 7,800 mAh
  • High speed ports
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Slow charge

3. Instapark Mercury 10M Solar Panel Charger

Instapark Mercury 10M Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger

If you’re looking to find one of the more portable solar chargers that you are going to find on the market and you don’t want to spend a ton of money in order to go ahead and get one, then Instapark Mercury 10M Solar Panel Portable is the charger that you want to buy.

It comes with a 10 watt power and a highly efficient solar panel that also packs in a foldable design so that you can easily bring it with you wherever you go which makes it perfect for emergencies, backpacking, camping or any other type of outdoor activities.

It has built-in dual USB sharing ports so that you can directly plug your iPhone or other phone into the device without any extra cords needed. When it comes to charging external devices, there is no extra battery needed in order to do so which means you are using 100% green energy with zero carbon footprint.

The unit as a whole measures just 9” x 6” x 2” and weighs less than 0.9 pounds. With your purchase, you’re also going to get a 3,000 mAh battery pack that is completely waterproof.

Pros:

  • 10 watt, high efficiency
  • Dual USB charging ports
  • No additional battery for charging
  • Extremely portable
  • Includes smaller waterproof charger

Cons:

  • Nowhere near the power you need for long days

4. Powertraveller Solarmonkey Mobile Charger

Powertraveller Solarmonkey Adventurer Mobile Charger

While there have been plenty of low priced options on this list and plenty of high priced options on this list, Powertraveller Solarmonkey Mobile Charger is going to be a great option for anyone that wants to get one of the better chargers at a very reasonable price.

This particular solar charger comes with solar panels with MPPt technology for the best results. 

The internal battery is solar compatible and comes with a maximum capacity of 3500mAh to go ahead and charge a lot of your devices on a single charge.

Additionally, you’re going to know everything there is to know about the battery life because there are 4-color LED lights that show what the level of charge is so that you know exactly where your battery life is at all times so you can charge it when it needs to be charge. The USB port output is 5V to help charge all of your devices.

In addition, this particular charger is going to be a great option for anyone looking for something portable because it folds in half and zips up making it perfect for storage and travel, which in turn keeps it lighter and smaller than some of the other options.

Pros:

  • Solar panels with MPPT technology
  • 3500 mAh internal battery
  • 5V USB output
  • 4-color LED battery life indicator

Cons:

  • Doesn’t function well out of the box

5. Poweradd Apollo 3 Power Bank Solar Charger

Poweradd Apollo 3 8000mAh Power Bank Solar Charger

Like I have said before when it comes to these solar chargers, there’s no shame in trying to get one of the cheaper options on the list because when it comes to cheaper options, you’ll find that that Poweradd Apollo 3 Power Bank Solar Charger is one of the best ones despite being the cheapest by far.

This is compatible with almost all kinds of 5V USB charged devices and the design is stylish, compact and lightweight so that you can easily put it into your bag and bring it with you wherever it is that you might be heading to.

The solar technology is environmentally friends and can recharge itself under the sun for emergency purposes when you are outside.

This particular charger is very high capacity too which is great because it allows you to charge more of your devices without having to charge it all the time. It has an 8000mAh battery with 2 USB outputs making it the perfect choice because one can be used for phones and the other can be used at the tablet so you can charge them at the same time.

Over the course of its life, you’re going to get more than 500 charge cycles over the life of the battery. The industry leading warranty of 24 months also gives you peace of mind knowing that you are protected for the first two years that you own this product.

Pros:

  • Very affordable option
  • Compatible with almost all USB devices
  • High capacity
  • Long warranty
  • Solar energy technology

Cons:

  • Needs more than just solar to work

6. Brunton Solaris Foldable Solar Array

Brunton Solaris Foldable Solar Array

Similar to one of the other products that was reviewed above, this is another option that is going to be pretty expensive and is only going to be a good choice for you if you’re looking for the best of the best and you want to have the option to charge a lot of devices at the same exact time.

This product includes and outdoor power sources and is the perfect choice for camping, hiking, climbing or just about any outdoor activity you want to try!

In terms of the dimensions of this particular product, you’re going to find that it measures in at 29” x 17” x 0.5” which means it’s rather large compared to some of the other products, but when you consider how thin it is, the dimensions don’t seem as bad anymore.

Additionally, the product weighs just 11 ounces which makes it one of the lightest products that you are going to find on this entire list. With your purchase, you are also going to get a storage bag for the product, a vehicle outlet cable, a multi-linking cable and a battery clamp cable so that you have everything you need when you go to use the charger.

Pros:

  • Great for camping
  • Folds for portability
  • 12 Watt output
  • Storage bag included
  • Powers multiple devices

Cons:

  • Most expensive option

7. Levin 6000mAh Solar Panel Portable Charger

Levin 6000mAh Solar Panel Dual USB Port Portable Charger

If you want to find a solar charger that is going to be one of the most durable options out of all the ones that you have found on your hunt, then this is going to be one of the best options when it comes to purchasing.

This particular battery charger is the very first rain-resistant and shock-proof portable solar charger on the planet.

It uses solar energy technology and it is environmentally friendly because it can charge your iphone 50% to 60% just using the juice from the sun itself. The solar panel will not be able to fully charge the built-in battery, which is why it should be used for solar use only when necessary.

The design of this product is compact, portable and stylish and it’s easy for you to slide it into your bag so you have extra power no matter where it is that you are going to go. Additionally, the football grain outside helps to give you an anti-skid effect is that you won’t accidentally drop the product when you handle it.

There is an LED flashlight included with this that will work perfect in the dark, especially in case of an emergency. If you want to know the status of your battery, there are even LED lights that can show you how full your battery charge is.

Pros:

  • 6,000 mAh battery
  • Rain-resistant
  • Shock-proof
  • Compact and portable
  • LED flashlight
  • 1000+ recharge cycles

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well on just solar

8. RAVPower 16W Solar Charger

RAVPower 16W Solar Charger

If you’re looking for one of the best solar chargers at one of the best prices that you are going to find, then this is going to be one of the best chargers for you.

It offers a ton of great features that are usually found on high end chargers but it is available at one of the best prices out of all the battery packs comparable to this one. This uses high conversion solar charging technology to help keep your device powered on with sold power.

There are two ports with a maximum of 3A total output that allows you to charge both of your devices at the same time.

One of the nicest features that you’re going to find on this products is that it uses an exclusive iSmart technology that ensures you are going to get 100% compatibility and the fastest charging speed out of any of the other devices that you are going to find.

Additionally, the folding design helps make it incredibly easy to carry around and makes it the perfect options for any outdoor trips and activities. Last but certainly not least, this product is even water-resistant to help ensure that you can use it in any of the weather conditions you might face while outdoors.

Pros:

  • Foldable design for portability
  • Water-resistant
  • Two ports for charging
  • iSmart technology
  • High conversion solar charging

Cons:

  • No automatic restart for solar charging

9. Solar External Backup Battery Pack Dual USB

Solar External Backup Battery Pack Dual USB Solar Panel Charger

Once again, here is another great option for those looking to complete their shopping for a solar charger while sticking to a strict budget. This product won’t set you back a ton but it is going to give you a lot of great features that you are going to love.

It is an outdoor solar charger that is going to stand up to anything because it is water-resistant, shockproof and dust-proof.

Additionally, it is going to include a compass and a 2 LED flashlight. All of those features help to make this the perfect choice when it comes to outside activities such as camping, hiking or any emergency situations.

Furthermore, this product has two different USB ports so that you can have no problem charging two of your devices at the same time. This can come in handy if you have a phone and a tablet to charge at the same time. There is a 2.1A port that is perfect for your tablet while the 1A port will be great when it comes to your phone.

With the durable and reliable material on the outside of this charger, there is no better option when it comes to picking out a charger to grab with you on your way out because it can easily attach to the outside of your backpack.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Water and shock-proof
  • Dual USB
  • Portable design
  • Powerful LED lights
  • Recharge via the solar panel if necessary

Cons:

  • Takes a long time to recharge on solar technology

10. X-DRAGON Solar Panel Charger Charger

X-DRAGON High Efficency 20W Solar Panel Charger

Last but certainly not least on this entire list of reviewed, this product is going to be a great choice if you’re looking to find one of the better options. This solar charger uses technology that automatically adjust the current and the voltage so that you can achieve the maximum power at all times.

It can deliver its fastest current and the best overall charging performance when it is in direct sunlight, making for one of the best experiences.

This solar cell has a high rate of efficiency and it can deliver up to 20 watts of power under direct sunlight which is more than enough to charge both a cellphone and an iPad at the same exact time. Not only are you going to get these great results, but you are also going to get a product that is ⅓ lighter than most of the others but has a ⅓ increase in power.

The eyeholes make it easy for you to attach the charger onto your backpack and the portable frame design is great for both indoor and outdoor use. Lastly, you’re going to love that the charger folds up to make it easy to toss into your backpack and bring with you wherever you might go.

Pros:

  • Great power for the price
  • iSolar technology
  • Dual USB power
  • Slim but powerful
  • 20 watts

Cons:

  • No built-in protection for overheating or overcharging

Final Verdict

Now that you have seen everything there is to see about the best solar chargers, you should be ready to go out and buy your own! Keep in mind all of the different things you should consider when you look for a solar charger. If you get stuck and don’t know what to look for, I highly recommend one of the product recommendations mentioned above to help you find the perfect charger!

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About the Author Kevin Fox

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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