Do you often hike or travel a lot? Even the geekiest of us try to leave concrete jungle in the summer and get closer to the seaside, ocean or in the woods. Some of us stay in a hotel where there arise no problems with self- and gadget-maintenance (sockets and shower are indeed ingenious inventions). And we, the fans of wildlife and long hiking, come across a number of problems including lack of sockets. However, the one thing that distinguishes an advanced and resourceful user from a common noob is using the scorching sun for their selfish purposes. How? Of course, by using a solar power bank to charge the phone!

You’ll find at least 39 000 solar charges on Amazon.com, ranging from premium-priced brand name ones to cheaper ones. How to understand which ones are good? What is the difference between them? What do the buyers praise? Read our review as we have selected the 5 best chargers for all occasions for you.

Solar Charger Advantages:

  • It’s a paradise for the economy-conscious costumers as you’ll be able to charge your gadgets without using sockets.

  • Charging your gadget quickly within 2-3 hours in any place where there is sun.

  • The price is affordable and the life is long (over 5 years).

Solar Charger Disadvantages:

  • The size of most devices (especially of the ones that charge voluminous gadgets such as laptops) is too large to keep them in a pocket. The minimum size of a large charge is 9x6 inches. A power bank is definitely convenient to transport as its dimensions are 6x3 inches, and there is no need to open the device. Such a gadget can easily fit into a pocket together with smart phone connected to it.

  • A charger is only effective when it’s sunny and when it doesn’t accumulate the charge. That’s why it is highly likely to end up having low battery after the sunset. Obviously, this rule doesn’t apply to power banks.

  • Some of larger chargers, such as this one, have to be unfolded in order to be connected to your gadgets.

How to Choose a Portable Solar Charger or a Power Bank?

Let’s now figure out what characteristics are essential for a charger’s survival in summer. What should you first pay attention to?

  • Water resistance

Splashes of summer rain or a carelessly thrown wet towel can destroy any gadget, so water resistance is the most important point.

  • Gadget compatibility

An iPad, an Android smart phone or a digital camera all have different interfaces, and it wouldn’t be very convenient to carry around three different chargers. That’s why we opt for extended compatibility models.

  • Portability

You don’t feel like carrying a mini power-station around, do you? The more flexible, thin and ergonomic the charger is, the better. Pay special attention to flexible models which won’t break down after falling on the ground.

  • Price

Should you save? This is a complicated matter, and everything, as usual depends on your personal finance. Our article focuses on the best value for money options. In any case, any power bank is hardly worth paying for over $30 and a laptop solar charger is barely worth over $120 (although, we will consider a premium product below). However, we don’t recommend buying no-name items for $5 either.

Charger Type

Mobility

Charge Accumulation

Reasonable Price

Laptop Compatible

Solar Charger

+

Power Bank

+

+

+

We have picked top 5 models in different categories for you:

  • A universal solar charger

  • A powerful solar laptop charger

  • A power bank solar charger

  • A backpack solar charger

Best Universal Portable Solar Charger

best universal portable solar chargers

2 following products in the price range of $50-60 compete for the title of the best universal portable solar charger:

Both models combine all the necessary qualities and produce enough power to simultaneously charge two smart phones within a couple of hours. And despite the fact that Solar Charger CHOE is less powerful, it is not inferior to the Anker 21W in terms of solar power conversion and also promises to convert up to 23.5 percent of solar power into energy.

They won’t fit into your pocket, but will be located conveniently in a backpack without taking too much space. Both models are equipped with 3 solar panels, which will be enough to charge a phone, but not a laptop (the next model will do the job).

As for compatibility, all the necessary interfaces are available. You will be able to connect all modern mobile gadgets, both on iOS and Android.

You won’t have to stop and unfold each model as the metal rings on the surface will allow simply hooking the gadget to your backpack and accumulating the charge on the go.

It is up to you to decide whether you should get Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger for ~$59.99 or Solar Charger (Upgrade Version), CHOE 19W 2-Port Solar Phone Charger for ~$49.99.

Best Solar Laptop Charger

ALLPOWERS 28W Foldable Solar Panel Laptop Charger

best solar laptop charger

Unfortunately, not all chargers manage to charge large gadgets such as a laptop, so let us appeal to a larger model with 8 panels producing 28 watts of power, which is enough to fully charge the 5000 mA laptop battery in three hours. Smart phones and tablets are charged around the same time, given the sunny weather. It should be noted that the dimensions are only felt when unfolded. When folded the solar charge is a lot like a compact bag that fits in a backpack without any problems.

The charger is supplied with a bunch of adapters compatible with all modern laptops, so the compatibility isn’t an issue. The interface allows charging mobile gadgets via USB, hence the premium price. However, frankly speaking, the device is worth the price. Its only drawback is its susceptibility to climate change. Using the device under pouring rain or near the campfire is not recommended.

28 W - 8 panels Regular price is -$259.99 Price with a discount is $102.99 Check the current price

60 W - 10 panels, the price with a discount is $179 Check the current price

Best iPhone/Android Solar Charger

Review Solar Phone Charger, Portable Solar Power Bank 10000mAh

best solar power bank

If you don’t feel like carrying around a charge sized of a folder, and if you are only going to charge your mobile gadgets, then pay attention to this power bank. As you understand, the main distinctive feature of this model is that it stores energy, and you can charge not only during the day but at night as well.

It is waterproof, in shock-proof rubber case, it weighs only 317g can easily fit your pocket and has a built-in flashlight… isn’t it a perfect daily use charge? Add a price tag of $18.99 to your consideration, and this instantly becomes a must-have for any pragmatic user. However, you won’t manage to charge anything larger than a cell phone or a tablet with this tiny device.

The best selling bank is 10 000mAh powerful; it comes with 760 customer reviews and an affordable price of $18.99 Check the current price

The Best Backpacking Solar Charger

SunLabz® Solar Charger Backpack (7w)

best solar charger backpack

This is a yet another irreplaceable device for travelling across concrete or natural jungle; it is a best portable solar panel backpack. It’s not the largest one out there, but a 14” laptop with a bunch of useful trifles will fit there. A 7W solar panel covers a pocket in which you locate the gadgets to be connected. This small feature solves the issue of storing the device. All of the gadgets can be connected via 5V micro-USB.

A 10 mA power bank with the same 5V (enough for charging any portable gadget) is supplied with the backpack. It will allow for two complete cycles of charging your smart phone. Unfortunately, neither a protective case nor mounting are supplied with the power bank. Another disadvantage for tall users, especially men, is its size, as the tiny backpack will look ridiculous on a wide back.

This backpack is available on sale for the price from ~$69.99. Check the current price

The grand majority of solar backpacks have the same capacity of 7 W, they differ only in color and design. We have presented the best selling, highest rated model with the largest number (440) of customer reviews. In case you want something special, Amazon there are more expensive, stylish and great hiking models from $50 to $250 available on Amazon.com.

BONUS!

SOLSOL Solar Hat Charger

solar hat charger

Last but not least, we have prepared a bonus gadget which is not yet a best seller, but an unusual and prospective solar charger hat for ~$69.95. This promising project first appeared on Indiegogo in spring 2016 and now such a hat is available for sale. The idea is really cool:The solar revolution that truly puts solar power in the hands of the individual”.

That’s why if you think that classic power banks and solar charges are too boring and typical for you and you want to have both a useful gadget and a stylish accessory, turn to SOLSOL as its cap will certainly not remain unnoticed in the crowd.

Only convenience of the hat can be questioned. The gadgets are connected to its port in the back via micro-USB. It’s up to you to device whether you’ll carry the connected best solar cellphone charger or will find a long cord to reach your pocket. The power of the hat ranges from 150mA to 278mA sufficient for a standard smartphone5V charger charging cycle (2-3 hours). On the inside there are no parts sticking out, there is only a cable connecting the solar panels to a USB port. The manufacturer didn’t limit itself to a single color and that’s why the Solar Hat is available in 5 colors on Amazon.com. The device is definitely worth considering; it will be especially appreciated by the followers of a green lifestyle. If you crash their party wearing this cap, you’ll definitely be in the center of their attention. The device costs $70 device, but now it’s possible tp get a stylish cap for ~$69.95 Check the current price.

Let us summarize everything in the comparative chart below:

Model

Type

Dimensions (unfolded), inches

Shock-proofness & water resistance

Good value for money

Laptop compatibility

Price

Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger

Solar charger

26.4× 11.1

+

Yes

~$59.99

Solar Charger (Upgrade Version), CHOE 19W 2-Port Solar Phone Charger  

Solar charger

25.3×91.4

+

Yes

~$49.99

ALLPOWERS 28W Foldable Solar Panel Laptop Charger

Solar charger

35.2 x 18.1

+

Yes

+

~$102.99

Solar Charger, Portable Solar Power Bank 10000mAh

Solar power bank

7.2x4,5”

+

Yes

~$18.99

SunLabz® Solar Charger Backpack

Solar Charger Backpack

6 x 1 x 6” (panel only)

Yes

~$69.99

SOLSOL Solar Hat Charger

Solar Charger Hat

XS - 3XL sizes

Average

~$69.95

As a Summary

Despite all of the perks of such gadgets, i.e. water resistance, please avoid throwing them into water on purpose. This is especially true for cut-rate models. All of their shock-proof characteristics are a full measure and flop occasionally. Moreover, you might become deceived by the charger’s water resistance and instinctively expect it from your smart phone or a tablet. If you still hesitate whether you need such a gadget at all, let us reassure you that you do! Have an active summer without losing touch!