Unlike most portable chargers, solar phone chargers use the power of the sun to top off their built-in battery so that you can charge your phone without the use of an AC outlet. As such, they are a handy option for those who enjoy spending time outdoors and away from a reliable source of electricity.
Why buy a solar phone charger?
When a conventional portable charger runs out of juice in the middle of your hike, there’s not much you can do unless you’ve brought a backup. However, with solar phone chargers, as long as the sun is shining bright, it’s charging up. This means you will have more juice for your phone and other electronics when you need it the most. Solar phone chargers are also known for their rugged construction, affordable price points, and an array of user-friendly features.
What should you look for in a solar phone charger?
- Battery: Most solar phone chargers sport a built-in battery so you can charge your phone even after the sun goes down. If you’re going on a multi-day outing, invest in a product with a large battery capacity that can be charged via AC power before you leave. Compare the battery capacity of your phone (measured in mAh) to that of your solar phone charger in order to estimate how many charges you will get out of a full battery.
- Weight: If you’re buying a solar phone charger to take on long back-country hikes or similarly rugged activities, the product’s weight should be a primary consideration. While multi-panel designs and a high-capacity internal battery may be convenient, these features are sure to add extra bulk and weight. Every extra pound you carry feels that much heavier after a 15-mile hike, so opting for a lighter unit might make sense.
- Durability: Most solar phone chargers are designed for rugged applications. However, not every model is able to withstand the elements. Make sure the solar phone charger you choose is water-resistant, dustproof, and able to survive a tumble or two.
What extra features should you look for in a solar phone charger?
Some solar phone chargers come with handy features that are hard to pass up. For instance, a built-in LED light with an emergency strobe function can be incredibly helpful in an emergency situation. Also, be sure to check out how many devices a solar phone charger can charge at one time, especially if you tend to travel with several devices. Finally, take note of the charger’s battery indicator since an intuitive display will help prevent confusion and give you peace of mind that your device is functioning correctly.
BLAVOR Solar Power Bank
This solar phone charger stands out for its rugged design and budget-friendly price tag.
Pros: The BLAVOR Solar Power Bank may be one of the most affordable solar phone chargers on the market, but it’s hard to knock this product in terms of quality. Featuring a 10,000-mAh battery and a durable, IPX4 waterproof design, this lightweight charger can fully charge most phones multiple times before needing to be recharged. Its single solar panel also works well for gradually charging your device without sacrificing its internal battery.
Cons: This solar phone charger’s built-in battery has a lower capacity than some similarly-priced models on the market. Also, its solar charging functionality is somewhat limited due to the small size of its single solar panel.
Bottom Line: Given this charger’s rugged design and reliable charging, it’s hard to pass up at its current price. Its limited battery capacity makes it less ideal for multi-day trips; however, this product is hard to beat for day trips or emergency use.
Anker PowerCore Solar 20000
This rugged solar phone charger can quickly charge two phones at once.
Pros: Sporting a built-in 20,000-mAh battery and an impressive build quality that is to be expected of an Anker product, the PowerCore Solar 20000 stands out for its fast charging time and nifty features. It includes both USB-A and USB-C charging options for lightning-fast charging and can even charge low-power accessories (such as your smartwatch or earbuds) via its handy trickle-charging mode. In fact, this charger is even speedy when charging two phones at once, making it a stellar choice for those who don’t mind spending a little extra for a premium product.
Cons: This solar phone charger is notably more expensive than comparable products with a similar battery capacity and design. However, it’s worth noting that few products can hold a candle to this one in terms of build quality or charge speed, so the elevated price tag is somewhat understandable. It’s also advisable to read the instruction manual before setting off on your first hike.
Bottom Line: While this probably isn’t the most intuitive product out there, it’s one of the best single-panel solar phone chargers on the market in terms of build quality and charging speed. Just be sure to invest in the correct USB cables so that you can take advantage of this charger’s extra-fast charging.
Suscell Solar Charger
This efficient solar phone charger sports a waterproof design and incredibly bright LED light.
Pros: Featuring a budget-friendly price tag and efficient self-charging via its small solar panel, the Suscell Solar Charger is an excellent option for those seeking a solar phone charger perfect for day trips. This solar phone charger also holds a charge incredibly well and is rugged enough to wear on your backpack while trekking in the sun without worrying about dust or moisture slipping through the cracks.
Cons: This solar phone charger only has a Micro USB port (or its small solar panel) to recharge its battery, so once it’s out of juice, it will take considerably longer to achieve a full charge versus most similar products. For this reason, it might not be the best option for multi-day excursions.
Bottom Line: Although this isn’t the most cutting-edge solar phone charger on the market, it offers a ton of value for the asking price. It also outperforms more expensive single-panel solar chargers in terms of efficiency, making it an excellent choice for those on a tight budget.
Hiluckey Solar Charger
This four-panel solar phone charger impresses thanks to its efficient solar charging and durable build quality.
Pros: Unlike most solar phone chargers, the Hiluckey Solar Charger utilizes its four-panel design to amazing effect, which allows its solar charging feature to be more than an afterthought when the sun is shining bright. This product also scores points for its impressive durability, so you won’t have to worry when you strap it to your backpack or leave it out on the porch to catch some rays. If you’re seeking a high-capacity solar phone charger that gets the most out of its smart design, this one is for you.
Cons: Every additional pound makes a difference when you have a 20-pound backpack strapped to you, so it’s worth mentioning that this charger is heavier than many similar models on the market. However, most people will accept this as a fair compromise, given the value this product provides.
Bottom Line: Unlike most single-panel solar phone chargers, this product can reliably charge your phone using nothing but the sun’s rays up to 10 times instead of providing just enough juice for an emergency phone call. It’s also known to survive gnarly falls, making it an ideal buy if you’ve got rugged applications or multi-day trips in mind.
WINLOVE Solar Power Bank
This solar phone charger stands out for its incredible battery capacity and fast-charging speed.
Pros: The WINLOVE Solar Power Bank features a massive 40,000-mAh battery capacity but also charges devices quickly thanks to its USB-C connection and Power Delivery compatibility. Its four solar panels are quite adept at charging devices on sunny days, and the build quality is rugged enough for a wide range of applications. This model also impresses thanks to its bright LED flashlight, which benefits from the large battery, as it can be left on for longer periods than similar devices.
Cons: Like other multi-panel solar phone chargers, this one is fairly heavy, so it’s better suited for a weekend at the campsite than a 20-mile hike. However, this is pretty much to be expected given its ultra-high capacity internal battery.
Bottom Line: While this solar phone charger might be a little much for a day trip, it’s a fantastic device to have when you will be going multiple days without electricity to charge your devices. It’s priced fairly despite its next-level battery capacity, making it a nice choice for those seeking to maximize their phone’s charge while minimizing their cost of investment.
Remember, a charger’s durability, battery capacity, and features are important to consider when shopping for your new solar phone charger. Take a look at the specs of these selections and find the right one for you.