You’re trekking through the woods, and you look at your phone — and you realize it only has one percent of battery life left. Or, maybe a hurricane blows through town, and you can’t charge your phone. Perhaps you envision a more energy-efficient lifestyle, wherein you rely on more natural sources to power your electronic devices.
In any of these scenarios, a solar phone charger would come in handy. Here’s all you need to know about these efficient, eco-friendly devices — and which models you might consider buying if you’re sold on the concept:
How Does a Solar Phone Charger Work?
As the name implies, your solar cell phone charger will rely on the sun’s energy to power your phone. It does so with photons from the sun’s rays, particles of energy that can break electrons free to create energy. Within a solar phone charger, silicon encases such electrons that turn into an electric field with exposure to the sun.
With a power source inside, the solar phone charger fills its internal battery with power — in other words, it doesn’t directly charge your device. Instead, you’ll plug your phone into the charger with a USB cable and use its battery to replenish a cell phone or any other small device that needs some juice.
Why Should I Get a Solar Phone Charger?
Obviously, your solar cell phone charger makes it possible to trek deep into the wilderness and retain access to your smartphone. You just need to find a clearing where you have access to sunlight, spread out the panel that absorbs the sun’s rays and relax while your charger recharges.
To that end, solar chargers don’t require any sort of energy source other than the light from our biggest star. They create no emissions, making them environmentally friendly. And, you can toss it into your bag and carry it along with you on a hike or camping trip. Along with your best boots, sunscreen and moisture-wicking gear, it’s an essential item to pack when you’re on a long-haul trek, such as one through the Grand Canyon. This location is a prime example of where you’d get great use out of your solar charger, too, since the Grand Canyon sees plenty of sunshine year-round.
Ultimately, the main draws of solar charging are these two: it’s better for the environment, and it’s a portable option for outdoorsy people.
Solar Charger for Phones
SOKOO 22W 5V 2-Port Solar Charger
Ayyie 10000mAh Solar Power Bank
Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger
|Height||12.20 in.||6 in.||6.3 in.|
|Length||22.05 in.||4.2 in.||11.1 in.|
|Width||1.4 in.||1.3 in||1.06 in.|
|Weight||1.09 pounds||0.6 pounds||1.13 pounds|
|Check Prices & Reviews||Check Prices & Reviews||Check Prices & Reviews|
What is the Best Solar Phone Charger to Buy?
Now that you’ve read the pros and cons — and know you can get great use out of a portable solar charger — it’s time to figure out which one will work best for you and your outdoor pursuits. Here are XX of the best models to bring with you as you wander:
The Dizual model earns its name — it’s even more portable than the standard-issue solar charger. That’s because it comes with a built-in hook so that you can clip it to your backpack. Then, the device will catch rays as you hike in the sunshine.
It’s not a delicate device, either. It comes with waterproofing and protective caps for its two USB ports so that it’s ready for any weather. And, since it’ll be dangling from your hiking pack, it’s durable enough to withstand a fall. The price is lower than some of your other options, and that’s because it can take a bit longer to charge than some other batteries. However, the Dizual Portable Solar Phone Charger should be on every hiker’s list of potential battery packs for its many thoughtful features.
This Jetsun is one of the best solar phone chargers because it has multiple functions. Of course, it will charge your smartphone — in most cases, that task takes about two hours. To that end, you can expect an eight- to ten-hour wait to get the solar battery wholly juiced up.
What’s interesting about the Jetsun model, though, is that it will make your campsite electrically viable and more comfortable. Namely, it has a built-in LED light that can maintain a gentle glow while you’re tucking in for a night in the wild. The power bank also has a digital display to tell you how much power your solar charger has, too.
This option’s undoubtedly a splurge, but you get what you pay for with the X-DRAGON 40W SunPower Solar Panel Charger. For one thing, it features a ten-in-one connector cable, so that you can use it to charge just about any device. And, because the panel is so large, you can even use this model to recharge your laptop, as well as smartphones, tablets and other small devices.
To provide so much energy, you will get a larger solar panel, but it’s one that’s incredibly portable. You can fold up this lightweight solar phone charger and slide it into your bag. Having it along for your journey can keep your fleet of electronic devices juiced up for days with only the sun’s help.
Of course, not everyone in the market for a portable solar phone charger wants one for their outdoor exploits. The RAV Power 16W Solar Phone Charger has you in mind — especially if you’re going to use yours atop a sunny car dashboard. You and the person in the passenger’s seat can both connect to the efficient charger. And, if you both have different devices, this particular charger has another benefit. It can tailor its output to the exact amount of power your plugged-in smartphone needs. This feature prevents the overuse of your solar battery, too.
And, although it makes the perfect dash accessory, the RAV charger makes a great camping accessory, too. It has waterproofing to withstand light rain, and, like many other options, it’s lightweight and sleek enough to slide into any backpack or bag.
5. Sokoo 22W
Perhaps your next adventuresome jaunt will have you near bodies of water. If so, consider the Sokoo 22W, as it has some of the best waterproofing you’ll find on a solar charger. In fact, this device can withstand a full-on wave from the ocean. We don’t suggest swimming out to sea with it on your person, but it could handle quite a bit of water should it come down to it. Of course, if you expect rain or humidity on an upcoming trip, this model would also make a stellar accessory for you then, too.
There’s a reason why the SunJack 25W Solar Charger Power Bank has a quartet of fold-out solar panels — it can hold a serious charge. With its two detachable power banks, you can charge and recharge a phone up to 10 times. As such, some suggest it makes the perfect option for those who want to use solar energy at home. Simply hang the four foldable panels outside of your home and connect all of the family’s devices to it for a full day’s worth of charging.
On that note, you might want to pick up the SunJack for your next group camping trip, since so many people can use it to recharge their devices. And, like many other models, this one’s not going to flinch if you drop it or leave it in the rain.
Many solar chargers meant for outdoorsy people come with built-in flashlights. The CXLLY Portable Solar Power Bank takes that one step further. It also has a built-in survival mode with SOS features that might help you get help in a dangerous situation. For a little bit of fun on a camping trip or at a party, you can use the device and its colored LED lights to liven things up.
8. WPBPINE Solar Power Bank
We all know one person who always forgets to charge their phone. You could suggest that they invest in the WPBPINE Solar Power Bank, which comes with an extra-large 24,000mAh battery pack. In layman’s terms, this beast can charge an iPhone up to ten times before it needs recharging in the sun. Like many of the others on the list, it has a slew of handy features to make it outdoor-friendly. It’s water- and dust-proof, and it can clip onto your tent or backpack to charge at any opportune moment.
Do keep in mind that with big batteries comes big responsibility. The WPBPINE can take a whopping 26 hours to charge fully, but, for ten phone charges, it could be worth the effort.
This entry on the list of the best solar phone chargers gives you just what you need to get through a survival-type situation. It holds onto enough power to replenish your phone’s battery up to three times. There’s a built-in compass so you can find your way. And it’s useful if the power goes out in your home, thanks to its pair of built-in LED lights. Speaking of pairs, you and another person can plug into your solar power bank to get your phones back to 100 percent battery life.
The Ayyie might also make your list of contenders because it’s cost-efficient, more so than many other entries on this list. However, do consider that the cheaper price tag does come with a caveat — this model takes quite a while to charge up considering how much power it ultimately provides.
Finally, there’s the Nekteck 21W Solar Charger, which comes wrapped in durable canvas. Its designers imagined it to be a trail accessory for hikers, so they used the rugged material to protect it from dust, rain and any other elements that can appear on an outdoor trek. The Nekteck is just as smart on the inside, too. It has a chip that can determine what type of device is plugged in so that it delivers just the right amount of energy to it — no more, no less.
Finally, this model makes the perfect trail companion for its slim and lightweight design. You’ll only be adding 18 ounces to your travel pack if you add the Nekteck 21W Solar Charger to your load.
In reviewing the inner-workings of a solar phone charger and all of the benefits that such an accessory can have, you’re probably ready to add one to your collection of must-have devices. And, with that, you’re prepared for power outages, camping trips, household energy efficiency… it’s all yours with a smart piece of solar technology.