Just because you’re away from a power outlet doesn’t mean you don’t want to use your gadgets. These solar chargers can keep your gear charged up even when you’re miles from civilization. Here’s our top picks.
You might be asking yourself why you need a solar charger in the first place. Wouldn’t a regular power bank be fine when out and about? Yes and no. It’s great to have a power bank on hand but batteries are batteries and not tiny dynamos—a power bank just gives you extra hours of juice, not the ability to produce the juice itself. If you’re camping or hiking for extended periods, it’s useful (and environmentally friendly) to be able to harness solar power in some way.
Now, to be clear, portable solar chargers are not as powerful as jacking your device right into a wall charger or power bank. None the less, they offer a great way to keep your devices topped off (or to charge up a power bank you can use after sunset to keep the party going).
With that in mind, we’ve focused on solar panels that feature large panels to help you charge quickly when the sun is blazing and those with batteries included to keep the power flowing even if the sun isn’t out. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Best for Hiking: Floureon Solar Power Bank ($13)
Designed with the outdoors in mind, the Floureon 10000mAh Waterproof Solar Power Bank is lightweight yet rugged too. It can withstand a few knocks and it’s waterproof so it’s perfect for when you’re traveling off the beaten path.
In addition to providing solar charging it’s a power bank with 10,000mAh capacity and it allows for charging two phones at a time. When fully charged, for frame of reference, it should be good for charging your iPhone 8 2.5 times, or your Galaxy S7 just over 2 times. With it’s intended use in mind—charging in remote locations and while camping—the Solar Power Bank also has an SOS emergency LED light and a compass built in so you cans signal for help and potentially find your way out if it doesn’t come. The feature set and rugged design make it ideal for outdoor adventures.
Best for Portability: Aukey Solar Charger ($65)
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