We have used over 13 different products here based on their sizes, charge speed, features and value for money, and we narrowed down to 7
We promise one of them will be the best money you can spend this year.
Let's check them out...
Best Solar Battery Chargers
Disclosure: All products have affiliate links to commission to support the website when you purchase
Goal Zero Nomad 50 - Fastest Charging
Why Get This One? The Goal Zero Nomad 50 is by far the fastest charging device before spending over $250. If you need speed and a rugged product, this is the one to get.
Fast Charging - Fastest 3-6 hrs charge on Sherpa 100AC power bank that are used to power high drain devices such as laptops, speakers and multiple USB powered devices
Easily Foldable Plus Kick Stand - Carry it anywhere you want and deploy the kick stand into place at multiple angles to maximize solar exposure
Multi Charge Ports - Works for USB, vehicle cig plug, and solar ports to connect additional solar panels for even faster charging speed
Convenient Plugs Container - Store all your cords in the side mesh pocket without needing a separate bag to carry them.
GOAL ZERO NOMAD 5 WATT SOLAR PANEL - 2nd Best
Why did we choose this product? For those who like to plan their trips to where everything has to go correctly, the lightweight Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Kit will be your companion on your next trip!
What are other users saying about this product?
Small Size - Fits casually anywhere in your pocket either deployed or hung from your backpack
Portable Anywhere - Deploy anywhere with the kickstand similar to an iPad, and it can produce 3.35 Ampere-hours with a 1A output to a full charge for your phone.
Works With Flip & Others - Store power into the Flip battery bank or any other USB battery banks to charge your smartphone and other devices
Easy and convenient - Plugged directly to any USB port in order to easily charge up the battery in 3 hours, and check battery level by pressing the LED indicator button before unplugging.
RAVPOWER SOLAR CHARGER 16W - Best Portability
Why did we choose this product?
“The less the waste, the more the power,” is RAVPower’s motto and holds true with this product.
This product makes sure to always get the most power you can from raw solar power to free energy, whether it is a sunny day or you are hiking under a cloudy
It’s as easy as one-two-three: plug in up to two devices at once and let nature take care of the rest! Check it out at amzn.to/3h1S4tq
What are other users saying about this product?
Efficiency made easy - Plug in your phone or other USB-supported devices to this solar kit up to 2.4 Amperes per port to deliver the ideal current output to best suit your phone’s, or your device’s, charging needs.
Fail Safe Protection - iSmart chip detects the device and automatically adjusts itself to provide the right amount of power into your device to prevent overheating, reduce unnecessary power wastage, and to optimize your charging experience.
Compact & Foldable - The device weighs almost like any other solar battery chargers in similar size, and the user can fold the solar panel it to shrink its size for easy transport
Built In Pockets - Safely store your phone or other similar-sized devices into the pocket to protect them from rain, dust, or other harmful effects without additional carriers
BIGBLUE 28W SOLAR CHARGER - Best For Hiking
Why did we choose this product? This product features four big solar panels around 7 watts of power each (28 W total) to charge your phone or other electronic devices at home or on the hiking trip right on your back facing the sun. BigBlue’s solar panel meets the requirement of a high solar conversion efficiency by up to 24%.
No Extra Setup- Just unfold it stick them to a backpack or lay it flat next to your tent, and you’re ready to go! Plug your phone or other devices into the port, and as long as there’s sunlight, there’s energy!
Built-in Digital Ammeter - Measure the current in a circuit via the built-in digital ammeter to let you know what the current output without you second guess if its working or not
Exclusive smart-technology - Built-in intelligence chip detects the device type in order to deliver its fastest possible charging speed without wasting unnecessary power.
Great Ergonomics - Hook the solar panel everywhere that is convenient for easy access (trees, backpacks, structure, vehicles, etc.), so it is easy to carry and transport for any outdoor activities such as camping, climbing, fishing etc.
Special PET polymer surface - Protect your solar panel and your devices from occasional rain or wet fog via industrial-strength PET polymer fabric, and the IPX4 rating makes it waterproof level to beyond splash-proof
BIOLITE SOLARPANEL 5+ WITH INTEGRATED POWER BANK - Best Solar Alignment Technology
Why did we choose this product? The BioLite's newest Optimal Sun System sundial aligns the panel to the sun for direct sun rays capture while a 360 degree kickstand simplifies positioning on uneven terrain. Other than that, it's just like another power bank that can power up your phones, tablets, and compatible BioLite gear. Get yours here amzn.to/2QSZZPg
Optimal Sun System technology - Align the panel directly with the sun to keep the sun’s rays as perpendicular and direct as possible in order to get the most power out of the solar panel via ancient method. Misaligning could lead to 30% watts available
Max Power Point Tracking - Draw as much power as possible without overloading the system for faster charge times without crashes
Heat Protected - Maintains solar panel efficiency with ultra thin materials to dissipate heat quickly
High Speed USB Charge - Up to 10W output to charge a regular smartphone in a hour
Why Buy This One? You may not use it daily as your primary charging device, but it stores sunlight energy slowly and then it's ready for use. Get yours amzn.to/33jhJLb
Dual Capabilities- Not only can it charge its bank’s battery through solar power, it can also be normally charged with a micro-USB cable. Just leave it in the sun and let it charge!
Always Be Charging - It's charging as long as it's exposed to the sunlight when possible
Included Compass - A small built-in compass helps anyone who hikes an advantageous tool without carrying extra gear
Wireless Charging - Just sit your phone on the back of the charger and it's sending power to your phone! No cable needed!
Superior Durability- Four padded corners and strong material keep the charger from drop damage and protects the solar panel surface from drop contact
Why did we choose this product? Just like the Blavor battery bank, and it can do everything that one can but stores 2.5X more mAh to charge as much devices as possible. For an extremely low price, you can get yours today at amzn.to/2F3fGkx
What To Look For
Weight and Size
To keep it plain and simple, the larger that the solar panel is, the more sunlight that it collects, and the faster it gets converted to power stored in a battery.
A tinier solar panel is great since it fits smoothly into your backpack or even in your pockets, but it takes way longer to charge up the battery inside of it.
The larger, foldable solar chargers that we discussed are the best for portability, due to its foldability and transportability, and for weather conditions- if there’s more clouds in the sky that anticipated for, if the sun is low angled or low in the sky, if the light intensity of the sun is low due to the season being winter.
The charging time can vary greatly depending on these conditions- the fastest, biggest solar chargers take around four to five hours to charge whereas the smaller ones can usually take up to a longing fifteen to sixteen hours.
Solar chargers’ batteries are rated based on Amperes, and batteries that are inside of the solar chargers are based on Ampere-hours.
For example, if you’ve got 4 Ampere-hours of a battery bank fully charged up, and your phone requires two Amperes. Well, four Ampere-hours divided by two Amperes is two hours, so basically, it’ll charge your phone for two hours.
Obviously, a lot of battery banks have a higher number of Ampere-hours- our highest one that we discussed has twenty-five Ampere-hours which can charge a lot of devices; not a refrigerator but a phone or a camera’s battery for sure.
How powerful or how fast the solar chargers charge your phone depends on wattage which we’ll go over next.
Solar panels are rated in watts- the higher the number of watts, the more electricity that is generated over a given period of time. This directly relates to how fast your solar panels will charge your phone or the solar panel’s battery.
Again, the more surface area there is on a solar panel, the more power it’ll generate- usually, it’ll be faster as well.
You’ll generally hear people talk about watt-hours, or kilowatt-hours, as well which is common amongst solar panels. This is where additive solar panels come into play.
Say, for example, if a panel has a rating of 250 watts for one panel, you can easily go out and buy three more of the same panels for a thousand watts, or one kilowatt, of power for your home or vehicle, and a lot of people do this if they want power fast or if they want more power in general which is essentially the same thing.
Bottom line is, depending on your budget, always look for a solar panel with more wattage- you’ll get more power and electricity out of it in the short and long run.
With how efficient your solar panel is, there are two general equations.
The first equation talks about how to find the efficiency of how much electricity you’re throwing into your solar panel. For this, all you have to do is to multiply the total surface area by the efficiency rating by the global radiation value by the performance ratio. In shorter terms, the more sunlight, the more area, and the better material that your solar panel is made of, the more juice you can put into the solar panel.
The second formula actually talks about how efficient your panel is, directly to how much power you spit into it versus how much power it gives you in return. For example, if you have a fifty percent efficiency rating on the solar panel, that means that for every hundred watts of energy that you put into the solar panel, it will only give you fifty watts of energy in return.
Not a fair return, right? Actually, solar panels are usually between fifteen to twenty percent efficient with some outliers on either side of the range- so, from our example, you’d only be getting back around fifteen to twenty watts of energy instead of the hundred that you put into the solar panel in the first place. That fifty watts of energy sounds great now, doesn’t it?
But in the long run, you have to remember that it is free, renewable energy, so you’re not really losing anything, you’re just gaining energy slower due to the limits of our current technology. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more efficient solar panels soon.
Will the solar charger still work if it’s cloudy or raining?
Usually, solar panels provide power if there’s direct sunlight or even indirect sunlight. Except at night, no matter what time of the day it is, if the sun has just come up, if the sun is about to go down, or if the sun is directly above you in the sky, the solar panel will still keep working.
However, your solar panel will be the most effective when the sun is directly perpendicular to the solar panel, usually around the hours of 10am to 2pm. As the sun changes the angle between itself and the solar panel from ninety degrees towards zero degrees, it’ll get less and less efficient by the minute.
They have solar panels that can track the sun automatically, no matter where it is in the sky- we talked about some solar chargers in the guide above.
Now, if it’s cloudy, there is a layer of clouds between your solar panel and the sun, meaning that there can’t be direct sunlight. It’ll still work, but not as efficiently- if it’s cloudy all day, you can expect a charge of your cellphone at most from most solar chargers.
When it’s raining, it’ll be the same case as if it was cloudy. Rain is actually better because it’ll clean off any dust and dirt that has accumulated on the solar panel, so that the cover on the solar panel will be clearer and more sunlight will come through once it’s sunny the next day.
How long will my device need to be on the charger to fill up my battery?
It usually depends on what kind of solar charger you have- for some, it’ll take a short amount of time, and for others, it’ll be the same as if you were charging your phone through a regular wall charger.
Solar chargers, nowadays, are meant to be a substitute for wall chargers or, at least, try to provide as much power as they can similar to a wall charger. Obviously they have more obstacles to face- they have to convert sunlight into usable power which is harder than transferring already stored electricity through the house.
Can I charge two devices at once?
Absolutely! Some solar chargers, as mentioned above in our guide, have solar chargers that have two outputs to charge two devices at the same time without overheating the solar panel or charger.
Most of the solar chargers will only have one due to the power bank’s limit in storing power- they can only store so much to deliver just the right amount to your phone.
Solar chargers aren’t new in the market, but their success has driven many manufacturers into adding new features and making them more indestructible by the day. By using newer, more durable material while keeping the weight light and the power high, it’s hard to make or choose the “perfect” solar charger.
But with this guide, hopefully some of the choices have been narrowed down for you. Luckily, most solar chargers won’t break the bank- they’re a lot of fun, and they impress friends who will sometimes want to leech off of your free electricity.
Have fun camping, hiking, and hunting with your new solar charger and stay safe!