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What’s the Best Solar Phone Charger in 2021?

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Frameless smartphone close up on a sandy beach with copy space, the concept of restoring strength and energy
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Solar phone chargers are a great way to keep your phone juiced on the go. But many solar phone chargers don't stop there: Units with larger panels and higher-capacity batteries are capable of charging cameras, GPS units, tablets and even computers, too.

Most solar-powered phone chargers incorporate integrated batteries and small solar panels with one or more ports for charging your gear. They're hardy, portable and affordable. And best of all, you can feel good about the eco-friendly mobility they'll give you on your next adventure.

In this article, we'll break down the top 5 best solar phone chargers available in 2021.


5 Best Solar Phone Chargers

We narrowed down the best solar phone chargers on the market based on criteria including durability, power output, portability, design, functionality, extra features and cost.

Each of the products listed below provided good value for the price and would be a great choice for powering up your iPhone or Android using solar energy.

Best Solar Phone Charger Our Award Buy Now
Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger Best Overall Check Price
FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank Runner Up Check Price
Renogy E.FLEX Portable Solar Panel Best Low-Profile Panel Check Price
Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel Best Solar Charger for Hiking Check Price
Blavor Solar Power Bank Best Charger Under $30 Check Price

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Best Overall: Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger

Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger

www.renogy.com

The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger boasts a powerful 10000mAh battery to keep your gear going longer. Its water-resistant exterior and built-in flashlight give you peace of mind in any conditions, anywhere.

Pros:

  • IPX4-rated weather and dust sealing
  • Efficient solar panel
  • Multi-mode built-in flashlight
  • Carabiner
  • 2 USB outputs
  • Battery level indicator
  • Quality build

Cons:

  • A bit heavy for backpacking
  • Solar panel only powerful enough for trickle charging battery
  • Long solar charging time
  • Not best-in-class battery capacity

Why Buy: The Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger is the perfect companion for off-grid, on-the-go applications where you need rugged and reliable power. With effective weather-sealing, dual USB charging ports and a carabiner, you'll have enough juice to power your small electronics on a backcountry camping trip or wherever your adventures take you.

$40

Runner Up: FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank

FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank

FEELLE

The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank has a powerful 25000mAh battery powered by four solar panels, nearly the equivalent of a 5-watt wall charger. The panels fold neatly over the battery for compact storage, and the water-resistant cover gives you peace-of-mind when encountering adverse weather.

Pros:

  • High-capacity solar battery
  • Multiple panels allow simultaneous device charging when in direct sunlight
  • Dual USB outputs
  • Weather-resistant cover
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Battery level indicator
  • Solar charge indicator

Cons:

  • A bit heavy and bulky for backpacking
  • Large footprint when unfolded
  • Long solar charging time
  • Build quality lacking

Why Buy: The FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank is a great option for those needing more battery capacity with simultaneous solar charging. Like most solar panel chargers of this size, it takes a while to get a full charge from the panels and it's a bit on the heavy side. But for the price and features, the FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank is well-deserved as our pick for runner-up.

$44

Best Low-Profile Panel: Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel

Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel

www.renogy.com

The highly efficient Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel provides best-in-class charging speeds. Three large solar panels provide an impressive 22% to 25% energy conversion rate and clock out at 21 watts. Two USB outputs allow charging to multiple batteries or devices at once. While not intended for strapping to a backpack for mobile charging, it's light enough to pack in a backpack or camera bag or strap to a kayak or use as an RV solar panel.

Pros:

  • More than enough capacity to quickly charge phones and small electronic devices
  • Generous wattage
  • Foldable
  • Good build quality
  • iSolar Technology provides fast charging and prevents overheating
  • Water-resistant
  • Relatively fast charge rate

Cons:

  • Large
  • A bit heavy
  • Large footprint
  • Batteries and charge controllers not included
  • A bit pricey

Why Buy: If you need a foldable solar panel to charge your devices at basecamp, the Renogy E.FLEX 21 Portable Solar Panel is tough to beat. It's the perfect portable solution for quickly charging devices, cameras, and even laptops in off-grid situations.

$80

Best Solar Charger for Hiking: Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel

Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel

www.goalzero.com

The Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel provides low-profile, intuitive solar charging. Featuring two solar panels with a combined 10W of power, it provides ample capacity to charge cell phones, GPS units, camera batteries and more. A built-in kickstand allows optimal positioning, and its efficient design makes it small enough to strap to a bag for charging on-the-go. An integrated USB port charges phones, external battery banks, and other small devices.

Pros:

  • Built-in kickstand for multiple angles and optimal exposure
  • Low-profile
  • Easily straps to backpack or tent
  • Integrated USB ports
  • Foldable
  • Rugged and well-built
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Slower charging rate than other panels
  • Batteries and charge controllers not included
  • Expensive

Why Buy: Goal Zero has established itself as a leader in portable solar solutions. While it's not the largest portable solar panel out there, the Goal Zero Nomad 10 Foldable Solar Panel hits the sweet spot between portability, versatility and capacity. If you need relatively fast charging for small electronics on your next outdoor adventure, this is the panel for you.

$100

Best Charger Under $30: Blavor Solar Power Bank

Blavor Solar Power Bank

Blavor

For a budget option, we've placed the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank as our top pick. The generous battery capacity is enough for multiple cell phone charges, and the solar panel offers trickle charging when the sun is shining. A useful dual LED flashlight, compass and Qi wireless charging make the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank an attractive solar phone charger.

Pros:

  • Generous battery capacity
  • IPX4 rated weather and dust sealing
  • Built-in dual flashlights
  • Dual USB outputs
  • Battery level indicator
  • Compass strap
  • Qi wireless charging
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Small single solar panel only offers trickle charging
  • Very long solar recharge times

Why Buy: While not the fastest solar charger out there, the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank is a steady performer nonetheless. Whether charging from a wall or trickle charging with the solar panel, the Blavor 10000mAh Solar Power Bank is loaded with impressive features you might not expect at this price point.

$30


How Do Solar Phone Chargers Work?

For those looking for a sun-powered adventure, the heart of a solar phone charger is the solar panel itself, which works exactly the same way as a larger rooftop panel does.

Solar panels convert the energy of photons (light particles) into electricity, a process called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a solar panel, its energy causes electrons to flow throughout the solar cells, producing an electric current to charge devices or batteries.

All solar panels produce direct current (DC) energy, which can be used to charge small battery-powered devices like cell phones and computers. Solar panels for homes and businesses must be converted to alternating current (AC), which requires an inverter.

Lack of inverters and small panel sizes make solar phone chargers a compact and efficient way to charge DC electronics.

Types of Solar Phone Chargers

Just like there are different types of solar panels for homes, there are different types of solar phone chargers.

Standalone panels: These solar phone chargers consist of one or more panels with built-in charge ports (usually USB ports). They're great if you need a large amount of energy for quick charging or powering larger devices. The downside to standalone panels is that they lack integrated batteries, so you can only charge your devices when the panels are in direct sunlight. They also tend to be on the large side. But if you need more power than a smaller charger can provide, standalone panels are the best option.

Solar battery banks: Solar chargers with a built-in battery are handy for carrying a reliable, portable charge wherever you go. The most common variants include a small solar panel atop a battery, but some options include fold-out panels for better capacity and faster charging. Aside from some notable exceptions, most solar battery banks take days to fully charge via sunshine alone, and almost none of them will charge your cell phone and the internal battery simultaneously. If you prioritize a rechargeable battery with solar backup, solar battery banks are a good option.

How Much Do Solar Phone Chargers Cost?

Solar phone charger costs vary depending on type, capacity, quality and features. The best solar phone chargers balance quality, performance and price, ranging from $30 for basic solar battery bank chargers to $150 for standalone solar phone charger kits.

Choosing the Best Solar Phone Charger for Your Needs and Budget

Now that you know how solar panels work to charge your phone and some of the best solar phone charger models available, you may be wondering how to narrow down the right product for you. Here are some things to consider when making your purchase:

Design and Size

You'll probably want to take your solar phone charger on the go, so think about the following:

  • How will you be transporting your charger?
  • How much weight can you handle?
  • Do you need to charge while moving or stationary?

In addition, look for other features that might come in handy, such as:

  • Carabiners, D-rings and anchor points to attach the solar panel to a tent or backpack
  • Number of USB ports to charge multiple devices at once

Keep in mind that the greater the number of features, the larger (and sometimes more expensive) the unit will be.

Power Output

How much power a unit can produce and store may be the most important factor to consider when buying a solar cell phone charger. A high-amperage battery will provide more charges for your devices but will take more solar input to charge. If you're going to rely on the sun to provide all of your power, prioritize high-output solar panels capable of quickly charging your electronics. If you just need a high-capacity battery with the option for solar trickle charging, a smaller solar battery bank could be a good fit.

Durability

Because they're portable, choose a durable solar-powered phone charger to stand up to the wear-and-tear of travelling and outdoor activity. The best solar phone chargers are rugged and dependable, featuring weather-sealing and robust construction.

Portability

All solar phone chargers are portable, at least in the technical sense. But there are degrees of portability depending on your needs. Ranging from somewhat heavy multi-panels requiring stationary placement to simple units you can strap to your pack, there's a unit for everyone, from trail runners to off-grid nomads. Just remember that with greater portability often comes sacrifice in other features, especially panel output.

Extra Features

Many solar chargers for phones feature more than just charging, with integrated LED flashlights, backup batteries, charge indicators, carabiners, compass straps and more. While these can be nice, don't let extra features distract from what really matters: Staying powered when you need it most.

Cost

Finally, there's cost. While none of our top picks will break the bank, some are undoubtedly pricier than others. It's best to save up for a costlier unit if you absolutely need its functions, but if you only need a battery with solar backup, there are plenty of budget-friendly options out there.

FAQ: Solar Phone Charger

Are solar chargers for phones any good?

Solar phone chargers are great for powering devices in off-grid situations. They can be used over and over again without having to be plugged into an outlet to recharge like standard battery banks.

How long does it take to charge a phone with a solar charger?

The time it takes to charge a phone with a solar charger will depend on the output of the battery and the amperage of your phone's battery. Some battery chargers can fully charge a phone in as little as 90 minutes, but others may take up to four hours.

What are the best solar power chargers?

We rated the Renogy E.POWER Portable Solar Charger and FEELLE Portable Solar Power Bank as our top two picks for the best solar power chargers. These models are rugged and dependable enough to charge your devices anywhere you go.

How do I choose a solar cell phone charger?

Key factors to consider when choosing a solar cell phone charger include design features like number of charge ports, size/weight, power output, durability, portability, extra features, and cost.

Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.

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