If you’re anything like us, you like to be connected. And that means keeping your phone charged wherever you go. While some might think keeping your phone off every once in a while when out in public is a great way to disconnect from our technological reality, it’s still good to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. If one thing’s for sure, we know damn well that in 2020, just about anything is possible. You shouldn’t risk it.
Whether you’re spending a few hours hiking your favorite trail, taking a day off to get your tan on at the beach, or spending your Sunday morning in your favorite park downtown with a book and a cup of coffee, we suggest keeping a solar-powered charger in your bag for those just-in-case scenarios.
Since these chargers are powered by the sun, you’ll never have to worry about your portable charger being uncharged when you need it most. Some chargers have more USB ports than others, so if size is an issue, we have some choices for you. Likewise, most portable solar chargers have up to 400 hours of battery life, so you won’t have to worry about running out of juice in a pinch.
Things to look for in a solar phone charger:
- The best solar phone chargers have at least seven watts to charge a phone and 15 watts to charge a larger device.
- Size matters! Having more surface area means more sun to soak, so you’ll have more watts and your device will charge faster.
- The best portable solar chargers have multiple ports which are important if you have more than one device to juice up.
Check out our top choices when it comes to solar-powered phone chargers below and ditch your current portable that needs just as much charging as your smartphone does — just don’t forget to make sure your choice is compatible with your phone before purchasing!
1. Big Blue Solar Charger
Big Blue makes multiple solar chargers and this one contains three USB ports, which is great for a family camping trip or a day at the beach. It is lightweight and easy to store in a backpack. The special PET-polymer surface is waterproof, fog-proof, and the ports are covered by a cloth shield and rubber proofing. So don’t worry about a little rain or wet, your solar charger will be just fine.
2. LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Phone Charger Lanterns
If you have any camping, hiking or beach plans in the near future, we absolutely recommend bringing the LuminAID PackLite on your adventure — even if you think you might not need it. This two-in-one phone charging lantern provides an extra bright light source to keep your surroundings lit when you need it the most. There are five brightness settings, so you can use it at maximum or minimum for your desired lighting needs. The battery life on this lantern is exceptional and provides up to 50 hours of light when charged. You’ll never break this solar-powered charger either because it is completely shatterproof and waterproof. Worried about fitting it in your hiking backpack? Don’t. The LuminAid PackLite is also completely collapsible for easy storing.
3. X-Dragon Portable Solar Charger
The X-Dragon portable solar charger has 20 watts of solar power which means it can charge a phone and an iPad at the same time — and that’s a lot of juice. So if you have bigger devices that need charging this is a great option for you. If you’re headed off for a long car trip or just want to keep the iPad charged for a movie night, the X-Dragon has you covered.
4. Delxo Patriot Flashlight
This night and day solar-powered flashlight doubles as a portable charger for emergencies you aren’t expecting. But, the Delxo goes even above and beyond charging and flashlight features. Including a safety cutter for separating seatbelts, branches or rope, a compass to keep you on your correct path and an emergency alarm sound when needed, this solar-powered portable charger is everything you’ll ever need in case of an emergency. Be sure to keep it on you when camping or hiking!
5. Anker 21 Watt Portable Solar Charger
With the highest wattage features you’ll see on this list, the Anker charger is good to use for larger devices. 21 watts is more than enough to keep an iPad charged all day. It also boasts a foldable panel which means it will capture more of the sun’s energy than a single-paneled charger. With weather-resistant material, don’t be afraid to leave this one outside during a rain shower or overnight leading to a foggy morning. The Anker charges up to two devices at once and has an 18-month warranty.
6. NekTeck 21 Watts Portable Solar Panel Charger
This portable solar charger has three panels for ultimate sun energy to wattage and two USB ports. Going up to 21 watts means more than enough power for two devices. Waterproof and compact, this is a great choice for a long backpacking trip through the mountains. Plus, with 26 inches of panel space, this one will be sure to gain the most energy from the sun.
7. Blavor Solar Power Bank
Though this solar power bank isn’t fully sufficient from its solar-paneled unit, it is still an excellent charging unit that can charge your phone a couple of times when needed. Unlike most of our other options, we do suggest you make sure this bank is fully charged through an electrical outlet before you bring it on the road because the solar capacity sadly cannot give your phone the charge it needs, but it will get the job done in an emergency. You can also find a flashlight and compass for just-in-case situations. This solar-powered portable charger is also able to charge just about any smartphone, from Apple devices to Samsungs.
8. Goal Zero Nomad Ten
With a 10-watt capacity and a USB port, the Goal Zero Nomad Ten is great for individual use. It can be attached to a backpack or propped on the included kickstand. This portable charger is best for one phone as it only goes up to 10 watts, which not enough for a larger device. With the kickstand, you can rotate the charger to find the optimal light position.
9. Eton Rugged Rukus Rechargeable & Solar Powered Wireless Bluetooth Sound System
A real two-for-one exists when your go-to solar-powered smartphone charger doubles as your favorite speaker to bring on the go. This sound system from Eton is a wireless, Bluetooth speaker option you can bring to the beach, a backyard BBQ, camping and more that plays music loud and clear, all while having the ability to charge your phone at the same time. The included lithium battery has the ability to play music for up to eight whole hours, and the device itself can charge to capacity using just the sun in five hours. It’s compact enough to fit in any backpack and works as an excellent source to play tunes and charge up for both fun situations and in case of an emergency.
10. SunJack 25 Watts
This portable charger is more expensive than several options on our list but it also charges very quickly. A little bit bulkier than the others, the SunJack has up to 25 watts which is great for charging multiples devices (it contains two USB ports) in a short amount of time. With a handy mesh pocket attached to the back, you can store extra cords as well as your phone to keep it all in one safe place. If you’re tired of smaller chargers that take longer to use, try the SunJack. It’s about the size of your backpack, so make sure you have enough room for it on your trip!
11. ECEEN Portable Solar Charger
A smaller, lighter option, the Eceen portable solar charger has up to 13 watts. It only charges one device at a time even though it has two USB ports. It’s less bulky than a number of chargers on our list which is awesome for smaller bags and totes. Additionally, it’s a cheaper alternative to a number of portable solar-powered chargers on the market, so if you’re only looking to charge one device at a time affordably, this is a good choice.
12. BioLite Solar Panel 10+
With a battery capacity of 11 hours and 10 watts of juice, this charger is on the smaller size but has many desirable features. It has a panel that shows how far along the battery is and has a charge strength indicator to let you know if the sun is up for the challenge. It has latches on the corners so you can attach it to your backpack while you hike to soak up the sun’s energy. This is a great, lightweight option for serious backpackers who don’t need multiple ports. There is also a kickstand included for uneven terrain, so you can capture the best sunlight.
13. BearTwo Portable Solar Charger
The smallest charger on our list, the BearTwo takes up to five hours to fully charge from the sun. This portable charger might take the longest to charge up your devices so take caution if you’re in a rush. The BearTwo’s manufacturer warns that this charger is intended for emergency use only and should not be used as a primary source of power. So if you’re headed out on a long trip, this isn’t the right solar charger for you. If you’re headed to the beach and just want some extra juice, the BearTwo will work just fine.