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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 important to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency.
Whether you’re spending a few hours hiking your favorite trail clad in your best hiking boots, taking a day off to get your tan on at the beach or spending your Sunday morning at the park downtown with a book and a cup of coffee, we suggest keeping a portable solar phone charger in your bag for those just-in-case scenarios.
Since these chargers harness power from the sun, you’ll never have to worry about your portable charger being all charged out when you need it most. Some portable solar phone chargers have more USB ports than others, so we have some choices for you if the size is an issue. Likewise, most solar-powered phone chargers have up to 400 hours of battery life, so you won’t worry about running out of juice in a pinch.
How We Choose The Best Portable Solar Phone Chargers
Simply put, not all solar phone chargers are created equal. And while it may be tempting to spend as little as possible on a new piece of tech, pricing is often in line with the type of product you’ll be purchasing.
When choosing the best solar phone chargers, we do our best to consider budget shoppers and device connoisseurs who want the most out of the item they’re buying.
We also look at several key criteria when hand-picking the solar phone chargers that enter this roundup in terms of both features and design. These include:
Wattage and Battery Capacity
Solar phone chargers use solar panels to charge up the charger’s internal battery. The larger the battery capacity, the more energy (wattage) your charger can disburse to your connected hardware.
Wattage and battery capacity are important when determining how often your solar charger will need to be re-juiced, but your charger’s total wattage will also factor into how many times you’ll be able to completely recharge a phone or tablet from a single battery charge.
While higher wattage often translates to a better charger (and higher prices), this isn’t the only specification to consider.
Design and Portability
Many of today’s best solar phone chargers are designed for easy grab-and-go action, as many of us are using these devices outdoors.
While most manufacturers ensure that their solar battery chargers are weatherproof and durable, allowing you to use them year-round, we care just as much about the charger’s attached solar panel footprint.
The bigger your charger’s solar panel, the more energy it will be able to gather from the sun, making for a more efficient charger. But no one wants to carry around a charger with an attached panel that could be bigger than the charger itself.
We expect the best solar phone chargers to bring us ingenuity, with things like “fold-out” designs to make commuting and traveling with these devices easy.
When choosing the best solar phone chargers, we’re looking for chargers with various ports. Sure, you can service many of today’s electronics with a single USB-A or C port, but working with minimal inputs can be a real pain when you need to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
While more ports may equal a more oversized charger design, we care just as much about where these ports are placed in the charger’s housing as we do about their presence in the first place.
Whether the charger comes with two USB ports or five, they need to be sensibly placed for us to recommend the charger.
1. BigBlue 24W Portable Solar Phone Charger
BEST SOLAR POWERED PHONE CHARGER OVERALL
Big Blue makes multiple solar chargers, and their new 24W portable charger contains three USB ports, which is excellent for a family camping trip or a day at the beach. It’s also lightweight, foldable and easy to store in a backpack. The special PET-polymer surface is waterproof and fog-proof, and a cloth shield and rubber proofing cover the ports. So don’t worry about a bit of rain or moisture, as your solar charger will be just fine. Like all of the best solar-powered phone chargers, it can juice up Apple, Samsung and Google Pixel phones, as well as devices from other brands.
2. LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Solar Phone Charger Lanterns
THE LANTERN OPTION
The LuminAID is one of our favorite gadgets. If you have any camping, hiking or beach plans soon, 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 to use 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. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever break this solar-powered charger because it is completely shatterproof and waterproof. Are you worried about fitting it in your hiking backpack? Don’t. The LuminAid PackLite is also completely collapsible for easy storing.
3. Anker 21 Watt Portable Solar Phone Charger
OUR FAVORITE BRAND
With the highest wattage features you’ll see on this list, the Anker charger is great for larger devices. Twenty-one watts is more than enough to keep an iPad charged all day. It also boasts a foldable panel, which 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.
4. 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 simultaneously — and that’s a lot of juice. So if you have more significant devices that need charging, this is an excellent option for you. The X-Dragon has you covered if you’re headed off for a long car trip or just want to keep the iPad charged for a movie night.
5. Hiluckey Solar Powered Phone Charger 25000mAh
Got sunshine on a cloudy day? You can charge that phone up effortlessly with the Hiluckey solar charger. This unit is one of our favorites for the sheer amount of power in a single charge. It can charge your phone eight to 10 times or your tablet three to four times, averaging out at about nine whole days of usage per full charge. It has four different panels that fold neatly, making it storable and easy to bring anywhere. In the daytime, easily clip it onto the back of your backpack so it can soak up the sun, ready to charge your electronics at night.
6. BioLite Solar Panel 10+
MOST THOUGHTFUL FEATURES
With a battery capacity of 11 hours and 10 watts of juice, this popular Biolite solar charger is on the smaller side 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 to attach it to your backpack while you hike to soak up the sun’s energy. This BioLite solar cell phone charger is a great, lightweight option for serious backpackers who don’t need multiple ports. There is also a kickstand included for uneven terrain to capture the best sunlight.
7. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel Phone Charger
If you’re not opposed to something on the bulkier side, check out the Jackery SolarSada 100W solar panel. This big boy doesn’t work solo; you attach it to your Jackery Power Station, the must-have power station for any person that likes to use their electronics off the grid whenever they get the chance. Simply plug the solar panel into the power station, and you’ll give the box all the extra juice it needs to charge your phone again and again and again. It’s one of our pricier options, but if you find yourself in situations where you constantly need to power devices that aren’t only your cell phone, whether you be stuck at home in a blackout or camping in the middle of the desert, this is the duo you need.
8. NekTeck 21 Watts Portable Solar Panel Charger
BEST FOR PORTABILITY
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 an excellent 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.
9. Blavor Solar Power Bank
BEST BUILT-IN FLASHLIGHT
Though this solar power bank isn’t entirely 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. Still, 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 can also charge just about any smartphone, from Apple devices to Samsungs.
10. Goal Zero Nomad Ten Solar Cell Phone Charger
BEST FOR A SINGLE USER
With a 10-watt capacity and a USB port, the Goal Zero Nomad Ten is incredible 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 is not enough for a larger device. You can rotate the charger with the kickstand to find the optimal light position.
11. Eton Emergency Weather Radio and Smartphone Charger
BEST FOR WEATHER EMERGENCIES
In the event of a multi zip-code power outage, this portable, solar-powered radio from Eton is a godsend. Capable of receiving AM/FM frequencies and SAME and NOAA broadcasts, you can charge the entire radio with rays from the sun or through a hand-crank power generator. Thanks to Bluetooth compatibility, you can also stream music from your phone or tablet while Eton’s USB connection charges it. If that’s not enough, you’ll be pleased to know that the radio also features a flashlight and emergency beacon.
12. SunJack 25 Watts
This portable charger is more expensive than several options on our list, but it also charges the fastest. A little bit bulkier than the others, the SunJack has up to 25 watts, which is excellent for charging multiples devices (it contains two USB ports) quickly. With a handy mesh pocket attached to the back, you can store extra cords and 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.
13. Delxo Patriot Flashlight
BEST STANDALONE 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.
14. ECEEN Portable Solar Phone Charger
BEST BUDGET SOLAR PANEL PHONE 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 some chargers on our list, which is fantastic for smaller bags and totes. Additionally, it’s a cheaper alternative to several portable solar-powered chargers on the market, so this is a good choice if you’re only looking to charge one device at a time.
15. BearTwo Portable Solar Charger
BEST SMALL-SIZED 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 power source. So if you’re headed out on a long trip, this isn’t the best solar-powered phone charger for you. If you’re headed to the beach and just want some extra juice, the BearTwo will work just fine.