Anker 21w Solar Powered Portable Phone Charger Review
Anker’s 21W Folding Powerport Solar charger is one of my favorite technological lifesavers. The power port is like a power bank, only this time it’s powered up by the sun, not from the electricity flowing from your wall outlet.
This makes it a very versatile product. Not only does it produce power for your device when you’re on the go, but it also helps you get introduced to solar panels and energy. Think of green power. In addition, solar-powered portable phone chargers allow you to charge two devices simultaneously. Because we all have more than one Smart USB device.
I first tried it out of curiosity. For the low cost of this solar phone charger, the time was right to check this one out. Also, I wanted to start using renewable energy at home and while out camping.
It was a pleasant experience and lets me charge almost every electronic device I have. From cell phones to cameras, GoPros, Tablets, Xbox controllers, and more.
Ultimately, the Anker Solar charger was put to the test when I used it on my recent trekking trip to a mountain-waterfall path. It was just a day trip so I didn’t require any camping gear, so I was using the solar panel as a charger while I was hiking. The USB port provided enough power to charge my phone, portable Wi-Fi unit, AC output power bank, and camera.
Without much ado, I’ve listed down a comprehensive review of the Anker 21W Powerport Solar!
- 1 Anker 21W Folding Dual USB Solar Charger, PowerPort Solar for smartphones review
- 1.1 Anker Solar Powered Portable Phone Charger Pros
- 1.2 Cons
- 1.4 The Anker 21W Powerport Solar comes with the following specifications:
- 1.6 What I like about the Anker Foldout Solar charger
- 1.7 Product Features Specifications
- 1.8 Foldable Smart design
- 1.9 What I dislike about this Solar Foldable Phone Charger
- 1.10 Hot batteries will fail
- 1.11 Why no internal battery in the solar panel backpack charger?
- 1.12 Has a number of devices that aren’t compatible
- 1.13 Weather-resistant but not waterproof
- 2.1 To charge your USB devices
- 2.2 Anker Solar Device Charger Frequently Asked Questions
- 2.2.1 1.) What does the 18-month warranty cover?
- 2.2.2 2.) When does the 18-month warranty start?
- 2.2.3 3.) How can I claim the warranty?
- 2.2.4 4.) Which cable should I use with Powerport Solar?
- 2.2.5 5.) The Powerport Solar gives a current output of 2.4A. My device charges at 1A. Does this make the Powerport Solar harmful to my device?
- 2.2.6 7.) What is the PowerPort Solar’s optimum operating temperature?
Anker 21W Folding Dual USB Solar Charger, PowerPort Solar for smartphones review
The Anker solar battery charger with USB port is very flexible. So no issues with throwing the folded up panels into a backpack.
|Total Max Power||21 watts|
|Max Amps Total||3 amps|
|Maximum Amps per USB||2.4 amps|
|Number of USB Ports||2|
|Number of Panels||3|
|Size (unfolded)||26.4 × 11.1 × 0.2 inches|
|Size (folded)||11.1 × 6.3 x 1.1 inches|
|Solar Cells Brand||Sunpower|
|Where to Buy|
Anker Solar Powered Portable Phone Charger Pros
- Portable design and is thin even when it’s fully folded out.
- Two USB ports: perfect for charging two devices at the same time!
- The Anker 21W flexible solar array is 21-23% efficient, providing up to 5V/3A between the two fast USB charging ports.
- Improved solar panel design, resulting in a product that comes out smaller and thinner but gives out more power.
- Lightweight 14.7oz or 417 grams. About the size of a small tablet.
- Can be used in both indoor and outdoor situations
- Takes up sunlight—whether it’s direct or indirect
- Charges numerous devices, whether they’re cameras, tablets, or phones. It doesn’t matter if the last two are iOS or Android—they both get power!
- A Smart wearable charger that pumps power at 2.4 amps under the full sun into your smartphone or tablet.
- The storage compartment design isn’t quite secure. Velcro is used rather than a zipper.
- Isn’t fully waterproof only water-resistant.
- Not compatible with the iPod Nano, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, HP TouchPad, and some Asus tablets. Due to higher charging rates required. See below for the workaround.
- No other colors are available. I would like a white or camo color.
Apart from these few cons which I can live with, it’s actually a very capable Solar mobile charger.
- A compact size when fully folded up with the following dimensions: 11.1 x 6.3 inches
- The following dimensions when opened: 26.4 x 11.1 inches
- Corner eye-holes made of stainless steel for attaching the solar panel to tents, backpacks, trees, and anything else you can imagine.
- A total thickness of 1.1 inches when folded, 0.2 inches when opened
- Weighs 14.7 oz
- Charging speed of 2.4 for one device but up to 3 A total output for 2 devices.
- Contains 3 SunPower solar panels
- There are 2 fast USB ports available for charging use.
- Solar panels are made of industrial-strength PET. The material they are sewn on is a rugged polyester canvas.
- The Anker 21W Powerport Solar has a transition of 21.5 to 23.5% efficiency.
- Full government certifications from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), European Conformity (CE), and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).
What I like about the Anker Foldout Solar charger
I personally advocate employing an eco-friendly lifestyle. However, personal advocacy has always been quite difficult to materialize. There hasn’t been a lot of items that were affordable for the average Joe.
Anker’s solar-powered USB power port is one of the most groundbreaking items I’ve stumbled upon recently. My old phone power bank would often be charged overnight and throughout the morning to ensure that it would be charged fully.
I always make sure I take a full power bank with me, ready for when I require a top-up on my iPhone which is every day. Smartphones just don’t have the capacity they used to.
Although this was a habit I got into, I found it quite wasteful of both money and electricity. I actually worked out that to charge my phone once a day every day, was costing over 25 in electricity every year.
Upon the discovery of Anker’s solar charging kit for mobile devices. I find myself more relieved. I get to make the most out of the perpetually sunny weather in my area, and save money in the process as well!
Product Features Specifications
What’s included in the Anker Solar USB charger kit.
- Anker 21W Dual USB Solar Charger and Powerport.
- Quality micro USB cable with a length of 3 ft
- Welcome quick start guide.
Foldable Smart design
Another part of the product that amuses me the most is how ergonomic it is. It’s lightweight and portable and can be used in multiple ways. I charge it every day by laying it by my east window, for it to get the most contact with the sun.
In addition to using it as an everyday staple, the product is also useful for out of town trips! I’ve tried it on my camping trips, and it’s easy to charge even when you’re on the go!
The stainless steel eyelets on the corners have been really handy. I tie the product in a way that it covers my whole backpack, and it gets a great amount of sun exposure while I’m hiking up a mountain or in a forest.
What I dislike about this Solar Foldable Phone Charger
It’s great that Anker has thought of a compartment for users to store their items while they go trekking, hiking, or boating activity. However, the compartment is only held together by a Velcro strip. I would have liked to see a zipper in its place.
I have only ever seen one other Solar device charger that has a zipper and that is the Nekteck Solar charger. You can read about it here with our solar powered phone charger reviews. Anker vs Nekteck vs Sokoo, and the foldable Anker kept up with the best of them. I just wish it had a camouflage cover.
These are minor personal shortcomings which in no way limit the functionality of the device.
Hot batteries will fail
In addition, it’s wise while charging to place your phone or tablet under a shirt or in the solar-powered portable phone chargers You have to try and protect your phone or tablet from the heating rays of the sun. Your device may overheat from exposure to high temperatures.
It’s been a proven fact that Lithium-Ion Phone batteries can be damaged by extreme heat.
Always shade your device being charged
Why no internal battery in the solar panel backpack charger ?
One of the problems that I didn’t realize till I was using it was that there is no internal battery. I would have thought that there would be a small internal power bank that slowly charges up over time and then your device would drain this power.
The internal USB solar power port is used to charge your devices. It’s not an internal battery. The output is depending on how much sunlight is available. If there is a lot of sunlight you will get a fast charge. Low light is a much slower charge.
The only way to get around the low light problem is to include your own small power bank. That way when you require some extra power just plug your phone or tablet into the power bank inside the Anker pouch.
You would wire it up like this
Anker solar battery charger with USB port — to battery power bank — to your cell phone.
I tested the power output using 2x Anker 1000mah power banks. This made sure I was not limited to the power draw from only one power bank.
I was able to get 1.64 amps out of 1 USB port. Now bear in mind this is close to the maximum output of 2.4 amps. Being winter and with the sun low down I’m sure the output will improve during midday at summer.
Has a number of devices that aren’t compatible
The Anker Powerport Solar has a number of devices that are fully compatible with it. However, older iPod versions, the HP TouchPad, and some Asus tablets aren’t part of that list.
It would be a bit of a bummer for those looking forward to buying this solar panel for their device, only to find out that it isn’t compatible at all. Hopefully, Anker addresses this problem!
I just wanted to be clear. Some other Solar phone chargers also have this problem.
To get around this low charging problem get yourself a small power bank. As mentioned above, it will have the higher amperage required to charge these devices. The solar cell will then charge this battery power bank. I use the 10,000mah Anker power bank shown below.
Just place the Anker battery pack into the pouch, plug it into the USB port, and then plug your high-energy device into it whenever you need a charge.
Weather-resistant but not waterproof
This product was almost a dream for my trekking journey. However, there was a little feature that could have made it more awesome: waterproofing. The solar panel’s polymer backing is great and protects it from drizzles and light rain showers, but if it’s pouring with rain be careful with your phone in the pouch it may get wet.
When we go boating I always make sure to wrap my phone and the Anker USB integrated circuit box in a plastic ziplock bag. This way the electronics will last longer.
One new gadget that has made my camping trips more enjoyable ia Solar powered LED lights. I use the folding solar panels to charge up each light globe during the day as its faster than the 2w panels that come with the globes.
How to Use the Anker Solar USB phone charger
1.) Unfold the solar-powered portable phone charger to get the most power out of the product. Make sure all three panels are exposed to the sunlight. Pointing to the sun is best.
2.) If you are in a stationary position, you can leave your solar power port in an area where it can get sunlight the most. You can lay it on the ground, tie it to your backpack, or tie it up to the side of a tent. The latter is a great way for shade as well.
3.) If you need to move around much, you can tie the panel to your backpack through the eyelets with some rope, cable, or carabiners. It’s the perfect solar panel backpack charger while on the move.
To charge your USB devices
1.) Locate the USB output ports, which are inside the solar power port’s device compartment.
2.) Take the cable for your device and attach it to either USB port.
3.) Voila! Depending on if the panel still has enough energy for both devices, your devices are getting the juice that they need.
When out camping we have found a really cool firelighter. It’s called a USB arc lighter, perfect to start campfires with a plasma beam. When it gets flat just charge it up from the power of the sun.
1.) What does the 18-month warranty cover?
The 18-month warranty covers all quality-related issues with a replacement or full refund. This comes with Anker providing the return shipping. However, the customer must be the one to shoulder the shipping costs of returning the defective product. This warranty is available to all customers around the world.
Aside from the 18-month warranty, customers can return their product for any reason as long as it’s within 30 days. Whether it’s because of quality or personal issues, Anker will take back the product in this time period. Amazon makes this easy.
This warranty isn’t applicable to products purchased from unauthorized resellers. In addition, improperly operated devices, non-quality related issues, and products that are lost, stolen, or were given out for free are not covered.
2.) When does the 18-month warranty start?
The moment you place your order is the day the 18-month warranty begins.
3.) How can I claim the warranty?
Simply provide a Return or Exchange request by contacting Anker’s support e-mail address (email@example.com). Be ready with a valid proof of purchase for the product. The following are considered valid proof of purchase:
- Amazon order number
- eBay username for purchases via AnkerDirect
- A sales receipt from an authorized Anker Reseller. This must come with the date of purchase, product price, and description.
4.) Which cable should I use with Powerport Solar?
Use your device’s original cable for best results.
5.) The Powerport Solar gives a current output of 2.4A. My device charges at 1A. Does this make the Powerport Solar harmful to my device?
The ports only supply the maximum current allowed by your device, with 2.4A being the maximum current output. If you use the Powerport Solar with a device requiring 1A to charge it, the Powerport Solar only supplies 1A. Cleaver!
7.) What is the PowerPort Solar’s optimum operating temperature?
To keep your Powerport Solar at its optimum performance, use it at 77°F. However, the Powerport Solar can tolerate conditions at temperatures.4°F to 140 °F. The hotter the solar panels get the less efficient they are.
At the end of the day, this little Anker Solar USB phone charger is amazing. For the convenience of always ready power when the sun shines. You can rest assured you have electricity in the middle of nowhere. With thousands of positive online reviews, the world really trusts Anker gear.
Camping and hiking are where this little Solar-powered portable phone charger really shines. So you can take that external USB battery pack and charge it all day long. Then drain it overnight to power your phone, tablets, and small LED lights.
When the end of the world comes, just make sure the Anker solar device charger is in your bug out bag? It can be a real lifesaver.
I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.
I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun. To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.
Anker’s power banks and solar chargers keep your devices juiced up while on the go
If you do a lot of traveling and like to stay connected with your friends and family via your smartphone or tablet, then you probably need as much battery life as you can get. Out and about, you won’t always have access to a plug in the wall, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan for keeping your devices charged.
Anker makes some great solutions, including the PowerCore 20000 and PowerCore 26800 power banks, and a 21W PowerPort Solar charger so you can harness the power of the Sun. Any of these can help make mobile charging easier.
The battery packs that won’t quit
Let me just start off by saying I play Pokémon Go a lot, and I’m a huge fan of battery packs.
Although I’m home a lot and can use my wall plugs to keep myself charged up, my phone tends to die faster from lower signal strength and use whenever I go out. At the end of the day, having a reliable source of power on the go is very important to me, and smaller power banks just don’t cut it for me.
Anker provides some great high capacity battery packs for USB-powered devices that use premium and durable Panasonic battery cells. These are known for their heat resistance and reliability over time.
Anker PowerCore 26800
We’ll start by showing you the PowerCore 26800, which is one of the biggest power banks Anker makes. With an astounding 26,800 mAh battery capacity, this pack holds more than enough juice to power an iPhone as many as 10 full times.
With its durable aluminum external construction, as well as a secondary shock-resistant layer that prevents damage to the internal battery cells on drops.
There are three USB out ports, and one Micro-USB in port. The out ports are capable of sporting a monstrous output up to 6 amps, which will power just about any mobile device as quickly as possible. Larger devices like the iPhone 6s Plus and various models of iPad will benefit the most from this throughput.
With the intelligent charging technology, PowerCore 26800 will automatically refuel your device at its highest charge throughput without damaging it.
The PowerCore 26800 even features an LED power indicator that you can press to see the current amount of charge remaining.
Anker doesn’t skimp out on supplies either; they include one of their premium AC adapters with built-in Qualcomm QuickCharge technology and a supplementary Micro-USB cable to get your battery pack charged up for your daily commute.
It’s not one of the cheaper options on the market, but the PowerCore 26800 is one of the highest-rated premium battery packs you can buy on Amazon today. This model is available on Amazon for about 80 with free shipping.
Anker PowerCore 20000
If you’re in the market to spend a little less, but still want high-density battery that packs a lot of juice, then the PowerCore 20000 is another great option.
It’s a bit smaller and lighter, sporting one less battery cell than the PowerCore 26800, but you still get a lot of performance. It has one less USB port than the PowerCore 26800, and 6800 mAh less battery capacity, but it’s also about half of the price at just 45 on Amazon.
With 20,000 mAh of power capacity, this battery pack charges Apple products at up to 1 amp and can re-charge an iPhone 6s up to 7 times on a single charge. Many different tablets can get anywhere from 1.5-2 full charges on this system.
One of the major features of this battery pack is the built-in support for Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, which allows this pack to charge up to 80% in as little as 35 minutes, which Anker says is an industry-leading number for a product of this size.
Just like the larger brother, PowerCore 20000 has an LED indicator that shows the amount of remaining power, and all power is regulated by internal microchip technology that prevents up 10 kinds of common battery pack failures.
Great travel batteries
These battery packs perform great in traveling situations where you’re in the car, on the bus, or anywhere else where you need power and don’t have access to an infinite power source.
Anker includes some nice carrying bags with built-in padding to make your travels easier and keep your batteries protected while you store them in a backpack or bag.
Although they’re beefy and built like bricks, they’re small enough to fit inside many carrying bags and use on the fly.
Solar power: for those who want to stay green
If batteries aren’t your forte, but you still need power, you might be more interested in Anker’s PowerPort Solar, which is a solar-powered charger for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.
This is a foldable unit with three solar panels that are capable of producing up to 21W of power when placed in direct sunlight, or less in cloudy conditions.
For people who enjoy camping, going to the beach, or being outside, this is a great way to charge your devices when you want to stay lightweight and don’t want the hassle of keeping external batteries charged before trips.
Anker’s PowerPort Solar features two USB out plugs, which allow you to power up to two devices at once.
I’m fond of the tough nylon construction, as well as the metal rings that make it easy to hang the charger on its side, which I do a lot of from the side of my Jeep Wrangler at the beach. When I’m done, I can use the Velcro inside of it to put it away and store it in the glove box.
The best part is, you can have the solar charger in direct sunlight, but your phone doesn’t necessarily have to be. You can use your Lightning cable’s length to your advantage to hide it under something out of the harmful rays, while your solar charger takes the Sun’s light and converts it into electricity.
Check out the little package it folds into:
Anker’s 21W PowerPort Solar is available on Amazon for 60, but a smaller 15W option is also available for 50 if you don’t want to spend as much.
If you’re looking for the right battery pack, I usually go by the idea of “the bigger the better,” but for some, compact size and smaller price tag are equally as important. Fortunately, Anker offers a wide array of different sizes and price points for their battery packs, so it’s hard to list their size and weight as a con.
These are some of the fastest-charging battery pack solutions available today, and the high ratings you’ll see on Amazon are a testimonial to that claim.
As far as the solar-powered charger is concerned, in any scenario where you no longer have any battery juice available, whether it’s with your mobile device or your external battery, this is something that will continue to produce power as long as you’re in direct or semi-direct sunlight.
I think the solar-powered charger is more practical for those who do a lot of outdoorsy-stuff, while the battery packs are going to be more practical for the average Joes out there who need power during their daily commute or while walking, such as while playing Pokémon GO.
What are your thoughts on Anker’s batteries and solar chargers? Share in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев!
Review: Anker PowerPort 4-Port USB Wall Charger
The more ports that wall chargers have, the more limited its portability is and the more its design changes. When the 3 port design is reached, it’s usually apparent that a wall charger should use a power cord, rather than use installed plug pins on the wall charger itself.
However, that’s not always the case and instead, the case is that the wall charger can hold all its charging ports and still have an extremely portable design.
This is the Anker PowerPort 4 that has 4 charging ports and yet it’s still able to have its plug-ins installed directly on itself. Let’s see if this kind of design can fair well.
Similar 4-Port Wall Chargers:
If you don’t know yet, nearly every wall charger that you get from now on should have an optimum charging speed. This goes for the individual charging speeds through each of its charging ports and the Max Output that it’s able to give all at once.
Each Port Offers Standard Fast Charging
For the PowerPort 4, fast charging speed is no problem. Each of the charging ports can deliver a Max Standard charging speed of 5V/2.4A and it has a Max Output of 8 Amps. So it doesn’t have Quick Charge, so Quick Charge compatible devices won’t be able to charge at their max charging speeds.
With that said, nearly any other device that you use with the PowerPort 4 will be able to charge at its max charging speed. This is very true for tablets like the iPads with their max charging speeds of 2.4 Amps.
Even if you’re pushing the wall charger to its powering limits, each of the charging ports can usher out 2 Amps of current and that’s still enough power to charge many devices at their max charging speed.
There are no limits with the PowerPort 4 unless you want a wall charger that has Quick Charge. Then we recommend other wall chargers by Anker that do have Quick Charge like PowerPort 6
Similar Wall Charger
Just by looking at the PowerPort 4, it’s not a large wall charger and it’s a square shape device.
It has a length and width of 2.5 inches and a thickness of 1.1 inches. It weighs 3.2 ounces. Now, at the beginning of this review, we debated whether or not wall charger beyond the 3 port threshold should have a power cord or not. With the PowerPort 4, it would have served it well.
The PowerPort 4 wall charger isn’t large in a portable sense, but when it comes to using it, that’s where the installed plug pins are a bad design.
A Perfect Portable Design
This is because when the wall charger is plugged into either a wall outlet or a power strip, it can block other outlets.
The use of a power cord would be able to quell this problem. Other than that, the weight of it is light, but it still holds quite a lot of its weight on a single side, and as a result, if you’re using a wall outlet that’s old then the PowerPort 4 can very well fall out of it.
Even with its problems of having installed plug pins, we still like what Anker’s aim was.
It’s a really easy wall charger to use. It has retractable plug-ins and once you retract the plug-ins the wall charger becomes a square shape. All 4 charging ports are on a single side and are placed horizontally.
Structure and Material
The wall charger is split into 3 pieces and they’re all made of plastic. Other than that, there’s not much to say about the physical build quality, since it’s not used nearly the same way a power bank is used.
The tech that backs up the PowerPort 4 is all charging tech that can be found within most of Anker’s products. With its PowerIQ charging and Voltage Boost technology, they’re able to ensure that charging is constantly fast for every device that you connect.
Then there’s the Anker Mult-Safe Protection system that can provide a constantly safe experience even when you’re charging 4 devices at once. Sure, the wall charger does get warm when you’re pushing it to its limit but at no time does it get hot.
For what you need it for, the PowerPort 4 is exceptionally reliable. Not only can you charge 4 devices at the same time, but you can also charge 4 devices at the same time at a very good charging speed.
The Max Output is what really provides great value with it being able to have a max output of 8 Amps, even when the Max Output is reached, each of the charging ports can deliver 2 Amps of power.
Power is near flawless, the design could be better if they tested the waters with a power cord, and build quality is great.
Each of the charging ports can deliver a Max standard charging speed of 2.4 Amps, and the Max Output of 8 Amps is still enough for the wall charger to give lots of power.
The use of installed plug-ins right on the wall charger is questionable because the wall charger can block outlets and fall outlet of Old wall outlets. However, the portability is amazing with retractable plug-pins.
There’s nothing special about the build quality but it’s the Tech build is what makes it very strong to use. The use of Anker’s safety technology ensures that your devices and you are safe during charging; this is especially true if/when you charge 4 devices at once.
It’s a reliable wall charger and there’s no doubt about that. If you want to charge 4 devices at the same time with this wall charger, it can be done. If you want to charge 4 devices at the same time and charge them fast, that can be done as well.
Specs of the Anker PowerPort 4-Port USB Wall Charger:
Max Output Capabilities: 8A
Max Output Per Port: 5V/2.4A
- Quick Charge: No
- LED Power Indicator: 1 Blue LED at the top of the Charging ports
- Size: 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches
- Weight: 3.2 Ounces
The PowerPort 4 wall charger is a great addition to the wall charging arena. It delivers an optimal level of power and portability. However, just beware of the design that we mentioned, since it can indeed cover other outlets and fall out of old outlets, and that can be very frustrating to experience.
The 5 Best Solar Powered Chargers for Your Phone or Tablet
We all know the sudden drama that happens during our outside pursuits when we see a “low battery” warning on our phone, tablet, digital camera or other device. Outdoors you’ll find yourself many times far from any power outlet to recharge your devices.
What will you do then? Have you ever considered carrying with you a solar powered cell phone charger?
Whether you’re on a camping trip, mountain biking, traveling the world or just walking around town a portable solar charger can help keep your devices powered up anywhere under the sun.
The idea of portable solar gear that uses free off-grid solar energy to power up our mobile lifestyle is pretty amazing. It’s surely one of the best inventions of this century.
Solar battery chargers come in many different shapes, sizes and efficiency ratings. We’ve done the hard work already and picked the top five solar powered chargers available right now for sale on Amazon that have the latest photovoltaic (PV) technology and the best charging performance.
We have also included a buyer’s guide at the end of the article where you’ll find everything you need to know about choosing the best solar charger, so make sure to check that out as well.
Best Overall: BigBlue 24W Solar Powered Charger
The BigBlue 3 USB ports 24 Watts solar charger is our top pick for the best solar phone battery charger to buy in 2022 because it offers a remarkable combination of manufacturing quality, price, portability, and charging speed.
It features highly efficient energy conversion SUNPOWER solar cells (up to 23 percent efficiency) and SmartIC technology, which means that this charger will automatically recognize the charging protocol of your devices so that it can deliver the most suitable and fastest charge possible. Three USB ports allow you to plug in and split the current between 3 devices at once.
What makes BigBlue the best portable solar charger for almost any kind of environment is also its charging performance in diverse weather conditions. This charger delivers a steady energy flow even on cloudy days so you can confidently plan your outdoor activities without having to worry about low battery devices.
The BigBlue solar panels delivers 24 Watts under direct sunlight and it charged our iPhone 11 from zero to full in about two hours. During cloudy days the charging capacity varies according to the Cloud exposure, but it should be able to charge anywhere from 20 percent and above which will be very useful especially in emergency situations.
This solar charger is made of four SunPower solar panels sewn into a durable canvas and a fifth section that’s more like a small pouch for storing your iPhone or Android phone while charging and thus protecting them from the direct sun exposure and overheating – however, if you have a cable long enough, it’s always better to move your devices into the shade. You can also easily store all the cables in this department.
Inside the pouch there are three USB ports that deliver up to 2.4A per port or 5V/4A overall (depending on how much direct sunlight hits the solar panels), and a small LED that indicates when there is power flowing from the panels.
What about portability? The BigBlue solar powered charger weighs 754 grams or 26.6 ounces and the entire solar charger folds up to about 14 millimeters or 0.55 inches thick. This makes it perfect to carry around when traveling, backpacking, going to work, or school.
To get the most out of your portable solar gear, we highly recommend pairing the BigBlue charger with a USB battery pack. For example, the Anker PowerCore Elite 20,000 mAh power bank is fully compatible with the BigBlue 24W solar charger and it can store enough energy to charge an iPhone 11 from zero to full six times. A portable battery pack like this one is a must-have since the solar chargers themselves cannot store energy and provide it during night time when the sun is not around. With a charged power bank, you are powered up 24/7.
What we like:
- Great value for the price
- The SmartIC technology
- Amazing charging speed
- Three USB ports
- High quality material
- Very compacted when folded
What we don’t like:
- Removable USB hub would make packing better
- A charging cable for iOS devices could be included
The Lightest and Most Flexible: Portable Solar Panel Sunslice Fusion Flex 12
Sunslice Fusion Flex 12 Watts with two USB ports (5V) each with max output of 2.4A is a perfect option for those who like to FOCUS on their outdoor experience without worrying about maintenance of the devices they bring along.
Two portable solar panels are extremely lightweight (just 270 grams/9.5 ounces) and easy to fold into a thin A4 like shape. That’s it, you can head out now! Then you just open the pack for solar cells to face the sun and use right away on the go by plugging in your USB devices like a smartphone and/or tablet. Additional plus are two elastic fasteners and two carabiners you receive with the product to easily attach the charger to your backpack.
The solar panel is made off CIGS thin film solar cells, which are a versatile option when it comes to application and practical use of photovoltaic technology. The thin film is flexible, you do not have to worry about bending the panels to fit better in your backpack. According to the manufacturer, the solar cells reach up to 16.5% efficiency in the perfect sunny conditions. Thin film solar cells perform better than crystalline solar cells when exposed to the strong summer sun, they maintain better power production when their surface heats up – this happens quickly on hot days. On the other hand, in colder weather, their performance drops compared to monocrystalline cells.
When it comes to performance under cloudy conditions or during the days when clouds come and go, you may need to carry a power bank with you rather than relying solely on this solar charger. The current drops pretty fast when shaded and takes couple minutes to restart once again. This means it may not provide enough power to charge your phone on cloudy days.
The manufacturer thought of the practical use for adventurers by designing the product with the protective and light transmitting EFTE coating – therefore, it doesn’t affect the efficiency of solar cells. The coating feels to the touch pretty much the same as a material of your backpack, yet it is scratch proof and has somewhat self-cleaning properties. Additional advantage is water resistance.
Sunslice Fusion Flex 12 is a practical and durable solution for spontaneous, short trips when you don’t know where and through which terrain your steps will lead you. On a sunny day, all you have to care about is your experience, meanwhile, this solar charger will be there to give you a bit of extra power to use your devices when they are running low of battery.
What we like:
- Scratchproof CIGS solar cells
- Great charging speed
- Easy to attach
What we don’t like:
Best for Price: Hiluckey 25,000 mAh Outdoor Portable Solar Power Bank
The Hiluckey 25,000 mAh had the best performance in the solar power bank category. If you’re looking for a solar power bank, look no further than this one.
It features 4 small solar panels that deliver in total 4.8W under direct sun. That’s the most wattage output you can get out of a solar power bank at this moment. While the solar panels on the BigBlue perform four to five times better than the Hiluckey, the PowerPort doesn’t have its own power storage. When there is no sun, there is no power flowing, so an additional external battery is needed to keep devices charged up when the sun is not around.
The Hiluckey Outdoor Power Bank on the other hand, has a built-in battery pack with a capacity of 25,000 mAh which can store enough energy to charge an iPhone 7 about three times and has two USB ports to charge your friend’s smartphone in the same time.
The built-in battery can be recharged by sunlight, but also by wall outlet. It comes with a built-in flashlight and four LEDs that indicate battery life. The casing is shock-proof, dust-proof and water resistant. Great for outdoors
The only drawback of this solar power bank is the charging speed from the small solar panels. In full sun, the Hiluckey built-in battery could reach just 15 percent battery after three hours. However, the charging speed from the built-in battery to our iPhone 7 was very similar to the BigBlue.
We recommend to always charge the power bank by wall outlet before heading outdoors. This way you’ll have enough power to recharge your devices several times, regardless of weather or time of the day. The solar panels on the Hiluckey are not designed as the primary source of charging, but they are a very good alternative to add extra power to the power bank anytime you’re under the sun.
What we like:
- Great value for the price
- High-capacity 25,000 mAh battery
- Overcharge protection
- Two USB ports
- High quality material
- Very compacted when folded
- 12-month warranty
What we don’t like:
Versatile Solar Phone Charger: Neckteck 21W
No matter what environment you’re dealing with, the Neckteck 21W is the Range Rover of solar power chargers. With an ultra-portable design, this solar charger with two USB ports is IPX4 waterproof, dust-proof and shock-resistant. The whole pack weights a little over 17 ounces (approx. 480 grams) and is super easy to use without any worries about your devices.
This charger features a solid construction and three monocrystalline solar panels based on innovative SunPower Maxeon technology that reach the maximum efficiency of up to 23 percent. The solar panels provide 2.0A per port or 3.0A max in total to charge your devices on the go. As other good quality solar chargers, it protects your devices from over current and overcharge, which could damage them if this feature were absent.
A great advantage of this handy solar charger is its compatibility with the most USB devices. It charges great variety of smartphones, which is not always the case with portable chargers. The package doesn’t come with cables. Do not forget to bring your own.
We would recommend it for charging your phone on a sunny day. An impressive feature unique to this solar charger is quite nice charging speed it provides when in the direct sun. In good sunny conditions it works flawlessly and can charge your phone as needed.
However, to get the best outcome when the weather is not perfect or when hiking through shady areas like in a forest, you should consider using this solar charger to charge a portable power bank and use the power bank to charge your phone later. The results are better this way, as the charge interruption recovery is on a slower side.
What we like:
- Great value for the price
- Monocrystalline solar cells
- Two USB ports
- High quality material
- Great for charging variety of smartphones, tablets power banks
What we don’t like:
Best Solar Panel to Charge a Power Station: Goal Zero Nomad 20
This amazing device boasts an impressive charging speed that performs very similar to the BigBlue Solar Charger.
Goal Zero Nomad 20W uses industry leading monocrystalline photovoltaic solar cells to offer a Rapid and steady charge during unobstructed sunny conditions and can bring a smartphone to full battery in less than two hours. This 20 watt solar charger is compatible with most small and medium devices, but can even charge a laptop in approximately 6.5 hours when under direct sunlight (the time is dependent upon the conditions).
The three solar panels are waterproof, UV protected, and scratch-resistant, offering you a durable and reliable portable power anywhere you go. The set comes even with a kickstand, allowing you to position the panels to reach their best potential when you need them to. Although the Goal Zero solar chargers are a bit on the pricier side, they do well when you need to charge smaller portable stations for storing extra power. It is compatible with a reliable Goal Zero 200x power station, which will safely charge your laptop, camera and other latest USB-C devices.
Weighing 2.26 pounds (1,000 grams), the Goal Zero Nomad is not as lightweight as other solar chargers we mentioned earlier, but it’s still a compact charger that can fit just about anywhere. When folded, it occupies pretty much the same space like a small laptop. Because of its reliability and power, this portable solar charger is frequently used by mountaineers in their expeditions.
What we like:
- Amazing charging speed
- Overcharge protection
- Compatible with laptops
- High quality material
- Very compacted when folded
- 12-month warranty
What we don’t like:
Most common uses of solar chargers
In the hectic world of today most of us cannot imagine our lives without gadgets. And the more advanced they get, the more power-hungry they become. That’s when a portable solar charger comes handy. Think of it like having your personal power supply, anywhere you go.
Complete freedom from power outlets!
Solar chargers are lightweight, foldable and easy to carry around. All you have to do is position the solar charger under the sun and it will immediately start recharging your devices. You can even strap it on your backpack and power up on the go. This way you can enjoy your daily activities without rushing to look for a power outlet somewhere inside.
Considering the fact that solar powered phone chargers are now so much more affordable and efficient, they can be a life-saver in many situations.
Solar energy brings light to our unsustainable developing world and by going solar, be it portable or not, is a great way to join the climate change battle by reducing your carbon footprint.
Important solar charger considerations
The most important features you should look for when choosing a portable solar charger are:
#1 Charge Interruption Recovery
Chances are you won’t be able to use your portable solar charger in full sun all the time. Especially if you live in a place like the United Kingdom. Areas with shade or clouds will affect the performance of your solar phone charger to a certain extent. We measured the output power of each model in full sun, and then in fairly cloudy conditions for one hour each in order to see which solar charger recovers the fastest and gets back on track after being shaded.
The best performing models in this category were the chargers with the most wattage power like the BigBlue. The Neckteck 21W scored the lowest in this test because of the small wattage power.
Larger solar chargers have more solar cells exposed to the sun simultaneously and this makes it easier to recover to maximum output after an interruption.
#2 Charging Speed
Most of the time, portable solar chargers are being used to charge devices such as smartphones, tablets, camera batteries, etc. when source of electricity is not available. This is the reason why we decided to test the charging speed of our solar chargers with an iPhone 7 and see how much it can charge from zero of full in direct sun.
To our surprise we found that the charging speed performance of our models was very different. This significant variability is clearly because of the wattage output power, but also due to type and quality of solar cells.
The winner in this category, the Goal Zero Nomad 20, outperformed the competition with an impressive charging speed.
Our advice: If you are looking for the fastest charging speed, choose a solar charger with at least 15 watts. While smaller panels are more lightweight, the charging speed of a 5W solar charger for example, is around three to four times slower than a 15 watts charger.
#3 Weight and Portability
The ideal portable solar charger would be light, small and easy to carry around. The most lightweight model in our competition is the Hiluckey 25,000 mAh Outdoor Portable Solar Power Bank, weighing just 11.8 oz. This is the only model to get a 10 out of 10 in this category.
However, keep in mind that small wattage chargers are less powerful, so if weight is not extremely important to you, we highly recommend choosing a charger with a higher wattage than the Hiluckey model.
Since they are used mainly outdoors, solar chargers are constantly exposed to the elements, so durability is a very important factor. All the models we tested had more or less the same quality of material and stitching and all panels were weatherproof.
Solar technology is advancing very fast and companies have already integrated the most advanced features found in residential solar systems into portable solar panels as well.
Watts, Amps, and Milliamp Hours (mAhs)
These are the three most common terms and features that are worth considering when when looking to buy a solar powered phone charger.
mAh – Milliamp hours is the easiest way to measure the strength or capacity of a power bank. This term is not used for the panels themselves, but just for batteries. The higher the mAh, the more power it can store and therefore the longer the power bank will last.
Amps – Amps on a solar charger will determine how fast the electric current flows in order to charge up your devices. The current drawn is different from device to device but in the case of portable solar chargers, you’ll get between one and three amps. The solar chargers we picked in our review test feature the highest amp power available on the market right now.
Watts – Watts are a measure of how much energy is being released to charge your devices. It’s the result of multiplying voltage by amps and they are the most frequently mentioned unit of power. Since USB ports operate at approximately 5 volts, a single 2 amp USB charger port (for comparison: a laptop usually has 1.5 amps in a single USB port) for example, would have a wattage rating of 10W (5 x 2) and therefore would require a 10W panel to charge at 2 amps. But in reality, a 10W solar charger won’t produce exactly 2 amps USB charge because of imperfect weather conditions (Cloud cover) and type of solar cells.
Types of portable solar panels
Solar chargers can either feature monocrystalline, polycrystalline or the super lightweight CIGS panels.
Monocrystalline PanelsMonocrystalline technology is the one that started the photovoltaic revolution and it’s still the most efficient even today when it comes to converting solar energy into electricity. As the name suggests, monocrystalline panels are made from a single crystal of pure silicon. They have an efficiency rating of up to 22 percent and can be easily recognized by their black uniform cells.
Polycrystalline PanelsUnlike monocrystalline panels, the polycrystalline modules are made up of multiple crystals but still deliver a great efficiency of up to 17 percent. Polycrystalline panels have a blue color and they usually cost less than monocrystalline panels.CIGS PanelsCIGS panels consist of Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenide solar cells. They are very different than mono- and polycrystalline panels. These panels are the most flexible and lightweight, but also the less efficient out of the three types in converting sunlight into usable power. It’s a good option for backpackers or trekkers who want to travel ultra-light. These are not as durable as the monocrystalline modules but they still do a pretty good job in case of emergency.
Do you need an external battery, or is a solar charger sufficient?
Portable solar chargers can recharge your devices – but only in direct sun. If you want to recharge your smartphone during night time, or on a rainy day, the solar panels will not be of any help.
On the other hand, a battery pack like the Anker PowerCore Elite 20,000 mAh, can store energy and provide continuous and steady power to recharge the same devices you would charge with solar chargers.
Thanks to modern technology battery packs nowadays are very light and can be recharged by solar panels or wall outlet and they can store a lot of energy, enough to recharge a smartphone up to seven times in one go.
Since battery packs can be charged from solar panels as well, adding one to your solar kit means you can have power for your electronic devices available at any time – even when the sun is not there.
How to get the most from your solar charger
Simplicity makes solar power truly remarkable. The only care and maintenance most solar chargers require is making sure they’re clean and dust free. A moist cloth should get the job done most of the time.
To get the highest charging efficiency, it’s important to position your solar panels correctly. A good rule of thumb is that the angle, relative to flat ground, must be approximately the same as your latitude, with a few small adjustments according to the seasons (shallower in the summer and steeper in the winter time).
The Best Solar Chargers of 2023
Cory Gunther / How-To Geek
Sydney Butler Writer
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He’s worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a FOCUS on Cyberpsychology in particular. Read more.
Elizabeth Henges Commerce Editor Elizabeth Henges is the Commerce Editor for How-To Geek. She has close to a decade’s experience reporting on tech, gaming, and gadgets. Elizabeth has had her commerce work featured on XDA Developers, The Inventory, and more. She has also written for publications The Washington Post and The Verge. Read more. About How-To Geek
Whether you’re dealing with an unreliable power supply or want to make sure you can charge your essential gadgets when far away from the grid, a solar charger is an essential part of your hiking, travel, or emergency kit.
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24 Models Evaluated
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What to Look For In a Solar Charger in 2023
Before we get into what makes for a good solar charger, let’s clear up what we mean by “solar charger” since it’s distinct from concepts like a “solar power bank” or “solar panel.” A solar charger is a device that converts solar power using solar panels into an electric current suitable for charging devices, usually in the form of a USB power port conforming to USB power specifications. Solar chargers typically don’t have any power storage of their own, but you can use the charger with a power bank of your choice. In general, putting a lithium battery in direct sunlight is not a good idea, so it makes sense that most solar chargers don’t integrate them. Instead, you’d use a lengthy cable to connect devices under shade or in your bag, protected from direct sunlight. It’s important to use a solar charger with the necessary safety circuitry to prevent device damage. In models with poor safety controls, too much voltage may go to the device, damaging it. The charger may also keep pushing charge to the device even though it’s full. So look for mention of overcharge protection and other similar features. If you do use a charger that doesn’t explicitly mention these features, it’s usually a better idea to charge up an inexpensive power bank, rather than charge your tablet, phone, or other devices directly. Then use the power bank to charge your devices in turn. Size, weight, and mounting features are other key considerations. Small, foldable, and light solar chargers are more common now. Despite their size, they can produce usable amounts of power thanks to advancements in solar panel efficiency. Chargers may come with backpack mounts, kickstands, frames, or other mounting solutions. It’s best to pick one that matches your use case. For higher-capacity chargers, it’s always nice to have multiple ports to charge several devices simultaneously. Weatherproofing is a must since the odds of it raining at some point are virtually assured. Finally, an oft-overlooked feature is “auto resume.” Many solar chargers will stop charging when the sunlight drops below a certain level, and then fail to resume unless you manually reinsert the charging cable. Chargers with auto-resume ensure you don’t come back after a few hours to find that your device stopped charging ages ago.
Frequently Asked Questions
Solar chargers don’t store energy, and they need sunlight to produce electricity, so sadly, you can’t use them without sunlight.
Yes! Even if it’s cloudy or overcast, you’ll still get power from the sun. Things may not charge as quickly, but there’s still plenty of usable light.
In theory? Yes. In practice? Apart from the flashlight putting out a low total amount of power as light, it’s not in the same spectrum as sunlight, and it would be so inefficient that there’d be little point.
It all depends on the peak wattage of the charger in question and how much sunlight you’re getting. Under good conditions, it’s totally possible to get the same charge rate as typical wall chargers.
Best Solar Charger Overall: Anker 24W 3-Port USB PowerPort
Anker has developed a reputation for affordable gadgets that perform better than they have any right to. The PowerPort Solar is a great solar charger, even more so for its low price point, and it’s the one we recommend most people in the market for one of these devices to look at first.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, because if they’re dealbreakers for you, it’s best to know them upfront. First, there are no USB-C ports, so you’ll have to keep a USB-C to A cable handy for your USB-C devices. Secondly, this charger is not water resistant, so you’ll have to be vigilant for rain. The panels themselves have an IPX4 rating, but not the electronics box.
If you’re happy with these small compromises, you’ll find a lightweight, foldable, and flexible solar charger with a built-in kickstand and enough power output to charge most phones and tablets at rates similar to wall chargers. Each port can provide up to 12W of power. Considering that common “fast” chargers are 18W and typical iPad wall chargers are also 12W, this isn’t a bad result.
While it would have been nice to get more than 12W for single-device charging, Anker makes up for it thanks to its auto-resume charging if the sun is blocked temporarily. Whether you’re camping or want a backup power solution to keep in your car for an emergency, this is a fantastic choice.
Solar Charger, Anker 24W 3-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable CIGS Panel for Camping, PowerPort Solar for iPhone 12/SE/11/XS Max/XR/X/8, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S20/S10/S9/S8, and
The Anker PowerPort strikes the perfect balance between price and performance. It’s thin, flexible, and supports multi-device charging with auto-resume if sunlight is interrupted. It’s not 100% water resistant, but in every other way it’s a great deal.