BigBlue Cellpowa2500 Ultra-Fast Power Station is Launching on Kickstarter Soon
The compact portable battery supports users during home energy outages and outdoor activities, with a power output of 2500W and has 1843Wh super large capacity, being 80% recharged in 1.5 hours, and having an UPS function
SHENZHEN, China. April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/.- The BigBlue Cellpowa2500 Compact Portable Power Station crowdfunding campaign will coming soon on kickstarter on April 19th.
With a volume of only 384274325mm, and weighing just above 25 kilos, Cellpowa2500 is one-third smaller than competitor 1800Wh power stations available in the same range on the market. This is pretty much a plug-and-play power station that people can use anywhere, at any time, from one room at home now to a camping site off-grid later.
This power station can be charged with an AC cable and reaching 80% capacity in 1.5hours. At the same time, 3 independent DC input ports allow Cellpowa2500 to obtain 1200W power from six solar panels, extending its Bullet-D fast charging technology to the outdoor world.
Cellpowa2500 may be used to charge or power a computer, an electric oven, a heater, medical equipment, or any electronic device. It supports an output of 2500W, going up to 5000W surge. Featuring 6 AC ports, 2 USB fast charging ports, 2 PD 45W ports, and 2 PD 100W ports, among others, this power station allows users to charge or power 15 devices simultaneously, at any given time.
For people who are traveling or venturing off-grid, keeping car battery powered at all times is critical. Cellpowa 2500 can charge car batteries during off-grid emergencies, by the way, which is just as useful.
Not only that, what if you suddenly lose power when you are using a computer to write a script, or watching the World Cup on TV? Cellpowa 2500’s UPS function keeps you away from this annoyance. Connect devices to Cellpowa2500, and connect the Cellpowa 2500 to the grid with an AC cable, then even if the grid loses, your devices will not be affected, Cellpowa2500 will automatically detect the grid and power your device within 10ms.
On the other hand, Cellpowa2500’s GPS positioning function allows you to know exactly where you are, and you can use a walkie-talkie or car radio to report your location to someone nearby and ask for help.
Cellpowa2500 is equipped with 1843.2Wh automotive level LiFePO4 battery, which supports 3,500 lifecycles. In other words, Cellpowa2500 can be used frequently for up to 10 years. Once these 3,500 lifecycles are used up, the device will still retain 80% of its original capacity.
Along with featuring its user-friendly on-device controls, Cellpowa2500 can also be controlled wirelessly through BigBlue app that gives users remote access to the power station’s recharging capabilities.
Backers who support the campaign gain early and discounted access to the device. You can visit Cellpowa2500 promotional page on BigBlue official website for more information.
About BigBlue Energy
BIGBLUE ENERGY INC is a professional portable solar generator manufacturer with more than 1000 employees. Born in 2007, Bigblue aims to relief people’s worries about lacking power by its clean and renewable energy solution. We have been committed to off-grid solar products which closely meets market needs and create customer value as a tech company. In order to provide fast delivery and convenient after-sales service to our customers, we have branches and local warehouses in USA, Europe and Japan. meanwhile, we have factories in Vietnam and China. Carrying out research and development work for a Solar-Wind-Power Station is also we are undertaking.
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Best Portable Solar Chargers for Cell Phones
A solar charger is a practical and sustainable option to charge your mobile devices, cameras, flashlights, and other gadgets at any time and place, without relying on outlets or a portable charger. You will only need the energy from the sun to keep your devices charged.
In this guide, we will explore the features and specifications of the solar charger, learn how to choose the most suitable model for your needs and analyze the differences with respect to the solar power bank. In addition, you will learn how to get the most out of it, making the most of the available solar energy.
In short, this guide will help you understand the benefits of a solar charger and make an informed decision about whether it is the ideal accessory for an outdoor lifestyle.
No time to read? No problem! In the list below you can see the solar chargers we like the most on Amazon according to the criteria outlined in this guide:
These are the models recommended by our team for the month of June 2023. You can also visit the best-selling solar chargers on Amazon here.
If you have made it this far, congratulations reader! Your interest in getting to know this practical gadget in depth is evident. We assure you that we will strive to provide you with detailed and useful information about this gadget so that you can make an informed decision and get the most out of it.
What is a solar charger? How does it work?
Basically, we could say that a solar charger works just like a cell phone charger with the difference that its energy is obtained from sunlight.
The solar charger is composed of one or more solar panels that are responsible for transforming sunlight into electrical energy to recharge instantly any other device with a USB charging port such as a cell phone, tablet, Bluetooth speaker, smartwatch…
Each solar panel is composed of photovoltaic cells, usually made of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon although we can also find models with panels made of CIGS.
One of the major limitations of these solar panels is the small amount of energy they produce per individual cell.
That is why it would be necessary to use large panels (which would be impractical for a portable solar charger) for this reason several small panels are connected in parallel and then deployed to capture more solar radiation.
over, solar chargers do not store the energy produced in an internal battery but transfer it directly to the connected device. For this reason, we recommend 2 tips:
- Have a correct exposure of the sun’s rays on the charger panels so that the device is charged as fast as possible.
- Use a power bank as the main charging device to store the energy obtained and charge other devices at any other time of the day.
How to choose a solar charger: key features
There are many factors that can determine the buyer’s choice of one solar charger over another, let’s see which are the most important for us:
Solar charger power (W)
The power, measured in watts (W), that appears in the specifications of a solar charger indicates the capacity of its panels to produce energy from sunlight.
This power corresponds to the sum of all the solar panels that make up the charger, for example, this BigBlue model has 4 panels of 7W, then the total power is 28W (4 x 7W).
As a general rule, the more power the solar charger has, the more panels it will have, and therefore, the larger and heavier it will be.
However, one thing is the power that the solar charger is capable of generating and quite another thing is the power it supplies at its output ports :
Manufacturers usually limit the output power, i.e., the solar charger does not offer all the power that its panel (or set of panels) is capable of producing. This is done mainly for safety (to avoid excessive overheating) and to extend the life of the panel itself.
In addition, there will always be another power reduction depending on the conditions of use of the charger: angle of incidence of the sun’s rays, cloudy days, etc…
Output ports power
The output power at the charging ports of the solar charger determines the charging speed of the connected devices, i.e., the higher the power, the faster the devices will charge since the ports will have a greater capacity to meet the power demand of each connected device.
Let’s see an example comparing 2 models of the BigBlue brand that, in optimal light conditions. their solar panels can generate up to 28W:
|Model||Solar charger power||USB output ports power|
|B401D||28W||3x 5V/2.4A max, 5V/4.8A 24W|
|B401E||28W||2x 5V/2.4A max, 5V/4.0A 20W|
In this table we can see that each USB port can supply a maximum power of 12W (5V x 2.4A), then if we want to charge a single device that supports a current of up to 2.4 amps of current at 5 volts, we could use either of the 2 models.
But what if we want to charge another device at the same time at its maximum charging speed (5V-2.4A)?
In this case, the B401E model is limited to 20W between its 2 USB ports, unlike the B401D model which is able to provide the power demanded by each device.
Charging ports: USB and DC
Most solar chargers include USB output ports that can be used to charge any electronic device that charges through this type of port.
In general, it is a USB type-A that works at a voltage of 5 volts (standard charging) and supplies a maximum power between 10-12W.
Although there are also new models that incorporate the USB type-C port and even support Quick Charge (QC) or Power Delivery (PD) fast charging protocols being able to supply up to 24W and work with a voltage of 5, 9, and 12V.
The DC port is the other type of output port that we can find in higher-power solar chargers. It works with a voltage between 18-20V and is commonly used to charge a solar generator, a laptop, or a drone.
Solar panel efficiency
Efficiency is the ability of the charger’s panels to convert solar energy into electrical energy.
Assuming optimal lighting conditions and correct orientation of the charger to receive as much solar radiation as possible, solar panels have an efficiency between 21-24%.
This efficiency will depend on the quality and type of panel used by the manufacturer, we recommend brands that use panels with SunPower technology:
SunPower is a company specialized in the production of crystalline silicon panels that are characterized by their high quality, based on a silicon technology that was developed at Stanford University.
SunPower panels have been used in large solar power plants worldwide as well as in NASA projects, that is, what Amazon sellers seek to convey with this is that they are panels that guarantee quality and excellent performance.
Solar Power bank vs Solar Charger: how long does it take to fully charge?⌚
At first glance, you may think that a power bank with an integrated solar panel is cool because you can store solar energy in its internal battery and then use it to recharge your devices.
However, unlike a solar charger, the solar panel that incorporates a power bank is very small, which means that it would need to be exposed to the sun for many hours to fully charge its battery. This same problem occurs if you want to recharge a device.
We think a solar power bank should be used as a normal power bank and recharged by USB cable before traveling or hiking.
If you are looking to charge your devices directly with solar energy, use a solar charger! or a combination of both accessories to store the energy generated.
Next, let’s see a practical example of how long it would take to fully charge a power bank using its solar panel:
To do this, we have purchased the PN-W12 model of the Blavor brand, which has the following specifications:
- Solar panel output: 300mA/5V (25000 lux)
- Battery capacity: 20000mAh/3.7V
With this data, we know that the Blavor power bank’s solar panel can provide a current of 300 milli-amperes (mA) in optimal lighting conditions (25000 lux).
Theoretically, taking into account a voltage of 5V and in the best lighting conditions and incidence of solar rays. this panel could provide a maximum power of 1.5 watts (W):
Power bank Blavor solar panel power = 300mA x 5V = 1500mW / 1000 = 1.5W
On the other hand, this model has a 20000mAh battery capacity which allows it to store 74 watt-hours (Wh) of energy:
Stored energy Power bank Blavor = 20000mAh x 3.7V = 74000mWh / 1000 = 74 Wh
To recharge the power bank battery we can use the mains by connecting a charger to its micro USB or USB-C input port, or we can use its solar panel.
In our tests performed using the mains, we found that it is necessary to provide about 90 Wh of energy to fully recharge the power bank being the recharge time of 8 hours.
However, if we want to use the solar panel, we know that in ideal sunlight conditions it is capable of providing 1.5W of power, therefore, we would need 60 hours to provide the 90 Wh of energy needed to restore the 74 Wh of energy stored in the battery:
Solar recharge time = 90Wh / 1.5W = 60 hours
If we take into account 12 daytime hours (from 8 am to 8 pm) in optimal light conditions, we would need 5 days to fully recharge the power bank, using only the solar panel as a power source:
Solar recharge days = 60 hours / 12 hours/day = 5 days
These calculated data are theoretical since ideal light conditions have been taken into account in which the solar panel always provides its maximum power (1.5W).
In addition, we would only be able to obtain 12 hours of sunlight in summer, being practically impossible to obtain in winter.
Logically, in practice, this is not the case, since the sun’s rays do not always strike at the same angle and do not always maintain the same intensity during the 12 hours of daylight that we have taken into account for the calculation.
In conclusion, in real conditions, the recharge time of the Blavor power bank through its solar panel will be much more than 5 days.
As we can see, the solar panel is not useful for fully recharging a power bank, but rather, it is designed to supply a small amount of energy in an emergency.
For example, in the case of running out of battery in our cell phone, it could perhaps provide enough energy to make a call.
Update: Power bank with multiple solar panels
There are new models, such as this one from Blavor, that include 5 foldable solar panels, thus increasing the area of exposure to the sun and reducing charging time. We have not yet performed a test, however, we still prefer a solar charger.
Charging a cell phone using only solar energy
In the following test, we are going to analyze the charging of the BQ Aquaris X2 Pro smartphone using as a power source only solar energy obtained for 7 hours by means of:
- A power bank with an integrated 1.5W solar panel (Blavor PN-W12).
- A 16W solar charger with 3 panels (RAVPower RP-PC008).
Charging test with solar power bank
First of all, the battery of the Blavor power bank has been completely discharged since we have mentioned that the smartphone charging is going to be done only with solar energy.
Then the Blavor power bank was exposed to intense sunlight for 7 hours.
In addition, during this time, it has been rotating on itself (simulating the rotational motion of the Earth) so that the sun’s rays hit it as directly as possible, trying to do so perpendicularly to the solar panel of the power bank.
After 7 hours, we performed a complete discharge of the power bank battery using a 10W electronic load (5V/2A) to see the energy (Wh) it is able to provide.
This whole process has been monitored on a PC using a USB multimeter:
As we can see in the graph, we have obtained 4.56 Wh of energy for a constant discharge at 10W (5V/2A).
To get an idea, the BQ Aquaris X2 Pro smartphone needs to be supplied with approximately 15 Wh of energy for a full recharge (100%) of its battery (~12 Wh).
Therefore, with 7 hours of exposure to the sun, the Blavor power bank could recharge up to 30% of its battery:
Number of charges = Useful solar power bank energy / Smartphone recharge energy = 4.56 Wh / 15 Wh = 0.3
Charging test with solar charger
For this test, we are going to store the energy obtained by the RAVPower solar charger in a power bank and then use that energy to know how many times we can recharge our BQ smartphone.
In our case, we have used the Blavor power bank (obviously covering its solar panel) although you can use any other power bank.
As in the previous test, the panels of the RAVPower charger were exposed to the sun for 7 hours with the power bank connected.
Afterwards, the power bank was fully discharged at 5V/2A (10W) to see how much power it is capable of supplying:
In this case, the graph shows us that 43.57 Wh at 5V/2A is the total energy supplied.
Then, with 7 hours of sun exposure, RAVPower solar charger could fully recharge almost 3 times the battery of BQ smartphone:
Number of charges = Useful solar charger energy / Smartphone recharge energy = 43.57 Wh / 15 Wh = 2.9
In this comparison, we clearly see what we said in the previous section:
This type of power banks with integrated solar panel are useful to save us from a hurry as they supply a small amount of energy to use in an emergency but they are not useful to recharge them exclusively with their solar panel.
If we do not have access to the mains and we need to recharge our power bank using only solar energy, it is best to use a normal power bank (without solar panel) powered by a solar charger (suitable for the power demanded by our power bank).
Best solar power banks (June 2023)
Although we prefer to use a portable solar charger, in the following list you can see the solar power banks with the most interesting specifications that you can buy on Amazon:
BigBlue Solar Charger Review
Gannon Burgett is a photojournalist and sports photographer.His work has appeared on Gizmodo, Digital Trends, Yahoo News, PetaPixel, and many other sites.
BigBlue 28W Solar Charger
The BigBlue is a portable solar charger that can keep your devices topped up for camping and travel—that said, its specs are misleading and there’s no power bank included.
BigBlue 28W Solar Charger
We purchased the BigBlue Solar Charger so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Battery chargers and even portable generators are great to have on-hand, but what do you do when the battery bank runs out of power and the portable generator runs dry on fuel when you don’t have an outlet or gas station nearby? You use a portable solar charger, like the BigBlue 28W Solar Charger. Sure, this notebook-sized charger won’t power a fridge or toaster, but for times when you need a little extra juice in your phone in emergency situations or while out camping, folding solar panel chargers are a great solution.
That said, BigBlue is a bit misleading with its maximum output, the charger is only capable of 17W, not 28W. However, it charges devices reliably, is water-resistant, and is small enough to fit on the inside or outside of a camping backpack or emergency kit. I spent more than 40 hours testing it in rain and shine.
Design: Rugged but slim
The BigBlue Solar Charger features a fairly standard design as far as folding solar chargers go. Folded up, the unit measures in at roughly the size of a standard one-subject notebook. When unfolded, it expands to four times its original width, with four of the five sections dedicated to the solar panels. The remaining section houses a little that not only acts as a means to store the devices being charged but also the location of the plugs (two 2A and one 2.4A USB-A ports).
BigBlue also added dedicated grommets on each of the corners, which pair perfectly with the included carabiners to offer a means of attaching the unit to a hiking backpack, a tent, or a car.
According to the product listing, the BigBlue Solar Charger is waterproof, however, no specific waterproof rating is given, which made testing this detail a little challenging. Determined to figure out just how far I could push it to the limits though, I started with small spritzes of water from a spray bottle and worked my way up to completely submerging the solar panel section into a bathtub full of water.
Sure enough, from the spritzes to the submersion, the solar charger held up. You won’t want to get the USB port section of the unit wet, as it could cause issues down the road, but even if a little water gets in there when you don’t have a device in, it should be protected, as BigBlue added a rubber gasket to cover the USB ports.
As a whole, the setup is quite nice. The panel showed it could withstand the elements (at least what I could throw at it) and the to store your mobile device while it’s charging is a nice touch, especially if you’re using the charger in direct sunlight, where your device would otherwise overheat.
I wouldn’t count on charging my devices on the daily, but I’ll definitely be taking it with me on my next camping trip and keeping it in my emergency road kit in the meantime.
Performance: Between the lines
As unfortunately tends to be the case with many products, the specifications listed within the headline of the BigBlue Solar Charger product page is a bit misleading. BigBlue states the solar charger is 28 watts, and while technically true, that’s not the output it delivers.
As explained by BigBlue in the fine print of the product description, the unit features four seven-watt panels, which makes for a total of 28W. However, the actual power output is dramatically lower, due to the conversion process from solar energy to actual deliverable energy over USB. BigBlue clarifies that ‘under ideal conditions’ the solar charger can output a maximum of 17W (5V3.4A).
With this more nuanced (and accurate) information taken into account, I went about testing the unit under various lighting conditions to see if it would perform as detailed in the product description. In my testing across various sky conditions, the unit performed right on par, maxing out at just under 17W in direct sunlight on a perfectly sunny day (when using the two 2.4A ports). Even in less-than-ideal lighting situations, such as a cloudy day with snow on the ground, I was able to achieve 10W output (when using both 2.4A ports).
Precisely how fast your device charges will vary depending on a number of variables: ambient temperature, device temperature, location of the sun in the sky, clouds, and, of course, the battery capacity of the device you’re charging. That said, output proved consistent when taking into account the variables I (and Mother Nature) threw the solar charger’s way.
Price: Great value
With a suggested retail price of 70, the BigBlue Solar Charger is right on target with similarly-specced units. Yes, it’s not the 28W charger as somewhat deceivingly advertised, but it still packs a punch in the right conditions and its ability to withstand the elements makes it a great choice for hikers, campers, and survivalists alike.
I also enjoyed knowing the device could take on the elements while continuing to charge my devices. When my smartphone was secured inside the included and plugged in, it had no problem taking on the moisture and charging (albeit slowly) in snowy and rainy environments. I wouldn’t count on charging my devices on the daily, but I’ll definitely be taking it with me on my next camping trip and keeping it in my emergency road kit in the meantime.
Even in less-than-ideal lighting situations, such as a cloudy day with snow on the ground, I was able to achieve 10W output (when using both 2.4A ports).
At 70, it’s a small price to pay for that extra level of comfort knowing I’ll be able to keep my devices at least somewhat charged during the day if my phone’s battery runs out and I don’t have access to any power port.
BigBlue Solar Charger vs. Ryno Tuff Solar Charger
One of the most direct comparisons to the BigBlue Solar Charger is the Ryno Tuff Solar Charger (see on Amazon) With a suggested retail price of 75-80, it’s nearly the same price as the BigBlue Solar Charger. On top of that, the Ryno Tuff Solar Charger is also waterproof, has a higher maximum output of 21W, and features a built-in 6,000mAh power bank, so you can save up power for a time when light is a little more scarce. Overall, the Ryno Tuff may be the better option for most people, especially due to its built-in power bank.
A solid, budget-friendly portable solar charger.
When all was said and done, I was impressed with the performance of the BigBlue Solar Charger. Calling it 28W in the product listing’s headline is incredibly disingenuous, but if you read carefully and understand it will max out at only 17W, it’s easier to recognize the solar charger actually lives up to its specifications. It’s a bit heavy for ultra-light hikers, but at roughly a pound, it’s still light enough to justify in situations where you need to power a few mobile devices, be they smartphones or GPS units.
The 8 Best Foldable Solar Panels of 2023
Erica Puisis writes about home products for The Spruce and specializes in interior design and plant care. She’s contributed to Forbes and Smart home blogs like Smart Home Solver and TechDigg.
Shereen Jegtvig is an author, fact-checker, and expert with over two decades of experience in health and wellness in the lifestyle space. In addition, she is a Developmental Editor for Dotdash Meredith where she reviews the work of other fact checkers.
Foldable solar panels are a portable, efficient way to capture solar energy that you can use at home or while on the go. They are especially handy when you have limited or no access to another power source, as they can provide the energy you need to power up your devices, appliances, and more. Compared to solar panels that are installed on your home’s roof, this type of solar panel is designed to be folded up for easy transportation, set-up, and storage.
When shopping for foldable solar panels, Jeff Brandlin, licensed electrician and owner of Assurance Electrical Services, says that power output is the most important factor to consider. For example, do you want to want enough energy to power up small devices like a phone, or larger appliances? He also emphasizes the importance of durability and weather resistance. “Folding solar panels are usually bought for outdoor use, and you have to make sure that they are built with high-quality materials that can withstand extreme weather conditions, dust, moisture, and temperature fluctuations.”
With those factors in mind, we researched dozens of foldable solar panels, including options for home use, camping, backpacking, and more.
The IP (Ingress Protection) rating indicates the level of weather resistance and is helpful in letting you know whether a solar panel is water-resistant, or waterproof (and can be submerged in water). The most common weather ratings for solar panels are IP-67 and IP-68, which is best for areas with extreme weather.
EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel
- High energy conversion rating
- Seamless design with IP-68 rating
- Shoulder strap for carrying
- MC4 connector compatible with many power stations
The EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel earns our top recommendation for its easy set-up, excellent conversion rating, and durable, waterproof design. If you’re looking for less or more solar power, it’s also available in 110-watt to 400-watt versions.
Regardless of which size you choose, the monocrystalline silicon folding panels are constructed using a one-piece design that eliminates seams where dust and moisture can collect. As a result, the EcoFlow Solar Panel is waterproof and has an IP-68 rating (the best weather rating of any solar panel on our list). With that in mind, the manufacturer says it’s suitable for use in exposed areas, including installation on an RV roof, outside your home, or on the ground while camping. The solar cells are highly efficient, converting about 21 percent of UV rays into usable energy.
To take advantage of the solar energy these panels collect, the EcoFlow Solar Panel is outfitted with a universal MC4 output connector that is compatible with most portable power stations. However, there are no USB chargers that allow you to plug small devices directly into the solar panel, so you’ll have to rely on a power station or solar generator to make use of the energy. At 15.4 pounds, this pick weighs more than some lightweight, portable options, but it does have a shoulder strap to make transporting the panels easier.
Price at time of publish: 349
Dimensions Open: 61.8 x 26.8 x 1 inches | Dimensions Closed: 26.8 x 16.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 15.4 pounds | Output: 160 watts
Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel
- Compact dimensions when folded
- USB-A and USB-C ports
- Includes a variety of connectors
- Solar intensity indicator so you can maximize sun exposure
The Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Solar Panel is a great example of how versatile and affordable a solar panel can be. The 5-pound folding panel array has an output up to 60 watts but folds up smaller than a shoebox when not in use. It costs about 100 and can be used to charge up a variety of devices, including a 12-volt battery, solar generator, power bank, laptop, and more. As an added value, Topsolar includes a variety of adaptors and connection cables so you have what you need to use this solar panel with your preferred energy storage device. While some people complain about the short cable lengths, it’s worth noting that Topsolar includes two 6.5 DC-to-DC extension cables.
Setting up this budget solar panel is simple and straightforward. There are two built-in stands to support the panel when it’s fully open, however, some people find them to be flimsier than expected and recommend supporting the panel another way. When it comes to properly positioning the panel, we like that this version includes indicator lights so you know whether you’ve found an ideal angle for the panel to receive sun exposure.
It may not be the most powerful folding solar panel available but it offers more output than many portable solar panels used for on-the-go activities like backpacking. At the same time, it’s still more lightweight and compact than larger solar panels that are popular for camping or off-grid use. The price makes it a great entry to using solar energy for charging your devices or to keep a solar generator topped off and ready to go.
Price at time of publish: 100
Dimensions Open: 43.3 x 19.8 x 1.7 inches | Dimensions Closed: 9.84 x 7.90 x 2.40 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds | Output: 60 watts
Jackery SolarSaga Portable 100W Solar Panel
- Reputable brand
- Easy set-up
- High energy conversion rate
The Jackery SolarSaga is a great choice for a folding solar panel that you can take anywhere. It weighs about 10 pounds but sets up quickly and offers up to 100 watts of power output with a high energy conversion rate. For the sake of convenience, it’s equipped with USB-C and USB-A ports so you can charge small devices directly from the panel but it’s also a popular choice to use along with rechargeable power stations.
A pair of built-in kickstands provide support for the panels when the unit is set up for use. An included storage pouch keeps the adaptor cord handy and also covers the power port when not in use. While the ETFE-laminated case protects the monocrystalline solar panels inside, keep in mind that this model only carries an IP65 rating, meaning that it’s water-resistant (for example small splashes) but not waterproof, so don’t leave it unattended if rain is in the forecast.
Price at time of publish: 300
Dimensions Open: 48 x 21 x 0.2 inches | Dimensions Closed: 24 x 21 x 1.4 inches | Weight: 10.3 pounds | Output: 100 watts
Goal Zero Ranger 300 Solar Panel Briefcase
- High-output model
- Lightweight for the size
- Magnetized corners for easier folding
- Kickstand legs automatically fold down
If you’re willing to invest more in a high-output solar panel, we think the Ranger 300 from Goal Zero is an excellent choice. This briefcase-style folding solar panel has four connected monocrystalline panels with an output of 75 watts each, for a total of 300 watts of solar power under ideal conditions. The size of the solar panel array makes it slightly unwieldy for a single person to set up, but the fact that it has kickstand legs that unfold automatically as you extend the solar panels makes it easier to successfully set up the panels for use.
What impresses most reviewers about the Goal Zero Ranger 300 is its lightweight construction. Instead of a tempered glass surface as you’ll find on some folding solar panels—including the Boulder 200, another of Goal Zero’s high-output solar panels—the Ranger 300 utilizes an ETFE polymer and trims down the aluminum frame. The solar panel weighs 39 pounds, compared to 42 pounds for the Goal Zero Boulder 200. While the lighter weight of the Ranger 300 is an advantage in most situations, keep in mind that it can be unsteady in high winds, according to some reviewers.
When paired with a compatible power station or solar generator, this powerful solar panel is a great source of zero-emissions energy. It can be used in a wide variety of scenarios, but it’s a popular choice for camping trips or off-grid use. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to protect the panels during transport. Although a carrying case is included, it doesn’t offer much padding for the panels inside.
Price at time of publish: 800
Dimensions Open: 31.26 x 94.29 x 0.9 inches | Dimensions Closed: 31.26 x 23.39 x 3.8 inches | Weight: 37.7 pounds | Output: 300 watts
Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel
- Easy to fold and store
- Multiple panels can be chained together for more output
- Functions well under low light conditions
One of the most popular folding solar panels is the Goal Zero Nomad 50. Reviewers describe it as being portable, powerful, and easy to use. It features four monocrystalline solar panels that fold flat into a nylon canvas cover. While there is no handle to make it easier to carry the solar panel around, it is outfitted with four loops for hanging the panel or a kickstand to support the panel on the ground.
Most people use the Goal Zero Nomad 50 to charge a solar power bank or power station. A built-in 8mm cord makes the connection from solar panel to device quick and easy—if you use a Goal Zero device like the Sherpa Power Bank or Yeti Power Station (many other solar generators require an MC4 connector). It’s also worth noting that while the Nomad 50 has a USB-A port, it’s not designed for charging small devices directly. It lacks a charge controller and can result in battery damage.
Reviewers rave about the performance of the Goal Zero Nomad 50, even in less-than-ideal sunlight conditions. It’s frequently taken along on camping, hiking, or beach trips to keep a power bank charged up when electricity isn’t readily available. For even greater solar energy capture, you can link multiple Nomad 50 solar panels together with the built-in connector.
Price at time of publish: 250
Dimensions Open: 53 x 17 x 1.5 inches | Dimensions Closed: 11.25 x 17 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 6.85 pounds | Output: 50 watts
Best for Home Use
Renogy 200-Watt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel with 20A Charge Controller
- Includes 20A charge controller
- LCD screen to display data
- Compatible with multiple battery types
- Multiple units can be linked
This suitcase-style solar panel from Renogy is heavier than most portable solar panels but it’s a good choice for home use. A pair of 100-watt solar panels unfold to absorb the sun’s rays while a 20A charge controller with LCD screen provides you with data from the panels and reduces the risk of fire by preventing overcharging.
This folding solar panel works with multiple types of batteries, including gel, flood, lithium, and AGM batteries, so you can store collected energy in your preferred way. To maximize the amount of energy absorbed by the solar panels, a built-in adjustable kickstand is part of the aluminum frame. When not in use, you can store the folding solar panels in the included soft case, but keep in mind that it doesn’t offer much impact protection.
When picking a folding solar panel for home use, another factor to consider is interlinking. If your solar energy needs grow over time, you can link together multiple Renogy units (as long as you use a separate controller and bypass the controller on each individual unit) to maximize the potential of your set-up.
Price at time of publish: 470
Dimensions Open: Not disclosed | Dimensions Closed: 26.4 x 32.5 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 38.6 pounds | Output: 200 watts
Best for Camping
Anker 625 100-Watt Solar Panel with Adjustable Kickstand
- USB-A and USB-C charging ports
- High energy conversion
- Built-in kickstand
- Sun alignment indicator
Solar panels are popular for camping or off-grid energy use since they produce no noise or fumes but can generate power for charging devices or powering small appliances. The Anker 625 is a portable, 100-watt solar panel that can be used just about anywhere the sun shines. It’s designed with travel in mind—the monocrystalline panel has a scratch-resistant finish, is weather-resistant (but not waterproof), and is lightweight with an integrated handle and storage pouches on the exterior.
Solar panel expert Jeff Brandlin points out the panels are very dependent on direct sunlight to get maximum performance. “If your panels are not positioned correctly facing the sun, their efficiency can be affected.” To solve this challenge, Anker equips this solar panel with a visual indicator that lets you know when the solar panel is angled to receive optimal sun exposure. This means more efficient charging—if you are around to reposition the panel as the sun moves throughout the day.
On the subject of charging, this folding solar panel has one USB-A and one USB-C port, so you can plug small devices like tablets, phones, or cameras into the panel itself. However, most people use the Anker 625 in conjunction with a solar generator. If that’s your plan, check the compatible connectors of your generator; the Anker 625 uses an XT-60 to DC7909 connector rather than the more common MC4 connectors. It’s not a problem if you plan to use Anker’s solar generators to complete your off-grid solar setup, but is something to consider if you have another generator in mind.
Price at time of publish: 330
Dimensions Open: 56.9 x 20.7 x 1.8 inches | Dimensions Closed: 20.7 x 18.5 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 11 pounds | Output: 100 watts
Best for Backpacking
BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Panel
- Waterproof materials with IPX-4 rating
- Dual USB charging ports
- Can be clipped to a backpack
- Ultra lightweight
- All four panels must be exposed for charging
- Can be inconsistent in generating energy with overcast conditions
If you’re carrying your gear with you, it’s important to keep weight to a minimum. At the same time, you may need a power supply for your phone, camera, and other small electronics. The BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Panel is a great option for backpacking, since it weighs only 1.5 pounds, is waterproof (IPX-4 rating), and charges up to two devices simultaneously. It also boasts a high-efficiency conversion of up to 24 percent.
All four panels must be unfolded for the solar panel to work but it includes four carabiner clips that mean you can hang it from your backpack or secure it to another location at camp. It has a peak output of 28 watts, which is subject to how much sun exposure the solar panels receive. Inconsistent charging under overcast conditions is the biggest complaint about the BigBlue SunPower, but it’s a consistent problem for just about any small solar panel for backpacking. The bottom line is that this solar panel is lightweight, has a compact folding design, and offers dual USB-A charging ports.
Price at time of publish: 69
Dimensions Open: 33.1 x 11.1 x 0.2 inches | Dimensions Closed: 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Output: 28 watts
The EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel stands out as the best foldable solar panel because it produces up to 160 watts of solar energy, has a waterproof IP-68 rating, and includes MC4 connectors that make it compatible with a wide range of solar power stations. If you need even greater energy output, you can also choose a model with up to 400 watts of capacity. But if you’re not prepared to spend a few hundred dollars for a folding solar panel, you can still reap the benefits of solar energy with the budget-friendly Topsolar SolarFairy 60W Portable Foldable Solar Panel. This model has a lower energy capacity but folds up into a compact size and costs about 100. It’s capable of charging small electronics with a USB-A or USB-C port but can also be connected to solar power banks, generators, 12-volt batteries, and more using the included accessories.
What to Look for in Foldable Solar Panels
Foldable solar panels come in various sizes. Look for the panel’s closed and open (or folded and unfolded) dimensions to determine how much space it requires for set-up, transport, and storage. Small folding solar panels are perfect if you need a lightweight source of solar energy for activities like hiking or backpacking.
The lightest solar panel on our list is the BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Panel. It weighs just 1.5 pounds and takes up minimal space in your bag. On the other hand, larger solar panels that can support more energy output will weigh more and require more set-up space. This is the case for the Goal Zero Ranger 300 Solar Panel Briefcase. It’s the heaviest solar panel on our list at 37.7 pounds, but it still offers a highly portable design that makes it easy to set up and dismantle in a hurry.
One of the most prominent specs you’ll see for folding solar panels is watts. How much energy the solar panel is capable of producing is measured in watts. You might also see the watts listed as the energy capacity of the solar panel. “Choose a solar panel that comes with high wattage and high capacity if you’re powering up a lot of devices and equipment,” says Brandlin.
A solar panel with limited capacity (less than 100 watts) may be fine for supporting a few small devices like a phone or laptop, but if you want a solar panel to charge a solar power station that can operate appliances, tools, and lights, then you will find better success with a higher wattage solar panel. For home use, many people use a folding solar panel with 200 watts or more, like the Renogy 200-Watt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel. For an even greater source of solar energy, you can chain together a few of these panels.
Keep in mind that the wattage listed is peak performance. Cloudy or overcast conditions will reduce how many watts of energy a solar panel produces. To produce the most energy possible, the solar panel will need to be properly positioned in full sun and adjusted throughout the day to maintain optimal sun exposure. Some solar panels, like the Anker 625 100-Watt Solar Panel, give you a visual indicator when the panel is ideally positioned for receiving sunlight.
Efficiency is the measure of how much of the received sunlight is converted into usable solar energy. It’s expressed as a percentage and for most solar panels, the efficiency rating is between 20 and 24 percent. “If you need a lot of energy production in a short amount of time, choose a solar panel with higher efficiency,” Brandlin suggests. “High efficiency solar panels come at a higher cost, but can generate power faster.”
When charging solar generators, a high-efficiency solar panel can make quick work of replenishing the battery. Instead of taking more than a day, some high-efficiency, high-capacity solar panels can restore power levels to a solar generator in a day or less (depending on sun conditions). As an example, the Goal Zero Ranger 300 Solar Panel Briefcase can recharge a nearly 1,000-watt hour solar generator in 4 to 8 hours.
Since solar panels are designed to be used outdoors, you can expect some exposure to the elements. However, some folding solar panels have better weather-resistance ratings than others. The most common weather ratings for solar panels are IP-67 and IP-68.
“Both ratings offer great protection against dust and water damage but IP-68 can provide you a higher level of water resistance,” says Brandlin. “Thus, IP-68 is a much better choice especially if you’re going to areas with extreme weather conditions like heavy rains…it [an IP-68 rating] can also provide protection and water resistance in case your solar panels get submerged in water.”
Our top overall pick, the EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel, has an IP-68 rating—a claim that no other solar panel on our list can make. It can withstand precipitation and has no seams for moisture or dust to accumulate.
Folding solar panels are worth it for many people looking for an alternative energy source that is noise-free, produces zero emissions, and easy to transport. Of course, don’t count on seeing the same performance metrics that you’ll get with a larger, installed solar panel. Says Brandlin: “Since they are portable, expect to have lower power output compared to large solar panels. They are smaller in size and they are designed to have fewer solar cells. This means that they may take longer to charge your devices.”
- Charging electronic devices while camping or other outdoor activities
- RV and boat charging
- Emergency power kit
- Off-grid power for tiny houses or cabins
Keep in mind that some foldable solar panels generate electricity to be stored in a power station while others also have USB ports for directly charging small devices.
According to Brandlin, not much is needed to keep your folding solar panels in good working condition. He says, “Periodic cleaning is necessary just to remove the dirt and debris that can accumulate on your solar panels. You can use a soft brush or cloth to take the dirt off.” Aside from routine cleaning, Brandlin also suggests that you regularly inspect the panels for any signs of damage like cracking or loose connections.
“On average, high-quality folding solar panels can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years or more,” says Brandlin. “The lifespan of folding solar panels can vary depending on factors such as the quality of materials, construction, and usage conditions.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Erica Puisis, a professional writer who specializes in large and small home appliances, along with home improvement features and additions. To find the best foldable solar panels, she considered large and small models, evaluating features like capacity, efficiency, weather-resistance, and output ports. All of the solar panels that made this list use highly-efficient monocrystalline solar cells.
For more information on what to look for in the best folding solar panels, Puisis interviewed Jeff Brandlin, a licensed residential, commercial, and industrial electrician. Brandlin owns and operates Assurance Electrical Services in Prescott, Arizona, and specializes in helping homeowners looking to take advantage of solar energy. Brandlin provided tips on what factors are most important for folding solar panels, what type of applications are ideal for this type of solar panel, and how to maintain your solar panels for a long life of service.