Best Solar Chargers for your Phone
Our yellow sun is what gives Superman his powers so, of course, it can also keep your phone charged while you’re on the go. It’s weird, right? Using nature to keep technology working. What a beautiful melding of the old and the new. If you can’t find an outlet (because you’re camping or whatever) then grab a solar charger and take advantage of the biggest power source the Earth has to offer! These are your best options.
Note: Yes, the sun is powerful. No, the sun will not charge a solar battery bank or charger as quickly as a wall outlet. So you will have to be patient with these products.
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite
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The Wirecutter’s top choice for best battery bank is also at the top of our list. Anker makes excellent charging products and the PowerPort Solar Lite fits in well. This 15W charger is very thin (0.7 in. folded or 0.2 in. open) and lightweight (12.5 ounces), making it perfect for long treks where lightening your load is imperative.
This solar charger is so efficient that you can charge two devices simultaneously, and it can charge at up to 2.1 amps in direct sunlight, making it about as fast as a regular charger under ideal conditions. Without an actual battery, you don’t have to wait for the PowerPort to charge up — just grab it and hit the trails.
It also comes with a three-foot Micro-USB cable and costs about 50.
Dizaul’s solar charger is one of Amazon’s best sellers, and 73 percent of its reviews are five stars. Its size makes it ideal for camping or hiking, and it’s waterproof, so if you’re traversing waterfalls, you won’t kill it. The 5000mAh battery is handy just in case you have to hide from a bear in a cave (worst place to hide, by the way) — just don’t expect it to charge quickly. By opting for a smaller solar charger, you compromise on the size of its solar panels, meaning it’ll take quite a while to charge fully (even in direct sunlight). That being said, if you’re looking for a portable option that can hold on to a charge in battery form, definitely check this charger out (it’s only about 20).
Voltaic Systems Amp 4000mAh
Voltaic Systems’ Amp solar charger is a neat little device that features a removable 4000mAh battery, which can be charged by sunlight or via USB. The Amp has two solar panels that are waterproof and covered with a self-healing plastic that can withstand some abuse (kind of like some screen protectors). About 3.5 hours in direct sunlight should fully charge your phone, according to Voltaic Systems, which is pretty quick for most solar chargers. That is probably under ideal conditions, so you’ll wanna be patient with this one, as with all solar chargers.
Designed for the rugged life, the solar panels and battery are housed in a rugged and lightweight, water- and UV-resistant fabric made from recycled soda bottles.
If you need your solar charger to withstand a bit of the rough and tumble, go with the Amp. You can grab it off Amazon for 99.
At about the size of a larger phone, the Ayyie solar charger is another awesome option made with portability in mind. This charger is perfect for the happy wanderer, being water, shock, and dustproof, and it features a two-LED flashlight with multiple settings, including S.O.S. Five indicators show you the status of the internal 10000mAh battery, and once full, you’ll be able to charge most phones at least twice. Again, a smaller unit means smaller solar panels, so it’ll take a long time to fully charge the battery on sun juice alone.
Goal Zero Nomad 7
This foldable solar charger is rugged and made for the adventurous. It won’t weigh you down since it has no internal battery, but it will charge your phone quite quickly, usually within an hour or two — very fast for solar charging.
You can simultaneously charge USB and 12V devices via the three ports, and when you’re finished, it folds up nice and flat for easy portability.
It’s also weather-resistant, making it perfect for camping and any other outdoor activities that might keep you away from a power outlet for a while. Check it out on Amazon starting at 80.
RAVPower 16W solar panel
This foldable solar panel charger from RAVPower features two USB ports, so you can charge a couple devices simultaneously, and RAVPower promises that 21.5 percent to 23.5 percent of solar power is transformed into free energy, hopefully meaning a faster charge.
You can fold this charger up and toss it in a backpack or laptop bag, and it’s waterproof, so you can take it with you absolutely anywhere and keep your devices topped up. It even features four hooks so you can hang it where you need to in order to take in as much sun as possible. Check it out on Amazon for about 50.
What’s your favorite solar charger?
Do you have a great solar charger for your phone? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below.
Updated January 25, 2018: We updated pricing for each item and added the super compact RAVPower solar panel.
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The 10 Best Outdoor Solar Lights of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Our list includes everything from decorative string lights to motion-activated security lights.
Melanie Fincher is the associate commerce editor for Real Simple and has over three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. She was the former SEO writer for Allrecipes, covering product reviews, cooking tutorials, and food news.
In This Article
Outdoor solar lights can transform your backyard into an inviting oasis, light the path to your front door after dark, and even help deter intruders. No matter which type you choose, these versatile lights take in sunlight during the day to illuminate your yard at night.
For expert advice on choosing outdoor solar lights, we spoke with Cate Singleton, director of design at Tilly, an online landscape design company. Before deciding which outdoor solar lights to buy, the most important factor to consider is how much sunlight you get in that area, according to Singleton.
“Sun exposure and making sure there is enough sun in your yard to charge your lights would be top of the list,” says Singleton. “I recommend doing a true assessment of the morning and afternoon sun conditions within your space.”
With this advice in mind, we tested 27 outdoor solar lights and evaluated them on setup, features, design, brightness, durability, and value. We even set up a GoPro camera to find out exactly how long the lights stayed on in the middle of the night. Based on all these factors, we determined the very best outdoor solar lights for every type of yard and lighting need.
Best Overall Outdoor Solar Lights
Urpower Outdoor Solar Lights
If you’re looking to illuminate a specific area—whether it be your house, driveway, landscaping, or pool—the Urpower Outdoor Solar Spotlights are an excellent choice. In our testing, the automatic dusk-to-dawn lights remained on for 7 hours and 46 minutes on a full charge. They put out an impressive 200 lumens of light on the highest mode (there’s also a low setting). The lights themselves can be adjusted up to 90 degrees to direct the light where it’s most needed, while the solar panel can be angled up to 150 degrees, so you can face it where it will receive the most sunlight during the day.
These spotlights also stood out in our evaluations for their durability. With a weather-resistance rating of IP65, these solar lights sustained no damage after we poured water over them, dropped golf balls on them, and placed them in the freezer for one hour.
Additionally, the Urpower lights come with two different installation options—you can insert them into the ground using the provided stakes or mount them to the wall using the included hardware. The lights are available in three different color options: cool white, warm white, and multicolor. They don’t come with any pattern options, such as blinking or strobe modes, and they aren’t particularly sophisticated in terms of design. However, for basic solar spotlights, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value than the Urpower Outdoor Solar Spotlights.
Price at time of publish: 30 for 2-pack
Lumens: 200 | Operating Time: 8–10 hours | Charging Time: 4–5 hours | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65
Best Budget Outdoor Solar Light
Better Homes Gardens Ellis Transitional Pathway Light
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solar light, we recommend the Better Homes Gardens Ellis Transitional Pathway Light. (Better Homes Gardens is owned by Real Simple’s parent company, Dotdash Meredith.) In our testing, this pathway light stayed on for 8 hours and 14 minutes, which is slightly longer than the 8 hours the manufacturer lists. We found this light very easy to assemble—it came in two pieces and simply required pulling the tab from the battery on top. And because it has a long stake and a fully exposed globe, this light is capable of providing plenty of coverage. Even though the lightbulb is narrow, it gives off a pretty sunburst pattern with a warm white glow on the ground.
Based on its size, we thought this outdoor solar light would be much brighter—though it’s still bright enough to light up a pathway so you could see where you’re walking. (We were able to read a book in the dark just fine in our evaluations.) It held up well in our durability tests, too, and even though the manufacturer lists this light’s weather-resistance rating as IPX4 (basically a little splash-proof), it still worked after we stuck it in the freezer for an hour.
Price at time of publish: 13
Lumens: 20 | Operating Time: 8 hours | Charging Time: Not listed | Weather-Resistance Rating: IPX4
Best Outdoor Solar String Lights
Brightech Ambiance Pro Solar Non-Hanging String Lights
Unlike the string lights synonymous with Christmas decorations and college dorm rooms, Brightech’s outdoor string lights feature large, Edison-style bulbs that give off a warm, moody glow. In our testing, the dusk-to-dawn solar lights stayed on for 7 hours and 52 minutes on a full charge. In our testing, we appreciated that there are two easy installation options for the solar panel: a stake for inserting it into the ground and a clip that allows you to secure it to a railing—we think the latter is a great option for an apartment balcony or porch.
The bulbs are spaced out 20 inches apart, and the lights are available in two different cable lengths, 27 and 48 feet. (We found that you can’t connect multiple cables together, though.) In our durability testing, the shatterproof plastic bulbs and the solar panel weren’t damaged at all after being hit with golf balls and running water (although the solar panel did get knocked off kilter a bit), nor were they affected by being placed in the freezer.
Keep in mind that these soft white lights are meant to enhance the overall appearance and feel of your outdoor space, not necessarily to increase visibility around your home. But if your primary goal is to create an inviting outdoor space, the Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights will do just that.
Price at time of publish: 48 for 27-ft. strand
Lumens: 100 | Operating Time: 5–6 hours | Charging Time: 6 hours | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP44 for panel, IP55 for lights
Best Outdoor Solar Fairy Lights
Brightown LED Solar Powered Fairy Lights
Strung on a flexible, shapeable copper wire, these whimsical, fairy lights from Brightown can be wrapped around just about anything, including shrubs, trees, railings, and more. Keep in mind that they’re designed to produce low, ambient light that’s more for decoration than visibility. In our testing, these automatic dusk-to-dawn lights did not provide enough brightness to read a book—but when fully charged, they stayed on for 7 hours and 56 minutes.
The solar panel can be installed via a stake in the ground, and the angle can be adjusted up to 120 degrees to receive the most sunlight possible. The lights received high marks in all our durability tests, and boast an impressive IP65 weather-resistance rating.
One of the most unique features is the numerous modes, including sequential, waves, slow glow, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on, so you can switch things up from time to time or play around with them to determine which you like best. The Brightown LED Solar Powered Fairy Lights come in a set of two and are available in multiple sizes (ranging in length from 33 to 198 feet) and colors (like warm white, bright green, and multicolor).
Price at time of publish: From 23 for 2-pack
Lumens: Not listed | Operating Time: 8–10 hours | Charging Time: Not listed | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65
Best Outdoor Solar Path Lights
Hampton Bay Jefferson Solar Landscape Path Lights
These Hampton Bay solar path lights will illuminate walkways, driveways, flower beds, and more, all while adding a sophisticated look to your outdoor space. We particularly like the unique, crackled-glass design, which gives the lights a sparkling effect—though it does not detract from the brightness.
This pick, which is designed to turn on at dusk and stay on until dawn, remained lit for 8 hours and 2 minutes in our testing on a full charge. They’re easy to assemble with just three simple parts, including a plastic stake that secures them into the ground. In terms of durability, these lights were able to withstand all the elements we threw at them. They only come with one brightness setting, which we found to only produce enough light to read from while directly under the lamp. However, for their intended purpose of providing low light where you need it (aka near the ground), the Hampton Bay Jefferson Solar Path Lights are an excellent choice. And since the price per light breaks down to just over 11, this set is also a great value.
Price at time of publish: 114 for 10-pack
Lumens: 10 | Operating Time: 8 hours | Charging Time: Not listed | Weather-Resistance Rating: IPX4
Best Outdoor Solar Spotlights
Vont LED Outdoor Solar Lights
In our testing, these automatic, solar-powered spotlights stayed on for an impressive 8 hours and 16 minutes with a full charge—and according to the manufacturer, they can last up to 12 hours depending on which of the two brightness modes you choose. In our testing, we found that they give off a bright light in the dark, and it was just as powerful after our water and durability tests.
We found these solar lights easy to assemble and insert into the ground using the included stakes, although they can also be mounted to the wall. The light itself can tilt up to 120 degrees, so you can FOCUS it exactly where you want, whether it be on a house, driveway, or landscape feature. Plus, you can choose between cool and warm light, depending on your preference.
Price at time of publish: 40 for 2-pack
Lumens: 100 | Operating Time: 12 hours | Charging Time: Not listed | Weather-Resistance Rating: IPX7
Best Outdoor Solar Post Light
Kemeco Solar Post Light
If you happen to have a post or column in your yard, mounting this traditional lantern to the top will add an elegant touch to your space and a bright light to your lawn. We found that it was easy to read by the light of this Kemeco lantern, which is no surprise given it puts out an impressive 125-145 lumens. Plus, the dusk-to-dawn light remained lit for 8 hours and 6 minutes in our testing.
The lantern has frosted glass and a cast aluminum frame that comes in both black and white, which gives off a cottagecore look and feel. Keep in mind that this pick requires a screwdriver to assemble, and it’s especially important that you attach it securely to the post—we noticed that it’s a bit top-heavy, and the glass shattered when we dropped a golf ball on it from six feet above. This solar post light is on the pricier end of those we tested, however, it doubles as a piece of decor that will elevate the look of any outdoor space.
Price at time of publish: 100
Lumens: 125-145 | Operating Time: 6–8 hours | Charging Time: 8 hours | Weather-Resistance Rating: Not listed
Best Outdoor Solar Wall Lanterns
Home Zone Security Solar Wall Lantern 2-Pack
These wall-mounted hanging lanterns provide soft, warm lighting that’s perfect for illuminating entrances, porches, fences, and more, without being overly bright or harsh. In our testing, we found the light to be too dim for reading, but it was just right for illuminating an entry point.
Though these are marketed as dusk-to-dawn lights, the manufacturer doesn’t specify exactly how long they should stay on—and we found they had the shortest operating time out of all those on our list, at just 4 hours and 15 minutes. But if you’re just looking to light the way for comings and goings at night, this is likely more than enough time.
The Home Zone Solar Powered Wall Lantern Lights also survived our water, golf ball, and freezer testing—a testament to their impressive IP67 weather-resistance rating. Overall, this would make a great choice for anyone who wants a wall-mounted light for illuminating a small area.
Price at time of publish: 45 for 2-pack
Lumens: 10 | Operating Time: ~4 hours | Charging Time: 8 hours | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP67
Best Outdoor Solar Lights With Motion Sensor
AloftSun Solar Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights
These spotlights are the only outdoor solar lights on our list with motion-sensing technology—meaning they have a built-in sensor that can detect movement within a 33-foot range and 120-degree angle—and in our testing, we found that it worked as expected. According to the manufacturer, the light will be triggered by people, animals, and cars, but not by wind, rain, or frost. Given the IP68 weather-resistance rating, the AloftSun Motion Sensor Solar Spotlights unsurprisingly survived all our durability testing.
The most unique feature of these spotlights is that there are three different modes—however, it’s worth noting that it was difficult to figure out how to change the settings at first. In the dim light sensor mode, the lighting stays dimmed when there’s no motion and switches to high when motion is detected. The constant-on mode keeps the light on medium, whether or not there is motion nearby. On the high light sensor mode, the light says off without motion and switches to high with motion. Even on the dimmest setting, the light was bright enough to read by—and it stayed lit for an entire 8 hours when fully charged.
The lights come in packs of two and four, and they can be mounted to the wall or inserted into the ground. At the time of our testing, this pick was only available in a cool light option, which was our main critique (it could be a little harsh for some people’s tastes). Since then, the brand has expanded its offerings so that these motion-sensor spotlights now come in a warm light option.
Price at time of publish: 33 for 2
Lumens: 800 | Operating Time: 12 hours | Charging Time: 6–8 hours | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP68
Best Smart Outdoor Solar Light
Ring Solar Floodlight
The Ring Solar Floodlight is a mounted outdoor light that can be controlled from an app on your smartphone. That might make it seem like it’s hard to set up, but in our testing, it took us less than 10 minutes to install this Smart light and get it ready to use. It arrived fully assembled and with a half-charged battery, and the instructions were extremely easy to follow. Unlike many other options on our list, the solar panel for the Ring floodlight isn’t directly attached to the lights. Instead, it’s a separate unit with a long cord—but we like that this makes it easier to place the panel in direct sunlight.
From the app, you can turn on/off the lights, change the brightness, set schedules and alerts, and adjust the motion sensitivity. It has multiple brightness settings and gives off an impressive 1200 lumens. Keep in mind that you’ll need a Ring Bridge for this Smart light to work, though you can purchase a starter pack that comes with it for slightly more money.
Price at time of publish: 140 for starter pack
Lumens: 1200 | Operating Time: Not listed | Charging Time: Not listed | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP66
Our top pick is the Urpower Outdoor Solar Spotlights because they can be installed in two different ways and have two brightness modes, the highest of which is an impressive 200 lumens. We also appreciate that both the solar panel and the light itself are adjustable, so you can direct the light where it’s most needed and make sure the panel gets the most sunlight possible.
For a more budget-friendly option that’s sold individually, we recommend the Better Homes Gardens Ellis Transitional Pathway Light. This affordable pathway light proved to be durable and long-lasting in our tests, even though it wasn’t as bright as we thought it would be.
Our Testing Process
We tested 27 outdoor solar lights in our Lab, evaluating each based on its setup, features, design, brightness, durability, and value. First, we unboxed each product and assembled it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We then charged each light in direct sunlight for the amount of time specified in the instructions.
Once the light was fully charged, we moved it to a completely dark room and observed whether it turned on independently (for dusk-to-dawn lights only). We evaluated how bright each light was by attempting to read a book by the glow of its light.
For lights with multiple settings, we cycled through the various patterns and colors and took note of how easy it was to change the mode. For lights with a motion sensor (such as the AloftSun Motion Sensor Solar Spotlights), we set each model to the motion-detection mode, exited the room, waited two minutes, and then returned to the room at a distance of at least two feet from the light, noting how well the sensor registered movement.
Next, we used a watering can to sprinkle each light with water to simulate rain. We then took the light back to the dark room to see if its functionality was affected by the water. To further assess the durability of each product, we dropped a golf ball on the light from 6 feet above and again on each solar panel (when applicable) from 4 feet above and recorded whether any damage occurred. (The Kemeco Outdoor Post Light was the only one on our list that was damaged by the golf ball.) We also placed each light in the freezer for an hour and then repeated the above tests to simulate cold-weather conditions.
Finally, we took our testing outdoors. We set up each light side-by-side in our outdoor testing area, within view of a GoPro camera. We evaluated the ease of installation for each light and then set it to its automatic dusk-to-dawn mode or its manual on/off mode, depending on the type. We left the lights on overnight and reviewed the GoPro footage to record the light output, noting the times each model turned on and off. Our best spotlight pick, the Vont Solar Spotlights, stayed on the longest: 8 hours and 16 minutes, to be exact. Once our evaluations were complete, we received the retail price of each item and scored its overall value relative to its performance in the above tests.
How to Shop for Outdoor Solar Lights Like a Pro
Solar lights typically fall into one of three categories: dusk-to-dawn, motion-activated, and timer-controlled lights. Dusk-to-dawn solar lights are the most common—they use sensors to detect sunlight and automatically illuminate when the sun goes down and remain on until sunrise, making them a great choice for decorative lighting. However, dusk-to-dawn options can have trouble storing enough solar energy during the day to stay lit all night, particularly if you live in an area with limited sunlight.
Motion-activated solar lights turn on when they register movement, which helps conserve energy. These are best suited for people who want solar lights for security purposes or guidance, such as spotlights. Finally, timer-controlled lights allow you to specify exactly how long you want your lights left on, giving you maximum control.
Installation and Design
It’s important to consider exactly where you want to direct light, according to Singleton, who adds: Do you need to illuminate pathways? Are you looking to create a focal point in the yard? Are there steps that need lighting for safety? Do you have a back gate that needs lighting for easy access? Below are common varieties of outdoor lighting, each with a different intended use.
- Path Lights: To illuminate pathways such as sidewalks or driveways, opt for path lights. They are inserted as stakes into the ground and typically have a solar panel directly on top.
- Spotlights: A spotlight creates a narrow beam of light that you can direct into a specific area. This makes them a great option for security or guidance purposes since you can highlight a specific area without lighting your entire yard. Spotlights may be mounted on the wall or inserted into the ground as stakes.
- Post Lights: Post lights serve a similar purpose as path lights, but rather than being inserted into the ground, they’re fixed to a post in your yard.
- Wall-Mounted Lights: Wall-mounted solar lights can come in several different forms, like lanterns, spotlights, flood lights, etc. Regardless, mounting lights to a wall or fence can help illuminate the perimeter of your space for added guidance.
- String Lights: String lights are popular for theirdesign, as they can add a warm and inviting ambiance to any space. They feature a long cable with connecting bulbs—which may be full-size Edison bulbs (like the Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights, our best string lights pick) or dainty, fairy-style lights (like the Brightown LED Solar Powered Fairy Lights). These are best used on a patio or porch for decorative purposes because they don’t give off a lot of light.
The brightness of lights is measured in lumens, and the higher the number, the brighter the light. For ambient lighting, five–100 lumens is best, while lights meant for security (such as spotlights and floodlights) typically go even higher. Some solar lights come with multiple brightness settings designed for different purposes.
Simply put, an IP rating is a measure of how waterproof or weather-resistant an item is. This is especially important for outdoor solar lights, as they’re going to be exposed to various weather conditions and elements.
IP stands for Ingress Protection and relates to the amount of protection the fixture will have against solids and liquids, says Singleton. A good rating for an outdoor solar light would be IP65. The first number refers to the ability to repel dust and debris, six being the highest. The second number refers to how airtight the fixture is. Level five will [protect] against angled spray, while level eight can be completely submerged in deep water.
When you see an IP rating with an X in it, this means the product does not offer protection for that category. For example, IPX4 means the device is protected from water splashes in all directions, but not from dust and debris.
There are a few special features you may want to consider, depending on your needs and budget. Some outdoor solar lights are Wi-Fi-enabled, so you can control them from your phone. Others feature the ability to change color or patterns (i.e. blinking or strobe lights), which can be fun during the holidays and when hosting parties.
Solar Lights to Consider
Linkind Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Landscape Spotlights: This is a less expensive motion-sensing option with a simple streamlined design and several different modes to choose from. However, it fell short of the competition because it only lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes in our testing, although this may be enough for some people.
Frontgate Pro Series VI Solar Path Lights: If you’re willing to spend a little more, these path lights have an attractive design and produce 60 lumens of light. Unfortunately, they only lasted 3 hours and 20 minutes on a full charge.
Questions You Might Ask
How do solar lights work?
Singleton says that solar lights charge during the day with the sun and then light up at night when they have energy. But on a more complex level, she explains that solar lights are made up of five basic components: solar cells, the photoresistor, the battery, the controller board, and the LED light.
The solar cells are connected directly to the battery, says Singleton. The solar cell is essentially charging the battery during the daytime. After sundown, the solar cell stops producing power and the photoresistor turns on the LED light. The controller board is the ‘brain’ of the solar light and takes in power from both the solar cell and the battery, along with input from the photoresistor to indicate when to turn on the LED.
Solar lights stay on until the batteries run out or the photoresistor detects the absence of light (in the case of dusk-to-dawn lights).
Do solar lights require direct sunlight?
Solar lights can still work in indirect sunlight and on cloudy days, but they may not stay on as long. For best results, place your solar light in a location that gets several hours of direct sunlight each day.
A good rule of thumb is eight direct hours of sunlight will produce approximately 15 hours of illumination, but it will vary depending on the exact light you have, says Singleton.
Where is the best place to install solar lights?
When installing solar lights, you’ll need to consider both where you need light during the night and where you receive direct sunlight during the day. In general, the best places to install solar lights would be along pathways and for highlighting focal features—whether that be a structural plant in the landscape, a water feature, or a sculptural element, says Singleton.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To come up with this list, we tested 27 outdoor solar lights in our Lab and evaluated them on setup, features, design, brightness, durability, and value. For expert tips on how to shop for outdoor solar lights, Melanie spoke with Cate Singleton, director of design at Tilly, an online landscape design company. Melanie uses the Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights to illuminate her porch every evening and loves the ambiance they provide.
What Is Real Simple Selects?
Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.
Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.
The 5 best portable air conditioners of 2023, tested and reviewed
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The best air conditioners are window units; they’re efficient, affordable, and effective, but they require a single- or double-hung window for proper installation. If you don’t have the right type of Windows for a traditional unit, a portable air conditioner is your next best option for staying cool.
While portable ACs have higher upfront and operational costs than window units, they’re not without their benefits. They are allowed in some rentals where window ACs are prohibited and are easier to store, install, and roll where you need them.
We picked the best portable air conditioners based on interviews with two experts and our testing of 12 units. The models we recommend are designed to keep appropriately sized rooms cool, have useful features, and performed well in our tests.
The best portable air conditioners in 2023
Best overall: LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner. See at AbtThe LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner is a well-rounded, energy-saving unit that can be controlled by your phone or voice.
Best budget: LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner. See at The Home DepotThe LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner is the most affordable unit we tested, doing a decent job of cooling while making relatively little noise.
Best with heat: BlackDecker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner. See at AmazonNot only was the BlackDecker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner the runner-up in our cooling tests, but you can also use it to heat your room in the winter.
Best for large rooms: Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner. See at AmazonThe Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner may be big and not as portable as other units, but it did the best job of cooling our 550-square-foot test room.
Best Smart: Midea Duo Smart Inverter Portable Air Conditioner. See at AmazonThe Midea Duo Smart Inverter Portable Air Conditioner has a feature-rich app that pairs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, and it does an outstanding job of cooling while operating quietly.
Best overall: LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner
Pros: Fits a broad range of window sizes, easy to move, can be scheduled and controlled with your phone, lowest energy use in our tests, performed well in cooling tests, Google Home and Alexa-enabled
Cons: Minimal warranty, longer setup than others
What sets the LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner apart is its dual-inverter compressor. Unlike most units that turn on and off to regulate the room temperature, an inverter compressor AC has a variable-speed motor, making it more energy-efficient.
Like all portable ACs, it isn’t Energy Star-certified and still isn’t as efficient as a window unit. In our energy use tests, it used 13% less power than the next most energy-efficient portable air conditioner we recommend: our budget pick, the LG LP0621WSR.
You can use your phone as a remote and set a schedule using the LG ThinQ app (iOS and Android.) I used the LG LP1419IVSM in my bedroom and liked that I could use my phone to turn it on close to bedtime, so the room was cool when I get there.
The LG portable AC was among the best at cooling, only out-performed by the Whynter ARC-14S (our best portable AC for large rooms pick). It does an outstanding job of keeping me cool, even when Michigan’s muggy heatwaves hit.
Though it’s not one of the quietest models (56 decibels, about as loud as a refrigerator), I’ve never had trouble with it waking me up.
I like that this LG unit can fit Windows up to 60 inches wide. However, installation took longer than other ACs I’ve tested. It’s easy to maneuver from room to room thanks to a window-slider storage slot, smooth casters, and handles, though switching between floors can be a hassle with its 71-pound weight.
Best budget: LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner
Pros: Good for cooling smaller rooms, low energy consumption (for a portable AC), easy to set up and install, fits a broad range of window sizes, relatively light
Cons: Ran into trouble moving it from room to room, minimal warranty
At its price and Btu rating, the LG LP0621WSR Portable Air Conditioner did a great job of cooling in our tests. It’s designed to cool rooms of about 250 square feet, but it cooled our 550-square-foot testing room by more than 2 degrees in the two-hour testing period. That’s pretty good.
This performance was particularly impressive considering how much power it used. Only our top pick used less power.
The LG LP0621WSR was easy to set up and install. Within 10 minutes of opening the box, I had it cooling the room. You’ll need a Phillips-head screwdriver to secure the window panels. The panels fit a wide range of window sizes, a nice feature since I have extra-wide Windows.
The air conditioner is relatively light at 60 pounds and has handles, helpful for moving it from floor to floor. However, I ran into issues moving it from one room to another on the same level. The unit is low to the ground and top-heavy. It fell over as I rushed to roll it to the next room.
Whether on low (55 decibels) or high speed (57 decibels), the noise output of the LG LP0621WSR was average, between a quiet office and a normal conversation.
Best with heat: BlackDecker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner
Pros: Excellent cooling, fast setup, five-year compressor warranty, heating mode
Cons: Loud operation, doesn’t come with window security brackets
For its price, the BlackDecker BPACT14HWT Portable Air Conditioner does a lot. In addition to being one of the top performers in our cooling tests, this workhorse also has heating capabilities for the colder months.
I purchased this three years ago, and it’s still going strong. I like that I don’t have to put it in storage during the winter. Instead, I use it to heat the living room, which tends to run colder than the rest of the house.
Installation was a breeze, taking about five minutes. I didn’t need any special tools to get the job done. I like that the window slider extends to 60 inches, which is more than enough for my needs. However, I wish it came with window security brackets to make it harder for someone to push the window open and gain access to my house. Fortunately, this hasn’t been an issue.
It’s one of the louder units we tested and when I neglect to regularly clean the filter, the BlackDecker produces jarring sounds as it changes fan speeds.
In our tests, it was in the middle of the pack in electricity use. Over the course of two hours, it consumed 1.83 kWh.
We should also note that our air quality monitor registered a 50% increase in VOCs during the testing period. However, the levels weren’t high enough to cause concern.
Best for large rooms: Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner
Pros: Top performer in our cooling tests, comes with a storage cover, three-year warranty on compressor
Cons: Cumbersome to move, longer setup, one of the loudest units we tested, window slider only fits Windows up to 46-inches long, doesn’t come with foam seals
Editor’s note: We link to and recommend the Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner in our guide, but we actually tested model ARC-14SH. The only differences between the model we tested and what we recommend are that the ARC-14SH has heating capabilities but is perpetually out of stock. If you happen to find it in stock, we still recommend the ARC-14SH.
The first word that comes to mind when looking at the Whynter ARC-14S Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner is monolithic. It looks like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey with its large, imposing flat front.
Other than its appearance, the most notable feature of the Whynter ARC-14S is its cooling abilities. It performed the best in our cooling tests, decreasing the temperature in the room by 3.6 degrees over two hours. However, it was also one of the loudest models at 58 decibels.
Weighing 86 pounds, the unit is heavy and lacks handles, making it hard to move from room to room. The initial installation took me half an hour, which is longer than most models. It was slower because the fixtures needed to be screwed by hand into the window slider. The slider was just short of being long enough for my 47-inch window opening so I used some of the Styrofoam packaging to fill the gap. Additionally, it doesn’t come with foam seals, which are helpful for efficient cooling.
Best Smart: Midea Duo Smart Inverter Portable Air Conditioner
Pros: Outstanding cooling abilities, quiet operation, an app with several customization options, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, easy installation
Cons: Uses a lot of power, oddly shaped hose, hose doesn’t connect securely to window slider
We had a hard time choosing between the Midea Duo Smart Inverter Portable Air Conditioner (model MAP14HS1TBL) and the LG LP1419IVSM Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner for the top spot in our guide.
The Midea unit did a slightly better job of cooling than the LG and also ran a little quieter in our tests. The main reason the LG earned the top spot is it was much more energy-efficient. The Midea used an additional 0.4 kWh to produce similar cooling results. If you run your portable AC all summer, that would equate to an additional energy cost of about 90 on average. To us, the drastic difference in energy efficiency outweighs the slight differences in cooling and noise performance, so the LG is in our top spot.
Still, it has several Smart functions you don’t see in our top pick or most other portable ACs. You can turn off the LED to avoid light pollution, set a sleep curve that adjusts the temperature throughout the night to balance comfort and power use, set the AC to turn on or off depending on whether you’re home or not, as well as airflow directional control.
The feature-packed app (available for iOS and Android) pairs with Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control. I can turn the AC on/off and set a schedule from anywhere using my phone. I schedule the Midea to turn off during surge electrical pricing and to come back on afterward to ensure the room is comfortable by bedtime.
This is the AC I use in my bedroom. The white noise it produces helps reduce the traffic sound from the busy road that runs by my house. It’s easy to install, though the hose doesn’t stay clipped into the window slider. I use duct tape to keep it in place. Another negative is the oddly shaped hose is too bulky for an insulating sleeve. Hose insulation is important for keeping the portable AC’s heat from seeping through the hose and back into the room before it can get outdoors.
What to look for in a portable air conditioner
Btu and room size: This is short for British thermal units. One Btu is equal to the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In cooling, Btu is used to measure how much heat is removed from a room. The more Btu per hour an air conditioner is rated for, the better job it does cooling.
That said, you shouldn’t just choose an AC based on Btu. You’ll also want to consider room size. Higher Btu units are better at cooling larger spaces, but they’re louder and will be too overpowering in smaller rooms (meaning unnecessarily high cooling costs). Use the table below (from the Energy Star website) to determine what Btu your room requires:
Your Btu needs will be greater if the room has a ceiling more than 8 feet high, is very sunny, is regularly occupied by more than two people, or it’s a kitchen.
Energy efficiency: Portable air conditioners are not energy-efficient appliances, and most are not Energy Star certified. Still, if you’re hoping to save some money on cooling costs or limit your carbon footprint, you’ll want to consider energy efficiency. There are two factors to look at here: the compressor, and kWh usage.
A portable air conditioner’s compressor works to push the hot air outside so cold air can circulate in your room. Dual-inverter compressors like the one found in our top pick are the most energy efficient. These types of compressors have variable-speed motors that use a lot less energy than traditional compressors.
To get an overall feel for the energy usage of your AC, you’ll want to look at kWh usage, short for kilowatt-hour. It’s a unit of energy that most electricity utilities use to measure your power use, and it’s what we use to measure the energy consumption of the air conditioners we test. The lower the kWh usage, the better.
Window size: Every portable AC comes with a window slider: a long, adjustable piece of plastic that goes in your window’s opening. The hose from your portable AC connects to the slider to send the hot air emitted from the unit outside. You’ll want to measure your window before purchasing your AC to make sure the window slider will fit your window.
Noise: No one expects an air conditioner to be silent, but you’ll want a unit with minimal noise output, especially if you’ll be using it while sleeping. We measure noise output with a decibel meter, but in general you can expect units with more Btu to be louder.
App connectivity: Depending on your needs, you may consider a unit with app connectivity, which allows you to control the air conditioner from your phone. This makes it easy to set a schedule or adjust the settings without getting out of bed. Expect to pay a bit more for the convenience of app connectivity.
How we test portable air conditioners
I have tested and reviewed air quality, cooling, and heating devices for the past five years and tested 12 portable air conditioners for this guide. I also consulted with Enesta Jones, a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesperson, and Joanna Mauer, the technical advocacy manager for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
Based on my research and interviews, the main features to look for when shopping for portable air conditioners are how well they will fit your window, energy consumption, and cooling abilities. Our testing methodology encompasses the following evaluation criteria.
Setup: I timed how long it takes to remove the packaging and install each unit, noting if tools are needed to do the job.
Cooling: I set my home’s heating system to 75 degrees. Once at the setpoint, I cranked the portable air conditioner to its highest fan speed and lowest temperature. Using a digital thermometer placed on the other side of the 550-square-foot testing room, I compared the before temp to the temperature 2 hours later to see how well the unit cooled.
Noise: A loud air conditioner can make it hard to watch TV, work, or sleep. I measured each unit’s noise output by holding a sound meter 6 feet away from the AC as it ran on its highest setting. It lost points if the compressor made jarring sounds as it turned on and off.
Power use: Using a Smart plug, I measured how much energy each unit used while running on high for 2 hours. The least energy-efficient window air conditioner I tested still uses less power than the most efficient portable unit.
Air quality: Before and after running the air conditioner for 2 hours, I compared particulate matter and VOC measurements using an air-quality monitor. I didn’t weigh this category heavily, but I noted when there were significant changes in the air quality.
Portability: I timed how long it took me to uninstall the AC, move it to the next room, and reinstall it. Between the rooms, there is a 3/4-inch threshold, making handles advantageous. I also considered the air conditioner’s weight.
Extras: All units in this guide have at least a one-year warranty, fan, and dehumidifying modes and remote controls. ACs needed to have more than this to get extra points. For instance, a heating mode, Wi-Fi connectivity, foam seals for efficient cooling, and a longer warranty contribute to a more favorable assessment of a portable air conditioner.
Portable air conditioner FAQs
What should you look for in a portable air conditioner?
When shopping for a portable unit, consider your window size, room size, and the added features you want. You need the proper Btu rating for your room size (outlined below). Also, look for an AC with a window slider that will fit your window.
What is Btu?
An international measure of energy, Btu measures how much heat is needed to increase 1 pound of water at sea level by 1 degree Fahrenheit. In the world of ACs, a Btu rating indicates how much heat a portable AC removes from a room each hour.
How many Btu do you need to cool your room?
You want roughly 5,000 DOE Btu for a 150-square-foot room, 6,000 Btu for 250 sq. ft., 8,000 Btu for 350 sq. ft., 10,000 Btu for 450 sq. ft., 12,000 Btu for 550 sq. ft., and 14,000 Btu for 700 sq. ft.
The cost, size, and weight of an air conditioner will increase with the Btu rating. However, it is crucial that you have the right cooling abilities for your room. An AC won’t properly remove humidity if its Btu rating is too high for the space. If too low, it won’t adequately cool the room.
Why do portable ACs have two Btu numbers?
According to Joanna Mauer, the technical advocacy manager for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the DOE Btu rating is more accurate than ASHRAE because it takes into account hot air infiltration and heat losses through the ducts.
Mauer said ASHRAE, the manufacturer’s Btu, doesn’t account for the significant heat released back into the room by the exhaust hose. There also isn’t a consistent testing standard.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) established standardized testing to account for the heat that ends up back in the room. We reference the DOE ratings in our guide.
What can you do if you are stuck with an AC that doesn’t have enough Btu to adequately cool a room?
Mauer recommended keeping the filter clean. Also, during the day, close the curtains and blinds to reduce the room’s heat gain. Lastly, she suggested running a fan to circulate the cool air.
Which is better: a portable air conditioner or a window/room air conditioner?
According to Jones, window air conditioners are more efficient than portable units. In our tests, the most efficient portable AC still used 60% more power than our top window pick. The window unit also cost less and did much better cooling.
We strongly recommend buying a window AC if you have a window to support it. Portable units are only preferable when you don’t have a single- or double-hung window.
Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without Windows?
Yes, but the hot air needs a way to leave the space. Otherwise, the unit won’t be able to provide any cooling benefits. Your portable AC just needs an opening big enough for the ventilating hose to send the heat outdoors.
How do I clean and maintain my portable air conditioner?
To keep your portable air conditioner working optimally, you need to clean the filter at least once per month, more if you are using it more. Below are some other cleaning tips that will ensure you get the most out of your unit.
- Remove condensation: Regularly remove the condensation that builds up from the cooling process. Many portable units make this easy with a built-in dehumidifier or drain hose. When you put the AC away for the season, make sure you remove condensation to avoid mold buildup.
- Keep the hose short: You can improve your portable air conditioner’s efficiency and reduce dust and moisture buildup by keeping the hose as short and straight as possible.
- Wipe the exterior down: Run a damp cloth along the outside of your unit to remove dust.
- Clean the filter: A filter helps reduce allergens in your air and allows for optimal airflow. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to clean the filter. A vacuum with the crevice tool attachment in place should get the job done. You can also wash the filter with water, but make sure it dries completely before you reinstall it.
- Check the insulation: To keep your air conditioner running efficiently, check to make sure the insulation remains in place and seals any cracks. If your unit didn’t come with foam seals, consider picking up some affordable adhesive strips. Apply insulation any time you move the AC.
Twice per season:
- Vacuum the condenser coils: To access the condenser coils on the back of your unit, grab a screwdriver to remove the back panel. To keep your AC running efficiently, use a vacuum with the crevice attachment and run it lightly over the coils. Do not press hard. You don’t want to dent the coils.
The 9 Best Portable Fans to Take on Every Trip in 2023
The VersionTech Mini Handheld Fan is our favorite way to keep cool on the go.
Amanda Ogle is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in travel, food and drink, sustainability, and general lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in Travel Leisure, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Texas Highways, and more.
In This Article
Planning a trip to Disney World, the tropics, or a national park this summer? We highly suggest bringing a portable fan with you to battle the hot weather. Portable fans are small enough to carry in a purse, backpack, or even your. so they’re also helpful to have in your everyday life.
There are many different types of portable fans, including some that are designed to be worn around your neck and others that can be clipped to almost anything to create a makeshift stand. As long as you’re choosing something that fits your activity, won’t weigh you down, and has a decent battery life, you’ll be good to go.
Our favorite portable fan is the VersionTech Mini Handheld Fan. We love it for its diverse functionality: You can hold it in your hand, fold back the handle and place it on a hard surface, and almost always find a something to clip it on to. While the VersionTech model is our all-around favorite, we have plenty of other recommendations for trips that include things like sightseeing or camping. These are the best portable fans for all of your travel needs.
VersionTech Mini Handheld Fan
- This fan can be held, clipped down, or folded over, making it a versatile accessory for anyone who wants a cooling effect on the go.
Clip this fan on to an umbrella or stroller, carry it in your hand, or fold the handle down and place it on a sturdy surface. Any way you choose to use it, you can effortlessly create an instant breeze. It’s powered by a rechargeable USB port and can be plugged into a power bank, phone, computer, or even a wall charger to get the battery full. The fan has three speeds (low, medium, and high), and the brushless motor makes it durable and quiet. It can be easily tossed in your carry-on, purse, beach bag, fanny pack, or backpack to add comfort to all kinds of warm-weather occasions, from amusement park trips to concerts and sports games. This must-have summer accessory is available in five colors, including basic black and white and bolder options like baby blue.
Price at time of publish: 16
The Details: USB cable | 4.5 x 2.8 x 4.1 inches
Wowgo Mini USB Personal Fan
- Because it is designed to be worn around your neck, this fan requires you to pull back your hair to avoid getting it caught in the blades.
For affordable, portable cooling that you can use hands-free, the Wowgo wearable fan is a great option. This one has less bells and whistles than other wearable fans on this list, but it still gets the most important job done: keeping you cool while traveling. It also has three speeds and seven colorful light modes, which come in handy when you’re dealing with low light. There’s also the added convenience of being able to bend the silicone arms to your liking to get optimal air flow. The fan is USB chargeable and will last for anywhere from two and a half to six hours, depending on what speed you’re using. Keep in mind that if you have long hair, it’s best to pull it back so that it doesn’t get wrapped in the fan blades.
Price at time of publish: 11
The Details: USB cable | 7.99 x 6.93 x 1.42 inches
Best for Planes
Honeywell On-the-go Personal Fan
Planes can sometimes become a bit hot inside the cabin, and the tiny overhead air nozzles don’t help much. The handle on this fan folds down to become a base, which means you can easily set it on your tray table to get a cool breeze fast. It can be powered by either batteries or a USB charge and has a 3-foot air circulation, and it’s foldability makes it easy to store in your luggage or purse. The fan’s handle can be hung from anything, so you can also use it on an exercise bike, cabinet knob, or bathroom hook during your entire trip.
Price at time of publish: 15
The Details: USB cable | 5 x 4.7 x 12.5 inches
Best for Sightseeing
Jisulife Handheld Fan
Whether you’re riding on a packed tour bus through a bustling city or trekking to Machu Picchu in the middle of the summer, a small fan can be a comfort game-changer when sightseeing. This one from Jisulife has our approval because it’s tiny, lightweight, and comes with a wrist strap that allows you to drop it and pick up your phone or camera in a flash. When you’re not on your feet, you can flip the handle backwards and use it as a standing fan. The charge will last for up to 46 hours, depending on whether you’re using the low, medium, or high speed setting. It also folds, making it easy to store in your purse, fanny pack, or even your
Best of all, this fan has multiple uses. It doubles as a charger thanks to the USB output, so you’ll have one more emergency power bank on your trip. The fan can even be used as a flashlight. You simply hold down on the power button when the fan is not spinning, and you’ll have a light in a snap.
Price at time of publish: 29
The Details: USB cable | 5.1 x 1.65 x 1.65 inches
Best for Camping
Fxexblin Camping Fan
- The built-in light and emergency power bank are musts for campers trying to pack as lightly as possible.
When you’re in the great outdoors, you’ll often find yourself in need of a portable fan, whether it’s to cool your tent at night or find a bit of a breeze after a long day of hiking. The Fxexblin Camping Fan is a great three-in-one device for campers, as it’s also a light and emergency power bank. It comes with a remote control, and the fan has three speeds plus light levels to adjust brightness and a timer to set it to shut off automatically. The battery will last for anywhere from six to 25 hours, depending on how high of a setting you’re using and how long the light has been on. Indicators alert you when it’s time for another charge via the USB cable. An attached hook allows you to hang it from your tent ceiling, or you can fold it down to create a standing base.
Price at time of publish: 24
The Details: USB cable | 6.8 x 6.8 x 5.4 inches
EasyAcc Mini Handheld Fan
If you’re looking for something handheld with an easy-to-carry handle, this fan is an absolute winner. It has three speeds with a six-blade design to enhance airflow and minimize noise. The USB port allows for easy recharging, and the fan will operate for up to ten hours, depending on the speed you’re using. It’s so slim and light, you can easily fit this fan into your purse, backpack, or carry-on bag so you’re ready to stay cool no matter where your day takes you.
Price at time of publish: 30
The Details: USB cable | 2.4 x 4.1 x 4.3 inches
Comlife Portable Neck Fan
- Six speed options with the ability to rotate both fans come in handy for hot days at theme parks or other outdoor activities.
Our favorite hands-free option is a wearable fan that you can throw around your neck and not worry about while on the move. This one from Comlife is quiet, lightweight, and adjustable to your liking. Simply rotate the silicon pieces that the fans rest on to create optimal airflow where you need it. Six speeds are available, and you can set it to energy-efficient mode — which turns the fan off and on every 5 seconds — whenever you chose. The fan is chargeable via a USB port and will run for up to nine hours, depending on the speed level, or 16 hours in energy-efficient mode. It’s recommended to tie long hair back so it doesn’t get caught in the fan when in use.
Price at time of publish: 20
The Details: USB cable | 63.6 x 9.6 x 97.2 inches
Sky Genius Battery-operated Clip-on Mini Desk Fan
Looking for something to clip on to a child’s stroller, picnic table, tent, or camping chair? Skygenius’s clip-on fan can be attached to almost anything, including your office desk or car seat. The USB port makes charging a breeze, and a full charge will last anywhere from three to six hours. The fan rotates 360 degrees, meaning you can easily adjust where your air is blowing. Charge it from your computer, a USB outlet, or a power bank, and you’re good to go.
Price at time of publish: 20
The Details: USB connection with charging cable | 7.5 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches
Best With Mister
HandFan Portable Misting Fan
Whether you’re lounging poolside or hitting a festival, this fan will be your new outdoor essential. Not only does it feature a misting spray to keep you cool, but it has seven different colored nightlights, so you can use it in the dark or just to have some fun. It has a battery life of up to 13 hours on its low setting and a convenient USB charging port so you can even use a portable charger to ensure all-day comfort. The fan is just about the size of a small notebook, so you can conveniently store it in any day bag for easy access when things get hot.
Price at time of publish: 40
The Details: USB connection with charging cable | 1.65 x 4.13 x 8.86 inches
Tips for Buying a Portable Fan
Consider the different types of fans available
Before buying a portable fan, consider how and where you’ll be using it. Are you biking through Europe? You’ll need both hands to steer your bike, so you’ll want to find a wearable fan. Do you want something you can take with you daily just in case it gets hot? You can probably get away with a handheld fan that has a wrist loop. If you know you’re going to need it for something like a baby stroller or your desk post-travel, you might want to get a fan with a clip. However you’re traveling, make sure you buy a portable fan that works for your needs.
Make sure you buy the proper size
Take into account where the fan is going as you’re shopping for a portable fan. If you’re going on a cruise and staying in a small cabin, you won’t want something that takes up too much space. If you’re doing a lot of walking, you might want a fan small enough to fit in your Don’t forget about airline limits as well — you don’t want your fan to be too heavy and weigh down your luggage, and if you’re only packing a carry-on, you’ll want to consider going with a smaller fan to save room.
Choose a power source wisely
Know how to power your fan before heading into unknown places. If you have access to electricity while traveling, a fan with a USB cable is a nice choice, as you can charge it from your phone, a laptop, or power bank. (Just make sure you have an adapter if you’re in a foreign country so you can power your devices.) If you’re camping, you might not have access to electricity, so make sure your fan is battery-powered.
Absolutely. You can usually stow a portable fan in your carry-on or checked bags. Just make sure you’re not bringing a bulky, heavy fan that will weigh you down or take up too much room in the overhead bin.
Always check for included cleaning instructions before attempting to clean your portable fan. Every fan is different, and you don’t want to ruin a battery-powered or USB-powered fan by cleaning it with soap and water. Also, make sure the fan is completely off and unplugged from any power sources before cleaning. For general cleaning, remove the battery cover, fan cover, or any part that easily detaches. Dust the fan with a clean cloth to remove any debris.
Most rechargeable fans feature a charging light that will indicate whether or not it’s fully charged. To find out how to tell if your portable rechargeable fan is fully charged, be sure to read any instructions before use.
Why Trust Travel Leisure
For this article, Amanda Ogle researched dozens of portable fans and used her expertise as a travel writer to craft the perfect list of portable fans for you.
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Taylor Fox is a Commerce Updates Writer at Travel Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Taylor holds a Master’s in Geography and has been a writer and editor for over seven years.