Emergency Power: The Top Portable Solar Panel Chargers for Disasters
From seasonal storms and natural disasters to hacking attacks and terrorism, we face more threats on our power grid than ever before. With much of our electrical infrastructure still relying on antiquated equipment and technologies, our power grid has become extremely vulnerable to disruption.
Luckily, advances in solar technology have made it possible for everyone to at least have a small emergency solar backup, even if it’s just something that can keep your small electronic devices up and running. These small portable devices are not only great for camping and hiking adventures, but when disaster strikes they can help keep devices like cell phones, small tablets, flashlights, emergency radios, ham radios, and GPS devices up and running.
As these technologies continue to improve and be adopted by the public, on emergency solar chargers have continued to drop, making them an affordable addition to anyone’s supply list. Here are some of our favorites.
The SunJack Portable Solar Charger
The SunJack is something that I keep in all of my Bug Out Bags. It’s lightweight, provides enough power to keep my iPhone, handheld radios and backup batteries running indefinitely, and can provide power to anything that accepts a USB charger.
The SunJack 25W Solar Charger Panel can charge the battery backups in about 5 hours; they enough power to charge an iPhone about 5 times.
GoalZero Nomad 7, Guide 10 Adventure Kit
Goal Zero is known for making high-quality solar chargers. For the last couple of years, I’ve been using the Goal Zero Guide 10 Adventure Kit as an emergency EDC. The kit includes a Nomad 7 Solar Panel and a Guide 10 Power Pack that can charge AA and AAA batteries.
It’s small enough to slip into your vehicle’s glove box and has an added that allows you to pack it full of extra Every Day Carry (EDC) gear.
The Solio Bolt
If you’re looking for something that you can literally slip in your. then you need to check out the Solio Bolt or the Solio Classic2 Solar Charger. Both of these chargers are small, can hold their charge for up to a year, and their battery packs can hold enough juice to power the average smartphone about 4 times.
The Solio Bolt can be found here on Amazon and the Classic2, which has an extra panel, can be found here.
The iLand Trek Solar Kit
While this is the priciest unit on the list, it also packs the largest punch. The iLand Trek Solar Kit comes with a 10W panel and a heavy-duty battery with an operating voltage of 5V-12V. That means this unit can power things like Ham, Marine, and CB Radios; camp lighting and computers; and even things like water pumps and tools. Check it out in action, powering my Emergency Ham Radio Setup.
The WakaWaka Power
The WakaWaka Power is another small, easy-to-carry solar kit that can slip inside just about any bug out bag or EDC kit. It does take a bit longer to charge, which is to be expected with these smaller panel units, but once fully charged it holds enough power to charge a smartphone in about 2 hours. It also comes with built-in LED lights (5 to 75 lumens) that provide up to 150 hours of emergency lighting on a single charge.
The Powermonkey Extreme
The best thing about the Powermonkey Extreme is the massive amount of power the battery holds. It comes with a 9000mAh lithium polymer battery, and can power virtually any 5V or 12V devices including handheld radios, DSLR cameras and tablet computers. It’s great for camping, and something I like to take with on all long-distance road trips.
For most of us, having access to electrical power has become so second nature that we hardly give it a thought. It’s so abundant to be almost free, and there are lots of places all around to plug in your cell phone when it runs out of juice.
But if the grid goes down for a long period of time, or you need to charge your devices on the move, then you need to consider sources of portable power if you are serious about prepping.
It keeps your communication devices going, and keeps your lights working at night.
This list factors in only small devices, such as anything charged over USB like phones and tablets, or anything that runs off AA or AAA batteries like head lamps.
BTW If you buy anything with the links we provide on this page we might get a small percentage of the sale from Amazons end. For more info click here.
Ni-MH AA AAA Batteries
There are several different types of rechargeable batteries: from the lead-acid which powers your car or truck, to Ni-MH which are used in AA and AAA batteries, to Lithium-Ion used in portable re-chargeable electronics like cell phones.
Lets look at Ni-MH which stands for Nickle Metal Hydride.
Panasonic eneloop AA batteries
Typical Price: 20
We have been using eneloop batteries for years. They are considered by many insiders to be the best-made rechargeables. They maintain 70% of their charge after 5 years of storage and they can be charged and discharged up to 2100 times.
See our full eneloop review.
AA / AAA Battery Storage Hard Case Boxes
Typical Price: 8 for 6
It will help to keep your batteries organized and protected from the elements having these little cases to hold them in.
These have charged and uncharged labels on them, so you can orient the batteries and know which ones are ready to go.
Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester
Typical Price: 6
You’re gonna need a tester to figure out the charge of your batteries once you start getting into reuseables. We like these so much we bought 3 of them for use around the house. These are immensely useful.
Field Charging AA AAA Batteries
If you are away from home, or don’t have access to a grid based power source, you still have options to keep your devices up and running.
Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus
Typical Price: 40
This charger can keep your AA and AAA eneloops topped off while mobile. Optimized for solar charging and includes mini USB input.
You can use the batteries as they are or keep them in the Guide 10 and use the USB output to charge your phone or other lithium-ion device as well via the USB output.
Emergency Backup Battery Systems
There are two companies that we trust the most and have been using their products for years: Goal Zero and Voltaic Systems. That’s not to say there aren’t other good companies out there, but in terms of ease of use, reliability and durability, the products these companies make can’t be beat.
Check out our review on the entire Goal Zero Yeti lineup, it is a simplified breakdown of all their systems and what each one is good for.
If grid power is out, one of the easiest solutions to power up small and medium sized devices is solar power. Not as cheap or powerful as a fuel burning generator, but much more portable, quiet, and easily renewable.
Voltaic Systems and Powerfilm Solar make my favorite solar panels.
Voltaic Systems Arc 10 USB Solar Charger
Typical Price: 39
Our favorite panel. Not expensive, packs small and light. All you need is some sun and a USB charging cable. 10 Watts with 5V/1.9A Output is enough power to charge up most cell phones in 1.5 hours.
For an extra 25 you can upgrade to the Arc 10W Solar Charger Kit which includes a 4,000mAh USB Battery Pack.
Dimensions: Open: 10 H x 13 W x 0.03 D. Folded: 10 H x 6.5 W x 0.15 D. 0.68 lbs.
Rich Solar Mega 100 Watt Portable Solar Panel Briefcase
Typical Price: 249
High efficient 100-watt monocrystalline solar panel Kickstand for better angle placement Corner protection Strong tempered glass and aluminum frame Fully weatherproof Monocrystalline solar cells
Solar generators Portable power stations Emergency backup or remote power
PowerFilm R-21 Watt Rollable Solar Panel
Typical Price: 310. 325
If you are looking for a high-end US-Made product that you can rely on, look no further than PowerFilm products. Their R-21 rollable solar panel only weighs 1.6 lbs and rolls down to 14.6 by 3 (14.6 x 60.8 unrolled.) Comes with a 12V Female Car Charger Adapter and a 15 ft. Extension Cord with O-ring Connectors.
Nomad 100 Solar Panel
Typical Price: 400
If you want to power a base camp with multiple users, look no further than the Goal Zero Nomad 100 Watt foldable solar panels. Open Circuit Voltage: 18-22V. This is a beast of a portable solar panel, and great for base camp use with multiple users.
Weight: 10.2 lbs. Dimensions (unfolded): 20.5 x 59.5 x 1 (folded): 20.5 x 15.5 x 2.
Ready Hour Wireless Solar PowerBank Charger 20 LED Room Light
This wireless solar charger is rugged and dependable, perfect for emergencies, natural disasters and power outages. It’s waterproof too. Take it camping or on a hunting trip. Keep in your RV or cabin.
Any time you’re outdoors and need to charge your devices or gear, you’ll want a powerful device like this.
A TRUE POWERHOUSE
High-Powered Charging : Stay connected with sustainable power to carry you through the unexpected! No sub-standard power here. With 20,000 mAh power capacity (triple lesser competitor units. be sure to compare).
Power the devices you depend on, anytime and anywhere—three devices at once with 2 USB ports 1 USB-C port or a single device like a cell phone four times before recharging.
Whole-Room Light : Or count on the bright, long-lasting LED bank of lights. Once you see this unit, you’ll want every member of your family to have one.
Fast Charging : Two of the three USB ports on this device are fast chargers, so you won’t have to sit around and wait for hours. Or, set your device or cell phone on the wireless charging surface!
BUILT TO LAST LONGER
Water Drop-Proof Casing : Carefully crafted with a premium silicon protective case. a durable build with side grips that makes it easy to hold or use the lanyard clip. waterproof and shockproof.
High-Energy Density Lithium Ion Battery : Put through rigorous testing to ensure durability
Charge on the Go. 3 USB Cable Outputs. Output 1: 5V/3A; Output 2: 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A; TYPE-C Output 3: 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A.
Fast Charging. Solar Panel, Micro-USB USB Type-C input to charge, charge and discharge more than 800 times; include a 4-stage power-level indicator; can recharge in approximately 60-90 minutes by wall outlet, depending on power adapter block.
LED Bank of Lights. Hold on/off button to turn on a bright panel of LED lights with a flashing red light S.O.S signal mode, puts out 520 lumens
Dimensions. 4 x 1.2 x 7.38 and weighs 1.55 pounds
What’s in the Box. Wireless Solar PowerBank Charging Unit, micro-USB cord, manual
Storage: Optimal storage conditions range from 30-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not expose to temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Battery Care: As with all battery-run devices, proper upkeep is critical for the prolonged function of this unit. If the unit is left to sit for long periods, the battery can drain and even become inoperable. Make sure to charge the battery every few months to extend its life and performance.
The solar panel with this unit is primarily intended to power your LED flashlight. A couple hours of intense sunlight equals a couple hours of LED flashlight power.
Although the power bank will charge via solar panel, that is not the primary intent on having the solar panel. The conversion rate for this size of solar panel under optimal, full sun conditions is 550 mAh per hour. It would take on average about 40 hours to fully recharge the 20,000 mAh battery once the sun’s rays are intense enough to reach the maximum conversion rate. On a full battery, the LED flashlight can last up to 72 hour. It is recommended to have this unit standing by, fully charged by by an electrical outlet, ready for use during emergencies.
The 6 Best Solar Power Banks for 2023
On the hunt for a reliable backup power solution in case of emergencies? Spend lots of time off-grid? Or perhaps you’re just looking for a way to keep your phone charged throughout the long workday.
Whatever your power needs, harness the energy of the sun in one small device with a solar power bank!
Solar power banks are an amazing, portable solution if you’re looking to access power from anywhere there is sunshine. Bring them camping, hiking, RVing, or charge them up for emergencies at home.
With a variety of different sizes, weights, and capacities, choosing the best solar power bank might be a little overwhelming. But don’t worry, because we’ve got all your needs covered with our list of the six best solar power banks for the year!
So read on, and find the best solar solution for your needs in our list below.
Our Top Picks
Jackery Solar Generator 1000
Powerful. Peaceful. Portable.
The Jackery Solar Generator 1000—which comes equipped with a power station and two solar panels—can silently reach a full charge in only six hours.
From the get-go, connecting the panels to the power station is super easy and you’ll be up and running your solar power bank within minutes. With an easy-to-read LCD screen, you’ll also be able to get real-time insights into power input and output numbers, as well as the power station’s minute-to-minute charge level. And when you’re done recharging, the solar panels fold up easily for portability and storage.
The Jackery is ideal for camping or emergency power storage with a massive battery capacity capable of charging everything from your phone to running appliances. Its huge power, portability, and peaceful silence are what earn the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 the best overall solar power bank slot.
If you need a solar power bank capable of running pretty much anything, this is your best option!
- Large battery storage capacity with a fast solar recharge time
- Easy-to-read, real-time display
- Ability to run appliances
- Heavy compared to handheld solutions
- Solar panel legs are not well suited for rougher terrain
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 1002Wh
- Outputs to devices: one USB port, one USB quick charge port, two USB-C ports, three AC outlets, and one car charging outlet
- Weight: 34lbs
- Battery type: Lithium-ion
BLAVOR Solar Power Bank
The BLAVOR Solar Power Bank is one of the market’s lightest and smallest solar power banks and is extremely well-suited for portability. With USB-C, USB, and wireless charging ports, this is an inexpensive option to keep your small devices running.
At full capacity, the BLAVOR Solar Power Bank can fully recharge your iPhone 14 Pro twice and your iPad Air once. Or, use the wireless charger on this solar power bank for smaller items like Airpods!
The BLAVOR is waterproof, dustproof, and made from flame-retardant materials. So no matter what activities you’re doing, this solar power bank will persevere. To top it all off, the BLAVOR has a built-in dual flashlight and comes with a compass carabiner for added safety and adventuring features.
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 10,000mAh
- Outputs to devices: one USB port, one USB-C port, one wireless port
- Weight: 10oz
- Battery type: Lithium-cobalt
QiSa 38800mAh Solar Power Bank
The QiSa takes the BLAVOR and steps it up a notch. Loved by outdoorsmen and women for its large battery capacity—meaning you won’t have to worry about running out of charge—the QiSa 38800mAh Solar Power Bank is built for life on the move.
The QiSa boasts four collapsable solar panels that can be used to continuously charge the solar power bank. And, unlike small, single-paneled options, this solar power bank can fully recharge on just sunlight in mere hours.
With the QiSa in your backpack, you’ll carry around the ability to charge your iPhone up to twelve times. And, with two USB ports and one wireless charging port, you’ll also be able to power up three different devices at once.
And when you’re charging up, rest assured your devices are safe! The QiSa comes with a built-in Smart chip to stabilize voltage, so your devices will never be at risk of a surge or damage.
- Large energy storage capacity and fast solar charging
- Smart chip for voltage stabilization
- Waterproof, drop-proof, and dustproof
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 38,800mAh
- Outputs to devices: two USB fast ports, one wireless charging port
- Weight: 22.88oz
- Battery type: Lithium polymer
Hiluckey Outdoor USB-C Portable Power Bank 4 Solar Panels
The Hiluckey solar power bank is here to charge your devices in a jiffy!
With fast-charging capabilities, the Hiluckey can charge your iPhone from zero to one hundred in under an hour. Also equipped with the ability to fully charge tablets up to four times, and iPhones up to ten times, you won’t have to worry about recharging the Hiluckey very often!
Covered in a sleek leather case for a more subtle look, this solar power bank is compact and stylish. Open it up and fold-out solar panels can be laid out for quick power bank charging speeds.
- Affordable compared to other similar models
- Subtle and discrete look with a leather exterior
- Fast device charging
- Slow at reaching a full charge with the solar panels alone
- Not well suited for harsh conditions
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 25,000mAh
- Outputs to devices: two USB ports, one USB-C port
- Weight: 21.44oz
- Battery type: Lithium polymer
42800mAh Solar Power Bank
Spending long periods of time away from a power supply? Another great budget option is the 42800mAh Solar Power Bank.
With a large battery capacity compared to other products of similar weight, this portable solar power bank will give you peace of mind that your devices will remain charged throughout the day.
The 42800mAh Solar Power Bank was built with durability and extreme environments in mind. It is waterproof, drop-proof, and dustproof, making it a great addition to any adventurer’s backpack. So whether you’re keeping your phone charged at work or going on the most treacherous of hikes, this solar power bank will survive any condition.
- IP67-certified waterproof, drop-proof, and dustproof
- Built-in LED flashlight
- 1600 charging lifecycles
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 42,800mAh
- Outputs to devices: two USB ports
- Weight: 22.24 oz
- Battery type: Lithium polymer
Goal Zero Yeti 200X Portable Power Station Nomad 20 Solar Panel Kit
With fast solar recharge speeds and quick electronic charging capabilities, there was no question that the Goal Zero Yeti 200X would earn itself a spot on this list of best solar power banks.
The Goal Zero Yeti 200X solar power kit comes complete with everything you need to charge anything from small electronics to larger items like laptops, lights, or even portable fridges. Then once you’re done charging your devices, pack up your solar power bank quickly with a collapsable panel and a lightweight power station.
- Allows you to link additional solar panels to capture more sun
- Recharges fully on sunlight alone within 12-24 hrs using one panel
- Lightweight compared to other solar power stations of similar capacity
- difficult to transport than a handheld solar power bank
- Solar panels may lack some durability
Solar Power Bank Stats
- Battery capacity: 187Wh
- Outputs to devices: one USB port, one USB-C port, and one USB port directly from the solar panel
- Weight: 7lbs 4.5oz
- Battery type: Lithium-ion
Solar Power Bank Buyer’s Guide
Types of Solar Power Banks
Solar power banks come in all different shapes and sizes, but the most common you’ll find are single-panel solar power banks, solar power banks with multiple panels or fold-up panels, or solar power banks with larger, attachable panels.
In general, solar should be used as a backup power source for anything with a single, built-in panel. Charge these solar power banks at home before you’re without power and use the sun as a top-up when you’re out and about.
Multi, fold-up, or larger paneled solar power banks are able to capture more sun. This allows them to charge faster off of sunlight alone and makes them more reliable in a pinch. The trade-off? These solar power banks are generally a little bulkier or heavier.
What to Look For in a Solar Power Bank
There are plenty of things to look for when choosing your next solar power bank. Definitely keep an eye out for these key elements:
- The first thing you’ll want to take a look at is the solar power bank’s battery capacity. This is the measure of how much power, or charge, the battery can hold. The more energy your solar power bank can store, the more you’ll be able to use it before having to recharge.
- Battery recharge time indicates how long it’ll take for your solar power bank to recharge. If you’re plugging your solar power bank into an energy source (e.g. a wall outlet or car) you can expect a faster recharge time. If you’re relying on the sun alone to recharge your power bank, take into account that recharging may take a little longer depending on the solar panels being used.
- Weight and size are crucial to know if you’re going to be adventuring with your solar power bank.
- Remember to also consider which outputs to devices (e.g. USB, USB-C, etc.) you need from your solar power bank.
- Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, investigate the solar power bank’s charging speeds. Will it take an hour to charge your phone or an entire day? Make sure you deep dive into this when choosing the best option for you!
Distinguishing Features to Help You Choose Your Solar Power Bank
Outside of the general items to weigh when choosing the best solar power bank for your needs, there are plenty of distinguishing features that may help one stick out over another.
Durability is especially important if you’re going to be using your solar power bank camping, hiking, or in the outdoors. Many options are certified waterproof, drop-proof, and dustproof, so keep an eye out for those features.
Plenty of the best solar power banks also come with interesting built-in features like flashlights or compasses. When deciding between two similar models, these special add-ons could definitely be something that may sway your decision.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Power Bank
To make the best solar power bank even better, implement some of our super-simple tips to optimize your experience:
- Charge your smaller, single-panel solar power banks at home with a plug-in power source, and use the sun as a top-up when you’re on the go.
- Clean your solar panels regularly.
- Check the area surrounding your solar power bank for any obstructions that could be blocking the sun and clear them away.
- Move the solar panels with the sun throughout the day to capture the most power.
Time to Soak Up the Sun
Thank you for taking the time to peruse through this list of the best solar power banks for 2023! Whether you’re just looking for something to carry in your backpack to keep your phone charged all day, or you want to go with a larger machine that can power appliances, this list has hopefully given you options for just about anything.
Now get out there and soak up the sun… literally!
Looking for even more solar power? Read all about the best solar generators for off-grid living.
Posted on Last updated: March 31, 2023