The Window Solar Charger helps you charge your gadgets with sunshine!
The Window Solar Charger helps demystify and clear the air around solar panels. As simple as a wooden frame with solar panels and a battery, the Window Solar Charger is a sun-powered power-bank that lets you use clean energy to juice your devices like your phone, tablet, or other USB-powered devices.
Solar panels haven’t changed much in the past 60 years, but Krystal Persaud, the mind behind the Window Solar Charger, feels that people still haven’t globally adopted solar power in a big way. Solar power and the panels, often find themselves being used on rooftops, powering buildings and homes, or on things like backpacks, aiding people who love traveling. The regular, sit-at-home guy still doesn’t actively interact with the solar panel in a personal capacity, and the Window Solar Charger hopes to break that barrier. “Using renewable energy doesn’t have to be hard”, says Krystal, and the Window Solar Charger helps demystify the technology in an incredibly simple and useful way. Just hang the Window Solar Charger on a sunny window and you’re done! The panels absorb power through sunlight and top off the charger’s internal battery. You can directly plug your phone or tablet in, and the battery begins topping off your Smart device, turning power from the sun into power you can use!
The Window Solar Charger isn’t a high-flying, mysteriously designed product either. The solar panels sit on a transparent platform, surrounded by a bamboo wood frame. A cotton cord on the top allows the charger to be hung from a hook either on a window, or even on a wall that gets ample sunlight. A 2,200 mAh internal battery gathers and stores the solar-power, helping you top off your devices using a USB output on the base of the charger. The Window Solar Charger can be used right out of the box, and is the first in a series of products designed by Krystal’s studio Grouphug, to help democratize solar power, which can be used not just on a macro level, but even in small households and offices, to charge your phone, tablet, or even perpetually power your Smart-speaker, Smart-doorbell, or closed-circuit cameras!
Click Here to Buy Now: 149. Hurry, Only 6/142 left!
Window Solar Charger
A designer solar panel for people who want to be more sustainable, but don’t know where to start.
Unlike most solar panels, it’s designed to hang in any window. Now you can bring solar energy into your home, without sacrificing design.
How it Works
Hang in any sunny window. It takes 8-10 hrs of direct sunlight to fully charge the built-in battery.
Plug your phone or USB device into the included USB port. A full internal battery can charge iPhones two times Android phones one to one and a half times.
Charge all your favorite small USB devices from the charger’s internal battery. A full battery can charge iPhones (2x), Android phones (1 – 1.5x), Tablets (0.5x), Air Pods (3x), Portable Speaker (1x), Donuts (1000x).
Small Changes, Big Impact.
At Grouphug, the mission is to inspire a sustainable lifestyle that is effortless, without sacrificing design. There is a world where renewable energy can be user friendly, and ridiculously good looking! And most importantly, they’ll reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. We’re not going to be able to go off the grid overnight, but we can take steps to getting there. Their patent pending Window Solar Charger is just the first of many Grouphug products that will shift the way we think about consuming energy.
First, they researched the history of solar energy. The first commercial solar panel came out 60 years ago… and it looks EXACTLY the same today. Why?!
Next came oodles of prototypes! (Left) One of our earliest prototypes taped to a window. (Right) one of many failed solar prototypes that they made along the way.
They develop all of their prototypes at A/D/O, a maker space in Brooklyn. They have every tool you can imagine AND they’re only 5 minutes from the legendary Peter Pan donut shop (donuts fuel prototyping).
Then they built some beta solar chargers had people try them out! Their early customers have been using the Window Solar Charger for a few months give us feedback on what is working or not working.
Click Here to Buy Now: 149. Hurry, Only 6/142 left!
Review: XD Design‘s Window and Port Solar Chargers
This time last year, we covered an interesting new solar charger that sought to avoid troublesome shadows from window frames, potted plants and household ornaments by sticking to the glass of the window itself. The Window Solar Charger from XD Design has now been joined by a new, slightly less capacious sibling called the Port Solar Charger, and I’ve been given the chance to take both for a test drive.
First on the review bench is the Window Solar Charger.
In the box
This 11 x 11 x 1.75 cm (4.3 x 4.3 x 0.68 inch), 95 g (3.35 oz) device features a 1,400 mAh Li-ion battery housed within an ABS plastic case. There’s a full-size USB port for dumping charge onto a connected device at 5 V (500 mA) and a mini-USB port to charge up its own battery in about three hours, if you can’t wait around for the claimed 13 hours needed by the 110 mA-rated 7.8 x 7.8 mm (3 x 3 inch) PV panel to soak up enough sun to provide a full charge. The unit has over-charge and short circuit protection built in.
An LED status indicator glows red when receiving charge, and turns green when the onboard battery is full. You can just lay it flat on a table near the window – or you could use the supplied 3 mm thick silicone ring to stick it to the glass of the inside of a window. Both sides of the ring are tacky, and when its ability to stick is reduced by the inevitable accumulation of dust and dirt, you can refresh it by washing in soapy water and allowing to drip dry.
A not-so-sticky situation
When I first tried to stick this charger to a window, I have to report a distinct lack of success. I had thought that this was due to the window-facing surface of the unit not actually being flat (there’s an ever-so-slight curve) but have since discovered that the silicon ring which came with the Window Solar Charger was not, in fact, sticky enough. XD Design rushed another out to me and I’m happy to report that the replacement has kept the unit firmly stuck to the inside of my front room window for the whole of the review period.
The device is of a solid build, though, and can withstand a few knocks (which is just as well since it once fell down behind my radiator, and using a wire hanger to retrieve it is an experience I could have done without).
All’s well that ends well
The Window Solar Charger is said to need a good 13 hours in bright (sun)light to fully charge its battery using PV only. As with other solar chargers, the quality of the incoming light determines the actual charge time. It’s coming to the end of winter here in France at the moment, but we’ve had a good deal of day-long sunshine over the past few weeks. It’s not quite as high, as bright or as powerful as it is in summer but it’s been enough to secure a strong red glow from the unit’s LED.
In my tests, the charger actually took at least twice as long to reach capacity, but as such a juice-up is essentially free-of-charge (if you’ll excuse the pun), I’m not going to split hairs. The PV panel does what it’s supposed to do, it provides the built-in battery with clean energy – even if you have to wait a while before it’s full.
Apart from the charging/full LED, however, there’s no way of determining how much charge is remaining in the Li-ion battery. When at capacity, it proved sufficient to fully charge my smartphone, with some room to spare (though there’s not enough for a tablet in one sitting).
The bottom line
There are a vast number of options to choose from if you’re looking for a portable backup power source to juice up your mobile device while you’re out and about, many of which feature solar panels. The fact that the Window Solar Charger sticks to the inside of a window and in so doing effectively avoids the shadows of the frames (or shades, drapes, plants, and knick-knacks) is, in the opinion of this reviewer, enough to set this product apart from the rest of the field, and makes it a good deal more useful in the process.
The Window Solar Charger proved an excellent way to harness the power of the sun to charge up my growing collection of mobile devices. Realistically, you’re not going to be able to completely avoid handing some of your hard-earned cash over to the utility company. Device batteries drain a whole lot quicker than the PV panel can top up this Window Solar Charger’s own power pack. But it could well save you a few pennies.
It can just be left sunbathing while you’re out and about, or is small and light enough to throw in a backpack and take with you. At €49.95 (US65), it’s not going to break the bank to buy one either.
The Port Solar Charger
Many of the minor niggles encountered while testing the Window Solar Charger have been effectively dealt with in XD Design‘s Port Solar Charger. Though at just 1,000 mAh, its built-in Li-ion battery is a touch on the small side to make it anything but a quick top-up device for most of today’s big-battery smartphones.
In the box
The Port has a round two-tone plastic body that’s 8.4 cm (3.3 inch) in diameter and 1.8 cm (0.7 inch) tall. Its 8 cm (3.1 inch) PV panel is edged with a 1 cm (0.3 inch) thick transparent PVC suction cup. Where the Window charger needed the help of a silicone ring to stick to the glass, the Port just needs to be pushed against the pane to secure it in place. Job done.
The bright white upper face is home to five small LED lights. When charging by bright (sun)light, the green LED will light up. The other four lights are blue and come on at the press of the button topping the row, to indicate remaining charge or when the unit’s being charged via USB. This device has an integrated USB charging cable that folds into the side of the body. This, and the weight of the suction cup, makes it a tad heavier than the Window charger at 108 g (3.8 oz).
One thing that is lacking is a cable to charge your mobile device from the full-size USB output on the side of the Port charger, but since you’re likely to already have a device-specific one, the decision not to supply a generic one with the unit makes a lot of sense. The Port’s output has a bit more grunt to it than the Window charger, at 800 mAh (5 V), but its battery is, of course, smaller.
Suck it up
Like the Window charger, the Port effectively avoids shadows cast by frames and the like by attaching directly to the glass – in this case courtesy of the built-in suction cup. Its grip on the window is excellent, staying put until released with the smallest of tugs on the tab jutting out from the edge of the cup.
XD Design says that it will take two hours to fully charge the Port‘s Li-ion battery from empty via USB. I actually found this to be a little on the generous side. Charging from my laptop took between 2.5 and three hours. Likewise, 20 hours is the quoted time for charging by PV, but real-world juicing took more than twice that during the (admittedly end-of-winter) review period. Though getting to 75 percent can be a fairly brisk affair, waiting for that last status light to come on can prove to be a lesson in patience.
The Port’s internal battery didn’t prove capacious enough to fully charge either of our household smartphones in one go. My Kindle 2 and my music player also required more than one visit, though the Zo 2 and my compact camera were both satisfied with one LED remaining. If that last blue light starts to flash, though, the Port‘s battery is almost out.
The bottom line on this one. as an emergency top-up charger, it’s difficult to fault. But if your charging needs are on the large side, you may have to look elsewhere. The recommended retail for the Port model has been set at €59.95 (US78).
Product pages: Window Solar Charger in silver, blue, or green; Port Solar Charger
The 5 Best Portable Solar Laptop Chargers
Amber Nolan is a freelance writer for Treehugger who is passionate about sustainable living, nature, and outdoor adventure.
Working remotely using a laptop is becoming more and more common, and with it comes the challenge of keeping a computer powered up when electric outlets are scarce. Whether camping in the wilderness, on a road trip, living off-grid, or in a sudden power-outage situation, a portable solar laptop charger is a handy device to have.
Most portable solar laptop chargers function as mini power stations capable of charging other electronics like cell phones, cameras, drones, and tablets—to name a few. Now, with more options than ever to choose from, we’ve sorted through the latest solar devices to find our favorites.
Here are the best portable solar laptop chargers.
Jackery 1000W Peak Solar Generator SG550 with 100W Solar Panel
Founded by a former Apple battery engineer in Silicon Valley, Jackery Power Outdoors is one of the most well-recognized names in off-grid power supplies. The Solar Generator SG290 comes with a whopping 90-watt panel that folds shut and can easily be toted away using the carry handle. The 400-watt output can charge a MacBook four times before the power station requires a recharge, making it our top overall choice.
Another stand-out feature is the built in MPPT module that monitors voltage and output of the solar panel, adding up to 23% more solar recharging efficiency. There’s also an automatic power-saving setting to power down when not in use. The Jackery can charge up to four devices at one time.
Price at time of publish: 679
Solar Panel Capacity: 400 watts | Battery Capacity: 290 watt hours | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Output Ports: AC Output, Car Port Output, USB Outputs
Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Nomad 20 Solar Kit
For an ultraportable laptop charger than can easily pack up and fit into luggage or a hiking pack, the Sherpa 100AC by Goal Zero weighs just over four pounds – for both the charger and the 20-watt solar panel. The Sherpa is ideal for charging laptops, cameras, tablets, and phones, plus it even has a wireless charging option.
The Nomad 20 panel can fold shut and comes with a kickstand to get the proper angle in the sun. It takes about 7.5 to 15 hours to recharge (so a full day in the sun), however, it can also recharge from another USB source (in eight to 10 hours) or from the car adapter or wall charger in about three hours.
Price at time of publish: 450
Solar Panel Capacity: 20 watts | Battery Capacity: 94.7 watt hours | Weight: Power bank 2 pounds, solar panel 2.28 pounds | Output Ports: Wireless Qi, USB-C PD ports, USB-A, AC inverter
Best for RVing
Patriot Power Sidekick
Specializing in emergency equipment such as water filters and ready-to-eat survival meals, the outdoor company 4 Patriots also makes must-have solar devices. The Power Sidekick is a reliable and efficient solar charger that’s designed for sudden power-outages, and is also a good addition to camping or RV gear.
Although it’s lightweight, the Sidekick can charge phones, laptops, medical devices, Wi-Fi routers, radios, and more with a capacity of 300 watts. The four foldable solar panels (connected) provide total 40 watts of power to recharge the Sidekick and can also directly charge any device that has a USB port. There’s a light on the back that’s useful in a tent or on the picnic table, and the clear digital display shows the charging levels and how many watts the laptop being charged is using.
The company supports active-duty military and veterans’ charities.
Price at time of publish: 497
Solar Panel Capacity: 40 watts | Battery Capacity: 300 watt hours | Weight: 8 pounds | Output Ports: Two USB, USB Type C, two pure sine wave AC output
Best Backpack Charger
Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops
A solar-charging backpack allows you to charge a laptop on the go, and the redesigned Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger by Voltaic Systems is lightweight (5.4 pounds), durable, and powerful. UV and water resistant, the backpack is made from 33 recycled plastic soda bottles (recycled PET fabric). Inside is 25 liters of storage, a dedicated padded 15-inch laptop sleeve for added protection, and plenty of interior s.
The new larger capacity, 88-watt hour battery comes with USB-C to charge the latest devices. The battery can be recharged with the AC adapter or with the 10-watt solar panel that’s built into the rear of the backpack. It takes about six hours to fully charge a laptop.
Price at time of publish: 249
Solar Panel Capacity: 9 watts | Battery Capacity: 88.8 watt hours | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Output Ports: USB, USB Type C, and Hi-Voltage Laptop Output
SunJack 25W Portable Solar Charger Panel 2 Powerbanks
This portable solar panel and battery kit is designed for phones, tablets, and other smaller devices, but if your laptop uses a USB-C power cable, you can also connect it. The kit includes a folding, three-panel portable solar charger, and two 10,000mAh batteries, plus two fast-charging cables and carabiners.
This setup might not be ideal for powering work on your laptop for an extended period of time, but it can supplement your laptop’s internal battery enough to get it to boot up and check or send messages in the case of an emergency. At under 200, it’s a great value and considerably less expensive than setups with higher capacities.
Sunjack is a trusted name is solar panels, and its durable design is back by a one year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 120
Solar Panel Capacity: 25 watts | Battery Capacity: 90 watt hours each | Weight: 3 pounds total | Output Ports: One USB-A, one USB-C
Our top pick for a portable solar laptop charger is the Jackery Power Outdoors unit for its reasonable price and high functionality, but if you’re looking for a cost-friendly option, the SunJack Solar Panel and Power Bank set is an affordable, lightweight choice for charging laptops and cell phones in emergency situations.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Solar Laptop Charger
While some portable solar panel manufacturers claim they can charge laptops by connecting directly to the panel, it’s not a good idea. Voltage fluctuations can potentially damage devices, and portable solar panels are slower to charge devices than battery power packs. Not to mention, solar panels can only be utilized during daylight hours, while a combination of both (battery and panel) allows you to maximize power generation by using the battery in the evenings and recharging it on the panel during the day.
Although solar panels and batteries have both gotten way lighter in recent years, a battery system that’s large enough to keep a laptop charged for a meaningful amount of time is not going to fit in your Generally speaking, bigger, heavier batteries are going to charge a laptop for longer. These steps tend to be best suited for off-grid homes, car camping, or RVing. If you need a super lightweight system, you may want to consider if tablet and smaller battery pack can suit your needs.
Make sure the battery has output ports that you can plug your laptop’s power cable into. Many newer laptops, like the MacBook Pro, use a power cable with a USB-C connector. Older laptops will need an AC output port, the kind you find on a wall outlet.
Why Trust Treehugger?
The author, Amber Nolan, lives off-grid (most of the year) on a houseboat using almost entirely solar power, but she also relies on the Jackery portable solar generator when she’s traveling.
The Best Portable Solar Chargers of 2023
Adam has been writing about mobile technology since 2011. He is the former host of the Android Authority podcast, and his work has appeared in numerous publications.
Rich Scherr is a seasoned technology and financial journalist who spent nearly two decades as the editor of Potomac and Bay Area Tech Wire.
The best solar chargers use the sun’s abundant power to keep your devices and batteries topped off. Solar chargers aren’t just for nature enthusiasts. Anyone who spends time away from an electrical outlet will find them helpful.
We recommend the X-DRAGON SunPower Solar Panel Charger for its 40W power output and high-efficiency cells. This charger doesn’t include a power bank to store all that juice, but if you are away from power and need to charge your phone or even your laptop, this is a great option. Opening the eight solar panels will give you plenty of power as long as there’s daylight.
X-DRAGON 40W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger
Our best overall charger can produce up to 40W of juice from its eight efficient panels. It opens wide to collect a lot of sunlight with eight high-efficiency panels, but it folds down small enough to fit into your backpack. There’s no water-resistance rating here, so be careful not to get caught in the rain, and no battery is included. But if you have large items that need a charge, the X-DRAGON SunPower Solar Panel Charger is a great choice.
You can plug in your phone and tablet, but you can also scale that up to your laptop with the five included different-sized barrel chargers and connection for your car battery. This is a great item to keep in your emergency car kit or your backpack for camping. The 18-month warranty will give you peace of mind too.
Number of Ports: 2 | Power Output: 2.8A max USB, 18V DC | Types of Ports: USB-A, DC | Number of Cells: 8 | Efficiency: 22 to 25% | Battery Capacity: N/A
BigBlue 28W Solar Charger
The Big Blue Solar Charger is a highly-portable solar charging solution that folds to a tiny 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches when closed. It’s long but narrow and thin, easily fitting into most backpacks. Included carabiners allow you to open and strap it to your bag outdoors.
There is no built-in battery, but the three USB-A ports allow you to charge any phone or tablet quickly. The panels are waterproof, which our reviewer tested by submerging the cells in a bathtub.
Our reviewer also noted that the advertised 28W output is misleading. There are four 7W panels which add up to 28 Watts. Unfortunately, the panels could output only around 17W maximum during our testing.
There’s a pouch for holding cables or devices while charging, which is a nice bonus. Given its water resistance, we’d recommend this for hikers and campers, even in inclement weather. Of course, cloudy days will mean less charging, but at least you know your panels can stand up to it.
Number of Ports: 3 | Power Output: 5V / 4.8A | Types of Ports: USB-A | Number of Cells: 4 | Efficiency: Not listed | Battery Capacity: N/A
What to Look for in a Portable Solar Charger
Solar power works best outside, so looking for water resistance in case you unexpectedly get caught in the rain or snow is a good idea.
Solar panels generate power, and that power has to go somewhere. If you have a solar panel and nothing plugged in, the panels will not generate energy, which is fine, but a battery would allow you to generate power and store it until you need it.
Keep in mind the kinds of devices you’ll be using. Most solar panels can do the job if all you need to charge is a phone or tablet. If you need to power something larger, such as a laptop or car, you’ll need a powerful setup to get the job done.
That depends mostly on the cells’ efficiency and the amount of sunlight you’re getting. Solar panels are getting more and more efficient these days, which means they’re capable of generating a lot of power. On a bright, sunny day, it’s not unreasonable to think you can generate enough power for a phone and tablet or even bigger items.
If it’s big enough, a solar panel can deliver a charge to your car’s battery to allow it to start. A jump start technically means you’re drawing from a power source to start your car right away. The solar option is more of a car battery charger, meaning you’ll need to wait some time for your car’s battery to charge before you can turn the key. But yes, it is possible.
Solar panels should never be left in a window or in a car to charge. The glass from the window can FOCUS with light on the panels and cause them to overheat. Solar panels are meant to be outside and under the sun, or put away.