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A portable solar charger is a portable gadget that stores the energy from sunlight into built-in batteries for charging a cell phone or other USB devices. It does not have to rely on another power source to charge your mobile device, so it can be carried anywhere without worrying about finding a wall socket.

Solar chargers are more preferable to electrical chargers because they do not need any electricity supply at all. Electricity grids fail in many places during natural disasters or war, but the sun still shines down on us every day.

The compact solar charger is very helpful for outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep their gadgets running while camping, hiking, climbing mountains, or enjoying water activities outdoors. They are also an absolute must-have for emergencies when electricity grids go down, so you can always have a way to charge your cell phone or other USB devices.

Portable solar battery chargers come in many different models and brands, but it is best to pick one that comes with a combination of high-quality battery cells and a waterproof exterior design.

This article will help you know all essential information about the best portable solar chargers, from the basics of how they work, which type is right for you, what features to look for when buying one, and how to care for it properly.


What is a compact solar charger?

A compact solar charger is a device that stores the energy from sunlight into built-in batteries for charging a cell phone or other USB devices. Charging your gadgets with solar energy gives you two major benefits:

  1. You can charge them without any mains electricity supply; and
  2. it does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions like electrical chargers do.

There are three different types of portable solar chargers:

Hand crank powered

This type lets you manually rotate the handle to generate power, so there is no need for sunlight. Your gadget will automatically start charging as soon as you turn on the crank handle, and the built-in battery gets filled up. This type has a crank on one side and a USB port on the other, so it is easy to charge any gadget.

Solar powered

This type needs some sunlight before it can start charging your gadgets, but once it gets charged up, you can charge as many as six devices at the same time with just one charger. This type of portable solar charger uses an amorphous silicon solar panel that charges even during cloudy days, although it takes longer than normal. It also works well in high altitudes or areas near large buildings.

Dual-purpose

This is a combination of both types (hand crank and solar), and lets you generate power whenever needed without worrying about sunlight availability. Once fully charged, you use it for emergency situations like hurricanes or earthquakes. If you prefer this type, make sure it comes with a USB port and a charging output for cell phones, so you can charge different gadgets at the same time.

Most portable solar chargers are designed to produce 5 volts of energy. This kind of voltage is ideal for digital devices like mobile phones because their batteries are designed to work best when charged up to 5 volts. Some chargers come with a 6-volt power supply that is better suited for larger devices like laptops because they need more energy than smaller ones to start up. It might take longer to charge these kinds of gadgets using 5-volt chargers, but if you have enough sunlight then it will be done in no time.

Portable solar chargers also vary in battery capacity. The battery is the most important part of your portable solar charger because it stores the power, so you can use it to charge your gadgets when there are no other sources around.

There are two main types of batteries used by solar-powered devices:

Lithium-ion

This is a lightweight and high-performing type that is suitable for pocket-sized gadgets, but it can break if dropped or mishandled.

Polymer

This is another lightweight option that has good performance against external forces like impact, so you do not have to worry about dropping it accidentally. It can store energy for up to two years without deteriorating but will take longer to charge gadgets than lithium-ion ones.

Portable solar chargers are designed to work in all kinds of weather conditions. Most models are water-resistant and can withstand direct sunlight, although it is best to pick a model that has an IPX4 rating. The “IP” stands for International Protection Marking and the number after it shows how protected your charger will be from dust, water jets, and accidental contact with solid objects like dirt or sand.

An IP68 rating means that your device is both airtight and waterproof at depths of up to 1.5 meters for half an hour, while an IP65 rating means that it can handle low-pressure water jets from any angle without impacting its performance.

If you do not plan on using your portable solar charger in dusty environments, make sure it has an IP54 rating. This means that it is able to withstand high-pressure water jets from any direction but cannot handle dust.

Make sure your portable solar battery charger can generate enough power to charge your gadgets in emergency situations.

A helpful feature of a good compact solar charger is its ability to automatically turn itself on and off when sunlight becomes available or absent, so you do not have to manually push the button every time you want to use it. It should also come with a built-in indicator that shows how much energy it has stored up already and if there are still spare charges left (usually displayed as the number of LED bars).

Different types of chargers also vary in size and weight. If you are planning to hike with your device, pick a lightweight option that is compact and portable.

Finally, choose durable materials that can withstand different kinds of weather conditions. Portable solar chargers made from silicone or ABS plastic last longer than cheap models, especially in hot climates where the material tends to warp quickly without proper venting. Make sure it has strong enough eyelets for hanging purposes and comes with an adjustable support system so you can mount it on your backpack when hiking.

What are the brands of best portable solar chargers?

There are many brands out there to choose from when shopping for a new compact solar battery charger, but not all of them are worth buying.

Here are some of our recommendations:

BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger
The lightweight USB solar charger from BigBlue is a great option for anyone who needs to power their device on the go. It’s small and light enough that you can take it with you everywhere without sacrificing any ability. It has two USB ports which mean you can charge two devices at the same time!

BigBlue 28W Portable Solar Charger

Goal Zero Nomad
Goal Zero Nomad is another reputable brand with many different types of compact solar chargers for all kinds of gadgets. Goal Zero Nomad is known for its innovative and cutting-edge design, so if you want top-of-the-line performance then this is the brand to go for!

Goal Zero Nomad Portable Solar Charger

Anker 24W USB Solar Charger
This compact USB solar charger is powerful, efficient, and affordable. This solar charger has 3 USB ports, which means if you connect three devices at the same time.

Anker 24W USB Portable Solar Charger

Oukafen 30,000 mAh
The best part about this USB solar charger battery pack? You’ll never have to worry about your phone running out of juice when you’re in the middle of something important. Just leave it for a few hours, and come back later! A super lightweight solar charger that immediately charges devices by using either energy from daylight.

Oukafen 30,000 mAh Portable Solar Charger

BLAVOR 10,000 mAh
For those who like to go fast and light, the BLAVOR battery pack is an excellent choice. It may be small enough that you can slip it into your backpack for short backcountry excursions, but with 10,000 mAh worth of power in each battery cell, there will be plenty left over if the need arises! This compact battery pack also charges quickly thanks both to solar panels on top as well as being able to charge via micro USB input. Perfect when relying solely on this device isn’t really possible due to weather conditions or other challenges that lie ahead!

BLAVOR 10,000 mAh Portable Solar Charger

Be aware that there are cheap brands out there that are not worth your money or time. Best portable solar chargers can range from $40-$250 depending on features and quality, so do not buy something that is not made of quality materials just to save money. Always check the brand’s reputation and read customer reviews or feedback before you make a purchase, especially since many brands sell their products online only.


What To Look For When Choosing A Compact Solar Charger

Choosing the right portable solar power charger can sometimes become a major headache if you don’t know what you are looking for. There are many factors to consider, and it’s best not to base your decision on just one feature because you might end up with a product that doesn’t meet the needs of your device or lifestyle.

Here are some things to take into consideration:

Power Output

How much power your device can produce is determined by its capacity (measured in watts) and voltage (measured in volts). You will want to get enough wattage to charge all of your devices at the same time, but not too much that will increase its size and weight without any benefits. As for voltage, this may vary depending on what kinds of gadgets it is used with, so always ask before making a purchase. Some chargers come outfitted with multiple USB ports, while some only have one.

Battery Capacity

This typically ranges from 2 watts to 20 watts and is measured in watt-hours (Wh). The higher the capacity, the longer your gadgets can charge on a single solar energy source without running out of juice. For example, if you are charging 4 phones at once that require 5 watts each, then it will take five 10 watt-hour batteries to do the job. Batteries with higher capacities tend to be bulkier but also perform better when used outdoors for extended periods of time.

Solar Panels

When shopping for a new portable solar power charger, check its power input rating to make sure it matches up with your devices or gadgets. You want something that produces a wattage that is higher than what it can charge so you will not have to wait long when outdoors. There are 2 types of solar panels: mono-crystalline and polycrystalline. Mono-crystalline panels are more expensive but they can absorb sunlight better, so they tend to last longer.

Portability

Portable solar chargers vary in size, weight, and appearance depending on how much power they can produce and store at once. Models with larger batteries tend to be bulkier while ultra-slim ones may not have enough capacity for your gadgets or devices. If you want a lightweight option then go for small panels with a high wattage input rating instead of investing in one with a massive battery. Also, some portable solar chargers come with their own carrying case while others do not.

Durability

You can get a compact solar charger that is water-resistant but it may not be fully waterproof like regular solar panels for your roof. If you plan on using your device outdoors then make sure to look for one with at least an IPX4 rating so it will last longer. There are also units that are dustproof or floatable so you can use them in all types of conditions without any problems.

Warranty

The average warranty length for outdoor gear is 2 years, so check what kind of protection plan each manufacturer offers before making a purchase. Some brands offer repairs, replacements, and even refunds within the first 30 days of buying their products.

Accessories

Some portable solar chargers may come with extra features like built-in flashlights, battery packs, or USB hubs to increase their value. There are also options that can be charged via wind turbines and kinetic energy so they will never run out of power for your gadgets or devices.

What are the benefits of using a portable solar battery charger?

Most of us still don’t know why we should buy a solar phone charger in the first place. Even if we are not traveling, we can benefit from this wonderful technology.

Here are some of the great benefits that you will enjoy if you use a solar charger:

Environmental Sustainability

Portable solar phone chargers are more sustainable than other types of power sources since they do not release any harmful gasses into the atmosphere when in use outdoors. They also do not depend on electricity grids so the device operates on its own without depending on public utilities to function properly.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

This is an important feature if you want to maintain a low carbon footprint while living off the grid or making your home more eco-friendly by using green energy for everyday appliances and devices. As long as the solar panel absorbs enough sunlight through solar panels, you can expect this type of portable charger to provide optimal power whenever needed without depending on grid systems.

Reliability

Solar power chargers are considered the most reliable type of power source for outdoor activities since they are not affected by bad weather conditions. They can be used during cloudy days, winds, storms, and snowy seasons without any problems, unlike other devices that require electricity to recharge their batteries continuously.

Durability

Portable solar phone chargers are very durable against harsh elements outdoors so you can bring it anywhere for your next camping trip or hiking journey no matter what the weather is like outside. It can even work perfectly underwater because its solar panels are encased in waterproof materials so it will never rust over time.

Safe to use

You do not have to worry about electrocution or getting shocked while using a portable solar power charger outdoors since this device does not rely on electricity grids to power up your gadgets and devices. It is completely safe for everyone, even children and the elderly, as long as you follow basic operating procedures and precautions after each use.

Cost-Effective

Solar chargers for batteries are considered more affordable than other types of portable solar generators since they only need direct sunlight to work properly. They do not depend on wind turbines or kinetic energy so they will never break down over time unlike other products within their category that may need manual winding or some type of additional fuel source to recharge their internal components. The solar panel will take care of producing the energy that you need. The best part – you don’t need to spend a single cent after buying this device!

Great Versatility

Most portable solar power chargers can be used for almost any kind of gadget, device, laptop, smartphone, MP3 player, camera battery, and more.

Most of us prefer to go off the grid when electricity is in short supply, but this runs up the cost of an already expensive environment. If you really want to cut down on your carbon footprint, then investing in a portable solar charger for batteries is a good idea. This type of charger doesn’t require any power grid so it will never be affected by bad weather or natural disasters, making it perfect for outdoor activities or emergencies.

Compared to other types of power sources, a portable solar power charger is more affordable and durable against harsh elements so you can rely on it for years without worrying about breakdowns or accidents. It can also charge most gadgets and devices from laptops to smartphones without any problems, making it perfect for traveling or emergencies.

How To Take Care Of Your Compact Solar Charger

It is very important to keep your solar phone charger safe from the elements so it will not break down after a few uses outdoors. Do not let water get inside the unit, especially the solar panel since this may damage internal components and ruin the warranty so always keep it covered when not in use or stored away from rain and snowfall.

You do not want any dirt or dust build up inside the solar charger since this may decrease charging capacity or cause malfunctions. Just wipe it clean with a dry towel every now and then to prevent any corrosion from forming on electronic parts.

The key to proper care is being gentle when you are using your solar phone charger so you do not accidentally drop anything on it. Even though the best portable solar chargers are very durable, accidents still happen so always be cautious after each use so the unit does not get damaged or broken beyond repair.

You can also invest in an extended warranty plan just in case something goes wrong within the first few months of daily use. Remember that these devices are designed for outdoor activities only, not everyday home use, so take extra precautions if you want to prolong its life for many years without any problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do portable solar charger units work?

Yes, they do. 

Place this charger in the sun and allow its solar panel to absorb sunlight to charge your GoPro, iPhone, or Android (make sure your device is compatible). You can charge several gadgets at once using the three USB ports, making it ideal for a family camping trip. It will stop charging and restart when the sun comes out again if clouds pass over.

Do I need to expose my portable solar power charger under the sun for it to work?

Solar charger units do not require direct sunlight to charge, as the name implies. They do need some type of light to power them on, however. Indirect sunshine, for example, cloudy days, or artificial light sources like incandescent bulbs or LED lamps may be used to provide this, but not as efficient if the sky is clear.

Can I charge my solar charger using a power bank?

You can do it, but you would be depleting your power bank with energy. What you can do instead is use the power bank with the remaining energy to recharge your devices. You can recharge your solar charger when the sun goes up the next day.

How long does a compact solar charger last on a single charge?

The battery life of a solar power charger is determined by the number of hours on a completely charged battery. If you are referring to lifespan, a properly maintained solar charger will last up to four years.

Can a handheld solar charger power a mini-refrigerator?

No. Small fridges can run on as low as 60W (a hairdryer uses up to 1200W). So if your fridge is 5 cubic feet or less, you won’t be able to run it with just a 25,000 mAh solar charger. 

For bigger units (e.g. full size 7 cubic foot beverage coolers), you would want something closer to 300 watts or more, so charging it off-grid would be almost impossible even with many solar charger units.

Are portable solar power charger units safe?

Portable power stations are small, silent, fire-safe, and low-maintenance. Unlike portable fuel generators, they do not produce carbon dioxide, making them safe to use indoors.

What happens if your portable solar battery charger gets wet?

It is important that you keep the unit covered when not in use so raindrops do not get inside. If this does happen then it will likely damage components so always check inside before using again just in case there are any leaks or corrosion building up on electronic parts. 

You may be able to clean it off but sometimes water can cause permanent damage. If you still want it to get repaired, let an authorized dealer handle maintenance and repairs instead of doing it yourself at home. The internal battery may cause an explosion and other accidents.

Can I replace a damaged solar panel on my compact solar phone charger?

Solar panels of a damaged solar phone charger may be replaced. However, finding a replacement can be more expensive than buying a new solar phone charger in the first place.

So, if you are thinking about repairing your solar charger or solar power bank, think about the cost and the effort you will go through.

Can a portable phone charger run a WiFi router?

If you want to bring a portable WiFi router on your backpacking trips, you can use your portable phone charger to run it, even for a short while. If the phone charger runs out of power, all you have to do is recharge it using the built-in solar panels on it.

Can a solar phone charger power a laptop?

Powering a laptop requires a bigger power reserve that a small solar phone charger lacks. But if you have a portable camping solar panel, you can definitely power your laptop. 

If you want to use your computer for eight hours, it will require 300 Wh from the solar system. A single solar panel unit can produce 100 to 300 Wh. To power a computer with 200 watts of solar panels and six peak sun hours, you will then need two solar panels.

Can I use my solar phone chargers during emergencies?

Yes, you can! This is exactly why this handheld solar device is made for. 

If you are experiencing intermittent power outages, the best way to keep your phones regularly charged is via a solar power bank. You can also use this during natural calamities such as hurricanes, torrential rain, and snowstorms. If your solar phone charger has a built-in flashlight, you can provide a light source in your house or campsite. This way, you won’t need to wait for the power to return. Just expose the solar panels of your solar power phone charger in the sun and you are good to go.

Can I upgrade the solar panels of my current solar power bank?

When it comes to repairs and upgrades of your solar power bank, it is best to refer to your manual guide. This way, you can keep an eye on your warranty (if there’s one). Because opening and repairing your solar power bank and replacing the stock solar panels with a new one without the authorization of the manufacturer can default your warranty.

Conclusion

A portable solar battery charger is definitely a valuable outdoor accessory to use at all times, especially when you are exploring remote locations or rough terrains without access to any power grids. It can help keep your devices powered up for extended periods of time so you will not have to worry about running out of battery power while spending the day outdoors.

There are different types of units on the market today so it’s best if you take your time shopping around until you find one that works well with your gadgets and electronic gear. Always consider its wattage input rating, durability, lifespan, portability, warranty terms, accessories included, and overall value before making a purchase since this will be an investment that should last many years under various conditions.