The 7 best portable solar chargers

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Portable solar chargers give you the freedom to power up your devices just about anywhere. The best portable solar chargers are small or foldable, and have the right wattage for your charging needs.

The first thing to consider when buying a solar charger is the size of the panel. Chargers with smaller solar panels typically generate fewer watts, which is a measurement of power, while larger solar panels generate more. The larger a panel is, the more sunlight it can convert to power, and the quicker it can charge your devices.

Smaller panels tend to have lightweight, compact designs and work best for charging small devices like phones, but they will take quite a long time to charge. However, they usually come with built-in power banks, so they can store power for seamless charging later. Mid-sized solar panels, which usually generate around 20 to 30 watts of power, can charge phones and tablets more quickly, and are still small enough to clip onto your backpack to charge as you go.

Larger solar panels, which have approximately 100 to 200 watts of power, can charge devices directly as well, but they’re often primarily designed for charging power banks. While larger chargers are portable and usually foldable, they’re also heavier than smaller ones. They are still portable, but their size makes them best for car camping or use during power outages.

If you choose a mid-sized or large solar panel charger, you may want to buy a power bank as well, which will allow you to store extra power to use later. Some solar panel chargers have corresponding power banks that they’re designed to work best with, while others work well with any power bank. You’ll also want to think about the conversion efficiency of your charger, which is a measurement of how much solar energy is turned into useable energy for powering your devices. While this metric isn’t always available, something in the range of 20-25% is a good place to start.

Finally, consider what ports you need in your solar panel charger. Some will only have one or two classic USB ports, while others have a variety of USB, USB-C, DC, and other port types that can be used to charge a range of devices.

Use the power of the sun to recharge your phone, tablet, and more with picks from this list of the best portable solar chargers on Amazon.

1. A smaller solar panel for charging phones

  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.1 by 3.35 by 1.37 inches (13.9 by 6.1 inches when expanded)
  • Power: 20 watts (5 watts per panel)
  • Includes power bank: yes

Charge your phone and other small devices while you’re on the go with this portable solar panel pack. It weighs just 1.1 pounds, and the four panels can be folded up, so it’s easy to pack away when you need to take it with you. More than just a solar panel, it also has a built-in 25,000 mAh lithium-polymer battery that you can charge with the sun throughout the day, or charge up at home with the included micro-USB cord. Perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities, it’s listed as being waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof — though no IP rating is noted. It can hold enough battery to charge your phone up to 10 times, or a tablet up to four times, on average.

One fan raved: “This product has saved us a couple of times already. We take our minivan and go on weekend trips, and we are constantly using the gps, taking photos, and on social media, which are the most battery-consuming apps, with this charger, we just leave it on our minivan's roof or on our bag back while hiking and our phones are fully charged!”

2. This compact solar panel with thousands of fans on Amazon

  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.9 by 3.1 by 0.8 inches
  • Power: 5 watts
  • Includes power bank: yes

This portable solar panel charger is very popular on Amazon with over 14,000 five-star ratings. The solar panel on this charger is a bit smaller than the previous choice, but it’s still great for everyday use because it has a 10,000 mAh lithium-ion battery that can be charged at home. This device has a built-in light and compass, and the IPX5 rating means it can withstand splashes. You can also use it to charge different types of phones and devices since it has two USB ports as well as a USB-C port.

One fan raved: “I’ve been looking for a wireless power bank for a long time since I bought a smart phone with wireless charge function. With recommendation from my friend I ordered this product. Gotta say it’s remarkable and awesome—you can charge your phone by putting on it. Let alone there is a flashlight and solar panel on its surface. It can charge itself with very limited light. This function saves me from the problem of forgetting to charge it after use.”

3. A mid-sized solar panel for phones and tablets

  • Weight: 1.34 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.5 by 6.7 by 4.1inches (11.6 by 6.3 by 1.34 inches when expanded)
  • Power: 28 watts
  • Includes power bank: no

If you need a bit more charging power, check out this mid-sized portable solar panel, which has 28 watts of power. It weighs just over 5 pounds and has four solar panels that can convert up to 23.5% of solar power. It’s compatible with most phones, tablets, and DSLRs, and it has three USB ports that can work all at once, so you can charge multiple devices at the same time. Perfect for hiking and camping, it has reinforced holes, so you can clip it to the outside of your backpack; then when the sun sets, simply fold it up to pack it away. Note that this panel is not listed as waterproof, but there is a built-in cloth flap that can protect the USB ports from dust and splashes. This option can’t hold a charge to be used at a later time.

One fan raved: “I just got this and gave it a quick try while out camping, set it up mid day when there was no clouds. about 75 degrees out and plugged in my Samsung s20. took it from a 20% charge to 90% in just about two hours. Have not fully tested the water resistance or durability, but judging from the quality it looks like it will hold up quite well.”

4. A waterproof mid-size solar panel

  • Weight: 1.12 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.3 by 1.06 by 11.1 inches (26.2 by 11.1 inches when expanded)
  • Power: 21 watts
  • Includes power bank: no

This folding solar panel charger is great for anyone who may encounter rainy weather since it has a rating of IPX4, which means it’s resistant to splashes from multiple directions. This three-panel device is easy to fold up for compact storage, and when you want to use it, there are integrated metal holes so you can clip in onto a backpack. The three solar panels provide 21 watts of power and have up to 24% conversion efficiency to help you make the most of any weather. This device also has two USB ports, which work well for charging phones and tablets, but it cannot hold a charge to be used later on.

One fan raved: “This works great. It charges well I've charged a 20,000mAh power bank in 1 sunny day which is fairly impressive and it has no problem charging my smartphone on a nice sunny day and with the pocket in the back I don't need to worry about leaving my black phone in the sunlight which is nice. it also has loops down the side making it easy to mount to my back pack for charging while moving. Fantastic product, I've already recommended it to friends.”

5. The large solar panel with matching power bank options

  • Weight: 21.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.83 by 19.69 by 2.36 inches
  • Power: 100 watts
  • Includes power bank: no

To get enough power to charge multiple devices quickly, you need a larger portable solar panel, like this one, which has 100 watts of power. It measures 48 by 21 inches when opened, and it has a kickstand, so you can set it up with the best angle towards the sun. Once you’re done charging, you can fold this panel up to just 24 by 21 inches, and use the carrying handle to bring it wherever you need. The best way to make the most of your solar panel is with a power bank, and while this panel doesn’t include one, the brand does make a variety of corresponding power banks. It can connect to the power bank with the built-in DC cable, or you can charge your devices directly with the one USB port and one USB-C port.

One fan raved: “The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel is among the higher priced products in this category and in my opinion, it's worth the extra money. Upon first inspection, the precision fit, form and function of this product conveys much forethought by the product's designers. From the durable plastic trim to the cable compartments, everything fits together for practical utility. Yesterday, I connected the SolarSaga 100W to my Jackery 500 Power Station and the two products perform well. [...]”

6. A large solar panel that works with most power banks

  • Weight: 11.18 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21.2 by 15.8 by 2.3 inches (66.7 by 20.7 by 0.2 inches when expanded)
  • Power: 120 watts
  • Includes power bank: no

Another great choice for anyone who needs more power, this portable solar panel from PAXCESS is 120 watts. It has a fold-out design that can be supported by a kickstand, and an efficiency of up to 23%, which is one of the reasons why it can charge an iPhone 11 Pro to 50% in just 30 minutes. Once you’re done using it, you can fold it up and easily carry it around thanks to the convenient handle. While this solar panel doesn’t come with a power bank, the company makes corresponding power banks, although it will also work with a variety of other power banks because it is equipped with four USB ports.

One fan raved: “I must say ‘WOW’. I’m a newbie in this solar game and these panels made it easy for me. Like what I said in the video, it’s super easy to use and made that it’s portable as well. This keeps my portable power generator fully charged during the day. The best part about it is the cable that has multi connections on it. I can plug it into different devices. These can be folded and carry like a thin suitcase. My generator picked up the charging signal right away. I’m glad I bought this and the first experience was wonderful!!!!”

7. The giant solar panel for charging power banks

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  • [Dimensions: tk by tk by tk inches (tk by tk by tk inches when expanded)]
  • Power: 200 watts
  • Includes power bank: no

One of the largest portable solar panels on Amazon, this Goal Zero solar panel has 200 watts of power, yet it can still be folded up to carry with you. Like the other large solar panels, it has a built-in kickstand that supports the two 100-watt panels, so they can be angled toward the sun for the most power. The frame is made from aluminum, while the panels are made from tempered glass and have been field-tested in different types of environments. While this solar panel has a built-in handle for carrying, you can also store it in the included bag for added protection. It does not come with a power bank, but like the previous pick, it has a corresponding power bank that you can buy on Amazon.

One fan raved: “I buy these for the smaller size and lower weight. I am able to move them around easily and pack them away after use. I have several and all work well, even the refurbished one I bought directly from Goal Zero. Even if you are stronger than me, you may find the compact size useful. They do cost quite a bit, but I feel they are a good value and the company has very good customer support should you need to contact them. Since we went to solar power our camping is much more quiet and pleasant and I don’t have to fire up the generator in the morning while others sleep. Also, they can charge when clouds cover the sun. Slow and low, but still powering through light clouds.”

Also great: a power bank

Sometimes you need to charge your devices when the sun isn’t out, which is why [portable power stations link going to reviews page] are a great addition to any solar panel. This smaller one is great for taking with you on car trips, since it weighs less than 5 pounds and can hold enough power to recharge your phone 16 times or recharge a light for 10 hours of use. It has a 167-watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and it can be recharged with a SolarSaga 60 in just 4.5 hours. Or, you can pre-charge it at home with the DC port, then use the two USB ports and one USB-C port to charge your devices.

One fan raved: “After reading a number of reviews I had buyers remorse. I wanted to find something wrong with it and couldn’t. Mine came 38% charged so it took a few hours to fully recharge. Then I charged my iPhone and my Bluetooth headset. It was at 95%. The next day I charged my iPad and a portable DVD player. It was 87%. The next day I charged my iPhone, iPad, and an android phone. Then I charged another iPhone using the AC output and another device using the 12V output and a car charger. I finally ran it down to 20% before recharging it. It’s a work horse. I’m looking forward to using it camping and car trips.”

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