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Best Solar Phone Charger: Which Is Your Best Option for Emergency Situations?

Best Solar Phone Charger
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

When looking for an alternative source of power, solar chargers are the next big thing. Some persons may say that regular wall chargers are a thing of the past, but the truth is that each has its place. But one thing is sure: no one can deny the endless possibilities that having the best solar phone charger can mean for anyone, especially in an emergency situation.

Our Top Picks

Product NameWeightDimensionsOutputPrice
The Anker Powerport Lite12.5 oz11.0 x 6.3 x 0.7 inDC 5V 2.1 ACheck price on Amazon
The Ravpower 16w35 oz7.48 x 10.24 in5V 2A + 5V/1ACheck price on Amazon
Poweradd Apollo Pro24 oz8.66 x 4.92 x 0.87 in5V 2.1A + DC 12V/16V/19V 3ACheck price on Amazon
Poweradd Apollo 35.6 oz5.5 x 2.9 x 0.6 in5V/1A + 5V 2ACheck price on Amazon
Poweradd 20w Dual Usb Port20.8 oz10.4 x 6.3 x 0.55 in5V 4ACheck price on Amazon
Goal Zero Nomad 716.2 oz9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in8-9V 1A 5WCheck price on Amazon
Instapark Mercury 10w16 oz9 x 6 x 2 in5VCheck price on Amazon
Voltaic Systems "Amps" 4.0w17.6 oz5.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 in5V 4.4WCheck price on Amazon
Bienna 15000mah Power Bank13.6 oz10 x 5.1 x 1.2 in1A and 2.1ACheck price on Amazon
Cobra Electronics Cpp 300sp Dual Panel10.2 oz6 x 3.65 x 0.75 in5V 2.1A, 5V 1ACheck price on Amazon

Things To Consider Before Buying

Best you go out and buy a solar phone charger, you should keep in mind the following factors.

Weatherproof

This is a number one feature to have in mind since most of the times that you will be using solar chargers, you would have to position them in an open space with enough solar light to actually charge it, so you have to make sure the unit is waterproof, dust proof and resistant to corrosion and rusting

Compact

Another aspect to consider when choosing solar chargers is how small and compact they are. Even when most units can be folded to reduce their size, some of them might still be too bulky for taking with you on trips, so pay attention and try to buy the perfect match between size and quality.

Best solar phone charger

Durable

If you want maximum reliability, you need a solar charger that won’t disappoint in terms of durability. The charger should be strong enough to handle any potential damage and being dropped. This is especially true if you’re going to use outdoors like for camping or hiking.

Best Products On Today’S Market

After much research, analyzing of customer reviews, pros and cons, we have come up with a list of solar chargers which have proven themselves worthy to be called one of the best solar phone charger.

Anker PowerPort Solar LiteThe Anker PowerPort Solar Lite

Price: Approx. $50

Weight: 12.5 ounces

Dimensions: 11.0 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches

Specific features: Output: DC 5V/2.1 A, 15W, USB cable, Pouch with Velcro closure

Best use: For people who want to power up their device when in an emergency situation or off the grid

The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is a very good charger since in its closed state, it’s no bigger than a paperback novel, and, if your plan is to remain in the outback for more than a week, this solar charger can provide up to 2 to 3 hours of battery life. Also, it has 2 USB charging ports.

Even in the shade or not in direct sunlight, they still give out power. It has a fast charging technology that replicates your device’s charging protocol, it is made with very rugged plastic loops on all four corners which makes attaching them to your backpack, tree, or tent as easy as pie and it has a short circuit and power surge technology that keeps you and your devices safe.

There are a few things that you should consider about this solar charger. First of all, it does not put out as much output as their manufacturers claim. In fact, don’t expect to get full capacity charging from both USB ports simultaneously. Another minor setback is that since it has such a small surface area, it works best when aimed directly at the sun every two hours or so since it’s prone to slow charging.

The other minor setback is the fact that the Velcro enclosure isn’t too secure, so there’s the possibility of your phones, cables or other stuff, falling out of the pouch. Aside from that, applause is in effect. The last drawback would be that it works only with USB devices.

So if you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to juice your device with jack ports, you’d be sorely disappointed that this solar charger isn’t for you.

PROS:

  • 2 USB charging ports
  • Durable
  • Replicates your device’s charging protocol

CONS:

  • Charges slowly
  • Unsecure Velcro enclosure
  • Works only with USB devices

Related: The Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger is a great gear to have in your car since it charges fast most of devices, has a safety system, is really compact and has two USB ports.

Check the price on Amazon

RAVPower 16W Solar ChargerRAVPower 16W Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $57

Weight: 35 ounces

Dimensions: 7.48 x 10.24 inches

Specific features: Output: 5v / 2A + 5v / 1A, 16w, user guide, 2 USB charging cables, 2 USB charging ports, weatherproof nylon, 3 solar panels

Best use: For larger devices such as tablets, iPads, etc. most likely in car camping situations, on the beach, mountaineering, long distance travel, etc

The highly efficient solar cells of the RAVPower 16W Solar Charger convert up to 21.5 – 23.5% of solar power into free energy. It can charge up to 2 USB devices simultaneously since each USB port delivers about 2 amps of juicing power, which can charge an iPad at a reasonable rate, and when both USB ports are used together they generate an output of 3 amps total. It is small yet powerful and has a simple foldable design

Having 3 solar panels increase the amount of energy intake, so you will not need to carry along an external battery. The four green clips that it comes with are useful, as they allow you to attach the solar charger to your pack while you trek, or some other stabilizing mechanism to drain more solar energy. Additionally, it has the iSmart technology, which allows the charger to identify and adapt to the device you need to charge.

This solar charger, based on some reviews, is not the best companion for lightweights as it is bulky and heavy and does take up some storage space in your pack. Some people claim that the RAV 16W does not charge their iPhone 6 since it shows the error message ‘accessory not compatible’.

Some other customers claim that this product either didn’t work at all or didn’t deliver as much output as advertised or was expected to, and that it didn’t deliver the full 16w as advertised.

PROS:

  • 2 USB ports and cables
  • Simple and foldable design
  • High energy intake

CONS:

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not for iPhone 6
  • Do not deliver the amount of Watts advertised

Related: We also recommend the Solar Charger RAVPower 24W since this one has three USB ports equipped with iSmart technology, is constructed with a durable and waterproof material, and it is really lightweight and portable.

Check the price on Amazon

PowerAdd Apollo Pro Solar ChargerPowerAdd Apollo Pro Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $140

Weight: 24 ounces

Dimensions: 8.66 x 4.92 x 0.87 inches

Specific features: 23000 mAh/85 wh, Input 15 – 20v 1.2A and Output 1 x USB 5v 2.1A + 1 x DC 12v/16v/19v 3A, can charge laptops, 4 LED indicators, 10 notebook connectors included

Best use: Weekend outings, short camping trips, hiking, mountaineering, emergency backup

The PowerAdd Apollo Pro Solar Charger is easy to use and very portable so it can fit in a pack quite comfortably. You could fully recharge an iPad 3 twice with this solar charger or fully recharge a typical laptop once. It is advised to fully recharge the Apollo Pro prior to its first use in order to activate the battery, which will take about 26 – 38 hours in bright sunlight. Once you have done that, it can be pre charged from wall power.

The advantage of the high capacity batteries is that you can pre charge them at home before a short camping trip, and then keep topping them off using your Apollo Pro. The 4 LED indicators make it easy to know how much source you have and when not in use for about 30 seconds, this charger will automatically shut down if no device is connected.

Though this solar charger has its highlights, it has a few drawbacks. It takes too long to pre charge, it’s pricey compared to other USB solar chargers, and it can’t charge a device while also being in the sun.

Some people also claim that the unit did not work properly on arrival and that some of those which did, would not work after the charge had drained.

PROS:

  • Can be plug to a wall power
  • 4 LED indicators
  • Resting mode

CONS:

  • Too long to pre charge
  • Not long lasting
  • Cannot charge while being in the sun

Related: Another great option is the Poweradd Apollo2 Dual-Port Solar Panel Charger. It is compatible with most of 5v USB devices, it is quite compact and lightweight, it has 2 USB ports and has a 24 month warranty.

Check the price on Amazon

PowerAdd Apollo 3 Power Bank Solar ChargerPowerAdd Apollo 3 Power Bank Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $60

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.9 x 0.6 inches

Specific features: 8000 mAh, 2 USB ports; 1 USB 5v/1A for cellphones and 1 USB 5v/2A for tablets, wrist strap, built in light

Best use: Backpacking, hiking trips, etc., in areas where you have access to lots of uninterrupted sunlight

The PowerAdd Apollo 3 Power Bank Solar Charger has been described as a beautifully designed and powerful external battery. This device charges rapidly via a wall outlet and is able to charge various devices just as quickly. Additionally, it is the most lightweight product from this list, weighing less than 6 ounces (170 g), so it can be taken on any outdoor activity with no problem.

It is compatible with most kinds of 5v USB charged devices and, when compared to other devices, it did perform well as far as charging devices go. It will fit comfortably into a back pocket or hook onto a backpack using the wrist strap, and it comes with 2 USB ports.

The solar charging function of this device is however reported to be quite unreliable as it may take several days of bright sunlight to actually get even 25% of juice. It is advisable to use the solar charging function as a back up to top off devices once they’ve already been charged.

Some buyers have said that this unit takes too long to charge any device, that once it has lost the power completely it just cannot be recharged again, and that the power is drained too quickly from the charger.

PROS:

  • 2 USB ports
  • Very lightweight and compact
  • Compatible with lots of devices

CONS:

  • Takes too long to charge
  • Difficult to recharge
  • Loses power too quickly

Related: The Poweradd 3200mAh Portable Charger Power Bank is another good choice for campers and backpackers since it has the size (and shape) of a lipstick, it is safe to use, and it comes with a micro USB charger and a user manual.

Check the price on Amazon

PowerAdd 20W Dual USB Port Solar ChargerPowerAdd 20W Dual USB Port Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $45

Weight: 20.8 ounces

Dimensions: 10.4 x 6.3 x 0.55 inches

Specific features: Output: 5v/4A, PowerSI technology, PET laminated solar panels with high wear PVC fabric, micro USB cable, user manual, 2 USB ports; 1 USB: 2.5A and 1 USB: 2.1A, 20w

Best use: Camping, hiking, boating, other long distance activities

Since unstable sunlight would lead to unstable current and voltage which may damage your devices, a high tech voltage regulator is equipped into the PowerAdd 20W Dual USB Port Solar Charger, as a cure for the problem. In this case, the safety of your charging and the lifespan of your device will be fully guaranteed.

The eyehole hook design makes it easy to carry around on your pack when using the carabineer. Also, it is really easy to use since all you have to do is to place the solar panel in a sunny spot, unfold it and connect it to your device through the USB port. This solar charger is compatible with iPhone 7s, Plus 7, 6s, 6, iPad, iPod, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nexus, Gopro, MP3 Players, external batteries and more.

However, people who had bought this unit said that it is too bulky, so it is difficult to store it in your backpack. Also, they say that it takes too long to charge and recharge the unit using only solar energy, and that it does not have any hook to hang it to bags.

PROS:

  • Voltage regulator
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to use

CONS:

  • Too bulky
  • Charges too slow
  • No hanging facility

Related: We also recommend the Poweradd 10050mAh Power Bank since it can charge devices really fast, it is compatible with most USB plug phones, it is compact and lightweight, and it has a 24 month warranty.

Check the price on Amazon

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar PanelGoal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel

Price: Approx. $49

Weight: 16.2 ounces

Dimensions: 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches

Specific features: 7w/8 – 9v, Output: USB 1A/5w, 1 USB port, foldable, rugged design, weather resistant

Best use: Ideal for Guide 10, Switch 8, Smartphone, GPS, Headlamp for military units, trekkers, climbers, fishermen, snowmobile and professional outdoor photographers

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Charger is so easy to use that it has been described as ‘plug and play’. It can be draped onto your backpack using the 4 latches at the corners. It’s a well designed portable solar panel product that meets the challenges of any off grid trip, as long as you get stable sunlight of course. The compact and portable solar panel is smaller and more powerful than comparable panels on the market.

It is claimed to be able to charge smartphones in around 1 to 2 hours provided that it’s exposed to direct sunlight and it’s free from shade. Additionally, the panels have a removable kickstand that gives you the option to angle the unit better towards the sun.

Some users have claimed that the device do not charge their phones. In fact, they say that it simply keeps them from going completely dead. Also, this solar charger requires a Goal Zero Guide 10 battery pack to charge an iPhone.

Another bad aspect is that it is difficult to get it in the right position to actually get the solar light, and that many backpackers find this item too heavy for their trips.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Compact and portable
  • Adjustable

CONS:

  • Do not charge iPhones
  • Only hold battery devices
  • Too heavy

Related: The Goal Zero Venture 30 is another tool to take to the backcountry since it is completely waterproof, it charges fast most devices, and you can even use your phone while it is been charged with this unit.

Check the price on Amazon

Instapark Mercury 10W Solar ChargerInstapark Mercury 10W Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 16 ounces

Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2 inches

Specific features: Output: 5v, 2 USB ports, Input: 10w/2A

Best use: Outdoor use for groups of 2 to 4 persons, long backpacking trips

The Instapark Mercury 10W Solar Charger converts a virtually unlimited supply of solar power to much needed battery juice for your mobile devices such as an iPhone, iPad and many other USB devices while on the go. It is extremely lightweight and compact and fits in your purse or backpack, and it has loops at the corners which allow it to be attached to a backpack or branch or other stationery object to soak up the sun’s juice.

This device is sophisticatedly designed and engineered and comes with dual standard USB ports for directly plugging in your cell phones. it is able to hold its charging connection even when the panels become momentarily shaded. It also has a large storage pouch for cables, devices and any other accessories you may need to store in there.

However, when trying to charge an iPhone 5 or 6 with this unit, it shows the following message: ‘this device is not supported’, so if you have any of those phones, it is better not take the risk. Also people say that you need to expose the 3 panels directly to the sun to actually get it charge, and that the loops are made of a weak material.

PROS:

  • Dual USB ports
  • Very portable
  • Storage pouch

CONS:

  • Not compatible with iPhone 5 or 6
  • Weak loops
  • Difficult to use

Related: Another great solar charger would be the Instapark Mercury 4. This unit does not need an additional battery to charge external devices; it has 2 USB ports to charge 2 devices simultaneously; it is made with a weatherproof material; and it is really compact.

Check the price on Amazon

Voltaic Systems “Amps” 4.0W Portable Solar ChargerVoltaic Systems “Amps” 4.0W Portable Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 17.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches

Specific features: Output: 4.4w, Input: 5 – 6v/1A, 4000 mAh, 15 Watts hours, Amps + V15 USB battery and microUSB cable, waterproof panels

Best use: Ideal for emergency backup source of power, and though heavier than most solar chargers, it can be used when camping, hiking, boating trips, etc

The Voltaic Systems “Amps” 4.0W Portable Solar Charger is claimed by the manufacturer to be compact and powerful and fits easily in any bag for power on the go. With four times the power and twice the battery storage of most solar chargers in the market, your phone would never be flat again.

It is equipped with a protection system against short circuit, over charge, over discharge, over current and over temperature; it is coated in self healing urethane for durability; and it is designed to power various handheld devices and Smartphones.

One major complaint about this unit is that it needs to be charged for a long period of time to actually work. In fact, to charge a DSLR camera, it would need to be charged initially for about 7.5 hours. To charge a 7” tablets, this solar charger would need to be charged initially for about 8 hours.

Some customers claimed that this device didn’t deliver on the advertised output. Also, they said that after a year, the electrical connectors between the solar panel and the battery started rusting.

PROS:

  • Protects your devices
  • Durable
  • Compatible with most devices

CONS:

  • Do not deliver advertised output
  • Takes too long to charge
  • Not protected against corrosion

Related: The Fuse 6W Solar Charger is another choice to have in mind. It is made of high quality materials, it is claimed by the manufacturer to charge devices rapidly, it is waterproof and it includes a lightweight backup battery.

Check the price on Amazon

Bienna 15000mAh Power Bank Solar ChargerBienna 15000mAh Power Bank Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $21

Weight: 13.6 ounces

Dimensions: 10 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches

Specific features: Output: 1A and 2.1A, 15000mAh, 2 USB ports, micro USB cable, small carabineer, LED light, iSmart technology, water resistant

Best use: Hikers, backpacking, boating, camping, etc

The Bienna 15000mAh Power Bank Solar Charger has a very stylish case and has a nice feel in your hand. It’s roughly about the size of an iPhone 6, or just a little bigger than an iPhone 5S. It’s required to pre charge this solar charger either with your computer or with a wall outlet power block.

It is waterproof, dust proof, and shockproof, which makes it a pretty good to take on any outdoor activity. Also, it can charge 2 devices simultaneously thanks to its 2 USB ports; it is compatible with most Smartphones and tablets; it is portable and small; and it has 8 LED flashlights to help you out in the dark.

Some users have said, however, that this unit takes too long to charge phones but that the energy is drained quite fast from it. Also, this solar charger might be too big for some people since it is pretty much like having another phone with you; it is made with weak materials; and it stops working after a while.

PROS:

  • Stylish case
  • Portable and compact
  • LED flashlight

CONS:

  • Charges slowly
  • Weak materials
  • Will not work after a while

Related: The Bienna Small Military Pouch is a great carrying bag for backpackers since it comes with 6 pockets; it is made of a waterproof, rainproof, dust proof, anti tear nylon; and it can be hooked onto pants, belts and backpacks.

Check the price on Amazon

Cobra Electronics CPP 300SP Dual Panel Solar ChargerCobra Electronics Dual Panel Solar USB

Price: Approx. $18

Weight: 10.2 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 3.65 x 0.75 inches

Specific features: Rechargeable via USB ports or solar panels, High efficiency dual solar panels, Multiple charging outputs – charge up to 3 devices at once, Illuminated LCD display, 7v/6000mAh Outputs: USB 1: 5v DC, 2.1A, USB 2: 5v DC, 1A, MicroUSB 3: 5v DC 1A

Best use: Long hours outdoors on camping trips, hiking, boating, mountaineering, etc

Need to keep multiple devices powered up on a long day? The Cobra Electronic CPP 300 SP Dual Panel Solar Charger features dual USB outputs and a built in micro USB connector to charge multiple devices simultaneously and eliminate some cable when travelling. It has 1 Amp that quickly charges your cell phone, smartphone, tablets and other mobile devices.

The fold up design features a powerful 6000mAh Lithium Polymer battery pack that will charge multiple devices, multiple times while the high efficiency dual solar panels continually charge the battery pack in any light. The CPP 300 SP is equipped with an illuminated LCD display to indicate the charging status and can be charged via a standard USB port for a quicker recharge.

Some customers had difficulty getting this device to charge using the sun and they claimed that the charge wasn’t fast enough. Additionally, people say that this unit stops working after only 6 months of constant use, and that it seems like it drains energy from the phones instead of charging it.

PROS:

  • Charges up to 3 devices at once
  • LCD display
  • Lightweight and compact

CONS:

  • Not fast enough
  • Stops working after a while
  • Drains energy

Related: The Cobra CX312 Walkie-Talkie Two-Way Radios are great for group hikers and backpackers since they have ultra clear, long distance reception, they have 22 channels, they are easy to use and they have a hands free mode.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Words

Based on a number of factors, such as overall output, dependability, cost of the device, versatility, etc., it can be determined which of these A list solar charges takes the blue ribbon home. It’s never a better time than now, to make one of these solar chargers a gift.

Solar Phone Charger

Though each solar charger has its capabilities and each one may have a few more appealing features than another, the bottom line is, which one best suits your needs and which one will you want to rely on when in an emergency situation or when the lights go out.

What do you look for in a solar phone charger? Do you have one at home that works great? Sound off in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Karen Wood

    I often go hiking with my friends. Usually, we are far away from civilization for several days. My family is very worried about me, so my phone always has to work. For this purpose I bought the Cobra Electronics Cpp 300sp Dual Panel Solar Charger. I like so much how it works!

  • Sean Nelson

    These solar panels are really something, aren’t they? I remembered the time when we have to make do with lesser gadgets – it was so limiting! Today, we can enjoy being out camping for days without fearing our gadgets will run out of juice!
    Good choice of solar phone charger, by the way! 🙂

  • David Roberts

    Hi Sean! When I’m away from home I always have a problem with my phone battery. I’m tired of this, so I decided to buy a solar charger. I really like the features of the voltaic systems “amps” 4.0w portable solar charger. I think that soon I will buy it!

  • Sean Nelson

    Solar chargers are just the thing today and I appreciate that! Before, when I go camping, I have several batteries with me to make sure my gadgets will not run out of juice. The solar chargers are just what we need and they even charge fast, too.

  • Michelle Decker

    The Ravpower 16w is one of the best solar phone chargers I’ve ever used. Both of the two USB charging ports are protected extremely well and they both provide good charges (going from about 60% to 75% in an hour), even on cloudy days with occasional sun.

  • Jason Marnecheck

    I needed a solar charger for a multiday hiking trip I was going on this summer, so I bought The Anker Powerport Lite. I was really impressed with how quickly this unit was able to charge my phone! And it was able to do that on days we onlyhad partial sun. I definitely recommend this charger!

  • Sean Nelson

    Hi Michelle and thanks for stopping by. Your comments are highly appreciated, by the way. I wonder what made you choose the Ravpower 16w among the other phone chargers?

  • Sean Nelson

    Hi there Jason and thanks for sharing your comments. I also have the Anker Powerport Lite and it has a lot of useful features that catered to my needs. One tip, put the device in direct sun for every two hours if notice it slow charging.

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