Nowadays, campers, hikers and survivors rely more and more on technology. Whether this is good or bad is not the main concern. Technology is part of our lives as they are, for what we need them, and that is the truth. If in the past, people relied on maps and compasses, today we depend on GPS, smartphones and other similar devices to show us the way (and entertain us when the store gets bored).
To make sure these devices help us continuously, we have to load them quite often. The batteries are not yet as efficient and durable as we want, so we have to charge them quite often. Both GPS and smartphones have an unreliable battery life as they get older.
To remedy that, we will introduce the solar chargers. These small compact devices can charge your smartphones and other USB devices on the fly, for a few hours. Of course, you need the sun to work, but if you do not plan to hike in a totally cloudy weather, the solar charger can be a very useful item in your backpack. Most portable solar chargers are lightweight, so you should not worry about extra weight.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best solar chargers that are currently on the market. You can use this information to decide exactly what you want and which one best suits your needs.
List of the best solar chargers.
Orange portable solar charger JOOS
This solar charger is currently among the best on the market. It is true that it is also more expensive than most, but it definitely offers exactly what you are looking for: fast charging and not just smartphones, but also larger devices. For example, the iPhone 4s is charged for less than 1 hour, while the iPhone 6 Plus can be ready in less than 3 hours. The capacity of the battery is amazing, reaching 5400 mAh, which means you can be sure there is something else left and # 8216; juice ‘stays on the battery after recharging all your mobile devices.
The charger also comes with two cables: one to have contact with your computer and the other (black) is used to connect and charge mobile devices. It can be confusing at first, since most solar chargers do not have these extra cables, but you get used to them over time. When you connect the solar charger to the USB port of the computer, you will see the charger interface on your monitor. You can also see how the battery is working, if it needs recharging and how full it is.
There is also no risk of overload, since the battery is charged at a constant speed of 5 volts. If it is cloudy, the load is a little slower, but still much better than other solar chargers. When exposed to direct sunlight, the speed jumps to 6.2 volts.
When it comes to the design of the charger, you can use the adjustable legs, so you can place the charger at the angle you need, depending on where the sun is in the sky. The charger thus collects sunlight directly. It is a bit heavy, and arguably the heaviest portable solar charger with its 25 ounces (just over 750 grams), but because of its sturdy body, at least you will be sure you can not break it so easily.
The protective case on the panel is made of steel, and this is the only reason why it is a heavy product. The other part of the body is made of lightweight polycarbonate material.
In general, customers are very happy and satisfied with the durability and power that this solar charger can offer. It is definitely an expensive purchase for a single charger, but still worth the price.
If you like this product you can find it and buy it here.
Solar charger amp voltaic
Voltaic Amp is also another highly reliable solar charger. The battery is as powerful as the previous one, but only a little less: 4000 mAh, which in comparison with other solar panels is still impressive. The battery is made of lithium polymer, 5 volts. You can charge any smartphone or smart device, including iPads (which consume more energy).
The charger itself is divided into two 2.2-watt solar panels, made of monocrystalline silicon. According to the manufacturer, each panel can deliver up to 6 volts at a time, with the surprising option of reaching 12 volts thanks to a single switch. However, keep in mind that if you are in the highest amperage configuration, you will not use it completely, but only half. This means that if you want to recharge a DSLR camera, it will take twice as long.
Also, if you use this option with higher amperage, the battery will wear out too quickly, so if you want to keep it durable, it is better to use it only occasionally and when absolutely necessary. The switch is well hidden and can not be pushed accidentally.
In general, you can charge the battery, then connect any device you have, and you will even have some extra energy in the battery for a further charge, before exposing the solar panels to the sun again. This makes Voltaic Amp a worthy rival of the orange solar charger JOOS.
Voltaic is built so you can charge any 5 volt device. You should bear in mind that it is better to disconnect the battery cable first before plugging in the device. First of all, this is for security reasons, and secondly, the charger does not seem to be able to charge the solar charger battery together with a plugged-in device. The battery of the device will not show any indication that it is charging, which means that it is possible that the smart device does not register too much voltage at the same time and runs the risk of frying it.
The solar panels are protected by a urethane coating, which makes it really durable. Some people tried the panels hitting the desks, for testing purposes, and they only got a few scratches. The urethane finish also makes it very easy to remove dirt or debris on the screen panels, thus maintaining maximum efficiency all the time.
Finally, the battery is removable, while the panels are placed in a portable bag, where you can store some items inside, including your smart devices. It may be smaller for a larger tablet, but in general, that makes it portable, comfortable and customizable. Most customers are more than happy with all the features and performance of this solar charger.
If you like this product you can find and check its price here.
Suntactics sCharger-5 solar panel
This charger is another highly reliable product. It offers a charge of 1000 mAh (5 volts) and can charge an iPhone for approximately 1 to 2.5 hours, and a tablet for up to 3-4 hours. It can be said that it is charged as fast as it could be charged at home with the charger plugged into the wall. It is also incredibly light to include solar panels and a battery. It only weighs 8 oz./230grams. This means that you will not have to worry at all about the extra weight you should have.
There is also the so-called automatic retry technology, which restarts the process of charging older phones that go out in the shade. The circuits are made to be safe and protect your devices against overloads. You will also enjoy riding eyelets to attach to a backpack. The solar charger is also waterproof, and you can even submerge it to the fullest. 40 feet without causing problems to the charger. We do not expect you to go underwater with the charger, but this is an interesting feature that you should know in case it suddenly starts to rain.
Suntactics is proud to produce its products in the USA. UU., California, using highly paid labor. They offer high quality products and you will not have to worry if something breaks or does not work out of nowhere.
If you like this product, you can find it and buy it on Amazon.
As with any other solar charger, you should always try to charge your devices while you are sunny. Do not wait for your device to drop the battery until you decide to charge it. It may take half a day until you are sure you have a fully functional device. In general, people are very happy with this device. Sometimes it can happen that in the shade, the charger interrupts the charging of the device, and may even exhaust the battery of the device. This happened to several clients, but the other did not report this problem.
The charger is still very powerful, and if used in direct sunlight, at its peak (at noon), you can enjoy the charge at the speed you have at home, with devices plugged into the wall socket. Again, it is a great investment and is tough and durable enough to withstand rough handling. Definitely a worthy purchase.
If you need more power and charge more power-consuming devices, like iPads, you can get the Suntactics sCharger-14.
Solio Classic2 – battery pack and solar charger
This beautiful charger is made up of three small solar panels. They are mounted according to a principle of rotation and fold well together when the battery is not charging. Their weight is incredibly small, no more than 10 ounces / 280 grams, which makes them a true portable companion for campers and hikers. However, it is true that solar batteries may take a day to charge, but this is due to the small area of the solar panel, exposed to the sun.
After all, to make them small and portable, the manufacturer has to sacrifice the loading speed. And yet, when you are ready to connect your device, it will take as much time as when you are at home. An iPhone 4s takes only 1 hour to load from scratch. This is because it is a powerful 2000 mAh battery.
Please note that the Solio charger can only be used with USB devices and can not charge batteries, DSLR cameras, etc. The solar charger comes conveniently with a pencil that can be used to hold the three panels together, but you can use any lever to do that. You can even simply place them on the ground and wait for them to load them. They do not necessarily have to be together that way.
Several customers share that the charger’s battery may contain a lot of power, and some tried to charge their smartphones several times a day without recharging the solar panel. This means that once you charge the solar panel battery, you can use it to charge the iPhones completely several times during the day.
Or you can charge several different phones with a single charge. Even if it is a small solar charger, it is definitely very reliable and powerful. The only drawback is that it is not as robust and resistant as some of the previous ones, but after all it is very light, and that is a compromise to achieve this incredible portability.
If you like this product, you can find it and buy it on Amazon.
Goal Zero Nomad Solar Charger 13
This charger is packaged with a powerful monocrystalline battery with an open circuit voltage of up to 20V. The charger is a bit heavier than most laptops (it reaches up to 26 ounces / 720 grams). However, due to its significantly larger surface area, it captures more light than the small Solio Classic2, for example.
Its resistant design and material make it highly durable. In addition, it is waterproof. Charge any USB device, including GPS devices.
The solar panels are sewn very well in a foldable bag, so that they are protected from bad weather. When deployed, the solar charger can be attached to your backpack, and while you walk, you can charge the batteries without even thinking about it. There is also the option to chain a set of additional Sherpa 50 batteries to the Nomad 13, doubling the load to 26 watts. Chaining them is very easy and almost anyone can do it.
In general, although the battery is of the old NiMh type, which weighs more, it offers more security, compared to lithium batteries. They load a little faster and this Goal Zero Nomad 13 is perfect for devices that consume more, like iPads. There is also a USB port, although some customers wanted to have more than one, since the battery is powerful enough to charge more than one USB device at a time. However, it is a reliable product and many people have used it for several years without sharing any concerns.
If you like this product, you can find and check its price on Amazon.
Sunlinq portable solar panel 12V / 12W
The solar charger Sunlinq comes with two panels, each of which weighs just 1 lb / 450 g, which makes it perfect for camping and hiking. The manufacturer says that the solar charger can still work even in rainy or covered skies. It is made so that it can be folded and adjusted in a backpack without any problem.
The battery is also powerful enough to charge not only smart devices, iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc., but also flashlights, batteries, camera batteries, GPS, etc. AA batteries charge for up to 2 hours, while 4 AAA batteries require up to 3 hours.
If you like this product you can find it and buy it here.
Under the midday sun, the charger reaches up to 15 volts, which is more than enough for all available portable devices. It has no problem loading even portable gaming devices, such as Nintendo and Sony PSP. The charger does not come with internal batteries and if you want to store some charge until the next time you have sunny weather, you may have to buy an extra set of batteries. Another thing to consider, if you want to charge most DSLR camera batteries that require a lot of power, you may need a more powerful solar charger, such as the Sunlinq 25W.
In general, if you only need to load iPhones, iPads, e-book readers and GPS, then the Sunlinq 12W would be all you need. In case you need to charge AA / AAA batteries, you may have to rely on the Sunlinq 25W upgrade. Most customers report that if the sun is not at its hottest point and the sun’s rays do not hit the panels at a perfect 90 degree angle, then their general load will be much less than optimal: 12W.
You can reach 12W only in the best conditions. If you are not prepared for this, you may have a bad surprise. Therefore, to avoid such unpleasant situations, keep in mind that for smart devices, the 12W would be perfect.
A good method to determine which solar charger is for you is to plan your trip first. If you go to a remote mountain area for weeks and months, then you must pack a highly reliable and durable solar charger like the Sunlinq 25W. If you are going out for a weekend, or several days, and do not plan to use heavy technology, then pack the lighter version. If you want to record videos at intervals, the 12W will not be enough for your purposes.
To better determine which solar charger is best for you, as we indicated, you need to know the details of your trip, hiking, camping, etc. Also, if you have a friend who is already using a solar charger, or has experience in using several of these products, hire one of them or ask them for more advice about the experience first-hand.
If you can try one yourself, before buying it, do it in a safe environment like your backyard or put it in your car, while driving to work or home, and see how the devices behave. This will give you a much more accurate idea of what you need and what the particular product offers.