The 9 Best Portable Solar Chargers to Buy in 2018

Don't get caught in the wilderness without one

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Jetsun Solar Charger 16750mAh Portable Solar Power Bank

4.1

Designed with the outdoor camper in mind, Jetsun's portable solar charger is ready to help you out with all your power needs, thanks to a 16,750mAh battery and compact solar panel. With dual USB output ports, it’s easy enough to charge a smartphone and other portable devices that might come in handy during nights in the woods. A built-in LED light helps it serve dual purposes as a nightlight and shows you the amount of charge left in the power bank. The shell consists of wear-resistant plastic and is waterproof, shockproof and dustproof. Taking around 8 to 10 hours to fully charge, the Jetsun can charge a smartphone from 0 to 100 percent in around two hours. Overall it's portable, durable and can hang on a backpack and charge while you’re on the move.

Best Portability: BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

With the BigBlue Solar Charger, you’ll never find yourself caught off-guard by low battery levels on your computer or smartphone, no matter if you’re tackling adventures or just navigating the demands of the day-to-day. Small and light (it measures just over a pound and can be folded to the size of a magazine), it’s easy to pack, but its size doesn’t stop it from producing a great deal of power, offering a 21.5 to 23.5 percent solar efficiency. Thanks to two 2.4 A ports and one 1A port, you can charge three devices at the same time, and all the ports are covered by a cloth flap and rubber cover to protect them from dust or water damage. It is compatible with a variety of Apple and Android devices, and the polymer surface protects the entire charger from occasional rain and fog. When hiking under trees or when you encounter cloudy conditions, the device will automatically stop, restarting once it's back in the sun. 

Runner-Up, Best Portability: YOLK YKSP 5W Solar Paper

A little more expensive than the average solar charger, the Yolk Solar Paper offers one of the lightest and most portable options available. Weighing just 0.3 pounds and measuring only 3.5” x 7.5” x 0.4” when folded, it is ideal for any adventurer whether you're in the city or the mountains. It can easily fit into a jacket pocket for easy transportation. Along with its size, the charger’s appearance is subtle and sleek — matte black and trimmed with gold accents.

An iPhone 6 can be charged within 2.5 hours with the Solar Paper 5W, though 7.5W, 10W, and 15W options are also available. While the smaller sizes are only able to accommodate smaller devices, additional panels can be added to meet any charging needs. With auto reset technology, the device will automatically resume powering once you enter a sunny area so you don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging.

Best Splurge: X-DRAGON 40W SunPower Solar Panel Charger

Thanks to a super-sized 40W solar panel charger, the X-Dragon offers a beefy 2.8A (Amps) of power capable of re-charging smartphones, tablets and even some smaller laptops. Built-in to the X-Dragon is a 5V/2A charging port for a 5V gadget and a 18V DC output (18V/2A) for charging a laptop or other 18V powered devices. Fortunately, all that extra juice doesn’t mean an unwieldy size; the X-Dragon maintains a slim and foldable profile that’s easy to carry around. It can go in or on a backpack with the included carabiner that hooks directly to a bag. The 10-in-1 connector cables enable it to charge just about any type of device, while the incorporation of SolarIQ technology helps achieve the appropriate current and voltage to deliver max power. Ultimately, the X-Dragon is an ideal combination of portability and power that can keep you going for days.

Best Battery Life: WPBPINE Solar Power Bank

Supported by a massive 24,000mAh battery pack, the WBPINE solar power bank is a solid choice when you need a battery on the go. Capable of charging an iPhone 7 up to 10 times before running out of power, the battery pack adds dual USB 2.1A inputs for rapidly charging two devices at a time. It works with all Apple and Android smartphones as well as a slew of other devices. The three solar panels fold out to absorb more sunlight than similar models, dramatically cutting down on charging speeds and allowing for a full solar-powered charge in under 26 hours. The incorporated LED light is a noteworthy addition that can double as a flashlight or a steady SOS-strobe light in case of an emergency. Plus, the rugged form factor makes it ideal for outdoor use — the hardware can withstand rain, shock, and dust as well as intelligently preventing devices from overcharging or overheating while plugged in. The included hook attaches to a backpack or tent for charging via sunlight without having to be carried in hand. 

Best Phone Charger: Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank

With an ultra-portable design, the Dizaul 5000mAh portable solar power bank is the ideal solution for keeping your smartphone charged. With dual USB ports, it’s easy enough to share with a friend and charge two devices simultaneously. Fortunately, its water-resistant design and shockproof casing make it easy to travel and attach to the outside of a carry-on bag (there's an included hook). An emergency flashlight helps you quickly find any lost items and the smart LED indicators alert you when the battery is charged or requires a re-charge. It takes around two hours to charge a smartphone and the AC charging time of the Dizaul is around six to seven hours (it takes around two days of sunlight to completely re-charge due to the smaller solar panel surface). It measures 2.76 x 5.59 x .55 inches.

Best for Hiking: Nekteck 21W Solar Charger

The portable and compact design of the Nekteck 21W solar charger is a fantastic and highly efficient solution for hikers who want to stay charged while on the trail. With dual USB ports, the Nektech keeps your iPhone, Android and tablets charged whether you’re on an adventure or sitting at the kitchen table. The built-in smart IC chip helps identify each device plugged in and helps determine the appropriate charging speed (either 3A or 2A), which maximizes overall battery life. The build quality matches its use-case with a rugged canvas designed specifically for outdoor use. Come rain or shine, the Nekteck will be ready to go. It weighs only 18 ounces and measures 6.3 x 11.1 x 1.96 inches folded or 26.3 x 11.1 inches when open.

Best for Water-Resistance: Sokoo 22W

Water-resistant and durable, the Sokoo 22W portable solar charger has a PVC fabric canvas that can withstand thunderstorms, high humidity and even splashes from the ocean. The included Smart IC circuit helps maximize battery life through the dual USB chargers by determining the type of connected device and the appropriate output power. With a max charge of 3.3A or 2.4A on the 5V port, the 12.2 x 6.69-inch (when unfolded) and 17.5-ounce design is ready to go wherever the road takes you. The included attachment hook makes it ideal for connecting to a backpack while you’re on the trail or walking around town.

Best for Durability: Aukey 28W

This industrial-strength 28W solar charger is designed to be tough, rugged and used anywhere. Supported by high-efficiency solar panels (up to 23.5%), the Aukey delivers up to 2.4 amps per port or 4.8 amps overall while powered under direct sunlight. The 28W solar array offers enough power to simultaneously support two devices at once courtesy of the dual USB port design. The design is composed of PET laminated scratch-resistant solar panels and a water- and weather-resistant PVC fabric. Compact and lightweight at just 2.1-pounds ounces and nearly 1.8 inches thick when folded, the Aukey is ideal for long hikes, camping or just spending a day in the park. Attaching it to a bag with any of the four included carabiners makes it easy to open flat, attach to a backpack and charge while you're enjoying walking around outdoors.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 18 hours testing one of the most popular portable solar chargers available. To really get the full experience, we asked them to consider the most important features when using this solar charger — from durability to charging power — and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Portable Solar Charger

Charging power - Bigger solar chargers typically charge your devices faster, but the wattage is a better indicator of charging power than the size of the solar panels alone. If you want to charge a phone in a reasonable amount of time, 10 to 15W is about the lowest you want to go.

Battery backup - Portable solar chargers that have built-in power banks are a must-have if you plan on using yours in cloudy conditions or at night. Look for a bigger battery if you want to be able to charge multiple devices or have extra reserve power in an emergency.

Portability - More surface area for the solar panels usually translates into more power for your devices, so folding solar chargers tend to split the difference between great portability and high output. Single panel chargers are easier to carry around, but the smaller ones struggle to provide a decent amount of power in anything resembling a timely manner.

Test Results: Jetsun Solar Charger 16750mAh Portable Solar Power Bank (Best Overall)

4.1

What We Like

  • Durable

  • Held a lot of charge

  • Built-in LED light

What We Don’t Like

  • Blinking light to signify solar charging

Jetsun Solar Charger
Jetsun Solar Charger
Jetsun Solar Charger
Jetsun Solar Charger

One of our testers, who took this solar charger on a two-week trip to Mongolia, was very impressed with it: “It held a lot of charge,” she said. “I lost count of how many times I used it. On the flight home, my travel companions were using it when their chargers were all dead.” One reviewer, however, didn’t like the fact that when the device was solar charging, a light blinked constantly: “It makes me feel like it's burning most of the energy that it's absorbing. It was very distracting,” she said.