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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Solid battery life
Indicator lights continuously blink while charging
Flashlight functionality not clear
Very hot when in direct sun
The JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank is an attractive, durable, and long-lasting power solution for off-the-grid hiking or camping ventures.
It’s good to unplug when you’re off the grid hiking or backpacking. But for safety’s sake, you want to be able to charge your phone when you’re miles from the nearest outlet. A portable power bank can help with that.
The JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank is built specifically for camping and may provide just the amount of power and convenience you’re looking for. We recently tested this device to evaluate its ease of use, solar power, and durability.
If a product claims to be “built for camping,” you expect it to be rugged. The JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank definitely walks the walk. It’s slightly longer than your average smartphone and much thicker and heavier at 11 ounces. But the heavy-duty plastic cover that encases it makes the device feel sturdy without being unwieldy.
The boxy shape gave us confidence in its shock resistance. We even tested this by lightly dropping it against a rock on a hike, and it was unscathed.
While it’s not the lightest of all solar power banks, it’s still quite portable. It comes with a carabiner, which made fastening it to a backpack very simple—when we attaching it to our pack this way, we didn’t even notice the weight of it.
The heavy-duty plastic cover that encases it makes the device feel sturdy without being unwieldy.
This solar power bank has two USB 2.0 ports and a micro-USB port that’s meant for charging the device. These ports are covered by a plastic flap that (sort of) locks into place, and feels adequate enough to keep out dirt and water to a reasonable degree.
In terms of buttons, there are just two. One is the power button that signals the charge level and solar charging status from the row of five indicator lights. The other button controls the flashlight located at the bottom of the unit.
The flashlight button is not as intuitive to use and needs to be pressed down for a few seconds before the light turns on. Pressing it a second time initiates SOS mode, which is a slow, steady blinking, and pressing the button a third time starts the strobe function. While it make take a minute to understand how to use the flashlight, we found it to be very bright and imagine it could come in handy in the evening hours.
Another great design and durability perk is that the device can stand upright on its own. This offers another option for setting up the solar panel so that it can catch the sun from a better angle.
Like other solar power banks, the JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank needs to first be charged via the included micro-USB cord. The manufacturer explicitly advises against relying on the sun as a sole source of power—instead, they recommend treating treating solar power as an auxiliary power source only.
This seems counterintuitive, especially because even inside with indirect light or under a strong light source, the indicator panel lights up green to show that the solar power bank is picking up a charge. In addition to being a little distracting, this blinking action can be misleading about the charge it’s actually picking up.
We charged it in the directed manner through AC power and noticed that it took about five hours to charge up all the way, starting from the 50% charge it showed out of the box. The user guide says that it can take anywhere from seven to 13 hours depending on the power source, so we saw a speedier charging time than anticipated.
After this initial charge and using the product until it died, we did try testing out the rate of solar charge. The product manual says that a full charge by the sun could take three to five full days, but that 20%-30% recharge is possible when leaving the device out in the sun for the day.
We’d recommend following the directions to first charge through AC power and then use the sun to reinforce the charge.
We tested this product during a particularly overcast week in city conditions, but we chose the days that offered the most sun to test this out. With just one bar lit up, which indicates anything under 25% capacity, we placed it outside for 15 hours in mostly sunny conditions. There was no change in the indicators to let us know that the device captured any additional power. It could have gotten stronger, but all that was clear is that it didn’t gain enough to bump it up to more than 25% charge.
Because of this ambiguity, we’d recommend following the directions to first charge through AC power and then use the sun to reinforce the charge. That’s what we ended up doing, and that successfully kept this device powered and able to charge multiple devices.
One thing to note: This device gets quite hot when charging directly in the sun. The user manual says to not expose it to heat sources or even leave in a car in hot and humid weather. So this is something to be mindful of when considering if this is the right solar power bank for you.
The manufacturer claims that the JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank has a charging speed of five volts and a maximum 2.1 amps. We tested these claims with a USB multimeter to measure the wattage, voltage, and amperage of this device when connected to a mix of three smartphones and one tablet.
We found that the charging speed was definitely slower for a Kindle tablet and iPhone X at around 4.94V and 0.97A. But for phones that aren’t as new, like the iPhone 6S Plus and Google Nexus 5X, the average speed was 5.04V and 0.73A.
To break that down into hours, the Kindle Fire took five hours to charge and the Google Nexus 5X took three hours to charge. Both iPhones charged in about two hours.
We also wanted to see how the device fared against two low-powered smartphones at the same time. When charging both iPhones for 30 minutes (starting at 5% charge), the iPhone X jumped to 20% and the iPhone 6S Plus increased to 33% charged.
And to get a sense of the average charging time for the JETSUN, we charged it up from from 0% two times and found the average time to reach 100% charge was 7.25 hours, which is in line with what the user guide says is the typical charging time.
Over the course of a week this device was either sitting on a patio table or hooked to a backpack on hikes and city outings in sunny and partly-cloudly conditions. We did our best to provide as much as sun as we could when not in use, but we never identified any impact on the actual battery life.
The fully-charged JETSUN yielded enough power to charge an iPhone twice, charge a Kindle once, and stream YouTube videos for about an hour on a Google Nexus 5X.
In order to get a better picture of full battery capacity, we tested the battery by streaming YouTube videos from a completely drained iPhone and Google Nexus. We found the average battery life from both tests to be an impressive nine hours.
Priced in the $25-$30 range, the JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank is competitively priced for its battery capacity and additional features like the built-in LED flashlight modes and rugged design.
But there are several competitors in the 20000mAh category that cost more in the range of $35-$60, and these pricier devices tend to include more bells and whistles like Qi wireless charging and compass functionality. If you’re looking for something under $30 that’s functional and durable, the JETSUN is a strong competitor for filling the role of backup charger for camping and general traveling.
The Renogy 15000mAh Solar Power Bank is a direct competitor to the JETSUN, selling in that same $25-$30 range and featuring a single solar panel and dual-USB design. It’s almost exactly the same size as well, but it comes with a slightly more potent 2W solar panel (versus the 1.8W panel in the JETSUN) and is lighter at only eight ounces.
The main downside to the Renogy is that it has a smaller battery: 15000mAh versus 16750 mAh. It also offers slightly slower charging speeds with one 5V/1A and one 5/V2.1A port, compared to the two 5V/2.1A USB ports in the JETSUN. The Renogy is also missing a cover for the USB ports, which could mean less protection against water and dirt.
Explore a few other great choices for portable power by browsing our guide to the best solar chargers.
A great solar power bank for camping and extended time outdoors.
The JETSUN 16750mAh Solar Power Bank is a great accessory for traveling and camping. It features a pleasantly rugged and attractive design that’s substantial but not unmanageable, and also packs a consistent amount of power. As long as you make sure it’s charged properly through AC power and only supplement it with solar power, you’ll enjoy great battery life and the convenience of charging a smartphone in just two hours.