Solar phone chargers, also referred to as solar cell phone chargers and solar-powered phone chargers, are gaining as they progressively become more efficient, durable, and less expensive. And there are virtually thousands of options available online.
There are two types of solar phone chargers:
Direct solar chargers connect the solar panels to your phone, so the energy produced by the panels goes directly into your phone’s battery.
A battery bank solar charger doesn’t get hooked up to your phone. Instead, the panels charge a solar power bank that you can then plug your phone into later when it needs a boost.
You want to make sure the charger you get is powerful enough to charge your devices. If you’re only looking to charge one smartphone, a solar phone charger with a lower power output can work for you.
If you need something that can charge multiple devices, or larger electronics like tablets, you’ll want a solar phone charger with more power. A wattage between 10 watts and 15 watts of power is a good rule of thumb when looking for a solar phone charger.
The size of your charger is important! Because you’ll generally be using a solar phone charger on the go, the size and weight are important. Some solar chargers are made up of multiple lightweight solar panels that fold up so they can easily fit in your backpack. Others are sustained, and include a backup battery pack, that will add extra weight to whatever you’re carrying.
Make sure that the charger you buy is compatible with your devices! Most solar phone chargers are able to charge any USB device, however, it’s always good to check before you purchase.
Also keep an eye out for how many charging ports the charger has. You don’t want to go on a hike with three people and only be able to charge two gadgets!
An important thing to note about solar charging is that even if you get one with a high power output and place it in direct sunlight, they don’t have fast charging capabilities. With most solar phone chargers, it will take a minimum of five hours to fully charge your device.
Typically, portable solar panel chargers are meant to function as a source of backup power, not as the primary way to charge your phone every day because of their slow charging speed.