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Picture this: You’re driving to your campsite or hiking on an unfamiliar trail, when suddenly your phone dies—right when you needed to double-check Google Maps. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that happens far too often. While wall chargers and outlets are hard to come by when you’re on the road or in the middle of nowhere, solar phone chargers come in handy for moments like this. British Type 24 hour Mechanical Timer
We’ve found our favorite after extensive research and can’t recommend the Blavor Solar Power Bank enough. But don’t let its best overall rating steer you from checking out the others. They’re all winners in their own right; from a solar phone charger that doubles as a high-powered lantern to a lightweight option that’ll rival your wall charger’s speed, these offerings are bound to make an appearance on your next few trips.
These are the best solar phone chargers of 2022:
Why We Love It: It can charge up to three devices at once, has a built-in flashlight, and can be used wirelessly.
What to Consider: Only a USB-A to USB-C cable is included, and the look is utilitarian.
Everything you could possibly need in a portable solar charger can be found in this lightweight power bank. It boasts three ports and wireless charging for your phone or AirPods. A built-in LED flashlight is great to have as an extra light source when you’re off the grid, as is the buffer-boosted exterior that helps protect it from falls. Since it’s dustproof and IPX5 waterproof (meaning it can withstand low-pressure water streams), you can feel confident bringing it along for beach trips. To easily expose it to sunlight when you’re out and about, it comes with a carabiner clip that has a compass on it. A USB output, wireless charging pad, and a USB C output/input are included. You get your pick between five color options, and if you want even more functionality, Blavor’s four-at-once charger is also available.
Price at time of publish: $27
Number of ports: 3 | Weight: 10 ounces | Power: 10,000mAh | Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches | Built-in battery: Yes
Why We Love It: It features four large, high-performance solar panels.
What to Consider: As is typical with solar chargers, for the most effective charge, consider first charging it via USB.
While this solar charger was built for outdoor use, it can also be charged via USB cable if you’re near an outlet. It charges phones up to 10 times and tablets up to four times, separately. On average, the portable solar charger can be used nine times per charge, making it a staple for extended trips. It’s available on Amazon at a steal compared to chargers on the market with similar battery lives.
Price at time of publish: $47
Number of ports: 2 | Weight: 1.34 pounds | Power: 25,000mAh | Dimensions: 6.18 x 3.54 x 1.38 inches | Built-in battery: Yes
Why We Love It: You can use it to charge phones, laptops, and mini fridges.
What to Consider: To avoid ruining your phone’s battery, don't plug this panel into your device directly; instead, pair it with a power bank like the Yeti 200x Power Station first.
This heavy-duty solar panel (that’s lighter than it looks) is big enough to capture sunlight to charge any device with help from an external power bank. From phones to laptops and even mini fridges, it can collect the amount of solar power needed to maintain your devices for long periods of time away from the hustle and bustle. However, since this panel does have a charge controller, you should only transfer power from it to a heavy-duty power bank that can then be used to power up your devices.
Price at time of publish: $250
Number of ports: 3 | Weight: 6 pounds | Power: 50 watts | Dimensions: 53 x 17 x 1.5 inches (unfolded); 17 x 11.25 x 2.5 inches (folded) | Built-in battery: Yes
Why We Love It: In addition to being collapsible and lightweight, it’s weatherproof.
What to Consider: Because of its convenient size, it may be more difficult to collect and transfer solar energy to power your device.
Claiming to “charge about [as] fast as a typical wall outlet charger” when the sun is fully out, this solar panel can easily fit inside a tote bag thanks to its near-flat design or can freely hang on a backpack. It can also charge any device in as little as three hours due to its 10-watt power output, according to the brand. A bonus for those with overloaded suitcases? It weighs less than a pound. This charger is water-resistant but won’t stand up to being fully submerged.
Price at time of publish: $55
Number of ports: 1 | Weight: .65 pounds | Power: 10 watts | Dimensions: 10.5 x 7 inches (unfolded); 5.25 x 7 inches (folded) | Built-in battery: No
Why We Love It: It folds and has holes for easy hanging.
What to Consider: It’s unable to store power for future use.
With three USB-A ports, this four-panel solar charger is able to power up your favorite devices, such as your phone and Bluetooth speaker. This charger comes equipped with smart chips to ensure your device is always protected and charged safely without experiencing over-voltage. It’s extremely thin for slipping into a backpack or tote, and when you need to hang it up to soak in the sun, holes with heavy-duty metal lining come in handy.
Price at time of publish: $76
Number of ports: 3 | Weight: 1.34 pounds | Power: 28 watts | Dimensions: 33.1 x 11.1 x .2 inches (unfolded) or 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches (folded) | Built-in battery: No
Why We Love It: It charges two devices at the same time.
What to Consider: There’s no internal battery, meaning energy can’t be stored.
The Ryno Tuff Portable Solar Charger can fully charge a phone or tablet in approximately two hours. Another standout feature of this solar charger is its ability to stop charging when it senses your device is overheating or has reached its full capacity. Two carabiner clips are included with the foldable charger for hanging and hauling needs. In addition to providing your phone with top-notch energy, the team at Ryno Tuff is also committed to giving back to the earth—with every purchase of this solar charger, the company will plant a tree through the National Forest Foundation.
Price at time of publish: $63
Number of ports: 2 | Weight: 1.04 pounds. | Power: 21 watts | Dimensions: 18.1 x 11.8 x 0.12 inches (unfolded); 5.9 x 11.8 x 0.79 inches (folded) | Built-in battery: No
Why We Love It: It’s waterproof and shatterproof.
What to Consider: It can only charge one device at a time.
With five brightness settings to light up your chosen environment, this backpacker-favorite lantern features adjustable straps so you can easily hang it from trees or inside a tent. It’s also collapsible (a must for those on the go), shatterproof (made from heavy-duty TPU, an elastic plastic that’s PVC-free), and waterproof (it can survive being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes).
Price at time of publish: $50
Number of ports: 1 | Weight: .53 pounds | Power: 2,000 mAh | Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 6 inches (unfolded); 6 x 6 x 1 inches (folded) | Built-in battery: Yes
When it comes to finding the perfect-for-you solar phone charger, it’s important to consider the types of ports (USB being the most common) your charger houses, as well as when you’ll be using it. A key rule of thumb: The bigger the solar panels, the faster your phone will charge, since the larger solar panels will capture more sunlight, thus providing more energy to your device. If you’re looking for something more compact, just know the charge time of those chosen power packs—which can typically reach 10-plus hours for solar phone chargers—will be on the lengthier side.
A built-in battery (i.e. a battery-bank solar charger) is important if you’re looking to charge your phone overnight or during a cloudy day, for example. The built-in battery will store any unused energy from the sun for future use (no sunlight needed as this is happening), while a portable direct charger without a built-in battery is best for on-the-go usage. For example, when you attach your solar panel charger to your backpack and connect the USB cord to your phone during an especially sunny hike, your phone will charge as you carry on with your adventure.
As the name suggests, solar phone chargers are powered by the sun. Here’s how: Photons carry energy from the sun, creating an electric field that produces energy that’s transferred to the charger itself, which is then delivered to the device.
So, do solar phone chargers actually work? It really comes down to your expectations. Charging speed and durability are reflective of how you’re using your portable solar-powered charger. A few tips to consider: Make sure the solar panel is completely exposed to the sun, without any obstruction, and be patient—depending on which solar pack you choose, it’s important to remember that garnering a full charge will take more time than it would with a classic wall charger.
Power output is measured in either mAh (milliamps per hour) and watts. Both units speak to the energy charge. The higher the number (for both), the more energy can be stored—meaning a longer battery life.
You can take your solar phone charger on the plane if and only if your charger doesn’t contain a built-in, lithium-ion battery (the most common type of battery used in chargers). Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to “[creating] sparks or [generating] a dangerous evolution of heat,” which is why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and TSA do not allow portable chargers containing this battery in checked luggage; you can bring it on the plane with you, however—but only if it’s packed in your carry-on. Have a battery-less solar phone charger? You’re cleared to check it in as long as it’s able to fit into your suitcase.
Grace Gavilanes is a writer-editor who has covered a wide range of topics—from celebrity news and beauty to food, wellness, and travel—for close to a decade. Her writing has been published in InStyle, Food & Wine, Glamour, and Mic, among other outlets. To curate this list of the best solar phone chargers, she drew from her own experience as a lifestyle writer and researched dozens of products.
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