TRAVELING

Best Solar Phone Charger: Charge Your Phone Wherever

Image showing a solar power charging a phone
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Have you ever been out in the wilderness and had your cell phone battery die? Are you ever worried you may lose power and have no access to the outside world? A solar charger can help you in many ways by charging not only your phone, but tablets, laptops and more!

So what benefits would both you and your phone gain if you had the best solar phone charger you can get your hands on? Well, a lot of things, and in this article you will read all about it. You will also be presented with some of the finest products, when it comes to solar phone chargers.

Image showing one solar phone charger on the grass and two other devices

In this article you are going to be taught everything you need to know about solar phone chargers. We’ll also provide a list of some of the best solar cell phone chargers you can find in the market as a point of reference to help you find what you need.

Our Top Picks

Product NameWeightDimensionsWaterproofSpecific FeaturesPrice
Voltaic Systems Amp1.1 lb5.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 inchesYesResistant to high temps, lightCheck price on Amazon
Solar Joos Orange2.1 lb11 x 2 x 8 inchesYesDurable, resistant to high tempsCheck price on Amazon
Cobra Electronics CPP 3000.64 lb0.8 x 3.6 x 6 inchesNoWater resistant, easy to useCheck price on Amazon
Anker 8W0.86 lb9.2 x 6.7 x 0.8 inchesNoFast charging, durableCheck price on Amazon
Ravpower 16W2.19 lb10.8 x 0.98 x 7.56 inchesYesDual USB port, lightweightCheck price on Amazon
Poweradd Apollo Pro1.52 lb8.66 x 4.92 x 0.87 inchesYesDamage resistant, 4 LED lightsCheck price on Amazon
Goal Zero Nomad 73.4 lb11 x 7 x 3 inchesNoWater resistant, damage resistantCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

This is the section where you will learn about the features of the best solar phone charger out there. These features will help you find a study, durable charger that will work great while you are outdoors for long periods. Read on below for these features!

How to Use a Solar Charger

A solar phone charger has a flat surface which consumes light in order to charge your phone. You turn it on by the press of a button, and after you’ve turned it on, you will see how much power it is consuming.

Image of a woman sitting on the grass and reading a book next to a solar phone charger

You can tell that by seeing how many lights are on. There are four, and if only one is on, then that means the device consumes 25% of power. It all depends, of course, on how strong the light is.

Wattage

How much power your solar phone charger, or any solar charger, is going to provide is measured in watts. So, a 4 – 5 watt device is pretty much enough to charge your cell phone, but charging anything else is going to require much more power.

Three differernt types of solar phone chargers on the ground

Don’t buy solar chargers with less watt power in order to save up money, because that would be a big mistake. Nothing would be more annoying than having a charger that can’t get the job done. Pay attention to the wattage on the product’s labeling and find one that is capable of producing enough power for your cell phone.

Portability

How much power your solar phone charger, or any solar charger, is going to provide is measured in watts. So, a 4-5 watt device is pretty much enough to charge your cell phone, but charging anything else is going to require much more power.

Image showing a solar phone charger in the sun and a man in the background

Don’t buy solar chargers with less watt power in order to save up money, because that would be a big mistake. Nothing would be more annoying than having a charger that can’t get the job done. Pay attention to the wattage on the product’s labeling and find one that is capable of producing enough power for your cell phone.

Output Power

Many people confuse the terms watts, amps and volts, and think that they all mean the same thing. Wattage isn’t the same as output power, as the latter is measured in amps. So what’s the difference? Think of the charging process as water running through a pipe. Amps would be the volume of water that is running through the pipe.

Solar powered phone charger and a river view

Volts would be the pressure of the water, and wattage is how much power is created, which is volts x amps. So the output power is how much electricity is flowing through the charging cord into the cellphone. These numbers should not be taken lightly. You may want to get a device that has the highest output power rating, but this would be a bad idea. Too much power flowing into your cell phone at once can cause a lot of damage, and your phone might even explode.

Batteries

So, as mentioned, solar phone chargers mostly use batteries. There are different types of batteries, and their quality will influence the process itself of the charging. Weak batteries take more time to be charged in order to charge your phone, but that is a minus because weaker batteries overheat in a couple of hours. Bigger and stronger batteries are mostly found in heavyweight solar phone chargers. There are 3 different types of batteries that can be found in solar chargers:

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) – These are the AA batteries, that can be replaced, which means that you can just change the batteries instead of charging them.

Image showing a solar phone charger and a battery used with it

Lithium ion and lithium polymers – These batteries are the most common types of batteries used. However, they can be dangerous if left lying around in the wrong conditions. They can easily overheat and explode, since they are always highly pressurized.

Lead acid – These are the type of batteries that are best used when charging for a longer period of time, since they are durable. They will charge your device faster than any other battery, due to their capacity of energy they can store.

Best Products on Today’s Market

It is always recommended that you choose a solar charging device with the largest solar panel, because it is obvious that it will collect the energy from the light more quickly. In the same light, you also want to look for chargers that are easy to fold up and store away.

Camping is all about managing the amount of weight you can carry, and fitting as many useful tools as possible into your backpack, so it’s important to shop around wisely. Now, let’s take a look at some of the top rated products below!

Voltaic Systems Amp 4.0W Portable Solar Charger Voltaic Systems Amp 4.0W Portable Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 1.1 lb

Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches

Specific features: UV resistant, waterproof, USB port

Best use: Cell phones, tablets

Description: You can use the Voltaic Systems Amp 4.0W Portable Solar Charger to charge a lot of devices, from phones to tablets. However, it is not that strong to charge something like a laptop.

This solar charger has wattage power of 4.4 watts, which means it is perfect for charging phones. It is very light, easy to carry, waterproof, and has a high resistance to high temperatures.

It is designed to charge almost every device that can be charged with a USB cable. This solar charger actually comes with a removable battery unlike the other solar chargers that don’t. It can charge your phone or any other similar device in just under 3.5 hours under the right light.

We like this solar charger because it is UV resistant and waterproof. While you can only charge smaller items on it, it definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it.

PROS:

  • 4,000 mAh, powerful
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Durable and portable

CONS:

  • Not for laptops
  • Takes a while to charge your phone

Related: Do you need a new cell phone for your upcoming camping trip? The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge can be charged on a solar panel charger and has 32 GB included. It comes in gold, black and silver.

Check the price on Amazon

Solar Joose Portable Solar Charger Joos Solar Orange Portable Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $200

Weight: 2.1 lb

Dimensions: 11 x 2 x 8 inches

Specific features: Works with any USB device, compact, durable, fast

Best use: Camping, travel

Description: This solar charger is much stronger than the average one, and can charger tablets, and even laptops. It is also best used under the sunlight, because it performs best under natural light.

The Solar Joos Portable Solar Charger is pretty big, and heavier than most other chargers, which means it takes up plenty of gear space and isn’t light on your back.

It is designed in a way so its solar-absorbing surface uses much more power than usual, in order to charge devices more quickly. It is extremely durable, waterproof, and resistant to high temperatures.

The dashboard tells you the battery level and how much solar power is being made. It comes with PC and Mac software so you can see charging in real time. It also includes adjustable legs so that you can easily keep it pointed toward the natural light from the sun. There is also a lanyard hole that allows you to use a carabiner or cable to clip the charger if necessary.

PROS:

  • Simple to use
  • Can charge a cell phone 3 times
  • Powerful, fast charge

CONS:

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Needs to be placed under direct sunlight

Related: Use your new solar panel charger to charge the AYL Mini Speaker System which has an expandable bass resonator, and works with laptops, cell phones and tablets. It also has a 3 year guarantee.

Check the price on Amazon

Cobra Electronics CPP 300 Solar Charger Cobra Electronics CPP 300 Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 0.64 lb

Dimensions: 0.8 x 3.6 x 6 inches

Specific features: 3 USB ports, water resistant, double panel

Best use: Small devices like cell phones

Description: The Cobra Electronics CPP 300 Solar Charger is unusual, due to its feature of a double solar panel. It is best used for charging cell phones, and other small devices. It can also charge up to 3 devices at a time. This makes charging much more faster.

Furthermore, it is also really lightweight, durable, and has a high resistance to water. It is easy to pack, and easy to use.

Also, it is highly affordable, and this solar panel charger includes an LCD display which shows you the battery level and it can charge quickly. It is likewise versatile, as you can take this charger anywhere that has sunlight. We love this product because of the high efficiency and the many charging outputs that make charging a breeze. This helps us to charge our phones along with a tablet all at once.

PROS:

  • LCD display
  • Charges 3 items at once
  • Rapid charging

CONS:

  • Over time, it will stop holding a good charge
  • Takes a while to charge under the sun
  • Extreme heat makes it warp

Related: If you need a new USB cable, the Rampow Micro USB Cables is a 2 pack that are each 3.3 feet long. Under $10, these cables come braided.

Check the price on Amazon

Anker 8W Foldable Solar Charger  Anker 8W Foldable Solar Charger 

Price: Approx. $55

Weight: 0.86 lb

Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches

Specific features: Fast charging, 3 ft micro USB cable, portable

Best use: Laptops, phones, tablets, speakers

Description: The Anker 8W Foldable Solar Charger is great for charging almost any device via USB. It has an excellent performance under sunlight, with a really high power absorption, so it can charge devices that require a lot of power.

With a feature of really fast charging of any device, it is also extremely durable, easy to carry and pack, and has a good tolerance for high temperatures. It is compatible with all kinds of USB cables, but it has weak resistance to water, so it is recommended keeping the device away from it for proper function.

This solar charger is light and portable. It includes an 18 month warranty and comes with a 3.3 ft micro USB cable. Made of industrial strength PET polymer, these panels will last you a long time!

We recommend this charger because it does charge quickly, can charge 2 devices at once, and the warranty is a nice touch.

PROS:

  • Compact, folds down
  • Light and thin
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • No instructions
  • Some defect and fail to charge
  • Takes a while to charge

Related: If you don’t want to set your phone just anywhere while its charging, you can use the Lamicall Cell Phone Stand which is under $10. It will cradle your phone and has a loop for the phone cord to go through.

Check the price on Amazon

RAVPower 16W Solar Charger RAVPower 16W Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 2.19 lb

Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.98 x 7.56 inches

Best use: Small and big devices

Description: Designed for charging all kinds of devices, from cell phones to tablets, and laptops, with a dual USB port that allows you to charger two devices at the same time.

The RAVPower 16W Solar Charger is lightweight, yet, it is able to charge any other device with such power in just a couple of hours. It is designed in a way so it absorbs extra power, in order to speed up the charging process.

It is extremely durable and waterproof, with a great resistance to high temperatures. It also comes with a special hook, so you can attach the device to your backpack, which will then allow you to keep moving while charging your phone, or any other device, at the same time.

We think the best part about this device is that it has a Smart IC Technology which means it detects all of the items that it is charging and then evenly distributes the power to them. This way, everyone is getting the same amount of power.

PROS:

  • High energy conversion
  • Compact
  • iSmart technolgy and Smart IC

CONS:

  • Change stop charging
  • Hard to charge via solar
  • Performance lessens over time

Related: You may need a DC charging cable at some point for your tablet. The Surface Pro 4 DC Charging Cable is under $10 and works with the Surface Pro line.

Check the price on Amazon

Poweradd Apollo Pro Solar Charger Poweradd Apollo Pro Solar Charger

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 1.52 lb

Dimensions: 8.66 x 4.92 x 0.87 inches

Specific features: 4 LED lights, auto shut off, 12 month warranty

Best use: Charging phones, iPads, and tablets

Description: The Poweradd Apollo Pro Solar Charger is featured by the common 4 LED indicators that tell you either the power consumption, or the progress of the charging. This solar phone charger is very unique since it has multiple outlets, and connection options, for all kinds of devices, from phones to laptops.

It also comes with all sorts of cables that allow you to connect to different varieties of devices. It has a high resistance to any kind of damage, and it is waterproof. However, it isn’t really resistant to high temperatures, and it is wise not to let it heat up.

We like this charger because of the huge capacity and 3 voltage levels. It also has a 12 month limited warranty and it works on so many electronic devices. Overall, this is a great device that comes with lots of charging connectors that will fit nearly all types of tablets and cell phones.

PROS:

  • Environmentally friendly materials
  • Lots of capacity
  • 3 voltage levels

CONS:

  • Can have a loose connection
  • Can start losing its charge over time

Related: Being outdoors, you may risk dropping your phone and breaking it. You can use the Mpow Cell Phone Case when you are not charging your device to keep it safe. This comes in a 3 pack and is waterproof and will keep your phone safe.

Check the price on Amazon

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 3.4 lb

Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 3 inches

Specific features: High powered, folds, weather resistant

Best use: Smaller devices like cell phones

Description: The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel is a 7 watt device, which means it consumes more power than your average solar charger. It is designed in a way so it is highly resistant to any kind of damage, and water.

It is featured with a high charging speed, which allows you to charge your phone in just a an hour or two. It is foldable, which makes it easy to pack and carry. The best use for charging devices like cell phones and tablets. Also, it reacts better to sunlight, and consumes more energy that way.

We like that this device will charge our cell phones quickly. It can be used for traveling or camping and for long periods of use outdoors. Plus, it’s compact, and can be stored in our backpacks easily. Overall, this solar phone charger can take a beating with its rugged design, so you can use it in the mountains without worrying it’ll break!

PROS:

  • Charges most devices
  • Rugged, durable
  • Works quickly

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Not for tablets

Related: Keep your electronics dry in the rain by using the Osprey UltraLight Raincover which cinches closed and has a cover that folds over. Made of nylon, this is a large bag that can hold many items for under $40.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With the Nomad 7, we have reached the end of our article. By now, you have surely realized that a solar phone charger comes in handy in every situation, in which you might find yourself not being able to charge your phone with electricity.

If you have read this article, especially the features that should be checked before making the purchase, and checked the reviewed solar chargers, then you are surely thinking of buying one. You also now possess the right knowledge, which will enable you to use a solar phone charger the right way, as well as to know how to find the one that best suits your needs.

Image showing a solar phone charger and a familly in the background

Hopefully, this article will help you with your decision in the future when it comes to choosing the best solar phone charger, and hopefully it will now keep your phone’s battery from dying, if you are convinced that everyone could use one.

Do you have anything to say? Did we forget to mention a model that you think should be on the list? Please let us know in the Comments below! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share this article on social media so that your friends can learn something new as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Annie McClellan

    The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel has really helped us many times already during camping by charging our mobile phones, a kindle, and an iPod. This is convenient when camping and makes you feel safe that you always have a charged phone in case something happens. Some may complain about a slower charging and bulkiness of this product but can actually be folded and has a feature of allowing to keep the battery in the pouch during charging.

  • Mark Foster

    I remembered the days when solar panels were just a dream. Today, I’m so pleased that we have these products around. The Goal Zero Nomad 7 is a stellar product and is quite popular. It’s durable and resistant to damage caused by water or the elements. Actually, it charges pretty quickly.

  • Kristina Nunez

    My Anker PowerPort Solar is amazing! It’s made of weather-resistant polyester canvas, which is always a good thing. It’s quite small when folded, yet it expands to around 25 x 10 inches when opened (which maximizes the amount of sunlight the panels can absorb) + it weighs just 14 ounces, which means that it’s great to carry in a backpack while you’re trekking out in the wilderness 🙂

  • Mark Foster

    Thanks for dropping by Kristina!
    My friend has this and she swears it charges her gadgets fast. Although it’s better to keep it out of range of water for good measure. It’s also quite compact, isn’t it?

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