Our Top Picks Compared
For the average family, energy is crucially important and is required for many critical creature comforts, luxuries and key utilities. From running hot water for washing up and warm baths, to keeping your food fresh in the fridge, to watching TV as a family or playing computer games: we rely on energy for almost everything we do.
But this reliance on energy comes at a price… money. With many families currently struggling financially, energy bills are yet another painful expense that make life that much more difficult. Then there’s the guilt of knowing that your gadgets are damaging the planet and the inherent dangers that come with this kind of reliance (think: power cuts).
Then there’s the ‘other’ price: the terrible impact that this can all have on the environment. While we often don’t see the repercussions of global warming first hand, the knowledge that we are contributing to the
Fortunately, there is way out: solar energy. By using solar energy for at least some of your energy needs, you can help to reduce your energy bill and your reliance on non-renewable energy sources. And contrary to common misconception, this doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated process. Using the best portable solar chargers for instance, you can start generating energy right away from the comfort of your home with no need to go through an expensive installation process like those associated with solar panel arrays. In fact, you’ll be able to fit the best portable solar chargers right into your pockets and then take them with you on your next trip or holiday – that way, you can top up your phone or your computer without needing to go searching for coffee shops that offer power outlets.
What is a Portable Solar Charger?
A solar charger is essentially a small device that you can use in order to harness the power of the sun so that you can charge your electronic devices. That can mean smartphones, tablets and other ‘mobile’ gadgets, but it can also mean things like games consoles (the Nintendo Switch for example!) and even laptops – as long as they have a USB Type-C adapter or thunderbolt port.
Portable solar chargers can be used in order to provide a back-up supply of power when you need it most. Just like a power bank, you can use this for emergency power once your smartphone runs out of battery and you are left with no way to call home, or to bring up maps so that you can find your way back.
But at the same time, solar chargers can be more than that. That’s because solar chargers can offer a continuous supply of power – as long as they are large enough and offer enough power output. Many solar chargers actually come with long cables that are several meters and this therefore allows users to actually place them in the garden and to enjoy a steady supply of energy for their smartphones or laptops while they’re still indoors! This is also why it’s very useful to find portable solar chargers that are water resistant.
This is not to be mixed up with solar generators however. Solar generators are much larger and are capable of generating and storing significantly more power in order to run an entire household or large kitchen appliances!
Of course, if you want to go further then you can look into investing in a solar panel for your home. This is a great investment that will pay for itself through the money it saves you as well as the tax breaks you can get from the project. Additionally, you’ll have the peace of mind that there’s a backup in case your main energy supply ever fails, and you’ll be able to sell off some of the energy you don’t use for additional profit.
But for most people’s uses – a solar charger will offer the best balance of affordability, power and portability in a single product!
Types of Portable Solar Chargers
Solar chargers will typically come in one of two types:
- Solar chargers with battery packs
- Solar chargers without battery packs
Of course, a solar charger with a battery pack is one that you will be able to charge and then use subsequently. These types of chargers allow you to charge your device on the move and will let you then use that power whenever you need it. This is a big advantage when you consider that the sun is only going to be in position to provide the optimum peek amount of energy for a few hours every day – and in most cases, that will be during the hours when we’re at work. If there’s no way to store the power, the that means you won’t be able to use the backup energy from home. Likewise, it means that if you are using your portable charger in order to provide energy for your smart device when you are on the move, then you won’t be able to top-up unless you have access to the sun! Unfortunately, life is not always so kind as to ensure that we only ever run out of power right when the sun is high in the sky and burning bright!
Note that if you do go for a solar charger that doesn’t have a built-in battery, then you can always invest in a power bank in order to add that functionality yourself.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the solar battery charger reviews.
The Best Portable Solar Chargers
With that in mind then, what are the best portable solar chargers that money can buy right now? Here are some top choices that will be sure to serve you well.
Coocheer Charger Portable Waterproof
This is one of the best portable solar chargers that has the potential to be used almost like a solar generator. That means that you can leave it in the garden while you’re working indoors, plug it in and then enjoy running off of sun-power for the rest of the day.
What makes this portable solar charger so good is the fact that it is water proof and comes with a long cable (1 meter – though this is upgradable). So there’s no reason that you can’t power your technology from it for most of the day. What’s even better is that the charger can deliver a whole 15 Watts of power. That’s the equivalent to a mains supply and seeing as it can charge multiple devices at once, it’s potentially enough to make some real savings on your energy bill!
The downside is that this isn’t the most portable device out there. It folds down to be roughly the size of a small laptop and can then be stowed in a bag. The other downside is that the charger doesn’t come with any kind of battery -meaning you’ll be forced to use the energy right away or not at all!
Teryei Portable Power Bank High Efficiency
This is a fantastic portable solar charger for anyone that is on the move a lot. While it’s not as powerful as the 15W model we reviewed earlier, it is considerably more portable and is designed to be rugged. This makes it ideal for anyone who wants to work on the move, or who wants to ensure their phone doesn’t run out of juice while they’re hiking.
To that end it has padded corners to ensure it can survive a drop, bright orange highlights to make it easier to find in long grass and waterproofing. With a built-in 15,000 mAh battery, you’ll also be able to grab a whole lot of juice to use at a later date.
Overall Rating: 5/5
Voltaic 6W Charger
All of these portable solar charger reviews should hopefully illustrate that some chargers are better for certain people than others. It’s about finding the system that will work best with your lifestyle. In which case, the Voltaic 6W Charger is an excellent choice if you happen to be someone who enjoys long walks or is just out and about a lot.
This solar charger is a solar panel only that will attach to the back of your rucksack and then soak up energy as you explore and hike. That makes it perfect for powering your device while you walk and then getting it out to use later. It’s well designed too with a pocket for housing your tech and keeping it cool all the while.
Solar Charger Dizaul 5000mAh battery
This is a cute and highly compact solar charger with a built in 5,000mAh battery pack, rugged design with waterproofing and dustproofing and a range of color choices. This is a panel that is more than small enough to fit into a pocket so you’ll never be left without power. It comes with a short USB charger and carabiner for easily attaching to a belt or keyring and it even has a useful LED indicator. It’s very reasonably priced too!
Of course with such a diminutive form-factor, this device is unfortunately not the most powerful and the powerbank is also a little smaller than some options. 5,000mAh is not much larger than a typical phone battery, making this a good choice for about 150% charge on a single device and not much more. But seeing as it keeps topping itself up on the go, that may not be such a large problem!
The Importance of Solar Battery Chargers and Green Tech
Other than practicality, there are some very compelling reasons to make small changes such as switching to a portable solar battery charger. Take for instance, the rapidly melting icecaps…
You don’t exactly have to travel far to hear about global warming and the devastating impact it’s having on our planet. It’s common knowledge that the increasing temperature of our planet is a very serious problem for all life on our planet and something we need to solve quickly, and it’s quickly become a ‘buzz word’ that you hear a lot of.
Still though, just because we hear it a lot doesn’t mean that everyone gives it quite the respect it deserves and in fact all this exposure can risk having the opposite impact and desensitizing us to the danger we’re in.
As such then it’s sometimes necessary to look at the facts and the figures when it comes to global warming in order to really bring home just what a serious situation we’re in. Here we will look at one of the biggest dangerous that our planet is currently facing as a result of global warming – the melting of the polar ice caps.
How bad is It?
Let’s start with the figures to ram home just what a serious problem this is. The fact I personally find most shocking is this – if the polar ice caps continue to melt at their current rate, then a child born today could experience a world in their lifetime when there are no polar ice caps.
And this is something that’s been surveyed in a number of ways by modern technology. NASA’s satellite imagery for instance shows that the Greenland glaciers are currently moving into the sea twice as quickly as they were ten years ago, while according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, the Greenland Ice Sheet has melted more than 30% more than it should have over the last hundred years.
All this is something that is having a direct impact on our population already. In Russia for instance the builds build on permafrost are already beginning to twist and warp out of shape as the ground beneath them melts. And the temperature has actually dropped in countries with an Atlantic coast thanks to the flow of melted ice down the Gulf Stream. Rising sea levels around the world are meanwhile destroying people’s homes and our valuable land.
Just to ram home how serious this is, if the Greenland glaciers alone were to completely melt this would raise the sea level by a whopping 20 feet. And this meanwhile will have profound implications for our planet’s climate and ecosystem as the ice caps are crucial for regulating the temperature around the world. Already we are losing species of marine life.
One of the biggest roles of the ice caps of all that many people are completely unaware of, is to reflect sunlight back out into space. In fact the ice caps are responsible for reflecting over 80 percent of sunlight back off the surface, and so you can imagine what a difference it would make to the climate if they were completely gone. This then means that once the ice caps have gone the rate of global warming will begin to speed up exponentially creating a vicious cycle with many terrible implications for life on our planet.
Something as simple as no longer charging a laptop or smartphone from the mains power supply can make a huge difference… so make the switch to a solar battery charger!
Technology for Portable Solar Chargers
The best solar chargers are capable of providing your devices with a theoretically endless supply of energy on the move, which in turn means that you can be entertained or productive no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Some great examples of devices to use with the best solar chargers include:
- The Nintendo Switch – Console-quality gaming on the go, but will require a large wattage
- The Nintendo 3DS – The older portable model is still great for gaming
- The Kindle – The Amazon Kindle’s e-ink display requires barely any energy, making it a fantastic choice for a solar charger. We’re surprised it doesn’t already come with one built-in!
- Tablets – If you have a tablet, then you can enjoy productivity on the move, gaming and media consumption. These typically require less power than your average laptops.
- Laptops – If your laptop has a USB Type-C or thunderbolt port, then you can use your
How to Create the Ultimate ‘Mobile Battlestation’ for Mobile Working and Easy Moving
If you have ever seen the sub Reddit ‘battlestations’ then you will be familiar with what this term means. Essentially a battlestation is an incredibly elaborate and sophisticated set-up of computers and other hardware that nerds can get a kick out of working in or drooling over. In other words this is essentially ‘IT porn’ and there are some images on there that look like they belong on the Starship Enterprise.
Nerdy though these setups are, anyone with a love for technology can appreciate just how cool it is to work in such a futuristic and all-singing workspace. The only problem is that when you then come to move, it can be rather impractical trying to take all that with you. Furthermore, these battlestations tend to use desktop PCs with elaborate sound-systems – meaning that you can hardly work with them on the move.
Instead then, why not build yourself a ‘mobile’ battlestation. This would be a computer set up designed with versatility and portability in mind that you could take with you on the road to work with from coffee shops, living rooms and anywhere else that suited you. And when you came to move home, this battlestation wouldn’t need to go anywhere either.
And with a good solar battery charger to take with you, you will be able to work on the road or anywhere else!
To start with then you’re going to need a computer that lends itself to being portable. For that I recommend a hybrid slate computer but one that will come with USB Type-C charging. Unfortunately, that rules out the Microsoft Surface Pro line. Then again, you can get by with the Lenovo Yoga models – a device that has the power of a full desktop PC but in the body of a small tablet. These sport specs all the way up to i7 processor with 8GB of RAM meaning it can even be used for serious gaming.
Better yet though, this is a device which looks just as good lose as a tablet as it does when paired with a keyboard and mouse. And when you use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse it becomes a full mobile PC that looks like a slim desktop computer and performs like one too… The keyboard and mouse will last for ages on a regular AA battery or USB charge, so with a solar battery charger, you can keep this going endlessly!
The Keyboard and Mouse
If you’re looking for the most awesome keyboard and mouse to go with this setup, then look no further than the Wedge keyboard and mouse. These are designed by Microsoft too – not specifically for the Surface, but clearly intended to work well with them. They look highly executive and are surprisingly ergonomic to use despite their small sizes. This really cements the idea that you are carrying an executive office with you and looks awesome when set up to work together.
One feature of most battlestations on Reddit is that they tend to have at least a few monitors. This is tricky to do in a mobile setting… unless you also happen to have a phablet (such as the Note 8 or the Axon M) running iDisplay. That’s an app that allows you to turn your phone into a second display for your computer, meaning you can keep your Spotify account up on the screen or write notes into a notepad document while working on other things.
Another cool accessory you’ll want if you’re going to make a great mobile battlestation is a set of good headphones. These should be good enough to provide the kind of audio you’d expect from a great sound system at home and should be able to block out the ambient noise from wherever you are. Beats by Dr Dre are a good option to go with, but any good noise cancelling headphones will do the trick.
Use the Voltaic 6W charger – the best solar charger for hikers or those on the move – and you can charge all this from a rucksack. You’ll have a full battery every time you sit down and a great looking and performing mobile productivity set-up.
All thanks to the power of the sun!