Our Top Picks Compared
These days most of us are completely reliant on our mobile devices for just about everything we do. Whether it’s navigating around town, making calls to friends and relatives, or even staying in touch with business colleagues and running our empires. Hardly two minute go buy without us pulling out a phone in order to snap a shot of our fancy looking coffee (for the followers) or having a quick game of Candy Crush.
Whether or not this is good or healthy is up for debate. But the fact is that this is the reality. And therefore, most of us are completely at a loss when that technology fails us and we’re left without a device to get online.
Which is why the best solar phone chargers can be an absolute Godsend. These are devices that allow us to quickly start charging our devices wherever we might be: to power up our devices on the move and theoretically never run out of juice. As long as the sun is in the sky, we’ll be able to grab some power and start charging our device.
The Best Solar Phone Chargers Buyers’ Guide
Solar phone chargers come in two different forms: those that have built-in power banks and those that do not. A powerbank is essentially a battery, meaning that while you are collecting sunlight from the solar panel, it will be storing and saving that as energy for future use. This is very useful as it means that you can store and use power when it isn’t necessarily bright and sunny out. The limitation of a solar panel is of course that it needs light in order to be of any use. If you run out of juice and the sun is behind a cloud, then charging can be hard work.
But conversely, if you have a power bank and your solar phone charger is attached to a belt or to a rucksack, then you can collect energy while you’re walking/out and about and then use that energy later on to charge your devices.
Batteries like this are measured in milliamp hours. A typical smartphone will have a battery ranging from 2,500mAh-3,500mAh, meaning that a 3,000mAh battery will give you roughly one full charge. On the higher end, it’s possible to get power banks delivering 150,00mAh and more – meaning you can get multiple charges from a single device.
Note however that if your solar phone charger does not come with an additional powerbank, then you can always purchase one separately. This gives you the option to use the combination however best suits you, but does mean you’ll be carrying around two different items.
Otherwise, a solar phone charger that only provides a solar panel will only charge a device while it is actually plugged in – meaning you’ll need to keep your phone plugged in at the time you want to charge it and hope that there is sunlight available.
There are other things to consider when looking at solar chargers too. For instance, you need to consider the voltage. The voltage of a charger tells you how much power it’s capable of delivering – in other words, it tells you whether or not a solar phone charger will be capable of charging the device that you intend to power.
If you have a smartphone that requires a certain voltage and your solar phone charger can’t deliver that much, then of course it is not going to be able to power your phone. For this reason, you need to do your research prior to finding a tool for charging your device as this way you will ensure that it will be fit for purpose.
If you hope to be able to charge your laptop or tablet from a solar charger, then you are going to need significantly more power – though it is possible that some solar cell phone charger devices can also do this. The key is to make sure that there is a high enough voltage for the output and likewise that your laptop has a USB Type-C or thunderbolt port. This will allow you to charge the device via USB.
Finally, if you use a solar powered charger for a laptop with a power bank, you will of course need to make sure that it stores a lot more energy.
More Features to Look Out For
Then there are the other features that you need to consider. For instance: how quickly does your smartphone charger work? Likewise, does it have one or two ports? If you have two charging ports then of course that means you’ll be able to charge two devices simultaneously – which can be useful if you are out with a group and you want to avoid the need to fight over chargers!
Then there are the added bonus features: things like LED indicators to show if the battery is fully charged for instance, and like MP3 playback, file storage etc. Different solar powered charger devices will have a range of options like this and it is up to you to decide whether any of them are enough to seal the deal.
Solar Phone Charger Reviews
With all that said and done, let’s take a look at some of the best solar phone charger reviews and see which is right for your purposes.
Solar Charger Dizaul 5000mAh Solar Power Bank
This solar phone charger ticks a lot of boxes for anyone hoping to take a charger out on a walk or hike. Firstly, this is a very small, compact and light solar charger that can easily fit into a pocket. It comes with a handy loop and carabiner, which means you can attach it to a belt and charge as you go.
The charger is also waterproof and shock proof, meaning it’s ideal for adventuring and won’t get badly damaged should you drop it.
As well as being a solar charger, this device is also a power bank. That means it can store 5,000mAh of power in order to provide energy for your phone at your convenience. Note that 5,000mAh is only about 1-2 charges for a typical phone, but seeing as you’ll be constantly adding more energy as you go, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Add in an appealing price and you have a great option!
Floureon 1000mAh Solar Charger Power Bank
If you thought those last two options offered a lot of value though, then you’ll be even more blown away by this Floureon model. At 1,000mAh it will provide more than enough power to charge a smartphone a good 4-5 times. On top of that, it has all the benefits of previously mentioned products – water resistance, shock resistance etc. Better yet, it throws in a bunch of added benefits too with a torch on the back for finding your way around and a small compass attached to the carabiner. There’s also dual USB charging. The best part? This is cheaper than those other models and the only missing feature is the LEDs.
Overall Rating: 4/5
SolarBank Solar Power Bank Charger 8000mAh
The Dizaul we looked at last is a great option for convenient power on-the-go. However for just a small amount more you can upgrade to this offering from Outdoor Drift and improve a whole bunch of features.
Once again, this is a convenient, compact, portable, waterproof and dustproof dual USB solar panel power bank. Once again you also get an LED to show the level of charge, as well as a convenient loop for attaching to a belt.
Only now, the battery is an impressive 8,000mah which gives you 2-4 charges depending on the device in question. The design is also even more durable thanks to rubber corners that protect the gadget from drops and falls. A bright green color on this also means it’s easy to find.
Solar Charger 2400mAh PLOCHY
Were you basing your choice purely on the ratio of battery-size-to-price, then this would be a very hard contender to beat indeed. This model from PLOCHY provides 2,400mAh of charge, which is more than enough to power your phone a good ten times and more – or even to power a small laptop.
There are not two but three charging ports, which all offer ‘fast charging’. It’s a little bigger than the others of course and a little heavier and unfortunately there’s no LED indicator. It’s also the most expensive option on this list, though still very good value for what it is.
2000mAh Solar Power Bank
Finally, this option from Digital-Kingdom has an awful lot going for it and is a strong choice for a lot of reasons. It’s not the largest battery here – that honor goes to the PLOCHY – but it is the closest behind with a whopping 2,000mAh. If you combine this with the fact that it still has waterproofing, still has LED indicators and is still very affordable, it becomes one of the best all-rounders on the market right now.
Of course this is still a little heavier and a little larger than some of the other portable solar power bank options out there. That’s why it’s important when reading solar phone charger reviews to think about what it is that you are looking for from your device. Portability or power?
Turning Your Smartphone Into a Portable Workstation
If you own a powerful smartphone such as a Galaxy S8 or Note 8, or an iPhone 8 or 10x, then it’s important to recognize just what an impressive piece of kit you have in your pocket. If you’re using that just to make calls and play Candy Crush then you are seriously squandering that potential and may as well still have a Nokia 3210.
Because what a smartphone like this really is, is a computer – though the form factor is different, your phone is just as powerful as many laptops and netbooks and can be used for just the same kind of productivity.
The difference is that a smartphone can offer this kind of productivity on the move and allow you to take your tech with you wherever you go. Add in a solar powered charger and that also means that you can stay productive 24/7.
Whether you choose to replace your laptop entirely is up to you, but you certainly have the option to bring with you a solar smart phone charger and some additional peripherals and that way ensure that you’ll be able to keep working even when your laptop runs out of steam.
Here’s all you need to turn your phone into a mobile workstation.
If you’re going to start using your phone like a PC, then the first thing you’ll need to do is to find a way to input text more quickly than you can on the limiting and inaccurate on-screen keyboard. And the best way to do that is no doubt by investing in a physical keyboard that you can use. This way you’ll be able to write text much more quickly – and if you prop your phone up with a stand then it will even look like a miniature computer. Add in a mouse if you’re running an Android device and you have a great little productivity set-up.
The next thing you’re going to have to think about is the output. A phone screen might be suitable for sending texts and watching YouTube, but it’s not great if you’re trying to edit Excel spreadsheets and the like. Fortunately, many smartphones these days allow you to hook them up to a TV or an external monitor if you have a HDMI cable and a Micro HDMI connector. This way you can enjoy the same kind of resolution that you would get on a big computer screen.
Some devices, such as the Samsung S8 or the last Windows Phones, will even let you enter a kind of ‘desktop mode’ when you get home and plug in.
For working on the road with your solar phone charger though, you might do better with a projector – allowing you to work near any flat surface and get plenty of screen real-estate.
Next, you’ll want to install the best productivity software that you can find to mimic the full power of your PC. This might mean for instance using a file manager if you have an Android device which will allow you to browse, edit, rename and move files as though you were on a computer. Also useful on Android are apps that allow you to multitask, or that float in moveable windows. These are highly effective as they allow you to do things like looking up facts on Wikipedia while you write articles, or discuss with clients on Facebook chat while you browse the web.
On iPhone you won’t find these kinds of features, but all smartphones these days can run office software such as Kingsoft Office or even Microsoft’s own Office Mobile to create .doc files.
A few additional pieces of hardware will also give your device an edge. If it supports memory expansion for instance, then a Micro SD card will let you backup data and transfer it with ease, while style can be useful for more precise input or taking hand-written notes.
And of course, for true productivity anywhere you will want that solar powered charger!
Making Exercise and Outdoor Activities More Fun With a Smartphone
Turning your smartphone into a mobile productivity station is just one way to make the most of your device combined with a solar phone charger. Another option is to take your smartphone with you when you hit the tarmac or go for a hike and use it that way to get the most from your exercise activities.
There are plenty of health apps available for Android or iOS devices, and any of these will help to make the process of going to the gym, learning exercises and tracking calories much easier. However, what few apps can really achieve is to make exercise fun which is really the major challenge.
If you want to get into great shape and reach your fitness goals, then the single most important thing is that you choose a training program and then stick to it. It doesn’t matter what your workouts and diet plan involve – as long as you rigidly keep to them and don’t get distracted or bored as soon as the going gets a bit tough.
If you could make exercise actually fun and enjoyable then, you could turn it into something you didn’t have to force yourself into doing. You’d exercise because you wanted to and that would make it much easier to stick at your plan.
And with a solar phone charger, you can use an app to do this and not worry about draining your power at the same time!
Zombie Run is a fantastic fitness app that uses augmented reality to make exercising more fun. Not a big fan of jogging? Then see how much your enthusiasm and motivation increase when you hear the sounds of a zombie breathing on your neck and have to run for your life. Using the headphones your GPS, Zombie Run creates a narrative around the way you run and provides you with a fun purpose for keeping going. Escape back home without getting eaten by the horde outside, then fortify your base using items you collected along the way! Working out is much more enjoyable when it feels like you’re Will Smith from I Am Legend.
Strap on your solar phone charger and head out!
Fitocracy is a smart app that utilises something called ‘gamification’ to make exercise more fun. Essentially ‘gamification’ means turning everyday chores and objectives into games by showing your progress towards goals and by rewarding you for achievements. Gamification is actually a concept that’s very popular among psychologists and that has been shown to help motivate us in many situations – even being useful in helping patients through difficult illnesses.
Geocaching involves hiding small packages anywhere in the world – by burying them, putting them in bushes, or sliding them underneath park benches. You then tag their location and invite users around the world to try and find them by following cryptic clues and geocaching apps. This provides another great incentive when you’re jogging around – why not set off on a mission to find as many as you can in a short time, or to bury your own?
Great for those that like hiking, exploring and more.
Sometimes the best ‘apps’ on our phones are the ones that have always been there – like the ‘phone’ app. Invest in a hands-free kit, and then you can chat to friends while working out – or even call a gym buddy for some on-the-move motivation and inspiration.
Get inventive, search the store, and you’ll find there are a few ways that technology can help make exercise fun. And then it’s a matter of time until you get the body you want…
Finally, the modern spin on geocaching is ‘Pokemon Go’. This is the craze that had everyone hunting through bushes to try and find Pikachu and co.
With a solar cell phone charger, there is now no reason to stop hunting and head home. Stay on the hunt and enjoy burning calories and building your health and fitness in the process!
When you marry technology with activity and eco-friendly living, all kinds of things become possible!