Smartphones, tablets and other small electronics lose power at the worst times. If you are on the trail, camping or away from a power source, a solar battery charger might be just what you need. What kind, where to shop and what to look for are all questions answered here. Find the right solar battery charger here.
Are solar battery chargers worth the cost, time and hassle? There are other options for charging out small electronics. We have available power blocks that can recharge a standard smartphone a few times over. There are USB chargers that can plug into almost anything and get a power supply.
The problem there, though, is that there isn’t always something to plug in a USB cable. You may be on a non-standard power grid or far away from civilization and power outlets at all. The block chargers are great, but they need to be charged themselves. What happens is everything runs out of battery power?
Solar battery charger to the rescue. While solar power has been providing our small electronics for decades (remember your first calculator in grade school?) the idea of harnessing the power of the sun to charge modern, high-drain electronics (Samsung Galaxy’s and iPhone’s come to mind) is still considered in its infancy.
If you are looking for the right solar charger, you are in the right place. Let’s answer your questions.
What Are the Uses of a Solar Powered Battery Charger
It is a question that almost answers itself. Though as we already stated, there are other, more economical solutions. So what, then, are the uses and needs for such a charger?
In short, there are almost countless reasons you would want to have a solar charger. In fact, whatever your reason is, it brought you here. You already have a reason in mind, or else you would be off searching cat videos on YouTube.
For the sake of clarity (and the curious), we have a list of reasons ready if you need one.
The most notable reason is that you plan to be away from normal power sources for an extended period. Perhaps you are going on a long camping trip, or trekking across the desert on a backpacking journey.
Whatever the case, you will need something that doesn’t rely on electricity to keep your devices ready to go. There are several other reasons as well, such as:
Okay, hopefully not that last one unless you are someone like Bear Grylls. You get the idea though. Situations will arise in your life that requires a non-conventional power supply. Since the sun will most likely always be there, what better way to charge your devices than with the power given to us for free every day?
So we have a device that is out of battery power, we have decided that solar power is the best option for our condition, what now?
What to Look for in a Solar Battery Charger
When looking for the right solar charger, you need to have a few key aspects in mind. Your budget will be one of the largest factors, of course, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a device you may only use once. However, you don’t want to skimp and have it not be reliable, either.
Power output is going to be a huge deciding factor. Depending on the devices you plan to keep plugged in, the output needs to meet the demand. Most smartphones, for example, will recharge just fine between 2 and 5 volts, while tablets and notebooks will need up to 10 volts.
If the power output isn’t going to be enough to power your device, then you should avoid it. There is no sense in buying an item that won’t work for you, especially if your need is during an emergency situation.
You also need to decide how many devices you plan to charge, or power. A lot of solar charges have a single outlet port, mostly USB. However, if you need to charge more than one device, you will need multiple outputs.
Finding a solar charger with two or more ports isn't hard, though you need to check that each port has the output voltage or amperage you need. Some will claim outputs up to 10 volts, but that is only on one port, where the other ports are 1 or 2 volts. Make sure to double check.
Finally, you should consider portability and size. Some of these solar pads can be quite large. If they don’t fold up or store easily, it will be more hassle than it is worth. Most of the prominent ones will fold up like a map and fit in your glove box or emergency kit just fine, but double check the storage dimensions before you make a purchase.
Where to Shop and What to Pay
In this day and age, digital stores and online vendors make the best outlet for items such as a solar battery charger. You won’t have to do more than type a few words and click a few links to make your purchase.
You will also have a better cost and won’t have to spend your time searching all over town, wasting gas (and possibly needing to charge your phone!)
Amazon is the go-to vendor here. You can buy with confidence, get a great deal and know that your purchase is backed by the company. Any problems are easily handled, unlike shopping through unknown vendor sites.
When it comes to cost, with very few exceptions, there isn’t a large difference in reliability and functionality between those that cost $40 and those that cost $150. As long as the unit has everything you need, go for the cheapest version available to save money.
If you are worried, feel free to spend a little more to get a known brand or a better-reviewed item.
Models to Consider
While you can browse for hours, there are a few specific models you should consider. We have done some of the work for you. Depending on your needs, these two options should suit you just fine.
- Easy To Carry: With compact size (11.1 × 6.3× 1.3in folded or 33.1 × 11.1× 0.2in opened) and lightweight (20.6 oz)...
- Triple USB Ports Power: 2 USB Charging Ports( each is 5V/2.4A Max) with SmartIC Technology which can recognize your...
- High Energy Conversion: Highly efficient sunpower panel convert up to 21.5-23.5% of solar power into free energy in...
BigBlue is a very portable charger with three USB outputs. You can charge a modern smartphone in just a few hours, and adding a second one won’t add to the charging time. When all three ports are being used, you can expect them to all be charged within five hours or so.
In a pinch, the BigBlue will charge a phone enough to make a 5-minute phone call in about ten minutes, depending of course on the requirements of the phone.
This will also charge tablets, laptops or notebooks and other small electronics.
X-DRAGON 20W SunPower Solar Charger
- Exclusive SolarIQ Technology: It can automatically adjust the current and voltage to achieve maximum power,delivering...
- High Efficiency: SunPower solar cell is made from US, up to 22%-25% efficiency, while most panels in the market are 15%...
- Dual-USB Power: 20 watt sunpower provides enough power to charge cellphone and ipad at the same time
The X-Dragon charger has two output ports and is designed for cellphone charging. The folding panel tucks away neatly in a bag, pack or glove box. When opened you can prop it up like a little table, or lay it flat to expose all of the solar panels at once.
The high wattage output will charge an iPhone in about three hours. Other devices like tablets, notebooks and laptops will take much longer. However, when two devices are plugged in, they will not take away from each other.
Either of these two models should suit your needs just fine. However, you can feel free to research and find a model that you like better. In the end, you need to be happy with your purchase and get something you will use.
Solar battery chargers are not just science fiction anymore. We have more electronic devices per person now that entire houses had just a few decades ago.
As technology continues to advance we will have more and more need for alternative power sources to keep all of our devices charged and ready to go. Emergency situations are the most common use and need for solar chargers, although there are several non-emergency situations that will benefit from their use.
Finding the perfect model for you will require a bit of forethought and some research. You should know your budget limits and your planned usage. For emergency kits that won’t be used very often, it is better to find a cheaper version.
However, if you are going on an extended trip with uncertain power grids, or long camping trips away from conventional power sources, a higher end model that will be used more regularly may be worth spending the extra cash.
When you find the right model, it will have everything you need at a price you are comfortable with spending.