Whether we know it or not, solar energy is a big part of our future. For many, the idea of solar energy and solar panels are confined to solar lamps and panels attached to the roofs of new houses. However, more and more technology is beginning to harness the power of solar energy and is using it to its advantage. One particular piece of technology that is becoming more and more solar proficient is the phone charger. What is particularly special about the solar phone charger is the fact that it has the possibility of being so widely used.
With over 82% of Americans alone having a mobile, the solar phone charger offers not only a way to save on electricity bills but offers a small but steady measure which allows people to play their part in maintaining a greener planet. We can’t always remember to charge our phones, and often, we forget to charge our power banks too. Solar chargers make sure that you don’t have to deal with this issue again. Through harnessing the power of the sun, it recharges itself and charges your phone without the need for an electricity output.
Many of the chargers on the list are more expensive than conventional chargers, but they are more practical, more efficient and some have other capabilities as well, making them perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. Be sure to stick around to find out what they can do! This article looks to guide you and answer certain questions about solar chargers, it will deal with:
- Why choose a solar phone charger?
- The 3 Types of Solar Chargers available
- 5 of the best solar chargers on the market
Why choose a solar phone charger?
Think about it, we use our mobile phones more and more every day, we need to keep up to date with the latest social media trends, watch videos, download files, use maps, and play music. All of this can have an impact on your phone’s battery life. While regular phone chargers and power banks are good, often they need an electrical device to power or to work.
The beauty of a solar phone charger is its versatility when it comes to not needing an electrical socket. This means that when your phone runs out of battery, which often happens at the most inconvenient time possible, with a solar phone charger, you are covered, even if you are in a remote place or somewhere with no electricity. It really is the perfect backup and is one of those gadgets that you don’t think you need until you actually need it, and by then it is too late. Similarly, while you may pay a little more over the short term for a solar phone charger, you will save money over the long term.
Why? Well because while the prices of electricity bills continue to rise, the prices of solar phone chargers continue to fall, meaning you save yourself money because you won’t need to charge your phone on the electricity nearly as much as you did before. Also, it is environmentally friendly, you are using natural activity as a means to charge your most used device, so you are reducing your carbon footprint while you are at it! What’s not to like?
Types of Solar Phone Chargers
There are 3 primary types of solar phone chargers, this article will look to include some of each so as to offer a wider variety for the potential customer. Choosing the right charger comes down to how exactly you plan on using it, so without further delay, here are the three main types.
Direct chargers have no battery bank and are the best option for those who are not on the move too much or for those who do not use their phone a lot. Making them perfect for the office work. They connect to your phone via a USB cable and help to maximise the amount or charge reaching your phone because there are no electric variables taking a little bit of charge away at each step. They are the least portable of the three charger types and can take a while (up to 5-6 hours) to generate a full charge, but they are the most efficient and reliable of the three types.
Solar Battery Banks
Fitted with a high-powered solar battery, these charger types are more powerful and more convenient than direct chargers. The battery can be as powerful as 20,000mAh, which is powerful enough to charge your phone many times over if needed.
The high-quality charging circuits within the chargers allow for a smooth and hassle-free charge and means that in cloudy or low light conditions, you still get the benefits of the charger. The battery is however, a variable between the phone and the sun itself, meaning you may suffer some transfer loss, but ultimately, they are more convenient than regular direct chargers.
Perhaps you want to reap the benefits of solar energy, but don’t fancy carrying a solar charging panel around in your bag or pocket all day. Then you, might just want to make use of an indirect solar charger like a charging phone case. While they are ultimately the most convenient, they are also the smallest and therefore will have smaller solar panels, meaning they will take a little longer to charge than others and rely on specifically good conditions to work optimally.
Furthermore, to get the proper benefits of the case, you would need to turn your phone over, meaning you can not use it and you can run the risk of overheating it if you leave it in the sun for extended periods.
1. Quadrapro Solar Power Bank
Who knew that one small black box could be so effective? Although it may not look special, it offers high-end phone charging capabilities, having a battery that is 3x as large as the average mobile, meaning you can get more than one full charge from it. You can also use it even when there is no sunlight, because when it charges, via sunlight or when plugged in, it reserves a large amount of power for emergency use.
As well as this, it is waterproof, made with a resistant silicon coating, it folds, making it both compact and convenient and it can charge two devices at the one time. Its 6,500 mAh battery can store up to an additional three charges and it even has a built-in flashlight, making the Quadrapro not only a lifesaver in terms of charging your phone without the need for electricity, but also makes it the ultimate outdoor or adventure companion.
One final feature that I find super cool is that it has built-in magnets on the back, so if you are driving and want to recharge your Quadrapro, you can just put it on your car, and it will stick magnetically and charge. This versatile and feature packed power bank will also only set you back $65, which is more expensive than the conventional charger, but no electrical phone charger can even come close to doing what the Quadrapro can do.
2. Nektek 21W Solar Charger
While the Quadrapro is the perfect solar battery charger, the Nektek has to take the crown as far as Direct chargers are concerned. It is both portable, folding into four, and extremely lightweight, weighing only 18oz, making it ideal for anyone who is travelling and wants to keep their backpack light in weight. It contains IPX4 waterproof technology and has a canvassed surface, making it more durable to scratches or knocks, so ideal for outdoor activities like camping or hiking, where the elements would be likely to do damage to a normal surface.
It has metal hooks and eyelets that make it easy to attach to the outside of your bag to charge and it has a unique smart charging chip, which optimises the charging capability of whatever phone you may have. The primary downside is that it does not store power, so will only work in daylight conditions, but if you can overlook that, then the 21 watts of solar charging power is highly efficient and highly effective.
3. SOARISE Solar Power Bank
If large battery storage capacity is what you want, then you have found it. The SOARISE can charge an iPhone 7 up to 10 times before running out of capacity, which is an industry leading feature. It does this through storing on its 25,000mAh battery pack. It can charge 2 devices at the same time and it has 3 foldout solar panels, which soak up the sun even faster and allow for the charger to build up more of a charge even faster.
The charging times are a little slow however, with one full solar powered charge taking over 24 hours, but the charger itself is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, so can withstand difficult conditions. Similarly to the Quadrapro, it contains a flashlight and even has an SOS strobe light attached. There is a hook included also, making it easy to attach to a backpack for charging. Considering its monster battery life and its rugged and versatile design, $40 is a very reasonable price to pay. Just beware of long charging times.
4. BigBlue 28W Solar Charger
Similar to the Nektek charger above, the BigBlue is another direct solar charger, but in my view, offers a little more in terms of charging power and capability. To begin, this is both the most expensive and the heaviest solar charger on the list, coming in hot at $75 and weighing 22oz, you may feel like it is al a little too much, but there is a reason for this.
It efficiently charges phones using direct sun power, providing a quicker charge than many other panels, it has a smart tech charge, which optimises the charge based on the make of phone, it has 3 USB ports, allowing it to charge up to 3 phones at a time and is easily folded up to ensue for maximum portability.
It is waterproof and rugged in its design as well. It will only charge when all four panels are exposed to sunlight however, so when outside, you will need a slightly larger surface area in order to charge the device, but with its power and capability, it is a brilliant companion to anyone travelling outdoors.
5. Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit
Last but by no means least, the Zero Guide 10 plus. There are a host of features to like about this charger, it has two 4.8-amp high-speed USB ports to allow for quick and efficient charging. It has a 2,300mAh battery bank to allow for an extra 1-2 charges and has an IPX6 waterproof rating, which makes it the most waterproof charger on the list.
The recharging kit that comes with it is powerful enough to charge one tablet, or 2-3 phones at a time and the back has a convenient pocket which holds a USB port, an 8mm plug for charging 12v devices and a proprietary plug, which can link solar panels together.
The battery pack included has a rubber exterior, making it ideal for use in rough conditions and its LED can double as a flashlight. For my money, it is a hybrid between the direct and the solar battery type chargers. You can charge on the move or while you rest, but for $150, you would really want to make sure you are getting use out of it, because there are competing chargers that offer similar services for a fraction of the cost. With that being said, the Zero Guide 10 plus is a quality piece of charging kit that is perfect for any serious outdoor adventurer.