Best Portable Solar Panels to Take Anywhere (2024)

Best Portable Solar Panels Reviews

In a world increasingly conscious of sustainable energy solutions, portable solar panels have emerged as a beacon of hope for eco-conscious adventurers and everyday consumers alike. Thanks to the technology, today most of them use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and can be powered by portable hiking solar panels.

However, the market for portable solar panels has grown exponentially, offering a diverse range of options to suit various needs and preferences, making the process difficult to find the best one. To save you a headache, we’ve picked out the eight most reliable, practical, and best portable solar panels for 2024.

We also offer you a complete buying guide, which follows our recommendations so that you can understand everything about this technology and your needs!

Best Portable Solar Panels – At a Glance

1. BigBlue 21W Portable Solar Panel – Best Overall

1. BigBlue 21W Portable Solar Panel – Best Overall

Specs:

  • Power: 21 Watts (28 and 80 Watt versions also available)
  • Number and type of port(s): 2 USB ports (5V/2.4A max each and 5V/3.8A max overall)
  • Level waterproof: IPX4
  • Dimensions: NC
  • Weight: about 600 g

In terms of overall performance, very few panels can stand up to this model signed BigBlue which comes in several versions (21 – 28 and 80 Watts). It is therefore quite natural that it ranks as the first step of our selection.

BigBlue 21W Portable Solar Panel features an optimized foldable design to lend itself to use on the go, camping, or during outdoor activities (hiking, climbing….). It includes four sturdy eyelets, four carabiners, and a zipped pocket to put your phone. A hook is also provided for attaching to a backpack.

When folded, this panel reveals its sleek and practical design. However, many will find it bulky and heavy at a weight of around 600 g. It has an IPX4 level of waterproofing. This means you can use it in the rain or a humid fog. However, USB ports must remain out of the reach of water.

BigBlue 21W Portable Solar Panel is our special recommendation for outings because it offers the most consistent and efficient portable power source we’ve reviewed. Composed of panels made from monocrystalline, the BigBlue 21W provides a constant charge for most small gadgets, and in many situations.

Whether the weather is partly cloudy or the scattering of sunlight, you can choose this device to keep your electronic devices active. This compact solar panel is also CE, FCC, and RoHS certified, and includes overheating, overloading, and short circuit protection.

It is compatible with almost any 5V Android or IOS gadget. This device is equipped with two USB ports (5V/2.4A max each and 5V/3.8A max overall), allowing two devices to be charged simultaneously. Although there are other options that charge faster or are more durable, the BigBlue 21W is appreciated for its reasonable price, ease of use, and reliability.

However, you cannot charge a laptop or an iPad Pro tablet. Also, it doesn’t have a built-in battery, so you can only charge your equipment when the sun is available.

Pros

  • Works well even if the sunshine is not optimal
  • Efficient and safe charging
  • Can handle an occasional downpour
  • Small pocket with Velcro attachment
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy and bulky, even folded
  • Not enough Velcro to keep it closed

Check Price on Amazon


2. Anker PowerPort Solar Charger – Runner-Up

2. Anker PowerPort Solar Charger – Runner Up

Specs:

  • Power: 21 watts
  • Number and type of port(s): 2
  • Waterproof level: NC
  • Dimensions: 16 x 28.2 cm (folded) and 67 x 28.2 cm (open)
  • Weight: 400 g

The Anker PowerPort Solar is another popular model for backpacking. It’s not hard to see why it’s considered one of the best options in the mid-range. This portable solar panel offers faster charging not only because each of the three photovoltaic modules, that make it up is made of several layers to help increase charging speed, but also because it uses advanced fast charging technology via PowerIQ.

This smart feature communicates with your device to determine its most efficient charging speed, ensuring it’s powered by the Anker PowerPort Solar as quickly as possible. Another valuable time-saving feature is that this device includes two ports for charging more than one device at a time. And you can rely on its energy efficiency (21.5-23.5%) to power your devices with sufficient current.

This model is completely safe: protection against short circuits and overvoltages is provided for this purpose. Note that the amperage per port can go up to 2.4 A and 3 A total under direct sunlight.

Although the Anker PowerPort solar device is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets, it can work with anything that uses a USB charger. Since it does not incorporate a battery, you will therefore have to leave your gadget connected to the charger outside in the sun while taking care to find the best direction.

It is easy to fold and has good portability. It is lightweight and fits in a compact size of 2.8cm thick when folded. Stainless steel notches are provided at each corner: you can attach this device to a backpack, tree or tent. These features make it an excellent choice for long-distance hiking.

Unfortunately, there is no indicator of load force for easy pointing. Although the modules are sewn in a robust polyester fabric, that is weather resistant and suitable for outdoor use, this panel is not waterproof. You will therefore have to be careful in the event of a shower.

Pros

  • Fast and smart charging
  • Built with PowerIQ Technology
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Durable and compact design
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Not waterproof: you have to be careful in case of rain
  • Difficult to get it pointing directly at the sun

Check Price on Amazon


3. iPosible Solar Charger 26800mAh – Huge Capacity

3. iPosible Solar Charger 26800mAh – Huge Capacity

Specs:

  • Power: 4 x 1.5 W – 26,800 mAh capacity built-in battery
  • Number and type of port(s): 2 x USB ports (5 V/ 2.1 A and 5 V/ 1 A) and 1 x micro-USB port
  • Waterproof level: NC
  • Dimensions: 2.2 x 7.9 x 15.5 cm
  • Weight: approximately 560 g

Unlike our previous top pick and runner-up models that don’t store solar power, the iPosible 26800mAh Solar Charger includes a lithium polymer battery. This means that when you will not be exposed to the sun, it is able to charge your devices with the energy stored by the battery. You have a backup system to be sure not to end up with completely discharged devices.

The 26,800 mAh capacity of the built-in battery is sufficient to charge most phones 8 to 10 times or tablets 3 to 4 times. These figures are obviously estimates depending on your gadgets and their characteristics (voltage/intensity).

Either way, the iPosible Solar Charger 26,800mAh has two USB ports (5V/2.1A and 5V/1A) and a micro-USB port, which allows multiple devices to be charged at the same time. These connectors are compatible with almost all smartphones, tablets, and other iOS and Android devices.

This model consists of four foldable solar panels. It will fit in a compact size pack, making it easy to transport. Its dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof design makes it perfectly suitable for outdoor use. However, we don’t recommend using this device in heavy rain.

This solar charger is appreciated for its ease of use: it is notably equipped with four LEDs to allow you to follow the level of energy in the incorporated battery.

Pros

  • Charge directly in the sun or via the built-in large-capacity battery
  • Safety and universal compatibility
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • 2 output and 3 input
  • High Capacity

Cons

  • A little bit heavy
  • Lack of durability

Check Price on Amazon


4. CHOETECH 22W Portable Solar Panel – Versatile

4. CHOETECH 22W Portable Solar Panel – Versatile

Specs:

  • Power: 22 Watts
  • Number and type of port(s): 2 — one 2.4A and the other 2.1A
  • Waterproof level: NC
  • Dimensions: 82 x 24.5 x 3 cm (open) and 24.5 x 16 x30 cm (closed)
  • Weight: 590 g

A good hiking solar panel always comes at a high cost and models like the CHOETECH 22W illustrate this well. With premium construction, this solar charger provides valuable services. Thanks to its very efficient energy conversion system, allowing you to convert up to 25% of the energy captured by its ultra-light SUN solar modules. Thus, this panel provides enough power to charge your USB devices.

To deliver the right amount of current for efficient and safe charging, it further incorporates smart charging technology that automatically detects the electronic gadget you are charging. It has two USB ports, one of 2.4 A and the other of 2.1 A. This allows it to power up to two peripherals at the same time.

Speaking of peripherals, this hiking solar panel is compatible with all brands of tablets and mobile phones as well as with almost all devices that can be powered by a USB socket such as headlamp, external battery, camera, headphones, etc.

The absence of a built-in battery makes exposure to sunlight essential for charging. It adopts a design designed to withstand bad weather: it is notably anti-drip and fog-proof. However, it is not suitable for use under heavy rain although the company says it has an IPX4 waterproof rating.

CHOETECH 22W solar panel fits in a lightweight and ultra-thin package that reasonably saves space when you fold it up. Also, it is easy to transport. Not only because it folds up but also because it has stainless steel holes and hooks, so you can easily attach it to a backpack or even a tent.

Pros

  • Intelligent charging technology for maximum efficiency and safety
  • Wide compatibility with almost all USB-powered devices
  • Highly efficient energy conversion
  • East to carry

Cons

  • Hard to charge when the sunshine is not optimal
  • Not waterproof
  • A little bit pricey

Check Price on Choetech


5. X-DRAGON 20W Solar Charger – Good Value

5. X DRAGON 20W Solar Charger – Good Value

Specs:

  • Power: 20 Watts (14 – 40 and 70 Watt versions are also available)
  • Number and type of port(s): 2 (5V/2.4 A and 5V/2.4 A)
  • Waterproof level: NC
  • Dimensions: 30.6 x 18.2 x 1.3 cm (folded) and 59.2 x 30.6 x 0.3 cm (open)
  • Weight: approx. 610 g

X-Dragon is a little-known brand on the solar energy market but its foray into the portable solar panel market has not gone unnoticed. Thanks to this model which has almost nothing to envy the competition.

We can always criticize its heaviness and limits when it comes to charging several devices at the same time, but the device has solid arguments to make. Indeed, it charges devices quickly and efficiently and can deliver more than decent performance even when sunlight conditions aren’t optimal.

Whether for long hikes, camping or group travel, the X-Dragon portable solar charger will be great for charging or powering your various electronic devices. To ensure fast and efficient charging, it relies on SunPower solar cells. It is made in the USA and offers an energy conversion rate of up to 25% while most panels on the market have an efficiency of 15%.

This panel is able to charge devices quickly due to the on-board SolarIQ technology. This feature allows it to automatically adjust the current (up to 1.8 amps per port or 3 amps typically) and voltage to optimize charging speed and prevent damage to your devices.

Moreover, the X-DRAGON 20W Solar Panel Charger has a portable design that has been studied to lend itself to both outdoor and indoor use. The strong and waterproof canvas covering shows great resistance to wear even in the event of intensive exposure to the sun’s rays.

As mentioned above, this charger is heavy (about 610 g). Although this is a drawback for adventurers who wish to travel light, this relatively heavy design proves to be a guarantee of durability.

Pros

  • High energy conversion rate (up to 25%)
  • Intelligent, fast, and secure charging system
  • Strong guarantees of durability
  • Versatile design

Cons

  • Relatively heavy
  • Quality of the fabric isn’t the greatest but for the price it is forgivable

Check Price on Amazon


6. BigBlue 28W Foldable Solar Panel – Best for Hiking

6. BigBlue 28W Foldable Solar Panel – Best for Hiking

Specs:

  • Power: 28 Watts (16 – 24 and 42 Watt versions also available)
  • Number and type of port(s): 2 (5V/2.4A each)
  • Waterproof level: IPX4
  • Dimensions: 11.1 × 6 .3 × 1.3 inches (folded) and 33.1 × 11.1 × 0.2 inches (open)
  • Weight: 595g

BigBlue has some of the best portable solar panels on the market today. Our favorite allowed us to discover the know-how of the brand. And this BigBlue 28W also confirms all the good that is said about its products.

Here we’re dealing with a solar charger that offers plenty of power (28 Watts versus 21 Watts for our number 1 pick), excellent amperage, and a digital display to see exactly how many amps are going through your device. This feature is one of the main differences with our editor’s top pick, the BigBlue 21W.

Besides this digital ammeter, it has a voltage controller to transfer a constant flow of energy to your device. It also features a SmartIC intelligent charging technology, which automatically recognizes your device and offers the optimal speed to charge your device faster without the risk of damaging your phone. All this is supported by the high efficiency (up to 23.5%) of its SunPower photovoltaic cells.

BigBlue 28W hiking solar panel has two charging ports that can supply full current at 5V/4A and work with almost all Android and Apple devices as well as some DSLR cameras. On the other hand, you will not be able to use the BigBlue 28W with laptops or iPad Pro.

This device is mounted in a collapsible pouch, which makes it portable and easy to carry. A slot is provided for storing your phone while it is charging. The zippered pocket includes metal hooks so you can easily attach the panel to your bag or to a tree.

On the other hand, the IPX4 rating means that the solar modules are well enough protected against the weather but not necessarily your phone itself during a heavy rainstorm.

Pros

  • Built-in digital ammeter
  • Exclusive Smart IC Technology
  • Good weather and water resistance
  • Guarantees of quality and durability
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Pretty much heavy
  • Comes with a very short cable

Check Price on Amazon


7. VITCOCO Foldable Solar Charger – Good Portability

7. VITCOCO Foldable Solar Charger – Good Portability

Specs:

  • Power: 16 Watts
  • Number and type of port(s): 2
  • Waterproof level: IPX4
  • Dimensions: approximately 18 x 16 x 4.6 cm
  • Weight: 466 g

If you are looking for an affordable price and/or an option that is both light and compact, you will not make a bad choice by choosing the VITCOCO Folding Solar Charger. Two USB outputs can be used to charge almost any USB device: smartphone, tablet, cigarette lighter, power bank, speaker, etc.

Despite being less powerful than our other top picks, this solar panel benefits from high conversion efficiency, reaching up to 22% with its solar modules. This efficiency ensures decent performance even in outdoor environments with low sunlight conditions.

This model incorporates smart charging technology to deliver optimal charging current, ensuring fast and efficient charging while also protecting your devices. The unique display design allows you to easily view the output voltage and amperage, providing you with valuable information about the charging process.

One of the main appeals of the VITCOCO Hiking Solar Panel is its portability. Not only is it lightweight (466g) but its dimensions (approximately 18 x 16 x 4.6cm) are also compact once you fold it up. It also features nifty elastic bands on the rear for tidying up cables, fastening to a carabiner, or any other handy use.

The waterproof and resistant materials allow it to withstand bad weather and last over time. This solar panel is also equipped with stainless steel hooks to hang on your bag, branches, etc. It has two snap buttons, like the ones on jeans, to keep it closed and secure during transport.

Pros

  • Unique display design to view output voltage and amperage
  • Good portability (lightweight and compact dimensions)
  • Use in multiple occasions
  • Effective elastic straps

Cons

  • Average efficiency on a weakly sunny day

Check Price on Amazon


Alternative – Solar Panel Backpack

8. XTPower® SP607BL 6.5W – Practical Design

8. XTPower® SP607BL 6.5W – Practical Design

Specs:

  • Power: 6.5W
  • Number and type of port(s): 1
  • Waterproof level: NC
  • Dimensions: 31.8 x 17.5 cm (solar panel) and 52 x 35 x 22 cm (backpack)
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds

To prepare you for any kind of adventure, the XTPower SP607BL is one of the best purchases you can make. This solar backpack is a convenient solution for storing different things and for having the peace of mind of using your electronic devices, without worrying about your battery level or where the next power outlet is.

The characteristics of both the backpack and the solar panel have been studied to lend themselves to continuous use during travel or outdoor activities. It is designed with a nylon quality that resists tearing. The bag offers a good compromise between strength and lightness, which is interesting if you envisage a daily user or within the framework of occasional trips and outdoor activities.

The breathability of the manufacturing materials, the presence of adjustable straps as well as the flexibility of the support points make it comfortable to wear. For the optimal organization of your belongings, the XTPower SP607BL backpack includes several pockets and a main compartment that can hold a laptop.

As for the solar panel, it is a removable 6.5 Watts device that creates enough power output to charge a wide variety of devices and external batteries. This model is also sewn into a PVC cover for extra durability.

The charger uses solar cells which have a 22% efficiency rating and are protected by a scratch-resistant surface. Since this solar panel has clips for attachment to the backpack, it will not weigh you down. Finally, a USB to micro-USB charging cable comes with the purchase, making it ideal if you have electronic devices that use both types of ports.

Pros

  • Large volume (46 liters) and divided into several compartments
  • Removable and easily detachable solar panel
  • Water and tear-resistant bag
  • Comfortable wearing
  • Easy-access storage

Cons

  • No separate padded pocket to store a laptop
  • Modest power

Check Price on Amazon


Best Portable Solar Panels: Selection Criteria

To find the right portable solar panel for your needs, follow our buying guide.

Type of Portable Solar Panel

There are several types of portable solar panels available on the market, each with its own advantages and applications. Some common types include:

  • Foldable Solar Panels: These panels are designed to fold into a compact size, making them easy to carry and transport. They often come with built-in handles or carrying cases for added convenience.
  • Rollable Solar Panels: Unlike rigid panels, rollable solar panels are flexible and can be rolled up like a mat. They are lightweight and easy to store, making them suitable for backpacking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
  • Briefcase Solar Panels: These panels are designed to resemble a briefcase when folded, with handles for easy carrying. They are often used for charging small electronic devices or providing power in remote locations.
  • Backpack Solar Panels: These panels are integrated into backpacks or attached as accessories, allowing users to charge their devices while on the move. They are popular among hikers, travelers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Solar Chargers: These compact panels are designed to directly charge devices like smartphones, tablets, and power banks. They typically come with USB ports for easy connectivity.

Power Output (Wattage)

Consider the power output of the solar panel, usually measured in watts (W). Determine your power needs based on the devices you plan to charge or power using the solar panel. Higher wattage panels can charge devices faster and handle more power-intensive devices.

Size and Portability

Evaluate the physical dimensions and weight of the solar panel. A balance between size/portability and power output is essential, especially if you plan to carry the panel during outdoor activities or travel.

Type of Solar Cells

Different types of solar cells, such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film, have varying efficiencies and performance characteristics. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient and compact but may be more expensive.

Durability and Build Quality

Look for portable solar panels made from durable materials that can withstand outdoor conditions like moisture, UV exposure, and impact. Quality construction ensures longevity and reliable performance over time.

Output Connectivity

Check the output connectors and compatibility with your devices. USB ports are common for charging smartphones and small electronics, while DC outputs may be needed for larger devices or battery banks.

Integrated Features

Some portable solar panels come with integrated features like built-in battery packs, charge controllers, LED indicators, and protective cases. Assess these additional features based on your requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How long will it take to charge a smartphone?

The speed of recharging a smartphone via a solar panel will depend on the power of the solar panel, sunshine, and your smartphone. For example, it is considered that a 15W solar panel will take between 1h30 and 2h to charge a smartphone in direct sunlight, compared to 3 to 5h in overcast weather.

Q2. How much power can I expect from a portable solar panel?

The power output of a portable solar panel is measured in watts. Outputs can range from around 5W for small, ultra-portable panels to over 100W for larger, more powerful models. Your choice should depend on the devices you plan to charge and how much energy they require.

Q3. What type of device can I charge with a portable solar panel?

Depending on the type of solar panel, you can recharge both small electronic devices (such as headlamps for example) and slightly larger devices such as walkie-talkies, GPS, smartphones or devices. More powerful solar panels will allow you to charge computers (provided they have a DC outlet) or more power-hungry devices. All this information will be placed in the context of your use.

Q4. I hesitate between a solar panel and a hybrid solar panel with battery, which is the best choice?

Everything will depend on your needs and your uses. A conventional solar panel will charge your devices faster. But the charge will not be constant. On the other hand, a solar panel with battery will be able to keep the charge accumulated during the exposure phases even in cloudy weather or after dark.

Some models will even be charged via a conventional electrical outlet. On the other hand, the batteries will see their charge capacity decrease (like any device equipped with a battery).

Q5. Are there essential or practical accessories to facilitate the use of a solar panel?

Depending on your use, you can find a multitude of accessories that can facilitate your use of a solar panel. We note among others: the presence of eyelets to hang the solar panel on a backpack or a tree, a pocket for folding models that will allow you to shelter your smartphone while it is charging by using the solar panel, and the presence of a detachable battery for hybrid models or even different types of interchangeable connectors.

Q6. I would like to bring a portable solar panel for outdoor water activities, is this possible?

Absolutely! Portable solar panels are a fantastic choice for outdoor water activities. They provide a convenient and eco-friendly way to power various devices and equipment you might use during these activities. Just make sure to choose a waterproof model!

Final Thoughts

Each entry on our list has been meticulously chosen to cater to a diverse range of needs, whether you’re a dedicated camper, an avid explorer, or simply someone aiming to reduce their environmental impact. With these considerations in mind, you’ll be empowered to select the perfect portable solar panel to accompany you on your adventures, regardless of where they take you.


ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU:

Leave a Comment