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Solar power banks have become a packing essential for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. These convenient, portable devices are perfect for charging cell phones, Bluetooth speakers, wireless headphones, cameras, and other gadgets when conventional power options aren’t available. However, choosing the best solar power bank for your use case isn’t as easy as you think. In this post, we’ll briefly talk about how solar power banks work, their benefits, and choosing criteria. To make your decision easier, we’ll also share the 7 best solar power banks in 2021.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Solar Power Bank?
A solar power bank is a portable energy storage device with solar panels, that you can use to charge your smartphone or electronic gadgets. They work just like a regular power bank, but the key difference is that they use solar power as an energy source instead of conventional electricity. Typically they come with a battery pack that is charged by the solar panels.
How Does It Work?
Solar energy is among the few eco-friendly and sustainable resources we can use to generate electricity. Simply put, a solar power bank comprises small solar panels that charge a miniature rechargeable battery (usually lithium ion-based).
What are the Benefits of a Solar Power Bank?
Using a solar power bank comes with several benefits over its conventional counterpart. The biggest advantage is that you won’t need a power outlet to charge your small electronic devices in most cases, thereby saving utility bills. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice when you’re outdoors in the middle of the day. Here are the three major benefits of solar power banks:
As mentioned earlier, these power banks run on solar power, the battery pack is charged with solar energy hence they help reduce your on-grid power consumption. As a result, you can reduce your carbon footprint by simply opting for an environmental-friendly solution to charging your phone, laptops, and other gadgets every day.
Another great benefit of these devices is that they’re compatible with almost every cellphone type and device in the market. As long as the phone supports USB connectivity, you can easily charge it without hassle.
When you are outdoors, or on a long trip, charging your phone can be challenging if you can’t find an outlet near you. With solar power banks, you don’t have to worry about sockets anymore. These devices are portable so you can easily keep them in your bag or pocket and use them at will.
§ Backup for Several Days
Depending on the power bank capacity, the battery can generally store enough charge to last for your days. If you’re out in the sun regularly, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice.
How to Choose the Best Solar Power Bank for Your Use Case?
There’s a lot to consider before buying a solar power bank. With hundreds of options in the market, you can use the following parameters to narrow down your options:
The best solar power bank for you will depend on your use case. If you’re regularly outdoors and off the grid, you’ll need a powerful power bank with some additional features, such as portability and weather resistance. Users who regularly travel for business or pleasure can easily manage to get by with a basic power bank.
§ Power Bank Capacity
Solar power banks vary widely in terms of capacity and power output. The general rule of thumb is, the higher the power bank capacity, the more output it can produce to charge your devices. However, this will also affect its price tag and size. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option to use in emergencies, opt for a power bank with a lower capacity.
Here’s the general capacity breakdown:
1. 10,000 mAh
Casual users who don’t intend to regularly use a solar power bank can opt for a device with 10,000 mAh capacity. This is great for emergencies like blackouts or on outdoor adventures. You can easily carry them with you on the move as well.
2. 25,000 mAh
If you’re planning to use a solar charger regularly, you should opt for at least 25,000 mAh capacity. These battery banks can supply your smartphones or devices with sufficient backup power for two weeks. They’re perfect for neighborhoods where power outages are common or households with multiple devices.
3. Over 25,000 mAh
Most heavy-duty users opt for power bank capacity over 25,000 mAh. If you regularly spend time outdoors or on travels, you can use this to supply several weeks’ worth of power at full capacity.
§ Weather Resistance
Many people use solar power banks outdoors so you should opt for a weatherproof one. If you live in a wet region, check if the battery bank is resistant to water
§ Size and Weight
The last thing you need is to carry around a heavy solar bank that weighs you down, especially if you’re a backpacker or hiker. Choosing the best solar power bank for your use case might as well come down to its size and weight. Here, you’ll have to compromise between capacity and size/weight.
Most users use power banks for emergency situations or as backups to electrical outlets. So, the bank you choose must be not only small and portable, but also should come with different connectivity options, such as multiple USB outputs, changeable/additional battery, and a 2a output.
The Best Solar Power Banks in 2021
Based on the parameters mentioned above, here are our top 7 picks of the best solar power banks for 2021:
1. Nekteck Solar Charger
If you’re looking for a low-cost, simple solar power bank, look no further than the Nekteck solar charger. It features a 10,000 mAh battery, which is perfect for casual users, and you can charge up to two devices simultaneously. Unlike many single-panel solar chargers, the Nekteck uses a more efficient solar panel which improves charging time. Additional features include shock and weather-proof design, an LED emergency flashlight, and side grips.
- Great value for money
- Uses a Li-polymer battery, which is one of the safest ones out there
- Weighs only 10 ounces
- Rain-resistant and shock/dustproof
- Not fully waterproof
2. Beswill Lightweight Solar Charger
The Beswill Solar Charger is among the best lightweight options for hiking. You can use it to charge up to 3 smartphones or gadgets simultaneously. Another great feature that makes this power bank perfect for hiking is its 21 super-bright LED lights. With a powerful 8,000 mAh battery, you can easily charge your iPhone or camera 5-8 times. Thus, it’s perfect for a short weekend trip and will keep you going regardless of its small size. However, it’s not meant to be used as a sole source of power.
- Incredibly lightweight (7.8 ounces)
- Dual charging options
- Comes with a hook hanger for additional portability
- Not waterproof
- 8,000 mAh is only suitable for casual users and lighter devices
3. Yelomin Solar Power Bank
If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option, consider the Yelomin Solar Power Bank. This power bank offers more for its price tag than most options in the market and is quite affordable. With a battery capacity of 20,000 mAh and a host of inbuilt features, like LED light, compass, and dual USB ports, it truly is worth every penny for those on a budget.
- Great value for money
- Rated maximum output of 10 watts
- Made of durable and reliable
- ABS+PC+Silicone material
- Comes with a 90-day warranty only
4. Feeke Solar Power Bank
Feeke is one of the lesser-known brands in the market but offers great options for consumers at a fairly affordable price. For heavy-duty users, it’s a great option because it comes with a 32,800 mAh power capacity and has an excellent power rating of 15 watts. Another outstanding feature the Feeke Solar Power Bank offers is a wireless charging pad alongside dual inputs and triple output ports. However, it’s not the lightest option in the market as it weighs 12.6 ounces.
- IP66 water-resistance rating
- 1-year warranty
- Sealed and dustproof
- A 3.7 Watt flashlight
- Better charging speeds than most power banks in its price range
- Quite heavy for a power bank
5. IEsafy Outdoor Solar Power Bank
The IEsafy Outdoor Solar Power Bank is a great all-around option for users seeking reliability, power, and durability. It is among the best performing solar power banks in the market today, thanks to its unique design featuring 4 solar panels that are capable of catching more sunlight than most power banks. It has a maximum output rating of 12 watts and a battery capacity of 26,800 mAh.
- 2-year warranty (one of the highest in the market)
- Among the most reliable and durable options
- 4 solar panels to capture more sunlight
- Doesn’t have a Type-C USB port
- Weighs over 20 ounces
6. OUTXE Wireless Solar Power Bank
The OUTXE Wireless Solar Power Bank is the only option on this list that comes with a military-grade construction, which makes it incredibly durable and reliable. This is why it’s one of the highest-rated power solar chargers by hikers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. It features a 25,000 mAh battery with wireless charging, type C and micro USB ports, and a built-in nylon strip that you can use to attach it to your gear pack and let it charge on the go. Lastly, the OUTXE comes with an IP67 rating; you can drop it in three feet of water for up to half an hour.
- Triple charging capability (micro USB, Type-C, and wireless
- Dust and shockproof with IP67 rating
- Nylon Strip boosts portability
- Made of rubberized military shell and sealed ports
- Weighs 20.6 ounces
7. Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack
If you’re looking for a power bank that can survive the roughest conditions, look no further than the Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack. Not only is it waterproof, dustproof, and shock-proof, it is also completely sealed. It features an 8,000 mAh battery which is quite sufficient for short outdoor ventures like a camping trip, traveling, and hiking. Other features include dual charging via USB ports and an emergency light that produces up to 1,000 lumens. It also has a faster charging time (around 36 hours) than many of its counterparts in the market.
- The emergency light functions no differently than a LED floodlight
- Designed for rough-terrain adventures
- Fast charging time
- Not suitable for longer trips due to smaller battery
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about solar power banks
1. Are solar power banks worth it?
A solar power bank charger is worth every penny, as long as you carefully evaluate your needs and choose one accordingly. They are more useful than a regular power bank, especially outdoors. They will continue to charge as long as the sun is out, and depending on the capacity, you can get enough juice to keep you going for days.
2. How to charge a solar power bank without
Many solar power banks feature conventional charging as a primary or secondary option. So, when here’s no sunlight, you can easily plug into an AC outlet and charge it like a smartphone or portable device.
3. How to use a solar power bank?
To use a solar power bank, you simply need to connect your phone or device with it using a cable and plugging it into the USB output. Some battery banks also feature wireless charging; so, all you have to do is place your smartphone on top of it. During the day make sure that the solar panel is exposed to sunlight so that it can charg the batteries.
4. How long does it take to charge a solar power bank?
The time taken to fully charge a solar power bank depends on several factors, such as the battery pack’s capacity, sun’s intensity, solar panel efficiency, and overall build quality. Typically, it takes up to 50 hours of unobstructed sunlight to fully charge a 25,000 mAh power bank. The general rule of thumb is, the smaller the battery, the faster the charging and vice versa.
5. How to turn off a solar power bank?
Most power banks turn off automatically when the device is fully charged. If your device isn’t connected, you can press and hold the power button to turn it off. For more brand-specific instructions, you can refer to the user manual of your power bank.
Using solar power to keep vital personal devices charged and running is an innovative, practical, and potentially life-saving solution. Even if you don’t plan to explore the wilderness, solar power banks are a much better option than regular power banks. Sun is a power source that is almost always available.
We hope you enjoyed reading our top 7 picks for the best solar power bank in 2021. If you’re looking for the highest capacity, the Feeke Solar Power Bank will serve you well. If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a power bank for emergencies, you can’t go wrong with the Nektech solar charger. For an all-around solution that combines power and durability, we highly recommend the OUTXE Wireless Solar Power Bank.
What if You Want to go Eco-friendly with Your Portable Devices?
Selecting an eco-friendly phone can be a good idea, there are manufacturers that try to use less toxic materials and focus on recyclable solutions. Another environmental problem with portable devices is the different types of plastic cases thrown away by the ton each year. We also reviewed eco-friendly phone cases, if you are interested.