Electronics are a part of the adventurer’s quiver of tools more than ever before. Thanks to efficiency advances and cost decreases in solar cells, portable solar chargers are finally proving to be a viable means of providing electricity outdoors. A backcountry user might carry a smartphone, GoPros, headlamp, tablet, camera, headphones, and PLB or GPS devices.
A family on an extended weekend trip will likely bring multiple smartphones, tablets, speakers, laptops, electric lanterns, and more. Rafters, climbers, bikepackers, and mountain bikers on a weekend mission might haul out even more high-powered lights and GoPros, radios, and other electronic equipment.
What is the fastest solar power charger?
The typical “solar charger” has its own battery. I.e., it is a power pack which can use solar power to charge itself. The battery can deliver power at a rate a phone normally takes when using a regular AC power adapter. Thus the real issue is how long it would take for the device to charge its own battery.
Here’s a quote from the description for one which Amazon recommends:
2. Take AC charging as daily power sources please. The energy transformation from solar to electricity is rather slow and the solar charging speed is subject to sunlight intensity and panel conversion rate. It takes 6-8 hours to solar charging 5-10% of the battery, which is designed to make emergency phone calls for outdoor activities.
According to that, it would take at least a week (and almost certainly more) for the device to give itself a full charge. With that charge it can charge a typical phone 5 times at a normal charging rate. If you could direct the current from the solar cells directly to phone, you can see that it would take well over a day to charge a phone. Needless to say, the manufacturer recommends that you charge the power bank from an AC source and depend on the solar cells only for small emergency charges.
How many W for the solar power charger? What’s the peak sun hours in the plane of irradiance (kWh/m2/d) for the month and location in the world? What’s the capacity in mAh for the battery? What’s the maximum charging rate of the battery? If you define those values then you can calculate it quite simply.
10 Best Solar Chargers
Based on dozens of customer reviews and ratings, the followings are the top 10 best-selling Solar Chargers: