Every day, Earth receives an enormous amount of energy from the Sun. Human has developed a technology called photovoltaic panel or solar panel to harvest light from the Sun into electricity.
Today, this sophisticated technology is available on pocket-size. Numbers of solar powered USB battery chargers are now being sold on the market.
But, which one the best for you?
I’ve heard many solar chargers for a phone from many manufacturers. Some startup offers a good quality product with an affordable price tag.
Now, I put them together in one “buying guide” article that would help you choose the best solar-powered power bank with a minimal amount of money but still providing an outstanding price-to-quality ratio.
- 1 #1 Most affordable solar-powered USB battery charger: Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank
- 2 #2 Most efficient solar powered USB battery charger: RavPower 24W
- 3 #3 Best cheap solar-powered USB battery charger: Instapark 10W
- 4 #4 Rollable portable solar panel with built-in power bank: HeLi-On
- 5 #5 The most versatile portable solar panel that can store energy and money
#1 Most affordable solar-powered USB battery charger: Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank
Let’s start with the cheapest one. Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank isn’t the most efficient photovoltaic device, but it comes at a meager cost. This device featured water-resistant design to ensure usability during extreme humidity or accidentally hit by water splashes. Two USB port is sufficient enough to recharge 2 iPhone at the same time. It also has an internal battery to store energy while harvesting from the Sun.
Since the wattage was considered as low, it cannot charge your phone rapidly. Instead, the best use practice is to lay down the power bank and let the Sun transferring its energy. So, when the night comes, you have backup power for your gadget.
#2 Most efficient solar powered USB battery charger: RavPower 24W
Do you want a charge your gadgets quickly? Choose a bigger panel!
RavPower 24W employs a huge photovoltaic panel to reach the highest power output. The overall size itself is as big as a magazine book. It also comes with a foldable design. Once you folded out, it can cover the entire backpack and start receiving energy when you are hiking. The weight only 26.4 oz or about 750 gram in total, thanks to the absence of internal power storage.
RavPower 24W has 21 to 23 percent efficiency. You can charge 5000 mAh phone battery just a little of few hours. This achievement is not possible for the cheapest one I’ve mentioned before. But the downside, this device has no built-in battery. So only can charge battery and harvesting energy at the same time. However, this device is one of the most faster portable solar charger available today.
#3 Best cheap solar-powered USB battery charger: Instapark 10W
Instapark 10W is a similar device like RavPower, but it comes with a competitive price and decent quality. The foldable photovoltaic array only 1 lb or about 450 gram. It has 10 watts photovoltaic panel and using 2 USB ports as the power output. According to some customers, the device can charge an iPhone up to 100 percent in 60-80 minutes depending on light conditions. Instapark 10W may not as fast RavPower 24W, but the price it has might lure you.
#4 Rollable portable solar panel with built-in power bank: HeLi-On
Have a problem with free space? An ambitious crowdfunded project named HeLi-On offers a rollable solar panel with built-in 2600 mAh power bank. That capacity can fill up an average smartphone battery when the Sun is not above your head. Meanwhile, charging the phone directly during the day may take 2-3 hours depending on light intensity.
Unlike rigid photovoltaic panel, HeLi-On has a flexible panel with 50 cm in length. When rolled in, the flexible panel could fit inside a tube with just 3 cm in diameter. HeLi-On, who developed by InfinityPV only comes with a single USB port. The device only features basic function to achieve a compact design.
#5 The most versatile portable solar panel that can store energy and money
The smart wallet is getting smarter these days. A startup called Lucca Bozzi created a Solar Wallet that can store your money and energy at the same time. The RFID-proof layer beneath the leather can prevent card information from being stolen. It boasted with intelligent tracking features when you forgot the location of wallet.
On the other side, the solar panel can obtain energy during the day and store electricity to its 1500 mAh battery. It has embedded USB cable to transfer energy to the phone, camera, smartwatch, action cam, and literally everything powered by USB. Since the cable is not removable, the company requires you to choose either USB-C port, Micro-USB port, or Apple Lightning cable when purchasing the product. The price may surprises you if only count solar panel features, but don’t forget this device was originally a smart wallet.
Q: How long solar panel will last?
A: The industrial grade usually can last for 20-30 years of usage. But for the portable device, it usually can suffer about five years depending on how you treat it and environmental scenarios.
Q: Charging through solar panel can hurt the battery?
A: Modern phone battery designed to compensate dynamic energy output from the power sources. In the verdict, it should not hurt the phone’s battery although the light intensity fluctuates.
Q: Does solar panel harm the human body?
A: No. Don’t worry about that. As long you do not swallow the chemical compound of photovoltaic, it’s clearly safe. Remember, never throw away the device to public dump because the chemical substance can harm the environment.
Q: I saw a cheaper options, it claims a better quality, should I choose it?
A: It’s up to you. They might expose the features and price honestly. It comes with high efficiency also affordable price. But I’m pretty sure that the durability may not meet average standard.
Q: Does the solar panel still receives energy during the cloudy day?
A: Yes it is. Even the cloud block the sun rays, the panel still receives about 70 percent of energy. Cloud is not the biggest problem for a solar panel, but night.