The Best Portable Solar Charger

Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger

Our Top Pick for 2016: Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $59.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

If you tend to be out and about a lot, you know the feeling of getting down to 1% battery, and then being tethered to an outlet when you need to charge it up. Not only is it just nerve wrecking to not have a phone handy at your disposal, but what happens if there is an emergency and your family needs to get a hold of you? If you also tend to be outdoorsy and don’t have regular access to a source of electricity, a portable solar charger could do you a great deal of good. Below in this review are some of the best portable solar chargers you can bring with you wherever you go.

Table of contents

Intelligently Identifies Your Device
PowerIQ Delivers The Fastest Possible Charging Speed
Lightweight Foldable Format
Charge Speed Up To 1.8 Amps
21 Watt Sunpower Solar Array
iSmart Technology Automatically Adjusts To Connected Devices
22%-25% Efficiency
21.5-23.5% Efficient
Distributes Current Output Accordingly Up To 3.2A
Weather-resistant Durability
Industrial-strength Pet Polymer Faced Solar Panels
Waterproof Sewn Rugged Polyester Canvas
18-month Warranty
Highly Portable Compact Size
4 Hooks To Best Capture Sunlight

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger

Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $59.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerIf you are looking for a sizeable solar charger that is still quite powerful to use in a variety of applications, you have come to the right place. Anker is a company that many consider to be the brainchild of Google employees. In a world where we are tied to our phones, and therefore tied to walls that can charge our phones, Anker wanted to create a product that would set people free and allow them to go wherever they want to go without losing contact with others. Many reviewers who personally used this solar charger have labeled it as a “game changer” in the world full of traditional chargers. They slashed the weight of this 21W panel by over half of what it used to be, and increased the power by one watt while doing it. This is definitely one of the most powerful panels out there that you can use.

This solar charger packs quite a punch when it comes to charging your devices. With the dimensions of 18.1 x 11.0 x .2 inches it is able to hold quite a bit of charge. Because of its larger surface area it is able to hold more power, as well as charge faster than traditional chargers you may use. Don’t let its large size deter you though; it only weighs a total of 14.7 ounces for easy and lightweight travel. When you fold it up, it looks very similar to a small clutch purse, except it’s a lot lighter. Clad in a simple black and dark gray design, it is very attractive without being too flashy or obnoxious. Right below the company name, there are small text sections surrounded by a turquoise blue behind white text to just give it a little extra oomph to be aesthetically pleasing.

Output power is definitely no joke when it comes to using this solar panel. It has a max current of 2.1 amps which is divided between two different ports. Keep in mind that when you are using a solar panel, it is going to take quite a bit longer for your phone to charge as opposed to using a traditional wall charger. While your phone can charge from 0 to 100% in a matter of an hour or two. It can take some solar chargers quite a long time to fully charge a device. This solar panel significantly cuts down the time to charge your device when compared to others, and can charge an iPad in about 8 hours, and an iPhone in roughly 3.5-5 hours. This would be ideal for those who want to charge their phone while they sleep without leaving it plugged into the wall all night.

There are two different USB ports on the charger so nobody has to fight over who’s texts are most important and gets to charge their phone next. As far as ease of use goes, whether or not you know anything about solar charging, this is simple and easy to use with little to no learning curve needed. All you have to do is set it out in the sun, plug in your phone and you’re ready to go. No multi-language instruction packets needed. If you want to hang your charger off of a wall, or your backpack while you’re walking, there are four small loops on the charger for ease of hanging. Remember not to hang your phone off of the charger while it’s attached to your backpack this though, it can easy detach itself without you noticing, and nobody wants to go back into the woods to search for their lost phone.

The only con that was found when it comes to this charger is that many found the small accessory pouch built into this charger does not hold the average smartphone. As phones are growing, the cases and accessories we use with them need to as well, but sometimes it can take a while to catch up. While this is not the worst thing in the world, it would definitely be helpful to have a pouch your gigantic iPhone 6+ would fit into. However, setting your phone on the charger, or taking it out of its case may help to remedy this situation.

This charger would be ideal for long trips without any nearby charging stations, and is definitely one of the most portable options on our list. Whether you decide to hang it from your backpack to do some charging, or even just putting in inside of it, it will hardly take up any room. If this solar panel sounds like your idea of a good time, you can purchase it on Amazon for $59.99 with Prime shipping.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): CHOE 12W 2-Port Dual USB Portable Solar Charger

CHOE 12W 2-Port Dual USB Portable Solar Charger

View it on Amazon for $39.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerUp next in our review is a choice worthy enough to last you a lifetime, and it might just do that. This charger offers up a total of 12 watts, which is roughly half of what the previous solar charger is able to give you. However, depending on what you plan to charge with it that can be more than enough. This is once again a folding solar charger that will transform the natural energy from the sun into something you can charge your devices with. No matter where you are, if you have enough solar energy stored, you’ll be able to charge your phone at any time.

This looks very similar to the previous design in terms of having two solar panels to trap and use the sunlight with one that can store your smart phone while it is charging. This device is a tad bit smaller though measuring at 9 inches by .05 inches by 6.1 inches. It is also just a little bit thicker than the previous option, so if you are looking for ultimate portability you may want to look elsewhere. The high efficiency non-crystalline panels will fold up into a compact and portable charger you can bring with you wherever you go. Most solar panels similar to this one run at about 15% efficiency, which isn’t necessarily bad, but this CHOE tech can offer you 22%-25% efficiency.

When you are charging your phone with this device, it offers the unique ability to auto detect and intelligently identify your device for optimum charging. Because of this, it will charge up to 1.8 amps under direct sunlight depending on what the solar charger identifies your device as. The dual port power offers you 12 watt sun power and super high efficiency. The panels are constructed with polyester canvas also ensures weather resistant durability so you can take it wherever you want to, whether you want to take it outside for your camping trip, or just use it when you and your friends head to cedar point for the day.

This solar panel doesn’t do the best job of charging your device on cloudy days, but overall that does make sense since it relies on solar energy to generate power. Some devices are better at absorbing the rays of sunlight whether or not it is directly sunny outside, however this one only does a sub-par job. Keep this in mind when you use it and take a look at the climate you want to use it in. If it tends to be sunny all the time, this would be a great choice for you. However, if you live in a cloudy city you may want to review some of the other options on our list.

With an 18 month warranty you truly cannot go wrong with this device. If you find that it doesn’t meet your exact specifications, or you feel that it isn’t working properly, you can return it for a refund or a replacement at any time in the 18 months after your purchase. To buy this product on Amazon, it runs at about $39.99.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): RAVPower Dual USB Port 15W Solar Charger

RAVPower Dual USB Port 15W Solar Charger

View it on Amazon for $54.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardRavPower is a brand new company that was just created in 2011 when it saw the need for chargers in the world. It may be brand new, but it definitely knows what it’s doing, and has been very successful so far. They offer a wide variety of different charging mediums such as travel packs, USB chargers and of course, solar charging, all of which have been immensely powerful. In addition to being a company that provides wonderful products, they also have a 24/7 customer support line so they can be there for you whenever or wherever you might need help. When you purchase this RAVPower product, you are also purchasing peace of mind along with it. Their company name, RAVPower, actually stands for reliable, affordable and value, just what you’re getting here.

This solar charger is able to turn 21.5-23.5% of all solar energy it is exposed to into power for your device. It doesn’t take any time to get that power ready for your to use either. You can charge while you are absorbing sunlight for direct usage. This is due to the highly efficient conversion sun power cells that can take what nature has to offer and give it right back to you. With two USB ports you can also charge multiple devices at once without running out of battery before they are fully charged.

Overall this product features a very compact size; in fact it is marketed as one of the most compact in the market. No matter what you plan on using this charger for, whether it be traveling or just general use, why bother paying for electricity when you can just use the free energy that nature has to offer you. This also features iSmart technology that can detect all of the connected devices to distribute current output accordingly and evenly, up to 3.2 amps. This also provides optimal charging so your phone doesn’t overheat like it can with traditional charging, and to also minimize charging time.

This device is great for cloudy climates. Despite the clouds best attempts to hide the sun, it is still able to soak up all of the rays the atmosphere has to offer and convert it into energy for your to use. No matter if you are hiking, cycling or trekking across the wilderness, no matter what the weather may bring, it will always bring you energy. It is also waterproof so you can leave it out when it’s raining to soak up all the little rays of sun it can find. If you want to hang this charging port from your backpack or your tent so you don’t have to physically hold onto it, it does come equipped with 4 reinforced holes it can be hung on. This is especially helpful for when you just want to charge something without feeling like you are stuck in one spot to charge.

While you can of course use your own cables, this product does come with two charging cables of its own. It is highly recommended that you use these cables for optimal performance, but it is not required. With an overall surface area of 10.1 x 1 x 7.6, this is a tad bit thicker, but it still plenty easy to store. If you are interested in purchasing this device, it can be found on Amazon for $52.99.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): iBeek Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger

iBeek Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger

View it on Amazon for $69.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickNo it doesn’t have anything to do with birds; it’s just a very strange name for a company. This company is one of the top 10,000 Amazon USA sellers and has grown an incredible following of dedicated customers who swear by the company. Focusing on electronics, they have been able to create something that will keep your devices charged to the fullest all day, every day. The 10,000 mAh capacity lithium battery has a compact solar panel that will recharge under sunlight. This doesn’t require direct sunlight to charge, although the sunnier the better, and the faster it will be able to charge.

This is an all-purpose charger that would be wonderful for daily use, or excursions outside. Many people even mention that they can use this as an emergency charger in case they lose power. Featuring a dual USB port, there is one port that features 2.1A ideal for iPad’s and tablets, and a 1.0 USB port for smartphones and other smaller devices. You are able to simultaneously charge both devices at the same time without affecting the amount of time it would take to only charge one.

Not only is this a wonderful solar charger, it also doubles as a flashlight in emergency situations. It features an extremely bright LED flashlight with three modes: high, low and strobe light depending on what you need it for. The high and low can be used for just general flashlight use, while the strobe can be used as an SOS if you need somebody to see you. This is a solid design for a portable charger, meaning that is does not fold up like the previous options do. It only features one solid rectangular solar panel to soak up the sun rays. Roughly the same size as the iPhone six, it offers enough space to hold a fair amount of charge, but not too much that it will take up a ton of space in your backpack.

This is a great solar charger because it is small and compact, and is also able to hold a charge for emergencies if you need it. This is also the only option on this list that doubles as a flashlight. You can purchase this solar panel in black, blue or green for only $19.99 on Amazon.

Pre-purchase considerations

What type of atmosphere do you plan to use this in?

Before you make any final choices about what solar charger you want, pay attention to the type of climate you live in. If you live somewhere that is sunny all the time, then you can pretty much choose from any of the above options and not have any issues whatsoever. However, if on the other hand you know that you live in a climate that gets lots of clouds and sun, then look for the ones that are still able to function well in overcast skies. There’s a good chance that the charger will still be able to pick up a little bit of energy when it is cloudy outside, but definitely not nearly as much as one that was meant to be used with cloudy skies.

Even if you plan on using this for traveling, choose a device that can be used in cloudy conditions in case you decide to travel somewhere with little sun. Also keep in mind whether or not the solar charger is waterproof if it is a relatively wet climate.

What size do you need?

If you plan on charging multiple devices at once, or if you’re one of the lucky ones that has a great phone and a terrible battery, you’re probably going to go through a lot of charge cycles. Generally speaking, the bigger the solar panels, the faster the charge will be once you plug in your phone. Most of the chargers on this list feature two different panels; however, the very first one has four. Don’t be deceived by the final choice though. While it does only have one solar panel, it can also charge a device extremely fast.

How fast does it need to charge?

Again, the amount and the size of the solar panels will affect how fast it is able to charge. If you need to charge your phone in a quick second, pay attention to the size as well as the amperage. This is especially useful for those who plan on charging multiple devices. Having more than one connected to the charger at once can affect how fast both of the devices charge. If you plan on charging more than a single device at once, get a larger on that can charge things faster and longer.

Do you need it to hold a charge?

Some of the above options only work to charge in the present and not the future. This means that if you have your phone attached to the solar panels while it is out in the sun, then it will immediately charge, and continue to charge until your phone has hit 100%. However, if there is extra charge left over, some will not hold the charge for a later time. There are a couple on this list that are able to hold excess charge until you need it, but not all of them. If you want to save the sunlight during the day to use at night, pay attention to whether or not the product offers it.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Solar panel chargers are an absolutely wonderful thing to have just in case you ever need it. Whether you plan to use it for daily excursions outside, or if you just want to have something around for emergencies, this can save your devices from dying on you no matter where you are. Depending on what your overall use is for the charger, and what your other preferences are, you can choose exactly what you want on this list with all of the guesswork cut out for you.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Anker: Who we Are,
  2. Jeremy Horwitz, Anker’s + RAVPower’s Solar Chargers refuel iPads and iPhones, so long as the sun’s very bright,
  3. Lyra Pierotti, Anker 21W Foldable Dual-Port Solar Panel Review,
  4. RAVPower About Us,

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