The best solar chargers for your smartphone or tablet

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

It always happens — when you need your phones or tablet the most, it is teetering on the edge of shutting down because you drained the battery. It’s even worse when you don’t have access to a power outlet right away. Fortunately, the sun is always on (at least during the day), so why not harness the power of solar energy to keep your devices running even when you’re trekking through the middle of nowhere? Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best solar chargers available, especially when it comes to performance and value. Most of them can juice up several of your devices with a single charge — as long as there are clear skies, of course.

Fuse 6W Solar Charger ($129)

Fuse 6W Solar Charger
Instagram/Arnell
  • Capacity — 4,000mAh
  • Outputs — 1 USB (1A)
  • Weight –1.3 pounds
  • Solar Panel –6.15 Watts

Many solar chargers are marketed as ultra-portable solar options, however, few measure up to the Fuse 6W Solar Charger. The unit comes with a universal attachment system, complete with a set of interlocking clips. This allows you to fasten the charger to the back of your current pack and adjust the straps for a firmer fit. The Fuse 6W charges an external battery, though you can also charge the latter component via a traditional wall outlet or USB. Either way, once charged, the device should provide enough juice to fully charge your smartphone at least once. We tested the Voltaic’s panel-equipped backpack earlier this year, so if you’re in the market for a dedicated solar pack, we suggest giving our Voltaic OffGrid Solar Backpack review a gander.

Voltaic Systems  Amazon

RAVPower 25000mAh Outdoor Portable Charger ($45)

best solar chargers ravpower
  • Capacity — 25,000mAh
  • Outputs — 3
  • Weight — 19.4 ounces

At a beastly 25,000mAh capacity, RAVPower’s Outdoor Portable Charger has the biggest capacity of any of the solar chargers in our list. It also has the most outputs, allowing for the charging of up to three devices at once, with Quick Charge , USB-C, and iSmart charging ports. It even includes a LED emergency light which has three lighting modes: strong, probe, and SOS. If you’re in a rush, RAVPower does give you the option to charge the power pack via USB. That’s probably a smart idea: RAVPower says it would take 80+ hours to charge your portable battery on sunlight alone!

Amazon

Arc 20W Solar Charger Kit ($255)

Arc 20W Solar Charger Kit
Instagram/GazLeah
  • Capacity –19,800 mAh
  • Outputs — DC Output, USB Output (1A)
  • Weight — 3.25 pounds
  • Solar Panel — 19.8 Watts

Unlike some of the clunkier, hard-shell builds on the market, the Arc 20 Watt Solar Charger easily fastens to a variety of awnings, packs, and tents, allowing for consistent charging throughout your adventure. This kit also includes Voltaic‘s V72 Universal Laptop Battery, which is designed with a DC Output, meaning you can charge most laptops at least once. The external battery also includes protection against short circuits and overcharging, so you don’t have to worry about frying your devices.

Voltaic Systems  Amazon

Renogy E.Flex 10W ($47)

  • Capacity — None (panel only)
  • Outputs — 1 USB port (1.92A)
  • Weight — 11.2 ounces
  • Solar Panel — 10W

While the Renogy E.Flex has no battery backup (meaning it’s only useful when the sun’s out), it is one of the cheapest panel-only options that gets both high marks for durability and charging capability. A 1.92A USB port should give you enough amperage to charge your phone in about the same time as you would via traditional power, and even power your phone without draining the battery in full sunlight, something many other panel-only options — most more expensive — cannot do. There is a 5 watt model available on Amazon for only $24, but it produces less than an amp of power to the USB ports, insufficient for many applications.

Amazon

Yolk Station Solar Paper ($148)

Yolk Solar Paper
  • Capacity — None
  • Outputs — 1 USB port (1A)
  • Weight — 4 ounces
  • Solar Panel — 5W

Solar Paper is the thinnest solar charger available. It measures a mere 0.45 inches at its thickest point, and though it doesn’t contain a built-in battery, a display on the top of the unit will let you know if the charger is receiving enough energy to charge your device. In theory, with no battery to worry about, this particular solar charger could last a long time. There are several different options available, from the basic 5W version ($148) up to a 15W version ($348). Just keep in mind that you’ll need the 5W model if you want to charge your phone, or the 10W or greate if you want to charge tablets or more than one device at a time.

Amazon Yolk Station

NeckTeck 21W Solar Charger ($60)

best solar chargers neckteck 21w charger
  • Capacity — None
  • Outputs — 2 USB ports (up to 3A total)
  • Weight — 1.3 lbs.
  • Solar Panel — 21W

Despite having no battery storage capabilities, Necktek’s solar charge wows us with up to 21 watts of power production, which is more than enough to charge any portable device quickly. Unlike most solar-only chargers (ones without a battery), Necktek’s model does allow for up to two devices to be charged at once. Just keep in mind you’re limited to 3 amps total, so charging two devices will take a good deal longer. Another nice feature is SmartIC, which will intelligently detect the type of device and deliver just the right amount of power to charge the device as quickly as possible.

Amazon

ECEEN Foldable Solar Charger ($40)

ECEEN 13W 2-Port
  • Capacity — Not specified
  • Outputs — 2 USB ports
  • Weight — 9.3 ounces
  • Solar Panel — 13W

The ECEEN 13W 2-Port is one of the best 13W chargers we’ve seen. The entire unit weights a mere 9 ounces and measures an inch thick, rendering it exceptionally light and compact. A convenient pouch on the back of the charger also allows you to stow your mobile phone, iPad Mini, and other mobile accessories while charging or on the move. A simple stand on the back of the device extends functionality even further, giving you a means for positioning the solar charger in direct sunlight. And at under $40, ECEEN’s model is currently one of the more affordable solar chargers on the market.

Amazon

Deals

The best Presidents’ Day vacuum deals: Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell

Amazon and Walmart are offering pretty substantial savings to help kick-start your spring cleaning. Top brands like Roomba, Dyson, and Bissell are dropping prices left and right for Presidents' Day.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Fitbit Versa smartwatches for Presidents’ Day

Amazon is offering a solid $30 discount on this great fitness tracking smartwatch right now. So if you're looking for a wearable that can help you track steps, sleep, and activity, now is a great time to pick one up for less.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.