Best solar power chargers for phones and tablets

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How to use a solar power charger for your phone

The short answer is to plug it in but read on if you need to buy a great panel to charge your phone when camping and on the move. 

While portable power banks were all the rage during the great 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, you need to be able to charge a power bank from the mains - and as the 'great purge' of 2021 showed when the power's out, you need to use the best solar power charger you can when you want to get some juice into your iPhone or Android tablet or bank.

Maybe that's exaggerating things somewhat.

But, you dear reader, are a sophisticated consumer. 

You are not rushing out blindly buying all the toilet paper in the fear that the coronavirus will somehow prevent the supermarkets from supplying such necessities of life.

No, you know the real thing you need to save you from Covid-19, is a means to charge your phone when the electricity goes out!

Well, unless the pandemic hits 'Revelations and Rapture' level levels, then it's unlikely the power is going to go out and you're really shopping for the best portable solar charger because you know that you don't want to be caught out if you have to isolate somewhere away from Homebase.

Or you are simply a keen hiker or tramper and want to be able to charge your phone or GPS watch because you are on a 7-day cross country adventure.

There are many kinds of solar power chargers in the market place - they all serve different user needs.
You can have solar heating of water for example, or you can use it to trickle charge a car battery, a simple portable blue tooth speaker or even for charging an electric fence up!

They are also very handy on boats, as there are not many places you can plug into the mains when you're 1000 miles from the shoreline!

In this context, we are focusing on solar charges that are ideal for when you are out and about - portable units that you can fold up and carry around snug in a backpack or the back of a utility.

The more complex chargers on the market will utilize a power bank - this means you can use the panels to charge the bank, rather than having your tablet or other USB charging device plugged in the hole time.

Or you can charge up your own power bank - which is perfect for if you set your device up overnight so it will begin charging as soon as the sun is up and at 'em in the sky - meaning maximum charging time for you.

How do you know what is the best solar charger? We'll if you are are demand versus supply kind of thinker, then the number one seller on Amazon is this unit:

The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is a fine charging option - it features two standard USB chargers so you can charge two devices at once - be they Apple tablets, Bluetooth speakers or Huawei Android phones. They can naturally be used to charge other battery power banks, lights, cameras - anything that will take a charge via a USB outlet.

anker best solar charger for cell phone
Given the surface area size of the unit's solar panels, the Anker charger will generate 2.1 amps in direct sunlight. This compares nearly as fast as regular mains powered chargers under ideal sunny conditions.

Here's a review from an Amazon buyer who has properly road-tested the unit and given it the two thumbs-up:

"I've taken it on eight or ten camping trips and it hasn't let me down yet. The storage panel on the end with the USB ports is excellent, I can hide my cellphone inside the panel while it charges. It rolls up small and beautifully when not in use and is a real space saver compared to some solar panels.

Having two USB ports is one of the best features of this solar panel and make it so much more convenient. It charges two phones on a clear day, albeit more slowly than standard power sources. It will even charge my phone a bit on a cloudy day."

Check out the price and reviews from Amazon.

aimtom solar power USB charger
Power up your next outdoors adventure with the AIMTOM sleek and powerful portable solar charger and make sure that your laptop, cellphone or tablet stays powered up. You can take all the fuss out of charging your action cameras, cameras or portable power stations with our this super-efficient 60W power panel bag!

This unit features an MC4 cable, DC-to-Clamp, DC-to-DC cables - in sufficient variety so that most popular brands of laptops can be charged.

What's the best portable trickle solar power charger?

In our opinion, starting out with a solar-powered 12-volt battery trickle charger is ideal when you need to tick over the charge a car, boat or tractor battery.

Just like this one from Suner Power:

Trickle chargers will keep your battery ready to rock to that it is fully charged for when you need to use it. A good trickle charger will feature a built-in blocking diode that should prevent any power drain / discharge from your battery.

A 12 volt charger can provide up to 1.5W charging power, which is plenty of juice to prevent idle discharge of your expensive vehicle battery.

In case it's not clear, the trickle charger is not for charging up a laptop or phone from zero capacity, it's to keep a little utilized battery in with a full charge so that you can be sure that when you need it, it is ready to perform at full power.

Check out some options on Amazon:
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