7 Portable Solar Laptop Chargers Worth Considering

The Notepower

This charger has made previous appearances on TreeHugger, and has hung around for awhile, proving it's handiness among consumers.

Power: The Notepower comes in two options, a 15 watt and a 22 watt version.

Portability: Well, it’s a case, which gives it that two-in-one lovin’. However, unless you have a MacBook Air or other very thin computer, the 1.5” thickness of the folded case won’t carry your laptop. The case opens up and two solar panels fold out. The two panels of the 15 watt version opens up to 24.5” x 13.5” and the 22 watt version has three panels opening up to 37” x 16”. Both sizes are very workable for laying flat in an open space without needing an excessive amount of room. However, the 15 watt version weighs three pounds, and the 22 watt version weighs 6 pounds, which takes away some of the grab-n-go ease that we would love to see.

Price: The price on the Notepower is very reasonable, coming in at $262 for the 15 watt version and $386 for the 22 watt version. We don’t know how long it takes to gather a charge, so the lower price may be reflective of a lower energy generation efficiency.

Apple Juicz

The Apple Juicz is specific to MacBooks, including Pro and Air versions. It also comes with a pretty cool Element canvas bag.

Power: This is definitely on the higher end for chargability and offers some of the highest outputs. The smaller version can generate up to 18 watts and recharge an Air in 14 hours, the medium size up to 27 watts and recharge an Air in 8 hours, and the largest version up to 55 watts and can recharge an Air in 5 hours. Or, it can help extend your Mac battery for hours if charging while working.

Portability: The Apple Juicz is foldable, which makes it very easy to carry around. However, it’s pretty huge when unfolded. The smallest version unfolds to about 30”x30” and the largest is a picnic blanket-sized 60”x42”. So while it is easy to carry around, it might not be as easy to actually use while on the go.

Price: Like most everything Mac-related, these panels are on the steeper end of the price range, going from $500 to $1000 depending on what size you’re purchasing. However, you are getting some serious wattage from these suckers, so relatively speaking, they aren’t over-the-top-expensive.

Powergorilla & Solargorilla

The SolarGorilla offers awesome portability, but works best as a back-up battery charger, using the solar device to recharge the complimentary PowerGorilla back-up battery pack.

Power: The nice thing about this duo is that if you don’t have sun, you can still have portable power by charging up the PowerGorilla in a wall socket and waltzing off to wherever it is you need backup power. However, it takes about 5-6 hours of wall charging to fill ‘er up, which means even longer in the sun. The SolarGorilla generates on a small 10 watts in direct sunlight, and takes about 6 hours of strong sunlight to charge the PowerGorilla about half way (the PowerGorilla provides 2-6 hours of run time for your laptop with a full charge). But that smaller wattage is still pretty big for such a small device.

Portability: The SolarGorilla folds open from a durable hard case that is water resistant. About 10” x 7.8” x less than one inch thick, and weighing just 1.4 pounds, means that this is highly portable. However, you will have to carry both the SolarGorilla and the PowerGorilla.

Price: For the PowerGorilla and SolarGorilla combo, you’ll need to dole out about $580. You’ll also have to shell out a little more if you have a Mac, because you’ll need an Apple MagSafe airline adaptor and one of PowerGorilla’s universal car charger sockets to make it compatible.

A TreeHugger review of the SolarGorilla is underway, so we’ll have an update on this product after we get a better chance to play around with it.

Solaris 26

This is one of the top options for a solar charger when trying to find the best balance of the three Ps.

Power: This solar charger uses CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) technology, which basically means it is using highly efficient thin film tech to help get some serious power out of a small size. Indeed, it is capable of a 26 watt output. It is ideal for a trickle charge, or claims to be able to fully charge a laptop in 4-8 hours, depending on the quality of sunlight.

Portability: The whole thing folds up nicely into a little package, the same 8.5”x11” size of a piece of paper, and about an inch thick. When unfolded, it is only 21.5”x37.5”, which is relatively small compared to other foldable chargers. It is a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 28 oz, but not by any means too heavy to tote around.

Price: At $620, this is a decent deal for the portability and power provided by the charger, and is not expensive compared to other chargers available. However, we also found it at Sierra Solar for just $390 making it a really stellar deal.

More on Solar Charging for Devices:
$180 Portable Solar Power for Your Laptop, MP3 Player
The First Solar Computer Case that Charges Computers
Solar Powered Blogging on a Bike Trip

Tags: Solar Energy | Solar Gadgets | Solar Power | Solar Technology

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