The 5 Best Portable Solar Laptop Chargers of 2022

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Woman sitting on park bench using her laptop with a solar charger next to her

Lesia Sementsoval / Getty Images

Working remotely using a laptop is becoming more and more common, and with it comes the challenge of keeping a computer powered up when electric outlets are scarce. Whether camping in the wilderness, on a road trip, living off-grid, or in a sudden power-outage situation, a portable solar laptop charger is a handy device to have. 

Most portable solar laptop chargers function as mini power stations capable of charging other electronics like cell phones, cameras, drones, and tablets—to name a few. Now, with more options than ever to choose from, we’ve sorted through the latest solar devices to find our favorites.

Here are the best portable solar laptop chargers.

Best Overall: Jackery 1000W Peak Solar Generator SG550 with 100W Solar Panel

Jackery Solar Panel and generator

Jackery

Founded by a former Apple battery engineer in Silicon Valley, Jackery Power Outdoors is one of the most well-recognized names in off-grid power supplies. The Solar Generator SG290 comes with a whopping 90-watt panel that folds shut and can easily be toted away using the carry handle. The 400-watt output can charge a Macbook four times before the power station requires a recharge, making it our top overall choice.

Another stand-out feature is the built in MPPT module that monitors voltage and output of the solar panel, adding up to 23% more solar recharging efficiency. There’s also an automatic power-saving setting to power down when not in use. The Jackery can charge up to four devices at one time.

Price at time of publish: $679

Key Specs

Solar Panel Capacity: 400 watts | Battery Capacity: 290 watt hours | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Output Ports: AC Output, Car Port Output, USB Outputs

Best Portable: Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC + Nomad 20 Solar Kit

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC + Nomad 20 Solar Kit

Courtesy of Goal Zero

For an ultraportable laptop charger than can easily pack up and fit into luggage or a hiking pack, the Sherpa 100AC by Goal Zero weighs just over four pounds – for both the charger and the 20-watt solar panel. The Sherpa is ideal for charging laptops, cameras, tablets, and phones, plus it even has a wireless charging option.

The Nomad 20 panel can fold shut and comes with a kickstand to get the proper angle in the sun. It takes about 7.5 to 15 hours to recharge (so a full day in the sun), however, it can also recharge from another USB source (in eight to 10 hours) or from the car adapter or wall charger in about three hours.

Price at time of publish: $450

Key Specs

Solar Panel Capacity: 20 watts | Battery Capacity: 94.7 watt hours | Weight: Power bank 2 pounds, solar panel 2.28 pounds | Output Ports: Wireless Qi, USB-C PD ports, USB-A, AC inverter

Best for RVing: Patriot Power Sidekick

Patriot Power Sidekick

Courtesy of Patriot

Specializing in emergency equipment such as water filters and ready-to-eat survival meals, the outdoor company 4 Patriots also makes must-have solar devices. The Power Sidekick is a reliable and efficient solar charger that’s designed for sudden power-outages, and is also a good addition to camping or RV gear.

Although it's lightweight, the Sidekick can charge phones, laptops, medical devices, WiFi routers, radios, and more with a capacity of 300 watts. The four foldable solar panels (connected) provide total 40 watts of power to recharge the Sidekick and can also directly charge any device that has a USB port. There’s a light on the back that’s useful in a tent or on the picnic table, and the clear digital display shows the charging levels and how many watts the laptop being charged is using.

The company supports active-duty military and veterans’ charities.

Price at time of publish: $497

Key Specs

Solar Panel Capacity: 40 watts | Battery Capacity: 300 watt hours | Weight: 8 pounds | Output Ports: Two USB, USB Type C, two pure sine wave AC output

Best Backpack Charger: Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops

Voltaic Systems Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger for Laptops

Courtesy of Amazon

A solar-charging backpack allows you to charge a laptop on the go, and the redesigned Array Rapid Solar Backpack Charger by Voltaic Systems is lightweight (5.4 pounds), durable, and powerful. UV and water resistant, the backpack is made from 33 recycled plastic soda bottles (recycled PET fabric). Inside is 25 liters of storage, a dedicated padded 15-inch laptop sleeve for added protection, and plenty of interior pockets.

The new larger capacity, 88-watt hour battery comes with USB-C to charge the latest devices. The battery can be recharged with the AC adapter or with the 10-watt solar panel that’s built into the rear of the backpack. It takes about six hours to fully charge a laptop.

Price at time of publish: $249

Key Specs

Solar Panel Capacity: 9 watts | Battery Capacity: 88.8 watt hours | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Output Ports: USB, USB Type C, and Hi-Voltage Laptop Output

Best Budget: SunJack 25W Portable Solar Charger Panel + 2 Powerbanks

SunJack 25W Portable Solar Charger Panel + 2 Powerbanks

Courtesy of SunJack

This portable solar panel and battery kit is designed for phones, tablets, and other smaller devices, but if your laptop uses a USB-C power cable, you can also connect it. The kit includes a folding, three-panel portable solar charger, and two 10,000mAh batteries, plus two fast-charging cables and carabiners. 

This setup might not be ideal for powering work on your laptop for an extended period of time, but it can supplement your laptop’s internal battery enough to get it to boot up and check or send messages in the case of an emergency. At under $200, it’s a great value and considerably less expensive than setups with higher capacities.

Sunjack is a trusted name is solar panels, and its durable design is back by a one year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $120

Key Specs

Solar Panel Capacity: 25 watts | Battery Capacity: 90 watt hours each | Weight: 3 pounds total | Output Ports: One USB-A, one USB-C

Final Verdict

Our top pick for a portable solar laptop charger is the Jackery Power Outdoors unit for its reasonable price and high functionality, but if you’re looking for a cost-friendly option, the SunJack Solar Panel and Power Bank set is an affordable, lightweight choice for charging laptops and cell phones in emergency situations.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Solar Laptop Charger

Battery

While some portable solar panel manufacturers claim they can charge laptops by connecting directly to the panel, it’s not a good idea. Voltage fluctuations can potentially damage devices, and portable solar panels are slower to charge devices than battery power packs. Not to mention, solar panels can only be utilized during daylight hours, while a combination of both (battery and panel) allows you to maximize power generation by using the battery in the evenings and recharging it on the panel during the day.

Weight

Although solar panels and batteries have both gotten way lighter in recent years, a battery system that's large enough to keep a laptop charged for a meaningful amount of time is not going to fit in your pocket. Generally speaking, bigger, heavier batteries are going to charge a laptop for longer. These steps tend to be best suited for off-grid homes, car camping, or RVing. If you need a super lightweight system, you may want to consider if tablet and smaller battery pack can suit your needs.

Output Ports

Make sure the battery has output ports that you can plug your laptop’s power cable into. Many newer laptops, like the MacBook Pro, use a power cable with a USB-C connector. Older laptops will need an AC output port, the kind you find on a wall outlet. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

The author, Amber Nolan, lives off-grid (most of the year) on a houseboat using almost entirely solar power, but she also relies on the Jackery portable solar generator when she’s traveling.