The 7 Best Solar Power Banks of 2021

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The Rundown
This power bank has a giant battery, plenty of bonus features, and a reasonable price tag.
A cost-effective but efficient solar charger and flashlight.
This sturdy device boasts a dust-proof and waterproof rating of IP67.
The Nomad 5 has a simple but highly functional design that’s built to last.
FEELLE offers an excellent value and a faster solar charge.
Removable panels make this ideal for day-to-day use as well as for outdoor explorations.
The complete portable package for charging laptops and other devices.

Solar power banks are a packing essential for outdoor enthusiasts and offer a way to keep cell phones, cameras, and other gadgets charged when electricity is scarce. They’re also invaluable when severe weather or power surges cause widespread outages.

These convenient, portable devices have evolved into several different styles, but the two most common are around the size of a cell phone and have either a single solar panel or several expanding, folding panels. Solar chargers with one panel are more compact, but also slower to recharge using the sun’s energy. Multiple panels can speed things up a bit but are often bulkier. The fastest way to recharge both is by plugging a USB into a traditional power source and storing the energy. Once the power bank has been replenished, various electronics can still be charged on the device indoors or at night.

Here are the best solar power banks, many with added features such as wireless charging, waterproof exteriors, and built-in flashlights.

Best Overall: QiSa Solar Power Bank

QiSa Solar Power Bank

Weight: 1.1 pounds | Dimensions: 8.39 x 4.21 x 1.14 inches | Output ports: Two USB, one Type-C, one wireless output charging for your phone | Accessories: Micro USB charging cable, lanyard, carabiner

With an enormous 30,000 mAh battery, the QiSa Solar Bank is one of the largest while still offering a reasonable price tag. The heavy-duty device is ideal for staying plugged in on long camping trips. Plus, the power bank’s ability to charge multiple devices and the bright, 200-lumen flashlight (with an SOS mode) can come in handy during emergency situations.

Hassle-free wireless charging is available to Qi-compatible electronics, and additional USB ports allow up to three devices to connect at a time. The IP66-rated, rainproof solar panel can withstand moderate weather; however, it should not be completely submerged.

Best Budget: Nekteck Solar Charger

Nekteck Solar Charger

Weight: 0.63 pounds | Dimensions: 6.69 x 3.42 x 0.67 inches | Output ports: Two USB (5V/2.1A, 1.0A) | Accessories: Micro USB cable, carabiner

For a low-cost, compact solar power bank, the Nekteck is an excellent value that’s loaded with a large, 10,000 mAh battery capacity and two USB ports for charging simultaneous devices. While many one-panel chargers take a long time to fully recharge using the solar panel, the Nekteck uses an efficient SunPower solar panel, so it recharges more quickly than most similarly-priced competitors (but should still be used as a secondary charge method).

Other features include a bright LED flashlight, as well as side grips and an anti-skid design. The power pack is shockproof and rain-resistant, making it ideal for camping or hiking. However, it’s not fully waterproof.

Best Waterproof: OUTXE 25000mAh Wireless Solar Power Bank

OUTXE 25000mAh Wireless Solar Power Bank

Weight: 1.21 pounds | Dimensions: 7.09 x 3.5 x 1.18 inches | Output ports: USB QC3.0 output, USB output 2.4A, wireless charging pad | Accessories: Micro USB charging cable, type-C charging cable, two carabiners

Designed with durable, military-grade construction, this OUTXE solar power bank is the perfect companion for hikers, kayakers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Not only is the device waterproof with an IP67 rating (meaning it can be dropped in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes), it’s also dustproof and shockproof.

Equipped with an impressive 25,000 mAh battery, the OUTXE has the ability to charge three devices at the same time. Another convenient feature is that charging can be done wirelessly, and type C and micro USB cords are included. A built-in nylon strap allows you to attach the bank to the outside of your gear pack or boat, so the solar panel can charge on the go, or use pass-though charging when your devices are plugged into the wall.

Best Single Panel: Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Weight: 0.79 pounds | Dimensions: 9.5 x 7 x 0.8 inches | Output ports: USB Port: 5V, up to 830mA (5W max) | Accessories: Kickstand, small battery pack

The compact size of most single-panel power banks limits the solar charging capability of the panel, but the Goal Zero Nomad 5 is both portable and powerful. The Nomad 5 offers a 5-watt, rugged solar panel that’s lightweight (12.7 ounces) and water-resistant (though not waterproof).

The simple design includes a kickstand on the back to angle it into the sun, or carabiners can connect to the top and attach to a backpack for charging on the go. The Nomad 5 kit comes with Goal Zero’s Flip, a small battery pack (3,350 mAh) with a USB port so you can charge devices after the sun goes down. When the sun is out, the Nomad’s panel can charge the Flip in just three hours—making it one of the fastest single-panel chargers.

Best Foldout: FEELLE Solar Power Bank

Weight: 1.18 pounds | Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37 inches | Output ports: USB 5V/2.1A | Accessories: Micro USB cable

Fold-out solar chargers increase the number of solar panels available to charge a device, but their collapsible design means they’re also portable. While some fold-out panels can only be used to charge devices directly when the sun is out, the FEELLE Solar Power Bank includes a staggering 25,000 mAh high-capacity battery capable of charging an iPhone upwards of 10 times.

Combined, the four foldable solar panels produce 5 watts, while dual USB ports allow for two devices to charge at once. The moderately priced FEELLE also contains an LED light (with an SOS mode), is water-resistant, and weighs just 1.18 pounds.

Best Versatile: BLAVOR Solar Charger Five Panels Detachable

Weight: 1.25 pounds | Dimensions: 7.28 x 5.51 x 2.16 inches | Output ports: dual usb max 2.1A | Accessories: Type C cable, LED flashlight, compass ring kit

For a versatile power bank that can be used during day-to-day activities or on outdoor adventures, the BLAVOR is an excellent option. Four of the five collapsible solar panels are detachable, so you don’t have to tote them around when they’re not needed.

The 20,000 mAh battery bank features Qi wireless technology to charge compatible devices, plus two USB ports, a small compass, and a built-in flashlight for wilderness jaunts. One drawback of the BLAVOR, however, is that the solar panel connectors are not waterproof.

Best for Laptops: Rockpals 250W Portable Power Station

Rockpals Solar Charger

Weight: 11 pounds | Dimensions (solar panel): 13.78 x 13.39 x 2.36 inches | Output ports: 250W continuous dual AC outputs, two USB 2.1A, four DC 12V (60W) ports | Accessories: 6.5 foot AC adapter, 3.3 foot car charger cable, DC to cigarette lighter socket adapter

Most laptops consume between 40 and 70 watts when charging, compared with just 2 to 6 watts used by cell phones. This means you’ll need a larger power bank plus a stronger (and more costly) solar panel to continuously replenish it — so typical power banks won’t cut it.

The Rockpals 250-watt power station includes a 60-watt expanding solar panel case (with four panels) and a multi-purpose power station with a 64,800 mAh lithium battery for charging several devices. The Rockpals station and panel is a convenient, portable unit that can turn any area into an off-grid office.

Final Verdict

When deciding what solar power bank is best for you, keep in mind what type of devices you’ll need to charge and how frequently you’ll be away from a traditional power source. If you’re just using it for a day trip or overnight camping, an affordable bank like the Nekteck (view on Amazon) will do the trick. If you’re purchasing one for long-term power outages or lengthy trips that will require a solar recharge, a multi-panel device like the QiSa (view on WalMart) or OUTXE W20 (view on Amazon) are a better fit.

What to Look for in a Solar Power Bank

Panel Size

Most portable solar chargers have smaller panels of around two watts or less, so the panel serves as a slow, emergency-charging system and the battery does the lion’s share of the work. If you know you’ll be away from an electric outlet for a while and need to rely more heavily on the solar aspect of the unit, you’ll want to opt for a larger solar panel. If this is the case, a folding panel charger might be a better option since they are still relatively compact.

Battery Size

Consider how many devices you’ll be toting along with you that will need a recharge, and how often you’ll be away from an outlet for a fast recharge. If you’re just spending a day sightseeing and need to keep your phone juiced up, a battery of less than 10,000 mAh should be adequate. If you’re planning on being without grid power for several days and have multiple devices to charge, opt for a battery with 25,000 mAh or more.

Added Features

Many chargers have convenient features like wireless charging, flashlights, and carry handles. If you plan on hiking, going kayaking or rafting, mountain biking, or other active adventures consider a charger that’s also waterproof or shockproof.

FAQs

How do you use a solar power bank?

Before use, charge a solar-power bank either using the solar panel (very slow option) or by connecting to an electric outlet using a USB adapter plug. When you need to recharge a device (or several devices) simply connect the USB to the power pack (or in some cases, use wireless connection).

Can any solar power banks be charged without the sun?

Most solar power chargers contain battery banks that can be used without the sun – as long as they are charged before use by plugging into a wall outlet or other power source. Solar panels that do not contain battery packs require a direct connection to the device and cannot be charged without the sun.

Can I take a solar power bank on an airplane?

Generally, speaking, yes, you can take a solar power bank on an airplane. However, solar powered chargers contain lithium-based batteries, and should not be put in checked luggage (where they are more likely to be damaged). For more information on FAA rules regarding solar chargers, refer to the TSA website.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Living completely off the grid herself, Amber Nolan relies on solar energy in her daily life as well as on backcountry adventures. She knows firsthand that solar power banks are a necessity for keeping modern devices ready to go when you need them the most.