The 6 Best Solar-Powered Phone Chargers of 2021

Stay fully charged even when off the grid

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The Rundown
"Get the biggest bank for your buck with this affordable yet reliable solar charger."
"If you’re on the hunt for a no-frills solar phone charger, then the ECEEN solar charger is guaranteed to do the job."
Best for Backpacking:
Nekteck 21W Solar Charger at Walmart
"Bungee loops sewn into the canvas cover allow you to attach this easily to your backpack for sunlight charging as you hike."
"Inspired by origami, this ingenious light design made from recyclable PET sailcloth takes the form of a beautiful half star shape."
Best Rigid Panel Charger:
Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel at REI
"Thanks to the simplicity of the design, there’s very little to go wrong here, which should guarantee its long and happy life."
Best Folding Panel Charger:
BioLite SolarPanel 10+ at REI
"If you’re looking for a sturdy design that can be propped up beside your camp and left to its own devices, check out BioLite."

Whether you’re heading out into the woods for a multi-day adventure or keen on a more gentle car camping getaway, a solar-powered phone charger will keep you connected when access to the grid is limited. Designed to capture as much sunlight as possible, these solar-powered chargers are generally built using multiple solar panels, which help to keep charging speeds as fast as possible, however charging with solar energy can take hours. 

On the other hand, the more solar panels, the heavier the device can be, making some of these choices more appropriate for lightweight backpacking than others. For the most efficient charging, some of the designs combine solar panels with a battery pack to allow you to store energy for when the sun goes down. 

So get ready to harness the power of the sun with our selection of the best solar-powered phone chargers.

Best Overall: BigBlue 28W Solar Charger with 3 USB Ports

BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, this affordable yet reliable solar charger blows more expensive options out of the water. Weighing in at 1.3 pounds, it’s not the lightest of all portable solar-powered phone chargers, but what it lacks in lightness it makes up for in other areas. 

With PET Polymer panels of 28 watts, this solar charger is remarkably fast for its price point when it comes to charging speed and competes easily with far more expensive choices. You can charge three devices at once via USB ports. It also excels when it comes to functionality and durability, while its auto-restart feature prevents interruption from charging when it clouds over for a moment — a feature that’s essential for use in conditions where it’s less sunny than you’d hoped. 

Bulkier than some options, it’s definitely the choice for car camping or other activities where space and weight isn’t at a premium. All in all, it’s the ideal gadget for your next adventure or to keep on hand in case of an emergency power outage.

Best Budget: ECEEN 13W Foldable Solar Charger

ECEEN 13 Watts Foldable Solar Charger Panel

If you’re on the hunt for a no-frills solar phone charger, then the ECEEN solar charger is guaranteed to do the job. Despite having a panel size of only 13 watts, which supplies up to two amps, this charger is remarkably quick to bring your battery back to life.

Weighing in at only 0.7 pounds across two durable, monocrystalline silicon solar panels, it’s also extremely lightweight and will hardly add any bulk to your pack. While manufacturers claim it can charge two devices at once, its low charging power means we recommend using it with just the one — patience is definitely a virtue in this case.

When it comes to anything electrical, the fewer the features, the smaller the chance of anything going wrong. In this case, the ECEEN solar charger features no additional bells and whistles, just a canvas cover protecting the solar panels from damage when folded. It’s proof that simplicity can be the greatest feature of all.

Best for Backpacking: Nekteck 21W Solar Charger

Nekteck 21W Solar Phone Charger

While heading out into the backcountry is a way of disconnecting, having access to your phone for navigating or in case something goes wrong is invaluable. Solar panel chargers can be bulky and heavy as a rule, which is why this 18 ounce choice from Nekteck is such an unexpected alternative.  

With a panel size of 21 watts across three, high-efficiency solar panels, its fast, 3-amp capacity should make short work of replenishing your battery. Bungee loops sewn into the canvas cover also allow you to attach this easily to your backpack for sunlight charging as you hike. Combine it with a battery pack, which you can charge during the day and subsequently use to charge your phone and other devices at night, for the most efficient charging.

Most Innovative Design: Solight Design QWNN Solar Lantern and Mobile Charger

Solight Design Qwnn light with power bank and mobile charger

Solar-powered phone chargers don’t have to prioritize functionality over design — at least not in the case of the QWNN solar lantern from pioneering solar light company Solight. Inspired by origami, this ingenious light design made from recyclable PET sailcloth takes the form of a beautiful half star shape that emits light, as well as being able to charge smart devices within two to four hours through its USB port. What’s more, it can be folded flat for ease of transportation. 

Two small, 1.8-watt solar panels take up to ten hours to charge, but offer a remarkable 40 hours of continuous light in return. At nearly one pound, it’s not the lightest charger available but, by offering dual functionality, it’s guaranteed to have plenty of use on your next trip into the outdoors.

Best Rigid Panel Charger: Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Engineered from hard-wearing monocrystalline, the 5-watt solar panel on the Goal Zero Nomad 5 might not look like much. But strapped to the top of your rucksack or positioned in front of the sun using its built-in kickstand, it’ll harness the energy you need for your devices. 

A one-year warranty is an added bonus for this charger, which weighs in at a reasonable 1.1 pounds, making it not too substantial an addition to any backcountry adventure. Thanks to the simplicity of the design, there’s very little to go wrong here — which should guarantee its long and happy life. For best results, combine with a portable battery pack for easy energy storage when you need it the most.

Best Folding Panel Charger: BioLite SolarPanel 10+

BioLite SolarPanel 10+

If you’re looking for a sturdy design that can be propped up beside your camp and left to its own devices, this is the choice for you. The Biolite SolarPanel 10+ has two, 10-watt, mono-crystalline solar panels with a kickstand to keep it securely in place when assembled. An in-built 3,000 mAh battery is fully charged within two hours, and can be used to charge your devices whenever they need it.  

Built for durability, you can expect this charger to last for many years. At 1.2 pounds, it’s also a fairly lightweight choice. Even better, the company offers a warranty program in the event you find fault with your device.

Final Verdict

If you’re anticipating using your charger in anything but sunny conditions, the Big Blue 28 W Solar Charger (view at Amazon), with its auto-restart feature, means it won’t miss a beat when it comes to charging, even if the sun disappears behind a cloud for a moment or two.

For efficient charging, even after sundown, opt for panels that come with their own battery pack, like the BioLite SolarPanel 10+ (view on REI).

Why Trust Treehugger

With extensive backcountry experience in both her home country of the UK and across some of the remotest parts of South America, Steph Dyson has had plenty of time to work out which solar energy devices are worth the price tag. Having put plenty through their paces, she knows which can be relied upon when you need them the most.