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Solar Chargers - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Solar Chargers buying guide

Most of the time, when you go for long hikes, the phone battery drains out, and you miss to capture all the precious moments. Looking for a simple way to keep your battery charged while you travel? Don't worry. Solar chargers are here to the rescue.

These chargers are quite portable and provide enough backup to charge your device's battery when in need. However, while selecting a particular variant, you have to look into certain elements.

You have to look into the charger's size, style, power, and other additional properties. To study these elements, you need the correct details and facts.

Also, with tons of modes available in the market, you cannot blindly invest your money in any product. An ill-fitted charger will ruin all the fun, and you will repent on your purchase. So, it is crucial to find the best model.

A comprehensive buying guide gives you access to all the information under a single roof. You don't have to look here and there. You can quickly skim through the well-organized pointers and scrutinize the best model.

So, without wasting any more time, let us start with a quick introduction and then deep dive into this extensive guide to begin our hunt.

What are Solar Chargers, and why should you opt for them?

All the camping or hiking equipment, be it your smartphone or the GPS, are battery-powered. The battery needs to be charged, and there are many possibilities that it may drain pretty soon.

With no working phones and GPS, you can get stranded in the middle of nowhere, and even if you call out for help, nobody can hear you.

Since no power plugs are available in the wild where you can recharge the batteries, you have one power source, which can be of significant help.

The Sun is an inexhaustible natural energy source and available in abundance. It is incredibly reliable because there won't come a day when the Sun won't show its face. What can be better than making use of this never-ending and rich energy resource?

To convert this energy into usable power, solar chargers have been invented and have become widely popular. These chargers convert the Sun's rays falling on them into electrical energy used to charge your devices' batteries.

With these chargers in hand, your device will never run out of power and keep working efficiently till you don't reach your destination.

Types of Solar Chargers

These chargers come in different types to suit the needs of other individuals. Listed below are some of the significant kinds of chargers that help you survive in the wild. Have a glance at all of them and then opt for the one that is convenient for you.

  1. CIGS

The first one to be discussed is CIGS, an abbreviated form of Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenide. These are the constituents of this type of solar charger and are small flexible panels.

It is incredibly lightweight but isn't fit for outdoor usage because of its low durability. The material used to construct this charger is not durable enough, making the entire construction vulnerable to damage.

These chargers are an excellent choice for using in areas where the sky is filled with heavy clouds, and not much light is available. They provide high performance on cloudy days, unlike others with an efficiency of 16%.

CIGS is a new type of solar panel that has been recently introduced. It has been improvised and has advanced technology in it, making it more expensive than its counterparts.

  1. Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline chargers are very rigid and bulkier than the CIGS ones. Due to their robust build, they have a long lifespan and serve you for years.

These chargers don't perform well during the cloudy weather but have a high efficiency on regular days when the sky is clear. These solar panels are foldable and feature various shapes and sizes.

They have a black appearance, which is preferred to trap more sunlight and have a 22% efficiency rate.

  1. Polycrystalline

The third type of panel is the polycrystalline variant. These panels feature a blue color that signifies the importance of nature and its benefits.

They offer less efficiency than their counterpart, which is the monocrystalline panel. Their efficiency rate is 18%, and these panels are highly portable.

Polycrystalline panels are relatively more expensive than monocrystalline panels. This monetary difference is because they have some extra advantages which their counterparts lack. These panels are energy-efficient, and like the CIGS panels, they can also work effectively in low light.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Solar Chargers

Solar chargers have gained popularity overnight and are the best alternatives for exhaustible power sources. These panels prioritize the significance of nature and its priceless gifts.

They encourage sustainability and help in various ways. Since there are many variants of these panels available in the market, picking out the best one can be challenging.

You should also remember that many crucial aspects govern these panels' functionality and need to be considered before investing in them.

To help find the best match for you, we have appeared with this extraordinarily vital and helpful buying guide.

This guide has the answers to all your queries and will help you find the most suitable solar panel for charging so that you can make the most out of your trip. So, let's not waste any more time and get started with our quest.

Storage Capacity

The solar panel you use should have the vast storage capacity to recharge your drained batteries and bring back your virtual devices to life. With an excellent storage capacity, you can charge your devices several times before the charger itself gets drained.

Since these chargers store the Sun's energy and convert it into electrical energy, which is used, they must have a decent capacity to charge the devices all day.

Solar chargers are the best choices because they have enough storage capacity that enables you to charge your devices several times. They do not drain quickly and run all day, providing an adequate supply of power.

You can recharge them again in the morning when the Sun rises and then store the energy again for use throughout your journey.

Power Output

In science, there is a law that says that everything moves from high to low to fill the void. Whether it be air, energy, water, or any other substance, it will move from the higher concentration area to the lower concentration.

This principle is the reason behind sea breezes, water flow, and even the charger's charge to your phone's battery. Coming back to the main topic, before investing in these solar chargers, you need to check the compatibility of your device and this charger.

The power output is measured in Volts (V), and you should ensure that the power output of your charger matches or is more than the input of your device to maintain the equilibrium and the flow of charges.

If the reverse happens, where your device has a power input of higher volts, and you invest in a charger with less power output, then you will be draining your device's battery instead of charging it.

This reverse flow will happen because your device will have more power in that case compared to the charger you are using. So, the charger will be a site with a lower concentration of charge and extract energy from the higher concentration site, which will then be your device.

Output Connectors and Adapters

The charge flow takes place through a medium, and in this case, the medium is the connectors and the adapters.

Like the cord or connectors that you use to charge your devices at home, the same goes when you are outside. The only difference is that you have a portable solar panel instead of a plug point.

To be more specific, it's similar to the connection between a power bank and your device. So, to charge the batteries, you have two options for output connectors and adapters. These variants are listed below for your convenience.

  1. Solar panel with a battery included in it

These panels either have an integrated battery or an independent one. You don't have to invest in any separate connector or adapter to use these panels as the compatible ones are already included in the set.

  1. Solar panel without a battery

If you are purchasing these panels without a battery in it and investing in a battery separately, you need to consider investing in a separate output connector and adapter.

Before you opt for one, emphasize on the specifications regarding the connector suitability and many other aspects.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the solar panel are significant and should be considered while purchasing one. Since these chargers are not the ones that are installed at your home, their weight and dimensions play a significant role during transportation.

If they are too big and bulky, carrying them in your backpack will be difficult and won't be convenient for you. Solar chargers are lightweight and come in different shapes and sizes to match your suitability. Being light, these chargers deliver high performance and give you the desired results.

Some variants also feature clips that enable you to clip them on the exterior of your bags. These variants are not too large and are foldable but compromise with the storage capacity.

Hence, if you want to bring a highly efficient solar panel with you that provides enough charging time and doesn't require frequent charging, always look for these chargers and opt for the suitable one.




Power Use

These chargers' primary purpose is to provide power to your device and keep it in a working condition. What good will be this charger if it doesn't provide adequate power to your device?

To ensure that you invest in the right product, check your device's technical specifications and voltage ratings. These pieces of information will help you to pick the apt charger suitable for your device.

This compatibility will mean that your device gets the same voltage from the charger and will get charged accurately without any problems. So you need not worry about your phone's battery dying midway or your GPS not working correctly to trace back the original path.

With this charger around, you are all covered. You can enjoy your journey to the fullest and post tons of pictures on your social media.

Power Storage

Solar chargers consist of solar panels that trap the sunlight to convert it into usable electric energy. Many think that they can plug into the panels directly and get their devices charged. However, this is not the case.

It's a misconception that needs to be clarified, and we are here to help you. The charge from the solar panels flows down to a battery bank and gets stored. It is from this powerhouse that your device fetches the required amount of power to get charged.

Using this powerhouse prevents your device from possible damages and provides protection. While looking for these chargers, you will find two variants with different power storage systems.

  1. Integrated battery

Some solar panels have powerhouses included in them, which negates the need for a separate one.

This feature enables you to carry this panel everywhere and then charge using the suitable connector simultaneously. You don't need extra space or make unnecessary investments.

  1. Independent battery

Panels that don't have a battery included need separate storage to store the energy that they have gathered. So, you have to invest in an individual battery bank.

However, this feature benefits you as you don't have to carry the panel everywhere. Once you charge the powerhouse entirely, you can leave the panel inside your camp and only take the storage house with you.

Battery Type

The choice of this charger majorly depends on the type of battery that your devices use. Since each variant of this charger is different from others and serves different purposes, you need to focus on the battery type more.

If you use the rechargeable AA batteries, you should get a charger that can charge the spare batteries. This charger negates the need to carry extra batteries as you can use them alternatively.

You can search for other variants that match the requirements for devices like smartphones or others that use lithium or lead batteries.

Durability

Since the portable chargers are the only source of power that you carry while outdoors, you must invest in a durable one. You cannot predict forthcoming situations while staying away from home. You must always remain prepared.

Look for the chargers which don't break or get damaged in one use but stay longer.

Solar chargers have a strong build and last long with a soft texture and body. Even if you accidentally drop these chargers, they won't break.

If you intend to use these chargers near water bodies during fishing or kayaking, you can search for variants that are waterproof or at least water-resistant. Some variants also feature fabric casings that protect the unit from other elements.

Portability

These chargers are foldable and extremely lightweight that enable you to pack them in your backpack and travel effortlessly. These panels are highly durable and portable.

Some of the variants have clips on them, which enable you to hang the charger on the exterior of your backpack so that the panels get access to sunlight while you are trekking or hiking. This feature enhances its portability and helps store lots of solar energy for your use.

Before you make your purchase, search for the variants that provide you with ease of use and an adequate amount of charge in a hassle-free manner.

USB Connection

When all the devices die out, you want to charge them as fast as possible to prepare them for the other day. The USB connections play a significant role here because it is through the provided ports only to charge your devices.

A single port can be frustrating because it can charge only one device at a time, and it becomes worse when you have a time crunch.

Hence, while you are hunting for the perfect charger for charging your device, lay more emphasis on the charging ports available. Solar chargers have a minimum of two ports, which allow you to charge two devices simultaneously. Thus, they make an excellent choice for outdoor usage.

Waterproof

These chargers are not waterproof but have some water-resistance level to protect your power source from a few splashes of water or if it accidentally rains.

This feature protects your charger when you are outside and ensures that you have a constant power supply throughout your journey. The chargers with this feature come in handy when you are going for fishing or kayaking and carry the risk of dropping your charger in water.

When you invest in these chargers, check their water-resistant ratings and then opt for the suitable one.

Convenience

Convenience is paramount when traveling outdoors, and everything that you carry should feel comfortable and hassle-free.

The same goes for solar chargers because they have to be installed and kept out to soak sunlight. Besides, you also need to put the attachments to charge the devices you need.

Look for the variants that are easy to install and use. Also, check the ports and other features in it that are needed. It should be highly portable, durability should be excellent, and should also have some water-repelling feature.

These chargers are the life saviors while you are out in the wild, and life without them is unimaginable. They not only help you stay safe but also let you enjoy your trip to the fullest. So, invest in the best one you find suitable for you and caters to all your needs.

Budget

It is undeniable that solar chargers are expensive, and this high price is justified for the advanced technology used in them. Who thought that the Sun could be used as a power source until these units came into existence.

However, with some smartness and cleverness, you can cut down the price to make it match your budget. You can opt for the integrated battery solar panels rather than the independent one and cut the expenses on the separate battery and the connectors and adapters.

Besides, you can also look for variants that differ in sizes and other factors and search for the essential features only.

Though the initial installments in these chargers cost higher, the benefits and advantages that these provide you are priceless and nowhere to be found.

FAQs

  1. Can solar chargers be used on cloudy days?

Yes, if there are only a few clouds, you will have some light passing through the layers of clouds to reach your device and make it work. However, if it is fully cloudy, solar chargers may not work then.

  1. What are the types of devices that I can charge using these chargers?

There are no specific devices, mainly any device that comes with a USB port can be charged with these chargers. Be it your smartphone or your tablet; you can quickly charge them.

  1. Are these solar chargers really portable?

For a device to be portable, it should be lightweight. However, these solar chargers don't have such a body if there are a large number of panels. If you buy a charger with a fewer number of panels, then these chargers can prove to be quite portable.

  1. How to find a budget-friendly solar charger?

If you are tight on budget, solar panels made of monocrystalline technology will be your ultimate purchase. It fulfills the purpose right and is quite in the budget.

Final Verdict

Solar chargers present a simple and portable way to have a backup for your device. Whenever you need extra juice for your mobile, you can use the charger in a jiffy. All you need is to arm yourself with the best model.

To aid in your selection process, we have developed a well-detailed buying guide. It contains all the necessary pointers that define the usability and performance of the product. Have a quick look over them and hunt an elite charger for your expedition

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