Which solar power bank is the best?
A power bank is a nifty gadget to have if you know a wall outlet or charging adapter won’t be available for a while. For example, when you go on a five-day hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail, you know that an electrical outlet will be a luxury.
But even ordinary power banks fall flat and need to be recharged to use them again. With no outlet in sight to charge your phone or power bank, the best solution is to plug your gadgets into a solar power bank. The QiSa 38,800mAh Solar Power Bank with Dual 3.1A Outputs is a great option; it is waterproof and has a built-in flashlight.
What to know before buying a solar power bank
Understand how it works
As its name suggests, a solar power bank relies on the power of the sun to recharge. Although it can also be charged via USB cable like a regular battery, this is not always possible. So, to make sure you always have electricity available, it comes with a series of small solar panels to absorb the rays. The panels are much smaller than those of sustainable energy houses, but the principle is the same.
Battery charging time
As you’d expect, the more solar panels you have, the faster the power bank charges. But if you’re in the woods, you definitely don’t want to carry an extra bag just for extra panels. Thus, the charging time is much slower than normal charging via USB. Typically, you can expect to get a full charge after leaving it out in the sun for about 24 hours.
It needs direct sunlight – and lots of it
The charging time of a solar power bank is related to the number or size of solar panels, but direct sunlight is crucial. The tiny photocells are made from monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon and work best in direct sunlight. The panels still deliver a charge if they are in the shade or on an overcast day, but with a reduced charge capacity.
What to Look for in a Quality Solar Power Bank
Taking so long to fully charge, you’ll probably want to make the most of the situation by plugging in as many devices as possible. This is why a good quality solar charger handles three or four simultaneous connections. But you need to consider the charging connections your devices use, as solar power banks often only support one or two types. The most common are a micro USB connection for Android phones and a Lightning connection for Apple devices.
Solar power banks are not that different from regular batteries in terms of capacity. Measured in milliamp-hours, capacity relates to the amount of charge it can hold when full. For example, an iPhone 13 has a 3227 mAh battery. A power bank with a maximum capacity of 6000 mAh should charge the phone almost twice. Naturally, the larger the capacity, the more it can charge a device. A good quality power bank has a capacity of at least 10,000 mAh.
Adjustable solar panels
Since the whole power bank depends on direct sunlight, it is essential that you have as many solar panels as possible. While basic power banks have one flat panel on their body, a good quality solar battery has several. Some are extendable or foldable, so you can adjust the panel according to the position of the sun.
How much you can expect to spend on a solar power bank
The price of a solar power bank depends on the capacity of the battery and the technology of the solar panels. A basic model with a medium capacity costs between $20 and $30, while a power bank with folding panels and a higher capacity costs between $40 and $80.
Solar Power Bank FAQs
What is the difference between a solar power bank and a mobile charger?
A. While both gadgets work on the same technological principle, a power bank stores electrical charge in a battery. A solar mobile charger has no built-in battery and charges a mobile device directly through sunlight.
Can you use a mobile charger to charge a solar power bank?
A. Yes, in theory this should be possible. It would be the same principle as using the sun to charge the power bank while it is connected to a secondary USB charger. The best advice is to consult the manual if charging from two simultaneous sources is possible.
What is the best solar power bank to buy?
Top solar power bank
What do you want to know: This power bank has a huge battery capacity that can charge an iPhone 13 more than 10 times.
What you will love: The four high-conversion solar charging panels provide 12 watts of continuous charging and are adjustable to make the most of the sun’s movement.
What you should consider: It has two USB ports and wireless charging, so only three devices can charge at the same time.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Best solar power bank for the money
What do you want to know: With a built-in flashlight and cable for Android and Apple devices, this 30,000mAh power bank can charge anyone’s cellphone.
What you will love: In addition to the cables, the power bank has a Qi-compatible wireless charger, with the solar panel on the opposite side. It’s waterproof, dustproof and secure in a rugged case.
What you should consider: Drop protection makes this power bank larger than most.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What do you want to know: No cable? No problem, because this power bank has a Qi-compatible wireless surface to charge most devices.
What you will love: The solar power bank is made from sturdy drop-resistant plastic and has a built-in flashlight. The battery capacity is enough to charge any modern phone several times.
What you should consider: The panels are relatively small, so it will take longer to reach a full charge.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
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