Solar chargers for phones are on an evolution path. These chargers are getting less bulky and can now juice up several devices within a shorter time. On the other hand, the population is getting more eco-conscious and money conscious. A solar phone charger is cleaner for the environment and the wallet. So, how to choose the perfect charger for your device? Unfortunately, not all the solar chargers on the market shelves are worth your money.
Solar phone banks vs. solar panels
When you look for solar chargers for phones, you will find both solar panels and phone banks. The solar phone banks store energy in the battery via absorbing sunlight. Later, you can use USB cables to transfer the energy to your phone or other devices like flashlights and others. Or, you can store the energy in the solar bank for later use. On the other hand, solar panels are devices that offer an instant transfer of energy. The energy from sunlight gets transferred in the solar cells and reaches your device directly. Thus, there is no intermediate storage.
Solar banks sound more convenient but are bulky for your travel backpack. And, if the day turns out to be too cloudy, your panels are almost useless. Solar banks are quite slow in charging, especially when you are not in a sunny destination. Since the solar power is stored in the cells of the power bank, the output will be consistent. On the other hand, the panel’s output can fluctuate based on the sunlight availability. Moreover, in a solar bank, you are storing energy in a cell and then to your phone, which leads to a little energy wastage.
Which is the best option? Avid campers carry both solar panels and solar bank. Whenever there is direct sunlight, they would use the panel to charge their devices and the bank. On darker days, the bank would be a good companion.
Wattage ratings of your solar chargers for phones
Sometimes, even the best brand solar charger might end up unfit for your requirements. It is because of the wattage rating. The wattage rating indicates the panel’s output potential. It is the rate at with the device can efficiently convert sunlight into energy. In simpler terms, it is the speed of charging.
So, if the solar chargers for phones have a higher rating, they can more efficiently use the available sunlight and power up the device.
Milliamp rating of the charger
You will find a feature with mAh metric behind it on your solar charger. It is the power bank capacity. For a charger to be efficient, it should have ten times the milliamp rating as of your phone. Yes, your phone has a similar rating in mAh. If your phone needs 100mAh to power completely, your bank should at least have 1000 mAh. It is the amount of charge that your bank can hold.
For instance, your power bank should not die after charging your phone once. Thus, while going on a camping or hiking trip, you should prefer chargers with a higher milliamp rating.
What is the weight of your solar charger for phone?
Size is a very major factor. It is not as simple as tagging smaller chargers as the better option. Yes, while traveling, a smaller and lighter solar charger is more convenient. However, a larger solar panel can absorb more sunlight and charge faster. So, it is a tradeoff between the speed of charging and the weight of your luggage.
The number of panels also determines the weight and size of your charger. In most cases, the charger comes with three or four panels. However, you can find several chargers with numerous flexible panels. The idea is to cover more areas with your panels. Foldable and flexible panels usually have a compact design than rugged and one large panel models.
Number of charging ports
The solar chargers for phones that can charge multiple devices at the same time are efficient. However, do not blindly pick the one with the most number of ports. The bank’s capacity and efficiency should suit the number of ports too. A bank with the capacity of charging two phones should not have ten ports.
Dual charging solar chargers for phones
It is better to choose solar chargers that can charge via both sunlight and electric outlet. Thus, you can charge it rapidly whenever there is an outlet available. While on-the-go, you can rely on the sunlight. In such models, there could be a restriction on the sunlight charging. Some chargers could store only 50% of their capacity via sunlight. So, check the limitations before you invest in dual models.
You will be using the solar charger only when there is ample sunlight. However, you cannot assume that there could be no sudden drizzle, or you might never spill water on it. Thus, choose chargers that come with rubber covers protecting the ports. It is also better to pick panels with rugged textures for a better life. On the other hand, such models are usually bulkier. It is best to invest in models with a silicone shell. It makes the charger dust resistant, water-resistant, and shock-resistant.
Added features of a good solar charger for phones
Most individuals believe that a reading light or flashlight attached to the charger is a good add-on feature. On the other hand, some prefer a panic button, radio, and more. It is usually based on your requirements. A camper would look for all the about stated add-on features.
If you are looking for ease of use, suction cups or hooks to hang your charger from backpack straps or car windows would be a good add-on. These add-ons are usually a part of high-end models. If you wish to keep your budget down, it is best to choose the simple panel model.
Is brand an important factor?
Unless those top brands come with a warranty for your device and the charger, it is best not to favor brands. So, do not spend an ample amount of money on a product just because it carries a fancy name on it.