6 Best Solar Power Banks of 2020 • IN-DEPTH REVIEWS For Travelers

 

If you’ve been considering a solar power bank for quite a while, it’s definitely time to pull the trigger. Power banks are awesome. A huge advantage is that they’re environmentally-friendly and can maintain their charge without any electricity. Sunlight is all you need to charge your gear on the go.

Having a solar power bank means being able to charge all your electronics anywhere, any time. Say good-bye to dead mobile phones during travel or extended periods away from an outlet. No more dying tablets, phones, or other small devices. Talk about peace of mind!

solar power bank

photo: Chris Lininger

The convenience, portability, and efficiency can’t be beaten. But there are also a lot of choices out there and not all solar power banks are created equal, so I’ve made this handy guide to give you my top picks of the best solar power banks for different needs.

Following my top solar power bank recommendations is an informative breakdown of important considerations everyone should read before buying a solar bank of their own.

Well then, let’s talk solar power banks…

 

Quick Answer: These are the Best Solar Power Banks of 2020

#1 Solgaard Solarbank – Best Solar Power Bank Overall

#2 GoerTek Solar Charger Solar Power Bank – Highest Capacity Solar Power Bank

#3 Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack – Most Durable Solar Power Bank

#4 Beswill Solar Charger – Best Lightweight Solar Power Bank for Hiking

#5 Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank + Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Kit – Best Solar Bank + Solar Panel Bundle

#6 MPOWERD Luci Explore Solar Light + Speaker – Best All in One Solar Charger

 

PRODUCTDESCRIPTION  
tbb-table__imageBest Solar Power Bank OverallBest Solar Power Bank OverallSolgaard Solarbank

  • > $$
  • > Holds up to five charges
  • > USB-C chord
  •  
  •  
  • > $$
  • > Holds up to five charges
  • > USB-C chord
  •  
  •  
Check on Solgaard
tbb-table__imageHighest Capacity Solar Power BankHighest Capacity Solar Power BankGoerTek Solar Charger Solar Power Bank

  • > $
  • > 3 USB output ports
  • > Super-bright LED flashlight
  •  
  •  
  • > $
  • > 3 USB output ports
  • > Super-bright LED flashlight
  •  
  •  
Check on Amazon
tbb-table__imageMost Durable Solar Power BankMost Durable Solar Power BankRevel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack

  • > $
  • > Waterproof, shock-proof, and dustproof
  • > Dual charging capabilities
  •  
  •  
  • > $
  • > Waterproof, shock-proof, and dustproof
  • > Dual charging capabilities
  •  
  •  
Check on REI
tbb-table__imageBest Lightweight Solar Power Bank for HikingBest Lightweight Solar Power Bank for HikingBeswill Solar Charger

  • > $
  • > 3 USB ports
  • > 21 super-bright LED lights
  •  
  •  
  • > $
  • > 3 USB ports
  • > 21 super-bright LED lights
  •  
  •  
Check on Amazon
tbb-table__imageBest Solar Bank + Solar Panel BundleBest Solar Bank + Solar Panel BundleGoal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank + Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Kit

  • > $$$
  • > Charge two devices
  • > Lightweight
  •  
  •  
  • > $$$
  • > Charge two devices
  • > Lightweight
  •  
  •  
Check on REICheck on Backcountry
tbb-table__imageBest All in One Solar ChargerBest All in One Solar ChargerMPOWERD Luci Explore Solar Light + Speaker

  • > $$
  • > Wake-up light
  • > Alarm clock
  •  
  •  
  • > $$
  • > Wake-up light
  • > Alarm clock
  •  
  •  
Check on MpowerdCheck on REI

 

#1 – Best Solar Power Bank Overall

Solgaard Solarbank

Solgaard Solarbank

Solgaard Solarbank is our top pick for the best solar power bank overall

Specs
  • 10,000 mAh battery
  • Battery stores up to 4-5 phone charges
  • Charges in the sunlight automatically
  • 4 hours of sunlight = 1 full phone charge
  • Size: 6.2 x 3.5 x 0.75 inches

When it comes to a lightweight, smart way to stay charged on-the-go, you can’t go wrong with the Solargaard power bank – making it my top pick for the best solar power bank overall.

It holds up to five charges, so you can be sure you won’t end up with any dead devices, no matter where you are. Its solar panels let you charge it up with some sunlight or with a USB-C chord – whichever option is most convenient.

It’s even more convenient if you pair it with a Solgaard backpack:

This pack is perfect for everyday use, for travel or for on-the-move city life. Simply charge your electronics from the backpack and you’re good to go.

Pros
  • Handles up to 5 full charges
  • Lightweight and easy to pack
Cons
  • Expensive

Check on Solgaard

 

#2 – Highest Capacity Solar Power Bank

GoerTek Solar Charger Solar Power Bank

GoerTek Solar Charger Solar Power Bank

Meet the highest capacity solar power bank: GoerTek Solar Charger Solar Power Bank

Specs
  • 25,000mAh battery
  • Battery capacity to charge a phone 5-7 phone times
  • 36 built-in LED lights
  • Two charging methods
  • IPX6 water-resistant
  • 3 USB outputs (1Amp for USB1 and 2 Amps for USB 2 and 3)
  • Size: 7 x 3.8 x 1.1 inches

With a built-in 2500 mAh battery, this solar power bank is about as high capacity as they come. If you have an iPhone XS, you can power it up seven times with this thing – more than five times for a Galaxy S9 Plus.

It’s also perfect if you have multiple electronics you want to charge at the same time – or other people you’ll be sharing it with – because it has 3 USB output ports. The power bank charges up quickly via solar energy or with a 5V/2A adapter, which must be bought separately. But it’s nice to have options if you don’t have easy access to one or the other.

If you’re an avid camper or off-the-beaten-track travel enthusiast, you’ll love that it also serves as a large, super-bright LED flashlight. It’s durable and water-resistant too, which are nice features to have for frequent outdoor use.

Pros
  • Great for long camping trips or other outdoor travel
  • Can be charged at 2Amps for a faster charge
Cons
  • Larger and heavier than most solar power banks

Check on Amazon

 

#3 – Most Durable Solar Power Bank

Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack

Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack

Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack is one of the most durable solar power bank

Specs
  • 8,000mAh battery
  • Battery capacity handles 2-3 smartphone charges
  • 20 built-in LED lights
  • Charge via micro USB (6 hrs) or the built-in solar panel (36+ hrs)
  • Size: 5.5 x 3 x 0.75 inches

If you tend to expose your gear through some pretty rough conditions – whether for travel, work, camping, or other outdoor ventures – you’ll appreciate that this solar power bank is designed to be waterproof, shock-proof, and dustproof, with safely sealed connection ports. The Revel Gear Day Tripper is the most durable you’ll find.

Other features that make this power bank super for travel are its dual charging capabilities via 2 USB output ports and its 20-LED grid that lights up a large area with 1,000 lumens. And if you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s good to know you have a powerful strobe to signal for help.

You’ll get a quicker charge time of 6 hours by using the included micro USB, but you also have a built-in solar panel to help when needed.

Pros
  • Superior for rough-terrain adventures
  • Serves as a power bank and as a bright LED floodlight
Cons
  • Not enough battery for longer trips or for powering larger devices

Check on REI

 

#4 – Best Lightweight Solar Power Bank for Hiking

Beswill Solar Charger

Beswill Solar Charger

Beswill Solar Charger is the best lightweight solar power bank for hiking

Specs
  • 8,000mAh battery
  • Battery capacity can charge an iPhone 6s 5 to 8 times
  • 21 built-in LED lights for illumination
  • Charge via micro USB (10 hrs) or and top off with a built-in solar panel
  • Size: 5.6 x 3 x 0.8 inches

There are two conditions that (mostly) all hiking spots have in common – daylight and lack of power outlets, which makes this inexpensive, lightweight, solar power bank an excellent choice for hiking – from one-day to multi-day trips.

If you have more than one electronic device you want to keep charged – like a smartphone and an e-reader – or you have friends who would like to share your power source, this little power bank has 3 USB ports to keep multiple devices alive and kicking. Its 21 super-bright LED lights will also come in handy when you need a strong light source out in the wilderness after the sun goes down.

While this little power bank will get you through several days because its charge can be topped off by solar energy, please take heed of their recommendation to fully charge the portable charger before you hit the great outdoors by plugging in the micro USB cable. The solar panel is large enough to keep you going, but still quite small and not meant to be the sole source of power.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Includes hook hanger for easy portability on a backpack
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Not waterproof

Check on Amazon

 

#5 – Best Solar Bank + Solar Panel Bundle

Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank + Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Kit

Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank

Our top pick for the best solar bank + solar panel bundle: Goal Zero Venture 30 Power Bank

Specs
  • 7,800mAh battery
  • Power output to charge: USB: 5V 2.4A (12W), solar USB: 5V 1.4A (7W)
  • Output capacity: battery – 29 watt hrs, solar cell – 7 watts
  • Size: 8.75 x 6.5 x 0.75 inches
  • IP6 rating

To keep your devices charged with an awesome power bank and keep your power bank charged with an awesome solar panel – the Goal Zero bundle is your answer. The 7,800mAH battery is high-capacity enough to charge two devices and is designed to do so quickly.

If you need to charge larger devices like laptops, the power bank can handle it easily. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere, rest assured that the solar panel will keep smaller electronics running smoothly with no fear of seeing those battery icons hit the red.

For peace of mind on longer trips, the Goal Zero is the best power bank kit you can get. Just lightweight enough to make it easy to pack but powerful enough to work quickly and efficiently. It’s a winner!

Pros
  • Charges devices quickly
  • Has a Solar Intensity Indicator that alerts you to solar conditions
  • Water-resistant
Cons
  • Expensive

Check on REI    Check on Backcountry

 

#6 – Best All in One Solar Charger

MPOWERD Luci Explore Solar Light + Speaker

MPOWERD Luci Explore Solar Light

For another best all in one solar charger, checkout the MPOWERD Luci Explore Solar Light

Specs
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Bulbs: 12 white LEDs, 6 RGB LEDs
  • Run time: 5 hrs (high 220 lumens), 24 hrs (low 20 lumens), 4.5 hrs (speaker)
  • Size: 4.7 x 2.1 inches
  • IPX4 rating

Okay, for us outdoorsy types, this thing is super cool! Just connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you have yourself an outstanding speaker and portable area light that you can customize to any color/mood you want – plus a mobile charger. It’s perfect for camping and travel.

Speaking of travel, it’s lightweight and easy to carry with you anywhere you go. For a quick charge of about five hours, plug in the USB, and from there, keep it charged on the go via solar power. It travels super well but also makes a cool bedroom lamp when you’re stationed at home.

The Luci Explore app has so many excellent features – like a wake-up light that transitions from red to white and an alarm clock with a bunch of sounds to choose from. You can also play music over the Bluetooth connection with no need for WiFi. It’s quite the nifty travel companion.

Pros
  • Works with your smartphone via BlueTooth
  • Fully customizable to your preferences
  • Water-resistant
Cons
  • Lower capacity battery

Check on Mpowerd    Check on REI

 

More Awesome Solar Powered Gear

 

Best Solar Charger for Group Camping

Goal Zero Boulder 50 Solar Panel

Goal Zero Boulder 50 Solar Panel

First off, please note that this is not a power bank, but an ideal power solution for group base camp or car camping.

When you’re off the grid, this durable Goal Zero solar panel will provide all the power you need for your group’s mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and any other electronically-powered camping devices. The integrated kickstand makes it easy to prop it up anywhere you are and angle it just right to capture maximum sun rays.

Are you camping in a vehicle? No problem. All you need to do is buy the mounting brackets and you’ve got yourself a super rooftop-mounted solar panel. It’s designed rigid enough to be used for permanent installation too, so you’ll be sure to get plenty of good use out of it. It’s a win-win.

Check on REI    Check on Backcountry

 

Best Solar Lantern for Camping

MPOWERD Luci Base Inflatable Solar Lantern + Power Bank

MPOWERD Luci Base Inflatable Solar Lantern

The best part about MPOWERD products is that they’re so versatile and travel-friendly while being really cool and sleek. This trusty little lantern packs flat with a lightweight, collapsible design and beautifully lights up any space with 360 lumens.

You have four modes to choose from – low, medium, high, and flashing – to create any mood or signal for help if needed. Charge it up fully via USB and keep it powered up with solar energy. Get the most out of it by using its two-way charging USB port to charge your mobile devices too.

The Lucy lantern has a bottom strap and fixed top strap that makes hanging it up easy – from your backpack, from your tent, or a nearby branch. The convenient battery indicator helps keep you informed about any recharging needs.

It’s a fantastic solar product; you’ll love it.

Check out our in-depth Luci Base Light review!

Check on Mpowerd    Check on REI

 

Best Solar Lights for Group Camping

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights + Charger

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights

Who doesn’t like the mood set by a string of hanging lights? Now you can create the mood anywhere you go – from your backyard to the campground. Easily hang 20 bright LEDs with specially designed clips that make them super simple to attach anywhere.

These are the best solar lights for group camping because, aside from being a cool lighting setup, it includes USB ports to charge mobile devices. The unit can last a whole 20 hours on one charge and recharges with solar power or via USB for a quicker charge.

Oh, and no need to worry about messy, tangled chords. The Luci Solar String Lights can be neatly transported because the base also serves as a compartment to keep the string in place and tidy. Like all MPOWERD products, these Luci solar string lights will not disappoint.

Check on Mpowerd    Check on REI

 

How to Choose the Best Solar Power Bank

Shopping around for a solar power bank is a smart move; they’re efficient, environmentally-friendly, and convenient for anyone with an on-the-move lifestyle. When it comes to solar products, there are a lot out there. So if you want to do your own research on finding the best solar power bank for you, there are some criteria you should keep in mind.

 

Solar Power Banks vs Solar Chargers

best solar power banks

Solar banks allow you to store battery energy for later use. photo: Chris Lininger

For starters, it’s important to know the difference between a solar power bank and a solar charger. To put it simply, a solar charger uses a solar panel to charge devices; there is no backup battery. This is perfect for extended camping or backpacking trips because they’re lighter, and larger panels keep your personal electronics charged up while the sun is out.

A solar power bank, however, is like a bank – it stores power away for use when you need it. It’s essentially a portable battery with a solar panel built-in. Because they have smaller solar panels, they’re meant to be fully charged via an electrical outlet, then kept alive via solar energy. Consider sunlight as your emergency backup source to top off the power that’s already there.

If you want to be completely sun-dependent, a solar charger will work faster and more efficiently. For a quick-charge with a plug-in option and the convenience of having the battery stay alive with solar power, a solar power bank will do the job.

 

Battery Capacity

best solar power banks

How much battery storage do you need? photo: Chris Lininger

You also want to pay attention to how much power the power bank can hold. Battery storage capacity is typically measured in mAH (milliamp-hours). The higher the battery capacity number, the more energy it can store in one go. Most power banks hold around 10,000 to 25,000mAh.

As for how many times that capacity can charge up your device depends on the battery size of your own device(s). For instance,  a tablet’s battery is larger than a smartphone battery. So, your optimal battery capacity will depend on how many devices you want to keep powered up, how big the battery of each is, and how many times you want to recharge at one time.

 

Weight and Size

best solar power banks

For me, I like compact, lightweight solar power banks – my other gear weighs enough already! photo: Chris Lininger

As a traveler and outdoor enthusiast, you know that every ounce you have to carry around with you matters. Every inch of your travel bag, backpack – or whichever your preferred travel carrier is – also matters. That’s why you need to pay attention to the weight and size of your solar power source.

In order for solar chargers to perform completely on solar power efficiently, the solar panels need to be quite large. This translates into more weight and bulk. So you must ask yourself how convenient it will be to hike and travel with a solar charger?

If you know you can rely on the sun just for topping-up purposes, then a solar power bank may be more suitable as a lightweight travel option.

 

Water-Resistant vs Waterproof

best solar power charger

Spill your water bottle on your power bank? Most solar banks can handle a bit of water exposure. photo: Chris Lininger

Spoiler alert: most solar power banks are not 100% waterproof. That said, they can handle spills and a bit of water abuse for short periods.

If you want actual verification for how water-resistant and dustproof a power bank is, you need to find its IP rating.

For an IP67 rating, the first number (6) refers to how dustproof it is and the second number (7) indicates its waterproofness. 6 is the highest the first number can go, and the 7 means that the solar power bank can be submerged in 3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes.

If there is an X and only one number – like an IPX4 rating – that means the product hasn’t been tested for dust-proofing and that it has a waterproof rating of 4. A 4 rating denotes that the power bank can withstand rain showers or splashing water.

I would not leave a solar bank out all night in a vicious rain storm, but for a few minutes of rain – it should be fine. I have spilled water on mine a few times and it has also gotten rained on – and the thing is still going strong. Point being: take the same precautions you would normally with any electronic and your solar bank will live a long and functional life.

 

Charging Capabilities

best solar power charger

Port count is an important feature to consider. photo: Chris Lininger

Be sure to also check for its charging capabilities. How many USB ports does the power bank hold? If you have a mobile phone and a tablet you’d like to keep powered up, then 2 USB ports would be preferable. Or, if you have a group of people, having more is even better.

Most solar power banks have two power options – wall charging and solar charging. Because power banks have smaller solar panels, your best bet for a quick-charge is to plug it in and use the sun rays to keep things kicking.

 

Final Thoughts

Harnessing the power of the sun to keep your vital personal devices charged up is not only practical but can be lifesaving! Even if you don’t camp out in the wilderness for days at a time, we can all think of times that we wish we had a power source at hand to save a dying smartphone battery.

The Solgaard Solarbank is our top overall pick because it covers all the essential on-the-go basics: it’s lightweight, sleek, and compact while still packing in plenty of battery power. It’s especially handy when seamlessly paired with the Solgaard backpack. For travel or just for everyday use, it’s simply the best.

Interested in something a bit more rugged that can handle multiple devices at once? The Beswill Solar Charger is a smart choice. For camping and other outdoor adventures, you’ll appreciate bright LED flashlight capabilities and that it has three USB output ports. Plus, it’s inexpensive.

Well, I hope you found our best solar power bank reviews helpful. No matter which one you decide to go with, you’ll be happy that you’ve added this useful device to your nomadic lifestyle arsenal.

best solar power charger

Harnessing the power of the sun to charge your devices is the future friends… photo: Chris Lininger

 

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy some gear through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep the site going.


Need More Inspiration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *