After several hours of research and sorting, I elected the BigBlue 28W best solar charger of 2019, selected from about fifty products.
In addition to this model, I took 6 other devices to review. If you want to discover them, I invite you to read the rest of this comparison.
And to help you buy the perfect solar charger for you, check out the shopping guide I prepared at the end of this article.
The best cheap solar chargers
The devices in this category are mainly external batteries that are recharged by solar energy. Their main advantage is their compact size which makes these chargers the easiest to carry all this selection.
1. Poweradd Apollo 2: the best cheap
• Solid and shockproof design
• Easy to carry
• IPX7 standard
• Recharging with slow solar energy
• Instructions for use perfectible
The POWERADD brand is a leader in the chargers market, from classic wall charger to car cigarette lighter models, wireless chargers and of course battery backup. And among its backup batteries that are refueling solar energy is the Apollo 2, my first product of this selection.
The battery backup is the size of a hand with a touch of rigid plastic and a little rubbery. On the front, you have its silicone panel through which you can power the charger through the sunlight.
On the top, you have two LED flashlights and at the bottom, there are two USB ports and a micro-USB input, protected by a cover. On the right side is a hook to pass a carabiner and hook the charger to a backpack.
Under a small lid is a lighter that allows you to light a cigarette.
As a good outdoor device, the Poweradd Apollo 2 has a waterproof outer shell with IPX7 standard that makes it work even when it rains. It is also resistant to shocks and dust.
The light emitted by the LED flashlights is adjustable in 3 modes including an SOS function in case of emergency. The Apollo 2 is designed to quickly recharge the devices with a flow of 3.1 A in total and that allows it to charge both a smartphone and a larger device as a tablet.
Question charging capacity, the device has 12000mAh in reserve is about 4 full charges for a smartphone and a little more than a full charge for a tablet.
As for performance, the solar charger is waterproof, but you cannot immerse it in the water. So avoid diving into the water or leaving it in a damp place.
Similarly, the manufacturer advises against keeping it away from heat sources or flammable objects and leaving it too long in a car especially during hot weather. And finally, to ensure optimal use and extend the life of the charger, the device must be fully charged on mains every 3 months.
As a disadvantage, the instructions for using the Poweradd Apollo 2 are not detailed enough. Similarly, the buttons on the front panel under the solar panel are hard to press. Finally, when you have exhausted the power reserve of the charger recharging via sunlight is very slow.
2. OLEBR Q90 24000 mAh: the most beautiful design
• Affordable price
• High capacity
• Fast loading
• Not waterproof
The first feature of the solar charger OLEBR 24000mAh is certainly its great capacity. And in addition to charging your devices, it is equipped with two LED lights that will be very practical during your camping trips.
Measuring 16.2 x 7.7 x 2.2 cm (length x width x thickness), this product is only slightly larger than a smartphone and so is easy to store in a backpack or other way if you use it in an urban environment. Weighing a little less than half a kilo, you’ll have no trouble transporting it wherever you need a battery at your fingertips.
This solar charger is available in 3 colors: black, red or yellow. It has 3 USB ports so can recharge 3 different devices at the same time: two at a power of 2A and the third with 1A.
3. ChoeTech foldable solar panel 19W: the best mid-range
• Good value for money
• Auto restart function
• Sustainable design
• Inefficient in cloudy weather
The ChoeTech Solar Charger not only promises to keep your phone charged, but also shines with its simplicity and durable foldable design.
It comes with a pocket on the back to protect your devices from sunlight. Its biggest advantage is that it is really light and foldable to a reasonable size, making it easy to store in a backpack or in a car’s glove box.
The solar panels that make up this charger are based on a polymer a little lighter than a classic silicone model sewn into a kind of fabric for better durability. In reality, the device looks like a few thin sheets of dark plastic on the back of a piece of black cloth that can easily pass for some kind of binder. Buy the best solar power banks in 10 Best Solar Power Banks in 2019 (Review & Guide) – Mippin.
At the last line of the panel, there are magnets to close everything and prevent it from accidentally opening. In any case, the design of this solar charger is ingenious for a device that will provide you with enough energy when you go camping or spend the day at the beach without a power outlet available nearby.
And to complete it all, the ChoeTech is equipped with a kind of small elastic sleeve and a zipped mesh pocket to prevent you from losing anything. Finally, each side of the panel has loops through which you can attach carabiners to hang the charger to your backpack. Effective and functional!
4. Anker PowerPort 21W: the lightest
• Light and compact when folded
• Good value for money
• Effective in full sun
• Not very effective in the shade
• No waterproof
This 21W solar charger is a compact and lightweight device and an incomparable efficiency when it comes to its ability to charge your devices.
The Anker Powerport is neither a solar powerbank nor an external battery, but simply a solar charger that captures solar energy. So it makes sense to have a device both bulky and rather heavy.
Measuring 28.1 cm long, 16 cm wide and 2.8 cm thick, it weighs just over 417 grams. Large size and heavy weight but you can still carry in your hands.
In any case, it is a solar charger that you will need to set up and use where there will be more sunlight. And the best way to do that is to hook the camera to your backpack – that’s the way this solar charger is supposed to be used.
The design of the device is simple: without start button nor LED lights. The 3 solar panels of this one are on one side as well as eyelets to hang the device to a carabiner and a USB hub through which you can charge your devices.
The latter has a red light above which comes on as soon as the solar panels draw on solar energy. And when you do not use the device, you just fold it and you have a compact object the size of a briefcase.
This way, you keep the charging ports safe and even if the PowerPort is not waterproof, puts the panel away from the water. The rest of the solar charger is a polyester fabric that also protects your devices while charging their batteries.
The best high-end solar charger:
5. BigBlue 28W : the best high-end
• Charge devices quickly
• Sustainable design
• High price
• Risk of overheating due to black cloth
The BigBlue 28W Solar Charger is a rugged, durable, weather-resistant charger that powers your phones and tablets.
The BigBlue Solar Charger weighs around 482 grams and consists of 4 foldable panels. The set measures 28.2 cm high, 16 cm wide and 3.3 cm thick, all is easy to fold and carry.
The panels are wrapped in polymerized fabric and you can either spread it on the floor or attach it to a backpack with the carabiners provided.
The device is foldable and secured with a solid velcro closure. And when you unfold it, there is a pocket on the right side where you will find an ammeter that indicates the current flow when one or more devices are connected to the two USB ports, which are just below.
There is also a zipped pocket where you can place your smartphone while charging. But if you plug something bigger than a phone, the device will be too big for this pocket.