We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Why trust us?

8 Best Solar-Powered Phone Chargers of 2022

Portable chargers for backpacking, camping, emergencies and beyond.

best solar powered phone chargers

This story was updated in October 2021 to reflect a similar yet newer version of our best overall Blavor solar phone charger. The Anker PowerCore was also added as a top pick based on testing led by Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering Rachel Rothman and the Good Housekeeping Institute's Media & Tech Lab.

Having your phone die on you can be extremely inconvenient, but it’s even more frustrating when you’re hiking outdoors and can’t access your trail map or get help from GPS. Thankfully a portable solar phone charger can save the day when you’re miles away from an outlet. As the name implies, a solar phone charger harnesses the power of the sun (a.k.a solar energy) to supply electricity to your devices or charge the battery. The benefit of these portable chargers is that they don't require an external electricity source to function, making them great for outdoor enthusiasts or people who may not have access to a power outlet right away (like if you're at a music festival in the middle of the desert or midway through a scenic hike).

A solar charger is also a great idea for your emergency preparedness kit along with essential tools and supplies. It’s hard to predict inclement weather, but a severe thunderstorm, tornado or heavy blizzard can cause the power to go out anywhere between a few hours to several days, and having an emergency plan in place is essential. A reusable solar phone charger will keep you connected with loved ones without having to worry about your phone’s battery dying on you. All that being said, solar technology is a viable one for charging your mobile devices, but some chargers definitely work better than others, and not all are designed to handle every situation.

At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we test tech products from waterproof speakers to gas leak detectors and outdoors products from hiking boots and socks to backpacks to camping gadgets and beyond. To test solar charges, we take each solar phone charger to our standard light room and time how long it takes to fully charge each unit. Then, we see how long it takes to charge various devices — over 400 hours of battery-draining over our most recent testing. Beyond looking at the given IP ratings, which denote the protection against water, dust, dirt and more, we also put each charger's durability to the test by using our in-house rain tester and drop tester. Based on our testing and categorical expertise, these are the best solar-powered phone chargers that are actually worth purchasing, regardless of whether they’re for everyday use, outdoor adventures or, worst-case scenario, emergencies:

    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    Best Overall Solar Phone Charger
    Solar Charger Power Bank 18W
    Now 17% off

    • Flashlight and compass kit included
    • Wireless charging
    • IPX5 rating

    This do-it-all device is a battery pack, dual flashlight, and compass. It has options to charge wirelessly (if your phone is Qi-enabled) or with a cord. At just under seven inches, this portable solar charger is small enough to pack in your backpack so toting this along on your next outdoor trip is a no-brainer. It also has an IPX5 rating, and in our road tests, we found that it was rugged enough to handle exposure to light rain. Just remember to fully recharge your power bank via an outlet before heading out for your next adventure though you can use the solar charging option as a backup as needed.

    Best Value Solar Phone Charger
    E.Lumen 500 Multi-Functional Flashlight

    • Multiple functions
    • Useful for emergencies
    • Several light modes

    • Small panel surface

    This flashlight and solar charger in one comes with an internal battery so it doesn't have to be in the sun while it charges your phone. Our Lab pros found this multi-functional charger to offer very bright output at 500 lumens, and the build quality to be good. Lay it out in the morning to collect sunshine and use it at night for a boost of power to your phone and flashlight. We wouldn't recommend this as your only source of power, but it's great as a supplement on your next trip! It’s also a useful tool to keep in your car for emergencies since it includes a convenient seat belt cutter, compass and glass window breaker.

    Best Solar Phone Charger for Outdoor Adventures
    3 Solar Charger
    Big Blue
    Now 13% off

    • Charges multiple devices
    • IPX4 rating
    • Large panel surface when unfolded

    • Can't store power

    While our experts haven’t yet tested this model yet, they love that you can unfold this charger and expose the four panels to the sun to charge your GoPro, iPhone, or Android (just be sure to check your device is compatible). The three USB ports allow you to charge multiple devices at once, so it's perfect for a family camping trip. If heavy clouds pass over, it will pause charging and restart when the sun is shining again. Our only caveat is that this charger can’t store electricity, so you’ll need daylight to keep your devices up and running.

    Best Solar Power Bank
    PowerCore Solar 20000

    • Charges two devices simultaneously
    • IP65 rating
    • Three lighting modes and dimmer

    • Slow to charge
    • Learning curve for controls

    The Anker PowerCore Solar charger was created with outdoor enthusiasts in mind and has an IP65 rating (one of the highest on this list!). In our tests, we found that even when the charger was exposed to a little dirt and water exposure, the functionality of the device was still fully intact. We also like that there’s a flashlight built-in for dark nights. You can charge two devices at once via USB-C or USB-A, and though it’s recommended to fully recharge the power bank before heading out on a trip, you can always recharge with the solar panels as a backup.

    Best Solar Phone Charger for Backpacking
    21W Dual USB Solar Charger

    • Lightweight
    • Large panel surface to capture sun
    • Charges two devices simultaneously

    • Can't store power

    Hook this solar charger up to your backpack on your next hike and charge your phone or battery pack as you walk. The panels unfold to span about 26 inches, which is lots of surface area to capture sunshine. It can charge two devices at once if desired. Our engineers noted that the compact, lightweight nature (under a pound) of this solar panel is ideal for charging phones and tablets on-the-go. 

    Best Solar Phone Charger Kit
    Venture 35 Solar Recharging Kit
    Goal Zero
    Goal Zero

    • Charges two devices simultaneously
    • Integrated flashlight
    • Waterproof IP67 rating
    • Includes power bank and solar panel

    • Expensive

    This battery is ready for your next trip, and with an IP67 rating, you don’t have to worry about it accidentally falling in the lake. Attach it to the included solar panel to charge it. In our evaluations, we were able to get a complete charge in eight hours on a very sunny day, which is well within the range that Goal Zero claimed it takes (between six to 12 hours of full sun). You can also opt to plug it in before you leave home for your next adventure. Once it's charged, take it with you as you venture out. The company claims it'll charge a smartphone about three times, but this depends on your type of phone and charge status. We were able to get two full charges on our iPhone 11. 

    Best Solar Phone Charger for Camping
    28W Solar Charger

    • Charges two devices simultaneously
    • Large panel surface
    • IPX4 rating

    • Doesn't store power

    Our engineers at the Good Housekeeping Institute haven't tested this exact panel, but it still tops our list as an excellent solar phone charger for your next camping trip. You can charge two devices at once with this panel that comes with two clips for easy attachment. The included microUSB can charge compatible battery packs or cameras (you'll want to check your device's setup) or you can use your own cables for a phone. A bit longer than others, this panel spans to about 32 inches unfolded.

    Best Solar Phone Charger for Small Devices
    Nomad 10
    Goal Zero
    Goal Zero

    • Lightweight
    • Includes kickstand
    • Compatible with multiple power banks (not included)

    • Not as powerful as others in Nomad series

    At just over one pound, this slim solar charger is easy to tote around. When folded up, it's a little larger area-wise than a sheet of paper. You can prop it up with an adjustable kickstand that rotates 180º to find the best angle for optimum charging. Best of all, if you need a solar panel that can handle charging more than your cellphone you can upgrade to Nomad 20, Nomad 50 or Nomad 200 depending on how much power you’ll need. Our engineering director loves this unit as it strikes a great balance of portability, durability and wattage.

    What features should you look for in a solar phone charger?
    ghi line

    ✔️ Power: Make sure you get a charger that is powerful enough to charge the device you want in an adequate amount of time. That means you should look for a charger with at least 7 watts to charge a smartphone, and closer to 15 watts or higher for charging multiple devices or more power-intense ones like an iPad. Skimping on watts also may mean a slower charge rate, so if you can afford to go a bit higher, go for it!

    ✔️ Portability: If you don't mind added bulk, a folded solar panel can likely result in a larger surface area and more power than a single panel charger, though you'll likely have to trade some power output for lightweight portability. Another plus for larger chargers is that they usually charge devices more quickly, though wattage is a better indicator by far.

    ✔️ Connections: Make sure the solar charger is capable of charging the device you own, and that it has enough ports to charge multiple devices if that is desired. You’ll also need enough power to be able to do so. Smaller electronic devices, like those you can usually charge with a USB, roughly need a 5V output rating. Larger electronics may require 12V-24V.

    ✔️ Backup battery: If you don't know if you'll have exposure to the sun (i.e. at night or when it's super cloudy), make sure your solar charger is able to store your charge by juicing up a rechargeable battery that in turn charges your mobile later when you'll need it, as opposed to one that directly charges your phone.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    More From Home Products