Carlos

Carlos is a trained solar engineer deeply involved in the solar industry with a background in the design of photovoltaic systems for the residential and commercial sector. He is a promoter of sustainable technologies and solutions with a passion for renewable energy.

SOK battery

SOK Battery Review

SOK Battery Review

SOK battery

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 6
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 4
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 5

Table of Contents

SOK Battery manufactures and supplies LiFePO4 batteries and is one of the leading manufacturers in the market.

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are a rechargeable battery that uses LiFePO4 as the cathode material and a graphitic carbon electrode as the anode. Because of low cost, low toxicity, well-defined performance, and long-term stability, LiFePO4 batteries are finding multiple applications in vehicle use, utility-scale stationary applications, and backup power.

The SOK 100Ah and 200Ah batteries are some of the best-selling LiFePO4 batteries due to their uses. These batteries are perfectly suited for RV’s, Off-grid cabins, and all kinds of energy-powered devices.

Here, you will learn about the SOK 100Ah and 206Ah LiFePO4 batteries product features and specifications and compare the specs of both batteries to others manufactured by leading competitors.

Who is SOK Battery?

SOK battery is a Chinese manufacturer and supplier of LiFePO4 batteries that lead the market, established around 2015 by a team of three engineers from CALB, a company with multiple branches worldwide.

The LiFePO4 Batteries the brand produces are superior to lead-acid batteries due to features like high specific energy, longer life cycles (3000~8000 cycles), compact size and lightweight, high thermal and chemical stability, and best safety and cost performance.

SOK 12.8V 100Ah Battery: Product Features and Specs

This battery has four built-in LiFePO4 battery cells of 3.2V 100Ah in series, with low-temperature cut-off protection that allows its use in cold places. It can be connected in series for 24V, 36V, or 48V battery banks or connected in parallel for larger capacity. The following specifications and features of this battery are listed below:

SOK battery

Figure 1. SOK LiFePO4 12.8V 100AH Battery –SOK Battery

Weight & Size

One of the most notorious features of the SOK 100Ah LiFePO4 battery is its physical size since it is lightweight and compact. It weighs 26lbs and has dimensions of 11.42×7.87×7.87 inches.

Battery Capacity & Current

SOK 100Ah has a battery capacity of 1,280Wh or 100Ah at an operating voltage of 12.8V, has a maximum charge current of 50A, and a maximum discharge current of 100A.

Internal design

This battery uses robust seven-inch wires to join the external connectors with the internal array of four removable lithium prismatic cells in series. It features a cover of isolating material and a quality Battery Management System (BMS) for protection, which you can remove, all inside a metal case.

Built-in Smart BMS

One awesome feature that the SOK 100Ah battery has is the capacity to detach and replace BMS or Cells, making these batteries adaptable to customers’ needs. This BMS protects against overcurrent, short-circuits, and high & low temperatures, preventing the battery from malfunctioning.

Higher life cycle and warranty

One of the benefits of including prismatic lithium cells in the SOK 100Ah battery is the higher life cycle, providing up to 8000+ cycles for normal usage and 4000 cycles for heavy-duty usage with free maintenance. Also, the SOK battery set a 7-years warranty over the SOK 100Ah battery and lifetime customer support.

SOK 206Ah Battery: Product Features and Specs

A battery nearly identical to how the SOK 100Ah battery is built with, 4 pieces of LiFePO4 battery cells of 3.2V in series, with cut-off protection and options to connect in series, or connect in Parallel. The following specifications and features of this battery are listed here:

SOK battery

Figure 2. SOK LiFePO4 12.8V 200AH Battery – SOK Battery

Weight & Size

This battery model came in with a heavier but yet easy-to-handle weight of 47,6lbs, with dimensions of 10.83×7.87×11.22in.

Battery Capacity & Current

The SOK 200Ah has a capacity of 2,636Wh or 206Ah at an operating voltage of 12.8V. It has the same maximum charge current and discharge current as the SOK 100Ah model and can also be connected in series or parallel.

Internal design, Built-in Smart BMS & Higher Life Cycle and Warranty

All these features and specs of the SOK 200Ah battery are similar to the 100Ah battery model, with the only exception of being bigger and wider in design.

SOK Batteries vs. Lion Energy UT 1300

So, now that we can understand the specs and features of the SOK battery models, we can compare both SOK models with The Lion Energy UT 1300 battery, a leading LiFePO4 battery competitor.

Lion Energy Battery

Figure 3. Lion Energy UT 1300 Battery- Source: Lion Energy

Size & Weight

The Lion Safari UT 1300 battery features a weight of 23lbs and a size of 10.2×6.6×8.8in, making the Lion Energy battery a lighter and smaller battery when compared with both SOK battery models, which means it is easier to handle.

Operating specifications

Batteries from the Lion Energy battery provide a maximum charge current of 100A and a maximum discharge current of 150A and up to 900A for surges. The SOK batteries have the same maximum charge current of 50A and discharge current of 100A and up to 200A for surges. In this aspect, SOK batteries can’t stand against the Lion Energy Battery. The Lion Energy battery is more suitable for applications that need higher instantaneous currents to work medium size DC or induction motors. However, refrigerators or freezers with lower surge currents could be powered using the SOK batteries.

SOK models have a temperature performance of (-22~140°F) for discharges and (32~140°F) for charges and a BMS Low/High-temperature cut-off of 32°F/149°F respectively. On the other hand, Lion batteries have an operating temperature range of (32~113°F) for charges and a range of (-4~131°F) for discharges.

The three batteries have a charge voltage of 14.6V. At the operating voltage of 12.8V, the competitor Lion Safari battery has a capacity of 105Ah. The SOK 100Ah battery has a slightly lower capacity than the Lion Safari, but it’s cheaper and can withstand higher temperatures.

Warranty & lifecycles

Lion Safari battery warranty surpasses standards by providing lifetime warranties and ensuring the proper functioning of the battery for a minimum of 3,500 cycles (100% DOD). On the other hand, both SOK batteries provide a 7-years warranty, but both ensure the proper functioning of the battery for a minimum of 4,000 (100% DOD) cycles and a lifetime of customer support. In normal usage (80% DOD) Lion Energy battery provides 5,000+ cycles while the SOK batteries provides 8,000+ cycles.

Depth of discharge (DOD) indicates the percentage of the battery discharged relative to the overall battery capacity.

The SOK batteries have more charge and discharge cycles than the Lion Energy battery before losing performance. In other words, SOK lasts longer than the Lion Energy battery.

Prices

While the Lion Energy battery has similar operating specifications to the SOK 100Ah battery model, the price is almost double ($999), while the 100Ah costs $500. The SOK 206Ah battery is $1029, a similar price to the Lion Energy product but with more capacity, making SOK batteries a much cheaper option.

SOK Batteries vs. Battle Born

Now we will compare specifications and features of SOK batteries models with batteries from another leading competitor, Battle Born, specifically the 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery.

Battle Born Battery

Figure 4. Battle Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – Source: Battle Born

Size & Weight

The Battle Born 100Ah battery surpasses the weight of the SOK 100ah battery with 31lbs and exceeds the length of both SOK batteries with its dimensions of 12.76×6.86×8.95in, making Battle Born heavier and larger yet narrower than both SOK models.

Operating specifications

Battle Born 100Ah batteries provide a discharge current of 100A, a charge current of 50A, and up to 200A for surges, the same currents that both SOK batteries have. The Battle Born battery has an operating temperature range of -4°F to 135°F and BMS Low/High-temperature cut-off of 25°F/135°F respectively. They also have water resistance which is a feature that SOK batteries don’t.

When comparing the 100Ah SOK battery to the Battle Born one, both batteries have the same discharge/charge/surge currents and capacities. Temperature performances are also very similar to one another. The only difference would be that the Battle Born battery has water resistance, making it more suitable for marine applications than the SOK model.

Warranty & lifecycles

The Battle Born batteries have a 10-years warranty and work at least 3000 cycles (5000+ at 80% DOD). The SOK models are far more durable batteries; however, they have three years less warranty coverage than the Battle Born one.

Prices

Battle Born battery has similar operating specifications to the SOK 100Ah battery model but has a 50% higher price ($799).  On the other hand, the SOK 206Ah battery costs $1029 but has way more capacity than the Battle Born battery.

Conclusion

The Lion Energy battery has better design features, currents, and warranty, but the SOK battery models still count with high-quality features that guarantee you higher lifecycles at a much lower cost. Battle Born’s features are similar to the 100Ah SOK ones; however, the Battle Born one has lower lifecycles. 

The Battle Born battery is also more expensive than the SOK 100Ah model and only surpasses SOK models in warranty coverage and resistance against water. If we make a balance out of this, the SOK batteries will provide you similar specs, will last longer, and cost much less for the equivalent amount of energy, making SOK batteries a much better choice than the Battle Born ones.

Both SOK models are great options if you are looking for a battery for any application of mid and high-demand.

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Ampere Time Battery Review

Ampere Time Battery Review

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 9
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 8

Table of Contents

Choosing a battery is vital to getting the best performance and power delivery for any application. Whether for camping, marine use, UPS systems, battery banks, or any other application, you should always consider lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries have many advantages that make them stand out compared to other technologies. These batteries deliver high currents on demand, have a large capacity, are manufactured to withstand high depths of discharge (DOD), and more. If you are looking for batteries with great performance, you should consider Ampere Time batteries.

Ampere Time designs outstanding batteries with lithium technology. Some of the best medium-high and high capacity models are the 100Ah Ampere Time battery & the 200Ah Ampere Time Battery. Today, we do an in-depth analysis on both batteries and compare them against another leading battery brand in the market.

Figure 1: 100Ah & 200Ah Ampere Time Batteries – Ampere Time

Who is Ampere Time?

Ampere Time is a quality battery brand founded more than 12 years ago, created as a subsidiary of Shenzhen Ampere Time Technology Co., Ltd. This brand emerged to supply a basic need for customers looking for quality performance LiFePO4 batteries for a good price.

Since its founding, Ampere Time has been engineering some great quality batteries and related products, ensuring their customers have all their energy needs covered. Batteries manufactured by Ampere Time are backed by several professional conformity certificates, ensuring great performance and a 5-year warranty for their products.

To date, Ampere Time manufactures 12V, 24V, and 48V batteries. To suit the needs of every customer, the brand offers a wide variety of capacities, ranging from 6Ah to 300Ah. Alongside the batteries, you will also find battery chargers designed with the right parameters to charge batteries at 10A or 20A, ensuring a longer lifespan for Ampere Time batteries.

Ampere Time 100Ah & 200Ah Battery Features and Specs

The 100Ah & 200Ah Ampere Time batteries are among the most popular options for this brand. Both batteries use the same technology, so they share several benefits, features, and specifications. Both Ampere Time batteries are durable, long-lasting, and deliver a quality performance.

Next, we will dive into the specifications and features for each battery, detailing what aspects they share and how they differ.

Capacity & stored energy

One main difference between the 100Ah & 200Ah batteries is their capacity and the amount of energy they can store.

100Ah Ampere Time Battery

The 100Ah Ampere Time battery has a medium-high designed capacity of 100Ah delivered at an operating voltage of 12.8 V. It can store and deliver a total power capacity of 1,280 Wh. With this, you can easily power any electronics, several appliances, and the battery for all types of applications like camping, battery banks, and more.  

200Ah Ampere Time Battery

This battery has a high capacity of 200Ah operating at 12.8V, meaning that it can store and deliver up to 2,560 Wh. This high-capacity battery is better suited for large UPS systems, solar battery banks, and many other applications requiring a high-capacity battery.

Size & Weight

Lithium batteries with different capacities require varying amounts of LifePO4 battery cells depending on the capacity, which is the case for the 100Ah and 200Ah Ampere Time batteries, which differ in size & weight.

100Ah Ampere Time Battery

The 100Ah Ampere Time Battery has a compact size of 13 x 6.82 x 8.48 in. and a relatively lightweight of 25.35 lbs., which is lighter than batteries with similar capacity. Comparing the size and weight as they relate to capacity, the 100Ah Ampere Time battery is ideal for stationary applications and others that might require manually transporting the battery.

200Ah Ampere Time Battery

The 200Ah Ampere Time battery has a size of 20.5 x 9.37 x 8.54 in. and a weight of 46.07 lbs. While it has twice the capacity of 100Ah Ampere Time Battery, it is only 82% heavier, but it has more than twice the size. Since this battery is heavier and bulkier, we recommend it for stationary applications or in-home solar power systems, personal vehicles, wheelchairs, or marine applications.  

Figure 2: 100Ah Ampere Time Battery – Ampere Time

Casing & IP rating

While both batteries have a different weight and size, they share a similar high-quality casing that is durable, robust, and includes handles for transportation. The casing is ABS material, which is resistant to shocks and vibrations. Both batteries have 16mm-M8 terminals installed and are versatile for many applications.

With a casing manufactured with the highest standards, both batteries have a high Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP65. They are completely sealed against dust particles, protected against small splashing or dripping of water, and withstand water jets with a nozzle of 6.3 mm or less.

Charge/discharge current

Both batteries can deliver high peak currents of 280A for five seconds and continuously discharge at a maximum current of 100A, meaning the 100Ah Ampere Time battery is ideal for a 1C C-rate and the 200Ah battery for a 0.5C C-rate.

You can charge both batteries at a 0.2C C-rate, meaning that you can charge the 100Ah battery at 20A while the 200Ah Ampere Time Battery at 40A.

Depth of Discharge (DOD)

Ampere Time has engineered quality LiFePO4 batteries that can be discharged at a 100% DOD, allowing you to use the full capacity of the batteries.

Even though they can withstand a 100% DOD, at 10% capacity, they read a voltage of 12.8V, and at 1%, they read 10.8V, which is why we recommend using a maximum 90% DOD, and avoiding discharging them beyond 99% DOD since it can damage the battery.

Expected life cycles

The 100Ah and 200Ah Ampere Time batteries are designed to deliver 4,000 – 8,000 cycles, depending on the DOD used. The average lifespan for both batteries is 10 years.

Working temperature

Both batteries can also work at the same temperatures. Ampere Time batteries can discharge from -4º F to 140º F and should only be charged at a temperature range of 32º F – 122º F. For storing the batteries, you should ensure a temperature range of 14º F – 122º F.

Supported parallel/series connections

Ampere Time batteries allow for up to 4 batteries to be connected in series or up to 4 batteries to connect in parallel. If you want to perform a parallel/series connection, you can plug 2 sets of 4 batteries in series, connected in parallel with each other.

Ampere Time vs. SOK Battery: Which Should I choose?

Figure 3: 300Ah Ampere Time Battery – Ampere Time

Ampere Time and SOK Battery are excellent battery manufacturers with 100Ah & 200Ah models. In this section, we will do an impartial comparison between both technologies, detailing the key differences between the models by each brand. 

Capacity

Both 100Ah batteries share the same capacity, but this differs for the 200Ah batteries by each brand. The Ampere Time battery has a designed capacity of 200Ah while the SOK battery has a 206 Ah capacity, delivering 6 Ah more than the Ampere Time model.

Charging/discharging current

Both the 100Ah and 200Ah SOK batteries can be discharged at 100A and charged at 50A, meaning that the 100Ah SOK battery charges at 30 amps faster than the 100Ah Ampere Time battery model while the 200Ah SOK battery charges at 10 amps faster. As for the discharge current, it is the same for all four batteries.

Protection systems installed

Ampere Time and SOK Battery models have built-in Battery Management Systems (BMS), but this works differently for both brands. The Ampere Time BMS has a high-temperature charging cut-off system, while SOK BMS has both a high & low-temperature charging cut-off system, ensuring a longer lifespan for batteries in hot and cold climates.

Price

Both 100Ah batteries have a very similar price. The 100Ah Ampere Time model costs $499.99, while the SOK battery costs $569.00. The price is more contrasting for the high-capacity models with the 200Ah Ampere Time battery costs $799.99 while the 206Ah SOK battery costs $1,029.00.

Life Cycles & Warranty

Another important aspect to consider is the life cycles & warranty. Even though Ampere Time and SOK batteries can deliver 4,000 – 8,000 cycles, Ampere Time batteries have a 5-years warranty, while SOK Battery ensures 2 more years of liability for a 7-year warranty.

Ampere Time vs SOK Battery conclusion: Which brand is better for you?

When comparing the performance and specifications concerning the price, SOK batteries are superior. These batteries handle higher currents, have a better BMS, and have a longer warranty, making them safer to use for all applications and temperatures.

The aspect standing out from Ampere Time batteries is the price. The 100Ah Ampere Time battery is $70.01 cheaper, while the 200Ah battery costs $229.01 less than the SOK model. While price is important, you consider overall specifications, warranty, BMS system, and many more aspects to ensure you get a battery that lasts longer while delivering better performance.

Conclusion

Both 100Ah & 200Ah Ampere Time batteries are excellent for solar battery banks, boats, RVs, security systems, and many other applications. These batteries handle high discharging/charging currents, are robust, have a quality casing, and have a great overall performance.

Using Ampere Time batteries will ensure you get the best power output for many applications, even at a battery bank using eight batteries to get two times the voltage and four times the capacity of the batteries. Ampere Time Batteries also have a long lifespan, quite a good warranty, and an excellent price.

The price for Ampere Time batteries highly contrasts when compared to brands like SOK Battery. When looking for slightly higher currents, a longer warranty, or a better BMS system, you might want to consider SOK batteries, but if you are looking for the best price, Ampere Time batteries are for you.

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Jackery Explorer Portable power station

WARNING: Jackery Explorer 500 Review + Top 2 Alternatives

WARNING: Jackery Explorer 500 Review + Top 2 Alternatives

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 8
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Having a backup source of power is valuable whenever the grid is down, but it’s also very important if you want to have an incredible experience outdoors, whether that is a week-long camping trip or a long picnic day with family and friends.

In this review, we cover one of the best and most reliable options available for backup power, the Jackery Explorer 500. We will also check out two valuable alternatives that you can consider to make the best possible choice among solar generator products. Let’s jump to it!

What is the Jackery Explorer 500?

The Jackery Explorer 500 is a portable power station manufactured by Jackery, one of the top brands in the backup market, integrated with an array of cylindrical 2400 lithium-ion battery cells with a high energy density capable of storing up to 518Wh of energy ([email protected]). This valuable device has a rated power capacity of 500W and 1000W for a surge.

This power station features multiple ports, including:

Jackery Explorer 500 Outlets:

3 x USB – A ports
2 x 12V DC ports
1 x 12V car outlet
1 x 110V AC outlet – pure sine wave output at 60Hz

Moreover, some of the extra features that the Jackery Explorer 500 comes with are:

  •         Built-in LED flashlight
  •         Built-in MPPT charge controller
  •         Carry on solid handle
  •         Built-in LED display
  •         Car charger cable
  •         AC charging cable

What can I power with the Jackery Explorer 500?

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

The Explorer 500 is capable of powering multiple appliances and electronic devices, including any of the following:

  •         Blenders (300W)                        
  •         CPAP machines
  •         TVs
  •         LED Lights
  •         Electronics: Smartphones, cameras, drones, iPads, headphones, etc.
  •         Electric blankets (40W)
  •         Heated travel mugs (100W)
  •         Mini-cooler

You will notice that all of these devices have a power consumption below 500W. Keep in mind that the AC output port is rated for a maximum continuous capacity of 500W, and exceeding this amount will cause the Explorer 500 to shut down automatically as a safety measure.

Any appliance powered with AC will need to have a demand below 500W to be connected to the Jackery Explorer 500.  In other words, you cannot power appliances like toasters, kettles, or electric frying pans with this portable solar generator. To make sure you can connect a device, check the power rating specs of whatever it is you want to power.

That said, the Jackery has a surge power rating of 1000W, which means it can provide an extra burst of power for a few seconds to get the appliance started, typically useful for appliances with small motors. This feature could come in handy for some small and low-demand fridges, but you would need to make sure that the continuous demand from the DC motor is below 500W.

How Can the Jackery Explorer 500 be charged?

You can fully charge this power station in several ways:

Car charger 7.5 hours
AC wall outlet 7.5 hours
Solar panels 9-10 hours

Keep in mind that the input terminal for all charging sources is rated to be below 100W. For solar panels, Jackery also offers the optional Solar Saga 100W solar kit that you can connect to the Jackery 500. As you can see above, using solar panels would take around 10 hours to charge the Explorer 500 fully; however, this can increase if weather conditions are not favorable.

What Do We Like About The Jackery Explorer 500?

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

What We Don’t Like About the Explorer 500

Jackery Explorer Portable power station

What are the Best Alternatives to the Jackery Explorer 500?

If you feel the Jackery Explorer is not for you, then we have some of the best alternatives you can think of for this power station. Similar in specs, quality, and price! Let’s take a look.

The EcoFlow River 600 Max is one of the best alternatives for the Explorer 500, and here is why.

Power Rating and Connectivity

The River 600 Max has a power rating of 600W and a surge power of 1200W. You will also enjoy 576Wh of battery capacity, and what’s more important, you can use it to power up to 10 devices at once.

As amazing as it sounds, the EcoFlow River 600 has an X-Boost mode that allows it to power up to 1800W in total (although the recommendation is to stay below 1200W to maximize the energy performance use). This is possible thanks to the three 600 WAC outlets, which offer much better connectivity options than the Jackery 500.

Super-Fast Charging

What’s even more incredible about the EcoFlow 600 is its super-fast charging capability, thanks to the X-Stream Fast Charging feature, which allows it to get fully charged in less than 100 minutes using an AC wall outlet.

When using a car port, it takes just three hours to charge fully. On the other hand, if you want to use solar charging, you can connect up to two 110W solar panels for a total of 220W, which allows you to charge the EcoFlow River 600 in just around three to six hours! This time is considerably less than with the Jackery.

UPS capability

A great plus of the EcoFlow River 600 is that you can use it as a UPS device. If you have the River 600 connected to the wall outlet and have a desktop computer connected to it, the River 600 will charge the desktop using energy from the grid. However, if the grid fails, this power station will automatically switch to a battery supply mode in less than 30 seconds, actively acting as a UPS device.

Go Lightweight

Another interesting feature of the EcoFlow River 600 Max is the possibility to remove the integrated extra battery pack to reduce the weight of the power station and make it more of an on-the-go kind of device, reducing 2.5kg from the total 7.7kg that the River 600 weighs.

This design is perfect if you want a larger power station for your campsite but still want to be able to carry a smaller power station to an area nearby without having to haul the whole weight of the entire unit.

Where to Buy

Check Out the EcoFlow River 600 Max

Power Ratings

Another great alternative to the Explorer 500 is the Bluetti EB70. This power station is more powerful than the Jackery model, featuring up to a 700W continuous output rating with a massive 716Wh energy storage capacity made out of a lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, which is already powerful enough to run air pumps and mini-fridges comfortably.

Connectivity

Moreover, the connectivity is impressive, with up to four pure sine wave AC outlets at 110V, two USB type-C PD, and two USB-A ports. Plus, two DC output ports, a car port, and even a wireless charger of 15W for smartphones and other electronic devices with such capability.

Charging times

As for charging times, the Bluetti EB70 does not stay behind at all and even when having almost half more energy storage capacity than the Jackery Explorer 500. If you use a wall outlet, it only takes up to 4.5 hours to fully charge it. On the other hand, if you use a car port, it would take about 7.5 hours, just like the Explorer 500. Finally, if your choice is to use solar, you can expect it to be charged in less than six hours, assuming good weather conditions.

Lifetime Expectancy

One extremely valuable thing about the Bluetti EB70 when compared to the Jackery Explorer 500 is the number of cycles that the power station can run is up to 2500 at 80% capacity. This difference is huge.

Where to Buy

Check Out the Bluetti EB70

Comparison: Jackery Explorer 500 vs EcoFlow River 600 Max vs Bluetti EB70

To summarize the differences between the Jackery and our best alternatives, we have pulled up this table that will help you easily see the different specs between these products.

  Jackery Explorer 500 EcoFlow River 600 Max Bluetti EB70
Power Rating (W) 500 600 (expandable to 1800W with X-Boost mode) 700
Surge Power Rating (W) 1000 1200
Battery Type Lithium-ion Lithium-ion Lithium-iron phosphate
Energy Storage Capacity (Wh) 518 576 716
Expected Number of Lifecycles 500 to 80% capacity 500 to 80% capacity 2500 to 80% capacity
Charging times      
Wall Outlet 7.5h 1.6 h 4.5 h
Car Port (Wh) 7.5h 6.5 h 7.5 h
Solar 9-10h (100W max) 3-6h (2x110W max) 5.5h (200W max)
Operating Temperature range 0 – 40°C 0 – 45°C -20 to 40°C
Number of AC Outlets 1 3 4
Number of USB Ports 3 – USB-A ports

2-USB A ports

1 USB-A Fast Charge port

1 USB-C port

2-USB-A Ports

2-USB-C PD ports

Weight 13.32lbs (6.04kg) 17 lbs (7.7 kg) 21.4lbs (9.7kg)
Warranty Period 24 months 24 months 24 months

Outstanding Feature

(Feature that the other two do not have)

None

UPS capability

Detach portable mode

X-Boost mode

Wireless charging
Estimated Price $500 $550 $600

Final Words

As you can see from the table above, both the EcoFlow 600 Max and the Bluetti EB70 offer far better technical specs and features than what the Jackery Explorer 500 does for a little extra money, making them the best alternatives to consider at this price range.

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Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Review: Is it Worth Buying? (2021)

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Review: Is It Worth Buying? (2021)

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 1: Lion Safari ME Kit – Lion Safari

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

Overall Rating 9
Portability 8
Compatibility 9
Durability 8
Ease of Use 10
Value for Money 9

Table of Contents

Lion Safari started in 2001, helping customers be action-ready in case of emergencies. They supplied emergency food, water, lighting, and more. Years later, they started designing portable power units to ensure energy availability on the go.

In 2012, Lion Energy was engineering powerful portable generators, ensuring energy anywhere and anytime: vacations, camping trips, blackouts, and in most emergencies. By 2014, Lion Energy was one of the best manufacturers for solar systems and portable power generators in the U.S.

One of the best portable power generators to date is the Lion Safari ME. With the Lion Safari ME Kit, you get this generator, a high-capacity expansion battery pack, and a 400W solar generation system. This kit ensures you get enough energy to power through emergencies, camping trips, and even to power your whole home for hours.

What Does the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Include?

The Safari ME Kit includes everything you need to install your Safari ME + XP and the solar panels, and all of these items are covered under a 1-year warranty by Lion Safari. Here is a list of all the items in the kit:

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator Kit:

1 x Lion Safari ME Power Generator
1 x Expansion Pack
4 x Lion 100W 24V Solar Panels
1 x Anderson extension cord

The Anderson connectors used by Lion Safari are different from the regular MC4 connectors. To connect any of these units to other solar equipment, you need an Anderson-to-MC4 adapter. We strongly recommend you only use Lion Safari panels with other panels from the same capacity from this brand.

What is the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator?

The Safari ME Power Generator is a professional-grade portable power Station that can power virtually anything. You can use it for simple power loads like charging phones, laptops, powering home appliances, tools, or even to power your entire home for hours.

The generator includes a built-in 922Wh Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) cylindrical cells battery that lasts for more than 2,500 cycles at a 100% depth of discharge (DOD). To convert DC to AC power, the generator has a 2,000W built-in pure sine wave inverter which can deliver a power surge of 4,000W.

The aesthetic for the Lion Safari ME is superb, and so is the robust casing with built-in handles. The unit weighs 45.5 lbs. and has a size of 18.7 x 12.8 x 12.8 inches. It includes an LCD monitor screen in the casing, delivering real-time readings for:

  • Capacity level (Percentage)
  • Time to empty at the current load (Minutes).

The Lion Safari ME Generator includes several output ports at the front of the equipment, making it quite versatile. These ports are:

Lion Safari ME Generator Output Ports:

2 x 120V AC power sockets
2 x USB Type – A ports (5V @ 2.4A)
2 x USB Type – C ports (1 x PD 18W & 1 x PD 60W)
1 x 12V Cigarette lighter connector (15A max current)
1 x 12V Anderson connector

The ports are divided into sections that you can turn on and off using the right switch, and you can turn the whole generator on or off using the main switch at the top front. There are four switches in total:

1 x Switch for the 12V connectors
1 x Switch for the USB ports
1 x Switch for the AC outlets
1 x Main switch for the whole generator

At the back of the Safari ME generator, you will find several inputs, these are:

1 x Built-in 120V AC cord to charge the battery (@ 680W)
1 x Anderson connector to plug solar panels (@ 585W max. MPPT charging capacity)
1 x Expansion pack battery connector (Expansion pack included with the Kit)

Aside from the connectors, there is a small button at the bottom-left section at the back of the unit. This button works as a circuit breaker, resetting the circuit-breaker in case of tripping due to overcurrent. 

How much extra power can I get with the Lion Safari ME Expansion Battery?

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 3: Lion Safari ME + Expansion Pack – Lion Safari

The Expansion Pack for the Lion Safari ME is a 2,048Wh battery that can be plugged into the generator, increasing its capacity up to three times. When used together, the expansion pack capacity is added to the 922Wh base capacity for the Safari ME Power Generator to achieve a total capacity of 2,970Wh.

The expansion pack is 16.7 x 9.6 x 9.8 inches and weighs 44 lbs. This unit can hold its charge for two years and delivers more than 3,500 cycles. Aside from powering loads for longer, the expansion pack can withstand many more cycles, which greatly increases the lifespan of the Safari ME + XP.

Using the Safari ME Portable Power Generator + the Expansion Pack (Safari ME + XP) allows you to power up to 2,000W in loads for three times longer. When charging with the 120V AC cord at 668W, the expansion pack charges in 3 hours and the whole Safari ME + XP in under 4.5 hours.

What Can I Power If I Use the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Battery?

The Safari ME + XP allows you to power virtually anything. You can use them to power lighting systems, freezers, A/C compressors, TVs, gaming consoles, computers, power tools, household appliances, and many others, like the ones in the list below. In most cases, you can power several of these devices at the same time.

Loads and estimated power time with the Safari ME + XP

Device Hourly load consumption (Wh) Run time with the Safari ME + XP
Mini fridge 36Wh 82.5 hours
Phone charger 5Wh 594 charges
Laptop charger 56Wh 53 charges
55’’ L.C.D./LED TV 75Wh/116Wh 39.6/25.5 hours
LED lamp 4Wh 742 hours
Hotplate 500Wh 5.9 hours
Air cooler 80Wh 37 hours
American fridge-freezer 80Wh 37 hours
Water pump 300Wh 10 hours

Food dehydrator

800Wh 3.7 hours
Playstation 5 200Wh 15 hours
Guitar amplifier 30Wh 100 hours
Home internet router 15Wh 198 hours
Slow cooker 180Wh 16.5 hours

The possibilities with the Safari ME + XP are almost endless. This unit is perfect for powering high-consumption appliances at RVs, large boats, and more. You can even use the Safari ME + XP as a home battery backup generator.

The Safari ME + XP as a home battery backup generator can power many household devices simultaneously. Considering the 2,000W built-in inverter, you can power more than 100 LED bulbs, 1 – 2 LED TVs, a Playstation 5, a Fridge-Freezer, several laptops and phones charging, a water pump, an internet router, several other devices, and all at the same time. 

How much solar power do I need to charge the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Battery?

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 4: Lion Safari ME – Lion Safari

Lion Safari specializes in powering backup systems using renewable energies, which means you can also charge the Safari ME + XP using solar panels. The Lion Safari ME Kit includes 4 x Lion 100W 24V solar panels that allow your generator to keep going for hours in most off-grid situations.

When using the 400W solar generation capacity of the panels in ideal conditions, you can fully charge the Safari ME + XP in under 8 hours. Since solar conditions are not always ideal, you can also expand the solar capacity to 600 – 800W by adding 2 – 4 more panels.

The Safari ME generator has an MPPT capacity that tops the DC charging speed at 585W, with two extra panels on ideal conditions or four on non-ideal conditions, ensuring a minimum charging time of five hours to charge the Safari ME + XP at 100%.

Installing the solar panels to power the Lion Safari ME + The Expansion Pack

You should know how to properly install the solar panels included in the kit to charge the Safari ME + XP. Here we will explain the basics of installing these panels to the power generator.

  1. Unfold the panels and install them in place. You can use the adjustable legs to set them in a stable foundation facing the sun or in a rack at the roof.
  2. The panels have two cables with Anderson connectors at the back, a short one and a long one. Snap the longer cable of the first panel to the short one of the second one.
  3. Repeat step two to connect the second panel to the third one and the third one to the fourth. If you’re adding more panels, repeat the same process with those.
  4. After connecting the panels, snap the short cable from the first panel to the extension cord (if an extension is required), then connect it to the back of the Safari ME portable power.
  5. That’s it! You are ready to start using solar power to charge your Lion Safari ME + XP!

The Anderson connectors are color-coded. Always remember that the red end is the positive connector, and the black one is negative. Be aware of this to avoid misconnections between panels or at the generator.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lion Safari ME Solar Generator

The Lion Safari ME Kit has many advantages against only a few disadvantages. Here we will analyze all of these to give you a clear idea of what this kit has to offer.

Lion Safari Me Portable Power Generator

Figure 5: Lion Safari ME – Lion Safari

Lion Safari ME Advantages

The Safari ME generator is one of the highest capacity models in the market. The Safari ME + XP can deliver the same power as 2 x 100Ah & 1 x 50Ah LiFePo4 12V batteries, occupying a fraction of the space and delivering better performance.  

Most solar generators withstand 500 – 1,000W. The Safari ME power generator has a built-in inverter that can deliver a constant power of 2,000W and a power surge of 4,000W, ideal for most applications, even powering a small home.

The Expansion Pack battery uses LiFePo4 prismatic cells, which are lighter, handle higher currents, and last for many more cycles. This is why the Expansion Pack battery lasts longer compared to regular cylindrical cells batteries.

Lithium batteries can deliver on average 2,000 at a 70 – 90% DOD. The Lion Safari ME generator can deliver beyond 2,500 cycles and the expansion pack beyond 3,500 cycles, both at a 100% DOD.

The Safari ME generator is made to be tough, durable, and robust, which is why Lion Safari included a heavy-duty quality casing to withstand any shock and built-in handles that make it easier to carry.

Lion Safari ME Disadvantages

The Safari ME Generator can only be coupled with one expansion pack, limiting the capacity to 2,970Wh. If you could couple it with two or more expansion packs, this generator could open a wider range of possibilities.

The weight for the Safari ME Generator is relatively heavy due to its capacity, making it relatively hard to carry.

Top 3 Lion Safari ME Kits

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Gold Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Elite Kit

Where to Buy

Check Out the Lion Safari ME Double Kit

Lion Safari ME Solar Generator: Final Words

The Safari ME Generator by itself is one of the best solar generators available in the market. This unit has features that make it versatile and ideal for most applications, especially since you can expand its capacity by three times and it can rapidly charge with a 400W solar system.  

Acquiring the Lion Safari ME Kit will ensure you get more hours of fun time using your regular devices and coupling this generator for virtually any application. With under 3,000Wh of capacity and a 400W solar charging capacity, the possibilities for the Safari ME + XP kit are almost endless.

The Lion Safari ME Kit is suitable for camping for several days, as a backup energy system, and even for people living off-grid using low-consumption devices. The best thing is that you get an extremely long lifespan in cycles, making this kit a great investment for the future.

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7 Best Solar Gutter Lights in 2021

the house has solar gutter lights

7 Best Solar Gutter Lights in 2021 (Review)

Lighting outdoor spaces can sometimes be tricky to achieve as some places are isolated from the main electrical energy system of the house. In 2021, the best practical solution for this problem is solar lighting!

In particular, solar powered gutter lights are a great way to accommodate a beautifully designed lamp into the aesthetics of your house without worrying about weather conditions, since most gutter lights are rain and weather proof. Additionally, using solar power provides some energy savings.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

This is why we developed a list of the best solar gutter lights of 2021 currently on the market, so you can check all the solar gutter lights reviews and decide what works best for your home. After the reviews, we’ve included a small buying guide to help you choose the best solar gutter light.

The Best Solar Gutter Lights

1. InnoGear LED Solar Gutter Lights

Key Features:

  • DIY installation
  • Comes in a four-pack
  • Motion sensor lights

Key Specifications:

  • 24 SMD LEDs
  • 3.7 volts, 1.200 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • IP65 rating

Where To Buy

The company InnoGear is a market-leading brand for innovative lighting solutions for LED products. One of its best rated products is the InnoGear LED Solar Gutter Lights. These lights provide a powerful illumination for any outdoor space, such as driveways, yards, or a patio.

This potent gutter light provides up to 150 lumens of illumination through 24 “Surface Mounted Diode,” or SMD LEDs.

They are controlled through a motion sensor that triggers when something enters a 16 ft (4.8 m) range from a 90-degree angle of the light’s straight path, and also by a light sensor that turns them on automatically at night.

Its enclosure is made out of high-strength ABS material, making them IP65 rated, which means they are waterproof and provide a longer life span for your solar powered outdoor lighting.

The light comes with a 3.7 volt, 1.200 mAh lithium-ion battery that powers the unit at night. It also has 5.5 volt, 0.8 watts monocrystalline modules that convert solar energy into electrical energy to charge the integrated battery.

2. iSunMoon Gutter Solar LED Lights

Key Features:

  • Comes in a six-pack
  • Small and powerful
  • White light illumination

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions (D x H) 5 x 2.5 inch (12.7 x 6.45 cm)
  • Weighs 3.7 ounces (104 gr)
  • 1.200 mAh rechargeable battery

Where To Buy

The ISunMoon solar gutter lights are a great, small, and practical solution for garden and yard illumination. This six-pack offers amazing looking night lighting for your outdoor space.

They measure approximately 5 inches in diameter (12.7 cm) and around 2.5 inches in high (6.3 cm), which makes them a small but powerful lamp that is completely autonomous and requires no wiring up to its installation point.

Inside of every unit, the three white light LEDs offer great performance at night, consuming less energy while achieving an average running time of up to eight hours, depending on weather conditions.

The solar panel sits on top of the unit and powers an AA size 1.200 mAh rechargeable battery.

The units can be wall-mounted with only the included hardware through the stainless steel stent, giving flexibility for a garden installation or even as solar shed lights. The ABS anti-heat plastic makes the lamp the ideal, durable light so it can withstand years of use.

3. InnoGear Solar Mounting Pole Gutter Lights

Key Features:

  • Mounted pole lights
  • Motion and light sensors
  • 4 modes of operation

Key Specifications:

  • 1.5 monocrystalline solar panel
  • Bright light 29 LEDs, up to 400 lumens
  • IP 65 rating

Where To Buy

InnoGear Solar Mounting Pole Gutter Lights are another of this brand’s top-rated products. They can be used as wall sconces but the included mounting anti-rust aluminum pole offers the possibility to use them as wall or fence lights.

The light has 29 1.8 watt super bright LEDs that produce up to 400 lumens of illumination. The recommended installation height is 2.5 to 3 m (8-10 ft), meaning it can light any outdoor space.

This InnoGears solar gutter light comes with a built-in motion and light sensor that offer four operation modes.

Auto light-up at 1/4 brightness or 1/2 brightness. It auto lights in dim mode and turns into full brightness when motion is detected. Finally, it lights up automatically to full brightness light when motion is detected but turns off when no motion is detected.

The light is equipped with a 5.5 volt, 1.5 watt solar panel that supplies enough energy for eight hours of operating time, making the light completely autonomous.

Its enclosure is IP65 rated, meaning it can withstand rain and heat thanks to its two-layer of a tightly-sealed inner loop that allows it to withstand extreme weather conditions.

4. JSOT Solar Gutter Lights

Key Features:

  • Two mounting hardware options
  • UFO black and white design
  • Comes in a six-pack

Key Specifications:

  • Nine bright light LEDs, 100 lumens
  • 0.5-watt polycrystalline panel
  • AA, 1.600 mAh Ni-MH rechargeable battery

Where To Buy

Many times the best way to find the best appearance for your home is to try something different, the JSOT Solar Gutter Lights offer a great UFO black and white design so it can match the style that you are looking for.

Its enclosure is made out of eco-friendly and durable ABS material being all-weather usage. Its IP55 rating assures this light can be installed in any garden, pool, garage, or front yard.

The nine bright light built-in LEDs provide up to 100 lumens of illumination and a color temperature of 6.500 K, supplying a cool white color perfect for bright and even security lighting.

On top of the unit sits a 2 volt, 0.5-watt polycrystalline solar panel that charges during daylight. The AA size, 1.2 volt, and 1.600 mAh Ni-MH battery give up to eight hours of operating time once fully charged.

The unit comes with two installation methods, thanks to the included hardware and the mounting bracket. It can be mounted on a wall or a wooden stake through screws or it can be clamped through the clip-on bracket to a gutter or a fence.

5. Creative Design Solar Gutter Lights

Key Features:

  • 46 LEDs for all-round illumination
  • Wall and pole mounted
  • Four operation modes

Key Specifications:

  • 500 lumens of illumination
  • Weighs around 1.41 pounds (640 gr)
  • Four AA 3.2v 600mAh lithium-ion battery

Where To Buy

Creative Design Solar Gutter Lights is an outdoor lamp for night lighting and all-around illumination of your pathway, garage, or yard. This light is ranked as one of the brightest solar gutter lights on the market.

These solar gutter lights accommodate 46 bright light LEDs into a single unit to produce up to 500 lumens. Over 36 LEDs are placed on the front while six are placed on each side of the unit to provide the best illumination for all space.

The built-in motion sensor allows four operation modes including: auto light-up at 1/4 or 1/2 brightness, dim light and motion sensor with full brightness, and off-state with motion sensor switching to full brightness when motion is detected.

The unit has a polycrystalline solar panel that charges the built-in 2.600 mAh lithium-ion battery which can be rapidly charged, offering a longer working and operating time of the night light.

The enclosure can be directly mounted into the wall with its included screws but it can also be mounted through the extension pole to maximize the solar exposure of the panel. Also, the enclosure ABS material achieves an IP65 rating, making it weatherproof.

6. F-Teck 500-Lumen Solar Gutter Light

Key Features:

  • High power illumination
  • Completely weatherproof enclosure
  • DIY installation

Key Specifications:

  • 10 LEDs, 500 lumens lamp
  • 1.5 watts polysilicon panel
  • 1.800 lithium-ion battery

Where To Buy

The F-Teck 500 Lumen Solar Gutter Light is an outdoor lamp for night lighting of any outdoor space.

This solar light comes with an ingress protection rating of IP67, making it completely water and dustproof for the perfect solar flood light.

The enclosure integrates an extension aluminum pole to maximize the sun exposure of its 1.5 watts and 5 volts polysilicon high-efficiency solar panel. Ensuring the autonomy of the unit through the charging of the 1.800 mAh lithium-ion replaceable battery.

It can be charged in about four to six hours of direct sunlight and it offers an operating time of the light at night between 10 to 12 hours.

The 10 super bright and high-powered LEDs provide up to 500 lumens of illumination and a white color temperature from 6000 to 6500 K, making it a great led solar security light.

It integrates a motion sensor permitting up to two operation modes through an easy to access switch button. The first mode uses a dim light and motion sensor at full brightness, while the second is in turned off state along with motion sensor at full brightness.

7. FALOVE Outdoor Solar Gutter

Key Features:

  • Intelligently identifies daytime or night
  • Water-resistant, heat-proof, & weather-proof
  • Hangs from any gutter systems, walls, sheds, & fences

Key Specifications:

  • Comes in 4 pcs, 6 pcs, & 8 pcs
  • Weight: 140g
  • No wiring needed

Where To Buy

The FALOVE Outdoor Solar Gutter is another small-sized light, but incredibly powerful. This light has a unique UFO design that creates a new appearance for solar lights, making the perfect decorative light addition to your yard or garden.

The light adds up to nine bright light LED chips that generate up to 100 lumens of illumination, bringing more brightness and confidence to any space.

This gutter light comes with a AA size 1.500 mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery and a high-efficiency solar panel that acts as the power source providing up to eight hours of operation when fully charged.

Its IP55 package makes it rainproof and its ABS durable plastic material guarantees the light can work through years and that can withstand multiple weather conditions.

The light includes a clip-on mounting hardware for DIY installation without the need for any drilling or holes. It can be adjustable in a 0-50 mm range so it can be just hung on anywhere.

Solar Gutter Lights – Buying Guide and FAQ

there are two solar gutter lights on one wall

3 Features to Look for in Solar Gutter Lights

When looking for a lamp for your home or outdoor space, solar gutter lights offer so many different designs and shapes that you will surely find the model that you love. But, as for the technical specifications, we gathered a small list of things that you should look out for when searching for the best solar gutter light.

Light output

As with any light, you mainly want to know how much it illuminates your space. It can be measured through mainly two parameters; the lumens measure how much light will come from your lamp and the color temperature describes the light’s appearance.

Lumens refer to the brightness of a lamp or a bulb. They will tell you the intensity of the light coming from it. Common outdoor lighting applications use around 50-300 lumens for proper lighting of paths and landscapes. For reference, a standard 40-watt incandescent light bulb provides around 400 lumens.

The color temperature is measured in Kelvins and it comes on a scale of 1000 to 10,000 K. Most residential applications use lighting from 2000 to 6500 K, and it depends on how you want the room to be illuminated. A 2000 K light illuminates on a “warm white,” mainly used for internal applications, while a 6.000 K is referred to as “daylight”, and it can be used as outdoor and security lighting.

Solar panel and battery

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the capacity, the better the efficiency and operating time of your light and system, whether it be from the panel or the battery capacity.

In particular, the solar panels of gutter lights are small-size solar cells, but still capable of providing lighting throughout the night since they have a high quality and they are energy efficient. The higher the efficiency of the solar panel, the shorter charging time will be required by the light.

As for the battery, apart from its capacity, you want to check the battery’s technology. The most common types are lithium-ion and nickel-metal hybrid rechargeable batteries. Li-ion batteries can be charged faster than Ni-MH, but they are a little bit more expensive.

The built structure of the battery is another spec you want to take into consideration, AA size batteries are inexpensive and replaceable, but built-in battery packs can last way longer and are way more efficient.

Materials

As solar gutter lights are mainly installed outdoors, you want to make sure that the lamp’s material resists harsh weather and environmental conditions.

A great and easy to look out for parameter to rate this is the “Ingress Protection” rating, which ranks the ability of the units’ enclosure to prevent dust and water from entering inside of the unit.

An IP55 assures the unit is water resistant, but you want to mainly lookout for durable materials, such as ABS and an IP rating of IP65 or above, to be a certified waterproof unit that will last for years.

It’s always better to look for additional mechanical protection features, such as corrosion-resistant, anti-scratch, and rust-resistant qualities on the materials of your gutter light and mounting hardware.

Solar Gutter Lights FAQ

a solar gutter light on a door

Q: What is a gutter light?

A: A gutter is a metal channel that sits along the edge of roofs and collects the rainwater that slides off the ceiling. A gutter light is a lamp that is designed so it can be easily attached to any gutter system, wall, fence, or yard. This product is particularly handy in locations where is difficult to run an electric wire up to the lamp’s location, as a solar gutter lamp is completely autonomous and easy to install. You only have to place it on the desired location and it’s ready to use. Many gutter lights offer bright and powerful lighting for outdoor spaces, working as decorative lights or in cases even as emergency and security lighting.

Q: What does a solar gutter light include?

A: It varies from model to model and from brand to brand, but mainly a solar gutter light includes:

  • The solar panel
  • LED lighting
  • Battery
  • Weatherproof enclosure
  • Mounting hardware

The main operation of the light consists of harvesting solar energy through the PV cell to convert it into electrical energy and store it in the battery pack during daylight. Then, the second phase is discharging the battery during night time so that the LED lighting can illuminate the space.

Additionally, most solar gutter lights bring a built-in motion sensor so that the lamp can be automatically switched on and off, or dimmed at night time. This feature is a great way to increase the overall energy efficiency of the lamp and the illumination system.

Q: How to install and use them?

A: Must gutter lights are made design with DIY and easy to-install mounting hardware. Mainly, it can be done by a clip-on bracket, which is a metal structure that attaches to the existing gutter system or fence of the house and requires no further effort. Another option is to mount it through holes and screws as a sconce light, or with the help of an extension pole. As a sconce light, the lamp attaches directly to the wall or surface to the built-in holes of the enclosure, while with an extension pole the unit attaches to a rod fixed to the wall so it can be outside of the main shadow of the house and receive the maximum sun exposure and energy during daylight.

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two solar post cap lamps at the entrance of a house

7 Best Solar Post Cap Lights in 2021

there are 5 solar cap lights near a lake

7 Best Solar Post Cap Lights in 2021 (Review)

Illuminating a garden or the outdoor space of your home may be a difficult task considering all the electrical work needed to install a single lightbulb. Solar post cap lights are a great option for easy-to-install lights that require no professional electrician. These lights come in a variety of different designs, so you will be sure to find the perfect light for your outdoor spaces.

Besides offering the best functionally, these solar cap lights and lamps are a great way to reduce the electric bill and have a great environmental impact by taking advantage of the sun’s energy. That is why we assembled a list of the best solar post cap lights in 2021. Read on for the best solar post cap lights review for the illumination of your garden, front or back entrance, and even your pool or boat dock.v

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The Best Solar Post Cap Lights

1. Davinci Flexfit Solar Post Cap Lights

best-overall-badge-long
front facing davinci flexfit solar post cap lights

Key Features:

  • DIY installation
  • Automatic sensor for lighting
  • Long-lasting casing and LEDs

Key Specifications:

  • 300mAh lithium-Ion AA rechargeable battery
  • 6-8 hours of light with full sun charge
  • 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6 wooden post presentations

Where To Buy

Davinci Lighting is a Miami-based company that specializes in lighting solutions that offer both beauty and functionality, like solar yard lights. The Davinci Flexfit Solar Post Cap Lights are the perfect example of what attractive and useful designs looks like.

The solar cap lights don’t need electrical wiring. They are completely self-contained and sit on wooden posts of 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6 inches (10×10, ~13×13, 15×15 centimeters) in a simple and doable DIY installation process.

The internal light offers an appealing classic design capable of providing 25 lumens with an internal reflector for maximum brightness. Flexfit charges throughout the day and turns on automatically at night with its built-in photosensor.

Its 300mAh lithium-ion AA rechargeable battery offers a 6–8-hour nightlight from a full 8-hour charge of direct sunlight.

The unit’s housing is weatherproof for use in rain, sleet, and snow. It has an IP44 rating and industrial-grade plastic with UV fade protection. Built to last, the unit comes with LEDs that last 100,000 hours, so you won’t need to replace them very often.

premium-choice-badge-long

2. Blue Yang Solar Post Lights

front facing blue yang solar post lights

Key Features:

  • Flickering flame-like effect
  • Automatic turn on at night
  • Classic lamp style

Key Specifications:

  • Weighs 2.74 pounds (1.24 kg)
  • Designed for 4×4 wooden posts
  • IP55 rating

Where To Buy

The Blue Yang Solar Post Lights feature a flickering flame light that can be used in the front, backyard, driveways, and walkways around your patio or porch.

This unit is made out of durable plastic with a resistant black coated finish. Its ingress protection level assures an IP55 rating, meaning its enclosure is waterproof grade and can resist rain, snow, and frosting, making it the perfect option for outdoor lighting.

The Blue Yang lamp lights feature four solar panels on top of the unit acting as the power source and harvesting solar energy to recharge the integrated lithium-ion batteries. It can power the light for up to 10 hours in summer after being fully charged for around 8 hours in full exposure sunlight.

The LED bulb and the superior tempered glass offer a realistic flickering flame effect to provide the perfect campfire atmosphere for any outdoor activity.

The base is designed to fit the standard 4×4-inch wooden post. Furthermore, it can be placed on a flat surface with its base adaptor, which attaches to wooden surfaces with the included stainless-steel screws and wall plugs.

3. Davinci Premium Solar LED Post Cap Lights

great-value-badge-long
front facing davinci premium solar led post cap lights

Key Features:

  • Classy and elegant design
  • DIY installation process
  • Monocrystalline panel

Key Specifications:

  • AA 300mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Wide-angle 25 lumens LEDs
  • IP44 rating

Where To Buy

The Premium Solar LED Post Cap Light is another astonishing, classic, and easy-to-install design by Davinci Lighting, and is one of the best solar post lights on the market.

This solar cap is designed to fit both 4×4 and 6×6 inch wooden posts, and can be fixed onto any flat surface. Its weatherproof casing has a IP44 rating, is made from industrial grade die cast aluminum, and has beautifully textured glass made to resist variable weather conditions.

Its wide-angle 25 lumens LEDs offer a warm light (3000 kelvin) and last 100,000 hours. They are solar powered by an efficient monocrystalline solar panel that blends with the design on the top of the unit.

All Davinci Lighting designs are easy to install on posts, with no need to hire an electrician. The DIY installation process is as simple as screwing it to the post. As with the FlexFit, the Premium Solar LED Post Cap comes with a built-in light sensor for automatic lighting, so you will never be in the dark.

This unit comes with a pre-installed and replaceable 3.2v 300mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery that offers 6-8 hours of battery life after an 8-hour charge in direct sunlight.

4. Sunwind Solar Post Cap Lights

side facing sunwind solar post cap lights

Key Features:

  • Modern design
  • Four pack posts cap lights
  • Energy efficient

Key Specifications:

  • 5 lumens, bright white LED
  • Only fits nominal 4×4 wooden posts
  • Included 4xAA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries

Where To Buy

For more high-class and modern home designs, the Sunwind Solar Post Cap Lights are the perfect solution for outdoor lighting.

These solar cap lights are weather and waterproof with a level of resistance to water and dust of IP44. Thanks to their thick durable plastic walls, they can work appropriately in rain or snow.

They feature an amber light provided by the combination of one super bright, warm white LED and its internal reflector. This warm light gives up to 5 lumens of illumination.

The lights include four AA Ni-MH 1.2V 400mAh batteries that provide up 8 hours of illumination when charged by sunlight for 8 to 10 hours through the built-in solar panel that sits on top of the unit. For further energy saving, once they are in place, they automatically switch on at night and switch off in daylight for total energy efficiency.

Its base only fits 4×4-inch posts with nominal dimensions of 3.58×3.58 inches, and includes two stainless steel screws and wall plugs per post cap light that go horizontally through the base of the unit and into the posts.

5. Greluna Solar Post Lights

side facing greluna solar Post lights

Key Features:

  • Traditional British outdoor post style
  • Manual switch
  • Quick and easy to set up

Key Specifications:

  • SMD LED bulb, 15 lumens
  • 4×4 wooden posts or flat surface installation
  • 4, AA 3.2v 600mAh lithium-ion battery

Where To Buy

Greluna’s Solar Lamp post cap light is a traditional British-like post look for gardens, outdoor pots, paths, or front doors.

These solar lamp lights have four solar panels on top of the unit which act as the power source that charges a rechargeable and replaceable 3.2v 600mAh, AA lithium-ion battery. This battery offers a run time of around 6-8 hours at night when fully charge, saving as much energy as possible from your electricity bill.

It utilizes a round “Surface Mounted Device,” or SMD LED bulb, featuring a high-quality and bright 15 lumens of illumination and a color temperature of 6000K, suitable for outdoor home security lighting or for display areas. These features make this one of the brightest solar post cap lights on the market.

The base of the unit is designed for nominal 4×4 wooden posts, as such, its post base is 3.8×3.8 inches for the correct outdoor post installation process. It can also be surface mounted on the included base surface.

The lamp needs to be manually turned on and off by a switch on the unit. To do so, you need to remove the plastic cover of the lamp to access the interior. But this will preserve the life of the bulb, as it will not automatically turn on when you don’t need it.

6. Moonrays Solar Post Cap Lamp

side facing moonrays solar post cap lamp

Key Features:

  • Stain-glass classical style
  • 4×4-inch outdoor post cap light
  • Automatic switching

Key Specifications:

  • Wide-angle beam, 18 lumens LED
  • AA, 1000mAh NiMH rechargeable battery
  • All installation hardware included

Where To Buy

This premium Solar Post Cap Lamp made by Moonray Outdoor Living provides LED lighting for fences, posts, and outside structures.

This lamp is housed on a plastic and metal brushed copper finished frame surrounded by four elegant multi-colored stained-glass-style lenses that provide an air of sophistication and refinement to the solar post cap.

It easily attaches to a wooden 4×4-inch outdoor post with the included hardware. Also, its sturdy construction is designed to be weather-resistant, to stand up against rain, heat, and snow.

Moreover, the lamp comes with a 1000mAh AA NiMH rechargeable battery that acts as the power source for the light, with an output of 18 lumens, warm light, and wide-angle beam LED. The top-mounted solar panel charges the unit at day-light, meaning this is a completely autonomous light that doesn’t require a wiring installation process to work.

The lamp automatically turns on at night and turns off at sunrise to provide an energy-efficient solution, making it one of the top-rated solar path lights available.

7. GreenLighting Solar Powered 5-Lumen Post Cap Light

side facing greenlighting solar powered 5-lumen post cap light

Key Features:

  • Eight-pack solar caps
  • Bungalow California-style
  • Maintenance-free

Key Specifications:

  • 5 lumens illumination per solar cap
  • Nominal 4×4 wooden post base
  • Adaptable to 5×5 vinyl and PVC posts

Where To Buy

The Greenlight Solar Powered Post Cap Lights are small bungalow-style outdoor post cap lights to create an elegant path for your outdoor environment.

These solar caps are easy to install at the highest point of the railing as they do not require any wiring and are 100% maintenance-free. Their base fits multiple types of configurations, including 4×4 nominal wooden posts, 4×4 vinyl and PVC, and 5×5 vinyl or PVC posts with the help of included adapters.

Each light features 5 lumens delivered by two bright white LEDs through the elegant California-style textured glass, which provide great illumination for your garden, pool deck, or boat dock. Anywhere some extra lighting is needed, these post caps are a great solution so that no corner is left in the dark.

Each cap features a built-in solar panel to fully capture the sun’s energy and integrate the solar cap system so it can be completely autonomous. Furthermore, the caps should be placed at the highest point of your outdoor space to receive maximum irradiance throughout the day.

Solar Post Cap Lights – Buying Guide and FAQ

a post cap light on a wall

3 Features to Look for in Solar Post Cap Lights

There are so many different solar pots cap lights and brands on the market. Generally, you want the best aesthetics that fit your house design. As everyone has their own, we leave that choice to you. What we can do to help you make your decision is list the main technical features to look out for.

Light output

When reviewing any light, there are two main features to look out for.

The brightness of the light, measured in lumens, indicates how much light you are getting from a bulb. More lumens equal a brighter light, while less equal a dimmer and weaker light. Lumens basically let you determine how much light you are getting from a specific lightbulb.

The light’s color temperature, measured in Kelvins (K), indicates the color options of the light. Different ranges of color temperatures may be suitable for different applications of indoor or outdoor lighting. For example, security lighting or solar flood lights.

Size and posts compatibility

Correct choosing of the right post cap size for your yard post is a crucial step of the selection. You want to always double-check the dimensions of your post as there are many solar cap post sizes and base options.

There are three main types of materials for typical yard fence, patio, and porch constructions, including: wooden, PVC, and vinyl. As wooden is the most typical construction material, almost every solar cap post light is sized for them.

Despite this, there are many solar cap post lights for vinyl and PVC, as these posts are up to five times stronger, as well as dust and pest resistant. You should always double-check the actual dimensions of the posts in your yard and match it with the dimensions of the product to avoid any unpleasant surprises while installing the products.

Battery

The battery is one of the most important features of a solar cap post light as it is where the energy is stored to light up your space at night.

It basically determines the charging and run time of the unit. Ideally, you want a good discharge rate of around 10 to 12 hours to have a considerable high capacity run time. The run time represents how long the light will last at night.

Most batteries included on a solar cap light are rechargeable lithium or nickel-based batteries in double AA presentations. Most AA rechargeable batteries last between 400 to 700 charging cycles which translates into proximally 2 to 3 years, which is quite a long time for a light that need minimal maintenance.

As for the charging time, the standard Ni-MH battery charges in 8 to 10 hours while a lithium-ion cell of the same capacity charges in 2-4 hours, meaning less sun exposure is required for the same weather conditions.

Solar Post Cap Lights FAQ

two solar post cap lamps near the front door of a house

Q: Does it have to be installed by an electrician?

A: All solar-powered post cap lights on this list are self-contained and autonomous, meaning they do not require any electrical wiring up to the location of the lights. Most solar caps are easy to install, meaning they just need to be fixed to their posts with the included screws; that’s it. As they are autonomous, they will work on their own since the solar panels recharge the battery system during daylight and the stored energy discharges at night, powering the light. You will just have to be sure to replace the battery once every 1 or 2 years to have a great working light.

Q: How and where can I install these solar cap lights?

A: These lights are designed to be mounted on fences and posts of outdoor spaces, specifically to light up night spaces where it’s difficult to run wiring for common lights. In particular, these lights don’t offer as much illumination as traditional lighting, but they offer a great source of illumination for outdoor difficult spaces to reach. Moreover, they are not only useable on posts. By using the included flat bases and hardware, it’s possible for the solar cap lights to be mounted on plane surfaces, different post sizes, and forms, or even as a solar-powered gutter light (with the required hardware).

Q: How long will these solar post lights last?

A: It varies from one model and brand to another. Most of these lights are made of sturdy and durable materials. The best indicator of how the unit’s case will behave under your weather conditions is the ingress protection rating, which defines levels for how the unit’s case can withstand the intrusion of dust and solids and avoid moisture from entering. An IP44 rating is enough to endure most weather conditions, ensuring that the integrity of the light will last many years. Additionally, most LED bulbs have a lifespan of around 10,000 hours, meaning a single bulb can last more than 3 years.

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a man cooking with a solar oven

7 Best Solar Ovens in 2021

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7 Best Solar Ovens in 2021 (Review)

Solar technology is one of the most innovative inventions of the 21st century. Solar tech is reaching every part of our lives, and it is here to stay. Even though solar cookers are not a recent invention, new and creative designs have been increasing their efficiency and aesthetics throughout the years.

More and more companies are venturing into creating solar cooking appliances, and solar ovens are not a student project or a low-budget solution anymore. Mid-range and high-end solar ovens are starting to provide some top features that make them more appealing to the average consumer.

That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the best solar ovens of 2021 for you to look out for and consider for your next outdoor or camping adventure.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The Best Solar Ovens

1. GoSun Go Camp Solar Cooker

best-overall-badge-long
side facing gosun go camp solar cooker

Key Features:

  • Easy to set up
  • Portable and reliable
  • EVA foam hard-shell case

Key Specifications:

  • Ultra-lightweight, 2 lbs. (0.9 kg.)
  • Reaches up to 288 °C (550°F)
  • 13.5 oz. (400 ml) capacity

Where To Buy

GoSun Go is the most portable and elegant solar-powered oven ever. Using only the sun, this ultra-lightweight oven can cook, bake, steam, and boil anywhere.

Once opened, using its sophisticated parabolic reflectors, it focuses the sunlight onto a tube, heating the cooking chamber. As the tube is vacuum-sealed, it is the perfect insulator, converting up to 80% of sunlight energy into heat.

GoSun Go’s cooking chamber can reach up to 288 °C (550°F), cooking meals on its stainless-steel cooking tray in 20-45 minutes. To serve or heat several dishes on the same tray, you can use the included silicone cooking pans. To boil water, all that you need to do is remove the cooking tray and fill the cooking chamber with water.

The unit is packed in a durable EVA foam hard-shell case for easy and portable on-the-go set up. The frame integrates an external kickstand so you can find the perfect solar angle.

Additionally, the frame integrates a universal action mount that can accommodate different mounting accessories, such as a camera or go-pro mounting brackets to set the Go up anywhere you need it.

2. Sun Ovens International Solar Oven

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side facing sun ovens international solar oven

Key Features:

  • Easy to set up
  • Self-contained unit ready to cook
  • Spill proof

Key Specifications:

  • Weighs 23 pounds (10 kg.)
  • Temperature range between 360-400°F (180-200 °C)
  • Attached panels reflectors

Where To Buy

A powerful option for solar ovens is the box solar cooker of All American Sun Oven. This robust and portable solar oven can reach cooking temperatures between 360-400°F (180-200 °C) within minutes of direct sun exposure.

The oven comes with a built-in thermometer and reflects the light through its collapsible reflectors, which can be folded in for easy carrying of the unit. The interior of the box comes with a dual purpose leveling rack that hangs inside the oven as a cooking surface and swings freely to prevent spilling.

The bottom part of the oven is designed to provide and hold a lot of heat, increasing the overall cooking efficiency.

The cooker box includes a self-contained leveling leg to maximize the solar angle of the panels. On purchase, the cooker also includes the Sun Oven Digital Cookbook, featuring 40 recipes.

The Sun Oven cooker weighs around 23 pounds (10 kg.) and it comes with a carrying handle, making it great portable solar power camping gear.

3. GoSun Sport Pro Pack Portable Solar Oven

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side facing gosun sport pro pack portable solar oven

Key Features:

  • Travel-friendly kit
  • Extra cooking tray
  • 2-3 meals per load

Key Specifications:

  • Weighs 7 lbs. (3.17 kg.)
  • Reaches high temperatures (288 °C)
  • Cooking capacity of up to 39 oz. (1.15 lt.)

Where To Buy

GoSun Sport Pack is one of the best solar ovens for cooking while on a picnic, and a perfect match to be combined with other eco-friendly gear, such as a solar lantern for a camping trip. The pack comes in a sports carrying bag and the oven can bake, roast, or steam a meal for 2 in under 20 minutes under direct sunlight.

The GoSun Sport portable solar oven uses the same design as the Go. It reflects the sun’s energy into the cooking chamber of the unit that holds the stainless-steel cooking tray, and the vacuum seal of the chamber absorbs the solar energy and transforms it into heat for cooking.

It can reach temperatures of up to 550°F (288 °C) depending on sunlight and weather conditions, cooking meals in under 30 minutes of sun exposure.

The kit includes a sport padded carrying case for secure travel and transportation, an extra cooking tray so you can prep your next meal while cooking, non-sticking silicone pans, and a brewing accessory to boil water if needed.

4. Sunspot Solar Oven

front facing sunspot solar oven

Key Features:

  • Educational kit
  • Lesson guide included
  • Easy to storage

Key Specifications:

  • Capable of reaching 350°F (180 °C)
  • Folds to 4 x 10 x 10 inches (10 x 25 x 25 cm)
  • Solar collector design

Where To Buy

Nasco is an online teaching website and e-shop with over 75 years in the market. It helps teachers and brings innovative solutions to classrooms. Its Sunspot Solar Oven offers a glimpse of the solutions and lessons displayed in their catalogs.

This Sunspot Solar Oven kit can be bought as part of its teaching course “Solar cooking, Vol. 19”. The PDF lesson plan helps teachers to explain the benefits of optical and thermal energy in a fun and didactic way. It includes the teacher’s guide for the class.

This portable solar oven can reach up to 350 degrees F (180 °C) behind the heat-retaining oven window at the solar collector, and it is built so that kids can interact with it in a classroom to learn about the possibilities of solar energy.

The compact solar oven is lightweight and simple to set up and operate. It needs to be directly pointed into the sun to reach its operating temperature. Its panels are collapsible and fold to 4 x 10 x 10 inches (10 x 25 x 25 cm) for easy storage.

5. Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker

side facing haines 2.0 sunup solar cooker

Key Features:

  • Recyclable and pollution-free
  • Includes the steel cooking pot
  • Quick and easy to set up

Key Specifications:

  • 29 oz. (820 g) in weight (without the pot)
  • 30 inches (76 cm) in diameter
  • Adjustable for high and low sun

Where To Buy

The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker is the second version of the brand Haines solar ovens, a Washington-based company committed to the promotion and education of solar cooking.

The Haines 2.0 has an improved efficiency and high performance, with new added features and improvements. The product combines the best of the panel and parabolic cookers to create a unique design.

The Haines reflector is made out of high-temperature reflective metalized polyester (MPET) foam material, making it hydrophobic. It will not oxidize and cannot be scratched off. This material is easy to recycle and environmentally safe, making the production pollution-free.

The reflector consists of two pieces that snap together for quick assembly into a parabolic collector of 30 inches (76 cm) in diameter.

In order to cook a meal, you have to place the included Haines steel cooking pot above the UV-resistant polycarbonate cooking sleeve to elevate it, so sunlight can be reflected into the bottom of the pot, and add an insulating layer of air to retain heat above the pot.

Finally, as with the cooking sleeve, a second insulating layer is added through the UV-resistant cover to maximize the heat absorption.

6. Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

side facing sunflair mini portable solar oven

Key Features:

  • Foldable kit
  • Collapsible silicone pot
  • Solar oven thermometer included

Key Specifications:

  • Can reach up to 285 degrees F (140 °C)
  • Fold size 2 x 11 x 13 inches (5 x 28 x 33 cm)
  • Pot capacity of 3 ½ liquid cups

Where To Buy

Sunflair’s Mini portable solar cooker is a revolutionary foldable and lightweight portable oven, perfect for hiking, fishing, RVs, or any other outdoor activity.

The oven can reach up to 285 degrees F (140 °C) depending on the season solar irradiation, location, and sunlight. This makes it a great option for boiling water, cook white rice, cooking hot dogs or baking apples.

The entire kit weighs around 1.75 lbs. (790 g) and folds into a 3-ring binder size. This is one of the handiest portable solar ovens options for packing and storing. The kit includes one solar thermometer, one trivet, a collapsible silicone pot painted in black for maximum heat absorption, and a handy bag.

Its easy-to-pack-and-unfold design makes it one of the best solar kits for RVs. The permeable pack of the unit means it can even float in extreme conditions, so it’s a great option for an emergency or survival kit.

This solar powered oven is a great choice for the environment as it is recyclable and pollution-free.

7. KECOP Solar Oven

side facing ete etmate solar oven

Key Features:

  • Ready to use, no set up needed
  • Carriable unit
  • Rigid carrying bag

Key Specifications:

  • Weighs 11.24 pounds (5.1 kg.)
  • Oven volume capacity of 4.5 lt.
  • Working temperature range 200°F (93 °C) – 450°F (232 °C)

Where To Buy

Another great option for camping and outdoor activities is the KECOP Solar Oven, a practical and portable solar oven which can cook meals very quickly (under 15 minutes of full sun exposure). It doesn’t cause any smoke or chemical emissions. If it is a sunny day, you will have a hot meal wherever you need it.

This oven can reach high temperatures of 550 degrees F (288 °C) in full sunlight, and its reflectors and the high capacity cooking chamber effectively capture ultraviolet light and hold the created heat where the food is cooking.

The cooking tray and the metal holders of the chamber are made out of 304 food-grade stainless-steel for easy-to-clean utensils. Additionally, the self-healing polymers maximize the effects of the sun and ensure the durability of the mirrors.

The All unit is self-contained in a portable and rigid carrying bag for easy transportation, weighing just 11.24 pounds (5.1 kg.), and ready to use by simply unzipping the luggage. This makes it one of the best solar cooker options for family activities.

Solar Ovens – Buying Guide and FAQ

5 Features to Look for in Solar Ovens

Food Capacity

One of the first things you want to know is how much food your oven can heat. The capacity is usually determined by the cooking pot, the volume of the cooking chamber for a vacuum tube oven, or the internal dimensions of a box cooker. Often, the capacity can be specified in cups for when you’re boiling water.

Portability/Weight

a man has on his back a bag with a solar oven

As with all outdoor and camping equipment, the main factor to look out for in solar oven units is weight and portability. For an outdoor adventure, you will need to consider the best equipment for easy carrying and storage in a bag, while on a camping holiday or a picnic, you will might want an easy-to-carry large solar oven for cooking big meals. How the unit folds, stores itself, and lends itself to being carried is just as important as its food capacity.

Working temperature

When cooking at home, one of the most important things to look out for is the temperature of the oven. For solar ovens, it’s just the same. The maximum reachable temperature is handy for working this out, but a nice feature to look out for is an integrated solar oven thermometer. This will let you know the exact working temperature. Some models have cooking temperature ranges which can also be useful to determine minimum values under direct sunlight scenarios.

Unit’s efficiency/insulation

Most of a solar cooker’s efficiency depends on the insulation of the cooking section of the oven. The insulation is usually a pocket of air, or in the case of the vacuum tube solar ovens, an empty space (more energy efficient) which traps the heat generated by the reflected sunlight and prevents it from escaping the zone where it’s needed the most. When there is good insulation in the oven, the conserved heat translates into faster and more efficient cooking.

Leveling and adjusting accessories

Solar ovens need to harvest solar energy just as all solar panels do. Thus, they need to point at the right angle to work as efficiently as possible. This is why leveling and adjusting accessories, which allow you to maximize the solar angle incident on the oven, are a really important feature.

Solar Ovens FAQ

Q: What types of Solar Ovens exist?

A: There are 4 main categories for solar ovens.

Solar panel cooker

This type of oven utilizes reflective panels to focus the sunlight onto one spot to increase the heat of a pot or a pan. This type of design is the simplest and least expensive as it is simple to build and can be made out of any reflective material. Many home projects are designed this way.

Box Solar Ovens

Box solar ovens have an insulated box at their core. This is where the cooking accessories lie, and where the reflectors point to. Most of the time, the box is covered with transparent glass for better insulation of the cooking area.

Parabolic Solar Ovens

Parabolic ovens use a concentric curved reflector to concentrate the sunlight onto the back and sides of a cooking pot or any cookware. The cookware is elevated by a holder right at the center of the oven to fully harvest the energy of the sun.

Vacuum tube solar oven

a solar oven on a table at a picnic

This type of design is the most innovative one as it uses a vacuum tube as a cooking chamber to fully utilize solar energy. The vacuum tube insulates the cooking chamber on the inside, retaining more heat while cooking. It can be combined with the best reflector design to complete a technological unit that can reach up to 550 degrees F (287 °C)

Each design has its pros and cons, but the most efficient one is the vacuum tube oven, because it captures a wider spectrum of light. Unsurprisingly, it is the most expensive one.

Q: Can I cook everything in a Solar Oven?

A: Cooking in a solar oven is a bit different to cooking in a conventional oven. It isn’t as easy as turning the gas on and preheating the oven. With a sun oven, you will probably need a specialized cook book so you can explore different solar oven recipes and experiment with them. Once you get used to solar cooking, you will be able to plan your meals and become an elite chef.

Q: How long does it take for my meal to cook?

A: It all depends on the sunlight and the oven’s operating temperature. That’s why the best way to start experimenting with a solar oven is to follow a recipe book intended for solar ovens. Most recipes can be ready in 1-2 hours of cooking, and with practice, you will be able to invent your own!

Q: How long does it take to boil water?

A: Most solar cookers can reach the boiling temperature of water of 212°F (100 °C), but how long the water will take to boil depends on the amount of water and the strength of the sunlight. With good sunlight and at the rated water capacity of the oven, the water should boil in 30-45 minutes.

Q: How often do I have to adjust the angle of the oven to the sun?

A: It depends on the design of your solar oven; a parabolic design may require less adjustment than a panel cooker. Nonetheless, it’s good practice to adjust the oven to the optimum sun’s azimuth and tilt its angle, just as you would do with Renogy solar modules, which are among the best solar panels to use when camping.

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7 Best Solar Panel Kits in 2021

a solar panel on the back of a camper van

7 Best Solar Panel Kits in 2021 (Review)

Solar energy is undoubtedly the most cost-effective renewable energy source of the last decade. No wonder more and more people are bringing solar panels into their homes, whether they’re trying to be more eco-friendly and sustainable, or hoping to profit from the purchase.

The price of solar panels keeps declining, but a great way to cut expenses further is through a home solar panels kit. These kits include panels, a charge controller, and all the required hardware for a DIY installation.

Buying a solar panel system kit is the easiest and most affordable way to start into solar for your home, removing the expenses of a professional electrician.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The following article highlights the best solar panel kits in 2021 and reviews some of their most important features and characteristics.

The Best Solar Panel Kits

1. Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit

best-overall-badge-long
side facing goal zero venture 30 solar kit

Key Features:

  • Weatherproof suitcase solar panel kit
  • Portable and handy solar panel and battery pack
  • Capable of charging two devices at once

Key Specifications:

  • Dual 2.4 Amp USB high-speed charging ports
  • Weighs 3 pounds (1.3 kg)
  • Built-in tangle-free charging micro-USB cable

Where To Buy

The Goal Zero Nomad 10 + Venture 30 solar kit is the perfect solution for any trip where extra power is required from a solar-powered bank.

This is one of the small home solar panel kits that features the Nomad 10, a 10-watt monocrystalline lightweight and foldable solar panel. It comes with a built-in kickstand for multiple angle positioning and a back mesh to store any electronic components.

The kit includes the Venture 30 Power Bank, a 7.800mAh battery pack with a weatherproof design with an IP rating of IPX6. It features dual 2.4 amp USB ports and one micro-USB cable. The main USB port sits on top, while the other USB port and micro-USB cable are on independently built-in cables incorporated into the unit.

The Nomad 10 easily connects through its 5 Volt, 1.5 Amp USB port to the Venture 30, so you can charge up the unit while stationary or on the go. This product solves any power requirements while fishing or camping, working as perfectly as any other off grid solar panel kits.

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter

great-value-badge-long
side facing renogy 100 watt 12 volt monocrystalline solar starter

Key Features:

  • PWM charge controller kit included
  • Expandable and easy to install
  • 12-volt system

Key Specifications:

  • 100-watt monocrystalline panel
  • 30 Amp rated charge controller
  • Capable of handling up to 4 panels

Where To Buy

Renogy leads the market with one of its solar starter kits, the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volt Monocrystalline. Solar Starter Kit Renogy’s starter kit comes with everything required to assemble and run a solar energy system, making it a great solar panel kit for sheds, RVs, boats, or any other off grid application.

Like many complete solar panel kits, this includes a highly efficient 100W 12V monocrystalline Solar Panel, along with one Wanderer-Li PWM charger of 30 amps to control and improve the system performance. It also includes a 20ft 10 AWG Solar Adaptor kit, which has preassembled 20ft (6m) long 10 AWG cables with MC4 connectors, one 8ft (2.4 mt) 10 AWG Tray cable, and a set of Z-brackets, for easy installation.

Renogy’s kit includes all essentials except for a battery bank, but this can be purchased separately easily enough. The Wanderer-Li Charger supports Lead-Acid (Gel, AGM, and Flooded) and lithium batteries.

The system’s status can be easily tracked through the Wanderer-Li Led indication lights, or through the optional BT-1 Bluetooth module on the Renogy BT smartphone app.

3. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit

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product alt text

Key Features:

  • Portable Power Station (AC and DC output)
  • 3 ways of charging
  • Kickstand self-supporting panel

Key Specifications:

  • 396 watt hours, AGM Lead-Acid battery
  • Aluminum frame solar panel
  • Pure sine wave inverter (300W continuous, 600W surge)

Where To Buy

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator kit features the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station and the Boulder 50 monocrystalline solar panel.

This Goal Zero Yeti 400 is a portable Power Station, weighing around 29lbs (13.2 kg) and offering a maximum of 396 watt hours (39 Ah at 12 volts) of energy. Small but powerful, it features an AGM Lead-Acid deep cycle battery pack, a pure sine wave AC inverter, capable of 300 watts continuous and 600 watts surge maximum capacity, and several DC charging ports.

The Boulder 50 is a 50-watt monocrystalline solar panel, built with tempered glass and an aluminum frame, with corner protections for maximum durability and stability. The panel is equipped with an integrated easy to set kickstand to help you get an optimal angle to the sun when configured as ground mount.

The Yeti 400 can be charged in three ways: through the Boulder 50, one of the greatest ground mount solar panel kits, through the wall charger, or through the 12 VDC car adapter, in about 4-6 hours.

4. Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

side facing renogy 400 watt 12 volt monocrystalline solar starter kit

Key Features:

  • PWM charge controller kit
  • Multiple battery options
  • 12-volt system

Key Specifications:

  • 100-watt monocrystalline solar panels
  • Up to 2000 Wh daily electricity load
  • 30 Amp charge controller

The Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline solar panel kit is the biggest Renogy’s kit offered in the starters’ section.

The off grid solar panel kit includes four Renogy 100-watt efficient monocrystalline panels, one PWM charge controller, the Wanderer-Li with 30 amps of capacity, one 20ft (6m) 10 AWG Solar Adaptor Kit (preassembled cables with MC4 connectors), one set of 8ft (2.4m) 10 AWG Tray cables, three pairs of branch connectors (for easy interconnections among panels), and four sets of Z-brackets.

The Renogy 100 Watt panels feature an open voltage of up to 21.6 Vdc, and the maximum input voltage of the controller is up to 25.5 Vdc. This means that the kit is designed for parallel connections among the panels. The branch connectors facilitate this task, making the interconnection of the system as easy as plug and play.

Like the other Renogy starter kits, this one doesn’t include a battery pack, but the Wanderer-Li supports many battery options, meaning the selected battery pack can accommodate different requirements and budgets, and still be compatible with the kit.

5. Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator Kit

product alt text

Key Features:

  • Portable Power Station (AC and DC)
  • 3 ways of charging
  • Kickstand self-supporting panel

Key Specifications:

  • 168 Wh, AGM Lead-Acid battery pack capacity
  • Strong and rigid aluminum framed solar panel
  • Pure sine wave inverter (80W continuous, 160W surge)

Where To Buy

Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator kit comes with the Yeti 150 portable power station, the smaller brother of the Yeti 400, and the same Boulder 50 monocrystalline and highly efficient solar panel.

The Yeti 150 portable power station is an all-in-one battery pack for charging all types of electronics. Its AGM Lead-Acid deep cycle battery pack has a peak capacity of 168 watt hours (at 12 Volts, 14 Ah). The integrated pure sine wave AC inverter achieves a maximum output of 80 watts continuous and 160 watts at surge power. It also comes with 2 USB ports, one 6mm 12 volt port, and a 12 volt car port as DC outputs.

The Yeti 150 Solar Generator kit also incorporates the Boulder 50 as its solar panel and it can fully charge the unit in about 6-12 sun hours.

The Yeti 150, as with all the Yeti series, incorporates independent 12 volts, USB, and AC power buttons on the front panel, and its built-in display shows power input, output, and available capacity at any given time.

6. Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

side facing renogy 200 watt 12 volt monocrystalline solar starter kit

Key Features:

  • Expandable kit
  • PWM charge controller kit
  • 12-volt system

Key Specifications:

  • Up to 1000 Wh daily in an ideal situation
  • 100-watt monocrystalline panels
  • 30 Amp charge controller

The Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar Starter kit includes two 100 Watt 12 Volt monocrystalline solar panels and one Wanderer-Li PWM charge controller, rated for 30 amp. It also includes one 20ft (6m) 10 AWG Solar adaptor kit (preassembled MC4 connectors with 10 AWG cable), one 8ft (2.4m) 10 AWG Tray Cable (for battery connection), a pair of branch connectors, and two sets of Z-brackets for the panels.

This 200-watt kit works as an expansion module for energy solar systems, or as an off grid small independent system. Its PWM charge controller, the Wanderer-Li, can handle up to four 100 watt panels.

The kit does not come with a battery pack, but its controller can integrate many battery options, making the battery selection and installation straightforward.

The Wanderer-Li includes battery protection features to prevent overcharging, over-discharging, overload, or a short-circuit, which helps to extend the system’s life as much as possible.

The system’s status can be tracked through the incorporated LED lights, or it can be tracked through an additional Bluetooth module and Renogy’s BT smartphone app.

7. Acopower 500 Watt 12/24 Solar Panel Kit

side facing acopower 500 watt 12/24 solar panel kit

Key Features:

  • Compatible with Lead-Acid and lithium batteries
  • Easy to install and complete kit
  • Waterproof entry cable housing

Key Specifications:

  • 40 Amp MPPT charge controller
  • Five 100 Watt polycrystalline solar panels
  • Automatic 12/24 Vdc detection

Where To Buy

Acopower 500 Watts is one of the best RV solar panel kits, with an MPPT solar charge controller specially designed for cars, boats, or green homes.

This solar panel off grid kit includes five 100 watts polycrystalline modules and one MPPT controller rated for 40 Amps, along with a pair of 30ft (9.1m) 12 AWG cables with MC4 connectors. It also includes one pair of 8ft (2.4m) 8 AWG Tray cables to connect to the battery, mounting sets, entry cable housing, and 4 pairs of T/Y branch connectors.

Its MPPT controller is the heart of the kit. It can automatically identify 12/24 VDC systems and supports Lead-Acid (AGM, Flooded, and Gel) and lithium batteries. It supports up to 520 watts on 12 volt systems, and 1040 watts on 24 volt systems.

Its Maximum Power Point Tracking algorithm achieves an efficiency of 99.5%.

The kit designed for use on an RV or car, with waterproof entry cable housing allowing you to run the cables from the solar panels on the roof up to the MPPT controller and additional batteries.

Solar Kits – Buying Guide and FAQ

Features to Look for in Solar Kits

Apart from the price, here are some of the main features to look for when searching for solar kits:

Efficiency

Whether the panel is monocrystalline or polycrystalline and whether the charge controller is an MPPT or a PWM controller drastically affects how efficient your system will be, and how much energy will you get from it.

IP rating

The Ingress Protection code or rating lets you know exactly the degree of protection against dust and water which the casing provides to the electrical components. This rating facilitates the comparison between types of equipment, rather than vague “waterproof” descriptions.

Size and portability

Whether you want an on-the-go kit or a stationary solar system, weight, size, and even foldability are some of the main things to look out for.

Wattage

The watts of a panel or a charge controller determine how much energy you will be able to deliver with that specific equipment. The wattage of your panels often determines the wattage of the kit, as that will describe how much power you’ll be able to generate.

Voltage and Battery Capacity

System voltage is a really important feature to look out for, as it will determine the efficiency of your system. The 12 volts systems are mainly for small solar panel kits and beginner-friendly kits, while 24 and 48 volts systems are for bigger kits and equipment with big loads and more efficient requirements.

The capacity of your power bank will vary depending on the system voltage (12, 24, or 48V). The amp-hours rating of your battery tells you how much energy a single battery can supply, but increasing the system voltage will reduce the amount of energy that is needed to serve a load. In other words, the system voltage plays a vital role in configuring the battery capacity of the power bank.

Solar Kits FAQ

a woman installing her solar panel kit

Q: Do I need any extra equipment?

A: The main components of any solar system are:

  • Solar panels
  • Charge controller
  • Batteries
  • Inverter
  • Connecting cables
  • Mounting hardware

In most of the kits, neither the battery nor the inverter is included, so you will need to purchase them separately. Selecting a battery mainly comes down to the Ah capacity needed, the technology (Lead-Acid or lithium), and the voltage. All systems need a battery, but an inverter is optional.

If you are going to power small appliances, you will need an inverter for an off grid solar panel kit. For this, you mainly need to consider the nominal wattage rating, the surge power, the input voltage system (which must match the battery system voltage), and the voltage output.

Q: How to choose my battery size?

A: As with everything in the electric world, this depends on what you want to power. Selecting a battery is not as hard as it sounds.

First, you need to analyze and list how many devices you want to power and how many watts each consumes. Once you know the power consumption of your total daily electricity load, you have to decide how many hours of backup you need to supply the total energy consumption.

For example, if you want to power a mini-fridge that consumes around 50 watts, and also have some extra power for electronics (around 6 watts per charger), you need to add up the wattage, which represents around 80 watts. Next, you need to multiple it by the hours you want of backup. Let’s assume you want 4 hours. In this case, 50 watts x 4 hours equals 200 watt-hours. This means your battery bank should be around 200 Wh.

If you want to know the capacity in amp-hours, you just need to divide the watt hours by the system voltage (12 volts for instance).

Q: How many panels do I need?

A: Again, this depends on your load. As with the battery sizing, you need to know your load’s total power consumption and the size of the battery system if you want to size the panels to power them.

Sizing a solar panel system can get complicated, but in general, it mainly depends on the global solar radiation of your area, which can be found by checking a solar map in Solargis. The average in the US is about 4h.

This means that if you have a 100-watt panel on the roof, on an average sunny day, you will be getting around 400 Wh of energy during the day. However, we must also consider a derating factor to represent the solar PV system losses, estimated at 0.66. As an example, if we have a demand of 500Wh daily electricity load, then the calculation can be done as follows:

screenshot shows an equation

Q: What are monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels?

A: These are both panels that produce electricity from the sun, and they are both made out of silicon cells. The main differences between them are their efficiency and cost.

Monocrystalline panels are the “high end” panels as they are more expensive and have a greater efficiency of around 20%. The cells of the panel are made out of a single silicon crystal wafer and tend to be black in color.

Polycrystalline panels are more affordable as they achieve a conversion efficiency of around 18%. Their cells are made of several silicon crystals mixed into a single wafer, and they tend to have a more blue-like color.

Q: What are MPPT and PWM solar charge controllers?

a hand turning on a solar charge controller

A: The sun’s brightness varies throughout the day, which means the PV arrays produce fluctuating energy all the time, depending on the amount of light that reaches them.

A solar charge controller regulates this fluctuating energy and transfers it to the batteries or the DC bus of an inverter.

The difference between MPPT and PWM is clear when we see how the solar panel controllers regulate the incoming energy and how efficient they are in doing so.

MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking. These controllers are more expensive as they reconfigure the load at the output in such a way that the system will operate at the maximum power that the current irradiance and climate conditions allow.

On the other hand, Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) charge controllers set the voltage output at a fixed value and provide the corresponding power output to such voltage in the I-V curve of the modules, independently of the optimum point of operation.

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7 Cool Must-Have Solar Powered Gadgets for Everyday Life

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7 Cool Must-Have Solar Powered Gadgets for Everyday Life

Everybody loves a cool gadget. They are the most innovative way to introduce technology into our everyday lives. No wonder most of the new top trending and most popular gadgets are incorporating solar panels into their designs. Solar-powered gadgets are the new way to reduce the carbon footprint of our day-to-day activities and, in some cases, even achieve an autonomous device that needs no external energy source.

Many of these solar gadgets are designed for outdoor activities and trips, but they are so useful that in many cases you will be using them right at home. That is why we bring you these 7 must-have solar gadgets for the home, camping, or any outdoor activity.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The Best Solar Powered Gadgets

1. Blavor Solar Phone Charger

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side facing blavor solar phone chargert

Key Features:

  • Qi Charger
  • IPX4 waterproof rating
  • Fully charged in 6 hours with USB

Key Specifications:

  • Rapid wireless charge (10W / 7.5W / 5W)
  • Battery capacity: 10,000mAh
  • 1 ft micro-USB cable included

Where To Buy

Blavor’s PN-W05 Solar power bank is a Qi wireless and solar phone charger specially made for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, climbing, and long journeys, making it a perfect addition for your solar-powered camping gear.

This 10,000mAh lithium polymer battery power bank can be fully charged in around 6 hours with a 5V/2A adapter. The solar panel on the unit works as a backup solution while other sources of power are unavailable.

This solar powered gadget has a sturdy and compact case that is rated as IPX4, meaning it is splashproof. In addition, it is reinforced on the corners for extra durability making it shockproof. It comes with a built-in dual flashlight and a portable compass kit with a carabiner for easy hanging.

Besides the Qi-certified wireless charger pad on the back of the unit, you can charge any cell phone through a USB-C output port. The unit can be recharged through another micro-USB input port via a power outlet.

The front panel has a battery and solar charging indicator, while the back of the unit integrates the wireless charging indicator.

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2. Jackery Explorer 1000 Solar Generator

side facing jackery explorer 1000 solar generator

Key Features:

  • Multiple charging sources (wall outlet, car, solar)
  • MPPT charge controller unit
  • Multiple DC output ports

Key Specifications:

  • 1,002Wh lithium battery bank
  • Nominal Power Output: 1,000W (2,000W surge)
  • Weight: 22 lbs (around 10 kg)

Where To Buy

The Jackery Explorer 1000 is the device you don’t want to be without during a power outage as it is one of the best solar generators in the market.

This power station features a capacity of 1,002Wh in its lithium battery pack, and 1,000W rated power in the pure sine wave AC outlets (up to 2,000W surge power).

The position of its multiple output ports makes it easy to understand the DC and AC layout of the unit. It comes with two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports (perfect to charge two phones simultaneously), one DC carport, and three AC outlets (good to charge your laptop), along with independent DC and AC on/off switches. Furthermore, it can be recharged through the wall outlet, a car charger, another generator, and, of course, through solar panels, to eliminate any carbon footprint.

Additionally, the built-in professional MPPT technology provides a faster solar recharge rate. The full battery capacity of the Explorer 1000 can be recharged in around 8 hours by connecting two 100W solar panels.

To wrap up, this great solar powered gadget features an emergency LED flashlight, and the smart LCD display provides accurate output, input, and battery level values.

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3. ABFOCE Solar Bluetooth Speaker

side facing abfoce solar bluetooth speaker

Key Features:

  • 3-in-1 Bluetooth speaker
  • High-performance silicon ETFE panel
  • USB port included

Key Specifications:

  • Two 40 mm loudspeakers
  • Weight 1.06 lbs (480gm)
  • Battery capacity: 5,000mAh

Where To Buy

The ABFOCE Solar Bluetooth Speaker is an awesome solar powered gadget for your home that offers a 3-in-1 Bluetooth speaker solution for any adventure.

Its built-in 5,000mAh lithium-ion battery pack can play music up to 60 hours continuously once fully charged. It can be charged through its USB charging port or through the integrated high-performance single-crystal silicon ETFE laminated solar panel.

Due to the different amounts of solar energy and direct sunlight in different areas, it’s always recommended to fully charge the device via a USB cable before traveling or hiking. Once fully charge it can also be used as a cell phone charger.

Furthermore, it has an IPX6 rating which guarantees a waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof design. The built-in emergency flashlight serves as a backup on any outdoor or camping trip.

Finally, its superior stereo and bass are achieved through 10W high-power, double 40 mm loudspeakers. The silicone wrap design ensures better shockproof performance, which means this speaker can be dropped from one meter without suffering any damage.

When you order this solar powered Bluetooth speaker you get a micro USB cable, an AUX cord, a D carabiner, and 2 Velcro straps for easy carrying on any trip.

4. Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard

side facing logitech k750 wireless solar keyboard

Key Features:

  • Sleek and Mac-alike design
  • Charges with artificial light
  • Solar powered wireless connection

Key Specifications:

  • 1/3” thick design
  • Weight 1.6 lbs (720 gm)
  • Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connection

Where To Buy

The Logitech K750 solar wireless keyboard for Mac is one of those awesome solar powered gadgets for your home that should never be missing. It can also be one of the best solar gifts and gadgets for an Apple fan who is eco-friendly.

This solar-powered wireless keyboard does not require any cable connection. All the energy needed is harvested by the panels on the top of the keyboard. Any light source — even artificial light — keeps your keyboard charged for at least three months in total darkness.

The solar wireless keyboard connects to the computer through the tiny unifying USB receiver. Once plugged in, the same unifying receiver can connect up to six Logitech devices at once, such as a mouse or any other wireless device.

The streamlined, ultra-thin design offers a professional and unique aesthetic to your workspace that blends perfectly with Mac designs.

There is no need to worry about the keyboard’s battery status as Logitech Solar App software displays the current battery status and whether your power reserve is increasing or decreasing.

5. G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 Solar Watch

side facing g-shock rangeman gw-9400 solar watch

Key Features:

  • Integrated triple sensor
  • Quartz movement with analog display
  • Shock, dust, and water-resistant stainless-steel case

Key Specifications:

  • Low temperature resistant down to 14°F (-10°C)
  • Water-resistant to 660 ft (200 m)
  • Memory capacity up to 40 records

Where To Buy

The Rangeman GW-9400 is the latest addition to the “Master of G” series from Casio. This solar watch is the top of the line in the digital watch market.

This solar-powered watch in its stainless-steel case is shock and water-resistant up to 660 ft (200 m) and is suitable for recreational scuba diving. It is also low temperature resistant, down to 14°F (-10°C), as well as mud, dirt, and dust-resistant.

In one of its multiple displays, you can keep track of the solar rechargeable battery level. Also, in the power-saving mode, the battery life can last up to 7 months on a full charge without any further exposure to light.

The Rangeman watch employs a shock resistant triple sensorthat keeps altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and direction readings at your fingertips. Its memory capacity is capable of storing up to 40 records (e.g. date/time, bearing, and barometric pressure/temperature records).

The full auto-calendar is preprogrammed until 2099 with 12/24 hour formats and the hour format button operation tone assures accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month, without any signal calibration.

6. BurningSun Solar-Powered Bike Lights and Horn

side facing burningsun solar-powered bike lights and horn

Key Features:

  • Front headlight, tail light, and waterproof horn in a single set
  • Clamp attachment system
  • 4 lighting level modes for front and tail lights

Key Specifications:

  • 140 dB loudspeaker
  • Front Light up to 350 lumens of brightness
  • 2000mAh lithium battery pack

Where To Buy

This BurningSun product is one of the best solar gadgets for a cyclist. These waterproof bike lights consist of a front flashlight and horn, which integrates the battery pack and the solar panel, and a back tail-light for safe riding on the road.

The front headlight features a 2,000mAh rechargeable lithium battery that can be recharged through the USB port. On the front of the light, besides the solar panel and the power bottom, there is a USB charging indicator and a solar charging indicator which show different charge states.

The front headlight offers 4 lighting level modes, with up to 350 lumens and an effective distance of 600 ft (182 m) on the ultra-bright mode. The integrated horn, operated through the independent horn switch, uses a 140 dB loudspeaker with 5 different sounds.

The USB universal output can charge your phone and the USB tail light on the go. Both the back and front lights use a clamp system to attach to the bike, avoiding screw tightening.

7. QBUC Solar Air Freshener

front facing qbuc solar air freshener

Key Features:

  • Patented design
  • Automatic solar-driven propeller
  • 3 different possible scents

Key Specifications:

  • Big size (3.1 inches – 7.87 cm) or small size (2.7 inches – 6.85 cm)
  • Weight 6.7 oz (190 gm)
  • Reusable sticking surface

Where To Buy

The QBUC solar car air freshener is another cool solar powered gadgets. It uses a solar-driven propeller to lighten the smell of the ambient air with a fresh scent.

This air freshener uses a patented design in which the solar fan blades rotate automatically under the sunshine to accelerate the diffusion of the aroma. The scented aromatherapy ring sits inside the propeller mechanism and comes in three different fragrances: Cologne, Ocean, and Lemon.

Its metal enclosure and solar fan blades are made of a sturdy zinc alloy. Its base attachment surface leaves no marks on the car and can easily be removed and placed in a different location.

The optimal period of use for the scent rings is one month. After that period the scent will gradually weaken. Once the ring is placed inside the unit, the fragrance will automatically come out. The amount of scent released can be adjusted by rotating the top cover of the air freshener.

The QBUC car air freshener comes in multiple colors to match your car’s interior design and in two sizes: big (3.1 inches, or 7.87 cm) or small (2.7 inches, or 6.85 cm).

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The 12 Best Pieces of Solar-Powered Camping Gear for Your Next Camping Trip

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The 12 Best Pieces of Solar-Powered Camping Gear for Your Next Camping Trip

A camping trip is a revitalizing activity for family and friends. However, a lot has changed from the old days where we had to settle with a radio and our camping equipment. Today, we can experience the good things about camping without the downside or troubles of staying in the wild with no nearby source of power.

In the digital era, we need to stay connected with friends and family to share those valuable moments and to stay alert to any possible emergencies. We’re showing you the best solar-powered camping gear of 2021. By including these devices in your camping list, you will not suffer again from lack of light, no power, or hot water.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

The Best Solar Powered Camping Gear

1. Jackery Explorer 240 Solar Generator

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Key Features:

  • Charging from solar, car battery, or wall outlet
  • Two-USB ports
  • Compact and lightweight

Key Specifications:

  • Capacity: 240Wh (16.8Ah,14.4V)
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds (3kg)
  • AC power outlet with 200W power capacity (400W surge power)

Where To Buy

A solar generator for camping is something that shouldn’t be missing in your camping gear.

The Jackery Explorer 24 is one of the best options among the available products online. This compact and lightweight generator is equipped with a 240Wh (16.8Ah/14.4 V) lithium-ion battery pack that can easily be charged in the wild using camping solar panels.

The Jackery Explorer 240 has battery capacity for charging laptops, camping lanterns, mini-coolers, drones, USB devices (two A-USB ports with 5V/2.4A available), and even larger electronics. The generator features a pure sine wave inverter with an AC outlet of 110V/200W maximum output power with up to 400W surge power capacity.

Besides solar panels, the Jackery Explorer can also be charged with other sources like a wall outlet (7h to charge) or the DC carport (7h to charge). Finally, one of the most noticeable assets of the Jackery Explorer is that it has a built-in MPPT solar charge controller, which optimizes charging from solar cells.

2. Renogy 100-watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel

Key Features:

  • Two-50W Monocrystalline (solar technology) PV modules
  • Includes PWM Renogy Voyager charge controller
  • Adjustable kickstand

Key Specifications:

  • Net Weight: 25.6 lbs. (11.6 kg)
  • Folded Size: 19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inches (50.54 x 69 x 7 cm)
  • Module Efficiency: 21%

Where To Buy

The Renogy 100-watt 12 solar suitcase is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that suits the needs for every camping experience.

The Renogy suitcase includes a convenient storage case perfect for easy transportation. Inside, you will find two IP66 waterproof 50W 12V monocrystalline solar panels with a folding design that makes it lightweight and compact. You will get the power from a large portable solar panel, but it is comprised into half the size when carrying. Moreover, the solar panel integrates an adjustable and corrosion-resistant aluminum kickstand that allows you to place the module anywhere and allows you to set the most optimum tilt-angle depending on your location.

This product already integrates a Renogy Voyager charge controller, a waterproof PWM charge controller rated to provide up to 20A and perfect for camping trips. This charge controller features an LED bar for charge state signal, along with an LCD that allows you to interact with the device to charge lithium, AGM, GEL, and other battery types at 12V.

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3. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Portable Solar Charger

Key Features:

  • 12V and USB output
  • Outdoor resistant cover and design
  • Easy to carry

Key Specifications:

  • Power output: 7W
  • Weight: 1 pound (450 g.)
  • Dimensions (folded): 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches (22.86 x 3.81 x 16x.51 cm)

Where To Buy

A small portable solar charger is among the most valuable solar camping gadgets. While leaving your charging stations back with the RV, car, or tent, you can go and explore nature while carrying a reliable source of power with you. That is the Goal Zero Nomad 7.

The Goal Zero Nomad 7 uses the power of the sun to charge 12V and USB devices (except for tablets) which can include smartphones, GPS, and MP3 players. The nominal power of this solar charger is 7W.

The portable charger is designed for the outdoors with a strong and rugged cover that is both foldable and weather resistant. You don’t need to carry it in your hand or wait for it to charge standing in a single place; instead, you can hang it on your backpack and continue moving through the mountain, beach, or lake while it is charging your electronic devices.

As long as the solar cells are exposed to the sun, you will easily charge your phone. However, keep in mind that cloudy days can greatly affect performance.

4. ACOPOWER 120W Camping Solar Panel

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Key Features:

  • Folding design
  • MC4 and alligator clamp cables included
  • Sunpower solar cells with 25% efficiency

Key Specifications:

  • Power output: 120W
  • 10A LCD charge controller
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs. (3.81 kg.)

Where To Buy

The ACOPOWER 120W is another excellent portable choice to include in your solar power camping gear.

The kit integrates a set of three foldable solar panels, which provide a maximum power output of 120W when combined. A unique feature of this model is that it has been designed using Sunpower (one of the best solar companies in the world) Maxeon technology, which allows it to reach up to a 25% efficiency, one of the highest in the world.

Moreover, the solar panel camping gear also includes a 10A LCD charge controller with removable MC4 connector cables (needed to plug the solar panel) and alligator clamp cables (needed for batteries). This pre-wiring allows for a quick set-up that can be done in just a few minutes.

This charge controller also includes two USB 5V/2.4A output ports, which you can use to charge your phone or related devices. Using this charge controller, you will be able to charge sealed, deep cycled, GEL, or AGM technologies while avoiding overcharging and discharging issues; thus, extending your battery life.

5. Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Flashlight

Key Features:

  • Water-resistant
  • Flashlight, lantern, and red-emergency light
  • Three charging sources: solar, hand crank, and USB

Key Specifications:

  • 4400mAh/16Wh lithium battery capacity
  • 250-lumen output
  • 48 hour run time

This solar charged flashlight is one of the solar gadgets for camping that you must consider, especially if you like the nocturnal experience.

Designed with a built-in solar panel, this water-resistant flashlight is charged by exposing the cells to direct sunlight, then providing up to 250 lumens during the night. It doesn’t only provide light, but it can also charge smartphones thanks to its integrated USB output cable. With its 4400mAh lithium battery, the product can charge a smartphone and provide light simultaneously.

Moreover, it can also work as a solar powered lantern as it has two different light sources. Not only can it get charged with solar, but it can also be charged with a hand crank. If you ever find yourself in an emergency and forgot to charge your flashlight, you will still be able to get some light. The Goal Zero Torch 250 also includes a red emergency light to indicate nearby people that you need help.

The best thing about this portable power source is that it can run for 48 hours with a full charge.

6. Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar Power Bank

Key Features:

  • Compatibility with AA and AAA batteries
  • Solar and USB charging
  • Built-in LED flashlight

Key Specifications:

  • 2300mAh/11Wh battery capacity
  • 20 hours of light for a flashlight with a full charge
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces (187g.)

The Goal Zero Guide 10 solar power bank for cell phones is another option we need to include among the best solar camping gear equipment.

This product includes a four-pack of AA rechargeable batteries, which allow you to recharge your cell phone 1 to 3 times per charge. However, it is not only intended for charging smartphones, but also for iPads and tablets as well. All of this is possible thanks to its 2300mAh/11Wh battery capacity.

Moreover, this high-quality solar powered charger is an energy efficient device that can run up to 20 hours of light for the built-in LED flashlight using a single full charge. The power bank features a USB port through which you can connect your electronic devices or charge the Guide 10. It also has a port for solar energy that you can connect to a compatible solar panel. One suitable model is the Nomad 7 solar panel that we mentioned earlier in the list. It would take only 3 hours to charge it completely with this model.

The Guide 10 power bank also has an adapter to use AAA batteries if you have them.

7. LuminAID Lantern

Key Features:

  • Two ways to charge: solar (10 hours to charge) and micro-USB (1-2 hours)
  • Inflatable, collapsible, and lightweight design
  • Multiple brightness settings

Key Specifications:

  • 50-75 lumens of light
  • Long battery life: Up to 24 hours of light with a complete charge
  • Dimensions (flat): 4.75 x4.75 x 1 inches (11.43 x 11.43 x 2.54 cm)

Where To Buy

The LuminAID Lantern is a simple yet beautiful addition to your solar powered camping equipment. This product is a solar powered camping lantern that features multiple brightness settings, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor experiences.

Based on LED technology, the inflatable solar lantern has a lightweight and collapsible design that allows it to fit almost anywhere. The design is waterproof with an IP67 rating, meaning that every electrical component for the cells is protected against water and dust.

One of the most valuable things about this solar lantern is its aesthetic and inflatable design, which can provide a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere when combined with a bright white light. Its 50-75 lumen output capacity also makes a valuable source of light in case of emergencies. It has great portability, as it is easy to carry, hang, or place anywhere for quick illumination.

If you want to provide a more colorful or relaxing atmosphere, the LuminAID is also available in multi-color and warm white light modalities.

8. Advanced Elements 3 Gallon Solar Shower