10 Best Solar Flashlights in 2020 (Review)
Going camping or hiking is always fun and revitalizing. However, since they are performed in the outdoors, you never know when you might find yourself in an emergency.
Getting ready is always advisable and having the right tools is deeply important for this purpose. One of the most important camping items that you should consider is a reliable light source and what could be better than solar powered flashlights
The best solar flashlights in 2020 are available in this useful buyer’s guide. Here you will learn everything you need to know about them, from remarkable products, to how to choose them, what different types of solar flashlights exist, the average lifetime of the battery, how they work, and much more!
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The Best Solar Flashlights
1. Goal Zero Torch 250 Solar Flashlight
Goal Zero is one of the top brands for portable solar powered products: modules, power banks, generators, etc.
In this case, we evaluate the Goal Zero Torch 250 flashlight that has an integrated solar panel located on the backside of the light and can also be charged by using the Nomad 7W module from the brand between 7-14 hours
This multifunctional rechargeable flashlight has a 250-lumen output capacity and is also waterproof. Moreover, the lithium-ion battery has a 4,400mAh capacity that can get completely charged via a USB charging cable in just 7 hours, making it also ideal for long road trips. Finally, the flashlight also uses a hand cranking charging method that allows the user to have a source of light for 2 minutes for every 1 minute of spinning the hand crank. The hand-cranking conversion efficiency of this device is quite low when compared to other products, but it’s still useful for emergency conditions.
The Goal Zero Torch 250 can also act as an emergency battery backup source since the capacity of the battery is large enough to connect your phone and tablets to charge them several times. Finally, this product enables multiple light options such as floodlight, spotlight, flashlight, and red emergency light that make it quite useful for several situations and can last up to 48 hours.
2. Swiss Safe Solar Flashlight
The Swiss Safe Solar hand crank flashlight is one of the top choices available in the market for a light source with a portable design.
This emergency flashlight has been built-in with a nickel metal-hydrate (NiMH) rechargeable battery that allows you to store solar power for using it during the night making it a perfect survival gear addition.
The flashlight can be charged by placing the emergency light with the solar panel facing the sun, this will charge the battery throughout the day. Moreover, there is another interesting and useful way to charge this flashlight which is related to hand cranking.
By spinning a lever you can use the kinetic energy and transform it into electricity that will be stored inside the battery. By cranking around 6 minutes you will obtain 1 hour light performance. This is useful in case that you find yourself in an emergency situation and that you forgot to charge this flashlight during the day with solar energy or also in case that the solar radiation throughout the day was not enough as to charge it completely.
3. Thorfire Solar Flashlight
The Thorfire Solar Flashlight is another excellent product choice. This artificial light source has been designed with three modes of operation: mid, high and flash. The mid mode uses a single LED bead which will provide a soft source of light, meanwhile, the high mode will use three powerful LEDs intended to provide a bright light source. Finally, the flash mode will be suitable for emergency situations to act as an SOS signal.
This small solar flashlight also has two charging modes: solar and hand cranking.
The solar panel installed in the upper side of the flashlight will convert solar energy to DC electricity which will be used to charge the rechargeable battery. After exposing this solar powered rechargeable flashlight to direct sunlight for 1 hour, you will be obtaining 120 minutes of light and 140 minutes of flashing.
On the other hand, the solar LED flashlight, can also get charged by using a dynamo and a lever that when spinning for 1 minute with light up for 80 minutes under the mid mode, 1 hour under high mode and 110 minutes under flash mode.
4. NPET T09 Solar Flashlight
One of the top solar rechargeable flashlights in the market, specially designed as survival gear in the outdoors while camping, hiking, trekking or just if you choose to go on a night walk in the wild.
This LED solar flashlight has been designed as a unique and multifunctional car emergency escape tool with features such as a window breaker made of a tungsten steel emergency hammer which can break brick and glass in one second, a seat belt cutter, and also a compass for orientation in any outdoor activity.
The NPET T09 solar flashlight has been equipped with an extended monocrystalline 50mA solar panel that covers the handle of the product and that is expected to provide nearly 30 years of performance.
By exposing the LED flashlight to 30 hours of direct sunlight you will be able to completely charge a 2,000mAh battery that is integrated into the product. This battery capacity is enough to use 7 working modes that can last between 4 and 6 hours providing a maximum light output at 200 lumens up to 200 meters.
The same battery can also be charged via USB cable and get fully charged in 5 hours. This option also allows you to use the battery as an emergency power bank that can be used to charge your phone while you are on the go.
5. Secur Dynamo 8 SP 1002
The Secur Dynamo 8 SP 1002 solar charged flashlight is a valuable product in the industry that has a high conversion efficiency under the hand cranking mode.
This LED solar flashlight has one of the longest lifespans available in the market. Each part of the device has a different lifespan. The LEDs, for instance, have up to a 50,000 hours lifespan and the whole unit is expected to last over 5 years without any modification.
The Secur Dynamo has a low lumen performance intended to provide just a low luminous flux at 8 lumens (maximum) or 3 lumens of light (minimum). However, it can work for a long time with its 80mAh Ni-MH battery, up to 4 hours at maximum lumen output and with the 3 LEDs activated. It is also able to last up to 80 minutes or even 110 minutes after just a single minute of hand cranking which gives an idea of the extraordinary conversion efficiency of the integrated dynamo.
The conversion efficiency from solar energy is also very good since by just exposing the LED flashlight to 1 hour of sunlight, then you can obtain a 90-120 minute light source thanks to its 20mA solar panel.
6. PrimalCamp Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight
The PrimalCamp Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight has one of the most portable and most comfortable designs that can be obtained for a very affordable price.
This yellow solar panel flashlight has been designed with bright LED bulbs intended to provide the maximum camping experience. The product can be carried everywhere hands-free thanks to its carabiner clip design that allows you to attach it to camping solar backpacks, tents, or belt loops without major effort.
Regarding its efficiencies, the integrated solar panel can get the rechargeable NiMH batteries fully charged in a matter of 10 hours only by exposing it to direct sunlight. On the other hand, by spinning the small lever integrated into the product for nearly 6 minutes, you will be able to obtain up to 60 minutes of light.
7. Hybridlight Journey
Hybrid solar flashlights are a remarkable choice for those who like to go on outdoor adventures.
Lightweight and portable, the Hybridlight Journey model has super bright LEDs that can shine over 25 hours under a low beam lighting performance or they can also last over 7 hours under a high beam by using the 2400mAh lithium-ion battery when it’s completely charged.
The hybrid solar powered flashlight also has two main types of charging methods. The first one is related to solar power by using the solar panel that is located on the upper side of the flashlight. The second one is through a micro USB cable that can be used to connect the flashlight to any power bank or USB output to have a faster-charging speed.
This portable light source is extremely durable and is also waterproof, capable of being submerged underwater up to 3 meters without receiving any damage. It is also an inflatable solar flashlight, therefore it will not get lost even if it falls into the water
8. Subsistent Waterproof Flashlight Set
Similar to the NPET T09 solar flashlight, the Subsistent waterproof flashlight has been designed as a reliable tool for any outdoor or car emergency situation.
Equipped with a solar panel for sunlight conversion to electricity, the Subsistent flashlight can get its 2000mAh battery fully charged through solar power or also through a USB charging cable that can be connected to the car.
These solar powered flashlights hold many interesting features. As a multifunctional tool, the Subsistent flashlight has a safety hammer that can be used as a window breaker, it also has a seat belt cutter, along with a compass intended for travelers. Another important feature is its powerful magnet that allows you to have another light source.
The product has up to 7 working modes for its three lighting methods (spotlight, side white lamp, or side red light). For spotlight, there are high, medium, and flashing modes, while for the side white lamp there are only high and medium light intensities. Finally, for the side red light there are both flashing and slow flashing modes (intended mainly for emergencies and to be placed on the backside of the car whenever you have a mechanical malfunction or even when changing a tire).
Thanks to its multifunctional purpose and excellent quality, this product has received many positive solar flashlight reviews that make it a good option for any buyer.
9. Igadgitz Xtra U4456
The Igadgitz Xtra U4456 solar flashlight is a weatherproof product intended to provide a reliable light source mostly in camping situations. The flashlight has two charging methods: via solar power and also via hand cranking.
The first of the two is done thanks to a small solar panel located on the top of the flashlight. According to the manufacturer, by setting the flashlight and the panel facing the sun during a single hour, the product can provide up to a 90-140 minutes LED torchlight.
The second one of them only requires spinning the integrated lever for a single minute to obtain a 60-110 minute LED torchlight time frame. This implies a high conversion efficiency.
Moreover, this flashlight counts with up to 3 bright LEDs that have up to an 8 lumens light output making it an important item for camping in the outdoors as a portable and reliable light source.
Finally, the product has a battery life that extends up to 4 hours and it also has low, high and emergency light settings.
10. SOS Solarlight with compass
The SOS solar light has been designed as a reliable light source for camping, hiking or for walking in the middle of the night.
The product has been designed with a long-lasting LED bulb that is perfect for up to a 40-foot range. Moreover, by using solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity you can charge two 2032 lithium batteries that can provide the storage device to save solar power collected during the day for later use at night.
An interesting feature of this LED emergency light, when compared to others, is that it also integrates a color notification light that turns on when the solar cells are charging the battery.
The SOS solar light can also provide up to an 8 hours performance when it is fully charged which is enough as to last the entire night if needed. Besides, an important characteristic for outdoor purposes is durability which is achieved by a shock-resistant and hardened plastic material that protects the flashlight against any possible damage.
How to Choose a Solar Powered Flashlight – 3 Things to Think About
One of the first things that you should think about is related to the charging methods. Solar powered flashlights should always have at least two charging methods. The most common or popular ones are solar, USB and hand cranking.
Having multiple charging methods allows you to have a more reliable light source that will not fade away when you need it the most. Solar is an inexhaustible source of power, but it’s also dependent on the weather, which is why is good to have the possibility to either use a USB connection (where you will need to find something to charge your flashlight with) or to use hand cranking. The last method is probably the most reliable and efficient method that can be used.
The second fact that should be considered is the working modes for solar flashlight.
Having a reliable source of light is also related to the intensity and the use of such light. Some lights have working modes intended for high intensity and low intensity as well. It is highly recommendable to keep in mind that the most important reference here is the lumens output.
Some lights will be as bright as 200 lumens while others can be as soft as 3 lumens which would make them similar to solar powered camping lanterns.
Emergency modes and also different lighting modes (floodlight, spotlight, red lights) are also important factors that you should take into account for the outdoors.
Finally, what may make you select one or another flashlight may not only be related to its specs but due to its unique features. Things like design, portability, color, additional tools such as window breakers, magnets, seat belt cutters, color charging indicators, durability, or waterproof ratings, may help you decide which is the best product for you.
What are the Different Types of Solar Flashlights?
There are several types of solar flashlights.
There are those called hybrid solar flashlights which use a battery backup device that offers the option to replace the battery instead of simply charging it, these products tend to hold the charge for longer periods of time.
There are also those solar flashlights intended for car emergency situations. These are probably the most useful among all flashlights since they can be used not only as light sources but also as handy tools that contain hammers, seat belt cutters, compasses and more. They are typically charged under solar and USB cables.
Then, we have solar flashlights designed for camping and hiking activities. These products are typically waterproof since they are intended to work in outdoor conditions that could imply water. They are also resistant to damages and made of durable materials.
Finally, an important characteristic is that these camping flashlights have at least two charging methods: solar and hand cranking. Solar energy should be a reliable source of power for the product, however, in case that you forget to charge the flashlight before using it or that the battery simply runs out of power, then the hand cranking tool will become very handy as this will ensure you will not stay without light in any situation, no matter time or weather forecast.
How do Solar Flashlights Work?
Similar to other solar powered devices that can be used in the outdoors such as solar phone chargers or solar powered watches, the solar flashlights have a small integrated solar panel that when exposed to direct sunlight, can convert the sun’s energy into electricity.
This energy conversion is done at a microscopic level and it simply involves the conversion of the kinetic energy of small particles contained inside light (called photons) into electricity which is another form of energy that uses the movement of electrons to make an electric current flow. This electric current is later saved or stored in a nickel-metal-hydrate or lithium battery for later use.
This is the basic characteristic that every solar flashlight must have. Others have a USB connection port that allows them to charge the battery just as you would charge any other USB device.
Some solar flashlights will have a hand cranking charging method. This consists of transforming mechanical energy into electricity and this is easily done by using one of the oldest machines in the electricity industry: the dynamo.
Also known as a direct current generator, the dynamo uses the rotational mechanical movement to impulse a direct current in its output terminals. Later, this generated current goes to the storage device.
What is the Charge Time and Battery Life of the Average Solar Flashlight?
Charging times for each charging method are extremely important to consider as sometimes charging times could be too large as to consider it a reliable light source.
For solar power, charging times generally take between 7-14 hours, basically, the flashlight should not take more than two days to reach full charge. For USB charging, flashlights generally take between 3-5 hours, up to 6 hours should be enough for this method.
Meanwhile for hand-crank modes, spinning during 1 minute should give you enough power to have a source of light for at least 30 minutes.
Working times are also crucial for selecting solar flashlights. This is entirely dependent on the working modes and on the battery life, choosing a higher battery capacity will give you higher working time. However, you must balance this with the charging time required to reach full charge.
Working times, in general, are located between 4-8 hours.
How to Protect Your Flashlight From Being Damaged?
A solar flashlight can be very different from the other. Some models may be more durable or strong than others. You may even see some videos where the flashlight can be used to break glasses and where the manufacturer passes a vehicle above the flashlight. It’s hard to think that you may do some damage to these models.
Nevertheless, another factor that you should be careful about is related to water protection. If you intend to use the solar flashlight for camping purposes or especially for outdoor adventures such as fishing, kayaking or sailing, then having a flashlight with good waterproof rating protection is extremely important. If your purpose is to keep the light inside the car as a car emergency flashlight, then having a waterproof rating may not be as important.