a solar power bank hangs in a man's backpack

7 Best Solar Power Banks in 2020 (Review)

Are you looking for power backup when your laptop, smartphone, or tablet runs out of energy?

If you are constantly on the move or regularly perform activities such as camping, hiking, trekking, and more, then you need a portable source of energy. The best choice for that is to opt for a solar power bank!

Here in this article, you will find some of the best solar power banks in 2020. Moreover, you will also find valuable tips on making an accurate choice for your needs. You’ll also learn about charging times, compatibility with cell phones, and much more.

Carlos

Written by qualified solar engineer Carlos. Last updated:

After reading this short article you will learn everything you need to know before purchasing a solar power bank. Are you ready? Then let’s get started with the most valuable products available!

The Best Solar Power Banks

1. BEARTWO 10000mAh Solar Power Bank

front facing beartwo 10000mah solar power bank

Key Features:

  • Waterproof USB ports
  • Built-in LED lights
  • Smart IC technology integrated

Key Specifications:

  • 10,000 mAh battery capacity
  • 4-5 hours to get charged
  • Weighs 7.4 oz

Where To Buy

The first of the best solar power banks we are going to review today is this product from Beartwo.

The Beartwo 10,000 mAh ultra-compact external battery with dual USB ports is one of the lightest, economically smart, and most reliable solar chargers in the market. The product only weighs 7.4oz and can provide power to your smartphones by simply paying $25. This makes it an ideal solar power bank for cell phones.

Given the purpose of this portable solar charger, it can be easily hung onto your backpack, which makes it perfect for a camping trip, hiking, and many other outdoor activities.

The amazing feature of the dual USB port is great because it is able to charge up to two devices at the same time, at a maximum output of up to 5V/2.1A using the smart IC technology to detect the device and charge at optimum speed.

The best thing about this simple but efficient solar power bank charger is that it only takes between 4 and 5 hours to get charged using its 5V/2.1A USB port. Every single USB port is usually covered by an IP67 rubber cap that protects your battery from complete immersion 1 meter under water and that deeply protects it against dust.

2. Nekteck 10000mAh Solar Power Bank

front facing nekteck 10000mah solar power bank

Key Features:

  • Anti-explosion warranty
  • Waterproof solar power bank
  • LED lights included

Key Specifications:

  • 10000mAh power bank capacity
  • Lasts over 1000 recharge cycles
  • 21-24% solar panel efficiency

Where To Buy

The Nekteck 10000mAh travel solar power bank with 10000mAh capacity is a remarkable product designed with a lithium polymer battery technology to maximize outdoor experiences.

The most amazing thing about Nekteck is that the portable solar charger is integrated with SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels that reach between 21-24% efficiency under direct sunlight conditions.

This reliable solar power bank is guaranteed to last over 1000 recharge cycles with anti-explosion protection under fast charging scenarios based on its lithium polymer technology.

Moreover, you do not need to worry about taking it out to the outdoors because the cover of the power bank is water-resistant, dust-resistant, and is guaranteed to protect the lithium battery against shocks or dust as well.

It is also a cheap solar power bank, therefore, if you are looking for a simple, but effective solution to cover your energy needs while being off-grid, then Nekteck is a great option for you.

3. Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar Power Bank

front facing Goal Zero Guide 10 solar power banks

Key Features:

  • Charging and low-charging battery protection built-in
  • AA/AAA/USB power possibilities for devices
  • Charged by solar or by USB

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 2300mAh
  • Battery lifecycle: 500 cycles
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 4 x 0.75 in (6.4 x 10.2 x 1.9 cm)

While other power banks in the market only focus on a single battery option within the power bank, this product offers to its users multiple options to charge their devices whether they are USB-based or battery-based.

The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus integrates 4 packs of AA rechargeable NiMH batteries from Goal Zero that have a total battery backup pack capacity of 2300mAh and 500 lifecycles. Integrated into a single portable device, they can get charged in between 6 hours by simply connecting a wall charger to the USB port input with 5V and 0.8A.

Moreover, they are compatible with solar power technology which can get connected through a mini-solar input of 6.5V and 1.1A which can be found in gadgets such as the Nomad 7, Nomad 7 Plus, Nomad 13 and Nomad 14.

The best thing about this product is that you can charge your USB devices such as smartphones, cameras, tablets, GPS and more, but you can also use the integrated AA rechargeable batteries to power headlamps, remote controls, radios or even flashlights (not that you need an additional one because it already includes one). Additionally, you will also have the possibility to charge and use AAA batteries, although these are not included in the package.

4. Goal Zero Venture 30

front facing goal zero venture 30

Key Features:

  • IPX6 waterproof rating
  • Beautiful aesthetic design
  • Two USB charging ports allow to charge two devices at once

Key Specifications:

  • Battery backup capacity: 7800mAh
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3.25 x 1 in (11.4 x 8.25 x 2.5 cm)
  • Weight: 8.8 oz (250g)

The Goal Zero Venture 30 is an exquisite piece of art in the power bank world. Equipped with an 18650 LG Chem battery cell based in Li-ion NMC that provides a total 7800mAh of battery backup capacity can charge technically almost every gadget that you carry on-the-go for your next travel adventure, multiple times.

For instance, you can charge a smartphone up to 5 times on a full charge, same with a GoPro camera. Headlamps and digital can also get charged multiple times and even a tablet can get a full charge with its power capacity.

One of the most unique features it has is its beautiful design combined in green and black colors and reinforced with a built-in LED light that makes the power bank look even better on the dark. Besides, this rugged power bank is also resistant to water, designed with an IPX6 waterproof protection rating which means it is capable of withstanding powerful water jets without damaging the battery.

The Goal Zero Venture 30 has two USB ports, one for input (USB micro port 5V/2.1A) and one for output (5V/2.4A) while it can be charged either via USB or by solar power taking less than 5 hours for a complete charge with the Nomad 28 and between 7-16hours with the Nomad 7 rugged solar charger.

5. Goal Zero Sherpa 100

side

Key Features:

  • Interactive OLED display
  • Three ways to charge it solar/USB/ 12V car charger
  • Six different ways to charge a device (Two USB-C/Two USB-A/ Single AC port/Wireless Qi)

Key Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 6400mAh (97.37Wh)
  • 100W integrated inverter (150W surge capacity)
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.0 x 5.68 in (19.0 x 2.54 x 14.4 cm)

Designed by the top-quality manufacturer Goal Zero Sherpa 100 is a power bank that is different from the others in the market. The reason is that while most power banks are designed to charge USB electronics, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 can do that and also charge AC related appliances.

Designed for the on-the-go type of user, the Sherpa 100 is equipped with USB-C (up to 20V/3A output) and USB-A type ports (5V/2.4A) suitable for all electronics including Apple products. Moreover, it is also equipped with a wireless Qi charge output of 5W capable of charging smartphones with such capability. Finally, the Sherpa 100 can also be used to charge a laptop two times and even TVs and a small fridge thanks to its built-in 100WAC inverter (with a 150W surge capacity). Making it similar to a small solar generator.

Besides, you will be able to charge the Sherpa 100 in 3 different ways, including solar power, USB connection and even through a 12V port that can be connected to a car battery. Finally, you will enjoy 6400mAh (97.7Wh) of battery capacity integrated in this Li-ion-based high-quality power bank.

6. Hobest 10000mAh

side facing hobest 10000mah

Key Features:

  • Compass whistle included
  • LED light integrated into the solar power bank
  • Two charging methods

Key Specifications:

  • 10000mAh power bank capacity
  • Weight: 7.4 oz.
  • Dimensions: 5.51 x 2.95 x 0.7 inches

Where To Buy

Another important solar product for camping is the Hobest 10000mAh solar power bank.

This water-resistant product has two main charging methods. One of them uses a direct 5V/2A input that can be connected to a power outlet to save time by increasing the charging speed. The other one uses a free energy resource as it is solar energy.

Moreover, the Hobest 10000mAh power bank has the ability to support two rechargers for the Galaxy S6, and its dual USB output allows it to charge two devices simultaneously.

An interesting feature of this high-quality solar power bank is that includes a compass whistle to use it when no GPS or Google Maps is available in the outdoors; mainly for emergency situations. As part of this survival device, the power bank also integrates a built-in LED flashlight that has three modes of operation in the dark.

The product has also included smart IC technology for its USB ports and has a short circuit and over-discharging protection as well, making it the perfect cell phone solar power bank.

7. OUTXE 20000mAh

side facing outxe 20000mah

Key Features:

  • Quick Charge integrated
  • SunPower solar panels
  • 4A dual USB ports

Key Specifications:

  • IP67 protection
  • Maximum charge at 8W
  • 20000mAh power bank capacity

Where To Buy

A lithium battery integrated as part of this portable power bank is the most valuable solution offered by OUTXE 20000mAh. It provides a reliable source of energy to charge your phone, your iPad. or even your laptop

Integrated with the IP67 waterproof and dust protection, it is also a military-grade design that protects against shocks, bumps, or even rocks.

Unique 4A dual USB ports are included as part of the design, along with a type C and Micro USB ports as well that allow fast charging in 6 hours.

The OUTXE power bank gets charged by using SunPower solar panels with high-efficiency and supports Quick Charge as well, allowing you to charge any device four times faster than a normal USB 2A output would

A bright LED light is also included as part of the device and taking into account the large capacity of the power bank it is advisable to use a power outlet to increase the charging speed of the power bank.

5 Tips for Choosing a Solar Power Bank

complete camping equipment

When going to purchase a portable solar power bank, there are many questions that may arise as you check on the products. If you have any doubts about which factors you should take into account when choosing one of these products, then you will find these tips very useful.

Check the Battery Capacity

Maybe the most important factor of any solar power bank is the capacity that the lithium battery has.

The battery capacity represents the amount of energy that can be stored inside the backup battery and is generally expressed using mAh or Wh units. 

A portable solar power bank could have as low as 2000mAh of battery capacity which could be enough to charge your device (probably a single charge of a cellphone), this can be classified as a small solar power bank.

On the other hand, the device could also have as much energy capacity as 50000mAh which could be enough to charge tablets, charge your smartphone or laptop several times. This can be classified it as a large solar power bank.

As you can presume, cost and also weight vary according to these facts. Therefore, you must select the solar power bank taking into account the purpose for which you are going to use it.

If you are going to use this external battery for your daily life on the city or town and you simply want to have a backup battery in case you run out of power, then you will probably only need a simple 2000mAh portable solar power bank.

However, if you are looking to have a backup battery that lasts for days while being off-grid on a camping trip or when going hiking, then you will need a larger solar power bank with capacities between 10000-50000mAh depending on the number of days.

Also, remember that a large capacity always demands more time to charge completely.

Think About Portability

The main idea of a portable solar power bank is to provide a reliable power source while being off-grid, but without representing any important sacrifice in the process of carrying the device from one place to another.

Top portable solar chargers should take this fact into account and offer the small, lightweight, and easy to carry solution.

If you are evaluating several options, then consider which ones are foldable, which power bank includes a steel loop to hang it on the backpack while you walk (it’s crucial to take advantage of the time to charge the battery while you walk), and which one is smaller.

Another important fact must be taken into account in portability is related to durability. Since it will probably be performing in outdoor activities, it is very important that the battery and the solar panel have a protective cover against water, dust, and shocks

Verify Solar Panel Specs

The main purpose of choosing a solar power bank battery charger is that it charges the battery using the Sun’s energy without depending merely on power from the grid.

Since the main source of power here is the solar panel, it is crucial to examine the quality of the solar cells.

Efficiency is the most important factor here. If efficiency is low, the device will need larger portable solar panels and much more time to get the battery fully charged, which impacts portability.

No other brand in the world offers a better efficiency for solar cells than SunPower. Therefore, if you have to choose between a solar charger power bank with SunPower solar panels and another product that is less expensive but that uses unknown solar panels, the best choice is to go with the SunPower one.

How Many Available USB charging Ports Does the Solar Power Bank Have?

One of the greatest features a power bank can have is to be able to charge multiple devices at the same time.

Most power banks will have dual USB ports. However, you will find some that may have three USB ports included of different types and for different devices.

This is very useful as it means that within the same time range you could charge your laptop, your smartphone, and your iPad. If the solar power bank you are evaluating, only has a single USB port, then it is not worth it.

Additional Features

As usual, the extra feature that the manufacturer wants to add to the power bank always balances the equation.

Features such as LED indicators, LED light modes of operation, steel loops for hanging, aesthetic design, Quick Charge 3.0 USB ports, and included accessories such as a USB cable or an adapter are always factors that could help you take a decision.

How Much Should I Expect to Pay for a Top Solar Power Bank?

two people walking in the mountains

As we mentioned before, the price will be directly related to the battery capacity, but also to the solar panel technology and the brand.

A good quality solar power bank should never cost more than 60 USD.

Price ranges for power banks with capacities between 10000mAh and 20000mAh should be located between 20USD and 30 USD. Over 20000mAh you could expect prices to rise to 40-50USD.

What Devices Can I Charge?

In most cases, solar power banks are used to charge the following electronic devices:

  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • iPhones
  • iPads
  • GoPro Camera
  • GPS
  • Portable speakers
  • Portable radios

The possibility to charge an electronic device or not will depend on the USB port type of the solar power bank. Most products have a universal USB output, but some have micro-USB or type C charging ports. In any case, you can always look for an adapter to connect your phone.

What Phones Are Compatible?

Most cell phones are compatible with solar power banks because most cell phones can get connected to a universal USB port.  Therefore, you can use a power bank to charge smartphones such as:

  • iPhone X, 8 7, 6.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung S8 Plus
  • LG Stylus 2
  • Windows Phones
  • Sony Xperia Z2
  • Nokia 1 Plus
  • And many more

Every smartphone has a lithium-ion battery that you can check on the specs of your phone. All you need to do to verify whether or not your solar power bank is suitable to charge your phone. First, check the battery capacity of the smartphone in mAh.

Then, divide the battery capacity of the power bank when its fully charged by the energy needed by the smartphone. You will then will find the number of times that the power bank can charge your phone.

Also, take into account the type of charging ports that the smartphone needs and see if the USB solar power bank includes it. If not, simply purchase an additional adapter.

Another fact that you could take into account, which is not limiting but worth knowing, are the amperes that your cell phone needs to charge.

Universal USB outputs have a 2A output, however, you may find some with 2.1 A, 2.4A or even 3A. This will influence the charging speed of the mobile phones, but could also impact the performance of the battery since cell phones are designed with a specific nominal electric current.

Check the battery specs of your smartphone to see if the nominal electric current demanded is lower or higher than the one of the USB port, if it is lower, then there is no problem, the power bank will only provide the current that the phone needs. But, if it’s higher, consider looking for another power bank.

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