Top 5 Solar Chargers for 2023 [Plus 2 Bonus Picks!]

We’ve listed our top five picks (and two bonus picks!) here if you’re ready to buy right now, but scroll down to get all the details.

  1. BigBlue 3 USB-A 28W Solar Charger
  2. X-DRAGON 70W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel
  3. FlexSolar 15W Small Solar Panel Charger 
  4. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus
  5. Nekteck 28W Solar Charger

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Why did we create this guide?
  • It is not easy to decide which is the best solar charger. They have lots of features that are difficult to compare. We did the research and review so that you can decide without breaking a sweat.
  • This guide covers factors such as power output, weight, size, portability, smart charging. These are very important factors when buying a solar charger. 
  • Our guide will offer you a comprehensive idea of what makes a good solar charger. You could buy any model you wish, but you know what to look for. 

Your convenience and safety always comes first.

Why do I need a solar charger?

A solar charger is a device that uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. The generated current can then be used to charge batteries or power electronic devices.

At the core of any solar charger are solar panels. These are a collection of photovoltaic cells.  They convert the energy from the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) electricity.

Besides smaller chargers that generate between 10 and 50 watts we have also reviewed two large ones ATEM POWER 160W Portable Solar Panel and Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel.

Here is how they help you:

  • Solar chargers can charge electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and cameras.
  • Solar panels can power outdoor equipment such as lights, fans, and refrigerator, making outdoor life more comfortable.
  • Solar panels can provide backup power during power outages, especially useful during natural disasters.

When a hurricane hits it can take weeks to restore power. If you have a solar charger there is no need to worry about charging phones and devices. Larger ones can easily power your appliances.

5 Best Solar Chargers of 2023

1. BigBlue 3 28W Solar Charger

Price: $79.99

Dimensions: 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches (folded)

Weight: 20 oz

Features:

  • Foldable and portable design with four water-resistant solar panels
  • Triple USB-A ports that can automatically detect and deliver optimal charging current 
  • Ammeter that shows the current generated by the solar panels
  • Built-in pocket that can store your devices or cables while charging
  • Carabiners and elastic loops that allow you to attach the solar charger to your backpack or tent

What we liked:

We found the BigBlue 3 to be a convenient and reliable solar charging solution. For outdoor enthusiasts who need to keep their devices powered up, BigBlue 3 is an ideal solar charger. It has a foldable and water-resistant design that makes it easy to carry and use in various environments. The solar charger has multiple USB-A ports that can charge phones and tablets quickly and safely. It also has an ammeter that shows how much current the solar panels are producing. This helps you adjust the angle and position of the charger for optimal sun exposure.

Pros:

  • High-efficiency solar panels that can generate up to 28W of power
  • Protects your devices from overcharging
  • Ammeter to help you monitor the charging performance

Cons:

  • Quite large when opened and requires lot of space
  • No USB-C port, so it may not be compatible with some newer devices

Verdict:

A renowned model from a renowned brand. BigBlue 3 has been well received and one of the best solar chargers. Not very expensive and does the needful efficiently.

Download the BigBlue 3 28W Solar Charger user manual.

2. X-DRAGON 70W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel

Price: $149.98

Dimensions: 13 x 7 x 2.8 inches (folded)

Weight: 46 oz

Features:

  • Foldable and portable design with nine solar panels
  • Dual USB-A ports (5V/2.4A per port) with iSolar technology that can automatically adjust the current and voltage for optimal charging
  • 18V DC output (18V/3A) that can charge laptops, car batteries and portable generators
  • Parallel port that can connect multiple foldable solar panels for higher power output (up to 280W)
  • IP 65 water-resistant and durable design that can withstand various weather conditions

What we liked:

The X-DRAGON 70W Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel is a powerful and versatile solar charging solution. The X-DRAGON 70W is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who need to keep their electronic devices powered up. It is water-resistant which makes it easy to carry and use for camping. The solar charger has two USB-A ports that can charge your phones and tablets quickly and safely. It is also equipped with an 18V DC output that can charge laptops. The parallel port can chain multiple foldable solar panels for higher power output. With a maximum of 280 watts from four of these you can even charge a car battery. 

Pros:

  • Durable, water resistant and corrosion resistant design
  • Enormous power output for any task including car battery charging
  • Patented iSolar technology that can protect your devices from overcharging

Cons:

  • Lack of USB-C port is a drawback
  • Too large to fit inside a backpack

Verdict:

X-DRAGON 70W is a big and powerful charger. It is meant to be used for camping trips to charge a slew of batteries during the day. Slightly expensive but definitely worth it. 

3. FlexSolar 15W Small Solar Panel Charger

Price: $45.99

Dimensions: 7.8 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches (folded)

Weight: 16 oz 

Features:

  • Rugged design with ETFE film laminated panels
  • IP67 waterproofing makes it impervious to snow, dust and sand
  • USB-A port (5V/2.8A max) that can charge phones and tablets 
  • Intelligent charging circuit that adjusts output wattage to device 
  • Equipped with two carabiners for easy transport

What we liked: 

The FlexSolar 15W Portable Solar Panel Charger is a handy and durable solar charging solution for backpackers. It is small but packs a punch. Due to its small size you can at most connect a couple of smart devices or an electric lantern. IP67 waterproofing is impressive and you don’t need to worry about getting it wet in the rain. You would however find the FlexSolar 15W inadequate for a RV trip.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact design that can fit into your backpack easily
  • Water-resistant and durable material that can protect against adverse climate 
  • Comes with a hook to hang it from a tree or the tent

Cons:

  • Very sensitive and output drops sharply with slightest cloud cover 
  • Frail and could break under pressure in a backpack

Verdict

At $46 it is a good buy. Don’t expect too much though. If it is cloudy, the FlexSolar 15W will be barely able to charge an iPhone in five hours.

Download the FlexSolar 15W user manual.

4. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus

Price: ‎$124.99

Dimensions: 6.5 x 8.75 x 0.75 in

Weight: 12.6 oz

Features:

  • 7 watt mini solar charger 
  • USB-A port (5V/1.4A max) with auto-restart
  • Smart charging capabilities to match output to device 
  • LED indicator that displays strength of solar radiation 
  • Detachable kickstand that provides optimum angle placement

What we liked: 

The first thing that stands out is the build quality. It is engineered with precision and made from the finest plastic. Of course at $125 you expect nothing less. The Nomad 7 Plus also comes with a built-in smart charging controller, which automatically adjusts the power output. The solar charger also has a detachable kickstand that lets you easily adjust its angle for best exposure.

Pros:

  • Very good build quality 
  • LED indicator that offers real time feedback
  • Smart charging ports which protect devices from power surge

Cons:

  • Quite expensive for a small capacity charger producing 7 watts
  • At this price additional USB-C ports should have been included

Verdict:

Overall, the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Recharger is a reliable and efficient solar panel system. But it is pricey and aimed at explorers and mountaineers who will pay a steep price rather than suffer equipment failure at high altitudes.

Download the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus user manual.

5. Nekteck 28W Solar Charger

Price: $59.99

Dimensions: 6.3 x 11.1 x 1.1 inches (folded)

Weight: 23 oz

Features: 

  • Foldable and portable design with four water-resistant solar panels
  • Dual USB-A ports (5V/2.4A max per port) for charging phones and tablets
  • Smart IC technology that can automatically adjust the current and voltage for optimal charging
  • IPX4 waterproof rating that can withstand rain, snow and dust
  • Lightning connector for charging iPhones, iPod, iPads

What we liked: 

The Nekteck 28W Solar Charger is a lightweight and compact solar panel system. At 28 watts it is ideal for a wide variety of applications. With its high-efficiency solar panels and dual USB ports, it can charge two devices simultaneously. The Nekteck 28W Solar Charger is waterproof and dustproof and can withstand various weather conditions. One of the few chargers out there with native support for Lightning connectors. 

Pros:

  • Lightning connectors for Apple devices
  • Made from strong PET polymer to prevent damage
  • Works in a wide range of temperature from-20° C to 50° C

Cons:

  • Does not come with a kickstand and has to be propped up
  • Does not have auto restart

Verdict:

Good but can do better. Of course, it is aimed at those who use Apple devices. The output should be higher at this price but on the plus side the weight is low.

Download the Nekteck 28W Solar Charger user manual.

Bonus: ATEM POWER 160W Portable Solar Panel

Price: $239

Dimensions: 20.39 x 29.13 x 2.36 inches (folded)

Weight: 12.7 lbs

Features: 

  • Massive 20 amps output that can easily charge lead acid car batteries
  • Large foldable monocrystalline panels for 21% conversion 
  • USB-A port (5V/2.8A max) that can charge phones, tablets, cameras and other devices
  • 12V DC output (12V/16.6A max) that can charge laptops, and car batteries
  • No glass design to improve radiation conversion

What we liked:

ATEM POWER 160W is a serious player. At 12 lbs it is too large to be carried by hikers and meant for camping. The large wattage means you can power everything in an RV except a microwave. Even that is possible with four of these working in parallel. At just over an inch in thickness, it is surprisingly sleek. No glass design gives it an advantage. 

Pros:

  • High-efficiency solar panels that can generate up to 200W of power
  • Parallel port that can increase the power output by connecting multiple foldable solar panels
  • Built with a carry handle to load and unload effortlessly

Cons:

  • Lack of glass protector means the cells get dirty 
  • Bulky and awkward to carry

Verdict:

If you want lots of power, this is your answer. But you might have to fiddle with the charge controller to tune it perfectly. Definitely not for beginners who have never used professional equipment before.

Download the ATEM POWER 160W Portable Solar Panel user manual.

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Bonus: Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel

Price: $469.99

Dimensions: 26.4 x 32.5 x 2.8 inches

Weight: 38.6 lbs 

Features:

  • Two monocrystalline solar panels with corrosion-resistant aluminum frames  
  • Anti-reflective coated glass for dust protection 
  • 20 amp MPPT charge controller that can optimize power output
  • Alligator clip cables for connecting any type of large battery 
  • Bypass diodes that minimize sharp power drops due to clouds

What we liked: 

Another one that generates serious amounts of power. The Renogy 200 Watt has all the power that you need for an extended camping trip. You can safely run a small water heater and a RV refrigerator without any trouble. The downside is its large size. But given its capacity that is expected.

Pros:

  • Expandable to 800 watts in parallel
  • Protected by PWM technology to suppress spikes
  • Can be carried around in its own suitcase

Cons:

  • Power output drops fast during fading light 
  • You have to restart at times to clear microprocessor cache memory

Verdict

Excellent but only if you want to carry around several pounds. Dependable and exceptionally sturdy and offers the best high wattage generation we have seen.

Download the Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel user manual.

About the Author

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.