Just as the name suggests, solar power banks are power banks that have a built-in solar panel. It is the perfect solution for your charging needs wherever you will go. As long as the sun is up, you can charge your devices anytime. Solar power banks are perfect for camping or trekking trips. When you run out of juice on your phone, you will have the ideal solution for your needs.
Power banks are definitely worth it! You don’t need to think about worrying your battery will run out while you are in the middle of the hike, and you don’t have to worry about charging it because all you need is the sun. It is the perfect solution to any of your charging needs.
With the ever-growing technology, solar power banks are the gadget that will become a necessity over time. In this article, I will talk about whether solar power banks are really worth it, what are the solar power banks’ prices, and how much energy are solar power banks saving. I will also talk about how long they last and what are the best solar power banks in the market today.
Are Solar Power Banks really Worth It?
This is the number one question when it comes to solar power banks. For me, solar power banks are worth it, but you have to look at some factors to determine if it is worth it. You need to check the overall cost of the power bank, whether it is energy efficient, and what’s the lifespan of the battery.
Now, capacity is essential, whether you are buying a solar power bank or a regular one. With this said, a 30000mAh solar power bank will last longer than a 20000mAh regular power bank. This means you can charge your device long before the battery runs out.
Aside from being able to charge multiple devices without running out of battery, solar power banks should also charge your devices quickly without taking a long time. You would need to check the maximum output rating of a particular solar power bank. Check the wattage, and with an 18-watt power bank, you will get many faster-charging speeds than a 10-watt one.
Lastly, you would need to check the number and type of ports that your solar power bank offers. You need to make sure all of your devices would work with the power bank and charge it without any issues at all. All solar power banks use full-size USB Type-A ports so that you can use any cable of your choice.
The idea of solar power banks is to hold a charge. This means that they don’t just charge your device when you expose them to the sun. Instead, they act as a way to store the charge from the sun for later when you much need it.
We have been using solar power banks for the past few years, and it has been convenient. We love traveling, camping, and trekking, so making sure that we have a reliable power bank to use is very important. Also, the fact that we do not need to look for an outlet to charge the power bank helped us as well. Not only that, though the energy consumption may be small, it still saves energy rather than using our electricity.
Solar Power Banks prices
The price of the solar bank would depend on the Milliamps Hour that each power bank has. A quality solar power bank shouldn’t cost more than $60. So, a typical 10000mAh and 20000mAh should be around $20 to $30. For those solar power banks that are more than 20000mAh should be about $40 to $50.
With the said prices, you can expect to get the most out of your solar power bank. Again, you have to take into consideration the different factors that go into buying a solar power bank. There are power banks that have LED lights for those who are into dark adventures. Some solar power banks also tend to speed up the charging process using an auxiliary solar system that’s within ten or 20-watt panels.
Solar power banks have the same basic structure, which is the battery and solar panel. Some power banks have small batteries that can charge a phone once or twice. On the other hand, there are solar power banks that have large batteries that can charge a smartphone five to seven times.
These solar power banks also have an optional feature like USB output, attached flashlights, or wireless charging support. This would come in handy for the rainy days where the sun isn’t out most of the time. The solar power bank that I bought comes with a USB output, which can be helpful sometimes.
How much energy are solar power banks saving
Now, a standard solar panel that can be placed on your entire home can save you plenty of money on your energy bills. However, you can’t expect to save much when using a solar panel power bank. It doesn’t take too much energy when charging your phone on the outlet. With this said, you can’t expect a lot of money to be shaven off on your monthly bills.
These types of power systems are usually designed for emergency purposes or off-grid applications. It is not meant to be used daily or used as often as we would like. This is the reason why we only use our solar power bank when we are on the road going camping or trekking.
Before the time where we didn’t have a solar power bank, it was such a struggle trying to get our phones charged when we are hiking or camping. When we purchased the solar power bank, it made everything convenient for us. So, even when we didn’t see any difference in our monthly energy bill, it still can come in handy.
How long do solar power banks last?
One of the most sustainable as well as environmentally friendly ways to generate electricity is using solar panels. Now, a solar power bank uses a small built-in solar panel so that it can charge a rechargeable battery, which is usually a lithium-ion battery.
The panel is a photovoltaic cell that is sandwiched between a semi-conductive material, which is usually silicon. The said silicon is altered by adding phosphorus to one end, which creates a negative charge, and boron to the other side to make a positive charge. An electrical field will be created when this happens.
Now, you have a standard idea of how the solar power banks work, here is how you can find out how long each solar power bank lasts. This would talk about the solar power bank’s lifespan, which would depend on different factors. It would depend on how you use it and how well you take care of your power bank. The type of battery and the initial quality of the equipment itself is crucial to consider.
Note that portable power systems are more likely to last than solar batteries that are usually used at home. Now, you would have to replace the battery storage system with 5 to 15 years. Having said this, if you use your solar power bank daily, you will be looking at the said time frame.
Other companies may have a specific time on when you can replace the batteries in a solar system, which should be followed. Make sure to always look at the manufacturer’s guidelines so that you know how to take care of your solar power banks and how long the lifespan would be.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to know how long it takes to charge your solar power bank, here are some of the things you need to take a look at. It is the same principle as finding out the charge time for your electronic devices from a charger.
Most manufacturers don’t mention the charging time required when using only solar, because solar battery charger is not designed to charge only directly on sunlight. Though you can find the exact information on the product specification, there are some useful things that you can get to calculate the time required for charging.
When looking at the product specification sheet, you will see information such as battery life, type, voltage, weight, etc. The most important and the ones that we are looking for is the capacity and the solar panel rating.
Now, the solar battery charger with 20000mAh can be charged with a wall unit for about eight hours. Once it has been fully charged, it should have enough backup power to charge a mobile phone at least four times. This means the eight hours is a brief time for it to be fully charged when using an AC power source.
Having said this, here is how you can calculate the time that will be needed to charge the battery for a solar power bank. If a power bank has 20000mAH or 20Ah, the power rating of five volts is five watts. So you have to multiply Ah by the volts, which you will get the Wh.
When this is done, you find out the solar battery charger in question, and it answers the question that it can be fully charged with direct sunlight in about 20 hours. This means it takes longer to charge using solar than using the regular power outlet in your home. It isn’t as bad as you think. You can charge it for four to five hours to fully charge one mobile device.
How to know the best time of day to charge
Now that you know how a solar power bank gets its energy, it is important to know what time of day it is best to charge it. The sun intensity would depend on the time of year and day, and it’s not here for us anytime that we need it. However, it is not neat that the solar panel uses the photons. So, just because it is the hottest part of the day or year, it doesn’t mean this is the best time to charge.
The light energy is often highest earlier in the day before the temperature gets to its peak, and high temperature can affect the panel’s performance. This would make the power bank less efficient. In the following section, I will talk about the different things that you should know when charging your solar power banks.
Things you need to know about solar power banks
There are a couple of situations that you need to take note of when it comes to using your solar power banks. Considering whether you can charge in a shaded place or on a cloudy day can be one of the concerns that a person with solar power banks may have. Here are a couple of things that you should know about charging your solar power banks.
There are some people that have the common misconception that solar panels will still charge on a hot day, even when there is shade. However, this is not the case because no photons are reaching the photovoltaic cells that are on your solar power banks.
Now, the shade will vary depending on these types of situations. Most objects that cause shade will not be blocking 100 percent of the sunlight. A great example would be the tree where it will still let quite a bit of light through, which means you can still charge your solar power bank. Obviously enough, it is still to avoid spots that have shade to get the optimum charge.
You might also wonder whether you can charge your solar power banks on cloudy days. Well, they have a similar effect when you are in a shaded area. It prevents photons from reaching the panel. However, it will still charge at a much slower speed than charging it in direct sunlight.
Since I have a solar power bank that has an option to charge on a power outlet, I usually go for that option when it is cloudy outside. It does the job, and if I’m just home and not using it, it is the best option to charge the power bank.
Charging without sunlight
As I’ve mentioned above, sunlight is not always there for us. Also, there may be times that you need to charge them at night. For the cloudy weather conditions, the best thing that you can do is to clean your solar panels more often. This will remove any dust that may be on the panel.
Use clean water and cloth to clean the panels on your solar power bank lightly. Keep in mind not to use any detergents to clean solar panels because it can cause streaking, which makes it difficult for the panels to charge. Since artificial lighting bulbs are all over your home, it can help your solar power bank charge.
The light bulb would be able to efficiently charge a solar light when you don’t have any sunlight options. Place the solar power bank underneath the light, and it can help them charge it rapidly. However, the closer the solar light to the light bulb, the less time it will take to charge your solar power bank fully.
So, in case you don’t have any choice and have to really charge your solar power bank, using some form of light can add power to your power bank. I have tried charging mine through my living room light, and it charged just fine. However, finding a way to keep the power bank close to the light bulb can be tricky, especially when your lights are placed in a higher location.
If you do have a lamp in your home that has some form of stand, you can place the power bank there until it charges. The closer it is, the better charging it will get. Unfortunately, this is not the best energy-saving way to charge your power bank since you need to leave your lights on an entire night.
My suggestion would be to leave all the work to the sunlight. Also, make sure to purchase a power bank that provides an option to charge on a power outlet. This way, you wouldn’t be stuck finding different ways to charge it when the sun is not showing. Having a second or third option is always the best way to avoid problems!
Choosing the best solar power bank for your need
Solar power banks aren’t a one size fits all situation. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have widely varying capacities, and some can hold a charge for weeks, while others can charge all your multiple devices. There are some solar power banks that charge faster in the sun, and others may take days to charge.
Having said this, you have to think about the situations that you might need your charger. If you are hikers, backpackers, and campers like us, having access to a power outlet may be nowhere to be found. Your device’s usage is going to be semi-limited, and a solar power bank would be your best friend in these situations.
Choosing power banks with more solar panels tend to be more fragile than others. With this said, it is important to choose something that can resist any elements that it may face. Finding something that is in the middle ground between durable, weatherproof, and charging capability is the critical factor you need to look out for.
If you are a short-term traveler, the main thing you need to think about is how many charges you can get from the solar power banks. At most times, short-term travelers won’t need to rely on solar charging capability. This doesn’t mean that you are not able to make use of solar power banks. It is still more useful than a regular power bank.
During these situations, laying the solar power banks out once or twice during a short vacation is enough for a few hours. If it is just for daily uses of basic devices, this would be enough to get you going for a couple of hours.
Now, for those who are preparing for natural disasters, a solar power bank is perfect for you. It is an essential emergency kit for the end the world needs. As mentioned above, the solar power bank stores energy, so it is ready whenever you need it.
Lastly, if you are one of the people that tend to forget to charge their home at night and you need to leave the house the next morning, this is perfect for you. Solar power banks can come in handy for those who need their devices at work. So, if you do not have a place to charge your phone, this is the best option for you.
It is best to look for small, portable solar power banks so that you can bring them easily with you. Maybe something that you can just throw in your pocket, bag, or even something that you can hang on to the outside of your bag.
Best solar power banks
There are plenty of solar power banks in the market that you can choose from. However, in the following section, I will talk about two solar power banks of my choice. One that is the best out there in the market and one that is the best price out of all of them.
The best feature of this solar power bank is its charging ability. To get the full charge, all you need is about 25 to 30 hours in the sun. When it has a full battery, this solar power bank can charge a device more than 12 times. Due to its high battery capacity that allows for many charges, very durable materials, and built-in flashlight makes it the best solar power bank in the market.
The FEEL solar power has four efficient solar panels, which provide an excellent battery to produce fast solar charging ability. As mentioned above, it takes about 25 to 30 hours in ideal conditions to fully charge the power bank via solar. Again, you have to consider the weather conditions that you are facing.
The performance of solar panels and the battery is what sets this power bank apart from the others. Its excellent design is just one thing that this solar power bank can boast about. It comes with a small case that can be folded up and ends up being about the same size as most smartphones. The exact size of this solar power bank is 6.1″ x 3.4″ x 1.4″.
The case is made of plastic and synthetic leather that is durable and aesthetically-pleasing, which combines functionality and pleasant design. Aside from the protective case, it is also water-resistant, which is perfect for any adventure that you may have. It is also dust resistant, which makes it perfect for a durability option.
FEEL solar power bank’s entire device has a rating of IP-65, where the 65 stands for the resistance to large droplets and splashes of water. So it is perfect for those moments where you drop your power banks in puddles of water. However, it would be best to make sure that it is not submerged as it can harm the solar power bank.
Now, the case also has two USB ports where you can charge two more devices at the same time and have covers to protect the ports from dust or water damage. With all of the choices that you have in the market, this solar power bank combines efficiency with functionality. Having said this, it is useful for any type of user, from a hiker to a camper.
As I’ve mentioned above, it also has a built-in LED flashlight that can be charged by the solar panels. There are three settings to the power bank, Steady, SOS, and Strobe, where it is a useful addition to the power bank. It doesn’t only use light, but it makes it too.
One concern with this charger that people have is it is a bit heavier than the size says. You may think that it has the same weight as a smartphone; well, you’re mistaken. This solar power bank’s weight is about the same as a can of beans because of the big battery that it has. For me, the weight is not a problem and well worth it, especially with the features that it offers.
Another concern that people have is there are some disappointments in how quickly the solar power bank charges from a standard wall charger. Though not slow, the charger doesn’t charge at lightning speed as well. If you are a person that is looking for a power bank with solar as an extra feature, this might not be the choice for you.
Overall this solar power bank is the master of solar charging and design. Even though there are shortcomings to this power bank, it performs well, and people who are looking for the best solar power bank this is it.
I currently own the FEELLE solar power bank and you can check it out on Amazon, and it definitely does the job. It may be more expensive than the others, but it performs very well. Yes, it can add to the weight that we bring along on our camping trip. The fact it can charge my phone more than 12 times is what makes it my favorite part about this power bank.
The BEARTWO portable solar charger is lighter than the FEELLE one. To be exact, this is the lightest solar power bank in the market. Though it is light, it is still durable. Having said this, the BEARTWO is perfect for those who are looking for a more lightweight solution for power banks. Same as the first one, this power bank is waterproof up to three feet and 30 minutes of submersion.
It has a silicone case that protects the solar power bank from mild bumps and falls. This solar power bank is designed with a triangular slot on one of the corners. It also has a carabiner that slides into that particular slot. That way, you can hang the power bank anywhere, from your backpack to a small place in your room where it gets sunlight.
Just like the first solar power bank that I have mentioned, it has an LED flashlight complete with three modes, which are Strobe, Normal, and SOS. The light could be used as a flashlight if you are stuck in the dark. It can also be used when you are trying to plug in your devices to the power bank during the night.
The downside of this device is the solar charging capability. It will take about 85 hours to charge the power bank completely. It can also take longer when it is not placed under direct sunlight. Also, you can only get about four to five charges of a mobile phone, and the amount of time needed to charge is quite high.
Although it is advertised as waterproof, part of the way that it gets the rating is by the small rubber covers it has for the USB ports. The rubber covers are there so that the water doesn’t go through the USB ports. Now, the problem with this is that the USB covers don’t stay on too well, which can compromise this device’s quality. With this said, you have to make sure to keep it away from water.
Another thing that you need to consider is that it is not as efficient as the first solar power bank I have mentioned. This is because it is light, making the battery relatively small, and the solar panel is also small. It doesn’t produce as much energy as the one above, which has four solar panels connected to it.
However, if size matters to you most and you want a small power bank, this is the one for you. Even though it has its downsides, it is still functional and reliable. Aside from that, it is the cheapest solar power bank that you can buy in the market.
The BEARTWO portable solar charger was the first solar power bank that I had and you can check it through our link on Amazon, and it did the job. However, it can only charge my phone four to five times, which is not enough if I am on an extended camping trip with no outlets to be found. This is why I upgraded to the FEEL eventually. If you are just taking a short road trip or a short camping trip, this is the best solar panel for you.