Considering buying a portable solar panel but not sure what products are worth the investment? Understanding what solar panels are, how they work, and what features to look for is key to finding the right solar panels for your energy needs.
Before purchasing, check out this handy guide to portable solar power panels. Below, you'll find reviews of the best portable solar panels and answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions about the convenient, eco-friendly power source.
The 9 Best Portable Solar Panel Reviews
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Best Portable Solar Panels Overall
With this powerful 100-Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Briefcase from Goal Zero, you'll never run out of power when you're on the go. The user-friendly product boasts a briefcase-style design with two 50-watt monocrystalline solar panels and a built-in kickstand. It's durable, dependable, and— thanks to easy transportation and compact storage— great for outdoor adventures. It's designed to be paired with Goal Zero's Yeti Power Station when you're camping, road-tripping, or outlasting a power outage. Chain it with multiple Boulder panels to increase your solar capacity.
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Best Solar Panels For Camping
If there's one set of portable solar panels worth splurging on, it's this Solar Generator Set from Jackery. The three-piece kit includes two 100-Watt SolarSaga portable solar panels and Jackery's Explorer 1000 Solar Generator. Fully charged, the 1000-Watt generator can power full-sized appliances, including fridges, TVs, heaters, electric blankets, coffee makers, microwaves, and more. Made from ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), eco-friendly solar panels provide a higher light transmittance and a longer life cycle. The portable solar panel kit comes complete with an AC adapter and car charger cable.
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Best Foldable Portable Solar Panel
No matter what your power needs, this Foldable Portable SP200 Monocrystalline Solar Panel from Bluetti is up for the task. Its 200-watt monocrystalline solar panels have higher conversion efficiency than most other products on the market. And, it performs better in low-light conditions than similarly-rated polycrystalline solar panels. Advanced laminated technology and durable ETFE material on the surface prevents scratches and provides water resistance from splashes. Folded, the portable solar panels measure 207 x 20.5 inches and weigh just 14.3 lbs, making them incredibly easy to take on the go.
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Just looking for something that offers enough juice to charge your phone or tablet? This Outdoor Solar Charger and Power Bank from Hiluckey is just the product for you! The compact, affordable charger comes equipped with four high-efficiency solar panels and a built-in Li-polymer battery. Dual USB ports allow you to charge two devices at once. The practical battery pack detects your devices' current and automatically adjusts to the optimal output level. Designed for outdoor use, it's got a built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode for emergencies.
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Best For Emergency
With this Phoenix Elite Portable Solar Panel Generator from Renogy, you can enjoy peace of mind wherever you go. It's equipped with two 50-watt monocrystalline panels and a lithium battery backup power bank, so you'll never run out of power during an emergency. In addition to the built-in solar panel, it can be charged using any standard outlet or car socket. It can charge a smartphone 18 times, a laptop 3 times, a TV for 4 hours or an LED light bulb for 28 hours when fully charged. The foldable two-piece design is tucked inside a protective case with a convenient top handle. With three lighting modes, it also acts as a handy emergency light too.
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Most Budget Friendly
Headed off-grid? Take along this Newpowa Monocrystalline Solar Panel, and you'll never run out of power. The compact solar panel features high-efficiency monocrystalline cells and a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame. Unlike some portable units, it's durable enough to withstand high winds, rainy conditions, and freezing cold snow. Pre-installed bypass diodes inside the junction box help minimize power drops in shady conditions. Four easy mounting holes and two grounding holes offer a wide range of mounting options, including flat surface, pole, and wall installation.
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Best for long treks
Hate when your phone runs out of juice mid-camping trip? Bring along this Anker PowerPort 21-Watt Portable Solar Charger, and you'll never have to worry about a dead phone battery again. The industrial-strength PET polymer-faced solar panels are sewn into the durable polyester canvas to ensure they're weatherproof enough to withstand regular outdoor use. Under direct sunlight, the quick-charging PowerIQ technology delivers faster-charging speeds of up to 2.4 amps per port or 3 amps overall. Its 21-Watt capacity is just the right amount of power to charge your phone, tablet, or laptop while you're camping, road-tripping, or just on the go.
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Best RV Solar Panels
This 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel from Zamp Solar is undoubtedly one of the best portable RV solar panels on the market today. It's handcrafted in the US using premium quality solar cells with a 25-year output warranty. An integrated 10-amp digital charge controller protects the battery and makes monitoring battery life easy. The kit comes complete with a nylon carrying case and a 15-foot cable.
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Best Portable Solar Kit
This Renogy 400 watts and 12 volts monocrystalline RV solar panel kit are one of the best portable solar kits you can find on the market. Designed for off the grid, this solar panel kit is perfect for the caravan, RV, boat, greenhouse, and more. With the corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and withstand high winds and snow loads, you can use the Renogy solar panels outside for years to come.
4 x 100 Watt Compact Design Monocrystalline Solar Panel
1 x Adventurer 30A PWM Charge Controller
1 x BT-1 Bluetooth Module
4 sets x Mounting Z Brackets
1 Pair x 30ft 10 AWG Adaptor Kit
1 Pair x 16ft 10 AWG Tray Cable
1 x Cable Entry Housing
3 Pair x MC4Y connectors
How to choose a portable solar panel?
Here are the things you should consider before choosing a good portable solar panel or the best for you:
Types of solar panels
While there's a growing number of innovative new technologies on the market today, there are three most common types. Each offers a different power output. Here are the three most common types of solar panels:
Monocrystalline panels— These compact solar panels offer the highest efficiency rating of the three types. Their black solar cells are made from a single silicon crystal for improved performance and a longer lifespan.
Polycrystalline panels— These versatile solar panels are made using a blend of multiple silicon crystals. Though less efficient than monocrystalline panels, they're often more affordable.
Amorphous panels— Designed for trickle charging (when a panel charges at the same rate it discharges energy), Amorphous solar panels aren't the most efficient option available. With that being said, they are the most affordable and usually work well in overcast conditions.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are the most popular choice of the three because they are the most efficient.
Regardless of what you will be using the portal solar panel for, you want to make sure it is easy for you to carry, transport, install and store away.
If you are planning on traveling or hiking with a solar panel, you will want to make sure it is the smallest solar panel that is light enough to carry without weighing you down.
Solar panels are not cheap, so you want to make sure you invest in one that will work without hanging. If the price sounds too good to be true, you probably should think twice before purchasing.
To ensure you are getting a reliable solar panel, make sure it is made of high-quality water-resistant material to avoid environmental damage.
Higher wattage means you will have more solar energy that allows you to do more. A higher wattage is typically more efficient, and it also comes with a higher price point.
How do portable solar panels work?
Portable solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using the same technology as traditional fixed solar panels. An electric current is created when sun rays hit the electric field created by the panels. Then, this energy is converted into a usable form and stored until you need it.
Try solar panel kits that combine a solar panel and battery bank into one convenient device to streamline your portable solar system. Many products feature a folding suitcase-like design for easier transportation and safer storage.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of portable solar energy?
As with all power sources, solar power comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's examine a few.
Advantages of Using Portable Panels
By harnessing energy from a natural, renewable resource, solar panels are eco-friendly and release zero emissions.
Because they don't require electricity or hardwiring, portable solar panels are great for going off-grid in remote areas.
With proper care, solar panels can last upwards of twenty years. They're a great long-term energy solution for your outdoor adventures.
Disadvantages of Using Portable Solar Panels
A solar panel's energy output can vary widely based on weather conditions. While some products fair well in somewhat cloudy conditions, most require direct sunlight to generate a full charge.
Solar panels are unable to store electricity without an additional generator or battery bank. Before purchasing a product, you'll want to double-check what other accompaniments you'll need for operation.
Solar panels are expensive and require a sizable investment up front. Between the solar panels, battery bank, cords, mounting hardware, and other accessories, things can get a bit pricey.
Portable solar panels don't generate large amounts of energy. For more significant power needs, you'll need multiple fixed or rooftop panels that can generate more juice.
How much power can you get from a portable solar panel?
Due to their small size, portable solar panels don't produce a large amount of energy. Most are around 100 W in size and produce about 5-6 amps of current when placed in direct sunlight with a maximum voltage rating of 17-18 Volts. A single 100-Watt portable solar panel can provide enough power for cell phones, lamps, fans, computers, wifi routers, security cameras, and other small devices and appliances. You'll need to use multiple solar panels to charge larger items like TVs, portable AC units, heaters, and mini-fridges.
Is a portable solar panel worth it?
While portable solar panels can't power much more than small appliances, they're still an effective and eco-friendly way to have power when you're on the go or for your outdoor home needs. While they're undoubtedly a bit of an investment up front, they pay off over time in their convenience and energy savings.
Portable solar panels are great for security cameras, camping trips, day hikes, and long road trips. They can be used in a boat, trailer, RV, car, or anywhere else you may need a quick recharge. It's also good to keep a portable solar panel around the house on hand during an emergency, especially if you live somewhere remote with unreliable power or intense weather conditions.
What can a portable solar panel power
Charging car batteries
Small home (For powering basic appliances)
Can portable solar panels charge an electric car?
Yes, you can charge an electric car with portable solar panels. Technically, you can charge your Tesla with portable solar panels. However, with the cost of solar panels and setting it up, it may not be cost-effective than going to a charging station for free.