Who does not want to skip hectic life these days? The urge of travelling, escaping the usual, and going off the grid is significantly increasing in recent times. Today, more souls and free spirits want to be mobile and enjoy nature than ever before. What is it that gives you this liberty to be independent of your daily routine while still be making the most of your life via clean energy sources? Yes, you guessed it right. We are talking about the best portable solar panels.
Now sit back and think of all the appliances you wished to take with you to mother nature but couldn’t do so because of lack of sources of energy? Portable solar panels will make all those wishes come true.
With these solar panels, you cannot just charge your mobiles, tablets, and other portable devices, but can also power a tiny homestead, RV, or even a tiny house. No matter what is your location, portable solar panels will enable you to take full advantage of green energy by harnessing the power of the sun without leaving a single carbon footprint.
Since the introduction of this amazing technology in the market, its demand is always increasing. This is the reason portable solar panels today, are available in a great diversity of styles, sizes, and price ranges.
Of course, some products excel others in terms of functions and features they offer. It gets difficult for the newbie to shortlist the best product out of them all. Always remember, a good portable solar panel will be versatile, safe, simple to maneuver, easy-to-install, and will offer the ability to harness a great deal of energy.
To make it worth it, we have formulated a buyer’s guide to suggest things you must consider while buying a portable solar panel and have suggested some of the vest products in the market later in this article.
Things to look out for in a Portable Solar Panel
First thing first. You will have to see what technology and materials have been used in making that solar panel.
The most common in the market today are crystalline panels. They can be further classified into monocrystalline and polycrystalline models which are used in both off-grid and on-grid solar panel systems. The former has an edge over the other as they are more efficient, thus more suitable for portable needs.
The second type is thin-film panels. These are more flexible, occupy lesser space, thus are more portable, but are less efficient than monocrystalline types. Again, there is no hard and fast formula to pick the technology, your preference will be the best judge.
The efficiency of solar panel
The efficiency of a solar panel influences almost all of its other factors, and this is the most important factor. It is the measure of the rate at which the energy is converted from the sunlight to DC. It is the same current that powers your home and appliances.
A general observation suggests that the smaller panels, which are lightweight, more portable, tend to perform better and have good numbers in terms of efficiency. What we learned is that you do not need to compromise on mobility by buying a bulky model when a lightweight panel can perform exactly perform the same job that too more efficiently.
Weight of the portable solar panel
Weight is not a great issue as far as you are buying a reliable portable panel. Otherwise, if you are not sure about the reliability and efficiency, you should go for the lightweight, small models. This will ensure good maneuverability and portability.
Especially when you are on the move, camping, or hiking, a lightweight panel has a huge advantage. Other bonus features are USB charging ports and foldable designs.
Power Storage Capacity of portable solar panel
You can only choose the power output and storage capacity options only when you know at first the amount of power you need from your portable solar system.
For example, if you are planning extended camping or RV trips, you’ll need extra power. On contrary, if you only want to charge mobiles, small devices, run devices like lights and kitchen appliances, a small solar panel with average storage capacity will do.
In any case, you should first estimate the expected utilization of power and then select corresponding wattages of the solar panel.
For solar panels, the rule is the same as for other tech products. Higher the prices, better the quality. If you want to buy more durable panels, with higher efficiency and extra features, you will have to spend some more money upfront. Spending the extra money may be well worth it for a high-quality product, especially if you plan on using your portable solar devices regularly.
Best Portable Solar Panels to buy for traveling in 2021
Renogy is our pick for the overall best portable solar panels in the market. Renogy is known for producing quality power products like portable solar kits, deep cycle batteries, charge controllers, inverters, and wires.
With its compact design, this lightweight product includes an entire solar power system and is a ready-to-go solution for the off-grid market.
The solution includes two 50W monocrystalline 12V panels, an amazing integrated waterproof Voyager charge controller that is already wired and connected in the backside of the panel, and a 10 ft. cable with alligator clips.
Its other incredible features include the reliable and adjustable corrosion-resistant aluminum stand that includes a protective casing and a heavy-duty handle.
Moreover, the Voyager waterproof charge controller is compatible with lead-acid and lithium battery packs, including GEL, AGM, and flooded batteries; covering all the storage options in the market.
- Efficient energy conversion rate
- Lightweight, durable design
- Large surface area
- The stand supports and directs the face towards the sun
- Small yet highly effective
- A bit spacious.
There is no competition to Big Blue 28W Foldable Solar Panels when it comes to overall performance. This panel is by far, the most consistent and efficient portable power source we have reviewed.
There are surely other options in the market that look flashier, and charge faster, but none of them is as consistent as this one in the overall performance.
Whenever your electronics devices need a boost, this amazing solar panel charger will deliver a substantial charge in various conditions. About its features, we love the built-in ammeter and the zippered accessory pouch.
We also appreciate this panel’s simplicity and reasonable price tag. With two USB ports and a classic fold-out design, the Big Blue is an excellent all-arounder that will efficiently charge most small gadgets.
- Very efficient
- Built-in Ammeter
- Functions in marginal conditions
- Classic fold-out design
- Built-in ammeter and auto-restart function
- Struggles to charge multiple devices
The Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase series is one of the top durable and portable solutions in the market.
Its unmatched durability comes from its solid-built module that has been manufactured with tempered glass, an aluminum frame, and reinforced corners. It makes Goal Zero Boulder an ideal option for outdoor situations.
Another good feature about this model is its integrated removable kickstands that allow you to tilt your solar panel up to 45-degrees to increase energy production across the day. You can now make the most of the summer season power harvesting which is when most outdoor activities are present.
A very unique characteristic from Goal Zero is that the Boulder 100 panel can only be connected in parallel with the 8 mm barrel jacks, this is done to increase safety for the user as the whole system stays within 12V.
Finally, Boulder 100 includes a briefcase that allows you to put your panels in a safe case ideal for portability and to take your panels where ever you want to go without damaging them.
- Lightweight and Durable
- Reliable performance
- Portable with a carrying bag
- Removable kickstands
- Aluminum construction
- Monocrystalline solar cells
- Longer lasting is questioned
The most versatile portable solar panel found in the market is the Jackery Solar Saga. Jackery has been designing premium-quality solar panels for nearly a decade.
This Solar Saga panel is specifically designed to support the outdoor lifestyle or even tackle an unexpected power outage. With a conversion efficiency rate of more than 23 percent, it can harness enough energy to power multiple devices, cameras, camping equipment, and more.
Equipped with multiple USB outlets, it is also capable of charging several items at the same time. The Jackery Solar Saga panel is more expensive than most other portable panels, but sometimes versatility and quality come at a high price.
Though this works very efficiently, it is a bit heavier than other selections. So long as your account for the weight, it is a well-suited option for various charging tasks.
- Plenty of Ports
- Can Power anything within <1000W
- Sleek & Durable
- Fan Runs Quiet
- Slow Charging
Featuring a unique structure, this solar panel offers a full 2.4 amps at each independent port. The structure itself is highly efficient, working at rates up to 23.5 percent.
It offers sufficient energy to power multiple devices, provided they are of reasonable power demand.
Since it is made out of a high-grade polymer, it removes the risk for breakage and comes with a reinforced backing made of heavy-duty polyester. This adds a lot of ease to use and protects the panels themselves.
When open, it is over two feet wide, and when it’s folded, it is less than one foot. Resting on itself as a stand, it is efficient, compact, and ideal for on-the-go use.
- Easy to fold and carry
- Charges small smart devices
- Easy to connect
- Works reasonably quickly
- Requires a lot of direct sunlight
Portable Solar Panels are a great invention for those who want to escape the ordinary. All the products mentioned above come from notable brands and are found to be very consistent, portable, and functional. If you too are a travel enthusiast, make your preferences and choose any of the above models to make your next trip to nature worth it.