Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Solar Charger

A solar-powered battery charger can get you out of a pickle when there’s no other electricity around.

Solar charger outside of a camping tent
The most reliable solar chargers will be lightweight, efficient, and produce a reliable amount of battery-charging power when the sun is high in the sky.Suaoki

We’ve all felt that sinking feeling when you turn a key and hear, “click…click,” instead of that comforting audible roar of an engine starting up. With all the electronics in today’s vehicles drawing a phantom load even when the vehicle is turned off, it’s even more likely you’ll run down your battery, especially if it isn’t used for long periods and in cold weather. The few bucks it takes to get a portable solar-powered charger is cheap insurance against that ever happening again.

Speed of Charge

SUAOKI 12V Solar Car Battery Charger
This solar charger outputs 18 watts and is designed as a trickle charger best used for maintaining 12V batteries.SUAOKI

How fast your battery will charge/recharge depends on the wattage of your charger and the available sunlight. Most portable solar chargers won’t have the power to jump-start a completely dead 12V battery. They are best used as a trickle charger to maintain your battery in full power.

Size/Storability

ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 10 Watts Portable Power Solar Panel
This 10 watt solar charger is highly portable (14 x 9 inches), connects to a vehicle battery with alligator clips or through a cigarette lighter, and is designed with suction cups for windshield attachment.ECO-WORTHY

Clunky chargers are hard to store and prone to being left in the garage. Portable solar chargers are streamlined, flatter and easily stored, sometimes even in a glove compartment, and can be used from inside the vehicle through windshield attachment.

Durability

SUNER POWER 12V Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer
This solar charger is built for durability and portability.SUNER POWER

Solar panel flexibility contributes to portability but can also affect durability if they’re bent too much. Look for a portable solar charger built with UV-resistant materials, minimal flex points and rugged contact wiring.

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