With phones that only have a day’s worth of battery life at best, you may find yourself wondering about solar powered phone chargers. Who wouldn’t want to be able to just let their phone charge during a day in the sun?
Do solar powered phone chargers work? Yes, solar powered phone chargers will charge your cell phone, but they typically take longer and only work in strong sunlight.
Depending on your lifestyle, phone battery, and other needs, you may find that a solar powered phone charger is perfect for you. Other people may not find such success in them. Read on to learn more about these new chargers.
Solar Powered Phone Chargers: The Basics
Solar powered cell phone chargers work by using small solar panels to create energy to charge your phone’s battery, either the battery directly or through your phone, depending on the model. This is useful when you’re on the go and don’t have a way to charge your phone normally.
Solar powered cell phone chargers are only as good as the model. You have to be careful when going to purchase one, as cheaper models will break or stop working quicker than one of higher quality.
Most solar powered chargers aren’t just for cell phones, but anything that charges off a USB cord. This also means you can charge any kind of phone off this without worry about a built-in plug that doesn’t fit your phone.
Do You Need Direct Sunlight to Use a Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger?
The model of charger you buy really changes the answer to whether they need direct sunlight. Cheaper models tend to require direct, bright sunlight, while higher quality chargers will be able to collect a charge from more overcast days.
Typically, solar powered cell phone chargers do best in direct sunlight, especially if they’re the small, portable kind. This is because the small, portable models aren’t large enough to have a large solar panel or panels to offer more energy.
While some solar powered cell phone chargers are designed to be used while in the sun, charging, others are meant to store energy gathered from the sun at one point so you can then use it later. Make sure to check your model before purchase to clarify which type it is.
Why Use Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers?
You’ve probably owned a portable charger before, and you’ve probably had it fail on you, unless you invested in it and got a high quality one that’s built to last. Why buy a solar powered cell phone charger instead of a regular, portable phone charger?
While traditional portable chargers require regular charging sessions themselves, solar powered cell phone chargers are designed to never have to be plugged in. This is perfect for long camping trips, as you can keep your phone charged without having to bring a massive portable charger.
Most solar chargers are also made so you can charge your device and the charger at the same time. This means that as long as your phone is plugged into the charger and the charger is in the sun, you’ll never run out of battery.
Why Not to Use Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers?
If solar powered cell phone chargers are so great, then why don’t we all use them, and why aren’t they easier to find? It breaks down to price, mainly, and the time it takes to charge.
Traditional portable chargers are less expensive to make than solar powered ones, so they’re cheaper. They’ll also work regardless of the weather as long as you’ve charged it. Solar chargers don’t always work on overcast days, especially the cheaper models.
If you do buy a solar phone charger, make sure to go ahead and spend the extra money to get a good one. Just like with traditional charging banks, you can buy cheap version and expensive versions. The quality ones will last longer and work better in dim sunlight.
The last drawback to solar chargers is the time they take to power your device. Again, unless you’re willing to buy a quality charger, you’ll have to wait up to ten to twelve hours to full charge your phone.
Are There Cell Phones Can’t You Use Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers With?
Everyone knows how disappointing it is to think your friend has a charger you can borrow only to realize it’s an Android charger when you have an iPhone. Are there any chargers you need to beware of if you have one or the other?
Typically, no, you don’t need to worry at all about your phone not working with a solar powered charger. The one exception is if you have a phone that doesn’t have a cord ending with an USB. In this case, you’ll have to contact the company about what else you could do.
What to Look for in a Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger
There’s a few things you need to look at when purchasing a portable cell phone charger, especially when you’re looking at solar powered cell phone chargers. There are some great options out there, but also some bad ones. Here are some keywords to look into:
- Durability. How do the reviews say it holds up? If you drop it once, will you break the solar panels off for good? How durable of a charger you need is up to you, but generally, the tougher the charger, the better. You’ll probably drop it a few times.
- Portability. Okay, if we could all carry around generators with us, we could all constantly power all our devices. But we aren’t able to carry something that large on a regular basis. Make sure you aren’t buying something bigger than you can easily transport beside your phone.
- Backup battery. A lot of solar powered chargers come with another way to charge them. If this is your only way to charge your phone when you’re on the go, you definitely need another way to charge it on the rainy, dark days.
- Power output. How much power can it hold and then transfer to your device? How many charges could you get out of it? If you’re looking to charge your tablet multiple times a day, you’ll need more power than one designed to just boost a phone occasionally.
- Cost. Of course, you need to know your budget. You can spend anywhere from $20 on a supplemental charger or $200 or more on models made to last through multiple charges.
Where Do I Find Quality Solar Powered Cell Phone Chargers?
Now that you know what solar powered cell phone chargers are, how they work, and what to look for in one, where do you find them?
Online, of course! This gives you the best selection. This is something easily found on Amazon. Here’s a couple of my recommendations to get you started.
The Best Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger for Topping Off Your Phone
X-Dragon Solar Power Bank is ideal for your basic phone charging needs. If you’re going off to camp for days, this isn’t what you need. However, if you just want a solar alternative to your portable charger, this is a great option.
The Best Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger for the Average Camper
BigBlue’s Solar Battery Charger is perfect for the camper who won’t be out forever but will be gone for a bit. It’s still compact and folds up, out of your way, but is strong enough to charge your phone more than once. It’s also big enough to successfully charge from the sun quickly.