The best battery bank solar phone chargers

Let’s face it: while our phones keep getting better, their batteries are not. We are always struggling to keep the darn things charged, especially when we’re out and about: on a road trip, during camping, at a festival, or even while spending the day in the park.

The good news is that there is now an easy solution – ‘solar phone chargers’. These chargers allow us to combine the free and abundant power of the sun with the magic of solar panels to ensure we’ll never be without a backup for charging our phones, no matter where we are.

portable solar panels absorbing the sunlight on a mountain

*Note: This is an unbiased review: we have no financial ties with any of the companies mentioned, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing.

Solar phone chargers (also referred to as ‘solar cell phone chargers’ and ‘solar-powered phone chargers’) are gaining popularity as they progressively become more efficient, durable, and less expensive. And there are virtually thousands of options available online.

The problem is that many of these new products are of questionable quality – and it can take a lot of work to find the one that properly fits your needs. But don’t worry, we did the hard work for you and scoured the internet for the best solar-powered phone chargers.

There are two main types of solar phone chargers:

  1. Direct solar cell phone chargers
  2. Battery bank solar phone chargers

We present to you our list of the best-rated direct and battery bank solar phone chargers.

An important thing to note about solar phone chargers: they are slow and are only meant to function as a source of backup power. If you compare their charging speeds and reliability with a standard power plug, you will be very disappointed!

What are direct solar cell phone chargers?

These chargers connect solar panels directly to a phone through a USB cable. They are the simplest and most efficient form of solar phone chargers you can buy. Solar power is sent directly from the solar panels to the phone.

Advantages of direct solar cell phone chargers: 

  • Portable
  • Efficient
  • Robust
  • Weather-resistant

Disadvantages of direct solar cell phone chargers:

  • They only work when there is sunlight
  • Performance fluctuates, depending on the intensity of sunlight
  • Slow to charge the phone

The best direct solar cell phone chargers for 2020

Here are the three best-rated direct solar cell phone chargers currently on the market:

3. Anker 21W dual USB solar phone charger

Anker’s solar phone charger makes it to our top three, thanks to some great reviews. Anker uses three 15W highly efficient (21.5% – 23.5%) SunPower solar panels. Weighing just 14.7oz, this solar charger is the most lightweight and compact variation in this category.

So, if you want to use some of that free solar power during a camping trip without making your backpack heavier, this is your best bet.

Note: Anker’s solar phone charger is no longer listed on the company’s website, but is available on Amazon.

 The three solar panels of the Anker cell phone charger being displayed. A man hiking with the Anker cell phone charger attached to his backpack

Anker’s lightweight and compact solar cell phone charger. Image source: Amazon

Price: $119.99

Specs: Three 5W solar panels, 2 USB ports, 3ft Micro USB, Size: 11 × 6.3 (folded) / 18.1 × 11 (opened), Weight: 13.2 oz.

Pros: Compact and lightweight. It comes with an 18-month warranty.

Cons: Customer reviews suggest the charger may not be compatible with some phones; be sure to check compatibility before purchasing.

Compatibility: As per its Amazon listing: iPhone 7 / 6s / Plus, iPad Pro / Air 2 / mini, Galaxy S7 / S6 / Edge / Plus, Note 5 / 4, LG, Nexus, HTC and more.

2. Nekteck 21W solar phone charger

The Nekteck 21W charger grabs the second spot. The charger has great ratings online and also shows up in several lists of the best solar phone chargers on the market.

If you are looking to give this solar charger thing a try on your next trip but want to spend the least amount of money possible, then the Nekteck should be your go-to option.

The three solar panels of the Nekteck solar cell phone charger being displayed. The multiple layered protection for the panels

The Nekteck solar cell phone charger is compact and boasts three efficient solar panels made by SunPower. Image source: Nekteck

Price: $49.99

Specs: Three 7W SunPower solar panels with 21% – 24% efficiency, Two USB ports with up to 2.0A max output per port or 3.0A overall, which makes it 5V/3.0A = 15W overall max output, Smart charging solution technology, Net weight – 18oz, Size – 6.3x 11.1x 1.06 inch (when folded).

Pros: Ultra-lightweight and compact. The SmartIC charging technology allows each port to intelligently identify your device and seeks to maximize its charging speed. Highly durable, water and dust-resistant design. 12-month warranty.

Cons: Might not work in cloudy conditions. Charging times are long and you might need an additional battery bank to get the most out of this charger. The additional charger can be left attached to the panels and then used to charge the phones when needed.

Compatibility: Their website lists the following compatibility for the Nekteck 21W solar phone charger: Compatible with all iPhones, tablets, GPS, cameras and other USB-supported devices.

1. BigBlue 3 28W solar phone charger

Easily one of the top-rated solar phone chargers, the BigBlue 3 is our number one pick for this category. A good solar phone charger is the one that strikes a balance between generating a sufficient amount of solar energy while also being easy to carry around.

With its four efficient SunPower solar panels that fold into a compact little bag, BigBlue 3 comes out on top. The BigBlue 3 charger shows up in almost every list of the best solar phone chargers you can buy.

If you are not expecting consistently sunny days on your trip, then don’t worry, as this charger will produce electricity even on relatively cloudy days. This is not the lightest or the cheapest direct solar cell phone charger you can buy, but if a few extra ounces and a few additional dollars don’t make a big difference to you, then the BigBlue 3 should be a no-brainer.

The four solar panels of the BigBlue 3 cell phone charger displayed on top of a rock. A man hiking with the charger attached to his backpack and two people standing next to a spread-out BigBlue 3 solar cell phone charger.

Our top pick, the BigBlue 3, with its four solar panels and a compact design. Image source: BigBlue

Price: $59.99

Specs: Four 7W SunPower solar panels with 21.5% – 23.5% efficiency, Three USB ports with a total of 5V/3.4a= 17W max current, Net weight – 20.6 oz.

Pros: It is extremely well-priced. Reviews consistently claim that the charger provides decent output in cloudy conditions, as well. The BigBlue 3 auto-resets when it loses contact with sunlight, allowing for a clean restart as soon as sunlight is detected.

Cons: One of the biggest cons for the BigBlue 3 solar panel charger is that with its four panels, it is bulky.

Compatibility: Their website says it’s compatible with: iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 5SE, iPhone 8, X, iPad Air, Air2, mini2, mini3, mini4, GoPro Android Devices such as Samsung S6 S6 Edge, S7, Nexus 6, 6p, and more.

DSLRs with a compatible USB cable.

Devices need a 5V input voltage (no extra voltage). This solar charge does not support the iPad Pro.

What are battery bank solar phone chargers?

These chargers have solar panels and a battery bank, turning them into a hybrid version of a battery bank and direct solar panel charger.

The whole point of a solar-powered phone charger is to work as a source of backup power in places where grid power is not available. A battery bank solar-powered phone charger allows us to access power even when the sun isn’t out.

Advantages of battery bank solar phone chargers:

  • More reliable
  • Can be used to charge devices daily
  • Faster, better quality phone charging
  • Greater compatibility with a wider range of phones and chargers
  • Added feature of a flashlight

Disadvantages of battery bank solar phone chargers:

  • Small solar panels generate very little power and cannot be used as a primary source to charge the battery
  • Exposure to too much heat can shorten a battery’s lifespan
  • Adding an extra device between the sun and your phone results in some loss of electricity along the way

The best battery bank solar phone chargers for 2020

Here are our recommendations for the top-rated battery bank solar-powered phone chargers.

3. BEARTWO 10000mAh ultra-compact external batteries

The BEARTWO solar battery is our third pick for this category. It has good reviews online and among the hundreds of single-solar panel battery bank phone chargers on the market, BEARTWO might be the best choice.

As with all chargers that have a single solar panel, this charger cannot be reliably charged by the sun. But if you want an efficient, durable, and super-light battery bank with solar cells attached to it, then you can’t beat the BEARTWO.The solar panel attached to the battery bank with some of its features displayed.

The sleek-looking BEARTWO solar phone charger. Image source: Amazon

Price: $24.98

Specs: Capacity: 10000mAh, Output: 5V/1A +5V/2.1A, Product Dimensions: 5.51 x 2.95 x 0.7in, Net Weight: 7.4oz, Battery Type: Li-Polymer Battery, Two USB charging ports.

Pros: Durable, water-resistant, dust-resistant and shockproof. Weighing 7.4oz, this is the lightest solar phone charger on our list. Gets fully charged in about 4-5 hours (from a power socket), it can then charge an iPhone 8 completely about four to five times.

Cons: Charging the battery with solar will be next to impossible. It can take days or even weeks for the battery to charge fully on solar.

Compatibility: Their website lists that it’s compatible with iPhone, Samsung, Android phones, Windows phones, GoPro camera, GPS, tablets, and most USB charging devices.

2. POWOBEST wireless power bank 20000mAh

With three solar panels and a reliable battery bank, the POWOBEST solar phone charger is one of the best phone chargers out there. This is the only solar phone charger on our list that has wireless charging capability. It also has some of the highest-rated reviews for any solar phone chargers online.

With a durable and efficient battery bank that manages a slow charge from solar and the wireless charging capability, the POWOBEST will make for a great add-on to any camping or hiking trip.

The solar panel attached to the battery bank with some of its features displayed.

POWOBEST solar phone charger with its three solar panels and a battery bank. Image source: Amazon

Price: $24.55

Specs: Capacity: 20000mAh / 3.7V (74Wh), Solar charging: 5.5V = 600mA, Input: 5.0V = 2.0A, Output 1 / 2:5.0 V=2.1A (Max), Wireless output: 5.0V = 1.0A, Size: 7.2 x4.4 x 1.8in, Weight: 22.4oz, Grade A Li-Polymer battery.

Pros: The battery can be charged either by solar panels or from any conventional power socket. Wireless charging capability. It can charge three devices simultaneously. All panels are foldable, water/dust resistant and shockproof.

Cons: Solar charging will be slow.

Compatibility: As per its Amazon listing: Compatible with almost all 5V devices such as iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, HTC, LG, Nexus, Tablet, camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and more.

1. Hiluckey solar phone charger 25000mAh

Drum roll, please…our pick for the top battery bank solar phone charger is: Hiluckey!

Most battery bank solar phone chargers can take days or even weeks to fully charge. They all come with small solar panels that act more like a design feature than an actual source of generating power, and what good is a solar phone charger that doesn’t charge with the sun?

The Hiluckey solar charger 25000mAh comes with a foldable flap which carries four solar panels, making it a viable option for being charged through sunlight. With solar panels that can actually be used, a battery bank to go with it, and its excellent online reviews, this charger is our top pick.

Really, this charger ticks most of the boxes. It is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable way to charge their phones while outdoors.

The Hiluckey solar phone charger spread out on a rock with its four solar panels on display.

The Hiluckey charger with its four solar panels and a battery bank is one of the best solar phone chargers available. Image source: Amazon

Price: $46.99

Specs: Capacity: 25000mAh, Two USB ports, Four solar panels capable of generating 5W / 1A of power, Li-polymer battery, Input (Max): 5V /1.8A, Output (Max): USB 5V/2.1A, Total weight (with solar panels): 18.9oz.

Pros: The battery can be charged by solar panels or from a power point. It has four foldable solar panels, which is more than most other solar phone chargers in this category. Waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. It comes with a 12-month warranty.

Cons: The four solar panels are small and produce a lot less electricity than the direct solar phone chargers do.

Compatibility: The company website says it is compatible with almost all the 5V devices like the iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, HTC, LG, Nexus, Tablet, camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and more.

Wrap-up: The 6 best-rated solar-powered phone chargers for 2020

Nowadays, our phones are an essential part of our lives – we simply can’t live without them! Having a solar phone charger can provide us with a reliable way to keep our phones charged at all times, no matter where we are.

Here is our pick of the top 6 solar phone chargers that are worth buying in 2020.

BigBlue 3 28W Solar Charger

Nekteck 21W Solar Charger

Anker 21W Dual USB Solar Charger

Hiluckey Solar Charger 25000mAh

POWOBEST Wireless Power Bank 20000mAh

BEARTWO 10000mAh Ultra-Compact External Batteries

The future of solar-powered phone chargers

The quality and efficiency of solar-powered phone chargers are getting better all the time. As solar technology continues to improve, we might one day have small solar panels capable of generating a substantial amount of power. Until that day comes, solar-powered phone chargers will only serve as a backup option and not a primary source of power.

Solar technology, though, has come a long way and installing solar panels on your home in 2020 will not only provide you with a reliable source of backup power, they can power most of your electricity needs while saving you thousands of dollars on your electric bills.

Use our one-of-a-kind artificially intelligent solar calculator to see if your house is fit for installing solar panels. It will show you how many solar panels will fit on your roof, how much they will cost, and how much money they will save you.