What's the best solar charger for my phone? Wait, there are solar chargers for my phone?!
Our yellow Sun is what gives Superman his powers, so of course it can also keep your phone charged while you're on the go? It's almost weird, right? Using nature to keep technology working. What a beautiful melding of the old and the new! If you can't find an outlet (because you're camping or whatever) then grab a solar charger and take advantage of the biggest battery Earth has!
Note: Yes, the Sun is powerful. No, the Sun will not charge a solar battery bank/charger as quickly as a wall outlet. You will have to be patient with these.
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite
The Wirecutter's top choice for best battery bank also belongs at the top of our list. Anker makes excellent charging products and the PowerPort Solar Lite fits in well. This 15W charger is very thin (0.7 inches folded or 0.2 open) and lightweight (12.5 ounces), making it perfect for long treks where lightening your load is imperative.
This solar charger is so efficient that you can charge two devices simultaneously, and it can charge at up to 2.1 amps in direct sunlight, making it about as fast as regular chargers under ideal conditions. Without an actual battery, you don't have to wait for the PowerPort to charge up — just grab it and hit the trails.
Comes with a 3-foot Micro-USB cable and is priced around $50.
Diuzaul's solar charger is one of Amazon's best sellers and 73% of its reviews are 5 stars. Its size makes it ideal for camping or hiking, and it's waterproof, so if you're traversing waterfalls, you won't kill it. The 5000mAh battery is handy just in case you have to hide from a bear in a cave (worst place to hide, by the way) — just don't expect it to charge quickly. By opting for a smaller solar charger, you do compromise on the size of its solar panels, meaning it'll take quite a while to charge fully (even in direct sunlight). That being said, if you're looking for a portable option that can hold on to a charge in battery form, then definitely check it out (it's only about $15).
Voltaic Systems Amp
Voltaic Systems' Amp solar charger is a neat little device that features a removable 4000mAh battery, which can be charged by sunlight or via USB. The Amp has two solar panels that are waterproof and covered in a self-healing plastic that can withstand some abuse (kind of like some screen protectors). About 3.5 hours in direct sunlight should fully charge your phone (according to Voltaic Systems), which is pretty quick for most solar chargers, but that is probably under ideal conditions, so you'll wanna be patient with this one, as with all solar chargers.
Designed for the rugged life, the solar panels and battery are housed in a rugged and lightweight, water- and UV-resistant fabric made from recycled pop bottles.
If you need your solar charger to withstand a bit of the rough and tumble, go with the Amp. You can grab it off Amazon for about $90.
At about the size of a larger phone, the Ayyie solar charger is another awesome option made with portability in mind, and it's only about $22. This charger is perfect for the happy wanderer, being water, shock, and dustproof, and featuring a two-LED flashlight with multiple settings, including S.O.S. Five indicators will show you the status of the internal 10000mAh battery, and once full, you'll be able to charge most phones at least twice. Again, a smaller unit means smaller solar panels, so it'll take a long time to fully charge the battery on Sun juice alone.
Goal Zero Nomad 7
This foldable solar charger is rugged and made for the adventurous. It won't weigh you down, since it has no internal battery, but it will charge your phone quite quickly, usually within an hour or two — very fast for solar charging.
You can simultaneously charge USB and 12V devices via the three ports, and when you're finished, it folds up nice and flat for easy portability.
It's also weather-resistant, making it perfect for camping and any other outdoor activities that might keep you away from a power outlet for a while. Check it out on Amazon starting at $70.
Got a favorite?
Do you have a great solar charger for your phone? Let us know which one in the comments below!
Updated July 2017: These are still your best options for solar charging your gear!