Buying Guide : Portable Solar Panels

Editor: Graham Morfitt, BSc (Physics)
Modern Outpost carries a wide assortment of portable solar panels & solar chargers to meet the needs of mobile power applications.
The table below compares lightweight solar panels designed to support all electronics up to & including laptops, medical equipment, cameras & videography equipment, and more.
Want a specific solar panel added to this list? Let me know.

What To Look For…

Solar Power

  • 2¬†Watts is the bare minimum to keep up with iPods & cell phones (30-50% charge per summer day)
  • 10 Watts is my recommended minimum for laptops & typical dSLR camera use (1-3 battery charges per summer day)
  • 30+ Watts is my recommended range for significant notebook, camera, & video equipment

Solar Panel Type…

  • Crystalline panels are more efficient, meaning more power per square inch, but they need strong direct sunlight for good performance.
  • Thin-Film panels are more sensitive, and will provide better charging in higher latitudes (Canada), & in bright overcast or partial shade.

Solar Storage Battery Capacity…

  • USB battery capacity should be at least 1-2x the daily power output of the USB solar panel charging it (see noted recommendations for each panel)
  • Universal battery packs for “12V” solar panels should have capacity at least 1-2x the daily output of the solar panel charging it (see noted models)


  • Weather-resistance is an absolute must. Water-resistance is best.
  • Packability is important. These are supposed to be ‘portable’ solar panels, so be sure to note overall weight.
  • Should have grommets, straps, loops, or handles to make it easy to attach to backpacks, paniers, tents, bikes, etc.

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