Our Top-5 Solar Gadgets for 2017
I update this list every year, because every year something cool emerges. Either it’s new efficiencies, or it’s new formats.
I want you to avoid giving, or receiving, a solar charger that doesn’t do the job. I will assume that you are looking for a solar charger that really works, not just a novelty piece of plastic.
So, without further introduction, here are the solar gadgets that actually work (note that you likely won’t find these at the big box stores… honestly, they don’t know what a solar charger does)
This nifty little solar charger case packs a solar panel & solar storage battery in a rugged zippered case that can attach to any backpack or bike panier rack. It has room to store your iPod, iPhone, GPS, or other small USB device safely inside. Best of all, Voltaic didn’t skip on performance… this package has 10-times the power of typical pocket solar chargers.
2W on each size of a zippered case containing a solar storage battery. You can offset all USB devices. This is the most popular choice for smartphone users.
Looking for a lightweight solar option that someone can plug their phone directly to for charge? This is one of the best. The Arc 8W provides USB devices with the power they need. Regulated, and Apple-compatible. Simple plug-n-play solar with plenty of power to get the job done quickly.
The latest edition of the popular Nomad series of personal solar chargers is lighter, and smarter than the original. Plug any USB device directly to the panel to begin charging. Connect direct to USB devices!
Tough solar package comprised of the most popular 10W USB panel, plus the ruggedized Random Order 9K battery bank. Supports all your USB devices. Smartphones, tablets, GPS, cameras, GoPro, and more.
We just had to include the latest Snow Lizard case in this list. This incredibly tough case includes an efficient solar panel on the back so you can extend the phone’s run time, PLUS it has additional battery storage built-in that more than doubles your run time. If you have an iPhone and like to play outdoors, this is your case
(the iPhone 7 case
is also here, and the iPhone 6/6S case
. The iPhone 8 case is coming soon)
So, why these 5?
First, I’ve used them all, and they work great.
Second, I don’t like solar chargers under 2 Watts that you see in big box stores. The reason is that a common device like a smart phone will take approx 12 Watt-Hours to fully charge from dead (try not to do this by the way… not good for the battery). So a 1Watt solar panel in summer months might only get you 25% of your charge (if you drain your smartphone daily). This is workable, but you’ll get only 5-10% in the shoulder seasons, and if you have other devices to charge, you will find such a small charger just won’t keep up. Look for devices with at least 3 watts of solar, and at least 15 Watt-Hours of on-board solar power storage.
That’s it for this edition.
But, before I sign-off, I will offer you this gift…
There are a lot of ‘deals’ on the web that don’t turn out to be deals in the end. I’d like to help you if I can.