Affordable Solar Gadgets

Products that Reduce Energy Consumption
For Everyday Eco-Friendly Living

Affordable solar gadgets offer a viable solution to rising energy costs and make it easier than ever to take steps toward everyday eco-friendly living.


affordable solar gadgets

By harnessing the sun's energy to power everything from iPods to cell phones, toothbrushes, lunch boxes, video cameras, watches, and even golf carts, you can make a significant impact on both the environment and your pocketbook.

Contents

Introduction

There are so many new and exciting solar power gadgets on the market today, and improved technologies have given us more ways than ever to take advantage of the sun's free energy.

We are all aware of the benefits of 'going green', but sometimes the recommended suggestions can be so overwhelming or costly that we often move it to the bottom of our 'to do' lists or put if off until a more convenient time.

Of course, we all want to do our part to take care of the earth and protect the environment, but an instant total transformation is just not feasible for most families.

Well, there is good news! We can start small, because even baby steps can make a huge difference. There are simple options to make everyday living more environmentally friendly and easy ways to use the natural resources at our disposal to conserve and support our beautiful world.

Solar power is one of the main sources of renewable energy, and for a very minimal cost, we can change the little gadgets we use everyday so that they are powered by this amazing and free resource.

We all work to take good care of our health, our children, and even our money, so shouldn't we also find importance in valuing and protecting the planet on which we live so that those we love can enjoy a healthier, happier future?

On the Go Portable Solar Power Gadgets

Everyone would love the convenience of being able to use devices such as cell phones, iPods, or hand held games anywhere and at anytime without having to be concerned about finding electrical outlets. Suddenly, camping or hiking would become much more appealing if you could enjoy all the comforts of home, even in the most remote areas with portable solar power.

Imagine how much more peaceful those long drives would be when your children can enjoy their electronic games or portable DVD players without concern of fading batteries. Whether you are RVing, traveling, camping, working on the road and need your laptop to remain charged for long periods of time, or looking for reliable back-up when the power goes out, portable solar energy offers convenient and eco-friendly on-the-go options.

Solar Power Battery Chargers

solarpowerbatterycharger

These little solar power gadgets can come in handy in many situations because they provide a power source no matter where you are. They are excellent for taking on camping and hiking trips, bicycle trails, vacations to that cabin in the woods, or a weekend relaxing at the beach.

Solar battery chargers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and allow you to use the sun to charge just about any type of battery so that you can enjoy all those little luxuries such as lights, computers, phones, cameras, or radios. Although solar power battery chargers can be invaluable when standard AC power is unavailable, not all models have the same capabilities, so it is important that you do the homework and make the right choice based on how much output you need and the cost you are willing to invest.

Styles of Solar Power Battery Chargers

Most solar battery chargers are compact, lightweight, and offer the convenience of recharging batteries or providing back-up power for a number of devices such as tools, cell phones, iPods, hand held games, flashlights, and small appliances. Choosing the best model for you will depend on the intended use as well as the style you prefer.

  • Foldable Models: These chargers contain 4-6 solar panels (although they may contain as many as 10 panels) that can be folded into a convenient carrying case that is perfect for traveling. Complete recharging typically requires 4-6 hours of direct sunlight and prices vary from $116-$600 depending on the wattage or number of panels needed.

  • Rollable Solar AA Battery Charger: These models are also great for campers or travelers and can be rolled up into a tube for easy transport. And, since some even include a waterproof option, the outdoor enthusiasts can take them along on a white water rafting adventure or a weekend fishing trip. Prices range from $200-$500.

  • Suitcase Style Charger: Shaped like a small suitcase, these chargers are still compact and lightweight, but require 1-2 days of direct sunlight to fully charge batteries. Although they can be purchased for as little $30-$45 dollars, the length of time needed for recharging may be a disadvantage depending on your intended use.

  • DIY Solar Battery Charger Kits: These kits are reasonable to purchase and include everything you will need to assemble your own AA battery charger. Most require an average of 5 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge, which may be more convenient than other available models.

  • Multi-type Chargers: These are small, weighing as little as 2-3 pounds, and are able to charge any type of battery with roughly 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.

What are the benefits of solar battery chargers?

Portable battery chargers can be useful in many situations, but they do not fit every purpose. As new technologies develop, many of the disadvantages will likely be addressed, making solar power a much more viable option for recharging devices. However, despite drawbacks, solar battery chargers provide many advantages that can make them an excellent choice, depending on the specific need.

  1. They are compact, portable, and lightweight. Many models can even fit in a purse or backpack.

  2. They are environmentally friendly, with no emissions, wastes, or offensive smells.

  3. They are user friendly.

  4. They are relatively affordable, with some models costing as little as $20.

  5. They are cost effective. By making use of the sun's rays, batteries can be recharged for free!

  6. Energy can be stored on sunnier days for use in cloudy or rainy weather.

What are the disadvantages of solar battery chargers?

As previously mentioned, solar chargers do present some drawbacks which must be considered before making a decision, so that you have realistic expectations for your purchase.

  • They need the sun. Yes, their biggest asset can also be their greatest downfall. A cloudy or rainy day may not provide enough sunlight to effectively recharge your gadgets.

  • Some models take longer than others to fully recharge. In fact, some may require several hours, so it is important to pay attention to this when purchasing, especially if you need something that will charge quickly.

  • The size of the solar panel determines how long it will take to fully recharge, which could make a difference in how compact your charger will be.

Solar Cell Phone Charger

Most of the solar cell phone chargers available today will accommodate almost any model cell phone; however, finding a good one is not an easy task. These solar power gadgets use the sun's energy to recharge your phone but many also have the option of plugging into an electrical outlet, making them perfect for any location. Since these devices often present many downfalls, most users recommend purchasing one of the hybrid models.

Styles of Solar Cell Phone Chargers

Solar cell phone chargers are available in a variety of styles including a windmill design with three panels that spread out like the blades of a fan. For something more compact and lightweight, you can use the folding style which opens up to expose 2-4 panels. This model is popular since it can also be used to charge iPods, mp3 players, and other small devices. Also, for extra convenience, you can purchase a pocket charger, which slips nicely into a purse or pocket and provides about 45 minutes of back-up power when needed.

What are the benefits of solar cell phone chargers?

These devices are great when camping, hiking, or traveling, and provide peace of mind knowing that your cell phone will work whenever needed, especially in case of emergencies.

  1. They allow you to charge your phone even when you are in remote areas or do not have access to electrical outlets.

  2. Recharging is free since it uses the sun's energy, so you will save on electricity.

  3. Back-up batteries can store energy that can be used in between regular charges.

  4. These chargers are reasonable to purchase, beginning at about $20.

What are the disadvantages of solar cell phone chargers?

Although these devices can provide many advantages, you should also understand their limitations so that you know exactly what they are capable of providing. New technologies are always being introduced, so look for new and improved models in the future that will offer more advantages than the options currently available.

  1. These devices usually need direct sunlight to store enough energy for the battery to work efficiently and will not work very well on a cloudy or rainy day.

  2. With today's highly functioning cell phones, most chargers currently on the market are not able to generate enough energy to keep up with the required power.

  3. Although they are reasonable to buy, they usually cannot provide a full charge, making them useful only as back-up energy or when used in conjunction with other power sources. In this case, you get what you pay for, with the most efficient ones costing anywhere between $50-$250. This expense may be too high, especially if you are trying to keep your cell phone bills to a minimum.

Solar Power Gadgets for Camping

Solar powered camping equipment is becoming more and more popular with the outdoor enthusiasts since it is an effective way to save on energy costs while also reducing the harm to our beautiful planet.

solar fan
  • Solar fans: solar fan These gadgets are ideal for campers when sleeping in a hot tent and can also make a great addition to your deck or backyard patio. In fact, they may even come in handy for those days when the air conditioning is not working and you want a little circulation in a stuffy room. Solar fans contain a built in panel that captures the sun's energy and uses it to rotate the blades. A basic model can cost $150, but a full charge will last 6-8 hours. More expensive models may also include lights or even radios. Definitely a worthwhile investment!
solar radio
  • Solar radios: These are not only great for campers and travelers, but can also be beneficial in a power outage. Now, you can enjoy some music around the campfire, keep up with current events even when in remote areas, or dance to some tunes at a beach party. And you can have all this without electricity charges or expensive batteries. With these radios, you can access AM, FM, Shortwave, and Emergency Broadcasting stations, and many models include extra features such as flashlights or built-in sirens. In fact, some options even contain a hand crank so your radio can be recharged on cloudy or rainy days when solar power sources are ineffective.
solar head lamp
  • Solar headlamps: Many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the convenience of solar headlamps which function like a flashlight while keeping the hands free. Most attach to a headband or hat and can also be used to recharge your cell phone or iPod and mp3 players. Some campers report that the light is not as bright on certain models and that rechargeable headlamps do not always hold a charge as long as those operated by traditional batteries. Strength of sunlight and length of recharging time may be a factor, however, they still offer a cost effective and eco-friendly way to light your path.

Solar Backpacks and Purses

Yes, you can actually use your purse or backpack to charge your phone, iPod, and other electronic devices. What will they think of next? Solar panels or fibers which are stylishly integrated into the design of the pack or purse soak up the sun's rays so you can utilize this energy to charge your everyday gadgets. Some even have battery back-ups to store energy that can be called on when direct sunlight is not available. Although solar backpacks will range in cost from $200-$300, and purses can reach an expense of more than $500, this technology is truly amazing and it is hopeful that prices will decrease as popularity and demand grows.

Solar Clothing

This new and innovative technology is taking solar energy to a new frontier. When you dress stylish and look good, you feel empowered and energized, and now fashion designers are taking this to a whole new level.

By incorporating thin film solar panels or fibers into the fabrics and designs, your clothing can actually be a source of energy that can keep you warm and power your cell phones or other small gadgets. Imagine a bikini that will charge your iPod while you are sunbathing. Or, a necktie with a special pocket that will allow you recharge your cell phone while enjoying a lunch hour walk!

Decorative panels can be added to the sleeves or collars of jackets so you can use the sun's rays to keep you warm on cool days. Although there are several concerns including cost, washing issues, style, and the need to spend excessive time in the sun, solar clothing is an interesting technology that promises positive developments for the future.

At Home Solar Power Gadgets

Did you know that the sun provides the earth with more energy in one hour than the world's population can use in an entire year? So, take advantage of this amazing energy source by making your home more efficient to save on bills as well as doing your part in cleaning up the environment and protecting the planet? Although transferring to solar energy may involve a significant investment, the government offers many rebates and incentives, so there has never been a better time to consider going green.

Solar Appliances

With growing popularity and the development of new technologies, solar appliances are becoming a more affordable and appealing option to environmentally conscious homeowners.

solar power ovens
  • Solar ovens: Also called a 'solar cooker', this appliance uses the sun's energy to cook your food by concentrating sunlight through the use of a mirror or piece of reflective metal. By concentrating the sunlight, the energy produced is more potent, creating enough heat to operate the oven. Solar ovens are reasonable, portable, available in a wide range of sizes and styles, can be used both indoors or outdoors, will not pollute the environment, and cost nothing to use. Of course, the only drawback is that they are powered by sunlight so the effectiveness could be reduced on cloudy days. However, new hybrid models are now available, allowing you to take advantage of solar energy as much as possible while also giving you the peace of mind knowing that you can call on electrical power if needed.

  • Solar water heaters: This is a great eco-friendly option because the water is heated primarily by solar energy, with little or no use of traditional power sources. A solar water heater system is set up using collector panels on your roof that will not only operate your water heater but many other appliances as well including refrigerators or air conditioners.

Solar Power Gadgets for Pools

Depending on the size and style, heating a pool for a single season can use as much energy as heating an average home for an entire year. That's expensive! Solar power options will help you reduce this cost so you can enjoy a refreshing swim without the worry of huge energy bills.

  • Solar pool heater: Most pool heaters are costly to run and emit dangerous greenhouse gases. So, why not save money and protect the environment by using the sun's energy to warm your water? And, some areas offer great incentives to help make the initial output much more feasible. Simply plug your solar pool heater into the pool's filtration system. An automatic valve will divert the water into collectors where it will be heated using solar energy and then sent back into your pool.

  • Solar heating rings: These budget friendly, inflatable gadgets connect together with magnets and can be placed on top of your pool at night to help keep the water warm. Many homeowners find solar pool rings easier to manage and clean than traditional pool covers or solar blankets, and the more reasonable cost is a great incentive as well! When the winter comes, simply deflate the rings and store them until the warmer weather arrives.

  • Solar pool covers and blankets: Some pool owners find that the complete coverage offered by solar blankets and solar pool covers are more effective in heating the water and keeping debris out. These devices may be more efficient at warming the pool than the rings, which are designed mostly to maintain or retain heat.

  • Solar dome heater: These large plastic domes surround the top of your pool much like a greenhouse and use solar energy to heat both the air and water.

Solar Toys

These toys are a great way to introduce children to the advantages of using solar energy. From solar operated toy planes, helicopters, solar toy cars, and robots children can learn about harnessing this great power source to operate everyday items while also becoming more environmentally responsible. Most kits are both affordable and easy to assemble.

Solar Lights

solar light

For several years solar energy has been used to power outdoor lights, but there are also styles and models that are designed to complement indoor dacor. Solar lighting systems consist of roof panels which collect sunlight then convert it to energy that is transferred through fiber optic cables to light fixtures within the home. Simpler options include lights that can be suction cupped to windows during the day so they can absorb sunlight for use during the evening hours. Solar tube lights are also a popular option since they are easy to install and come with simple to follow instructions.

Of course, you cannot forget the great outdoor options such as solar powered garden lights, stepping stones, decorative lamps, and spotlights. Whether used indoors or outdoors, solar lights are stylish, environmentally friendly, and much more economical than electricity.

Rising energy costs and an increased desire to be environmentally responsible has resulted in a rapidly growing interest in the benefits and uses of solar power. With new options always being introduced, it is easier than ever to begin taking steps toward everyday eco-friendly living. By harnessing the sun's energy to power everything from iPods to cell phones, toothbrushes, lunch boxes, video cameras, watches, and even golf carts, you can make a significant impact on both the environment as well as your pocketbook.


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