Portable Solar Charger

The Many Choices of Solar Gadget Chargers

A portable solar charger is a fun and easy way to try out solar technology for yourself and enjoy the convenience of having an extra power source at the ready to power your small appliances, lights, laptops, phones, cameras and more!

A portable solar charger is an excellent gadget to have on hand, especially if you like the convenience of being able to recharge your electrical devices anywhere you like. Solar chargers are ideal for traveling, camping, hiking, or any other activity you may enjoy away from the creature comforts of your own home.

How Does a Solar Charger Work?

Let's make this explanation as easy as possible. Truthfully, most people, unless they're very technical minded, just want to know the basics of how something works, so we'll keep it simple.

Solar chargers have solar panels. The solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that capture the sun's energy and transform it into electricity. That electricity is then transferred to electrical devices by way of plugs or USB cables and, voila, you have power.

These chargers also have storage batteries that hold on to any excess energy that was gathered, but not used. That way, you have additional power stored for another time.

What Can You Power with a Portable Charger?

It's automatic for many people to think that they can use a solar powered charger to recharge small gadgets like cellular phones and MP3 players, but several of the solar chargers on the market today can power those two items and a whole lot more!

Here is a list of items you could potentially power or re-charge using the energy you get from a solar powered charger. It's important to note here that not all chargers are identical, so it's always a good idea to read up on specific models to see what the capabilities are before buying.

Creative and Fun Ways to Utilize Your Solar Charger

  • Power tools - yes!

  • Cellular phones

  • iPods

  • iPads

  • MP3 players

  • Nintendo DS handheld game

  • PSP

  • FRS radios

  • GMRS radios

  • GPS units - handheld units

  • Laptop computers

  • Portable amplifiers

  • RV appliances

  • Camping lights

  • Small televisions

  • Cameras

  • Netbooks

  • Battery operated speakers

  • Small appliances

  • Findme 911

  • Satellite phones

  • Boats - small appliances and lights

  • Batteries

  • Blackberry devices

  • LED lamps

  • LED flashlights

  • LED book lights

Styles of Solar Chargers - Easy to Transport

The styles of solar chargers are changing all the time, so new styles and models are coming to market pretty regularly.

You can find chargers that are very compact and look like a miniature suitcase, others like a small checkbook, a few that look like a box, roll-up solar chargers, fold-up chargers, and still others that resemble a small laptop with a hard shell.

They're all typically very lightweight, but some are less heavy than others.

Choose a portable solar charger based on how much output is needed along with the style you like and the cost of the gadget.

A Few Popular Favorites

  1. iSol Plus Portable Solar Charger - an excellent gadget for anyone who loves technology! You can charge your gadgets two different ways: use the free energy from the sun or plug in to your computers' USB port.

    Charge everything from an iPod, PSP, MP3 player, Nintendo DS, PDA, or cell phone. This particular model comes standard with adaptors for charging Samsung and Motorola cellular phones.

  2. Premium Solar Charger by XTG Technology - fantastic little gadget that is solar powered so you can re-charge your cell phone, camera, hand-held gadgets, MP3 players, and any other gadget that has USB capability!

    Additional features include suction cups so you can attach it to your windshield while you drive so it can soak up the sun's energy and a reading light if you need something extra to see at night.

  3. China Vision's Portable Solar Panel Battery Charger - do you travel frequently and need to power a laptop or cellular phone regularly? This portable solar charger is compact with a hard outer shell for protection.

    It features two solar panels, 8 voltage settings, and 16 adapters! This little gadget can power not only your laptop and phone, but also electronic devices like iPods, iPads, MP3 players, and more.

    It takes a minimum of 12 hours to re-charge via the sun or as much as 20 hours, depending on how strong the sun is shining. Hooked up directly to a power source, it can re-charge in 4 to 6 hours.

  4. SolarUno 11 Solar Charger by SolarFocus - marketed for charging MP3 players, but also has the capability to charge Bluetooth devices, GPS systems, PDAs, mobile phones, iPods, AAA NiCd batteries, and NiMh rechargeable batteries.

  5. Elite Series Solar Kits - many people love this kit! It contains portable solar power for recharging just about any handheld or small electrical appliance you can think of, plus it can power up satellite phones too! Compact, durable, and lightweight, this is a top favorite when it comes to portable solar chargers.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Portable Solar Chargers

Portable solar chargers are very handy and can make all the difference if electrical outlets are not available to you for recharging your electrical gadgets. Just like any new technology, solar has its benefits and its drawbacks. Let's look first at the benefits of this type of technology.

The biggest advantage of solar chargers is that they make use of the sun's energy, which doesn't cost a single cent to use! If the sun is shining, then your charger has the opportunity to soak up the sun's rays and then charge your electrical device.

Another great benefit of solar chargers is that they're environmentally friendly. They don't put out waste, smells, or pollution into the environment.

Solar chargers are relatively affordable. Some cost as little as $20 to power small items like MP3 players and cell phones. Others are a bit more expensive - several hundred dollars - but will charge several different types of electrical gadgets for you.

One of the drawbacks of chargers that operate on solar is that the sun doesn't shine every day. There will inevitably be cloudy and rainy days when the sun doesn't peek out at all. On those days, having a portable solar charger at the ready doesn't really help.

Another drawback is that some solar chargers take hours upon hours to recharge from the sun's energy. This could be important to some people who may expect a shorter turnaround time than 20 hours to charge their devices. Pay close attention when shopping to see how long it takes for that particular device to charge properly.

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