5 BEST Solar Power Banks Tested (in 2023). Power bank solar cell

QuadraPro Solar Power Bank with Wireless Dual USB Charging by Frog CO

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Whether you’re in need of some extra power to call for a rescue or you just want to post a picture of a gorgeous view, we believe you should be able to harness the free power of the sun. With a built-in power bank, it offers a compact design that can travel anywhere. Charge the unit quickly with a wall outlet, or charge in the sun which can take up to 12 hours.

  • Charge for FREE from the sun using the four high powered 5.5 W solar panels.
  • 8,000 mAh battery capacity (this is actual capacity, unlike other brands that overstate their capacity).
  • Charge up to 3 Devices at one time
  • Magnetic Leather Case
  • Built-in LED flashlight
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee
  • FREE Shipping on orders of 99 (USA 48)

Do not leave in a hot car in direct sunlight, the battery may overheat.

  • Solar Charging Time: About 12 hours in direct sunlight.
  • Dimensions: Closed size 6.13 x 3.38 x 1.25 inches / Open Length 13.88 inches
  • Weight: 15.7 oz.
  • Case Material: PU Leather
  • Solar Power: 5.5W
  • Input: 5V/2A
  • Flash Light: 200 lumens
  • Output: 5V/2A2A
  • Charges: Any device that can be charged by USB cable or wireless charging.
  • Package Includes: 1x Solar Power Bank, 1x User Manual, 1x Charging Cable

Free USA Shipping

Orders over 75 ship FREE to Continental United States (excluding Hawaii, Alaska and other territories).

Free Returns

Changes your mind? Free return postage within 14 days from the date delivered.

6 Months “Any Reason” Refund Guarantee

Abuse it, break it, or just change your mind? No problem, you have a full 6 month refund guarantee.

3 Year Product Warranty

If product stops working or breaks due to manufacturing defect, just let us know and we’ll replace it.

Questions?

information can be found on Shipping Policy and the Return Policy.

Looks like a quality built item

Have only charged the phone once so far. It is a solid, quality built item. Have not had the opportunity to charge using the solar panels yet.

Survival Frog

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I am glad to hear how well the QuadraPro has served you so far. Thanks for your support!

excel·lent

excel·lent al voltant de les seves vores i la funció tàctil suau li proporciona energia solar nítida a l’interior

Survival Frog

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I am glad that you are pleased with your QuadraPro purchase.

Power for accessories

Worked well for charging my phone and QuadPods. The USB connection has a little slack in it as far as connecting to phone cord but still it charges. Just had to check it often

Survival Frog

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I am glad to hear how well your QuadraPro is serving you.

Simple use

I would give it a higher rating but haven’t had the chance to use yet. I will be going on a thru hike next month so I will put it through the paces then.

Survival Frog

Thanks for sharing your feedback. Be sure to fully charge your QuadraPro in a wall outlet before using. This will greatly improve the charging ability. Have a wonderful hike!

The product that didnt really exist before Frog made it.

We were always told that you are better off buying the battery bank, and solar charger seperate, and for the most part that was very true. Frog co. changed that. Ive not seen another stand-alone solar bank that I would trust my life with. Buying the bank and panel seperatley in the market still stands as a top option, but you wont beat solar frog in the stand-alone portable solar banks. Frog needs to do more to remind people that that 4th light will not stop blinking when fully charged. Its the way its designed. Extremely quick shipping. True 8000mah charges in one day by panels. 4 hours by USB-micro. Wireless charging included and could be a life saver as much as a convienience item. Very nicely done. I like stuff that works.

Survival Frog

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I am glad to hear how well the QuadraPro is serving you. We appreciate your detailed experience 🙂

See the QuadraPro in Action

Introducing The Highest Quality

Handheld Solar Power Bank Available!

The QuadraPro Solar Powerbank is Guaranteed to Give You Limitless Free Energy For Life!

At first glance, this folding four-paneled item looks like some futuristic puzzle.

What in the heck is it for?

Well, the QuadraPro Solar Powerbank might not look like much. But it just so happens this black box solves one of the biggest problems of the 21st century.

Running out of battery juice at the worst time possible. See, those weird looking rectangular blocks covering the face of each of the panels?

Those are actually state-of-the-art energy cells. The power inside each one can fully charge your USB devices without relying on the electrical grid.

These energy cells (called photovoltaic solar cells) produce direct current electricity from the sun, so they’re super powerful.

Once the photovoltaic solar cells soak up sunlight, a special processor inside converts it into FREE, unlimited power.

And you can use that power to bring any USB charged devices back to life!

Meaning no matter where you go.

As long you’ve got the QuadraPro Solar Powerbank you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery ruining your day. or your life.

  • Camp for weeks and never once fear your electronics will die
  • Go fishing and enjoy unlimited use of your electronics
  • Power GPS devices while hunting or backpacking
  • Keep tablets and video games charged for kids and grandkids

Think about it. wherever you would need to charge your cell phone, tablet or other USB devices, you need the QuadraPro Solar Powerbank.

BEST Solar Power Banks Tested (in 2023)

We are connected to our electronic devices like never before. It’s not always a matter of social connections, but of productivity, safety, and convenience of information.

Think about what would happen if you are stuck on a long stretch of road with a dead cell phone.

We’re using our electronic devices everywhere but we’re especially using them on the road. There has been a huge trend of nomadic RV travelers who remote work from wherever they may be.

How can you avoid a dead electronic device at a critical moment? A solar power bank. It can help you through whatever situation you may encounter at home or on the road.

We decided to put the best solar power banks to the test and here’s what we found!

How We Narrowed Down the Best Solar Power Banks

Solar power banks allow you to take energy with you wherever you go.

While searching for the best solar power bank, we considered top brands known for their durability and battery life. We wanted to find solar power banks that were easy to carry and use.

We started by looking at power banks that experts recommend like REI. We made sure we understood what qualities are important in a safe and effective power bank. Then we looked at various solar power banks.

We looked into design innovators. Brands like FEELEE, Oukafen, and BEARTWO who have distinguished themselves by adding better functionality.

We searched the internet for top-rated solar power banks that owners love. We looked at top solar power banks from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.

Finally, we chose 10 of the top solar power banks and put them to the test. We’ll get right down to business and tell you why these 5 solar power banks made our list!

Best Solar Power Banks Reviewed

Product Ratings

Dimensions: 6.82×3.36×1.05 inches | Weight: 1.19 pounds | Connectivity: USB/Micro USB| Capacity: 25000mAh

  • Each solar panel can charge a device independently
  • It has a large capacity to charge multiple device over long periods
  • Can charge a device quickly
  • There have been reports of issues with customer service
  • The charger may charge slowly during wall charging
  • May take a long time to fully charge

We loved this wonderful little device because it has four solar panels which makes it able to catch a lot of sun.

It does take 25 to 30 hours in the best of conditions to fully charge this power bank. So be aware that it is not an instant fix to charging your devices.

It can charge a cell phone 12 or more times. The charger can fold up and can be stored in a case about the size of your smartphone so it is convenient to carry around.

Compact solar charger about the size of todays iPhone

One of the drawbacks is that it’s a little heavy at over 1 lb.

What sets this solar powerbank apart from the rest is that it is water-resistant and dust-resistant. Though you can’t submerse this device.

It’s completely dustproof. It comes with two USB ports so you can charge two devices at one time.

It’s sleek and functional. You might want to take a look at this power bank for all your needs!

Product Ratings

Dimensions: 6.1×3.3×1.2 inches | Weight: 1.19 pounds | Connectivity: USB | Capacity: 25000mAh

  • This device has some of the best solar charging ability on the market
  • The power bank can charge up to 10 devices
  • It is completely waterproof making it great for outdoor use
  • Can take up the 30 hours to fully charge this power bank
  • This charger is on the heavier side
  • It may not charge itself and a device at the same time

ADDTOP portable solar power bank is durable, waterproof, and has a great solar changing ability.

This solar power bank has 3 panels and can be fully recharged in 30 hours of direct sunlight.

Completely waterproof Solar Charger

What makes this such a great product is that it is completely waterproof and submersible up to 3 ft. This makes a great product for outdoor use whether it’s by the pool, in the mountains, or by the shore.

It folds up into a case that’s about the size of a smartphone which makes it quite portable even though it’s on the heavier side.

This handy solar power bank is sleek, durable, and ready for any outdoor action. You might want to think about this one if you are on an outdoor adventure.

Product Ratings

Dimensions: 6.9×3.3×1.1 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Connectivity: USB | Capacity: 26800 mHa

  • This power bank is waterproof and drop resistant
  • You can power 4 devices at one time
  • Riapow is compatible with any USB port devices with wireless charging
  • There have been some issues with wireless charging
  • Only uses a USB C charging cable
  • It may take longer to charge iPhones than other devices

We’d like to introduce you to the Riapow solar power bank. This compact device is a powerhouse and can charge multiple devices at the same time.

It’s handy, durable, and portable. This tough power bank is great for someone pulled outdoors all the time to those who work construction.

Solar Bank with powerful LED flashlight Built in

This model comes with LED lights and has cell phone wireless charging. You can charge multiple devices at one time because of the wireless charging capabilities.

It’s tough because of the rubber and plastic housing making it great for the outdoors.

If you add a carabiner to this power bank you can hang it off of your backpack or purse. Just beware that it’s a little heavier for long hauls.

The instructions recommend that you fully charge the battery with the AC power adapter before using it the first time.

Product Ratings

Dimensions: 6.46×3.35x.83 inches | Weight: 15.2 ounces | Connectivity: USB | Capacity: 30000 mHa

  • Comes with a leather sling and a carabiner for easy carrying
  • This product has customer service that will contact you within 24 hours
  • It’s dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof
  • There have been customer reported issues with the LED light
  • The charging port cover can easily snap off
  • The compass does not always work well

Ouakafen Solar Power Bank has the best capacity on this list. It’s rugged and stores a lot of energy.

This power bank is made for what life throws at you. It’s great for at home, the office, or on a road trip.

Since it’s waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, it’s perfect for rugged outdoor use. We loved that it came with a leather strap.

Durable Solar Power Bank weighs less than a pound

With the carabiner clip you can hook it onto any backpack or bag. This power bank was made to be portable. It’s one of the lighter models on this list.

We appreciated that it came with an LED light and compass for outdoor use. It has a 180-day warranty and lifetime technical support.

If you’re not satisfied they will contact you within 24 hours. This is one great power bank with a lot of capacity. What’s not to love?

Product Ratings

Dimensions: 5.51×2.95×0.7 inches | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Connectivity: USB | Capacity: 10000 mHa

  • This is the lightest model on the list
  • Can charge a device multiple times
  • Has built-in security protection so that you will not short circuit your device
  • This power bank has the smallest capacity on the list
  • The USB port covers are not reliable
  • It’s extremely slow to charge

BEARTWO is petite, light, and easy to carry. This low capacity charger is perfect for those who want to pack light. Coming in at 7.4 ounces you will hardly feel the extra weight.

best, solar, power, banks

It comes with a carabiner clip so you can carry it with you to charge. You can leave it on your dashboard to charge or charge it at home.

Extremely Light Weight Solar Power Bank at 7.4 Ounces

best, solar, power, banks

Convenience is the name of the game. It can take up to 85 hours to completely charge this power bank.

One of the issues to be aware of is that the USB covers may not always stay on. This can cause issues with the waterproofing nature of this power back.

It has an LED light and works well as a flashlight. This wonderful product is functional, reliable, and easy-to-use.

Read our related article, TOP 4 BEST Solar Flashlights For Emergency Use (Guide). Solar flashlights are a great survival tool, and we tested the BEST!

The Winner

This 4 panel product has the least amount of charge time needed. It only takes 25 to 30 hours to fully charge and can charge a cell phone 12 or more times.

It’s water-resistant and dustproof. Along with being durable and easy to pack into a smartphone size bag.

This is definitely the best!

How to Choose the Best Solar Power Bank

As you may have noticed, solar power banks may be small but they can vary greatly.

In order to develop a list of the best solar power banks, we needed to consider quite a few different factors for choosing the best devices.

Amount Of Times It Can Charge An Average Device

We decided that an average device is a smartphone because everyone has one. Those include iPhones or Samsung devices.

Older phones receive more charges out of the power banks. The more times it can charge an average device, the better.

Amount Of Time Needed To Fully Charge Using Solar Power

For many of the solar power banks on our list, the answer is a lot. That’s because the solar panels are quite small.

The batteries that they are charging generally have a large capacity. Charging them completely takes a significant amount of power.

According to the Elumis Foundation, different factors like humidity and cloudiness can affect charging times.

Solar power banks in optimal sun conditions will charge way faster than if you leave your solar power bank outside to charge on a cloudy day.

That said, getting a few hours of charge on your solar power bank is good for a few charges of your cell phone or other small device.

Don’t be alarmed by the high numbers.

It is important to remember that for some of the solar power banks, the intended use for the solar charging feature is emergencies.

It is not intended to be a primary charging source. They are not designed to charge from zero. Rather, they are designed to be a maintenance of charge. That should take much less time.

Battery Capacity

This is a bit of a tricky one. It is generally measured in mAh.

That stands for milli Ampere (Ampere is unit of current and milli-Ampere is smaller unit of current) hour and is a unit of charge.

This unit of charge tells how much charge a battery is capable of giving.

The problem is that to put any meaning to this number, you need to know how much current that the device’s battery is drawing.

That can depend on many factors. It is impossible to say exactly how this will play out in a real-life setting.

In general terms, the higher the mAh, the more charges you can expect the battery to produce.

Size And Weight

Power banks are made to be portable. We checked the dimensions and weights of each of the solar power banks.

We did that to make sure the solar panels and batteries don’t make the devices too heavy or inconvenient.

Within the list there is some variation. In general, most are not much bigger or heavier than a smartphone. They’re easily portable and finding the right size for you is important.

If you’re looking for some foldable options, check some out in our guide.

Durability And Resistance To Weather

Solar panels need to be outside to work. Solar power banks are a little bit different from regular power banks.

Check out our recommendations on solar backpacks!

Solar power banks are a great tool for people who will be backpacking or trekking, so some solar power banks need to be extra weather-resistant.

Ecomena talks about this being the best device for outdoors enthusiasts.

We looked at waterproof and dustproof ratings. As well as included covers and materials used to make the power banks.

This helped us determine their durability and resistance to weather.

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How does a solar battery bank work? | Pros and Cons

Feb 24th 2023

Buying a solar battery bank is one of the biggest investments you will make when setting up a solar installation. That’s why before you purchase your batteries you need to learn what to expect or avoid.

Our goal is to give you all the information you need to pick the right solar battery banks for your system.

In this article, we talk about:

What is a solar battery bank?

A solar battery bank can be one or several deep-cycle batteries connected in such a way that they function as one big battery in a solar installation. Think of a solar battery bank as a squad of soldiers that concentrates their efforts together to achieve a bigger goal.

A battery bank is an important part of any solar system. Why? Because battery banks store energy generated by your solar panels during the day for use during the night.

Without battery banks, all the energy generated by your solar panels during the day goes to waste and can’t be used at night.

How does a solar panel battery bank work?

Solar batteries store the power produced by your solar panels during the day. When the sun sets and your solar panels can’t continue working, that’s when the battery bank releases the stored power to be used by your devices.

During the charging phase, a solar battery bank can use other sources of power to charge besides solar panels. For example, you can use a generator, grid supply, or a vehicle’s alternator to charge your batteries.

To safely charge battery banks using solar panels you need an MPPT charge controller like the REGO 12V 60A MPPT Charge Controller for quick and effective charging.

To charge your batteries using a grid supply or a generator, you need an AC to DC Battery Charger with the same DC output voltage as your battery bank.

To charge your solar battery using an RV’s alternator, you need a 12V DC to DC On-Board Charger designed for use on vehicles.

Always use battery chargers and charge controllers that are compatible with your battery type. Some Lead-Acid battery chargers are unsuitable for use on Lithium-ion batteries.

For the best results, we recommend using batteries of the same model, age, type, voltage, and size (Ah) in your solar battery bank. A battery bank with mismatched batteries is harder to synchronize and regulate, which may lead to a fire or damage to property.

Different systems of battery banks can be composed of different types of batteries. For example, you can have a battery bank composed solely of either AGM batteries, Gel batteries, or Lithium (LFP) batteries of the same model, capacity, and voltage.

How are battery banks for solar interconnected?

Battery banks use two types of connections to output the required current or voltage:

Parallel Connection. Roughly speaking, parallel connections interconnect batteries by linking the batteries’ positive terminals together using one line and negative terminals using another. In other words, one wire loops across all the positive terminals while another wire loops across all the negative terminals. The output voltage stays the same while the current of the battery bank is the sum of each battery’s amperage.

Series Connection. In a series connection, one line connects the opposing terminals of closeby or adjacent batteries. The first battery’s positive connects to the second battery’s negative terminal. While the second battery’s positive terminal connects the third battery’s negative terminal and so on. The output voltage is the sum of the batteries’ voltage while the current of the battery bank stays constant.

This knowledge about the battery bank connection types will come in handy when you are building a battery bank for your solar. It’s also important to note that some battery banks can use a combination of both parallel and serial connections to meet the required voltage and current. You can find information on solar panel connections in another article. A Guide Between Series And Parallel Connections.

Solar battery storage cost

The cost of solar battery storage depends upon four factors:

Battery Storage Capacity. Batteries that can store more energy typically cost more than batteries of the same type that store less energy. For example, a 12V 100Ah LFP battery will always cost more than a 12V 50Ah LFP battery of the same make. So the larger the battery capacity you need, the more it is going to cost.

Battery Type. This refers to the type of materials used in the battery’s construction. Examples of battery types are Lithium-ion, Gel, and AGM batteries. Batteries made with better quality materials that are rare, safer, more durable, etc., tend to be more expensive than batteries made of common materials.

Battery Lifespan. Longer-lasting batteries cost more than their short-lived counterparts. At first, long-lasting batteries, e.g. LFP batteries, seem to cost more. But then again, due to the need to often replace short-lived batteries, they may end up being more expensive. For example, suppose a 500 12V 100Ah LFP battery lasts for 10 years while a 150 12V Lead-Acid battery lasts for two years. Over 10 years, lead acid batteries will cost you 750.

Battery Depth of Discharge (DOD). A higher depth of discharge on your battery allows access to more of the energy stored in the battery before being cut off. For instance, suppose a 100Ah battery has a 95% DOD. In that case, you can use 95Ah of the total 100Ah before the BMS cuts you off. In contrast, a 50% DOD only gets you half of the battery’s stored energy.

Other factors that influence the cost of solar batteries to some extent are:

The Safety Level of the Battery

Output Voltage of the Battery

Level of Maintenance Needed

Here is a table listing different battery types, their price, and the cost to build a 4kWh and 10 kWh battery storage.

After comparing Renogy’s three battery types, you can see that at the same voltage and capacity, the Renogy Solar Lithium Battery with the longest lifespan always costs more than other Renogy deep-cycle batteries of the same voltage and capacity.

Determine Your Solar Battery Storage Sizes

To determine the optimal size of your solar battery storage, you need to answer two questions:

Question 1: How much energy do you need from your batteries to power your electrical load/devices? This can be translated into how many devices you want to power each day with your battery bank.

Question 2:The type of your solar installation. Is it an on-grid backup system, a cost-saving measure, or a completely off-grid solar system? Each type of solar installation needs a unique battery storage size. For example, a backup solar system that only powers mission-critical devices needs small-size storage. On the other hand, a cost-saving system or an off-grid system needs a large battery storage size to become as independent as possible from the grid.

Once you have answered these two questions, you can determine the optimal battery storage size that will give you the best performance, longevity, and cost savings.

For example, the average household uses around 30kWh of energy daily. The ideal solar battery storage size is 60kWh because it extends your batteries’ lifespan due to the 50% depth of discharge. That being said, due to the high cost of batteries, a 60kWh battery bank may be out of reach for some households.

In that case, you can work out a battery bank size that is more in line with your energy needs and budget. Renogy super power calculator, to some extent, may help you determine a suitable battery system size fast.

Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Storage

Here are the pros and cons of solar battery storage with solar panels.

Pros

Reduced Energy Costs. Solar is now the cheapest source of energy alongside onshore wind. Therefore, from the moment your solar starts working, whenever you use solar power instead of grid power you are saving money in terms of the cost of energy and reduced utility bills.

Income Source. You can feed excess power from your solar battery bank and PV system back into the grid. In return, your power utility will either pay you, reallocate the power back to you during the night, or give you another type of benefit.

Backup Power for Emergencies and Power Cuts – Suppose the grid goes down and there’s no grid supply. In that case, solar batteries can keep your critical devices running during this period when everyone else has no power.

Self-Sufficiency and Independence from the Grid –- If you have enough solar panels and battery storage, you can completely break away from the grid and protect yourself from rising power utility rates.

Power Even in Remote Locations –- As long as there’s enough sunlight, you can generate solar power and power your property away from the grid. For example, a certain Youtuber, who lives on a remote farm, realized that installing a gigantic 60 kWh battery bank (50,000) was cheaper than bringing the grid to their property (60,000).

Sustainable and Environment Friendly –- Generating solar energy and storing it in a solar battery does less harm to the environment than generating, transmitting, and distributing fossil fuel energy.

Enables Solar Power Storage for Later Use – Without solar batteries, a solar system cannot reach its full potential. Solar battery banks enable solar systems to store the excess energy produced during the day for use

Cons

High Upfront Costs. Investing in solar costs quite a penny in the beginning. For instance, just purchasing all the components needed requires thousands of dollars. In contrast, grid power usually has a lower upfront cost. The good news is the cost of solar products continues to fall steadily. Not only that, but you can leverage government tax credits to lower the cost by as much as 30%.

Maintenance Requirements. A solar battery bank is not the type of system you can just install and forget about. A solar system needs constant monitoring, cleaning, and maintenance to ensure it keeps performing at optimal levels. That being said, the maintenance activities are simple and won’t take too much of your time. Examples of maintenance activities are cleaning, dusting, debris removal, tightening connections, etc.

Shorter Battery Life Spans — Solar batteries do not last as long as the rest of your solar panel system. As a result, you will probably need to replace your batteries before the rest of your system. For example, if your batteries last around 10 years while your solar panels can easily withstand over 25 years of use. You will probably have to replace your solar battery bank at least twice depending on the type of your batteries.

So is solar battery storage worth it?

Generally speaking, solar battery storage is a good investment for residential and commercial use. Without solar battery storage, you can’t enjoy all the advantages your solar installation offers.

Here’s what you need to know before you decide if solar battery storage is worth it for you:

If you live off-grid, away from any power lines, solar battery storage is something you cannot do without.

If you’re connected to the grid and your state has favorable net metering plans, solar battery storage is not absolutely crucial for your solar system. This is because all the excess energy you don’t use can be fed into the grid. At night, when your solar panels are down, you can claim the power you fed into the grid for your use. In other words, the grid will serve as your battery storage.

While you can use the grid to store power, we advise against it. We recommend using solar batteries because, if the grid shuts down during an emergency or fault, you can rely on the batteries as a backup power source.

To conclude, solar battery storage is worth it if:

You live off-grid away from any power lines.

You live in a state with unfavorable net metering policies.

You need a backup power source to tide you over emergencies and power cuts.

How to build a battery bank for solar?

So we have covered much of the theory about solar battery banks, but we haven’t talked about the practical aspect of assembling a battery bank.

To build a battery bank for solar, you need to have all the required cables, connectors, and batteries in one place.

Once you have everything ready, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create shelves or space to place your batteries. The area needs to have normal temperatures and not be exposed to extreme heat or cold.

Step 2: Place your batteries in a manner that gives the interconnecting cables easy access to your batteries.

Step 3: Securely connect all the positive terminals of your batteries using battery interconnect cables.

Step 4: Connect together all the negative terminals of your batteries using the respective interconnecting cables.

Step 5: Add the cables from the inverter and charge controller to the first and last battery bank. The positive cables should go to the first battery’s positive terminal. While the negative cables go to the last battery’s negative terminal as demonstrated in the image below.

If you need a visual step-by-step demonstration, check out the video below.

Important note: Do not connect both of the cables coming from your inverter to the same battery. Instead, connect the inverter’s positive cable to the positive terminal of the first battery. And connect the inverter’s negative cable to the last battery’s negative terminal.

For more info on how to safely work with Renogy batteries watch this video:

Best solar power banks in 2023

We genuinely believe that Renogy products are the best solar products on the market. Our products go through strict testing to ensure they perform at a high level and comply with all safety standards and certifications.

For power banks, we have two types of power banks on offer – The first offering is the range of portable power banks and solar generators. Renogy portable power banks are the best portable power banks and are highly suitable for use in RVs, campsites, and as an emergency power supply for your home. We recommend buying

the Renogy 1000 Portable Power Station that can be used in tandem with another Phoenix 1000 for more power.

In contrast, our second offering, the less portable but more powerful Lycan PowerBox power banks are the best power banks for homes and off-grid construction sites. The flagship product in this range, the LYCAN 5000 PowerBox boasts one of the biggest, expandable battery capacities on the market. It comes in at 4.8kWh, which can be expanded seamlessly to a whopping 19.2kWh of capacity.

best, solar, power, banks

If you are looking for the best power banks, look no further than Renogy. We have the best portable power banks to suit any budget, place, or purpose.

Related articles:

Solar Panel, Power Bank or Both for Backpacking?

Not sure whether to bring a solar panel or power bank on your hike? As one backpacker said, “”It seems like we go through this same question, again and again.” The quick answer is:

For weekend backpacking trips, you probably don’t need any power source other than maybe some spare batteries. For trips 3-7 days, a power bank should be enough to recharge devices. On longer trips where you can’t get to town to recharge, you will need a larger solar panel or a smaller solar panel plus a power bank.

But let’s be clear here: there is no one best power source.

There are simply too many different variables like the season, weather conditions, length of breaks and device power requirements. The technology is also rapidly changing. Battery life is getting better and there are now plenty of options for ultralight power banks and more reliable lightweight solar panels.

Below are the most important things to consider when choosing which backpacking power setup makes most sense for you.

What Are Your Power Needs?

Before you even start thinking of whether you need a solar panel or just a power bank, calculate your power needs. You’ll need to calculate the battery capacity of each device as well as its power usage. Based on this, you should be able to figure out how often you’ll need to recharge the device.

By using your devices smartly, you can drastically cut back on power needs. For example,

  • A Garmin inReach should last you weeks if you only turn it on when sending messages.
  • Bringing a GPS device will use less battery than if you use your phone for navigation.
  • Keeping your phone in airplane mode and disabling unnecessary apps will allow the phone battery to last much longer.

Reliability of Solar Panel vs. Power Bank

When it comes to reliability, a power bank is better than a solar panel. You know exactly how much power you have. You can recharge at any time of day, regardless of weather conditions. And power banks do better in bad conditions, such as extreme temperatures, than solar panels.

By contrast, solar panels are notoriously unreliable. If reliability is what you need, then it’s better to bring a massive power bank than a solar panel.

SHTF Factor

When a power bank is dead, it is dead. By contrast, a good solar panel ensures you will eventually be able to recharge your devices. Sure, you might have to wait 2 days for a storm to pass to get enough sunlight to trickle charge your satellite messenger to 3%, but at least you have that option!

In this sense, a solar panel is better than just a power bank for backpacking. I like to call it the “SHTF factor.”

How much should the SHTF factor matter?

Would it, for example, completely ruin your trip if your camera battery went dead and you couldn’t take photos until the next recharge at town? If yes, then it’s probably worth the weight of carrying a solar panel. If not, then just bring a power bank.

And, while many backpackers like to believe they are invincible, bear in mind that bad things do happen. It’s not worth shedding 6oz from your pack weight if your safety is put at risk by letting your navigator battery die.

How often will you be able to recharge the power bank?

If you can’t get to town to recharge your power bank, then your only options are to: bring a bigger power bank or use a solar panel. When you do the math, it might be lighter to bring a solar panel.

Is the trail popular?

Here’s something backpackers often forget about when planning power bank recharges: it’s first come, first serve.

While I’ve never had this happen to me, I’ve heard of people having to wait hours for their turn at a wall charger. Some hikers said they ended up paying for motel rooms just so they could recharge devices.

Tip: If you do plan on recharging in town, get an 18w wall charger with two ports. You’ll be able to charge multiple devices much faster (or can e slot with another backpacker). Also make sure it is slim in profile so you won’t take up two slots.

Weight of Solar Panel vs. Power Bank

Remember that there is such thing as stupid light. It’s not worth shedding a few ounces from your pack if it means your crucial devices might die on you! So weight really shouldn’t be your first concern when choosing between a solar panel and a power bank.

Since weight is always a factor when backpacking though, here are some good guidelines to go by:

  • Bring spare batteries unless the weight of all batteries is more than that of a power bank.
  • Bring a power bank unless the weight of the power bank is more than that of a reliable solar setup.

Convenience

When it comes to convenience, power banks are usually much better than solar panels.

To use a solar panel backpacking, you really need to lay it out completely flat and have it aimed directly at the sun. Hanging it from your backpack is not a good way to recharge. If you spend most of the daylight hours hiking, then it will be incredibly inconvenient to use solar panels on your hike. You’d have to take the solar panels and devices out on each break to utilize the sunlight.

On the flip side, power banks can be inconvenient on long hikes if it means you’ve got to plan trips to town just to recharge – not to mention the hours you spend waiting for it to recharge.

Are your devices trickle-charge compatible?

Another aspect of the solar vs. power bank debate that gets overlooked is trickle-charge compatibility. Some devices simple don’t charge well with the variable power from solar.

An iPhone, for example, is notoriously bad for solar charging. If you plug an iPhone into a solar panel to charge in cloudy weather, the screen will start flashing “charging”. This flashing can drain the battery faster than you can recharge it with the solar panel.

You’d need a very large solar panel to directly charge finicky devices in cloudy weather. By contrast, power banks are usually pretty good when it comes to trickle charging with solar. You can get by with a smaller solar panel to charge the power bank, and then use the power bank to charge devices. Yes, you lose some power in the conversion but it still often ends up being more reliable.

Do you love playing with tech toys?

Is it going to annoy you to take out your solar panel during every snack break and aim it towards the sun? Or are you going to have fun calculating how quickly devices charge in different weather conditions and angles? Some of us like our toys.

How much money you want to invest?

While solar panels are getting cheaper, power banks are still the more budget-friendly option. Just bear in mind that you get what you pay for.

Generic-brand power banks often only deliver 30% to 50% of their advertised capacity. I even had one cheap power bank that suddenly just stopped charging (luckily I wasn’t on a backpacking trip when it happened). The good brands of power banks still won’t deliver 100% of their advertised capacity, but they definitely come closer – usually around 70% to 80%.

The same goes with cheap solar panels. They simply don’t perform as advertised and won’t have features like auto-reset, so stop charging when a Cloud passes over.

It’s Complicated!

Figuring out the “best” power solution for backpacking is insanely complicated. There’s tons of math about power conversion efficiency. Power banks lose capacity as they get old. Solar panels can also perform worse with age. Things like temperature can affect performance of power banks and solar charging too!

Ideally, you would test each system out on a shorter backpacking trip. Then you can see for yourself whether solar or a power bank makes more sense before committing to a setup for a longer hike.

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