Solar power is crazy!
To think we can now get portable solar panels that allow you to generate electricity anywhere there’s sunlight.
Truly amazing times we live in.
And what I find even more mind-boggling is the sheer amount of different options available from folding solar panels to pocket-sized solar power banks.
There’s quite literally something to suit every eventuality whether you’re a nomadic backpacker or luxury staycation glamper.
In fact, it may be challenging to find the best portable solar panel with so much choice. Thankfully, that’s where our expert off-grid power team comes to the rescue. We’ve done the hard work of researching, shortlisting, and reviewing the top portable solar panels available today.
So let’s get stuck in, shall we?
In a hurry? Check the top picks…
Choosing a Portable Solar Panel
Many different kinds of portable solar panels are available on the market. Choosing the one that fits your needs could be difficult. So here are the different factors to consider when making your buying decision.
Type of Solar Panel
Monocrystalline Solar Panels: These solar panels are made from a large single silicon crystal. They are very effective in producing more power even in low light conditions. These are more durable and also suitable for all kinds of weather conditions. Due to efficiency, durability, and usage, these solar panels are generally the best but more expensive.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels: These solar panels are made from multiple silicon blocks and are ideal for RVs. They are less expensive as compared to monocrystalline solar panels but not quite as efficient. The benefit is that they are less space-consuming making them a good option for vehicles.
Amorphous Solar Panels: These solar panels are made by coating silicon on a big bed. It offers the benefit of being thin, more budget-friendly, and very flexible compared to the other two options. They tend to be less efficient and less durable.
The efficiency of a solar panel is measured by the amount of solar energy it can convert to DC power. It is shown as a percentage value. A highly efficient solar panel weighs less, takes less space, and gives more output. The best portable solar panel should be space-saving while providing maximum output. Consider buying a solar panel that offers more output than you need for all your electronic devices. Also, a good solar panel should work in all kinds of weather and even in lowlight conditions.
The efficiency rating should be between 20% – 24%.
The higher the wattage, the more devices the solar panel can power simultaneously or quicker it can charge a battery. In easy terms, the higher the wattage the higher the power, but it can also affect the price. Solar panels with a larger wattage capacity will be bigger too. So pick a nice balance of size, price, and power capacity to suit your needs.
Smaller travel-friendly solar panels might range between 30 – 100 watts whereas more powerful expensive products offer 200+ watts. You could always start small and add more solar panels to your system as you go!
A good solar panel should be reliable whenever you use it on the go. It should be a careful investment that you make. If you get a solar panel at an unbelievable price, it might lack in quality. Make sure that the solar panel can withstand water splashes, remain safe in rain and snow. At the end of the day, you need something you can rely on when you need it the most. The last thing you want is constant maintenance and replacing parts of your solar system.
A solar panel should be very portable and should be easy to move, carry and store. It should not be hard to install without professional help. You can find some portable solar panels that come with carrying cases or a briefcase to pack. Make sure you can carry it, travel easily, and also store it safely after use. Great features of a portable solar panel include foldability, flexibility, and easy setup.
The weight of the solar should depend on what you want to put it or how you will be traveling with it. If you are hiking, you will need a lightweight solar panel. If you are traveling in a van then you might be able to get away with more weight.
9 Best Portable Solar Panels
You can now determine what you need and what to look for in portable solar panels based on the above factors. So here are our picks for the best portable solar panels available today.
Renogy Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel
The Renogy 100 watts solar panel is one the best portable solar panels available in the market.
Made up of two separate 50W panels it folds down into a neat suitcase for awesome portability and protection.
The solar panel is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, comes with an adjustable stand and a heavy-duty handle. Put simply, it’s a product made to last decades.
This two-piece monocrystalline solar panel is completely waterproof and weighs around 27 pounds. It arrives with everything you need to get started including a 20-amp waterproof charge controller, 10-feet tray cable with alligator clips to connect to the battery, and a protective cover.
When folded, the solar panel gets into a small size of 19.9″ x 27.2″ x 2.8″. The charge controller comes with an LCD screen to give you instant readouts on the operating information and data.
For the safety of you and your battery, the charge controller defends against overcharging, overheating, and short circuits. Plus it happily works in most conditions including temperatures ranging from -40°F to +185°F.
One of the best portable solar panels for your next adventure.
- Manufacturer: Renogy
- Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 19.9 x 2.8 inches
- Item Weight: 26.6 pounds
- Adjustable Stand
- Compatible with many battery types
- Included charger controller
- Folds to suitcase
- Durable design
- Clock was inaccurate
- No proper instruction manual
Goal Zero Boulder BC 200 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
One of the most powerful portable solar panels available!
Goal Zero has made a name in portable energy solutions for homes, travel, and off-grid. Its precision-made products come with features needed in real-life usage. If you are looking for a solar panel for your van, seriously consider Goal Zero Boulder BC Solar Panel.
Folding away into a nifty briefcase size, it contains 200-watt (2x100watts) monocrystalline solar panels built from high tempered glass and a solid anodized aluminum frame. The briefcase is lightweight and weighs only 26 pounds with 40″ x 26.75″ x 1.75″ in size.
It’s really is hard to look past Goal Zero Boulder as one of the top picks for portable solar panels for RVs, boats, cars, and camping.
For instant setup, it comes with an adjustable kickstand while the carrying case keeps it completely protected when not in use. For an even better off-grid power experience, combine it with the Goal Zero Yeti power station. An ideal combo while camping, vacations, off-grid events, and even at home during a power outage. You can even combine multiple Boulder panels for even greater capacity!
- Manufacturer: Goal Zero
- Product Dimensions: 26.75 x 40 x 1.75 inches
- Item Weight: 25.9 pounds
- Professional grade solar panels
- Durable and dependable
- Safe and user-friendly
- Highly portable
- Works great with portable power stations
- One of the bulkier products
Zamp solar Legacy Series 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit
So Zamp is another killer name in the off-grid power market, and that applies to its portable offerings.
The Zamp Solar 140-watt Portable Solar Panel could be a winning match for your RV or campervan. If you want a foldable piece of kit that still punches out massive power then keep reading.
This made-in-USA product comes with a 25-year output warranty, that’s how much they stand by their products. These solar panels happily power everything from a light to a small computer or charge your battery at lighting speed. There’s no tricky installation as there’s everything you need to effortlessly hook up to a 12V battery.
Plus it’s designed to charge all kinds of batteries, including lithium. The kit includes a 10-amp waterproof charge controller, battery alligator clips, a long 15-foot power wire, an adjustable kickstand, and a hardy carrying case.
For your safety, the charge controller guards against any damage while allowing you to monitor the power situation. Measuring at 42″ x 24.5″ x 4.5″ and weighing around 40 lbs, she’s not the smallest but there’s plenty of power to compensate.
One of the most accessible solar kits to start, the Zamp Solar Portable Solar Panel Kit is an ideal choice for your RV or backyard.
- Brand: Zamp Solar
- Item Weight: 46.7 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 42 x 24.5 x 4.5 inches
- 25-year output warranty
- Best-in-class solar cells
- No installation required
- Carry case
- 140 watts
BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Foldable Portable Solar Charger
If you’re looking for something a little more nimble and super compact then this is a brilliant choice.
When you are out camping or traveling in your RV, the BigBlue 3 gives you everything you need to keep your essentials charged. This upgraded solar panel now comes with triple USB-A ports with a maximum out of 5V/2.4A. It allows you to charge multiple devices simultaneously from the 28 watt panels. With smart charge technology, it recognizes your connected gadget to provide optimal charging speed. Plus there’s complete protection from short circuits, overheating, and overcharging.
Weighing in at only 1.31 lbs and measure 11.6 × 6.3× 1.3 when folded, these are highly portable and lightweight. You can even fit it in a backpack for hiking!
A must-have accessory for your travel emergency kit too. Highly efficient solar panels deliver a fabulous 24% of efficiency to convert sunlight into free electricity. Plus they are durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions thanks to a surface coating of special PET polymer that rebuffs rain and wet fog.
The USB ports are also equipped with a rubber cover to protect them from dust and water. You’ll love the high range of compatibility and comes attached with a USB cable for all android devices.
A worthy contender to our list of the best portable solar panels, especially if weight is a factor.
- Manufacturer: BigBlue
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.34 inches
- Item Weight: 1.34 pounds
- Upgraded triple USB-A ports
- High solar conversion
- Wide compatibility
- No control of the backflow of electricity
ECO-WORTHY 195W 12V Solar Panel
If you are looking for a portable solar panel for your Caravan, you should consider the Eco-Worthy 195W 12V Off-Grid Solar panels. These monocrystalline solar panels come with a corrosion-free aluminum frame designed specifically for all harsh weather conditions. You can mount it to your vehicle roof and use the high module conversion efficiency to generate 1000Wh per day and charge a 50Ah battery from 50 to 100% in just 1.5 hours.
They come with an anti-reflective, high-transparency, low iron-tempered glass to deliver unrivaled stiffness and impact resistance. It is easy to install these solar panels as they come with pre-drilled holes in the base for instant mounting and security.
An ideal choice when looking for a solar panel for a boat, truck, RV, or food truck.
- Brand: Eco-Worthy
- Package Dimensions: 58.3 x 26.3 x 1.4 inches
- Item Weight: 29.2 pounds
- High efficiency
- Monocrystalline Solar panel
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
- Easy Installation
- Cables too short
- Needs to be mounted
Anker 24 Watt Portable Solar Charger for Backpacking
I’ve got to say I’m always blown away with Anker’s products. I regularly use its power bank and now I’m a fan of the portable solar panels too.
If you are a backpacking enthusiast like me, the Anker 24 watt portable solar panel is a no-brainer!
Anker is a trusted brand loved by millions of customers for its leading technology and high product standards.
This 21 watts foldable solar charger gives 24% efficiency and the ability to charge two devices simultaneously. The dual USB ports come with PowerIQ technology and provide up to 2.4A charging speed.
The build quality is awesome too, almost industrial-grade panels with a PET polymer coating which is sewn into a rugged canvas. It’s strong, efficient, and lightweight. These are durable and weather-resistant for outdoor activities from the mountains to the beach. Plus measuring just 11.1 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches when folded, and weighing 14.7oz, you can sling it on your pack for off-grid power anytime.
A nice addition is the stainless steel eye holes on each corner for easy attachment to trees, tents, or backpacks.
Ultrathin panels for your trekking escapades.
- Manufacturer: Anker
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
- Item Weight: 14.7 ounces
- Fast charging technology
- Industrial grade material
- Highly portable and lightweight
- Ideal for backpacking
- Needs direct sunlight to be effective
- Only 24 watts
Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger Power Bank
This bad boy is a solar panel and power bank all rolled into one. It is so frustrating when your power bank runs out of power on a trip. Well, always keep it topped up with this unique proposition.
A perfect accessory for campers, backpackers, and travelers. You can easily attach it to your backpack and forget all your power needs on the trip. It has an inbuilt 2500mAh high capacity Li-polymer battery to charge your phones and tablets multiple times. So if you’re just charging a phone you get an average of 9 days of usage after one full charge – and longer if you keep the power bank topped up by leaving it in the sun!
It comes with four foldable high-efficiency solar panels with a 1A input current from sunlight. We found it to be a quicker charger than other similar products in the market. Connect up with a USB or USB mini to charge two devices simultaneously (we all have multiple gadgets these days, so that’s must have).
The USB ports give 2.1A high-speed charging and auto-detect the devices to provide optimum charging output. With a folded size of 6.1″ x 3.4″ x 1.4″ and a weight of 1.3 lbs, you can almost fit it in your pocket, plus its construction is rugged and safe from shock, dust, and water. Another really handy feature is the built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode for an emergency.
Forget your power worries while hiking or outdoor travel when you have the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Solar Charger.
- Brand: Hiluckey
- Item Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.35 x 1.37 inches
- 25000mAh power bank
- 4 Solar Panels
- Rugged design
- Dual USB ports
- Extremely portable
- Take a long time to charge fully for solar
Nekteck 21W Solar Charger Portable and Folding Solar Panel
Another admirable foldable 21 watt solar panel at a great price.
This solar charger comes with three monocrystalline solar panels delivering up to 24% efficiency thanks to the SunPower Maxeon technology. It means you’ll get up to 3 amps max overall output. Benefit from dual USB ports with advanced Smart IC chip technology that automatically detects the device to provide optimum fast charging.
Weighing only 1.13lbs and measuring 6.3″ x 1.1″ x 11.1″ when folded, it’s an extremely lightweight and portable device that you can squeeze in your backpack. Adding to this, metal rings allow you to hook to your backpack or tent when in use. An ideal companion for hiking or travel outdoors.
The durable design is built with a canvas surface, strong stitching, and waterproofing for rugged outdoor use.
The Nekteck 21 watts solar charger is a well-priced device to explore outdoor without any worry of charging your devices.
- Brand: Nekteck
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.06 x 11.1 inches
- Item Weight: 1.12 pounds
- High efficiency
- Portable and foldable
- Durable design
- Smart charging
- Do not come with a stand
- Only 21 watts
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
If you need an outstanding power solution that is easy to use, do not forget to check out the Jackery SolarSaga 100 watts portable solar panel.
The product is engineered for outdoor use with power as the primary focus and it does not fail to deliver a consistent performance anytime.
Monocrystalline silicon cells with a multilayered cell technology give you a high efficiency of up to 23%. The solar panel and charger deliver a consistent 100 watts of power for all your essential electronics. Double kickstands are effortless to use to set up the system in the sunniest spots. It literally takes seconds to get going. For the best experience, you could also pair it with a matching Jackery power station!
The strong handle cutout makes it easy to carry anywhere from the beach to the campsite. ETFE material coating makes them durable, splash resistant, and come with zippers on the case, carry cords, and cover for the power port. The solar panel works well with Jackery Explorer power stations (sold separately).
An excellent device for a power outage or off-grid adventure.
- Brand: Jackery
- Product Dimensions: 22.83 x 19.69 x 2.36 inches
- Item Weight: 5.5 Pounds
- Easy Setup with kickstands
- High energy conversion rate
- Splash-proof and durable
- Aesthetic design
- 100 watts
- Designed to be used with power station
FAQ about portable solar panels
Are portable solar panels worth it?
This depends on what you are trying to power. Portable solar panels are brilliant for keeping leisure batteries, vehicle batteries and portable power stations topped up with power. It means you can keep things charging up all the time when off-grid. You can also use them effectively to directly charge small gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Where you might struggle with foldable solar panels is running appliances directly as they will struggle to deliver enough consistent power for things that need a constant flow.
How long do portable solar panels last?
The best portable solar panels can last up to a decade or more, particularly if they are made of durable materials like tempered glass, aluminum and have scratch-proof coatings. It also depends on how often you use the solar panel. For example, if you use it once a year for a camping trip it could last for the rest of your life. If you use it every day for work then you might need to replace a folding solar panel after 5 years.
Can I use a portable solar panel at home?
Yes, the beauty of a portable solar panel is that you can use it anywhere anytime. You could easily set it up in your backyard, patio, pool area, or anywhere that benefits from direct sunlight. So absolutely you can use a portable solar panel at home.
What can portable solar panels charge?
Portable solar panels can charge a large range of electronics when you have sunlight. Things you can charge include smartphones, headphones, tablets, power stations, power banks, leisure batteries, vehicle starter batteries, GPS devices, lights, and many more small to medium size electronics.
How fast will a 100 watt solar panel charge a battery?
This depending on the battery size. For an average 12V leisure battery and the solar panel in direct sunlight, it will charge in 5-8 hours.
Hi, I’m Michael, the editor here at Watt A Lot.
After years of experience with off-grid power like solar panels, inverters, and batteries I decided I should share my hands-on knowledge with you. In my professional and personal life, I’ve needed to find electrical solutions for remote situations from owning a food truck, to running events at the top of mountains, to my converted campervan. So whether you’re looking for the best products or fixing an electrical problem, you can rest assured my advice comes from real hands-on experience.