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Whether you need juice during a blackout or plan to spend days camping in the backcountry, there’s a solar-powered portable battery to get the job done. There are a few basics to keep in mind when choosing a device. The first is milliamp Hour (mAh), which is the total capacity of the battery. The higher the mAh, the more energy the battery stores––and the more times it can charge your phone or other devices. A watt-hour (Wh) is a unit of energy that measures the amount of power a device requires to function. For example, a 60 watt light bulb will use 60 Wh of energy for every hour it’s on. Devices with higher Wh require more mAh capacity.
Also remember that charging via solar power takes time, as much as 20 hours of direct sunlight in some cases, so while these chargers are ideal for remote locations, they probably won’t be your go-to method for everyday use. Smaller solar-powered batteries are often designed with panels attached. If you’re looking for a larger battery with a bit more juice, you’re probably going to have to buy a portable solar panel separately.
There are plenty of portable, sun-powered phone chargers to choose from, but BEARTWO’s commitment to both durability and portability is what makes this model stand out. It weighs less than a half a pound (7.4 ounces, to be exact), is waterproof, and coated in shockproof rubber, making it the perfect backup phone battery for multi-day backcountry hikes. The built-in solar panel means this is a two-in-one device and you won’t have to invest in a separate panel system. Its portability does come with a drawback: because the built-in solar panel is so compact, it takes around five hours to recharge fully. After that, it can completely charge an iPhone twice before running out of juice.
RAVPower’s 100-watt, 30,000 power bank is a powerful portable battery—it can charge an iPhone 11 just under five times. It weighs a bit under three pounds, so you likely won’t be casually throwing this into your purse or day bag, but it does have a 3-prong AC outlet to charge laptops, one USB-C port, and two USB-A ports. It lets you charge up to three devices at once. On the side are LEDs that indicate the battery life, so you don’t have to guess how much charging power is left.
This 1,000-watt power station can power blenders, pellet smokers, small household ice shavers, and TVs for hours, as well as the usual assortment of cameras, phones, and laptops. It includes three AC outlets, two USB-A ports, and a USB-C port, and it can accommodate two Jackery solar cells for faster outdoor charging. An LCD screen provides current power capacity levels.