In today’s world where we rely on our smartphones for almost everything, from communication to navigation to online shopping, a power bank charger is a useful and almost necessary device to have on hand at all times. It’s especially important for people who are frequently on the go.
If you’re planning to travel for a considerable amount of time to a location where finding an electricity power source might be difficult – for example, if you’re going backpacking, hiking, or going on a camping trip – you should consider investing not just in a simple power bank, but in a solar phone charger.
Solar phone chargers are essentially solar-powered power banks. They have solar panels that can store energy from sunlight, energy that you can then harness to easily charge your phone’s battery.
The biggest advantage of solar phone chargers is the fact that solar energy is absolutely free and renewable, so if you’re going to be spending your time in a place with a lot of sunlight, a solar phone charger is incredibly practical and useful to have. Also, its backup battery stores energy even when it’s not actively charging.
On the flipside, however, a solar-powered charger means that you can only charge it during the day, and if you don’t have prolonged access to direct sunlight, it might take a longer time to fully charge your solar phone charger for use. Also, compared to a regular power bank, a solar phone charger is considerably more expensive.
However, if you’re thinking of investing in a solar phone charger, here are some factors you need to consider before making a purchase:
- Charging capacity. You should look at the battery size and capacity of the solar panel charger, to determine how frequently you can recharge your phone before needing to charge the solar panel again. Typically, a smartphone needs at least 2000mAH for one full charge.
- Solar panel efficiency. Quality solar panels are made of first-generation crystalline silicon, capable of generating power even in areas with lower sunlight. Usually, larger solar panels paired with larger battery capacity storage means the solar power charger can harness more solar energy in a shorter amount of time – however, the price point would likely be higher as well.
- Portability. It’s important that your solar phone charger is also lightweight, because it’s meant to be something you carry with you together with your phone. However, don’t sacrifice quality for portability. The solar panels are usually foldable, but they might end up being too bulky for you. You can think about getting one with CIGS (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide) panels, which are thinner and more lightweight and flexible.
- Adaptability. Make sure your solar phone charger allows you not only to charge your phone, but your other devices as well. It’s ideal to have at least two USB ports with different amperages, so you can plug in your other mobile devices and charge them simultaneously. This way, you can maximize the efficiency of your solar phone charger.
- Universal hybrid solar chargers. There are now products on the market that can be charged via either solar energy or electricity, which are useful for cloudy days. These are designed to work not only with mobile phones, but also with iPods, GPS devices, and digital cameras. This kind of solar charger will be a bigger, but smarter investment for you.
There are a lot of different products on the market with different extra features suitable for your needs – like being waterproof, for example. New technology is constantly being developed and refined, so there’s a variety of solar phone chargers from reliable manufacturers from which to choose. Just make sure you learn as much as you can about the specifics of the product, and what your requirements are.
Once you’ve purchased your solar phone charger, you need to commit to its care and maintenance, so that you can get the most out of it. You need to regularly monitor your solar batteries by checking on the storage temperature, depth of discharge or charge level, and other factors that can affect battery life and performance. The solar panels require minimal maintenance, other than regular removal of dirt or debris, and checking of electrical connections.