We took a look at the huge variety of solar chargers available on the market today. While Anker continues to win our Editors' Choice, year after year, we've tested a new product from Renogy, which is not only lightweight but inexpensive. Anker and Instapark remain in the lineup, with fresh competitors from Renogy, X-Dragon, and Powergreen being introduced - and scoring towards the top of our fleet. The competition for light weight and affordable contenders continues to expand.
Best Overall Solar Charger
Anker PowerPort 21W
Great value for its size
Pocket too small to hold extra cords and accessories
Time and time again, the Anker 21W
panel was the panel we reached for to quickly charge any device in the field. It outperformed every other contender in most categories and charged our gadgets reliably when we were far from a power source. Anker has been creating durable, easy to use panels for years, and this year the 21W took the cake for our Editor's Choice since it had all the same qualities as last year's winner, the Anker Powerport 15W
, with even more power! The Anker 21W has PowerIQ technology, which delivers a smooth, steady charge to devices through its two, high amperage USB ports. Anker continues to be a leader in solar panel technology with this trusty and intuitive panel. Are you are interested in the Anker 21W, but aren't sure about throwing down for such a large solar charger? Look no further than the Anker 15W
, which is an efficient, lighter-weight version of this award-winning panel.
Read full review: Anker PowerPort 21W
Best Bang for the Buck
Instapark Mercury 10W
Can charge two devices at once
The Instapark Mercury 10W
is a durable, reliable, and efficient workhorse of at a low cost. As a 10W panel, it's on the bottom end of the wattage spectrum in our fleet of panels, but held its own charging phones and small devices. If you're looking for a durable, long-lasting panel for simple charging tasks at a reasonable price, then the Mercury 10W is for you. This panel has a large, easy to access external pocket to store all your electronic accessories, which is crucial for protecting your gadgets when charging in the great outdoors. As an added plus, the Instapark Mercury 10W rings in under $50, which is a bargain for such high-performance panel.
Read full review: Instapark Mercury 10W
Top Pick for Lightweight
No protective cover for panels
Single USB port
While most of the nine panels we tested came within ounces of each other on the scale, the Renogy 5W
blew the competition out of the water when it came to weight and portability. This sleek little panel weighs only 5.6 oz, whereas all the other panels fell between 12 and 16 ounces, and is about the size and thickness of a small clipboard. It is durable and easy to clean, as well as being water resistant. Unlike the other panels with a protective canvas outer covering, the Renogy has a barebones, simplified design that keeps it lightweight. It's a great alternative to the smaller, battery-included panels we tested last year, combining lightweight design and portability with effective charging capabilities. For simple charging tasks, like keeping your phone battery full on a backpacking trip, the Renogy is a good option.
Read full review: Renogy E.Flex5