Which Facts Should I Consider When Purchasing a Solar Phone Charger?
With so many brands and models available, you will need some basic background to understand the elements that you should look for when selecting a solar phone charger, as well as the elements that you should consider when using one.
Efficiency and Power Output
Maybe the two most important parameters that must be considered when selecting a solar smartphone charger are related to efficiency and power output.
The efficiency of the solar panel represents the amount of solar energy that can be converted into DC electricity based on a specific surface area. A higher efficiency solar panel means that the amount of DC electricity that can be obtained from the module using the same panel size will be higher.
Most solar chargers will have their solar cells based in either polycrystalline or monocrystalline technology which will adjust the efficiency values that can be obtained. Mono-cells will generally have higher efficiencies than polycrystalline cells. For top smartphone chargers, the efficiencies values range between 20-25%, however, you may find others close to 18-19% that could be used as well.
Moreover, the power output should be the next factor to consider . Keep in mind that there is an important difference between the solar panel power output and the solar charger output.
The power output of the solar panel is not constant at all since it depends on the solar radiation values that are available in your location, however, you will notice that the solar panel will have a nominal value. This reference value is based on the power output of the solar panel under specific irradiance conditions that have been standardized in the market.
Therefore, you must be careful not to confuse the nominal plate power output of the solar panel with the actual power output that your electronics will be receiving. This value can be obtained based on the specs of the USB port outputs, in other words, based on the voltage and electrical current, you can obtain the power output of the charger by multiplying the voltage by the current.
A higher solar panel power output rating will mean that the solar panel will be able to generate more power even under low irradiation conditions. Generally, the nominal power output ranges will be located between 10W and 60W.
All of this will also impact the time that will be required to fully charge a smartphone, the number of times that it could get charged (in case of solar power bank) and the number of phones that can get connected simultaneously.
Since these chargers will generally be intended for charging smartphones and small gadgets, they will have very compact sizes and will be lightweight as well.
Nevertheless, depending on the type of activity that you will be performing, you may need them to have other features such as steel loops and carabiners for hanging them easily on a backpack. Also, durability and shock-resistance are important properties that you should look for, especially if you are doing hiking and climbing. For other outdoor activities such as fishing, waterproof rating protection would gain extreme importance as well.
In this list, we have also combined two possible ways to easily charge your smartphone through solar power: through the solar chargers or the solar power banks. Both devices can be used for charging your smartphone, the advantage of the solar power banks is that besides storing solar power for later use, they generally have a more compact size that can easily fit into a pocket.
Finally, you must also check the compatibility of your smartphone with the USB output ports of the solar smartphone charger, generally, most Android devices are covered, but you should check the description. The number of USB port outputs will also be an important fact to consider since the more ports available, the more smartphones you will be able to simultaneously charge, which is good in the case that you are traveling with family or friends.
Having a solar smartphone charger is a great choice to make especially if you are the kind of person who enjoys the opened-air spaces. A solar charger will allow you to go camping, hiking, climbing, fishing or even just enjoy a full day in the park while always staying connected and having backup power for your smartphone.
In this list we addressed some of the top available options in the market, however, you may also find other models with similar performances out there. Simply when selecting a solar smartphone charger, always take into account the effective power output that your electronics will be receiving, the number of devices that can get charged and the compatibility with your smartphone. Also, take into account additional features or factors that may influence your decision based on the activity that you regularly perform, whether it is fishing (waterproof) or any other outdoor activity (shock-resistance, durability, circuitry protection).