You may be working remotely and want an independent power source to charge your laptop. Or you are on a camping trip or frequently on the move.
When you are no longer working from the office, finding a reliable electrical power source can be quite challenging. A portable solar power laptop charger can help manage such situations with ease.
Imagine when you are traveling and find yourself in unfamiliar places. Do you find yourself scrambling for a power source for your electronic devices like laptops and phones? Whether you are camping in the middle of nowhere, on a road trip, or living off the grid, a laptop solar charger can make life easier for you.
The COVID-enforced work-from-home setup has given employees the chance of a lifetime to combine work with pleasure. With most organizations opting for flexible work culture, you can now realize your dream of living anywhere you want to without giving up the job.
The only thorn in the flesh is a reliable power source for your laptop and a steady internet connection. With satellite internet like Starlink, the internet connectivity is sorted. With a portable solar laptop charger, you can make the arrangement work no matter where you are on this earth.
Sounds appealing? Read on to learn about the portable solar charger for laptops and find here listed some of the best available in the market today.
How does a portable solar laptop charger work?
You have two choices when using a portable solar charger for laptops. One, hook up the laptop directly with the solar panel, or two, include a power bank in the setup.
Solar chargers for laptops come with an 18V output port. Plugin one end of the correct adapter to the 18V DC port in the solar laptop charger and the other end to your laptop. Do note that for a select few laptops, you need to use only recommended adapters and not standard ones.
Now you need to place the portable solar panel out in the sun for it to generate solar energy. And, your laptop starts charging! It is as simple as that!
In this arrangement, the sun should be shining, the solar panel charging, and the adapter plugged in for the charging to happen. When you want to charge the laptop battery and the sun is not shining, this method won’t work. You can still use a solar laptop charger to charge laptop if you add a power bank or solar generator to the array.
Using a power bank
In this instance, you connect the adapter to the power bank and not to the laptop directly. Once the power bank is charged, you can plug in your laptop to the power bank to transfer the power.
The advantage of this arrangement is that you can keep the power bank charged when the sun is shining and use the battery charge to charge your laptop battery whenever you need. This can be especially useful for charging during night hours.
Another benefit of using a power bank or solar generator is that you can use 12V solar chargers for charging power banks. 12V solar chargers are more popular and you will find more choices in the market.
5 Best Solar Laptop Chargers
AIMTOM SolarPal 60 Folding Solar Panel – 60W
A perfect power source for your traveling needs. Available in two power options, 60w and 80w, this solar panel is affordable without compromising on quality and features. The SunPower solar cells used in this charger have a top efficiency of 22.2%.
The foldable panels are easy for packing and carrying around. Once folded, you can just zip it to form a small bag less than the size of a laptop. In fact, it measures 11.4”x 6.3″x2.4” and weighs 2.98lbs. There is no need for an additional carry case.
The product comes with all necessary ports, connectors, and cables to charge devices safely and quickly. This solar panel can charge two devices at a time using its USB and DC ports.
If you team it with a PowerPal X Portable Power Station, you need not worry about charging your devices ever again.
This product comes with a 1-year AIMTOM warranty.
- Smallest 60W solar panel on the market
- Easy to carry design
- USB and DC ports
- Optimized charging by on-board smart IC
- Output voltage – 12-18V
- Output current – Max 3.2A for 18V
ALLPOWERS Portable Solar Panel 100W
This 3-in-1 foldable solar panel has 2 USB ports (5V/2.4A) for phones and 1 DC (18V/5A) for laptops. It also has a 12V output. With its 100W capacity, you can use it to charge a power bank or even a car battery.
The SunPower monocrystalline solar cells used in it ensure a high efficiency of 23.5%.
Slim and lightweight, this portable solar panel weighs only 4.3lbs and has a folded dimension of 12.6”x7.5”x3.2”.
The solar panel has built-in protective mechanisms to prevent damage to the devices. Short circuit and surge protection and voltage regulator can help keep your laptop safe.
The PVC fabric is water-resistant and the solar panel has IP65 waterproof protection level.
The solar panel comes with 5 laptop connectors, 1 DC cable, 1 Micro USB cable, 1 pair crocodile charging clip, and hooks.
You can consider teaming it up with ALLPOWERS Portable Power Station 300W for better performance.
This product comes with an 18-month product guarantee from ALLPOWERS.
- Easy to carry
- Fast charging
- Compatible with a wide range of devices and power banks
- High efficiency
- 2 USB ports and 1 DC outlet
- Lighter and portable
BigBlue 100W ETFE Portable Solar Panels
Easy to fold and zip to form a briefcase, the BigBlue solar panel is an ideal companion for those on the move. When folded, it forms a briefcase of dimension 15.16”x8.23”x3.15”.
The self-cleaning ETFE solar panels are durable and come with a long lifespan. The IP65 waterproof level of the solar panels makes them perfect for outdoor use.
This product has 1 USB port, 1 fast-charging USB port, 1 DC outlet, and 1 type-C fast-charging port. The fast-charging technology and the choices provided are highly useful for charging multiple devices.
BigBlue solar panel has a conversion efficiency of 22%. It is compatible with a wide range of devices. This solar panel is designed with smart chip technology for the safe flow of charge through the ports and to compensate for voltage loss. It is also protected against overcharging, overheating, and short circuits.
The solar panel comes with connectors, cables, and a user manual. For optimum performance, team it up with the BigBlue power station.
- Ultra-thin and foldable
- Double lifespan compared to other PET panels
- Fast-charging options
- Wide compatibility
- High conversion efficiency
- Low cost
Togo Power Advance 100W Portable Solar Panel
This foldable solar panel is designed for multi-purpose use. This can be used to power laptops, phones, tablets, power banks, or digital cameras.
The monocrystalline solar cells used in it ensure a higher efficiency level of 24%. The performance of this solar panel will be better than the ones using polycrystalline panels. The difference in efficiency will be felt in low-light situations.
The solar panel comes with ECTFE lamination for high water resistance and durability in adverse weather conditions. The portable solar panels can be folded in half to make them compact to carry around. The folded dimension is 21.2”x23.8”x1.6” and weighs only 8.4lbs.
The solar panel offers 2 USB ports, 1 Type-C port, and 1 18V DC outlet dedicated to laptops. The built-in smart IC chip ensures that each one of the devices connected to the USB ports is identified and the charging speed optimized. It also has a mechanism to prevent overcharging and overloading.
Compatible with Baldr and Togopower power stations.
This solar panel has a 1-year warranty.
- Ultra-light and easy to carry
- Water-resistant (IP67)
- Adjustable bracket up to 180°
- Multi-intelligent protection
- High-efficiency level of 24%
TISHI HERY 120W Portable Solar Panel
This solar panel is made with monocrystalline cells for high conversion efficiency of 23%. Moreover, it is lightweight, foldable, and portable. When folded, it has a dimension of 20.2”x 14”x 0.78” and weighs 8.8 lbs.
A product from the famed stables of TISHI HERY, this 120W solar panel is easy to set up as it comes fitted with 4 adjustable kickstands.
The high-grade material used in the making of the solar panel makes it durable. Industrial-strength PET polymer is used for the back cover, making the panel weather-resistant and ideal for any outdoor activities.
The solar panel is provided with 1 USB port, 1 QC3.0 Port, 1 Type-C port, and 1 DC outlet (18V/6.7A) for laptop charging.
TISHI HERY 120W Portable Solar Panel has a built-in intelligence chip to detect the plugged-in device and optimize for safe and fast charging. The devices are protected from overcharging and overloading without using a solar charge controller.
Team it up with the Jackery Explorer 240 power station for better performance.
- Efficiency monocrystalline cells
- Portable, and foldable
- Durable and weather-resistant
- Compatible and versatile
Tips for buying solar chargers for laptops
- Make sure that the voltage is correct. You will find this information on the laptop adapter.
- When using it directly, you need an 18V solar charger and with power banks, a 12V one would be good enough. Again, check the voltage requirement of the power bank or solar generator.
- Using a solar charger or power bank with a voltage rating higher than that of the laptop adapter can harm the laptop. Less voltage rating will not damage the laptop but your device will not charge.
- The current or amps is also important. The amps of the solar panel and your laptop adapter should match though higher amps will not end up damaging the device as long as the voltage rating is a match. However, it is desirable for the long life of the device, if you use a solar charger with a matching amp rating.
- A lower amp rating again will not pose any problems but may be insufficient to charge laptop.
- You need 3-5 amps and 18-20 volts to charge a laptop. This means the wattage of the solar panel should be in the range of 50-100 watts.
- The size of connectors differs for different brands of laptops. Make sure that they match the laptop specifications. Most solar chargers come with connectors suitable for all major brands.
- Reverse polarity protection is desirable in solar chargers for laptops. At night when the solar panel is not producing solar energy, it may end up discharging or draining the laptop battery instead of charging it. A blocking diode can prevent this reverse flow of energy.
Are there any downsides to charging laptops with solar chargers?
Solar panels are well known for their abysmal levels of efficiency. For a portable solar charger, the best you can expect is 30%. This means the panels can absorb only 30% of the sunlight falling on them, while the rest is wasted away. This means the laptop may need 12-30 hours to reach full charge.
The hassle with the low efficiency is that when the sunlight is not bright enough, the voltage will drop and the laptop won’t charge. To charge devices like a phone, this would be enough but for laptop charging, you need the sun shining brightly directly above the panel.
You can compensate for the low efficiency of solar technology by adding more solar panels. But it will rob the arrangement of its portability.
Due to the changing intensity of sunlight, you may experience voltage and current fluctuations in the solar charger. Because of this, your laptop may end up not charging. You may not be even aware of this if you leave the laptop plugged in without monitoring it.
However, you can avoid all these troubles by charging using a power bank. Power banks are designed for higher voltage and current variations and they can charge even with limited sunlight. You can use the charge in the power bank to charge your laptop or any other electronic device when needed.
You can also consider a power station, the big brother of power banks. It is much more than a battery and consists of an inverter and a charge controller.
As the capacity and features vary, the price of these solar panels also goes up. Ultimately, it is your requirement that decides the perfect solar laptop charger for you. You need to decide whether you want a minimalist solar panel for charging your laptop or a higher capacity one that can supply solar power to your other electronic devices.
You should consider affordability, portability, durability, capacity, warranty, and review/ratings before making up your mind about the solar laptop charger.
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