Our mobile gadgets have become such a societal requirement that we are rarely without them and therefore often find them low on power. Between social networking, conference calls, and even some occasional gaming, our devices rarely make it through the day without begging for a little juice now and again. Solar energy is one of the few and free resources we have left, and solar panels have finally become affordable and small enough to carry in a pocket.
Let’s take a look at a few solar chargers to see which best fit your lifestyle.
1. Premium Solar Charger
$27.99 from Amazon
At $27, the Premium Solar Charger sits at the lower end of the price spectrum, proving that solar panels truly have become affordable. It’s got enough energy to power or charge most of your smaller gadgets, such as cell phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras. Along with the standard USB port, it sports a nifty LED reading light and suction cup for mounting on windows and other solid surfaces. This little guy can recharge a near-dead iPhone in 45 minutes.
2. JuiceBar JB01S
$49.99 from Amazon
The JuiceBar JB01S is next in line on the price scale, sitting at $50. This charger is definitely intended for the major gadgeteers of the world, as the kit includes 12 power connectors. That’s support for practically every device under the sun! It can give a nice bump in power to any mobile device; however, the JuiceBar was not designed to be a stand-alone charging replacement, as it doesn’t store enough power to give even an iPod classic a full charge.
3. Voltaic Amp Solar Charger
$99 from Voltaic
Voltaic has been around for about six years, and it’s prepared for the gadget revolution by supplying a wide array of solar charging options. The Amp Solar Charger has been specifically designed for the active gadgeteer.
It’s lightweight, rugged, and waterproof. This $99 solar charger is compatible with most phones currently on the market and will charge them within four to five hours. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite have the juice to charge or power your tablet, so you’ll have to look elsewhere to charge up larger devices.
4. Solar Cell Phone Laptop Netbook Adapter Charger
Buy it: Amazon
This behemoth, the Solar Cell Phone Laptop Netbook Adapter Charger by Ethahe, sits near the top of the pack in price. As its name implies, this bad boy is equipped with enough power to keep your cell phone, tablet, and laptop going when you really need to meet that deadline but just can’t resist the urge to sit outside in the park. At $170, it’s a significant hit to the wallet, but knowing that your tablet or netbook will keep on chugging as long as it’s connected makes it worth it.
5. 1022 Array Solar Backpack
$389 from Voltaic
Voltaic gets another entry on the list by providing us with a carrying option. Yes, for just a little less than a netbook, you can charge your gadgets via the nine included standard laptop adapters, a USB port, or any of the five standard cell phone and universal adapters. We wondered why this has so many connections, but considering 1,500 cubic inches of space, you have to realize how many devices can fit and welcome the option. If you plan on buying this, remember that this backpack weighs 5.25 lbs empty, so don’t overload yourself.
Are these solar chargers worth your hard earned money? The lower to mid-range stuff can be useful for keeping the kids entertained with solar-powered gadgets on a road or camping trip, but the cost can get a bit steep beyond that. However, if you want to go green and find yourself often using your gadgets outside, these solar power options might just be worth your investment.