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Did You Really Pick The Best Solar Cell Phone Charger?

Updated on April 16, 2012


Electricity shortages and lifestyles which include a love of the outdoors have led people to look for a reliable means for charging cell phones. A new alternative is a solar cell phone charger which is not only convenient during power outages and when on the trail, but is great for travelers as well. As long as the sun is up and the sky is clear, a fully charged phone can be maintained.

Choose Your Brand

There are many of these devices currently on the market and knowing what to look for in order to get the best buy that meets expectations will help narrow options. These devices reduce costs, but if paying too much, the savings will be lost in the initial costs and add on features that are needed. Since charging any device utilizing solar power is free in itself, costs will only be associated with the initial purchase price of the device as well as maintenance and/or replacement should it malfunction.

Finding an option that is sturdy, works as advertised, and meets individual needs is a key to finding the right one. There are four major brands currently on the market today and each offers different features and are priced accordingly. These include Solstice 2.5, Solar Surge, the K3 Charger, and Solio Solar Chargers.


Solstice 2.5

The Solstice 2.5 is a newer option that conveniently folds up when not in use. Just as with solar panels found on rooftops, when the device is opened two panels charge a 2500 battery, which is about 3 times what would be needed for a single phone. What this means is that up to three mobile phones or devices can be charged consecutively from a fully charged Solstice.

Because the capacity of the battery is larger, it can take between 5 to 10 hours to generate a full charge. Just in case sunlight is not available, however, it also comes with an AC battery charger kit which reduces charging time to only 3 to 4 hours. An LED indicator light displays the state of the charge on the device by utilizing a color scheme. It's important to note, however, that it is not weather resistant and, therefore, should not be used while outdoors such as when camping.

Solar Surge

For 3G and 4G iPhone users Apple has created the Solar Surge. This device is ideal for those who love to hike since it ensures that the GPS, apps, and other systems keep functioning even when on the trail. The solar panels require 4 to 8 hours for a full charge, but will recharge the phone while on the go as it has an internal housing system. This not only allows it to double the battery size of the phone itself, but to recharge it with sun power.

Some of the downsides are that it's very thick and somewhat large. Although it will clip easily to a backpack, unlike the Solio Solar Charger it doesn't come in a belt clip model. Additionally, although the iPhone will fit snugly into the case, the top part of the phone is unprotected when docked so care would have to be taken when hiking with it attached.

One of the interesting features of this option is that it also comes with a USB connection as well as an AC adapter that allows the device to be recharged through an outlet or even a computer. Additionally, the USB feature allows the phone to be synced to the computer once docked so all those fabulous photos taken during the hike can be immediately downloaded for viewing. Free Apple apps are also provided with this model, but it should be remembered that this model is compatible with 3G and 4G phones only.

K3 Charger

The K3 Charger is another option that has gained in popularity due to the fact it not only charges with sun power, but also with wind power or an AC adapter. It's also weather resistant so can be used anywhere at any time. Although it's not as small or easy to carry around as some of the other choices, it does have one of the largest solar panels available on portable devices of this kind as well as a hook for hanging, and an internal space built in for cord storage.

Although the charger has the largest rechargeable battery capacity for its size, one of the complaints is that it will only charge about three-fourths of the way even when utilizing the AC adapter. Other companies are now picking up this concept and are ready to launch pocket-sized versions of this device. It is anticipated that the recharging issues will be resolved in the newer models so it's best to wait if considering this alternative.



Solio Solo Chargers come in three models. They include the Classic, Mono, and Rocsta and have different designs, but function just as the others described by utilizing the sun's energy to recharge phones and other mobile devices. The Classic is the most popular with its egg shaped design that fans open to reveal the solar panels protected within. It is small and portable requiring 8 to10 hours to recharge or 6 hours if plugged into a wall.

Unfortunately, this device does not balance well once opened. Additionally, users have reported trouble gaining a full charge as well as with return policies. Yet, it is a great option for the outdoor enthusiast who needs to stay in touch back home or use the GPS app on phones to track their location. Fortunately, in a sunny area where it can be used as designed. Additionally, it comes with adapters for several phone manufacturers although a few of the more popular models aren't supported yet so compatibility will need to be carefully checked.

Don't Go Too Cheap, Pick The Quality

These are just a few of the new devices on the market today which seem to be gaining in popularity. They are ideal for those who travel as well as for those who love to experience outdoor activities or have had inclement weather that has cut power to a home. The majority of the chargers mentioned are easy to handle and are backed by companies who have a reputation for dependability.

For those looking to "go green" in a different way as well as expand the size of their cell phone battery, a portable solar cell phone charger may be just the answer. However, it is essential that lifestyle, needs, and phone type be primary considerations as not all chargers work with all phone models. Although there are cheaper models sold online, it's often in an individual's best interest to go with a known company that produces a quality product.

Plugs Compatibility, Wattage And How To Charge

You must also check if the adapter purchased is compatible with your phone. You are supposed to use the correct adapter for your cell phone to prevent further problems. There are adapters for every handset design and do not share yours with any one.

Before you start charging, you must calculate the time it will take before your battery is full. This is important to make sure that the battery is not overcharged. Overcharging the battery can degrade it and making it not able to hold power for long.

Depending on how fast you want the cell phone charged, you need to choose the adapter with the wattage you need or feel appropriate. The size of the solar cell is also an important consideration to check. Depending on the use and travel, you must check the solar cell that will be useful to you. If you travel a lot to remote areas, the cell should be one that can store a lot of power.

Which solar charger do you prefer?

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