The quest for crowning the best solar powered USB chargers has finally come to an end. After spending over 30 grueling hours reviewing 70 USB chargers, we have finally come to the conclusion that Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is the best USB solar powered charger. This device is ideally meant for individuals who are seeking a reliable powering source for recharging their cellphone batteries in the wake of an emergency crisis.
The other charger that caught our attention was the RAVPowAnker PowerPort Solar Liteer 15-W solar charger. While RAVPower proved to pack more muscle than Anker PowerPort Solar Lite, it was pushed down to the ‘runner-up’ position simply because it lacked in providing robust portability to the end user.
The Drawback of Solar Powered USB Chargers
While solar chargers are fortified to fulfill the requirements of customers, they have a limited appeal. This is simply because these chargers are only compatible with USB devices. In case you are out on a camping trip and you wish to keep your Smartphone charged, a solar charger shall do the needful. A USB solar charger is the size of a small paperback novel and it is capable of charging your Smartphone in as little as three hours. A small battery pack can also be fully charged for the entire day, using this device.
Nonetheless, if you would like to recharge your laptop or your television set, then the USB solar powered device may not be a suitable option. For powering large electronic devices, you may need to turn to an entirely different segment of products provided by firms like Suntactics or Goal Zero.
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite
Here are some of the main reasons why this device has been rated as the best:
1) Speed and Power Generation – This is a two panel device that is fortified with power, speed and flawless performance. Compared to its runner-up (RAVPower 15-W Solar Charger- a three panel charger), the Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is equally powerful. It is twice as efficient in terms of power generation when compared to ‘Goal Zero Nomad 7’, which in turn is a far more expensive device.
2) Compact Size and Performance – This USB solar powered charger is 46 cms in length when unfolded. RAVPower on the other hand is 79 cms long. Anker weighs 354.37gms while RAVPower weighs 677.55gms. If the sun is shining brightly, Anker solar charger has the capability to completely recharge a small tablet or up to 2 Smartphones. If you need enough power to keep your USB devices up and ruining for the entire week, simply club your Anker solar charger with a suitable USB battery pack.
3) The Power Generation Test – Anker has been advertised to produce 15 Watts/2.1 amps. In reality, it averages 6 Watts/1.17 amps in terms of its power generation capability. Nonetheless, in one specific test, when this device was placed under the direct winter sun, its performance increased to 8.48 Watts/1.67 amps. These figures are comparable with the best USB solar chargers in the world.
4) The Battery Discharge Test – We decided to test the battery discharge linked to the Anker solar powered charger. For this very purpose, we topped up two test batteries. One was charged using the Anker USB charger, while the other was topped using the RAVPower solar charger. At the end of the day, when both devices were compared, the battery discharge caused by Anker was 15% greater than the battery discharge caused by RAVPower.
5) The Shade Test – Most solar chargers need constant sunlight to operate. If a layer of cloud covers the sun’s ray, the solar charger either shuts down or drastically reduces its charging speed. We tested both the RAVPower and Anker by first placing them under direct sunlight, then under a shaded area, before placing them back to their initial position (under the sun’s ray).
We found that the moment these chargers were placed in a shaded area, they stopped functioning (which is quite normal). Nonetheless, the moment they were placed under direct sunlight, their charging speed returned to normal. This transition is instant and there is no wait time as displayed by other (more expensive) solar USB chargers. For instance, Poweradd (a very popular device) solar charger reduced its charging speed considerably after being placed in a shaded area for just a few seconds.
The RAVPower 15-W Solar Powered USB Chargers
More Power and Larger Size
Until we reviewed Anker SolarPowered USB Chargers, the RAVPower 15-W Solar Charger was our #1 choice. In terms of power generation under direct sunlight, both devices were at par with each other. RAV produced 1.71 amps while Anker measured 1.67 amps. During low sunlight conditions (early morning or late evenings) RAV proved to be more energy effective and produced 1amp of power. On the other hand, the Anker solar powered device had already shut down.
More Energy Efficient but Very Bulky
In the external battery pack power test, RAV managed to to be 15% more energy efficient (it saved 500mAh) as compared to Anker. The extra energy that RAV produced implied that Smartphones can enjoy up to 20% more power. This is not a brownie point. The 15% to 20% more power for Smartphones is not a commendable feat, especially if the user is forced to carry a bulky RAVPower 15-W Solar Charger to achieve that extra power. In my opinion, Smartphone users would definitely prefer to use the compact Anker and work with 15% lesser energy.