When might you need the best foldable solar panels? If you’re an outdoorsy person, the answer might be quite often. Portable solar panels come in handy when you are going camping, sailing, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities. In addition, they can help you keep your devices juiced when you are on a backpacking trip.
Most of the outdoor adventures take place in areas that are too far from the grid. In addition, many such areas are kept that way so that you can feel a true reconnection with nature.
However, that does not mean that you have to stay unconnected. Therefore, the best mobile solar panels will keep your laptop, mobile phone, iPad, Kindle and other mobile devices charged.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Foldable Solar Panels
When buying small or large portable solar panels that you can use at home, in your RV, camping trips and other adventures, check the features.
The reason for this is that many choices might bamboozle you into buying something that is not worth the money. Therefore, here are the factors to consider before spending on one.
Wattage Depending on Usage
Solar panels with higher wattage are better. However, find out how much energy you need. In addition, there is no need to get a 120W folding solar panel while you only need 65W.
If you need this solar power system for your RV, wattage of 100 and 120 will be just fine. However, if you want one for your boat, you will need a higher wattage than that.
If you just need something to keep your mobile devices juiced so that you can catch up on email, try personal solar panels. For example, you can try the Anker foldable solar panel.
Type of Solar Panel
Without thinking too much about it, just go for monocrystalline solar panels as opposed to other types. Monocrystalline solar panels have a higher conversion rate than polycrystalline ones. Therefore, they charge lead-acid batteries or your mobile devices faster.
This is the main reason why these are portable solar panels. Therefore, they need to be of the perfect weight so that you can carry yours easily.
Now, too little weight could mean that the solar panel uses thin-film technology. Therefore, it is best to consider weights between 2.5kg to 7kg. While the idea is to make your backpacking or camping load as light as possible, you still need the solar to be durable.
In addition, check how the portable solar power panels are packaged. For example, some come in suitcase-style and others come with nice handles. In addition, others come with eyelets so that you can attach them to your backpacks.
ou wouldn’t want to buy portable solar panels for your home and then find out you can’t connect them. However, in most cases, connecting the system is easy.
First, check whether the solar panel is compatible with solar generators. If it is, it means you will connect it directly to the solar generator, using one of the provided adapters.
However, if you want to use a solar panel with a 12V battery, check that it comes with a charge controller. Consequently, you can connect the panel to the controller and then to the battery. In addition, this is important because it protects the battery from surge, overload and short-circuiting.
Some solar panels do not come with user manuals. However, it is important that connecting the entire system be as simple as possible. Portable solar power is supposed to make your life easier and not harder.
Design and Build Quality
Some of the solar panels that we reviewed here have thin films with a fabric backing. However, some are quite heavy-duty and they come with tempered glass and aluminum alloy frames. In addition, the space between the solar panel and the frame should be airtight so that water cannot seep inside.
Another thing to consider in the build quality is a stand. Most portable panels have one, but some come without so you just lay them on the ground.
It’s preferable to choose a panel with an adjustable kickstand. That way, you can set the solar panels at an angle so that they can capture the most sunshine.
In addition, research shows that solar panels set at an angle capture 25% more sunshine than the ones laid flat on the ground.
Price and Warranty
The features will determine the price. Therefore, it is better to pay more for a solar panel that has fast USB charging ports, high wattage and great build quality. At least, this is better than paying less for fewer features.
However, you can expect the price of portable folding solar panels to range from $100 to several hundred dollars.
In addition to the buying price, check the warranty. On the same note, 12 months of warranty would be great. However, if you can get one for 18 months or longer, take it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers. They might help you get the right mobile solar panels.
Are portable solar panels worth it?
For long-term energy needs at one place, for example, at home, the fixed solar panels that last up to 30 years are much better. However, for camping, sailing, backpacking, hiking and many other adventures, portable solar panel varieties are good. So yes, these panels are definitely worth it.
Can I connect the solar panel directly to the battery?
Yes, you can. However, if you do that, it means that your battery has no protection against the surge, overload or short circuit. Therefore, it is best to look for a solar panel that comes with a charge controller. Consequently, you can connect the charge controller to the solar panel and then connect it to the battery.
What should I look for when buying a portable solar panel?
You should look at many things. However, the most important of them include the wattage, the size and the weight. In addition, a bag or a carry handle gives “portability” more meaning. On the same note, look at the technology used. Crystalline panels are the best.
Foldable Solar Panel
1. Anker 21W Foldable Solar Panel
Of course, this list would not be complete without at least one personal solar panel. Therefore, we bring you this one from Anker. It is small, it folds and it keeps your Galaxy, iPhone, iPad and other device juiced when you are on the go.
First, the solar panel is made of PET – a kind of plastic that also makes water bottles and other food packaging plastics. In addition, it has a strong canvas backing it. Therefore, this is a guarantee of durability.
Second, this solar panel charges your devices fast. On the same note, there is no surprise there since Anker is one of the most popular names for USB charging. Therefore, with this one, you will get fast charging with speeds of up to 3 amps when it is in direct sun.
Third, this solar panel is very portable. When you open it, it measures 26.4 by 11.1 inches. When you fold it, it measures 11.1 by 6.3 inches. In addition, it has steel eyeholes so that you can attach it to trees, backpacks, tents and other places easily.
Despite the features, some things need improving. For instance, this is just a solar panel with no battery pack. Therefore, it only charges your devices directly.
- Comes with a 3-foot micro-USB cable
- Sells with an 18-month warranty
- Folds into a small size that packs easy in the backpack
- High quality material
- Does not come with a user manual
- Power rating might be lower than advertised
This is a good investment for a person who is always on the move, especially a backpacking, hiking, camping and beach lover. It will help you keep your devices charged all the time.
2. Rockpals 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panels
First, the Rockpals SP003 100-watt folding solar panel is for generators. In addition, it is compatible with almost every solar generator, but there are some exceptions.
Second, when it comes to charging your devices, this portable solar power system is intelligent. By this, we mean that it has a built-in IC chip. On the same note, this chip identifies your smart devices and maximizes the charging speed. That way, you do not have to wait too long.
Thirdly, this solar panel works fast because it has a high conversion rate of up to 23.5 percent. Therefore, it harnesses energy fast. At the same time, it has excellent build quality since the manufacturer uses Oxford cloth. Therefore, it can stay outside in all weather conditions.
This solar panel is highly portable. First, it folds into a small size of 20.5 by 14.2 by 2.6 inches. Second, it weighs 2.3kg.
In spite of the nice features that the Rockpals portable solar panels for home come with, you might be unhappy with the strong smell that lingers around for a couple of days. They could definitely improve on that.
- Smart USB charging for devices
- 100 watts of power is quite impressive
- Good quality of the workmanship
- Wide compatibility with solar generators
- The price is fair considering all the features
- Customer service could be better
Despite a few disadvantages, the Rockpal generator solar panel is one of the well-built products around. You might buy it if you love camping, have a mountain cabin or just love to go off the grid.
3. Renogy 100 Watt Foldable Solar Panel
If you check around widely, you will see that Renogy is one of the popular solar technology companies. Therefore, buying a product from a good brand gives confidence, especially when there are features to back it.
First, these are monocrystalline solar panels. There is a lot of science behind poly and monocrystalline technologies. However, monocrystalline solar panels have single silicon cells. Therefore, this means that the electrons carrying electricity move more freely and faster.
The solar panels have an aluminum stand. Therefore, they are corrosion-resistant. In addition, the stand enables you to set them right where they will capture the most sunshine. In addition, these solar panels work well with all types of solar battery packs. They also come with their charge controller, which is waterproof.
Finally, for a portable solar panel, the weight and size are very important. Therefore, you might appreciate that this Renogy solar panel folds into a small size of 20 by 27.2 by 2.8 inches. In addition, it weighs 26 pounds.
While this is a great solar panel, the one thing that Renogy could improve is its customer service. They can take a couple of days to get back to you.
- Monocrystalline technology is better than polycrystalline
- Compatibility with different types of the battery pack is great
- Good value for money
- Made for long outdoor use
- The connection can be a bother for first-timers
- Poor customer service
If you are looking for a camping solar panel, you might love the 100-Watt solar panel. It has a durable build, so you can use it outdoors the entire year.
4. Jackery 60W Foldable Solar Panel
Jackery has been in the business of making renewable energy products in Silicon Valley for the last decade. Therefore, you might be able to trust them to make a folding solar panel that you can use for a long time. Besides, their price seems fair.
First, as a monocrystalline solar panel, it is able to convert up to 23% of the sun to energy. Therefore, if you are using it for lighting, it will run longer.
Secondly, this is a folding solar panel. Therefore, it also comes with a kickstand that you can use to prop it up so that it can capture the most sunshine. In addition, the kickstand is so easy to use as well as light in weight.
Thirdly, the solar charger controller has USB ports. Therefore, you can charge some of your devices straight from these USB ports as the solar panel charges your battery pack.
Fourthly, this solar panel has a carry handle. In addition, its overall weight is 11.65 pounds. Therefore, when you are done using it, just fold it and carry it comfortably.
The only disadvantage with this solar panel is that it really does not give you 60 watts. It is less than that but still usable.
- Good build quality and design
- Has protection for over surge, short circuit and surge
- Can charge the battery fast in bright sunshine
- Quite light in weight
- The solar panel feels a bit flimsy
The tussle is usually between the 60-watt and the 100-watt solar panels from Jackery. Whichever you buy, you will get value for money.
5. Goal Zero 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel
If you know your way around solar panels, you must know that 100 watts is quite the real deal. Therefore, it is in that same spirit that Goal Zero brings you one of their best suitcase solar panels.
First, this is a monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, this means that the electrons carrying electricity move a lot freer, making it effective at harvesting sunlight. In addition, the solar panel material is tempered glass and the frame is aluminum.
Second, the solar panel comes with a 45-degree stand. Therefore, you can place it securely in the best direction so it faces the sun. In addition, the stand is corrosion-resistant so even rain and frost will not destroy it.
Thirdly, when you are done using the solar panel, you can fold it and pack it in the briefcase that it comes with. Therefore, safe storage and transport are already possible.
What is the one thing that Goal Zero could improve? As it turns out, this is not a plug-and-forget kind of solar power system. You have to keep checking it to ensure it is always charging.
- Good packaging for safe transport and storage
- High quality build for the panel with tempered glass
- Keeps power safe within 12V since it only connects with 8mm barrel jacks in parallel
- Weighs a manageable 11.7kg
- The stand has a fixed angle
The Goal Zero Boulder 100 folding solar panel is one of their flagship products. In addition, it comes with superb material to last a long time.
6. TP-solar 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger Kit
This is a multiple foldable solar panel from TP-solar. In addition, it is compatible with many solar generators in the market. It also has more features as you will see below:
The first feature that you will notice is the highly foldable design. In addition, this is a combination of 12 small solar panels. However, when they fold up, the size reduces to 11 by 7.8 by 2.9 inches. When it is unfolded, it measures 52 by 21.7 by 0.2 inches. In addition, the weight is a manageable 2.3kg.
The solar panel itself is made with ETFE material. Therefore, it has a high conversion rate of slightly more than 23 percent. In addition, the solar panel material is abrasion-resistant and has a PVC fabric backing.
This solar panel is compatible with 5V, 19V and 25V devices. In addition, it comes with two 5V USB charging devices and the good thing is that you can charge two devices simultaneously. In addition, with a 14.5V adapter cable, this solar panel can charge a 12V battery.
There are many more features. However, we still find some need for improvement with this solar panel. For instance, it requires you to devise good back support because it doesn’t come with one.
- Comes with a nice carry bag with straps, zippers et al
- The quality of the materials is good
- Good for use with different power stations
- Simple to travel with thanks to the minimal weight of 2.3kg
- The USB connectors are not really waterproof
Despite the challenges of propping it up, this combination of 12 solar panels works as advertised. You might love it if you love camping.
7. Togo Power 120W Portable Foldable Solar Panel
If you have been looking for a portable solar panel that can work with 8mm DC input port compatible solar generators, you might want the Togo POWER one. However, you need to see the features first:
First, this is a monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, it has a high conversion rate of 23 percent. Therefore, it charges a solar generator, car battery or even your devices fast.
Second, this solar panel is so widely compatible with many power stations. For example, it can charge Baldr, Goal Zero, Jackery and Paxcess generators. On the same note, if you have Rockpals, Flashfish or other, you just need an adapter.
Third, one of the reasons why we buy solar panels is so that we can stay connected even when we are sailing, camping or hiking. Therefore, you will be happy to know that this folding solar panel has dual ports USB-C and QC3.0 that can charge your smartphones, cameras, tablets and power banks.
In addition, the solar panel has an IC chip that will identify your device when charging to hasten the process. On the same note, it will help to protect it from short circuits, overcharging and even overloading.
This solar panel is really good. However, there is one flaw. For instance, it cannot charge 12V batteries. This begs the question – why?
- It is light in weight at 4.7kg
- Foldable design makes it good for traveling with
- You can use it outdoors in all weather conditions
- Has the backing of a 12-month warranty
- Wattage is lower than advertised
This is one of the most flexible solar panels in the market. It can charge power banks, solar generators and your mobile devices too.
8. Dokio 100W 18V Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit
If you have an RV, a boat or other tool of outdoor adventure, you need the means to harvest solar energy. In that case, you might want to invest in the 100-watt Dokio folding solar panel kit. But first, check out its features.
Starting with the design of this solar panel, it is light in weight and is really thin, but strong at the same time. In addition, it measures 21 by 20 by 1 inch when you fold it. On the same note, it has a minimal weight of 2.7kg.
While the solar panel is thin, it has a high-quality cloth backing. Therefore, the solar panel has enough protection all the time. In addition, it has a nice carry handle. Therefore, transporting it is not a problem at all.
This is a monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, it has a higher efficiency rate than polycrystalline ones. In addition, it comes with its charge controller so that you can get to start using it straight away. On the same note, it has a 3-meter lead cable for connecting the solar controller.
Well, this solar panel might help you when the main grid power goes off. However, it cannot really give you 100 watts of power. Therefore, we feel that the 100W claim is a misrepresentation.
- The charge controller has a USB port
- Designed to be waterproof
- Customer service is very good
- It keeps deep cycle batteries charged even when there is minimal sun
- You will notice UV degradation on the fabric
You might choose this portable solar panel for home use, camping, boating, RV and other uses. By design, it is a pretty much plug-n-play panel.
9. PAXCESS RV Foldable Solar Panel
Paxcess has been making solar panels and gardening tools since 2015. The 120W Paxcess is one of their flagship generators. It also works with a Paxcess solar generator to harness enough power for camping, sailboat, RV or home during a blackout.
First, this 120W, 18V solar panel also comes with USB charging ports. Therefore, you can keep your devices charged all the time, even when you are away from home. In addition, you can expect fast charging because there are Type C and USB QC ports. Therefore, feel free to charge your Apple, android and other devices.
You can adjust the angle of the kickstand albeit by a small degree. Therefore, you can set it at an angle where it will receive the best sunshine. In addition, research shows that solar panels placed at an angle charge better than when placed flat on the ground. Consequently, the tilted solar panel can capture up to 25% more sunshine than a flat one.
When you need to fold up and travel with the solar panel, it comes with a nice carry bag for that. In addition, the weight of the folded panel is 5.3kg. It is not the lightest but it certainly is also not the heaviest.
The goodness of this portable solar panel cannot be overemphasized. However, there is a small disadvantage. This solar panel does not really get to an output of 120W.
- Comes with different connectors (4 of them) to connect to different solar generators
- Versatile power source for many occasions
- Have fast USB charging ports
- Captures plenty of sunshine at an angle
- It does not get to an output of the claimed 120W
This is not only used as an RV camping solar panel, but it is also good for your power backup at home when storms cause a power blackout.
10. ECO-WORTHY 120W Foldable Solar Panel
If you have a compatible solar generator at home, you can wire the solar panel directly to it. In addition, the solar panel comes with the required wire length for the job. However, that is not the only way. On the same note, you can wire it to the charge controller (it comes with one). In addition, you connect the charge controller to the 12V battery.
When you get this portable solar panel, you will find that it comes with a 20A controller to protect your 12V battery from overloading and overcharge. Therefore, even when it is blazing hot in summer, your lead acid battery is safe.
One of the reasons why people buy portable solar panels is because of the ability to move with them easily. Therefore, you might appreciate that this one weighs just 4.2kg. In addition, it also has a side pouch for the charge controller and any cables you might want to take with you.
It always feels good to be able to prop a solar panel in the best position where it can receive the most sunshine. Therefore, to help you with this, Eco Worthy has included a corrosion-resistant kickstand. In addition, it is tiltable, so you can definitely get a good angle.
While there are many good things to say about portable solar panels for RV batteries from Eco Worthy, this one has a disadvantage. For instance, it has no user manual on paper or online.
- Easy to use with lead-acid battery or solar generator
- Have 5V USB ports for charging your mobile devices
- It has adapters for Jackery, Goal Zero, Rockpals and Flasfish solar generators
- The tiltable stand helps the solar to get more sunshine
- Bad customer service
The output of this portable solar panel is good for various needs such as lighting, charging devices and keeping things cool in your RV. Going by the features, it is good value for money.
Conclusion and Recommendation
That is it for the best portable solar panel. There are so many of them, but the ten you see here might meet your needs.
If you want a solar panel to charge your devices only when you are off the grid, try the Anker solar panel. On the same note, it is made specifically for charging devices.
It also comes with the requisite charging ports to charge two or more devices simultaneously. However, please note that it does not have a battery pack to store energy.
If you need portable solar power units, try one with at least 100W rating. For instance, you might want to get the 100W Rockpals SP003. It will meet most of your energy needs when you are off the grid.