Many people have chosen, in recent times, to go off major power grids and adopt for independent power supply. Of course, the most popular renewable energy today is solar power. If you would like to pursue more environmentally friendly energy sources for your home or RV, you may want to start with a portable solar panel. Portable solar panels will not harness sufficient energy to run your home entirely, but they are perfect for charging phones, laptops, and other small appliances. We have reviewed some of the best portable solar panels, so you can make the right panel choice when buying.
Top 6 Best Portable Solar Panels from Our Reviews
1. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel – Overall Best
What is portability in a solar panel if it is not foldable? However, what makes the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Panel the most interesting module we reviewed is the high conversion efficiency and the kickstand design that makes it easy to set up. It has an energy conversion of up to 23%, which is more than you will get from typical portable panels. The kickstand holds it at an angle of 45 degrees so it can charge easily in sunlight. Quite interestingly, it comes with two USB outputs through which you can charge small appliances.
The 100W panel has an Anderson Connector with an output of 18 volts at 5.5 amps, and it is particularly designed to power the Jackery 160, 240, 500, and 1000 power stations. The only disappointing thing about this module is that it is not waterproof. It is odd that something designed to be positioned outdoors does not feature adequate weather against sunlight. Nonetheless, it is one of the best folding solar panels you can use in your home or on the go.
Pros + Key Features
- It comes with a kickstand
- Two USB ports
- Conversion efficiency up to 23 %
- It is lightweight
- Easy to set up
2. Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel
The Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline panel is one of the best options you should consider when preparing to go off-grid. The monocrystalline nature of the panel ensures a high charge efficiency. The panel comes with two 50 Watt panel and an independent waterproof charge controller connected to the back. The most impressive thing is, perhaps, the durability of the whole unit. It features a corrosion-resistant aluminum stand with a heavy-duty handle and latches on the case that will stay in good condition for long.
Depending on sunlight availability, the panel has an average output of 500 Watt-hours per day. As it is a low-voltage system, there is no risk of electric shock hazards. Furthermore, it is a waterproof panel and is adequately protected from water's negative effects with an IP66 rating. The unit comes in a premium rugged canvas protective case that you will find useful on the go. Another interesting thing about the panel is that it is compatible with various battery types: gel, sealed, Lithium, and flooded batteries. Owing to the durability, it is one of the best portable solar panels for camping.
Pros + Key Features
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum stand
- 500 Watt-hours per day output
- Panels are IP66 waterproof
- Compatible with many battery types
3. Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel
The SolarSaga 60W panel is another impressive panel from Jackery. Portable panels are not necessarily cheap, but if you are in the market for a budget-friendly option, you should take a look at the Jackery SolarSaga 60W panel. It comes with three panels that combine for an improved power generation experience. The panels are designed to unsnap and fold out easily. Weighing a mere 3.3 lbs, it is one of the lightest panels you can get. Like the SolarSaga 100W, it has high conversion efficiency up to 23% and is compatible with the Jackery Explorer 160/240/500 power stations.
Furthermore, it comes with a kickstand that holds it up at an angle for charging. It features 1 USB-C output port and 1 USB-A output port to charge multiple small devices at once. This model is particularly suited to the outdoor lifestyle. Campers and road trippers will find it more useful as the 60W power rating is quite low. Nonetheless, it will come in handy when you experience an occasional power outage at home. While it is made out of durable cloth, zipper, and polyethylene terephthalate material, we don't like that it is not waterproof.
Pros + Key Features
- High conversion efficiency
- Dual USB output ports
- It is quite durable
- It is a lightweight panel
- Suited for outdoor purposes
4. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
This Goal Zero Boulder panel features monocrystalline solar cells that ensure more charging power per square inch of the surface. This implies that it has a higher charge efficiency than the usual panels. Regardless of the fact that it is a portable fixture, it has a sturdy aluminum frame and strong tempered glass for durability. The kickstand that comes with the unit is removable for those who would prefer to install it in a flat position. Thanks to the unique design, it can be carried like a briefcase and can be brought along on outdoor adventures.
However, what makes it stand out is that it can only be connected in parallel with 8mm jacks, such that the system stays safe within the 12V output. Interestingly, the package comes with the panel, the built-in kickstand, and a canvas carrying bag that makes it more mobile. Furthermore, there is no need for charge controllers or extra cables, as you can plug it directly into power stations. The rugged construction makes it very durable, and the 1 year warranty it comes with confirms this. If you are looking to build one of the best portable solar power systems, you should consider this Goal Zero panel.
Pros + Key Features
- It comes with a carrying bag
- 1 year warranty
- Monocrystalline solar cells
- Removable kickstand
5. Go Power GP-PSK-130 Portable Folding Solar Kit
If what you need is a portable solar panel than can do a little bit more than typical solar panels, check out the Go Power GP-PSK-130 Portable Folding Solar Kit. It is perfect for people who are always on the move and need an energy source that is not part of any main grid. Depending on some environmental conditions, the panel can generate up to 130 Watts of power per hour. Also, it comes with an inbuilt 10 amp solar controller.
While it is portable enough on its own, it does come with a carrying case that makes it easier to move around. Solar panels are generally durable, but this module is more sturdy than most. As you would expect in a portable solar kit, it has a foldable and lightweight design. You will find the setup process straightforward enough, as it comes with foldable and adjustable legs that allow easy positioning in direct sunlight. You may not find it sufficient to serve power stations in residential spaces, but it is one of the best portable solar panels for RVs.
Pros + Key Features
- Built-in 10 amp solar controller
- It comes with a carrying case
- It is durable
- 120 watts of power per hour
6. ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100W Foldable Solar Panel Kit
All significant connections have been made on this ACOPOWER panel kit by the manufacturer to make the installation process simpler. The kit comes with two foldable 50 Watt solar panels with monocrystalline cells for high conversion efficiency of up to 15.4%. We love the attention paid to detail in the design. With its corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, you don't have to worry about outdoor elements' damaging effects. Like all other panels we have reviewed, it is lightweight and can be folded for easy movement.
Furthermore, the kit features a charge controller that protects the system from overloading, overheating, and other similar hazards. Surprisingly, the panel can charge power generators with MC4 connectors. The alligator clips that come with it can be used to expand the 100W system to a 140W system. The adjustable kickstands are included to help you maximize energy from the sun, regardless of its position. While you will find the kit useful when you experience an occasional power outage at home, it is also one of the best portable solar panel for caravan, campers, and other RVs.
Pros + Key Features
- High-efficiency monocrystalline cells
- Can be expanded up to 140W
- Adjustable kickstand
- It is a lightweight kit
What Should I Look for in a Portable Solar Panel?
It doesn't matter if you need a portable solar panel at home or for your outdoor activities, there are certain factors you need to consider before you buy one. Here are some significant things to consider in a portable solar panel.
A portable solar panel should be relatively lightweight, but they come in varying weights. A panel to be used in a residential or commercial space can heavier than one you plan to use for camping. Outdoor activities like hiking will require an ultra-lightweight panel.
Efficiency has to do with the energy conversion rate of solar energy to electricity. You can have two similarly sized panels with different electricity output. A higher efficiency level would imply better energy conversion, even at a smaller size.
This does affect efficiency in some ways. Solar panels for off-grid power generation typically feature crystalline technology, which can be in any of two different forms. However, we would advise that you always go for monocrystalline panels over polycrystalline ones, as they are more efficient.
You need to consider price when buying any type of fixture, a solar panel inclusive, and you don't have to spend excessively to get a good one. In general, they are quite costly, but you can always get affordable options, even if it would imply a compromise on some features. Whatever your budget is, you can get a portable solar panel with features that fit right into that price range.
Use and Care a Portable Solar Panel
One of the exciting things about solar panels is that they are easy to maintain - portable or not. All you have to do to take care of these panels is clean away every dust, dirt, or grime accumulated on the surface. Accumulations on the solar panel can block the cells from getting sufficient light from the sun, thereby affecting the panels' output. In some cases, you can clean them with water and a soft sponge or piece of fabric, but you have to be sure that your panel is waterproof, as not all portable panels are resistant to water.
There are many portable solar panels to choose from on the market today. However, we have only selected some of the best models, so you can find it easier to make your choice. If you are always on the go for some outdoor activities like camping, hiking, or road trips, you should consider setting up a portable solar power system to serve your gadgets and equipment. It is also a great idea to have a portable solar system in your home, separate from the main grid, for emergency purposes. We hope you found this best portable solar panels review helpful.