How to Choose the Right Solar Charger for Your Mobile Device
In an age when we're increasingly dependent on mobile devices yet constantly trying to live greener, how do you make a compromise between powering an endless stream of gadgets and energy conservation? With solar device chargers, you don't have to.
Constructed of mini solar panels and often small enough to slip into a pocket, solar chargers soak up energy from sunlight and convert it into electricity to charge the batteries of cell phones, GPS units, portable game systems, and even laptops – all without ever plugging into a power outlet.
Solar chargers are available in many different sizes and styles, ranging from basic ultra-compact models for occasional use, to more elaborate versions for designed for near-constant use in powering laptops or charging gadgets while on the road.
How do you know which type is right for you? It's easy – all you need to do is answer 2 simple questions:
- What types of devices do I need to power?
- Where/in what types of situations would I use a solar charger?
Once you've figured out exactly what your solar power needs are, the rest is even simpler: just check out the guide to our favorite solar chargers below, and find your perfect match…
Manhattan® Solar Power Pack
Works Well With: Cell phones, PDAs, digital music players and other small portable electronics.
Use it When: You're traveling internationally and don't want the hassle of carrying multiple device chargers or foreign outlet adapters.
Special Features: A USB cable and four interchangeable connectors that let you customize a charging cable for almost any device, and a carrying case to keep everything organized.
Ultra-Compact Solar Charger
Works Well With: Mobile phones and other small gadgets.
Use it When: Your phone or MP3 player battery dies and you need a quick charge – it's perfect for stashing in a purse, backpack or glove compartment.
Special Features: A backlit mini LCD screen that displays charging status, and interchangeable connectors (mini and micro USB, as well as Nokia, Samsung and Sony-compatible adapters).
The Daytripper™ Solar Charger
Works Well With: Mobile phones, GPs units, MP3 players and handheld video games
Use it When: You need a quick gadget charge during emergency power outages, or while you're hiking or camping far from plug-in outlets.
Special Features: A top loop that lets you hang the charger from a belt, backpack or tent support, a USB output for charging versatility, and a built-in LED that will give you up to 5 hours of light on a single charge.