Best Solar Chargers for Your iPhone

Published On June 17, 2013 | Green Tech

People who spend a lot of time off the grid – hanging out at music festivals or camping up north – don’t necessarily want to be disconnected entirely from the outside world. Those who own an iPhone know that the device usually has about 10-12 hours of battery power before it needs to be plugged in.

But iPhone users are in luck as solar chargers have come a long way in recent years. There are several new products coming out with some pretty stellar reviews. Here’s a rundown of some of the best iPhone solar chargers on the market.

Suntactics sCharger-12 Dual Port USB Device Solar Charger 

This little guy gets great reviews, and although it’s a little pricy coming in just under $250 on Amazon, you can plug two items (tablet or smartphone) into its dual USB connector ports, and it seems to be pretty speedy with the 1000mA (1.0 Amps) output – quite enough power to charge a smartphone to capacity in as little as two hours.

Powertraveller Solarmonkey Adventurer Solar Charger

This one, sold by REI, is great for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s less pricy than the Suntastics and has an on-board battery that you can charge on-the-go. It’s even water-resistant so you can charge the battery while it’s raining, although you probably want to disconnect your phone to keep any water out of the connectors. It retails around $130 and is fairly lightweight at about 9 oz., so it’s easy to toss into your bag.

Added bonus: Although it has a battery for less-than-sunny power, the auto-load feature allows you to start charging your device as soon as you plug it in without fully charging the battery.

Snow Lizard SLXtreme Case

Snow Lizard offers up a pretty cool twist with its solar-powered water-tight case for the iPhone. Originally a Kickstarter project, this product allows you to submerge your iPhone up to six feet to take underwater photos and video with the integrated shutter button. Running about the same price as the Powertraveller at $129, you get a little extra bang for your buck with the water-tight housing and integrated battery that will double the life of your iPhone battery.  Also it comes in about six different colors for the fashion-minded. Granted they are colors like “Urban Camo,” and “Signal Orange,” but hey…  at least there are options.

Gomadic SunVolt

This solar charger is a little on the larger size, but if you plan on using it in the car rather than in your backpack, it’s definitely a great option. It’s designed to charge multiple devices at “outlet-like speeds”, which is about as fast as it gets. It’s available in both 10 and 15 volt sizes, which is pretty hefty, and it has some add-on connectors that will allow you to charge anything from your iPhone to a digital camera. At $99, it’s the most reasonable in terms of price for a high-quality charger, but doesn’t come with any kind of battery power for non-solar use.

Be sure to know what you’re looking for before purchasing a solar charger. Do you want an onboard battery? Does it have high-quality monocrystalline silicon solar cells (the really good ones)? How big and heavy is it? And how much are you willing to spend to get a good one that will last?

Depending on whether you’re hiking through the bush in the outback, or you just want to charge your iPhone in your office window, there are plenty of great products out there to meet your needs for price, size and functionality.

— By Adrienne Ziegler

Known to her friends and colleagues as “Dree,” Adrienne Ziegler is a self-proclaimed nerd who wants to try everything once. She works for a technology company in Ann Arbor, Michigan and enjoys hiking, running, kayaking, throwing music events and artsy-crafty stuff. 

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