Best Portable Solar Panels in 2020


The need to go off the grid and stop relying on the power lines has significantly risen in the recent years. More and more free spirits wish to be mobile, to be independent of the country’s infrastructures, to be green and enjoy a clean energy source. Portable solar panels are the ultimate answer to these needs and desires.

Just think of all the potential applications once you get the best portable solar panel possible. You can power your tiny house, homestead or RV. You can charge and use the panel with other portable appliances and devices, even if you are camping in the middle of nowhere. You will harness the power of the sun from any location and use it to your full advantage without leaving a carbon footprint.

But what exactly is this year’s best portable solar panel? There are several excellent products available, and I reviewed them for you, hopefully making your choice an easier task. Every item is also linked to its Amazon page, where you can read more reviews and compare prices. But first, I will explain a few basic things about these solar panels and how they are evaluated. If you wish to skip directly to the reviews, click here.

 

Preview Title Features More Details
Renogy KIT-STARTER-100D • One of the best on the market
• Output up to 400W
• Highly efficient
Zamp Solar 120P • Recommended by many
• Works with 6V/12V batteries
• Anti-reflective system
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel • Designed to last for decades
• Tempered glass
• Just 16.5 lbs., fits anywhere
ECO-WORTHY DC-FP40-1 • Corrosion-resistant frame
• Withstands any weather
• Great camping solution
Go Power! GP-PSK-130 • Durable materials
• Easily installed
• Adjustable legs
Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel • Charges phones, tablets, etc.
• Aut-restart feature
• Just 3 lbs.
ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100 Watt • Protects from electrical hazards
• Has corner protectors
• Very versatile
Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase • Monocrystalline cells
• Kickstand to match the sun
• Very safe connectors
SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar Panel • 60 Watt output
• Dual 5V/18V output
• Overcharging protection
GoerTekSolar Charger, 25000mAh Battery Solar Power Bank • Impressive power bank
• 3 USB ports
• Small and waterproof

 

How to Buy a Portable Solar Panel – All Characteristics

Technology and Materials

First of all, we need to check what technology was used when making a solar panel. The most widespread make is the crystalline panels. They are used in both off-grid and on-grid solar panel systems. Usually there are monocrystalline and polycrystalline models. The former are more recommended, since they are more efficient, thus more suitable for portable needs. I will explain the factor of efficiency further on.

Next, we have the thin-film panels. This technology is favored by some, thanks to their reduced size and better flexibility. But again, we need to consider efficiency, and theirs is somewhat lower than the monocrystalline type’s. If you go for a thin-film portable solar panel, you will earn more mobility and maneuverability, but sacrifice some efficiency. Your personal preference will decide which technology is the right one for you.

 

Solar Panel Efficiency

This is probably the most important factor, since it can influence the other factors. Efficiency tells you at what rate the energy is converted from the sunlight to DC current that powers your home and appliances. Higher numbers result in smaller panels, which weigh less, are more portable and perform much better.

The bottom line is that efficiency means quality, and you should always strive for the top-notch product. Why drag a bulky model, when a smaller efficient panel can do the same job without encumbering your mobility?

 

Weight

Weight was mentioned earlier. It goes without saying that you need to choose a light (yet reliable) model, otherwise the very purpose of portability is defeated. If you’re camping, if you’re on the move, a low weight panel has a huge advantage. Some of them are foldable and have USB charging ports, which is another big plus.

 

Utilization

Deciding on the best portable solar panel for you involves knowing what you will be using it for. Naturally, a boat or an RV camper demand a much larger system with a greater power output, as compared to a few mobile phones and tablets taken on a hiking trip.

You need to know how much total wattage (W) you require and choose a panel that produces no less than that. For example, if your mobile home needs a 100W power, then get a solar panel that does not go below this value.

Generally speaking, if you need to charge your phone and recharge a few batteries, then a 45W solar panel should be more than enough for this level of usage.

 

Ease of Installation

And lastly, make sure you get a solar panel whose installation you can handle without any effort, sweat and tears. Go for the panels that do not require any special skills or tools. I can personally guarantee that any panel recommended in this very post can be assembled and set up in a matter of minutes, if not less.

Some of the models simply need to be unfolded and quickly secured to one spot. Several of them come with an adjustable kickstand. Then you only need to connect to your system, usually with an included cable or cord. Some panels have ports on their sides, others have connectors that require plugs or alligator clips. Again, pick the product that feels comfortable to you and answers all your needs.

 

Top 10 Portable Solar Panels

Renogy KIT-STARTER-100D

This model is considered being one of the best portable solar panels in existence. Renogy’s solar kit will power your RV in no time. Just think about it, this kit will enable you to add more devices and appliances to your mobile home – up to 400W in total!

The kit includes an 8 feet cable, which lets you connect the battery and the charge controller, and you can immediately start using the kit. And even if you parked under a shade, you can set the solar panel a few feet away, under the sun, and enjoy the best of both worlds – cool RV climate and free solar energy.

Under the appropriate conditions, the Renogy kit’s power output is truly astounding. If the day is sunny and you connect the kit during the early hours, you will be able to enjoy about 500Wh in a day. This amount of energy should be more than sufficient to charge any battery in just a couple of hours.

The device is also highly safe. It comes with a negative grounding controller, which is extremely useful if your motorhome is negative grounded. In addition, it weighs about 20 lbs. and cannot be folded.

All in all, this is a highly recommended solar panel. It’s highly efficient and is capable of producing wattage between 100W and 400W. If you’re serious about producing clean and free energy, free of the power grid, then this is the right device for you.

Click here for more reviews.

As you can see, many others include Renogy products in their top lists of solar panels:

 

Zamp Solar 120P

This portable solar kit is the smart choice for the smart off-gridder. The Zamp Solar product will efficiently power up any RV and charge all your batteries in a record time. It’s durable and highly reliable, so you can take it anywhere you’d like: to a road trip or to camp in the outdoors.

Zamp Solar 120P is capable of producing 30-40 amperes a day, which should be more than enough for any mobile home. It works with both 12V and 6V batteries, therefore you are not limited in your battery choice. It can be easily connected to your power system, either through a SAE port or directly to your battery.

The Zamp Solar 120P weighs 35 lbs. and can be folded if necessary and carried in an included bag. With 120W output, you will never be dependent on an electric hook-up. Moreover, the material used in making this panel is the aforementioned monocrystalline. Coupled with an anti-reflective system, its solar cells absorb more light and output more energy.

The bottom line is that Zamp Solar 120P is very versatile and effective, which makes it a great solar panel and one of the best on our list. It can produce a lot of power even under cloudy or dim conditions, which is always a huge plus since you are not limited by the weather conditions.

Click here for more reviews.

 

HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

This portable solar panel can be universally adapted to any mounting system. It’s also highly efficient. Under ideal conditions, it outputs 500Wh. However, thanks to the bypass diodes, it can overcome shade and low light without any noticeable drop in the performance.

This HQST Solar model is designed to last for decades. Thanks to the multilayered lamination and the encapsulation material, the cells perform at their peak even after many years. Add a corrosion-resistant frame, and you got yourself an excellent addition to your power system.

Not convinced yet? The panel’s glass is tempered, anti-reflective and extremely transparent. It resists impact, snow, water, high winds and flying particles! You can enjoy the free energy produced by this product with a very minimal maintenance and parts replacement.

It weighs just 16.5 lbs. and can fit on any rooftop, RV, campervan, boat or tiny house. The solar cells are polycrystalline and highly efficient. On the back of the panel you can find MC4 leads with a waterproof junction box, which enables a simple plugging to your power system. All in all, this is a great and affordable addition to your off-grid life. With HQST 100-Watt 12-Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, you are prepared to any scenario and any weather.

Click here for more reviews.

 

ECO-WORTHY DC-FP40-1

The ECO-WORTHY products live up to their name, by efficiently producing clean energy from the clean solar source. This specific model is also highly durable. The corrosion-resistant frame is made of aluminum, which ensures that the panel will serve you for many years under all weather conditions, including heavy snow, rain and strong winds.

This polycrystalline model also comes with an extensive range of safety mechanisms, as it protects against:

  • Overload
  • Overcharge
  • Overdischarge
  • Reverse connection

Any of these can harm your system and devices, so it’s a good thing that the makers of this portable solar panel kit took care of these potential problems.

The ECO-WORTHY DC-FP40-1 can be easily set up and operated. You just unfold it and connect the battery clips to your battery. It’s a great solution if you are camping, hiking, driving, or even need to utilize a watering system that has a solar pump. It weighs 12 lbs. and produces wattage of 40W.

The bottom line is that this is a trustworthy and very affordable solar kit for anyone who does not need a lot of power output. It can be transported anywhere with ease, you just carry it like a briefcase. And with the aforementioned durability and several protection, this is undoubtedly a portable solar panel that you should give a try.

Click here for more reviews.

 

Go Power! GP-PSK-130

Another awesome solution for those of us who travels in RVs and campervans. Go Power! GP-PSK-130 130W Portable Solar Kit has a very impressive energy output. If the sun is out, you will enjoy up to 130W in an hour. The kit also comes with an in-built 10 amp solar controller.

This solar panel kit is made of durable materials and demands very little maintenance. It’s foldable and weighs under 29 lbs. The setup is quick and easy, the panel will be up and running in minutes. The kit does not require a permanent placement on your roof. It can be easily installed and removed to be used elsewhere, even to charge a battery of your car, boat or ATV.

The kit is especially designed to fully absorb the sun energy, thanks to its foldable and adjustable legs. It also comes with a sturdy nylon bag for the convenient carry and storage.

Basically, this is another great way to live and travel while using the solar power. The investment into this model quickly pays off. You can use it as the main power source for your mobile home, or as a supplemental solar panel to those you already have on your home’s rooftop.

Includes a carrying case and SAE & XLR plug adapter.

Click here for more reviews.

 

Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel

This little portable beast can be your trusty road companion. The Nomad solar panel produces 28W energy and comes with USB connecting option, to charge all your other portable devices.

It is suitable for almost any weather thanks to the waterproof layer. A detachable kickstand helps you to place it at the best angle that corresponds to the sun’s position in the sky. This smart device is operated by highly intelligent electronics that ensure the best possible energy output to help you charge your:

  • Cell phone
  • Tablet
  • Camera
  • Batteries
  • And other items.

In fact, it takes just a couple of hours for this device to charge a 30Wh power bank.

The Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel also comes with a LED indicator. The indicator gives you a lot of a useful info (solar conditions, speed of charging, etc.) that assists to adjust the panel angle in order to maximize the solar energy absorption and electric energy production.

Another great feature is a dynamic auto-restart, which puts this portable solar panel above other similar models. The device remembers the recent power flow and knows how to react if it was temporarily disconnected. If it was disconnected due to the bad, sunless weather (and not due to reaching the fully charged level), it will automatically reconnect and continue its operation without any need of interference on your part. So you can just relax and enjoy the free, green energy without any worry.

It’s a small, truly portable device that weighs just 3 lbs. and can be taken anywhere with ease. Consider getting the Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel if you mostly need to power small electronic devices and charge a battery bank. It’s highly reliable and will serve you for many years to come.

Click here for more reviews.

 

ACOPOWER UV11007GD 100 Watt

This portable solar kit features not one, but two foldable 50 Watt solar panels with high quality monocrystalline cells. The kit is highly efficient (15.4%). It can function as:

  • Generator ready kit
  • Battery ready kit
  • Or even both at the same time

The ACOPOWER’s solar kit comes with a charge controller. The latter protects your system from a variety of electrical hazards: reverse connection, overloading, overcharging, overheating and short-circuiting. In addition, the corrosion-resistant aluminum frame protects against all sorts of climates and weather, ensuring a safe outdoor utilization.

The solar kit’s design is very detailed, you can immediately see that a lot of thought went into designing this device. It has corner protectors, handle, latches and kickstand legs, among other features. The legs can be adjusted to ensure the optimal intake of the solar energy.

The ACOPOWER UV11007GD is also very versatile. The MC-4 connectors enable you to plug into any generator, while the alligator clips fit any 12V car or boat battery (be it gel, flooded or sealed).

All in all, this is a solid yet lightweight option, you can easily fold it, carry in the included bag and install in moments on any RV, house, boat, and so forth. Give it a try!

Click here for more reviews.

 

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase

No list of best portable solar panels is complete without mentioning this fine product from Goal Zero. Some of its features resemble the previously mentioned ACOPOWER UV11007GD:

  • 2 50W solar panels
  • Monocrystalline cells
  • Corner protection
  • Kickstand to match the sun’s position for optimal energy absorption
  • Bag for easy carrying
  • Highly efficient

The entire design of this model makes sure that it can withstand the harshest environment and serve you even in emergency situations. It includes tempered glass and durable aluminum frame. By the way, the kickstand is removable, in case you wish to mount the panels in a flat position.

The exclusive feature that distinguishes Boulder 100 from other competitors is that it can connect only with 8mm jacks and in parallel. This makes the entire system even safer, as it remains within the 12V output.

The Goal Zero Boulder 100 weighs less than 26 lbs. You can carry it like a briefcase and take on any off-grid adventure or just use it at home.

Click here for more reviews.

 

SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W Portable Solar Panel

This universal charger can supply energy to almost any battery pack in existence. Whether you are hiking, camping, or even experiencing a power outage at your home, SUAOKI Solar Charger has you covered. You can use it to charge tablets, smartphones, cameras, GPS devices, media players, laptops, and everything else.

The output is 60 Watt, which means that you can charge 2 phones or devices at the same time. The output is, of course, DC, but it’s also both 18V and 5V, which is suitable for most of the commonly used electronic devices. Just plug into the USB port, and you no longer need to constantly look for an outlet, hookup or power bank. You will become truly unplugged and off the grid.

Thanks to the advanced SUAOKI technology, this particular solar solution charges your devices quickly, yet it’s also very safe. It includes a built-in overloading and overcharging protection.

The design makes it easy to take this solar charger anywhere. It can be folded into a shape of a small briefcase, and it weighs under 5 lbs. You can easily transport it and place on the tent or RV, or even spread next to you on the beach. The solar panel is splash-proof, so you don’t have to worry about the proximity to water or even a light rain.

The charger comes with a 2 year warranty and 24/7 customer service and support. It also comes with several different connector cables, so you don’t have to worry about connecting your device to the charger’s port. It’s a really friendly and portable companion for your vacation or road lifestyle.

Click here for more reviews.

 

GoerTekSolar Charger, 25000mAh Battery Solar Power Bank

The most unique part of this charger is a built-in Li-polymer battery. This impressive 25000mAh power bank stores enough electricity to charge any Apple or Android devices more than once!

Another unique feature is the dual charging. The charger can be powered either by the sun or through a 5V/2C adapter. The color of the indicator tells you the current power source (blue for adapter, green for solar energy). The GoerTekSolar Charger outputs the stored energy from 3 separate USB ports, therefore it can be used by a group of people at the same time.

Connect your GoPro cameras, mobile phones, tablets, and so on – the GoerTekSolar Charger will serve them all! It’s absolutely ideal for your daily life, as well as any social gathering, camping trip, hiking, and any other type of adventure or vacation. It’s also equipped with 36 LED lights, which are very useful in the night or during a power outage. USB cable, carabiner and complete manual are included.

This solar charger weighs merely 1.2 lbs. and is particularly small. It’s also waterproof (IPX6 level) and can withstand most weather conditions. And finally, it’s stylishly designed with eco-friendly ABS polymer materials. Thus, it looks good and works well, without polluting the environment in any way.

Click here for more reviews.

 

Related Questions

I’m new to this, how can I use the portable solar panels? While these portable solar kits might look big and untamable, using and installing them requires no special knowledge or effort. Basically, you do not need to do anything more than just follow the simple instructions included with every product. In average, it should take no longer than 10 minutes to assemble the kit and starting benefiting from the sun’s free energy.

Once you’ve set the panels up, preferably under sunny conditions, you just need to connect the cables to your RV, power bank, electronic devices, etc. The energy conversion starts immediately! Just make sure you have the correct wattage, as we discussed earlier in this article.

How do I take care of my solar panels? Since this device is usually very small, the cleaning process takes just a few minutes. You will need to remove any dirt and dust that reduce the performance by blocking the light. Take a slightly moistened sponge (just water, no cleaning chemicals!) or a very soft brush and start cleaning. Don’t apply manual pressure, and definitely don’t clean them with a water pressure from a hose, like you would if this was a stationary rooftop system.

How long do the portable solar panels last? If you go for a quality model, like the ones I recommended earlier, then you can enjoy them for 20-30 years or even more. Proper maintenance will pay off in the long run. I have a few friends that enjoy the panels bought all the way back in the 80s, so just imagine for how long you can enjoy the modern, top quality solar panels.

Besides solar panels, what are additional costs of living off the grid? It’s a somewhat complicated question that deserves a detailed answer. You will need to take into the account the price of the land, the house, the garden/livestock, and so on. A water system needs to be installed, with an accompanying recycling system. I invite you to read more on this subject in my post, “How Much Does It Cost to Live Off the Grid?”

Alex Rejba

Alex is a seasoned survivalist, with a passion to all things related to prepping, hiking and living off the grid.

Recent Content