Best Folding Solar Panels: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2021/2022

The best folding solar panels (also called solar blankets or mats) are great for travel & portability.

Compared to glass solar panels that are permanently fixed, and flexible solar panels that might have some bend – foldable solar panels can be set up and then completely packed away by folding back up.

Camping, rv’s & caravans, hiking and backpacking, off road adventuring and more are all made easier with the use of folding solar panels.

Let’s have a look at the best folding solar panel brands & products…

 

Top Rated Folding Solar Panels List

Best Small Folding Solar Panel – Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20W Solar Panel (on Amazon)

  • For charging small USB and 12 Volt devices like mobiles/cell phones & GPS systems

 

Best Large Folding Solar Panel – Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller (on Amazon)

  • For powering multiple items at once like a small-medium fridge, camp lights, radios, tv’s, OR charging trailer & RV batteries & more

 

Best Folding Solar Panels: Reviews

Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20W Solar Panel

View On Amazon

What’s Good About This Folding Solar Panel?

  • Great for backpackers, hikers, campers, kayakers and adventurers
  • Good for charging phones, GPS devices, and emergency gadgets
  • Very easy to set up
  • Mono crystalline solar panels which are about 17-18% efficient
  • Design is durable and weather proof
  • Has stitches/loops that allow it to be fastened to tents, back-packs, kayaks and more
  • Can fit IN a backpack for hiking
  • Allows you to power handheld USB and 12 Volt devices
  • Very lightweight – 1.1 kg

 

What Could Be Improved?

  • You will need to buy a recharger/power pack separately if you want to charge items when the sun isn’t out

 

What Else Might You Need With This Folding Solar Panel?

 

Where Can I Check Out This Panel?

View the Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20W Solar Panel on Amazon

 

Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller

View On Amazon

What’s Good About This Folding Solar Panel?

  • Easy to setup…completely folds out and very portable
  • Monocrystalline solar panels
  • Controller is 10 Amp, PWM, built-in (check the limits for bulk and absorption charging before you buy)
  • Anderson style battery charging connectors – can be used for maintaining RV or trailer battery while on the road, or trickle charging your car, ATV or boat battery
  • Comes with 10 Amp charge controller, battery clamps, quick connectors, ring terminal connectors, SAE solar plug adapter, XLR-style solar plug adapter, 15′ of UV 12/2 cable and heavy-duty nylon storage case
  • Frame is made well – silver anodized aluminum frame with built-in adjustable folding legs
  • 25 year warranty for the solar panels, and 3 year warranty for the controller

 

What Could Be Improved?

  • Sometimes the wires might be loose or the controller not fully snapped on when you receive the product – ring support in this case, and they can easily tell you how to remedy this
  • The 30′ expansion cable is not included in the kit – you’ll have to purchase this separately if you need it
  • The 7 pin trailer adapter is not included in the kit – you’ll have to purchase it separately if you need it

 

What Else Might You Need With This Folding Solar Panel?

 

Where Can I Check Out This Panel?

View the Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120W Portable Folding Solar Kit on Amazon

 

Best Folding Solar Panels: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ

What Are Folding Solar Panels?

Folding solar panels are portable solar panels that can be folded up, unfolded and packed & unpacked with ease.

They are in comparison to rigid solar panels that are permanently fixed, and flexible and bendable solar panels that are more susceptible to damage and can mostly only bend to around 30 degrees.

Folding solar panels can come in slightly different designs, but they all have the same basic design where they allow the panels to be folded up to store away after use.

This might take the form of a canvas blanket, or a canvas or metal frame that folds out.

 

Types Of Folding Solar Panels

Probably the main thing that differentiates folding solar panels is their wattage.

Folding solar panels come in many different types from less than 10 Watts, all the way up to almost 200 Watts.

 

What Are Folding Solar Panels Used For?

Folding solar panels will be designed to either hold a charge, or directly power items and appliances you want to use.

A smaller 20 watt setup will be suitable for smaller handheld devices, whilst a 120 Watt setup will be better for multiple bigger items like tv’s, radios and lights.

Folding solar panels are designed to charge 12 volt and USB devices. If you want to power household mains electricity items, you’ll need an inverter.

 

Folding Solar Panels Accessories

  • Solar Controller (usually built in)
  • 12 volt Battery Leads/Connections
  • Inverter if you need to convert 12V energy to 240V house energy

 

How To Choose Which Folding Solar Panels To Get

It really depends on what items you want to charge, and how many items you have.

The 20 Watt panel kit will be good for charging 1 handheld device at a time, and are also much more lightweight to carry around.

The 120 Watt panel kit is better for charging multiple medium sized devices at a time. They are heavier and can’t be carried around hiking like a 20 Watt model can be.

You should also consider whether you get a device to store 12 volt energy, and whether you need a solar inverter.

 

Features & Things To Look For In Folding Solar Panels

 

  • Type of solar panels – mono crystalline or another type?
  • Look at the efficiency of the solar panels
  • What is the overall wattage that the panels produce?
  • What sort of items, and how many at a time can the kit charge?
  • Does the setup come with an in-built regulator or controller – if so, does it have any limits?
  • How much do the panels weigh? Can you carry them around hiking or backpacking?
  • Does the setup have any durability or protective features like being weatherproof for example?
  • Do you need a generator or inverter to store the energy for when the sun isn’t out, or convert to 240 volt energy?
  • Do you need any other accessories with the kit like an extension cable or any adapters?
  • What sort of connections does the panel come with? e.g. does it come with USB connections, anderson connections etc.

 

Best Folding Solar Panels: Resources

1. http://gpelectric.com/ (Go Power)

2. https://www.goalzero.com.au

 

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