When looking for the best portable solar panels – you must ask yourself first what you want to use your portable solar panels for.
Most people are aware of the traditional glass solar panels that usually get permanently fixed to a house roof.
However, in terms of portable solar panels, there are two main types:
1. Flexible, semi-flexible and bendable solar panels (read full guide on flexible & bendable solar panels)
2. Folding solar panels (read full guide on foldable solar panels)
Folding panels are the more portable and hard wearing of the two, with the smaller 20 Watt folding panels being great for backpacking & hiking.
Let’s look at the best portable panels brands and products…
Top Rated Portable 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 Flexible Solar Panel – Windynation 100 Watt Bendable Solar Panel (on Amazon)
- For rv’s, van, boats, cabins, cars, camping, and also curved and uneven surfaces
Best Portable Solar Panels: Reviews
Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20 Watt Solar Panel
You can read more on the full review of the Goal Zero 12004 Nomad 20 Watt Solar Panel here.
But, what is this folding solar panel in summary?
- Designed to fold out and fold up in seconds, or to carry around
- Particularly useful for backpackers, hikers, campers, kayakers and adventurers
- Good for either laying out, carrying in a backpack, or fastening to tents, back-packs, kayaks with the stitched loops
- Good for charging USB devices and 12 volt devices – phones, GPS devices, and emergency gadgets
- A 20 panel system
- 17-18 % efficiency
- Weighs only 1.1 kg
Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120 Watt Portable Folding Solar Kit
You can read more on the full review of the Go Power! GP-PSK-120 120 Watt Portable Solar Panel.
But, what is this folding solar panel in summary?
- Designed with steel frame to fold out, and fold up and pack away as quickly – not for carrying around like the Goal Zero though
- Can be used for maintaining RV or trailer battery while on the road, or trickle charging your car, ATV, boat battery, or other 12 volt batteries
- Come with a 10 Amp controller
- 120 Watt panel output
- 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
- Optional additional accessories include extension cable and trailer pin connection
WIndynation 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
You can read more on the full review of the Windynation 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel here.
But, what is this solar flexible solar panel in summary?
- Designed for mounting or to be hung to collect sunlight
- Good for mounting and demounting from coach roof, RV, boat, cabin, tent, or any irregular or curved surface
- Good for charging 12 volt lead- acid and lithium batteries – marine batteries, rv batteries, bike batteries etc.
- A 100 Watt panel system
- Bendable up to 30 degrees, but not any further
- 23-25% efficiency
- Weighs only 4.1 lbs
Best Portable Solar Panels: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
What Is A Portable Solar Panel?
A portable solar panel is a solar panel which is not permanently fixed.
Portable solar panels can be transferred between different mounting locations, and even folded/unfolded and carried around.
Types Of Portable Solar Panels?
There are two main types:
- Flexible, semi-flexible and foldable solar panels
- Foldable solar panels
What Are Portable Solar Panels Used For?
Flexible, semi-flexible and bendable solar panels
Flexible, semi-flexible and bendable solar panels can be installed, uninstalled and transferred between rv’s, caravans, boats and other locations with uneven surfaces.
However, they can usually only bend up to a 30 degree angle, and because they are made of plastic/laminate – they aren’t designed for carrying around or for general wear and tear.
The upside to flexible solar panels is that you generally pay less for a higher Wattage than a folding solar panel.
Foldable solar panels
Foldable solar panels on the other hand are highly portable as you can unpack/pack them up very easily, and the smaller folding panels can be carried around in a backpack for hiking around and adventuring activities like kayaking.
Because of their extra portability, you’ll generally pay more for higher Wattage foldable solar panel when compared to a similar flex panel.
Which Portable Solar Panel To Get – How To Choose One?
As a standard, solar panels are designed for charging 12 volt DC battery supplies, and sometimes USB devices.
With an inverter, you can charge 240 volt house supply items.
As a general guide…
A small 20 watt setup will charge 1 mobile type device at a time.
A 120 watt setup can charge camp lights, small-medium camp fridges, tv’s, radios and those types of items.
A 180 watt setup can charge multiple small-medium items at a time, or 1 large item.
But, should you get a flexible or folding solar panel?
Well, flexible solar panels are more cost effective and less suitable for wear and tear – the laminate can be torn easily around sharp objects.
Folding solar panels are more expensive, but they are made of durable materials, easily fold out, and the smallest panels can be carried around in a back pack or on a kayak.
Features & Things To Look Out For In Portable Solar Panels
Portable Solar Panel Bits & Accessories
Best Portable Solar Panels: Resources
2. http://gpelectric.com/ (Go Power)
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