Are you a fan of camping and traveling on an RV? If so, you might want to look at investing in foldable solar panels. These handy portable panels allow you to conveniently generate electricity even while you’re out camping or exploring the outdoors. They’re usually lightweight and are easy to set up and dissemble. While they may be portable, however, they tend to generate a small charge but still have enough to power a couple of small-capacity devices and recharge batteries.
When it comes to purchasing a foldable solar panel, you may not know where to start. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out what type of foldable solar panel would work best. To help, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the best foldable solar panels that we’ve found. We’ve also got a comprehensive guide that talks about the pros and cons of getting foldable solar panels and what to look for when purchasing one.
Benefits of Foldable Solar Panels
One of the main benefits of foldable solar panels is how portable they are. Since they’re lightweight, you can bring them with you on your camping adventures or when you’re driving around in your RV. They also usually come with additional features such as a kickstand, and sometimes even a carrying case.
Some foldable solar panels can also power up several devices for some time, and some can even store the energy inside the battery for later use or convert it into AC power. If you need to upgrade your foldable solar panel, you can install a charge controller to regulate your device’s power output.
Since these solar panels are using energy from the sun, it’s clean energy, and you’re doing your part for the environment as it reduces the overall carbon footprint. It’s also cost-efficient as you don’t have to worry about looking for alternative forms of power such as electricity or gas when you’re outdoors.
Pros and Cons
- Portable. Foldable solar panels are meant to be lightweight so that you can easily carry them around.
- Convenient. When you’re traveling in rural areas, you may not always have access to an electricity source. With a foldable solar panel, that’s not something you have to worry about as you can just have to set up your solar panel, and it’ll help you generate electricity.
- Inexpensive. While you’d have to fork out some money for the foldable solar panel, in the beginning, you’ll be saving money in the long-run as you won’t have to worry about finding other sources of electricity and can just rely on the sun.
- Eco-friendly. Since you’re utilizing clean energy, they’re great for the environment, and you’ll be reducing your overall carbon footprint.
- Easy to install. They’re not difficult to install, and most foldable solar panels also come with either a folding kit or kickstand.
- Quiet. Since there are no moving parts in foldable solar panels, they’re quiet and won’t bother or disturb you even when you’re using it.
- Produces less power. Compared to larger solar panel models, foldable solar panels don’t produce as much energy and can only power a few devices.
- Reliant on sunlight. Like other solar panels, these will only work during the day, so you’ve got to make sure that all of your devices are charged before you lose any sunlight.
What to Look for in Foldable Solar Panels
Before taking a closer look at what you’d need to look for in foldable solar panels, let’s take a look at the different types.
Crystalline solar panels
First, there are crystalline solar panels that’re the most popular. They’re energy-efficient and can usually generate more power per square inch. Since they’re made of durable material, these foldable solar panels are also long-lasting. The downside is that they need to be directly exposed to the sun, or they won’t work as well.
For crystalline solar panels, there are monocrystalline ones and polycrystalline ones. Monocrystalline solar panels have a more uniform look, and they usually come in black. They’re also energy-efficient and can produce electricity even in low-light conditions. Polycrystalline solar panels, on the other hand, are blue and are not as energy efficient. They’re also cheaper than their monocrystalline counterpart and are easier to manufacture.
Thin-film solar panels
Either than crystalline solar panels, you’ve also got thin-film solar panels. These are made from a combination of different materials and popular amongst users who don’t need to generate as much electricity.
Power, Durability, and portability
When it comes to selecting your foldable solar panel, there are a few things you’d need to consider. First, you’ll want to figure out how many devices you’d want your foldable solar panel to charge. The wattage usually starts at 5 watts and can go up to 300 watts. For most, a 100-watt solar panel is more than sufficient.
Then, you’ll want to consider the voltage rate. You need to know the battery specifications of your devices, and solar panels can come in 5V to 18V and more. If you’ve only got a small number of devices with you, a 5V should be good enough. An 18V solar panel, on the other hand, can charge tablets and laptops.
Durability is also crucial when it comes to selecting your foldable solar panel. You’ll want a solar panel that’s able to deal with harsh weather and elements. It should be made of high-quality materials and weather resistant.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the size and weight of the foldable solar panel – especially if you plan on using it when you’re hiking or backpacking. However, do note that smaller portbale solar panels will generate less electricity and only charge a few devices compared to their larger counterparts.
Top 5 Best portable Solar Panels
This adjustable foldable solar panel also comes with a durable aluminum stand along with a heavy-duty handle. It can produce up to 500-watt hours per day, but this is dependent on how much sunlight is available during the day. In terms of compatibility, it can be used with a wide range of batteries, from lithium to gel and sealed. There’s even a charge controller along with an LCD that shows the operating information and data.
The charge controller is compatible with all sorts of locations, from RVs to boats, and the low-voltage system makes it safe to use. Those who have purchased these panels love that it’s well-made and appreciate its quality. They also like how it’s easy to install, and all you have to do is open the panels and connect the leads/ alligator clips to the battery.
- Comes with a stand and handle
- Can produce up to 500-watt hours per day
- Comes with a charge controller along with an LCD
- Easy to install
- Doesn’t come with any instructions so you’ll have to figure out the installation on your own
This foldable solar panel is suited for outdoor life and is lightweight and comes with a rubber handle. Upon your purchase, you’ll get the solar panel along with an extension cord. The panel also comes equipped with USB output ports that can charge multiple small devices simultaneously from cameras to smartphones and more.
Since this panel also has a unique tilted design, it can absorb about 25% more sunlight than if it was laid down flat. There’s also a storage pouch bag so you can easily store your accessories, and those who have purchased it love how easy the setup is. You can place your panel on your dashboard faced toward the sun, and it has excellent charging capabilities for its size.
- Comes equipped with USB output ports
- Has a unique tilted design to absorb more sunlight
- Storage pouch bag to store all of your accessories
- Customers have mentioned that they usually can’t get the full 60W that’s advertised
This foldable solar panel is compatible with a wide range of battery packs on the market and can be used for smartphones, tablets, cameras, and more. It can generate a maximum of 60W and provide enough power to charge two devices simultaneously. There’s also a USB and DC dual output, so you won’t have to rely on a power bank or wall outlet.
Other great things about this foldable solar panel are its unique technology that’ll maximize your devices’ charging speed while monitoring and adjusting it in accordance with sunlight levels. It can also be folded into a briefcase like design so you can hang it on your tent or spread it out. Those who have purchased this panel like how lightweight it is, but heavyweight in performance.
- Generates a maximum of 60W
- USB and DC dual output
- Unique technology to maximize the charging speed of your devices
- Can be folded into a briefcase-like design
- Doesn’t have the greatest charging output
This panel is compatible with most solar generators on the market and comes with a wide range of connectors. It also has a built-in technology that’ll identify your device and maximize its charging speed while ensuring it doesn’t overcharge. The panel will efficiently convert at least 20% of solar power into energy, and it’s made from durable Oxford cloth that’s both water-resistant and durable.
Like most of the other foldable solar panels, it’s portable and convenient to carry around. In terms of solar panel type, it’s monocrystalline, and the wattage is 100W. Those that have purchased this panel love it and mentioned that they give twice as much wattage from solar – even on a cloudy day. They also like how it comes with many interchangeable plugs so you can plug the panel into whatever equipment you might have.
- Compatible with most solar generators
- Has a wide range of connectors
- Unique technology to maximize the charging speed of your devices
- Water-resistant and durable
- It’s heavier than some of the other foldable solar panels out there
If you’re looking for an efficient foldable solar panel, this is an excellent purchase. It’s made with a 40W panel and is compatible with most USB and 18V DC. If the solar panel is unable to absorb sunlight due to weather conditions such as clouds or rain, it will automatically restart, and when it senses sunlight.
This panel is portable, lightweight, compact, and excellent for outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. It’s also made with polymer fabric that’s able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions. Those who have purchased it love how it’s compact enough to fit into a backpack and camping gear, it can also charge solar power banks of various sizes, and it comes with different adapters for different DC male connections.
- Has an automatic restart feature
- Can fit into a backpack
- Durable and can withstand weather conditions
- Comes with different adapters for different DC male connections
- Not easy to angle
The Bottom Line
If you’re heading outdoors, purchasing the right foldable solar panel for your needs is essential. We hope you’ll find a suitable foldable solar panel based on the products we’ve identified above.
Whichever foldable solar panel you choose, you can take comfort in the fact that they’re all portable, utilizes clean energy, and will provide you with the power you need to charge your devices. Even though you might have to fork out a little more money to purchase a foldable solar panel, they’re convenient and a great alternative to traditional energy sources.