We’ve all been there. Your mobile battery dies just as you need the phone or you’re waiting for an important call.
If you’re away from the office or on holiday it can be particularly annoying, but there’s a low-cost, eco-friendly solution – the solar powered charger.
As well as models suitable for mobiles, you can recharge your laptop and even your car battery with the great range of solar powered chargers available these days.
The advantages speak for themselves:
- good value
- free, clean power from the sun
- work even on cloudy days
- can be used anywhere in the world
- no need for plug adaptors
- peace of mind
- back-up power in emergencies
Types of solar powered charger
There’s a solar powered device for virtually all your battery charging needs, whether you need to top up your phone, iPod, laptop, GPS or whatever. Devices can take several hours’ of direct sunlight to deliver a full charge, but will deliver enough juice to make that call or take a few photos in a relatively short space of time.
They’re great for when you’re on holiday or as a convenient, free, eco-friendly way to charge batteries whenever you’re out and about. If you’ve a sunny corner of the house, you can even charge your gadgets for free at home.
Modern photovoltaic solar panel technology means that while bright sunlight will charge your batteries quicker, solar chargers work even when it’s cloudy. As long as your solar charger is out of the shadows, it will be producing free, green electricity for you.
Here’s the lowdown on some of the most common and useful types of solar powered chargers.
Solar powered phone chargers
Whether you’re on holiday, on the move a lot or simply want to be eco-friendly, a solar powered phone charge is a smart purchase.
There are dozens of different types available, ranging from around £10 to £30. The more expensive models will generally charge your phone a bit faster, and might be suitable for charging other devices, like iPods, too.
All should come with a range of adaptors for different mobile phones, so you’ll not only be able to keep your own phone topped up, you’ll be popular with your mates as well.
Solar powered chargers suitable for laptops
If you need your laptop and aren’t sure when or where you’ll be able to plug into mains electricity to charge it, a larger solar powered charger or specialist solar powered laptop charger is a must.
They are a bit bigger than the kind of charger suitable just for small gadgets like iPods or phones, and pack in around 10-15W of power, costing around £150. You can usually also use them to power up smaller devices as well as your laptop, so if you need one device to charge all your gadgets, this is a sensible choice.
Solar powered laptop cases
You can even buy smart laptop cases fitted with solar panels that will charge your computer while you’re on the move. They’re less cumbersome than packing a separate charger but can be quite expensive.
Solar charger backpacks
There are also trendy solar charger backpacks on the market that you can connect to your laptop, iPod or phone to keep them topped up with power, harnessing the sun’s power while your out and about. They cost as little as £25, although you’d be advised to spend a bit more to get quicker charging for larger devices.
Solar powered car battery chargers
If you’re taking your car abroad or on a long journey, a solar powered car battery charger is a sensible piece of kit to pack. Fit it on top of the dashboard when you’re away from the vehicle to keep batteries topped up. They’re also suitable for topping up leisure batteries in motor homes or camper vans and cost from around £25 t0 £40.