Pros / This is the lightest solar panel charger we tested.
Cons / It took the longest to charge in our smartphone charging test.
Verdict / The small form factor and reputable brand name make this one of our favorite solar phone chargers.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Anker is a well-known name in the world of chargers and batteries, so it makes sense that the company also makes a solar phone charger. The PowerPort Solar Lite is Anker’s newest solar panel charger, and it slims down the form factor from three solar panels to two. While this charger took a little longer to charge than others we reviewed in our hands-on tests.
The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite consists of two solar panels that fold together and Velcro shut. This device doesn’t have an internal battery and can’t store a charge. Instead, you place this phone charger in the sun and it converts solar energy into power for your devices via onboard USB ports.
To test this charger’s effectiveness, we drained the battery on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 down to 50 percent and timed how long it took the charger to replenish the battery to a 75 percent charge. The Anker charged the slowest of all four solar panels we tested, taking 32.5 minutes to charge the phone 25 percent.
This panel has one of the highest advertised solar efficiencies of the panels we tested at 23.5 percent efficient. This percentage represents the amount of sunlight that can be converted into energy. It is this high efficiency which allows this panel to produce up to 15 watts of power.
We should be clear, however, that you need direct sunlight on a clear day to get close to that amount of power. Even slight shadows on the panel decrease the output of the charger significantly.
This panel listed 2.1 amps as the highest it could charge, but in direct sunlight our multimeter recorded 3.2 amps during the hottest, brightest part of the afternoon. That measured amperage was the second highest of the solar panel chargers we tested, and should be enough to charge most devices.
The PowerPort earned a high portability score in our review because of its light weight and relatively large size when unfolded. This device weighs less than a pound and you could easily slip it in a backpack or daypack to charge up your devices on the go.
There are two USB ports located inside a Velcro pocket that allow you to charge two devices simultaneously. One drawback to this charger is its lack of any water resistance. This means the device isn’t suitable for adventuring in wet conditions.
This phone charger has an 18-month warranty. You can contact Anker through email, social media or phone. You can also access an online version of the user manual.
Anker’s PowerPort Solar Lite is an excellent solar phone charger for its size and form factor. Using just two solar panels, it charged our test smartphone 25 percent in a little over a half hour, and it weighs less than our top picks. If you’re looking for a solar panel to keep your devices charged while you’re camping or hiking, and you’re worried about weight, this panel is a great choice.