Best portable solar panels in Australia 2020

Get all the power you need on the go and off the grid with the best portable solar panels in Australia.

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The best portable solar panels in Australia

How did we pick this list?

Our editorial team selected the products on this list based on actual customer reviews on sites like Amazon, Google, BCF and more, plus independent reviews from consumer choice websites. For each category, we identified key parameters based on our research and selected the portable solar panels with the highest review score within those parameters.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Best overall portable solar panel: BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Charger

Pros

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Three USB ports

Cons

  • There are lighter competitors available
  • Not suitable for all needs
Price on Amazon: $165.55
Amazon Price: From $138.48
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

The BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Charger is our pick as the best overall portable solar panel for several reasons. It's lightweight and compact, features three USB charging ports, and is reasonably priced when compared to other similar products.

It's also picked up a lot of positive feedback from independent reviewers and consumers alike, and boasts an average score of 4.5/5 from almost 3,000 Amazon customer ratings. With all these factors in mind, it's well worth considering if you're searching for a practical and versatile portable solar panel.

The BigBlue won't be the best choice for everyone, of course, and if you're going camping or caravanning you may well want something larger and more powerful (you'll find some great options worth considering further down the page). But if you're searching for something that's easily portable, the BigBlue ticks all the right boxes.

This model features four SunPower solar panels that convert 21.5-23.5% of solar energy into energy you can use. There are three USB ports you can use to charge all those devices you just can't live without, with overcharge protection and short-circuit protection also provided.

The panels themselves feature a PET polymer surface to ensure protection against occasional rain, while a cloth flap and rubber cover protect the USB ports from damage.

Best of all, the BigBlue 28W SunPower Solar Charger is lightweight and compact. Weighing in at 584g and folding up to approximately 28 x 16 x 3.3cm, it's easy to stow away in a backpack and take with you wherever you go.


Best value portable solar panel: Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable

Pros

  • Foldable
  • Can be expanded

Cons

  • Some users report that latches are a little flimsy
  • Some complaints about poor customer service
Price (RRP): $179.99
Amazon Price: From $164.99
eBay price: From $219.99
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Searching for a portable solar panel that offers efficient performance and plenty of bang for your buck? We recommend checking out the Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable setup.

This model is highly scored by owners, and professional reviewers give it high praise as well. On Amazon, it has an average score of 4.6/5 from more than 1,400 customer ratings. Combined with the many convenient features this solar suitcase offers, this ensures that the Renogy is our top pick as the best value portable solar panel.

Designed to provide excellent performance in low-light conditions, the Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable setup is well worth a look for anyone thinking of venturing off the grid for a little while. This solar suitcase features two 50W monocrystalline solar panels, a 15-inch set of wires with MC4 connectors, and comes with a protective case to make it as portable as possible. In optimum conditions, it delivers an output of 500Wh a day.

An adjustable aluminium stand lets you angle the panels just right to take maximum advantage of the available sunshine. The heavy-duty handle and latches are designed with durability in mind, and the suitcase's weight of 12kg means it's easy to take with you on the road.

Finally, if you decide that you need extra power in the future, this system is expandable and welcomes the addition of more panels. This provides peace of mind if there's a chance that your solar power requirements might change down the line.


Best cheap portable solar panel: Adventure Kings 250W Portable Solar Panel

Pros

  • Plenty of bang for your buck
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Some complaints that it’s a little heavy
  • Some buyers report that supporting legs are slightly flimsy
Price (RRP): $199
Buy at 4WD Supacentre

Why we chose it

Want maximum solar power on a tight budget? The right portable solar panel for you will obviously depend on how and where you plan on using it, but if you're looking for a solar panel for camping and off-road adventures, the Adventure Kings 250W Portable Solar Panel is well worth a look.

This 250W system is easy to transport, produces plenty of power, and is priced at less than $200. And with an average score of 4.4/5 from over 125 4WD Supacentre customers, it's our pick as the best portable solar panel.

Designed for camping, caravanning and adventuring off the grid, this system features monocrystalline solar cells with five busbars. This allows them to churn out up to 13.74A of charge, while wiring, a USB port and a 12V/15A PWM regulator are built into the back of the panel.

A 4.5-metre lead with plugs and alligator clips is included too, while an aluminium frame and adjustable alloy legs allow you to angle the panel to make the most of changing sunlight conditions. The system can also be folded away for compact storage, and comes with a padded handle and its very own carry bag.

It's also worth pointing out that this panel is sold in a range of different packages. For example, you can bundle it together with items like deep-cycle batteries, inverters, LED lights and even a fire pit, so it's worth shopping around to find out what's available.


Best portable solar panel for camping: Hardkorr 200W Heavy Duty Portable Solar Mat

Pros

  • Crocskin armour
  • Designed with durability in mind

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Stock shortage at time of writing
Price (RRP): $699
Amazon price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

Searching for the best portable solar panel to take on camping trips? There's a lot to like about this 200W solar mat from Hardkorr.

It's tough and durable, provides plenty of power for all the essential equipment at your off-the-grid campsite, and is compatible with all types of lithium batteries. Throw in the fact that it's been well reviewed by consumers and pros alike, with an average rating of 4.8/5 from over 30 Google reviews, and it's our number-one pick as the best portable solar panel for camping.

Designed for those who like heading off the beaten track, this solar mat is made from extra-thick 1680D canvas and features Hardkorr's Crocskin cell armour. The A-grade monocrystalline cells take care of your off-the-grid power needs, with a maximum output of 11.1A and cell efficiency of 20.38%.

The mat weighs in at 10.5kg, but this rises to 12.2kg with the included 6-stage PWM smart solar regulator and cables. Built-in legs allow you to change the angle of the mat as needed, while reinforced eyelets and four tent pegs make it easy to secure the mat to the ground in windy conditions.

There's no getting around the fact that this solar mat isn't cheap. Priced at $699, it may not fit within the budget of all shoppers. That said, several buyers praise the quality and reliability of the product, so even though you pay more upfront it could end up saving you money in the long run.


Best portable solar panel for RVs: XTM 260W Folding Solar Panel Kit

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 260W max power

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Not as portable as some other options
Price (RRP): $349.99
Buy at BCF

Why we chose it

Heading out for an adventure in your caravan or motorhome and planning on taking the road less travelled? The XTM 260W Folding Solar Panel Kit could be just what you need to power your rig when you're staying off the grid.

This kit features a heavy-duty frame, monocrystalline panels, and adjustable legs for ease of use. It's also picked up an average score of 4.3/5 from over 70 BCF customer reviews, so it's our pick as the best portable solar panel for RVs.

This 260W kit from XTM includes all the essentials you need for portable power on the road. It features 260W monocrystalline panels, a 5-metre lead to allow for flexibility with panel placement, a 90cm lead with an alligator clip, and a 12V/20A PWM regulator that has an IP67 rating to ensure that it's dustproof and waterproof. Maximum output is 14.09A.

The panels sit in an anodised aluminium frame, and there are adjustable legs so you can angle them towards the sun. And when you need to pack up camp and hit the road again, the kit folds away and can be stored in its own carry bag.

The main complaint from buyers of the XTM 260W Folding Solar Panel Kit is that it's quite heavy, so it may not be suitable if you're looking for something that's quick and easy to set up and pack away day after day. But if you're planning on staying in one place for a few days at a time, it could be just what you need.

And while this kit is priced at $350, Club BCF members (it's free to join) could pick it up for $270 at the time of writing.


Best portable solar panel for hiking: Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Solar Intensity Indicator

Cons

  • There are cheaper options available
  • Some complaints that it struggles in cloudy conditions
Price (RRP): $179.95
Amazon Price: From $187.37
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

The BigBlue charger we chose as our best overall pick is well worth a look if you're searching for a portable solar panel to take hiking. But so too is the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus, a highly-rated alternative with plenty of impressive selling points.

The Nomad 7 Plus is lightweight and compact, comes with convenient features like a detachable kickstand, and can charge a smartphone or GPS device in as little as 2.5 hours.

This has seen it pick up more than its fair share of positive customer reviews. The Nomad Plus range has an average rating of 4.5/5 from 570 Google reviews and an average score of 4.3/5 from more than 240 Amazon customer reviews. And that's why it takes the win here as the best portable solar panel for hiking.

Weighing in at just 357g, this panel certainly isn't going to slow you down too much on a long hike. It comes with a detachable kickstand that allows you to angle your Nomad 7 Plus panel to catch maximum sunlight, and this takes its total weight to a still very manageable 459g. When folded away, this unit measures 16.5 x 22.23 x 1.9 cm.

With rated power of 7W, the Nomad 7 Plus can charge your smartphone and other USB devices. Goal Zero lists charging times of 2.5-5 hours for smartphones and GPS devices, while the auto restart feature ensures that charging resumes when a device disconnects before it's fully juiced.

There's also a Solar Intensity Indicator to help you find the best conditions for charging, making this an excellent portable solar panel for your next hiking adventure.


Best portable solar panel for phones: ENEGON Solar Charger

Pros

  • Charges up to three devices at once
  • IP65 rating

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Some complaints that charging is a little slow
Price on Amazon: $54.99
Amazon Price: From $54.99
Buy at Amazon

Why we chose it

Looking for a simple and convenient way to keep your phone charged while you're on the go? We recommend checking out the ENEGON Solar Charger.

This solar power bank lets you charge up to three devices at once, has been designed to withstand tough outdoor use, and can also be charged by USB when needed. It's also earned itself an average 4.5/5 from over 85 global Amazon customer ratings, including several buyers in Australia. With all this in mind, the ENEGON Solar Charger is our top pick as the best portable solar panel for phones.

The ENEGON Solar Charger features a built-in 26800mAh Li-polymer battery and is designed for off-grid adventures like camping. You can charge this power bank using the built-in solar panel, plus also power it up via USB charging if needed.

When you need to charge your devices, the ENEGON Solar Charger can be used to provide power to three devices simultaneously, with three 3.1A outputs (one type-C and two USB) available. It's also ruggedly built, and features an IP65 rating that indicates it isn't afraid of the tough stuff.

Another handy feature is a built-in 18-LED flashlight. This includes soft, SOS and strobe modes as well as regular lighting, making it a very useful piece of kit for your next camping trip.

Some buyers report that this isn't the lightest solar power bank going around, so it may not be the best option if you're setting out on a long hike and want to keep your pack as light as possible. Otherwise, there are plenty of good reasons why the ENEGON Solar Charger is well worth a closer look.


Amazon prices last updated on 27 October, 2021 at 08:00 am
eBay prices last updated on 27 October, 2021 at 02:01 pm

Methodology

20+
Brands considered
50+
Products compared
7
Best portable solar panels chosen
  • We considered portable solar panels from over 20 leading brands.
  • We chose our top picks based on independent reviews and actual customer reviews.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

Do I need portable solar panels?

If you're planning to keep electrical devices running and will be away from a regular power source, then portable solar panels are a great investment.

Depending on your use, you can choose from completely portable panels that have their own stands and can be placed almost anywhere, or fixed panels. For example, if you have a caravan or RV, you can have panels permanently installed. But if you prefer camping with a tent, then portable panels might be better.

Even if you go out on a day hike, a portable panel can be handy for topping up the charge on your phone, GPS-enabled watch or other small gadgets that you rely on.

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Are solar panels a good idea in Sydney?
Solar panels might be a great idea in Sydney if your property fits the criteria and you are willing to make the investment. Learn more and get a solar panel quote.

How to compare portable solar panels

Choosing the right solar panel isn't simply a matter of dividing how much power you need and the maximum number of panels you can handle. There are three main types of solar panel and the best type of panel will depend on how you plan to use it.

Monocrystalline or single-crystalline solar cells are very efficient so smaller solar panels can deliver more power than other types. But these panels work best when they are oriented on a 90-degree angle to the sun and when the weather is clear and sunny. Shade, dirt and dust on the solar panels can cause the circuit to break down, so in other words, when conditions are perfect these are a great option.

Polycrystalline solar cells use multiple crystals which results in some internal losses of energy. But, they don't rely on facing the sun perfectly as the crystals aren't all facing the same way. They perform well in lower light conditions and warmer climates (great for Aussie road trips). They are generally less expensive than monocrystalline panels but they're also larger to make up for those internal losses.

Amorphous crystalline panels are the least efficient of the solar panels but they are well suited to low light situations and when there is partial shading and they also work well in high temperatures. Amorphous solar film is often used in solar blankets and is great for keeping a 12V system charged, although they're not well suited to be your primary solar input.

In terms of capacity, it really boils down to what you plan to do. If you're looking to run a large appliance such as a camping fridge, then running it from a battery that is charged from your solar panel is probably the best way to do things. If you're just trying to keep a smartphone and small speaker juiced up then a smaller panel that keeps delivering a charge over a longer period of time is the way to go.

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