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The 5 Best Portable Solar Panels

The Best Portable Solar Panels in 2023: Harnessing the Sun‘s Power On the Go

In our increasingly mobile and environmentally-conscious world, portable solar panels have emerged as an essential tool for outdoor enthusiasts, remote workers, and eco-minded individuals alike. These compact, lightweight devices allow you to harness the sun‘s energy to power your devices and appliances no matter where your adventures take you. But with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to know which portable solar panels are worth the investment.

As a technology expert and solar energy aficionado, I‘ve extensively researched and tested dozens of portable solar panels to bring you this comprehensive guide to the best models available in 2023. I‘ll be diving deep into the key factors that set the top performers apart, including efficiency, durability, portability, and value for money. Whether you‘re a digital nomad working from a remote cabin, an off-grid adventurer exploring the wilderness, or simply looking for a greener way to keep your devices charged on the go, this article will help you find the perfect portable solar panel for your needs.

What Makes a Portable Solar Panel Great?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of specific models, let‘s first establish what separates the best portable solar panels from the rest. Here are the key factors I considered when evaluating the top contenders:

  1. Efficiency: The whole point of a solar panel is to convert sunlight into usable energy, so efficiency is paramount. Look for panels with high-quality monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells, which can achieve efficiencies of 20% or more.

  2. Size and Weight: Portability is key, so the best panels strike a balance between power output and compactness. Aim for panels that are lightweight (under 10 lbs) and fold up to a manageable size for easy transport.

  3. Durability: Your portable solar panel will likely be exposed to the elements, so it needs to be built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Look for panels with sturdy framing, reinforced corners, and rugged materials like ETFE.

  4. Price: While you generally get what you pay for with solar panels, the best models offer a good balance of performance and value. Expect to pay between $200-$500 for a high-quality portable panel.

  5. Features: Additional features like built-in stands, USB ports, and charge controllers can greatly enhance the user experience, so consider which bells and whistles matter most to you.

The Top 5 Most Efficient Portable Solar Panels

With those criteria in mind, here are my picks for the five most efficient portable solar panels you can buy in 2023:

  1. Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
  • Peak Power: 100W
  • Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 23%
  • Weight: 10.3 lbs
  • Folded Size: 24 x 21 x 1.4 in


  • Industry-leading efficiency
  • Durable ETFE material
  • Sleek, compact design
  • Compatible with Jackery power stations


  • Relatively expensive
  • No built-in stand

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W is a top performer in terms of pure efficiency. Its high-grade monocrystalline cells can convert up to 23% of sunlight into energy, putting it at the head of the pack. The panel itself is incredibly thin and lightweight for its output, making it highly portable. It‘s also built to last, with a laminate coating and sturdy TPE rubber handle. Though it doesn‘t come cheap, the SolarSaga‘s performance justifies the price for serious solar users. Just keep in mind you‘ll need to pair it with a Jackery power station for the best results.

  1. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller
  • Peak Power: 100W
  • Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs
  • Folded Size: 19.9 × 27.2 × 2.8 in


  • Great value
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Built-in kickstand and handle
  • Includes charge controller and alligator clips


  • Slightly lower efficiency than Jackery
  • Plastic latches may wear over time

Renogy‘s folding 100W panel offers many of the same benefits as the Jackery at a more affordable price. The monocrystalline cells are nearly as efficient, and the suitcase-style folding design makes it incredibly easy to transport and set up. I especially appreciate the inclusion of a 20A charge controller and alligator clips right in the case, allowing you to quickly connect to a battery. While the plastic hardware may not be quite as robust as the Jackery‘s, the Renogy panel is an excellent all-in-one solution.

  1. BigBlue 3 28W Portable Solar Charger
  • Peak Power: 28W
  • Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 22%
  • Weight: 1.39 lbs
  • Folded Size: 11.3 x 6.1 x 1.5 in


  • Extremely portable
  • High efficiency for small size
  • Multiple output options
  • Affordable


  • Only suitable for charging devices, not larger electronics or batteries
  • Lower output than panel kits

If ultimate portability is your priority, it‘s hard to beat the BigBlue 3. This compact folding panel weighs just over a pound and can easily slip into a backpack or purse, making it ideal for hikers, campers, and travelers who just need to keep their devices topped up. Despite its small size, the BigBlue achieves an impressive 22% efficiency thanks to its monocrystalline cells. With two USB ports and multiple connector types, it can charge just about any small device, though don‘t expect to power larger appliances.

  1. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase
  • Peak Power: 100W
  • Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Weight: 25.9 lbs
  • Folded Size: 26.8 x 21.8 x 3.7 in


  • Rugged construction
  • Integrated kickstand and handle
  • Chainable with other Boulder panels
  • Works with Goal Zero‘s full ecosystem


  • Expensive
  • Heavy compared to competitors

Goal Zero has been a leader in portable solar for years, and the Boulder 100 Briefcase exemplifies their commitment to quality. With a rigid aluminum frame and robust corner protection, this panel is built to take a beating. The tempered glass coating strikes a good balance between durability and efficiency, letting the monocrystalline cells work at 21% efficiency. One unique perk is the ability to chain multiple Boulder panels together for even more power. However, that heavy-duty construction comes at a cost—both in terms of price and portability. At nearly 26 pounds, this is the heaviest panel on our list.

  1. ALLPOWERS 100W Solar Panel Charger
  • Peak Power: 100W
  • Cell Type: Monocrystalline
  • Efficiency: 21%
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs
  • Folded Size: 20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 in


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Affordable
  • 18-month warranty
  • Dual USB ports


  • Less durable construction
  • No charge controller included

The ALLPOWERS 100W panel offers an impressive balance of portability and affordability. At under 5 pounds, it‘s one of the lightest 100W panels you‘ll find. The folding design is compact and easy to deploy, with a basic kickstand to prop it up. While it may not be as ruggedly built as some competitors, the ALLPOWERS panel doesn‘t skimp on performance, offering the same 21% efficiency as the Renogy and Goal Zero. The dual USB ports are a nice touch for charging devices directly. Just be aware you‘ll need to supply your own charge controller for a complete setup.

Tips for Maximizing Your Portable Solar Panel‘s Performance

Now that you‘ve got a sense of the top portable solar panels on the market, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of whichever model you choose:

  1. Position for Maximum Sunlight: To achieve peak efficiency, your panel needs to be directly facing the sun. Use a compass or smartphone app to determine the optimal angle for your location and time of day.

  2. Keep It Cool: Solar panels actually become less efficient as they heat up. If possible, position your panel in a spot with good airflow to help regulate its temperature.

  3. Avoid Shade: Even a small amount of shade can significantly reduce your panel‘s output. Try to find a spot with unobstructed sunlight throughout the day.

  4. Keep It Clean: Dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on your panel over time, blocking some of the sunlight. Give it a gentle wipe with a soft cloth every so often to keep it working efficiently.

  5. Invest in a Good Battery: Your solar panel is only as good as the battery it‘s charging. Invest in a high-quality, deep-cycle battery designed for solar applications to get the most out of your setup.

The Future of Portable Solar

Portable solar technology has come a long way in recent years, and there‘s no sign of slowing down. As solar cells continue to become more efficient and less expensive, we can expect to see even more powerful and affordable portable panels hit the market in the coming years. Some exciting developments on the horizon include:

  • Thin-film panels that can be rolled or folded up to the size of a yoga mat
  • Wearable solar cells embedded in clothing and backpacks
  • Transparent solar panels that can double as windows or device screens
  • Multi-junction cells that capture energy from a wider spectrum of light

No matter what the future holds, one thing is clear: portable solar power is here to stay. As more and more people embrace a mobile and eco-conscious lifestyle, these clever devices will continue to be an essential tool for staying connected and powered up on the go. Whether you‘re a digital nomad, a weekend warrior, or just someone who likes to be prepared, investing in a high-quality portable solar panel is a smart choice for both your wallet and the planet.

So go ahead and harness the power of the sun—the world is waiting for you, and with the right portable solar panel at your side, there‘s no limit to where your adventures may take you.