Most people would want to stay connected and charge their gadgets when they’re off the grid. But how is this achievable? Portable solar panels are the ideal answer to these desires and needs.
Fordable solar panels are particularly helpful when you are on an outdoor adventure, say a road trip to a remote place, or camping in a wild area. With no access to power lines, portable panels come in handy if not life-saving.
Besides, they reward traveling experiences for not only RVers but also mobile homeowners. With these portable units, you can easily charge your electronic devices.
However, with many models out there, selecting the best one isn’t an easy task. You can find it time-consuming and challenging to compare different choices. In the effort to help you out, we’ve rounded up ultimate reviews of the best foldable solar panels.
Things to consider when buying portable solar panels
Choosing the best model isn’t rocket science, nonetheless, there are key things that should impact your decision.
1. Power Capacity
The main factor that you should look for is power capacity. Power will give you a decent idea of the amount of energy you’ll draw from the solar energy power source. With that in mind, you won’t go wrong. In portable solutions, it’s advisable to choose a solar panel of 100W up to 200W.
This range will provide you enough power to charge and run most electronics. Still, you can charge your power banks to save energy for night time hours.
While considering the power capacity, also check out efficiency. These two factors go hand in hand.
2. Solar Cell Type
There are different types of foldable solar panels available in the market. Just like those bigger units, foldable solar panels also come in different varieties, designs, and styles. A solar cell is a basic component for the solar panel that can be constructed with different materials including monocrystal silica, polycrystal silica, amorphous, etc. Since most of the panels are either mono or polycrystalline, I will highlight the differences below.
- Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These types of solar panels are usually made from purer silicon. Therefore, they seem to have an even coloring and uniform look. It’s easy to spot them because they feature in black color.
These types are most energy-efficient and have high power output. They tend to produce at least 4 times as more electricity. Plus, they can perform very well even during low-light situations.
Because of their high heat tolerance, monocrystalline panels are more durable. As such, their lifespan is convincing.
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels
These models are well-known for their square-water appearance and blue color. Unlike monocrystalline panels, they are normally from a combination of materials, including silicon.
Most of the panels you see on this list are monocrystalline.
3. Panel Design
When you are choosing a portable solar panel, you should consider if you need the flexible version or the suitcase version.
Flexible panels are soft foldable panels that are very lightweight and compact. Usually, flexible panels don’t have a stand and can be hung from your RV or placed on a plain surface.
On the other hand, suitcase-type comes in a boxed design. It is foldable and comes with a stand or frame. Suitcase type panels are usually heavier and bulkier than the flexible type but they are more robust and efficient in operation.
Portable Solar Panel Comparison Table
|Renogy (Best Pick)||Acopower PTK||Jackery||Ecoflow||Acopower LTK||Rockpals (Best Pick)||Suaoki|
|Weight||26.6 lbs||33 lbs||12 lbs||8.8 lbs||7.9 lbs||11 lbs||11 lbs|
*Numbers may be approximate
**Dark Green represents best in suitcase category while light green represents best in flexible category
Suitcase Type Panels
1. Renogy Foldable Solar Suitcase (100W)
The first on our list is Renogy’s 100W solar briefcase. If you aren’t familiar, Renogy is one of the industry leaders when it comes to solar power. They are known for their quality and customer support.
Talking about this solar panel, the entire suitcase weighs around 26.6 lbs which is very less when compared to other suitcase type kit. Moreover, the foldable design makes it very easy to carry it around, be it in a car or an RV.
It also comes with a protective casing to strengthen safe portability. In addition, the kit features a corrosion-resistant and adjustable stand. This makes installation simpler and easier. A sturdy handle and latches back its longevity.
This 12V panel is easy to set up. In fact, you can adjust the legs to any angle to allow maximum sunlight for extra performance. It’s compatible with lithium, gel, sealed and flooded batteries. This panel comes with a 20A solar charge controller with an LCD display for notifying operating data and information.
Rugged design, amazing features, and great reviews make this solar panel one of the best portable panels you can probably own for your outdoor adventures.
- Built-in 20A solar charge controller
- Waterproof material
- Overcharge protection
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum stand
- Lightweight when compared to other suitcase panels
2. Acopower PTK Portable Solar Briefcase (100W)
Trusted for its excellent performance and quality, the Acopower PTK Portable 100W is suitable for outdoor life. The lightweight case design makes it portable. The entire kit weighs around 33 lbs which is not so heavy keeping in mind the suitcase-type design. In addition to this, the design helps to keep the kit safe especially when storing.
The entire model is crafted with weather resistance and waterproofing in mind. Because of Waterproof Solar Charger Controllers, you don’t have to worry even if you leave them out in the rain. Moreover, the model features a solid frame build. This further balances portability and outdoor durability. It will do a great job of powering up your RV battery. If you want a better choice to mount on the roof, just go with this panel.
Most importantly, the foldable solar panel comes with a 20A charger controller for both solar generator and 12V battery. This boosts its versatility when it comes to powering up devices at once. The charge controller is suitable with a power capacity of 200W. So you can easily add one more 100W panel if you desire. Setting it up is simple and easy. You only need a few minutes to install it.
- Weather-resistant and waterproof
- Portable, durable and lightweight
- 20 A Solar controller included
- Expandable power up to 200W
3. Jackery SolarSaga Portable Solar Panel (100W)
Jackery is another popular brand in the industry. Their Jackery SolarSaga 100W is an ideal green power solution for outdoor enthusiasts and fanatics. Unlike the above two briefcase-type panels, Jackery SolarSaga has a slightly different look.
This foldable kit provides eco-friendly and clean power during unexpected power outages. One reason why travelers like this model is because of efficiency. It comes with a solar conversion rate of up to 23% which is higher than many other models. Whether you’re taking a cross-country trip, this kit can effectively power up your batteries. It keeps you connected with the outside world in no time.
Another unique feature to like about Jackery 100W is the solar charger with multiple USB ports. You can easily charge your tablets and phones directly from the panel without having to worry about a charge controller or solar inverter.
Weighing around 12 lbs, this solar panel is super easy to carry. Also, its easy-carry handle ensures easy transportation. You can bring this kit anywhere you go as backup power.
Of course, it’s easy to set up a Jackery kit anywhere. The kickstand included can be adjusted at any desired angle to enhance sunlight exposure. I like the compact and sturdy construction of this solar panel. Its durability can be trusted.
- Rugged suitcase-type design but weighs only 12lbs
- Aesthetic look
- Kickstand included
- USB ports on the panel can directly charge your devices
If you are considering a portable power station, don’t miss our buying guide
Flexible Type Panels
Now that you have seen our best picks for suitcase-type panels, it is time to check out some of the best flexible-type panels that are lightweight and compact.
4. Ecoflow 110W Foldable Solar Panel (110W)
Ecoflow is a brand that is well known for portable power stations. They are known for their unique design and aesthetic look. If you are considering a good-looking flexible solar panel, the Ecoflow 110W is an ideal choice. This panel comes with a carry bag.
The kit has a high conversion efficiency which is around 22%. You can make use of the sun wherever you go. And with 110W power capacity, you can charge your devices wherever you go.
Just unfold and place them at an angle of direct sunlight. Connect the MC4 cables to your solar inverter or a power station and you are good to go.
I have been using this 110W panel for a while and it is working flawlessly with my Bluetti EB150
Ecoflow 110W panel has a three-fold design and fits easily in a car. Along with that, this storage pouch is crafted with durable polymer fabric to protect it from any water droplets. This lets you carry the panel when you are on a road trip.
Just to mention, the solar panel is durable. Just like other top modules, the kit is waterproof to withstand adverse weather conditions.
Note: Unlike traditional panels, flexible panels generate almost zero power output when kept in shade. This is based on my personal experience.
Note: You can also purchase this panel on Amazon, check here. But note that Amazon adds sales tax to your total price while Ecoflow’s official site does not.
- Aesthetic and rugged design
- Perfect for a power station
- Comes with a storage pouch
5. Acopower LTK Foldable Solar Panel Kit (105W)
Another distinguished portable solar panel is Acopower LTK 105W. It delivers fantastic results to keep your RV batteries charged during those desert camping trips. It’s easy to install on the roof and perfectly fits in the windshield as well.
The quality and size of this solar kit are what will draw you into it. This is one of the highest-rated products on this list. Weighing only 7.9lbs, the product is highly portable. You can also fold it and achieve a compact size for easy transportation and storage, even in your sedan.
Featuring high-quality monocrystalline cells, the Acopower LTK 105W has a solar efficiency of up to 21.6%. The panel is water-resistant, weather-resistant, and is PET polymer laminated.
It comes with a PWM charge controller that can also be used as a power bank
If you want to keep your electronic devices charged full time, this model the solution. Enjoy running your mini-fridge and other appliances when hiking. Have them connected to your truck. The solar charge controller has a USB port that can be used to recharge your devices. This portable solar kit works with almost every battery type including Sealed, Flooded, GEL, and AGM.
- Works with different battery types
- Charger controller included
- Comes with a stand
- Weighs only 7.9 pounds
6. Rockpals Foldable Solar Panel (100W)
Rockpals is another great brand when it comes to portable power. They have some of the best power generators and solar panels. Rockpals 100W panel is the most popular in their collection. This unit is pretty compatible with almost any solar generator. With under $2 per watt, this flexible solar panel is super affordable.
Talking about efficiency, this panel can practically convert between 21-23.5 percent of solar energy to power up your devices. Beyond that, the kit provides fast-charging than other products in the market. At the same time, the Rockpals 100W module guarantees safety to your devices. It does so by preventing overcharging and overheating.
Foldable, lightweight, and weighing only 10.8 lbs., this solar panel is more portable than many other flexible panels. You can carry it with you wherever you go without hassle-free. This is backed with an easy-carry handle.
The carry case holds a couple of USB ports that let you charge your devices directly from the panel. This is particularly useful if you don’t have a charge controller or solar power station. The durability of this kit is well-guaranteed. It’s made from sturdy and durable oxford cloth. Together with the water-resistant feature, it endures all weather conditions. Despite being worth every dollar you invest in it, reaching their technical support is a bit hard.
- Compatible with almost any power station
- Inbuilt USB ports for charging devices
- Durable and water-resistant
- Super affordable
- Comes with 4 different connectors
7. Suaoki Foldable Solar Panel (100W)
Suaoki is another outstanding portable solar panel. Similar to the Rockpals panel we just saw, this is also compatible with most generators, the unit can satisfy power needs for most RV campers and outdoor adventurists.
One important feature of SUOKI is that it can charge many devices at once. With its DC and USB port, it’s easier to connect your laptop, digital camera and phone at the same time. Together with safety measures, this foldable model provides protection to your electronics from overloading and overcharging. Like the former, Suaoki 100W ensures fast charging and clean power.
Made from quality cloth, PET, and zipper material, the solar panel is durable enough for explorers. This material is also temperature resistant in nature. So, you don’t have to panic because of unfavorable weather when on a picnic.
With a power capacity of 100W, charging RV batteries won’t be a problem. Significantly, battery clamps, DC-DC cable, solar controller are also included for versatility. Finally, you can fold it up just like a briefcase for easier storage and transportation. And with a kickstand, it’s effortless to install and mount it to the desired angle that is direct to the sunlight.
- Integrated with foldable stands
- Connectors included
- Smart charging capability
- Designed to be compatible with most generators
- Features USB and DC port
Even though all of these solar panels are great, a couple of them stand out from the rest. If I were to put myself in the shoes of a buyer, I would go with Renogy 100W panel in the suitcase section because it has amazing reviews, top features and costs less than $2.5 per watt. My next choice would be Acopower and the last would be Jackery just for the fact that the Jackery panel is not fully suitcase type.
In the flexible section, I would definitely choose between Rockpals and Acopower because both of them have very similar features. Ecoflow’s 110W panel is also great but it is slightly expensive. But if I go with the quality, nothing beats Ecoflow, so you might want to consider it too.