6 Best Portable Solar Panels of 2020

Choosing the best portable solar panels for outings or even home use is merely an inevitable topic talked about amongst us. And there’s a lot to know! In this article, our experts will share some golden tips to help each person find out the right one for their purposes and budget.

Here are the best portable solar panels you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall: Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter
  • Most Durable: HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline
  • Best For Partial Sun: Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs
  • Best For Beach Trips: HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline
  • Best For Hiking/Camping: ECO-WORTHY 100 W Portable Kits
  • Most Efficient: Newpowa 160 Watt 160W 12V Solar Panel

Best Overall: Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter

Monocrystalline
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Durably constructed to be heat resistant and durable, ideal to work in multiple narrow conditions
  • Allow you to control the power supplied for each appliance connected to the panel to avoid ruining them

Cons
  • No colored-coded wires for the user to differentiate
  • High price tag

Renogy 100W 12V is a good portable solar panel to start with.

It supplies 100W of energy but can increase up to 400W for extra power needs, which is versatile enough for many off-grid applications, such as RVs, trailers, boats.

The device itself is constructed from pure silicon crystal with an emphasis on high heat resistance, longevity, and efficiency to bear abuse in different conditions.

The best thing is the built-in monitor power control.

It allows you to manage the power supplied from the solar panel to multiple appliances, therefore, avoid the risks of over or undersupply that can ruin your stuff. For higher safety, Renogy 100W is also equipped with a negative ground controller and LED indicators.

Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Starter Specifications

Battery Type

Sealed, gel, flooded, and lithium

Nominal system voltage

12V/24V DC

System Capacity

200W (12 Volt) / 400W (24 Volt)

Dimensions

5.9 x 8.3 x 2.3 In.

Weight

3.42 pounds

Highlight Features

MPPT Charge controller

A Renogy 100W Mono-crystalline starter kit MPPT

Verdict

Despite many competitors in the current market, Renogy 100W is still outstanding for its power expansion capability, compact design, efficient energy output, and versatility. It’s our high recommendation for multiple uses, whether it’s for home or your recreational vehicle.

Most Durable: HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline
HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline
HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Can resist corrosion, frost-bite temperature ranges, heat, strong wind, and water to work efficiently in different conditions
  • Reliable: Had been EL tested and provided many appealing warranty policies
  • Easy to install

Cons
  • No bare wire MC4 Connectors provided

HQST 100W monocrystalline is a perfect selection if you merely need a small yet durable solar PV system for your RVs or home.

It highlights advanced encapsulation materials (including corrosion-resistant aluminum and tempered glass) with IP65 waterproof rated junction box and multilayered sheet laminations.

For that reason, there’s no strange when the panel can work in a huge range of temperatures – from -40℃ to 90℃ – and efficiently withstand snow loads of 5400 Pa as well as the strong wind of 2400 Pa.

If you prefer some technical information, this unit had been EL tested for no hot-spot heating. And it’s also backed by a 25-year power output warranty with many other reliable guarantee policies.

In short, this is an extremely long-lasting and durable solar panel to surely last for decades.

HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline Specifications

Battery Type

Lithium

Nominal system voltage

600V DC (UL)

System Capacity

100W – 500W

Dimensions

38 x 27.8 x 2 inches

Weight

17.1 pounds

Highlight Features

withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa)

IP65 rated junction box

Operating Temperature: -40℃ to 90℃

14.3 lbs

Verdict

Built with excellent durability for extended lifetime, HQST 100W monocrystalline is the best bet for campers, RVs, and outdoor activists, no matter the weather conditions.

Best For Partial Sun: Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs

Monocrystalline
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs
Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Can work in low-light conditions and yet, it still provides high power outputs for multi-uses
  • It’s able to expand to afford higher power needs

Cons
  • A bit difficult to install the panels alone
  • The panels have sharp edges

Okay, this Renogy 100W is a bit different from the rest.

It’s specifically designed to work in low-light conditions with little to no compromising of the power output. In fact, the unit is still able to provide 100 to 500Wh/day to afford different energy needs.

Another outstanding feature is its expandable design, which allows for adding some more panels to the system for higher power output.

Regardless, the solar panels exhibit all signature features of Renogy products, from heavy-duty corrosion-resistant materials for durability to safety features. Such as the low-voltage system, negative-ground charge controller, and 30A built-in 4-stage solar charge controller.

Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs Specifications

Battery Type

Li-ion Battery

Nominal system voltage

12V

System Capacity

240Wh

Dimensions

16.24 x 11.95 x 3.94 in

Weight

12.8 lbs.

Highlight Features

Excellent performance in low-light environments

Expandable

Ideal output 500 Watt-hours per day

Verdict

By featuring unbeatable performance in low-light conditions, we highly recommend these Renogy 100W 2-piece solar panels for people who live or frequently stay in partial sun.

Best For Beach Trips: HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Feature high efficiency per space to suit for different environments, especially during beach trips
  • Built for unsurpassed durability, longevity, and versatility to handle various weather conditions easily
  • Workable in low-light conditions to ensure the high amount of power outputs

Cons
  • Heavy
  • Sharp edges

Being one of the most efficiency per space, the HQST 100W polycrystalline is a versatile option for different usages, from beach trips with families to RVs when camping.

Like the monocrystalline version, you can’t beat this solar panel for durability over other brands out there. It’s particularly crafted to handle a variety of conditions, such as strong wind, heat, water, and minus temperatures.

Plus, the unit is compatible with numerous mounting systems and all holes on its back are pre-drilled so the installation now can’t be easier and faster.

But making it advanced than other siblings is the added bypass diodes. They help minimize power drops caused by the lack of sun, hence, ensuring the huge amount of power output even in low-light conditions.

HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Specifications

Battery Type

Lithium

Nominal system voltage

12V

System Capacity

100W

Dimensions

35.6 x 25.9 x 1.4 in

Weight

15 lbs.

Highlight Features

compatible with numerous mounting systems

Pre-drilled holes

Bypass diodes

Verdict

Designed with durability and versatility in mind, plus, the high efficiency per space, HQST 100W Polycrystalline deserves the No.1 solar panel option for beach trips.

Best For Hiking/Camping: ECO-WORTHY 100 W Portable Kits

Polycrystalline
ECO-WORTHY 100 W Portable Kits
ECO-WORTHY 100 W Portable Kits
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Feature a suitable-style design to be easily folded/unfolded when needed for portability and easy transportation – suitable for outings
  • Include a strong handle for portability
  • Provide heavy-duty kickstand legs to help the panels exposed better under the sun while staying stable against strong winds

Cons
  • As the panels can be faced out, be careful to not damage their surface
  • The legs are a bit short and do not tilt
  • Quite heavy

We really like the foldable concept of this cool solar panel.

It can be unfolded to stay in a suitcase-shaped silhouette for easy transportation without cramping space. When arrival, you just need to open it and face the surface directly to the sun.

For RV-ers, campers, and hikers, this is no different than a genius ready-to-use plug and play solar solution that you can rely upon to make your best pals for outings with trust.

Regardless, its robust and highly weatherproof performance also impressed us.

It’s made of premium PV materials with anti-Reflection coated glass and anodized aluminum frame. There is also a built-in heavy-duty handle and integrated kickstand legs for extra convenience.

ECO-WORTHY 100 W Portable Kits Specifications

Battery Type

Lithium

Nominal system voltage

12V

System Capacity

100W

Dimensions

27.2 x 20 x 3 in

Weight

28.4 lbs.

Highlight Features

Easy Operation

Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame

Operating temperature: -20℃ to +60℃

Verdict

By nailing up with the unique suitcase-style design in addition to power production efficiency, the ECO-WORTHY 100W is our top choice for hiking and camping.

Most Efficient: Newpowa 160 Watt 160W 12V Solar Panel

Polycrystalline
Newpowa 160 Watt 160W 12V Solar Panel
Newpowa 160 Watt 160W 12V Solar Panel
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Produce maximum power of 160W and is capable to expand up to 1300W
  • Decently heavy-duty, durable, and rigid to handle almost harsh conditions

Cons
  • Not work well in partial sun

We were strongly impressed by the quality of this Newpowa.

While its frame is crafted from heavy-duty anodized aluminum, the cells are encapsulated in EVA and positioned between a durable TPT back sheet and high transparent low iron tempered glass. No doubt this is an exceptionally rigid panel that can beat off any harsh conditions.

Newpowa 160W Polycrystalline is also the best choice for people who are looking for the most efficient solar panels in the market.

It produces 160 watts of maximum power and can be expanded to offer more. Some customers said that it could offer up to 1300W consistently, which is amazing, especially at this competitive price point.

To top all the goodies with off, there is a 25-year warranty provided.

Newpowa 160 Watt 160W 12V Solar Panel Specifications

Battery Type

Lithium

Nominal system voltage

12V

System Capacity

160W

Dimensions

58.35inch×26.57inch×1.38inch

Weight

24.4 pounds

Highlight Features

58.35inch×26.57inch×1.38inch; Maximum power: 160W;

Verdict

If you’re finding the most efficient portable solar panels at the most cost-efficient price point, look no further than the Newpowa 160W.

How To Choose The Best Portable Solar Panels?

Portability

  • The most obvious factor!
  • If seriously examining the portability of a solar panel, we would prefer to purchase external battery instead as they are very lightweight, small, and affordable. But take note that this option is only suitable for short missions within 3 to 5 days to charge small electronics like tablets and smartphones.
  • For longer excursions and higher power needs, you should go for the integrated solar panels.
  • They either come in a carry case to stash your device, making it easier for transportation or are designed in small shape (with no case or integrated pocket included) that can fit in a stuff sack or your back pocket.
  • Some models feature folding designs to be the best in both worlds (such as the Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline 2pcs in our list).

Types Of Solar Panels

  • To know which type of solar panels is the most suitable for your needs, take a peek at the following table:

Strengths

Weaknesses

CIGS thin-film

Affordable

Lightweight

Quickly degrade or delaminate as it’s mostly made of flexible fabric, plastic, or other material

Not work well in low-light conditions

Monocrystalline

Durable, rugged, and long-lasting

Workable in low-light conditions and partial sun

Less energy loss, higher efficiency than the polycrystalline

Not lightweight

Expensive

Polycrystalline

More affordable than the monocrystalline

More efficient and durable than the CIGS thin-film solar panels

Lose more energy than the monocrystalline

Heavy

Weight

  • When it comes to considering the weight of a solar panel, ask yourself this question: “Is this factor the most consideration of yours?”.
  • It’s because the panel’s weight is commonly relative to its power output and durability. A shining example is a comparison of weight between the CIGSs and the crystalline.
  • Besides, remember to compare apples to apples. The fact that some manufacturers list the weight of the whole package (including the panel and its accessories) while others only list the weight of just the panel.
  • You know what I mean?

Which Brands Make The Best Portable Solar Panels?

ECO-WORTHY

  • With over 15 years’ expertise in the industry, ECO-WORTHY is one of our favorite brands for portable solar panels because of their innovations, latest technology applications, and affordable price range.

Renogy

  • This is one of the most well-known US brand specializing in energy products, from solar panels, solar kits, to inverters and chargers. It’s a spot in Inc. 5000’s top 500 fastest-growing private companies in 2016 with a handful of suppliers and appreciated by many reliable organizations.

HQST

  • Another trustworthy brand to invest in is HQST. It’s specialized in solar energy so you can find lots of lines and types of solar products here with a good warranty and helpful services.

FAQs

How long should a portable solar panel last?

It’s averagely 2 to 5 years for most CIGSs and up to 25 years for the crystalline solar panels.

What can a 300-watt solar panel run?

A 300W solar panel is powerful enough to charge a 150Ah battery and some small electronics, such as tablets or smartphones. If it’s designed to capably connect with other similar panels for extended power output, it can produce up to 1500W to run some extra lights, laptops, and TVs.

Can I plug a solar panel into an outlet?

Yes, you can.

But in reality, this is not a common method to charge a solar panel because it triggers your electric meter to run quicker, hence, increasing your electricity bill.

We suggest buying a solar inverter to convert the low voltage direct current of your solar panels into higher and reduce the power amount transmitting into your house from the power line.

How much are portable solar panels?

This factor is dependent on many things, including power output, efficiency rating, type, and quality of the solar panel. To give you a better idea, it’s generally within $50 to $300.

Conclusion

Before ending this article, we’d like to leave some final notes for you.

When choosing the best portable solar panels, remember to identify your needs, available space for the panels, and budgets. While focusing on the portability and weight of the product, keep an eye on its power output and practicality.

And finally, pick the one with a good warranty.

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