How much does it weigh?
If you will be carrying your equipment in a car, this may not be so much of an issue. But if you’re backpacking, it is!
How much power does it supply? How long will it take to charge my equipment? Can it run my equipment, or only charge it?
For more information on this subject, please see Watts? How Many Watts Does my Device Need to Supply?
Does it come with a back-up battery?
Some companies sell back-up batteries to go with your solar cell. You can charge the battery during the day (or, in some cases, while you are traveling) and later use the battery to charge your equipment. These batteries can sometimes also be charged from a wall socket and/or from a car charge adapter.
Can I operate it while I’m traveling?
You may want to have a solar cell that you can use while you are hiking or traveling (such as a flexible panel that can be carried on your back, or one that is even built into your backpack). This way, you can charge your small equipment, or a backup battery, while you are on-the-move (I don’t think you would want to charge your laptop while you are hiking).
Is it waterproof?
If you will be using your equipment in a boat or under other circumstances where it is likely to get wet (like backpacking in the jungle during a monsoon) this is an important factor to consider.
Is the cord long enough?
Your solar cell does best in bright sunlight, but your other equipment usually doesn’t. Some solar cells come with a long cord so you can put your camera or laptop in the shade while they are charging.
More Information on Choosing Solar Power Devices
For more information which can help you choose the right solar power device, please see the following pages:
- How Many Watts Does My Device Need to Supply? – Portable solar power products come in a variety of strengths and sizes. The number of watts you need your solar charger to supply depends on several factors. If you aren’t sure how many watts you need, this article can help.
- Solar Charger Guide – This guide serves to give you an idea of what type of portable solar power device you will need for your equipment.