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Photo of a Hiluckey solar panel. Credit: Hiluckey

The Best Solar Panels of 2022

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Photo of a Hiluckey solar panel. Credit: Hiluckey

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Product image of Hiluckey HI-S025 Solar Power Bank

Hiluckey HI-S025 Solar Power Bank

Easy to hang and lightweight, this solar charger is a great addition to your camping and hiking gear. Read More

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • 2 USB ports
  • Built-in flashlight

Cons

  • Slow 1A output to charge
Product image of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

As an entry to the Jackery system, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panel will let you charge most phones directly or join your existing system. Read More

Pros

  • USB-C and USB-A port
  • Water-resistant
  • 23% efficiency
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Works best as part of system
  • Too large for a bag
Product image of Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Panel

Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Panel

For an easy-to-install solar panel system, the Renogy 100W starter kit offers the wiring and the controller you need. Just add a battery. Read More

Pros

  • Includes controller and installation hardware
  • Easy setup
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Works best as part of a larger system
  • Too big for a bag
Product image of Rich Solar 12-Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

Rich Solar 12-Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

A light solar panel with brag-worthy efficiency, this 100-watt Rich Solar panel is a great addition to an existing power system. Read More

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great value
  • Highly effective

Cons

  • No tilt
  • Limited waterproofing
Product image of Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel

A leading name in portable solar panels, the Goal Zero offers a folding design with a high-quality frame. Read More

Pros

  • Solid frame protection
  • Carry bag included

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Short 3-foot cable
  • Heavy

While not quite the fabled money-growing tree, a solar panel feels like a close second. You plant a solar panel where the sun shines and watch the electricity pour in, right? Well, not quite that simple. A basic solar energy system is made of three parts: panel, controller, and battery. The solar panel needs a battery to store the electricity, as well as a control to help protect your battery from the changing amounts of power from the solar panel. Even a simple system has some factors that can impact their effectiveness, like wire thickness and panel positioning, giving you plenty of tinkering opportunities to dial in your system.

While solar panel systems can be a bit complicated (and require a hardware investment), having an alternate source of energy can make a huge difference in your comfort while camping or getting by during a power outage. If a solar panel system feels like a bit too much work, consider a generator as another alternative power source. Either way, having a backup method for charging electronics or keeping a fridge running during a brownout is a great addition to your camping gear or emergency kit.

To help you find the right solar panel, we dug through thousands of reviews for a variety of options available online. Based on our research, these are the best solar panels you can get right now.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Hiluckey HI-S025 Solar Power Bank
Hiluckey HI-S025 Solar Power Bank

With an integrated battery bank and two USB ports, the Hiluckey Solar Charger Power Bank is a ready-to-go solar charging solution. The panel folds up to a compact 6.1 by 3.35 by 1.37 inches, weighing about one pound and easy to tuck away when you’re not using it. Shoppers reported it was too big to fit in a pocket but would easily fit in a bag. Some reviewers felt the charging rate was slow, rated at 1A on each USB port.

For the most success, some reviewers recommend charging the battery at home before use, charging items at night, and then keeping the solar panel in the sun all day. With a loop at the top to secure the panel, and with the waterproofing rating at an IPX7 (good for a 30-minute dunking), this solar panel would be rugged enough for camping use.

Pros

  • Waterproof

  • 2 USB ports

  • Built-in flashlight

Cons

  • Slow 1A output to charge

Product image of Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel is intended to be used with the Jackery power station, a battery with a built-in converter to let you run pretty much anything with a plug. With USB-C and USB-A ports on the side, the panel itself can charge most cell phones, making it a great entry to building a solar-powered system for camping or emergency use at home. A bit more expensive than other systems, the quality of the panels is apparent to reviewers, who report quick charging times (on top of a two-year warranty).

Shoppers liked the quick setup for the panels: lightweight at about five pounds, the kickstand is attached to the back of the panels, and the panels fold down to roughly half their size. The panels are portable, but not really sized to fit in a bag at 22.83 by 19.69 by 2.36 inches. Portability is important, since the panels are not completely waterproof and are rated to withstand splashes only.

This is a panel you don’t want getting completely soaked, so pull it out of the rain. While most reviewers used this for car camping, several mentioned that it was part of their emergency preparedness kit.

Pros

  • USB-C and USB-A port

  • Water-resistant

  • 23% efficiency

  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Works best as part of system

  • Too large for a bag

Product image of Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Panel
Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Panel

A solar energy system doesn’t need to be complicated, as the Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Panel proves. The kit includes the controller and all needed wiring to set up your first panel—after you add in your style of 12V battery. While reviewers mentioned how easy the setup was out of the box, and how simple it was to install additional panels and batteries, some reviewers noted that the kit lacked fasteners or a kickstand. The panels are able to stay out in all kinds of weather, but the controller is not waterproof. Reviewers struggled with attaching wires to the controller, reporting that it was easy to overtighten and snap the plastic connectors.

The controller seemed to be the biggest complaint, with several shoppers saying you should just purchase a different one to go with the panel. Many reviewers struggled with getting support from Renogy customer service, as well, with issues ranging from difficulty contacting customer support to getting warranty replacements. Overall, though, shoppers found the kit to be straightforward and easy to install, offering a great value.

Pros

  • Includes controller and installation hardware

  • Easy setup

  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Works best as part of a larger system

  • Too big for a bag

Product image of Rich Solar 12-Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Rich Solar 12-Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel

For installed solar panel systems, the Rich Solar 100-Watt Solar Panel offers a great value. Several shoppers mentioned purchasing one or two panels and then going back for more to build solar-power capacity.The panel is one of the lighter options, weighing in at 17.5 pounds. Since this is only the panel (rather than a kit), different reviewers mentioned using a range of controllers or power stations with success.

One reviewer found water under the glass, so be careful with the placement of these, since the waterproof rating is only against splashes rather than submersion. Reviewers reported that customer service was very helpful and responsive, following up and replacing panels covered under the five-year warranty.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Great value

  • Highly effective

Cons

  • No tilt

  • Limited waterproofing

Product image of Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel
Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Panel

A solid panel at 25 pounds, the folding design of the Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase is a unique format for portable solar panels. The panels are on the outside when the briefcase is closed, protecting the wiring and the legs. Reviewers liked the separate bag for protecting the solar panel in transit, but disliked the lack of padding. The supports only have one setting at 45 degrees. The cable is a short three feet, with several shoppers purchasing an extension cord at the same time as the panel.

The solar panel can’t charge anything on its own; the system is intended to be used with a portable power station, like the Goal Zero Yeti. Since the connections are proprietary, the panels are limited in terms of the power stations it can charge. Goal Zero offers a two-year warranty for this solar panel. Generally, people commented on the solid build, the durability of the panel, and the helpful customer support.

Pros

  • Solid frame protection

  • Carry bag included

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Short 3-foot cable

  • Heavy

Product image of Dokio 18-Volt Foldable Solar Panel Kit
Dokio 18-Volt Foldable Solar Panel Kit

If you’ve already invested in a power bank or other controller and would like to try another brand of solar panel, the Dokio 110W 18V Foldable Solar Panel Kit’s got you covered. By including a range of connectors, the Dokio can accommodate many other manufacturers’ equipment. Reviewers praised the amount of cable from the solar panel, at 9.84 feet long, one of the longest cables you’ll find in one of these bundles. As one of the lighter panels, the Dokio should also be easy to move and easy to set up.

There are some concerns about customer service being unresponsive; however, more recent reviews indicate shoppers have been able to get support and parts covered under warranty. One reviewer using the panel on a boat found it to be a little fragile, but folks using the kit in a camping environment found it sturdy enough.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to set up

  • Wide range of connectors

Cons

  • Unresponsive customer service

Meet the tester

Rebecca Boniface

Rebecca Boniface

Contributor

Rebecca Boniface is a certified PADI dive instructor, full-time nomad, and DIY enthusiast.

See all of Rebecca Boniface's reviews

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