Be cool… go solar

Plugs? Who needs plugs? Don’t worry about losing power to those portable electronics you love so much. This Wagan Foldable Solar Charger will charge any device that connects via USB, even iPads and other 2.1 amp devices. It doesn’t even have to be light out for you to use it. The secret is the built-in lithium ion battery that stores power from the sun. Stick it in a window or outdoors for about half a day and you’ll gave a full four amp-hours of power at your disposal for whenever you need it.

No matter what time of the year it is, you’re going to want one of these things. Winter? You need to worry about power failures and not everyone can have a generator on hand. If you’re an apartment dweller you’ll need some way to get juice to that phone during an outage. You can’t afford to be out of communication. Summer? Take it with you on a camping trip… after all you don’t want to leave all the comforts of home behind. Besides, your smartphone may be your only GPS and you may need that. Best to have it fully charged.

Yes, this is not the cheapest product around and you can get around the price by choosing a wind-up charger if you want, but believe me you’ll be pretty tired after a few hours of cranking just to maintain the charge to a single phone. Why not let the sun do all the work? I mean, unless you’re the sort of person who takes vacations in coal mines, because obviously then this isn’t the thing for you.

When you look around, it’s pretty clear that solar technology has really matured. It’s easy to put enough solar panels on your roof to cover your average day-to-day needs, and solar charging is getting more and more efficient and cheaper by the day. The days when solar power wouldn’t charge more than a calculator are long gone. So, why not pick up one or two of these solar chargers? You never know when they’ll come in handy.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.