In our quest for free energy and the convenience of having power wherever we are, even when we’re off grid, we decided to take a look at another solar charger – but this one is a small, pocket-sized model that’s a good option for charging small devices like your cellphone. The ALLPOWERS 12000mAh dual-USB solar battery charger with an integrated solar panel is definitely budget-friendly, coming in around the $30-mark. As you’d expect at this price point, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but it does have a surprising number of solid features and attributes. This Allpowers solar charger review gives you a complete rundown of all the pros and cons of this product.
The Allpowers 12000mAh solar charger is compact enough to fit in your pocket. Measuring just 5.1 x 3.14 x 0.7 inches and weighing 9.07 ounces, this solar charger isn’t much bigger than your smartphone. While this is super convenient if space is a concern, it obviously limits the size of the solar panel and, therefore, the rate at which the charger draws energy.
With a full charge, this portable solar charger lets you fully charge a smartphone up to 4 times, depending on the model, before it runs out of juice. The portable solar power charger from Allpowers has two power output ports. Both are 5V USBs, but each has a different power output. USB1 gives 1A max output while USB2 has an output of 2.4A. Having two ports lets you charge two devices simultaneously, but obviously USB1 takes longer to charge a device, so it’s a good idea to use USB2 when you’re only charging one thing.
iSolar and Fast Charging Technology automatically adjusts current and voltage to match that of your connected device. This assures you get the fastest possible charge time (up to 3.5 amps) without harming your device. This portable solar powerbank also features auto-shutdown, immediately cutting power in the event of a surge or short circuit to protect your connected devices. The battery is capable of running for 500 charge cycles before performance is at risk of diminishing.
This portable solar charger is predominantly marketed as a portable cellphone charger, but it also works with tablets and any other 5V USB device, including a PSP and Bluetooth speakers. It takes roughly 2 hours to get enough charge for 20 minutes of talk time.
Handy for low light conditions and emergency use, the charger also acts as a bright LED flashlight when you press the button on the side. The lightweight aluminum chassis and high-density silicone provide protection against drops and impact damage. It’s important to note, however, that while it’s marketed as splash or rainproof, it’s not entirely waterproof, so you’ll need to exercise caution using this in heavy rain or around open water.
This solar charging pack can be charged using mains electricity, storing, as the name suggests, 12,000mAh. This is a fairly large capacity for the price, and this kind of internal storage, particularly 12,000mAh is something you don’t see that often at this price point. Frequently, you buy the panel and have to buy a battery pack separately.
However, before you get too excited, be aware that it takes anywhere from 8 to 21 days to give the battery a full, from 0 to 100% charge, using sunlight. This goes back to the problem of the small panel. It’s a compromise between power and compact convenience. You can hook it up to a regular electrical outlet and achieve a full charge in just a few hours, then keep it in direct sunlight as much as possible to keep the battery topped up. So this factor isn’t a deal-breaker if you’re looking for a budget-friendly solar charger or emergency charger. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, take a look at our reviews for the Anker PowerPort 21W or the InstaPark Mercury27 as these offer more oomph.
While not the absolute best portable solar charger on the market, the ALLPOWERS 12000mAh is definitely a solid choice as an emergency powerbank. It has a range of features, including surge protection and iSolar to keep your devices safe, and a generous high-capacity battery, capable of storing up to 12,000mAh. Yes, it would benefit from full waterproofing, more panels, and a quicker solar charge time, but it’s only around $30 – so it still represents really good value. If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful portable solar charger or emergency solar power pack, this could be it.