Feelle Solar Battery Pack LifestyleSource: Chris Wedel/Android Central

Best answer: The best way to use solar power is to pick up a portable battery pack with a solar panel built-in or a solar panel array with USB ports built-in for charging. Both of these options will help to keep your phone charged by harnessing the power of the sun.

The sun is your friend

Phones are essential to people for all sorts of reasons, but they're pretty much worthless if they have no juice. A typical way to power these slabs of technology is by plugging them into an outlet at your home or office, possibly with a battery pack that was charged the same way. However, this option fails if the power is out or you're away from an outlet.

There are alternative ways to get power to your phone cleanly and away from the electrical grid. One of those options is to use the power of the sun, and it couldn't be easier. There are ways of powering your entire home with solar, but it can be costly, and you may not own your home, which can make installing solar panels on it out of the question. So, instead of using solar for everything you own that has a plug, let's look at a couple of easy and much less expensive ways to keep your phone juiced up.

Putting the sun to work

First off is to use a portable battery pack that comes with a built-in solar panel, or in the case of my personal favorite, panels. I have a FEELLE 24000 mAh solar power bank that has been a stalwart in my travel bag, whether I'm hiking in the mountains or hanging out in the backyard. There are a lot of benefits of a battery pack that can be recharged using the sun. Because modern phones have large batteries, using a high-capacity battery pack means you'll have multiple recharges for your phone, even when the sun is hiding.

Feelle Solar Battery Pack LifestyleSource: Chris Wedel/Android Central

See, charging via solar is great, but it isn't the fastest way to get your phone's battery topped off. Because most compact-sized solar panels are small and can only catch so much sun, the output it can be capable of is also small. While a lot of solar battery packs have one panel, the pack from FEELLE has three that fold out to gather more sunlight.

Letting a quality battery pack kick out higher wattage to your phone so you can get back to using it is great. Then the sun can slowly top off your battery pack while you don't need to use it.

Bigblue 28w Waterproof Solar Charger LifestyleSource: Newegg

The other option for solar charging is to use a setup designed for outputting higher power levels specifically to charge your phone. As mentioned above, to catch more rays from the sun you need more surface area. Something like the BigBlue 28W solar charger will catch plenty of sunshine with its larger panels.

However, because the panels are a bit bigger, you won't be putting it into your pocket or even a small backpack. Something else to keep in mind with chargers like the BigBlue is that these setups don't come with a battery. Instead, you get a large panel for a higher output while in use. So if there's no sunlight, you won't be charging anything. It can still keep your device topped off while letting your back-up battery stay full for times when the sun isn't out.

Both the FEELLE solar battery back and the BigBlue are both water and shock-resistant, designed to be on adventures outdoors. With the FEELLE you also get a built-in LED flashlight to go along with the massive battery pack. Each of these chargers also has multiple USB ports for charging more than one device at a time.

So whether you are looking for a way to cut back on your usage of the electrical grid to save some cash or to find a small way to help the environment, consider using solar to recharge your phone the next time you're ready to plug it in.

Soak it up

Feelle Solar Charger Reco

FEELLE Solar Power Bank

Save it for later

Equipped with three fold-out solar panels, an LED light, and two USB ports, the 24,000 mAh battery pack is ready to charge you up anywhere your adventures take you. Between the water-resistance and its ability to power up via the sun, you are free to roam.

Go big

Bigblue Waterproof Solar Charger Reco

BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

Harness the sun

BigBlue's 28W 5V solar panel is designed to charge up to three phones at ones with its triple USB port setup. While it doesn't have a battery to store energy, the larger sized water-resistant panels will be able to generate enough juice to keep your devices powered up while the sun's up.

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