Review: Poweradd High Efficency 20W Dual USB Port Solar Charger

After reviewing the Anker 21W Solar Charger, we found that solar power banks aren’t the only charging electronic devices that are able to take advantage of solar energy. In fact, solar chargers like this PowerAdd and the Anker one are in some ways better than solar power banks. What many people don’t understand is that even though a solar power bank can recharge through light, the recharge rate is VERY slow and that is mainly because the solar panel is small and not that advance to begin with.

This is the PowerAdd 20W solar charger and it has great charging capabilities and even with its limits of how it can power itself, this charger can do very well in the sunlight.

Power

Power Capacity:

Many people think that this device is a Solar power bank and that is not true at all. It does not hold a power capacity, so there’s no power to rely on when there’s solar charging happening. So just to make sure you understand, this solar charger does not reserve any power and you must be in either sunlight or some source of light to start charging your devices.

Output Charging:

This is the strongest portion of the solar charger and kind of its strongest limits as well.

So charging happens only when the solar panels are being hit by lighting, whether it’s light from a lamp or sunlight from the sun, this solar charger relies 100% on charging from a light source. With that said, when you are taking full advantage of its charging power then the solar charger can deliver very powerful charging.

It has a charging port hub and on that hub is where you find 2 Output charging ports. Each of the ports is capable of a charging speed of 2.1 Amps each and the total Output of the solar charger is 4 Amps. So you can take each of the charging ports to their full power without having any compromises. This also means that you can charge 2 devices at once with them both either charging at their max charging speeds or at least charging at an acceptable speed.

Charging most smartphones will have them charge at their max charging speeds, expect for Quick Charge compatible smartphones since this solar charger does not feature Quick Charge. Charging tablets would be quite good because even with a tablet’s 5V/2.4A max charging speed, charging a tablet at 2 Amps is still fast.

We’re impressed by the charging speed of this solar charger since it goes all in with its charging power and has a high max Output of 4 Amps.

Input Charging:

Since there’s no power capacity, there’s nothing to recharge with this solar charger.

Design

Size and Weight:

A solar charger must be large. One reason is because of its solar panels and how they have to be large and widespread in order to take advantage of as much sunlight as they can get. Another reason is so that you can latch it onto a backpack and have sunlight hitting the solar panels while you’re walking during the hike.

With that said, when you have PowerAdd Solar charger all folded up, it will have a length of 6.3 inches, a width of 10.4 inches, and a thickness of 0.55 inches. So when it’s folded up, it’s quite managed and you can just hold it in your hand if you’re going to set it down somewhere. Then there’s the other side of the spectrum with the solar charger being opened up.

When it’s opened up, the solar charger has a 31-inch length, a 10.4-inch width and a thickness of 0.1 inches. Also, the weight of the solar charger is 1.3 pounds so it’s quite heavy, which is why most of the time you’re simply going to be setting the solar charger down or you’re going to have it latched onto your backpack.

Functional Components:

As we mentioned before, when the solar charger is opened up the solar panels are really widespread, and that’s the most functional portion of the solar charger; this way the solar charger is able to harness as much light as it can.

You can find the charging port hub under the PVC fabric. In addition to the charging port hub having 2 Output charging ports, it also has a LED light that indicates when the solar panels are taking in light and the when the solar charger is ready to charge.

Build

Structure and Material:

The fabric material is PVC fabric and the solar panels are laminated with PET. This is what makes nearly the entirety of the solar charger waterproof. So you don’t have to worry if the solar panels are getting some water on them while it’s raining because they can take that. With that said, though, it’s best to be careful that the solar doesn’t get too wet since there’s no way to save the USB ports if they get submerged or drenched in water.

Tech:

On the tech side, the solar charger does an alright job with not charging and stopping suddenly when the solar panels aren’t getting enough power. Instead, the solar charger is able to regulate Voltage in such a way that charging stops slowly rather than stopping suddenly. As a result, your devices are able to stay safe and undamaged.

Reliability

If you know what a Solar charger is and want to use what it has to offer, then this PowerAdd solar charger is highly reliable. It’s only the times when there’s no light that this charger cannot be reliable at all. So the bottom line is that you need light for this thing to work. When it does have light, then that’s when you can take advantage of the 20Watts of power.

However, you should not be getting this solar charger thinking that it’s power bank because it doesn’t hold any power capacity.

Summary:

Power:

Solar devices like this one get their power from light, and that is their only power source. With that said, when the power comes through the solar panels, the charging is very powerful with each port offering 5V/2.0A and a Max Output of 4A. So you can ultimately use the full charging power that this solar charger has to offer.

Design:

This solar charger can be folded up, but it’s really meant to be unfolded for when you’re actually using it. This leaves the solar being really long and that’s why you must either set it down or just latch it onto your backpack by using a carabiner on the eye-holes that are on the solar charger.

Build:

It’s built as strongly as it can be. The fabric is made of PVC and the solar panels are laminated with PET, and both of those aspects make the solar charger very water resistant.

Reliability:

It’s a reliable charging device, but the only time it can be relied on is when there’s light hitting the solar panels. If you realize that limitation, then there’s a lot to be used with this.

Specs of the Poweradd High Efficiency 20W Dual USB Port Solar Charger:

  • Output:          Max Output Capabilities: 12A             Max Output Per Port: 5V/2.4A
  • Input:
  • Quick Charge: No
  • LED Power Indicator: 1 Blue LED
  • Size: 3.9 x 3.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 7 ounces

Conclusion:

Solar chargers are the main way to go rather than solar power banks and this is because they’re able to make more use of solar energy. If you expect to make a lot of use of solar recharging with a solar power bank, then we hate to say it but there’s not much to expect when it comes to solar charging power banks.

In this case, though, solar chargers that have their dedicated way of charging through the sun and directly to your device are VERY useful if you’re out camping or hiking.

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