#1 Best Solar Flashlight – WakaWaka Solar Flashlight + Phone Charger
WakaWaka have really nailed their product to ensure you’re never without your phone and importantly, never without light.
Now it’s easy to see why this is rated as the best. With 150 hours of light from one charge, I’m sure you’ll agree that’s rather impressive – and hard to beat.
It allows you to venture far, whilst giving you the feeling of safety.
Backpackers use this as their personal solar pack, as it enables them the freedom to move around, without being bogged down by a huge generator. Sometimes, there’s no sun and naturally solar packs will struggle to charge.
Which is why it’s comforting to know that the WakaWaka will give you light for over 6 full days. So if you’re unfortunate enough to be in a dimly lit area, you’ll be glad you’re covered for all eventualities.
We really liked that it’s easy to “set and forget it”. The biggest problem with other solar powered flashlights. Is that you’re restricted to the angles you can aim your device at – Which you need for maximum efficiency.
For example, I’m sure you’ve seen the solar banks that have a strip on top and point in the direction of the sky. That’s great, but as we know the sun comes out at different angles and sometimes your device needs extra support to target the sun efficiently.
WakaWaka gives you a stand that will support the weight of your solar flashlight, so you can point it in awkward angles. On top of that, their solar bank will smartly clip to your backpack.
Or, you can even tie it to a tree with a strap – that’s incredibly useful.
And, after you’ve finished charging, you can hang your solar power lights outdoor to allow you to see in the dark.
You don’t even need to think about it, You can clip it to a tree to charge in the day and then leave it there all night to give your camp light.
Share The Sun
One extra unique feature that is also a rarity, is you are solving an energy crisis with this product, WakaWaka have agreed they will provide their solar lights to the millions of those without light and energy. It’s kinda like the Toms of the camping world.
So not only are you getting a great product, but you’re helping make a difference in the world. Some of the areas WakaWaka give their products to for free; have no access to light, electricity and clean water. Sharing is caring at it’s finest.
Who Would Benefit From a WakaWaka Solar Flashlight?
- Festival Goers
- Mountain Bikers
And it makes sense; it does its job and then some.
We will say this though, don’t buy this thinking that you’ll be able to charge tons of devices, or run your laptop off of it.
Naturally it has its limits. Some users have claimed that it was unable to charge their phone to 100%. But a recurring theme is apparent (they’re on old android phones).
Other reviews have gleamed with delight as it “does what it says it does on the box” – and that includes charging their Iphone in 2 hours.
We will err a word of caution to you, ensure you set the charging up correctly with your device. And that goes double for those who are android users.
The reason being?
If you don’t set up the charger correctly, it can use your phone as a charging unit. So that means, instead of charging your phone, your phone charges the light.
Whilst this could be useful in extreme circumstances, I’m sure you’ll agree it would be annoying to wake up to an uncharged phone. There is an easy remedy though – unplug your phone after 2 hours.
Or simply set up the charger so it turns off after an allotted amount of time.
All in all, this device has stood the test of time. It’s not some “gimmick” that’ll break on you. It’s a product that’s been making a real difference in the world and will support you with your hobbies.
Just give it plenty of light and you’ll be confident you have sustainable electricity and light every evening.
Why you need a Solar Flashlight
I’m sure you’re familiar with how much we depend on light and electricity. That, and how much we take it for granted. It always seems to disappear at the most inconvenient time, such as pitching a tent, or collecting kindling.
Having said that, we set ourselves a task to review the best solar flashlights that we have available.
We created some basic guidelines that I’m sure you’ll agree with us on
- Sufficient battery life
- Dual functionality – able to charge electronic devices
- Able to charge fully in one day’s worth of light
- Multiple illumination modes
It’s quite a straight forward list that was inspired after discovering that there are ill equipped products on Amazon, to be brutally honest, we wouldn’t trust taking camping with us.
Let’s talk about some of these points and why it’s important to look out for them, when selecting your solar flashlight.
Long Battery Life
Probably the easiest thing to agree with us here on. Battery life is your lifeline when out camping; you need it for light and you need it to charge your devices.
In a survival situation, would you rather have a bright light that lasted a few hours, or an average light that lasts a few days? – The choice is easy
We believe in 2017, that most electronics are capable of over delivering on their primary purpose. So it is with that in mind, we expect nothing else but extra functionality, such as being able to charge your mobile devices.
If you think of it this way, something where to happen to your solar flashlight in a survival situation, you’d still be able to charge your phone and use the torch light that comes with it. Awesome, right?
Ability To Charge Fully In One Day’s Worth Of Light
You’d assume this is an easy, and even a basic requirement of a solar flashlight. But you’ll soon discover that it’s incredibly hard to do at times. There’s a constant battle between either:
Providing you with a large battery, and therefore more juice OR give you a larger solar panel to charge faster, yet a smaller battery to adjust for this.
We side with being able to charge in one day’s worth of light, the whole point of a solar powered torch is the sustainability, the feeling that you can literally “get off the grid” and not be reliant on a main source of electricity, such as a power bank or a battery.
That’s not to say that powerbanks are useless, they serve their purposes and are extremely useful, but for the purpose of selecting a flashlight we value the sustainable aspect more. I guess it’s just your own personal preference?
We’ve all been there, you drop your torch and it stops working. Give it a slap or two and it turn’s itself back on, but the light starts to flicker annoyingly. It was probably produced in a cheap factory somewhere.
That’s why we ask at a minimum, our solar flashlights would be able to survive a basic drop to the floor from waist height. And they’re at least showerproof – bonus points if they’re fully waterproof.
This one again is a given, there comes a threshold where some of the solar flashlights become rather expensive, for what they can actually do.
When you’re going north of $100 or so, you have to ask yourself, would I not be better off just buying some solar panels instead? And just charging a normal flashlight up, along with all my other devices.
With that in mind we’ve tried to select flashlights that deliver more value than what you’re actually paying for.
Multiple Illumination Modes
To become a top tiered solar flashlight, you need to be able to offer numerous light settings. It’s not always enjoyable to have a full beam flashlight, blinding everyone around you.
It’s also useful to have an SOS signal, for that rare occasion that you may actually need help – possibly when you’ve consumed one too many wobbly pops and can’t find your way back to the fire. Whoops.
2 – Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight
This flashlight narrowly missed out on first, it was incredibly close and even has some features that the WakaWaka doesn’t include. But there’s a reason this flashlight came in second and we’ll get to that later.
So what can you expect to get if you buy a Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight? Well it comes with the following features
- Solar Panel
- Crank Handle
- Multiple Light Options
- USB Charge Ports
- Will Run for Up to 2 Days
- Emergency Red Light
- Lithium 4400mAh battery
Instantly you’ll notice this light comes with a crank handle, which is a missed feature not available in the WakaWaka. The crank handle has its uses.
But don’t get excited too much; it’s estimated, to charge a phone to full battery would take on average 4 hours of none stop cranking – do you have that in you?
Although, Earlier we gave you a scenario of being stranded in a dimly lit area. What would you do? It’s hard to secure enough sunlight to charge your flashlight, which you need to do just about any tasks.
Well this flashlight solves that problem by providing you the ability to generate electricity …anywhere.
And for every minute of cranking, it equals two minutes of high powered light or ten minutes of dimly lit light.
Here’s the thing, we’re not reviewing the best crank handle flashlights. It’s all about the lights ability to generate electricity, upon exposure to sunlight and this solar flashlight is great, but not as good as the WakaWaka is.
For example, it’s reported you’d need direct sunlight for about 24 hours to get this flashlight to fully charge. Now that’s not your average 6 hours of direct sunlight and a further 4 hours of dimly lit/non-direct sunlight.
The reason this happens is Goal Zero had two options when producing this flashlight.
A – Make the solar panel bigger (and reduce the battery in the process).
B – Make the battery bigger (and reduce the solar panel in the process).
Well, they went for option b, and if you ask us, we believe they made the right decision. If this is a deal breaker, we’d suggest you look at Goal Zero’s Solar Panel Nomad 7 v2.
They’ve designed all of their products to work together; their Nomad Solar Panel would have no issue charging this in a day.
Having said that, Goal Zero has produced an incredibly robust flashlight. The rubber grip acts as the perfect shock absorber. And you’d feel safe in a downpour with the waterproof protection.
The three light settings have a number of uses such as:
- Bright Light to Help Locate Items
- Flood Light to Cover an Area With Light
- Red Light to Sign for Help or To Use for a Low Light Setting
Ultimately this solar powered flashlight serves its purpose of offering renewable energy for those who go camping.
We wouldn’t recommend it to the avid survivalist, but as a great runner up to the WakaWaka? Sure, you should get this light if you need something more robust.
3 – FKANT Solar Charger + Light
At this point I’m sure you’ll agree it’s quite hard to beat the previous solar flashlights, with their 150 hours of light and a crank handle. So what does this flashlight offer that the others don’t have?
Well it comes with:
- Smart Dual USB Ports – Charge 2 Devices
- 6 LED Light Beams
- Solid Design – Shockproof, Waterproof
- Fast Devise Charging
- 15,000 mAh rechargeable Li-polymer battery
So let’s talk about the charging time, taking a mere 2 hours to fully charge via outlet and up to 24 hours to charge in direct sunlight.
This solar bank, allows you to take control of your electricity needs in a record amount of time
As you know, when you’re on the move you need every chance to siphon electricity from any available source. Having the ability to charge your solar bank via the mains in a short amount of time, is useful if you’re traveling a lot.
And if you’re not near a main source of electricity? Well that’s when you can fall back and rely on the ability for this device to soak up all the sunlight.
Admittedly, it does require you to have access to direct sunlight. So if you’re camping in a thick forest, covered in outstretched blankets of leaves and branches – you will struggle.
But this is where you can use the metal clip: securing your devise to a branch or to the roof of your car with some ingenuity is very achievable and advised for maximum impact.
Charge 2 Devices
Look no matter how much you prepare yourself for the outdoors, there’s always that one friend who relies on someone else. It’s annoying, I get it. Maybe it’s lending them an extra layer of clothing, or simply just some toothpaste.
But I can guarantee you, someone won’t be smart enough to bring a solar bank and they’ll be winging for you to lend them yours! So what better solution than to have 2 USB charging ports?
It allows you to look after yourself, whilst also being a good friend and helping them to charge their device. One problem many charging ports face is the inability to offer the right level of charge to your devise.
However, The FKANT uses onboard technology to identify what you’re trying to charge and deliver the optimum amount of charge to your devise.
And The Light?…
As we mentioned above there are 6 LEDs giving you: A powerful full beam light and an SOS light. With a large 15,000 mAh you would be able to leave your light running for about 4 days – which is a lot!
The light itself is useful for short distance, i.e. finding items of a night, walking in the dark. It wouldn’t be suitable as a light that you could hang up in your camp though, as the LEDs are very one directional.
Overall we’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for more of a “solar bank”, rather than a flashlight. Its ability to generate electricity via solar is sub par to the previous recommendations.
However, due to the amount of mAh this device can store, I’m sure you’d be pleased with the ability to restore your electronic devises to full charge multiple times. The LED’s are just a nice added feature to the solar bank.
4 – OUTXE 16000mAh Solar Pack
Coming in at third place is the OUTXE Solar Bank, offering a bigger battery capacity than The FKANT (but for almost twice the price).
The OUTXE comes with the following:
- 16000mAh Battery Capacity
- Bright LED Flashlight – 3 Settings, SOS, Flashlight and Strobe
- 2 x Charging Ports
- Solar Panel
- Solid Design –Waterproof, Shockproof
What differs is this battery now offers 1,000 more mAh than the FKANT and 13,800 more than the WakaWaka. Being the largest powerbank than any of its competitors that made it onto our list.
This is great for those that are camping in unknown weather conditions and don’t want to be dependent on the sun.
In fact OUTXE specifically says “it could recharge the battery itself under sunlight for emergency purpose while outdoor.”
“Please do not take solar as primary recharge source, as the charging speed will subject to sunlight intensity and panel conversion rate, which may take long time to recharge. We highly recommend charge the battery pack from electricity source.”
Translation, “I’m good at charging your devices, but please don’t rely on me to become fully charged in the sun alone”.
And that makes sense, if you look at its size (it can fit in the palm of your hand) it doesn’t have the largest solar panel out of the solar energy torches. But it also has a lot more mAh to charge up and hold onto.
You’ve also got to consider that it does make up for that setback, by offering you a compact way to store energy for many days.
It’s estimated this device could charge an iPhone 7 times
And in those several days of you waiting for your solar bank to deplete itself of energy, are you telling me that you wouldn’t have the time to leave this in direct sunlight? Allowing this solar bank to charge itself and offering you, maybe 10 days of charge?
We think it’s possible, hence why we’ve included it. Now for its ability to give you light…
Again this is secondary to its primary nature (primary nature being, charge your electronic devices). The light offers you 4 bright LEDs that can be used much like a phones torch. It’s bright in close proximity, but its effectiveness diminishes over the long distance.
Again; we’re judging these devices on their ability to charge and provide light (not on battery quality and added features). So with that in mind, when you compare this model to the FKANT which has 6 LEDs vs 4 and is able to charge their battery faster via solar than the OUTXE.
It’s easy to see why the FKANT placed third and OUTXE placed fourth..
In Summary, it makes as a useful power bank, and the solar panel would be a sigh of relief to those in an extreme survival situation. But as Solar powered flashlight? It’s sub par at best.
5 – Solarbank Solar Flashlight and Charger
Having covered what we deemed to be the best solar powered torches on the market, we felt it was necessary to bring Solarbank into the spotlight.
Now they’re a great product and everything, but if you’ve checked the price of all the other items, and compare it to their price – you’re likely going to ask “what am I getting differently with SolarBank vs The other 4 flashlights?”
And the answer is, not a lot. But let’s give them a chance here’s what you get:
- 10000mAh Battery Capacity
- LED Lamp and SOS Function
- Durable: Shockproof and Rainproof
- 2 x ChargingPorts
- Solar Panel
- A Compass and Clip
Not much different than the previous solar powered lights right? You even get less mAh, and it costs the same as the OUTXE.
It would be unfair to call this a true “solar powered flashlight”, as its main focus is to charge your devices.
But it does come with one squared LED; on comparison to the other torches, this light is noticeably dimmer. It’s on the same level as the LED you’d use on your Phones torch.
As a charger it allows you to charge your phone roughly 4 times until it’s fully depleted. And should you use the mains to re-charge this device up, you can expect a 4 hour wait for it to reach full charge.
The compass that comes with this device is a nice feature to have, but the manufacturer has tried to wave liability by stating “this is for decorative purposes only” – so please don’t rely on their compass to guide you.
Lastly the device is still comparably as tough as the previous solar banks – being able to survive a medium drop to the floor and being dropped in a puddle of water.
In terms of being able to rely on it solely to produce renewable energy consistently via it’s solar panel? – Yeah that’s not going to happen any time soon.