Power Banks vs Solar Chargers – The pros and cons

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As our smartphones get bigger and more advanced year-on-year, the one thing that appears to have suffered is the battery life. Even with the most expensive modern phones, it’s rare that you will be able to get more than one full day of charge. That’s why portable power banks have become such a necessary supplemental gadget.

But in recent years, there’s a new kid on the bloc. Whereas conventional power banks need to be charged via an electrical socket, solar chargers are now available that can remotely store solar charge and directly use it to charge your portable devices.

Each device is designed to offer the same result but with some obvious differences. On the face of it, solar chargers ideally offer an all-round solution as they’re able to charge devices as well as themselves with an unlimited source of solar energy. However, some hybrid models which feature a solar and power bank function are said to be of lesser quality and do not stand up to their separate counterparts.

Here, we’ll be comparing the use of solar chargers and power banks, their key functions, price, size, and output as well as typical charging times. Hopefully, this will inform readers which is the best choice for them.

Power bank pros

  • The reliability is undeniable. As long as there is a charge left in your power bank it can be used.
  • Currently, power banks are the more affordable option,
  • They are also a lot smaller. However, you should always remain sceptical of incredibly small batteries promising high capacity.

Power bank cons

  • Even the largest fully-charged power bank will only be able to provide you with a limited number of charges.
  • Over time, the battery inside the power bank will begin to decay and will offer diminishing returns as far as capacity is concerned.

Solar charger pros

  • It’s free. Solar power is created by harnessing the sun’s natural energy so as long as there is a sun in the sky you have a free source of energy at your eternal disposal.
  • Solar power banks offer a potentially unlimited number of charges.
  • Solar power is renewable, which means there are no negative environmental effects.

Solar charger cons

  • Solar chargers are significantly larger than their power bank alternatives.
  • Not only can you not charge it during the night but if you live in an area that doesn’t see much sunshine you will be at a major disadvantage.

Generally speaking, solar chargers are still a relatively fresh technology and there is still time to improve. Given their size, we’ve also got a more diplomatic option to question. Why not get both a solar charger and a power bank and use them to complement each other? Use the solar charger to charge your power bank? That way you’re essentially getting the best of both worlds.

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