When you need clean energy on the go, you go to portable solar panels. Which one is the best buy and how do you actually use one?
In pursuit of my two biggest passions, road-tripping, and living green, I’m constantly looking to upgrade my game.
It took trial and error, purchase and return, and many hours talking to electrical engineers and grizzled RV owners who’ve seen it all.
And now I can proudly present the Bluetti PV200 200W Solar Panel as the best portable solar panel you can buy today.
You may agree with me or not, but you should always decide for yourself.
Here are the best portable solar panels in 2022.
Overall Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Wattage: 200W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 16.1 lbs.
Bluetti has forced me to become a fanboy — thanks to the their Bluetti AC200P solar generator.
While I was looking some dependable solar panels for my AC200P, the obvious choice was these PV200 200W solar panels.
I wanted higher wattage from my portable solar panels as I needed 2400Wh of juice for my generator. And, Bluetti PV200 200W solar panels didn’t disappoint me.
With 4 of these 200W panels, I can fully charge my Bluetti AC200 power station in less than 3 hours. And that’s about 2400Wh of capacity.
Initially, I wanted to go for SP200 but they were out of stock.
With a high conversion rate (23.4%) and anti-scratch ETFE coating, these portable solar panels let me charge my power station even in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Thanks to their water-resistance rating, now I don’t have to worry about a sudden shower of rain.
Why Do I Like It?
These portable solar panels have four adjustable kickstands so I can easily set them on uneven ground. Also, Bluetti has a very strong market recognition. All credit goes to their superior products with top-shelf build quality.
Wattage: 100W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 26.6 lbs
The Renogy 100W Solar Suitcase is ideal if you want an all-in-one solution.
Apart from the foldable panels and connectors, this package comes with the Voyager Charge Controller with a backlit LCD display.
This basically means you can charge any type of 12V battery directly, as the controller lets you choose the type of battery with a few clicks.
The solar charge controller is also packed with intelligent protection functions and gives you several charging modes to keep your battery healthy.
If you’re not planning to get a power station, this Renogy 100W Foldable Solar suitcase is an offer you can’t refuse.
On the downside, these portable folding solar panels are almost twice as heavy as the Bluetti and Jackery, and yet deliver half the wattage — only 100W.
Why Do I Like It?
If you already have a 12V battery at hand, these portable solar panels are everything you need, as the charge controller is already in the package. Definitely my choice of all 100W portable solar panels.
Wattage: 100W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 19.4 lbs
This Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse solar panels are very similar to the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline solar panels in terms of specs.
However, Eclipse offers something extraordinary — this is perhaps the best solar panel working in the low light conditions. Also, the panels are German-made, we all know the reliability of the German engineering.
As it comes with a suitcase, I found it extremely portable.
These solar panels made my camping trips hella easy!
The inclusion of charge controller and the alligator clips is something that I don’t see from many brands.
Kudos to Renogy.
The only downside that I can think of is the weight — 19.4 lbs for a 100W panel is something to think about.
Why Do I Like It?
This is solar panel for low light conditions, in my opinion. These panels served me well during the gloomy rainy four days of camping last summer.
Wattage: 160W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 13.2 lbs
Portable, foldable, and compact, this monocrystalline solar “portfolio” not only looks smart but also delivers — with a solar conversion efficiency of 21-22%.
Whether you’re looking for easy-to-set portable solar panels for RV, hiking, or camping, EcoFlow will see you through your adventure — thanks to a seamless, one-piece design with IP67 rated dust and water protection.
The integral carrying case is a bit flexible and doubles up as a kickstand.
Now, this solution looks elegant, but not very stable in my experience. I’d like to see additional anchor points or eyelets like those on the SolarSaga 100W solar panel.
One way or another, these portable solar panels didn’t make it to the top three for two simple reasons: 110 watts of solar power and only a 12 months warranty.
Why Do I Like It?
The EcoFlow 110W solar panel gives the most power when paired with an EcoFlow power station. If you already own a premium EcoFlow Power station, like the Delta 1300, the EcoFlow 110W solar panel is probably your best choice.
Wattage: 100W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 9.1 lbs
If an old adage “Jack-Of-All-Trades” can be applied to portable solar panels, it would best describe the versatile Jackery SolarSaga 100W.
Put it in your trunk, strap it to your RV roof or stash it somewhere with your survival gear, this 100-watt solar folder is ideal for outdoor life but also comes in handy for power outages.
Like its big brother, the 200W version, this solar panel comes with nice features, like anchoring eyelets, plus USB-A and USB-C outputs.
This is a great option to have if you need to charge up your phone or Macbook in a pinch — no battery or power station needed.
On the other hand, the Solar Saga 100W also shares its big brother’s weakness — it is only compatible with Jackery power stations.
Why Do I Like It?
Direct charging through USB-A and USB-C ports is an attractive feature, especially for the younger generation of off-gridders. Hey, you still gotta upload those Insta reels, right?
Wattage: 50W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: No| Weight: 2.87 lbs
This might be an odd option on the list today — a tiny 50W solar panel.
But hey, this list is all about portability, right?
The best part is that it's even flexible!
Now, let’s focus on why I loved these tiny beasts — just like the Renogy Eclipse solar panels, these performed extremely well in the low-light conditions.
Plus, the 2.87 lbs. weight makes it so easy it to carry it around. You wouldn’t even need a truck for them as they are less than 2 feet wide.
Pair it with something like Renogy Phoenix 300 (like I did) and you’re all set for a great camping trip!
Just keep in mind that this is only a 50W panel and only serve a specific niche.
Why Do I Like It?
Compact, lightweight, flexible, and portable — Renogy 50 Watt solar panels come with all the good things that I like about a portable solar panel.
Wattage: 200W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 29 lbs
When mentioning “portable solar panels”, most people think of flexible solar panels that you can fold up into a self-contained protective case and, when needed, deploy them within seconds in a new location.
However, many of our readers are RV and off-grid enthusiasts who like a more permanent solar solution on their rigs or cabins.
If you want to fix solar panels to your RV roof and leave them be, I’d go with SunGold Power 200W.
These panels have rigid, weather-resistant aluminum frames, but are still considered portable because of their weight and easy installation.
You don’t need a complex roof mount — these portable solar panels come with pre-drilled holes and it’s up to you to decide how you want them fixed.
On the downside, you won’t be able to move them around to catch the most sunlight that easily.
Why Do I Like It?
The SunGold Power 200W portable solar panels are ideal if you want a semi-permanent solar setup which you can still relatively easily dismantle in the off-season.
Wattage: 30W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 2.75 lbs
Not everyone is looking for portable solar panels to power their RV or an off-grid cabin. For some people, the idea of portability goes much further.
They want to slap their solar panel into a backpack and hit the trail.
The GoSun SolarPanel 30 is my choice when I want to travel ultralight. In those situations, my phone and smartwatch are the two only things that need charging.
And this GoSun does exactly that — unfold it, aim at the sun, and plug in your phone.
Of course, I can charge anything that runs on batteries: LED light,
These might not be the best portable solar panels for RV use, but are great for beach parties or camping, especially when used with a power bank.
Moonlight won’t do it, no matter how bright. Sorry.
Why Do I Like It?
The GoSun SolarPanel 30 perfectly fits the laptop compartment in my traveling pack. The ultra small form factor and the weight makes it a perfect partner for a hiker or a camper!
Wattage: 28W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 3 lbs
Just about a few years ago I went bivouac-style camping in France with my girlfriend.
One day, we were sitting out there talking about how nice it would be if we had a couple of flexible and portable solar panels we could strap to our backpacks or our tent’s curving roof.
What we described back then was in effect the Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus.
This handy little solar panel is the size of a 12-inch tablet when folded and fits virtually anywhere.
Unfolded, the Nomad 28 reveals four monocrystalline solar panel segments and ten strapping eyelets, so you have plenty of mounting options.
Just like GoSun 30, these portable solar panels won’t power your microwave or TV — they are strictly designed for directly charging your phones, tablets, cameras, and other USB devices.
Why Do I Like It?
These are probably the best portable solar panels for camping with minimal gear. Every time I go camping I find several new ways to deploy this ultra-portable solar panel.
Wattage: 100W | Panel Type: Monocrystalline | Foldable: Yes | Weight: 25.9 lbs
I could hardly think of a better name for this portable solar panel.
The Boulder is designed as a self-contained rugged and durable briefcase, just like something you’d expect to see in a Michael Bay movie.
I mean, tempered glass is not something you’d expect from a
The two 50-watt monocrystalline solar panels are connected by a sturdy hinge while the integral kickstand lets you set the optimal angle to the sun.
And as if reinforced aluminum and corner protection wasn’t enough, the panels are covered with tempered glass.
So why is this solar panel tank the last on the list?
First, it’s got a very limited application. You’d be pressed hard to find a way to strap it to your RV or boat.
The rigid construction prevents you from placing it flush with any kind of curving roof or surface. You can always use the kickstand, but if the ground is soft and wet, there’s little you can do about it.
Finally, it’s too heavy to haul it around. This ironically beats the whole end-of-days suitcase design.
Why Do I Like It?
So who are these portable solar panels for? I’d say prepper types and people living in areas that are prone to extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods. The GoalZero Boulder will survive.
My idea of portable solar panels might not be yours, or to say it more accurately, my need for portable solar power might be different than yours at the moment.
The best portable solar panels for RV might not be the best portable solar panels for camping or partying.
That’s why this review includes three basic types of portable solar panels:
Foldable portable solar panels rated from 100 to 200 watts are the best all-rounders. You can use them to power your RV, outdoors cabin, or boat, but are still light and compact enough to pack them with your camping gear.
Rigid frame compact portable solar panels usually come with pre-drilled holes. This makes them easy to install on all kinds of roofs and mounts.
They have sturdier (but also heavier) frames and are a good choice for folks who don’t want to tamper with their panels much once they set them up.
Finally, ultralight foldable solar panels are easy to pack in a rucksack or keep in your trunk even if you drive a Chevrolet Spark. These portable solar panels are designed to go everywhere you go, which makes them ideal for beach parties, picnics, and hiking tours.
They come with plenty of eyelets so you can easily strap them to your tent or backpack and provide direct USB charging to your devices.
Of course, size and wattage are not the only things you should look for.
Although all portable solar panels reviewed here have monocrystalline solar cells, which are the most efficient, the market is still saturated with the less expensive but also less efficient:
Thin-film solar panels are the most flexible of the three, and one could easily think they’re the best choice for portable solar kits.
Well, maybe they were once when they were the peak technology. By today’s standards, thin-film panels have unforgivingly low efficiency, between 7% and 10%.
Now compare that with the portable solar panels on this list, which all have efficiencies of 20% and above.
If you want my advice, always go for monocrystalline portable solar panels. They might be more expensive upfront but will last longer than polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels.
Polycrystalline solar panels have a lifespan about the same as monocrystalline panels, 25-30 years, but their efficiency drops over time faster.
The way you see yourself using your portable solar panels will help you make the right choice.
If you’re an RV fan like me, the good news is that many great portable options are available these days. The right portable solar panel kit can meet your whole RV needs for electricity, including the kitchen appliances and the TV.
You’re looking to charge your phone and camera while camping?
Go for soft-lined foldable solar panels you can strap over your tent roof for the best exposure.
When it comes to boats, you can go either foldable or rigid frame. The most important is to choose a product with IP67 protection that can handle a few splashes and even a dip.
The wattage is closely related to the way you are going to use your portable solar panels.
Let’s make things clear from the start — if you want to power the appliances and lighting in your RV or off-grid cabin, skip the cheap portable solar panels and look to 100W and 200W products.
So how much combined wattage do you need?
Each electric device has specific power consumption which you can find on the bottom label.
For example, if you want to power a 500-watt fridge, you’ll need 3x200W solar panels.
The sunshine is not always perfect. And there is also shading, temperature, and dust that affect the output of your solar panels. That’s why you should always go for more wattage than you actually need.
One way or another, I always recommend powering your appliances through a charge controller or power station. More on that coming up.
I often get the question if having one solar panel with a high-capacity power generator is enough.
After all, a 1000 or 2000-watt solar power generator with a beefy battery can take care of most of your appliances. This is true, but that solar generator needs charging.
And how many hours of sunlight a day can you ideally get?
Pair a 100W panel with a 1000Wh solar generator and it’ll take 10 hours to charge up and that’s in ideal conditions. You simply don’t have that time.
Now imagine having two or three appliances plugged in at the same time.
Ideally, your panel’s combined wattage should be enough to charge your solar generator from 0-100 in a couple of hours.
So, is it going to be 5x100W panels or 3x200W, it’s up to you.
Since we’re talking about portable solar kits, the installation steps will be different from setting up a solar array for your whole house.
I hope you’re not planning to sell electricity to your local power company using a portable solar panel.
Make sure your solar panel comes with a solar charging cable. This cable connects one or several panels to your solar generator or battery.
Choose the best spot for the panels on your RV roof, tent, or open ground. It should get a steady supply of sunlight throughout the day. Use the panel’s own kickstand or tie it using a paracord.
Connect the solar panels to your solar generator. These generators already have inverters, fuzes, batteries, and control displays, so you can always tell how much energy is being used and how much it is charging on solar.
Portable solar panels have many advantages, but some of them are also disadvantages. If you can set them up and take them down easily, so can someone else!
To avoid this, you can protect your solar panels in several ways.
You can get a solar panel alarm system that detects irregular movements, as in when someone is trying to remove them from your RV roof.
You can also make the removal less easy by fastening them with steel bolts and nuts instead of using paracord.
Finally, you can always install a HD camera with a motion detector and a floodlight that engages only when someone gets into the area where you set your solar panels.
These days solar panels are coated with a self-cleaning layer that helps them shed dust and debris. Always remember — dirt, sap, and dust deposits reduce the efficiency of your portable solar panel.
However, especially after longer use, you’ll have to deal with bird droppings and tree sap, which calls for your intervention:
Use fresh water to remove dust deposits, leaves and other matter that didn’t stick. Don’t try to use pressure washers as you can damage the panel. Also try not to use any kind of scrubber. Just let it soak.
Once you’ve removed dust and dirt, make a mixture of warm water and neutral soap. Apply the mixture and scrub gently with a soft sponge. If needed use denatured alcohol for more persistent stains.
A charge controller is a voltage/current regulator that keeps your battery from overcharging. It regulates the voltage and current coming from the solar panels to the battery.
Luckily, today’s best portable solar generators Like the Jackery 1000 and Bluetti AC200P come with advanced MPPT (Multiple Power Point Tracking) charge controllers that ensure the “best match” between your portable solar panel and the battery.
This basically means that very little energy is lost in the charging process.
Yes, a portable solar panel is definitely worth it. It may not replace a rooftop or ground-mounted solar array, but it’s much more convenient for RVing or camping off the grid.
A 200 watt solar panel will run your laptop for 22 hours, a coffee maker for 1 hour, or a microwave oven for 90 minutes.
A portable solar panel lasts between 25 and 30 years before its energy output begins to visibly decline.
For a 300 watt solar panel, you need at least a 100Ah so you can draw 1000 watts. You can go with a smaller battery, but only if you’ll be drawing power for a short time.
Yes, a 200-watt solar panel can run a TV but only if it’s a 150 watt TV. Keep in mind that 200-watt solar panels provide 200 watts of electric energy only in most ideal conditions, and there’s always a bit lost in the conversion.
Yes, a 100-watt solar panel can run a refrigerator but only for a short time and would also need a battery.
After much consideration, in my opinion, the best portable solar panel for your money is the Bluetti PV200 200W Solar Panel, followed closely by the Renogy 100W Solar Suitcase and Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse Solar Panel.
The Bluetti PV200 is compact and foldable but gives me 200 watts of solar power.
However, it weighs the least of all 200-watt solar panels on the list. This is why my PV200 solar panel sees much more uses than any other — camping, RVing, boating, you name it.
It’s also water-resistant and has an anti-scratch coating, which not only makes it ideal for any type of weather but also makes cleaning much easier.
The Bluetti PV200 is powerful, compact, and impervious to the elements — everything I ever ask from a portable solar panel.
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We’ve been living full-time RVs for just over a year now, traveling North America and seeing all the amazing wilderness we can get in our 5th gear RV. Until a month ago, we relied mainly on 3400-watt generators to charge the batteries and turn on the lights. I was considering buying one of Renogy’s portable solar panels. At this point, I really wish we’d buy one of these first. It manages everything I need to maximize solar energy collection and storage. It charges the battery in four stages, optimizing the battery’s energy storage potential. It automatically detects flooded lithium, SLA, and gel batteries.
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I think the Renogy 100w Solar Panel (Compact Design) needs closer scrutiny for installation on smaller campers, boats, and buildings.
With a 21% efficiency rating, it rivals Renogy’s standard 100w panel. Compared to a similar design like the ACOPower 100w, it is 1.5lbs heavier.
But this weight difference suggests a better build quality meaning it should be more durable, which is reflected in the price difference.
The Renogy 100w Compact Design should be taken seriously by anybody with a project that requires a smaller solar panel to fit the space.