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When you’re looking for a decent option to power any of your portable gadgets, you can’t go wrong with portable solar panels. They’re the perfect choice for those who find themselves on the move a lot or are into their survival gear. Made from either lightweight foldable fabric pockets or glass and metal suitcases, there’s a wide variety of portable solar panel options available on the market.
We think that 100W panels are the perfect power capacity to make them worth carrying around when on your camping, hiking, or trucking trips. Solar panel tech has advanced to the point where these panels are easily collapsible or foldable as to be taken with you wherever you go, especially the ones made with new-gen fabric and ultra-thin folding solar panels.
We have ten examples of these panels below for your consideration, as well as a small buyers’ guide where you can learn more about the amazing tech that goes into them, and which features you should be looking for when trying to buy the best.
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100W Folding Solar Panels - Comparison Table
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100W Folding Solar Panels - Reviews
The first portable solar panels on this list comes in the form of a briefcase with the Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Briefcase. It’s one of the more reputable products in Goal Zero’s catalog that packs a 100-watt monocrystalline solar panel, hence the 100 in the product name. This cost-efficient panel is housed in a portable but otherwise rigid frame that fits neatly into the briefcase, making it not only easy to carry but sturdy once it has been set up.
The sturdiness of the briefcase is in part due to how it’s actually two 50-watt panels that are bound together by heavy-duty hinges and latches that make sure this briefcase only moves where and when you want it to. It won’t suffer from any hinges breaking without facing a whole lot of punishment first.
The rest of its durability comes from the fact the briefcase is made from anodized aluminum, a lightweight and easy to carry metal that’s been treated to be corrosion resistant, making it perfect for harsh outdoor use like camping. There’s also tempered glass construction in the solar panels that ensures there won’t be any breakages where it really counts.
It's been made to be compatible with Goal Zero’s own Yeti Portable Power Stations but, if you’re shopping outside of the brand, it’s compatible with the adapters and cables you need to use these panels with third-party batteries and power stations.
It comes with some peripheral gear too, like a carry case that keeps the panels safe from scratching or any dirt that could get on them. It also retails with removable kickstand legs that allow you to aim this product towards the rising or setting sun for maximum solar intake.
- A 100-watt monocrystalline panel housed in a sturdy but foldable frame.
- Heavy-duty hinges tie these two 50-watt panels together.
- Durable and rigid anodized aluminum and tempered glass construction.
- Supports adapters that allow third-party charging.
- Removable kickstand and carry case included with your purchase.
- You’ll need an adapter to use with third-party charging implements.
Next is the Dokio 100W Folding Solar Panel Charger, a panel option that packs that 100 watts of power in a very lightweight 6lbs carry case that’s an astounding 0.5 inches in width. This makes it the go two option for those on the hunt for the lightest panels. It also happens to be Amazon’s Choice for “folding solar panels” so you can be assured of its quality.
Don’t mistake the thin folding panels for being weak, however, since they’re housed in sewn fabric pockets that are very durable and take pressure off of the panels when carried with the adjoined handles. The panels themselves are also high caliber. Like our number one product, they’re monocrystalline panels that maximize power output and have a higher conversion efficiency.
These panels also work well with any handhelds or other USB-charged tech you may have, since they have 5V 2A USB ports built into them. They also come with three meters of wiring to connect the panel to its controller, allowing you to manage it from a short distance away. Some have advised replacing these wires since they’re so thin, but if you do opt for that option then wire replacements should be inexpensive.
- Packs 100 watts of power despite being only 0.5 inches and weighing 6lbs.
- High-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells maximize power output.
- Panels are protected by a durable fabric sewn pocket with practical carrying handles.
- Integrated 5V 2A USB ports will charge your handheld devices.
- 3 meters of cable included to connect the panel and its controller.
- The accompanying wires run quite thin.
At third place is the Renogy 100-Watt Solar Panel Suitcase, another sturdy frame-based portable solar panel set much like our entry at number one. It shares some of the same features, such as reinforced heavy-duty latching mechanisms that ensure longevity in parts of the product that’d usually be the first to break. This reinforcement does make the suitcase quite heavy, however, making it a pain to carry over distances.
Most of the metal used is also corrosion-resistant aluminum, a treated version of the metal that ensures harsh and wet environments won’t take its toll on the suitcase. Adjustable aluminum legs also fold out from the suitcase, allowing you to stand the panels up to face a certain direction, which is great for maximizing solar input at dawn or dusk.
The version we’ve recommended also retails with a charge controller, a small handheld that uses an LCD screen to show you the operational data of your solar panel in real-time. This is great for the analysts and tinkerers who want to make sure they get the absolute most power out of their panels, since you can now track it and adjust accordingly. The remote also helps to prevent overcharging your panels and wasting valuable power.
The whole product is made with power-safety in mind, running from a low-voltage power system that avoids or otherwise mitigates electric shock hazards wherever possible. Part of this system also means that it’s compatible with pretty much any type of battery you’ll want to use with this suitcase, from powerful Lithium to gel or even flooded batteries, these panels support them all. Whichever you choose, the panels retail with alligator clips that you can use to connect them to its power source.
- Adjustable and corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and stand.
- 20A built-in 5-stage solar charge controller with LCD display provides operating info.
- Its low-voltage system bypasses electric shock hazards.
- Compatible with gel, sealed, Lithium, and even flooded batteries.
- Retails with alligator clips to connect these panels to their power source.
- This unit can be heavy to carry, especially over long distances.
Here we have the HQST 100-Watt Suitcase Solar Panel, another energy-efficient monocrystalline solar panel set complete with aluminum adornments, like standing legs, that allow you to conveniently position it to face wherever the sunlight is coming from.
The version we’ve linked actually ships with a Renogy charge controller like what you can get with the entry above, the difference here being that HQST is offering their product at a lower price. The controller itself is optimized for either 12V or 24V and it features a smart four-stage charging process that goes from bulk charging to absorption and float charging, which avoid the overheating and overcharging of the connected panels.
The temperature compensation that absorption charging promotes not only causes any unwanted loss in power but also prolongs the battery life of the panels, allowing them to last longer and deliver more wattage per day when you're outdoors.
Don’t mistake the different charging options these panels have for them being complicated to use, however, since they were designed from the ground up to be a plug-and-play power supply solution for casual outdoorsmen. If you’re planning on using these in high-heat environments, we want to advise you that the plastic hinges on the leg stands can get loose. Driving a self-tapping screw through each leg’s base should get rid of this problem.
- 12V/24V optimized charge controller system with smart 4-stage charging.
- Sturdy aluminum stands let you set them up facing the sun.
- Temperature compensation prolongs battery life.
- Easy to use, designed as a “plug-and-play” solar option.
- The leg stands may need reinforcing.
At the midpoint of our list is a product similar to the Renogy and HQST panels that came before them, the AcoPower 100W Suitcase Solar Panel. It also achieves that 100-watt power supply through two 50-watt panels that are joined by hinges, combining to make a capable solar panel set that’s still portable thanks to its thin profile.
You can use these panels to charge up power generators as long as they have MC-4 connectors, as well as 12V car batteries and marine battery types like sealed, gel, and flooded batteries. It comes with more than enough wiring, fourteen feet of it to be exact, which you can use to connect these panels to the various connectors and gadgets that you’ll use.
The stands on these are pre-installed and only need folding out to prop your solar panels up, at which point the panels can soak up more sunlight, especially when aimed directly at the sun during dawn or dusk. When you’re done with it, it packs away neatly in a protective suitcase for lightweight and discrete traveling, ensuring that the panels won’t take too much damage during transit.
If you’re traveling in an RV, however, you’ll want to check the SAE plugs that come with these panels. That’s because they have more rubber on them than other brands, meaning that they will need to be trimmed to fit into the RV’s SAE socket.
- Able to charge generators and batteries of all kinds.
- Easy to set up thanks to pre-installed stands.
- It comes with an ample 14 foot of wire.
- It comes in a protective suitcase.
- SAE plugs have more rubber on them than others, which may make RV use awkward.
Sixth on our list is the Suaoki 100W Folding Solar Charger, an efficient folding panel system that is able to charge your handheld devices, like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, up to four times faster than similar solar charger products. This means that you won’t only get your gadgets powered faster than normal, but you’ll also save power since the charging time isn’t dragged out, and overcharging isn’t an issue.
Such a feature is useful when you don’t have much sun to work with, and if you’re afraid that will be a problem then rest assured that these panels can deliver an admirable solar energy conversion rate even when the sun’s obscured.
As for how these panels are constructed, these are of the lighter, fabric-based variety, but that cloth is still durable and temperature-resistant. The zippers on it are also durable to avoid them breaking or otherwise malfunctioning, and there are also PET handles and pads that protect the weakest points in these panels’ construction.
It’s compatible with most brands of solar generators, such as many of the brands you’ll find on this list such as Jackery, Goal Zero Yeti, and Rockpals. This is because the panels retail with several cables, battery clamps, and a 10-in-1 connector that adds compatibility for most of the industry’s different connection ports.
- 4X faster recharging for your handheld devices.
- Converts solar energy even in low-light conditions.
- Made with durable cloth, zipper, and PET materials that are temperature resistant.
- Compatible with most solar generators on the market.
- Corners lack protective padding, and so can get damaged.
Seventh on our list is the KingSolar 100W Folding Solar Charger, another high-efficiency solar panel option that can reach up to a 23% power conversion rate, meaning you get as much power as possible when the sun’s out.
The version of this product we’re recommending has a unique dual voltage controller design that uses both 5V and 18V outputs, meaning this charger can satisfy the power requirements of most handheld devices, and some even larger ones too, so compatibility and overpowering shouldn’t be an issue.
As for the body of these panels, the panel screens are housed in very thick 6000D PVC that’s not only durable because of its thickness, but also waterproof too, making it the ideal panel for laying it down on wet ground.
If that didn’t make this purchase feel safe enough, you should be reassured by the fact that it’s covered by KingSolar’s own one and a half year warranty that protects against poor workmanship and other product issues out of your control. If you are going all-in on this product, you should know that the barrel adapters require a male to male connector, which doesn’t retail with this product and will need to be bought separately.
- 23% solar conversion efficiency is on the higher end of efficiency ratings.
- Unique dual voltage controller design satisfies most devices.
- 6000D PVC waterproof fabric keeps your panels safe when outdoors.
- Covered by 1.5 years of KingSolar warranty.
- You’ll need to get a male to male connector to use included barrel adapters.
Here we have the Lensun 100W Folding Solar Panel Kit, a 100W solar panel that can retail with a variety of peripherals depending on what you pick on its product listing page. To have all of your options covered, we’ll only be talking about the panel itself and the accompanying resources that come with it, such as the solar cables that you’ll need to charge your handheld gadgets or the convenient carry bag that these panels easily fold into.
The panel itself is made with ETFE laminate, a polymer coating that can withstand high levels of heat since it’s chemically stable. In use, this translates to a longer-lasting solar panel that also resists physical stress since the laminate coating is capable of flexing. It also eliminates any reflections, so you won’t have to worry about catching reflected light in your eyes.
It uses less frame than some of the other aluminum-framed panels above, and because of that, this product is much more lightweight than other panels of this type, weighing about one-fifth of the usual weight at just four kilograms. At the back of the product is, as you’d expect, a pair of leg supports that can be adjusted at different angles, and doing so during the first and last hours of the day can optimize the output current by as much as 80%.
Those stands will need to be disassembled when packing or moving these panels, which can be a hassle if this kit is going to see frequent use.
- Made with ETFE laminating technology that’s non-reflective and flexible.
- Leg supports at adjustable angles increase output current by 80%.
- Less aluminum frame makes this lighter than similar solar panels.
- It comes with accompanying wiring and a convenient carry bag.
- Aluminum stands need to be disassembled every time you’re putting the panels away.
Here we have the number one best selling product in Amazon’s solar panel category, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Folding Solar Panel. If we had to guess why this is the case, we’d say it’s the high 23% conversion efficiency that these panels have, allowing them to milk every drop of usable power out of the rays of sunlight that shine your way.
This performance is further improved by the fact that the body of these panel sets are constructed with a tilting design. All you need to do is pull out the sturdy and wide triangular kickstands to prop the panels up at an angle that captures up to 25% more solar energy than when it’s laid flat.
The panel set has one USB-A and USB-C output port, supporting the two most popular cables that are universally used for charging small devices like your smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and other gadgets that are handy to have with you during a camping trip. Speaking of, when you set these panels up during your stay, you can arrange them up to three meters away thanks to the extension cord that you get with this purchase.
Though it’s lightweight with its rolled hemmed fabric body, some have reported that the body of these panels is more easily damaged by sharp objects. This means you’ll have to treat it with some care and, for one of the lighter foldable panels that isn’t housed inside a secure briefcase, the price is steep for what you get. That said, we don’t doubt that it’s ideal for more leisurely uses.
- Conversion efficiency can reach as high as 23%.
- Sturdy, wide legs prop these panels up.
- Equipped with both USB-A and USB-C outputs.
- Retails with a 3-meter extension cord.
- Fabric bodies can be weak to sharp and pointed debris.
- One of the most expensive product options on this list.
Lastly, we have the Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger, another efficiency-modeled panel that boasts a highly efficient 21.5 to 23.5% solar conversion rate, meaning you get more power during the day than some of the less-efficient models.
If you buy these panels then you’ll find that they’re compatible with a lot of the solar generators you can find on the market. This is because there are several connectors and adapters that should have most of your options covered, though we should add it’s not compatible with the popular Jackery 440.
Inside these portable solar panels are IC chips that are capable of identifying most devices, or at least the voltage requirements of those devices, and so maximizes and paces the charging process so that you won’t accidentally overcharge. The charging current of its USB ports also automatically adjusts to the sunlight level to ensure a consistent charge throughout the day.
The panels and the Oxford cloth that they’re built into are pretty durable, and that cloth is waterproof, to boot. That doesn’t include the junction box, though, so keep that safe and dry. It’s also one of the heavier panels on this list in terms of construction, so it can be a chore to haul around.
Whilst the 100-watt power label is a maximum possible output, many have reported that this only reads off 60 to 80-watts on the average day and requires specific conditions that can be uncommon if you’re not based in a naturally sunny area.
- 21.5-23.5% solar conversion rate makes it very efficient.
- Compatible with most solar generators available on the market.
- Built-in IC chip identifies your device and controls charging speed accordingly.
- Made with durable and waterproof Oxford cloth.
- Output often performs at 60 to 80W.
- It is one of the heavier panels on the list.
100W Folding Solar Panels - Buyers Guide
How to find the right solar panel
When looking at solar panels, you’ll want to make sure they’re geared towards the use you have in mind for them. This doesn’t just mean that they need to be portable, however, you should instead be looking at their features and properties to judge one against another. That’s what we did, and how we formed this list, so take a look at this buyers’ guide if you want to read about the main concerns you should have when making your purchase.
We separated those concerns into four groups, their panel size and power, the durability and weatherproofing, product compatibility, and other extra features that aren’t necessary but add extra functionalities to the product.
Panel Size and Power
The size of the panels you get is self-explanatory. If you need compact and lightweight panels, then you’re better off going for those with smaller surface areas and thinner constructions, whereas larger panels will be heavier to carry. There are two fundamental types of foldable solar panel chargers that dictate the size and weight of them too, these being what we’ll call foldable panels and solar suitcases.
Foldable panels are where the panels themselves are built into a material, usually a more lightweight material like fabrics or light plastics, to make for very thin panel sets that are easy to carry around. Suitcases, on the other hand, are where there’s a more defined casing to the panels that are usually made with steel or aluminum framing. Depending on the material used, these can also be lightweight, though they will always be bulkier and wider.
All of the above are 100-watt panels since that’s one of the focal points of this article. 100 watts will be able to charge your USB devices and other handsets when harnessing the power of the sun. It’s enough to power most portable stations and 12V batteries whilst also being the most common type of panels, hence why they’re so common in the industry.
Where power is concerned, you want to have panels that are capable of higher conversion efficiencies, meaning they generate more power from the sunlight they’re exposed to. For handheld and portable panels, the highest conversion rates will be at around 20% to 23%, and going for higher conversion rates will save you time and money when using your panels.
Durability and Waterproofing
We briefly talked about the construction of portable solar panel casings above, but it’s important to know exactly what to look for. That way you can make sure you’re buying a durable product which, when you’re looking at tech, is important to avoid disastrous breakages that’ll waste your hard-earned cash.
With so-called fabric-based foldable panel sets, look at the Denier rating if one is provided. This will tell you the general thickness of the fabric used, which can give you an idea of the general durability of the casing. This is handy for Oxford cloth or PVC, the latter also being waterproof to protect your panels from a sudden change in weather.
As for the more suitcase-like products, they tend to be made from steel or aluminum with heavy-duty hinges and latches in them. Though naturally more durable and often waterproof, most if not all of the examples above favor aluminum frames so that they’re easier to carry.
There are panel sets, like the one at number six in our list, that seem to be a mix of the two, having harder exterior features like the PET reinforcement pads whilst still being largely cloth-based. Shop around to find where you prefer on the spectrum between durability and lightweight construction, since there are many great compromises available.
What good is a solar panel charger that can’t charge anything? If you’re harnessing the power of the sun, you’re going to want to share that power with all of your handheld devices when outdoors. Many solar panel chargers will come with the necessary cables and USB slots, though it’s always a good idea to check your own tech and see if they’re compatible with the charger.
Don’t fret if the panels you’ve had your eyes on aren’t compatible, since adapters exist between almost all types of plugs and sockets nowadays. It’s just something to be aware of so you don’t end up disappointed when your panels arrive and they’re incompatible with the sockets of your phone, laptop, or power bank, and you’d then have to wait even longer for adapter cables to arrive.
If you are charging batteries off of your solar panels, you should check to see how compatible the panels are with certain battery types. Some panels won’t support car batteries and will only work with marine batteries, or vice versa. If you’re unsure, look for panels that have as much compatibility as possible, whose product pages mention that they’re compatible with lithium, gel, sealed, and flooded batteries.
By extra features, we’re talking about things that’d add to the panels but aren’t necessary, such as kickstands, carry cases, and warranties. Kickstands help prop your solar panels up, allowing you to increase the sunlight exposure that the panels get. Fortunately, they’re found with most products since they want to claim that their product will give you the most optimal solar energy results on the market.
Many of these portable panels we’re talking about have handles installed in them already, and they fold in such a way that they’re basically their own carry cases. That said, some retail with an added protective case that you can put the solar panels in to ensure that no damage or debris finds its way in. These seem to be more useful if you’re operating in very dusty or muddy areas, where there’s a real chance that dirt will find its way onto your panels and limit their effectiveness when deployed.
Warranties are only beneficial when something goes wrong, so we wouldn’t exactly recommend you buy based on them. After all, buying a quality product without a warranty will pay off more through longevity than buying a subpar product with a warranty that you’ll need to use a year into its lifespan. For the more cautious consumer, however, it’s good to know you have a warranty backing you up.