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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
As the weather heats up and we spend more time outdoors, it seems battery life for our gadgets is shorter than ever. But never fear: several high-tech companies have become more aware of this problem, and best of all, they are also more sensitive to environmental issues. They’ve consequently designed beautiful, sustainable, solar chargers to ensure all your gadgets this summer are go, go, go!
Here’s our pick of the best solar chargers that we know of.
1. Power Tech Solar Charger
Power Tech has created the first consumer hydrogen fuel cell. In other words, this is a portable charger for anything with a USB cable, fuelled by a hybrid battery that works with the simple power of water, instantly, anywhere. Here, efficiency doesn’t neglect design, and the device boasts a luminous colour scheme. Using it is very straightforward: if the battery’s gone dead, all you have to do is pour a little water in the tiny reservoir, pop a stopper in the other end, and clamp down the fuel cell on top. Then magic occurs: within a minute it’ll be generating electricity, which can either charge the internal battery or anything hooked up to the USB port, simply by pressing the power button. This is the best way to get instant power without the need for an electrical socket, and is perfect for travellers or those away from their homes all day.
2. The Wild Charge Pad
This gadget comes from Pure Energy Solutions, which prides itself on being a “green energy company.” The company has made a name for itself in the world of green energy companies by providing eco-friendly rechargeable batteries, wire-free charging platforms and by using technologies that are based on clean, economically friendly principles. This has earned PES the backing of several environmental groups, including Energy Star ratings and an EcoLogo environmental mark. This wireless charger provides 15 watts of output power and can therefore charge multiple devices simultaneously, and is compatible with several phones, including older ones.
3. The Solar Joos Orange
This one is perhaps for the best option for sun worshippers. It charges really quickly and is capable of bringing a dead iPhone back to 100% after less than an hour of direct sunlight. It has collapsible stilts for optimal angling and very simple design–perfect for the beach this summer!
4. Brunton Solaris 4 USB
Talk about versatile! It’s equipped with four flexible CIGS panels that unfold into a 25- by 9-inch light-gathering array that can be draped over a tent, staked to the ground, or even hung from a tree branch. Since it doesn’t come with a battery, you can just as easily charge directly from the USB port. This is the ideal charger for anyone who spends a lot of time hiking, climbing or camping, or who just otherwise wants to be completely off the grid.
5. The XD Modo Solar Charger
A very good choice for those who are fortunate enough to live in sunny climes (sadly, not us here in Paris…). These just stick to the wall, plug into your phone, and the power of the sun does its job. You can also leave it in a sunbeam, though the stronger the sun, the faster the charge, and you may have to keep moving it if shadows are cast from furniture or clouds. Your best bet is to stick the 0.68-inch thick Window solar charger to the inside of a glass window with the photovoltaic panels facing out, and then feed off a charging cable to a portable device positioned in the cooling shade. So good, it’s almost worth moving to Spain for!