You love your Apple products. Whether it’s their sleek design or high performance, you just can’t go anywhere without them. But if you’re away from an outlet and your device needs some power, you’re out of luck. Unless you have a solar charger, that is. They give you a free, eco-conscious way to power your iPhone, iPod, iTouch or iPad. Here are some options to consider.
Solar Chargers for the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone
ReVIVE Series Solar ReStore External Battery Pack – This charger receives high marks on Amazon.com and is compatible with most iPod, iTouch and iPhones. It charges its internal 1500 mAh battery using the sun, AC or USB power. However, sunlight will only charge the battery to 50 percent, which will provide a 40-50 percent charge to your device. It also comes with suction cups so you can stick it to a window to charge. It is about the size of an iPhone and sells for about $30.
Solio Classic Hybrid Solar Charger â€“ This features three collapsible solar panels fan out and power a Long life internal 1650 mAh lithium ion battery, with an output of 4.8 watts. It comes with an impressive array of adapter tips and can be charged from the sun, a USB port, or from your wall. It can charge smaller, earlier generation iPods fully, several times and do an adequate job on newer iTouches and iPhones. Its dimensions are 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.3Â inches and it weighs 6 ounces, as well, making this a great, portable option. It retails at $99.
Revolve Electronics xeMini Plus This charger has a removable 2200 mAh battery that can be charged by sun, car cigarette lighter, AC or USB. It has built-in prongs for plugging into an AC outlet and comes with car and USB adapters. It can also charge two devices at the same time. The xeMini Plus uses glass-encapsulated high-efficiency solar cells and is made with green materials like recycled plastics blended with bamboo fiber. Its priced at about $82.
Solar Chargers for the iPad
The iPad, while energy-efficient, has greater power needs than an iPhone or iPod to recharge its 25 watt-hour battery. And it can be finicky about power sources. You may be able to use a solar charger only with the iPad in “sleep” mode. Read product information carefully and be sure it puts out at least 10 watts (generally, you’re looking for one that will power a small laptop).
Here are a few solar options for your iPad. Expect more to follow, as iPads become more widely-used.
QuickerTek 10-Watt Foldable Solar Panel â€“ QuickerTek makes large fold-out solar panels for Macbooks called Apple Juicz. This is a smaller solar array with 10 watts of power, made of the same materials and compatible with your iPad’s power adapter. It folds out to 23.7 x 21 inches and folds up to 10.5 x 3.5 x 1.3 inches and weighs 0.73 lbs. It sells for $300. This product does not include a battery though, so you will need to have your iPad directly connected while it sits in the sun. A separate 45 watt hour battery is available for an additional $250.
Goalzero Escape 150 Adventure Kit – This kit from Goalzero combines a 15-watt solar panel with a battery that can store 150 watts of power. It can be powered by a wall outlet or car cigarette outlet as well. It weighs 12 pounds and all together measures about 9″ x 9″ x 18″. It looks like you will need to use an iPad car adapter to plug into the battery pack. It’s priced at $360.
Apple is also working on affixing translucent solar-collecting film to their devices to make the iPod or iPhone itself a solar collector, but these products aren’t on the market yet.