Which solar-powered flashlight is best?
When the power goes out or your car breaks down, the last thing you want is a flashlight with dead batteries. A solar-powered flashlight gets energy from the sun, theoretically offering an endless light source for as long as you keep it charged.
If you’re interested in buying a solar-powered flashlight, the NPET T09 Solar Flashlight is an excellent choice because it has seven different light modes and many features.
What to know before you buy a solar-powered flashlight
Consider how you intend to use your solar-powered flashlight before deciding on a model. Many of these products are designed specifically for outdoor activities such as camping or hiking, while others specialize in home use and vehicle emergency kits. Outdoor flashlights tend to be more durable and are commonly waterproof. A flashlight for the home or your car can be larger since pack weight isn’t an issue, and these devices typically have features like USB ports for charging your phone.
While a solar-powered flashlight gets most of its power from the sun, many flashlight models feature some kind of supplemental charging method you can use in a pinch.
- Hand-crank flashlights: This charging method is on many durable outdoor flashlights. Simply turn the crank for a few minutes and you’ll receive about an hour of charge. This method is convenient for outdoor activities because you can quickly get a solid charge in any environment.
- USB powered: Some indoor solar-powered flashlights have standard USB ports as a supplemental charging method. For best results, completely charge your solar-powered flashlight via USB to provide a baseline charge, then use the power of the sun to regularly top it off.
Lumens and brightness
The vast majority of solar-powered flashlights use LED bulbs because they provide more brightness while using less energy. The brightness of a flashlight is measured in lumens. A product that boasts many lumens may be tempting, but keep in mind that bright light can quickly drain a flashlight’s energy.
What to look for in a quality solar-powered flashlight
Most solar-powered flashlights can hold a charge for around four to 10 hours. Look for a flashlight with an optional low light setting, as this will maximize your charge time.
Depending on the additional charging methods included, it may take your solar-powered flashlight a few hours before it reaches a complete charge. The size of your flashlight’s solar panels and the time of day can also impact charging time.
Many solar-powered flashlights have various light modes that conserve energy or draw attention in case of emergency. Some standard light modes include flashing red lights and high-intensity brightness.
Given their usefulness in emergencies, many manufacturers have incorporated relevant accessories into the design of their solar-powered flashlights. These could be lifesaving or simply convenient, but if you want more bang for your buck, look for a flashlight that has any of the following features:
- Seatbelt cutter: Often found alongside a window breaker, you can use this tool to free yourself from a car.
- Phone charger: Almost exclusively found on models with a supplemental USB port, this feature will drain your flashlight quickly but is helpful in an emergency.
- Compass: These small yet crucial tools are on outdoor solar-powered flashlights.
- Waterproof: Look for this feature if you need a flashlight to take kayaking or boating.
- Magnet: Some models have magnetic strips that let you attach the flashlight to a metal surface such as a car, making them well-suited for vehicle emergency kits.
How much you can expect to spend on a solar-powered flashlight
Expect to pay $10-$30 for a solar-powered flashlight, regardless of its intended purpose.
Solar-powered flashlight FAQ
How many lumens should your solar-powered flashlight have?
A. Excessive brightness can inhibit your vision and rapidly drain your flashlight. Look for a product that uses about 100-150 lumens.
Can a solar-powered flashlight charge when it’s cloudy?
A. Yes. While solar-powered devices charge best under direct sunlight, even indirect sunlight or a cloudy day can be enough to charge your flashlight steadily.
What’s the best solar-powered flashlight to buy?
Top solar-powered flashlight
What you need to know: This feature-packed flashlight uses a supplemental USB charging method to provide all-day power.
What you’ll love: This solar-powered flashlight uses a powerful LED bulb that can illuminate up to 700 feet. The ideal addition to a vehicle emergency kit, this model features seven different light modes, including high beam and flashing, alongside a magnet, seatbelt cutter and window breaker.
What you should consider: This flashlight is relatively expensive compared to similar models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top solar-powered flashlight for the money
What you need to know: This simple and compact flashlight can be easily thrown into a bag or attached to a belt loop before going on a hike.
What you’ll love: This solar-powered flashlight is a great value considering it includes. You can access an hour of life with six minutes of turning the hand crank. The compact device has an attached carabiner for additional portability.
What you should consider: Some users reported the crank knob could break easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These durable, solar-powered flashlights are two for the price of one.
What you’ll love: Available in three different colors, this flashlight two-pack can provide 10 minutes of illumination with only one minute of cranking. The solar panels charge quickly, and the flashlights are lightweight, weighing about 3 ounces.
What you should consider: Providing only about 50 lumens, these flashlights are relatively dim.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Partrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.