What Is The Difference Between Portable-Solar Panels And Solar Power Banks?

Hand held solar power bank charging phone and portable solar panel on green grass in sunlight.
Hand held solar power bank charging phone and portable solar panel on green grass in sunlight.

Portable-solar panels and solar power banks can charge similar appliances. However, they work uniquely in contrast to one another, and there are sure things about them that make the two of them the-most ideal choice over one another in specific circumstances, but the question remains, how is a portable solar pannel different from a solar power bank?

A portable-solar panel can charge your devices straightforwardly by directly connecting them to the unit while being exposed to solar energy. On the other hand, a solar power bank will do exactly the same, however, it contains an embedded battery unit used to store energy for use in the absence of the sun.

When it comes to making a choice between both, there is no question that each of the options has its pros and cons. A standalone portable solar panel will produce 10 times more power, have 10 times longer warranty, but also much more expensive and heavier.

On the other hand, a solar power bank is much cheaper and mobile, yet, will take ages to charge your devices.

On a side note! If you’re in need of a reliable and high-performance portable solar panel, We strongly recommend the Jackery SolarSaga 100W  Portable Solar Panel  (Amazon Link).

With a high conversion efficiency and foldable design, this solar panel is easy to transport and set up, making it perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and RV trips.

The US solar cell technology used in this panel ensures that you get the most efficient and reliable solar charging possible.

There is also a 60W option that is more affordable (Amazon Link)

It is noteworthy that a portable-solar panel could be converted to a Solar power bank by connecting a battery to it, but it will not be cheap.

Also check out our article on: Are Portable Solar Panels Durable? how do they degrade!

The Amount Of Power Produced

Portable-solar panels are small solar boards accessible in different sizes like 5, 10, 20, 50-watt, as per which they-are equipped for creating various measures of power; and can be utilized to power up different electrical devices.

Thus, the inbuilt solar boards on the solar power banks likewise produce power however-they aren’t that incredible as portable-solar panels. The little board on the solar power bank is only an additional element, an auxiliary method used to charge the solar force bank if there should be the-occurrence of outrageous need since that small board on the solar power bank will not-charge it in any decent lot of time.

Below you will find two tables to compare portable solar panels and solar power banks in terms of maximum power out, weight, warranty, and price.

Solar Power Banks

ModelMaximum outputWeightWarrantyPrice
Yelomin Solar Power Bank10 watts0.26KG90 days$23.99
Addtoop Solar Power Bank10.5 watts0.54KG1 year$38.99
IEsafy Solar Power Bank12 watts0.58KG2 years$65.79
Hiluckey Solar Power Bank15 watts0.47KG1.5 year$42.99
Riapow Wireless Solar Charger15.5 watts0.43KG1.5 year$42.99
Blavor Solar Power Bank18 watts0.28KG1 year$54.99
Power output, weight, warranty and price for solar power banks

On the off chance that you need to charge your phone or some other minuscule thing like a camera or robot battery, I propose you go with a solar power bank that is just about as little as 20-watt. A good example is the 18Watts Blavor Solar Power Bank.

Black and blue solar power banks on black background

Portable solar panels

ModelMaximum OutputWeightWarrantyPrice
Zamp solar Legacy Series 90-Watt90Watts9.98KG25 years$667.97
Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase100Watts11.74KG2 years$368.10
Renogy 100 Watt100Watts7.48KG25 years$249.99
SunPower 110 Watt Flexible Solar Panel110Watts2KG2 years$150.00
Ghost Controls AXDP Premium 10 Watt10Watts1.50KG18 Months$109.00
Power output, weight, warranty and price for portable solar panels

Clearly, you can see in terms of prices, solar power banks are much cheaper than portable solar panels. This is also parallel to the power the units produce. Solar power banks generate less power than portable solar panels. Also, it is common for portable panels to have a much longer warranty stretching to 25 years against no more than 2 years

Solar Power Banks Works The Same Way As Portable Solar Panels.

Solar power banks are additionally accessible in various sizes; (battery limits, for example, 20,000 mAh, 24,000 mAh, 25,000mAh, etc. They can be charged-through the link like you charge an ordinary power-bank, and can use to-charge the very appliances that a typical power bank would charge.

On a side note, find out Do Solar Panels Drain Batteries at Night? Most Common Batteries Issues

I would continue rehashing this thing in the entire post. The lone contrast between a portable solar panel and an ordinary power bank is the solar power bank has an inherent solar board that-is used to charge it when the essential hotspot for-charging it is not accessible.

For instance, when you’re enjoying nature or climbing, your smartphone is dead, and you don’t have any attachment or outlet to charge it, which is the essential power source to charge-the solar power bank, and you need to fuel it some way or another.

Yet, it is an entirely problematic approach-to charge the solar power bank since it requires several days to some solar power banks for a complete-charge of that inherent solar board.

You would discover with each solar power bank on-Amazon, and few online stores are the vendor will express the implicit solar board isn’t the ideal alternative to charge the solar power bank. It ought to be just utilized if there should be an occurrence of crisis, and for best execution, use the divider charger like how you charge an ordinary power bank.

Thus, as solar power banks resemble typical power banks and the implicit solar board is only an extra component you need to get before you can use them to charge your different gadgets. Like you need to bring your solar power bank charged from home while outdoors or climbing to power your electrical devices during the outing.


As I referenced before, in solar power banks, the inherent solar board is an extra component, so it’s a very little additional expense than a typical power bank. Typical-power banks aren’t that costly, so solar power banks are likewise less expensive than trying to build one yourself.

In any case, the portable-solar panels are marginally more costly than solar power banks on the off chance that we think about different sizes of both for correlation. As portable-solar panels come in different sizes, their costs start from $30 for a little 5-watt charger and can go up to $250-watt for something important like a 50-watt board.

Additionally, there are different things, for example, brand efficiency that-influences the cost. For instance, you can get a 5-watt charger for $30 and $60 too from another brand.

Power Storage

Battery charger recharging battery power storage units
Battery charger recharging battery power storage units

I don’t believe that I need to disclose to you; that the solar power bank stores the power while the portable-solar panel doesn’t, except if it’s associated with a battery like a power bank. Portable-solar panels are designed-just to create power-while solar power banks are essential to store power.

Possibly you can associate any appliance straightforwardly to the portable-solar panel like a smartphone, for instance, so that the power produced through the portable-solar panel-charges the smartphone, or you need a power bank to store power-for additional utilization.

You can likewise transform the portable-solar panel into a solar power bank for certain-reasons. Perhaps, you would prefer not to keep your smartphone outside in the sun or away from you, so you can fix it by getting an ordinary power bank and connecting it with the portable-solar panel. On such occasions, a few things did get changed. The portable solar panel-can be mounted separately from the power bank on the off chance that you need to charge your electrical appliance straightforwardly of the portable-solar panel/board.

Who Can Use Solar Power Banks?

Hiker on cliif top, and a travelor under yellow camp
Hiker on cliif top, and a travelor under yellow camp

Unlike solar power banks, portable panel users have various options for users to choose from, especially for people going camping, hiking, or simply-driving RVs. You will not expect to see an RVer purchasing a Goal Zero 5W to use on his/her RV.

That would be irrelevant; to the power output of the solar panel and the appliances to be powered-however, a Goal Zero 50W or more is more favorable.

Besides, with solar power banks, anyone can use it to charge their little electrical devices such as mobile phones. Its simplicity makes it more compatible for all users to access.

Whether you’re a camper, hiker, or RVer, a solar power bank may yet be a great companion. They may come in handy in place of a portable solar panel during the night (given it is-charged), as they store power.

It would be great to get a portable solar panel; since it can produce enough power to charge wide ranges of appliances such as phones, Bluetooth devices, laptops, mini-funs, lights, car batteries, mini-fridges, and so forth.

What To Choose?

A woman in question of choosing green-yes, red-no
A woman in question of choosing green-yes, red-no
Portable Solar PanelSolar Power Bank
More power outputMinimum power output
Can power phones, laptops, funs, mini-freezers, lights, car batteriesCan only charge small electrical devices like, phones, bluetooth devices.
Works during dayWorks anytime-given it is charged first
Used whenever it is placed in sunlightIt has to be charged first before it can be used to charge other devices.
Larger surface areaSmall surface area
Variety of options for usersLimited options for users
Can charge multiple devices at onceMost units only charge one device at a time for maximum efficiency

Comparing the table above, it is best to have a portable solar panel and not the solar power banks (if it is not-charged) to charge your electrical appliances as quickly as could be expected. I’m not against solar power banks.  They can be an incredible choice over an ordinary power bank yet not over a portable-solar panel.

We need to consider that when your smartphone is totally out of charge, then; you have to charge it for either a portable solar panel or a solar power bank, and which one would you prefer?

So what to choose?

I would go for a portable-solar panel in such a scenario. Since I can straightforwardly charge my smartphone on the portable solar panel as opposed to having the solar power bank-charged first (if it’s not charged-which will occurs), and then charge-my smartphone on it.

By adding a typical power bank to the portable-solar panel, the arrangement would be more flexible. I can add/discharge the power bank when I need to charge any electrical device/store the power.

For the most, portable solar panels are more suitable for hikers, RVers, and camping trips, since they do provide adequate electricity supply to power basic devices.

On the other hand, considering its low power output, a solar power bank may only be useful given it is charged, plus it may be a handy unit during the night in replacement for portable solar panels, however with limited capacity to charge small devices only.

Besides, solar power banks are compatible with all users, whether you’re a hiker, sea goer, scout, Rvers, campers, and so forth. The only limitation is that it has to be charged first before it can be used on devices.

In conclusion

The portable solar panel is a lot greater than the little implicit solar board on the solar power bank, so it’s effective and charges the phone or an external power bank a lot quicker, which is another large viewpoint in itself.

In general, the main difference between the two options is that a portable-solar panel can charge your devices straightforwardly by associating them to the unit and putting them up in the sun. while on the other hand, as the solar power bank has an implicit solar board on the power bank for what it’s called solar power bank, it charges itself first, and later you can add your device to it after.


I am a very well-experienced techie civil engineer who’s extensively interested in solar panel technology and even more captivated by the potential of solar panels in supporting individual residential units.

Recent Posts