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Best Solar Pool Cover Reviews

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover: Reviews & Ratings

Solar pool covers are easy, energy-efficient ways to raise the temperature in your swimming space and save money on chemicals by preventing evaporation.

With the best solar pool cover for your needs, you have an effective way of extending the swimming season, saving money on the pool, and preventing leaves and dirt from building up in the pool.

The Magni-Clear comes in a rectangular form, with an ultra-clear material that maximizes the sunlight that can enter into your pool. The Magni-Clear can raise your temperature up to 15 degrees, which can extend the swimming season a month past what it normally is! It has UV protection to prevent damage from the sun while delivering powerful solar technology. It has an extra thick material, which keeps it from moving but will make it a bit harder to maneuver than some of the other options.

The MidWest canvas cover is an oval design that has diamond shaped bubbles to maximize the amount of heated air pockets that are placed directly into the water. It has a thick design to prevent up to 95% of evaporation, maximizing the effectiveness of the solar cover.

The Sun2Solar brand is one of the better brands in solar pool coverage, and they’re round pool cover is my pick for circular pools. The tiny air bubbles and ultra-thick material make the cover durable and help heat your pool even on cloudy days. The perfect amount of heat retention, and a solid cover that prevents dirt and debris from gathering in your pool. A bit clunky to put on and off, but worth it for the protection!

If you have a larger pool, you may not be able to find a perfect solar cover, or you might have to layer bubble covers in an odd way. A way to get around this is to leverage SSR solar sun rings to fill the entire pool. Alternatively, if you’ve got a pool that receives a lot of shade during the day, it may not get enough sun to justify the purchase of an entire solar cover. A handful of solar sun rings--especially these, which come with anchors to keep them in place--can help you target those sunny spots without overspending.

How Do Solar Pool Covers Work?

Solar pool covers are effective ways of raising the temperature and lowering the chemical cost of your pool. There are a few different types of pool covers--solar bubble covers, sun rings, and liquid covers--but they all work by creating a barrier between the surface of the water and the sun.

Pool Without a Solar Blanket Graphic

The barrier prevents excessive evaporation of water, which lowers the cost of chemicals over time by ensuring that you add less water and need less chemicals to bring the new water up to the desired safe swimming levels. The prevention of evaporation also helps the pool maintain its heat.

Pool With a Solar Blanket Graphic

Additionally, the barrier allows sunlight to pass through, and generally heats up through the sunlight to heat the pool further. Solar bubble covers (the most common type of solar pool cover) contain little pockets of air that heat through the sunlight and transfer the heat directly into the water.

A solar cover is a cheaper way of raising the temperature of your pool and lowering chemical costs both in the short term and long term compared to outdoor pool heaters. An outdoor pool heater costs more money to purchase than the solar cover, and it requires added energy costs to heat your pool in the spring and fall.

A solar cover, by contrast, is a cheap way to cover and heat your pool, and it harnesses and converts the heat and energy of the sun which saves you money in the long run. Solar covers don’t raise your electricity bill!

What are Different Types of Pool Covers?

Bubble Pool Covers

The bubble pool cover, also known as a “solar blanket,” is the most common and popular type of solar cover that you can get for your pool. It looks like a combination of a large tarp and bubble wrap. The bubble pool cover is a large sheet that is full of tiny little air bubbles, which are placed face down into the pool. The air bubbles help the solar cover float, and also heat up through the sun and transfer the heat into the pool water.

Solar Sun Rings

Solar rings are inflatable covers that float on top of the pool and work like bubble pool covers, except you have a number of them floating around and they don’t cover the whole pool. While a bubble pool cover has a bit of an oven effect, trapping heat and preventing evaporation, solar sun rings magnify and heat the pool but don’t prevent evaporation or trap heat at the same levels that the bubble pool cover will.

Because the rings don’t completely cover the pool surface like the bubble cover does, they’re a great option if you want a quick way to gain a bit of temperature and prevent chemical loss without putting a whole tarp over your pool.

Liquid Solar Pool Covers

If bubble covers sound too difficult and solar rings don’t sound effective enough, then the newest solar pool cover tech might be right for you. Liquid solar covers are a solution that you pour into the pool, where it spreads as a film over the surface of the water. It doesn’t retain and trap heat, but it does create a layer that prevents a normal amount of evaporation and so helps your pool maintain its heat and chemical levels.

The formula will remain active for about a month before you’ll need to replace, so it does have some ongoing costs built in. But the evaporation prevention is not as effective as the tarp and it also doesn’t prevent debris and dirt from blowing into your pool. So the liquid formula is great if you don’t want to mess with heavy tarps or inflatable rings, but it has some drawbacks.

Why Bother With a Solar Pool Cover?

Retain Heat

Pools with solar covers on top of them can be up to 10 degrees warmer than pools without a solar cover. Solar covers prevent heat from evaporating off the top, and also trap and retain the sun’s heat to slowly raise the temperature of the pool. Placing a solar cover on top of your pool is a bit like putting a lid on a pot--the temperature will remain more constant, steadily raising to a nice simmer.

Factors that affect the actual temperature variance that a solar cover brings are the intensity of the sun’s UV rays, the amount of cloud cover, and the shading of your pool. If you have trees around the pool or other structures blocking the amount of direct sunlight, then the solar cover will be less effective at gathering heat, but will still help prevent evaporation. If the sun’s rays have to force themselves through cloud cover, or the sun doesn’t hit at the high point of UV intensity (around 11 am to 3 pm usually), then the cover will gain less heat.

The table below is from Energy.gov and shows the savings if you heat your pool with a heat pump. Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient ways to heat a pool; if you have another type of heater the savings are likely larger. The savings of having a solar cover are staggering, saving you 80% or more per month.

Costs by Location of Heating Outdoor Pools with a Heat Pump

Source: Energy.gov

Reduce Evaporation

Most of the bubble covers listed here will reduce evaporation by up to 95% by trapping the evaporating water under the cover, heating it, and returning it to your pool. The reduced evaporation is great for the environment, because you’re using less water to refill the pool, and it’s also great for your chemical consumption, because it limits the added chemicals to balance your pool’s levels.

Keep Bugs and Debris Out

There are few things worse than splashing around the clear pool on a hot summer day and encountering a half-dead, floating bug right next to your face. It’s uncomfortable, and embarrassing when guests come over! Your filter and chemicals work overtime to neutralize bugs, dirt, and leaves that fly into your pool every single day. With a solar cover, these bugs and leaves get trapped on top of the cover and never enter your water. The result is a cleaner pool, a longer lasting filter, and less dirt floating around the bottom.

Lower Chemical Costs

A solar cover can reduce chemical consumption by up to about 40%, through a variety of factors. First, by reducing evaporation, you won’t have to add new water to your pool as much as before, which reduces the chemicals used to bring up the fresh water to the requisite pH and chlorine levels required for a safe swimming pool. Or, if you have a saltwater pool, you won’t use as much salt to bring up the salt levels.

Also, by keeping your pool warmer, you prevent the strain and reduction of chemicals through lower temperatures. A hotter pool more easily mixes the chemicals and retains their potency.

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Cover for Your Pool

Size of the Pool

Solar covers work by magnifying sunlight and heat and preventing evaporation to trap and retain heat over time. The effectiveness of a solar cover is therefore directly related to how much of the pool it covers. Most solar bubble covers can be cut and trimmed to fit the exact size of your pool, making them an effective way to cover a pool, regardless of size, as long as you buy a big enough cover.

Solar rings are inflatable and need to be bought in bunches to get enough coverage to raise the temperature. The pieces will have gaps between them when you set them up and use them. Liquid solar covers will spread evenly over a pool of any size, as long as you buy enough solution.

Remember that there are more factors than pool size--if half of the pool is shaded during peak sun, you may not need to buy a huge solar bubble cover to cover the entire pool. A handful of solar rings may do the trick to cover the sunny spots.

Type of Pool

For both chlorine and saltwater pools, bubble solar covers and solar rings are effective and safe. Because the solar cover literally just ramps up the amount and intensity of sunlight that heats the pool, bubble covers are safe with whatever type of pool you happen to have.

Some liquid pool covers will specify that they only work with chlorine or saltwater pools, but for the most part, most liquid pool covers are also safe in either chlorine or saltwater pools. Liquid covers form around the surface, and then break off when you swim, and then reform once the water stabilizes again. It’s a special formula of molecules that remains at the surface of the pool and reforms whenever it is broken.

Shape of Pool

In this post I’ve got recommendations for oval, rectangle, and circular pool shapes. Realistically though, because solar bubble covers are meant to be cut down to the size of the pool, you can buy whatever shape you want as long as you buy a big enough cover to cover the total size of the pool. Try not to overbuy, however, because extra square feet can be expensive if you don’t need it.

Solar rings are a great way of protecting and heating your pool in certain areas, or covering oddly shaped or really large pools. Also remember that the shape of the pool is affected by shade--you won’t get much out of a cover that sits in the shade. It won’t properly heat, even though it can prevent minimal evaporation and prevent dust from flying into the pool.

Liquid covers are great for any shape of pool because you simply pour them in and then they spread out evenly with a thin layer of molecules.

Material and Thickness

Solar covers are generally relatively thin so that the sunlight can easily pass through. They are typically between 8 mil (mil = thousands of an inch) to 16 mil, thin enough to allow sunlight through but thick enough to be durable. Thicker covers are heavier and less likely to get blown away, but also more difficult to maneuver and roll off and on the pool. Obviously, liquid solar covers don’t have material; they’re a chemical formula that is simply poured into the pool to create a thin film on top of the water to prevent evaporation.

What Is the Best Solar Pool Cover Thickness?

The thickness of solar covers range from around 8 mil (mil = thousands of an inch) to 16 mil. Thicker covers are better at retaining heat and aren’t as easily blown off the pool by strong winds. However, they are more difficult to roll on and off the pool, especially on large pools.

Design/Color

Your pool cover will sit over your pool more often than it isn’t there, so make sure you pick a design and color that you’re happy with. You’ll see your pool cover every day, and in the winter months, the pool cover is all you’ll see of the pool. A nice clear color can be great for the summer, but honestly I like the blue color more for the winter because it makes it feel like the pool is kind of locked away for the off season.

All three of the bubble covers listed here come in nice clear or blue colors that will look great. Also, even if the cover remains effective over the years, UV damage can leave sun spots on the cover or make a clear cover look a bit cloudy and off-putting. You may have to replace your cover every few years to maintain a fresh look, if design and color are really important to you.

Warranty

A warranty is more than just peace of mind in the integrity of the product, it is proof that the manufacturer has tested and believes in their product. Manufacturers don’t make money if people are cashing in on warranties constantly to replace products, so warranties represent the lower end of product malfunctions. If a company offers a 1 or 2 year warranty, it means that a very low percentage of products experience problems within that 1-2 year mark. You can trust that the product will last at least that long. A 4-5 year warranty is an even greater vote of confidence.

Remember also that the warranty represents that standard use time, and that if a pool cover lasts for 3 years and you save 40% on chemicals, it may actually pay for itself over that time. Replacing a bubble solar cover every few years might actually be the same amount as paying more for chemicals.

Best Price and Brand

You may not know the big-name brands in the solar cover game, and that’s okay. Sun2Solar, MidWest Canvas, and Magni-Clear are all great options that are recommended here. You’ll always get what you pay for with a solar cover--keep in mind that more expensive solar covers may last longer and give you better heating and less evaporation.

An inexpensive solar cover can actually cost you more than it’s worth with added chemical costs. Investing in a solar cover is an investment in the longevity of your pool and the integrity of the water. Solar rings are more gimmicky with the inflation and will cost you the most money relative to coverage, but they’re also easy to use and can be used for specific sunny spots without covering a whole pool.

Solar blankets are the cheapest relative to coverage, but have to be put on and taken off every time you want to swim. Liquid solar covers need to be replenished every month, and so are more expensive, but make up for it with the ease of use. No putting on or taking off liquid.

Ease of Use

Lighter solar bubble covers are easier to maneuver for taking them on and off as you swim and heat your pool. But if the cover is too light, it can blow away easily, forcing you to readjust it when a gust of wind hits your backyard. If your backyard is relatively sheltered with trees and fences and doesn’t get gusts of wind, then the lighter the cover the better. If it’s an open yard and you live in a spot that gets winds, you may need a heavier cover.

Best Solar Pool Cover Reviews

Great for rectangular pools, the Magni-Clear boasts the clearest pool cover design that will help sunlight dive into your pool without evaporating out. UV protection and a 6-year warranty ensure that you get your money’s worth from the long-lasting cover.

Magni-Clear Solar Cover 18' X 36' Rectangle InGround Swimming Pool 6 Yr Warranty

The super-clear design means that you get a greater temperature raise from the Magni-Clear, up to 15 degrees instead of the 10 that you might expect from other covers.

Pros
  • Ultra-clear design maximizes the amount of sunlight streaming into your pool.
  • Heavier design makes it durable and wind-resistant.
  • UV protection for long-lasting solar coverage.
  • 6-year warranty.
Cons
  • Heavier, thicker material makes the cover harder to move around.
  • The most expensive pool cover on this list.
  • Circular bubble design means less air pockets than a diamond design.

If you’ve got an oval pool, check out the MidWest canvas solar cover, which comes with a diamond bubble design to maximize the amount of the heat-increasing air pockets that are placed directly into the water. At 16 mil, the cover is also on the thicker end of the spectrum.

Midwest Canvas Clear Diamond 18-Foot-by-33-Foot Oval Solar Cover | 16 Mil | Heating Blanket for In-Ground and Above-Ground Swimming Pools

I’ve found that the material is not quite as clear as the Magni-Clear, so expect a little less sun penetration, but the diamond bubble design give you more air pockets per square inch than the standard circular bubbles, so it makes up for the temperature difference that way.

Pros
  • Easy to cut design. The warranty is also unaffected when you cut the solar cover to perfectly fit your pool.
  • Diamond-shaped air pockets give you more heating per square inch than other types of solar covers.
Cons
  • ​No UV protection to keep it from getting damaged by the sun.

For round pools, the Sun2Solar cover gives you great coverage and a heavy duty cover. It can be difficult to maneuver, at 16 mm and heavier than the other covers, so you may need help rolling and unrolling the cover. The additional thickness helps retain heat and prevent evaporation better than thinner covers.

Sun2Solar Blue 24-Foot Round Solar Cover | 1600 Series Style | Heating Blanket for In-Ground and Above-Ground Round Swimming Pools | Use Sun to Heat Pool Water | Place Bubble-Side Facing Down in Pool

Two color options allow you to customize your solar experience--grab the clear for the most temperature, or the blue for a clean-looking aesthetic even during gray winter months.

Pros
  • Blue and clear color options to maximize either temperature or aesthetics. Grab a blue color option to protect the pool in the winter and keep a nice colored layer over the top.
  • One of the cheaper options if you have a smaller pool, though the biggest sizes will actually run you more money than the rectangular versions. Most round pools are smaller than rectangular ones, however.
Cons
  • Circular bubble design and farther bubble spacing means you get the least air pockets on this model as compared to the other ones.
  • No UV protection against sun damage.

SSR SSRA-100 Solar Sun Rings Pool Water Heater w/ Anchors (3 Pack)

If you have a super large pool or simply a pool that experiences a lot of shade in certain areas, solar sun rings might be the perfect product for heating your pool and preventing evaporation. These SSR rings have anchors so you can keep them in place in the sunny areas without them floating whimsically around the pool.

Pros
  • A better way to heat large pools that can’t be covered with a single bubble solar cover.
  • Sun protection and temperature maximization right where you need it. The anchors help you keep the solar rings in place so you can put them right where the sunlight hits the water.
Cons
  • Can be a more expensive way to increase the pool temperature than a traditional bubble cover.
  • Solar sun rings are less effective overall than bubble covers, so you’ll probably only really want them for heavily shaded pools or large pools that bubble covers might be less effective for.

How to Install and Maintain a Solar Pool Cover

Installation for solar rings and liquid covers is very simple. Solar rings are inflated (if they need to be) and placed on top of the pool. If they come with an anchor, adjust the length to fit the place in the pool, and then plop them down where you want them. For liquid covers, follow the directions on the bottle about how much to pour in relative to the volume or size of the pool.

Bubble covers can be installed with a roller that is placed next to the pool, or can be rolled out by hand to cover the pool. When placing a bubble cover, first spread it out over the pool, then use a sharpie to mark the underside where it needs to be cut. Cut along the markings to fit it your pool size, maximizing evaporation and heat protection. If the cover hangs over the sides or lifts up at the edges, you’ll lose heat out the gaps in the cover, so you want a tight fit.

How to Use a Solar Blanket

Solar blankets are placed over the top of the pool to increase heat, prevent heat loss during the night, and prevent dirt and debris from blowing into the pool when not in use. To install the solar blanket, simply unroll it over the top and cut it to fit.

You won’t want loose edges or parts of the blanket that can get blown up in the wind or lose heat. Definitely, definitely remove the solar blanket before swimming. A solar blanket should not be slightly unrolled when swimming, it needs to be completely removed to prevent a safety hazard.

How to Remove a Solar Blanket

Depending on the size of the pool, you may need two people to help remove the solar blanket off the top of the pool. Have the two people stand at corners on one edge of the pool, and begin rolling in unison. Don’t move toward the opposite end of the pool, simply stand in one spot with your partner and pull the blanket toward you, rolling as you go. This is the easiest way to remove the blanket without moving and risking someone falling in.

How to Clean a Solar Blanket

Solar blankets should be cleaned from time to time. The bottom will get a build-up of chemicals from the pool that should be washed off, and the top will collect the dirt, leaves, and bugs that would’ve otherwise gotten into your pool. Because solar blankets are large, they are difficult to clean in a backyard, especially without attracting more and more dirt to them as you go.

The easiest way to clean a solar blanket is to prop it up, perhaps using the diving board if the blanket is too big, and spray it off with a hose. The fresh water and pressure should wash away chemicals on the bottom and dirt on the top.

How to Store a Solar Blanket

Any excess water on the solar blanket will turn gross and create mold, which you want to avoid, so the key to storing a solar blanket is to properly clean it with a hose and then dry it with a towel. Leave the blanket outside in the sun for a day on each side to let any excess water evaporate before rolling up or folding the blanket and placing in storage. Make sure that the blanket is completely dry before you store it!

FAQ

What color is best for a solar pool cover?

What side goes down on a solar pool cover?

Are liquid solar pool covers safe?

Do solar pool covers cause algae?

Do solar pool covers blow off?

Solar Powered Backup Camera

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Backup Camera

Driving is an essential mode of transportation for many of us. While it is necessary, it comes with great risks. Back-over incidents kill or seriously injure thousands of children and elderly adults every year. A typical rear blind spot can hide objects up to 25 feet away. The best solar powered backup cameras help mitigate some of these risks, are easy to install, and can save a life.

This solar powered parking sensor from TypeS is a great option to add onto any vehicle. The simple license plate mounted sensor makes installation easy, with no wire routing to fuss with. The sensor searches for objects behind your vehicle. When something is detected, visual and audio cues are sent directly to your phone alerting you of their presence.The instant notifications allow hands free use, easing stress while backing up and parking your vehicle. The solar panel will keep the battery topped up, so after an initial charge the sensor will be ready to go whenever you need.

This solar license plate mounted camera hasn’t been released yet, but will provide 1080p video feed directly to your phone through the downloadable app. The maker claims the camera will work five times daily with just two hours of sunlight. The G sensor technology activates the app automatically when going in reverse. It can also be activated by touch with the included QuickLaunch button, or by voice in the app.

This camera is a good budget option and will fit most cars and trucks. It comes with a dedicated video monitor allowing use without a smart phone. After an initial charge the rechargeable camera batteries will be topped up by the sun. As with most solar backup cameras, no wiring or drilling is necessary making installation simple. The camera has three user selected time modes of operation depending on your preferences.

How to Choose a Solar Powered Backup Camera

Most of us drive, which means we have to backup our vehicles multiple times daily. Even while being cautious, objects can seem to come out of nowhere. New cars sold in the USA are now required to include a backup camera. Even so, millions of vehicles on the road do not have one installed. A solar backup camera can be installed on any vehicle and will require no additional wiring. They are a simple solution and provide added safety. Everyone should have a backup camera on their vehicle.

Blind Zones

On all sides of a vehicle there are blind spots the driver can’t see. These blind spots can stretch as far as 15 to 25 feet behind a vehicle, making them extremely dangerous to pedestrians. Shorter individuals driving large SUVs and trucks make this blindspot even larger. Children do not understand the risks of these blind spots and can walk into them as an unsuspecting driver reverses.

Backup Crashes

Backup crashes occur anytime someone backs their vehicle into an object. This type of easily avoidable accident costs drivers thousands of dollars every year. Backing crashes can involve trees, poles, other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. These types of incidents can be avoided almost entirely with the use of a backup camera.

Backovers

A backover accident occurs when a driver reverses their vehicle into a non occupant, killing or severely injuring them. Backover accidents are a preventable tragedy that kill dozens of children and elderly adults every year, with thousands more injured. Between 2002-2006 there were an estimated 292 backover fatalities and 18,000 backover injuries annually. 78% of backover fatalities and 95% of backover injuries are caused by passenger vehicles, with children under 5 and adults over 70 most at risk.

These accidents occur in driveways(where most fatalities occur), residential areas, parking lots(where most injuries occur), and public roadways. About 40% of the time, the victim is related to the driver. The victim usually approaches from the side as the driver begins to reverse, neither having time to see each other or react.

Mandatory Backup Cameras

On February 28, 2008, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 was sign into law. This required the United States Department of Transportation to issue safety regulations regarding backup crashes within 3 years. Although the law stated a deadline of February 2011, the USDOT repeatedly granted itself extensions. In September 2013, the father of Cameron Gulbransen along with a group advocates petitioned the courts, demanding regulations for backup cameras within 90 days. Six months later, on March 31, 2014, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that all automobiles produced in May 2018 and thereafter would be required to have backup cameras installed.

Aftermarket Backup Cameras

Adding an aftermarket solar backup camera is the simplest way to protect yourself from backing crashes. These cameras require no additional wiring and can even be used while driving, unlike models that receive power from the reverse lights. The camera will require an initial charge from an outlet, but once fully charged you never have to worry about it again. A few hours of daily sunlight captured by the solar panels will be enough to keep the camera running. They are mounted directly with your license plate and installation usually takes just a few minutes. The camera and panels are unobtrusive and will look good on any vehicle.

Monitors

You’ll need something to view the video feed the camera is recording. Some models come with dedicated monitors while others can connect directly to your phone eliminating the need for extra wires and gadgets, which can clutter your cockpit. The solar cameras and monitors are completely wireless making them easy to use for everyone. I would choose an option that can connect directly to your phone as they eliminate the need for additional equipment.

Solar Panels

Charging and replacing batteries is time consuming and can be expensive. Solar panels eliminate the need for an external charge source and keep your backup camera charged for when you need it. I prefer backup cameras that have the solar panel at the bottom of the license plate. This allows a large surface which can be angled upwards to capture the most sunlight.

Best Solar Powered Backup Camera Reviews

This parking sensor from TypeS isn’t necessarily a camera, but I believe it is the most effective solution for cars that don’t have an existing camera. Large dedicated screens for cameras can take up space, clutter your cockpit, distract from driving, and obstruct your view. This app based sensor eliminates the need for any extra equipment. The sensor mounts directly onto your license plate in just a few minutes. After an initial charge of the camera, the solar panels will keep the camera ready for use.

The sensor detects hazards behind your vehicle and will send audio and visual warnings to your phone. The app, which easily installs, tells you how far away objects are with instant audio and visual notifications. The sensor is small, doesn’t cover your license plate, and is hardly noticeable on your vehicle. G-Sensor technology automatically shuts the sensor down when you park your vehicle, conserving battery for the next time you need it. This option won’t distract from driving and will still provide in the moment hazard notification.

Pros
  • Instant phone notifications
  • No charging required
  • Easy installation
  • Audio and visual hazard distance cues
  • G sensor technology
Cons
  • Doesn’t actually provide live footage

This camera is preorder only as of now but when released the company promises five camera uses with only two hours of direct sunlight. It will send HD 1080p video directly to your smartphone through the app downloadable on Apple and Android. The camera has G sensor technology that can detect when you backup your vehicle, automatically launching the app on your phone. The camera can also be launched with voice in the app or with the TAP QuickLaunch button, which triggers the camera and app.

The license plate mounted camera is securely held into place with four security screws, helping to prevent theft. The company is offering a 30 day money back guarantee and a one year warranty on product defects. This option is considerably more expensive than the others, but will be a good choice for someone who wants to add a no-fuss HD backup camera onto an older vehicle.

Pros
  • Will offer 1080p video
  • App allows voice activation
  • G sensor technology
Cons
  • Preorder only
  • Expensive

This camera is a good value option for consumers looking for a simple backup camera and screen for their vehicle. It comes with a dedicated monitor so can be good for those without a smartphone already. The camera will stay charged with the included solar panels after an initial charge from an outlet. The unit can be installed upside down and the image flipped if it impedes operation of your trunk handle. While the image quality provided by the camera isn’t superb, it is sufficient to see any obstacles behind your vehicle.

Whistler WBU-900 WIRELESS DIGITAL BACKUP CAMERA

The camera has three time durations of operation to choose from allowing a little bit of customization. The camera has some syncing issues, but it is a common problem with products of this type. The manual buttons can be a little tricky to operate and the unit doesn’t offer voice activation. Regardless of its flaws it is a good budget solar backup camera.

Pros
  • Can be installed upside down
  • Can be installed with only a screwdriver
Cons
  • Dedicated monitor
  • May have syncing issues
  • Fussy buttons

Conclusion

The best solar backup cameras offer a simple solution to a deadly problem. In as little as a few minutes you can install the camera and monitor in your vehicle making backup crashes far less likely. The Type S solar powered backup sensor is like having eyes in the back of your head. It connects directly to your phone, eliminating the need for extra equipment. The solar panel is large, efficient, and has no problem keeping the sensor charged. I like the simplicity of the license plate mount which can be installed on practically any vehicle.

The camera will send your phone automatic alerts, warning you of hazards and allowing you to keep both hands on the wheel. The Type S sensor is waterproof and has a large operational temperature so you don’t have to worry about the elements. Easy, functional, and affordable, the Type S sensor can eliminate unnecessary risks you may be taking everyday by providing you with immediate feedback about hazards behind your vehicle.

How To Choose The Best Solar Pool Rings

Unless you are very adventurous, it is not pleasant to jump into your pool for an evening swim after the sun goes down; the water will be too cold for such a venture. This is where solar pool rings come in. These rings offer a green way to keep your pool heated at all times and prevent water from evaporation due to strong sun.

There are so many pool covers on the market today and many solar pool rings brands. This may pose a challenge to first time buyers. This guide is designed to help you make the best choice when buying.

This is a simple solar pool ring designed to fit in every pool design and size. It is offered at a great price, sports a beautiful design and heats and insulates pools efficiently.

The Thermo Spring solar rings sport an attractive oval design that fits on different shapes and sizes of pools. These rings can heat your pool up to 75 degrees and are good at insulation.

SwimWays 17400 is created almost the same as the Thermo Springs solar rings above but it is a little bigger and a little cheaper. It functions efficiently to keep your pool water warm.

How to Choose the Best Solar Pool Rings

When shopping for solar pool rings, there are a number of factors to consider including:

Solar Rings Quality

Solar rings are designed from two sheets of heavy-duty vinyl. The rings will trap sunlight energy warming water in your pool and at night, they offer an insulation layer ensuring that heat is not lost from the pool. Due to their constant exposure to sunlight, the rings tend to crack and chip off from the edges with time. To ensure your rings can last for long, choose thick vinyl layers. Again, ensure that the vinyl is UV resistant so it does not get destroyed by the strong sun.

Good solar pool rings can last up to 4 years but most last three years or below.

Size of Your Pool

Unlike other pool covers that cover the entire pool, solar pool rings cover small sections of the pool. This means that you have to buy many rings depending on the size of your pool. If you have a small pool, you can buy small sized rings to cover about 80 percent of your pool connected edge to edge by the fitted magnets. If your pool is large, shop for larger rings to ensure you do not buy so many.

Ring Design and Decorations

Most solar pool rings sport a blue layer that absorbs sunlight to heat water. The units are created in different shapes and sizes with most being circular or elliptical. Some are triangular. On top of the rings are different decorations; some have bubbles and others palm trees while others are plain only with the brand name. When shopping, pick according to your likes and preferences.

Solar Ring Heating Power

Most solar run rings are able to absorb up top 50 percent of the sun’s energy to heat water in your pool. The rings are able to provide up to 21,000BTUs of heat to keep your pool warm at all times. When shopping, look at product specifications to see the heating power of the solar sun ring.

Affordability and Warranty

You can buy solar rings individually or you can buy them as a set. When you buy them as a set, they are less expensive making them affordable. However, the number of rings you buy will depend on the size of your pool.

When shopping, consider the warranty offered as it shows the trust the manufacturer places on their products.

How to Use Solar Pool Rings

Solar rings have to be inflated to make them buoyant before they are placed on the surface of the pool. All you have to do is inflate the outer surface until it is firm and then inflate the inner portion just slightly. Place them on the surface of the pool and they will start heating your water.

Most solar pool rings are fitted with magnets on their edges making it easy for them to stay connected and cover more area on your pool. The magnets also keep your water clear and ensure the rings do not overlap. Rings or squares will not cover every part of your pool and as such, you can still run your pump. This is an advantage as it allows sunlight to pass through thereby reducing the growth of algae. It can also be a disadvantage as leaves and other particles still find their way into your pool.

Unlike other pool covers, solar rings are easy to remove; all you need is to detach the magnets and pull the rings out of the water.

How to Store Solar Rings

Solar rings are small elliptical or square pool covers; this makes them easy to store. When you are swimming, you can stack them somewhere on the deck of your pool, away from the wind.

Most rings feature a loop from which you can hang them when they are not in use.

If you want to store the rings for a long time, get them out of the water and spray them off. Use a soft brush to clean off debris when the rings are still inflated to ensure that no dirt is trapped in the wrinkles.

Next, dry the rings by hand. If you decide to dry them with a leaf blower, hold them so they do not fly all over your compound. Deflate the rings, flatten them and store them in their bag. If the rings did not come with a bag, store them in a lidded container. Rings should be stored away from sunlight and from abrasive surfaces.

Why Pick Solar Rings?

Solar pool rings are easy to use and they do not need a lot of maintenance. Unlike other pool covers that may need special tools to install, rings only need to be inflated and placed on top of the pool. They are designed to reduce the rate of evaporation, retain the heat of your pool after the sun goes down, they keep debris and bugs out of the pool and they have lower chemical cost.

Best Solar Pool Rings Reviews

The Solar Sun Rings Pool Heaters are designed to keep your pool water warm for an evening swim. Each ring is designed circular with a blue surface on which a palm tree and orange sun are printed. However, according to the manufacturer, the design keeps changing and you may buy a ring with a different print.

Solar Sun Rings Solar Pool Heater (10)

These rings are created with a double layer of strong UV resistant vinyl to make them highly durable. The two layers allow some sun rays to filter through to ensure that your pool is not completely dark so algae cannot grow. Its top layer allows sun light to pass through while the bottom layer traps the sun light energy to warm your pool.

You should not over-inflate the rings. Blowing them just a few times will get them up and working. The trapped air lets the rings insulate your pool to retain heat at night. The manufacturer warns against using the rings as a floatation device as they are not strong enough. The manufacturer offers a two-year defect-free guarantee. On the edges, this unit is fitted with a strong ring that keeps it in shape and ensures it is not blown off the pool by wind.

Pros
  • Constructed from heavy duty vinyl to last long
  • Beautiful palm tree decoration
  • Great price-quality ratio
  • Fitted with string magnets to ensure the rings stick together
  • Light enough to ease the process of installation
  • Suitable for pools of different sizes
Cons
  • Since they are so light, they may be carried off if you live in an area with strong winds.

The Thermo Spring solar mat is designed to heat up water in your pool fast, up to 75 degrees and later insulate the pool against heat loss. Each unit measures 65.5 inches long and 37.5 inches wide. This means that you only need a couple of them to cover large pools.

SwimWays Thermo Spring Solar Mat 10 Pack (18' Pool)

The oval styling of these rings make them attractive and their deep blue color with bubble-patterns makes them more appealing. Each ring is made of a double layer that ensures its durability and enhances the weight of the ring to reduce instances of being blown away by the wind. To make them more functional, they are fitted with a ring on the edges that not only maintains their shape but also ensures the rings stay together to cover a large section of your pool surface.

The twist and fold spring technology used to create these rings make it easier for you to store them or carry them around. The units are easy to inflate as they only need to take in a small volume of air to function. When not in use, the twist-and-fold technology ensures they occupy the least possible space.

Pros
  • Attractive styling to match your backyard décor
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Oval design to fit on different shapes of pools
  • Features twist-and-fold spring technology for easy handling
  • Thick to offer great insulation
  • Can be used on large as well as small pool sizes
  • Can heat the pool up to 75 degrees during the day
Cons
  • They are relatively pricier

If you are looking for a solar pool ring that fits into different shapes of pool, the SwimWays solar pool cover might be a good option. It sports an oval shape that allows you to stack many rings side by side to cover a large percentage of your pool. This way, you will have less evaporation, more insulation and less debris getting into your pool.

SwimWays 17400 Pool Heater ThermaSpring Solar Mat, White

The two-layered ring is fitted with a sun-absorbing layer to convert up to 50 percent of the sun energy that hits it into heat. The unit is able to produce up to 21,000 BTUs of heat to keep your pool water warm.

Its twist-and-fold spring technology makes it easy to install, easy to remove and easy to store. When you are not using the rings, you only need to deflate them then twist and fold the unit to occupy less space in storage. The manufacturer advises that, for the solar rings to function optimally, they need to cover between 70 and 80 percent of your pool surface. 

Pros
  • Measures 67 inches long to fit in large pools
  • Weights only 2.65 pounds when inflated making it easy to install
  • The fitted springs close with ease making the mat easy to store
  • Edges fitted with strong rings for stability
  • The design of the rings looks great on any pool
  • Its oval shape ensures you can use it on all pool shapes
  • Thick enough to offer insulation for a long time
Cons
  • Light enough to be carried by strong winds

Conclusion

Solar pool rings are great when you need a quick solution to heating your pool and keep debris off. You need to ensure that the rings are not too light to be blown off by the wind and they are not too heavy to sink and soak on water. Take your time when shopping and you will pick solar rings that meet your needs.

Our top recommendation is the Solar Sun Rings Pool heater. The unit is designed light enough for easy installation and easy removal but heavy enough to stay on your pool when the wind blows by. It is also designed to fit a wide range of pool sizes and shapes. If you need a solar pool ring that adds to the beauty of your outdoor living space, these rings sport an attractive design. On a day when the sun is hot, the rings can warm your water up to 75 degrees Celsius. They are also thick enough to insulate your pool for a long time.

Take your time shopping to pick the best pool rings.

Best Solar Powered Attic Fan

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Attic Fan

Keeping the temperature of your attic regulated is an essential part of an energy efficient, well built home. Solar gable fans or solar roof mounted attic fans can prevent ice damming in the winter and protect your shingles from super-heated attic air in the summer. Choosing a solar powered attic fan can be a simple attic ventilation solution.

My top choice for solar powered attic fan is the 24 watt gable mounted exhaust fan by Natural Light. This company produces a range of quality solar powered attic ventilators worth looking at but the gable mounted option is my favorite for its simple installation and long warranty. The fan is very quiet and can provide ventilation to attics of up to 2,100 sq. ft. It is a top choice of many contractors.

This flush mounted solar attic ventilator by Broan is hurricane rated to winds up to 140 miles per hour making it a good choice for people living in Florida and along the gulf coast. Weatherproof solar panels are constructed of tempered glass and can withstand hail and extreme weather. The only downside is the shorter 5 year warranty compared to some other options offering up to 25 years. This unit can provide ventilation to attics up to 1,600 sq. ft and is an aesthetically pleasing option.

This solar fan by ESM Imports is  the cheapest model I looked at but is also the most powerful. The 30 watt solar panel provides enough power to ventilate attics up to 2,800 sq. ft. The solar panel is adjustable allowing you to fine tune alignment. The company offers a five year warranty on the motor and 25 years on the housing. This unit is not as attractive as some of the other fans I looked at but is a great budget option.

How to Choose a Solar Powered Attic Fan

Adding solar attic fans to your home can protect it from seasonal damage and can provide modest energy savings. Running wiring to the attic can be a pain, solar can simplify the problem. Depending on your municipality you may also qualify for an additional tax credit incentive. In this guide we will discuss the importance of a properly ventilated attic and what to look for while choosing your solar attic fan.

Keeping Cool

Attic air gets extremely hot in the summer as the shingles absorb heat from the sun. This super-heated air can damage roofing tiles by cooking them from the underside. Attic fans in combination with proper soffit ventilation reduce heat and moisture in the attic protecting it from damage. In the winter this moisture can cause condensation, potentially damaging attic materials or causing mold growth.

Ice Damming

Proper attic ventilation is essential in snowy climates to prevent ice damming. Ice dams occur when melt water from snow on a warm roof collects in the gutters and on the eaves. This water refreezes and the process continues until melt water has nowhere to go, collecting on your roof. This can cause damage to your home if water starts leaking through the roof.

Soffit and Gable Ventilation

Proper soffit and/or gable ventilation is needed to prevent pressure differences from building up in the attic when using solar attic fans.. In the summer, hot air is pushed out of gable vents or roof vents by the fans and relatively cooler air from the outside is in turn drawn into the attic through the soffit or gable vents. This air movement cools the attic temperature and protects shingles from being damaged. This process is the same in the winter, with the goal being temperature equalization with the outside to prevent melting snow on the roof from causing ice dams.

Insulation

If your attic is not properly insulated you should invest in that before installing any kind of attic ventilation. Proper insulation prevents heat transfer between attic air and the conditioned air inside your home. Improper insulation in combination with attic fans will cause energy loss in both summer and winter. 

Types of Fans

There are two main types of attic fans to choose from. Roof mounted fans are found on flat and pitched roofs. These fans are installed in a circular hole cut in the roof and  may require expert installation if you lack the necessary carpentry skills. Gable mounted fans are generally placed behind existing gable vents. If you don’t have existing vents the installation is made considerably more difficult.

Fan Size

Most attics are around the same square footage as your home. Multiplying the sq. ft of your home by 0.7 will give you an approximate minimum cubic feet of air a fan should be able to move per minute. A steep roof will increase internal attic volume and a dark roof will increase energy absorption from the sun. Both cases would require a fan that is capable of moving more air.

No Electrician Necessary

Without basic electrical knowledge, installing wiring in your attic can require a professional electrician. A clear benefit of solar fans over wired fans are their simplicity. Gable fans can be installed behind existing vents and roof mounted models are easily installed with a little carpentry work.

Adjustable Solar Panel

An adjustable solar panel will allow you to move the unit into alignment with the sun. This is important because your solar fan will only operate when receiving direct sunlight. Placement is important to ensure the fan is running throughout the day and providing its intended benefits.

Construction Quality

Durable materials must be used in the construction of solar roof ventilators. Your fan will be exposed to UV radiation, rain, hail, and depending on where you live, snow, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It is important the fan housing is durable and includes a quality screen to prevent rodents, birds, and insects from entering through the vent. A thermostat can also be a useful feature. Thermostats turn the fan on and off dependent on ambient temperature prolonging the life of the fan motor.

Installation

Installation of your solar powered attic fan is a project of moderate difficulty. A few hours of sweating it out in the attic should finish the job if planned properly. Many houses are constructed with 14.5” between rafters allowing room for the fans. Be sure not to cut or damage any rafters during installation as it will compromise structural integrity of your roof. Read instructions carefully and consult a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of installation.

Best Solar Powered Attic Fan Reviews

Many homes with pitched roofs already have existing gable vents installed. The easiest way to add powered ventilation to your attic is to install fans behind these existing vents. The 24 watt gable mounted fan by Natural Lights allows you to do just that, with installation taking little more than one hour.  It is hidden from the outside so it doesn’t affect the aesthetic value of your home and will not allow water to seep in through holes cut in your roof, as is required for roof mounted options.

Solar Powered Attic Fan - 24 Watt Gable Exhaust Vent - Natural Light

The independent solar panel and 15 foot connecting cable allow you to place the panel in an optimal location to receive maximum sunlight. It moves 1,339 cubic feet of air per minute providing ventilation for attics up to 2,100 sq. ft. The product is made in the USA of commercial grade materials and is built to last. Natural Lights also offers an outstanding 25 year warranty on the motor, housing, and solar panel, it is one of the best warranty periods in the industry. This unit also qualifies for tax credits in eligible municipalities. This fan is available in 12, 36, or 60 watt versions for your specific needs.

Pros
  • Made in USA
  • 25 Year Warranty
  • A top choice of contractors
  • Independent solar panel
Cons
  • Must have pitched roof with gables

I like this durable solar attic fan made by Broan. The unit comes with a durable 20 watt tempered glass solar panel able to survive hail strikes and a design capable of withstanding 140 mile per hour hurricane force winds. The unit is flush mounted and attractive so it doesn’t look bulky or out of place on your home. The steel motor housing, sealed ball bearings, and a hardened shaft protect the motor from wear. The 1/8 inch heavy gauge bird and rodent screen protect against uninvited house guests while still allowing adequate air flow. The one piece aluminum five blade fan moves air effectively without excessive noise.

Broan 355SOWW Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator, Weather Wood

This fan is relatively easy to install with a little knowledge of carpentry and roofing. It is not the most powerful option, venting attics up to 1,600 sq. ft, but is built of quality materials and made to outlast other  products. This is a good option for homeowners along the gulf coast or in the tornado prone Midwest due to its sturdy and wind resistant construction. Broan makes a range of attic ventilators that can suit a variety of attic sizes.

Pros
  • Can withstand hurricane force winds
  • Florida building code certified
  • USA made
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not adjustable

A great value option to consider is the ESM Products solar attic fan. The 30 watt unit is capable of moving up to 1,550 cubic feet of air per minute in direct sunlight, allowing it to properly ventilate attics up to 2,800 sq. ft. The solar panel angle is adjustable with two included brackets allowing you to place the panel at an optimum angle to the sun. The seamless aluminum housing is warrantied for a full 25 years while the motor is covered for five years. The fan is an aluminum five blade design 12” in diameter.

ESM Products Solar attic Fan 30 Watt

It has a protective #304 stainless steel mesh animal screen to keep the critters out of your attic. Installation is easy if you have some basic carpentry knowledge. Use caution when installing the unit in locales that have frequent driving rain as prolonged water exposure can cause leaking around the roof mounted unit if proper sealing is not ensured. This solar fan is not as visually pleasing or compact as other options but makes up for it in venting power. This is a good value option for homes with flat or pitched roofs.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Adjustable solar panel angle
Cons
  • Imported
  • Bulky

Conclusion

Solar powered attic fans are a simple and effective way to protect your attic from weather related damage. I prefer the simplicity of the gable mounted fan by Natural Light when compared to other options. The fan can be easily mounted behind existing gable vents in your attic making them a breeze to install. They are hidden from the outside so they don’t affect the aesthetics of your home but still provide enough power to ventilate your attic.

Additional fans can easily be placed in other gable vents you already have. You could also consider a roof mounted option in addition to the gable fan. Natural Light provides a best in class 25 year warranty on the motor, housing, and solar panel. Providing ventilation to your attic is essential to protect your home from extreme weather. Solar attic fans can be a simple solution and provide years of energy-free attic protection.

Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit

Do you find it challenging to keep your gate closed?

When the electric lines are far from your gate and you need to close or open your gate automatically, a solar powered gate opener can help you. These gate openers are easy to operate; most of them come with a remote and you open or close the gate with the touch of a button.

It is challenging to pick a good solar powered gate opener especially if you are using solar products for the first time. This guide will help make the right decision when shopping for solar powered openers.

Ghost Controls offer their solar powered openers will all installation hardware but the battery. The kits are reasonably priced and operate efficiently at all times. The TDS2XP sports a simple but efficient design with great safety and security features.

Sentry 300 is a premium solar powered gate opener designed to install on different types of gates. Its Plug-N-Go harness makes it cheap to install. Besides it also has a horde of security features such as fast closing and opening and safety features such as obstruction detection.

MM360 is a kit for those who are on budget. The kit has all necessary installation hardware making it easy to install and easy to run. It also sports a sturdy construction to last long.

How to Choose a Solar Powered Automatic Gate Opener

Automatic gate openers make it easy for you to open or close your gate from far. When these openers are powered by solar, they require little maintenance as they are self-sufficient. You can choose between three of these gate openers:

Sliding Gate Opener Kits

These sliding gate openers are installed parallel to your perimeter fence wall allowing the gate to slide in and out. One advantage of these gates is that they take minimal space and only a single gate is needed. Sliding gate opener kits are fitted with a 120V motor. They are able to provide continuous operation and they have a great torque too.

A good sliding gate opener should operate a gate of up to 1400 pounds. To make them more efficient in their operation, these gates feature a soft start and stop function. To protect the user, these gates openers are designed to stop whenever they encounter an obstruction.

Swing Gate Opener Kits

These kits are ideal for single swing gates. They are usually fitted with an underground sensor to detect when a car is approaching and opens automatically. When the vehicle enters your premises, the gate closes automatically. Swing gate opener kits come with a lever arm and a master unit. Besides, they have a solar panel, a cable and a mounting unit.

For easy operation, the kit comes with channel radio transmitters, a receiver and an antennae to operate your gate from a distance.

Dual Swing Gate Opener Kits

Unlike the single swing gate openers, dual swing gate openers are designed to open or close two swing gates towards your street. They sport underground sensors that detect the proximity of vehicles approaching the gate. Double swing gates feature an auto-close operation that enhances the security of your home. Even better, the most solar powered gate opener kits come with an emergency auto-release key that allows you to open the gate in case of power failure.

Considerations When Buying Solar Powered Gate Opener Kits

Considerations When Buying Solar Powered Gate Opener Kits

Once you have made your mind to install solar gate openers and you have chosen the type of gate openers that you need, there are a couple more things to consider. Note that, solar gate openers are easy to customize to meet your needs. As such, you need to consider your needs and gate requirements to choose the solar powered gate opener that meets your needs succinctly.

Pick a Quality Controller

When your solar opener is fitted with a high efficiency control board, it becomes easier for you to optimize to meet your solar panel’s output. The control board of your automatic gate opener also affects the efficiency of other components such as low-power loop detectors and the digital keypads.

Pick the best deep cycle solar batteries

A good deep cycle battery will keep your solar powered automatic gate opener operating at all times. In most cases, the opener kit will be sold with a lithium ion battery, which is a great option for solar operated devices. In case a Li-Ion battery is not available, you can pick either AGM, RV or Marine batteries. Keep in mind that your first choice should be a Li-Ion battery as it will last long.

Energy Management

A good solar powered opener should conserve energy for it to last long. Energy management information should be given on the product description. Ensure that the gate opener can deliver the power when you need it to and when not in use, it should be able to minimize energy consumption to last longer.

Quick Close Features

A quick close feature allows you to close the gate quick to enhance the security of your home or office premises. With this feature, the gate closes immediately your vehicle has entered the promises making it a challenge for burglars to find their way in a few minutes later.

Power of the solar panel

If you have a powerful motor and a less powerful solar panel, the gate opener might not function optimally. A good solar panel should match the requirements of the motor. The advantage is that most of the solar panels are designed to meet the exact requirements of the door opener. When a solar panel is not provided as part of the door opener kit, the manufacturer gives you panel recommendations.

Ensure the kit has all the needed accessories

A good solar powered gate opener kit should have all the necessary accessories and should be ready to install and use. When you buy a complete package, you are sure that the manufacturer has designed all the parts to work efficiently together. This reduces the inconvenience of buying separately.

If a solar panel meets the above technical considerations, you can now go ahead and consider other factors such as:

  • Affordability
  • Warranty terms
  • Ease of installation
  • Quality of materials
  • Ease of maintenance

Generally, a good solar powered gate opener should meet all your automatic gate opening and closing needs.

Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Kit Reviews

The Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener works efficiently for gates not more than 20 feet long and weighing up to 900 pounds. This ensures that it fits a wide range of gate types. Each kit comes with a 10-watt premium mono-crystalline solar panel that converts enough power to keep your gate operating at all times.

Irrespective of the age or cycles of the motor, its operations remain swift and quiet. Besides the motor and the solar panel, the kit comes with all other installation hardware including two operator arms with cables, a mounting arm and brackets for fast installation.

Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy-Duty Solar Dual Automatic Gate Opener Kit for Swing Gates Up to 20 Feet

This solar powered opener is designed to open and close fast thanks to the Ghost improved mechanical design and the new radio frequency that enhances its functions. This ensures that your property is secure. The kit is optimized to function efficiently on tubular gates making them more efficient on tubular swing gates. With the kit are push-to-open brackets; if your gate is push-to-close, you will need to purchase push-to-close brackets separately.

Lastly, the unit comes with a high quality battery box. This box ensures that in case of acid leaks, the acid cannot damage the control board or any other components of the gate. Additionally, the unit comes with a Safe Force system that reduces the amount of force exerted to prevent injuries to people.

Pros
  • Offered with all needed accessories for easy installation
  • Comes with a powerful solar panel
  • Easy to program the opener’s control panel
  • Designed with durable materials
  • Offers swift and quiet operation
  • The control box is easy to access and operate
  • Can be installed on different types of gates
Cons
  • Not offered with a 12V battery

This is a single gate opener designed to be installed on heavy iron gates up to 12 ft. long, farm gates up to 20 ft. long and on chain-link gates up to 14 ft. long. Each unit operates with a 12V DC battery that can be charged using solar panel or can be charged using AC transformer in instances where the solar cannot charge the unit efficiently.

The Sentry Plug-N-Go wiring harness makes it easy for you to install the system within minutes. Here, you will not require extra wiring besides what is offered with the kit. Even better, the kit comes with universal mounting brackets so you can install on push-to-open or push-to-close gates. These mounting brackets can easily be bolted to the existing gate with no problem.

USAutomatic 020320 Sentry 300 Commercial Grade Automatic Gate Opener

Irrespective of the weight of your gate, the opening and closing times remain the same; the gate closes and opens fast. Thanks to its design, the gate is able to close or open in 16 seconds. This is coupled with obstacle sensors to enhance the safety of gate users.

To enhance the lifespan of this unit, it is created solid and housed in rigid steel. It also sports a protective board to keep the unit safe from elements. Its circuit board is housed in a plastic case to keep off weather elements.

Pros
  • High energy efficiency; can operate for weeks with a single full battery charge
  • Offers fast and quiet operation
  • The Sentry Plug-N-Go wiring system makes it easy to install
  • Sports a durable construction
  • Offered with a generous 3-year limited warranty
  • Offered with nearly all needed accessories, expect a 12V battery
Cons
  • Battery not included in the kit
  • The kit is relatively more expensive

The MM360 is engineered to work efficiently with medium duty gates weighing about 550 pounds. It is easy to install seeing that you are offered all installation hardware. You are also offered with a detailed installation guide and a DVD showing installation step by step.

Mighty Mule MM360-SINGLE Gate-Solar Package with Solar Panel (10 Watt Panel)

The dual sense technology that this device runs on offers security and allows you to install the gate without the need to buy a secondary entrapment device. The powerful 10-watt solar panel offered with this device offers short charging times when exposed to maximum sunlight. With each kit, you get all the essential installation hardware including a plug-in transformer for easy installation.

This solar powered gate opener kit is designed for single swing gates up to 16 ft. long. It is a great choice when you need a solar gate opener on budget. Though it is a budget option, it sports high quality construction to last long. With the brackets and cables offered with the purchase of this unit, you will be up and running in the shortest time possible.

Pros
  • This kit is easy to maintain
  • Offered with a high power solar panel
  • Delivers reliable and smooth operation
  • Works with different types of gates
  • Comes with a generous 12-month warranty
  • Great price-quality ratio
Cons
  • Battery not included
  • Does not have a soft-stop function

Conclusion

There are a horde of good solar powered gate opener kits each designed to meet specific needs. Different manufacturers, such as Ghost Controls or Mighty Mule, design a range of opener kits for different types of gates. If your gate is a dual swing, there is a product for you from your favorite manufacturer. When shopping, take your time and consider all the technical aspects of the opener kit before buying.

Our top recommendation from the kits above is Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy Duty Dual Automatic Gate Opener. The unit is not only offered with necessary installation hardware, but it also has great security and user protection features. Even better, it is offered at a reasonable price. As such, it meets the needs of many users and falls within the budget of most people.

Best Solar Powered Aerator

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Aerator

The best solar powered aerator helps in increasing oxygen levels in the water. The solar-powered aerator mixes the oxygenated water from the top of the surface with the water at the bottom. This not just spreads oxygen throughout the water but also keeps the water at an ideal temperature.

It is one of the most efficient aerators you will find in the market. Even though it is small in size it is powerful. Beckett Corporation is our choice as the best solar powered aerator available in the market. The aerator is powered by innovative technology. In terms of features, it offers the best value for money.

This is a smart solar-powered aerator that delivers big with its elegant design and energy saving capabilities. This aerator is a good upgrade option. The energy saving solar panels make it a popular choice.

This is a hassle free, eco-friendly, energy saving solution for your pond. It helps keep the pond algae free and clean. The aerator requires no electricity, and this makes it an environment friendly product. The solid performance of this solar-powered aerator makes the Sunnytech our value option choice.

It is an economical alternative option. Sunsbell is perfect for someone on a budget. The highly efficient smart aerator is widely used for adding oxygen to the pond, fish tank, and pool.

 When it comes to buying the best solar powered aerator there are plenty of options available. This can be overwhelming for any person buying aerators for the first time. We have spent many hours researching different sources of information. This has helped us come up with this useful buying guide.

Things to Consider When Buying a Solar Powered Aerator

There are many things that you will need to consider when choosing the best solar powered aerator. Aerators different in type, size, output, capacity, purpose, and price. It is important to take all of these factors into consideration when making the choice.

Types

There are two different options you can choose from. These include the floating aerator and solar pump kit (solar powered aerator).

The floating aerator is placed on the surface of the water. The aerator sprays oxygen into the water from below the surface. This helps in diffusing harmful gases such as ammonia and carbon dioxide through a stone diffuser.

As it floats on the pond it prevents water stagnation and distributes oxygen throughout the water. It is available in different decorative shapes and this adds beauty to the pond. The floating aerator can provide sufficient amount of oxygen when used on small ponds.

The solar powered aerator kit consists of a small air pump. No electricity or extra wiring is required. It works efficiently under direct sunlight. This makes it an ideal choice in spring and summer. The aerator is effective in small water tanks and ponds. It is not effective when used in large ponds.

Location

One of the important things that you need to remember is that the solar-powered aerator should be kept in direct sunlight for it to work effectively. You should find a location that gets adequate sunlight to power the aerator.

When choosing the location, you should also pay attention to the size of the aerator. Ensure there is enough space in the pond or pool for the aerator. If you live in an area where sunlight is scarce, you will have to consider other conventional alternatives. 

Capacity

The capacity of the aerator should be considered before you buy the product. If you choose the right capacity, the aerator will be able to deliver the correct amount of oxygen to the pond or poll.

Check the GPH to ensure that the capacity of the aerator matches the size of the pond. GPH is the number of gallons that the aerator will be able to treat every hour. If you have a large pond with 2,000 gallons of water, a 300 GPH solar-powered aerator will be the right choice.

Solar Panel Size

The solar panels absorb solar energy and convert it into electricity. A larger solar panel will be able to absorb more light. Larger solar panels will also be able to create higher amounts of electrical energy.

The choice of solar panel size will depend on the size of the pond. If you have a larger pond, then it is best to opt for a large solar panel. A small pond will work best with a small solar panel.

Battery Size

The size of the battery will determine how well the aerator works in low light conditions. Check the battery runtime before choosing an aerator. A good quality aerator will be able to last at least four hours on a full recharge.

Backup Battery

If you want to use the solar aerator all through the day and night, it is advisable to opt for a backup battery. Recharge the backup battery when there is bright sunlight. The recharged backup battery can be turned on during nighttime so that the aerator functions in an efficient manner.

Water Flow

The amount of water flow that an aerator can create will depend on its power. Pay attention to the wattage of the aerator to determine its power.

Price

Not all solar-powered aerators are priced similarly. The prices will vary depending on the type, capacity, and features.

Benefits of Choosing Solar Powered Aerators

Benefits of Choosing Solar Powered Aerators

User-Friendly

Solar-powered aerators are easy to setup and install. No wiring and electricity are required. This simplifies the installation process. All that you need to do is to set the solar panel in the direction of sunlight and the aerator will start working efficiently.

No Running Costs

You don’t incur any running costs when you opt for a solar-powered aerator. This is because the product relies only on solar energy. You don’t have to worry about energy costs.

Portable

Aerators are small in size and don’t weigh much. This makes them portable. You can carry them anywhere you want. They can be adjusted as per your specific needs.

Environment Friendly

As these aerators rely on solar energy, they are environment friendly. They don’t cause any kind of damage to the environment and are completely safe to use.

Best Solar Powered Aerator Reviews

The Beckett Corporation Air Pump Solar Kit is the perfect choice for remote locations that have limited access to an electrical outlet. The 1.5-watt solar panel comes with a 9.8 feet power cord. The long power cord provides optimum connection to the air hose (6.5) and solar panel.

Beckett Corporation SAP1.5 Solar Kit Air Pond Pump

The aerator can be used to boost oxygen levels in the pond. The solar kit is available in one, two, four and five packs. You can make the choice as per your specific requirement.

Pros
  • The solar panel is efficient and powers the aerator under sufficient sunlight.
  • The solar-powered aerator is the perfect choice for small ponds.
  • The air pump size is small. It doesn’t require a lot of space and can be placed anywhere in the pond. The powerful pump will be able to deliver a water flow of up to two liters in a minute.
  • The power cord is long, and this will enable you to place the aerator kit wherever you want.
Cons
  • No backup battery is available.
  • On and off switch is not available.
  • The solar panel requires direct sunlight to charge fully.

The AEO air pump kit is designed to boost oxygen levels in outdoor fountains and ponds. The solar-powered aerator is the perfect choice to infuse oxygen into aquaculture, aquariums, bubbleponics, hydroponics, and ponds.

AEO Solar Powered Air Pump Kit, Two Airing Stones, 3LPM Air Pump & 2.5W Solar Panel for Fish Pond, Aquaculture, Hydroponics, Bubbleponics

The solar air pump works efficiently only under direct sunlight. The solar pump automatically turns on during day and automatically shuts at night.

Pros
  • The solar kit is available with two airing stones. The airing stones lift the water high and promote better air circulation in the water.
  • The solar panel is powerful and gives a maximum wattage of 2.5 watts. It is paired with a high-quality pump. This enables you to aerate small ponds. The use of the pump is best for ponds that contain 800 gallons of water.
Cons
  • The aerator is not easy to setup.
  • ​The water flow is low.

Sunnytech Solar Power Pond Oxygenator Air Pump Oxygen Pool Aquarium Fish Tank Sea Fishing

The multipurpose Sunnytech air pump is ideal for adding oxygen to your pool and ponds. It is also suitable for increasing power failure emergency oxygen. The solar-powered aerator is a good choice for remote locations that don’t have access to standard electrical outlets.

Pros
  • No wiring is required for the solar panel. This makes installation easy and quick. All that you need to do is to place the solar panel in bright sunlight. The solar panel will absorb the solar energy and ensure that the air pump works efficiently.
  • The solar panel is waterproof. You will be able to leave the panel outdoors all year round. The solar panel is foldable to 90 degrees. Adjust the best angle for maximum absorption of solar energy.
  • The small sized design is light in weight. It is easy to carry and you can take it anywhere you want.
  • The high capacity rechargeable batteries (2000mAh) enable the air pump to work 40 – 50 hours on a full charge. The batteries keep the pump working even in adverse weather conditions.
Cons
  • The solar pump must be kept at level or it will stop working smoothly.
  • The solar-powered aerator is not sturdy and doesn’t last long.

Sunsbell Air Pump Solar Kit Solar Powered Pool Pond Fish Tank Oxygenator Oxygen Aerator Air Pump

The Sunsbell solar-powered aerator is widely used to add oxygen to ponds, pools, fish tanks, and aquariums. It is also used to increase power failure emergency oxygen. The aerator has a 12 months warranty.

Pros
  • The aerator can be charged not just with solar power but also with DC power using the in-built port. The rechargeable battery stores solar power and this enables the aerator to work at night too.
  • The solar panel is designed to be folded 100 degrees. You will be able to adjust the best angle so that the solar panel gets maximum sunlight.
  • The large capacity battery has a working time of 20 hours after it is fully charged.
Cons
  • Requires bright sunlight to power up the battery.

Conclusion

The best solar-powered aerators are highly efficient and will help save energy and money. The solar-powered aerators are much better than the traditional aerators as they don’t require any electricity. Gaining knowledge about the different types of aerators and their features will help you make an informed choice.

Beckett Corporation Solar Kit Air Pump is our top recommendation when it comes to the best solar powered aerator. AEO Air Pump Kit is a good upgrade option. Sunnytech Air Pump is a good value option. Sunsbell Solar Powered Air Pump is one of the best solar powered aerators available on a budget.

Best Solar Powered Tiki Torches

How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Tiki Torches

The best solar powered tiki torches offer a vibrant aesthetic to your outdoors. It can transform your yard, garden, patio, and pathway and make it look amazing. Stake the tiki torches into the ground outdoors and enjoy the light show when the sun goes down.

This is an ideal lighting solution for your patio, lawn, yard, and outdoor landscape. The upgraded waterproof solar spotlights are available in a pack of four. The flickering flame lights power on and off automatically. The TomCare solar lights are our choice as the best overall solar-powered tiki torches available in the market. In terms of features, it offers the best value for money.

It provides a beautiful flickering flame effect. The solar-powered tiki torches are a good upgrade option. They provide a perfect decoration for the yard, garden, and pathway. The solar panel can be set anywhere you want to create a pleasant ambiance.

It is a perfect decorative solar torch for landscape decoration. The solar lights provide warm light from dusk to dawn. The solid performance of these solar torches makes the Bebrant our value option choice. The flickering flames solar lights are a great idea for creating a charming, magical and warm atmosphere.

It is an economical alternative option for landscape decoration. Sunlitec is perfect for someone on a budget. It is easy to install, and this makes it a popular choice. The flickering flame torches are a safe alternative to real flames.

When it comes to buying the best solar-powered tiki torches there are plenty of options available. This can be overwhelming for any person buying tiki torches for the first time. We have spent many hours researching different sources of information. This has helped us come up with this useful buying guide.

Things to Consider When Buying Solar Powered Tiki Torches

Give a new lease of life to your outdoors with the solar-powered tiki torches. You do need to remember that not all of them are created equal. They are available in various designs and styles and you need to make the choice as per your specific needs and requirements. Here are some things you should consider before you buy.

Light Source

The first thing that you should consider is how the tiki torch provides light. The traditional torches use a flame to illuminate the outdoors. The fire focused torches are available in the market, but the solar torches offer a safe alternative.

The solar powered tiki torches don’t pose a danger even when children and pet are around. Solar torches look similar to flame torches but don’t pose a safety risk. The LED bulbs provide a warm glow from dusk to dawn.

Design and Material

The traditional tiki torches are available in bamboo. Bamboo torches are the most affordable. You do need to remember that torches made of bamboo material don’t last long. Tiki torches made from metal last a long time.

The new solar-powered tiki torches are available in different types of material. Iron, brass, stainless steel, and copper are other materials that the tiki torches are available in. Many manufacturers have also incorporated elements of ceramic, resin, and glass in the design of the tiki torch.

Pole or Tabletop

One of the important things that you need to decide is whether you want a standard pole torch or a tabletop torch. Pole torches are available with a rod and this can be staked to the ground.

The pole torches are available in different lengths. Additional accessories are provided by manufacturers to increase the length of the pole. The metal pole torches are strong and last a long time.

Brightness

The brightness of the flame is another important factor that you need to consider when buying solar-powered tiki torches. If you choose solar lights with a low lumen, you will only get low brightness. The low light will be inadequate to light up your outdoors.

Choose LED lights with a high lumen rate so that you get adequate brightness to light up your yard, patio, and pathway. Lumen rate is the brightness that LED lights provide. If the flickering flame solar light has a high lumen rate, it will provide bright light for your outdoors.

Battery Capacity

The capacity of the battery is something that you need to pay attention to. It is best to choose a 2200mAh battery so that it powers the solar light for at least 10 hours in summer. A battery with a larger capacity will be able to light up your outdoors longer.

Solar Powered Tiki Torches

Simple Ways to Use Solar Powered Tiki Torches

Apart from using the solar-powered tiki torches as decoration at parties, you can use them all year around. The tiki torches are multi-functional, and you can use them in different ways.

Landscape and Pathway Lighting

Tiki torches are a great choice for the landscape and pathway as they radiate a warm bright light. You can use them to illuminate different areas of your outdoor landscape.

Beach Barbecues

The solar powered tiki torches are portable. You can take them with you for a beach barbecue party. The landscape lights can be used to light up the surroundings in multiple ways.

Spooky Halloween Décor

Put the lights along the front door or the driveway along with spooky Halloween décor. The solar lights don’t require wiring and can be moved around easily.

Best Solar Powered Tiki Torch Reviews

TomCare Solar Lights Upgraded, Waterproof Flickering Flames Torches Lights Outdoor Solar Spotlights Landscape Decoration Lighting Dusk to Dawn Auto On/Off Security Torch Light for Patio Driveway (4)

The solar-powered tiki torches are a safe alternative to the real flames. The classical torch body design and special dancing flames help create a charming ambiance. The waterproof torches can be installed in the backyard, driveway, pathway, and garden.

Pros
  • The high-efficiency solar panels and high capacity batteries (2200mAh) ensures that the solar light will light up at least 12 hours in summer and five hours in winter. A complete charge is achieved in 8 hours.
  • The waterproof (IP65) grade solar panels will be able to withstand difficult weather conditions. No worries about frosting, snow or rain.
  • The installation is easy. No wiring required. You can install it anywhere you want and enjoy the warm flame light.
  • The tiki torches work completely on solar power. They collect solar power all day and turn on automatically at dusk.
Cons
  • Low lumen output.
  • The maximum height is short compared to other tiki torches available in the market.

Aityvert Solar Lights Upgraded 42.9 Inch, Solar Flickering Flame Torch Lights Dancing Flames Landscape Decoration Lighting Dusk to Dawn Auto On/Off Outdoor Path Lights for Garden Patio Driveway 4 Pack

The Aityvert solar torch lights are available in a pack of four. The dancing flames design is gorgeous and is a completely safe alternative to the real flames. The 96 LEDs cast a soft, safe mood-enhancing glow. The flickering flame is a perfect choice for landscape decoration.

Pros
  • The built-in rechargeable batteries (2200mAh) charge fully in 8 hours. The solar torches light up for 10 hours in summer and 5 hours in winter on a full charge.
  • The solar panel absorbs the sunlight all day. The sunlight is converted into solar energy and saved in the battery. The LED bulb turns on automatically at dusk and turns off automatically at dawn.
  • The solar lights are waterproof (IP65) and durable. This enables them to withstand all kinds of weather. A 12-month guarantee is offered on the product.
  • No wiring required. Assemble the solar torches and push the stake into the soil. The installation is completed in a few minutes.
Cons
  • ​The battery capacity reduces with time.
  • ​The working time of the tiki torches is weather sensitive.
  • ​The height of the torch lights is short.

Aityvert Upgraded Solar Torch Lights 43 inches Flickering Dancing Flames Solar Torches Outdoor Waterproof Landscape Lighting Dusk to Dawn Auto On/Off Solar Lights for Yard Garden Patio Pool 2-Pack

The Bebrant solar torch light consists of 96 LEDs. Each LED provides warm yellow light to create a perfect campfire atmosphere. No oil and no fire. Save energy and money with this solar light. The outdoor flickering flames are perfect for landscape decoration.

Pros
  • The solar torch lights are easy to install. The additional accessories enable you to choose 30.7 inches or 42.9 inches in height. No electricity or wiring needed for the installation. All that you need to do is to place the solar flames in your garden, lawn, or pathway. The outdoor decoration is perfect for events like wedding, party, Halloween, and Xmas.
  • The high capacity rechargeable batteries work for 12 hours in summer after they are fully charged. A manual on/off button will help you conserve energy.
  • The dustproof and waterproof (IP65) design makes the solar powered tiki torches extremely durable. They withstand all kinds of weather to work efficiently all around the year.
Cons
  • The ground stakes are not very strong.
  • Bright sunlight is required for a full charge.

Solar Lights, Sunlitec Waterproof Flickering Flames Torches Lights Outdoor Landscape Decoration Lighting Dusk to Dawn Auto On/Off Security Torch Light for Garden Patio Deck Yard Driveway, 2 Pack

The Sunlitec solar-powered tiki torches are quite inexpensive. The fact that they are durable and flexible makes them a preferred choice. You don’t have to spend much to enjoy the warm romantic torchlight. The LEDs cast a mood enhancing soft pleasant glow. The LED lights use unique optical controlled technology.

Pros
  • The eco-friendly flickering flames torch solar light doesn’t require rechargeable batteries. The tiki torches use solar energy to charge. The solar lights automatically turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn.
  • The 2200mAh Li-ion battery lights up to 10 hours in summer and 5 hours in winter.
  • The torchlight is waterproof (IP65) and durable. The solar lights will withstand harsh heat in summer, heavy downpour, and snow. The waterproof solar torches work efficiently in all kinds of weather.
Cons
  • The light is not bright.

Conclusion

The best solar powered tiki torches are available in different materials from glass to bamboo to metal. The type you choose depends on your personal outdoor decorating goals. Make the right choice based on your specific needs, budget, and lifestyle.

TomCare Upgraded Solar Lights is our top recommendation when it comes to solar powered tiki torches. Aityvert Upgraded Solar Torch Lights are a good upgrade option. Bebrant Upgraded Solar Torch Lights is a good value option. Sunlitec Solar Lights provides good quality outdoor flickering flames lighting on a budget.

Best Commercial Parking Lot Solar Lighting

How to Choose the Best Commercial Parking Lot Solar Lighting

In our automobile-centric society parking lots are almost a requirement for any business. As an owner and/or operator, safety is one of your responsibilities. We will discuss considerations you should make when choosing the best commercial parking lot solar lighting for your business. 

Commercial solar lighting is a large initial investment but will pay itself off in the long term with years of “free” energy from the sun. You can purchase an all-in-one solar lighting pole light or the panels and lights separately. We will focus here on the simple utility of all-in-one commercial LED parking lot lights.

These solar flood lights are my top pick for best solar parking lot light. These solar street lamps have a large 39,000 mAh battery to supply the larger power demands of the light. It also has a 32W polycrystalline solar panel with a high conversion rate up to 18% to charge the batteries quickly.

These lights would be good mounted on the side of your business, used to highlight vertical surfaces and landscapes, or mounted on poles distributed throughout your lot. With a little creativity and the 16.5 foot connecting cable you might be able to rig the solar panels into a canopy, providing shade for vehicles parked underneath. With a remote control and several lighting options to choose from, these lights easily have the most features out of all the lights I looked at.

The 100 watt LED solar street lamps will produce a maximum of 11,000 lumens making them one of the brightest solar lights I could find. With a massive 120W mono-crystalline silicon solar panel it should charge the equally massive 54,000kWh lithium ion battery. The light should fully charge within 10 hours of direct sunlight.

Power saving PIR activated bi-level light outputs conserve precious power when no one is around and can last up to 5 rainy days on conservative settings. These lights are easily the most powerful on the list but they come at a steep price. These lights are recommended for security applications and large commercial lots that don’t have access to main grid power.

These produce a maximum of 130lm/W making them the most efficient at full brightness. Three lighting modes allow you to operate the light dawn to dusk, PIR activated dim to bright, and PIR activated off to bright. The battery is replaceable and will charge in 8 hours of full sun. The light can only run about two hours at full brightness so it is best used in one of the PIR sensor modes, allowing bi-level outputs to save energy.

The angle of the light can be adjusted to better align the panel with the sun, optimizing charge and run times. This light is best for smaller parking lots or corners of your lot other lighting options won’t reach.

How to Choose the Best Solar Parking Lights

When choosing lights for your solar parking lot there are certain things to look for. Efficiency, efficacy, lighting power density, light distribution, color qualities, light layout, and desired results should be carefully considered to achieve the best results. You can keep it simple with all-in-one units or go all out with a solar canopy.

Most municipalities have requirements in place guiding the use of parking lot lights. Height, timing, brightness, and excessive light must all be controlled in accordance with these regulations. This guide will help sort through some of these issues, hopefully in turn making your purchase a little easier.

Mounting Styles

LED pole light fixtures are the most common way to light a parking lot surface but flood lights are also an option. Flood lights can be very bright and are usually mounted on walls, poles, or within landscaping allowing them to be functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. The number of pole or flood lights you need will be determined by how high they are placed, how bright they are, and the size of the area being lit.

PIR Motion Sensor

A passive infrared sensor(PIR) is included on many solar parking lot lights to help conserve battery life. All objects with a temperature above absolute zero emit infrared radiation from heat energy. These sensors work by measuring this infrared light allowing the sensor to detect movement.

HID Lights

Traditionally most parking lots were lit with high intensity discharge(HID) lights. The HID metal halide lamps commonly used consist of an arc tube(burner), outer envelope(bulb), and a starting gas. The ballast supplies the ceramic or quartz arc tube with voltage which in turn begins ionizing the gas(usually argon, mercury, and metal halide salts). As temperature and pressure increase within the bulb, materials in the arc tube vaporize emitting light and UV radiation. These lights are very bright but must be replaced every few years and are energy inefficient. These are not a viable solar option.

LED Lights

Light emitting diodes(LEDs) use tiny microchips to produce visible light in the diode. This method of light production is very efficient and the “bulbs” don’t burn out like conventional light fixtures. LEDs instead experience lumen degradation, slowly dimming over time. However this is a very slow process and you wouldn’t need to replace your LEDs for many years after installation. The Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking(LEEP) organization has a number of case studies highlighting the energy saving benefits of LEDs.

Luminaire

In technical terms, a luminaire is a complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp or lamps together with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect the lamps, and to connect the lamps to the power supply. The Federal Energy Management Program(FEMP) created a guide to be used by federal agencies when installing parking lot luminaires. This guide is a useful resource in determining best solutions for your parking lot lighting.

Luminaire Efficacy

A luminaires efficacy rating, LER, is measured in lumens per watt(lm/w). This rating is important as it will show you how much light is generated compared to energy consumed. It is simply total light output(lumens) divided by input power(watts). High lumen solar lights are not always the best and you should pay attention to how well the luminaire focuses its light.

Creating a Plan

Figuring out which luminaires you want to replace, noting height and general light information, will help make things easier when choosing new lights. Consider the quality and quantity of lights you may need, different facilities have different lighting requirements. Lighting should be uniform across your entire lot as high contrast levels can obscure surveillance footage and can cause blind spots for vehicles and pedestrians. Keep this in mind as you may need to install more lights when purchasing less powerful, but more efficient models. Use lighting controls like bi-level outputs and fixed response switches to turn off specific luminaires during off peak periods. This will conserve energy allowing you to run your solar lights longer.

Illumination Levels

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America(IES) has recommended light levels you can check out for different lighting applications. Recommended amounts are prescribed in footcandles(fc) which are the basic measurement for light falling on a surface. Measurements can be taken with a handheld light detector. A 4:1 (bright/dark) ratio between the brightest and darkest area is considered a good minimum but a 3:1 ratio is better. Footcandles matter more than lumens when considering parking lot lights as they tell you how much illumination the parking surface is actually receiving. Color temperature, measured in degrees kelvin, is also important to consider. Depending on what material your lot is made of, color temperature will affect how the light appears on the parking surface.

Solar and Battery Storage

Solar parking lot lights use the energy from the sun, collected by photovoltaic cells, to store electricity in a battery which is later used for your lighting needs. Look for a solar panel and battery combination that offers a large milliampere hour(mAh) capacity. Check the ratio between the solar panel and battery while looking at luminaire energy draw. Ensure the panel is sufficient to charge the battery and the battery has enough capacity to run the light for multiple hours.

Best Commercial Parking Lot Solar Lighting Reviews

This solar LED flood light from LEDMO is my top recommendation for many reasons. The light is extremely bright and will have no problem lighting those dark corners of your parking lot. It can be mounted on a pole or exterior wall of your business giving it a larger range of use. It is a temperature of 6,500K at the upper end of the daylight spectrum, giving you bright and natural light. The 32W solar panel supplies enough energy to charge the 39,000mAh battery.

2019 Upgraded 200W LED Solar Flood Light 400LED Dusk to Dawn Solar Powered Street Light Outdoor Waterproof IP67 with Remote Control Solar Chargeable Flood for Backyard|Garage|Driveway|Basketball Court

It also has remote control capabilities allowing you to choose between several lighting options, including auto On/Off, gradient, full brightness, half brightness, and timing modes of three, five, and eight hours, from up to 25 feet away. The light is rated IP67 so you shouldn’t have to worry about any weather related failures for a long time. The light also has a five year warranty so even if something does decide to go wrong you are covered. This light is the most versatile option and would be good for medium sized lots. It is effective at lighting vertical and horizontal surfaces and highlighting landscaping or signage you may have.

Pros
  • Extremely bright 10,000 lumen output
  • Large capacity 39,000 mAh battery
  • 16.5 foot connecting wire allowing independent solar panel placement
  • Remote control function up to 25 feet
  • IP 67 water and dust proof
Cons
  • Only generates 50 lm/W
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing
  • No PIR motion sensor

This solar powered street or parking lot lamp is the most powerful light I considered by multiple metrics. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. The light consists of 12V 100W Bridgelux LEDs which can produce 11,000 lumens at maximum brightness. It comes with an affixed 18V 120W SunPower solar panel that will soak up the sun. The panel is used to charge the large 54,000 mAh battery and when fully charge can provide up to 5 rainy days worth of light. An included battery cooling device will help to avoid equipment damage from overheating.

100Watt LED Solar Street Light - Over1,1000Lumen - All in One LED Solar Motion Light - Solar Post Light - Professional Grade Street Solar Lighting - Solar Powered & Lithium Ion Battery Included

The integrated PIR sensor detects movement up to 164 feet away, changing the light to maximum brightness for incoming customers. Three lighting modes allow the light to conserve energy when no one is around. You will need a sturdy 3” pole to affix the light to as it weighs just over 66 pounds. The fixture is IP65 water and dust proof and also comes with a 3 year warranty if something does go wrong. The light has a recommended hanging height of around 30 feet. This light is a good choice for large commercial parking lots that may not have access to grid power. It can also be used for higher security applications.

Pros
  • Huge 18V 120W solar panel
  • Large 54,000 mAh battery
  • Stainless steel finish
  • Large PIR sensor range
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Unadjustable solar panel

This lightweight solar post light outputs 1,300 lumens at full power. It may not be bright enough for all of your needs but can cover dark corners your other lights don’t reach. It has three lighting modes: full brightness, PIR sensor activated dim/bright, or dark/bright. The PIR sensors dim the light after no movement is detected for about 30 seconds. Before using your light the company recommends letting the light charge for eight hours in direct sunlight.

ALPHA 1080X Street Light , 3-Mode Setting, Lithium Battery, Adjustable Mounting Bracket for Optimum Sunlight Exposure, Fit Max Pole Diameter 3'

This is something you should do with all your lights. If you have problems with runtime you can turn the light off for three days to allow a full charge of the battery. If the battery stops functioning properly you can always replace it. The lights have a recommended hanging height of 10-13 feet with a distance of 20-26 feet between poles. Angle of placement is adjustable with a lock nut mount allowing you to fine tune solar panel alignment. This light can be good for smaller parking lots and are budget friendly.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Three lighting modes with PIR sensor
  • Replaceable battery
  • Adjustable angle mount
Cons
  • Short runtime on full brightness
  • May not be bright enough for all applications

Conclusion

Choosing parking lot lighting for your business might not be the most thrilling task you must undertake as a business owner or manager but it is nonetheless essential. Lighting provides safety and security to guests, helping deter vandals and thieves from skulking in the shadows. I also recommend you light the vertical surfaces in your lot which can add definition to the outdoor appearance of your building. After carefully considering several lights I think the LEDMO 200W solar flood lamp is a great option to use in your solar powered parking lot. It can be mounted in almost anyway you want making it the most versatile option.

The 16.5 foot connecting cable allows independent placement of the solar panel while the remote allows you to access lighting controls from a distance. It is 10,000 lumens, which easily makes it the brightest on the list, and should work for most business applications. The large capacity 39,000 mAh hour battery and 32W solar panel should keep the light running throughout the night, providing a safe space for your customers.

It maybe best to purchase a single light at first so you can analyze how effectively it will fulfill your needs. With lighting alone accounting for a large portion of a businesses budget, anything that can reduce cost in the long term should be considered. Adding solar powered lights to your parking lot may be the ticket to reduced running costs.

Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

How to Choose the Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

Especially for homes in warm climates without air conditioning, summer months can become brutally hot. Solar blinds can provide relief from uncomfortable heat by acting as a window covering with added features, such as UV protection and light control. The best solar shades for blocking heat are constructed with longevity and mind and function to effectively keep out as many of the sun’s harmful rays as possible. Below, you’ll find our guide to sun blocking shades, with the top product options available today and factors to look for as you shop.

The Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade measures six feet by six feet and offers 90% UV protection. With a knitted fabric in a light beige color, dubbed “southern sunset”, this solar shade may be a great choice for windows. The HDPE fabric is breathable, resistance to mold and mildew, blocks heat, and minimizes glare. It can also be used for patio areas, decks, porches, and gazebos. This shade is child-safe and operates without cords or chains; a crank is included.

This roller shade is a higher-end option from Coolaroo, the same brand that offers our top product recommendation. This shade measures eight feet by six feet and features a breathable knitted fabric. It comes in the “southern sunset” beige tone and operates using a crank, without cords or chains. The fabric is resistant to mold and mildew, and the shade blocks out 90% of UV rays.

Due to its omission of a crank or a rail for installation, this Coolaroo solar mesh window shade is very affordable. It measures six feet by 15 feet and comes in a beige “wheat” color. This shade is made from high-density polyethylene that can block out up to 90% of UV rays. Plus, the fabric facilitates the rising of heat and humidity, cutting down on ambient air temperatures as much as 30%. The fabric is also weather-resistant and can be cleaned just by rinsing with a hose.

For those looking for indoor thermal shades for windows, the GoDear Design Modern Free Stop Roller Shade may be a fitting choice. Measuring 27 inches by 72 inches, this silver-colored thermal shade is designed to be both attractive, contributing to your home decor, while also blocking out some of the light from outside. It allows some natural light to enter the room. This roller shade also has a free stop feature and is cordless.

How to Choose the Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

Solar shades for blocking heat come in a variety of forms. While many features, such as light ray protection and weather-resistant fabric, stay consistent across numerous products, these shades can vary in a few key ways. Read on to learn about the key features that distinguish solar window shades and how these factors can impact the quality of a product.

Material Color

Due to the effect of color on heat absorption, the lightness or darkness of the fabric of your solar shade will impact how it keeps out heat from the sun. Light-colored solar shades have different pros and cons than dark-colored shades, so it mainly comes down to your personal needs.

Light-colored shades can reflect heat well. This type of shade allows more light to seep into the room for those who prefer natural light in their homes. The best light-colored shades can block out approximately 80% to 90% of exterior light. This is less than dark-colored shades, so light options may be more fitting for common areas where you may gather socially during the day, as opposed to bedrooms.

Dark solar shades minimize visible light that comes into your home. These shades provide superior control over glare compared to their light-colored counterparts, and 94% to 96% of visible light can be blocked out with a dark shade. The darker the color is, the more heat it absorbs, so dark-colored shades are effective at absorbing heat from the sun’s rays and keeping it from entering your home (Source).

Openness

Home shades have a characteristic called “openness”, which refers to the volume of light that can shine through the shade. Generally, when you’re looking at sun screen shades, you want a low percentage of openness. That way, most of the sunlight is blocked out, keeping your home cool and protected against UV rays.

The average solar screen has 7% openness. This means that 7% of the shade’s fabric is permeable by the sun. The more open a shade is, the more natural light will enter the room, which may be a desired effect for some individuals. However, a higher openness percentage also makes for greater heat transfer, which diminishes the effectiveness of the shade at blocking heat (Source).

Protection Against UV Rays

UV rays are known to be harmful for our health. Skin cancer, skin damage, premature aging, eye conditions, and the weakening of our immune systems are the main issues that can arise from overexposure to UV rays (​Source). Solar sun shades are an accessible and convenient way to keep UV rays out of your home. Over time, the use of UV window shades will reduce your exposure to these rays and, in turn, your risk for the aforementioned conditions.

Solar sun shades that filter out UV rays present their protection level as a percentage. Most of the products included in this article block out 80% to 90% of UV rays. So, by consistently using these window solar shades, you’ll cut down on your exposure to UV rays by a significant margin.

Shade Mechanism

Different shades operate using different mechanisms. Most solar shades are considered to be roller shades, meaning that it uses a cylinder and firm sections of fabric to roll down over the window. To operate a roller shade, you generally just pull it down manually. Many shade options have a locking feature to keep the shade securely in the desired position.

High-end window shades may operate electronically, powered by an external remote. These motorized shades may be great for homes with large windows, or with windows that are high up and out of reach.

One major consideration for window shade mechanisms today is child safety. Some shade models include chains or cords, which can present a hazard for both children and pets. Cordless, chainless shades are the safest options for households with young children and pets (Source).

Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat Reviews

The 6 inch by 6 inch exterior Coolaroo shade is made with tan fabric that may stay in excellent condition for years and years. The material is designed to withstand the sun’s powerful rays to reduce fading. Also, this solar shade features a crank operation, free of cords or chains. This is safe for children or pets, but also manageable to operate if you’re older, disabled, or otherwise struggle with pull-down shades.

As opposed to a gray or cool-toned solar shade, this product from Coolaroo filters some natural light into your home. The light will be warm-toned, easy on the eyes, and may be quite pleasant at all times of the day.

The crank used to operate this shade is constructed entirely of plastic. With each part made of the same material, the crank may get stuck or otherwise malfunction. Also, the crank may take more time to operate than other varieties of shade mechanism. Although this solar shade blocks out up to 90% of UV light, it’s still a bit see-through. So, if you’re looking for a shade that provides complete privacy, this product may not be the perfect choice.

Pros
  • Fabric won’t fade, even after years of use
  • Crank operation is easy to operate
  • Tan color casts warm light into your home
Cons
  • Crank mechanism is made of plastic
  • Manual crank can be slow to operate
  • Shade is not completely opaque

For homeowners seeking more length in a sun shade to cover long windows, this Coolaroo product may be a fitting option. It measures eight feet by six feet, providing a few extra feet in length than many other options. Also, it resists sun damage, staying in great shape in the long term. The structure is designed for easy installation and can be set up by just one person.

That being said, during the installation process, it may be easy to mistakenly tighten the shade instead of the roll itself. If this occurs, the shade may form creases that are visible at night. Also, the pole that’s intended to use for raising and lowering the pole can become damaged in weather, so you should be sure to bring it inside after using it.

This Coolaroo shade uses a crank operation. While it’s child and pet-safe and omits the use of chains or cords, it may take longer to work than other types of shades.

Pros
  • The 8’ by 6’ dimensions provide enough length for large windows
  • Resists sun damage
  • Easy to install with only one person
Cons
  • ​Crank operation can take awhile to fully unroll the shade
  • ​Shade may become wrinkled during installation
  • ​The pole used to raise or lower the shade isn’t weather-resistant

Gale Pacific Coolaroo Shade Fabric may be one of the best solar shades for blocking heat if you’re on a tight budget. It’s sturdy and designed to maintain good condition for many years. Even amidst the outdoor elements, this shade fabric may resist fraying and tears.

Gale Pacific, USA 302245 6X15 90% Uv Wheat Shade, (6' x 15')

This shade option doesn’t include the hardware that’s needed to install it over your window, which may be inconvenient. But, this also gives you the option to hand-pick the hardware that you want; it’s a trade-off.

While budget-friendly, this shade fabric has an industrial look that may not be the most visually pleasing option that you can find. Also, the edges aren’t hemmed, which may give it a rough, unfinished look.

Pros
  • Can install it with any mechanism that you want
  • Fabric is resistant to tears, damage, and fraying
  • Highly affordable
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with hardware for installation
  • Isn’t hemmed at the edges
  • Not the most attractive option

This GoDear product is a potentially viable option for homeowners seeking a window shade with nominal thermal capabilities. The material is durable and has a high-end look, and the silver tone of the material may contribute to a beautiful interior. Additionally, this shade offers the convenience of the capacity to be mounted on the ceiling.

Godear Design Modern Free Stop Cordless Roller Shade with Cassette Valance, 27' x 72', Room Darkening, Silver, Thermal

This sun shade is more sheer that other options on this list. While it will let in natural light, which some homeowners may appreciate, it won’t block out as much heat as you may want, and it doesn’t offer complete privacy when it’s dark outside. Also, if the measurements of your windows don’t provide enough leeway, this shade may be tricky to install.

Pros
  • Can be mounted to the ceiling
  • Material is of a good quality
  • Silver color is attractive
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer complete sun protection
  • See-through; no privacy at night
  • Can be difficult to install if measurements are tight

Conclusion

The best solar shades for blocking heat offer a combination of sun protection and durability. Among the top solar shade options on the market today, the four products listed here are the best of the best. Between these top options, the Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade, 6’x 6’ comes out as the winner. Despite its highly competitive price, it blocks out up to 90% of UV rays. Plus, it’s built to resist sun and weather damage. With an attractive design that lets in a small amount of natural light, this thermal shade may satisfy the needs of many different consumers.

Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping

How to Choose the Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping

Getting power out in the forest doesn’t require loud generators or home-charged battery packs. Set up some solar in the sun! To find the best portable solar panels for camping, you should have some idea of what you want to charge. Two of the recommendations on this list are smaller, cheaper solar panels sufficient for phones and not much else. The other two recommendations are larger power stations which can handle RV setups and refrigerators.

Renogy’s starter pack is all you need for a great camping solar setup, including a negative grounding controller to protect the electronics you hook up to it. With a 12V deep-cycle battery, it’s enough to power a laptop, tablet, and phone all at the same time. The dimensions make it a little clunky (4 feet by 2 feet), but it’s only a couple inches thick so it slides nicely into a truck bed or the side of a van. Excellent charge time, even on cloudier days!

When you’re headed camping, packing space is essential. And solar panels, for all their great energy benefits out in the forest, can be heavy and clunky. Renogy’s suitcase is one of the great portable solar panel kits for camping. The entire system folds down into a compact, easy cary suitcase. It’s the most expensive option on this list, but it features great charge time and easy packing. If you’re a frequent camper in need of frequent power, the Renogy may be worth the price tag.

The Hiluckey Solar Charger is a foldable solar panel that will charge your phones without draining your finances. Four solar panels fold out for a great surface area for sunlight, and two USB ports charge 2 devices at the time. Waterproof construction, and a 12-month warranty make it a trusted, durable panel. Enough power to charge phones 8 to 10 times (or tablets 3 to 4 times) for great usage per charge.

If you’ve been reading product descriptions wondering why none of these solar panels have built in lights, then you and GoerTek have some like minded ideas about what makes the best camping solar panel. GoerTek’s solar power bank not only has solar to charge your phone, it also has a 36 LED interface to light up your campsite for some night time shenanigans. Less power than some other options, but ideal if all you need is some phone charging and site lighting.

How to Choose The Best Solar Panels for Camping

When looking at camping solar panel reviews, there’s a few different specs you need to consider. Most importantly, you’ll want to know what you want to charge. Solar panels for camping vary greatly in power and cost, and you don’t want to overpay for phone charging.

What do I want to do with the solar panel?

Two of the items on this list are $200 and above, and the other two are around $50. This is because the cost of the ideal camping solar panels vary depend on what you’re trying to charge. If you’re looking to jump car and RV batteries, power fridges, and run an electronics store amount of electronics--you’ll need one of the expensive ones. If you want a camping solar panel to power a couple appliances and make sure your phone doesn’t die, the cheaper ones should be sufficient.

Also think about where you want to put it. You can set it up at your campsite, sure, but you can also easily mount it on your car, like this video shows.

Cost

The small solar panels on this list are about 50 bucks a pop, while the larger ones will run you 200 and 300 respectively. These price points are pretty standard when looking at solar panels for campers. Something to charge your phone will be about 50, and trying to get 12V will push you closer to the 200 mark. If you keep these price points in mind when looking for the right amount of solar panel, you probably won’t overpay for your wilderness power.

Size and Aesthetics

While camping solar panels aren’t exactly string lights for the bedroom, you should purchase a panel that is appropriately sized and doesn’t look ugly. Why should it not look ugly? People don’t like ugly products--if you buy an ugly solar panel, you’ll want a new one in a year, trust me. Get something sleek, and something you’re proud to pop open in front of your friends.

The Renogy suitcase and GoerTek solar bank definitely look the coolest, and both of them are appropriately sized for their respective powers. The suitcase folds into a small carry size, and is only 30 pounds. Meanwhile, the GoerTek fits in your backpack.

Durability

All of the products listed here are technically waterproof, but the solar panel suitcase has a control panel that is not waterproof. The Renogy starter kit is fully waterproof and ready to go.

Power

The most obvious factor. Check the voltage requirements on the devices you plan on charging. If you’re under 5V and USB compatable, a smaller system might do the trick. But if you want to charge a handful of electronics, or anything over 5V, go for one of the bigger options.

Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping Reviews

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller

Unquestionably the best foldable solar panel for camping, Renogy’s 100 Watt 12 Volt behemoth folds down into a 2 x 3 foot flatscreen sized carry case that weighs only 30 pounds. Powerful enough to charge RV and car batteries, and get the electricity up and running at your campsite. Runs DC power which can be converted to AC for powering TVs and laptops if needed. It’s powerful enough to run a refrigerator all day!

Pros
  • Folds down into a compact suitcase for easy packing and easy maneuvering.
  • Waterproof panel for those rainy afternoons.
  • Once the 12-volt battery is fully charged the device automatically switches to maintenance mode to keep you at full power.
  • Strong enough to run a refrigerator all day as long as there is enough sun.
Cons
  • Massive price tag makes it ideal only for the frequent camper who needs some serious power.
  • May actually deliver more power than you need, at 100 watts and 12 volts. Don’t overpay for power!

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer (Negative Grounded)

An excellent choice for getting into the solar camping game, Renogy’s starter pack is powerful enough to charge all your electronics, and features a grounding controller to protect them. It’s a little unwieldy for packing, but provides the power to back up the space it takes up. Can be mounted permanently on an RV or boat, or carried around to your next camping adventures.

Pros
  • Powerful enough to run everything from consumer electronics to a full refrigerator, if you’ve got the batteries for it (a 100ah battery running at 6.5 amps per hour will give you about 15 hours of refrigeration).
  • The entire system, including the cables and connections, is waterproof and built to withstand outdoor weather conditions.
Cons
  • ​Still fairly expensive. While it’s cheaper than the Renogy suitcase charger, it’s still more than the other 2 options.
  • ​Not as much charge as the Renogy suitcase, and once you’re already paying hundreds for a solar panel, you may want to just get the better one.

Solar Charger, 25000mAh Battery Solar Power Bank Portable Panel Charger with 36 LEDs and 3 USB Output Ports External Backup Battery for Camping Outdoor for iOS Android (Black)

The sleekest, smallest portable solar panel. If you need light and phone charging, then this is your best option. It is the best charge panel for the price, and you don’t need to rack up hundreds of watts and a dozen volts if you just want to keep your phone powered. Waterproof, less than a foot long, and fits in a backpack!

Pros
  • Don’t overpay for power you don’t need. If you just want a light and a phone charger, this might be the best solar panel for you.
  • Extremely portable size fits in a backpack, great for hiking and camping, or a day trip to the beach.
  • 36 built in LED lights mean you can skip the clunky lanterns and battery packs. Light your picnic table for some nighttime card games, and charge your phone at the same time.
Cons
  • Not very powerful. You’ll only get a 5V output. USB outputs are suitable for basic electronics charging, like phones and tablets, but you won’t be able to charge anything stronger, like a laptop.

Solar Charger 25000mAh, Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank with 4 Solar Panels, Fast Charge External Battery Pack with Dual 2.1A Output USB Compatible with Smartphones, Tablets, etc. (Waterproof)

Foldable solar panels give you a quick charge time and great exposure without taking up space in the backseat. Dual USB outputs are sufficient for a couple phones on a full sunlight day. It’s a great price, but you’ll also get what you pay for. You can only charge electronics under 5V, and the charge time is slow and eats up a lot of sunlight to do it. Great charger if you’ve got a phone you want to keep boosted on the go, but definitely not a campsite power station.

Pros
  • One year warranty
  • Can’t beat the price. A great, cost-effective way to charge your phone while camping.
  • Compatible with any device that’s under 5V.
Cons
  • Only two USB outputs limit the charge ability. Really only suitable for phones and tablets, and small USB fans.
  • Long charge time--can take from 12 to 24 hours to fully charge a single phone. Not a good long term phone charging solution, as it can take 30 hours of sunlight to fully charge the battery pack.
  • All four panels need to be exposed to absorb sunlight, and a little clouds or shade can hurt your charge time.

Conclusion

It’s so hard to recommend a solar panel when they range from refrigerator-powering super panels for $200 to small phone chargers at $50. If you need a phone charger, snag the GoerTek. But honestly, you might want to spring for the Renogy Solar Starter Kit to give yourself some options down the road.

Sure, right now you only want to charge your phone, but it gives you a higher ceiling later on. Mastering solar energy can bring some great new options to your camping game, and closing yourself off by limiting your power supply to USB cords isn’t a long term option. If you do a decent bit of wilderness adventure, you probably want to invest in the solar panel that will keep devices and appliances powered down the road.

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