Gone are the days of having to rough it. Say hello to a portable solar kit that will change the way you experience the outdoors.
With the rise in popularity of van & RV life and car camping, you don’t need a big solar kit to make a big difference — but how do you know which one is the right one for you?
Continue reading this article as we give you tips on how to choose the best portable solar panel kit for your needs.
The 411 on Choosing the Right Solar Kit for Your Needs
As you read the many reviews on solar kits, you might be confused about which one you should choose. Whether you’re an RVer, car camper, into van life or whatever else you want to use it for, these following tips will help you make the right decision.
1. Look at the Brand Name
While a brand name isn’t everything, it should play a role when you’re choosing which solar kit you want to buy. You don’t want to be out in the wilderness and find out your solar is on the fritz.
When you’re looking at the solar panel, make sure you don’t get fooled by a knock-off brand. Just like there are knock-off GUCCI handbags, there are knock-offs of top solar kit brands as well.
2. Keep Wattage Needs in Mind
Before you purchase your new kit, make sure it has enough wattage for what you want to run. As our devices continue to advance year to year, they keep begging for more power so the kit that might have worked well in the past might not be the best choice for you anymore.
You don’t want to charge your cell phone so slowly that it’s painful so get solar kits that are going to pack a punch for your charging needs.
If all you want to charge is a smartphone, you can get by with a 7-watt panel. If you have a phone that isn’t a smartphone, you might be able to get by with a 4 or 5-watt panel.
If you want to charge anything beyond this or if you want to run air conditioning, you’re looking at some serious solar panels, a battery, and an inverter. That doesn’t sound very portable so let’s not go there in this article. We will assume you want to keep your phone charged or maybe an iPad.
3. Know What Type of Panel You Want to Use
There are a few different types of panels you can choose from. These panels are CIGS, Monocrystalline, and Polycrystalline.
The CIGS are flexible panels that you can drape over a chair to get some sun or anywhere else because they are flexible. These are cheaper and lighter weight to make but might not last as long as other panels.
Monocrystalline panels are usually more efficient than cigs. If you’re in low light or cloudy conditions CIGS may be the better option.
Polycrystalline panels are the ones that have the bluish hue, unlike the other panels that look more black. Unless you’re an expert, you probably aren’t really going to notice a major difference in their performance.
You have to decide whether you care about having the ability to use a flexible panel or if you’d like to have better performance without using CIGS.
4. Know How Much Room You Have
Before making a decision on your solar panel kit, you need to determine how much room you have to store and carry your kit. If you’re going to be backpacking with it, you’re going to want to get something much smaller than if you’re going to be transporting it by RV or car and only moving it once you reach your destination.
Depending on the amount of room you have, you can get kits that are panels only, panels with integrated batteries or panels with separate batteries.
While more watts means you’re going to have more power, it likely means it is going to be a larger setup.
5. Choose Independent or Integrated Batteries
Having batteries to charge with your solar panels is the best way to get the power you need. Depending on your needs, both independent and integrated batteries have their benefits.
When you use a solar kit that has an integrated battery, it offers the convenience of having everything together so there’s less to remember and put together. On the other hand, when you use independent batteries, that means you’re able to leave the solar panel at home or in the car and just take the battery if you want to.
Which Solar Kit Is Right for You?
Now that you have all of these choices, which one is right for you?
If you want to be on the move a lot and don’t want to carry around bulky solar panels, you might want to go for the CIGS that are flexible and lightweight without independent batteries. On the other hand, if you’re an RVer that wants plenty of juice, you might go for a sturdier set up with an independent battery.
Decide what works best for you, get a good brand and the power of solar is yours!
Increase Your Savvy Score
Now that you know how to choose the right solar kit for your needs, why stop learning there? Increase your savvy score by checking out some of our other articles on similar topics. We have articles that can help you whether you’re considering upgrading your lifestyle or you just want to enjoy some interesting articles.
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