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Ultimate Review of the Best Flexible Solar Panels in 2020

by Lisa Hayden
Best Flexible Solar Panels

Hello readers, we hope you have a good time camping in the woods. Do you have all that you need for the adventure trip? Did you charge your mobile phones, iPads, and iPods? Are you carrying your power bank? 

What do you do when your mobile phones and electric flashlights end up with low battery? Is there a way you can charge them and bring them back to life? What if you want to use any other electrical appliances in the middle of nowhere? How do you use them without electricity? 

Wondering why we are asking so many questions, aren’t you? We’ve decided not to keep you in the dark for long (pun intended). We are going to suggest a simple yet effective way of using natural sunlight to power up your phones and other small gadgets. How? 

By using flexible solar panels, Yes! If you haven’t heard of them already, here is your chance to know everything you need to about this super cool invention. 

Solar panels are not new, are they? We’ve seen them at various places, looming on the rooftops and in open spaces; huge sheets of black and blue squares standing on metal legs that catch sunlight and turn it into electricity. With global warming on the rise, people are being urged to look at natural ways to generate and consume power and save the environment. 

While we are not going get into that aspect now, we are going to talk about the flexible or the foldable version of solar panels, which are highly convenient. You can carry these panels anywhere with you and set them up in a few minutes. You don’t have to worry about the low battery anymore. Sounds amazing, right?

So, let’s talk about flexible solar panels, shall we? In this post, you can take a look at the top 5 best flexible solar panels available in the market and how to buy them. They come in different types and models about which we will tell you all that you need to know. Sounds cool? 

Here we go then. 

Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick

This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start  and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!

Product 

Weight

Type

Dimensions

W-V

BUY NOW

6.2 lbs

Monocrystalline

59.2” x 26.5” x 0.08”

160W; 12V

29 lbs

Monocrystalline

40.0” x 26.75” x 1.75”

100W; 18-22V

4 lbs

Monocrystalline

21.65” x 21.26” x 0.2”

80W; 12V

Other Great Recommendations

10.9 lbs

Thin Film

19.9” x 15.3” x 2.4”

100W; 8V

10.8 lbs

Monocrystalline

20.5” x 14.2” x 2.6”

100W; 16-18V

Best Top 5 Flexible Solar Panels in the Market for the Money 

Best Top 5 Flexible Solar Panels in the Market for the Money

Renogy 160 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel - Editor’s Choice 

The first name on our list is this highly flexible and wonderful model by none other than Renogy. This brand is famous for manufacturing various solar panels- flexible and regular. While each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, we chose the 160W model to add to our list. That’s because it has good output tolerance, is weather-proof, and has multi-layered laminated sheets. 

Do you want to know more about this model? Of course, right? Let’s scroll down. 

Renogy 160 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Features and Benefits 

Design 

When it comes to looks, we don’t expect any designer pieces, do we? A solar panel has to do its job. This one has a grey frame with a white back sheet. It looks pretty much like any other solar panel. But the shape of the cells and their deep dark color are a sure indication of its type. Being a monocrystalline model, it has an efficiency of 18.4%. We wish it was a bit more, but what is produced is sufficient for our needs. And the non-glossy surface allows for maximum absorption of photons. 

Compatibility and Durability 

The panel has a 12V rating and is naturally suitable for devices with the same rating. The cables of the panel have MC4 connectors at the other end to fit many controllers and invertors. The junction boxes are water-resistant, so there is no need to worry about any damages or shortages either. 

Even with minimum features, this model has managed to grab the attention of many people. It is durable and manages to be sturdy despite the sleek design. 

Ease of Use 

We love and dislike this model for its ease of use. How is it possible you ask? Well, let us explain. For one, it is super easy to use. The 248-degree flexibility makes it totally convenient to place the panel just about anywhere- on the vehicle, on the ground, in a yacht, etc. Its lightweight makes it easy to carry it along without any issue. That means we are so addicted to using it, we feel you cannot travel without this panel. 

We don’t have to set it up only on flat surfaces, either. Due to its highly curvy nature, it can be made to stand and bend backward (imagine a yoga pose) even in the most compact spaces. 

Pros 

  • Lightweight and flexibility 
  • High-quality build 
  • Suitable for most devices 
  • Ultrathin section 

Cons 

  • Customer service can be an issue 
  • Need sunlight to be fully efficient 

Check Renogy 160 Watt 12 Volt Price on Amazon

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase, 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel - Best Suitcase Model 

We are going to take a look at the suitcase/briefcase model this time. It is yet another monocrystalline flexible solar panel though it is not as flexible of curvy as the previous one. However, it comes with a built-in stand along with a protective and strong canvas bag for carrying it around. 

While we can call it lightweight (based on how much power it generates), it is still a bit heavy at 11.7 kg. Not something you want to heft around for hours, right? But, boy, it does deliver some steady power. The performance is fully worth the load. 

Shall we read more about this briefcase model? 

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase, 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Features and Benefits 

Design 

The name itself suggests that it is a suitcase model with foldable solar panels. Two panels are folded into one, which opens when you spread them out. They come with built-in legs so that you only have to adjust their position and place them on the ground. They sit well on even ground and do their job with the utmost efficiency. If you want solar panels that generate a good amount of power and can supply it to many devices, this one is for you. 

Compatibility and Durability 

The best thing we like about this model is its reliability and durability. While you do have to be gentle (the stands can break if you use too much force), the panels last for a very long time. It is weather-proof, making it easy to use it in any weather conditions. The unit is quite powerful at 100W and is capable of lighting up your entire home. Not surprising as it is a monocrystalline model. 

There is no need to buy any additional cable or charge controllers. The tempered glass can handle rough usage, but you still have to be careful if you want it to be useful for at least a few years. 

Ease of Use

We cannot deny that this model is easy to use. Yet, it cannot be bent and curved as we do with the above model. Does that cause any issues? Not really. But it does limit the usage. You cannot exactly place this on the roof of the car or curve it around a door. That said, all suitcase models do possess the same limitations. 

Pros 

  • Highly efficient 
  • Removable kickstands 
  • Comes in a protective canvas bag 
  • Aluminum build 

Cons 

  • Need to be extra gentle 
  • Lightweight yet can be heavy 

Check Goal Zero Boulder Price on Amazon

DOKIO 80 Watt 12 Volt Folding Solar Panel Kit for Camping -Best Lightweight Model 

Dokio is well known for the quality solar panels it manufactures and supplies. This particular model is a foldable version of a solar panel with a cloth cover and carrying handle. Instead of being tucked into a box-like shape, the panels are gently folded and sealed on one side with a cloth. As these are made using monocrystalline materials, the panels are quite effective in generating a decent amount of power. However, this one has a capacity of 80W, which is sufficient for charging a few mobile phones.

Flexibility is not an issue with the model though you have to be careful in handling it. Want to know more about what’s good and not-so-good? Read through. 

DOKIO 80 watt 12 volt Folding Solar Panel Kit for Camping

Features and Benefits 

Design 

The biggest advantage of this model is the ultra-thin panel, which is flexible and easy to use. Weighing just 5 lbs, it can be carried anywhere and everywhere. You can set it on the roof of your car, fix it on the terrace of your home, place it on the ground when camping, or leave it draped in your balcony. Isn’t that just awesome? 

But the same also has a disadvantage. What? This ultra-thin design makes it easy to damage the panel. If it were to get caught in a branch or something sharp, the panel is likely to be torn. And once this happens, it becomes useless. You’ve got to take care of that aspect. 

Compatibility and Durability 

One thing we love about this model is its rapid charging capacity. Compared to other models, this one charges faster. That invariably means you don’t have to wait for a while to connect your mobile phones or other devices. The 12V output is decent, if not powerful. 

Compatibility is not an issue though you might have to be extra careful if you want it to be durable. However, the manufacturer offers a whooping 5-year warranty on the material and 25-year warranty on output. Isn’t that wonderful? And with the kind of customer care service Dokio provides, you know your issues will be efficiently handled. 

Ease of Use 

As we mentioned before, you can use the panels at every location. Being weather-proof makes it reliable. Open the cloth bag and spread it wide so that the panels face the sky. That’s it. The dual ports allow for faster charging in less time. You can connect it to the controller, inverter, mobile phones, bulbs, and batteries. That said, the inverter doesn’t come with the unit. You will have to get one separately. 

Once you are done using, fold it back and tuck it into your car or under the seat. Make sure you don’t trample it or place anything heavy on the bag. 

Pros 

  • Lightweight and easy to use 
  • Dual USB ports 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Material warranty- 5 years; Output warranty- 25 years

Cons 

  • Not always consistent with power generation
  • There are chances of the panel tearing due to rough usage 

Check DOKIO 80 Watt 12 Volt Price on Amazon

SUAOKI 100W Foldable Solar Panel - Best for Versatility 

At the fourth place on our list is this foldable and bendable model by Suaoki. Unlike the top three models, this one is made using cloth, PET, and zipper material. It has plastic components, which, unfortunately, are not as good as they should be. Don’t let that deter you, though. This model has quite a few advantages and can be connected to almost any generator. 

It also has special safety features that prevent your devices from overcharging. It’s a great option when camping, isn’t it? You don’t have to sit beside the panel and check your mobile once every few minutes. You can go and cook, swim, or simply relax, as the panels to their job. 

Should we give you more information? Absolutely. 

SUAOKI 100W Foldable Solar Panel

Features and Benefits 

Design 

This model is quite famous for fast charging, similar to the previous one. You can connect your mobile phone, digital camera, and laptop at once. It works perfectly well in charging them and also cutting off the supply once the devices reach full power. 

Despite being a thin film model, it has many takers due to its bending feature. You can not only open and spread the panels on the ground, but you can also make them stand and bend to catch maximum light. The panels have a 30-degree bending curve. Being temperature resistant, it doesn’t need bright light to work. Campers will find it highly convenient to use this model on dark and cloudy days as well. 

Compatibility and Durability 

The panels are 25% efficient and also have diodes that prevent the reverse drain current at night. The panels are said to be highly durable as long as you use them with care. And that applies for every model, doesn’t it? 

The unit has both DC and USB ports for extra convenience. The connectors are included in the kit. At 100W, it is capable, useful, and versatile in connecting with most generators. The model is also compatible with most devices. 

Ease of Use 

The panels are folded into a suitcase and carried around along with camping items. With four panels, you get ample energy to charge three devices at once. The kickstand makes it easy to slant the unit and bend it as you wish. You can also mount it on cabins, boats, cars, balconies, and rooftops. 

Just remember that the plastic used is not of high quality. While it doesn’t affect its efficiency, it does have a few downsides. We recommend you not to use this model if kids aged five and less are traveling along with you. 

Pros 

  • Water-resistant 
  • Heat dissipation capacity
  • Simple and easy to install and use 
  • Ability to bend the panels 

Cons 

  • The plastic used is of inferior quality
  • Not recommended to be used near children below five years

Check SUAOKI 100W Price on Amazon

Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger - Best Value for Price 

What’s better than buying something that’s got the best value for its price? Nothing, right? Despite being at the fifth place on our list, this model by Rockpals is durable, efficient, useful, and reliable. It is also made of monocrystalline materials and delivers the power promised. 

While it is waterproof, the junction box that comes along is not. Make sure you keep that dry and safe. Also, you cannot both the USB and DC ports at the same time if you want good efficiency. But considering the other advantages, we say, Rockpals is a good choice. See more about this model. 

Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger

Features and Benefits 

Design 

Flexible, lightweight, and easy to carry- the design of this model is such that it is very simple to take it anywhere. The panels can be folded four times and carried as a briefcase. The built-in handle makes it easy to hold this model without any effort. 

There is another reason why this model is famous. Guess what? It doesn’t need a charge controller or a solar power station. Being waterproof and weather-resistant are additional benefits. You get three adapters (of different types) along with the panel kit. The user manual makes the initial installation an easy job.  

Compatibility and Durability 

We have to stress the fact that Rockpals is compatible with almost every solar generator. We’ve tried quite a few ones, and there wasn’t a single issue. Among the various models produced by the brand, this one has the most customers and followers. 

Device safety has been taken care of as well as compatibility. It is smart enough to identify how much power a device needs and provides only as much. The kit is durable enough to last for a long time. It generates the promised 100W when the temperatures lie between 0-120 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Ease of Use 

Do you know you can use this unit in more than one method? Yes. You don’t always have to lay it on the ground or on even surfaces. You can hang the panel from a branch, over the tent, or on your vehicle. Folding and unfolding this model takes hardly any time. When you are running out of time, feel exhausted after a long day, or want to catch some light before the sun sets, you will find it highly convenient to use this model. In just a matter of seconds, you can set up the panels and connect your devices. The fast charging mechanism makes it possible to charge devices in less time. 

Pros 

  • 2 USB ports and 1 DC port 
  • 21.5% -2.3.5% efficiency 
  • Four-fold panels 
  • Waterproof pouch for USB ports on the outside 

Cons 

  • No internal batteries
  • Not recommended for charging laptops

Check Rockpals 100W Price on Amazon

Best Flexible Solar Panels Buying Guide 

Best Flexible Solar Panels Buying Guide

Wasn’t that a great list of flexible solar panels? We’ve got to know quite a few things, right? Now, it’s time to get going with the rest of the details. As we’ve already seen, these panels are highly portable. They come with the required equipment for us to set them up at our camps. 

Do you know there are different types of solar panels? Yep. There are a few differences between each of them, but we can safely say that they are all equally effective. 

Types of Flexible Solar Panels 

  • Crystalline Solar Panels

Crystalline panels are more efficient, durable, and reliable. They generate more power, but also need direct sunlight for the same. Crystalline panels are further divided into the following-

  1. Monocrystalline: Made from pure silicon, they are black and the best kind in the market. And why not? They produce four times more electricity. They have a high tolerance and can work even in high heat conditions. But they are also costly and rigid. 
  2. Polycrystalline: As the name suggests, they are made of a combination of silicon and other materials. They are bluer in color and have the trademark squares, which makes them easy to identify. But they are cheaper (to manufacture and buy). They are a bit less efficient compared to monocrystalline ones, but the difference is quite less.
  • Thin Film Solar Panels 

These panels are made with various materials and hence do not produce the same level of energy. Yet, they are famous because they can work even in cloudy weather conditions. If you are going into areas with little light, you should choose thin-film panels. Also, they don’t cost as much. 

Maintenance and Care 

Installation is something you will have to do on your own (every time). You’ll get used to it easily. But have you thought about their maintenance? Yep. You have got to keep them dust-free so that they continue working at their best level. 

There’s no need to worry. Flexible solar panels don’t need heavy maintenance. With a little care, you can make them last for a really long time. Since flexible solar panels are used outdoors, dust, pollen, sand and mud, leaves, and bird droppings are common. These affect the quality of performance of the panels. 

However, all you need to do is use some soap water and a microfiber towel (this is very important) to clean hard stains. Most of the dust gets washed away in the rain or when you run it under the tap water. 

The solar panels are kept at a titled angle to get the maximum output. This automatically pushes dirt to the lower end of panels. Carefully wipe them away with a soft cloth, and you’re done. Make sure that the cloth is clean and smooth. The last thing you want is to damage the photovoltaic panels. Right?  

Benefits of Flexible Solar Panels 

How can we not talk about the benefits of solar panels? When these are so useful, we cannot ignore the advantages, can we? And we also like to make sure that you are fully convinced about buying flexible solar panels. 

  • Portability: The name says it all. Fold them, bend them, and carry them wherever you want. Put them on the top of your car, stick them to your windshield, lay them out on the ground in a forest, and whatnot. 
  • Cost-effective: One of the reasons to use solar power is to cut down our expenses. Flexible solar panels serve the same purpose. Instead of you having to pay extra to charge your phones and devices outside, you can make use of sunlight. 
  • No Noise: Ever heard of solar panels making noise? No, right? They use an effective method of capturing sunlight and converting it to energy. There is no machine or motor involved in the process. You won’t be bothered by any noise buzzing beside you. 
  • Environment-friendly: No carbon footprint, no harmful chemicals, and no use of fossil fuels. Solar panels are eco-friendly and safe to use. You don’t have to feel guilty about generating extra energy. 
  • Easy Installation: There are only two ways to install flexible solar panels. If you have bought the foldable model, you’ll simply have it open and unfold it. It’s similar to unfolding a long cloth bag. And if you have the suitcase model, it has a sturdy kickstand along with the solar panel. Fix the stand to the ground and place the panel on it. Voila, you’re done. 
  • Highly Convenient: What more convenient than carrying an easy device that can generate and store energy for your consumption? They don’t help just travelers and campers. They also help us when at home. What do you when there is a power outage, and you need electricity? Use these flexible solar panels. Put them back inside when they are not needed. Simple, right? 

Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Flexible Solar Panels

After listing out the benefits, it’s time to see the most important part of the buying guide. Which factors should you consider when selecting the best flexible solar panels? Take a look below. 

  • Energy Output 

The power generated by the solar panels is displayed in terms of watts. You can buy flexible panels of 60W, 80W, 100W, and 200W, though their size will increase accordingly. It depends on how many devices you will be connecting and using. A 60W panel can handle mobiles and basic charging requirements. 

  • Durability and Reliability 

Solar panels are meant to be long-lasting. But what about their performance? It’s no surprise that they start to become less efficient over time. You have to keep an eye on their performance to understand this. However, you can check what others have to say. 0.2% to 0.7% decrease in efficiency is common in solar panels. 

  • Size and Weight

You don’t want to lunge around heavy boxes with solar panels, do you? They should be easy to fold, carry, and use. Choose the lightweight versions and the ones that can be packed into compact pouches or suitcases. 

  • Brand Name 

When it comes to choosing between two best products, how you do take your final pick? One way is to go by the brand name and reputation. And by that, we mean you’ve got to choose a manufacturer who is known for service and quality. These are two things you should not compromise about, right? 

  • Device Compatibility 

How can you charge your devices if you cannot connect them to the unit? Make sure you choose the one that is compatible with the devices you own. Also, the panel needs to have different connectors for better usage. 

  • Efficiency Conversion 

While we placed it at last on our list, efficiency is an important factor to consider. Most panels have an efficiency rate between 14% and 22%. Some have the best rate of around 25%. Anything that falls within this range is a good choice if other aspects are suitable. 

Conclusion 

There are a lot of factors to consider, right? We suggest you take your time in going through each product and then take a pick. Don’t forget the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Since flexible solar panels last for years, you want to get one with a decent warranty. Next time, you go on an adventure trip or are worried about a power outage, take out the panels, and keep the energy flowing. Bye for now. See you soon. 

Current Best Selling Flexible Solar Panels!

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