The charging speed of a solar power bank is an essential feature to always consider.
When picking the fastest charging solar power bank, you should understand its full features and technical specifications.
Not only is this important for any battery, but since this type of power bank can be charged from solar panels, the price of these systems usually comes at a premium compared to standard power banks.
In short, most solar power banks are a gimmick.
They don’t have the sufficient power necessary in their solar panels to charge the battery efficiently.
So basically you are buying an expensive power bank with a semi-effective solar panel attached to it.
This may seem harsh, but the truth lies in numbers.
In this post, I’m going to tell you the best solar power bank that actually charges fast from solar panels, and then I’m going to compare it to a popular solar popular bank found on Amazon.
The fastest charging solar power bank is the Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC. It charges fast by taking in up to 50W of solar panel input power. When charging with a 50W panel, the Sherpa 100AC will charge in 3-6 hours.
The biggest difference between the Sherpa 100AC and the other solar power banks is that the Sherpa doesn’t have an attached solar panel.
The other typical models do.
Although the attached solar panel is convenient to have for on-the-go use, the solar panels that are on the battery banks are typically very inefficient due to their small size.
Sherpa 100AC vs the FEELLE Solar Power Bank
To show the significance of the Sherpa 100AC’s solar panel input power, I’m going to compare it to another popular solar power bank known as the FEELLE solar charger.
Many qualities separate these two systems from each other, but the main point of both of these batteries is the same: to provide portable power to small devices.
Let’s go over each solar power bank and reveal their individual qualities.
Unlike the Sherpa 100AC’s 50W input capability from a solar panel, the FEELLE’s solar panels can only output a maximum of 5W to recharge its battery. The 5W maximum output is such a small number that its recharge time from its solar panels cannot be found on their product listing on Amazon!
However, five watts from these types of solar power banks is a fairly high number. This may be a surprise to you, but it’s true. It seems like a gimmick because the only reason to use the solar panels to recharge the battery is if you’re in a legitimate off-grid crisis and have no access to an on-grid power source to charge it up at a much faster rate.
The FEELLE power bank comes with a battery capacity of 25,000mAh, which can charge smartphones, tablets, and other essential USB devices easily. The Sherpa has a 25,600mAh battery, which gives it a slight capacity advantage over the FEELLE model.
There are three ways to charge the Sherpa 100AC, while there are only two ways to charge the FEELLE. You can charge the 100AC via solar panels, an AC outlet, and through the car. On the other hand, the FEELLE charges via an AC outlet and its solar panels.
FEELLE Solar Power Bank – Specific Features
A convenient addition to the FEELLE is its LED flashlight with three different modes. This can help individuals find their way outdoors or provide support during emergencies. This may not seem like a needed tool, though, since a typical smartphone will have a flashlight built into its system.
However, the FEELLE has three flashlight modes, including steady, SOS, and strobe.
The SOS feature can be a valuable tool when in an emergency to get the attention of others who may be somewhat nearby in the wilderness.
The power bank is also made from very durable materials to protect from water, dust, rain, or shock.
Its cover is capable of withstanding rain, which may be a very important quality for you.
Unexpected rain can come in an instant in several off-grid trails and destinations, so having a waterproof power bank is reassuring so you can power your devices without having to worry about functionality. The FEELLE comes with two USB-A output ports, a micro-USB input port, and a micro-USB cable for charging the system up.
There is no information stating that the FEELLE protects against overcharging, overvoltage, and overcurrent on its Amazon product page. This is a very important quality to have in a power bank, and with no information on these protective measures, your devices may be susceptible to overcharging.
Overall, the FEELLE is a very portable device with a weight of 1.26 pounds and dimensions of 6.1 x 3.3 x 1.18 inches. Thanks to the weight and compactness of the power bank, it’s easy to transport it wherever you need it outdoors.
Features of the Sherpa 100AC
Apart from being the fastest charging solar-capable power bank, the Sherpa 100AC is a very lightweight and compact power bank with impressive dimensions. The Sherpa weighs two pounds and has a dimension of 7.5 x 10 x 5.68 inches. Thanks to the weight and compactness of the device, it’s easy to use it outdoors for charging devices like smartphones, laptops, cameras, and more.
The Sherpa is one of the top power banks from Goal Zero made from lithium-ion cells with a 94.72Wh capacity. With the battery capacity of the Sherpa, it can charge a POV camera 19 times, a smartphone seven times, a tablet three times, and a laptop 1.5 times.
The lithium-ion battery provides a stable and reliable power supply for users. It also has a low self-discharge rate. Lithium batteries also typically last as long as eight or more years, which shows that you can use them for very long periods of time reliably.
Long-term reliability also depends on how often you use the power bank as well as how you care for it. If you don’t keep it charged and keep it in very cold storage (for example, a garage with no heating in the winter), the longevity of any battery is at risk.
When you plug the Sherpa 100AC into a wall outlet, it takes anywhere from 2.5 hours (60W) to 3+ hours for the device to reach a full charge. The reason why this number isn’t perfect is that the charging time from the wall depends on the wall charger, or power brick, that you use.
The Sherpa doesn’t come with a power brick to connect to the wall. You can charge it with its included USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-A to USB-C cable. You can also use its 8mm proprietary input port, but this requires you to purchase a Goal Zero solar panel separately.
On the other hand, it takes about three hours for the Sherpa to reach a full charge when plugged into Goal Zero’s car charger. When charging via solar panels, the following are the times listed using Goal Zero’s recommended panels:
- Nomad 10: 15-30 hrs (USB)
- Nomad 20: 7.5-15 hrs
- Nomad 50: 3-6 hrs
- Boulder 50: 3-6 hrs
Sherpa 100AC – Port Options
The Sherpa has various outlets for charging devices. It comes with two 12W USB-A ports, two 60W USB-C ports, a 5W wireless Qi pad, and one 100W AC outlet. Thanks to the number of ports in the power bank, you can charge various devices like smartphones, laptops, POV cameras, and more.
OLED Display Featured on the Sherpa 100AC
In terms of display, the 100AC uses an OLED screen to display fundamental data for users. Examples of some of the information that it displays are power usage and battery level.
This came in handy for me when I was attempting to charge my Sherpa with a Nomad 10 solar panel. It was not charging and in the video, you’ll see why (the video starts at the point where I was using the OLED display to figure out what was going on).
What Are the Solar Panel Options for the Sherpa 100AC?
Due to the 8mm solar input on the Sherpa 100AC, you can only connect to Goal Zero solar panels. However, there are adapters available to connect other third-party solar panels if needed. The ideal Goal Zero solar panels to connect to the Sherpa 100AC include the:
- Nomad 20
- Nomad 28 Plus
- Nomad 50
- Boulder 50
The Nomad 20 has a built-in kickstand that clicks into place at different angles to allow proper positioning for maximum solar collection.
If you plug the Nomad 20 into the Sherpa 100AC, it charges in 7.5 to 15 hours.
The Nomad 28 Plus has a 28W panel that features a detachable kickstand offering the best angle for placement and weatherproof layering.
Thanks to the LED indicator in the solar panel, it’s easy to display the strength of the solar conditions.
The Nomad 50 is also a solar panel that can charge the Sherpa 100AC. The panel is monocrystalline with hanging loops that permit strapping to vehicles, tents, and more. Apart from the Sherpa 100AC, the Nomad 50 can charge the Yeti 200X and the Yeti 500X with relative efficiency.
Apart from the Nomad 20, Nomad 28 Plus, and Nomad 50, the Boulder 50 is also an effective solar panel for charging the Sherpa 100AC.
The Boulder 50 is a 50W panel that has an integrated kickstand to angle towards the sun.
It’s built with strong tempered glass and an aluminum frame with reinforced corner protection.
The Boulder 50 is not as portable as the other solar panel options mentioned. This is because it is not foldable. It is best to use the Boulder 50 in situations that don’t require you to hike or backpack far distances.
A foldable solar panel is ideal for charging the 100AC while on the go. You can attach these panels to your backpack and charge the battery while walking. The Nomad 50 may be too long for use on your backpack (17 x 53 x 1.5 in), so it will probably be best to use the Nomad 20 and Nomad 28 with the Sherpa power bank when backpacking or hiking.
Sherpa 100AC – What’s in the Box?
In the box, users get the following:
- Sherpa 100AC
- 5-inch USB-C to USB-C cable
- 5-inch USB-A to lightning cable
- 5-inch USB-A to micro-USB cable
- 39-inch USB-A to USB-C cable
- User manual
The cables are reinforced with a rubberized-plastic material to make it easier to insert and pull out of the Sherpa and your devices.
There are also two storage compartments on each side of the Sherpa to place two 5-inch connectors of your choice. This is a convenient feature because you can easily charge your device of choice without needing to search for a cable lying around in your backpack.
You can see all its accessories and the Sherpa in my unboxing video below.
BMS System within the Sherpa’s Framework
In terms of battery management, the Sherpa 100AC has a charging and low battery protection built-in management system. Thanks to the BMS, users can enjoy an efficient and secure battery. Goal Zero didn’t specify the cycle life of the Sherpa. However, it is expected to be in the hundreds of cycles.
Goal Zero’s Customer Support
As a Goal Zero product, users can enjoy the benefits of the power bank’s customer support team. Customer service is an essential factor to consider before purchasing a power bank. As a buyer, you may have certain malfunctions or questions to ask about your purchase, which makes the customer team essential.
If you have questions about the power bank, you can contact the company via the FAQ sections of each product page, email, or their customer support phone number.
What to Consider Before Buying a Power Bank
Before purchasing a power bank, there are various aspects to look at. Examples of some factors to look into include battery capacity, size, input/output ports, and price.
The battery capacity is typically measured in milliamp-hours and it describes how big the battery is. Anything 20,000mAh and up is a fairly large battery capacity for a power bank.
Apart from the battery capacity, it’s essential to consider the size of the power bank and the safety of the device.
The number of ports is also essential because it defines how many devices you can plug into the power bank at the same time. This is important because you will probably want to charge multiple devices simultaneously when using them.
However, having multiple ports to use also means that charging multiple devices at the same time will drain the battery faster. The solution to this problem is simply getting a large power bank that is about 20,000mAh or larger.
It’s essential to consider the charging methods and charging speed of the power bank that you choose, especially if you’re trying to get the fastest charging solar power bank. Most of the top power banks on the market typically have different methods of charging up, including via an AC outlet, car charger, and, of course, solar panels.
Lastly, the price of the power bank is also very essential. The price level of the device needs to meet its technical specifications and features. The Sherpa 100AC costs $299.95 due to its premium features and technical specifications.
This is a very high price for a portable power bank, especially considering that other solar power banks are a sixth of this cost. The Sherpa 100AC is for people who want the best technology and fastest solar recharging time.
The reason why the Sherpa is the best option for someone using it on long backpacking trips is that the solar input is significantly higher than the standard solar power bank. The average amount of solar output from the solar panels on these batteries is 2.5-7W.
You can review this statement by checking yourself on Amazon for a portable solar power bank. You’ll find that many of the products are very effective in terms of features and battery life. But what you won’t find is a system that will have a solar panel on it that can charge up the battery in a single day.
Having the Sherpa’s 50W maximum input allows you to recharge the system completely while on the go. This is crucial for people who will be off the grid for several days on end.
When trying to purchase a fast-charging solar power bank, it’s essential to consider the Sherpa 100AC. The power bank is one of the best available devices for charging smartphones, tablets, POV cameras, and other USB-compatible devices.
Find the Sherpa 100AC here on Amazon. This is an affiliate link (I make a small commission on every sale).
For all of the details behind my experiences with the Sherpa, check out my review video below on YouTube.