- Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase 100 Watt Solar Panel
- Rated Power: 100W
- ECO-WORTHY 40 W 12 V Portable Suitcase Solar Charger
- Rated Power: 40W
- Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase
- Rated Power: 100W
- ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 120 Watts Portable Folding Polycrystalline PV Solar Panel Foldable Solar Suitcase
- Rated Power: 120W
How to buy the best briefcase solar charger?
The first thing you need to identify or make up your mind about is what you will use your solar briefcase for? Do you want it to charge your car battery or do you want to hook it up to more solar panels for some heavy duty solar charging to power something more power hungry.
Typically, solar briefcases are designed to provide out of the box 12 V battery charging. If you need to charge something more demanding, you will need to expand your solar briefcase setup with more panels.
However, if your charging requirements are less than or equal to what a 12 V battery would require, you may choose any of the models discussed in the best solar briefcase reviews in 2017, summarized later in this post.
When looking for capacity, look for watt hours per day or total watts capacity. It also helps to see what sort of batteries your solar briefcase will work with or be compatible with. Typically, the best solar briefcase models will work with gel, sealed or the traditional flooded kind of batteries.
You also want to look for instant connectivity, without the requirement for messy wiring. The best solar briefcases will come with clip on MC 4 connectors that will allow you to connect to a battery in just seconds, with the given wires. Besides a quick setup connection facility, also look for the length of the cables. Some manufacturers make great solar briefcases but give you ridiculously short connecting wires that make the whole experience extremely frustrating. Ideally, a solar briefcase should have connecting wires that are at least 10 to 15 feet in length.
Solar panel briefcase with a pre-installed charge controller
In case you did not know, solar charging is an efficient process only when you use a solar charger controller. A solar charge controller can dramatically increase the efficiency of conversion of energy from solar energy to usable electricity, the kind that will power your batteries.
Solar charge controllers can be bought as a separate purchase but the best briefcase solar panel models will have this component inbuilt, saving you a few bucks. It is also better to buy a solar briefcase with a built in charge controllers as chances are that the built in controller is especially configured to work well with that particular solar briefcase.
Besides increasing the efficiency of energy conversion, a built-in charge controller will also protect the batteries against over-charging, over-discharging, over-load, short-circuits and reverse connection errors.
Therefore, it is very important that you don’t skip on buying a cheap solar briefcase that does not include a solar charge controller.
Solar briefcases with monocrystalline cells are the best as the pack in the most density of energy absorbing cells. So, look for those models that specifically contain these type of charging cells. It is also always beneficial to buy solar panels that have been made in Germany, as they have the highest quality.
The high-end solar panels will also give you charging capabilities in low light conditions, something that cheap solar panels just cannot manage. It is also helpful to look for a briefcase solar charger that uses a low voltage system to avoid or reduce the possibility of electric shock hazards, if that is a cause of concern for you.
As mentioned earlier in the post, it is very important that your solar briefcase be very durably built. Since you are going to be hauling this around and laying it open in the sun a lot, you need to look at the quality of construction before you buy one.
Look only for briefcases built out of aluminum and those that are resistant to humidity, water and salt corrosion. Waterproofing is also a nice feature to have although some solar of the popular solar briefcases are not waterproof.
It is also very important that the solar briefcase you decide to buy have an adjustable kickstand that will allow you to adjust to the angle of the sun. Doubly ensure that this kickstand is also made out of very durable quality as you don’t want something that will break when you try to adjust it around.
It is also a must that your briefcase solar charger have a very durable or heavy duty carrying handle. Look for a handle that has been reinforced with heavy duty hinges. If the handle breaks, you essentially have a large, boxy object that will be very difficult to carry around, defeating the purpose of having a briefcase style design in the first place.
Get an idea of how big your solar briefcase is going to be, both in folded and unfolded forms. This will give you an idea of how well it will fit in your car, boat or RV or wherever you plan on using it.
Expandability of your solar briefcases
Though the 12 V charging capacity of most solar briefcases might be more than sufficient for you, there might be times when you will want more out of your solar briefcase. In those instances, it helps if your solar briefcase has expandability options. Make sure that it will work with solar panels of other brands, with a simple add on connection, without a lot of connecting and expanding work.
Just like with any good product, the manufacturer should be able to stand behind a good solar briefcase, with a good warranty program. Some solar briefcases come with a warranty as long as 25 years while some come with just 5 year warranty.
Best Solar Briefcase Reviews in 2017
Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase 100 Watt Solar Panel
This lightweight solar briefcase has a carry weight of 11.7 Kgs. It uses high efficiency solar panels that use the monocrystalline format. As mentioned earlier in the post, a monocrystalline format increases the density with which solar cells are stacked next to each other, giving you more charging power per square inch.
This briefcase is capable of outputting a maximum of 100 Watts.
Made out of very durable anodized aluminum and tempered glass, it can take a lot of rough use that you will probably subject it to.
Though it only comes with a 1 year warranty, a quick read of the solar briefcase reviews for this particular model will tell you that users just love the solid construction quality.
The manufacturer recommends that you use this solar briefcase with Goal Zero Yeti portable power stations for instant connectivity that will take just seconds. This will however require you to buy the power stations separately.
You can expand the charging scope of this briefcase with solar panels made by other manufacturers as well. It features an adjustable kickstand and an extremely heavy duty carrying handle.
When folded, it measures 40.0 x 26.75 x 1.75 centimeters that open up to 101.6 x 70 x 4.4 centimeters unfolded.
ECO-WORTHY 40 W 12 V Portable Suitcase Solar Charger
If you only need lightweight charging from a very portable solar briefcase charger, this will be just perfect for you. With folded dimensions of 14.5’ x 20.6 x 1.38’, it comes with a very rugged carrying bag that will help you protect the briefcase for years to come.
It comes preinstalled with a 3 A charger that will give you out of the box 12 V battery charging. The panels use a very high energy efficient conversion construction that will make the most out of daylight that is made available to it.
This briefcase gives you out of the box over-charge and over-discharge protection. Besides a rugged construction that is resistant to corrosion and high humidity levels, it also carries an IP 22 waterproof rating.
Equipped with quick connect clips, hooking up this charger to your 12 V battery will take just a few seconds of your time. The kickstand is adjustable at various angles, to make the most of solar charging according to the position of the sun.
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase
This model briefcase is one of the more premium solar panel briefcase you can buy today. It comes with a solid 25 year warranty and German made solar panels that are extremely energy efficient. They are also renowned for their ability to charge in low light conditions.
When sunlight exposure is ideal, they are capable of outputting 500 watt hours per day. They also feature a low voltage charging design system that will prevent or resist electric shock hazards. With a 25 year warranty, it is needless to say that this solar briefcase is corrosion resistant. The handle featured on this briefcase is extremely robust and so are the latches that hold it in place.
It ships with a protective casing that will protect the briefcase in transit.
This model too is expandable with solar panels from other brands. When folded, this briefcase solar charger has dimensions of 19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inches.