Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: January 24, 2021
Wise Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
You might think that the only way to get a bright flashlight is by using standard batteries, but you would be wrong. If you have the best solar flashlight on the market, you will have no problem lighting up the night with the power of the sun.
Of course, any solar flashlight that you decide to buy should be lightweight and easy to carry so that you can always keep it with you. We have also found many multifunctional models. These units can be used as a flashlight, radio, and power bank, making them an essential piece of gear you don’t want to leave home without. We have also included several models that have a hand crank built-in so that you can always make sure you have enough power to light the bulb, even on days that there wasn’t a lot of sun. To find out which of these devices is right for you, read on!
If you are in the market for the best overall solar-powered flashlight, then this is the right model for you. It is the brightest flashlight of all the different models that we looked into, as it is capable of putting out an astounding 300 lumens of brightness. This will allow you to really light up space with ease, which will make moving around in the dark a whole lot easier. It is also equipped with three different brightness settings to help stretch the battery even longer.
In fact, if you keep this light on the lowest light setting, you will be able to run this flashlight for about 50 hours on a single charge. This is, by far, the best available on the market today. Of course, if you choose to utilize the highest brightness setting, this run time will be cut much shorter, as you would expect.
With this model, you have two different options to keep it charged. You can either use the solar panels, which work very well as long as there is plenty of sunlight, or you can use the provided USB cable to bring it up to full power more quickly.
Once the light is fully charged, you also have the option of using it as a power bank. With this function, you can charge other USB powered devices, such as tablets or smartphones. This is a very nice feature to help keep your devices powered while you are on the go or during an emergency.
If you are looking for a very durable flashlight that you won’t need to worry about breaking from getting dropped or bumped around, then this is the model for you. It is made with extremely durable and thick materials, which make it ideal for anyone that is planning for an extended camping trip or wants a durable light for emergencies. This light also comes equipped with a compass, which makes it even more useful in a camping situation or emergency, since it will help you to navigate back to your campsite.
This light is also quite bright and easy to charge. While the solar panels are quite durable and work very well, the fastest way to charge up this light is with its provided plugs. This light, unlike many other models, can be charged with either DC or AC power, which makes it that much easier to keep charged. You can easily plug this unit into your outlets at home or your car’s DC outlet to keep its battery nice and full. It can also be used as a power bank, which is very helpful.
This light is also built for emergencies in your car. It comes equipped with both a seatbelt cutter and window breaker, which are quite handy if you are in a car accident where you get trapped in your car. These features do make it a bit on the heavy side, but that only adds to the overall durability of this flashlight.
When it comes to versatility in a solar flashlight, this model sets the standard that all others should reach for. First of all, this model can be charged using four different methods. Not only does it come fully equipped with solar panels to charge its batteries, but it can also be plugged into AC or DC or charged with a crank. All of these charging options help to make this a very easy to use flashlight since there will never be a situation where you cannot charge the batteries when you need to do so.
You can also rest easy if this unit is caught out in the rain. It is built to be fully water-resistant, which will keep it from suffering any harm should it get soaked. Of course, it cannot be fully submerged in water, so make sure that you don’t allow it to fall into a stream, pool, or pond should you choose to buy it. This unit is also covered by a lifetime warranty, which is also a nice touch.
Not only can this flashlight operate as a light, but it can also be used as an emergency radio and an SOS alarm. These two features are a great help in emergency situations if you lose power or are lost in the woods.
The only drawback to this otherwise incredible solar flashlight is that it is not very bright. It can put out about 20 lumens of light, which is more than enough for finding your way around your darkened residence, but might not be enough if you are trying to find your way in the woods.
No one ever wants to find themselves in an emergency situation, but they do happen on occasion. It is best to be prepared for the worst so that when it comes, the situation doesn’t become more dire than it needs to be. If you are looking for a good flashlight to have in case of an emergency, then this is a great option. It has a built-in radio and SOS alarm system that is designed to help you stay safe if something unforeseen occurs. It also has a built-in power pack that can be used to charge up your essential electronics.
As you would expect from a device that is meant to be useful during an emergency, this model is quite durable. It made with extra thick materials that are designed to keep it from breaking down on you while you are using it, even if it gets exposed to some water or is dropped. The solar cells are exceptionally well-made, making them both effective and long-lasting.
This model can also be charged in a variety of ways. It has, as we mentioned above, the solar cells, but it can also be plugged in, or hand-cranked to provide the battery power you need to keep the battery topped off.
The only real issue with this otherwise great solar flashlight is that it is a bit on the bulky side. While this helps to make it more durable, it does make it harder to pack into a bag.
One of the biggest issues that a lot of solar-powered flashlights, or other devices for that matter, have is that they take a long time to charge the battery. That is, thankfully, not the case with this model. It can fully charge the battery in 24 hours. While that still might seem like a long time, it is more than enough to power the light for more than double that, which is well worth the wait. As you might expect, it can also be charged through a USB as well.
This unit can be used as a power bank as well as a flashlight. Even if you charge your phone fully, the battery will still last for a good long time. In fact, even if the battery is somewhat depleted, you can still operate it for several hours at its top brightness setting, which puts out about 250 lumens.
This is one of the brighter solar flashlights on our list. It is good for pretty much any situation you can think of. In fact, thanks to its built-in stands, it can be set up so that it is shining more like a lantern than a flashlight. This is especially helpful if you are setting up or breaking down a campsite in the dark.
Though this flashlight is well-designed, it does have one issue. The casing is relatively thin, which might make it more susceptible to drops or bumps. You want to make sure that you pack it away carefully so that nothing happens to it.
Powering equipment through the use of solar cells is nothing new to the camping crowd. They were some of the first folks to start using the technology on the go, and as such, understand its awesome potential. This flashlight, simply put, is perfect for camping. It isn’t overly bright, but it isn’t too dim either. This makes it a faster charger than some other models since it doesn’t have to fill a giant battery to power a bulb that is too bright. It is also designed to have a shorter runtime since that means that it won’t take as long to charge, which is always helpful when you are on the go while camping.
Something else that helps to make this such a good option for campers is its durable design. This is a solid light that will not break, no matter how much abuse you put it through. It is entirely waterproof as well, which will help to protect it should you fall into a stream or drop it in a pond.
This light also comes equipped with a compass, which is always an essential tool while camping. This compass is illuminated at night, which makes it very easy to read even in the dark.
The only drawback of this light is that it can only be charged through its solar cells. While this shouldn’t be too big of an issue while you are camping, it could be problematic if the weather turns poor, since you need a bit of sunlight to keep it running.
If you are someone that doesn’t need a ton of light from your flashlight and wants to save a bit of money on an emergency light, then this is the model for you. It is quite small, which makes it easy to throw into a backpack for camping or keep in a drawer for emergencies. The integrated carabiner will allow you to easily clip it onto your pack so that it is always handy when you need it.
Though this light is not very bright, it more than makes up for it by being extremely quick to recharge and having a very long run time. Since this model only produces about 8 lumens of light, it certainly won’t light up the night, but it is very easy to charge quickly.
This model can be charged with either the built-in solar panels or the hand crank. Either method will quickly charge the light so that you can keep it shining for a good long time. In fact, if you were only to use the hand crank, you would be able to get an hour’s worth of runtime out of the light with only 5 minutes of cranking. This same method of powering a flashlight would take more than 5 times as long on other models to get the same amount of runtime, making this a great flashlight for extended trips into the wilderness.
As you can imagine, since this model is so compact, it is quite lightweight as well. If you are planning to use this light when you are on an extended camping trip, you won’t need to worry about it weighing you down at all. In fact, you will probably hardly even notice that it is there at all.
When it comes to solar flashlights, most of them are either extremely compact or very bright. You usually don’t get both features in the same package. That is, of course, unless you get this model. This solar light is collapsible, which is a huge space saver. It is also quite bright, as it can put out a respectable 150 lumens of brightness on its highest setting. This makes it a great companion for anyone that is looking for a bright, yet compact, solar flashlight for camping or home use.
Even though this unit can put out plenty of light, it can still run for a good long time. In fact, even when you use it on the highest setting, you can expect about 10 hours of runtime with no issue. If you, however, switch it to its lowest setting, then you can expect it to run for 40 hours of light with no problem, which should be more than enough to see you through the dark.
This unit can also be used as a power bank. This makes it very easy to charge your USB compatible devices, such as tablets or smartphones. This charging does take a good bit of battery power to accomplish, however, so bear that in mind when you are using it this way.
One other thing to keep in mind with this unit is that, while its solar panels work very well to keep it charged, they are somewhat flimsy. If you are not careful with them, they will, unfortunately, break. Thankfully, if you just make sure to keep this flashlight stowed in a secure place in your pack, car, or home, you shouldn’t have to worry about them breaking on you.
What we liked:
What could be better:
Flimsy solar panels
Things to Сonsider
We have taken the time to put together a comprehensive buying guide. Within this section, you will find everything that you need to know to find the best solar flashlight for your needs. We have also answered several frequently asked questions in case you need any further information.
Features to consider when choosing a solar flashlight
Though you might know what you are looking for in a standard flashlight, the odds are that you have never owned a solar model before. Don’t worry, because we have put together this comprehensive list of features so that you will be able to buy your new flashlight with confidence.
Now, the very first thing that you will want to take into consideration is just how you will go about charging your new flashlight. Though the primary way is sure to be through the integrated solar panels, there are other backup methods that you will want to consider as well.
Solar Panels – The first and most obvious way to charge your new flashlight will be with these panels. This is by far the most eco-friendly way to get your light up and running since it is coming right from the sun. This is also the slowest method of charging, so bear that in mind as well.
Hand Crank – Many smaller models that have a limited brightness output will come equipped with a hand crank to charge the battery in addition to the solar panels. This simple crank will fully charge the battery in a few minutes, which makes it a great way to keep the light fully charged as you are using it.
AC or DC – Some models will allow you to plug the flashlight into the wall in case the sun was not able to charge the batteries fully or if you forget to set it out at all. Of course, this will be somewhat tricky if you are going camping since you probably will not have a source of electricity with you in the woods.
Backup Batteries – There are some flashlights that use a hybrid system to keep themselves running. These models utilize solar panels to charge and also utilize a backup battery system that uses standard batteries in case the solar charge runs out.
Charging with solar panels
Since you are going to be using a solar-powered flashlight, it only makes sense to want to understand the best way to utilize the solar panels. With the panels, you should be able to get a fully charged battery in 4-6 hours of sunlight. This will depend on several factors, however. It is best to have the flashlight in direct sunlight, though you don’t want it to get too hot. If the sun is too hot, the panels lose some efficiency.
Charging earlier or later in the day is better than in the middle of the day. Cloudy days will also work to charge the battery, though it could take a bit longer. On cloudy days, you should plan for 6-8 hours of charge time to get your battery full. The panels will actually work the very best on cooler days when there is full sun. Even though the temperature might not feel warm, the panels will be able to soak up plenty of power to keep your light nice and bright.
The next thing that you will want to consider is just how bright a flashlight you need. For any light, the brightness is measured on a scale called lumens. The higher the amount of lumens present, the brighter the light. If you are simply using your light for a backup in case of a power outage or to find your way to your tent while camping, then you can probably get by with a lower brightness level than if you want actually hiking at night or going for a late-night stroll.
If brightness is not a big factor for you, then the MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Flashlight is a fine option. This model has an output of about 6 lumens, which makes it great for emergencies or as a backup. On the other hand, if you are looking to really light up the night, then the Hybridlight Journey 300 is an awesome option. This light can put out about 300 lumens, which is more than enough to make it easy to see in the dark.
Another factor that you will want to take into consideration is whether or not you want your flashlight to have different brightness settings or modes. Some models are able to operate in a flashing mode that is really helpful if you are in some sort of distress, such as when your car breaks down, or when you are walking at night to alert drives of your presence. Of course, these different modes will cost a bit more, so keep that in mind before you buy.
If you are not looking for anything more than a simple flashlight, then the Hybridlight Solar Rechargeable Lantern is a good option. It only has one light output mode, which makes it much easier to utilize. On the other hand, the Goal Zero Torch 250 comes equipped with lots of different light modes to suit a variety of situations.
Dimensions and weight
Something else that you will want to carefully consider is the dimensions and weight of your new flashlight. This will mainly depend on where you intend to use it. Obviously, if you are backpacking, then every ounce of weight will matter, as will the amount of space it will take up in your pack. If, however, you are simply going tent camping and only need to walk a few short steps to your site, the weight won’t matter too much.
If you want to get the smallest and lightest solar flashlight but still have plenty of brightness, then the SOS Solarlight Solar Flashlight is a good compromise. This model has a relatively thin profile and doesn’t weigh too much, making it ideal for extended trips into the wilderness. If, however, size and weight aren’t a concern, the RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio is a good option. While this model is larger than many other lights on our list, it has many other functions that make it an intriguing choice.
Waterproof or water-resistant
As is the case with anything electronic, it is a good idea to have a firm understanding of what the terms waterproof and water-resistant mean. Though some folks use these two terms interchangeably, they actually mean two very different things. If something is waterproof, for instance, it is completely impervious to water up to a certain depth, which is usually several feet at the least. On the other hand, if an item is only water-resistant, then it cannot be put into water, but will still function if it gets splashed in a small amount of liquid, such as in a rainstorm.
Depending on where you intend to use your new flashlight, it is best to find one that is either waterproof or resistant. If you are going to be using your new light around a lot of water, then it would be a good idea to get something like the Hybridlight Journey 300 since it is fully waterproof. If, however, you are going to be keeping your light away from large sources of water, a resistant model like the FosPower Solar Crank Emergency Weather Radio is a fine option.
Since you are probably going to be using this flashlight in either an emergency or camping situation, you want to make sure that it is up to the task. That is why you need to keep durability in mind, especially when it comes to solar panels. Since many companies use flexible solar panels, it is a good idea to find some that are more rigid, since these are much more durable. A solid housing is also ideal since it will protect the light from damage should you drop it accidentally.
As far as durability is concerned, no other light quite comes close to the NPET T09. It is exceedingly tough to break, thanks to its thick and sturdy exterior and hefty design. This flashlight should withstand any punishment that normal wear and tear can dish out, making it a great companion for a backpacker or emergency prepper.
Another important factor you need to consider when you are deciding upon your new flashlight is how long the battery needs to last. After all, you certainly don’t want the battery to run out on you in the middle of the night as you make your way back to your campsite after a long day of hiking. The battery life of any solar-powered flashlight is going to depend on how bright of a light it produces. The brighter the light, the shorter the life of the battery. Other features such as USB chargers and radios will also drain the battery quite quickly, so keep that in mind before you use these features too freely.
If you want to get the most bang out of your battery for your buck, then the Hybridlight Solar Rechargeable Lantern is a good option. It can offer up to 40 hours of light on a single charge, which is quite a lot considering it also puts out about 150 lumens of brightness. This model is also quite compact for the amount of light it puts out, making it an ideal solution for anyone looking for lots of light and long battery runtime.
Another big consideration, especially if you want to only use your solar chargers to refill the battery, is how long it takes to fully charge the flashlight. You certainly don’t want to have to wait all day for the battery to fill up, so it is a good idea to look for a light that has a quicker charging time. This is particularly true if you want to be on the move throughout the day.
If you are only going to be using the solar array to charge your flashlight, then the MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Flashlight will work best for you. Since it doesn’t require a ton of power to keep the light shining, you can charge it with the sun in a few short hours. With most other units, you can also plug the flashlight in to keep it charged, which is a much faster way than using the solar panels.
Anytime that you are buying something new, whether it is a new tool, toy, or solar-powered flashlight, it is a good idea to look for a model that comes with a warranty. That way, should anything fail through normal use, you will be able to get it replaced or repaired without having to pay any additional money out of pocket. The last thing that you want to have happen is for something to go wrong with your new flashlight and have to buy another one right off the bat.
Of course, you need to make sure that you read through the warranty information as carefully as possible. Many companies will state that they offer a comprehensive and lengthy warranty, but actually only cover a finite number of elements. By reading through the information as carefully as possible, you can make sure that you have a clear understanding of what is and what isn’t covered under the warranty that is offered by the company.
Surprisingly, there are lots of other functions and features to consider when you are looking for a solar flashlight. Some of these include the following:
Radio – In emergency situations, a radio can be a real lifesaver. They will drain the battery quickly, however, so keep that in mind as well.
USB Charger – Many solar flashlights can also operate as a power bank that can be used to charge USB friendly devices. This can include cell phones and tablets, which is a big help in our technologically dependent world.
Car Safety Features – Some solar flashlights offer features that are meant to help you should you be in a car accident. This can include a seat belt cutter, window breaker, and emergency light, which are all very helpful if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a car crash.
Compass – Some models also come with built-in compass, which is very helpful when you are out on the trail. These simple devices will help you to find your direction, which will, in turn, help to see you back to your campsite safely.
If there is not enough time in the day or the day isn’t quite providing the amount of light you need, there are several other options for charging your flashlight. Of course, each of these will depend on the light you select. Some models can be plugged into AC or DC power, while others come with a simple hand crank. Either of these options will allow you to fully charge your battery, regardless of whether you were able to utilize the solar panels or not.
The number of lumens that you need while you are walking in the woods during the night is largely up to your preference. If, for instance, you are hiking into your hunting spot, then a smaller number of lumens, around 20-60, would probably be appropriate. If, however, you are worried about tripping over things and don’t care if you frighten away any animals, then higher numbers over 100 would be best.
The Hybridlight Journey 300 will provide up to 50 hours of runtime, as long as you have it on the lowest brightness setting. If you were to put it up to its highest level of 300 lumens, that runtime would shrink down to about 5 hours, all told.
Of all the different models we looked at, the one we liked the most was the Hyrbidlight Journey 300. This light has an extremely long runtime, can be used as a power bank, can be charged in more than one way, and is quite bright. Plain and simple, we highly recommend that you check this light out!
The NPET T09 is a great light if you are looking for something durable that is also tailor-made for an emergency. It has built-in car safety features, like a window breaker and a seatbelt cutter. It can also put out plenty of light and be charged through its solar cells or any type of plug.
If you think that the best solar flashlight is the most versatile model, then the FosPower Solar Crank Emergency Weather Radio is the unit for you. This flashlight is also a radio and an SOS alarm. It can be charged with solar, plug, or a crank, which all make it great in an emergency situation.