Imagine this: you pull out your flashlight you’ve been saving for an emergency and turn it on only to find out that it’s in great condition and the batteries are completely undepleted. No wait, I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. . .well, let’s just say it’s a sunny day out and you happen to have your flashlight with you but you forgot extra batteries and the thing is dead. Luckily, it’s a solar-powered flashlight! But it’s completely useless because it’s the middle of the day and you’re wearing sunglasses (hmmm. . .maybe this wasn’t such a good idea).
As redundant as solar-powered flashlights may seem, they are a great way to save energy and resources. They’re also convenient when you’re traveling because you don’t need to worry about your light dying on you and you don’t need to bring extra batteries. That said, here’s a list of some of the best solar-powered flashlights out there. (be warned: some of these flashlights can be a little cranky.)
MECO Cranking Solar Flashlight
This is a very basic hand-cranking light with a solar panel on the back (or front, depending on how you look at it). It has a sliding switch to turn it off and on with, which makes it easier to use, especially given its bigger size. It also comes equipped with a snap clip for easily attaching it to any loop that will hold it. With its multiple charge options, good light output, and cheap price, this flashlight is a great choice if you want a quick solution.
Brightness: 200 lumens
Length: 5.9 inches
Runtime: 4 hours
Neporal 360 Solar Flashlight
Although not a typical flashlight, this little thing can be very useful when you need some hands-free light. The light itself can rotate all the way around the fulcrum, which means the light can be pointed in any direction. The solar panel is featured directly behind the light bulb and, because it can also spin 360 degrees, is easy to point towards direct sunlight. This flashlight also comes with a charging port for connecting to an AC adapter in case the sun doesn’t charge it fast enough. This is definitely more for casual tasks and is another good, cheap option for people who don’t need the best of the best—especially if you happen to read a lot.
Brightness: 50 lumens
Length: 5.9 inches
Runtime: 6 hours
Solarrific W4010 Solar Flashlight
What may look like a cheap-o keychain gimmick is actually a surprisingly potent device. It’s fairly small, which may not seem that impressive given how it’s about as bright as a pair of candles, but the fact that it can accommodate both a solar panel and a crank makes it pretty noteworthy. This particular light comes in a pack of five, which could be nice if you want to store them in multiple places (it can be hard to know where or when you’ll need them). Although this flashlight may not be the greatest piece of technology (and is actually pretty expensive), this is probably the best option if you want to get it and forget it, so to speak.
Brightness: 25 lumens
Length: 2 inches
Runtime: 2 hours
BearsFire Bike Solar Flashlight
This bike light is great for lighting up the road in case you want to see where you’re going when riding around. It also has a speaker that serves as a bell to get people out of your path. Of course, this light doesn’t have to be used on a bike and could be great for everyday use. Maybe you could just use the speaker to annoy your friends (or to make them get out of your way). It also has a USB port for charging things, though I imagine it wouldn’t last very long if your phone is constantly draining its battery life. So, whether you ride a bike or not, this is a pretty good option that’s also affordable.
Brightness: 350 lumens
Length: 4.7 inches
Runtime: 4 hours
ThorFire Cranking Solar Flashlight
Here’s another basic hand-crank flashlight that’s a little bigger and more expensive than the first on this list but somehow way dimmer. This model boasts a brightness of eight lumens, which is barely as bright as a Zippo lighter. And for the size that this flashlight is, it’s gotta be at least 25 lumens, which is still fairly dim. This flashlight would be a good choice if you want your rechargeable light as basic as possible.
Brightness: 25 lumens
Length: 6 inches
Runtime: 5 hours
Compass Culture Solar Flashlight
Quite the opposite of basic, this device includes a plethora of features such as a radio, a reading lamp, and charging ports. The radio is AM/FM with all your basic radio features including an antenna and volume knob. The flashlight itself it pretty bright, although the device is a bit clunky to be carried around all the time. It has both a solar panel and a hand crank (and the solar panel can even be tilted up). I should also mention that this thing comes with a paracord bracelet with a compass, fire starter, and whistle built in, whatever that’s worth. If you like to have a little bit of everything, then this just might be the light (and everything else) for you.
Brightness: 360 lumens
Length: 6.2 inches
Runtime: 10 hours
STOON Solar Power Bank Flashlight
I guarantee you’ll never find yourself at a loss of battery life with this bulk of a thing. It’s designed to be a power bank and just happens to have a light built in, but the light is actually pretty bright. The entirety of one side is made up of a big solar panel, which is helpful given that the battery capacity is equivalent to 15 AAA batteries (and that takes a while to recharge). It has two USB ports so you can share your battery with your friends (or just charge two things at once). This is a great pick if you like your flashlight to last a long time and find yourself needing to charge your phone a lot.
Brightness: 900 lumens
Length: 6.3 inches
Runtime: 15 hours
iRonsnow Solar Flashlight
This is like the other radio device above but miniature. It’s smaller and dimmer and has a shorter battery life, but is also a lot cheaper. It has most of the features that were on the other radio such as an AM/FM radio, a flashlight, and a USB port for charging other devices. What it doesn’t have is a reading lamp, but who needs that, am I right? (Actually, I would use a reading lamp quite a bit). If you want something more portable and less expensive and could do without a reading lamp, then look no further than this (I’m serious—this is the last one on the list).
Brightness: 300 lumens
Length: 5 inches
Runtime: 3 hours
I Guess You’re Saving Energy or Something
With a solar-powered flashlight at hand, you can be sure that you’ll never want for lack of battery power, at least as far as flashlights go. Whether you experience a power outage or get lost in the wilderness, you’ll have a steady light source, assuming there’s enough sun to charge the thing. And whenever you use your flashlight, just think of all the batteries that you don’t have to use anymore.
Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or concerns (or just feel like typing), be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.