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Bluetooth speakers have been an outright boon ever since they entered our audio world, able to accompany you almost everywhere you go like your loyal pooch, and often delivering the kind of quality sound that would give many higher-priced audio systems a run for their money. The Bluetooth speaker has become a fixture in our lives.
Yet, for all the joy that it brings, isn't it infuriating when you're having a great day at the beach, soaking in your favorite audio podcast, and it suddenly runs out of juice? Or, when you're having a little party by the pool with your pals and you find out that the only set of power outlets available to charge it are far away from the action -- and there isn't an extension cord in sight? Or maybe you're in a more rustic locale, in which case there isn't any outlet to speak of at all, and you still have many more days to while away in the wild without any tunes for company.
This is where solar Bluetooth speakers, equipped with silicon panels that harness energy from the sun and fire up the batteries, rise above their plainer cousins. Take it where you will, and for however many days, and you can enjoy non-stop audio bliss thanks to the sun god, and for free, no (expensive and polluting) batteries required. Be advised, though, that every one of them needs a full charge before deployment. Since these devices are inherently small, there isn't enough space to house the number of solar cells required to fire up the entire battery. And not all are made equal -- some are more powerful, others more compact, and a few are downright indestructible. Read on to find out which one suits you the most.
It should come as no surprise that Reveal's gorgeous solar Bluetooth speaker, in black or silver, tops our list. It's a bona fide looker, with its carbon fiber body imparting an instant quality quotient that no other device in this category can match. Indeed, you may, for just a second, think you're looking at one of Bose's new offerings. Yet, there's functionality behind those looks, with the carbon fiber exterior shock-proofing the body.
That's not all. It produces great sound, 20W in total through its 40 mm speakers, which also includes rich bass thanks to its thumping sub-woofer. Of course, all this may overshadow one of its key attributes, namely a mono-crystalline solar panel that will allow you to take this minimalist machine just about anywhere without worrying about how you're going to power it. The company says a full charge delivers a whopping 60 hours of playtime, although the truth is that this will largely hinge on how rowdy you get with the volume.
The only disappointment is its anemic IPX5 rating (water-resistant, not waterproof), but a Qi-enabled wireless charger, along with a pair of elegant, magnetic Bluetooth earbuds, should make up for that if the built-in LED flashlight and power bank that the unit comes with haven't already done so.
Abfoce's solidly built speaker is perfect for someone who likes to spend time by the pool or the beach while listening to music or podcasts. This is partly because of the IPX6 certificate conferred upon it, meaning it can take a bit more of a thrashing than its peer group and is able to weather splashes of rain or gusts of dust without falling apart. (Its ABS and silicon wrap-around design makes this resilience possible.) The other reason is because of its 5,000 mAh battery, which can last for 60 long hours, although louder settings will reduce battery life.
Of course, Abfoce's popularity would not exist if it weren't for its mono-crystalline solar panel that continuously charges the system while it plays. Be forewarned--like most solar-powered speakers, this charge is more of a trickle than a torrent. In fact, this is the case with pretty much all solar speakers, which means the speaker is better off being fully juiced from a plug point first and then topped off by the poolside via the sun.
Equipped with an integrated power bank and flashlight, as well as quality sound from dual 10-watt speakers that includes rich bass, this exceptionally priced speaker is sure to keep toes tapping and heads nodding in approval at both the tunes being played and the value being provided at the price.
Exoxgear's Sol Jam speaker does something that no other speaker on this list can do -- float in a pool while playing music. In fact, its waterproof rating allows full submersion for 30 minutes, which is probably beyond what your most raucous party will subject it to. And while you may not be the type to indulge in any of these pyrotechnics while going for a swim or having friends over, you are guaranteed to never feel anxious about what the weather gods have in store for you.
This anxiety relief will set you back $130, though, which is a fistful of dollars above what the other ones cost on this list. Also, the battery on the Sol Jam, at 3,200 mAh, doesn't quite match its weatherproofing oomph, and a full top-up will give it around 12 hours of life before the Suncore solar panel on top of the unit kicks in to charge--far behind the batteries on the top two speakers on this list.
Yet, Sol Jam's sound is distinct and powerful thanks to its passive sub-woofer, and the device itself, resplendent in its signature orange grill, is easy on the eyes, ensuring that it remains a contender for anyone with a hankering for portable audio that comes with a lot of style.
It's hard to imagine that you can score a Bluetooth speaker with solar charging capabilities at a rock-bottom price of $38. However, it is indeed possible in the form of China-based Cyboris' T6 solar Bluetooth speaker that is perfect for the budget-conscious. Most impressively, at this price, the speaker delivers 20W of stereo sound through its dual speakers.
All this comes at a slight cost though--it only has an IPX5 rating, which makes it splash-proof but nothing more, and its 2,500 mAh battery will only go an advertised 30 hours, which is half the distance of the Reveal or the Abfoce speaker. Its silicone rubber cover, however, makes it sturdy enough and sufficiently dust-proof for a beach party.
Also, consumers seem to miss the presence of volume control buttons on the speaker itself (forcing you to use the ones on your phone). But at that low price and the fact that you can actually buy two and pair them together to kick the party up a notch, these issues may end up being mere trifles.
Goal Zero's Rock Out 2 Solar Speaker, powered by diminutive 6W speakers and equipped with a tiny 800 mAh battery, may not enthrall based on a size-for-the-price analysis, but its unique design, along with utilitarian features, is bound to win you over. First off, if you're an adventurer who likes a bit of audio inspiration while climbing or bicycling, you can't do better than the ultra-compact Goal Zero, armed with latticed bungee cords that can easily strap onto your pack or bike.
The speaker zips open into two halves with a mesh pocket on one side that can house your phone while it plays your tunes via Bluetooth. Or, you can use the audio jack that, along with a USB-C cable, sits in its permanent groove in the other half next to the speakers. Pouring rain? No problem, just zip the phone up inside the case and use the set of controls embedded on the front face to groove as you move.
And while 6W may not appear to be much, it's a much deeper sound than what you would expect from something this size thanks to a 'Dark Base' chamber design that, while not occupied by the Sith lord, utilizes airflow to beef up the sound. It even has a built-in microphone that allows you to take calls. You get only 8 hours from the small battery, but simply expose the solar panels on it to the sun god to make sure the music never stops.
Reveal's 20W speaker is my choice for the best solar Bluetooth speaker. It may be pricier than its peers (albeit nowhere close to the SolJam), but it is equipped with both good looks and attractive sound.
With a 5,000 mAh battery (the most powerful on this list along with the Abfoce) and 60 hours of playtime, this unit is already a no-brainer of a choice. But in case you're still on the fence, it comes with a built-in LED flashlight, a wireless Qi charger, and a pair of sleek earbuds.
|Solar Bluetooth speaker||Price||Where to Buy||Battery||Speakers||Waterproof||Max Connection Range||Dimensions/Weight|
|Reveal solar Bluetooth speaker||$80-$90||Amazon, Revealshop||5,000 mAh (60 hours)||20W (total)||IPX5||50 feet||10.0 x 7.1 x 2.9 inches / 1.7 pounds|
|Abfoce solar Bluetooth speaker||$59-$87||Amazon, eBay||5,000 mAh (60 hours)||20W (total)||IPX6||100 feet||1.1 pounds|
|Exoxgear Sol Jam solar Bluetooth speaker||$99-$130||Ecoxgear, Basspro, Walmart||3,200 mAh (12 hours)||20W (total)||IP67||100 feet||1.5 pounds|
|Cyboris T6 solar Bluetooth speaker||$38-$99||Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart||2,500 mAh (30 hours)||20W (total)||IPX5||32 feet||10 x 3.3 x 3 inches/1.1 pounds|
|Goal Zero Rock Out 2 solar Bluetooth speaker||$65||Amazon, Walmart||850 mAh (8 hours)||6W (total)||Weatherproof case||-||6 x 5 x 3" / 0.75 pounds|
Note: Prices may vary depending on promotions, sales, or other factors.
Finding the right solar Bluetooth speaker largely depends on your habits, essentially what you are most likely going to use it for. If you're a road-tripper or outdoor enthusiast who loathes bulk but still wants to pump out some tunes, you will need a very different speaker than someone who wants a sleek unit that sounds and looks good on their patio. However, the more handsome the speaker, the less likely it may be able to weather a full day at the beach. And if you want to extend the rugged quotient even further by chucking it into your pool to impress your kids, there are only a few speakers that can both charge from the sun and float. Suffice it to say that there are options for everyone here.
Choose this solar Bluetooth speaker….
If you want…
….elegance in sound and looks. Reveal is not only a beautiful solar Bluetooth speaker, but also offers impressive sound quality and durability, making it a top choice for those who want both elegance and functionality.
….an all-around workhorse. Abfoce is a versatile solar Bluetooth speaker that delivers a powerful sound and boasts a long battery life, making it a great choice for those who need a reliable speaker for any occasion.
….one that can float on water. SolJam is a unique solar Bluetooth speaker that can float on water, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who love to spend time near the water.
…one that is great for tight budgets. Cyboris is an affordable solar Bluetooth speaker that offers great value for the price, making it a smart choice for those who want a quality speaker without breaking the bank.
Goal Zero Rock Out 2
…one that is innovatively designed and portable. Goal Zero Rock Out 2 is a creatively designed and portable solar Bluetooth speaker that offers impressive sound quality and is perfect for on-the-go adventures or outdoor activities.
I was tasked with scouring the market for solar Bluetooth speakers that fulfilled certain criteria. I established some basic standards, such as the device needing to output at least 20W of power, unless it excelled in some other way at a lower wattage. Alternatively, I looked for speakers that offered exceptional sound quality, impressive solar charging efficiency, long-lasting batteries, or that could withstand the elements at the beach or by the pool. The more features a device had, the higher its chances of making my list. In addition to meeting these standards, I made sure that the speakers were highly regarded by both experts and consumers alike, and of course, affordable.
A solar Bluetooth speaker is a portable device that plays music wirelessly through Bluetooth connectivity and is powered by solar energy.
Solar cells made of silicon, specifically mono-crystalline silicon, coat the top of the solar speakers. When photons from sunlight hit the cells, they stimulate electrons in the circuit, causing them to flow and in turn, charge the Lithium battery located inside the speaker.
Fully charging a solar Bluetooth speaker with zero battery power from just its solar panel may require divine intervention, as it rarely happens. This is a common issue with most solar battery packs compared to larger solar panels that are usually flat and linked together in one unit, providing more stable charging. Smaller solar battery chargers do not have enough silicon real estate to generate a bigger charge that can power a device larger than a phone. It's best to fully charge the speaker battery at home and then use the solar panel to top it up while the device is in the sun, playing tunes or in dormant mode, which it can do with ease. At least you'll never have to listen to the music die.
Every speaker is equipped with an IPX rating, followed by a number, indicating its waterproof rating. This standard, known as Ingress Protection Rating, is more reliable than any product that claims to be waterproof without certification. The IP standard provides degrees of protection against solid objects like dust and water. For example, IPX-4 means the device is protected from splashing water at any angle, IPX-5 indicates protection from a low-pressure water stream from any angle, IPX-6 means protection from a high-pressure water stream from any angle, and IPX-7 means protection against water immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.
To charge a solar Bluetooth speaker, place it in direct sunlight or under a bright light source. The speaker's solar panels will convert the light into energy to charge the battery.
The charging time for a solar Bluetooth speaker varies depending on the amount of sunlight or light source available. It typically takes several hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the speaker.
Not all solar Bluetooth speakers are waterproof. However, many models have a water-resistant rating and can withstand splashes of water. It is important to check the speaker's IP rating before using it near water
The solar Bluetooth speaker space is a constantly evolving one with new contenders constantly cropping up. While none are comparable to the ones we have on this list, here is a sampling of other devices that you may want to take a quick look at.