Welcome to our Ultimate TopNotch HQST Solar Panels (100W) Review 2020…
We’ve picked out the best portable solar panels for you.
In this comprehensive review we’ll cover:
- Charging capacity of the panel
- Weight and portability
- Overall performance
- Lots more…
So if you want a high-efficiency solar panel with some really smart features, you’ll love this guide.
Here we go…
- Big and rugged for constant outdoor use for months
- Can be used to power an AC inverter
- Comes with a top-end power controller unit
- Has lightning protection
- Cannot be used unless it’s hooked to a camper power source
- Needs alteration for SAE type connectors on most modern campers
Our Verdict: HQST Solar Panels
Who doesn’t love plug and play solar charging panels?
They’re so simple and convenient aren’t they?
The HQST 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel brings us top-quality solar cells in a compact and easy to use package.
The result? An efficient and affordable package.
These solar cells are made from the best materials to give high efficiency and a long life-span.
In addition, it comes with a 10A controller to make life easier.
The entire system is divided into two parts that get folded into a portable suitcase. So carrying it around the campsite is a breeze.
I can’t miss mentioning the excellent versatility of the HQST solar suitcase that we loved.
Homes, RVs, trailers, campsites, you can use it just about anywhere.
Obviously, there are a few drawbacks…
We wouldn’t recommend it for light travelers.
Moreover, the overall durability isn’t the best you’ll find.
Still, the TopNotch performance of the HQST solar panel kit can’t be ignored.
So even though it wasn’t on par with our Top Picks, it’s definitely one of the best products on the market.
Let’s dive in and explore it in further detail.
Related: 9 Best Portable Solar Panels
Our Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
On our review trip in the RV, we were loaded with top-quality solar panels.
In reality, other than the RV itself, almost everything else was running from solar power.
We judged every panel in line with the standard TopNotch metrics and analyzed them for the final verdict.
Among the 100 watt solar panels we tested, the HQST definitely stood out in terms of efficiency.
If only the manufacturer had paid more attention to the overall durability this could have been a real all-rounder.
And this where the TopNotch Top Picks were clear winners with their all-round performance.
Let’s move ahead shall we?
Value for Money
The overall quality of the solar panels is the thing we check first.
This 100 watt solar panel comes with high quality monocrystalline solar panels.
While HQST doesn’t publish its efficiency rates, the charging rate was as good as the competition.
Value For Money Rating
Here’s the best part.
You get a 10A controller with the panel that’s compatible with 12V and 24V devices.
The smart controller design protects the system against reverse polarity, overcharging, and short-circuit.
Another TopNotch addition – an LCD display in the controller.
On top of that, you get a cable with alligator clips for easy connection with batteries.
However, the HQST 100 watt panel doesn’t do so well when it comes to the overall build quality.
Firstly, long term users we spoke to had issues with the quality of the support legs and the hinges.
Secondly, we noticed that the cable supplied isn’t great quality.
But that’s not all.
The controller unit is very loosely fixed to the frame with tape.
You need to fix it with stronger stuff for long-term use.
Also, the user manual doesn’t really provide enough information.
Given the overall quality, the 100 w solar panel didn’t do well under this metric.
The Suner Power 20 Watts panel was our topper in this category.
Charge Interruption Recovery
Naturally, you can’t expect the sun to be bright all the time.
To keep the juice flowing through light and shade, good Charge Interruption Recovery performance is essential.
All in all, the HQST Solar Panel performed superbly in this metric.
Charge Interruption Recovery Rating
It was a bright and cloudless day when we started our tests. So we tested the panel by moving in between light and shade a couple times.
Initially, we left it out in the full sun for an hour while connected to a Jackery 240 solar generator.
Once the charging rate was steady enough, we brought the 100 w solar panel inside the RV.
As we expected, the charging speed dropped sharply – no surprises.
But, the panel reconnected smoothly with the battery when it was brought back under direct sunlight.
The overall time taken to get back to the steady-state of charging was around 10 minutes.
The overall performance was good but some of our other contenders were better.
So the HQST solar panel stood at the third spot under this metric.
Fact check: The charging speed of the HQST solar panel was pretty good.
In line with standard TopNotch practice, we used a multimeter to check the output of the panel in full sun.
The figures indicated an output of 90W which was enough to charge the battery by 20% within one hour
Charging Speed Rating
As expected, in low light, the charging speed was very slow. This is where some of the other panels put up a much better performance.
Considering the performance, the overall conversion efficiency of our HQST 100 watt solar panel should be above 20%. Come on HQST, publish these great results for us!
In reality, you just won’t get peak performance all through the day. An average output of 70 to 75 W is the best you can expect.
Also, the speed varied depending on the capacity of the electronics we were charging.
On the whole, the charging speed of the device was as good as the BigBlue 28 W solar charger, one of our Top Picks.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
Like some of the other panels on our list, this solar panel doesn’t come with USB ports.
So – easy and direct charging of multiple smaller devices wasn’t possible.
Actually, when you look at the chart under this metric, you’ll realize that the panels with larger capacities can handle multiple devices much more effectively.
Multiple Device Charging Speed Rating
That’s why all the chart toppers under this metric are the higher capacity panels.
So, with a capacity of 100W, we expected the HQST solar panel to perform well in this category.
We connected it with two solar generators and tested the charging speed.
The overall load was distributed evenly by the controller which gives 4-Stage intelligent charging.
One important thing – the battery didn’t heat up much even under heavy loads.
Even in full sunlight, the temperature compensation function optimized its performance.
Quite simply, low temperatures are very good for prolonging the life of the solar cells.
The fact is, under the same conditions, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar panel did give us slightly better performance.
We placed the HQST in third place under this metric.
One thing’s for sure.
The HQST solar panel feels and looks sturdy. The aluminum stands feel durable and the traveling bag is nicely designed.
On top of that, the manufacturer promises 80% efficiency for up to 5 years.
But how does all that perform in the field?
I’m afraid things don’t look good for this solar panel under this metric.
The first thing we noted was that the controller is very loosely attached to the frame. It came off on the fourth day of testing.
While the legs make it easy to orient the panel, the feedback from the long-term users was that they aren’t very durable.
The stand isn’t designed to withstand wind. So you may need to add some extra supports.
Sadly, the attached wire is not only short but also not of the best quality.
Without a doubt, HQST could do much better.
The Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar is a much better option if you want durability without sacrificing output power.
Weight & Portability
Here’s the point- the HQST Solar Panel isn’t a light product.
At 27 pounds you won’t be taking it out for long hikes.
But the silver lining is, it’s well designed into a compact suitcase-like package. Along with the attached travel bag, carrying it around for short distances is fine.
The fact is, most 100 watt solar panels are not designed for light backpackers
When it comes to dimensions, the HQST panel is 27.2 x 19.9 x 2.8 inches.
Though not compact, it’s not huge either.
The panel will be right at home in an RV or a trailer. As long as there is car access, it’ll be perfect for any campsite too.
You can use it in a boat but keep in mind it’s not waterproof.
Now, if you’re seeking something you can easily carry in your backpack – you need to lower your power requirements.
Try the BigBlue 28 W solar charger or the SUNER POWER 20 Watts solar panel. Both are excellent choices that the TopNotch team loved.
Conclusion: HQST Solar Panels
It’s time for a recap.
This 100 W option among the HQST 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel is definitely a smooth performer when it comes to charging speed and efficiency.
As an added bonus, you get the intelligent charge controller. It’s a smart addition from HQST that improves the overall charging performance a lot.
This 100-watt solar panel kit is nicely packaged into a compact suitcase-like frame for easy handling.
Basically, for RV owners, it’s a super good choice that won’t sting when you pay for it.
But when it comes to the overall build quality, it’s a different story.
So, is it a good choice?
Not when you’re seeking the best. For that, you can take a look at the TopNotch Top Picks.
Still, if you need a moderate supply of solar power at a budget price, this 100 watt portable solar panel has some superb features that really stand out.
Now, over to you – it’s your turn to make the right choice of solar panel to suit all your needs.