We’d like to introduce you to the Ultimate TopNotch Nekteck Solar Charger (21w) Review 2020.
Outdoors, adventure, fun with the family – the ideal definition of a good time.
And to make it perfect, you need a dependable power source – like a solar panel charger.
In this comprehensive review we’ll cover:
- Overall performance
- Build quality
- A side by side comparison with our other TopNotch specially selected top products
- Lots more…
If an inexpensive but efficient panel is what you’re looking for, you’re going to live this review….
Let’s get busy.
- Extremely compact form factor
- Rugged and durable build
- Very light and easy to carry
- No leaks even in the most torrential rain
- Cannot power portable solar generators
- No 12 volt or 9-volt output
- Doesn’t work well when it is overcast
Our Verdict: Nekteck Solar Charger (21w)
Frankly, the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w panel certainly ticked some of the right boxes to attract the attention of the TopNotch team.
Looking for a solar panel that works almost like a traditional power bank?
Then this one is a super good choice.
Firstly, the quality of the solar cells is very high meaning top-class efficiency.
Also, it’s easy to handle and the dual USB connectors are a great plus.
Beyond that, the portable solar charger comes at a modest price that means more value.
On the whole, a perfect choice for light travelers needing a simple source of juice for any small device.
Honestly, it doesn’t offer the fastest charging speeds in this category.
I’ll tell you what though…
… You can always pick from the TopNotch Top Picks for the best performance if that’s what you need.
Still, The Nekteck panel has enough going for it to be counted among the very best 10 solar chargers – for a phone – on the market today.
Just keep reading to find out how.
Related: 9 Best Portable Solar Panels
Our Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
When we did our initial research, we found this portable solar charger pretty similar in design to the other products in this range – for example, the Anker solar charger.
Actually, we had a debate about comparing it with products like the more powerful Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar.
However, the key to the entire review (a multi-day RV trip) of solar panels we conducted was portability and performance.
Finally, we decided to pair them up anyway.
That’s why the TopNotch Top Picks are perfect for a variety of users.
Now, let’s find out how good the Nekteck Solar Charger Panel really is.
Value for Money
Considering the price, I have to admit, the Nekteck solar USB charger offers good value.
To start with, the high-quality solar panels have a power conversion rate of 21%-24%.
That’s as good as anything the competition is offering.
It has dual USB ports that allow you to connect two devices at a time – a super practical addition.
Value for Money Rating
On top of that, there’s the built-in smart IC chip that intelligently handles power delivery to the connected devices.
In fact, the device will automatically optimize the overall charging speed.
The lightweight design offers excellent portability – a perfect solution for light packers.
What’s more, we were impressed by the durability of the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w.
Bonus: it has IPX4 level waterproof protection.
Well done Nekteck!
In the end, the panel couldn’t share the top spot as it lagged slightly in the charging department.
But even despite that, it’ll easily satisfy anyone looking for value for money solar phone chargers.
Charge Interruption Recovery
If you’re a veteran with solar panels, you know this much – a small passing cloud can interfere with portable solar chargers in a big way.
And manually reconnecting a solar panel with a battery after it gets disconnected is a pain.
Frankly, we don’t like that.
Not at all.
Charge Interruption Recovery Rating
Well, we found the Nekteck Solar Charger didn’t quite make it to the top of the chart here – but did do pretty well…
We moved it to and fro between full sun and shade while keeping it connected with a Smartphone.
The charging did discontinue.
Finally, we placed it in the sun. After an hour the battery was charged up by only 3 percent.
Then, we repeated the whole performance.
But this time, we manually reconnected the panel and the output was much better.
What about the best solar charger for phones in this metric?
The BigBlue 28 W solar charger is our Best Value product and also one of the chart-toppers for Charge Interruption Recovery.
The good news is, the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w. comes with Fast Charging Technology.
Now, this is important…
Are you expecting the panel to deliver the peak output of 20W at all times?
Charging Speed Rating
That can only happen with the sun at its fullest.
We saw an output of around 14-15 Watts under a bright sun, which is pretty good.
Here’s what I really liked…
The panel also worked well in diffused sunlight. So you can place it beside a glass window and still get good output.
What about cloudy days?
It’s not that it doesn’t work on cloudy days.
But in reality, it felt like moving out of an expressway into a slow country road.
Still, it was one of our better performers under cloud cover.
Point to be noted:
Stick to short USB cables while charging your devices.
We noticed long cables tended to reduce the overall wattage from our Neckteck solar phone charger.
The overall charging process was fast and smooth under bright sunlight.
However, when we compared the performance under the same conditions, the Rockpals 100w foldable solar panel was a faster device.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
As per the specs, the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w did deliver 2 amps per port in each of the dual USB ports.
And the best part is…
…the built-in smart IC chip that delivers optimized power to each port depending on the capacity of a device.
A smart feature we loved.
Multiple Device Charging Speed Rating
But in reality, there is power loss in the system.
In addition, when the sun isn’t at its peak, the charging speed for multiple devices isn’t the best.
We connected two smartphones on a bright day.
In an hour, both of them were charged by 8-10 %.
On the whole, this isn’t the best solar cell phone charger for charging multiple electronics unless the light conditions are super good.
Our suggestion: To derive peak efficiency from this 21w solar charger, it’s best to use it for only one appliance.
In my view, the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar panel is the best option for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
We love solar panels that are durable and the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w is one of them.
The best part is, the panels are enclosed in a canvas cover that’s highly durable.
Even if you keep it inside your backpack there’s no chance of them getting damaged.
Better still, the covering also makes the panels waterproof.
Now that’s a great advantage.
Note that the IPX4 rating means the panels are only protected from splashes.
So don’t leave them out in heavy rain.
Moreover, the canvas cover also keeps them protected from dust in the open.
Apart from that, we also tested the loops in the solar panel.
They seemed durable enough to withstand wear from pretty rigorous use.
However, the panels themselves aren’t very robust.
Make sure you don’t put heavy things on them accidentally.
In the durability scale, the Nekteck Solar Charger achieved a pretty good score.
If you want something even more durable, try the BigBlue 28 W solar charger.
The BigBlue ended up with a higher score due to its better build quality.
Weight & Portability
Lightweight packers will love the overall convenience the Nekteck offers.
It’s got a weight of 1.12 pounds and is one of the lightest models we tested.
The dimensions are 6.3 x 1.06 x 11.1 inches when folded.
Just perfect for carrying it inside your pack.
With the multiple loops and two outdoor hooks you get plenty of options in terms of how to attach or carry your Nektek.
You can easily hang it from your tent, the roof of your RV, or even a branch.
It’s also easy to attach it to your backpack when you’re hiking.
Without a doubt, it’s one of the best portable solar phone chargers on the market for hikers and backpackers.
The excellent power to weight ratio is another reason this panel is one of the best devices you’ll find in this category.
Need something even better?
The SUNER POWER 20 Watts solar panel was another of our Top Picks that performed even better for weight and portability.
Do keep in mind, the more power you want, the heavier the panels will be.
Conclusion: Nekteck Solar Charger (21w)
To sum up, the Nekteck Solar Charger 21w panel is an excellent lightweight performer.
We had to admire its easy-to-use design and some top-of-the-line features.
Nekteck has paid enough attention to detail to make it a perfect choice for plain and simple solar charging.
While it may not deliver the best efficiency like the BigBlue 28 W solar charger, we loved its user-friendly design and the dual USB ports.
Add to that the superb portability and you have a USB solar charger that just shines in off-the-grid locations.
We wouldn’t recommend it for charging a large battery pack – but as an affordable solar-powered phone charger, it’s TopNotch.
So that’s it from us in this Nekteck 21w solar charger review
You now know everything we know!
We’ll pass the baton on to you now to choose the best solar panel to satisfy all your power needs.