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Unwrap 7 solar gifts for home and travel

By Tina Moessner

Forget the electrical outlet and realize the power of the sun. Solar-powered devices and gadgets offer convenience and flexibility for bike commuters, nature enthusiasts and anyone with a cell phone.

We researched the devices on the market and discovered useful gadgets for daily life. Before you buy, do research to find what solar devices will work best for your lifestyle and budget. We found customer reviews to be an important deciding factor.

Discover solar power for your lifestyle with these seven solar devices.            

1. Let’s talk renewable recharging

Almost nothing sends us hunting for an outlet faster than charging a cell phone. Turning to the sun can make this daily act a renewable one.

Waka-Waka-Foto-11_webWakaWaka Power is a dual charger and LED light powered by the sun and made of 100-percent recycled plastic ($79). Its battery charges after 12 hours in the sun and can charge an iPhone in two hours, according to WakaWaka’s website. The charger includes a USB port that charges most cell phones. The company has a buy-one, give-one mission, and donates a solar-powered LED light with each purchase to off-grid communities in Africa that typically use kerosene lamps that pose health and environmental risks.SP-3008_b

The Sun Power Bank 6000 has a high-capacity lithium battery that stores enough solar power to charge a smart phone up to six times ($69). It’s water-resistant and has two USB ports for charging two digital devices at once. An LED screen indicates the power available. If the sun isn’t shining, it can be charged using a USB power source.

2. Jam out with solar

Whether on a hike, bike ride, at the lake or in your backyard, there are solar-powered speakers to let you take your music anywhere.

The Eton Rukus XL is made with parties in mind ($199). Its two speakers offer 22 watts of stereo sound for indoor or outdoor use, ready to use after five hours of direct sun. The lithium battery holds eight hours of listening time and the device is Bluetooth-enabled. It can also charge any smart phone with its USB drive.

RO-blue-Hero_CL_SD_webFor portable speakers, Eton also offers the Rugged Rukus portable wireless speaker, with a splash-proof surface perfect for the lake. ($99). The speaker charges in full sun in five to six hours, offers eight hours of music play time, Bluetooth capabilities and mobile-device charging.

Ideal for camping, Goal Zero offers the Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Speaker that can play more than 10 hours of music on a single charge ($129). The device is ideal for travel because it is small, lightweight and water-resistant. Rock Out 2 can be charged by the sun in eight hours or from a USB source in two hours.


3. Light the path

yhst-99239380869547_2272_52231966It only makes sense to use solar lights in your garden when everything else grows with the sun’s help. Use solar lights to guide a path through a yard, to a front door or to a deck. Traditional solar garden lights are equipped with a small panel, an LED light and a stake, allowing placement almost anywhere without cords or outlets. There are a variety of styles for any garden or lawn. Additional solar garden lights include strands to hang from trellises and solar paper lanterns.

The Recycled Glass Solar Garden Light  is made from recycled blue and green glass bottles, is hand blown to resemble the earth and comes with a stake ($46). Its white LED lights automatically sense dusk and dawn.

Consult your local garden or hardware store for additional options.

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