How to charge your phone when the power is out
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2 Great Ways How to Charge Your Phone When the Power is Out

A power outage is going to happen at a time when your cell phone is low on battery charge. Right? At least sometimes it may seem that way.

How can I charge my phone when the power is out?!

Cell phone communication is always in demand during emergency, disaster, and often during disruptive events – all of which excite people to call others.

A typical problem though is the power going out. And that means your ability to charge that phone is out too. At least or unless you have other ways to charge it.

Today’s smart phone is integral to our modern way of life. It makes good sense to have other ways to charge your phone if the electricity is off and your charger is dead. So I wanted to recommend two ways to do it.

Best Portable Phone Charger When Power Is Out

This is my Number One recommendation:
It’s an ANKER (brand) portable charger. It’s actually a battery power bank designed with the right USB voltage and power output for your phone and other USB devices.

ANKER ULTRA-HIGH CAPACITY POWER BANK
ANKER power bank, ultra capacity

What’s so great bout it?

“I have owned an Anker portable charger for 5 years and I couldn’t be happier with it. I have used it countless times to charge phones, my handheld GPS, and other USB devices. It will hold “a ton” of charges!” – Ken J.

1. Anker brand is THE best. They’ve been making these for many years and by far they have the best ratings and reviews over their competition.

2. Their portable chargers use a smart charging technique (PowerIQ) which recognizes what type of device you’re charging and will adjust accordingly.

3. There are different capacity sizes. The one I recommend above is the most popular and has a tremendous capacity (20,100 mAh).

Here are a few examples to give you an idea what that particular charger will do:

DEVICE # CHARGES
No. of iPhone 6s charges 7
No. of Samsung S6 charges 5
No. of iPad mini 4 charges 2

Of course it will charge any iPhone or Android phone. The examples listed are for reference.

How Does It Work?

Basically it is a battery. But it’s designed to output the proper voltage and power to charge devices such as today’s cell phones.

You first charge it up with their charger, and then it’s ready to go!

ANKER DUAL USB 24 WATT CHARGER
ANKER 24 watt dual USB charger

It will hold it’s charge seemingly forever. There are indicator lights to let you know how much is left.

Solar Charger For Cell Phones

The other recommended method is the solar charger. There are two types of solar chargers to consider for charging your phone:

1. One is simply a solar panel which outputs the proper USB voltage and power to charge directly to your phone. The following is a great choice, 24 watt panel:

24 Watt RAVPower Solar Charger 3 USB ports
24 watt solar panel charger for cell phones

2. The other is a solar panel with built-in battery (typically smaller and less powerful panel). This type includes a battery  which stores the charge for later use.

10,000 mAh Battery with Solar Charging
10,000 mAh Solar Battery

The best of both worlds is to have the first type (a good strong solar panel with USB output like the 24 watt example above) AND the Anker battery listed initially. You could charge that battery directly from the strong solar panel (a quicker charge) or of course you could simply charge your cell phone directly by simply plugging it into the panel’s USB output.

The second type of solar charger (the one with the built-in battery) is fine, except that it will take A LOT longer to charge up the battery because the solar panel is small and less than 2 watts. Once it’s charged though, you’re good to go. You just have to plan ahead and allow for several days to charge it up. The one listed (#2) will take about 7 days to full charge from zero.

If you are looking for a long term way to charge a mobile phone (or other USB charge devices), a solar charger will¬† last ‘forever’.

What I mean is that you will never have to initially charge it up from a wall outlet or other power source. All you need is sunlight! Eventually a battery phone charger will use up its cycles and need to be recharged. If your power is out for a long time, then you’re SOL unless you have a equivalent solar panel charger.

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37 Comments

  1. Another great way to charge your devices during an outage pick up a cigarette lighter plug in USB charger from the qwikee mart or dollar tree. Start your car and you can recharge most USB devices and you can also recharge your battery charger/storage device (item # 1) for future use. Also for less than $50 bucks you can pick up a small inverter from wally world. That way when you are recharging your USB gadgets, you also turn your car into a mobile generator, and can power TV’s, fans, or light duty 110 volt appliances, all at the same time. Your average car uses less than 1/5 of a gallon of fuel idleing for an hour.

    1. I also have a USB Anker Car Charger (cigarette lighter plug).

      Be aware that the ‘cheap’ ones DO NOT CHARGE QUICKLY. They are very low output and will take ‘forever’ to charge a phone. That’s why they are cheap.

      1. I agree completely. The best thing about them is you can still make a phone call when they are plugged in. And everyone can afford one.

    1. The problem with that, is it’s designed to jump start a vehicle (12 volts @ 1000 Amps). Looks like it might be a nice gadget to have in one’s vehicle…

      It does also have a USB port output – which technically would power a USB device (5 volts) within its own specifications (they claim 4 cell phone recharges). I wouldn’t buy one for the specific purpose of phone charge (there are much better choices), but like I said, it looks like it would work.

  2. Power is OUT here in a wide spread area due to 16 inches of snow last night. Got the Generators running…charging my phone!

  3. Nope
    Not going to comment on this article, every time I get into a conversation about the Power being out or “Grid Down” and how to prepare for it, the Grid is down at my place :-(

    Ok OK, just one comment, “Solar”

    1. Yea, i tried to add a way to charge but somebody didnt like that i wasnt just commenting on their two ways!
      Ahem,,,
      Luckily my skin is pretty thick

      1. Tb, I’ve posted your original comment about your truck. It was originally misinterpreted as being off topic. However it makes sense – with a car adapter USB plug. You could probably charge your whole town’s worth of cell phones with that truck…

        1. No big deal,,,
          I figured you would get it cause you have one,
          Dual batteries, high output alternator, and all the powers of the universe in a 6500# pickup truck
          Ha!
          Well maybe not the universe,

  4. This is actually one area I am comfortable with. have a large (7.5 kw) generator, four different size and manufacturer inverters, (Two are Cobra, one from Wally world, and don’t remember the other off-hand. have a monocrystalline 40 watt solar panel, another 5 watt solar panel, and in my GHB I have a 1.5 W Solio Phone charger I picked up on sale for half price. (#2 above) so my Android keeps on running without to much effort on my part.

    For a little bit more effort, I have a handcrank Coleman lantern that should charge the thing a bit, too.

  5. Just a thought, if the “grid down” situation is truly of catastrophic proportions, your cell phone will be useless no matter how charged up it may be. Cell phone towers /repeaters require power too.
    Back-up Generators will only run so long and Big Brother will most likely have the only system in operation. Just Sayin’

    1. Yes indeed. That’s a whole different story if we’re talking catastrophic grid down, EMP style, etc.. ;) That’s ‘Katy bar the door’ hunker-down time!

      That said, cell towers command a very high priority when it comes to repair during or following a disaster. Like you said, the transmitters have generators.

      Your comment reminded me of something: If a cell tower gets clogged up with too many voice calls, texting will nearly always still get through. That’s an important tip to remember.

      1. The texting trick also works in low signal strength area’s. I think it is because text messages are handled as “packets” and do not require constant signal.

        1. I worked in some places in Texas where even having a booster did not allow me to make a call. However, I was able to send out text messages. Besides sending text messages, the only other way we were able to get out and receive info was using the customer reps satellite connection in his office. When I was working in Saudi, most locations had zero cell signal. The crew was given one satellite phone. Plus, we had a satellite dish to contact the outside world if we were given the password.

    2. – Mountain 2niner –
      If it does so happen, that’s what we are preparing for anyway. Then it’s time to pull out the radios, that don’t need Big Brother’s system.
      – Papa S.

    3. M29
      Over here the cell sites go dead after less than 1/2 hour, i only know of 2 that actually have backup generators and the only reason those sites have gen power is they also serve repeaters for the MPD and MFD, so are critical sites, as far as i know between the gen sets and solar panels and battery banks these sites can run almost indefinitely, the cell part is useless though as without the rest of the network they are dead.

  6. My DIL1 got me a hand crank charger for the phone. Don’t know where she got it from, she just said she saw it on-line and thought of me. Works great, took me about 5-6 mins ,know it sounds like a long time, but in a pinch it charged the cell when I wasn’t near the other chargers.

    1. One of my power banks has a hand crank built in. I suspect it would take a long time to fully charge the battery that way, but still it’s nice to have the feature just in case.

    2. I read one of those survival stories where they had a hand crank charger. Then, later in the story, a recent arrival to their group set up a contraption to charge the hand crank using a bicycle.

      1. – INPrepper –
        I read one of those hurricane survival stories from Sandy. Their handcrank radio gave up after using the crank the third time. Unfortunately, that seems to be a common theme.
        – Papa S.

  7. How ironic! My mother just called me and said their power is out. She asked if I would call their power company and report the outage. I said I didn’t have their co. phone #. She gave me the #. I asked her why she didn’t call them herself, and she said her battery was low on her cell phone!!!!!!!!! LOl

  8. I bought the RAV 24 watt solar panel about a month or so ago. I’ve used it once and it worked quite well, I thought. I had 2 of the 3 USB connections being used at the same time. If I’m not mistaken it charged my android phone by 30 percent within about a half hour. It was a clear, sunny day. I also charged my tablet but I did not take note of the time it took to charge that. But overall I was very pleased.

  9. I’ve got one of those harbor freight solar kits. Not in use. Kind of a spare of the spare back-up. I noticed it had a usb port on the solar charger/ controller / gizmo. It’s a multipurpose looking thing with various outputs for different stuff. Has anyone ever charged their phone with one of these kits? I think these kits are fairly popular or at least used to be.

    I assume that would work. I’ve always just plugged into my solar outlets at the house. If I remember correctly, an emergency radio with hand crank is in a faraday cage. I’m sure that could be used as well. Lots of options. Cell phones are a valuable tool when all is well. If/when things go bad, they will quickly become useless.

  10. Yes I do. I use 2 of them for power distribution. Also very handy to have the 3-6-9-12 volt outlets as well as the usb port. Wish I could find a place to buy a couple more. The new ones are different.

      1. Livin’ in the Woods,
        You have two of the kits? Have you hooked all six panels to the same controller/gizmo? Just wondered if it would handle 90 watts of input from the panels as opposed to the 45 watts that come with each kit.

        Didn’t know the newer ones were different. Better? Worse? Just different? I have several small panels around here for just in case, 15w, 20w, 5w, etc. Thought about hooking up several similar sized and using the HF controller.

  11. @plainsmedic. Yes I had 6 panels hooked to one controller. I don’t think I was supposed to, but didn’t have any problems. However I got a morning star/sun saver controller with a temp. sensor and used that. I was then able to move the HF controllers farther away from my batteries. I put one inside the cabin and one inside my store room. They are great power hubs and I haven’t found any others with all the power plug options.
    All the cfl lights that came with the set still work fine. And I use them several times per week at least. I recently de commissioned the panels. I checked the out put and they are still putting out around 20 volts. I put the panels and an extra charge controller in a Faraday cage for future use. Just in case.
    I don’t have the newer HF set up yet. But I am planning on getting one when they go on sale for $150 bucks. I will leave it boxed up and put it in the cage. There are some you tube videos with the newer 100 watt set.
    I will say again that EVERY piece that came with the old HF kit, still works after 10 years.

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