3 solar gadgets that are actually useful

reVIVE solar charger from Solar RestoreSolar power is not just for rooftops. You can add a bit of green energy into your life now with these four useful and affordable gadgets. All are available under $100 – some much less.

1. Solar-Powered Chargers

Solar-powered chargers are becoming a popular way to charge cell phones and music players. And as more models enter the market, prices continue to fall.

The best chargers will fully recharge in 4-5 hours of sunlight, and you don’t have to leave them outside for them to recharge effectively. Rest them on a sunny windowsill or on your car dashboard to power up.

Best of all, solar chargers work on rechargeable batteries, expanding their eco-friendly application. Invest in rechargeable batteries, use solar energy to recharge them, and leave harmful, disposable batteries behind.

The reVIVE from Solar ReStore is a highly reviewed option and can be had for $28.99 on Amazon. Of course you can also just build your own solar charger in an Altoids tin if you’re the crafty type.

2. Sleek Solar Headsets

iqua 603 sun solar bluetooth headsetExcept for the solar cells covering the front surface, solar-powered headsets look and operate much the same as other Bluetooth headsets. The only real difference is that the operating controls are located on the left spine to accommodate solar cells, but the controls are slightly elevated, making it easy to locate them by touch.

The solar headset, the Iqua SUN, features two LEDs. One indicates the Bluetooth status, and the other flashes green to indicate that the unit is recharging. The headsets feature noise-canceling technology. Some models feature multipoint technology and A2DP streaming. The solar headsets do require direct sunlight to recharge, so they’re best suited for areas with sunny climates.

3. Outdoor Lights

Solar powered sidewalk lights in the shape of flowersOutdoor lights can help visitors reach your front door without a tumble, expand outdoor entertaining into the evening, and show off your home to its best advantage.

With no wiring to fuss over, solar outdoor lights are a simple, inexpensive option for outdoor lighting. Among the coolest are solar-powered LED lights in the shape of flowers.

The set pictured here is available at Amazon for $23.95 and is available in a set of 3 rose or tulip shaped solar lights.

A small solar panel is built into the head of the bloom. In some models, the head of the flower is removable, making it possible to use them for glowing centerpieces on tables or hung from arbors and walls.

About this guest author: Hailing from Oakland, CA, Brittany Mauriss is editor for CalFinder, a free service that connects you with residential solar installers and remodeling contractors. Her passions are music, sustainable building, and helping people make beautiful homes.

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