The Ultimate Patriot Power Cell Review
The following article is a comprehensive guide on the 4Patriots Power Cell. First, we will take an in-depth look at the patriot power cell solar technology and the company behind the product. After that, we will fully analyze the Patriot Power Cell's pros and cons and we wrap things up by comparing the Patriot Power Cell to some other portable solar powered chargers on the market. If you’re here to explore your options, feel free to jump down to the Best alternatives to the Patriot Power Cell section below.
As experts in portable solar power, we have an extensive history sourcing and selling the best solar energy products on the market. In case you are new to this, we will begin by providing some background on portable solar power chargers / cells. If you’re ready to dive into the review, you can jump to the Patriot Power Cell Solar Review - Full In Depth Look section.
So What is a Power Cell?
A power cell is “an array of galvanic cells for storing electricity.” In other words, it's sort of just a fancy name for a battery. Power cells are also commonly known as power banks or portable chargers. With the rise of handheld devices in the last 15 years, small backup sources of power have also skyrocketed in popularity, especially ones with a built-in solar panel. The solar panel acts as a reliable way to charge the actual power cell in case of an emergency or loss of power.
Portable Solar Chargers: Everything You Need To Know
In general, portable solar chargers or power cells generally have the same characteristics and components. Usually, they are lightweight and portable, designed to fit into your pocket or to be stuffed into a backpack. Power cells are used to deliver small amounts of electricity in remote locations for small devices like cell phones, radio's and even lights.
Depending on the specific model, most portable solar chargers can generally be recharged by:
- Being plugged into a Computer via a USB port.
- Being plugged into a wall outlet via an AC power chord
- Being plugged directly into solar panels via an MC4 connector
- Utilizing a built-in solar panel or energy source.
Likewise, in order to use a power cell, the electricity held within the battery will need to be discharged to the desired electronic devices. Most commonly power banks can output energy through one or more of the following methods:
- AC (wall outlet) plugs
- DC (cigarette lighter) outlets
- USB (type A or C) ports
4 Patriot Power Cell Review - Full In-Depth Look
The Patriot Power Cell is an ultra-portable, solar powered charger. The device is designed to fit into your pocket and can recharge any USB device. 4Patriot's is most well known for their Patriot Power Generator which they launched back in 2014. For more information on this, read our in-depth Patriot Power Generator review here.
The fastest way to recharge your 4 Patriot Power Cell is to plug it into a wall outlet (with the AC power chord). Alternatively, the Patriot Power Cell will charge itself with its eye-catching built in solar panel. However, the solar panel may be extremely inefficient, to the point where it's almost just for show (more on this later).
Who makes the 4 Patriot Power Cell?
The Patriot Power Cell is made by 4Patriots, an American company that sells survival gear such as dehydrated meals, flashlights, and water filtration systems. We have previously reviewed the company’s Patriot Power Generator in-depth, which is sort of like a larger, more capable Patriot Power.
4Patriots is based in Nashville, Tennessee and cites “freedom and self-reliance” as their core purpose and mission. To learn more about the company and to see their products, you can visit their website here.
What can the Patriot Power Cell Actually Do?
The 4 Patriot Power Cell is designed to provide a backup source of power for any USB powered device. This means that it can power cell phones, tablets, eReaders, cameras, laptops, and more.
It should be noted, however, that the patriot power cell only includes 2 standard USB Type A ports. If you have a newer smartphone or tablet, then that may require a USB Type C port. If that is the case, you will need to buy an additional adapter, or purchase a different power bank as the patriot power cell does NOT support this.
What is the Battery Life of the Patriot Power Cell?
The exact battery capacity of a Patriot Power Cell is 8000 mAh. Depending on your device, this should be enough power to recharge your smartphone anywhere between two and five times.
Once your 4 Patriot Power Cell is brought to capacity, it can hold its charge for approximately 3 months. This is what is known as the patriot power cells “shelf life.”
Over the course of its lifetime, users can expect 500 full lifecycles charging and discharging from the Patriot Power Cell. Plus, 4Patriots offers some pretty solid guarantees. According to their website, 4Patriots offers a 100% Satisfaction 1-year money back guarantee along with a 2-year extended warranty on the patriot power cell.
How Can I Charge my Patriot Power Cell?
As we mentioned before, you can charge your patriot power cell by plugging it into the wall or simply leaving it out in the sun. The time it takes to charge to capacity, however, varies greatly.
In ideal conditions (i.e. brand new at a cool temperature) the AC wall outlet charging time is about 6 hours. In comparison to other chargers, this is a little slow, but altogether not too bad. On the other hand, the solar charging time of the Patriot Power Cell can take up to 40 hours!
Yes, you read that correctly. 40 hours. Unless you’re through hiking in the desert, there is rarely ever going to be a time where you can efficiently expose your patriot power cell to the sun for 40 hours. Even then, it would take over 4 days of constant sunlight to fully charge. All in all, I feel like the built in solar panel is more of a gimmick then a function.
How much does the Patriot Power Cell Cost?
On the 4Patriots website, a single Patriot Power Cell costs $29.95 (+$9.95 shipping and handling) so about $40 all-in. With that said, you can save some money if you are buying for the whole family. The company also has a Patriot Power Cell 4 Pack which costs $99 (free shipping and handling). A “lifetime access” pass to the company's Preparedness Digital Guidebooks is also included in the purchase of the 4 Pack of patriot power cells.
Is the Patriot Power Cell Any Good?
As it is a relatively simple device, the Patriot Power Cell manages to do its job pretty well. The small, convenient battery bank can charge overnight and be ready for your adventures the next day. If you’re going on a road trip, heading out to camp, or simply think you might need an extra battery charge for your phone, the 4 Patriot Power Cell will do the trick.
With that said, it’s hard to get past the barely functional solar panel included on the device. The whole thing feels a bit like a cheap gimmick. Overall, of course, there is always room for improvement. The Patriot Power Cell is neither the best, nor the cheapest portable solar charger on the market.
Patriot Power Cell Pros and Cons
If you’re debating between the Patriot Power Cell or a different kind of portable solar power charging options, then here is a quick breakdown of the 4 Patriot power cell advantages and disadvantages. Although power cells are relatively inexpensive, choosing a high quality product is extremely important when you are purchasing your source of emergency back up power.
Patriot Power Cell Pros
- All in one, compact device
- Super lightweight
- Comes with built-in LED flashlight
- Passes TSA lithium battery regulations
- Durable, able to withstand plenty of drops
- Long Lifecycle (500 charges)
Patriot Power Cell Cons
- Extremely slow solar charging (40 hours)
- Inefficient AC charging (about 6 hours)
- 3 month shelf life requires frequent charging
- Many reports of device malfunctions
- Only two USB type A ports, no other outlets
- More expensive cost per amp hour than alternatives
Features of the Patriot Power Cell
Want to get technical? Here is exactly what is included with a Patriot Power Cell:
- 1 lithium ion battery
- Dimensions: 5.4" x 2.9"
- Weight: <7 oz.
- Capacity: 8,000 mAh
- 1 Built-in, 5” crystalline solar panel
- Shelf Life: ~3 Months
- Two USB charging ports
- 2-LED flashlights (with S.O.S. mode)
- Included carrying clip
Best Alternatives to the Patriot Power Cell
Now that we have a full understanding of the Patriot Power Cell, let’s take a look at some alternatives. Below, we will outline some different options that may be better suited for your particular remote electricity needs.
First, we’d like to recommend a portable power bank that could be mistaken for the Patriot Power Cell at first glance. However, with the Qi Solar Power Bank you get a bit more for just a few extra dollars. And actually, with free shipping the Qi ends up being more affordable than Patriot.
In terms of upgrades, the Qi Solar Power Bank has a slightly larger battery bank at 10,00 mAh and it comes with a built in compass. Unfortunately, the built in solar panel is nearly just as slow as the Patriots. See the current price for the Blavor Qi Solar Power Bank on Amazon.
Need a bit more power? The ES-982 is a great portable power cell that looks a bit like the Patriot, just larger. Much larger, actually. Although this 7” x 11” solar charger will not fit in your pocket, it would work well on your backpack or dashboard. The ES982 weighs just over 1 pounds, yet packs in 25,000 mAh of power! That’s over three times the capacity of the Patriot Power Cell. You can see the current price for the ES-982 here on Amazon.
Of course, here at Shop Solar Kits, we like a lot of power. In the event of an emergency, you will always be thankful for each extra watt hour of electricity you can get. This is why we highly recommend the Lion Cub Go as a great alternative to the Patriot Power Cell. Although the solar panels are sold separately, the Lion Cub Go is a lightweight (3 lbs.) powerhouse.
In addition to its surprisingly large 120Wh battery, the real difference between the Lion Cub Go and smaller power cells is what it can power. The Lion Cub Go has a full size AC plug, two USB ports, and a DC power outlet. Plus, it has a shelf life of an entire year and is powerful enough to run your mini-fridge!
Lastly, we’d like to raise the ante even higher with the Rockpals 300W portable generator. If you are looking for a way to remotely power electronics via solar power with a small portable system, then this may be the device for you. Admittedly, it is much more expensive than the Patriot Power Cell, but in reality, it's a completely different device.
If you want backup power for an emergency situation, waiting 4 days for your Power Cell to charge simply won’t cut it. With the RockPals 300W portable generator, you can easily charge the 7.3 system with enough solar power to run your CPAP machine, lights, or other survival equipment.
Final Thoughts on the 4 Patriot Power Cell
Overall, the patriot power cell is a reasonable budget option for a small amount of emergency backup power. As solar power experts, we would definitely recommend going with something more powerful as the 4 patriot power cell really doesn't provide a ton of meaningful power, that being said we understand everyone's budget and needs are different.
If you're looking for true portable, backup power sources, we would recommend checking out our complete solar generator kits. If you still have questions about the patriot power cell or anything else related to solar power, feel free to reach out or give us a call today at 877-242-2792.
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