Solar lights and chargers made from recycled materials.
This review is part of our New Brands Gear Guide.
By Chris Townsend
WakaWaka is a social enterprise that “works to abolish energy poverty throughout the world by utilising solar power”. This is achieved by “proceeds from the sales of WakaWaka products being used to make solar lights and chargers available for free to communities in crisis situations” and also by developing “sustainable business models that serve the local community”. A blog on the WakaWaka website gives details of the many projects the company is involved in. The name is Swahili and means shine bright.
WakaWaka makes a range of solar-powered LED lights, powerbanks, and solar panels. The first two can be charged from the mains. There are as yet no headlamps but several small torches that are quite powerful and which have stands for use when camping. The WakaWaka Light has a 500 mAh battery and four light settings from 5 to 25 lumens. It weighs 120 grams. The Power+ Solar Charger + Light combines a torch with a 3,000 mAh battery and a solar panel. Weight is 200 grams.
The powerbanks come in 5,000 and 10,000 mAh sizes. Weights are 200g and 283g, which is quite light for powerbanks this powerful. They have several USB ports and can be charged from a solar panel. The 10 watt solar panel weighs 762g. The light has four settings, from 5 to 70 lumens.
All the products are made from recycled high-impact resistant thermoplastic and are bright yellow and so hard to mislay.
Tested: WakaWaka Power+ Solar Charger + Light
£59 / 150g
I’ve tried the 2200 mAh Power+ Solar Charger + Light, which weighs 150g. It took two sunny summer days in a south-facing window to fully charge the battery. By USB mains connection it took four hours. The stand is adjustable so the solar panel can be angled towards the sun. As a torch it’s quite bright, though the rectangular shape makes it a little awkward to hold. As a camp light it’s excellent.
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