We are now so reliant on cellphones for communication, that when a power outage happens, the first thing we think of is, “what if my cellphone battery dies!?”.
We lose power for many reasons (rain, snow, downed power line) and when that happens, we start to worry about being able to communicate if our cellphone battery dies; especially since so many people have gotten rid of their landlines. So what do you do if there is no electricity, what options do you have for charging a phone battery? Having an alternative charging device, such as a whole home backup generator, is a great idea. But that is not even an option for many of us who rent. So if you do not have a generator for your home, you have a few other options to choose from.
While a backup battery is always good to have, they only last for so long. So it’s a good idea to have another option. A hand-cranked charger or a miniature solar panel is two options for restoring a little power to your cellphone. But keep in mind that if it is a large outage, cellular service and Wi-Fi will most likely be out.
Several companies make hand-cranked chargers, including K-TOR. For a simple hand-crank charger, prices start at about $17 and go up from there. While they are simple to use, depending on the devices involved, this can take several minutes of cranking. To use one, you just connect the phone to the device with its USB charging cable and then turn the crank continuously until you see the phone’s battery level move up a notch or two. With that, you should be able to make an emergency call if needed. If hand-cranking isn’t for you, K-TOR also has a pedal-powered charger for about $200.
Etón offers hand-cranked chargers as well; and they also offer portable solar-powered chargers. These can supply energy to devices in emergency and nonemergency situations (like camping) without physical work. Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews products, tested 70 solar battery chargers and found the $51 Anker PowerPort Solar Lite to be the best model for charging up mobile devices. Smartphone cases with built-in solar chargers are another option, even for everyday use.
These products are not very expensive and would be a great investment, should you ever find yourself without electricity.