To narrow down our selection, we get nit-picky about things like weight, as some of these panels are similar in design and performance. The Wildtek 21 was a decent performer, but did not possess any features that were particularly outstanding or impressive. Its average performance in tests like charging speed and interruption recovery landed the Wildtek in the middle of the road in this review. Paired with the fact that its weight is over a pound and a half, it's easy to say that we didn't reach for this panel first. While it's an adequate option, it lacks some of the key features that make up an award winner.
Wildtek Source 21W Review
Cons: Heavy, lacks portability
Compare to Similar Products
Wildtek Source 21W
|Price||$70 List||$59.99 at Amazon||$35 List||$114.99 at Amazon||$160 List|
|Pros||Fairly efficient, reasonably priced, durable||Inexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditions||Relatively lightweight for panel type, inexpensive, charges devices efficiently||Powerful, works well in partial sun, cheaper than other laptop compatible options||Efficient for its size, durable, rigid design makes it easy to prop up, designed and built in the US|
|Cons||Heavy, lacks portability||Bulky, heaviest weight||Ineffective if relying only on solar for power, less durable than other battery packs||Bulky, heavy, hard to set up, complicated adapters for laptop charge||Expensive, large, hard to transport, lacks storage pocket|
|Bottom Line||The Wildtek 21W excels in charging efficiency, but fell short overall due to its size and weight.||We were impressed by the BigBlue's ability to charge our gadgets quickly and reliably; its reasonable price is the cherry on top.||An efficient, compact battery pack with a 2W solar charger on it; out of the panels of this style, the Renogy is a top performer.||The X-Dragon 40W is the largest panel we tested and works relatively well for charging a laptop, though it is cumbersome and heavy.||For a rigid, efficient panel that is well-made and reliable, look no further than the 14W from Suntactics.|
|Rating Categories||Wildtek Source 21W||BigBlue 28W||Renogy 15,000mAh||X-Dragon 40W||Suntactics S-Charger 14|
|Charging Speed (30%)|
|Charge Interruption Recovery (20%)|
|Multiple Device Charging Speed (20%)|
|Weight & Portability (20%)|
|Specs||Wildtek Source 21W||BigBlue 28W||Renogy 15,000mAh||X-Dragon 40W||Suntactics...|
|Panel Size (watts)||21W||28W||2W||40W||14W|
|Weight (measured)||26.5 oz||23.5 oz||9.5 oz||37 oz||20.5 oz|
|# of USB outlets||2||2||2||1||2|
|Max USB Output Current (amps per port)||2 amp||2 amp||2 amps||2.8 amps||2 amp|
|Size folded (inches)||6" x 11" x 1"||11.1" x 6.3" x 1.3"||6.3" x 3.1" 0.7"||10.43" x 6.3" x 2.76"||11.6" x 7.25" x 0.25"|
|Panel Type||Mono-crystalline||PET Polymer||Mono-crystalline||PET-Polymer||Mono-crystalline|
|Size opened (inches)||23" x 11" x .33"||33.1" x 11.1" x 0.2"||6.3" x 3.1" 0.7"||35.2" x 18.1" x 0.04"||11.6" x 14.5" x 0.125"|
|Battery input (Volts / Amps)||n/a||n/a||5V 2A||n/a||n/a|
|Charge capacity (mAh)||n/a||n/a||15,000mAh||n/a||2800mAh|
|Direct USB Plug?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Warranty||2 years||2 years||1 year||2 year||5 years|
Our Analysis and Test Results
While not our favorite panel of this season's new additions, the Wildtek 21W held its own in our performance comparisons. With reasonably high scores in charge interruption recovery tests and in charging speed, the Wildtek was up there among more expensive and larger capacity panels such as the BigBlue 28W and the Suntactics 14W.
Charge Interruption Recovery
In our charge interruption side-by-side comparisons, the Wildtek performed slightly better than both the Goal Zero Nomad 7 and the RavPower 24W, while falling behind in comparison to the Suntactics 14W and the BigBlue 28W. This makes sense, as the Nomad 7 is one of the smallest panels we tested, while the BigBlue has the most output capacity. The panels that have a built-in automatic re-start function, in general, scored higher in this metric than those that do not have this feature. For optimal charging, we suggest the BigBlue 28, as it was able to deliver a decent charge to our devices, even with intermittent shading.
The Wildtek 21 charged our 20,000mAh battery from 73% to 75% over the course of our 30-minute test period. This performance was similar to that of the RavPower 24W panel, though the Wildtek charged our iPhone slightly more (4%) over the course of 30 minutes. In terms of efficiency, the Wildtek impressed us, with a performance that was on par with the popular Renogy 10W and the Suntactics 14W (which also impressed us with its charging ability). Over the course of 30 minutes, the Wildtek 21 charged our iPhone 21%, while the Suntactics model was more efficient, charging the phone 30% in this time. The BigBlue was also more efficient, charging our phone 33% in 30 minutes. Despite being outperformed by a few models, we were still impressed by the Wildtek's overall performance in this metric.
Multiple Device Charging Speed
Here, this panel's performance was more or less what we expected. Over the years, our testing has shown that even 20W panels have a difficult time delivering enough power to effectively charge two devices at once. The Wildtek is no different. This panel had a hard time making a dent in the percentage of our battery packs during our half-hour testing period. For a more effective panel, try the giant X-Dragon 40W or the BigBlue 28W, as these two panels had the most success in this metric.
Like most canvas, foldable panels in this review, the Wildtek fared well in the durability metric. The canvas showed no signs of abrasion and the panels themselves performed well in slightly wet conditions. There were no signs of warping when the panel was left out for long periods of time. We appreciated that this panel had a zippered pouch, as opposed to the Velcro pocket design of the BigBlue or the RavPower 24W.
Weight & Portability
Similar to the RavPower 24, the Wildtek 21 seemed exceptionally heavy when compared to the other panels in this review. Both of these panels weigh in at 26.5 ounces or 1.64 pounds. The PowerGreen 21 (which is the same wattage as the Wildtek) weighs 20.3 ounces. The BigBlue 28W weighs three ounces less than the Wildtek 21, but offers higher performance. All of these panels have three or four foldable sections and have a similar level of portability.
For a reasonably priced 20W panel, the Wildtek 21 is a good option. This panel has a large storage pocket, which adds to its portability. If you are someone that plans to have various electronic devices with you in the backcountry, this panel provides ample storage. We preferred this panel over the RavPower 24W, as it offers better performance and costs less.
With a price tag of $70, the Wildtek 21 is less expensive than the RavPower 24, the Goal Zero Nomad 7, and the Suntactics 14. The BigBlue 28W is less expensive still, costing only $70 for a more powerful panel. With this in mind, the Wildtek was of reasonably good value in comparison to others in this review. That said, the BigBlue is the highest performing and one of the most affordable of the bunch.
The Wildtek offers average performance across the board. With nothing standing out to make this an incredible panel and no red flags or flaws, the Wildtek is a fine option for someone looking for a large-capacity panel for a reasonable price. It charged a single device relatively efficiently, while it struggled to charge multiple devices at once, like most panels of its size.
— Jane Jackson