About Bell + Howell Solar Charger

The Bell + Howell Solar Charger is an “As Seen on TV” electronic device that acts as a “high power, high capacity solar emergency charger” for cell phones and tablets. The company claims that the Solar Charger is easy to carry anywhere, even on your keychain, so you’ll always have power available when you need it.

The Solar Charger is manufactured by Bell + Howell, who does not hold a Better Business Bureau rating. Regarding the product specifically, online reviews appear to be overwhelmingly negative, with the most common complaints citing poor quality, extremely long charging time (2 days of bright sunlight, or 2-3 hours on a computer), and that—even once charged—it does not provide enough power to fully charge devices (most reviews referenced 10-15%).

How the Bell + Howell Solar Charger Works

According to their website, the Bell + Howell Solar Charger can use indoor light, outdoor light, and even plug directly into you computer to provide a portable source of power that can “instantly charge every device everywhere.” Bell + Howard claims the Solar Charger is made with a multi-crystalline solar panel and “high capacity” rechargeable lithium batteries, and that its “high discharge rate” allows power to be instantly transferred to whatever device it’s plugged in to.

Regardless of which device you have, the Bell + Howard Solar Charger comes with all the cables and adapters you’ll need to begin charging right away. However, keep in mind that if you own an iPhone 5, the Solar Charger does not come with a Lightning Cable.

Bell + Howell Solar Charger Pricing & Refund Policy

The Solar Charger is available through Amazon.com, HSN, CVS, and more. If purchased directly through Bell + Howard, you’ll be presented with two options:

  • Basic Bell + Howell Solar Charger: $19.95, plus $6.95 shipping and handling.
  • Deluxe Bell + Howell Solar Charger – Features a triple LED flashlight: $29.95, plus $7.95 shipping and handling.

As with most “As Seen in TV” products, you’ll be able to purchase a second Solar Charger for “free,” just pay an additional $6.95 S&H for the Basic, and $7.95 for the Deluxe.

All Bell + Howard Solar Chargers come with a 60-day return policy, less shipping and handling charges. Simply call 888-326-0978 to obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number, and to begin the refund process.

Bottom Line: Is the Bell + Howell Solar Charger a Scam?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a portable charging solution for your cellphone or tablet, we would recommend staying away from the Bell + Howard Solar Charger. Here’s why:

While it’s true that most “As Seen on TV” products have lower customer satisfaction ratings than similar mainstream products, customer satisfaction levels for the Solar Charger may be one of the lowest we’ve experienced to date. Common complaints include poor quality, extremely long charging time (2 days of bright sunlight, or 2-3 hours on a computer), and that—even once charged—it does not provide enough power to fully charge any devices (most reviews referenced 10-15%).

To add to this, many customer reviews claimed that the Bell + Howard Solar Charger doesn’t necessarily come with all the cables you’ll need, especially if you’re an iPhone 5 owner. This Lightning cable alone is almost the cost of a Solar Charger, so any cost savings realized during your initial purchase may quickly disappear.

Next, while we’ve seen some odd pricing structures in the past, the Solar Charger takes the cake. This is because Bell + Howard charges an additional $10 for the “Deluxe” model that only includes the addition of a triple LED flashlight. On top of this, even though it’s exactly the same size as the Basic model, you’ll pay $1 more in shipping.

Finally, as we discussed in detail in our As Seen on TV Buyer’s Guide, most of these manufacturers make their money on shipping and handling charges, and the Solar Charger is no different. Because S&H is not refundable, you’ll be out $13.90 if you order the basic model, and $15.90 if you order the Deluxe model—in addition to any charges you’ll incur sending it back to the manufacturer. This means that you may actually end up spending more money than what you’ll receive in the refund.

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2 Customer Reviews for Bell + Howell Solar Charger

Average Customer Rating: 1.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 0 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 0 1 stars: 2
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Not a big Surprise

    • Beaverton-Portland, OR,
    • Jun 30, 2015

    I have seen the TV ad for this product and its very misleading (almost a bait and switch). They make it look like: Just put it in the sun and you will have unlimited power. Not so. I have seen this exact same device on Amazon and its not what they say it is (in fact, their website does not list the Specs for the device). I nearly got sick seeing someone try to charge an iPad with it. The one on Amazon is only a 600 mAh battery with a very limited solar cell (like only 50-60 mA in full sun), but their pricing reflects this, $6-$8. I am glad I have not seen the ad in quite a while, its a total rip off.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Total rip off

    • Jun 30, 2015

    The package says its fully charged and ready to go out of the box. That's a joke. Mine stopped charging 2-3 minutes after I plugged it into my phone. This thing is nothing but an expensive flashlight.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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