7 Best Solar Watches With a Compass in 2024

Last Updated on 14/05/2024

What is the best solar watch

Who Makes the Best Solar Powered Watches?

In this guide to the best solar watches, we share our personal favorites as well as the most popular timepieces that don’t need batteries and are powered by the sun. Casio is the world leader for digital solar watches while CItizen makes the best analog solar watches. There are of course other cheap knockoffs that do the job but we are only looking for watches we would gift our dads or ourselves.

The best solar-powered watches are designed to never run out of battery and never have to open them up to change the batteries. Waterproof watches especially don’t like being opened up and every time you do you risk damaging the seal and ruining your watch in the future. Outdoor watches also need to be tough so the seal doesn’t get broken through abrasions.

The benefits of a solar-powered watch are that if you spend a lot of time outdoors, you never run out of battery and it is constantly recharging wherever you go. They are no bigger or bulkier than a standard watch and will no doubt become more popular over the coming years. You can even get a mini solar watch charger to use overnight which I think opens this technology up to smartwatches in the future.

Using the power of the sun is one of the most sustainable ways to generate energy and the fact that you can now do this with a wristwatch blows our minds. Having worn a solar watch every day for the past 4 years I can tell you they are great and especially for digital watches that typically aren’t available with automatic movement. Here is our guide to choosing the best solar watch:

Top 7 Best Solar Watches

Casio Pro Trek PRG-240-1 Tough Solar Watch With Compass

Casio Watch Protrek Triple Sensor Tough Solar 2-Tier LCD Model Prg-240-1 Men's Watch

  • WEIGHT: 65.4 g
  • DIMENSIONS: (W x D) 55 mm x 15.3 mm
  • MATERIALS: Black Plastic Resin
  • FEATURES: World Clock, 5 x Daily Alarms, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Backlight, Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Thermometer, Sunrise Sunset Data
  • BATTERY: Tough Solar Powered
  • WATERPROOF: 10 BAR / 100 M

The Casio Pro Trek PRG-240-1 is the best solar watch with compass we have tested and is so easy to use to make sure you are staying on course. The directional compass displays a reading in degrees as well as having a digital overlay showing hands of a compass that moves in real-time. Pressing the top right button brings up this feature and it takes around 1 – 2 seconds to calibrate before showing you the compass. Having tested the compass next to a Silva compass I can confirm that it is accurate enough to trust.

Designed from the tough G-Shock resin casing with a Duplex LCD screen that is also scratch and abrasion-resistant, this watch is feature-rich without being too complex to use while jogging or swimming. As well as the digital compass, this solar watch also has a barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and daylight data to help you plan your day with the flick of a wrist.

Casio’s rechargeable solar battery will last for up to 6 months on a full charge of sunlight which is less than others but it does have more features to power so it makes sense. This is more than enough to see you through a winter of low sun and long-sleeved shirts covering your wrists.

If the two most important features in a watch are solar and a compass then this is by far the best option out there for a very reasonable price. Other things we like are that it isn’t too big or too deep and the buttons are easy to find and press with cold fingers.

Outdoor gear buy


Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Tough Solar Compass Watch

Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Tough Solar Triple Sensor Digital Sport Watch

  • WEIGHT: 128 g
  • DIMENSIONS: 56.9 mm x 14.5 mm
  • MATERIALS: Stainless Steel Rotating Bezel, Titanium Band
  • FEATURES: Multi-Band 6 Synchronization, World Clock, 5 x Daily Alarms, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Backlight, Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Thermometer, Sunrise Sunset Data
  • BATTERY: Tough Solar Powered
  • WATERPROOF: 20 BAR / 200 M

The Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR is the second-best solar compass watch in this guide and is regarded by many as the most accurate. It features all the same functions as the Casio Pro Trek PRG-240-1 with the addition of the Multi-band 6 synchronization as well as a completely different design. The sleek looks really do make this solar watch stand out with a rotating stainless steel bezel and titanium band, you can wear this to a dinner party or to do a cross country hike.

This is one of the larger faced solar watches at just under 57 mm wide so if you have skinny wrists like me this does feel particularly large. Still, I have come to learn that you soon get used to larger watches after just a few days. It is the depth that can often be more of an issue but this is nice and slim so it doesn’t catch when you put your hands in your pockets.

If you want a metal solar watch with a digital compass you can use at night and triple sensors then this is a really solid option if you are ok with the size of it. The time is updated every single day from 1 of 6 atomic clocks around the world and the data from the triple sensor matches very closely to the same data on smartphone apps.

Outdoor gear buy


Casio G-Shock GWM5610-1 Solar Sport Watch

Casio Men's G-SHOCK Quartz Watch with Resin Strap, Black, 20 (Model: GWM5610-1)

  • WEIGHT: 52 g
  • DIMENSIONS: (W x D) 43 mm x 12.5 mm
  • MATERIALS: Black Plastic Resin
  • FEATURES: Multi-Band 6 Synchronization, World Clock, 4 x Daily Alarms with 1 x Snooze, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Automatic/Manual Backlight
  • BATTERY: Tough Solar Powered
  • WATERPROOF: 20 BAR / 200 M

The Casio G-Shock GWM5610-1 Solar Sports Watch is the best value solar watch that is probably the right choice for 80% of people. It has multiband synchronization which updates daily at around 2 pm and makes this watch more accurate than your iPhone. You have access to a world clock which also updates to the millisecond once a day and allows you to check the time in another part of the world with one press of the top left button.

For 3 months of the year, this watch stays on full battery the entire time. During winter, however, when I am wearing hoodies and jackets, most of the time it doesn’t get the chance to recharge. During this time it can drop down to low charge but after a day in direct sunlight, it is back up to full charge. I typically have to do this once per winter in January to keep it topped up until spring.

I really like the small size, shape, and features of this solar watch, and because it is such good value we have to rank it number one. For rugged outdoor work, this is the kind of indestructibleness is that you need. Read the in-depth review here…

Outdoor gear buy


Garmin Instinct Solar Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch With GPS

Garmin Instinct Solar, Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Built-in Sports Apps and Health Monitoring, Sunburst Yellow

  • WEIGHT: 53 g
  • DIMENSIONS: 45 mm x 15.3 mm
  • MATERIALS: Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Case, Chemically Strengthened, Scratch-Resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass Screen
  • FEATURES: 3-Axis Compass, Barometric Altimeter, Multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GPS, Glonass, and Galileo), Sleep Monitor, Heart Rate Monitor, Fitness Tracker, Pulse Ox, Military Standard 810 F, Battery Power Manager, Smart Notifications
  • WATERPROOF: 10 BAR / 100 M

The Garmin Instinct Solar Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch is not 100% solar-powered but instead uses sunlight to extend and prolong the rechargeable battery life. This solar-assisted watch has so many features it is impossible to talk about them all here so let’s stick to the most useful ones. Firstly the find-my-phone feature is brilliant and can save you 5 minutes a day of looking if you lose your phone as much as I do.

The triple navigation system allows you to get a signal through some of them no matter where you are which is great for marking trails and so family and friends can follow your progress. The sleep and stress monitors become very effective motivators to remain calm and get more sleep which quickly builds healthy habits. Along with the fitness tracker and pulse analytics, it feels like you have your own personal doctor on your wrist.

On a full charge and with the addition of solar charging you can get up to 54 days of power in smartwatch mode, 145 hours with GPS maps, and 68 days with GPS activity. This is impressive for a smartwatch and is one of the many reasons this watch is awesome. If you want a solar smartwatch then this is probably the best one so far.

Outdoor gear buy


Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Quartz Mens Watch, Super Titanium, Two-Tone (Model: BN0200-56E)

  • DIMENSIONS: (W x D) 43.5 x 11.9 mm
  • MATERIALS: Super Titanium Case and Bracelet, Aluminum Bezel, and Mineral Crystal Black Dial
  • FEATURES: Date and Time, Glow in The Dark Dial
  • BATTERY: Eco-Drive Technology Solar Power
  • WATERPROOF: 20 BAR / 200 M

The Citizen Eco-Drive Men’s Promaster Diver is one of the best analog solar watches for diving enthusiasts or, someone who wants a simple design, or Citizen watch fans. The Eco-Drive technology enables you to charge it with artificial light as well as the sun which allows you to top up the charge on a night if you need to.

A durable titanium case protects the anti-reflective glass which is incredibly tough and perfect for outdoor use, it is also scratch-resistant. You can dive down to a depth of 200 meters and the watch will stay waterproof to a maximum pressure of 20 BAR so you don’t have to take it off to go swimming. The 5-year warranty offers peace of mind although you can safely assume this will last at least 10 years before the battery capacity decreases.

The watch is perfectly priced and in the same range as most Casio’s and while it might not have many features, we would recommend it as an everyday watch you don’t have to worry about getting wet or running out of battery. There are not many titanium solar watches that offer better value for money than this which is why we rate it so highly. The only downside is the lack of features which may be a pro or a con depending on your viewpoint.

Outdoor gear buy


Casio G-Shock GW-7900B-1ER Solar Watch

CASIO Men's Year-Round Acrylic Quartz Watch with Resin Strap, Black, 18 (Model: GW-7900B-1ER)

  • WEIGHT: 71 g
  • DIMENSIONS: (W x D) 50 mm x 18 mm
  • MATERIALS: Black Plastic Resin
  • FEATURES: Multi-Band 6 Synchronization, World Clock, 4 x Daily Alarms with 1 x Snooze, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Automatic/Manual Backlight, Tide & Moon Data
  • BATTERY: Tough Solar Powered
  • WATERPROOF: 20 BAR / 200 M

The Casio G-Shock GW-7900B-1ER Solar Watch is designed with affordability and durability in mind. It includes a durable resin case that is shock and abrasion-resistant for hardwearing outdoor people and the interface is scratch-resistant too. It is bigger and chunkier than the GWM5610-1 above but only a little bit heavier at 71 grams so is still ok for most people.

It has very similar features to the Casio GWM5610-1 with the addition of tidal and lunar data too. This is especially useful if you are boating, sailing, surfing, or swimming in the ocean. This function is easy to set up and accurate enough most of the time to quickly check without getting your phone out. Because it is waterproof down to 200 meters it is also a popular choice among open water swimmers.

While this is a bit bigger than some watches it does have nice features and functions which make it a great solar wristwatch for people who live by the coast. The solar-powered battery will last up to 9 months on a full charge which is great for long winters and gloomy autumn days without much sun.

Outdoor gear buy


Seiko Prospex SSC017 Analog Solar Watch

Seiko Men's SSC017 Prospex Analog Japanese Quartz Solar Stainless Steel Dive Watch

  • WEIGHT: 187 g
  • DIMENSIONS: (W x D) 43 x 14 mm
  • MATERIALS: Stainless Steel Case with Stainless-Steel Band and Hardlex Dial Window
  • FEATURES: World Clock, 4 x Daily Alarms, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, Automatic/Manual Backlight
  • BATTERY: Tough Solar Powered
  • WATERPROOF: 20 BAR / 200 M

The Seiko Prospex SSC017 Analog Solar Watch is one of the best alternatives to the much more expensive dive watches you see today. It is designed from stainless steel and features a durable outer band which is why it is slightly heavier than some of the other watches above.

With luminous dials, telling the time is always easy and it can also be recharged with any artificial light. while you sleep. There are three chronological dials behind the main dial, one of which displays the battery level. On a full charge, the battery reserve will last for 6 months without additional exposure. The watch is waterproof for up to 200 meters and should be ideal for divers and is durable enough for camping and outdoor use.

We do think that the lack of additional features makes it a little overpriced, but if you love the outdoors and swimming, this watch is definitely worth looking at. The Prospex SSC017 is not our first choice but certainly not a bad one and made by a renowned watchmaker.

Outdoor gear buy


solar watch outdoors using compass

What is the Best Way to Charge a Solar Watch?

The best way to charge a solar watch is to wear it outdoors in the sun without even having to think about it. If it gets towards the end of winter and you haven’t been outside as much, have been wearing long leave tops and jackets that cover your watches solar panel, and the sun has been hidden behind clouds. Then your solar watch battery might be flashing low.

If you need to charge your watch as efficiently as possible then take it off your wrist and leave it on your window sill pointing directly at the sun on a bright day. By the time you check it in the evening, it should be fully charged.

Will an LED Light Charge a Solar Watch?

CoolFire Solar Watch Fast Charger for All Eco Solar Watches Reloj Hombre Solar Pad Power Smart Watch Portable Battery Charger Automatic 1046

If charging your solar watch from the sun is difficult for any reason then you might be wondering if you can charge it with an LED light. The good news is that you can and someone has created a product exactly for this as you can see above. This tiny device doesn’t get hot and is the fastest way to charge a solar watch without using the sun.

How Long Does It Take to Recharge a Solar Watch?

The best watches with solar power will often have a battery power indicator to show how full the battery is. You can charge most solar watches from empty to full power in around six to eight hours of sunlight or one to four hours of concentrated artificial light. I will typically have to leave my solar watch on a window sill from sunrise to sunset once every winter around January and it is fully charged by the end of the day (around 8 hours).

solar watch with compass

Key Features to Look for In the Best Solar Watches

With so many options available, we understand how hard it can be for you to get the right one. If you do not understand the features, you might also be unable to spot great ones from the lackluster and overpriced bargains. We also used these features in our judging process to ensure that you get the best possible watches to have an extraordinary outdoor experience:

Solar Watch Battery Life

Solar watches never need their battery replaced but that doesn’t mean they will keep working forever. Most solar watches will have between six to nine months of battery life once fully charged and if there is no further exposure to light. This means you can keep it in a sealed box for this long and it will still work half a year later. You can find this information on the manufacturer’s website.


The durability of a solar watch case is fundamentally important since it is the glass face that powers the watch so if you damage it you will be unable to recharge. Casio uses their G-Shock technology to ensure your watch doesn’t break easily while other solar watch brands use similar systems to protect the mechanisms inside. Metal watches do tend to show scratches a little more than resin but both are durable enough for anything you can throw at it.


Realistically you cannot take a 200M watch down to a depth of 200 meters but this is an indicator that your watch will remain waterproof as long as you aren’t using any scuba diving gear. The benefit of a solar watch is that you never need to remove the back to replace the battery which means the waterproof seal never gets broken. This is one reason swimmers love solar watches and especially those who swim outdoors in the sun.


We tried to choose the most comfortable of watches and there are a few aspects to keep in mind when looking for comfort in a watch. Obviously, the rubber band should not cause any abrasions or slide up and down your wrist, but the interface should not be overly large to restrict your movement. Having a larger interface does make viewing easier, but we recommend looking for comfort first. Rubber and silicone straps are completely adjustable for all wrist sizes but metal bands may need to have links added or taken out.


Solar watches with compasses are no replacement for an actual compass but they are pretty close. The solar compass watches we tested were accurate within around 10 degrees and a few were almost 100% every time (Casio Pro Trek PRG-240-1). Any analog watch with hands and dials can be used to determine north during the day by aiming the sun between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock mark as seen in this image.


If you live in one of the few countries around the world where you can have months of darkness followed by months of daylight then maybe a solar watch isn’t right for you. Perhaps a kinetic watch is better in that environment as it won’t suffer from a cold battery. If you live in a hot country with plenty of sun then a solar watch just makes sense as you have unlimited power.


Smartwatches require a lot of power and in this day and age, the capacities of solar watches just can’t meet the demands. There are some innovative new designs like the Garmin Instinct which uses solar power in combination with a rechargeable battery to help increase battery life. I am hopeful that in the near future we will have fully solar-powered smartwatches but it may take some innovations in solar technology before we get there.


Accuracy is a key component of any watch as what is the point in a watch that can’t keep the time? Most modern watches whether digital or analog will estimate a rough change of +/- 15 seconds per month if not updated. Watches that can update themselves automatically like Casios Multi-band 6 Synchronization are some of the most accurate in the world and many watch retailers actually set their other watches to the time of their trusty Casio Pro-Trek.


Solar watches come in many different materials like stainless steel, titanium, resin, or polymers which don’t make any difference at all to the solar capabilities of a watch. They do make a difference in how heavy the watch is and how durable it will be. Generally, if you plan to use your solar watch for fitness and sporting activities then a non-metal watch is probably best. But if you aren’t waving your arms about too much, like when hiking or camping, then a metal watch has a more solid feel.

Solar Watches with a Barometer

Solar-powered watches with barometers measure pressure in the atmosphere to help determine weather patterns as well as aid with the altimeter. Most watches with a barometer on them will have a triple sensor that can also measure altitude and temperature because they can all work together. By measuring the atmospheric pressure, the barometer enables you to detect when a storm might be setting in. This allows you to find shelter or perhaps even an alternative plan.

Solar Watches with an Altimeter

The altimeter is used to measure the altitude around you and log your height above sea level. The altimeter helps you when you are scaling up mountains or trekking at high altitudes so that you know how high you are and locate yourself on a map. Altimeters on watches are barometric which means that they work by reading the air pressure to determine the altitude.

Solar Watches with a Thermometer

Ever wondered what the temperature is and what you should wear for the day? This is where the thermometer comes into play and with a constant indication of temperature, you could use it to see when you are entering a colder area. The thermometer is also great to have in the city and enables you to measure the temperature on the spot when it feels particularly hot or cold. I find my watch thermometer especially useful when camping so I know how cold it is at night and in the morning.

Solar Watches with a GPS

Solar-powered watches with GPS are some of the pricier options and are a premium feature for most people. They are still fairly basic as more powerful LCD screens require too much power for a solar battery alone. Solar GPS watches do have all the basic capabilities like marking coordinates, following a route and tracking progress, etc… There are also other location-tracking options such as GLONASS you can use.

Fitness Options

If you will be using your watch for fitness purposes, the step-tracking feature is a great way to measure the distance you have walked. If you are serious about fitness, you might even consider adding a calorie calculator to show you your daily progress and help you lose some excess weight. And if you want to know all about your body’s functionality then look for pulse tracking, sleep, and stress levels, and so much more that can often be combined with an app.


Last but certainly not least, we recommend looking for a warranty and ensuring that you at least have some sort of protection. The warranty should have you protected from manufacturer defects and often times it might ensure that the screen will not be damaged. Having peace of mind will give you more freedom when it comes to using the watch.


We hope you enjoyed this guide to the best solar watches, like our social media pages to stay up to date.


Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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  1. […] Although Suunto claims that the watch battery will last just 12 months on “time” mode, we’ve only had to change it out once in three years. This is probably because we generally keep the screen locked to one display, which helps prevent draining the battery from accidental button-pushing. For a watch that never needs its batteries replaced check out these solar watches with a compass. […]

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