Using a solar car battery charger is the best way to keep your car’s battery topped up whilst parked up outside. Unlike a standard charger, it doesn’t require an AC outlet and it uses sunlight to provide free energy for charging the battery.
The best solar car battery charger is the Battery Tender Solar Panel, which is available in 5, 10 or 15 watt power options and uses a smart micro-controller for safe charging.
A popular method of using a solar battery charger is to store it on top of the car cover. By piercing a small hole through the cover, you can pass the connectors through to the battery. This allows you to keep the car protected with the cover as well as getting sunlight to the charger.
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Solar Car Battery Charger Comparison
|Solar Car Battery Charger||Power||Size (H x W)|
|Battery Tender Panel||5, 10 or 15W||40.0 x 14.0 Inch|
|NOCO BLSOLAR5||5W||13.6 x 13.6 Inch|
|SUNER POWER Kit||2.4, 6, 8, 12 or 14W||14.8 x 6.36 Inch|
|Schumacher SP-1500||15W||36.4 x 12.4 Inch|
|ECO WORTHY Portable||5, 7.5 or 10W||8.07 x 9.25 Inch|
|Renogy Kit||5, 8, 10 or 16W||11.5 x 7.4 Inch|
|ALL POWERS Kit||5 or 7.5W||12.6 x 5.0 Inch|
Although it’s fairly obvious, a solar panel battery charger will only be effective when used in the daylight. If the car you intend to charge doesn’t see any daylight whatsoever, you should purchase a standard car battery charger instead.
Below is a list of the best solar car battery chargers that safely charge or maintain car batteries.
The Best Solar Car Battery Charger
1. Battery Tender Solar Car Battery Charger
Battery Tender are a brand well-known for their battery maintainers and this is there latest solar charger for cars. It’s available as a 5, 10 or 15 watt solar panel and uses a built-in 3 step micro-controller for controlling the charge.
For the best bang for your buck, we recommend the 15 watt solar car battery charger option. It’s the brand’s highest performing model they produce and it’s able to output 12V DC 830 mAmp.
Other features of the Battery Tender Solar Panel include:
- Smart charge to prevent overcharging
- Reverse polarity protection
- Waterproof design
- Built-in temperature compensation sensor
- CE approved
- Alligator clips and mounting hardware included
- Suitable for multiple applications
- 14 x 40 x 1 (W x L x H) inch in size
- Weighs 11 LBS
The Battery Tender Solar Charger is a great option to use for stored vehicles that are left for weeks without use. Although it’s a premium option, the solar panel is built to the highest of standards and the built-in controller ensures safe charging.Check it Out
2. NOCO BLSOLAR5 Solar Battery Charger
NOCO are another reputable brand within the auto battery industry with a range of products available. The BLSOLAR5 model their most popular solar car battery charger that has an ultra low profile design, which makes it lightweight and more portable.
Included within the complete kit is the solar panel, 12V plug connector, interchangeable connectors and durable battery clamps.
Other features of the NOCO BLSOLAR5 include:
- 5.0 watt charger
- Ultra low profile design
- Rugged frame for protection
- Amorphous solar cells and rated at IP65
- Black current protection
- UV resistant to improve longevity
- 13.6 x 13.6 x 0.75 (W x L x H) inch in size
- Suitable for most batteries
- Weigh just 2.93 LBS
According to the brand, the Thin Film technology used within this charger even allows for energy production in low light or overcast conditions. Overall, the NOCO BLSOLAR5 is a lightweight charger that’s built to last and is able to maintain batteries of all sizes.Check it Out
3. Suner Solar Trickle Charger For Car Battery
The Suner Power solar car battery charger is a highly rated option that’s suitable for car, boat, RV and marine applications. The brand offer multiple power options that include 2.4, 6, 8, 12 and 14 watt panels that are suitable for most battery types.
In order to improve durability, it’s constructed of a premium solar glass with a durable ABS frame, which provides protection from any impact damage.
Other features of the Suner Power Charging Kit include:
- 2.4, 6, 8, 12 and 14 watt power options
- Reverse polarity protection
- Four mounting holes
- One way quick connector
- 14.84 x 6.36 x 1 (W x L x H) inch in size
- 12V adapter, battery clamps and wiring included
- Includes a one year warranty and lifetime support
The Suner Power Solar Charging Kit offers the best value for the money and has the benefit of multiple power options to choose from. Although the brand isn’t as well-known as some of the alternatives, it does come with a one year warranty for peace of mind.Check it Out
4. Schumacher SP-1500 Solar Battery Charger
The Schumacher brand produce a variety of battery chargers but this is their solar alternative, which is designed to charge 12V lead acid batteries. The SP-1500 is a large option and measures up at 36.4 x 12.4 x 0.9 inch in size.
Unlike other cheaper alternatives, the brand states that this solar car battery charger is water resistant due to the amorphous solar panel design.
Other features of the Schumacher SP-1500 include:
- Provides up to 15W of power
- Long 96 inch cable
- Built-in blocking diode to protect against discharges
- Charge controller to prevent overcharging
- Charging and maintaining functions
- Suitable for multiple applications
- Made in the USA
Included with the complete kit is the solar panel, controller, 12V DC adapter, battery clamps, mounting screws and instructions.
Overall, the Schumacher SP-1500 is a high performing solar car battery charger but it does come with a premium price tag. It’s also important to note that this charger is only suitable for 12V lead acid batteries.Check it Out
5. ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel Battery Charger
Another popular option is the ECO-WORTHY solar batter charger, which has a compact design for maintaining batteries. In terms of the exact size of this solar panel, it measures up as 8.07 x 9.25 and weighs just 0.76 LBS.
In order to make charging your battery from within your car easier, you can either place it on the dashboard or alternatively use the four PVC suckers to attach it to a window.
Other features of the ECO-WORTHY Solar Panel include:
- 5, 7.5 and 10W power options
- Maintenance free design
- Easy to install with 4 PVC suckers
- Built-in blocking diode
- Lightweight and portable
- 12V adapter and battery clamps included
The ECO-WORTHY solar batter charger is an excellent all-round option that combines performance and value for the money. The compact design is also very desirable as it makes it easier to install or mount onto the dashboard.Check it Out
6. Renogy Portable Solar Panel Car Battery Charger
Renogy are a highly reputable brand within the solar panel industry and also produce a number of RV solar kits, which are their most popular products. In terms of their portable solar car battery charger, it’s designed for maintaining a car battery via daylight conditions.
Other features of the Renogy Portable Solar Charger include:
- 5, 8, 10 and 16 watt power options
- Uses quick SAE connectors
- Includes ring terminals, battery clamps and 12V adapter
- Built-in safety protection
- Maintenance free and easy to install
- Weighs 0.675 LBS
- 11.5 x 7.4 inch in size
- 20 inch long cables
- 8 suction cups included
Overall, the Renogy Charger is a plug and play solar car battery charger that’s available in multiple power options to best suit your requirements. Considering that it’s developed by the reputable Renogy brand, it’s also relatively cheap when compared to their other products.Check it Out
7. ALLPOWERS Portable Solar Panel Battery Charger
The ALLPOWERS Solar Car Battery Charger is by far the most popular option due to it being one of the cheapest available. The brand offer it as a 5W or 7.5W charger and both come with an impressive 18 month warranty for complete peace of mind.
To produce the energy used for charging, it uses a mono-crystalline silicon panel, which is weatherproof and works in all daylight conditions.
Other features of the ALLPOWERS Solar Charger include:
- 12.6 x 5.0 inch in size
- Suitable for multiple applications
- Battery clamps and 12V adapter included
- Built-in blocking diode
- Rugged polyester canvas coating
- 4 PVC suckers for windshield mounting
- 5W or 7.5W power option
- 18 month warranty
The ALL POWER Solar Car Battery Charger is a cheap option that’s actually worth buying. There are many similar priced alternatives that simply don’t perform. However, with a 18 month warranty, you can rest assure that this charger will provide reliable performance.Check it Out
Solar Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
Using the sunlight to charge your car battery is an excellent way to keep it topped up. Even if there isn’t much sun, many brands state that their solar panels can output power even in overcast conditions.
Solar technology is improving each year and the chargers available are becoming far more affordable. Many reputable brands such as Battery Tender, NOCO, Renogy and Schumacher offer a wide range of power options to suit every budget and vehicle requirement.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding solar car battery chargers.
Advantages of Using Solar Power
Rather than storing your car under a cover and forgetting about it, using a solar battery charger can be very beneficial. Not only does it ensure the battery is topped up ready to be driven but it also helps prolong the life of the battery.
Another big advantage is that apart from purchasing the charger, there are no additional costs required. The sunlight is converted into power, which is fed through to the battery in order to keep it topped up. When using a regular charger, you would need to use electricity, which will increase the bills slightly.
Charging or Maintaining the Battery
Depending upon the power output from the solar car battery charger will determine whether it can be used for charging. All of the recommendations are suitable for maintaining the battery by providing a “trickle” charge to the battery.
Most solar chargers offer a power output from as low as 2 watts to as high as 50 watts. If you require a charger, you will need to check whether the brand states it’s capable. Those that are able to charge are often a much larger in size.
It’s worth noting that these types of chargers are not suitable for electric vehicles. Therefore, you should only use your home EV charger for charging an electric car.
When it comes to dealing with your car’s battery, safety is paramount and shouldn’t be ignored. Not only could you cause damage to the cars electrics, you could also cause injury to yourself. The majority of brands include various safety features to prevent this from happening.
Most chargers also include a reverse charge blocking diode, which prevents stored power leaking out through the charger. They will also use a charging controller, which ensures that the battery is being safely charging as well as preventing overcharging.
Ensuring that the solar panel can withstand years of usage is important. It must be weatherproof, dustproof and be able to withstand some impact damage.
Many come with rubberized edges which are highly advised because windy conditions could make it fall from the car.
Being resistant to water is an obvious feature that most people will check. However, being UV resistant is just as important because it must be engineered to take hours of exposure to the sun. Many premium solar car battery chargers will use UV inhibitors to prolong the life of the solar panels.
Most brands will provide multiple size options that correlate with the power output of the charger. Depending on where you mount it will determine the best size that suits your requirements. Larger units are ideal for storing outside of the car whereas the smaller chargers are perfect for mounting to the windshield or dashboard.
Mounting the Solar Panels
Depending on whether you purchase an outdoor or indoor solar car battery charger will determine where it’s mounted. Those that are kept inside of the car will more than likely be placed upon the dashboard or on the windshield using PVC suckers.
If the charger is kept outside, you will want to make sure its mounted securely and doesn’t move in windy conditions. Most will have mounting brackets or holes within the chargers, which you can loop through rope to keep it attached to the car.
Connectors and Adapters
The majority of the chargers will come as a complete kit, which includes various cables, connectors and adapters. The purpose of the 12V adapter is to maintain the battery from inside of the car. However, this is only suited to vehicles that don’t have an ignition switch off.
Other connectors include the battery clamps or ring terminals, which attach straight to the battery for charging. Before purchasing, you will want to ensure that all these connectors and adapters are included within the charging kit.
If you store your car outside or within a carport canopy, the use of a solar battery charger is highly recommended. It will keep your battery topped up and ready for use whenever you require your car. Most units come as a complete kit and simply plug straight in without any complex installation required.
However, depending upon the amount of energy the solar panels produce from the sunlight, you may only be able to maintain the battery instead of charging it. Therefore, if the battery is dead, you will still require a standard charger.
All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and include multiple power options. We advise that you check the size and weight of the charger you choose because you will need to easily mount it too the car. If the solar charger isn’t working, we advise that you use a battery tester to check whether it accepts charge.