The frequency of using car electronic devices is growing every day, thereby creating the demand for recharging these devices without using the power grid. The portable solar car charger is regarded as one of the most sought-after sources of energy because it allows restructuring the sun energy to electricity that the battery can store. It also can be effective when it’s impossible to get entry to AC power, but you should be certain that the battery will handle the caseload and will contain energy for productive work. Frankly speaking, this device isn’t a great solution for vehicle’s dead battery charging.
The solar battery charger for cars usually consists of the photovoltaic panel, which is mounted on the dashboard and is connected to the automobile cigar lighter plug. The charger may be extremely necessary when parking a car for a long period, as well as for recharging the battery in winter. The solar battery chargers for cars frequently include a 15-20W photovoltaic panel, a decoupling diode, and a cable with a plug for the vehicle’s electrical system connecting. Such a panel can recharge a battery with a capacity of 45-75Ah without using a charge controller. If you don’t need to recharge the battery but charge it during the day, then another panel (rated at 30-60W) can become wholesome. In this case, a charge controller is required, which will protect the battery from overcharging.
Let’s get acquainted with solar battery charger reviews and find out their positive and negative peculiarities.
The Best Solar Car Battery Charger Reviews
Battery Tender 021-1163 – Best Solar Car Battery Charger
This solar battery tender includes a special microcontroller that doesn’t allow the unit to be damaged by overcharging. This product has a light on the front to indicate when the charging process is started and when the battery has a full charge. The assembly quality is really high because there are no cracks or starches on the panel after falling from an impressive height. Even plastic side edges look reliable and don’t break even after putting pressure on it.
The solar powered car battery charger is rather small (17.8 x 17.8 x 3 inches) and is able to operate in all the weather conditions because its corps is epoxy-filled. The manufacturer supplemented the product by the temperature supervision and tracer sensors. It weighs only 2.5 pounds, so can be easily installed on any surface. This solar trickle charger includes many accessories and an informative manual for performing the setup process independently.
Overall, this solar car battery charger with charge controller seems to be a great choice for your vehicle.
- Besides being a weatherproof solar battery charger, it is a sparks proof one, so it will work even while standing outdoors.
- It’s easy to remove all the dirt from the device’s surface, using a simple sponge.
- The lights that signalize about the charging status can help control the process.
- The car battery solar charger has special holes for simple installation in the corners. Such peculiarities allow the device to be safely fixed.
- Even the smallest shadow reduces charging speed.
- 5-foot cord, which goes in a kit, is very short for everyday use and it’s better to purchase the longer one.
ALLPOWERS AP-18V5W – Mono-Crystalline Silicon Panel with Built-In Blocking Diode
The ABS plastic 18 Volt solar battery charger is very reliable. It’s easy to plug the unit directly into a car’s power port or use the special alligator clips for a straight coupling to the battery. The set also contains suction cups that can connect the mentioned product broadly to the windshield or fasten it to a visor due to the modern back strips.
The user has to remember that the residuary power of an ALLPOWERS AP-18V5W has to be no less than 60% before attaching it, and the car owner has to check its power lever before each affixing.
- The solar charger for car battery has a modern design and looks like a stylish gadget.
- It’s rather small (12.6 x 5.0 x 0.12 inch) so it can be allocated inside the car, gather the sun and not to hinder the driver.
- This solar car charger doesn’t require the bright sunlight. It greatly works even on the overcast day.
- The device is not regarded as completely rainproof. It has the technical basis to withstand a few drops but may break down being under the heavy rain.
- This solar panel car battery charger is not completed with overcharge protection, it has only discharge maintenance.
Sunway Solar 3W Solar Trickle Charger – Eco-friendly Device with Indicator
This automotive battery charger can be easily fixed to the windshield. It also has handy plugs into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter (12V). The special cable for connections, which is included in the set, is rather short, so it’s better to buy a longer one. The device itself is very sturdy because it’s coated with ultra-clear PV glass and has an ABS plastic corps that doesn’t break even after multiple falls.
- The device is waterproof. It will remain intact and perform its duties even while being in high humidity.
- The indicator’s light correctly displays the state of charge.
- Sunway Solar contains a built-in diode, which precludes reverse charging.
- It’s thoughtfully constructed and quite small (13.9 x 0.5 x 5 inches).
- There is no inbuilt solar battery maintainer that protects against overcharging.
- Battery life can be greatly shortened if the owner won’t keep it charged.
- The plastic parts get heated up under the direct sunlight and it seems that charger’s panels are capable of melting down.
Suaoki Versatile 18W – A Device with Inbuilt Blocking Diode
This modern solar battery charger for car weighs only 0.7 pounds, so it can be easily transported and doesn’t add pressure on the windshield or the front panel of the car’s interior. It’s also very thin, has a really wide absorbing area, and is visually presentable (16.5 x 11 x 0.1 inches). The device stays outside of the car during the whole rainy night and its functional features haven’t deteriorated due to the influence of such weather patterns.
A special blocking diode is able to avert the batteries discharging (even in night time). This Suaoki product improves the conversion effectiveness by up to 22.5%. That is significantly higher than can propose other conventional panels (≤15%).
- This solar panel doesn´t need the cigar lighter plug to start charging.
- The unit doesn’t become overheated even staying under the direct sunlight.
- Crocodile clips help hook up the panel specifically to the battery. They fix well and hold securely.
- The suction cup reliability is questionable. The panel can easily fall down.
- The cigarette adapter is hard to call a standard one, so it simply does not fit into the socket.
POWOXI Solar Battery Chargers 7.5w-B – Durable and Anti-Reverse Charging Panel
This solar panel car charger has a built-in blocking diode structure, which prevents the reverse discharging. The charger for car batteries can be conveniently inserted in the 12V cigarette lighter. It stays unbroken even after the falling. Such enhanced durability is possible due to the highly translucent and lowly iron tempered glass, which also promotes the wind and snow sustainability. The POWOXI solar battery charger for car has a compact size (14 x 9 x 1.7 inches), so it will be held up on the attached place as long as you need.
- This automotive solar panel can greatly work even in heavy frost and hailstorm.
- Obtained battery energy is ECO, safe, and convenient.
- The assembly grade is amazing. The panel is designed to prevent backlash, even plastic components look very reliable and doesn’t smell.
- The jumper cables, which tie it directly to the battery, are very lame and their long-term connectivity is doubtful.
- The user manual is incomplete and it might be challenging to solve the possible function problems.
Nature Power 7.5W – Amorphous Product with 11 ft. of Cabling
The car solar panel kit is very light-weighted (3.46 pounds), so it can be placed anywhere in a car. Its modern heavy-duty frame is made of a reliable material and doesn’t produce squeaking. The special protection glass keeps the inner construction from the water, so the Nature Power is enough for everyday use even under the pouring rain.
The battery wear is very slow because there are no moving parts, which can become the basic failure reason. The product itself is versatile and can be used for every vehicle type due to its functional possibilities and compact dimensions (14.2 x 14 x 1.5 inches).
- The unit is supplemented with an inbuilt blocking diode, which protects the batteries from being drained.
- The battery clamps and mounting bracket are included, so the Nature Power using becomes more convenient.
- The blue LED light signals that the device is absorbing the sun-power. As a result, it becomes easier to control the panel’s efficiency.
- The clouds may significantly reduce the level of received energy.
- The device is useless when the battery is fully discharged.
SUNER POWER 12V – Safe Amorphous Solar Device
This 12 volt solar battery charger is amended by the durable upgraded ABS frame, which is reliable and can protect the device from mechanical injuries. It’s very fast to install the panel because the professional knowledge and special tools are not required for successful placing and connecting. The device can be replaced hands-down and fixed securely on the sunniest place. It is 20 x 16 x 2.5 inches and won’t spoil the car’s interior design.
- The solar panel 12V battery charger performs its task greatly even in cloudy weather condition.
- It won’t overcharge the battery due to the inbuilt blocking diode.
- The panel’s surface is covered with a premium strong solar glass and is capable of withstanding the high humidity.
- Suction cups are not reliable. The device falls from time to time.
- The manual is useless because it doesn’t include the clear and direct instructions, which explain how to act in each specific case.
What solar car battery chargers benefits are the most important?
The solar panels to charge car battery have lots of proven advantages, but the most significant ones are as follows:
Independence. The unit is getting energy from the sun, so it doesn’t need the additional electrical power source to do its job. The process itself is next: solar battery charger kits transform absorbed energy to DC power that quickly goes to a battery, retaining it greenly charged. The device is ready to start working at any moment.
Applicability. As practice shows, most of the solar powered car battery chargers work while the car is driven. The device is plugged suitably into the 12V lighter socket (which is usually placed on the auto’s dashboard) and the panel can be set somewhere on a sunny place (dash), gathering the energy.
Temperature flexibility. The automotive battery chargers can withstand the temperature 175 degrees Fahrenheit, so they will show the great result both in cold winter and in hot summer.
How many watts of solar panel are needed to charge a 12V200Ah battery?
The answer depends on the potential charging duration. Let’s imagine that the battery has a 10% charge and there are 6 hours (of peak sunlight) for full energy replenishment. After simple calculations and taking into account the irradiance, conversion, and some battery losses, we get the answer: solar panel to charge battery with 450W would charge the 12V200Ah in 6 hours.
How to use automotive solar battery chargers?
It’s uneasy to find the best solar car battery charger, but each device has the same methods of use. The guide on how to use a solar panel to charge a battery is the following:
The first things that are required are battery clamps, charge controller, and the battery itself. The next step is to connect clamps to the car battery. Subsequently, the battery clamps have to be plugged to the charge controller. The last tool will help you not overcharge the device. The final step consists of the charge controller connecting to the charger.
What size solar panel to charge 12v battery?
It is necessary to consider several important steps when trying to give a precise answer to this question. First of all, it is necessary to figure out how many hours of effective sunlight do you have at your location. This will help you develop a good understanding of how many hours of sunlight your 12V solar charger should get. Secondly, it would be useful to specify the capacity of the battery in terms of amp-hours. Let’s assume that you need to charge a 12V 48Ah battery. In this case, you will need to replace 48Ah of charge to the battery in 4 effective sunlight hours, for instance. This means that
48Ah x 12V = 576WH
576WH / 4H = 144W of solar panels.
It must be stated that it rarely happens that you have 4 hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis even in summer, so you should better underestimate the wattage of your batteries and prepare several solar panels to charge battery car. At the same time, having just one 300W solar panel might be enough to fully charge a 12V 100Ah battery. Surely, you can choose a lot more modest solar panels if your car battery’s capacity is lower than 100Ah or if you want just to maintain its charge.
Moreover, when speaking about the size, there are no universal standards you should stick to, as different brands have their unique size patterns. This is why it is better to consider watts of a solar panel but not its size unless the item is too large to be stored in your car.
How long to charge 12V battery with solar panel?
Basically, you cannot give just a precise answer to the question “how long to charge 12V battery with a solar panel” without knowing all variables. Initially, you should be well aware of the capacity of your car battery, as this is one of the most important aspects you should keep in mind when trying to estimate the timeline for charging a 12V battery. This means that the 200Ah battery will require a very powerful solar panel to restore its initial charge, while a 48Ah car battery can be charged with the help of solar chargers that do not have an impressive number of Watts. Additionally, you are expected to know how many hours of direct sunlight you have in your region at this very season of the year, as effective solar battery charging is possible only when the sun rays hit the battery directly. Hence, if it is winter outside, you will probably have just 1-2 hours of effective sunlight, while on a shiny summer day you can have up to 6 hours of effective sunlight.
The next steps will be to look at your solar panels charge batteries and determine how many Amps they can provide at the peak sunlight hours. The final result can vary a lot depending on the power of the solar panel and the capacity of the battery. For example, if you have an 18 Watt solar panel and you want to charge a 12V 24Ah battery that can hold 288 WH of electricity (12V X 24Ah = 288 WH), so you will need 288 WH / 18W = 16 hours.
Similarly, if you have a 100W solar panel and want to charge a 12V 48Ah battery that can hold 576 WH of electricity (12V X 46Ah = 576 WH), so you will need 576 WH / 100W = 5 hours 46 minutes.
As you can see, almost everything depends on the power of solar panels you have and the capacity of the battery, although you should also remember that it is vital to use a solar charge controller if your solar 12V battery charger can provide more than enough power that would end up in the overcharged item.
How to connect solar panel to car battery?
To properly connect it, you will need to prepare the solar charger kit for the automobiles. Basically, it will include the solar panel itself, the charge regulator for increased safety (unless you are ready to damage your car battery and purchase a new one), and inverter (in order to better accommodate your power needs). Also, you should remember that the charge regulator must not be used with the solar panels having less than 6W of power.
When describing the connection, obviously, the main point is to read the user manual carefully and stick to the rules mentioned there. However, in most cases, the process takes place in the following way. You need to take your solar recharge kit and use the necessary wires in order to combine the battery and the board. It should be mentioned that a single board can be matched quite faster, as it has fewer connection wires. If you want several panels to be connected, then the process will be way more complicated, but you will not make a mistake if using the user manual. However, you should keep in mind that a short circuit between the negative and positive terminals of the battery or short circuit between the negative and positive wires of the terminal may cause fire or even explosion. Overall, the solar battery charger can be then mounted on the dashboard and connected to the cigar lighter plug directly, so you start using solar panels to charge batteries in your vehicle.
My name is Brandon, and I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid. I got a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Technology and worked in a private car workshop. I have two cars that have been completely upgraded with my own hands. So I successfully put all my knowledge into practice.
Last update on 2020-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API