Imagine your car battery going flat on you in the middle of nowhere with no service and infrequent passerby’s. You may have to wait all day long for someone to come and rescue you.
It can even get more dangerous when you find yourself in areas home to wild animals. And most likely you may be unprepared and not even have enough food and water with you because you were not out camping, you just got stuck.
It’s best to be prepared by having a solar car battery charger with you all the time in your car. Like that you can easily crack it up if it fails on you.
Solar chargers rely on the unfailing power of the sun for energy. basically, a solar charger is just a solar panel with alligator clips and connectors for your car battery. It slowly chargers your car battery by converting the sun’s energy in photovoltaic cells.
Solar energy has many advantages over traditional power sources. Firstly and most importantly it does not pollute the earth and is one of the cleanest energy sources. The world is becoming more energy sustainability aware. We have to act now to save the environment from a total and if neglected irreversible environmental catastrophe.
We need to move to sources of energy that do not or minimize carbon emissions.
Solar is also a much cheaper source of energy as it relies on the sun’s free energy. Apart from the setup costs that come with solar energy, it’s always cheaper to run. The sun will not fail any time soon.
Our article looks at the best solar battery chargers you can use for your car. We also offer useful guides for how to set everything up quickly and easily.
So how do solar chargers operate?
Solar chargers rely on the sun to charge your battery. A solar panel is connected to your car battery using alligator clips to charge it. You have two main options for charging your car with a solar charger. You can use either the cigarette port in your car or you can connect the battery directly with alligator clips. If the battery is too drained you may want to consider direct terminal charging with clips, otherwise, the cigarette port in your car will do just fine for most solar chargers.
The solar panel can be placed on your dashboard or roof of your car. Since you are going to be parked you can place your panel anywhere as long as there is sunlight. Only place it on the ground if there is no vegetation containing water that may short your device.
Types of solar chargers for car batteries
There are two types of solar chargers. These are classified according to how they regulate the charge delivered to the battery.
1. Regulated charge
These batteries have a highly controlled delivery of charger to your battery and are designed to prevent overcharging. Overcharging damages your battery and reduces its lifespan. When charging your batteries with a regulated charger you don’t need to worry about overcharging as the charger automatically cuts current when a battery is fully charged.
2. Unregulated charge
Unregulated chargers depend on your supervision to properly charge your battery. The occurrence of overcharge is common with these chargers because they do not have charge regulators.
Important features a solar charger must have
1. Overcharge and discharge protection
A good solar charger must be able to prevent both overcharging and discharging your battery. Failure to do damages your battery life and health. Solar panels with regulators have a system to prevent overcharge and cut the current if the battery is fully charged.
You need proper and long connectors to work with your solar car chargers. The cables must be long enough to allow you maximum flexibility when it comes to where you can place the panels. Long cables will allow you to even put your panel on top of your car or dashboard.
Low light generation
Poor solar panels do not generate enough power in low light situations. Winter and cloudy days are particularly challenging for solar panels. Modern panels and the most expensive ones are designed to generate power even in low light situations. Although charging time is increased and you need more time to get a full charge compared to bright sunny days.
You want a charger that is very easy to carry and pack in your car.
Some panels are foldable and you can wrap it up nicely in tight car spaces without taking up much of your space.
Easy to use
Life is too hectic and you don’t need complex procedures to do everyday things.
A good solar pane charge must be one that is very easy to set up and preferably plug and play device.
Reverse Charge Blocking Diode
Despite its confusing name, reverse charge blocking diode is a simple system installed in most modern solar panels. It is meant to store as much charge as possible when the sun is shining and block the reverse charge so that it’s preserved for night time when no charging occurs.
Ask the manufacturer if this feature is included in the solar charger you want to get if it’s not clear on the spec right away.
The power for solar chargers ranges from about 2 V to 16 V for high power chargers. If you have a low power charger it will take a long to charge your battery but I will also not overcharge it. This alone lets your battery have a longer life.
You should only be using a high powered solar charger if you have overcharge protection. High power chargers are more powerful and will take less charging time.
Solar chargers are mostly maintainers in that they maintain the power of a battery. They do not charge batteries that are completely dead and are not meant for that purpose.
Best Solar Battery Chargers for Cars
Schumacher SP-200 2.4 Watt 12V Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer
- Totally Water-resistant
- Works in cloudy and low light scenarios
- Extends battery life
The Schumacher SP-200 weighs a mere 2 pounds making it easy to handle during installation.
It has an operating voltage of 12 Volts.
Schumacher brand has been in the battery market since 1947 and has pioneer key patented technology for the automobile industry. The company is named after the racing champion Don Schumacher.
If you have a lead-acid battery you can easily maintain its power with the 2.4 W output of the solar panel included.
This solar panel is made of high-resolution silicone that works even in low light cloudy conditions so that you can charge your car battery throughout the day. You will find this feature particularly useful in winter. It is the new amorphous solar technology that allows the solar panel to be charging even in low light situations.
The panel is extremely weatherproof with a water-resistant coating. You should not worry about rusting when it’s outdoors on a rainy day. You may put the panel on the roof of your car then it starts raining.
The Schumacher will defiantly charge and maintain your battery life. Although it can extend your battery life it cannot be used on a dead battery. It will only trickle charge your battery to maintain and extend life. Trickle charging means delivering a charge that is equal to the self-discharge rate of a battery thus maintaining a full charge continuously.
In this guide, we are trying to cover car chargers but the Schumacher SP-200 works just as well for boats, motorcycles, RVs, and trucks.
This charger is made of eco-friendly material that requires no regular maintenance.
You connect this charger to the cigarette lighter or accessory port on your dashboard if your car doesn’t have a cigarette lighter. This charger also delivers enough charge such that if you have an invertor you can connect your TV and stereo if you camping and want some entertainment. For this purpose, you need to connect both the inverter and solar charger to the battery so that it is continuously charging as you load it with the TV or stereo.
2. OptiMATE Solar 10W, TM-522-1, 6-step 12V 0.83A sealed solar battery saving charger & maintainer
OptiMATE Solar 10W, TM-522-1, solar battery saving charger & maintainer
- Output of 10 W
- Smart controller
- Unique pulse save mode
OptiMATE Solar 10 is a powerful solar charger with an output of 10 W. It is designed for maximum performance even on cloudy days with minimum sunlight. Just like all solar chargers, it is not a charger but rather a charge maintainer. You can use it in your car, ATV, or motorcycle among others.
The OptiMATE 10 features a smart controller or charge regulator that delivers a steady current of 0.83 A and prevents overcharging your battery. That way your battery’s lifespan is protected and it lasts longer.
The maintainer is compatible with all battery types including lead-acid batteries and deep cycle batteries.
This solar charger has a controller with a night monitor mode that keeps track and indicates the battery state of charge. So the state of charge is displayed on an LED panel. You can monitor this day-night 24/7.
It is also a great tool for knowing when your battery is discharging rather than charging. You can also tell when your battery is dead and needs a more regular and Powerful charger.
Optimate 10 is weatherproof and has polycrystalline panels that work in almost any kind of weather.
Although this is not meant for charging dead batteries it has a unique pulse save mode that charges batteries as low as 1V.
So provided a battery is not completely drained, optimate can recover any battery.
This smart pulse delivers more power and helps to keep a longer battery life.
The weight of the solar charger is just 3.35 pounds easy to Mount and handle.
During night-time, the smart controller provides key battery information on an LED panel that is updated every 3 seconds.
During the day it monitors the battery charge and prevents it from overcharging when it is fully charged, effectively stopping additional charge delivery.
3. OptiMATE Solar + 20W Solar Panel 6-step 12V 1.66A sealed solar battery saving charger & maintainer
OptiMATE Solar + 20W Solar Panel 6-step 12V 1.66A sealed solar battery saving charger & maintainer
- Weight 4.98 pounds
- Smart charge controller
- Unique pulse save mode recovers ‘dead flat’ batteries
OptiMATE 20 is twice as Powerful as there optima 10. It delivers 20 Watts of power and 1.66 amps of current. Which is much higher compared to the optimum time which has 10 watts of power and 0.83 A of current.
It has enough power to charge any car, pick up, or boat’s 12-volt battery.
In my opinion, this is the smartest solar powered maintainer out there.
Like its predecessor, it also has a charge controller. This is critical in preventing overcharging and providing information about battery health.
In the daytime, its supply and controls the charge delivered to the battery, and at night it relays valuable information about the battery.
The panels of the OptiMATE 20 are made of weatherproof polycrystalline material. This makes it impervious to water and quite rustproof. The four corners of the panels have mounting stands that are you can easily fix on the ground or your car rooftop.
A unique feature of OptiMATE 20 charger is the ability to charge near-dead batteries with smart pulse save mode. The pulse mode can charge a battery that is just 1V from totally blacking out.
Without a doubt, this is the most advanced recovery charger on the market. Its unique pulse technology allows you to preserve your battery power and lifespan at once.
On very sunny days it may be possible to put some extra load on your battery and enjoy some loud outdoor music on your stereo without draining your battery. The high current pulses will keep your battery well charged.
4. Happyyami 1 set solar panel car charger
Happyyami 1 set solar panel car charger
- 1.6A of working current
- 12V of working voltage
- 5V output
The Happyyami 1 set solar panel car charger has been an acceptable car solar battery charger from its inception. Since it is a slow battery charger, it gives a proper and correct charge to your car battery. Through solar energy, it manages to charge 12-volt batteries. 18V is the solar panel voltage. And this is fixed with reverse diode kind of battery protection.
And without changing at any time you can create 5 watts of energy so that the battery will be fully charged at the right time.
It’s also a versatile product. Adaptability to different situations is the most important feature for any solar car battery charger. And this solar charger for car batteries provides just that for you. This solar car battery charger manages to provide excellent performance, in any of the conditions and this is all thanks to its monocrystalline silicon panel.
The monocrystalline silicon panel makes it resistant to different environments; it will even work in mild and wet weather conditions.
It offers a long life service. It has been designed to provide years of excellence by the use of additional points. These additional points are made possible by the shelf life of this charger specifically designed for more years of high performance. And like others, this solar battery charger includes a blocking diode that allows the avoidance of reverse discharge.
So to provide a good operation for much longer, you are advised to get a battery re-charger.
5. Xinpuguang 100w flexible solar panel
When it comes to solar products, the Xinpuguang is a well-established name. Getting a solar panel car battery charger from this company for your car is a wise decision. The Xinpuguang 100W flexible solar battery charger is a multi-purpose model for perfect maintenance of your car. It suits well suited for any car model, tractor, and even RV brands. During the times you don’t use them; they can still charge and maintain all these batteries.
You will be impressed with how this battery charger can work even without the full blast of the sun. This is because it is fitted with a monocrystalline solar cell. If it is cloudy or rainy, it can still generally work. And with small currents only, the Xinpuguang 100w flexible solar panel can charge the battery. So for automobiles, this makes it better for maintenance.
This model can be bent 30 to 40 degrees for better positioning. They can even be installed on a curved surface without any problems. They are 3mm thick and 80 percent lighter than the solar panel. This makes it easy to carry.
The Xinpuguang 100w flexible solar panel is designed to be rain and windproof. Thanks to its ABS plastic shell that has been built for durability and longevity. Bear in mind though that it should not be immersed in water since this has built-in circuits. Its interface is a simple plug and play with no required maintenance so it’s easy to install even for people with no professional qualification.
6.Qwertour dry solar power 6V 2W 0.35A 80MM Solar car battery charger
Qwertour dry solar power 6V 2W 0.35A 80MM Solar car battery charger
- Epoxy adhesive package
- Light transmission
- Uses polysilicon
- 6V operating volts
- 18% conversion efficiency
The Qwertour dry solar power 6V can offer adequate efficiency at the same time being one of the most complete options of a solar car battery charger, and this model has an excellent balance between its efficiency and the cost of its functionality.
While generating a slow and constant load that prevents the loss of energy, this can provide you with great efficiency of charge.
You must bear in mind that this battery charger can be adapted to different types of equipment’s which includes snowmobiles, trucks, power sport, RV, tractors, boats, motorcycles, or any other vehicle brand.
On the other hand, to those 12-volt battery models, this battery charger adapts perfectly fine and manages to generate a power of 10 watts in the same way. Without a doubt, the Qwertour dry solar power 6V is one of the solar chargers that can manage to adapt to the different types of cars you may have.
It’s also easy to use and install. Smart charging mode is one of its best features that it offers. And this charging system is divided into 3 levels. In addition to the complete protection of the battery, the solar charger for car batteries will also offer you an intelligent chip management charge.
Besides that, It also offers a short circuit, overload and under-voltage, reverse and open circuit protection.
7. Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger
Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger
- 12V lead-acid
- 96-inch cable
At first, it can be tricky finding the right solar battery charger for your recreational vehicle. Especially if it’s your first time being exposed to this kind of device. You might be confused at the beginning of it all. But don’t worry, you can find the Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger reliable and easy to use. Its versatility is one of the things you will like about the Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger. Besides snowmobiles and power sports, it has many other practical applications. These other practical applications include farm equipment, boat, marine, and even truck trailers.
The Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger is also one of the most affordable solar battery chargers around. But at the same time, it is an excellent buy. Other than its long-term performance, you will also benefit from its versatility. You can depend on the Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger for the years to come without any difficulties. This kind of solar charger is for those that want to get more out of their spending. This investment must offer you value, so it’s an excellent move to make.
The draining of your vehicle’s battery can be prevented by this trickle charger. All the time It will keep your battery powered up. It also has durable and robust features. The Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger is made with PV glass. And an ABS plastic housing is what makes it more durable. The Schumacher SP 1500 solar battery car charger lasts longer with these features. On another positive note, lower maintenance is promoted by these solar battery chargers.
Easy and safe to use is another great feature of this model. The battery is never damaged or overcharged by this model. The battery with 20Ah or more capacity will not be damaged. it is mountable to a dash or windshield during installation. This model can also be set up in a cigarette lighter.
Plus, reverse charging protection is another feature of this solar battery charger. To prevent reverse charging, It has been equipped with an integrated diode.
8. Xinpuguang 80w 12V foldable solar battery charger
Xinpuguang 80w 12V foldable solar battery charger
- 80w power
- 18V voltage
- 2.1 kg in weight
More versatility and adaptability are needed for a solar charger for car batteries. Thanks to the fact that it can adapt to the different types of users, this model is one of the most appropriate solar car batteries on the market.
Not only can you use this charger in cars but also in other types of equipment. Among other devices, you can charge MP3 players, tablets, or even smartphones.
Also, they are durable products. Monocrystalline technology is one of the strengths of this model. It manages to provide efficient and effective use as well as a high level of comfort, together with its design.
For those who are backpackers or who wish to camp then this model is the most suitable. This is because its main characteristics include durability, light, and compact.
It also manages to provide loops for assembly because it is a solar-powered battery re-charger. These features make it maintain high performance under difficult environments and harsh conditions.
Therefore in different climatic conditions, this solar battery charger will give you operation. This model will give you highly efficient use while preventing you from worrying about the environment of the condition.
9. XIAND marine car solar panel charger
Together with more efficient use, this battery charger will give you effective use. This is because it is designed to prolong and maintain the use of the solar charger. In good health, battery life can be maintained for much longer.
If a mower is used in a boat, Jet Ski, tractor, camper trailer, recreational vehicle, or a simple car, then it is a more than an adequate model. So for all those cars sitting for a prolonged period, then this solar car battery charger is highly suitable.
It is also highly efficient. To prevent energy inversion, this battery charger provides you with a blocking diode. This is done by a Cig connector that you can plug this product to for twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.
This feature will you forget about the energy for a long time once you connect your new solar battery charger to your car.
This solar battery charger provides proper operation even on those days with bad weather so you do not have to worry about cloudy days. Therefore, beyond winter or summer, the battery of your vehicle will remain properly charged.
To achieve greater efficiency of the load, It is also recommended to take off the film that forms in the corners of the panel.
10. JYEMDV 4.5W 12V portable solar panel.
Among the available models, this is one of the most useful batteries charging devices. Together with a suitable built-in block, this battery charger manages to offer a correct grip to the diode structure.
This model has a feature that makes it successfully avoid reverse downloading. At the moment when the charge the process, this solar battery charger has a blue light that will start to flash.
It has excellent functionality. For those 12-volt batteries, you will have a product with the ability to provide an excellent power charge. And a monocrystalline silicon solar cell is included.
So this means that when it’s compared to other similar models, it achieves a fairly high electric motorcycle conversion rate. The charge will be stored in the battery once you obtain a 20% conversion rate.
This model is easy to use and it has Long Life Service. Easy installation is one of its strengths, the fact that you only have to set the connector into the 12-volt cigarette lighter. And you can connect this charger directly to your battery through the alligator clips if your vehicle is off and you cannot use this input.
Finally, this charger is resistant to wind, snow, or impacts because it is made of high strength materials.
1. Can you replace a solar charger with a standard charger?
The simple answer is NO. Standard chargers are powered with direct power grid electricity and can deliver plenty of charges unlimited. Standard chargers, sometimes referred to as just regular chargers are very powerful and resuscitated a dead battery. Solar chargers are limited by power converted into less powerful photovoltaic cells and do not deliver as much charge as a regular charger that is connected to the main grid. You should be using solar chargers for trickle charging to just maintain the charge of your battery and keeping it continuously fully charged. It is for this reason that solar chargers are sometimes referred to as maintainers.
2. How long do I need to charge my battery?
It depends on the level of sunshine available to you on that day.
On a good sunny day you need lesser time. If your panel is very powerful it will take about 5 hours to have a full charge. Cloudy days are a bit tricky and you can take as much as 12 hours to achieve a full charge. And if you have a big battery to charge it may even take more time.
3. My battery is totally dead. Can I use a solar charger?
No. solar chargers are not meant to charge dead batteries they will not work in such situations. There are more of trickle chargers and they only maintain voltage. Regular power grid chargers are the only ones that can charge dead batteries.