If you are a car owner, one of the things that you’ll definitely be dreading is your battery running completely out of juice when you’re out on the road.
Being stranded is no fun, especially when you’re with your family, so you’ll be needing a backup power supply that can help you in such a situation.
This is where a solar panel will become invaluable for the long-distance driver. These handy devices are purpose built to help you when you’re out in the world and need to top up your car’s power supply. They come with handy clips that you can easily attach to the battery in your car.
These units are very portable, coming in a flat, square design that makes it perfect for storage and porting between vehicles. That’s right, there’s no reason that you can’t use this on your RV, your caravan or your boat. If you have anything that operates with an on-board battery, then you’ll be wanting to use one of these units.
One of the best things about this unit is how eco-friendly that it is, taking its charge from the sun, you’ll have to spend no money on buying replacement batteries or other chargers.
A solar battery will also reduce the risk of overcharging your battery, which can often happen with a regular charger that works from the mains.
But where can you find the best solar car battery charger? What features does this battery charger need to have to give you the most reliable charge? What materials should go into the construction of a really good solar panel? How much can you be looking to pay for a decent solar panel charger?
Well, if you’re worried about being stranded in the desert, then you won’t have to any longer, because we’ve got a list of some of the best solar car battery chargers currently available on the market.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide that will help you decide between the best solar chargers and the worst, as well as some frequently asked questions.
Best Solar Car Battery Chargers
Eco-Worthy 25 Watts 12V Off Grid Solar Panel
Our first solar battery has appeared on a lot of compilations of best solar panels, and for good reason, this is a very versatile panel that can be used not only in home units and cars, but it can be adapted for marine use.
The charge time takes about 8 to 10 hours, with a medium range power outage – introducing the Eco-Worthy 25 Watts 12V Off Grid Solar panel.
Not only does this charge a depleted battery, but it can charge a completely dead battery, certainly making it a more appealing option for those drivers that often experience this frustrating phenomenon.
You can adapt the panels to include 10W, 20W, 100W or 200W panels, meaning that if you need plenty of energy, that the option is there.
This solar battery charger is very portable, you can use it with many different cars for that complete and thorough charge.
This is a very efficient charger, coming with a pair of 30A battery clips and an extension cable that can be adapted for various sizes of living room or dashboard.
- The power unit on this solar panel is very hefty, giving you plenty of juice to charge up your car battery. Leaving it charged for 8 to 12 hours, you can be sure of a full charge on your car battery, even if it is completely dead.
- This has many built-in safety features, ensuring that your car does not become overcharged or damaged like a lot of unregulated car batteries.
- This solar panel is made from very durable aluminum, making the product much more long lasting.
- This panel is also waterproof, meaning that if you do intend to keep it in the car, especially with children, then you won’t have to worry about any light spillages that may occur.
- Some users have complained that the controller that this solar panel comes with is faulty, giving either a false readout or a fake readout. Make sure that you purchase a solar panel that has plenty of good reviews online.
Allpowers 18V 12V 5W Portable Solar Panel
This next battery is one that utilizes a trickle charge to replenish your car battery when it is running low on juice.
With a monocrystalline center, it draws in the maximum amount of power that can then be discharged in any 12-volt battery in a car, tractor, boat, motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle – introducing the Allpowers 18V 12V 5W Portable Solar Panel.
This solar panel takes only 8 to 12 hours to charge completely, giving you more than enough output wattage to keep your car running for a very long time.
The charger is quite simple to use, all you have to do is connect it to the cigarette lighting port in your car, although it does have the option of alligator clips that you can run straight to the battery itself.
This battery is very easy to clean and maintain, resilient to weather conditions, so you can use it in rain where lighting might be low.
Even in low lighting conditions, this machine will give you some degree of charge. It also comes with suction cups that will enable you to stick it to the dashboard securely and firmly.
- The charge time on this solar panel is around 10 hours, which means that it will give you a full and rich charge to your car battery.
- This solar panel is very efficient and will obviously save you a considerable amount of money on electricity bills or money for a new recharging device. Why not take it from the most powerful energy source known in the galaxy?
- This is very adaptable to different forms of charging, you can either connect it with alligator clips or, if you don’t fancy opening up the hood of your car, then you can simply plug it into your cigarette lighter port.
- This solar panel can withstand plenty of knocks and impacts, which will be very important if you have a car that will be driving across rough terrain or if you are taking the family on a long holiday and expect the children to tamper with it.
- The price – this is one of the more expensive units on this list, which might not be appealing to those who just want a backup for the occasional long drive.
RICH SOLAR MPPT Solar Charge Controller
This next solar panel is a great one for outdoor vehicles, with a high efficiency rating and 15V of output energy, it is constructed from durable ABS plastic that will ensure its long life.
The cover on this solar panel is very durable and will give you a very reliable charge – introducing the Sunway Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer.
The interface on this charger is very helpful, with an LED light that flashes when it is fully charged and automatically stops consuming power when it is full.
It also has built-in safety mechanisms so that it won’t overcharge your car battery when it is hooked up. This is a common issue with regular chargers and can permanently damage your car battery.
This comes with suction cups for more secure mounting, with options to use both alligator clips and a cigarette lighter for charging. This is very important when it comes to storage and preserving the integrity of the panel itself.
It also means that you can secure it to your snowmobile, trailer, RV, boat or ATV as a supplementary power supply for those long journeys.
- This battery uses trickle charge, so you can use it to charge a depleted battery easily and quickly through the cigarette port in your dashboard.
- You can store this panel easily and securely on the dash of your car, it doesn’t matter how much vibration your outdoor vehicle experiences, this panel will be able to withstand it.
- This is a very versatile solar panel, you can even use it on your boat – it is highly resilient to adverse weather conditions such as rain and gale force winds, coming with suction panels that you will be able to use to secure it to the dash.
- This solar panel comes with a 12-month warranty that will give you plenty of time to get to grips with it and exchange it if it fails for any reason. The company that manufactures these panels has great customer service.
- Some users have complained that the solar panel won’t mount properly on the glass shelf, causing it to fall repeatedly and cause significant damage.
Battery Tender 10W Solar Battery Charger
This next solar unit is probably the most convenient on this list, coming with a microcontroller and a compact design that won’t take up space in your garage or on the dashboard of your car.
It has plenty of built-in safety features such as reverse polarity protection, as well as being safe for outdoor use – introducing the Battery Tender 10w Solar Battery Charger.
This battery comes with a temperature gauge that will stop your battery from overheating, making it one of the safest solar panels that you can use.
It takes up to 12 hours to charge, but once it is full, you’ll certainly be able to transfer that energy to your battery, with very little energy loss when not in use.
This is very easy to store, coming in a lightweight 3-pounds and a 14 x 16 inch size, ideal if you want to mount it on the dash of your car.
This model is also spark and water proof, giving you the ability to be able to run it in outdoor conditions without worrying about damage from excess impacts.
- This solar panel is very easy to install – all you need is a few alligator clips or you can even just plug it into the cigarette port of your dashboard.
- This has plenty of features and all available for a decent price – this is the perfect solar panel for a family that doesn’t have much money but likes going on long holidays.
- The charging time takes 12 hours – all you have to do is leave it overnight to get a full charge before you leave the house or go on a long vacation.
- This is one of the safest options on our list – coming with polarity protection, this is spark-proof and won’t succumb to the pressures of weather or repeated vibrations from your car.
- Some users have complained that this unit does not come properly wrapped in appropriate packaging, meaning that if you order this online then you do run the risk of it arriving cracked or with impeded functionality.
BLSOLAR2 2.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer
This next solar panel is one that has been marked as one of the lower profile options, with a 2.5-watt charger that has a shorter charge time of around 8 hours.
This is perfect if you want a quick charge and decent rate of power exchange, you can hook it up to a wet, gel or AGm battery – introducing the BLSOLAR2 2.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer.
This solar charger can not just be used on cars, but you can use it to juice up your motorcycle or boat battery, making it great if you plan on charging a number of vehicles in the space of one holiday.
You can use this battery in all different weather conditions, which is perfect for the adventurer who plans on negotiating varying climates.
You can also get quite a lot of energy from this solar panel in low light conditions, ideal for longer state-wide vacations where you can all but guarantee a change in weather conditions.
This unit is extremely lightweight and can be mounted to the dashboard of your car for those shorter journeys where you want to charge your battery.
- This battery is probably the most versatile on this list, you can operate it with wet or gel batteries, as well as MF, EFB or AGM batteries.
- This solar panel will hold up very well under a range of lighting conditions. Whether it is a bright sunny day or overcast, this device will slowly charge itself until it is full, giving you everything you need for your car battery.
- This has specially designed thin film technology that will prevent damages in the surface that will be sure to impact the functionality of your solar panel.
- The batteries work well in recovery mode, giving you the ability to charge the unit at a slower rate, allowing you to perfectly time it for the moment that your battery needs charging.
- Some people have reported that this solar panel can warp and even explode when subjected to intense rays of sunlight. This will obviously put off anyone who plans on using their solar panel frequently.
Solar Car Battery Chargers Buying Guide
There are many benefits to having a solar panel for your car, although you will have to consider the intensity and regularity of your car journey and usage before you buy the right model for you.
Is Your Battery Eco-friendly?
One of the main boons of a solar panel in the fact that it charges itself.
Harnessing the energy of the sun, you can recharge your car battery quickly, without having to shell out a few hundred dollars on a new battery or through energy bills.
Extend The Lifespan of Your Car Battery
The solar battery will provide your car battery with a steady stream of power.
You can even charge a battery from being completely dead, which is impossible to do from your mains power supply.
Is Your Solar Panel Easy to Use?
If you are a senior user or maybe someone who shies away from excavating inside the hood of your car, then you’ll love the option of simply charging your battery through your cigarette lighter port.
These solar panels are designed to be as convenient to use as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting a charger that is a reasonable size for the types of car journey that you expect to be doing would be the wisest course of action.
Most of the panels listed above tend to be very long and wide, so you’ll want to make sure that they can fit easily on your dashboard.
The dashboard is probably the best place for your solar panel to charge, so we would recommend that you get the measurements of that first and see if they match up with your prospective solar panel.
Some of the solar panels you can buy come in handy foldable sachets. Simply unravel your solar unit and hang them off a tree or the hood of your car until they are fully charged.