Best Solar Car Battery Chargers: Keep Your Battery Charged Anywhere
The best solar chargers that can handle any car battery
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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON October 1, 2019
You don't need a wall outlet to keep your car battery charged, particularly when you are far from any sign of normal civilization. Solar car battery chargers make it easy to juice a battery almost anywhere on the planet. Like other solar devices, it can be somewhat difficult to know what you need, so check out our guide below for some recommendations.
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Solar Car Battery Chargers
- Eco-friendly. The main benefit of solar battery chargers is an environmentally-friendly design. These devices don't require external electrical sources to recharge batteries and don't generate emissions and waste. They use the energy converted by sunlight into electricity to recharge car batteries, which is the most eco-friendly option out there.
- Prolong battery life. Another great thing about these chargers is the fact they provide a steady stream of power. They keep car batteries at optimum levels and prevent complete discharges. That ensures batteries stay healthy and last for longer.
- Convenient and portable. Solar chargers offer incredible freedom of movement. They are compact and highly portable, allowing you to charge your vehicle no matter where you are. All you need to do is to place the unit under sunlight and power it up.
- Cost-efficient. Solar chargers will save you quite some money in the long run. By charging the unit under sunlight, you get a free electricity source and avoid getting high electricity bills.
Types of Solar Car Battery Chargers
Solar Car Battery Maintainer
Solar car battery maintainers are designed for maintaining the battery's charge. They keep the electricity at optimum levels, which is essential for stored batteries. If you have your car parked throughout the entire season, you'll need a battery maintainer to prevent the vehicle from losing the charge. A quality device will keep the battery healthy and allow you to start up your car after a long time without any issues.
Solar Car Battery Charger
These devices can fully charge car batteries, even if they drain out completely. Solar car battery chargers are bigger and more powerful than maintainers, allowing you to recharge your vehicle quickly and effortlessly. That makes them ideal for of-the-road situations when you're far away from the power source.
Deltran Battery Tender
Deltran Battery Tender was founded in 1965 and is located in DeLand, Fla. The company produces high-quality battery chargers, jump starters, solar panels, and a variety of accessories. It prides itself on innovative designs and technologies used for the construction of modern charging devices. The Battery Tender 021-1163 5W Solar Maintainer is one of our favorite picks from Battery Tender.
Solar Car Battery Chargers Pricing
- Under $40: You can find lightweight and compact solar car battery chargers at this price point. Although inexpensive, these prove to be quite powerful and reliable. They might lack some extra features such as overcharging protection, but are still very useful.
- $40 and up: For a couple of extra bucks, you can get solar chargers with high efficiency, outstanding power, and excellent weather protection. These are ideal for long-term use and mostly ensure both battery charging and maintenance.
First things first, it's crucial to get an efficient solar charger. What we mean by efficiency is the charger's ability to work even when not exposed to the sunlight. The best-performing devices don't need to lay under direct sunlight to operate, which makes them convenient for dark, rainy, and cloudy conditions. They can even power up the battery during the winter season.
Solar battery chargers offer power from 2 to 18 volts. The less powerful devices require more charging time but are safer for the battery. With them, you don't run the risk of overpowering it. On the other hand, more powerful chargers can fully recharge the battery quickly and effortlessly. Still, you have to make sure these devices don't cause damages due to electrical overload.
Reverse Charge Blocking Diode
When it comes to safety, we recommend getting a device that has a reverse charge blocking diode. This feature ensures the charger retains all the collected energy without leaking, even when it's stored for a while. Luckily, most newly designed solar chargers have this feature, but we still recommend double-checking before the purchase.
Size and Weight
It might seem like the size and weight of the solar charger is not that important, but the truth is just the opposite. If you're planning road trips or need a portable charger for any other reason, a lightweight and compact device is a must-have. Also, you want to make sure you can store the charger in your vehicle in the first place. It shouldn't take up too much storage space, and you should be able to carry it around with ease.
- Construction. If you're planning to use a solar charger in challenging conditions, consider the quality of the casing before the purchase. Some devices feature weather-sealed cases that are protected against moisture, dirt, dust, and other environmental hazards.
- Cables and Connectors. Don't forget to check the cables and connectors in each particular charger. We recommend getting the one with at least two connectors so you have different charging options. A long power cord also makes charging more convenient.
Best Solar Car Battery Chargers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Solar battery chargers work best in direct sunlight.
- Solar chargers can still work in the shade or bad weather, but the charging performance tends to be slower and less effective.
- Larger solar panels tend to trade weight and overall bulk for better, faster performance.
Q. Do solar battery chargers work better than normal chargers?
A. Generally, no. Solar battery chargers, especially for cars, tend to be slower due to the limitations of the solar panel.
Q. Can I use a car solar battery charger with other batteries and devices?
A. This depends on the design and capabilities of the individual battery charger. Some have other connectors or USB ports to charge small devices.
Q. What is a trickle charger?
A. Trickle chargers, which come in regular and solar power varieties, charge a battery over time. This helps increase and maintain a battery's power level without damaging the battery itself.
We found the SUNER POWER 12V Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer to be a good all-around solar charger that blends good performance and durability.
You can also save some space and money with our budget pick, the Sunway Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer.