LAST UPDATED: October 15, 2019
Best Solar Battery Maintainers: Save the Lives of Your Batteries
Boost and preserve your batteries with these solar battery maintainers
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON October 15, 2019
Solar technology is an excellent alternative for powering up all types of devices. Solar chargers and battery maintainers are easy to use, and as long as you keep them under a clear view of the sky, you'll maintain your batteries at peak power. These devices breathe life into flat batteries and boost performance with minimal effort. But for maximum results, you need to purchase quality maintainers for the job. We put together this buying guide to help you choose the best one.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Solar Battery Maintainers
- Maintains batteries. You can keep your batteries charged and in good condition. Well-maintained batteries last longer and work better.
- Saves energy. You can generate electricity directly from the solar panel to maintain your batteries as opposed to buying it from “the grid.”
- Variety of uses. You can maintain a wide variety of batteries with these maintainers: automotive, RVs, marine, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and others.
Types of Solar Battery Maintainers
Bracket Mounted Vs. Suction Cups
The solar panels of some solar battery maintainers are mounted on a bracket. This bracket is adjustable, so you can get the best angle of the sun’s rays that generate the power for the maintainer. Other solar panels have suction cups, which allow you to place the panel anywhere you need to—on a boat deck, on a windshield, or other convenient spots. Suction cups provide you with extra versatility and choices for gathering the sun’s rays.
You get a number of choices regarding power output—the amount of electricity the maintainer puts out. Consumer solar battery maintainers produce a variety of power wattages. Starting as low as five watts, your solar panel can generate 7.5 watts, 10 watts, and up to 16, 18, or 20 watts. The more watts the maintainer generates, the faster it maintains or charges your battery.
This company was founded in 2002 by a group of engineers. It specializes in the manufacture and wholesale distribution of renewable energy products and solar panels. It is located in Los Angeles, Calif. Popular products include the Eco-Worthy 41-Inch Adjustable Solar Panel and the Eco-Worthy 600W Solar Panel Kit.
Suner Power brings together engineers with 10 years or more of experience in the consumer end of solar power production. Together, they develop solar battery maintainers like the Upgraded 12V Waterproof Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer and the Suner Power 12V Waterproof Solar Battery Trickle Charger and Maintainer with Built-in Controller.
Solar Battery Maintainer Pricing
- $20-$30. In this economical price category, you will find lower wattage chargers/maintainers, such as those that provide 1.8 watts, 2.4 watts, and five watts of power.
- $30-$50. In this medium-quality price category, you move up to more wattage and power, such as 7.5 watts to 10 watts.
- $50-$80. In this upper price range, quality as well as wattage increases. You may see chargers and maintainers that provide 18 to 20 watts.
Most battery maintainers give you the choice of charging directly to the battery with battery leads or directly into the cigarette lighter outlet in your car, truck, or SUV with a cigarette lighter plug. You should also be able to charge even when there is no sun. As long as you have light, even when it is overcast, the solar charger/maintainer should be able to generate power. The UV light from sunlight comes through clouds, so this is all you need. Although you can’t charge at night, you should be able to charge during the day even if it is cloudy.
Most solar battery maintainers have a shut-down diode built into them. This stops the charger/maintainer from charging after the battery is at full capacity and from reverse electrical flow back to the maintainer. An auto shut-off feature prevents potential damage to your battery and maintainer.
The solar maintainer should be well-built. It should have a high-grade glass panel and a sturdy ABS plastic frame. This is because you will probably move the device around to various locations and charging/maintaining opportunities. For example, you may maintain your boat battery then move on to your motorcycle or ATV. You want the device to be strong enough to withstand any potential shocks or bumps.
- Size. These products vary in size, for example, 8 x 10 inches (20 x 25 cm) for a small one to 16 x 11 inches (28 x 41 cm) for a larger one. Think about portability and the amount of the solar panel that will be exposed to the sun for your purposes.
- Shape. You get a choice of rectangular or square shape for your solar battery maintainer. Choose which one is best for your application.
- Mounting. You have several options for mounting: a bracket, stand, or suction cups. You can mount some solar battery maintainers more or less in a permanent location, for example, on the side of your garage or house. Some have a sturdy stand that provides a more stable mount. Other models have suction cups on the back of the panel so you can easily mount them on the dashboard of a car or onto a boat deck.
Best Solar Battery Maintainers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
You can use this maintainer in sunny or cloudy conditions. It maintains and charges many types of batteries, including AGM, SLA, gel, wet, and deep cycle. You can use it for many applications, such as automotive, marine, tractors, snowmobiles, trucks, RVs, etc.
A built-in blocking diode prevents reverse discharging, so there’s no drain on the battery. It is constructed of high-quality solar glass that will provide several years of use. Similarly, the ABS plastic frame is sturdy and made for long service. Your charger/maintainer comes with a 12-month warranty and lifetime tech support.
However, some users report that the clamps are loose and you might need to replace them for a better grip. It’s also possible that the polarity can reverse, which can cause your battery to drain power. The unit may charge too slowly on cloudy days for your application.
Here’s an economically-priced solar battery maintainer that will keep your batteries in tip-top shape using the (free) energy of the sun. It charges in cloudy or sunny weather and charges many different batteries in many different vehicles. These vehicles include boats, motorcycles, cars, trucks, ATVs, RVs, snowmobiles, and lawnmowers.
This unit is weatherproof. The high-quality tempered glass protects against hail, rain, snow, and impacts, yet it’s easy to clean. The frame is also high quality. It is made of ABS plastic that is durable and resistant to damage.
Unfortunately, some users claim that this unit is not a charger, as the product description says. Some have had their maintainers arrive without suction cups. Those who do get the suction cups claim that they could be of better quality.
This solar battery maintainer/charger is a good size and shape for use just about anywhere. This includes the hood of your car, on a boat deck, in your car’s engine compartment, or on a sunroof.
The built-in blocking diode helps prevent power reversing from the battery. This takes some of the burden off of you—you don’t have to monitor the unit as closely because the diode protects it. Use this product to maintain batteries in cars, trucks, boats, motorhomes, RVs, ATVs, and more. Since it works on cloudy days you can maintain your batteries and keep them in top shape in any weather.
If there are downsides to this unit, it’s that it does not have an indicator to let you know whether it’s working or not. Also, buyers have stated that the cord could be a little longer and that there are no instructions included. In addition, the maintainer is not waterproof so water protection is limited.
If you have stored vehicles that need regular maintenance between uses, this solar battery charger might be an excellent option. It's a compact yet powerful device that has a lot of features to offer and is suitable for all kinds of cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and more.
The device is suitable for 12V batteries and very efficient in preventing drains. Its main purpose is to slowly charge and maintain the voltage of the battery, keeping it healthy and making it more durable. With the back discharge protection, the charger is super safe to use.
Users also love the weather-resistant solar panels accommodated in a sturdy plastic housing. With the IP65 rating and UV protection, the device is very durable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It comes with a 12-month warranty and is incredibly easy to use.
However, it's important to keep in mind that this is still an inexpensive unit. Although highly protected from outdoor conditions, it might get easily damaged when used outside, especially when dropped from significant heights. Also, the suction cups don't attach to the unit very well. They tend to loosen up and fall off rather easily.
This is a versatile solar panel kit you can use on cars, RVs, boats, trailers, and more. It's suitable for all kinds of 12V batteries and is very efficient. Except for charging stored batteries, it is also able to maintain them in the long run and prolong their lifespan.
The device features three stages of charging to prevent battery overcharge, discharge, short circuits, and more. It's quite handy and easy to use. No maintenance is required; all you need to do is mount it and let it run. The anodized aluminum frame and a sealed box are waterproof and very sturdy. That allows you to use the unit both indoors and outdoors. Overall, the unit is ideal for both professionals and DIYers. It works for up to 13 hours and it comes with a one-year warranty.
There are a couple of minor drawbacks to this product, though. The unit is waterproof, but the standard SAE polarized plugs are not, so you need to be extra careful with them. Also, the mounting panel is a little awkward, and you might need to modify it for a proper fit. The included instructions are not that helpful.
Those who need a device to charge and maintain 12V batteries will find the Schumacher charger very useful. It's a powerful device that prolongs battery life and can be used on boats, cars, motorcycles, trucks, RVs, and other vehicle types.
The unit features a water-resistant panel and a sturdy housing that can withstand quite some abuse. You can use it both indoors and outdoors, even in cloudy conditions. The device is eco-friendly and requires minimal to no maintenance. The installation is quite straightforward too. All you have to do is mount the device, plug it in, and let it do its job. It's as simple as that.
However, the device is not flawless. First of all, it doesn't have an indicator light, so it's hard to tell whether it's working or not. Secondly, it doesn't come with suction cups, so you won't be able to place it on the windshield. Also, some buyers complained about the vague instructions.
This is a quality solar panel that uses crystalline silicon materials, which have high photoelectric conversion rates. It basically indicates how efficient the device is in absorbing sunlight and converting it into electrical energy. Long story short, the solar panel allows you to charge and maintain your batteries without any effort at all.
The device works on all kinds of 12V batteries, including wet, gel, MF, EFB, and AGM. You can use it on cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and other vehicle types. Thanks to the built-in blocking diode, the solar panel prevents discharges and short-circuits. It's completely safe for the battery and prolongs its lifespan.
Additionally, the unit features a sturdy ABS flame-retardant shell. It's weatherproof, so you can use it indoors as well as outdoors. The installation is pretty easy, too. You won't have any issues with mounting the device and putting it into work.
The biggest issue you might have with this product regards the included controller. A lot of buyers complained about its design, and they noticed it stopped working after a while. The second issue might be the length of the cables. They might be too short for some applications.
The TP-solar kit is ideal for 12V batteries on motorcycles, cars, trucks, RVs, boats, and other vehicles. It efficiently charges the batteries and maintains the voltage, keeping them at peak power and prolonging their lifespans.
The device is easy to install and use. No maintenance is required. All you need to do is to place the panel where it can face the sunlight and press play. The LED indicator light will notify you about the charging status.
Overall, the solar panel is quite handy and very safe. Due to the built-in circuit board, it's able to prevent discharges and other possible damages. The unit is quite compact and highly portable as well, so you get to keep it within hand's reach all the time. The housing is waterproof and very sturdy too, which means you'll be using the charger for quite some time.
The main drawback of this product is the fact it requires direct sunlight to work. Weather conditions might significantly influence its efficiency, so the solar panel might be less powerful on cloudy or rainy days. Also, some users complained about the instructions missing some information about the product. You might want to search for extra information online.
If you're looking for a simple yet efficient solar charger and maintainer, this might be the right thing for you. It's a high-quality device suitable for 12V batteries found in cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more.
With the mono-crystalline silicon solar cells, the device can convert sunlight to electric energy in a breeze. It can also store that energy in the battery, preserving the voltage and prolonging the battery's lifespan. All in all, this solar panel is very handy for charging and maintaining stored batteries.
It's also important to mention that the unit comes in a compact housing. It's well-made, sturdy, and quite durable. You can use it both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions. There's also an indicator light to notify you about the charging process. The package even includes a one-year warranty.
However, there are a couple of issues to keep in mind with this product. Firstly, the wire is not a heavy gauge and feels less substantial than it should. Secondly, the indicator light stays on all the time, which makes it difficult to keep track of the charging process. Lastly, the package doesn't include the suction cups you'll need for attaching the device to the windshield.
Last but not least, we have another quality solar panel on our list. It's a versatile device you can use on all types of cars, motorcycles, boats, trucks, etc. Thanks to its unique design and high power output, the unit efficiently maintains and charges stored batteries.
The solar panel is suitable for 12V batteries, and it's incredibly easy to use. No maintenance is required. All you need to do is to mount the charger, connect it to the vehicle, and let it run. What's even more important, you can use the device everywhere.
The housing is sturdy and durable. It's waterproof and resistant to impacts, so you can mount the charger both indoors and outdoors. You also get a one-year warranty should you run into any issues.
However, keep in mind that the product might come with poorly designed suction cups. Some buyers even reported the package came without them. You might need to buy suction cups separately either way. Also, the included instructions are not very helpful and might even confuse first-time users.
- Most newly designed solar battery maintainers are water and weatherproof. Still, you should double-check this before you buy a particular product. You will use this device outside because it needs solar energy; therefore, it'll be exposed to harsh conditions daily. A water and weatherproof design is a must if you want it to last.
- Before you start using a solar maintainer, check that your battery is working correctly. It often happens that the battery is already damaged before it’s connected to the power supply. In this case, no charger or maintainer can bring it to life, so it can’t be blamed for the malfunction.
- Solar battery chargers and maintainers are slower than electric ones. They work, but it may just take some time. Be patient and let them do their job.
- Don't forget to check your battery every once in a while. Many people tend to leave a battery on a maintainer and forget about it. Although it's unlikely that it will get damaged this way, you should still keep an eye on it.
Q: What is a solar battery maintainer?
A: It's a device that keeps batteries at their best performance. A solar maintainer prevents overcharging and complete discharge. It also improves charge quality, so you can run your devices at any time. A solar battery maintainer is recommended for both active and stored batteries.
Q: How do solar maintainers work?
A: Just like any other solar device, a solar battery maintainer converts energy from the sun into electricity. Then it either supplies batteries with the necessary power or cuts the power off completely to avoid overcharging. If you have a flat battery, a maintainer will pass more power to it to keep it alive. On the other hand, it will cut off the power for fully charged batteries to prevent damage due to overcharging.
Q: Do I have to put a solar battery maintainer under direct sunlight?
A: Every solar device works best during the daytime, but you don't have to put them under direct sunlight. Low-quality panels could be affected by humidity and other weather conditions, but high-quality ones can work even when it's cloudy. Keep this in mind before you buy a particular product.
The Suner Power Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer made it to the top of our list. It’s a versatile device that proves to be very efficient and durable.
Our top value solar battery maintainer is the POWISER 12V Solar Battery Maintainer and Charger. It works in any weather and is easy to operate and maintain.