In today’s times, it’s all the more exciting and rather therapeutic to break away from the mundanity and hustle of everyday life and escape into the great outdoors to relax. When it comes to heading out in the wilderness, few things match the excitement that an RV life brings. If you’re someone who loves going off into the wild off the grid with your RV, then need to have enough power to keep the RV and your devices up and running no matter where you are. This is where a solar charger for RV batteries with solar panels comes in, which RV campers love for its portability and versatility. A portable solar panel for your RV batteries gives you the freedom to travel without having to hunt for a power source. Whether it’s your electronics, lights, or stove that require power, these nifty portable solar panels have you covered.
What’s more, portable solar panels are an excellent option for RV campers who’re just getting started with using solar energy and want to try it out on their batteries. Since they’re portable and often come with in-built stands, you can even connect them directly to the quick-connect port or the battery or bring the panel out only when you want to. The best bit is that they can be kept to charge in the sun while you camp in the shade, and you’ll still have energy! Since there’s no “one size fits all” option when it comes to them, we’ve also included a handy buying guide. To that end, here are the 13 best options for a solar charger for RV batteries.
How To Choose The Best Solar Chargers for RV Batteries?
RV camping requires a whole lot of Best Accessories for RV Camping, such as the Best RV covers to keep your vehicle covered and free from debris and dust when you go hiking during the day. However, it also requires a ton of gear in the battery department, such as the Best Boondocking RV Batteries or even the Best RV Deep Cycle Batteries for RV. Solar chargers are becoming more and more important because people are going on increasingly longer trips and require a ton of power to keep their gear up and running. So, what should you look for in solar chargers for RV batteries? Read on.
Kinds of portable solar panels
- Amorphous: A.k.a. thin-film panels feature silicon spread on a large bed and are popular because they’re pocket-friendly. What’s more, they’re also flexible and allow for more installation options. However, they take up as much as three times the space of the other two kinds of solar panels.
- Polycrystalline: They’re amongst the best for RVs and made from multiple silicon blocks. While they don’t produce as much power as the monocrystalline ones, they take up lesser space.
- Monocrystalline: Built from a large single silicon crystal, they’re the most effective solar panels since they produce high amounts of power even in weak sunlight. While they’re the most effective of them all, they’re also the most expensive.
You also need to check on the efficiency of the panels, which is basically the amount of solar energy converted to DC electricity and showcased in percentage form. Higher efficiency means that the panel will have a solid output even though it takes up less space and weighs less. So, make sure that you get a solar panel that maximizes output while not taking up a lot of space since that’ll be a premium. Besides considering the climates that you’ll be driving in, you also need to check that the electrical output supersedes what you will require to power your electronics.
Another factor is the wattage, since the higher the wattage, the better the panel will be able to power several electronics at the same time. Usually, higher wattage translates to a better efficiency rating, but that also means that it’ll be more expensive. Remember that you can always buy a lower wattage panel to see whether it works for you or not, and then invest in a second one only if it’s absolutely necessary.
Weight and portability
Finally, we come to one of the most critical factors of all – weight and portability. Since you’re going to be RVing, you need to make sure that you’re able to carry it around. In fact, some kits even come in traveling cases and briefcases so that you can store them and carry them around safely. Also, since you’re going to be attaching it to your RV, ensure that it won’t cause any damage to the RV due to its weight.
What is the best place to install solar panels on your RV?
Most of the options for a solar charger for RV batteries’ panels are designed to be installed on the roof of the RV. However, you need to remember that you’ll need to park the RV in the sun if you intend to do that. That’s because the panels need to be exposed to the sunlight during the day as much as possible. However, if you’re content with simply placing the panels in the sunlight, then you’ll require a lot of cable for running between your battery and the solar charger panels. Additionally, the longer the cable, the less the amount of power that’s transmitted through it. Hence, campers should keep the solar panels as close as possible to their RV batteries as possible for minimizing the power drop through cable resistance.
DOKIO Folding Solar Panel Kit
The DOKIO Folding Solar Panel Kit is amongst the best solar charger for RV batteries. It might weigh a hefty 6 lbs, but it’s a great semi-permanent solution for simply folding, carrying, and setting it up anywhere. The stylish and ultra-thin charger is easy to stow and even comes with a pair of USB ports for charging smaller devices. What’s more, the unit even lets you know your battery percentage along with protecting your devices against short circuits, reverse polarity, reverse currents, and overcharging. It also comes with all connectors and cables along with five different DC plug clips, a crocodile clip, and a JY60 short connector. Plus, this one actually delivers the 100-watt output it advertises, along with having a mildew and weatherproof exterior!
- Comes with cables and accessories.
- Stylish and thin.
- Slightly heavy.
ALLPOWERS 100Watts Flexible Solar Module
Amongst the best solar panels for RV batteries for campers is the ALLPOWERS 100Watts Flexible Solar Module. This highly efficient solar panel is lightweight and flexible and can bend up to as much as 30 degrees! Moreover, the flexibility and lightweight nature of the panel make it perfect to be installed even on irregular surfaces, such as the top of a canvas awning or on the side of a tent. It also comes with an 18-month warranty and an instruction manual for an easy and hassle-free setup process. If you have a small RV that can’t handle a lot of weight, this solar charger is perfect, even though it doesn’t come with all its accessories.
- Lightweight and flexible.
- Portable and can be set up anywhere.
- Much lighter in weight than other solar panels
- Flexible, light-weight construction makes it very portable and quick to set up anywhere
- Accessories need to be purchased separately.
ECO-WORTHY Portable Folding Solar Panel
Yet another excellent solar charger for RV batteries is the ECO-WORTHY Portable Folding Solar Panel. In fact, it’s one of the most portable panels on this list, so much so that it can even be packed up into a suitcase! The charger comes pre-wired for charging a 12V system and a pre-installed controller, making it truly a plug-and-play portable solar panel. Thus, it’s ideal for not just emergency power needs, but also when you’re boondocking or dry camping at remote campsites. That said, the panel isn’t expandable since it wasn’t intended to serve a long-term power supply or be permanently installed, for that matter. Basically, it’s designed for versatility and portability in order to be set up just about anywhere and immediately start charging. All in all, this is the perfect solution for emergency or temporary needs and comes with a pair of 30A alligator clips and 10-feet solar cables.
- Delivers power even on cloudy days.
- Comes with a power guarantee of 80 percent within 25 years and 90 percent within a decade.
- Ready-to-use portable system with no wiring or setup.
- No instructions included.
Renogy 100Watts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
One of the best solar panels for RV campers’ batteries is the Renogy 100Watts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit. The system is expandable up to 400 Watts if your requirements grow over time. What’s more, this kit ships with everything you require for a first-time installation, right down to the bolts and nuts. Basically, it’s the dummy’s solar charger and designed for campers new to solar power. It can be installed on your camper or RV roof and might not be as portable as other kits that can be installed anywhere. However, it’s very easy to install and operate, and if you purchase a mounting system, then you can even install the panels at a tilt instead of the plain flat way. That allows you to get a better angle for the sun and keeps leaf, rain, and snow debris off too.
- Comes with many instructional videos for installation.
- Expandable system.
- Negative grounding for greater safety and more applications.
- Limited ways of installing it.
WindyNation 100Watts Solar Panel RV Kit
A great expandable solar charger for RV batteries is the WindyNation Solar Panel Kit. The 100 W polycrystalline solar panel is expandable to up to as many as four panels in case your requirements grow over time. RVers really love the options and features of the LCD controller screen, which features all information on power consumption for monitoring and assessing the efficiency of the panel/panels. It shows everything from current DC load draw and temperature to amp-hours, voltage, and amperage. It even comes with a battery temperature sensor which is a blessing if you’re camping in very hot environments. The system provides an average charge of 33 amp-hours per day depending on how much sunlight is available. All in all, this is an extremely reliable system that’s very easy to install and set up as well.
- Easy installation instructions.
- Expandable system.
- Reliable performance.
- Might require a fuse system.
Battery Tender Solar Battery Charger
The Battery Tender Solar Battery Charger is amongst the best solar panels for RV batteries for campers. After all, what could be a better 12V solar battery charger than a 5-W panel with a three-step automatic microprocessor controller and an in-built battery tender? Featuring a total capacity output of 12V nominal voltage, the charger features a space-saving slim design that weighs just 3 lbs, making it perfect even for a small RV. Besides being completely spark-proof, the panel is extremely weather-resistant and can handle the most extreme temperatures. Finally, it’s also protected from reverse polarity, which means you don’t have to worry about overcharging and draining your batteries’ health after charging them for more than 24 hours.
- Easy to install, slim, and lightweight.
- Weather-resistant and spark-proof.
- Reverse charge protected.
- Shorter cord.
SUNER POWER Solar Battery Charger & Maintainer
The SUNER POWER Solar Battery Charger & Maintainer is yet another excellent solar charger for RV batteries that allows you to charge your RV battery anywhere and anytime, so long as there is sunlight. This multi-functional charger is chock-full of features, including the fact that it prevents your batteries from naturally losing power even when you aren’t using it. Basically, it transfers light energy to your deep-cell batteries for powering your RV and can even withstand all sorts of weather, thus allowing it to last you a long, long time. What’s more, you can even leave it in your truck or outside without wearing it out. Plus, its fuller and more efficient panel absorb a wider range of sunlight. Finally, it has a blocking reverse diode preventing your battery from overcharging when it’s plugged in too long or discharging.
- Comes with cigarette cables.
- Reverse protection.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Easy to install and low maintenance.
- Doesn’t have a USB port.
ECO-WORTHY Battery Charger
There’s yet another Eco-Worthy charger on this list, the ECO-WORTHY Battery Charger which has one of the best solar panels for RV campers’ batteries. The package features a trickle charger that prolongs and maintains battery life and doesn’t overcharge it either. It’s engineered with an in-built blocking diode for keeping the power from reversing in your battery, which means that it’s safe to leave the unit plugged in on the Cig connector round the clock. Crafted from long-lasting and durable polycarbonate, it’s weatherproof and can be used outdoors in any weather conditions. Plus, the batteries that this charger power lasts up to a few good weeks or even a month when kept on standby mode. The best part is that it can even be used as a USB solar charger and in a trickling truck battery.
- Easy to use.
- Does not have reverse charging.
- Completely weatherproof.
- Installation instructions aren’t clear.
Renogy 50 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit With Charge Controller
Do you have a very small RV that doesn’t need a big but rather needs a smaller solar charger for RV batteries? Then you need to look at the Renogy 50 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit With Charge Controller, which is the smallest wattage system for charging a 12V battery on this list. Perfect for smaller RV campers, the solar kit comes with a 10A PWM charge controller and is easy to set up. What’s more, it protects the battery bank from over-charging or discharging, all the while operating entirely automatically. It fully charges your battery in about 6.5 hours of direct sunlight and takes about 3 more hours in partially cloudy conditions. The charging speed might be slow, but given its size, it’s an excellent choice for campers with smaller RVs.
- Excellent price.
- Portable and lightweight.
- Great charging even under low-light conditions.
- Slow charging speed.
POWISER Solar Battery Maintainer & Charger
The POWISER Solar Battery Maintainer & Charger is amongst the most versatile solar panels for RV batteries for campers. There’s a lot to like about this charger, starting with its high power output and unique design that efficiently charges and maintains stored batteries. Besides not requiring any maintenance, the device is incredibly easy to use. All that needs to be done is mounting the charger, connecting it to the RV, and letting it run. However, the standout feature is that you can use this portable device just about everywhere. It also sits in a durable and sturdy housing, and is even resistant to impacts and waterproof too, allowing you to mount this charger both indoors and outdoors.
- Comes in sturdy and durable housing.
- Easy to mount and use.
- Suction cups are either not-so-well designed or don’t come with the package.
Aeiusny Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer
Yet another nifty solar charger for RV batteries is the Aeiusny Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer. It’s the perfect charger if you’re looking for an efficient yet simple solar charger and maintainer, given that it’s a high-quality device. The charger features mono-crystalline silicon solar cells that convert sunlight to electric energy in one hassle-free and breezy process. What’s more, it can also store that energy within the battery, thus prolonging the lifespan of the battery and preserving the voltage. The unit comes in a durable, sturdy, and well-made compact housing which makes it very handy for maintaining and charging stored batteries. The best bit? It can be used both outdoors and indoors notwithstanding the weather conditions.
- Well-designed and durable.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- The battery indicator light stays on all the time.
TP-Solar Car Battery Charger and Maintainer
One f the best overall solar panels for RV batteries for campers is the TP-Solar Car Battery Charger and Maintainer. While it requires direct sunlight to work, the solar kit is perfect for 12V batteries on RVs. The charger is easy to install and use and doesn’t require any maintenance either. All that needs to be done is that the panel needs to be placed facing the sunlight and press the play button. Meanwhile, the LED indicator lights up and notifies you about the charging status. Aside from the panel being safe and handy, it has an in-built circuit board that prevents damages as well as possible discharges. Wrapping up the features, literally, is the sturdy and waterproof housing that makes the unit both highly portable and compact too.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Sturdy and waterproof.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Slightly pricey.
SOLPERK Solar Car Battery Charger and Maintainer
Topping the list of the best solar charger for RV batteries’ options is the SOLPERK Solar Car Battery Charger and Maintainer. This high-quality solar panel uses crystalline silicon that absorbs sunlight very efficiently and converts it into electrical energy. Besides working on all kinds of 12V batteries, the battery has an in-built blocking diode that prevents short-circuits and discharges. So, it’s completely safe for the battery and even prolongs and lengthens its lifespan. In addition, the battery charger has a robust ABS flame-retardant shell that’s also weatherproof. So, this unit can be used both outdoors and indoors. Finally, the installation is very easy as well.
- Very efficient.
- Robust and sturdy.
- None, really.