Did you know that you can damage your batteries simply by charging them by using solar panels?
If not regulated, solar power can cause the batteries to charge beyond full capacity. Sunlight causes the batteries to overcharge and create all sorts of issues.
To solve this problem, a solar charge controller is used. It is a crucial device that helps regulate the voltage from the solar panels and prevents the batteries from getting overcharged.
There are plenty of these devices available. But not all the solar charge controllers are suitable for your system.
To help you get the ideal product, we have reviewed some of the best solar charge controllers available in the market. Using the information from this review, you can compare the products and get the device that suits your needs.
Need a quick decision? Here’s my top 5 Penetrating Oils picks:
Things To Consider When Buying A Solar Charge Controller
1. Power Output
Solar charge controllers that are connected to high amp solar panels and battery have a wide range of power outputs. This tells us that they can charge various battery types.
Charge controllers that have a high power output give 60-amps. These devices can be used to charge 12V to 48V batteries.
The less powerful charge controllers, such as those that have 20-Amp power out are used to power batteries that are 12V and 24V.
2. Protection Features
Protection features are a must when it comes to charge controllers. Simply put, the more the protection features, the better. The charge controller should comprise must-have features such as a reverse protection system. This allows for backward charging.
It should also have other protection features such as overcharge protection, discharge protection, and protection from short circuits. Look for solar charge controller reviews of the product you choose to better know its feasibility.
3. LCD Panel
A solar charge controller with an LCD panel will make controlling the device much easier. Backlit panels are better as they can be used in various lighting conditions. The display also has to be Big, so that the readings can be easily interpreted.
4. Build Quality
There are three types of shell materials solar charge controllers are usually made of. They are Aluminum Alloy, ABS and a fusion of both.
Using pure aluminum alloy for shell will hike the overall price. Thus, the ABS and ABS+ Aluminum Alloy shell are more common.
Also, check if the controller is firmly assembled. Check the terminals and buttons. Shake the controller a bit, if it sounds like something inside has dropped or disassembled, then the assembly isn’t strong.
Our Top 10 Best Solar Charge Controller Reviews
1.Renogy Wanderer PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller
Renogy Wanderer solar charge controller is used for off-grid applications. It is a controller that you have to plug in between the panels, battery, and load.
The device regulates the power coming in from the solar panels and uses it to effectively charge the battery. It is an entry-level PWM controller that increases system performance.
The device is used for 12 to 24V battery systems. It has a charging capacity of approximately 10 amps which is ideal for portable sets of solar panels. It has two 5V 2A USB ports which can be used to charge electronic devices.
Renogy Wanderer is very simple to use. The first step needed to set up the device is to connect it to a 12V battery. The controller will turn on once the battery is connected.
The next step is to set up the battery type. To change the battery type, hold the grey button down for approximately 7 seconds. Then release and press the button again.
The controller can charge sealed lead acid gel or flooded batteries. It also features various safety protections that safeguard the battery against overcharging, short circuit, reverse polarity, and others.
Renogy wanderer comes with a 4-stage charging process for the batteries. It features safe and quick charging. It also features Bulk, float, boost, and equalization charging processes.
You don’t have to configure or program any settings as the device has preprogrammed parameters, that change according to the battery type.
- Has a 4-stage charging process.
- Parameters are preprogrammed according to different battery types.
- Features two 5V 2A USB ports.
- The device is easy to use.
- It has various safety protections.
2. Binen 20A Solar Charge Controller Solar Panel Battery
This small solar charge controller from Binen is a 20Amp device that is easy to use. If you are looking for an affordable option, then this solar charger is definitely worth considering.
The device is ideal for charging lighting and smart devices. Operating the device is also very easy and it also works well with small solar systems. The size of the device makes it perfect for remote applications.
The 20A charge controller has an LCD screen. The display shows your current battery voltage. You will know what voltage is your battery at any time. It also has a couple of 5V, USB ports that can deliver up to 2A across the two ports. It also has a battery voltage of 12-24V.
The device only supports lead-Acid based batteries such as AGM or GEL. It has Bulk, ABS, and float charge settings.
One of the most important features of this device is it makes sure that the battery doesn’t go completely flat. The device regulates the battery and will cut the charge down to whatever the circuit is that you are using.
The device itself is very easy to operate. It has convenient features such as over-current and short-circuits inverse connection protection, and much more. The parameters can be easily configured which makes it suitable for home and commercial usage.
- Consists of two 5V 3A USB ports
- The device is easy to operate
- It has convenience charge protection features
- LCD screen displays useful information
- The device is perfect for remote applications
3. Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20 Solar Charge Controller
Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20 is a well-known solar charge controller that is made by Victron Energy, which is located in the Netherlands.
The Victron SmartSolar charge controller has a built-in Bluetooth connectivity. You can connect the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth and keep an eye on the performance, output, and much more.
You will be able to use the device with 12/24V battery systems. The VictronConnect app allows you to monitor the performance of the charger. You can check important data such as the charge in your battery. It also displays other useful information.
The device does up to a 100V input voltage, and up to 30 amps out. This makes it a great option for small to medium-sized systems. With the Bluetooth connectivity, you can configure the settings and charge your battery at the right voltages.
This is one of the Best Solar Charge Controllers in the market. With this device, you can get your battery charged very quickly and efficiently.
It has a rapid MPPT that monitors the voltage and current of the connected solar panels. They are very efficient in energy conversion from the solar voltage that you get from the sun at any given time and giving the batteries what they need. The MPPT technology also makes sure that the batteries do not overcharge.
- The device has Bluetooth connectivity
- It can be used with 12/24V battery systems
- The victronConnect app allows you to monitor the performance of the charger
- Configure the settings and charge of the batteries
- MPPT technology charges the batteries very quickly
4. HQST 20 Amp 12V/24V PWM
HQST stands for High-Quality Solar technologies. The HQST 20 AMP PWM is probably the finest PWM charge controller available on the market.
It is a multifunctional charge controller that consists of 2 USB ports. The ports are used to charge your everyday electronic smart devices and are also functional with a wide range of HQST portable solar panels.
The device quickly detects 12/24V system voltages. It can automatically adjust the charging parameters with the temperature compensation feature. The parameters can be configured easily according to what the user wants.
The controller consists of a backlit LCD screen that makes it easy for the users to work the device. It consists of a wide array of charge controller protection. This includes reverse connection, over-discharge, short circuit, and more.
The charge controller is compatible with a range of battery types. It can be used to charge Gel, lithium, flooded, and acid battery types.
The device has a light control feature that is a unique aspect that you will find pretty useful. The light control ensures that the connected batteries keep on charging even when there is no sunlight. This will provide the batteries with sufficient charge.
When there’s sunlight, the light control will switch off. This allows the panels to capture the energy from the sunlight which then charges the battery.
- Charging parameters can be adjusted automatically
- Light control charges batteries when there is no sunlight
- Charges a wide range of battery types
- Consists of 2 USB ports
- The device features a backlit LCD
5. Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module Solar Charge Controller
The Renogy BT-1 is a device that allows you to wirelessly operate and monitor solar charge controllers. The device has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can easily monitor the charge controllers via your smartphones.
The BT-1 is connected to the compatible solar charge controller via an RJ12 cable. It has a signal range that is approximately 50 ft. in length.
It has an efficient Bluetooth chip that allows for quick and uninterrupted data transmission. This is possible due to the Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE technology.
The solar charge controller is monitored from the user-friendly smartphone app. After connecting the smartphone to the charge controller, you will be able to view useful data. You can monitor your charge controller and view the solar panel, battery, and load information.
The record tab will display the system’s daily performance. The setting tab lets you change the battery tab as well as customize the charging and load parameters easily. The Renogy BT-1 is compatible with a range of Renogy solar charger devices. This includes the 30A Wanderer-Li, Rover-Li, and others.
The device itself is compact in shape. It is also lightweight which makes it great for mounting. Also, the surface area of the device helps with the temperature dissipation.
- Features Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE technology
- Wirelessly control your Renogy solar charge controllers
- View useful information about solar panels, battery, and load
- It has a signal range of approximately 50 ft
- Smartphone app lets you customize the charging and load parameters
6. Onesolar 60A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 48V 36V 24V 12V Auto Battery System
If you are looking for a solar charger that has all the features you need and doesn’t break the bank, then the exuberant Onesolar MPPT Charge controller reviews will put you in ease.
The device is full of useful features. One of the primary reasons is efficiency. The device has a 60-amp power output with a rapid fast-tracking rate which is 99%, and a great conversion rate of 98%. It also has a max input voltage of 150V PV. This makes sure that you get the most performance from your batteries.
The large LCD panel makes reading the information much easier. You can read useful information such as real-time statistics. It has a sleek design and easy to transport. The construction is also very durable. Operating the device is very easy as well.
The 60-amp power output allows you to connect big batteries. You can easily use 12V to 48V with this charge controller. It caters to all your solar charging needs and allows for four charging options. They are sealed, user-defined, flood, and gel.
The device also offers various protections such as overcharging and short circuit. It also features other safety protection such as over-discharge, overload, overheating, and reverse polarity. All these features make sure that your battery functions properly for a long time.
- LCD screen allows for easier monitoring
- Offers a wide range of safety protection for your batteries
- Has a high tracking efficiency
- Consists of 4 charging options
- The device has a sleek design and is easy to use
7. GHB 20A 12V 24V Solar Charge Controller Auto Switch
The GHB 20A charge controller has multiple features. You can connect two DC plugs. This lets you run some 12V DC devices. It also has two USB ports that are 5V 3A each. The device itself is rated for charge and discharge at 20A. It will work for a 12V or 24V system.
It has a float charge of 14V. Once it reaches that voltage, the device stops charging the connected batteries. It maintains the batteries at a certain voltage, so you don’t overcharge it.
It features an LCD that shows all the parameters, making it convenient for the users. It displays useful data and allows you to control the charger more efficiently.
Other features include a light indicator, which lights up when the wires are successfully connected to the charger.
The device is power efficient and accurate as well. When charging, the display shows an arrow in the middle of the solar panel icon and the battery icon. The arrow will flash quickly as the battery charges. When the battery starts to be full, the speed of the flashing arrow will decrease.
When it comes to protecting your batteries, the device has a wide range of features. The overcharging protection stops the battery from charging when the battery becomes fully charged. It also includes reverse polarity protection, lightning, and under-voltage protection.
- The device is easy to operate
- Includes a variety of features to protect your batteries
- Consists of an LCD screen that shows the parameters
- It has two USB ports
- Indicators light up when the battery is connected
8. Renogy Rover 40 Amp 12V/24V DC Input MPPT Solar Charge Controller
This device is an MPPT charge controller that allows for 12V or 24V charging. It can handle 520W at 12V load and 1040W at 24V load. It has a tracking efficiency of approximately 99% and a conversion efficiency of 98%.
The device is small and easy to operate. The aluminum design makes it strong and durable. Due to the design, it can dissipate hate very efficiently. The device can be used to charge and discharge Li-ion batteries.
It features an MPPT technology that helps get the highest amount of power possible from the connected solar panel. It is completely automatic and doesn’t need any programming.
The Rover comes with over-discharge, overcharge, and short circuit protection as well as programmable charging features and common negative grounding. The PV+ and PV- are for the charge controller inputs. The middle two are for the battery bank, and the load terminals are for the optional DC load.
The device has four buttons that allow you to navigate through the screens and program the controller as needed. The large LCD screen makes viewing your system status easy. It has built-in error codes that help you troubleshoot the system.
The rover has 4 charging modes. The bulk charge mode is used for the regular charging of your batteries. In constant charge mode, once the battery reaches a certain voltage threshold, the MPPT will pause.
This prevents batteries from overheating. Float charge mode helps the battery voltage, and the equalization mode overcharges the battery.
- Has a tracking efficiency of 99%, and conversion efficiency of 98%
- Large LCD screen makes viewing system status easy
- The device has 4 charging modes
- MPPT is completely automatic and does not need programming
- It comes with programmable charging features
9. Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller
The Outback Flexmax FM80 is an MPPT solar charge controller that has a wide range of features and supports different types of batteries. One of the key features of the FM80 is the high max output voltage capacity.
The device is very easy to use. It features an 80-character backlit display that makes viewing the system status easy. The device also gives you a summary for daily amp hours, or kilowatt-hours used.
It will also automatically keep a record of the last 128 days of usage. The unit has a high-quality feel to it. It is strong due to its sturdy construction.
The device can increase the PV array output by approximately 30%. This makes it higher than most MPPT solar charge controllers on the market.
It will work on battery banks that are anywhere from 12 to 60V DC. It will also do an automatic voltage detection when you connect it to the battery bank. It is capable of connecting to an array of up to 150VDC open circuit. This large voltage capacity makes the FM80 an excellent choice for off-grid solar panels.
The automatic temperature control is another useful feature that makes it the best MPPT charge controller that you can purchase. It has a thermal management system that regulates the temperature of the device and cools it down to the ambient temperature.
- Increases the PV array outputs by 30%
- Features an 80-character backlit display
- It has automatic temperature control
- Has a strong and sturdy construction
- Can charge a wide range of batteries
10. PowMr MPPT Charge Controller
If you are looking for an affordable charger controller that is efficient and has great features, then the PowerMr might just be what you are looking for.
The PowMr MPPT charge controller is packed with interesting features. It has a tracking efficiency of approximately 99.9%, and conversion efficiency of 98%.
The 40-AMP charge controller has 4 types of charging. The bulk charging mode is for regular charging. In boost charging mode, the battery is charged quickly. In the float charge mode, the voltage of the battery is maintained. The equalization mode overcharges the battery.
It consists of 4 LED indicators. They are the PV, battery, and load. It also has a fault indicator. It has a max solar power input of 550W for 12V, and 1100W for 24V DC system voltages.
The charge controller consists of 4 buttons that allow you to navigate through various screens. You can also program the device using the buttons. The display makes viewing the device’s status very easy.
The device features a Bluetooth module. It can be connected with an android or iOS device. Connecting the device allows you to monitor the battery or the solar panels. It is compatible with a wide range of battery operations. The device can be used to charge sealed gel, flooded, and lithium batteries.
The aluminum design of the PowMr charge controller helps it to dissipate heat more efficiently. This increases the performance of the system.
- The device has a tracking efficiency of approximately 99.9%
- Bluetooth connectivity allows you to use it with android and iOS devices
- It has 4 types of charging
- The aluminum design keeps the device cool by dissipating heat efficiently
- The display makes viewing the device’s status very easy
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Function Of A Solar Charge Controller?
The main function of a solar charging controller is to convert the power that is coming from the solar array and feed it back to a battery bank. It safely charges the battery without overcharging them.
If you connect the solar panels directly to the battery bay without using a solar charge controller, the solar panels will eventually bring the battery bay up to the open-circuit voltage of the solar panel. This will be unsafe for the battery and might ruin them.
2. What Is The Difference Between PWM And MPPT?
There are two main types of solar charge controllers, PWM and MPPT.
PWM is generally the least expensive and has an overall simple style. It operates by doing a pulse connection between the solar array and the battery bay.
As the battery bay reaches a higher voltage, it gets more fully charged. The pulses will decrease in length until it becomes an open circuit as the battery is fully charged.
MPPT charge controllers are much more complex. It allows the high amp solar panel to run at one voltage and the battery bank charging portion at another voltage.
3. Should I Get A MPPT Or PWM Charge Controller?
This depends on your system. PWMs are the good solar charge controllers in terms of pricing. They are cheaper than MPPT charge controllers.
PWM is generally used for small solar systems. MPPT is used for high power systems. They are more expensive than their PWM counterparts.
4. Do We Really Need A Solar Charge Controller?
Solar charge controllers serve a very important purpose. Simply put, this device regulates the voltage or the current and keeps the batteries from being overcharged.
It effectively controls the voltage coming from the solar panel control box.
5. How Do I Ensure Safety When Connecting The Battery?
When connecting the cable to a solar charger device, make sure no cables are sticking out of the terminals. This will ensure safe connectivity.
There is no point in getting a good solar panel to charge your batteries if you don’t have a solar charge controller or if the charge controller itself is not up to the mark.
The products we have reviewed are some of the best solar charge controller models in the market. They are efficient devices that can be used on different types of batteries.
They have a wide range of safety protection features that will keep your battery from getting damaged, and contribute to a smooth performance.
We hope you get the ideal controller that will fit your setup. Take care!