Best solar trickle chargers

Solar trickle chargers are an efficient and sustainable way to ensure your vehicle battery stays fully charged and avoid discharge and other problems. Our absolute favorite is the ECO-WORTHY 12V 10W Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer, with our other top picks listed below!

ECO-WORTHY 12V 10W Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer
Pros:
  • Simple “plug and play” cigarette lighter connector.
  • Affordable price tag.
Cons:
  • The solar panel isn’t waterproof.

The best solar trickle chargers on the market today

In choosing our favorite solar trickle chargers and maintainers, we’ve considered the following factors:

  • Power
  • Durability
  • Ease of use
  • Safety features
  • Affordability

So let’s take a look at the best solar trickle chargers, starting with our top pick!

1. Top pick – ECO-WORTHY 12V 10W Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer

In our expert opinion, this is one of the best solar trickle chargers on the market right now. It works with 12-volt batteries on cars, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, and tractors. It also comes with a 10-watt solar panel designed to maintain your vehicle’s battery.

The battery charger’s solar panel SAE connector is easy to use: you just need to plug it into the cigarette lighter, so you won’t need to plug it directly into the battery and worry about positive and negative charges. However, there are also battery clips included if you want to plug it directly into the battery, for example, to maintain a battery that is not connected to a vehicle.

The solar trickle charger comes with a pair of battery clips, a cigarette lighter adapter, and four PVC suckers for easy mounting on your windshield or elsewhere. The clips are specially designed to prevent short-circuiting and protect you and your equipment.

Other safety measures include a built-in blocking diode that prevents reverse discharge and extends the battery life.

What we like:

  • User friendly: With a simple “plug and play” cigarette lighter connector.
  • Value for money: One of the best solar trickle chargers out there for the money

What we don’t like:

  • Not weatherproof: The solar panel isn’t waterproof so isn’t suitable to be left outside.

Although not waterproof, you can charge it by placing it on your dash or mounted on the inside of your windshield. With a range of features and good charging capacity for an affordable price, this is our top pick for the best solar trickle charger and maintainer.

2. Budget pick – Sunway 12V 5W Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer

This solar maintainer comes with a solar panel that will supply up to five watts of power if charged in full sun, enough to maintain your vehicle’s battery and avoid battery drain. The maintainer is easy-to-use: you simply plug it into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter, and the charger is suitable for wet, gel, SLA, AGM, and deep cycle batteries.

The high-efficiency crystalline solar panel is built to be strong and durable, with ultra-clear PV glass and strong ABS plastic housing. Not only does this help to keep the panel in good condition over the long term, but it also makes it low-maintenance.

The charger is equipped with a 12-volt LED charge indicator and a built-in diode to prevent reverse charging.

What we like:

  • Affordable: This solar trickle charger is cheap, but will still maintain your battery.
  • Safety features: Including a built-in diode and charge indicator.

What we don’t like:

  • Lower power: The charger only delivers five watts of power, less than most trickle chargers.

Although this budget solar trickle charger only delivers a modest five watts, this will be enough to maintain a 12-volt battery over the short to medium term.

3. Best amorphous solar panel – POWOXI 12 V 3.3W Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger

This charger is equipped with an amorphous solar panel, a type of panel which has thin-film solar cells, which are designed to perform well even in low light. This amorphous solar panel offers powerful charging even on cloudy days or under shade, letting you maintain your vehicle battery in any season.

The amorphous solar panel is built to be durable, and is further strengthened with sturdy ABS plastic casing. The charger is also easy-to-use: you can install it on your windshield or instrument panel without much fuss.

You can either plug the charger into the cigarette lighter with the included adapter, or use the alligator clips which come with the charger to connect it directly to the battery.

This high-quality charger comes with CE/ROHS certifications and a 12-month warranty, so you can be assured that it will perform well and any issues will be addressed.

What we like:

  • Charges even in low light: Thanks to the amorphous solar panel, it will charge even in dim light.
  • Durable: The robust solar panel is further strengthened with ABS plastic casing.

What we don’t like:

  • Low wattage: Only 3.3 watts of output.

This may not be the most powerful solar trickle charger around, but it still works well in maintaining battery voltage, with the advantage of charging even in low light.

4. Best mid-range option – Renogy 12V 10W Solar Battery Maintainer

One of the best solar trickle chargers for those who want a mid-range option, the Renogy 12V is an excellent choice, offering great value-for-money with a modest investment. It has a decent 10-watt solar panel that will produce plenty of power to maintain your 12-volt battery.

The panel is highly durable, with online reviewers reporting that it can be left outside in heavy rain, snow, and frost without any issues. Users also say that it charges quickly even in partial shade.

The charger comes with an impressive range of accessories, including an SAE to cigarette lighter plug cable, alligator clip cable, SAE to ring terminal, and no less than eight suction cups for easy mounting on the inside of your windshield. You won’t find the SAE to ring terminal included with most solar trickle chargers, and is a handy alternative to alligator clips for connecting the charger directly to the battery.

What we like:

  • Powerful: This trickle charger is powerful, with a 10-watt solar panel.
  • Plenty of accessories: Comes with a number of accessories, including an SAE to ring terminal.

What we don’t like:

  • No indicator: There’s no indicator light or display to show when the unit is charging.

Overall, this is a high-quality solar trickle charger that comes with a range of functions and accessories and offers excellent value for money.

5. Best 14-watt panel – Suner Power 12V 14W Solar Car Battery Charger

Most decent solar trickle chargers come with a 10-watt solar panel, but this charger is equipped with a powerful 14-watt panel. This allows you to charge your battery more quickly with the same amount of sunlight.

Like the other chargers on this list, it is suitable for various kinds of 12-volt batteries found in vehicles, including wet, gel, SLA, AGM, and deep-cycle batteries. It also comes with reverse protection to avoid damaging or overcharging your battery, and a built-in blocking diode to prevent reverse discharge.

What we like:

  • Powerful: The charger has a 14-watt solar panel for quick charging.
  • Reverse protection: It also offers reverse protection to protect your battery from overcharging.

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive: This charger is significantly more expensive than most others on this list.

If you’re looking for a powerful solar panel with extra charging capacity, this solar charger will be a great choice for you. However, if a unit with a smaller solar panel will meet your needs, you could be better off with a more affordable option.

6. Best premium option – SUNER POWER Waterproof 12V 20W Solar Battery Charger & Maintainer

If you’re willing to invest a little more in your solar trickle charger, we recommend this premium option from Suner Power. This unit has an even larger, impressive 20-watt solar panel.

Otherwise, the major difference between this charger and budget or mid-range models is that it has a built-in intelligent MPPT charge controller.

This advanced controller generates 10 to 20 per cent more power than a traditional battery and has a three-stage charging algorithm to charge and maintain your battery at optimum levels. This charging system also protects your battery from over-charge, discharge, over-voltage, or short circuiting.

This durable charger is made of tempered glass and a sturdy ABS frame, and comes with the assurance of a 12-month warranty. It is also rated IP-65 waterproof, so you can put it outside in any weather and not worry about the equipment rusting.

What we like:

  • MPPT charge controller: For increased power generation and three-stage charging algorithm.
  • Very powerful: An unusually-large, 20-watt solar panel puts this ahead of the pack.

What we don’t like:

  • Poor service: Some online reviewers complain about inadequate tech support.

We particularly like this charger’s color LCD screen that lets you visually monitor the charging process and check the battery’s condition. Although you’ll pay a little more for this solar trickle charger and maintainer, you’ll be rewarded with a high-quality and long-lasting piece of equipment.

Things to consider when buying a solar trickle charger

All vehicle batteries naturally discharge when idle, so can empty over time if your car, motorbike, or boat is not in use. Not only does this mean that you won’t be able to start the engine, but the batteries that are not maintained above a certain level of charge have a shorter life.

Using a solar trickle charger will help ensure your battery lasts as long as possible and keep the battery ready to go if storing the vehicle for months. This is also good for your battery in the long-term, as keeping it fully-charged can help to extend the life of your car battery.

Materials and durability

The first thing you want to check before buying a solar trickle charger is what it’s made from. These units are often exposed to harsh conditions, from rain and frost to the hot sun amplified under your windshield.

Therefore, it’s essential that they are sturdy and durable, and made from materials such as ABS plastic and tempered glass or similar for the solar panel.

If you’re planning to mount the panels outside in all weathers, it’s important to ensure they are waterproof, such as the Suner Power Waterproof Battery Maintainer. It’s also a good idea to check if the charger comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

How much power does it deliver?

Solar trickle chargers come in various sizes, so it’s important to choose one that suits the wattage of your battery. If the charger is not powerful enough, it simply won’t have enough power to charge your battery.

If you want to be able to charge a 12-volt battery, you’ll need a more powerful solar trickle charger such as the Suner Power Waterproof Battery Maintainer or Suner Power 14W Solar Car Battery Charger.

Is it easy to use?

It’s important to make sure that the design of the charger is suitable to mount to your vehicle. The cigarette lighter in some vehicles will not carry a charge when the ignition is off, so you cannot charge the battery through the cigarette lighter.

If this is the case for your vehicle, you’ll need a charger that can be attached directly to the battery such as with alligator clips.

You should look for units that are not only easy to install but can but mounted in a way that is suitable for your vehicle.

What accessories does it come with?

For easy mounting, the best solar trickle chargers come with suction cups to attach the panel to the inside or the outside of the windshield.

You should also look out for solar panels which either have a cigarette lighter adapter or alligator clips, depending on how you want to connect it to your battery. Preferably, choose a charger that has both of these accessories for more versatility.

Some units, like the Renogy Solar Battery Maintainer, also come with an SAE to o-ring adapter for even more charging options.

What’s the best solar trickle charger?

There are a number of excellent solar panel trickle chargers on the market today – be sure to look out for power, ease-of-use, included accessories, and durability.

Our top pick for the best solar trickle charger is the ECO-WORTHY 12V 10W Solar Car Battery Charger & Maintainer as a great all-round option. For a budget alternative, we recommend the Sunway 12V 5W Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer, and our favorite premium version is the Suner Power Waterproof Battery Maintainer.

If you’ve found this article helpful, go ahead and share it with your networks, and take a look at our round-ups of the best solar phone chargers and car battery charger kits.

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