If you are looking for the best solar car battery charger, look no more! In this article we will discuss many aspects of the solar 12v charger. Then we will break it down and show you the best solar car battery chargers of 2019. But just to give you a heads up, the number 1 best solar car battery charger is the POWOXI Solar Battery Charger.
What is a solar panel 12v battery charger?
A solar panel 12 v battery charger, also known as a solar car battery charger, is essentially a solar panel that hooks up to your battery to maintain the charge. Several things can cause a vehicle’s battery to lose its charge. A solar car battery charger can prevent that from happening and make your life a lot easier.
Advantages of Solar 12v Battery Chargers
They are good for the environment
Solar panel 12v chargers use renewable energy from the sun to recharge your batteries. They have zero emissions. Wall chargers use the electricity from your electric provider, which is generated by power plants. Power plants burn non-renewable fossil fuels to create the electricity that is used by wall chargers. The burning of fossil fuels is harmful to the environment and causes pollution and global warming. Every step you take towards reducing your carbon footprint, will help save the planet from the irreversible damage caused by carbon emissions.
They are easy to use
Solar 12v battery chargers are plug and play. There is little to no set up involved, you just plug it into the cigarette lighter in you car or connect it to the battery with alligator clips. Anyone with basic knowledge can use one and benefit from the solar power that is being produced.
They are inexpensive
You can buy a cheap solar 12v battery charger for $20. In some cases you can purchase a good quality charger for around $50. After that, all the savings is yours! You won’t be adding onto your electric bill, and you will be maintaining your expensive battery.
How to install a solar car battery charger
Using and installing a solar panel 12v car battery charger is fairly simple, especially if you are familiar with how to jump start a dead car battery. The solar panel will usually come with 2 different cords:
- Positive and negative alligator clamps to connect directly to your battery
- A cigarette lighter plug to charge the battery through the cigarette lighter port
You can charge your battery with either cord.
Where to place the Solar panel
If you are in the northern hemisphere, your solar panel should face true south. If you are in the southern hemisphere, your solar panel should face true north. You can place the solar panel anywhere that receives direct sunlight. They can be placed on rooftops, on the ground, in corridors, or even inside your car dashboard.
How to charge battery with positive/negative alligator clamps
To charge your battery with the alligator clamps, you will connect each clamp to the positive and negative terminals of the car battery. You will then simply place the connected solar panel in an area that receives sunlight.
How to charge car battery through cigarette lighter port
You can also charge the car battery through your car’s cigarette lighter. You simply plug the solar panel into the cigarette lighter and place it on the dash board in full sunlight. Simple as that! When using this method be sure to unplug the solar panel when using the battery. You can damage your battery if you leave the solar panel charger plugged in while the battery is in use.
How to choose the best solar panel car battery charger
Solar car battery chargers are relatively inexpensive. Even so, you don’t want to buy the cheapest one out there if you can afford better. Cheaper solar battery chargers are known to fail due to the lack of quality of the device and components. You can get a good solar car battery charger for round $50.
Types of solar panels
There are 3 different types of solar panels to choose from when purchasing a solar car battery charger: Polychrystaline, monochrystaline, and amorphous silicon.
Polycrystaline (aka: poly cells)– These solar panels are made from crystalline silicon. Poly cells are not as efficient as monocrystalline cells (mono cells). Their efficiency rate is around 13-16 percent. This means they are not able to produce as much power as mono cells under the same amount of sunlight. Poly cells are blue and rectangular.
Monocrystaline (aka: mono cells) – Mono cells have efficiency ratings aroung 16-18 percent. They are able to produce more power than poly cells because they are made of a more pure form of silicon. Mono cells are more expensive than poly cells. Mono cells are black and sometimes have a beveled edge.
Amorphous Silicon – Amorphous silicon cells are different from poly and mono cells because they aren’t made from silicon crystals. They are cheaper than both poly and mono cells. However, they perform better than both poly and mono cells in cloudy conditions. They also perform better early in the morning, in the evening, and at hotter conditions.
Which panel type to choose
Your climate will be a determining factor on which type of solar panel you choose. If you are living in an area with a lot of cloudy days, you should choose the Amorphous Silicon solar panel. This type of solar panel performs the best in cloudy and shady conditions. So if you are in an area with a lot of shade or with a lot of cloudy days, definitely choose an Amorphous Silicon Solar Panel
If you are in a location with ample sunlight, you are better off purchasing a Poly or Monocrystaline solar panel. Both of these types will work best in sunny conditions. Poly is the standard. Mono cells are a bit more efficient and expensive.
Monocrystaline solar panels are the most expensive of the 3 types of cells. Polycrystaline solar panels would be your mid-range cell that is going to cost you in the mid-price range. Amorphous Silicon Solar panels are actually the cheapest to produce of all 3 solar panels, even though they perform the best in cloudy conditions.
Efficiency Rating and Price Chart by Panel type
Compatible Batteries and Devices
Types of batteries
Car batteries are 12v lead acid batteries. There are 2 types of 12v batteries: starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. Cars and motorcycles use 12v starting batteries. Boats, Marine vehicles and golf carts use 12v deep cycle batteries.
Devices that use 12v batteries
The following types of vehicles use 12v batteries and can be charged using solar panel 12v battery chargers.
automobiles, motorcycle, ship, agricultural vehicles, snowmobiles, beach cars, trucks, boats, marine tractor, rv, powersports, snowmobile, truck, camper, rv, boat tractor, lawn mowers
Devices that use DC power:
The following devices can actually be powered by the solar panel 12 v battery charger if their wattage is low enough. The wattage of the solar panel 12 battery chargers is pretty low.
dc appliances, fan, linear actuator, led light, pc fans, and more
Some users have reported that they are able to power up small fans and LED lights using the solar panel only.
Charging 2 batteries at once
You can charge 2-12v batteries at once with 1-12v charger. All you need is some jumper cables to connect the 2 batteries. Here is a video describing the process. You have to make sure the batteries are connected “in parallel” You will connect the negative terminal on the first battery to the negative terminal on the second battery. Then you will connect the positive terminal on the first battery to the positive terminal on the second battery. Then you will connect the solar panel 12 v charger to the negative terminal on one battery and the positive terminal on the other battery. Check out the diagram below.
Charging vs Maintaining
Solar Panel 12v battery chargers are used to maintain your battery charge. They are not designed for fast charging or for bringing to life a dead battery. They are designed to provide a trickle of power to your battery so it does not completely drain. They are also called “trickle chargers” or “battery tenderers”.
Lead acid 12v car batteries lose their charge when sitting for long periods of time. Some batteries will lose their power from being exposed to cold weather. The hot weather in the summer evaporates the water in the electrolyte of the battery, which increases sulfation. Sulfation prevents your battery from fully charging. Lead acid batteries also slowly discharge, which means they are always losing power. During the winter time, the chemical reactions within the battery are slowed. They also are using more power in the winter to provide power to the heater and defrost. That is why batteries frequently fail in the winter. This can be prevented by having your battery hooked up to a trickle charger when it is not being used.
If you have a car, I know you have experienced this. You wake up on the first freezing cold day of the year, go outside to start you car, and click click click – nothing happens! Well this can be easily prevented with a solar panel 12 v battery charger. Some batteries fail pre-maturely due to weather and outside circumstances. You can prolong the life of your battery if you have a trickle charger such as the solar panel 12v battery charger.
Best Solar Car Battery Charger 2019
#1 Best Car Battery Charger
I chose this as the best car battery charger because it has all the features you would need, its a good size wattage, and its a monocrystalline solar panel. Those are the best solar panels on the market. It will work through your vehicle window. It’s got great reviews. This solar car battery also comes with a 12 month warranty.
#2 Best Car Battery Charger
This is the 2nd best car battery charger, by Suner Power. This charger is really close to identical to the #1 charger, but the solar panel is polycrystalline, which is not as great as the monocrystalline panels, but they are still really good. It is also a slightly lower wattage at 6 watts insteads of 7.5 watts.
#3 Best Car Battery Charger
This is also a really good solar car battery charger. This one is actually the only charger I saw that had an amorphous silicon solar panel. So it would be good for people in cloudier and shadier areas. It is a 7.5 watt panel and comes with a 12 month warranty.
So those are the top 3 car battery chargers, super interesting I know. Check out this comparison of several car batteries I made just for you. 😉 wink wink.
That is about everything you ever needed to know about solar car battery chargers. If you can think of anything else you need to know about solar car battery charges please leave a note in the comments below.