Over the years, it has become overwhelmingly clear that solar energy is the way to go! Solar battery chargers harness the raw energy of the Sun to supply the required power with zero environmental consequences. In a nutshell – Solar battery chargers reduce your carbon footprint without compromising your regular power requirement.
Solar battery chargers for boats, aka, marine solar battery chargers, provide the most efficient way to keep your boat running without any power deficiency. A solar charger for boat batteries offers numerous advantages over traditional battery chargers.
For one, they are tailored to perform ideally in boating conditions. Usually, standard battery chargers are not waterproof, which can cause significant problems considering you’re boating in the middle of the ocean. Besides, boat batteries are also more likely to face overloading issues than traditional car batteries due to their small sizes.
A solar battery charger for boats solves both the above problems and keeps it running without any power interruptions. Marine solar battery chargers are applicable for both traditional small boats and larger cruising sailboats as well.
What is the best solar charger for boat batteries?
If you’re riddled with uncertainties about buying solar boat chargers, here are some of the best solar battery chargers for boats you can consider.
Sunway 12V Marine Solar Battery Trickle Charger
The Sunway marine solar battery charger is unquestionably one of the best products in the market. Its sleek and compact design attracts a lot of attention amongst solar energy enthusiasts who do not fancy dealing with a bulky unit. Besides, its installation is also extremely simple and straightforward, which allows you to start harnessing its benefits without wasting much time.
This solar battery charger for boats by Sunway also prevents your battery from overcharging, thanks to its trickle charging mechanism. The trickle charging helps maintain a stable charging and discharging rate, so you never have to run short on power when you need it the most.
- The in-built reverse blocking diode prevents reverse charging
- The amorphous silicon panel ensures exceptional charging even on cloudy days
- The panel is constructed using durable glass and ABS plastics.
- It comes with an IP44 waterproof rating.
- This solar panel provides the power of up to 1.8Watt.
- It comes with additional utility tools like the cigarette lighter plug and battery clamps right out-of-the-box.
- Its peculiar compact rectangular shape makes it ideal for mounting it on your boat’s bow or a dashboard.
- The dimension of the Sunway marine solar battery charger is 13.9”x0.5”x 5.”
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to use
- LED charging indicator
- Easy to connect and disconnect
- The suction cups do not hold up very well
SOLPERK 12V Solar Battery Charger
ThisSOLPERK 12V solar panel is another exceptional trickle charger that will help you get the job done without making a fuss. It has a high output power rating of 5Watts, which is more than adequate to take care of any regular-size boat batteries. It is also fairly compact and does not take up much space wherever you mount it.
Like other similar solar chargers for boat batteries, it is also easy to install with minimal assembly required. Besides, SOLPERK is a reliable name with over 20 years of experience to its name. So, when they say their boat solar charger is a notch above the others, you might as well believe it!
- Its default automatic charging and maintenance controller provides protection against reverse/overcharging, short circuit, and open circuit.
- The panel makes use of high-quality crystalline silicon that offers an ultra-high photoelectric conversion rate.
- It is highly versatile and can be used for maintaining AGM, Gel, Wet, EFB, and MF batteries.
- The panel is constructed with extra-tough solar glass and industrial-grade ABS flame-resistant material for superior durability.
- It is capable of delivering an output power of up to 5 Watt (you can also buy the higher power options)
- Its overall dimension is 10.4”x8.6”x0.6”
- Suitable for use in boats, RVs, snowmobile, tractors, and motorcycle
- The built-in diode prevents reverse charging
- Easy to install
- 12-months warranty
- A blue LED indicator light for
- The controller does not work very well
TP-Solar 12V Portable Solar Trickle Battery Charger
If you want something that can offer reliable and consistent power, the TP-Solar trickle battery charger is a good option. Its output power is rated at 10W, which can take care of heavy-duty energy demands with relative ease.
As an added bonus, the TP-Solar portable battery charger also features a sleek and elegant design. Of course, that does not necessarily affect its performance. Nevertheless, it adds some extra aesthetic appeal to your boat as opposed to a cheap-looking unit.
- Its unique mono-crystalline solar panel design offer superior conversion property to maximize solar energy conversion
- The inbuilt circuit board protects the solar panel from overcharging and reverse charging during low voltage
- The unique mounting holes on the four corners ensure easy mounting on cars or boats
- Its construction features a premium grade silicone material that is both water and fire-resistant
- Its exceptionally sleek and lightweight design makes it portable-friendly
- It comes with all the additional standard tools like cigarette lighter plug, one way connector, and O-ring terminals
- The product’s overall dimension is 14”x8.2”x1.2.”
- Versatile usage
- High power output (10W)
- Sleek and lightweight
- Heat and water-resistant panel
- Easy plug-and-play feature
- Does not perform very well in dull weather
SUNER POWER 12V Solar Battery Charger
The SUNER POWER solar charger for boat batteries is easily one of the most popular products in the market and for all the right reasons! SUNER POWER promises affordable solar, and that is precisely the case with this product. It is a versatile solar battery charger that can be used in numerous ways, marine boats, trucks, snowmobiles, and jeeps.
What’s more important is that the SUNER POWER solar battery charger comes pre-checked with all the standard safety and performance tests. Simply put, you will not have to worry about frequent circuit failures (provided you make the right connections).
- The trickle charging works great for maintaining a consistent battery level all season and prevents power interruptions on your boat.
- The built-in diode prevents circuit breakdown, overcharging, and reverse charging in case of low voltage.
- The panel covering implements heavy-duty tempered solar glass material for optimal durability and maximum light transmittance.
- Its mono-crystalline solar panel offers the highest efficiency of about 15-25%
- Universal golden finger attachments make it remarkably easy to connect and use
- The product’s dimension is approximately 17”x10”x3.”
- High efficiency
- Rated output power varies from 6W-14W (depending on which option you choose)
- Easy plug-and-play connection
- Shadows can affect its performance drastically
TP-Solar 50W Flexible Solar Panel
The last product in the list is this semi-flexible solar battery charger for boats by TP-Solar. This solar panel is ideal for looking for something powerful and unconventional. As you can imagine, it’s high 50W rated output is more than sufficient to handle any heavy power loads without a hiccup.
Another particular advantage of this semi-flexible solar panel is that they are remarkably lightweight, and hence, are very agile. They can easily squeeze into spaces where traditional solar panels do not usually fit.
- The solar panel is extremely thin (just about 2.5mm), making them suitable for use in boats, yacht, or any other outdoor spaces.
- It does not have any glass housing and can bend up to a maximum of 30º.
- The mono-crystalline cell panel implements a peculiar back contact technology making it up to 50% more efficient than standard solar panels.
- The in-built bypass diode stabilizes power drop and ensures the panel performs well even in low-light conditions.
- The junction box is sealed in a waterproof housing to ensure maximum protection in case of any major water exposure.
- The product’s dimension is 28”x22”x2.”
- High rated power (50W)
- Weighs only one-fifth of standard solar panels with an equivalent power rating
- High conversion efficiency
- Respectable performance even under low sunlight conditions
- Easy to install and use
- Its thin construction can be problematic if not handled well
Buying guide: What to consider before buying the best Solar battery chargers for boats
The majority of people may not be aware of the internal working of solar battery chargers. As such, purchasing an ideal boat solar charger can be quite a tricky task. The key to making the most sensible purchase decision is establishing your ideal requirements and working your way up.
Here are some of the crucial factors to consider when buying a solar battery charger for your boat.
Type of battery
Usually, when you shop for a marine solar battery charger, you will get the option to choose from three types of solar batteries – trickle, boost, and float charging.
Amongst the three options, trickle charging is the most common type. This type of battery is good for obtaining low-level output continuously while also charging the battery slowly.
On the contrary, boost charging deals with a transient surge in current to charge the battery quickly.
Float chargers are the least common of the three. It is almost identical to trickle charging, but with the exception that they provide superior overcharge protection.
Type of solar panel
Similarly, there are three main types of solar panels – mono-crystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous silicon panel.
Mono-crystalline solar panels, as the name suggests, refer to solar panels with a single crystalline layer. Their primary advantage is that they have a high energy conversion efficiency of about 15-20%.
Polycrystalline cells, on the other hand, are less expensive and comparatively safer.
Lastly, amorphous silicon panels come with one distinctive advantage – they perform consistently well even on ill weather (limited sunlight).
The construction of your solar battery charger is extremely important because it essentially sits out in the Sun the whole day. The combination of saltwater, Sun, and wind can compromise the panel’s durability by a significant degree.
As such, it is best if you choose either aluminum or plastic solar battery chargers.
How does a solar charger for boat battery work?
The working principle of a solar charger for boat battery is relatively simple. The process begins with the solar panel trapping the energy directly from the Sun. The energy is then fed to the charge controller, which is responsible for regulating and distributing it. The battery bank stores the energy, which can then be used to supply power whenever required.
Another crucial role of the charge controller is to boost the charging speed. In some cases, when the battery is drained out completely, the charge controller contributes extra energy to ensure the battery charges up quickly. It also prevents the battery from overcharging, thus, improving the quality of charge as well.
How do you know what solar battery size you have to choose?
The answer depends on how much power you want to generate. A standard solar charge for boat battery may have a terminal voltage rating of up to 20V. However, they function at an ideal power required by a 12V battery to attain full charge.
Traditionally, solar chargers are measured in terms of Amps since it is easier to determine how much amp-hours they use in a day.
If you’re confused about what solar battery size you should use on your boat, the rule of thumb is to divide its total capacity (in milliamperes) by two. The resultant number is the size of the battery it can maintain. For instance, a 2000 mA solar boat charger can maintain a battery of up to 100Ah.
Solar energy is free! It is quite literally getting wasted for no good reason. Solar battery chargers are essentially allowing you to use this “free” energy source as opposed to piling up extra energy bills. It is, therefore, imperative that you purchase the right solar battery charger for your boat.
Buying the best solar battery chargers for boats may seem fairly straightforward on papers, but it can turn out to be quite chaotic in reality. If you want to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process, you need to understand solar battery chargers’ fundamentals.
Analyzing their working principle can help you determine exactly what you need. This, in turn, will help you to make the most practical purchase decision. The information provided above should be more than adequate to help you get started on you your boat solar charger shopping project. Our list of products also comprises some of the best solar chargers for boat batteries in the market. If you fancy saving some time and get right to placing your order, you can check them out on Amazon.
My name Is Larry Noel, the voice behind BoatCrunch.
I’m a boating enthusiast that loves nothing more than being out on the water. So much so that I’ve acquired a Degree in Marine Biology (MB) as well as a degree in Ocean Engineering (OE).
I’m very familiar with a wide range of different boats and I’ve owned a variety of different boats myself however I have a particular obsession with Pontoon boats. I’ve lived all across the United States and always kept company in the form of boats and now my loving family.