Whether you’re looking for something to top off the batteries on your car, recreational vehicle, or camping set-up, the right solar powered battery tender can keep you going without an outlet. Of course, you’ll need some sun to go with it. Luckily, there’s still plenty of it to go around.
Traditional electricity is becoming increasingly expensive to produce, which means its price will only go up. Because batteries are a great way to save excess power when you can spare it, a solar battery tender will guarantee you have free, renewable electricity standing by to power your generators and devices.
ACOPOWER HY-3x35W18V2 Solar Panel Kit (105W Foldable Solar Panel)
NOCO BLSOLAR2 2.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger (2.5W Solar Panel)
GIARIDE Solar Power System Charger (50W Solar Panel)
- 1 What is the Best Solar Battery Tender in 2020?
- 2 Why is a Solar Battery Tender Better than Replacing Batteries?
- 3 The Benefits of Using Solar Powered Battery Tender
- 4 Before You Buy Solar Powered Battery Tender
What is the Best Solar Battery Tender in 2020?
The number of people who choose a battery tender with solar technology is on the rise. The versatility, as well as the affordability of this type of charging are just too good to miss out on. In the past few decades, solar cells have progressed to such an extent that they are now a viable source of electricity for homes, cars, and RVs. Here’s our list of the best products you can buy today.
1. GIARIDE Solar Power System Charger (50W Solar Panel)
Both the 50W and 100W versions of a solar-powered battery tender by Giaride are nothing short of impressive. This flexible solar system can be installed anywhere you want and it will produce hefty amounts of electricity for free. Travelers prefer to place them on the roof of their cars and trailers, but fishing enthusiasts can easily take them in the boat since they are incredibly lightweight.
With an efficiency of up to 21% and flexibility which allows it to curve for up to 30 degrees, this solar battery tender is our editor’s pick because of the value it packs. Its low price and tested efficiency make it a widely popular choice for sports mobile owners. On sunny days, with the right exposure, people have managed to get even 150 watt-hours out of these.
Small in size and weighing in at just over 40 oz. (1 kg), Giaride’s battery tender with solar power is a welcome addition to any camping trip, as it will be able to charge all of your small devices and keep you connected with friends, family, and business.
- Made with highly efficient monocrystalline photovoltaic cells
- Flexible panel design that can be bent up to an angle of 30 degrees
- Incredibly lightweight
- Does not come with a solar charge controller
2. ACOPOWER HY-3x35W18V2 Solar Panel Kit (105W Foldable Solar Panel)
Acopower’s compact solar battery tender has everything you’ll ever need to safely charge your batteries on a camping trip. Its size and weight are actually smaller than that of a regular 105W solar panel and, on top of everything else, it can be neatly folded into an ultra-portable 8 lb. (3.6 kg) suitcase.
This is a complete solar powered battery tender, with charge controller that also has a USB port, alligator clamps, and an SAE connector. You can just as well charge your phone and then switch to charging your 12V car battery.
The downside is that this amount of features and portability will cost you. The way we see it, though, its hefty price tag will pay for itself in less than couple of years’ worth of frequent usage. When it comes down to it, it’s an investment that will not only pay for itself by giving you free electricity, but also save you money in the long run.
- One of the most lightweight and compact foldable 100W solar kits
- Weather and water resistant
- Highly efficient solar panels with an additional efficiency enhancer module
- High price
3. ROCKPALS Solar Panel Charger for Suaoki Portable Generator (100W Foldable Solar Panel)
For those who are always on the go and who need a bit more power from their solar battery tender, Rockpals’ kit might be a better fit. Extended camping trips, cross-country touring, or RV expeditions are greatly improved by this set of four solar panels that neatly folds into a 20’ (50cm) by 14’ (35 cm) briefcase.
Although it does offer twice the wattage of Giaride’s solar powered battery tender, this product is also twice the price. It can easily handle two or even three families’ worth of numerous small devices with the right generator. However, we found that the best part about this system is that you don’t even need the latter.
Rockpals’ battery tender with solar technology has 3 USB 3.0 ports that can supply lightning fast electricity directly to your phones, laptops or portable power bank, no generator required. The downside of such a setup is that it will be a bit slow on cloudy days without any stored power to help compensate the lack of direct sunlight.
- Efficient PV cell that can guarantee up to 23% on conversion
- An intelligent USB chip that will adjust current according to the device you connect
- Incredibly versatile for a 100W set-up
- No charge controller
4. NOCO BLSOLAR2 2.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger (2.5W Solar Panel)
Although Noco’s mini-solar panel is an all-time favorite solar battery tender for cars, it doesn’t actually do much in the way of charging. Granted, its weather-proof technology allows it be used outdoors, as well as with low lighting conditions, but its PV output of just 2.5W won’t be enough to actually charge a 12V car battery.
Instead, you can use this kit to maintain your car’s battery. The latter is usually made with the standard, lead-acid technology, which means that without proper and regular usage, it’ll slowly drain and lose its load. Noco’s battery maintainer is an easy and affordable solution that can prevent this from happening.
In extreme conditions, it might provide enough energy for a jump-start, but that’s pretty much it. Another handy feature of this system is that it has an in-built diode that prevents back-current drain in the absence of light.
- One of the most affordable battery maintainers on the market
- High-quality PV panel that is weather and water resistant
- You can install it inside the car and plug it directly into the 12V aux port
- Very small wattage
Why is a Solar Battery Tender Better than Replacing Batteries?
A solar battery tender decreases your environmental impact by prolonging the life of regular batteries, such as the ones powering your solar gate opener, appliances around the household, or your car. These rely on lead-acid technology in order to store electrical current. While they are incredibly cheap to mass produce, they are just as detrimental to our environment, even more so than lithium ones, because they contain sulfuric acid and lead.
The first is a highly corrosive substance capable of causing very severe burns, while the second is an extremely toxic metal with a widespread negative impact on living organisms. Suffice it to say that exposure to it can cause anything from partial blindness to cognitive deficits, hallucinations, and even kidney failure. However, with the help of a solar powered battery tender, you can reduce the severe ecological impact of lead-acid batteries through reuse and recycling.
The Benefits of Using Solar Powered Battery Tender
Ever since manufacturers sold the first battery tender with solar technology, the demand has only increased because the advantages of using solar powered battery chargers far outweigh any drawbacks. They’re similar to solar trickle chargers in that way. What’s more, current mass production lines ensure that you can enjoy highly complex and innovative solar technologies at affordable prices. Here are some of the most important benefits of using a solar powered battery tender.
Battery Life and Health
Your average solar battery tender can’t exactly recharge your car battery due the low wattage of most products. However, this is not what they are primarily made for. Their purpose is to drive a steady stream of electricity into the battery so that it doesn’t naturally discharge because of lack of use or environmental conditions.
By continuously recharging your battery, you can ensure that is does not discharge beyond its technical specifications. Lead-acid accumulators are known to lose much of their quality if they get discharged under 30% of their capacity. A solar powered battery tender will prolong the life and health of your battery by keeping it above this limit.
Saves You Money
A solar powered battery tender can maintain your car battery just enough for you to be able to start it up and recharge it with the help of the alternator. (Combine it with a solar car fan and you’ll be secure as well as comfortable.) We all sometimes leave our car sitting in the driveway for too long, which is when the discharge happens the most.
Given that the depletion rate for lead-acid batteries is about 1% per day in normal temperatures, you may wake up with a barely visible dashboard in a matter of months. Soon after that, your car might not be able to start and you’ll have to pay a lot of money to have the battery replaced.
Ease of Use
Most solar battery chargers can be easily plugged in the 12V cigarette lighter port. Although most people leave the PV panel on the dashboard, you can also place it outside if it’s sunny and you want to take advantage of the good weather. Like a solar generator, you’ll want to make sure this product is actually making your life easier and not harder.
At a highly affordable price and taking less than a minute to set up, these products are the best way to increase the lifetime of your battery and save some money. With the economic fluctuations we’re experiencing nowadays, being able to cut down on certain costs can make a big difference.
Before You Buy Solar Powered Battery Tender
Many customers are on the market for a solar battery tender as a solution to keeping a battery topped off even when it’s not used. However, some of these products are powerful enough to help you postpone the battery change indefinitely. Read on to find out what to look for. And consider grabbing one of these solar car battery chargers while you’re at it.
This is, by far, the most important aspect of a solar charger. Not many devices have overcharge protection, which is why it’s advisable to either get one with low enough wattage for this to not be a problem, or one that has over-charge protection.
Efficiency comes into play when you want to use the solar tender for other applications as well, such as charging a generator, a smartphone, or other small devices you might need when camping. The total PV output also gives you an idea of how fast you’d be able to charge a battery. The higher it is, the faster it will go. Just like with buying a solar RV panel, you’ll want to keep an eye on capacity.
Although size is not often a problem, it is worth considering where you want to place your battery tender to begin with. If you want something that can sit on your dashboard, then you should pay close attention to the dimensions of the product, as well as to those of your car. Alternatively, if you plan on leaving it outdoors, the bigger the surface, the more energy you’ll get.
Regardless of which tender you decide on, it’s worth considering whether the panel is water- and weather-proof. If this is not specified in the product information, you’re better off looking for something else since this technology is most efficient when placed outside, under direct sunlight. (Not finished reading? Want to see an article about solar-powered cars?)