Best Solar Charge Controllers

Last Updated: 8 May, 2019 by David West

Solar power generation is the wave of the future. However, it is important to properly care for your solar investment. A solar charge controller can help you keep your solar equipment operating at its best.

The main purpose of a charge controller is to prevent damage to the battery, and to keep the charging current from your PV panels to your battery optimized.

The best solar charge controllers help regulate the unstable power generation from a solar panel, and send it in a more controlled manner to your battery. It also cuts the charge flowing into your battery when an optimal charge is reached to prevent overcharging damage.

Editor’s Pick Best Solar Charge Controller
Epever MPPT 30A Solar Charge Controller
Epever MPPT 30A Solar Charge Controller
Best Solar Charge Controller for High Capacity Systems
Outback Flexmax 80 Amp Controller
Outback Flexmax 80 Amp Controller
Best Solar Charge Controller for Travel
Renogy Voyager - 20A Negative PWM Waterproof Charge Controller
Renogy Voyager - 20A Negative PWM Waterproof Charge Controller
PowMr 60A Charge Controller
PowMr 60A Charge Controller
Best Budget Pick
GHB 20A Solar Charge Controller
GHB 20A Solar Charge Controller

The Best Solar Charge Controllers Reviews

There are many different charge controllers available on the market. Their prices, method of operation, and capacity vary widely. No one controller will be best for every situation. But we have collected these PWM & MPPT charge controller reviews to help find the best charge controllers available in several categories to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

1

Epever MPPT 30A Solar Charge Controller

The Epever MPPT Charge controller is one of the top rated and most popular solar charge controllers on the market. You’re likely to find it topping most MPPT charge controller reviews. It is versatile and reliable, designed to extend the life of your solar power generation system.

The Epever MPPT charge controller is rated to work with many different types of battery including gel, lead acid, and lithium. It can provide protection to both 12V and 24V batteries. It’s user programmable, to work with your specific battery setup.

It contains an LED display and a solar panel charge regulator. It can be monitored remotely via cell phone (app and ebox required). This allows you to view power generation statistics from the Epever MPPT over the life of your power generation system to better understand your power generating capabilities, and usage.

The Epever MPPT system comes with a connection cable, and a temperature sensor. This lets it adjust to create optimal energy flow in all conditions.

PROS:

• LED display panel & real-time energy stats
• Can be monitored remotely via phone
• MPPT charge controlling for better battery protection
• Works with multiple types of battery arrays

CONS:

• Navigation on LED display is cumbersome

2

Outback Flexmax 80 Amp Controller

The Outback Flexmax is a heavy-duty controller for heavy-duty systems. At an 80 amp rating, it’s meant to handle more total amperage than any of the other top models in our solar controller reviews.

This extra capacity can give you peace of mind that your system will not be overloaded. The advanced MPPT system allows increased charging efficiency up to 30% and prevents overcharging damage.

This system is a workhorse of our MPPT charge controller reviews. It is a hefty unit–much larger than other solar charge controllers with lower amperage capacity. But that is due to its additional capabilities.

It has an internal cooling fan and an LCD display. The display allows you to get the latest information on your system’s condition and charging. And you can program this controller to work with batteries ranging from 12V to 60V, making it a versatile addition to your solar array.

The main drawback is that it is a significant investment compared to other charge controllers. At just shy of $500, you will likely not want to make this investment for a small or starter system. But for the dedicated solar energy user, this might be exactly what you need to bring your system to peak performance.

PROS:
  • Versatile and programmable to work with many types of battery
  • Handles up to 80A
  • Increases efficiency while protecting your battery
CONS:
  • High cost
3

Renogy Voyager - 20A Negative PWM Waterproof Charge Controller

The Renogy Voyager is one of the best solar charge controllers in the 20A capacity. It won’t provide the charge control that you need for a large, whole-home type system. But for portable applications like running a small array to an RV battery, or controlling flow to a portable power station from a suitcase solar panel, this is a quality little controller.

The Voyager works with 7 types of battery, including lithium-ion, gel, flooded, and more. The backlit LCD display and LED charging bar provide easy access to reliable information about how your solar power system is performing.

The PWM charge controller monitors power and protects your battery from overcharge when full, while optimizing charging when it is low on power.

Additionally, this system is created with a waterproof design, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor use in camping, boat docks, or other places where water or weather are an issue. The same manufacturer also makes a 30A model at a modest price increase, but with very similar features if you need something with a slightly higher amperage capacity.

PROS:

• LCD display is easy to read
• Waterproof
• Versatile – works with many battery types

CONS:

• Limited power of 20A

4

PowMr 60A Charge Controller

The PowMr Charge Controller provides solid power protection. It is one of the most popular new charge controllers on the market today.

It is compatible with 12V or 24V lead-acid batteries. It will protect your battery system from overcharge while optimizing charging.

It has a large, informative backlit LCD display with multiple readings available so you have all the information you need for your solar power generation system. It is also designed to be moisture and pest resistant for long-term durability.

It is a lower priced model, which comes with a 12-month warranty for added confidence in purchasing.

PROS:
  • Affordable
  • 60A power capacity
  • Informative, clear LCD display
CONS:
  • Works only with lead-acid batteries
5

GHB 20A Solar Charge Controller

The GHB 20A is a solar charge controller designed to help you get the best energy generation and storage out of your PV (photovoltaic) solar panels.

This 20A charge controller works with both 12v and 24v batteries. Unlike some solar controller reviews above, it won’t work with multiple battery types. It is designed solely to interface with lead acid batteries.

This does limit its versatility somewhat, but it is a great base-level charge controller. Its intelligent control allows it to optimize charging and protect your battery against the damages of over charging. It has an easy to see backlit LCD display so that you can monitor conditions.

It is an affordable and simple starter option for small systems.

PROS:

• Affordable
• Easy to view LCD display
• Small and compact

CONS:
  • Lower amperage rating: 20A
  • Only works with lead-acid batteries
6

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How to Choose the Best Solar Charge Controller

The capacity, functionality, compatibility and price can vary widely among charge controllers. There is not a single charge controller that is best for every situation. The best solar charge controller for your system is going to be very individual.

To help you decide, consider a few different factors so that you’ll better understand which of the solar controller reviews above has the right choice for you.

PWM vs. MPPT Charge Controller Reviews. Which is Right for Me?

One of the biggest differences between charge controllers is PWM versus MPPT.

PWM or Pulse Width Modulation charge controllers slowly lower the power applied to your battery as it reaches capacity. This allows the battery to charge fully, without stressing the battery and therefore extends it life.

PWM is somewhat more complex than MPPT, and is also a more common method of operation in modern charge controllers because it is more affordable.

MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, is a different way of controlling the flow. It helps to convert excess voltage into amperage. This keeps the solar panel from overloading the battery with too many volts of energy, while also lowering the time it takes to reach a full charge.

An MPPT system also protects against battery discharge at night.

MPPT charge controller reviews usually include the fact that they run on this system because it is better and more efficient overall. It is, however, more expensive.

Compatability

Both MPPT and PWM systems will work with most setups, however, when you are choosing the best solar charge controller for you, pay close attention to the capacity of your system. Consider what voltage and amperage you need.

If you are working with a large system, charge controllers with amperage up to 80 may be available. For smaller systems, 20-30A may be plenty.

Also note the voltage of your battery. Some charge controllers will work with both 12V and 24V batteries, but not all. And make sure the charge controller you are considering will be compatible with the kind of battery you have–lithium, lead acid, etc.

Solar Power Safety and Security

Once you know your needs for power control, you can choose from one of the PWM or MPPT charge controller reviews above to get the best device for your system.

You can then begin enjoying your solar power with the confidence that you’re doing everything necessary to protect your system from overload, drain, or other power wasters. A charge controller can help you make your solar array the most efficient it can be.

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