A solar charger for an RV battery was not something that I ever considered or even knew existed if I am being 100 percent honest. This was before I became an RV owner though and this along with many other things are what you need to think about when you are getting serious in regards to becoming an RV owner. It may not be the most exciting thing to buy when it comes to RV’s, but let me tell you a solar charger for your RV battery can save your butt and this is coming from a guy has had just that happen.
Why Do I Need A Solar Charger For My RV Batter?
I do not need one of them, I will never let my battery die is what I bet many of you are saying right now and I too said this when It got my first RV. Let me paint a picture for you. When we got our first RV, it was towards the end of summer, so we only got to go on two trips. The RV then sat dormant all the way until the following February when the wife and I had a weekend without the kids and thought we would get away.
Well, guess what all that sitting idle (with the fridge still running) did? It completely killed the battery, it could not have been any more dead, but if I had taken an old gentleman’s advice and had a solar charger for an RV battery connected, we would not have had to miss out on a trip without the kids! So bottom line is, a solar charger will keep your battery topped up so that it does not go completely flat.
Things To Know About A Solar Charger For A RV Battery
Before we get into some of the best models of RV batter solar chargers, I just wanted to tell you a few things to consider. Some of these will not charge your battery if it is completely flat and the majority of them will just keep your battery topped off rather than actually charging it, which I know sounds weird as they all have charger in the name. It is not a big deal, just do not expect all of these to breathe life into a dead battery. Also, they can be rather fragile, I have dropped one and it broke so make sure you treat them with respect. Plus, I know this is common sense but they do need to be in sunlight in order to work so do not put one on your dash and then pull the RV into the garage for six months!
Solar Charger For A RV Battery Reviews
I was very generously sent seven solar chargers for RV batteries to test out. These are seven of the most popular ones on the market right now. I have also picked a couple more (to round this section up) that I have not personally tested, but they do have a lot of good reviews. Of course, I could not run down my RV battery time and time again, but I did connect each of the three I was sent to see how they worked if they worked, how well they were made and so on.
- ALLPOWERS 10W Portable Solar Panel Battery Charger Maintainer
- Sunway Solar Car Battery Charger 12V Battery Trickle Charger Maintainer
- Battery Tender 021-1164 10W Solar Charger
- ALLPOWERS Solar Battery Maintainer
- Suaoki 18V 12V 18W Solar Car Battery Charger
- 20 Watt Black Frame Monocrystaline Solar Panel
- Sunforce 50022 5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger
- Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
- ECO-WORTHY 20W 12V Solar Panel Kit
- ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 5 Watts Portable Power Solar Panel
1. ALLPOWERS 10W Portable Solar Panel Battery Charger Maintainer
- Costs only 30 bucks
- I really liked the black design
- Plastic has a nice sturdy, but light feel to it.
- Keeps the RV battery topped up nicely
- Comes with clips as well as cigarette adapter
This was the first one I tried out and first of all, I really like the design of it. My RV dash is actually a darker color, so this went pretty much unnoticed. It has a very sturdy feel to it and the plastic they have used is very strong so while I was extra careful if I were to drop it in the RV, I have a feeling that it would be ok. One thing I like is how this has a built in blocking diode, what this does is prevents it from actually draining your battery, which I will be honest and say was not even a thing I knew could happen, but it is good to know that this will prevent it. So your battery will need to be properly charged first in order for this to do its job properly so keep that in mind
Now as far as connecting this to my RV, it really could not have been any easier, you simply connect it to the cigarette lighter and place the solar panel on the dashboard and that is that. It does also come with a pair of clips so you could connect it directly to the RV batter when you are not driving of course. This is designed to keep your battery topped up so it is not going to charge it from being completely dead, but if you are looking for a way to stop things like the fridge and so on from draining the battery, it is great in that regard.
- Wire is a little annoying
- Some people may not realize it is a topper not a full on charger
See other opinions
My only little issue is with the wire which is really lightweight and just hanged there and got in the way while I was driving so you will need to tape it or clip it down, but that is the only issue I had with this. It costs around 30 bucks and does what it is supposed to do! It is worth noting that there are different voltages available, the higher the voltage the higher the price.
2. Sunway Solar Car Battery Charger 12V Battery Trickle Charger Maintainer
- Very simple to set up
- Does its job very well
- Suction cups allow it to be attached to the windshield
- Clips allowed direct connection to the battery
- Price is very reasonable
Check it out
When I first opened the box of this solar charger for an RV battery I noticed a set of suction cups and said to my self, what the heck are these for. But wow did these things come in handy! Anyway, this one here is a nice little solar power RV battery maintainer that is here to keep your battery juice from trickling down to nothing so that when you go to start your RV, nothing happens. It is designed to keep your battery topped off so each time you turn the key, your RV fires up. I will admit that at first glance I did not really care for the large white solar panels, especially in comparison to the all black design of the first one, but those suction cups hide it.
What I mean by this is that the actual charger has two slots to put the suction cups in so that you can actually place this n the windshield so that you do not even see it. I just wish that gave you something to keep the wire out of the way as that way, this design would have been a slam dunk! You can use these suction cups to secure it to the dash as well which may come in handy if you are taking the RV off road.
It can connect to either the car cigarette lighter or via the included clips directly to the battery. I am not sure who would actually do this, but including clips seems to be something all these chargers do. In terms of how well it works, I can tell you that it did keep my battery topped off and I am sure that I would do so even if I left my RV in the drive all winter. It has a small blinking LED light which is there to let you know when it is actually charging your battery.
- They could have given something to keep the wire from dangling
- LED charging light is annoying
See other opinions
I get why they included this, but I found the light to be annoying and would probably end up putting a bit of black tape over it! At right around 40 bucks, I do feel that the asking price is very reasonable.
3. Battery Tender 021-1164 10W Solar Charger
- Very well made
- Different versions available
- It will keep your battery topped off nicely
- The cable that it comes with is very long
- Pretty cool design
The last one I got to try out is the most expensive as it costs around 60 bucks for the version I got, but there is also a 15 watt version which costs 110 bucks. The design is rather interesting and while the pictures make this look massive, it is not so large that it takes up the whole dashboard. I really do wish that it had an all black design, but as long as it does its job does the color really matter?
I like the plastic that they have used as it feels solid. The version that I got had to be connected directly to my RV battery. This normally would be annoying, but the cable is not permanently attached to the solar panel, so you can connect it to the battery, run it through to the dash and then connect it to the charger. It works, but it is a bit of a pain to do this. I have read that some versions do come with the standard cigarette lighter.
So once I got this all connected, it appeared to do its job very well. I read that someone said it was not very powerful, but for my RV, it seemed to keep the battery nicely topped off. There is no way though that this could actually fully charge it, but for keeping it ticking when I am not using the RV, it works very well. I think if you have a larger RV or even a huge fridge on your RV, you may want to think about getting the bigger version.
- Where is the cigarette lighter adapter?
- Maybe a pain to install for some RV models
You also need to make sure that you can connect it to your battery and then actually get the wire to where you want the actual solar charger to be, the wire is nice and long so you should not have any issues. They say it has technology that makes it energy efficient and prevents overcharging which is good.
4. ALLPOWERS Solar Battery Maintainer
- Very affordable price
- Can be securely connected to the dash
- You can even stick it to the windshield
- Very easy to use
- Keeps battery topped up nicely
Costing around 40 bucks, this one here is currently being sold for a very attractive price. The large white frame that the solar panels are on may not be to everyone’s taste as it really does make this stand out. But it is small enough that it is not going to take over your whole dash. Speaking of which if you notice there are four holes in the corner. This is so you can use suction cups to keep it firmly on the dash or even the windshield, I really like how they do this. It also has a built in blocking diode, preventing it from actually draining your battery.
Connecting this was nice and easy and they do give you the choice of either using clips or a cigarette lighter and that is something I always like. You just connect it and let it do its thing, it may sound basic, but if you are looking for an affordable way to keep your battery topped up when you are not using your RV, you really will not mind.
- Not the highest quality
- No way of knowing if it is actually on
My only gripe is that there is a kind of cheapness to it (reflected in the price) there is no LED power indicator or anything like that to let you know that it is actually working.
5. Suaoki 18V 12V 18W Solar Car Battery Charger
- Price is not bad at all
- Comes with a set of clips
- Car cigarette lighter makes connecting it easy
- Can be secured to the dash with suction cups
- Does a good all round job
When I took this one out of the box, I had to do a double take as it looks just like the AllPowers one we just talked about! I have seen many people say that this is one of the best solar chargers for RV battery so I was ready to give this a good workout. To be fair though, there is only so many designs of solar panel that you can do. But this one does have that same white frame which I am not super into.
I do think that this one has a bit more of a robust feel to it, but again at around 40 bucks, it is designed to be affordable so you will not want to be dropping this thing. Connecting it could not be any easier with the clips and the car cigarette lighter. If you have ever connected anything to your RV before you will have no trouble with this.
The version that I got through the mail was the 18 watt version, but you can get this all the way up to 60 watts! It is not going to fully charge your RV battery, but if you are looking for a way to keep the battery nicely topped off and from dying on you, it more than gets the job done.
- Not the most robust thing in the world
- The white frame is not the nicest design
Like the AllPowers RV solar charger, this one can be connected to the dash or the windshield via suction cups and to be honest with you this is a feature that I wish all of these had as some of them can slide around and just get in the way, but with suction cups, you do not have this issue.
6. 20 Watt Black Frame Monocrystaline Solar Panel
- Costs around 30 bucks!
- Has a very cool and sleek design
- Is nice and easy to use
- For the price, is surprisingly strong
- Gets the job done!
With an all black design and a price tag that is under 30 bucks, you better believe that I was really into this one here. As far as the design goes this one here for me ticks all the boxes of what makes the best solar charger for an RV battery. It looks cool, is not too big and it has a nice strong feel to it that some of the more expensive ones I have looked at do not have. It comes in all different sizes starting at 10 watts and going all the way up to 100.
I will admit that this is a brand I had not heard of and while the price is exciting it did make me wonder if this would work. So I connected it to my RV, which is very easy to do and if you have used your RV cigarette lighter for power before you will be able to do this, and it was ready to go.
- Wire is not the longest
- May need to be secured to your dash
It will prevent your RV from draining the battery very well so if you are on a long camping trip or even if your RV is sitting on the driveway for a few months during the winter, the battery is not going to die on you and that is all you want from something like this.
7. Sunforce 50022 5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger
- Really smart design
- Asking price is more than fair
- Designed to be strong
- If you want, you can secure it to the dash
- Keeps the battery from being fully drained
I was a little skeptical about this one in regards to it being the best solar charger for an RV battery as it says it is only 5 watt, but I was willing to hook it up and give it a try. To start with the design is pretty neat. I like how they give you some screws as well so if you are brave you can screw this into your dash. I am not sure that this is something I would do, but it is nice to have options. It comes with the standard clips and cigarette lighter adapter. In all for the right around 40 bucks asking price, you do feel like you are getting a lot for your money here.
In terms of getting the job done, I am very impressed with this as it stops any kind of drain that may be happening to your battery. Nothing worse than getting in, turning the key and then realizing your battery is deader than a zombie from the Walking Dead. So while you are not going to be able to bring life back to a dead battery with this. If you do have some kind of device that appears to be always darning your battery.
- Not sure I would want to screw it to my dash
- Wires are not the thickest
With this, it will keep it topped up and it looks good doing so. In all honesty, this is one of the better ones in terms of design, performance, and price that I have checked out.
8. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
- Very solid design
- Is made to last
- One of the more powerful solar chargers
- Can be secured to your RV
- Comes with a separate controller
So full disclosure, I did not personally test this one out, but I thought that it looked very interesting so I wanted to include it on our quest to find the best solar charger for an RV battery. I really like how thick that it looks and it comes with all the connections that you would need to hook it up easily. What really caught my eye about this though was the fact that it comes with a controller which give you more control over it which I thought was pretty cool. Not sure it is something I would use, but for some of you guys I am sure it having a separate controller will be something you like.
In my research, this appears to be an RV solar battery charger that people like. It will certainly keep your battery from draining and some of the reviews I read had people saying that they even used this on things like boats and large trucks.
- Is close to 200 bucks
- Some questions about the quality of the controller
I am not sure that I would pay the close to 200 bucks asking price for it, but for those looking for something a little more robust and something that they have more control over, you might want to take a closer look at this.
9. ECO-WORTHY 20W 12V Solar Panel Kit
- Has an aluminum frame
- Comes with a cool switch box
- I really like the design
- Asking price is very fair
- Great for your RV battery
I wanted to include a more powerful one and this 20 watt solar charger for an RV battery does have many good reviews so I thought I would take a closer look at it. Now I never actually personally tested this one, but I did like the sound of it. To start with I love the metallic look of the solar panels, I am usually an all black design kind of guy when it comes to things in my RV, but I do think this looks neat.
The frame is made of aluminum so I would love to get my hands on this to see how solid it feels, but the reviews I read seemed to say that the construction was very good. From what I can tell, you only get the clips with it so you have to connect it directly to the battery, but it does come with a neat switch box which gives you full control over it so I am sure I would have fun playing with that.
I read a lot of reviews for this and I will be honest there was a couple that caught my eye and these were reviews where people said that it not only kept their battery topped off, it also kept their fridge running. This is all you really need in a device like this so it was nice to see so many people say that it gets the job done. The negative reviews I read seemed to stem from people not understanding how it works, but that appears to be the case for the majority of solar chargers for RV batteries that are online.
- No car cigarette adapter
- Might not be the easiest to set up
So again, I have not personally used this, but if I was in the market for a solar charger that connected directly to my battery, I honestly would take a closer look at this. At 60 bucks I feel the price is just right, especially considering it is made with an aluminum frame.
10. ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 5 Watts Portable Power Solar Panel
- Only costs around 20 bucks
- I actually really like the way it looks
- Comes with suction cups
- Easy to set up and get going
- Has a lot of good reviews
The last one I want to talk about is once again from ECO-WORTHY and while I never personally used this, I was drawn to it because of the 20 bucks asking price. If you are looking for the ultimate budget solar charger for an RV, you have to take a closer look at this. I actually like the design and the connectors it comes with are the standard clips and cigarette lighter connector. Suction cups can secure it, but the reviews are mixed on the quality of these things so you might not want to place it on your windshield.
I have read many reviews about the performance of this and those who use it with their RV do say that it keeps it charged and prevents battery drain. To be honest with you I really want to believe that this gets the job done and gets it done well, but at 20 bucks I have to be a little bit on the skeptical side.
- Is it too good to be true?
- At this price, quality may not be the highest
Still, if you are looking for something on the cheap side, you might want to give this a try, just know that at this price it could be a gamble.
What Is The Best Solar Charger For An RV Battery?
This is a really tough one as I am sure all three of these will keep your battery nice and topped up and stop it from draining while your RV sits on the driveway. But as I write this I must admit the one that I have currently connected to my RV is the Sunway Solar Car Battery Charger 12V Battery Trickle Charger Maintainer. It does exactly what I need it to do.
Plus it comes with both clips to connect directly to the battery and an adapter for your car cigarette lighter. Plus those suction cups do come in handy which is a nice touch. So that would be my choice when it comes to the best solar charger for an RV battery. One thing I will say is that when you are looking on Amazon when you read the reviews, type in RV so you can see all the reviews for chargers that relate to RV’s.