best solar charge controller for rv

Best Solar Charge Controller For RV: Maintaining Your RV Battery Life

Chris Coleman

Among the sources of power available to RVers on the road, solar energy is held in high esteem as it’s both clean and sustainable. That being said, the current from solar panels may cause damages if people let them go straight into batteries unregulated.

Hence, if you plan to rely on solar energy while traveling, it’s imperative that you pair your solar panels with an appropriate charge controller. By including such a component in your own arrangement, you could simultaneously optimize the output and protect the battery bank. 

With models coming in all shapes and sizes, enthusiasts of RVing have an assortment of options regarding solar charge controllers. Nevertheless, if you like to pick up the best solar charge controller for RV then a good understanding of models on the market is required. 

best solar charge controller for rv

Solar Charge Controllers Comparison Chart

NoTop-Rated RV Solar Charge ControllersPricesOur Ratings
1Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp$*****
2WindyNation P20L$*****
3ALLPOWERS 20A$****
4Victron Energy BlueSolar$$*****
5Victron Energy SmartSolar$$$*****
6Epever Tracer 3210AN$$*****
7Go Power GP-PWM-30-UL$$****
8MidNite Classic 150$$$$$*****
9Epever Tracer 2210AN$$*****
10Outback Flexmax 80$$$$*****
11GHB Solar Charge Controller$****
12HQST HCC10MPPT-G1$***

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RV Solar Charge Controller Basics

What is a solar charge controller? 

To put it plainly, a solar charge controller is a device that monitors and regulates the flow of electricity coming from solar panels to batteries. Standard controllers usually incorporate load control circuits and big ones could even carry separate control switches and relays for loads. 

Why do we need a solar charge controller for RVs?

With the solar charge controller, the odds of batteries sustaining damages due to unstable current and overcharging would be minimized. Hence, to preserve the integrity of batteries and extend the longevity of cells, the presence of a controller is crucial. 

Types of Solar Charge Controller

The number of solar charge controllers for recreational vehicles certainly seem overwhelming but all models could be split into three types: Shunt, PWM and MPPT 

  • Shunt Charge Controllers (On/Off): With limited functions and features, shunt charge controllers tend to be considered as the most basic choices for solar systems. In use, models of the type just stop the charging current when the charge of batteries reaches a particular level. The simplicity of shunt charge controllers let them operate in variable conditions with relative ease. 
  • PWM Charge Controllers (Pulse Width Modulation): Able to bring batteries to max capacity and maintain the charge level with trickle charges, PWM charge controllers excel at keeping battery banks topped-off. Because of that, models of the type earn positive remarks from enthusiasts of RVing that travel on a regular basis. 
  • MPPT Charge Controllers (Maximum Power Point Tracking): Thanks to the outstanding efficiency and ability to regulate high currents, MPPT charge controllers give a good account of themselves in sophisticated and big setups. Moreover, since they come equipped with plenty of built-in safety precautions, models of the type have reassuring operating records. 

Best Solar Charge Controller Reviews

Due to preferences, different RVers think of different models once it comes to the best solar charge controller for RV. Still, in the case that you wish to get your money’s worth, you should check out the models below.

1. Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM – Best Of The Best 

Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Common Postive Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 10 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.0 x 1.1 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.3 Pounds 
  • Intelligent protection
  • LCD display 

Why This Is The Best: 

Utilizing various innovations, Renogy Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) is a solid model that works superbly in an assortment of arrangements. With an LCD display, Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) allows enthusiasts of RVing to grasp the charging status through a glance. In addition, since the charge controller made by Renogy packs intelligent protection, it’s well-shielded against threats such as overcharging, reverse polarity, short-circuit, … Because of that,  regarding all-around protection, Renogy Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) is undoubtedly the best solar charge controller for RV at its price range. 

Thanks to the lightweight body, the charge controller of Renogy is convenient to handle and could be set up in a blink of an eye. Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) occupies little space as well so finding a fitting spot for it is child’s play. In terms of compatibility, Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) of Renogy is able to accommodate many types of RV batteries including sealed, gel, flooded and lithium. Hence, if your battery bank consists of more than one type of battery, the Renogy charge controller should suit you. 

Interestingly, Renogy Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) comes equipped with a communication port for Bluetooth module. That means it’s possible to remotely monitor Wanderer (RNG-CTRL-WND10) and apply changes to its parameters if necessary. 

Pros:

  • Resilient 
  • Space-saving
  • User-friendly interface 

Cons:

  • Less than ideal quality control 
  • Mediocre tech support 

2. WindyNation P20L LCD 20A PWM – Editor’s Choice 

WindyNation P20L LCD 20A PWM Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 20 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 3.5 x 1.5 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.5 Pounds 
  • Automatic lighting control
  • Mounting holes 

Why It’s An Editor’s Choice: 

Dependable and reliable, WindyNation P20L rarely lets RVers down in the course of operation and that earns it compliments from solar charge controllers reviews. Possessing a rated capacity of twenty amperes, the WindyNation charge controller easily handles the regulation requirement of typical solar systems. Moreover, with accessible design and built-in mounting holes, P20L takes a couple of moments to install and secure. That is a big plus for people that have to set up a proper solar charge controller on the go. 

About interface, WindyNation P20L boasts a flush LCD display and adjustment buttons that facilitate supervision and implementation of changes. It’s worth pointing out that P20L integrates a microcontroller for automatic lighting control. As a result, even in low-light conditions, enthusiasts of RVing could get a good view of the interface of the charge controller from WindyNation. P20L of WindyNation is protected from overload, short-circuit, reverse polarity and alike so its operating record is excellent. 

Since P20L is a low-priced model, cost-conscious RVers deem it to be the best solar charge controller for RV on the market. On arrival, the charge controller made by WindyNation is accompanied by a one-year warranty. 

Pros:

  • Inexpensive 
  • Light and compact 
  • Undemanding installation 

Cons:

  • Users notice inconsistencies between units 
  • Output deviates occasionally  

3. ALLPOWERS 20A – Editor’s Choice 

ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charger Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 20 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 3.1 x 1.6 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.4 Pounds 
  • Built-in USB ports
  • Industrial-grade microprocessor

Why It’s An Editor’s Choice: 

Designed with functionality in mind, FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU of All Power regularly gives a good account of itself in use. As it carries an industrial-grade microprocessor, FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU manages the charging of batteries with outstanding precision and stability. Also, owing to the improved heat dissipation, the charge controller from All Power maintains the operating temperature at reasonable levels. Unsurprisingly, All Power FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU is prized by RVing enthusiasts that plan to hit the road in the summer. 

The All Power solar panel controller for RV charges the batteries in multiple stages, thus, it minimizes power loss and extends the longevity of cells. That is why with FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU onboard, the replacement interval of batteries lengthen noticeably. Besides the batteries, All Power FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU could provide charge to electronic devices using its built-in USB ports. So once it comes to adaptability, the charge controller made by All Power is usually deemed to be the best solar charge controller for RV

For maintenance,  FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU just needs simple care to remain operational which is advantageous. If you grab All Power FBA_AP-OT-002-BBLU, you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about your solar charge controller. 

Pros:

  • Economical
  • High endurance 
  • Marvelous compatibility  

Cons:

  • Reports of wrong readings show up sometimes 
  • Connectors require improvements 

4. Victron Energy BlueSolar

Victron SmartSolar MPPT 75/15 Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 15 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.9 x 1.5 Inches 
  • Weight: 1.2 Pounds 
  • LED indicators 
  • Programmable

Why We Love It: 

As a highly capable MPPT charge controller, Victron Energy BlueSolar is appreciated by RVers who wish to get the most out of their solar systems. With the ability to accelerate the energy harvest rate, the charge controller made by Victron Energy shortens the time it takes to fully charge batteries. Therefore, BlueSolar is the best MPPT charge controller for recreational vehicles that have high power consumption and large battery banks. Additionally, featuring modern battery management, Victron Energy BlueSolar preserves the integrity of the batteries and increases lifespans of the cells. 

BlueSolar contains catchy LED indicators and its case list explanations for individual lights too so determining charging status is essentially a walk in the park. In times of need, RVing enthusiasts could attach a Bluetooth dongle to the Victron Energy charge controller and pair it with smartphones for remote monitoring. As a result, people don’t have to stay next to Victron Energy BlueSolar at all times in order to keep an eye on things. Last but not least, since BlueSolar is proof against short-circuit, its level of safety is regarded to be sublime. 

To reassure potential users, Victron Energy willingly offers everyone that picks up its charge controller a five-year manufacturer warranty. In the case that you happen to seek a sound insurance policy, you have to add BlueSolar to your shortlist. 

Pros:

  • Splendid handling 
  • Rugged construction 
  • Intuitive setup process 

Cons:

  • RVers complain about getting used units 
  • Barely acceptable customer service 

5. Victron Energy SmartSolar

SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 50 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.1 x 2.7 Inches 
  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds 
  • Integrated Bluetooth connectivity 
  • For 12V and 24V batteries 

Why We Love It: 

Interested in the idea behind BlueSolar of Victron Energy but want more capacity and capabilities? Then it’s strongly recommended that you take a close look at Victron Energy SmartSolar. At fifty amperes, the capacity of SmartSolar permits it to receive and control the sizable flow of electricity from extensive solar systems with relative ease. Packing enhanced monitoring and harvesting, the charge controller of Victron Energy also optimizes the charging rate of batteries as light intensity changes throughout the day. 

With its small build, Victron Energy SmartSolar smoothly squeezes into narrow corners which help enthusiasts of RVing conserve interior space. The Victron Energy charge controller is light as well, hence, moving it into position is going to be a cinch. By checking LED indicators on SmartSolar, it’s a breeze to stay up to date about the progress of charging. Aside from that, as Victron Energy SmartSolar possesses integrated Bluetooth connectivity, it could readily pair with a lot of mobile devices and eliminate the need to stay nearby to supervise. 

Compared to standard charge controllers for solar panels on recreational vehicles, SmartSolar of Victron Energy is indeed a bit expensive. Still, the values of SmartSolar match its price tag and Victron Energy back its controller with a top-notch warranty. 

Pros:

  • Tough
  • Installation is no sweat 
  • Uncomplicated maintenance

Cons:

  • Poorly-written owner’s manual 
  • Battery selection knob is slippery 

6. Epever Tracer 3210AN

EPEVER MPPT Charge Controller 20A 12v 24v Auto
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 30 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 9.0 x 6.4 x 2.2 Inches 
  • Weight: 2.8 Pounds 
  • Multiple load control modes
  • Wide operating voltage 

Why We Love It: 

Being engineered with advanced function and peak efficiency, Epever Tracer 3210AN excels at maximizing power output and reducing energy loss. Furthermore, since the Epever charge controller charges the batteries in four stages (bulk, boost, float, and equalization), it keeps the battery bank in top shape. Because of that, to economically minded RVers with tight wallets, Tracer 3210AN is the best solar charge controller for RV. Besides that, Epever Tracer 3210AN works well with typical battery types from gel to lead so its compatibility is marvelous. 

By incorporating protection against short-circuit, overcharging, reverse polarity and similar issues, Tracer 3210AN outperforms traditional solar panel controllers for RV in terms of safety. With the controller of Epever around, enthusiasts of  RVing don’t have to worry too much about their solar systems. As for the user interface, Epever Tracer 3210AN contains a functional LCD display that shows charging status and key data. Thus, supervising and manipulating the operation of Tracer 3210AN is by all accounts a snap. 

The charge controller made by Epever makes use of aluminum in the construction, therefore, it’s both portable and durable. As its setup process is fairly straightforward, Tracer 3210AN could be installed in just a flash and that is nice. 

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Long-lasting 
  • Fantastic safety level 

Cons:

  • Terminals of a number of units overheat in use 
  • Quality control still leaves something to be desired 

7. Go Power GP-PWM-30-UL

Go Power! By Valterra GP-PWM-30-UL Solar Controller - 30A, Digital
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 30 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.2 x 1.4 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.7 Pounds 
  • Digital display 
  • Maximum Power Boost Technology (MPBT)

Why We Love It: 

Despite its plain appearance, Go Power GP-PWM-30-UL rarely lets enthusiasts of RVing down in the course of operation. Boasting Maximum Power Boost Technology (MPBT), GP-PWM-30-UL allows people to increase charging rate and top off batteries at the end of daylight hours. Also, as the Go Power controller packs a no-nonsense digital display, it’s a breeze to determine charging current, system voltage and battery capacity. Based on the needs of RVers, GP-PWM-30-UL of Go Power is able to charge two battery banks simultaneously.

Put together for common batteries, the controller made by Go Power supports three types of batteries: flooded, AGM and gel. That is why GP-PWM-30-UL is compatible with many solar systems on campers viewed in a positive light by numerous RV solar controller reviews. For installation, Go Power GP-PWM-30-UL features great handling which means setting it up is a piece of cake. Naturally, once it comes to ease of installation, countless RVers consider the controller from Go Power to be the best solar charge controller for RV

As proof of confidence, Go Power backs GP-PWM-30-U with a solid five-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. So if your GP-PWM-30-UL of Go Power fails due to production flaws within the warranty period, you could claim yourself a free replacement. 

Pros:

  • Fast shipping 
  • Study and stable 
  • Maintenance is child’s play 

Cons:

  • Display backlighting should be reworked 
  • Stripped screw is reported by users 

8. MidNite Classic 150

MidNite Solar CLASSIC 150 Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 80 – 96 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 6.0 x 4.0 Inches 
  • Weight: 11.5 Pounds 
  • ETL listed
  • Arc fault and ground fault 

Why We Love It: 

In the case that you have a big-sized solar system and have to regulate lots of power, you would come to like MidNite Classic 150. The rated capacity of the controller from MidNite varies between eighty and ninety six amperes depending on the working temperature. Needless to say, Classic 150 is a splendid addition to broad RV solar systems as well as those with expandability potential. Moreover, possessing arc fault and ground fault, Classic 150 of MidNite is safe to use in a wide range of environments. 

Classic 150 comes with a user-friendly interface that consists of a display and buttons so it’s easy to operate.  Since the controller of MidNite takes up negligible amounts of space, you don’t have to leave other things behind in order to accommodate it. It’s noteworthy that aside from solar, MidNite Classic 150 could be put to good use in wind and hydro systems. Hence, Classic 150 is compatible with plenty of energy conversion systems used by enthusiasts of RVing. 

For maintenance, the MidNite controller needs rather little attention from owners of recreational vehicles and that certainly saves precious time. Classic 150 is backed with a five-year warranty too so its users have something to count on if things go wrong all of a sudden. 

Pros:

  • Enduring body 
  • Impressive capacity 
  • Top-notch delivery service 

Cons:

  • Steep price 
  • Several units arrive damaged 

9. Epever Tracer 2210AN 

EPEVER MPPT 20A Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 20 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 2.0 Inches 
  • Weight: 2.1 Pounds 
  • Auto voltage detection 
  • Diverse loads 

Why We Love It: 

Basic and practical, Epever Tracer 2210AN works like a charm in multiple surroundings and its maintenance is a cakewalk too. Since it integrates auto voltage detection, Tracer 2210AN could determine the ideal charging current for particular batteries on its own. That is why with the charge controller made by Epever, enthusiasts of RVing don’t have to manually set up the current prior to charging. Finally, featuring short-circuit, reverse polarity, over-voltage and other protections, Tracer 2210AN of Epever rarely experiences troubles in use. 

Carrying a robust LCD display, the Epever charge controller permits owners of recreational vehicles to monitor the charging of batteries and make changes at will. Interestingly, Tracer 2210AN provides real-time energy statistics recording so RVers have no trouble gathering data for energy conversion analyses. Epever Tracer 2210AN is sold with pretty much everything included, thus, there is no need to pick up extra hardware. Usually, with standard tools, people need only minutes to get the MPPT solar charge controller of Epever up and running. 

Tracer 2210AN  is sold at a price that suits the budgets of ordinary enthusiasts of RVing, its purchase would have impacts on your upcoming spendings. Unsurprisingly, Epever Tracer 2210AN is called by many people the best MPPT charge controller for the money regarding cost values. 

Pros:

  • Steady operation 
  • Reasonable price 
  • Instantaneous installation 

Cons:

  • No backlighting for display 
  • Blow fuses now and then 

10. Outback Flexmax 80

Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 80 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.7 x 4.5 Inches 
  • Weight: 12.2 Pounds 
  • Active cooling
  • Data logging 

Why We Love It: 

Thanks to active cooling and intelligent thermal management, Outback Flexmax 80 dissipates heat effectively and efficiently in the course of operation. Therefore, the heat tolerance of the charge controller from Outback is superior to that of normal models on the market. For RVing enthusiasts that routinely experience high temperatures while traveling and worry about equipment overheating, Flexmax 80 is a must-have. In addition to that, Flexmax 80 of Outback happens to utilize a compact design so its presence hardly requires space consideration. 

Flexmax 80 is engineered with the latest MPPT algorithm that lets it increase the power out of solar systems on recreational vehicles by roughly one third. As a result, the charge controller made by Outback substantially shortens the charging time of batteries and that is handy in an assortment of situations. About compatibility, Outback Flexmax 80 supports batteries of variable types and if needed, it could even reduce the voltage of coming electricity for low-voltage batteries. So Flexmax 80 is well-suited for battery banks of rigs. 

In terms of ease of use, Outback Flexmax 80 employs a fantastic display that keeps RVers up-to-date about the essential aspects of charging progress. It’s possible to access data of the Outback charge controller within the last one hundred and eighty days too. 

Pros:

  • Adaptable 
  • Excellent heat dissipation 
  • User interface is straightforward 

Cons:

  • Kind of loud 
  • Users complain about lacks of supports

11. GHB Solar Charge Controller

GHB 20A 12V 24V Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 20 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.9 x 1.2 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.3 Pounds 
  • Energy-saving backlight 
  • All-around protection 

Why We Love It: 

Created with convenience in mind, GHB Solar Charge Controller is highly sought after by enthusiasts of RVing that travel frequently. Through the content-rich LCD display of the charge controller from GHB, people could supervise parameters of the charging progress. Packing energy-saving backlight, the display of GHB Solar Charge Controller also remains viewable as ambient lighting changes over time. Because of that, with the charge controller made by GHB, monitoring the charging of batteries is a piece of cake. 

 GHB Solar Charge Controller incorporates a battery indicator so you should be able to notice issues with battery connections quickly. In use, the battery icon of the charge controller of GHB flashes at a fast rate as the batteries receive charges and slow down when the max capacity is reached. Owing to the built-in USB ports,  GHB Solar Charge Controller may charge battery banks of recreational vehicles as well as electronic devices of RVers. Hence, by grabbing the GHB unit, you would have an easy time addressing charging needs. 

As for safety, GHB Solar Charge Controller is equipped with all-around protections: under-voltage, short-circuit, reserve polarity, lighting, … So compared to classic charge controllers for RV solar panels on the market, the model of GHB is quite safe. 

Pros:

  • Precise readings 
  • No-nonsense setup process 
  • Solid features and functions 

Cons:

  • Small wire terminals 
  • Tech support needs to be overhauled 

12. HQST HCC10MPPT-G1

HQST 10A 12V MPPT Solar Charge Controller
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Specification And Features:

  • Capacity: 10 Amperes
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 3.8 x 2.1 Inches 
  • Weight: 0.9 Pounds 
  • Automatic temperature compensation
  • Current-limiting charging

Why We Love It:

Purposely developed for energy conversion systems that involve solar panels, HQST HCC10MPPT-G1 possesses nearly everything that RVers expect from a solar charge controller. Using innovative MPPT technology, HCC10MPPT-G1 maximizes conversion rate and increases the power output. Furthermore, with internal and external temperature sensors, the charge controller made by HQST automatically applies compensations in times of need and adjusts the charging current. That is why owners of HQST HCC10MPPT-G1 hardly need to micromanage the charging of their RV battery banks. 

Since the charge controller of HQST charges the batteries in multiple stages, it reduces energy loss and protects the cells. Thus, by including HCC10MPPT-G1 in the solar systems, owners of recreational vehicles could cut down the expenses that go into the battery replacements. For installation, HQST HCC10MPPT-G1 features impressive portability so its setup process lasts mere minutes and there is really no need for special tools. The HQST charge controller contains a mounting holes tool so keeping it secured is no sweat. 

Regarding compatibility, HCC10MPPT-G1 works with sealed, gel and flooded batteries which allow it to match most battery banks. The HQST charge controller recognizes voltage on its own so you don’t have to reprogram it following battery swap. 

Pros:

  • Fair cost 
  • Decent durability 
  • Hassle-free installation 

Cons:

  • Owner’s manual should be rewritten 
  • People report weak terminal screws 

Best Solar Charge Controller Buyer’s Guide

Capacity 

As solar charge controllers have to receive and regulate the flow of electricity generated by solar panels, capacity requires special attention from enthusiasts of RVing. In order to deduce the ideal capacity for your controller, you should take into account the system of solar panels you put on your rig. If you have a modest system, a typical model is likely going to be adequate. On the other hand, if you own an extensive solar setup, it’s suggested that you prioritize high-capacity controllers. 

For references, common charge controllers for RV feature a voltage of 12V, 24V and 48V. Regarding ampere, market models could provide a charge between 10 and 90 amperes to the battery banks. Some charge controllers even let people change charging capacities to match batteries of various types. 

Endurance 

While moving between locations, recreational vehicles and virtually everything on them experience constant vibrations which make endurance a key consideration. The last thing you want to do is to spend big bucks on flimsy controllers that fail shortly after purchase. By assessing construction material, assembly design and similar attributes, you could tell how well a model holds together in use. Besides making direct evaluations, it’s a good idea to glance through several customer reviews and see what they say about the controller you like.

Ease Of Installation 

Embracing RVing means you need to deal with countless issues so you have no time to spare on devices with complicated and lengthy setup processes. Thus, as you seek the best solar charge controller for RV, you have to give ease of installation some thoughts. In normal cases, you should be able to gauge the complexity of the setup process of a model if you read its owner’s manual. Of course, the option of hiring people to handle the installation is always available but that would incur extra expenses. 

Safety 

Generally, once it comes to electricity, it’s impossible for you to be too careful since a small problem may place you at great risk. So if you look for a solar charge controller, it’s imperative that you think about safety at all times. The average model comes with integrated protection against short-circuit, reverse polarity, overcharging and overheating. Use aspects of your trips as references and determine necessary safety features for the solar charge controller of your rig. 

Misc

So you come across several charge controllers that have comparable specs and have a hard time making up your mind. Then it’s a good idea to take a close look at the miscellaneous and see which model suits you. For instance: 

  • On/off switch: If you like to keep your charge controller independent with your solar systems, a model with an on/off switch would be a great choice. Using the on/off switch, you could shut down everything without having to remove the fuse/ hit the breaker. 
  • Adjustable charging voltage point: Model with adjustable charging voltage points could charge an assortment of batteries from gel to lead depending on user’s requirements. For RVers that use more than one type of battery, such a feature is handy. 
  • Temperature sensor: Batteries get heated quickly during recharge and without proper management, they may lose a lot of distilled water or their plates would become heavily sulfated. If you like to avoid such issues, you should consider picking up a charge controller with temperature sensors. With inputs from sensors, your charge controller is going to apply necessary compensation as temperature fluctuates and protect the batteries.  
  • Shore power switch: Enjoy traveling but you also spend a good amount of time in campgrounds and RV parks? Then while looking around the market, it’s best that you prioritize models with shore power switches. If your charge controller incorporates a shore power switch, you could casually cycle between max harvesting mode and standby mode.

Price

The price tag of solar charge controllers for recreational vehicles varies between dozens and hundreds of dollars  depending on types. Overall, MPPT models tend to cost more than their PWM counterparts but in exchange, they have superior energy conversion rate. Based on the way you use your solar system and amount of power your rig consumes on the road, you could create an appropriate budget for your solar charge controller.

Solar Charge Controller Comparison: MPPT Vs. PWM

rv solar charge controller

Have trouble making up your mind as you happen to like the traits of PWM and MPPT solar charge controllers? Then an in-depth comparison between them is going to be of use to you 

  • Charging Stage: In the course of operation, the PWM controller usually charges batteries in three stages: bulk, float and absorb. For the MPPT controller, the process consists of multiple stages. 
  • Conversion Rate: The average conversion rate of the PWM controller deviates between 75% and 80% while the conversion rate of the MPPT controller may go up to 99%.  
  • Expandability: PWM charge controllers could readily support solar systems with total capacities exceeding two kilowatts. In the case of MPPT controllers, they mostly see use in solar systems that have total capacities below two kilowatts. 
  • Price: The price of PWM charge controllers is lower than that of MPPT charge controllers. 

In conclusion, if you have money to spend and like to reduce energy loss, you should stick to MPPT models. If you have a tight wallet and only need a robust charge controller, a PWM model would suit you well. 

Top RV Solar Charge Controller Brands

The label of a controller rarely dictates its values so you don’t have to worry too much about brand. Nevertheless, if you opt to buy your controller from a reputable brand then keep an eye out for these names 

solar charge controllers reviews

Renogy

With a practical and user-oriented mindset, Renogy is known as one of the leading brands in the solar industry. For owners of recreational vehicles that desire a no-nonsense solar charge controller, Renogy is the number one choice. 

WindyNation

Thanks to substantial investments in technology updates and design optimization, WindyNation is capable of producing solar charge controllers with outstanding adaptability and tip-top longevity. If you buy from WindyNation, you don’t have to think about replacements for years. 

Go Power 

Being a well-established brand, Go Power understands what it takes to assemble products that meet the expectations of customers. Needless to say, Go Power is held in high esteem by a lot of RVers, novices as well as veterans. 

HQST 

As HQST places emphasis on applications of innovations into production techniques, its controllers boast excellent potential while remaining budget-friendly. Because of that, in terms of cost-value, products from HQST don’t have many competitors in the market nowadays. 

FAQs About RV Solar Charge Controllers

What size solar charge controller do I need?

The size of your charge controller depends largely on the solar system of your rig. As the system expands, the size of its controller is going to increase as well. 

Where should I mount my controller? 

You could mount your solar charge controller at any place you like but to keep things simple, you may want to position it close to the solar panels and batteries. 

Is it wise to use more than one controller at the same time? 

Multiple solar charge controllers would still work well alongside each other on the same battery bank so you can totally use more than one controller. Actually, when the total capacity of your solar system reaches certain levels, you must add extra controllers to stabilize output. 

How do I care for my controller? 

Today’s charge controllers for solar panels lack moving parts and they pack sealed constructions. Hence, all you have to do is to check up on the connections of your controller from time to time. Loose connections could lead to heat and that is dangerous.

You can also find our guides on how to choose the best RV battery, best RV surge protector, best RV generator, best solar panels for RV, best RV converter, best RV inverter, best deep cycle battery chargers, best RV battery monitor with detailed reviews in RV Electrical category. In these reviews, we only include and recommend the best products with the highest ratings among highly sold products on the market.

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