Table of Contents Show
You get in your RV with your family on a long and peaceful road trip where you explore various landscapes and destinations to take a break and catch bit of a fresh air; but suddenly all of that halts due to the jarring loud sound created by the generator you are carrying around in your RV. Not only that, but the generator pollutes the air anywhere you take it with. In addition to air pollution it creates a lot of noise pollution as well. In addition to pollution, we are needlessly wasting fossil fuels which are non-renewable on powering these generators when we can use renewable and more eco-friendly alternatives for our trip.
If you are searching for eco-friendly alternative options which provide a good camping experience, then solar charger kits are the way forward.
Solar energy produces no pollution or emissions whatsoever, and has the biggest advantage of being a renewable energy resource. Solar panels are now a booming industry, which gives great outcome in the long run with minimal investment. Installation can be done easily without involving any hassle or the need of a professional.
We are going to list few of the 12 volt solar power chargers for RV available to us which you may use for your RV and improve your experience of camping and long distance road trips.
Concept of 12 Volt Solar Power chargers (How Solar Chargers work?)
The main setup consists of
- A Solar panel; which convert the light energy from the sun into electrical energy. The solar panel has small photovoltaic cells that convert light energy into electrical energy.
- A Battery to store energy. This energy will be used during the night.
- An Output socket
- Charge controller
The charge controller is responsible for transferring electrical energy to the battery in order to recharge the battery. It also, prevents overcharging of the battery which may in turn cause damage to the battery. The output socket then provides the desired output. The output and the battery are at 12 Volts. The ampere of the charge controller may well be altered according to the use and requirement.
The Best Choice: Renogy.
Let me explain why one of our personal favorites is Renogy. They produce very affordable products for use with the most updated solar energy technology. Moreover, they have top of the line products which are one of the best available in the market.
All their chargers are equipped with top of the line solar panel products which help in absorbing maximum amount of sunlight. The craftsmanship and the quality of product are easily visible in these products. The panels are durable as they can withstand high energy winds or snowfall easily. These panels can be installed on the roofs of RVs without the requirement of any extra hand or professional help.
The best thing that we found about Renogy is that the charger kits are available in a wide variety of watts; this allows the customer to choose the perfect charger kit according to their desired use.
So let’s dive right into the best solar charger products available in 2020.
1. Renogy 400 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit with Charge Controller:
This kit has an excellent charging speed and is very light on the pocket. It is best suited for the average consumers needing a kit. The product comes with a 30A charging controller; however this charging controller cannot be expanded upon.
The major selling point of this kit is its excellent recharging speed. The solar panel can charge up to 50 percent in less than 3 hours. The only drawback of this kit is its size, which takes up a lot of space. The cost of this kit comes to about $4.24 per Watt. According to Market Watch, it is the most cost effective option in 2023.
2. Best Starter Kit: Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit with Charge Controller
When starting with any new product, you need to start with one which is easy on the wallet and helps you get affiliated with the product. Hence, for new campers who want to dive into the renewable solar kit market for their RVs this is the product of choice. The product is also targeted for those who are more conscious regarding their power consumption.
The kit is portable and doesn’t need to be installed on the roof of the RV. They are equipped with foldable legs that can be adjusted according to the right angle towards the sun.
This adjusting of the panels allows you to make more your solar panels more efficient as they are able to absorb sunlight at all hours during the day and recharge your electronic devices. It also makes your panel cooler keeping it at the required temperature of around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit making it more efficient. Moreover, it is foldable making it easy to store.
The kit comes with two different charge controllers depending upon how you’ll use it, one is the standard 30A Wanderer controller and the other is the 30A adventurer controller for the portable starter kit. Both of these controllers can be expanded up to 400 Watts.
In addition to being used in RVs, the Renogy Mono-crystalline Solar kit can also be used for boats, cabins and sheds. We highly recommend any starter into this venture to use this kit to get a know-how of the solar battery chargers.
3. Renogy 50 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit with Charge Controller
This is the cheapest of the bunch. This is also the smallest wattage we recommend to use because below this is going to be very time-consuming and frustrating. It is an ideal product for small power consumer individuals who don’t require the use of much electronic items during their camping trips.
The kit comes with a 10A PWM charge controller which is equipped with advanced automatic digital technology. This protects the battery from over-charging or discharging. It also gives you the comfort to expand your power from 50 Watts to maximum of 120 Watts.
The charging speeds we tested on half-drained battery gave us results between 6-10 hours which depends upon the weather conditions where you are using it. The speeds can be justified by the fact that the panels coming with this kits are small hence a smaller surface area to convert sunlight into electrical energy.
The only drawback to this product is the previously mentioned slow charging speed explained by the fact that it is small in size. However, this small size makes it very portable and easy to use and it is the best product for low power consumers who require a cheap but somewhat efficient kit to charge their essential devices.
4. Renogy 200 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Kit with Charge Controller
We saved the best one for last; it produced overall the best results from the bunch making it one of the best products provided by Renogy for average power consumers.
It produced a consumption rate of 126Ah on mild-moderate power usage which involved lights, clocks, fans, mobile phone charging, laptop use, laptop charging and microwave. Hence it is our choice for those who required, not much, but adequate electrical usage on camping trips.
Like the Renogy 100 Watt Solar kit, it also comes with a standard 30A Wanderer charge controller and for the portable version 30A adventurer charge controller with both having the ability to expand from 200 Watts to 400.
The charging speed can match the 400 Watt Solar Kit of Renogy. It can charge half the battery in around 2 hours making it second best to the 400 Watt Solar kit. This is due to the fact that the panels have a greater size giving a larger surface area for absorbing sunlight which shines on the panels. Like all the above products the charging speeds can vary depending upon the weather conditions of the regions.
If you are a mild power consumer, who prefers portability and wants adequate charging speeds and live in a region with plentiful sunlight, this is the product you should be buying.
Now while you are planning to go camping, it would be advisable to checkout our review of best solar battery backpacks.