Best Solar Charge Controllers: 10 Best Charge Controllers for Off-Grid Solar Power Systems

A solar charge controller is an essential part of any off-grid solar or wind power systems. As you see, it carries out the task of regulating the flow of current from the source to the battery. Also, this is the unit that blocks the solar panels from overcharging the connected batteries.

Moreover, it blocks the discharge of power from the battery. Below we have a list of the 10 best solar charge controllers to help you pick the best one for your DIY off-grid solar power systems.

Roughly speaking, all solar panel systems over 5W capacity require solar charge controllers. Hence, if you are putting together your own DIY solar generator for camping or home use, you must have a reliable solar charge controller.

We mainly have two types of solar charge controllers on the market; PWM and MPPT. The first one is a basic, inexpensive model that is enough for small power systems. Meanwhile, the second one is a rather advanced one with better efficiency and capacity over 60A.

Best Solar Charge Controllers

Our team of researchers has done a detailed study to find out the best solar charge controllers for various off-grid applications. Of course, there is a large number of solar charge controllers on the market in different forms and capacities.

Our list of solar charge controllers certainly covers all the popular models, mixing both the PWM and MPPT charge controllers. Plus, we have included solar charge controllers friendly for both small camper solar kits and big home-based solar systems.

1. Renogy Wanderer Solar Charge Controller

We would like to start the list with Renogy’s popular Wanderer 30A PWM solar charge controller. Well, as you see, this is a very basic PWM charge controller with a few essential features only. You can use it with smaller solar panel systems only. That is why it is one of the cheapest on our list of the best solar charge controllers today. Use the link below to order a unit.Renogy Wanderer Solar Charge Controller

The Wanderer controller works very well with any negative ground system and Renogy has made it ideal for all types of off-grid applications in RVs, boats, camp tents, cabins, etc. By the way, Renogy Wanderer works with the gel and flooded batteries. You can easily mount it anywhere by screwing through its four given holes.

However, one major downside is that it doesn’t carry a screen. Instead, it features LED indicators to let you monitor how it works. It has got a size of 5.5 x 3.7 x 1 in and it weighs below one lb. When it comes to customer feedback, it is indeed one of the best solar charge controllers with a lot of takers, who have mostly shared positive notes on it.

Why Should You Buy

  • Basic 30A PWM Solar Charge Controller.
  • 4-Stage PWM Negative Ground Charge Controller.
  • LED Indicators to Monitor Charge Status. 
  • Compatible With Sealed, Gel, and Flooded Batteries.
  • 10Amp Positive Ground Variant Available.

2. Renogy 40A Commander MPPT Controller

Renogy Commander is indeed a typical example of an MPPT charge controller. It is certainly one of the best of its kind with a lot of takers. According to Renogy, this could offer 30% more efficiency in the transfer of power from the solar panels. It is also a system that works fine with both the 12V and 24V battery systems and it could auto-detect the connected battery.

Well, the Renogy solar charge makes use of an advanced MPPT technology to ensure high tracking efficiency up to 99%. Further, it guarantees peak conversion rate up to 98%, thanks to the included multi-phase synchronous rectification technology.

Overall, what you get is an advanced MPPT solar charge controller. It is also highly durable for long-term use.

It has also got a low-end variant; a 20A unit. Of course, that is an ideal pick for smaller solar power solutions. Both the units offer better protection for your power backups from voltage variations, short circuits, and etc. Follow the link above to check out both the variants of Renogy Commander.

Why Should You Buy

  • 40Amp Powerful MPPT Solar Charge Controller. 
  • Ultimate Protection for Your Power Backups. 
  • 20Amp Lower Variant Available for Small Sytems. 
  • Perfect for Long-term Use in Your Outdoor Applications.

3. Outback FlexMax 80Amp Charge Controller

Different from the above models on our list, the Outback FlexMax solar charge controller is a high-performance variant. Well, this advanced 80A MPPT controller is programmable to charge backup systems from 12V to 60V. As you can guess, OutBack Power Systems has designed this controller to work with the heavy-duty and large solar power panel systems.

With a 30% better solar efficiency, it is indeed a highly reliable option for a variety of your off-grid power solutions. By the way, design-wise, it looks very solid and rugged. And it sports a backlit 80-character display to help you easily monitor the operation status and other details.

This decently large screen is capable to show the logged system performance data for around four months at a press of a button. Its maker claims that the device employs the latest advancements in the MPPT charge controlling technology to ensure enhanced performance.

Overall, you get a really brilliant MPPT charge controller from Outback. Use the link above to buy a unit of the product.

Why Should You Buy

  • Highly Powerful 80Amp Solar Charge Controller.
  • Programmable to Charge Batteries From 12V to 60V.
  • Decently Large 80-Character Backlit Display.
  • Highly Durable and Rugged for All-Weather Use.

4. Renogy 40A Rover MPPT Solar Charge Controller

Rover is another series of the best solar charge controllers from Renogy. Fine, we have already come across a model each from its Wanderer as well as Commander line-ups above. This one is a 40Amp MPPT charge controller with a host of safety features. Of course, this could perfectly protect your batteries from overcharging, discharging, and other voltage issues.

Well, thanks to its highly reliable four-stage algorithm, the Rover could offer your batteries quick charging from the connected solar panels. By the way, the Rover series also features a cool design. This is very much compact and is durable to survive rough outdoor conditions.

Moreover, it has got an LCD screen that lets you easily program charging parameters. And it could store the performance data for a year. You get a variety of other power variants for this Renogy charge controller. They include 20A, 30A, and high-end 100A options. Plus, each of the models has also got a variant with Bluetooth module to pair with your phone.

Why Should You Buy

  • Powerful 40Amp Solar Charge Controller.
  • Display With Programmable Charging Parameters.
  • Multiple Power Variants are Available.
  • Bluetooth-Enabled Variant is Available.
  • Durable for Rough Outdoor Conditions.

5. SolarEpic MPPT 40A Solar Charge Controller

The next on our list of the best solar charge controllers is a SolarEpic one. This is an advanced 40A MPPT charge controller, called Tracer. The negative ground device guarantees you a maximum of 150V solar input. With a lot of exciting features, the solar charge controller could seamlessly protect your power systems from overcharging, overheat, short circuit, and other voltage issues.

Of course, as you can see in the pic, this is very much durable and solid solar charge controller that is a great choice for various outdoor applications. You can mount it easily anywhere with your off-grid solar power systems. Use the link above to buy a unit of SolarEpic MPPT charge controller.

What’s more, the SolarEpic device features low voltage disconnect function (LVD) to offer extra safety to your power packs from over-discharging. SolarEpic also avails the charge controller in a low-end 20Amp variant. Its size is just 11.9 x 2.5 x 7.2 in and it weighs just around 6 lbs.

Why Should You Buy

  • 40Amp Powerful Solar Charge Controller.
  • Negative Ground, Max 150V PV Input.
  • Highly Durable and Solid for Rough Outdoor Uses.
  • 20Amp Lower-End Variant is Available.

6. Eco-Worthy 20Amp Solar Charge Controller

We have the next pick on our list of the best solar charge controllers from Eco-Worthy, a key maker of portable solar power solutions. It is a high-speed 20A MPPT charge controller with a conversion efficiency of 96%. Eco-Worthy also sells it in another option of 40A plus a Bluetooth variant of the 20A one. Follow the link below to check out all the variants.

Of course, the increased electric protection features make it one of the best charge controllers out there. You could securely protect your battery from overcharge, discharge, overload, and short circuit protection with the Eco-Worthy’s advanced charge controller. This is a very compact and easy-to-mount charge controller, thanks to the included screwing holes.

By the way, Eco-Worthy charge controller features a built-in timer to let you set periodic discharge timings for the systems like solar street lights and so on. Well, the strongly built charge controller has a size of 8.7 x 8 x 2.9 in and it weighs just 1.1 pounds. And it has a great customer rating on all the retail websites out there.

Why Should You Buy

  • 20Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller.
  • Compact and Durable Solar Charge Controller.
  • 40Amp High-End Option Available.
  • Bluetooth Variant Available.

7. HQST 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller

HQST 40A MPPT solar controller is another cool pick on our list of the best solar charge controllers. It could offer you a great efficiency of 99.5%, thanks to the advanced MPPT technology. Made with high-quality components, the positive ground solar charge controller could offer you the maximum conversion efficiency of 98%.

Along with this 40Amp variant, HQST also sells two lower-end models; 20A and 30A, as of writing this. Well, all the HQST devices tout good quality components to become amazing choices for outdoor uses. Moreover, they feature a reliable automatic limit functionality to offer no overload.

Besides, the HQST charge controller has a dual display function. The first local display shows you performance data, while the next is a remote meter. Well, thanks to the Modbus communication protocol interface, it is quite easy for customers to expand solar panel systems and monitor the performance in fields. It has a size of 2.9 x 7.2 x 10 in and a weight of 3.4 lbs.

Why Should You Buy

  • 40Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller. 
  • Decent LED Display to Show Performance Data.
  • Multiple Lower-End Variants Available.
  • Durable and Rugged for Outdoor Power Needs.

8. EPever 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller

Here is EPever’s Tracer A series of solar charge controllers. This is the 40Amp variant that features advanced MPPT control algorithm to ensure better performance. Clearly, it could track MPPT point more accurately and fast in any condition.

Well, the result is you get high energy efficiency and the maximum power from the sun. This is also available in 20A and 30A variants. Follow the link below to check out all the variants of the unit.

This EPever solar charge controller is suitable for 12V 520-watt and 24V 1040-watt solar panels and it could offer you a maximum input voltage of 100V. Certainly, like all similar charge controllers, it works well with both the 12V and 24V batteries. It is also a compact and durable device for all your outdoor power needs.

Coming to the DC load support, it could run small DC devices like LEDs, fans, and etc. For AC load, as you know, you should connect it to a power inverter. By the way, it has an advanced LCD screen that displays the system performance intuitively.

Overall, for a moderately powerful off-grid solar power system, this kit is the finest option you could find from the best solar charge controllers.

Why Should You Buy

  • Powerful 40Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller.
  • Advanced Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller.
  • Multi-Function Backlight LCD for Status Information.
  • Multiple Lower-End Variants Available.

9. OneSolar 60A MPPT Solar Charge Controller

Here we have another incredible MPPT solar charge controller. This is a 60A high-efficiency charge controller from a brand called, OneSolar. It works with solar panel systems with a capacity of 900W at 12V, 1700W at 24V and 3400W at 45V, and the maximum input voltage is 150-volt solar panels. Fine, the controller offers a maximum conversion rate of 98%.

The OneSolar charge controller sports a decent LCD screen. It would show various information like operating data, real-time energy statistics, and etc. It also displays the daily power production curve and the current curve as well. That is indeed one thing that makes it one of the best solar charge controllers with an awesome display.

By the way, you can use the charge controller to comfortably power up different types of batteries like gel, sealed, flooded and user-defined.

Of course, it could offer perfect protection for your off-grid power solutions. OneSolar also sells a 100A variant of the controller, which has a blue case. Use the link above to see all the variants.

Why Should You Buy

  • 60Amp Highly Advanced MPPT Solar Charge Controller.
  • Multi-Function LCD Screen to Monitor the Performance.
  • Compact and Stylish Design.
  • More Powerful 100A Variant Available in Blue Color.

10. SunnySky 60A MPPT Solar Charge Controller

The last one on our list of the best solar charge controller is from a brand called, SunnySky. This is a stylish and compact 60Amp solar charge controller with a maximum 150V solar input. By the way, being a negative ground charge controller, this is certainly one of the finest picks to set up in your vehicles like RVs, campers, and etc. Use the link below to order a unit.

Of course, coming to the performance, this is a wonderful product. It could offer you a maximum conversation rate of 98% and tracking rate of maximum power is 99% like all similar products on the market. It could also support all the four common charging options, such as gel, flooded, sealed, and user-defined batteries.

You have further got a stylish display to show the status information. And the compact and durable design makes it a nice choice for outdoor users. Moreover, this is available in a range of lower-end options, as of writing this. Clearly, it comes in 30A, 40A, and 50A variants other than this 60A unit.

Why Should You Buy

  • Powerful 60A Solar Charge Controller.
  • Negative Ground, Max 150V PV Input.
  • Compact and Durable Design.
  • Multiple Lower-End Variants Available.

Solar Charge Controller Buying Guide

The charge controller is indeed an essential part of the circuit of an off-grid solar system. It is what secures up the included batteries from overcharging, discharging, and other voltage related issues. For every solar panel solution, other than the ones under 5 watts, there must be a charge controller.

How to find the best solar charge controller?

You need to check out two simple steps to get the best and matching solar charge controller for your power solutions. They are below.

1. Voltage Selection

The solar charge controller must be compatible with the voltage of your system. Typically, we have the systems in configurations of 12V, 24V, and 48V. That means, if you are setting up a 24V system, you need to include a controller that is rated at 24V.

Of course, there are some charge controllers with a specific voltage. But more advanced solar charge controllers come with the auto-detect feature, letting the device automatically identify the voltage of the connected systems.

2. Current Flow Capacity

Next, you should find a controller that could handle the maximum output current the included solar panels would offer. That means, your solar power system may have one or more solar arrays and so you should get the matching controller from the crowd of the charge controllers out there.

Final Thoughts

That has been our list of the best solar charge controllers. Of course, we have more wonderful solar charge controllers on the market. But for this list, we have picked up some of the cool items mainly based on their popularity.

Therefore, I am sure you could find one perfect controller from the list above. Thus, you could set up an ideal solar power solution to power up your life in an emergency or off-grid living condition.

Main Image Credit: Kaspars Dambis

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