The 9 Best Solar Charge Controllers in 2023
To compile our list of solar charge controllers, we measured maximum output voltage, maximum input voltage, maximum charge current, and maximum input wattage. But peak conversion efficiency and manageability ultimately separate the best from the rest.
A good solar charge controller is typified by high peak conversion efficiency. This is one of the reasons MPPTs are favored over PWMs in most cases.
The peak conversion efficiency of a solar charge controller indicates the proportion of the input power from the solar panel array the controller uses in charging the battery. With a high peak conversion efficiency, the charging process of a solar charge controller is more effective.
Depending on how they work, solar charge controllers can either be Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) or Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
MPPT solar charge controllers are the more efficient options since they typically draw power out of the solar panels at maximum wattage. The PMW types are less efficient and typically reserved for low systems with a low-capacity solar array.
When choosing a solar charge controller, the output voltage must match the battery’s voltage. Most controllers offer multiple output voltages, so this will not be an issue.
A more important aspect is the maximum input voltage and output amperage. You want to ensure your solar output voltage and battery charge current are as close to these numbers as possible. We discuss this in more detail below the reviews.
Manufacturers of these products generally offer a range of controllers with differing inputs/outputs to suit your setup. We have chosen models with similar input voltages and output currents to compare each charge controller. This way, we can compare performance and features on a similar baseline.
Best Solar Charge Controllers at a Glance
- Victron Energy – Overall Best
- EPEVER MPPT – Broadest Battery Current Range/Highest Tracking Efficiency
- Renogy Rover – Easy to Use
- Renogy Rover Elite 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller – Cheaper 40A Controller
- EPEVER DuoRacer Series(10~30A) Dual Battery MPPT Charge Controller – Trickle Charging for a Second Battery
- HQST 30A 12V/24V PWM Flush Mount Solar Charge Controller – Negative Ground – Features USB Port
- Eco-Worthy 60A PWM LCD Display Solar Charge Controller – 48V Battery Support
- Rich Solar 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller – High Conversion Efficiency for 40A
- Allto Solar Intelligent 10A MPPT Solar Charge Controller – Portable
Our Best Solar Charge Controller Review
1. Victron Energy
The Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT comes in at numero uno, not only because it has the equal highest peak conversion efficiency as the Renogy Rover and the EPEVER Controller, but because its free app has an extensive feature set that is above and beyond the competition.
The rated peak conversion efficiency is 98% – on par with the competing controllers.
As with the EPEVER and the Renogy Rover, this model is suitable for a solar system with a battery voltage of 12v and 24v.
This product offers eight battery settings, meaning you can use it with various battery types, including lithium, sealed, and flooded batteries. It would even work on a battery at 0%, as long as it is not damaged.
Apart from the above, this product has multiple safety features against system faults such as short circuits. This means your battery is unlikely to go bad from circuit malfunctions.
Unlike the other options on this list, this allows for remote monitoring without buying extra accessories. The controller achieves this via inbuilt Bluetooth that allows you to pair the charge controller to a smartphone through the VictronConnect app. Once connected, you can monitor and adjust the settings from your phone.
If you cannot work with the VictronConnect app, you can monitor the charge controller online using the Victron Remote Management Portal.
However, unlike the Renogy Rover and the EPEVER Controller, the Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT does not have buttons or an LCD screen. So, you can only control it through the app or the portal.
- Peak conversion efficiency is the joint-highest on the list – alongside the other two MPPT controllers.
- MPPT system blocks reverse current flow and promotes current flow to the battery, making the charging process more efficient.
- Comes with inbuilt Bluetooth. So, you never have to get an extra accessory to use the wireless Bluetooth management system.
- It does not come with a screen or buttons. So, you can only control it through the app or the portal.
2. EPEVER MPPT
The EPEVER Charge Controller is second in our review as it has the joint highest peak conversion efficiency and a user-friendly display.
This controller’s rated peak conversion efficiency is 98%, the same as the Renogy Rover’s. However, its rated tracking efficiency (99.5%) is slightly higher than the Renogy (99%).
The controller works with various batteries, including deep-charging lithium, sealed, flooded, and gel. Plus, you can jump into detailed programming for these battery types.
You need a PC or a smartphone with the Solar Charge Regulator software or app to program this model for the battery types. But it does not stop at that.
However, you must get an RS485 cable separately to use a PC with this charge controller. The need for additional accessories also exists with the smartphone option, as you will need an Ebox-Blue or Ebox Wi-Fi to make it work. Alternatively, you may get a remote meter to monitor and control the charge controller.
Like the Victron, this product also offers sufficient protection against circuit damage. It features a load control that prevents overcharging, overload, over-discharging, reverse currents, and short circuits.
But unlike the Victron, this one has an LCD screen and two control buttons. So, overall, the user interface is uncomplicated.
- It offers the joint-highest peak conversion efficiency of any solar charge controller we reviewed.
- Offers various ways to control the settings.
- Includes a remote temperature sensor to ensure the battery is charging and discharging at optimal temperatures.
- For remote monitoring, you must get accessories besides your PC or smartphone.
- The length of the remote temperature sensor could be longer.
3. Renogy Rover
This controller takes the third spot amongst our best solar charge controllers. It is also an MPPT solar charge controller with the same peak conversion efficiency and maximum input voltage as the EPEVER.
Although it has a rated peak conversion efficiency of 98%, the EPEVER beats the Renogy slightly (99.5% to 99%) regarding tracking efficiency.
Like the EPEVER and Victron, this model is suited for a 12v or 24v battery bank.
The Renogy Rover, like the EPEVER Charge Controller, can charge various deep-charging batteries. It can charge lithium, sealed, gel, and flooded batteries. That aside, it can even charge a lithium battery that has discharged 0%. The system comes with a sensor that detects over-discharging and fixes it.
The Renogy Rover, like the EPEVER Charge Controller, offers 4-stage charging: bulk, flood, boost, and equalization. This charging process promotes longer battery life while improving system performance.
This solar charge controller is not without its circuit protection features. It features a load control to prevent overcharging, over-discharging, short circuits, and overload – just like the EPEVER Charge Controller.
Then it comes with a battery temperature sensor, which improves battery life and performance and reduces the need for maintenance.
Like the EPEVER Charge Controller, the Renogy Rover allows remote monitoring and control. However, you need the BT-1 Bluetooth Module to connect the solar charge controller to your smartphone or Tablet.
This product has an LCD and four navigation buttons, which are generally uncomplicated.
- Has the same peak conversion efficiency as the EPEVER Charge Controller – the joint-highest on the list.
- The user interface is pretty straightforward.
- Like the EPEVER Charge Controller, you must get an extra accessory (the BT-1 Bluetooth Module) to try remote monitoring with your smartphone or tablet.
4. Renogy Rover Elite 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller
The Renogy Rover Elite is one of two 40A MPPT solar charge controllers we reviewed. While both 40A MPPT charge controllers have the same tracking efficiency, this device’s conversion efficiency falls short of its counterpart by about 2%.
But then, the Renogy Rover Elite has a broader operating temperature range and larger terminal size (6 AWG to 8 AWG). It is also the lighter option. But weight is rarely ever a constraint with charge controllers.
Of course, with an output amperage of up to 40A, your battery bank can get more charge power when connected to this MPPT controller. In the end, it all depends on your setup and preferences.
Both 40A charge controllers are suitable for 12V and 24V batteries, can take as much as 100V from a solar array, and have a maximum battery voltage of 32V.
This device comes with at least 4 deep-cycle battery settings: sealed/AGM, gel, flooded, and lithium-iron-phosphate – the same as the other product from the same brand.
With the LCD screen attached to it, we could readily observe the charge controller and spot errors. There’s also an option for remote monitoring, which comes at an extra cost.
The Renogy Rover Elite has standard circuit protection features, including overload, overcharging, over-discharging, reverse polarity, and overheating protection. Of the two 40A MPPT controllers, it is the cheaper option. So, barring the relatively lower conversion efficiency, it is a great option.
- Impressive output wattage
- The tracking efficiency is very impressive.
- The conversion efficiency is outstanding.
- The price is relatively good.
- Features a temperature sensor
- It doesn’t come with remote monitoring features (Bluetooth module). You must pay extra for those features.
5. EPEVER DuoRacer Series(10~30A) Dual Battery MPPT Charge Controller
We loved that the DuoRacer Series is available in three battery currents: 10A, 20A, and 30A – not as many as the EPEVER Tracer Series discussed above.
Multiple battery current options allow flexibility in choosing the size of the MPPT charge controller for your solar energy system.
The maximum PV input voltage of 6 of the 8 models of the DuoRacer Series is 60V. While that is okay, it isn’t quite the best, as lower input voltage may contribute to some drop in the efficiency of an MPPT charge controller.
Still, it isn’t that bad. Depending on the battery current and model of those 6, you can expect a conversion efficiency between 96% and 98%. Then based on the same variables, the load efficiency would be between 95% and 97%.
All 8 models have a tracking efficiency of 99.5% – the joint-highest in the review and the same as the other EPEVER series in this review.
The 2 models with a max PV input voltage of 100V have the same or relatively higher conversion efficiency and load efficiency as other models with the same battery currents.
If you get any of these three models: DR1106N-DDB/DDS, DR2106N-DDB/DDS, and DR3106N -DDB/DDS, you can only use them for 12V batteries. But for any of these five: DR1206N -DDB/DDS, DR2206N -DDB/DDS, DR3206N -DDB/DDS, DR2210N -DDB/DDS, and DR3210N -DDB/DDS, 12V and 24V batteries work fine.
All 8 models of the DuoRacer Series are suitable for lithium and lead-acid batteries. They have the same operating temperatures and the same type of LCD screen for monitoring.
One unique feature of the DuoRacer Series is that it can provide a trickle charge for a second battery besides charging the main battery. The trickle charge has a rated amperage of 1A. Of course, it is no 10A, 20A, or 30A, but it’s still a handy feature.
- Comes with a trickle charging feature for a second battery
- The models in this series have the joint-highest tracking efficiency in this review.
- Their load and conversion efficiency are pretty okay.
- Some models of the series only support 12V batteries.
6. HQST 30A 12V/24V PWM Flush Mount Solar Charge Controller – Negative Ground
The HQST 30A is a 30A PWM charge controller. So, unsurprisingly, it is one of the least expensive options on the list.
Of course, for a PWM charge controller, the efficiency is expected to be lower than that of an MPPT controller. But even at that, we estimated an efficiency of around 78% when we used this device, which is pretty okay.
Since this PWM controller is rated 30A, you can only use it with a solar panel whose output amperage does not exceed 30A. You may damage the controller if you pair it with a solar array that produces more than 30A. Use it with a 20A or 25A solar array at most to be safer. With those panel amperages, there’s a safety factor of around 17% to 25%.
The HQST 30A is compatible with 12V and 24V batteries. It has settings for 4 battery types: flooded, gel, sealed, and AGM. For lithium batteries, you’ll have to configure the system manually.
The maximum PV input voltage the charge controller can tolerate is 55V, which is okay.
The HQST 30A comes with a 5V/1A USB port, which could be useful for mobile devices. It features multiple safety features, including overcharge, over-discharge, short circuit, reverse polarity, overcurrent, overvoltage, and reverse current protections.
For optimal charging, this device uses a two-stage charging process for lithium batteries and a three-stage process for lead-acid batteries.
- It is relatively inexpensive compared to the 30A MPPT controllers.
- It consumes relatively less power.
- It supports various battery types.
- Compatible with 12V and 24V batteries
- Features a USB-A port for mobile devices
- Limited solar panel support
7. Eco-Worthy 60A PWM LCD Display Solar Charge Controller
The Eco-Worthy 60A has the highest battery current rating of all the solar charge controllers in the review. But then, considering its efficiency falls short of the average MPPT controller, this PWM controller will not match the output of a 60A MPPT controller.
This charge controller is compatible with 12V, 24V, and 48V batteries – the only charge controller in the review that supports 48V batteries. It features an LCD screen for easy monitoring, and it comes preset for 4 battery types: AGM, flooded gel, and lithium.
The Eco-Worthy 60A has multiple safety features, including overcharge, overload, short circuit, and reverse circuit protection. It is easy to use, and its output is pretty cheap.
- It is inexpensive.
- It supports 48V batteries.
- Comes with multiple safety features
- High battery current rating
- You’ll get higher output with a 60A MPPT.
8. Rich Solar 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller
The Rich Solar 40 Amp is the second of two 40-Amp solar charge controllers we reviewed. It nicks the other 40A MPPT controller on the conversion efficiency front – 98% to 96%.
But it falls short a bit when it comes to operating temperatures and terminal size. The largest wire size the terminal can take is 8 AWG. But for the Renogy Rover Elite, the maximum is 6 AWG.
This controller has a 99% tracking efficiency – the same as its counterpart. It might be slightly heavier, but that wouldn’t matter much.
The Rich Solar 40 Amp is suitable for 12V and 24V batteries. But it can support battery voltages up to 32V. You can use it with solar arrays with an output wattage of up to 100V.
This device is preset to support the same 4 deep-cycle battery types as its counterpart: Lithium, AGM, Gel, and Sealed. It also has a similar array of protective features: reverse polarity, overcharging, over-discharging, and overload. There’s also short circuit and reverse current protection.
One impressive feature we noticed in this product is its ability to charge over-discharged batteries.
We also love the inclusion of an LCD screen, it made monitoring as easy as it was in its opposite number. Of course, it shares the allowance for remote monitoring, but then you’d have to pay extra for the accessories.
Of the two 40A MPPT charge controllers in this review, Rich Solar 40 is the more expensive option. But that extra 2% conversion efficiency could prove massive enough to be worth the extra bucks.
- The conversion efficiency is top-notch.
- The tracking efficiency is also notable.
- Features an LCD screen for local monitoring
- You have to pay extra for remote monitoring accessories (Bluetooth module).
9. Allto Solar Intelligent 10A MPPT Solar Charge Controller
The Allto Solar Intelligent is our list’s most portable solar charge controller. While size is typically not a consideration for solar charge controllers, you may want to add this to your shortlist if you are constrained by space.
It has a battery current rating of 10A – not the only one on the list. While the other 10A charge controllers have a higher tracking efficiency (99.5% to 95%), this product nicks one back in the operating temperature front.
The Allto Solar Intelligent has a wider operating temperature range than the other 10A charge controllers in the review.
This product only charges 12V batteries. But if you’d rather get a 10A charge controller that charges both 12V and 24V batteries, check out the EPEVER products above.
The Allto Solar Intelligent is compatible with various deep-cycle batteries, including lithium, flooded lead-acid, AGM, gel, and sealed batteries.
It is chock-full of circuit protections, including overvoltage, overcurrent, overcharging, over-discharging, short circuit, overload, reverse polarity, and overheating/over-temperature features. It also comes with a temperature sensor for temperature compensation.
For a 10A MPPT charge controller, the maximum PV input voltage of 30V is okay. But then, it is small compared to the other 10A controllers with PV input voltage of around 60V to 100V.
- It is very portable.
- The tracking efficiency is pretty good.
- Supports many types of batteries
- Comes with many protective features
- Only suitable for 12V batteries
Peak Conversion Efficiency
Not all the power getting to a solar charge controller from a solar panel array is used in charging batteries. Some of it is lost as heat. Consequently, the output power of a charge controller to the battery is always less than the input power it receives from the solar panels.
When a charge controller is working at full capacity, the ratio of its output power to its input power is the peak conversion efficiency. The higher this ratio is, the more solar power the charge controller channels into charging.
Solar Charge Controller Type (How It Works)
There are 2 main types of solar charge controllers: MPPT and PWM.
Which Is Better Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) or Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)?
Generally, the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) is better than Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
How They Work
An MPPT solar charge controller works through solar panels seeking the best PV power output and voltage to charge the battery.
An MPPT charge controller continuously seeks out the best solar array power output to offer the best voltage to get maximum current to the battery. So, even when solar irradiance falls, they can still charge the battery efficiently.
On the other hand, a PWM charger will reduce the amount of PV power getting into your battery as it gets fuller. Then when the battery is full, a PWM charger will supply PV power in trickles to keep the battery full.
When using PWM chargers, the voltage of the battery and the solar array must be the same, and the charge controller must operate at that voltage.
But unlike a PWM solar charge controller, an MPPT charge controller can operate at voltages higher than the battery bank voltage. Due to this ability, MPPTs can provide a boost to charge your battery even when solar irradiance falls. This is why MPPTs offer up to 30% more charging efficiency than PWMs in cool conditions.
Solar System Size
MPPTs are better when used in high-power solar energy systems, especially those with more than one solar panel or panel voltage higher than 8 volts.
PWMs, on the other hand, are suited for small solar systems. You may use them when working on a project, such as a DIY solar generator.
PWMs are generally cheaper than MPPTs.
Maximum Voltage Input
When choosing a solar charge controller, assess the voltage coming from the PV into the charge controller.
For PWMs, the voltage input of the PV must match the voltage of the battery. For MPPTs, the PV voltage input must not exceed the maximum the controller can handle.
The charge current of the solar charge controller you opt for plays a part in determining charging speed and efficiency. Generally, an efficient solar charge controller will have a high charge current.
The output voltage of a solar charge controller, whether PWM or MPPT, must match the battery voltage.
If you charge a battery at a voltage lower than its maximum, charging would not be efficient. Conversely, if you charge it at a voltage higher than its maximum, you may damage the battery.
The output voltage of a charge controller is typically 12v and 24v. But you may also find those that can offer an output of 48v or higher. Ultimately, what you opt for depends on your battery.
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