Getting out on the water in your boat can be one of the most enjoyable ways to pass the time. However, there is nothing enjoyable about being out there when your trolling motor battery dies on you. To prevent that from happening and ruining your trip, you should consider the many benefits of a solar charger for your motor battery.
As we will show you, you can find the best charger for trolling motor battery options for great prices. We hope to highlight our favorite models that are loved by customers and stand up to whatever is thrown at them. Before looking at the best options on the market, we first want to give you the information you need to make the best buying decision for you.
Solar Charger Buyer’s Guide
Unless you understand how solar chargers really work, it can often be confusing to find the perfect one for your trolling motor batteries. We want to help you find the best charger for your needs and have created a buyer’s guide to walk you through what to look for when picking the perfect unit for you. Let’s start with what you will want to look for when buying a charger.
What To Look For in a Solar Charger
The first thing to understand about solar chargers in general is that they are not designed for raw power output like a traditional wall charger would be. Instead, these units are used to help give a trolling motor battery the juice it needs between uses to always be topped up when you need it for a trip. Expecting these panels to keep your batteries charged when you use the motor in the hopes you never run out of power just isn’t realistic.
Most of these units are going to be able to provide around 5-20 Watts of power output to your battery as they need the extra charge. It will often take a few hours of direct sunlight for the solar panels to charge the battery, but most of these units are able to output their generated power to both 12 volt and 24 volt batteries.
For a few reasons, the size of the solar panel you choose is rather important. For one thing, the size of your boat can often determine how large of a solar panel you can even fit. Larger boats will be able to fit large or even multiple panels while small boats like kayaks will need to make sure they get a unit that fits on their boat comfortably. The size of each unit we look at today are not too large, so you will likely be able to fit them wherever they need to be used.
Other than size determining where you can put the charger, it also determines how much power a given panel can generate over a certain period of time. As you would expect, the larger the surface of the panel is, the more sun it can take in and the more power can be generated. Still keep in mind that a slight increase in panel size does not guarantee exponentially faster charge times.
The last thing to keep an eye out for when shopping for a battery charger is to see if the unit you like comes with a controller. These charge controllers essentially tell the charger when it should turn off if the battery has been filled up already. This is a great tool to help preserve the life of your battery by preventing overcharging.
Something like a trickle charger control unit will slowly fill up your batteries until they are full and will then cut power from being supplied. This feature is not essential to have on a solar charger considering the low charging rate, but it is certainly nice to have.
Solar Charger FAQs
Can a solar panel charge a trolling motor battery?
The most often asked question when it comes to solar power options and trolling motors is if a solar charger is going to be able to charge your battery in the first place. As we mentioned earlier, the power output of a solar panel will be enough to charge a trolling motor battery when it is not being used. This means that you can rely on a solar charger to help keep your batteries filled when not in use.
These battery chargers are able to deliver the necessary Wattage to help keep your batteries topped up for when you need them later on. It is also important to remember that these units are not going to save you when you forgot to plug in or charge a dead battery and need it charged ASAP.
Are solar-powered battery chargers any good?
When wondering if solar-powered battery chargers are any good, the short answer is yes! These small yet mighty units are able to save you money from needing to charge batteries at the dock and will also help the environment by providing completely clean energy to keep your batteries topped up.
Most boats sit there and let their batteries just drain slowly with time, but a solar charger prevents that from every happening. All these chargers need is a title sun, and they will be able to give you peace of mind when taking your boat out with it’s trolling motor.
What amp should I charge my trolling motor battery?
Depending on how fast you need a battery charged, you can utilize a wide range of amps to get different desired charging speeds. When it comes to solar chargers for your trolling motor battery, they often have rather low amp outputs compared to something like a wall outlet.
The solar units we found to be the best have amp outputs around 1 or fewer amps when receiving solar coverage. This is really low compared to something like a 75-Amp wall outlet, but the little 1 Amp current is all you need to keep your trolling batteries topped up.
How many solar panels does it take to charge a deep cycle battery?
Depending on how fast you need the battery to charge, the time it takes a solar panel to charge a deep cycle battery can vary greatly. With the units we are looking at, they will likely take over a day to charge a deep cycle battery as filling up a full battery is going to take even a wall outlet several hours of consistent charging.
It can take anywhere from 8 hours all the way to a few days to charge your deep state battery depending on the solar charger you use. With the design of a solar boat battery charger being designed to produce slow and consistent charge to a battery, a solar charger will really be ideal for just keeping a deep cycle battery topped up when not in use.
1. Now 20 Watt 1.0 Amp – Solar Battery Charger-Best Overall Option
When you want the best boat solar battery charger, NOW is going to be the brand to look at. The developed a great series of solar battery chargers that are specifically designed with boating and trolling in mind. Their solar chargers are very easy to set up on your boat and are built to work right out of the box.
A 20 Watt design means you are going to be getting just the right amount of charge to keep your trolling batteries powered up to the brim when not in use. The 1 Amp output is also a great rate to see on a charger designed to keep batteries charged when not currently in use. For boat owners who need their motor to start after a few days of not using their boat, this solar charger will make sure your batteries are always ready to go.
Place this panel wherever you need it most thanks to the semi-flex design that allows it to be mounted on just about any surface you want. The standard size is also nice to have so you can confidently mount the panel on anything from a large fishing boat all the way down to a kayak.
Utilize this unit to output to 12 volt batteries with the option to even use the panels to charge up multiple batteries with solar power. With so many great features and a customer support team that is always eager to help, it is easy to see why this is your best bet for a trolling solar battery charger.
- Great versatility with it’s charging outputs
- Perfect size for many needs
- Easy to use and set-up out of the box
- Great customer support
- Does not come with mounting hardware
2. SOLPERK Solar Panel, Solar Battery Trickle Charger-Best Value Option
For those who need some power in their batteries but don’t want to pay too much for it, the SOLPERK trickle charger could be just what you are looking for. This affordable yet very capable little solar charger is able to deliver up to 20 watts of power for a very reasonable price.
This unit is designed to be used in a wide array of situations and comes with a convenient stand for when you want to mount it on a flat surface or your dock. What is also a welcome surprise at this price point is the inclusion of a decent level of water protection that should protect the unit from light splashes.
As an added bonus, this unit comes with a special charge controller that makes sure that every battery is getting all the charge it needs and nothing more. This charge controller is what will prevent batteries from dying on you and overcharging at the same time.
For the price, you won’t find better charger anywhere else on the market.
- 20 Watt output for 12 Volt charging
- Included charge regulator
- Effective size
- Water resistant
3. PowerEZ 24Volt 10 Watts Solar Battery Charger -Best Alternative Option
For our final option, we felt that the PowerEZ Solar Battery Charger was a great option for those who utilize 24 Volt batteries for their trolling motors. You can use this unit if you need to charge your 24 Volt batteries and are looking for a solar panel that is going to stand up the conditions experienced on the water.
This unit features a trickle charging design with a 0.28 amp output to keep your batteries charged up when not in use. With its clever design, you have more opportunity to mount this panel as it is much more flush to the ground than competing offerings.
With monocrystaline cells, this unit has some of the most efficient solar cells on the market which means you will be converting the sun’s energy into raw power under a wide array of conditions. For those trolling motor users who need their batteries touched up with a convenient panel, this could be the unit for you.
A lightweight package with a reasonable size, the PowerEZ Solar Battery Charger can be perfect for both kayaks and larger boat users alike.
- Lightweight and portable
- Great solar cells
- Reasonably priced
- Shoter cables
Solar battery chargers for your trolling motor clearly come in all shapes and sizes. These units are much more capable than would first meet the eye and each one we looked at offers something unique for the buyer. No matter which solar unit you decide to go with, we are confident that any one of our top picks will serve you well.
Whether you like the great price of the SOLPERK panel or desire the more premium features offered by the NOW Trolling Motor Charger, each solar option is intended for a very particular set of needs. Understanding what you are looking for in a solar unit will help you to make sure you are buying the best possible solar panel for your needs.
With our added buyers guide, we hope that the information provided will allow you to look into each charger with a little more understanding as to what you need for your trolling batteries. Solar-powered chargers are no simple item to just run out and buy, so use our buyer’s guide and helpful FAQ answers to enlighten your buying decision.
After everything we have seen and looked for in a solar-powered battery charger, we feel that you will be more than pleased if you get our top pick, the NOW 20 Watt 1.0 Amp Solar Charger. This unit is the gold standard for trolling battery chargers as it does what it needs to do and does so with ease and refinement. You can get this unit set up in no time at all and start seeing how great it is at charging your batteries.
We hope this guide gave you all the information you need to get out there and buy the perfect charger for your trolling motor battery.