The best solar car battery charger

Prevent flat batteries without having to do the work yourself

The sun in the sky

by Ryan Gilmore |

It goes without saying how clever solar panels are for our homes, providing power for no cost. And in recent years, solar panels have found their way onto cars too, the old [Toyota Prius](https://www.parkers.co.uk/toyota/prius/hatchback-2009/18-vvti-t-spirit-hybrid-cvt-(solar-roof)){:target=_blank :rel=noopener noreferrer} had solar panels in the roof and there is talk of cars powered entirely by the sun entering production.

While a solar-powered car may be a good few years away for the vast majority of us, you can still take advantage of the sun's power with a solar car battery charger. These will keep your battery topped up using nothing more than the sun, preventing flat batteries. We've found the best for you and listed them below.

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AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger 4.8W

Editor's Pick
AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger
Amazon

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The AA 12V Solar Battery Charger is our top pick for solar car battery chargers because of how effective it is. Not only can it attach to your 12V socket and the battery directly, but it can also plug into your car's OBD port to provide power even when the ignition is turned off. And at 4.8-watts, it should be strong enough to restart a dead battery too.

Pros:

Works without an ignition source

Includes several connection ports

Cons:

Expensive

Halfords 2.4W Solar Battery Charger

Good value
Halfords Solar Power 240 Battery Charger

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While it may not be as fancy or powerful as the AA battery charger, this simple battery maintainer from Halfords will still make an excellent trickle charger. Rated at 2.4-watts, it'll keep a car battery topped up with ease. While it may only connect to your car using a 12V socket of battery cables as standard, you can buy an OFB socket that allows for easier charging.

Pros:

Good value for money

Waterproof

Cons:

OBD charging is an extra purchase

Eco-Worthy 12V Portable 10W Solar Panel Battery Maintainer

Best option for a car dashboard
Eco-Worthy 12V Portable Solar Panel Battery Maintainer
Amazon

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Boasting a very impressive 10-watts and designed for more than just cars (boats and ATVs can be charged too), this solar car battery charger is a good way of keeping your battery charged. While it can only connect via a 12V socket or battery cables, the soft, padded rear makes it perfect for use of your dashboard without the fear of scratches occurring.

Pros:

Good power for the price

Soft back means no scratches to your dash

Cons:

No OBD connector

Streetwize 12V Solar Battery Charger 6W

Best trickle charger
Streetwize 12V Solar Battery Charger 6W

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Designed to be used over a long period of time, this battery charger is ideal if you have a car you rarely use (like a delicate classic car) but don't want the hassle of having to jump-start it on the occasion you do use it. With 6W, it is ideal as a trickle charger.

Pros:

Keep your battery topped up with ease

Good quality product

Cons:

Not the most powerful option

Sealey Solar Power Panel Trickle Charger

Best compact solar car battery charger
Sealey SPP01 Solar Power Panel

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The smallest solar car battery charger here may be the weakest, but it is still an effective and good value option for keeping a battery topped up. It can plug into a 12V socket or directly to the battery and while the 1.5W won't restart a dead battery, it will keep a battery topped up. Larger sizes are available.

Pros:

Small size

Good value and quality

Cons:

Not powerful enough to restart a dead battery

What you need to know about solar car battery chargers:

What features should I look for?

Think about what needs you have for your car. If you just want to keep it topped up then a simple trickle charger with a low wattage should be fine. If you have a car with a very large engine or one that drains the battery very quickly then it may be an idea to invest in a higher-wattage option that is capable of starting a dead battery.

Try and find a solar car battery charger that has an OBD option. Modern cars come with one and it'll make trickle charging a lot easier as this socket works regardless of whether there is a source of ignition.

How do I install a solar battery charger?

If you're wanting to use a solar battery charger the first thing to remember is to turn your engine off before plugging the solar car battery charger in.

If you're connecting your solar car battery charger to your OBD or 12V socket then the best place to place the panel is on the dashboard because it'll capture the most light and the charger will reach the sockets. Remember that not all 12V sockets work without the ignition on which would render the solar car battery charger useless unless you could leave the keys in (a very bad idea).

If you're connecting a solar car battery charger directly to your engine, you'll need to leave your bonnet open for the solar panels to work.

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