Best Solar Charge Controller in 2021 (Reviews and Comparison)

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The best solar charge controllers will help you maximize power output from your solar panels. This can be done by using the controller to prevent your solar panels from overcharging, and it can also be done by using the unit to help regulate the amount of power that your solar panels produce. 

Because the solar controller is a vital component of any solar setup, you should make certain that you are choosing the best one for your solar panels. To do this, you will need to take into account everything from the primary function of the controller to the size of the unit to the budget you planned on.

But is one charger really any better than the others? This article is written to help you choose the best solar charge controller. We review a huge amount of products for our loyal readers everyday. They have come to trust our honest and unbiased opinion and we really appreciate them. 

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 20 amp 12-24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth) 1. Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Can charge even a completely dead battery
  • Has the ability to connect to a regular computer when you purchase the optional cable
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Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Bluetooth Module 2. Renogy Wanderer
  • Does exactly what it says it will do
  • Nice compact size
  • Solar powered
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Renogy Rover 20 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Common Positive Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Lithium Sealed, Gel, Flooded Batteries and Bluetooth Module 3. Renogy Rover 20A MPPT
  • Can charge various types of batteries
  • LCD screen is clear but could be better
  • RS232 port allows for modules such as Bluetooth
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EPEVER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V 24V Auto, 40 amp Negative Grounded Solar Charge Controller MPPT Max Input 100V, 520W/1040W for Lead-Acid, Lithium Batteries and Load Timer Setting 4. EPEVER Solar Controller
  • MPPT function works great
  • Very legible display
  • Uses RS485 port for longer communication distances
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Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller 5. Outback Flexmax 80
  • Can operate in temperatures as high as 104 degrees fahrenheit
  • Backlit display
  • Powerful unit to let you go off the grid
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Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 20 amp 12-24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)

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Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 20 amp 12-24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)

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Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 20 amp 12-24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)

Specification

Built-in Bluetooth?YES
Rated charge20 AMPS
Battery Voltage12 VOLTS / 24 VOLTS
Product Dimensions8.27 x 5.91 x 1.97 inches
Item Weight1.19 pounds

Victron’s SmartSolar MPPT Controller is a great product. It’s a great solar charge controller and can be used for a variety of other voltage applications. 

It can provide up to 30 amps of solar-generated current (up to 20 amps for the MPPT portion) and it won’t fry if you get a little carried away.

The MPPT feature of the Victron SmartSolar reduces the charge time by over 80% for your solar panels. This means that your solar panel will be able to produce 100% more energy than it would without the MPPT feature. 

If you have just the slightest bit of knowledge about the solar energy system you will know that this is a huge advantage over a normal controller. A normal controller will simply reduce the amount of energy that the panel produces, without any way to increase the amount.

WHAT WE LIKE

The built-in Bluetooth works like a charm. It allows you to control the charger in many different ways. All you have to do is download the VictronConnect App to your mobile device or computer. Once the unit is powered up it’s just a matter of connecting to your mobile device and that’s it.

PROS

  • Built-in Bluetooth is very nice, no additional module required
  • Can charge even a completely dead battery as long as it is not damaged
  • Has the ability to connect to a regular computer when you purchase the optional cable
  • VictronConnect App is iOS, Android, Mac and Windows compatible, which is very rare.

CONS

  • It would be nice if the unit had a built-in display for quickly checking things out
  • Although we do understand that the user manual is translated
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Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Bluetooth Module

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Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Bluetooth Module

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Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Bluetooth Module

Specification

Built-in Bluetooth?NO, REQUIRES OPTIONAL PURCHASE
Rated charge10 AMPS
Battery Voltage12 VOLTS / 24 VOLTS
Product Dimensions4.7 x 3 x 1.1 inches
Item Weight0.27 Pounds

When it comes to rechargeable products, there are few brands that can be trusted with your most prized possessions. Renogy is one of those brands.

The unit is ready to handle Deep Cycle Sealed (AGM), Gel, Flooded, and Lithium battery options. It uses a small LCD screen to provide information.

The Wanderer also includes an RS232 port for the optional Bluetooth module and a couple of USB ports. The USB ports are unpowered meaning you’ll need a battery to power them. 

WHAT WE LIKE

The Renogy Wanderer is an excellent choice for a solar controller that is built to last. Just don’t expect to run too much through it, as it is a budget controller.

PROS

  • Does exactly what it says it will do
  • Nice compact size
  • Solar powered

CONS

  • Need to purchase Bluetooth module separately
  • USB Ports need battery to function
  • You get what you pay for
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Renogy Rover 20 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Common Positive Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Lithium Sealed, Gel, Flooded Batteries and Bluetooth Module

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Renogy Rover 20 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Common Positive Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Lithium Sealed, Gel, Flooded Batteries and Bluetooth Module

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Renogy Rover 20 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Common Positive Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Lithium Sealed, Gel, Flooded Batteries and Bluetooth Module

Specification

Built-in Bluetooth?NO, REQUIRES OPTIONAL PURCHASE
Rated charge20 AMPS
Battery Voltage12 VOLTS / 24 VOLTS
Product Dimensions10 x 7.5 x 4 inches
Item Weight1.5 pounds

The Renogy Rover 20A-MPPT is a great choice for most people looking to squeeze more power from their solar system. It is a drag and drop module that will help you save on electricity costs. Plus, it is very simple to install with its adaptive flapper technology. 

It is also a good choice if you hate the feeling of being connected to the grid and you have a huge solar array.

WHAT WE LIKE

The Renogy Rover 20A MPPT is a compact and cost-effective solution for solar power and can be used in both utility-scale and residential applications. The device includes a step-down converter to convert the solar power to a standard 12V charging source, which then charges what you need from the grid.

PROS

  • Can charge various types of batteries
  • LCD screen is clear but could be better
  • RS232 port allows for modules such as Bluetooth

CONS

  • Manufacturer features says USB cable included but doesn’t really come with one
  • Would be nice if the wire connectors were angled. Difficult to connect them if your unit is wall mounted
  • Bluetooth module has to be purchased separately
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EPEVER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V 24V Auto, 40 amp Negative Grounded Solar Charge Controller MPPT Max Input 100V, 520W/1040W for Lead-Acid, Lithium Batteries and Load Timer Setting

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EPEVER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V 24V Auto, 40 amp Negative Grounded Solar Charge Controller MPPT Max Input 100V, 520W/1040W for Lead-Acid, Lithium Batteries and Load Timer Setting

Read More

EPEVER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V 24V Auto, 40 amp Negative Grounded Solar Charge Controller MPPT Max Input 100V, 520W/1040W for Lead-Acid, Lithium Batteries and Load Timer Setting

Specification

Built-in Bluetooth?NO, REQUIRES OPTIONAL PURCHASE
Rated charge40 AMPS
Battery Voltage12 VOLTS / 24 VOLTS
Product Dimensions16.89 x 8.19 x 3.43 inches
Item Weight4.18 pounds

The EPEVER Solar Controller is a high-quality, 3-stage (in some cases 4-stage) unit that gives you optimal charge de-leveling regardless of day or night. Its innovative “plug-in” technology is ideal for use with solar-powered appliances like water pumps and electric heaters, as it automatically compensates for the strength of the solar panels and your home’s current electricity grid.

EPEVER Solar Controller is ideal for use in off-grid solar systems, whether you are planning to build a stand-alone house or a community solar farm, EPEVER can help you set up the right system for your needs.

WHAT WE LIKE

The EPEVER’s display is nice and crystal clear. But we will say that we are not fans of the software, as it displays icons that you may have to keep going back to the manual to understand.

PROS

  • MPPT function works great
  • Very legible display
  • Uses RS485 port for longer communication distances

CONS

  • No dedicated ground wire attachment point
  • Software interface leaves something to be desired
  • The wire terminals seem cheaply made and not very strong

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Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller

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Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller

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Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller

Specification

Built-in Bluetooth?NO OPTIONS
Rated charge80 AMPS
Battery Voltage12 VOLTS / 60 VOLTS
Product Dimensions16.25 x 5.75 x 4.5 inches
Item Weight15 pounds

The Outback Flexmax 80 is a popular controller for people with large solar systems. The Outback is one of the more premium models out there, but it has a number of nice features. 

The Outback Flexmax 80 will immediately remind you of a TV remote. The 15-pound device is thankfully much more capable. The programmable charging function let’s you charge from a large degree of voltage levels.

We find that the Flexmax 80 falls short in customer service/warranty procedures. If you have a problem with the unit you’ll be forced to pay for the shipping both ways. If they find nothing wrong, they bill you an additional $90 just to replace the unit.

The Flexmax 80 is a great investment for those who want to be self-reliant in case of an emergency. We do find that the backlit display is clear but quite small in our opinion.

WHAT WE LIKE

The Outback Flexmax 80 is capable of doing the job, but with no Bluetooth option and lots of optional modules, it seems like the device is just another product that the company is hoping you’ll buy lots of upgrades too.

PROS

  • Can operate in temperatures as high as 104 degrees fahrenheit
  • Backlit display
  • Powerful unit to let you go off the grid

CONS

  • Display is on the small side
  • Customer service asks you email them even if you are on the line with them
  • No Bluetooth or included modules

Frequently Asked Questions:

How To Care for and Clean a Solar Charge Controller

What’s the best way to care for and clean a solar charge controller? Actually, there’s very little you have to do to your unit.

Nearly all solar controllers have no internal parts that move, saving a lot of time on maintenance issues. Depending on where you place your controller, you may have to dust it off once in a while, but since they are mostly sealed units there’s no real care involved.

How To Install and Use a Solar Charge Controller

How easy is it to install and use a solar charge controller? Installing a solar charge controller is a relatively simple process, requiring only a few tools and a little bit of time. 

All controllers have a series of positive and negative receptacles. Just follow the instructions in your user manual to connect the battery cables to the controller. Then just activate the unit and you are good to go.

Conclusion

Thanks for staying with us to the end of our article about the best solar controller. Our top pick for this review is going to be the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20 Solar Charge Controller. It has the power and durability to get the job done. We also liked that it has the built-in tools we think most people want such as Bluetooth.

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