The Best MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

If you want to set up your own solar power system for camping, RV, marine or just off the grid living the part that is the least known is the solar charge controller. A charge controller or charge regulator as they are also called is a voltage and current regulator to keep batteries or power banks from overcharging. This component of the solar power system is not a must like the solar panel charger or power bank, but if you want to extend the lifespan of your batteries or solar generator you should consider using a solar charge regulator. Keep reading to find out which ones we recommend in this solar charge controller comparison.

Quick Navigation

  1. MPPT solar charge controller
  2. Comparison table
  3. Renogy Rover
  4. PowMr Charge Controller
  5. Victron SmartSolar
  6. EPEVER Charge Controller
  7. Conclusion
  8. Budget charge controller choice
  9. Remote monitoring of charge controller
  10. How to size a solar charge controller
There are two types of battery charge controllers: MPPT (Maximum power point tracking) and PWM (Pulse-width modulation). MPPT is by far the most efficient with a conversion over 99%. PWM solar power controllers are usually cheaper but we believe in paying a little bit extra for better quality and performance. So in this article, we have exclusively looked at the best MPPT solar charge controllers. All chargers in this article are rated 20A-30A (ampere or amps) and got 4 stage charging technology. We have only picked solar charge regulators that are suited for systems in the range of 50W-200W solar charger with a 200Wh-350Wh solar generator. You can read more about what size charge controller you need further down in this article. The reason we have narrowed it down is to make them relevant to our recent articles about Solar Chargers for Camping and Solar Generators for Camping.

Comparison Table

GOOD
Renogy Rover

Pros: LCD screen, 4-stage charging, Built in heat dissipation, Charging data storage
Cons: No Negative Ground, Software and Bluetooth buggy
In Depth Review
GOOD
PowMr Charge Controller

Pros: Negative ground, LCD screen, 4-stage charging, Built in heat dissipation
Cons: A few reported defective units, Mediocre instruction manual
In Depth Review
BEST
Victron SmartSolar

Pros: 5-year warranty, Bluetooth and free App, Charging data storage, 4-stage charging, Built in heat dissipation
Cons: No LCD display
In Depth Review
BEST
EPEVER Charge Controller

Pros: LCD screen, 4-stage charging, Built in heat dissipation, External display
Cons: Best suited for permanent installation
In Depth Review

Renogy Rover


A really solid regulator with all the features you would want and still reasonably priced. The Rover is furnished with several features, LCD screen with programmable parameters, giving you the power to adjust your settings. Error code detection which lets you self-diagnose your controller by simply looking up the error code shown. It has a die-cast, aluminum casing for heat dissipation and 4-stage battery charging algorithm, the Rover 20 amp charge controller is the perfect addition to any solar power system. This is why we think this is one of the best MPPT charge controllers currently available.

Specification

System voltage: 12V/24V Auto Recognition
Rated Battery Current: 20A
Rated Load Current: 20A
Max. Battery Voltage: 32V
Max. Solar Input Voltage: 100 VDC
Weight :3.08 lbs.
Dimension:8.27 x 5.94 x 2.34 in

Pros

Cons

Check out Renogy Rover on Amazon

PowMr Charge Controller


PowMr is a powerful, 30A controller for solar chargers. It features 4-stage battery charging which provides optimal charging for your battery or power bank. The solar charge regulator will automatically select between 12 and 24 volts on the output. The charger can also be negative grounded and have a temperature sensor. If you have high Ampere needs this is an affordable solar charge controller and a good pick.

Specification

System voltage: 12V/24V Auto Recognition
Rated Battery Current: 30A
Rated Load Current: 30A
Max. Battery Voltage: 35V
Max. Solar Input Voltage: 14.5 V
Weight: 1.06lb
Dimension: 7.44 x 7.16 x 2.28 in

Pros

Cons

Check out PowMr Charge Controller on Amazon

Victron SmartSolar


The Victron SmartSolar does not have any LCD display but it comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This has the advantages of saving space and weight and at the same time giving you the ability to control and monitor the controller remotely. The SmartSolar can control up to 290 watts of solar panels at 12 volts or 580 watts at 24 volts. With a maximum open circuit voltage of 100 volts. It will automatically select between 12 and 24 volts on the output. The unit will also save all charge data for the last 30 days. We think the Victron SmartSolar has a great build quality and the 5-year warranty makes this our pick for the best solar charge controller in 2018.

Specification

System voltage: 12V/24V Auto Recognition
Rated Battery Current: 20A
Rated Load Current: 20A
Max. Solar Input Voltage: 100 VDC
Weight: 1.54 lbs.
Dimension: 8.3 x 5.9 x 2 in

Pros

Cons

Check out Victron SmartSolar on Amazon

EPEVER Charge Controller


EPEVER is a 20A controller for solar power chargers. It features 4-stage battery charging which provides optimal charging for your battery or power bank. The solar charge regulator will automatically select between 12 and 24 volts on the output. The charger can also be positive grounded and comes with a intuitive LCD display. This solar charge regulator is the only one in this article that comes with an external display realizing real-time data checking and parameters setting. This solar power regulator is best suited for a permanent installation since you need to mount 2 boxes instead of just one. We believe that this is a solid pick and one of the best MPPT charge controllers.

Specification

System voltage: 12V/24V Auto Recognition
Rated Battery Current: 20A
Rated Load Current: 20A
Max. Solar Input Voltage: 100 VDC
Weight: 2.87 lbs.
Dimension: 9.84 x 5.91 x 6.3 in in

Pros

Cons

Check out EPEVER Charge Controller on Amazon

Conclusion

We think that the best solar charger controller in 2018 is the Victron SmartSolar. It has a lot of smart features such as Bluetooth monitoring and control which also makes it smaller, lighter and more durable as a bonus. If this was not enough, we see the 5-year warranty as a statement about the high quality and durability of the SmartSolar. The other chargers in this article are all solid picks and they all fill their respective niche. For example, we listed the external display of the EPEVER Charge Controller as a con since it makes it less portable, but if you want to have a more permanent installation this could turn into a pro. If you want more information about how solar charge regulators work in detail check out this article: 4 Stage Battery Chargers Explained

Budget charge controller choice

If you came to this article looking for the most affordable sun charge controller, we actually have a very nice option as long as capacity is not important to you. The Sunforce 7 Amp charge controller is considerably cheaper than the other controllers, but it can only handle 7 Ampere. This might still be enough for your situation, and in that case, we can not recommend this product enough. The value you get for your money is simply outstanding, and you can see that this is a very popular product that has a lot of positive reviews on Amazon.

If you have for example a 100 Watt solar cell panel and want to charge your mobile phone, iPad or any other device that is 12 Volts or less this option will work great. But if your solar panels are marked with more than 100W, 12V or 7A you will have to get something a bit more powerful. You can read more below on how to dimension your charge controller to work properly with your other equipment.

Remote monitoring of charge controller

One of the things that made Victron SmartSolar our best pick was the ability to monitor the charging through Bluetooth. A quick glance at your phone to check that everything is working as it should is a great feature. As long as you are in range for the Bluetooth signal you will always know the status and progress of the charging.

Since we wrote this article there has been some news from EPEVER that we would like to cover. A new product from EPEVER will give you the option to remote monitor your EPEVER solar power controller too. The newly released Remote Meter MT50 version 2 is a great way to monitor and even program your EPsolar EPEVER controller. The remote monitor is compatible with: Tracer-BN, Tracer-A, Tracer-AN, LS-B, LS-BP, VS-BN, eTracer, and iTracer. Take a closer look at the MT50 on Amazon
remote-monitor-epever-charge-controller EPEVER is one of the top rated solar charge controllers in this article and this addition makes it even better. When we wrote this article the 30A MPPT controller from EPEVER did not come with the option to remotely control or monitor it. So we went with the 20A controller as our pick instead. As things are now and if your budget allows it, the EPEVER MPPT 30 Amp Solar Charge Controller Would be the premium choice for your solar charge system and the best MPPT charge controller in 2019.
30A-solar-charge-controller-epever

How to size a solar charge controller

What size charge controller do I need? This is a question we get a lot on the topic of choosing the best MPPT controller for your specific needs. The size or the minimum Amps you need boils down to what Volt and Watt your other equipment is marked as. MPPT solar charge controller sizing is pretty straight forward and can be calculated without the need of a charge controller sizing calculator.

An ampere, often shortened to amp, is the unit of measure that is used for electrical current. Current is the measure of electrons that flow through a given circuit. You can read more about the details at wikiHow

To decide the minimum amps you need you can use the formula Amps = Watts/Volts. So if your solar panels are marked with 100W 5V you would need 100/5 = 20A. The is the theoretical value but in real life applications, you should always account for power surges or other deviations from the marked wattage or voltage. To get a safe value you should add another 25%. So the revised formula for a real-life application would be Amps = 1.25 x Watts/Volts, which gives 25A for our example.

There is no downside in having an MPPT controller that is marked even higher than your current need. A 30A controller is more expensive than a 20A controller of the same quality but it will give you the option to scale your solar charging power system in the future. This can be a good thing to keep in mind when you decide which MPPT solar charge controller will fit your needs the best.