Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best Solar-Powered Security Camera of 2020

Best solar security camera: top-rated reviews

“Someone is at your front door,” says Alexa.

“Alexa, show front door cam,” you respond. Then, as you look down at your phone you see it. “Sweet, my package is here!”

While this situation would likely bring a smile to pretty much anyone’s face, the flipside isn’t as pretty, unfortunately. For that reason, we’ve rounded up the year’s best solar-powered security cameras all in one place to help you, your family, and your loved ones stay prepared for any situation.

So without further ado, to aid your search, let’s examine a snapshot (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) of our top 13 picks.

Our Top 13 Solar-Powered Security Cameras at a Glance

To help you find the best solar-powered security camera for you, and make your search easier – here’s a quick look at our top 13 most-highly reviewed picks.

  1. Ring Solar HD Security Camera (Best Overall): Our best overall pick to buy, the Ring Solar HD Security Camera impresses with its smart integration, ease of use, easy installation, and many features it offers, such as two-way audio, excellent battery life, and straightforward and easy to see visuals.
  2. ieGeek Solar Outdoor Security Camera (Budget Pick): With its smart night vision feature, two-way audio, real-time notifications, and being usable through an app with iOS or Android, this ieGeek model earns our top wallet-friendly pick.
  3. Ankway Solar Security Camera (Easy Setup): With useful features like rotating and zooming in on videos, real-time alerts, an IP rating built to withstand -30 degrees, and quick and easy setup, this Ankway Solar Camera is more than worth the investment in our books.
  4. ZUMIMALL Solar-Powered Home Security Camera: With automatic file saving, a good IP rating down to -4 degrees, and being able to customize exactly what alerts you want to get, this is a well-rounded camera to look at for the price.
  5. Conico Solar-Powered Security Camera: Supported by iOS and Android, this camera will push real-time alerts to your phone and has customizable settings on what you want to be alerted to.
  6. YESKAMO Solar Security Camera: The Yeskamo has dual antennas for 50% more distance coverage, real-time alerts, and a battery charge of about four months if not getting direct sunlight for it to charge.
  7. REOLINK Store Argus Eco+: With a battery and solar-power panel combination the manufacturer claims you’ll never have to recharge; this camera gives you several features like two-way audio, easy installation, clear, crisp images, and real-time alerts.
  8. REOLINK Store Go+: Two-way audio, real-time alerts, 7-day playback, encrypted cloud storage, and extra storage through a micro SD card make this a great pick.
  9. REOLINK Store Argus Pro: You can use an app with this camera to control it remotely, and it is compatible with IOS and Android.
  10. Zumimall Solar Surveillance Camera: The Zumimall has night vision and micro SD storage capability, real-time alerts, two-way audio, and ability to operate down to -4 degrees to ensure that it doesn’t quickly drain in the winter.
  11. FUVISION Home Security Camer: A reliably built camera, the FUVISION is known for having an IP65 rating of working at -4 degrees, two-way audio, and rotating views while live streaming to check on things in more detail. 
  12. REOLINK Argus Eco: This REOLINK has motion detection, excellent battery life, and picture quality.
  13. EKEN Solar Security Camera: While solar-powered, this camera comes with a charging cable long enough for the mounting stand if you need it, so you don’t have to take it down to charge it depending on where it is.

Solar-Powered Security Camera Reviews

Here are our comprehensive solar-powered security camera reviews to further aid your search, and help you find the perfect one for your home, budget, and setup. Starting with our best overall pick, the Ring Solar HD Security Camera, let’s take a closer look, shall we?

#1 Ring Solar HD Security Camera (Best Overall)

I like that this camera is easy to install and that Ring’s customer service is extremely helpful. This model works great with the solar panels that go with it and keeps this one topped off at a good battery percentage without the need of a huge amount of sunlight.

It has neat top features like Live View, working with Alexa, and customizable privacy features that make it stand out above its competitors. It also can work with all your other Ring devices, making this a reliable all-around security system if you have over one item in their lineup. This would be handy in any situation, depending on where you set it up and our best overall pick.

#2 ieGeek Wireless Solar Security Camera (Budget Pick)

The first thing that’s great about this camera is its incredibly durable design meant to repel nearly anything that nature might throw at it. Then, it’s 100% wireless makes installation a breeze for those used to installing equipment with wires. In addition, according to the manufacturer, there’s no need to take the battery off to recharge it, as it houses a 1500mAh rechargeable battery. 

I like that it has those easy functions but great visuals through different sensors, and it’s smart about turning on night vision. There’s also two-way audio on this that would make it easy to communicate with anyone, such as delivery men. These factors all lead it to be my budget pick for this list.

#3 Ankway Solar Security Camera (Easy Setup)

The easy setup on this one alone makes it worth the money, allowing for a hassle-free set-up. The Ankway operates down to -30 degrees, making it even better in the cold weather for those that may live in colder areas. It has a lot of features like rotate and zoom on videos, real-time alerts (handy if you’re not home or on vacation!), and two-way audio. 

I especially like that it has real-time alerts that would be handy for knowing when packages are delivered or if there is anyone around my property while I’m away from home. An app goes with this to help with those features and sends a message directly to your phone, making it even handier.

#4 Zumimall Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

Zumimall says that this camera will only capture human motion when it’s on guard duty, and when it does, it will send instant alerts to your phone through its app. When it does this, it will save videos automatically, so you have them on file in case you need them. 

It can save these to either the cloud or an SD card, making it handy if you need to pull up footage in case anything happens. The images are stunning, and it operates down to -4 degrees, which is reasonable considering many batteries drain fast with colder weather. (1)

#5 Conico Wireless Outdoor Security Camera

WiFi capable and with instant notifications, this solar-powered security camera will get you 1080p image quality, all while being on a powerful 10400mAh rechargeable battery. This ensures that the Conico will be powered on its own when the power goes out. 

There’s motion detection, which is adjustable, so you’re not getting alerts all the time, and alerts get pushed to your phone in real-time for those you have enabled. The app is easy to use, and it’s great that it’s supported on both the iOS and Android platforms, which ensures that everyone can use this camera without fail.

#6 Yeskamo Solar Security Camera

Wire-free and easy to install, the Yeskamo security system is powered by built-in 18650 rechargeable batteries with 10400mAh capacity capability.  It has a lifetime charge before recharging of up to four months, assuming there are ten triggers a day. Still, with its solar panel and making sure that it gets proper coverage, you barely have to charge it for security coverage, making it efficient for energy needs.

I like that it has dual antennas for extra coverage, as sometimes that distance is hard to cover when you’re looking for an excellent place to put it. Real-time notifications keep you in the know, and with two-way audio, you’re looking at a reliable camera.

#7 REOLINK Argus Eco+ 

The Reolink is efficient in its power use and one that the company says that you rarely must charge. This is great for those who don’t want the hassle to worry about recharging a battery every so often and instead speak to the solar panels’ reliability to keep it charged. 

This is great for keeping you in the know-how with its real-time alerts, two-way audio, and clear, crisp images; plus, it’s easy to install, making this great for any situation. I’d find this useful anywhere I needed it, like where I needed to keep tabs on the front door, a driveway, or other areas that might have people coming up to the house.

#8 REOLINK Store Go+

As most are on this list, this is wireless and hassle-free in set up. That appeals to me because time is valuable, and I don’t want to fuss with cords, drilling, or anything else while installing one. Some outstanding features about this are that it has two-way audio, encrypted cloud storage, and the ability to slot a micro SD card. 

There’s also a seven-day playback feature that automatically comes with it to have videos on hand when you need them. The company claims that you can put this anywhere, including campers, RV’s and trailers, so you can keep tabs on them and ward off burglars.

#9 REOLINK Store Argus Pro

This is an affordable option that most people will like, as it’s easy to install, is wireless, so it’s tangle-free, and has a rechargeable battery. The battery is meant to be so efficient that you’ll never have to charge the battery and can only rely on the solar panels for its energy source. 

You can use an app with this camera to control it remotely. It is compatible with IOS and Android. It also has the capability of supporting SD cards with up to 64GB of data for videos and images, or you can store your data in the cloud. 

#10 Zumimall Solar Surveillance Camera

The night vision on the Zumimall is fantastic, and the camera is easy to set up, which is a bonus. Also, I like that it stays charged in a wide range of weather conditions and hardly ever needs to be charged, which is useful for when you want to put it somewhere that’s difficult to get to. 

This would be handy for placing it in places like the garage where a ladder might be impossible to access. It has micro SD storage capability, real-time alerts, two-way audio, and operates down to -4 degrees to ensure that it doesn’t quickly drain in the winter.

#11 FUVISION Home Security Camera

The FUVSION is a solidly built little camera that’s easy to install, making this great for those that are looking for hassle-free installation. The sturdy construction makes it durable and it gets an IP65 rating, which rates for various conditions. (2)

It can rotate views, which is a prominent feature that could be used for surveying the area after one of its real-time alerts. The sound on it is great with its two-way audio, and it’s an affordable option that will be kind to your wallet.

#12 REOLINK Argus Eco

I like that this camera has an easy-to-use app that you can install up to 4 cameras on, giving you more coverage depending on your needs. This would be useful when you have multiple areas that need to be covered across your home or several outbuildings. 

It’s easy to set up, like most of its predecessors on this list. It has motion detection, great battery life, and picture quality, and is well worth the money. The ability to get a second solar panel with this one makes the battery last even longer without having to be charged; though, with the use of its panels, this isn’t necessary.

#13 EKEN Solar Security Camera

Like all the cameras on this list, this one is easy to install and hassle-free to place in hard to reach places because you’ll rarely have to charge. Just make sure you have it in the right placement spot to get maximum sun exposure. (3) This is great for the outdoors and pans in and out for more detailed views. 

I like that it has a charging cable long enough for the mounting stand if you need it, so you don’t have to take it down to charge it depending on where it is. It has two-way audio and gives outstanding quality on its automatically saved images to any SD card. This is an additional storage space of up to 128GB with no monthly fee.

Buyers Guide (Top 5 Tips to Know BEFORE You Buy)

#1 Consider the Placement of Your Solar Security Camera(s)

The placement of your security camera is vital when you’re talking about where to place your panels for maximum efficiency. You’re going to want to make sure that your panels are getting at least a good solid 6 hours of sunlight a day. 

For placement, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re going to want to place your panels facing as true-south as possible to get maximum sunlight. This will ensure that the camera is as efficient as possible for battery life. 

#2 Consider the Weather Your Camera(s) Must Endure

Waterproof Ratings

Most cameras will come with an IP rating, which goes from IP00 (the least durable in weather) to IP69 (the most durable in weather). You’ll want to get one with the best ratings possible; however, most usually come with an IP65-IP69 rating to withstand most weather that includes dust, cold, rain, wind, high pressure, and anything else that mother nature can throw at it. (4)

Dust Ratings 

IP ratings will also rate a camera based on its ability to keep dust out of the housing and how much it protects the equipment from harm. This is great for most conditions that the average person’s camera will endure. It’s wise to check on the conditions for your area and check the IP ratings of the camera you’re buying to ensure it’s suitable.

#3 Know What Type of Wireless Communication Technology You Need

WiFi

A lot of these cameras, use WiFi connectivity so they can communicate with you for real-time alerts, stream video, and be able to record and store data. Knowing what type of connectivity you need is vital to ensuring that you have great coverage. 

Most cameras come with a 2.4Ghz connection, however, some may need a booster depending on where your WiFi router is located. Some cameras come with dual antennas if you require extra distance to be covered.

3G/4G

For those areas where WiFi isn’t readily available, there are cameras that are 3G/4G internet capable. These are usually cameras that can be mounted on places like campers, trailers or RV’s so that you have easy viewing despite not having WiFi connectivity. 

Ensure that you’re looking for this with a camera before buying it if that’s what you need, as the majority of them will come with WiFi capability.

#4 Look for Bonus Features That Excite You

Once basic needs are covered, then it’s a good idea to look into the bells and whistles. Looking for features that excite you like two-way audio, streaming video, human-only detection, or other bonus features it’s a wise move to help you get the most out of your investment.

Real-Time Notifications

Real-time notifications are on almost every security camera with the help of an app, to your phone, giving you quite a bit of control over what’s going on. You can customize these in most cases to give you notifications during certain times, or for certain events. Some can even snooze notifications during a certain time frame that you specify.

Two-Way Talk

With this function, you’re able to talk through the camera to whoever is on the other side giving you instant communication. This is great in situations where your family or someone might be outside and needs to talk to you but you’re unable to come to the door.

Advanced Motion Detection

Most of these cameras have PIR motion detection on them, Pyroelectric (“Passive”) InfraRed Sensors. These help with detecting movement and heat signatures that come into range of your camera and send you alerts based on your preferences. 

User-Friendly Mobile App

Having a user-friendly mobile app makes things much easier, and most of these cameras come with one. This helps with getting real-time notifications, any live streaming, up to date information, and any other features that the camera might have. Some cameras can be controlled with their app in functionality when it comes to zooming, tilting, and other physical aspects.

#5 Find the Top Deal for You

On this list, there are some cameras that are more affordable than others. Balancing quality over price is something that you should keep in mind when shopping. 

For things like security, it’s not always best to get the cheapest thing on the market for obvious reasons. On the other hand, you shouldn’t have to sell your kidney in order to keep your family safe and have peace of mind, either. With that said, to find the top deal for you it’s recommended to look at all the factors discussed above, plus overall shipping costs, speed, and of course, the final price.

FAQ

Here are some of the most popular frequently asked questions to know before you buy a solar security camera.

How Do Solar-Powered Security Cameras Work?

Solar-powered security cameras work through a solar panel to capture the sun’s rays and convert it into a current, which is then used to charge your battery. When sunlight isn’t available, the camera uses the battery as a backup to power it and then uses the solar panel again once it’s exposed to sunlight once more. 

Though you may not believe it, the panels can even get power from the sun on rainy or cloudy days as light does still filter through the clouds. (5)

What Security Cameras Work Without WiFi?

While there are security cameras out there that work without WiFi, they’re limited in their availability as WiFi-enabled one’s give you more flexibility in terms of features and accessibility. 

However, that said, there are those like the ones you can get with home security systems that don’t need WiFi to set up.  There are also cameras that use 3G/4G as their way of connecting instead of WiFi so that they can be placed in more remote locations or in locations where the internet is spotty or unavailable.

What Are the Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras?

The best solar-powered cameras out there are those with a large battery capacity, panels that are efficient, wireless, and durable, have a good weather rating, and are easy to install. Anything else that the camera might have in features, like two-way audio, 1080p visuals, and PIR motion detection, is just a bonus. 

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar-Powered Security Camera to Buy Today?

After researching, testing, and comparing over a hundred solar security cameras available on the market today, we highly recommend the Ring Solar HD Security Camera as the best solar-powered security camera in terms of budget, quality, and features. 

Not only is it great for encompassing all of your security needs, but it also has tons of bells and whistles that will keep you on technology’s cutting-edge. With this model, you can rest easy at night, feeling safe, secure, and informed.

With its customizable features like privacy settings, setting up multiple cameras, and working with Alexa, this solar security camera model provides homeowners with an easy and efficient solution.

Want more top-rated solar equipment to help bring your home into the future? If so, check out our best solar charge controllers for those with solar panels, or if you’re looking to add some, or our Homepage here at Your Energy Blog for our full list of highly-rated gear.

References

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/why-batteries-discharge-quickly-cold-weather-607889
  2. https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php
  3. https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Solar_panel_orientation
  4. https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/dust-resistant-waterproof-making-sense-of-gadget-ratings
  5. https://www.seia.org/initiatives/what-happens-solar-panels-when-its-cloudy-or-raining

The post Best Solar-Powered Security Camera of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best Solar Charge Controller of 2020

Best solar charge controllers: top-rated MPPT controller reviews

A solar charge controller is a necessary part of any solar electric system. It is what mediates your battery bank and the solar panels that power it, regulating both the voltage and current flowing to the battery (1).

A solar charge controller ensures your battery remains safe from overload, over-discharge, and overheating. It also draws maximum power from your solar system, resulting in higher efficiency (2).

In this article, we’ve rounded up our top 13 best solar charge controllers you can buy this year to help guarantee your success with your solar setup, and help you avoid getting stuck with a lemon. In addition, there’s a buyer’s guide at the end with valuable tips you can use when shopping for one yourself. Without further ado, let’s get started with our quick comparison of the top picks before we get into the real nitty-gritty – the reviews.

Quick Comparison of our Top 12 Best Solar Charge Controllers (For Those in a Hurry)

Here is a quick look at the 13 best solar charge controllers.

  1. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A (Best Overall): With high voltage and amperage limits, advanced MPPT technology, and easy installation, this is by far the best overall option.
  2. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-85A 150V/85A (Budget Pick): For those who want a budget option that still has high voltage and amp limits, this controller happens to be a great pick.
  3. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125085210 250V/85A: If you’re looking for a medium solar charge controller that you can monitor and control with a smartphone app, this Victron model is a great pick.
  4. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115070210 150V/70A: If you want to chain your solar charge controllers together, you should get this controller. It comes with great CAN bus ports that allow you to connect more than one easily, reliably, and efficiently.
  5. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125060210: With a five-year guarantee on the controller and two years on the battery, this is our top choice to buy with a great warranty.
  6. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115060210 150V/60A: This Victron offers pre-programmed charge algorithms so that you can find the best mix of volts and amps, and you get this customization at a reasonable price. 
  7. AMPINVT MPPT-120A 12V 24V 36V 48V 120A: With multiple load control options and an LCD, this controller works for arrays of all sizes.
  8. Outback Flexmax FM80 12V 24V 36V 48V 80A: The Outback brings multiple load control modes, a reasonable price tag, and a reputation for reliability. 
  9. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-100A 150V/100A: With intelligent MPPT and remote control, this smart system can bring the most power, even in cloudy conditions. 
  10. MidNite Solar Classic 150 150V/96A: This controller works on all sizes of arrays and allows you to control voltage, and it has modes for wind and hydropower. 
  11. Morningstar Corporation Tristar MPPT TS-MPPT-60 150V/60A: This internet-connected controller can work in hot conditions and has impressive efficiency. 
  12. MidNite Solar Classic 200 200V/79A: Best for small arrays, this controller works in extreme conditions and with wind and hydro.

Solar Charge Controller Reviews

Here is a closer look at the best solar controllers. Read our in-depth solar charge controller reviews to find the perfect one for your solar setup.

1. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A (Best Overall)

This model is our best overall option. It has a lot going for it, including the MPPT functionality and the 250 volt and 100 amp limits. If you have an especially large solar array and need a charge controller that can handle that much power, then it’s hard to do much better than this.

On the other hand, even if you have a small set up, but plan on growing it soon and need a charge controller you can grow into, this is still an excellent choice.

While this solar charge controller certainly isn’t cheap, it is worth the money if you take advantage of its abilities, and it continues Victron’s tradition of making high-quality products.

2. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-85A 150V/85A (Budget Pick)

If the SmartSolar charge controller before this one sounded too expensive for you, then this one should make for a better deal. At about two-thirds of the price, it sacrifices neither quality nor functionality, and it is our top budget pick.

The voltage and amp limits are still very high at 150 volts and 85 amps. This product is also an MPPT controller, so it should track the maximum power point under all weather conditions.

It also contains Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to set it up and monitor it with any Bluetooth enabled device. What’s more, it comes with a solid five-year warranty.

3. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125085210 250V/85A

The selling point for this particular Victron model is that it offers many of the features of the SCC125110210, with a slight reduction in the maximum amperage, which makes it our choice for the best for medium arrays. The lower amps naturally lead to a small decrease in price for those who want something cheaper but still feature-rich.

You can opt for the SmartSolar control display, which shows your battery’s status at a glance. Best of all, it has a remote control and monitoring capabilities via your Smartphone.

4. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115070210 150V/70A

This Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controller has many of the same features as the others in its family. It is our top choice for daisy chaining. At 150 volts and 70 amperes, its limits are lower than usual. However, considering the great price, it’s a good buy and offers good value for money.

The best feature of this solar charge controller by far has to be the addition of CAN bus ports. CAN, in this case, stands for Chain Additional Units.

You can chain it with other SmartSolar chargers via a single RJ45 cable, allowing them to synchronize their charge states and draw energy from your solar system more efficiently.

5. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125060210

The rating on this controller is even lower than the one above. It has 150 volts and 60 amperes. This product is for those with smaller solar arrays who don’t want a powerful solar charger but still need lots of features.

It uses MPPT technology to draw power from the solar panels, and it has an efficiency rate of 99%. It also features CAN bus ports if you would like to create a daisy chain of solar charge controllers. Best of all is that it comes with a five-year warranty.

6. Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC115060210 150V/60A

Yes, yet another 60-ampere limit solar charge. It has many of the same features as the one above, and it comes at roughly the same price point. So what makes it so special?

This product comes with eight pre-programmed charge algorithms so you can toggle between them, going for the best mix of charge voltage and amperage for your battery. However, if that doesn’t satisfy you, you can also program a unique charge algorithm, tweaking it according to your needs.

7. AMPINVT MPPT-120A 12V 24V 36V 48V 120A

My favorite thing about this model is the multiple load control options. It can supply 12, 24, 36 and 48 volt systems adequately, and comes with a maximum 120-ampere limit, making it great, even for large arrays.

It also comes with an LCD that shows you real-time statistics so you can stay on top of your controller operation.

8. Outback Flexmax FM80 12V 24V 36V 48V 80A

This product is another great solar charge controller with multiple load control modes. The only difference here is that this one has a lower total amperage limit of 80A. It is, therefore, cheaper as a result.

The Outback can quickly charge batteries of different voltages, ranging from 12 VDC to 60 VDC, has an LCD, and operates on reliable MPPT technology.

9. Victron SmartSolar MPPT CCTRL-VT-MPPS-100A 150V/100A

This Victron solar charge controller comes with intelligent MPPT tracking, which tracks the maximum power point, even when the sky is partially cloudy, and your solar array isn’t operating at maximum capacity.

It has a remote control and monitoring capabilities that work both with and without an internet connection, so long as you have a Bluetooth device. With an exceptionally high 100A limit, it can work even with large solar arrays. It doesn’t come with an LCD, but you can buy the optional one.

10. MidNite Solar Classic 150 150V/96A

This excellent solar charge controller happens to be the most popular offering from MidNite. It can output 96 amperes and has a 150V maximum. These specs make it suitable for use on all sizes of arrays, even large ones.

It is also versatile with MPPT modes for solar, wind, and hydropower. I also like that it has HyperVOC technology, which extends the open-circuit voltage when necessary.

11. Morningstar Corporation Tristar MPPT TS-MPPT-60 150V/60A

Morningstar has an excellent reputation for making high-quality products, and this controller does not disappoint. It runs on MPPT technology, is rated to operate efficiently, and works at temperatures as high as 45-degrees C and 113-degrees F.

And speaking of efficiency, it has up to 99% efficiency. It also comes with an ethernet port, allowing you to connect it to your wired network and control it from anywhere.

12. MidNite Solar Classic 200 200V/79A

And finally, we have another solar charge controller from MidNite. This one has a max amperage of 79A, which makes it great for small solar arrays.

However, it still has a high voltage limit at 200V and can charge batteries from 12V to 72V. The terminals are also very resilient, with a temperature limit of up to 75 degrees C. Finally, it can work with solar, hydro, and wind, making it highly versatile.

Buyers’ Guide: Top 5 Tips – How to Buy the Best Model for You

When shopping for a top-rated solar charge controller, it is essential to know which factors are most critical to consider before you buy. We know it can often feel overwhelming when you’re not sure what to give a priority and what to leave out.

In this section, we will look at our top five most important factors to consider before you buy a solar charge controller to further aid your search.

1. Know the voltage of your solar panels and battery

There are two aspects: the PV open-circuit voltage and the input voltage.

The open-circuit voltage, which is also known as the VOC, is the number of volts produced by your solar panel array when it has a load on it. You can find out what this number is by measuring the positive and negative leads with a voltmeter.

The VOC is significant because it’s the maximum number of volts that the solar panels in your array can produce. This number will tell you how many panels you can wire to your solar charge controller.

You want to go for a controller that can either handle the full open-circuit voltage from your solar array or make sure there are not too many solar panels in your solar array for your solar charge controller.

As long as the number of panels in your array remains below the solar charge controller’s limit, your system won’t get damaged.

For smaller arrays, a simple solar charge controller with a VOC of 50 volts should do. If you have an extensive system, you should get a charge controller with a VOC of 150 volts or more.

The next thing to consider is the maximum input voltage, which is especially crucial if you’re considering purchasing a PWM solar charge controller. Such controllers cannot convert the input power to match the output power the way an MPPT solar charge controller does.

Getting a solar charge controller with a high input power limit allows you to charge your batteries more efficiently and, therefore, spend less per unit of power.

2. Know the total wattage of your equipment you’re looking to power

You should also consider the maximum amount of power or wattage that your solar charge controller and solar system can handle at any given time, along with the total wattage of your equipment. You certainly don’t want to get yourself a solar charge controller incapable of handling all the power coming from your system (4).

The general rule of thumb is that for every 100-watt solar panel, you can expect about six amperes of power during periods when there is full sunlight.

If your setup is more extensive, you can expect a higher power output and will need a more powerful solar charge controller. If your solar system is simple, then you should be able to handle it just fine with a solar charge controller with a lower max power rating.

3. Know the two different types of solar charge controllers available.

There are two main types of controllers (3). These are the PWM and MPPT systems. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, while MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking.

These two solar charge controllers have strengths and weaknesses and are suited to different situations. You must understand your solar system’s capabilities before deciding which type of solar charge controller to get.

PWM

The PWM solar charge controller is the most common type of solar charge controller on the market. It is simpler than the MPPT controller and much cheaper. It’s also easier to install and use.

On the flip side, PWM solar charge controllers are not nearly as effective as MPPT controllers when used with large solar arrays.

A PWM operates by slowing down the power input amount to the battery as the battery’s power approaches its capacity. By the time the battery is full, the PWM controller lets in just enough power to keep the battery power without supplying too much power.

PWM controllers need the battery and solar panel array to have the same voltage.

Another disadvantage of PWM controllers is that they are more sensitive to weather changes than MPPT controllers. When the weather gets either too hot or too cold, the PWM controller will lose some efficiency.

MPPT

MPPT solar charge controllers are more complex than PWM controllers. As a result, they are more expensive. The functions of using an MPPT controller is pretty much the same as with a PWM. They reduce the amount of power input to the battery to a trickle to not overfill the battery.

MPPTs show their strength when it comes to big solar arrays. They can adjust their input, making sure they pull as much power from your solar system as possible.

MPPTs are also capable of matching their power output to the input requirements of the battery. This feature makes them far more efficient than PWM controllers.

4. Look for bonus features that excite you

There are other features that, while not necessary, might meet your specific needs. Here are a few you might be interested in:

Manual load control

Charge controllers often come with automatic load control, which turns off the output when the battery is too low. This feature will stop your battery from discharging completely, which prolongs its lifespan.

If, on the other hand, you also want to be able to turn the load off when you wish, you can opt for a charge controller with manual load control.

LCD

Perhaps you want to know the current, voltage, charge, and other details, so you know whether your solar charge controller is working correctly.

In that case, a controller with an LCD should come in handy. A good display should visualize all the crucial details of what’s going on in your charge controller.

Battery temperature sensor

Charge controllers can get very hot sometimes. They’re dealing in energy, after all, and are always sending and receiving it. Many manufacturers add a temperature sensor to the charge controller.

A temperature sensor prevents your controller from carrying out any overcharging, which can increase battery temperature.

Multi-stage reduction

The charge controller should be able to handle different amounts of charge coming from the solar array. Multi-stage reduction capabilities refer to the ability of a controller to move the energy through multiple processes. These processes include Bulk, Float, Absorption, and Equalization.

There is a reason for each process. Bulk, for example, allows the energy to reach the ideal voltage. Absorption ensures that the energy from the charge controller gets discharged into the battery. Meanwhile, float ensures that a specific charge is maintained before more power goes to the battery. Equalization assures that the voltage never drops during absorption.

Most charge controllers have at least Bulk, Absorption, and Float. However, you can also opt for a 4-stage model that includes Equalization as well.

Adjustable charging voltage set point

Charge controllers with so-called ‘multi-voltage functions’ have a charging voltage set point that is adjustable. That means that you can choose the voltage at which the solar charge controller operates.

Voltage can vary depending on the type of battery you’re charging. This feature is worth considering if you want to get maximum efficiency out of your solar charge controller.

Remote access

Some solar charge controllers allow for remote access so you can change the settings via a browser or app on your phone. If you think you might spend significant amounts of time away from home, this is a great feature.

5. Find the top deal for you

If you want to get the best value, here are some things to consider.

Warranty

Due to their high price, it makes sense to check for an attractive warranty when shopping for a solar charge controller.

If you look for a product with a decent warranty, you know that you bought a high-quality product and can trust its longevity. Generally, three to five years is a reasonable length of time for a warranty.

Limited-time deals

Some manufacturers offer limited-time deals, where they provide significant discounts on their solar charge controllers for a few days or weeks. These are great times to do your shopping as they allow you to get the same features and functionality that you would have got anyway but at a reduced price.

Final Price

Considering how expensive these controllers can get, it’s always recommended to have a clear budget in mind and pay attention to the final price of the product you’re buying.
The final price will include all the factors mentioned above, and when weighed properly – will help you with getting the most ROI, or return on your investment.

FAQ

Here are some common questions that people ask when purchasing a solar charge controller.

1. Which is better MPPT or PWM?

MPPT is the most efficient of the two, and the best way to draw energy from a solar system to a battery. They are about 15% better at charging than PWM controllers.

They also drain more energy from your system than PWM controllers. They can handle large solar arrays with high energy outputs, making them better at harnessing the power of solar arrays than PWM controllers.

2. How many solar panels can a charge controller handle?

The answer depends on the size of the solar charge controller. The number to look at in this case is the amperage. You want to get a controller with at least a 25% higher amperage than the solar system.

For example, if your solar panels and battery need 20 amps to work, you should have at least 25 amps on your controller. Therefore, the maximum number of solar panels a charge controller can handle is the number that provides 80% or less of the controller’s amperage rating.

3. Are MPPT controllers worth it?

Yes. You might have some doubts about this issue, considering how much more expensive MPPTs are than PWM solar charge controllers. However, given that they will charge your battery more safely, faster, and more efficiently, they are worth the price for most people (5).

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Charge Controller to Buy Today?

And with that, we come to the end of our review. Now that you’ve seen our list of the best solar charge controllers on the market, a helpful buyers’ guide, and the answers to the most popular faqs – picking the perfect model for you should be a lot easier.

However, if you’re still not quite sure which is one is right for you, we highly-recommend our #1-rated model, the Victron SmartSolar MPPT SCC125110210 250V/100A. It has an excellent balance of features, functionality, and price. Also, it should serve your needs reliably for many years to come and allows you to grow your solar system without getting a new controller with each addition. Ultimately, it’s tough to go wrong!

Want more highly-reviewed solar gear to complete your setup like the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 250V/100A? If so, check out our best solar-powered generator of the year, and more here at YourEnergyBlog.com – where we work harder to find you the top solar equipment on the market.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/balance-system-equipment-required-renewable-energy-systems
  2. https://www.solar-electric.com/learning-center/solar-charge-controller-basics.html/
  3. https://news.energysage.com/what-are-solar-charge-controllers-do-you-need-one/
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20071217075631/http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic%3D10640
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/charge-controller

The post Best Solar Charge Controller of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

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Best Solar Generator of 2020

Best solar-powered generator: top-rated reviews

We rely on electricity so much that many people don’t realize that an extended power outage could result in hundreds of dollars of wasted groceries and even refrigerated medication going bad. (1) Electronics such as laptops can also be vulnerable to power surges as the electricity comes back on, especially when it’s sporadic. (2)

It’s better to prepare yourself, and the best solar generators have brought backup power into more contemporary times compared to old gas-powered options. We’ve researched some of the top choices to give you reliable solar generator reviews.

Quick Comparison of our Top 11 Best Solar Generators (For Those in a Rush)

If you don’t have time to read the whole review, here’s a quick comparison of how our top choices compare to one another:

  1. Jackery 1000-watt (Best Overall): For those who want the best solar generator for all-around use, that’s not too cheap, yet still a reasonable price; this is our top overall solar generator.
  2. Jackery 500-Watt (Budget Pick): With a more affordable price, a portable build, and an exceptional track record, we’ve labeled this best for those on a budget.
  3. Pecron Q3000S (Most Powerful): For powering equipment that uses a lot of energy, running a full-sized fridge, and quiet operation, this model packs a punch.
  4. MAXOAK BLUETTI 2400 (Best 1000W “High-Load Continuous”): If you want an option for home power-outages to keep a fridge going, using a mini heater, and long battery life, this is the choice for running appliances for several hours.
  5. ExpertPower Alpha2400 (Best Solar Generator Kit): Those who want everything included—the generator, cables, and solar panels—as well as easy setup, and user-friendly design, this is a kit worth checking out.
  6. FF FlashFish 300: A compact model that is also reliable and incredibly affordable, this is our pick for the best small but mighty solar generator.
  7. BALDR 330: If you want to know if you can get a hold of someone with the brand, but also want quality construction and reliable use, one of the best customer service options for a solar generator is going with a BALDR.
  8. EF ECOFLOW 1800: Hands-down, the best solar generator for use with tools like a circular saw or a hammer drill–it also has a clear display and sleek design.
  9. MAXOAK BLUETTI 1500: If you want something not too expensive, not too cheap with outstanding customer service and a convenient carrying handle is the BLUETTI 1500.
  10. Aeiusny 500: For the best budget-friendly, small, camping solar generator with a light, look at the Aeiusny.
  11. Westinghouse 100: If the brand name is crucial, the best reputation on this list for a small solar generator is the Westinghouse. This unit also has a variety of outlets and ports, and is ultra-portable. 

Solar Generator Reviews

We’ve spent several hours researching solar generators, exploring features, and testing some of the models out ourselves. Here are our in-depth results to aid your search.

1. Jackery 1000 Watts (Best Overall)

The Jackery 1000 Watt solar generator is robust and sufficient for most individuals as an emergency device, and we’re labeling it the best overall solar generator. We tested it and could get 1000 watts from this generator for a solid hour without interruption. We like that you have four ways to recharge the Jackery (solar, car outlet, wall outlet with 163W max, or another generator).

This portable model is our personal favorite for the best solar generator, thanks to several features. First, you get plenty of outlets—USB-C, USB-A, car outlet, and three AC outlets. The Jackery 1000 can also power devices like mini-fridges, coffee makers, electric grills, blenders, and even support larger home appliances like a fridge.

Keep in mind; this model will not power items that are more intensive power-suckers, like a microwave or a hairdryer (although only the most robust models will).

You get pure sine wave energy with a long-lasting battery, and this generator is also lightweight, making it simple with which to travel. Better yet, this generator is incredibly quiet.

Compared to some generators we’ve researched, which can go for a few thousand dollars, this one is reasonably-priced. The fair price combined with the quality, longevity, low sound output, and the ability to use this generator while charging it makes it our top pick for the best overall solar generator. You’ll feel satisfied with the investment on this generator when the power goes out.

2. Jackery 500 Watts (Budget Pick)

The combined low cost mixed with the quality of Jackery models made this model our top budget pick solar generator. After hours of research, we’re a fan of Jackery solar generators, as you’ll see from our top overall pick. For a more affordable option—and we’re talking a remarkably budget-friendly model as far as generators go—the Jackery 500 is outstanding.

This ultra-lightweight solar generator can power items like small blenders (not full-sized models), RV lighting, portable movie projectors, and mini coolers. We recommend this model for those who only want a quiet solar generator for camping items, as it doesn’t have enough power to support things like drills, coffee makers, large blenders, or hairdryers.

While the wattage is lower, we love this generator for devices like laptops when you’re on the road. The Jackery 500 has a pure sine wave inverter, which means you can safely use it with laptops, phones, and tablets without damaging them. The inverter also makes this generator quieter and guards your electronics against overheating or voltage overload.

You get four ways of charging this model: solar, wall outlets with 80W max, a car outlet, and another generator. We’ve also noticed that Jackery generators hold their charge for a long time (several months and even a year).

3. Pecron Q3000S 2000 Watts (Most Powerful)

With 2000 watts to run high-energy devices, this is our favorite for the most powerful solar generator. If you want a robust generator that also has the eco-friendly and quiet benefits of solar, the Pecron Q3000S is one to consider. This 2000 watt power station can offer peak output of an impressive 4000 watts and has a lithium battery backup for those weeks when the clouds won’t dissipate.

This generator has pure sine wave output that can power a mini-fridge, a pressure cooker, electric grills, drones, laptops, and even an induction cooker (up to 1300w). Are you concerned about charging your laptop or tablet with this powerful solar generator? You’ll have no worries with its overcharge, over-voltage, and overheat protection.

This generator is slightly larger than the lower-output models, but it comes with wheels and a handle to roll it around with ease, much like a small rolling suitcase. You won’t get the lowest price tag with this eco-friendly generator, but for those who need a robust, quiet, solar-powered option for frequent RV trips or as an emergency backup for a house, it could be an ideal fit.

4. MAXOAK BLUETTI 2400 Watts (Best 1000W “High-Load Continuous”)

Not everyone wants a tiny device just to charge a smartphone, so for home power-outages, this is our pick for the best 1000W “high-load continuous” solar generator. For those who want a solar generator that will serve as an emergency backup for their home, the MAXOAK 2400 is an excellent option. You can power a standard refrigerator to this thing and run it for a couple of days! When you experience a blackout (3) for more than a day, you’ll be thankful for this eco-friendly generator.

With ample power and more prolonged use, overheating could be a concern. However, this generator has a cooling fan that automatically starts when attached to appliances with over 100 watts.

This solar generator is best for more extended use on emergency items, such as a refrigerator. For electric drills, emergency lighting, appliances like a full-sized fridge, laptops, a TV, and even a CPAP machine, this model is excellent.

You also get a convenient carrying handle and an LCD screen to monitor the amount of power left on the generator. One notable perk with this product is the customer service. As we sifted through hundreds of reviews, time and time again, feedback on the customer service was outstanding.

5. ExpertPower Alpha2400 (Best Solar Generator Kit)

Many solar generators are technically “solar compatible” but don’t include panels, so we found the Alpha2400 for the best solar generator kit. The Alpha2400 is a full solar generator kit with a detachable solar panel, an adjustable stand to catch the best sunlight, a cable to hook up the panel to the generator, and the device itself. This power source is heavy and durable. While something super heavy might not sound ideal at first, it does work as a slight theft deterrent, so that’s a feature to keep in mind.

You can power a decent array of electronics with this model, such as a mini-fridge, game consoles, fans, a CPAP machine, TV, laptops, and even a washing machine. Two standard, 1000-watt AC outlets pair with four USB ports to plug-in appliances and devices such as tablets or smartphones.

Like the other top picks on this list, the ExpertPower Alpha2400 also has over-voltage, low-voltage, and temperature protection for your more delicate electronics. This kit is convenient for smart buyers who want the whole solar setup in one package.

6. FF FLASHFISH 300 Watts

I like the FF FlashFish solar generator for the pure value you get from this little power source. This model is super budget-friendly, and you get a surprisingly long draw time from a single charge.

While you aren’t going to get days of power for a full-sized fridge out of this device, you can use it with a mini-fridge for up to seven hours. You also can power laptops, a TV, a CPAP machine, and an outdoor projector.

I like that this lightweight generator has three USB ports for charging a few electronics at once, as well as two three-pronged AC outlets. Built-in safety guards protect sensitive devices from over-voltage, and a cooling fan prevents overheating.

The solar panels come separately, and the manufacturer recommends an 18v/50w solar panel (that does not exceed 100 watts). So, you’ll have to get the right panels and connecting cables to use this generator. Still, it’s an affordable option for emergencies and road trips.

You won’t find an abundance of small, super-portable, budget-friendly solar generators that offer such a reliable charge. For those who want an affordable generator that is lightweight and can help with emergency lighting or small devices, this is one to consider.

7. BALDR 330 Watts

This portable solar generator is lightweight (only 7.1 pounds) and simple to use. You only need an MC4 cable connected to a solar panel to get it up and running, and it does not require an MPPT or PWM charge controller. For lightweight, easy-to-use solar generators, this one is an excellent option.

This generator has a lower wattage than some of the heftier models, but the upside is that the charge time is relatively short. You can fully juice this one up in about six or seven hours instead of 12 or even 18.

Note: the solar panels are sold separately, and the manufacturer recommends TogoPOWER panels.
Don’t expect to power blenders, coffee makers, hairdryers, electric kettles, or other devices over 330 watts with this generator. However, you can run a mini cooler, 32” TV, emergency lighting, tablets, phones, and laptops with the BALDR 330.

Even with the small size and lower wattage, you can still power a CPAP machine for a few nights with this generator. Another bonus—customer service is fantastic when dealing with BALDR. If a reliable brand with a fast-response service is crucial to you, BALDR might be an ideal fit.

8. EF ECOFLOW 1800 Watts

So far, we’ve covered a handful of solar generators that can power many smaller devices, and a few that can support a mini-fridge, or even a full-sized refrigerator. However, if you want an eco-friendly generator with enough power to handle everything from a microwave and a standard refrigerator to a circular saw and air compressor, look at this model. You can even run a welding machine (up to 1800 watts) from this generator.

You’d have to pay a bit more than some models for this solar generator, but the battery life and power do not disappoint. Whether you want a power source for your RV or a reliable emergency backup to power your fridge and lights at home during a blackout, this is a worthwhile investment.

This generator has plenty of safety features, including sensors that will prevent quick-charging right after you quickly drain it. However, most of the time, you can get a rapid charge of roughly four hours through the solar panels.

Pure sine wave energy makes this generator safe for juicing up your laptop, and it’s compatible with any solar panel (up to 400 watts).

9. MAXOAK BLUETTI 1500 Watts

If you like the MAXOAK brand and considered the BLUETTI 2400, but don’t want to spend that much on a solar generator, the 1500 version of the BLUETTI is worth considering.

You don’t get quite the “oomph” as the 2400 model with this one, but it’s still robust enough to power a mini-fridge, a car vacuum, a 32” TV, an electric drill, and even a full-sized refrigerator for up to an hour and a half.

Customer service is excellent. For most users, this handy solar generator works well and holds a charge for a long time. This model can blend the reliable power you might need in a blackout with a savvy sense of purchasing something that won’t break the bank.

Like the other generators in our top picks, the pure sine wave energy makes it safe to charge electronics like laptops. Over-voltage, overcurrent, and temperature control are some of the added safeguards. We particularly like that the LCD screen shows the remaining power and error codes for potential malfunctions. Like some of our other favorite generators, you can juice this one up with solar panels or a wall socket for those rainy days.

10. Aeiusny 500 Watts

The Aeiusny solar generator comes fully charged, which is a nice little perk for this portable, affordable power source. This model is also super quick to power up—you’ll probably be able to juice it up faster than you can figure out how to pronounce the company name.

Don’t let that stop you from considering this handy generator, though. Customer service is easy to reach with their email, and this device is well-built. You can refill the battery with solar power, but you can also recharge with a wall outlet, cigarette lighter socket, or another generator.

This generator is not suitable for keeping a full-sized fridge going during a blackout, but it’s fantastic for camping trips. You can run a computer, car cooler, camping lights, and even a CPAP machine (with the heater and humidifier off) with this portable generator.

This solar generator works best if you refresh its charge at least every six months. For the person on a tight budget who wants a backup generator for their smartphone, laptop, small lights, and would also like an emergency flashlight built into the unit, the Aeiusny is one to check out.

11. Westinghouse 100 Watts

Westinghouse is an exceptionally reputable name in generators, whether they be solar-powered or traditional gas-powered. So, when we found this portable, budget-friendly, solar-optional iGen 160s model from Westinghouse, we had to take a look.

I like that you get a two-prong and three-prong outlet, a USB-1, USB-2, and USB-C ports, as well as three 12-volt DC ports on this small generator. This ultra-quiet generator can power laptops, tablets, headlamps, cameras, and other small devices. All of the standard electronic safety features are built-in, including over-voltage, over-current, low-voltage, and short circuit protection.

A handle and a flashlight are also designed into this 3.75-pound generator. Solar panels are sold separately, but you can plug in any solar panel to the DC13V-25V/2A max port that fits 5.5 x 2.1mm.
If you don’t get a solar panel immediately, or have a long stretch of rainy weather, you can charge up this model with a house outlet or car cigarette lighter. Those who want a small generator with a reputable name and top-notch quality will be happy with this long-lasting, tiny powerhouse.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Generator for You)

Investing in something potentially-pricey like a generator can be daunting. We did the homework first to make it simpler for you.

1. Know how much wattage you’ll need (in 3 easy steps)

Wattage is crucial and one of the most vital components when selecting a generator.

STEP 1: Find out the “wattage draw” of your equipment (estimate: minimum, maximum, & continuous draws)

If you don’t know where to start, you can try out an energy calculator (4) to get an estimate. For appliances like refrigerators, you can multiply volts x amps. Most refrigerators will have a sticker with these numbers either within the door, at the back, on a kickplate, or listed on the rear interior wall.
Typical fridge use consumes somewhere between 100 and 250 watts or roughly 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in a single day. (5)

If the power goes out, a fridge can be an essential item to keep running. However, many people think big appliances like these suck up the most energy, partially because they need to stay powered to keep your food cold.

You might be surprised to find that running a hairdryer takes about 1500 watts—15 times the power it takes to keep your fridge going! (6)

A standard-sized microwave can suck up between 850 and a whopping 1800 watts during use.

STEP 2: Estimate the “runtime(s)” you’ll need for your equipment

If you purchase a small generator that cannot power hefty power-users, like a microwave, the runtime won’t matter because you won’t be able to utilize these items with your power source.

If you get a more robust generator, you should be able to keep a full-sized refrigerator going, and even items like a blender (which can use up to 1000 watts) or a coffee maker (anywhere between 600 and 1500 watts) when in use.

You’ll need to keep track of a general runtime for any item you plan to plug into your solar generator. A hairdryer might only use five minutes of energy at 1500 watts. A full-sized fridge using around 200 watts is less but needs to remain on continuously.

List all items you will need to plug into your generator, roughly how many minutes they will continuously run, and what they drain in wattage.

STEP 3: Find a solar generator that can both power all your equipment and satisfy your desired runtime(s)

If you know that you won’t use a generator for much besides powering your smartphone and a small fan while camping, a small, budget-friendly model will likely work well for you.

However, if you plan to invest in a solar generator that can help out while traveling in addition to being an energy backup for your house in the case you lose power for a couple of days, consider something heftier. Generators can be tough to justify when everything is fine with your energy, the weather, and you have no plans for travel.

If your entire city loses power, and hotels aren’t even a backup option, what sort of generator will you need to keep your food fresh and at least a small heater or a few lights running?

2. Look for bonus features that excite you

Once you’ve settled on the general requirements you need in a solar generator, check the “extras.” Each model has specific little features that set it apart from others for varying reasons. Some things to consider that might or might not work best for you:

  • USB ports to charge smartphones, work laptops, or tablets for kids
  • A built-in flashlight
  • Lightweight to carry with you
  • Heavier to prevent theft if you leave it outdoors
  • Three-prong outlets to plug in anything from a mini-fridge to an electric grill
  • Various charge options, such as recharging via your car, a solar panel, or your wall outlet
  • Included solar panels (some are not)
  • The ability to support a variety of power tools
  • Extra-long battery life when not in use
  • Weather resistance
  • Pure sine wave energy (just like our best pure sine wave inverter of the year)
  • Notably-exceptional customer service
  • Rolling wheels or a carrying handle
  • LCD display to monitor the remaining charge

3. Find the best deal for you

Just because generators can be expensive doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Don’t forget to check these factors when picking your solar generator.

Shipping

If you’re buying through Amazon (worth doing if you want an ample amount of reviews to check through), you can get free shipping on many solar generators. Prime members don’t have to worry about shipping.

However, if you’re not a Prime member (even if you shop elsewhere), consider shipping before you checkout. Bulky items like generators can cost a heart-stopping amount to ship if you buy from a random outlet or don’t get Prime’s benefits from Amazon. Next to “shipping,” click on “details” to read the short but fine print.

Limited Time Deals

Sellers will often lower an item’s cost, like a solar generator, during off-seasons or around certain holidays. You can keep an item “saved for later” in your cart and check back on the price. Our favorite way to get notified of lowered prices lately is Honey. (7) You might have heard of Honey recently, as it’s become huge for snatching deals.

It’s free, and you install it into your internet browser. We are not always the best at keeping track of the exact amounts of items we plan to buy in the next few months, and we’ve used this add-on to automatically notify us when something we’re looking at falls to a lower price.

Warranty

Most generators will come with the option for a warranty, usually a one-year or three-year option. The decision on a warranty for your unit will ultimately be up to you, but a few things to keep in mind:

Most warranties will not cover damage such as you accidentally cutting the cable that connects your unit to the solar panel, the only breakdown of manufactured items or batteries that are “lemons.”
If you only plan to use the generator as an emergency backup, you may need a warranty in the first year or initial few years, but less likely than ten years from now.

Consider the cost of a more extended warranty versus the price of the generator you choose. If you spend over $1,000 on a solar generator, getting a more extended guarantee is likely a smart idea.

Final Price

Remember that your final price will include the product cost, tax, shipping (if applicable), and any warranty you decide to purchase. Some of these costs might bump up the price of your solar generator a bit.

Don’t let this scare you out of buying a piece of equipment that can help keep you warm, keep you fed, and charge up potentially vital devices like a phone when you need one. A unit can be like insurance—when you don’t use it, you might grumble, but when the day comes you need it, you won’t regret investing in it at all.

FAQ

Here we answered some of the most frequently asked questions to know before buying one of the best solar-powered generators of the year – to further aid your search and help ensure you find the perfect one for you.

What size solar generator do I need?

It’s not so much the generator’s physical size, but instead, the power it can support that matters. Check back to the three steps on calculating your wattage needs and run time of the equipment you plan to use your solar generator with and focus your sights on models that can handle your power needs.

If you don’t have any units at all, you might want to consider one that can power your fridge in case of a home blackout, and will also work for trips in an RV. Make sure you use proper safety when utilizing any generator. (8)

Are solar generators worth it?

In our opinion, solar generators are an exceptional innovation and worth it when you need them. Not dealing with the noise, fumes, and handling of gasoline is a perk, no doubt, and getting the variety of charging methods is also a bonus.

If a real emergency arose, these units could supply you with power and keep that power going without any electricity to charge the battery, and without needing to travel to a gas station to refill your gas can.

All you need is the power of the sun and a proper setup, and then you’re ready for a wide range of situations.

Consider this: A solar generator could be potentially lifesaving. If you need to keep a small heater running during a frigid winter power-outage, you don’t have to worry about poisonous fumes from a solar generator as you do with a gas-powered model. You don’t have to keep a solar generator outside for that reason. (9)

You can charge most solar generators with a wall outlet, so even if solar panels aren’t ideal in the winter, you can still use these and have them on standby for such situations.

As we mentioned, a generator is much like insurance—you might not want to spend the money at the moment, but when you desperately need it, you’ll feel so thankful you invested in protecting yourself. Setting out a solar panel to recharge your generator in a potential city-wide loss of power is a benefit worth every penny if you ask me.

What is the best solar generator to buy?

In our books, the best solar generator to buy this year is the Jackery 1000-watt, our best overall choice. At the end of the day, the best unit for you will depend mainly on what equipment you’re looking to power, what main features you’re looking for, and your budget — but overall this model provides most with what they’re looking for.

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar-Powered Generator to Buy Today?

Now that you’ve seen all our top solar generators of the year here at Your Energy Blog, most important buyers’ tips, and answers to the most popular faqs – you’re well on your way to choosing the best one for you.

However, if you’re still not quite sure which one to go with, we highly-recommend our #1-rated Jackery 1000-watt. For most people, this model would work well in many situations, it’s able to power a massive range of equipment, and it’s in a sweet spot when it comes to price. It’s not too cheap and tiny, but it’s not the most expensive option by a long shot. Ultimately, it’s pretty tough to beat!

  1. https://www.ready.gov/power-outages
  2. https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/power-outage_information-sheet.pdf
  3. https://nbc25news.com/weather/stormready-survival-guide/how-to-pick-the-right-generators-to-keep-power-on-during-outages
  4. http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_refrigerator.htm
  5. https://reductionrevolution.com.au/blogs/news-reviews/fridge-power-consumption#:~:text=Domestic%20fridge%20power%20consumption%20is,%24150%20per%20year%20per%20fridge.
  6. http://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_hairdryer.htm
  7. https://www.joinhoney.com/explore
  8. https://www.energy.gov/ceser/activities/energy-security/emergency-preparedness/using-portableemergency-generators-safely
  9. https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

The post Best Solar Generator of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020

Solar gutter lights: top-rated reviews

Did you know that approximately 10% of the average home’s energy expenditures go towards lighting? (1) Switching to more efficient lighting both inside and outside the house can make a world of difference in lowering your electricity bill and saving energy. So, we’ve rounded up the best solar gutter lights of the year all in one place because they’re not only decorative, but practical – for increased security, safety, and energy reduction. Check out our top 21 picks below!

Quick Comparison of our Top 21 Picks (For Those in a Rush)

  1. ROSHWEY 6-Pack (Best Overall): With bright lighting, easy installation, and lightweight durability, this is our top choice for the best overall.
  2. JSOT 6-Pack (Budget Pick): This is our top budget pick for its incredible price, high-quality construction, and bright lighting.
  3. InnoGear Store 2-Pack (Best with Mounting Poles): For those looking for larger solar gutter lights, mounting poles, and more brilliant illumination, this is our top choice for best light with mounting poles.
  4. InnoGear 4-Pack: With 24 LEDs, a sensitive motion sensor, and easy installation, the InnoGear 4-Pack provides powerful illumination for a wider area.
  5. iSunMoon Store 9m LED 6-Pack: This 6-pack of LED solar lights have larger solar panels, four different installation methods, and great price value.
  6. DBF Store 6-Pack: This new generation of gutter lights from DBF includes higher brightness, 9 LED chips, and longer working time.
  7. ROSHWEY 4-Pack: These solar gutter lights are easily adjustable, have a built-in light sensor, and use 18 LEDs for increased brightness.
  8. CREATIVE DESIGN 2-Pack: This 2-pack of solar lights has 46 bright LEDs, is easy to install, and contains a larger solar panel.
  9. Hoshine 2-Pack: This environmentally-friendly 2-pack of solar gutter lights boasts 12 hours of working time with each full charge, an 80 x 80cm solar panel, and 6 LEDs.
  10. SUNFACE 6-Pack: The SUNFACE solar deck lights are a beautiful clear amber color with two optional color modes and a highly-efficient solar panel.
  11. KJ-KayJi 6-Pack: This long-lasting solar light has a working time of more than 8 hours, emits brighter light with 9 LEDs, and has 4 different installation methods for your convenience.
  12. Roopure 4-Pack: With 2 intelligent working modes, high photo-sensitivity, and longer working time, the Roopure solar lights are durable and made of high-strength ABS and metal.
  13. CREATIVE DESIGN Black 2-Pack: The black solar lights are incredibly bright, with 80 LEDs that produce 450 lumens, an upgraded solar panel, and 4 working modes.
  14. UniqueFire Black 6-Pack: Equipped with 12 high-power LEDs and a new energy management chip, 2 different installation methods, and an advanced solar panel, the UniqueFire solar gutter lights prove to be a high-quality product.
  15. UniqueFire Warm White Light 6-Pack: The UniqueFire Warm White Lights have 25 upgraded high-powered LEDs, a new energy management chip, and a longer light time.
  16. Yescom Store 10-Pack: This pack of 10 solar gutter lights from Yescom is priced at a great value, uses the latest improved solar panel technology, and is portable.
  17. Rowrun Store 4-Pack: Built with high-quality crystalline silicon solar panels, rechargeable solar power, and a unique UFO design, these solar gutter lights come in a pack of 4 at a great price.
  18. ELYXWORK Black 2-Pack: These outdoor security lights are super bright, waterproof, and simple to install.
  19. UniqueFire Cool White Light 6-Pack: With longer lighting time, 2 different installation methods, and 9 flood light LEDs, this solar gutter light is both decorative and practical.
  20. GMFive 6-Pack: This 6-pack of solar gutter lights from GMFive is small and portable, eco-friendly, and bright.
  21. Portfolio Solar Gutter Light: This solar gutter light is environmentally friendly, sits well on gutters despite its heavier appearance, and has a long working time after being fully charged.

Solar Gutter Light Reviews

Choosing the best solar gutter lights is not easy with so many different options out there. We rounded up our top 21 choices of the best available in the market. However, as you look through this list, make sure you can find one that is right for you.

1. ROSHWEY 6-Pack (Best Overall)

This uniquely-designed solar deck light is our top choice for the best overall because of its bright lighting with 9 LEDs, easy installation, and lightweight durability. The Roshwey 6-Pack not only illuminates your house or backyard but is a decorative light that looks like a UFO.

It packs power with large solar panels and a 1.2V 1600mAh rechargeable battery, making sure that it provides more light than other solar gutter lights without losing light time. You can attach this light to a wall or pathway using a single bracket or clip it onto a fence or gutter with two adjustable brackets. It is easy to install with no wiring required.

It is made with high-quality, eco-friendly ABS material that gives these lights a long service life. With an IP 55 waterproof rating, it is more durable than other lights and can withstand all types of weather, including rain, snow, and wind. (2)

2. JSOT 6-Pack (Budget Pick)

The JSOT 6-Pack is a high-quality solar gutter light with longer light time for half the price, making it our top budget pick. With 9 LEDs, this solar power design emits brighter light without being too harsh, making it an ideal decorative light for the outdoors. It has a detachable lamp shade so you can alter its aesthetic look.

This solar deck light is easy to install and can be mounted to the wall or on a fence using brackets to illuminate your backyard, driveway, or pathways. It is made to withstand all types of weather and is completely waterproof. It charges automatically during the day and powers on at night for up to 8 hours with no manual control necessary.

For those on a tighter budget or just looking for an incredible value, we highly-recommend the JSOT 6-Pack.

3. InnoGear Store 2-Pack (Best with Mounting Poles)

For those looking for larger solar gutter lights, mounting poles, and brighter illumination, the InnoGear Store 2-Pack is our top choice for the best light with mounting poles. This product is 3 times larger than other lights with a 2600mAh solar power capacity, which means it can absorb more sunshine than other lights even if it is not in direct sunlight. It has 80 bright LEDs and can produce over 450 lumens.

This light is unique because of its aluminum mounting poles, which can be installed quickly and easily to extend from the gutter or wall. It is made of IP 65 waterproof technology and has two layers of the hermetically-sealed internal loop, making it durable in any weather conditions. The lights also use a motion sensor that can detect people within 26 feet.

The InnoGear solar gutter lights have 4 working modes: ¼ brightness, ½ brightness, dim mode to full brightness when it detects motion, and maximum brightness when motion is detected.

4. InnoGear 24 LED 4-Pack

With 24 LEDs, a sensitive motion sensor, and easy installation, the InnoGear 4-Pack provides powerful illumination for a wider area. It does not require any wires or adapters and can be mounted easily with 2 keyholes in the back to hang on or off screws.

Made with high-strength ABS material, this rectangular-shaped solar light has a waterproof level of IP 65, giving it a longer lifespan even in harsh weather. It is a durable choice for outdoor lighting.

The motion sensor on this light detects up to 16 feet around. It stays dim in the dark but goes to full brightness when activated. It has a simple on/off switch, keeping its operation hassle-free.

5. iSunMoon Store 9m LED 6-Pack

This 6-pack of LED solar lights from iSunMoon Store have larger solar panels, four different installation methods, and great price value. They are lightweight and smaller than other solar lamps, making it easier to mount on your gutter and illuminate smaller areas.

Depending on weather conditions, it has an average run time of up to 8 hours, and automatically turns on at dusk to illuminate the night and turns off at dawn to charge. It takes between 6-8 hours for the light to be fully recharged.

The iSunMoon solar gutter light can be fixed to a wall or pathway in 2 ways with a single bracket. It can also be clipped to a fence or gutter using 2 adjustable brackets. With a waterproof level of IP 55, this product can withstand most weather conditions.

6. DBF Store 6-Pack

This new generation of gutter lights from DBF includes higher brightness, 9 LED chips, and longer working time. It has a built-in 1500mAh rechargeable battery and uses a highly efficient solar panel that will light up for more than 8 hours when fully charged. It has a light sensor, so it will automatically turn on and off on its own.

These creatively designed solar gutter lights are durable in various weather conditions. It is made of ABS and IP 55 waterproof material, making it perfect for outdoor use. It comes in black or white to match your porch, yard, or house color scheme. These solar-powered lights come with a 12-month warranty to ensure quality.

7. ROSHWEY 4-Pack

The ROSHWEY 4-pack of solar gutter lights are easily adjustable, have a built-in light sensor, and use 18 LEDs for increased brightness. They are easy to install on the wall outdoors using the long bracket and screws, or you can combine 2 brackets to clip it onto fences or gutters.

The solar panel is 5.7 x 2.3 inches, making it larger than other solar lights, and has a conversion rate up to 18%, reducing charge time when placed in direct sunlight. When fully charged, the lights can stay illuminated for up to 10 hours. These highly-efficient solar lights are also made of IP 55 waterproof material that protects it from rain and snow.

8. CREATIVE DESIGN 2-Pack

This 2-pack of solar lights from CREATIVE DESIGN has 46 bright LEDs, is easy to install, and contains a larger solar panel. There are 34 LEDs on the front and 6 LEDs on each side, producing over 500 lumens to provide wider illumination on your porch, driveway, or pathways. It is easy to install using the included mounting poles to get maximum solar energy.

These lights are made of ABS and IP 65 waterproof material, meaning it is water-resistant and heatproof. It also comes with a sensitive motion sensor with a sensing angle of 120 degrees. The solar panel is larger and comes with a built-in 2600mAh Li-ion battery to speed up charging time and offer longer working times.

9. Hoshine 2-Pack

This environmentally-friendly 2-pack of solar gutter lights boasts 12 hours of working time with each full charge, an 80 x 80cm solar panel, and 6 LEDs. It has 3 lighting modes: dark, dim, and bright, and can sense motion up to 26 feet using a Passive Infrared (PIR) core.

The Hoshine solar lights require up to 4.5 hours to fully charge and are made of reliable aluminum and plastic material. With 6 LEDs, it can produce up to 200 lumens.

These durable solar lights stay on eco mode during the night and turn on during the evening and off at dawn automatically. These lights are easy to install and can be fixed on porches, walls, eaves, and fences.

10. SUNFACE 6-Pack

The SUNFACE solar deck lights are a beautiful clear amber color with two optional color modes and a highly-efficient solar panel. The panel is made of polysilicon, which converts up to 19.5% of sunlight into energy, ensuring a faster charge and longer working time.

One of the unique highlights of this model is it’s two optional modes. You can either set it to warm white or rotate colors (RGB color) to set the ambiance of your garden or porch. It is IP 65 waterproof and heatproof, meaning it can withstand severe weather conditions. The installation is simple and can be done in less than a minute.

Though it may not be the brightest light, it still illuminates your path and sets a warm tone to your outdoor environment.

11. KJ-KayJI 6-Pack

This long-lasting solar light from KJ-KayJi has a working time of more than 8 hours, emits brighter light with 9 LEDs, and has 4 different installation methods for your convenience. The solar deck lights bracket distance has an adjustable range of 0-50mm, making it suitable to fix on various surfaces. It comes in cool white or warm white to set a different tone for your driveway, porch, or other pathways.

It is not only aesthetically appealing decorative light, but is practical with improved brightness. The larger polycrystalline solar panels absorb more sunlight than old gutter lights. It is IP 55 waterproof and automatically turns on at night and off during the day. It comes with a 30-day return refund and an 18-month warranty, ensuring quality control.

12. Roopure 4-Pack

With 2 intelligent working modes, high photo-sensitivity, and longer working time, the Roopure solar lights are durable and made of high-strength ABS and metal. These motion-activated lights are designed with larger polycrystalline silicon solar panels and a 1500mAh rechargeable battery to last longer throughout the night.

The solar lights have 10 LED ultra-bright chips, which illuminate up to 300 lumens, similar to a floodlight. The longer aluminum mounting pole extends the panel away from the gutter or wall to receive maximum sunshine. It is easy to install with a 120-degree wide-angle for greater brightness. The Roopure solar light is one of the most reliable solar gutter lights out there with a lifespan of more than 3 years.

13. CREATIVE DESIGN Black 2-Pack

The black solar lights from CREATIVE DESIGN are incredibly bright with 80 LEDs that produce 450 lumens, an upgraded solar panel, and 4 working modes. The different modes are dim or bright illumination that stays on throughout the night, or motion-censored dim or bright illumination.

The upgraded solar panel is bigger with 17% efficiency and can decrease battery charging time when placed under direct sunlight. The built-in 2600mAh Li-ion battery allows for a longer working time as well. The solar gutter lights are water-resistant with a waterproof level of IP 65, and are heatproof. It is easy to install with an included aluminum mounting pole.

14. UniqueFire Black 6-Pack

Equipped with 12 high-power LEDs and a new energy management chip, 2 different installation methods, and an advanced solar panel, the UniqueFire solar gutter lights prove to be a high-quality product. The solar panel is one of the most advanced using photoelectric conversion, converting electricity at a 20% higher rate than other solar panels. (3)

This outdoor light emits bright light for up to 8 hours when fully charged and contains a 1500mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery. No wiring is necessary to install it. You can easily fix it onto a wall, deck, gutter, or fence using the provided brackets. This high-quality solar-powered light is smaller but heavy-duty to withstand any weather conditions, ensuring a long lifespan.

15. UniqueFire Warm White Light 6-Pack

The UniqueFire Warm White Lights have 25 upgraded high-powered LEDs, a new energy management chip, and a longer light time using a 1800mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery. (4) The most advanced solar panel technology converts sunlight into energy 20% more than other panels. It turns on and off automatically and is easy to install with brackets on the wall, fence, or gutter.

The lights have a waterproof level of IP 64 and are made of environmentally-friendly ABS material that is designed to endure through bad weather. It has an illuminating angle of 80 degrees and can light up to 10 feet away. The warm light will make your porch or backyard feel cozy, unlike harsher floodlights.

16. Yescom Store 10-Pack

This pack of 10 solar gutter lights from Yescom is priced at an excellent value for the amount you receive. Using the latest improved solar panel technology, this solar light is energy-efficient, long-lasting, and portable. It can stay illuminated for up to 10 hours after being fully charged.

There is an on/off switch that can be used for manual operation, but it also automatically turns on and off in the evening and morning. It is durable with a waterproof level of IP 44, and can be used indoors or outdoors. It is made of 3 LEDs and produces 30 lumens, making it a smaller but still effective light that can be used almost anywhere.

17. Rowrun Store 4-Pack

Built with high-quality crystalline silicon panels, rechargeable solar power, and a unique UFO design, these solar gutter lights from Rowrun come in a pack of 4 at a great price. The efficient solar panel is able to work for 8-10 hours at night after spending 6-8 hours in direct sunlight. It uses photo sensor technology to turn on and off automatically at dusk and dawn. It has 9 LEDs that generate 100 lumens of brightness.

This model is constructed with eco-friendly ABS material, which is heat-resistant. It also has an IP 55 waterproof rating, making it perfect for the outdoors and rainy weather. It is easy to install to the wall or pathway using a single bracket, or you can clip it to the fence or gutter using 2 brackets.

18. ELYXWORK Black 2-Pack

These outdoor security lights are super bright, waterproof, and simple to install. It uses 8 high-output surface mount LEDs that produce 35 lumens of light. It can be used to illuminate pathways, decks, and fences. The ELYXWORK solar lights power on for up to 8 hours when fully charged. When in direct sunlight, it requires between 6-8 hours of charging time.

The solar light is made of durable plastic and has an IP 44 waterproof rating. It is able to withstand all weather conditions and can be used to illuminate porches, balconies, gutters, fences, etc. Screws and brackets are included for easy installation, and it comes with a 1-year product warranty to ensure quality and customer satisfaction.

19. UniqueFire Cool White Light 6-Pack

With longer lighting time, 2 different installation methods, and 9 flood light LEDs, the UniqueFire Cool White Light is both decorative and practical. The 9 LEDs emit stronger light than the previous model to improve safety for people and property and generates 100 lumens for improved brightness.

It uses a 1500mAh rechargeable Ni-MH battery to keep the light running for up to 8 hours after being fully charged. It only charges when it is in “ON” mode, and a full charge may take 1-2 days.

These solar gutter lights are made from high-quality, eco-friendly ABS material and has an IP 55 waterproof rating. It has 2 convenient installation methods using brackets and screws with no wiring required.

20. GMFive 6-Pack

This 6-pack of solar gutter lights from GMFive are small and portable, eco-friendly, and bright. They’re designed to be attached to garden fences and gutters for increased visibility, and each one has 3 LEDs that produce 20 lumens. Typically, to charge these solar gutter lights it takes around 4.5 hours, and from there they can stay illuminated for up to 9 hours.

The 60 x 60mm solar panel is made of monocrystalline silicon and uses a 1200mAh Ni-MH rechargeable battery to store energy. The light is mainly made of acrylic and alloy material. It comes with a mounting bracket and an expansion pillar-hinge to make it easier to attach to gutters or fences. It may not be the most durable in harsh weather, but it provides adequate light when you need it.

21. Portfolio Solar Gutter Light

The Portfolio Solar Gutter Light is ideal for illuminating pathways and patio spaces. It is environmentally friendly, uses photocell control to turn on and off at dusk and dawn automatically, and has a long working time after being fully charged. It is heavier than other lights at 1 pound, but its illumination covers a wide area.

This solar gutter light model produces 20 lumens and can run for up to 8 hours in the night. As an outdoor accent lamp, it is made of plastic and can be mounted on gutters easily to receive the most light and provide just the amount of light you need to keep you and your property safe.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 7 Tips – How to Buy one of the Best Solar Gutter Lights of the Year)

1. Look for more lumens (aka: extra brightness)

Lumen counts measure the levels of brightness in a lightbulb or LED. (5) The more lumens there are, the more light you get. Depending on your preference, you may want a solar gutter light with a higher lumen count–and therefore more brightness–or a lower count to set the ambiance of your space.

2. Look for more LEDs

Similar to most solar lighting equipment like outdoor solar lanterns, in the case of solar gutter lights – the more LEDs, the better! A higher LED count produces more lumens to illuminate a larger area. Because they don’t use as much energy as traditional fluorescent lighting, LEDs can carry more power and produce more light without using up all of the solar energy. (6)

Think of them as little efficient light bulbs. When there are more of them, they collectively create a brighter environment. If you are looking to illuminate a larger space, more LEDs will help provide the light you need.

3. Look for extra-durable materials

Materials such as ABS and aluminum make up most solar gutter lights because they can withstand most weather conditions. They are also cheaper to use while still making your solar gutter lights durable and attractive. Look for high-quality materials with a high waterproof rating and material reliability to ensure they last for a long time. (7)

4. Look for an extra-large battery capacity

Solar gutter lights use 4 types of batteries: lead-acid, NiCAD, NiMH, and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. Li-ion is often the popular choice overall because of its fast-charging rate and higher capacity. (8)

However, a quick charge doesn’t mean much if your solar gutter lights can’t hold much power at one time. When buying a solar gutter light, you want an extra-large battery capacity so it can store more energy and lead to longer working times at night.

5. Look for multi-packs that include more units

Most people aren’t usually in the market for just one solar gutter light, so buying multi-packs is a great way to get more for your money. You can get many high-quality solar gutter lights for a fair price, and it is often cheaper buying them in packs rather than individually.

6. Look for models with multiple installation methods

Installing conventional lights in your backyard can be tiresome, especially if there is only one way to mount them. Multiple installation methods are much more convenient when trying to attach your solar light in different places.

Look for solar gutter lights that come with mounting brackets and screws so you can easily fix it on a wall or clip it to a fence or gutter. Lights that come with mounting poles are also another excellent installation option to consider.

7. Find the best deal for you

Ultimately, whether you’re shopping for the best solar flagpole light, best solar gutter light, or any other new solar lighting for your home, or area in need, to find the best deal – it needs to meet your unique needs. Consider factors such as how much you are willing to pay, the number of solar gutter lights you need, shipping costs and speed, and the area you want to illuminate while looking for the best deal for you.

The Bottom Line: Should you Buy one of the Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020 Today?

Now that you’ve seen our in-depth guide to the best solar gutter lights of the year here at Your Energy Blog, 21 in fact, all that’s left is to choose the model that right for you. If you’re not sure which solar gutter lights to go with, we highly-recommend the Roshwey 6-Pack, our top overall choice.

They’re not only practical but aesthetically pleasing to enhance your outdoor ambiance. Then, they have extra-large 1600mAh rechargeable batteries, which allows them to store more energy than your average unit. In addition, they’re easy to install pretty much anywhere and prove to be sturdy over time.

With their above-average durability, high-quality construction, and excellent price – these solar gutter lights have everything you look for in our books.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/big-savings-outdoor-lighting#:~:text=Outdoor%20solar%20lighting%20is%20an,to%20light%20around%20your%20home.&text=It%20uses%20the%20solar%20cells,have%20little%20or%20no%20maintenance.
  2. https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php#:~:text=IP65%20Enclosure%20%2D%20IP%20rated%20as,or%20powerful%20jets%20of%20water.&text=IP%2068%20Enclosures%20%2D%20IP%20rated,complete%2C%20continuous%20submersion%20in%20water.
  3. https://www.nrel.gov/research/re-photovoltaics.html
  4. https://www.industrytap.com/new-solar-energy-chips-100-times-more-efficient/2874
  5. https://www.lumens.com/how-tos-and-advice/light-bulb-facts.html
  6. https://www.sepco-solarlighting.com/blog/bid/131928/Why-Solar-Power-and-LED-Lighting-Makes-a-Perfect-Combination
  7. https://www.outdoorlights.com/dc-metro/resources/blog/2018/december/choosing-the-best-material-for-your-outdoor-ligh/
  8. https://www.buyabattery.co.uk/blog/top-tips-garden-solar-light-batteries/

The post Best Solar Gutter Lights of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Let your friends know too:
Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best RV Solar Kit of 2020

Best RV solar panel kit: top-rated reviews

Did you know that the cost of a full solar setup continues to fall every year? (1) However, RV solar kits come in all different sizes and functions, and they’re much cheaper than a full solar setup. If you’re stuck wondering which is the best RV solar kit for you, our guide should be able to provide you some excellent ideas, tips, and tricks for making your decision.

Quick Comparison of Our Top 17 Picks (for Those in a Hurry)

Don’t have time to read the whole article? Check out our quick comparisons of our top picks below:

  1. ACOPOWER 500W Kit (Best Overall): This kit is our best overall because it’s sturdy, beginner-friendly, and easily expandable, and not to mention well-priced.
  2. Renogy 100W Kit With 30A PWM Controller (Budget Pick): This kit is our best budget pick because it’s accessible, inexpensive, and a fantastic bang for your buck. 
  3. WindyNation 400W Kit (Best With Inverter + Battery): This kit is our best kit with an inverter and battery because it comes with everything you need to get started coupled with impressive power output.
  4. ECO-WORTHY 1400W Wind Solar Power Kit (Best Wind Solar Kit): This is our best wind and solar kit because it’s adaptable to nearly all weather types, easy to install, and comes with almost everything you need to get started. 
  5. Renogy 800W Kit (Best Luxury Kit): This is our best luxury solar kit because it’s very efficient, BlueTooth-capable, and incredibly high-quality (with a price to match).
  6. SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Kit: This is a slightly-larger budget kit with excellent customer service, an impressive warranty, and high-quality panels.
  7. ECO-WORTHY 120W Kit: This budget kit comes with a generous amount of wires and brackets, one powerful panel, and a rock-bottom price. 
  8. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery: This kit is inexpensive, small, and ready to install immediately at the cost of some modern amenities.
  9. XINPUGUANG 600W Kit Flexible Solar Panel Kit: This flexible solar panel kit is effortless to install, surprisingly durable, and extremely lightweight. 
  10. Renogy 200W Kit With 30A PWM Controller: This 200W kit doesn’t stand out from the competition, but it’s dependable and full of the quality you’d expect from Renogy.
  11. WindyNation 400W Kit With 400ah AGM Battery: This WindyNation kit is ready to install, and while it doesn’t come with an inverter, it has a convenient LCD screen for easy readouts.
  12. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery And Inverter: This 200W WindyNation kit does come with an inverter, and while the power output is a bit low, it’s ready to install and use instantly.
  13. Renogy 400W Kit: This Renogy kit is dependable and high-quality, and while it seems to be missing some pieces you’d expect, it does come with an optional Bluetooth connection.
  14. ECO-WORTHY 800W Complete Kit: This complete kit from ECO-WORTHY comes with a unique two-in-one inverter and controller, which can be great for portability, and it has excellent space-saving prospects.
  15. ECO-WORTHY 200W Kit: This small kit from ECO-WORTHY doesn’t have the most outstanding expandability, but it’s both affordable and surprisingly high-quality. 
  16. TP-solar 100W Foldable Kit: This foldable kit from TP-solar isn’t designed to power an entire RV, but it’s incredibly portable and great for small peripheral devices. 
  17. Renogy 200W Foldable Kit: This foldable kit from Renogy is excellent if you don’t want to install a permanent solar kit, but in exchange, it’s heavy and a bit pricey. 

RV Solar Kit Reviews

Here, you’ll find our comprehensive RV solar kit reviews, with all our top picks on the market today. While we fully endorse all of them, we’ve done our best to rank them accordingly to further aid your search starting with our best overall choice, the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Let’s take a closer look.

1. ACOPOWER 500W Kit (Best Overall)

The ACOPOWER 500W Kit is our best overall pick for many reasons. First, because it’s sturdy, easy to assemble, and even more potent than the rating implies. Then, this MPPT-controlled kit comes with everything you need to get started, including a full five panels, a solar charge controller, and all the mounting gear and cables you could need.

Not only does it work with virtually any type of battery, but you can connect the panels in parallel or in series, too. This makes it extraordinarily expandable, and customizable over time. For those looking to buy the best solar kit for RVs of the year, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit.

2. Renogy 100W Kit With 30A PWM Controller (Budget Pick)

If you’re looking for an inexpensive solar panel kit to get your feet wet, our budget pick from Renogy might be perfect for you. It includes everything you need except a battery.

This PWM-powered kit also comes with a monocrystalline solar panel, making it one of the most efficient on our list! According to the manufacturer, this kit can reach conversion rates of up to 21%, making you get a lot of bang for your buck. All this is incredibly impressive considering the kit’s already-low price. You can’t help but feel accomplished after spending your money so wisely.

3. WindyNation 400W Kit (Best With Inverter + Battery)

While most of the kits on this list don’t come with an included battery, this kit from WindyNation does. This 400W kit comes with four batteries and a compatible inverter, making this the best RV solar kit with an inverter and battery on this list, and not to mention one of the most ready-to-build kits, too.

While the extra batteries that come with this kit make it a bit pricey, you might end up saving a bit of money by purchasing everything in a bundle instead of a la carte. In any case, if you’re looking for something easy to set up and ready to go, this is an excellent option.

4. ECO-WORTHY 1400W Wind Solar Power Kit (Best Wind Solar Kit)

This solar panel kit from ECO-WORTHY stands out to us because it also includes a wind turbine. It’s incredibly easy to wire this turbine into the solar equipment, and it helps by providing a bit of extra supplementary power on the cloudiest days.

Not only is this the best wind solar kit on our list, but it comes with a one-year warranty as well, meaning you get a full 365 days to settle into the off-grid life risk-free. Unfortunately, the wind turbine itself is a bit difficult to turn except in very windy conditions, but in our opinion, having one is much better than not!

5. Renogy 800W Kit (Best Luxury Kit)

Renogy is a large, trusted name in solar panels, making this kit the best luxury kit on our list. You can trust that this set will perform, as it’s made from high-efficiency monocrystalline panels, and it comes with one of the most complete, fool-proof kits on this list (not counting an inverter and batteries). It even comes with a BlueTooth-enabled module that lets you connect your system to the Renogy app!

Unfortunately, this kit does not come with assembly or wiring instructions, and Renogy is unlikely to send you any, either, so this may be a better set for solar experts rather than beginners. However, if you’re up to the challenge, this high-quality kit will not disappoint.

6. SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Kit

This solar kit from SUNGOLDPOWER is a slightly larger budget kit that’s great for beginners. While it only comes with two panels, a power controller, mounting brackets, and other wires and connectors, it does come with a great warranty – the panels themselves come with a 25-year warranty. In contrast, the other components are only protected for a year.

This warranty on the panels is especially nice because they’re high-quality and efficient monocrystalline panels. Additionally, SUNGOLDPOWER customer support is impressively responsive and helpful – it’s always more pleasant to work with a friendly, quality company.

7. ECO-WORTHY 120W Kit

This 120W kit from ECO-WORTHY is small and relatively modest in terms of power output, but it’s modestly priced to go along with that. This kit comes with a single panel, a PWM controller, brackets, and connectors.

Despite being relatively small and inexpensive, the solar panel is powerful and may even outperform similar models. The kit comes with a surprising amount of brackets and connection material, too – more than generous enough for a basic, single-panel setup.

8. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery

This smaller kit from WindyNation is similar to the #3 kit we looked at before but on a slightly smaller scale. This kit is less expensive, but at the cost of fewer panels, an older PWM controller, and no inverter.

However, you can’t deny the benefits of buying (almost) everything you need all at once in a single kit, and WindyNation corners that area of the market. Unfortunately, since this unit is a bit older, the controller’s usage directions are outdated, but it still functions as it should otherwise.

9. XINPUGUANG 600W Kit Flexible Solar Panel Kit

This solar panel kit from XINPUGUANG is unique because it comes with the first flexible panel to grace our list. Flexible panels like these are some of the easiest to install out of all of the solar panel types – no brackets needed.

The 600W solar kit comes with six flexible monocrystalline panels, connectors, cables, and a controller. However, our favorite about these panels is their weight – according to the manufacturer, they weigh 80% less than glass panels.

10. Renogy 200W Kit With 30A PWM Controller

This 200W kit from Renogy is an excellent mid-tier set for those who want to get started with solar, but want a bit more than a single-panel set.

Unfortunately, the two panels that come with this set don’t seem like enough to justify the price. The controller is a bit strange, as well, since it doesn’t show voltage or current. However, you can trust that they will be efficient, high-quality panels since they’re from Renogy.

11. WindyNation 400W Kit With 400ah AGM Battery

This kit from WindyNation is another expensive turn-key kit, but you get everything you need to get started immediately for the price. The only thing to keep in mind is that this kit doesn’t come with an inverter, so it won’t work for any items or appliances that require AC instead of DC power.

That aside, this is a surprisingly lovely kit, and it’s simple, easy to get working, and very dependable. This kit also has a controller with an easy-read LCD screen. This is a nice departure from previous screenless models, making it easy to read and interpret what’s going on with your solar setup.

12. WindyNation 200W Kit With 200ah Battery And Inverter

This kit is almost the same as #8, the 200W kit we looked at earlier, but this one comes with a bonus inverter instead of just the plug-and-play kit. The inverter alone almost doubles this kit’s price, so if you already have an inverter or would like to buy a cheaper one separately, this upgrade is unnecessary.

While this kit is excellent overall, keep in mind that it doesn’t come with fuses. If you want to add fuses to your installation, you’ll need to purchase them separately – this isn’t indicated anywhere in the product’s description.

13. Renogy 400W Kit

This 400W solar kit from Renogy is an expensive, high-efficiency version of the previous Renogy kits we’ve seen so far. This unit also comes with an optional Bluetooth module that can let you connect to the Renogy app, making this a very “smart” kit.

While the Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, the Renogy app itself sometimes experiences issues, which can be very frustrating – we wouldn’t recommend any plans to depend on the app for setup or diagnostics. However, while lacking fuses and flanges, the kit itself is of the quality you can expect from Renogy.

14. ECO-WORTHY 800W Complete Kit

This complete solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is slightly different from the others in that it comes with a unique feature: an all-in-one (or, more accurately, two-in-one) inverter-controller. By combining the inverter and controller into one unit, you save a bit on space, but it may be harder to access the controller if you store it somewhere out of the way.

Unfortunately, because of its unique nature, this kit is a bit more challenging to set up than its cousins, but if you have the required expertise, it definitely has potential.

15. ECO-WORTHY 200W Kit

This solar kit from ECO-WORTHY is a two-panel kit that comes with everything you need to get started. While it’s a bit limited in terms of power and expandability – if you want to add more solar panels, you’ll need to upgrade the controller, for example – it’s dependable and consistent.

Unfortunately, the manual that comes with this kit is a bit vague – it’s not conducive to setting up for novices and beginners. However, if you have a little patience or know-how, it’s likely this kit will not let you down.

16. TP-solar 100W Foldable Kit

This is the first (and only) kit from TP-solar we’ve seen on this list, and there are a few reasons for that. For one, this solar kit is not designed to power an entire RV. While it’s portable and quick to assemble, it’s designed to charge a single battery or a few electronics, not a full camper.

However, if your solar needs are low, this kit is relatively cheap for such a portable product, and it doubles as a compact unit that you can take hiking or camping.

17. Renogy 200W Foldable Kit

This surprising foldable kit from Renogy is slightly different from the other offerings from them so far. As the name says, this unit is foldable and portable, so it’s designed to be placed on the ground, on a pole, or on another surface outside your RV when you need it. Then, when you travel, you can bring it back inside again.

Overall, this solar kit is excellent, but with a few caveats. Firstly, you get less power for the price than you do with permanent panels, and secondly, it’s a bit cumbersome.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 8 Tips – How to Choose the Best RV Solar Kit for You)

Still having trouble narrowing down which is the best RV solar kit for you? We recommend starting by answering these eight questions.

1. Calculate Your RV’s Solar Needs

Before you even consider buying a solar panel (or multiple panels), you should figure out how much power your RV needs every day. Calculating your energy needs will give you a better idea of your solar setup’s final price before you even purchase it. If you draw a lot of electricity, for example, you may need more batteries and more panels than someone who mostly relies on propane.

If you want a precise number, you should look for the wattage draw of all of the appliances you keep in your RV. Then, you can consider switching to equipment with lower energy demands like a solar-powered refrigerator if you want to bring your total wattage draw down.

However, if you’re okay with a quick-and-dirty (and not always exact) estimation for your current equipment, a RV Solar Calculator works in a pinch. (2) Solar calculators like these, for RVs or otherwise, are located all over the web, so don’t be afraid to compare tools and use the one that works best for you.

2. Know the Three Main Types of Solar Kits Available

Not all solar kits are created equal. This is especially true for RVs, which differ significantly in size and power production. Aside from size and the number of batteries you have on hand, though, the type of photovoltaic cells in your solar panels can affect things like their power and price, too.

Amorphous

Amorphous solar panels are a newer photovoltaic technology. An amorphous solar panel is made up of several silicon crystals in a very thin layer. Since these solar panels stick flush against the roof of your RV, they’re sometimes less susceptible to damage, but they tend to wear out faster, too. Amorphous solar panels are more portable but slightly less efficient than the other types.

Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient variety of solar panels, but they tend to be the most expensive, too. As the name suggests, the cells in these panels are made up of a single crystal instead of several. Monocrystalline solar panels do exceptionally well in low-light conditions.

Polycrystalline

As you might have guessed, polycrystalline solar panels are similar to monocrystalline panels, except they’re composed of multiple crystals instead of a single one in each cell. Because it’s easier to create polycrystalline solar panels, they tend to be cheaper than their monocrystalline counterparts, but they’re a bit less efficient, too.

3. Consider the Mounting of Your RV Solar Kit

The decision of where to mount your solar panels is relatively easy for a stationary house. Where would they get the most sunlight exposure? However, this isn’t the case for RVs, since you might catch different amounts of sunlight depending on your location and the time of ear. Other factors can come into play, too, like the shape and height of your RV.

Stationary RV Solar Kit

Stationary RV solar kits are designed to attach to your RV, then never be moved again (or as little as possible). They’re a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of kit.

The benefits of a stationary RV solar kit are obvious. You don’t need to set it up each time you go to a new location, and it can even charge your batteries when you’re on the road. However, this also means that you need to take extra care not to damage them while driving and parking your RV, and you may not be able to reposition them as easily to maximize your sun exposure.

Flexible RV Solar Kit

Flexible solar panels, as their name implies, are not heavy and rigid like other solar panels. (3) These panels are stick-on models that often adhere like tape to your RV rather than needing a complicated installation. While these solar panels are incredibly easy to install, they tend to wear out faster, and they don’t produce as much power.

Foldable RV Solar Kit

Foldable solar panels reach a nice, happy medium between rigid solar panels and flexible panels. These solar kits are mostly rigid, but they’re designed to fold in one or more places along the panel. This makes them much easier to store and transport, so they make excellent “temporary” solar panels that sit on the ground or on a stand instead of being attached to your RV permanently.

Wind + Solar RV Kit

As you might already expect, wind and solar RV kits combine the benefits of solar panels with the help of an energy-generating wind turbine. Wind and solar combination kits give you a bit more flexibility since they allow you to continue generating electricity on windy, cloudy days.

4. When in Doubt, Oversize > Undersize (for Wattage, and Battery)

As wonderful as solar panels are, we still haven’t reached the technological level where they can be 100% efficient. Today, most common solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, while the very best can reach slightly upwards of that. (4) In other words, that means only about 15-20% of the energy your solar panels absorb gets successfully converted into electricity.

As such, if you’re stuck deciding whether to undersize your solar panels or oversize them, it’s always best to oversize. Unless your RV is permanently parked in one of the sunniest areas of the world, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to collect more power than you need. (This is where oversizing your batteries comes in, too.)

By overshooting your wattage and battery needs slightly, you’re much more likely to hit your projected energy needs.

5. Consider the Expandability of Your Solar Kit

An RV solar kit (which we’re assuming, in this case, is off-grid) is made up of two main components: the solar panels and the batteries. As you know, the solar panels collect energy from the sun, and the batteries store that energy. However, before that energy is stored, your controller needs to feed it to the batteries properly.

The capacity of your controller limits the size of your RV solar kit. No matter how fast your solar panels absorb power if your controller can’t direct the energy that quickly, the extra will end up wasted. As such, if you envision having more solar panels in the future, you may want to consider whether your current controller can handle that burden.

6. Consider What Kind of Solar Charge Controller You Want

The solar charge controller is an integral part of your RV solar system that shouldn’t be overlooked. The primary function of a solar charge controller is to monitor your batteries and control how much power goes to them at any given time. For instance, when your batteries hit a full charge, they shouldn’t receive any more electricity; not only is this dangerous, but it’ll wear them out much faster, too. (5)

Solar charge controllers come in two main types: MPPT, which is a newer and more advanced protocol, and PWM, which is older and more basic. We’ll go over the benefits of each of these protocols below.

MPPT (New)

MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, is a variable protocol that runs your solar panel at its maximum voltage, then converts that maximum voltage down to precisely what your batteries can accept. While MPPT controllers are more expensive and complicated, they’re compatible with a broader range of panels and batteries.

PWM (Old)

PWM protocol, while simpler and gentler than MPPT protocol, isn’t as efficient as its newer cousin. Because PWM controllers don’t convert the resulting voltage, your solar panel and batteries must be compatible if you want them both to work at their maximum capacities. (6)

7. Look for Bonus Features That Excite You

This one is pretty self-explanatory: which cool features would you most like to see in your RV’s solar kit? If you research by reading RV solar kit reviews, you’ll learn a lot about portability, durability, cost, and other aspects of owning an RV solar kit, but you may miss out on some of the more fun things.

You don’t need to splurge for every bonus feature in your solar kit, especially if these features make your final price too high. However, it’s a good idea to at least use them to narrow your search. For example, some of our favorite bonus features from this guide include:

  • An included wind turbine for extra power
  • Batteries included
  • The ability to run the kit parallel or in series
  • Bluetooth compatibility for in-app control
  • Long-term and transferable warranties
  • Friendly and helpful customer support
  • Flexible or foldable panels
  • Controllers with status displays for easy troubleshooting
  • Plug-and-play capability (i.e., you can install it and use it instantly)
  • All-in-one vs. separate controllers and inverters

8. Find the Top Deal for You

Finally, we’ve come to the most crucial part: the price of your RV solar kit. While picking and choosing based on size and features is all well and good, if you can’t afford it in the end, you’ll get nowhere. Make sure to consider the long-term price of the kit, sales and tax incentives, and any energy savings you might receive, too. (7)

Warranty

Your RV solar kit’s warranty can factor into the total long-term price if you end up running into durability trouble. The size, quality, and type of solar panel kit you buy will help determine the warranty that comes with it, but you may also be able to purchase an extended warranty if you so choose.

Limited Time Deals

Limited-time deals are great for getting high-quality solar kits for rock-bottom prices. While these deals can vary throughout the year, one of the best times to purchase solar panels is, surprisingly, during the winter. Since many people decide to buy solar panels in the spring and summer, the winter season can be slow, which means better deals and incentives for you. (8)

Final Price

Don’t forget about special discounts, like tax incentives, when purchasing solar panels for RVs because they can have a significant impact on the overall final price you pay. The Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, for example, was put into effect in 2006 and exists to this day. In 2019, this tax credit covered up to 30% of your solar purchase, while it fell to 26% in 2020. The tax credit is projected to fall again to 22% in 2021. (9)

FAQ

Do you still have questions about purchasing an RV solar kit? If so, no worries! Here are the most popular frequently asked questions to know before buying one to further aid your search.

Are Solar Panels for an RV Worth It?

Solar panels can absolutely be worth it for an RV. While they have a high upfront cost, solar panels are especially well-suited to RVs because of their off-grid capabilities. RVs pair exceptionally well with solar panels because of the limited amount of power that they use, too.

Not only can solar panels save you money on electricity, but they allow you to experience more off-grid camping locations, too. In our opinion, that makes them worth it for the lifestyle advantage alone.

Can I Run My RV AC With Solar Power?

While the technical answer to the above question is yes, air conditioners use a lot of electricity. It would require lots of solar panels and batteries to run your RV AC on solar power alone. However, there are many other options for you to consider, too, such as fans, evaporative coolers, and even propane-powered air conditioners.

What Is the Best RV Solar Kit?

While the best RV solar kit for you can differ depending on your needs, we think the best one is the ACOPOWER 500W Kit. Not only is this kit affordable, expansive, and sturdy, but it’s easy for beginners to work with, too, making it great for just about anyone.

The Bottom Line: What Is the Best RV Solar Panel Kit to Buy Today?

The technological landscape for photovoltaic power is continuously changing and improving. As such, the best RV solar kit might be different tomorrow than it is today. However, if you were to purchase one today, we highly-recommend the ACOPOWER 500W Kit, our top overall choice of the year.

In our books, here at Your Energy Blog, not only does this kit come with everything you need to get started, but it’s not just a single-panel kit, either – this kit comes with five full panels to get you going. While it doesn’t come with batteries, it’s an impressive (and savvy) purchase for beginners and experts alike.

  1. https://news.energysage.com/solar-panel-efficiency-cost-over-time/
  2. https://www.thedrive.com/reviews/28074/best-rv-solar-panels-and-kits
  3. https://us.sunpower.com/flexible-solar-panels
  4. https://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/
  5. https://www.wholesalesolar.com/charge-controllers
  6. https://www.solacity.com/mppt-vs-pwm-charge-controllers-whats-difference/
  7. https://news.energysage.com/much-solar-panels-save/
  8. https://news.energysage.com/top-5-reasons-to-shop-for-solar-in-the-winter/
  9. https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc

The post Best RV Solar Kit of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

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Best Solar Pool Cover of 2020

Best solar pool covers: top-rated reviews

As any pool owner knows, it can cost a small fortune to heat the water. Using the right solar pool cover can save you up to 70% on heating costs by absorbing solar energy and blocking evaporation (1). Here, we’re going to go over the best solar pool cover options available today.

Quick Comparison of our Top 15 Best Solar Pool Covers (For Those in a Rush)

  1. Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall): Our overall top favorite pick, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round combines versatility and ease of use to heat your pool efficiently.
  2. Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick): A thin, light cover that works well in warm weather, the Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval is our top choice for pool owners on a budget.
  3. Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick): Our favorite pick for lightweight cover is thin enough to move and use with ease, yet thick enough to insulate most sized pools while preventing evaporation.
  4. Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable): It’s thick size, robust design, and long warranty period make the Leisure 24′ Round our top choice for the most durable solar cover.
  5. Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools): If you have an in-ground pool, we recommend the Sun2Solar 20’X40’ thanks to its large size, heavyweight thickness, and versatility.
  6. Blue Wave NS520 16’x32’: This cover is clear, offering quick and efficient heating, with a large size and medium thickness that can insulate in even colder weather.
  7. In The Swim 24’ Round: This thin, lightweight cover is easy to shape to any pool while offering plenty of insulation, yet durable enough to hold up against regular use. 
  8. Sun2Solar 16’x32’: A medium-weight solar cover, this model gives you a great value option, offers superior insulation, and can be trimmed to fit any pool shape.
  9. Blue Wave NS525 18’x36’: Fast-acting and efficient, this medium-weight pool cover is able to heat water drastically. 
  10. Sun2Solar 25’x50’: This oversize pool cover is ideal for both rectangular and irregularly shaped pools, easy to set up, and is thick enough to provide plenty of insulation.
  11. Intex Solar Cover 18’: This lightweight, efficient pool cover comes with its own carrying bag for easy portability.
  12. Blue Wave NS500 18’x33’: This clear, oval-shaped cover is a medium weight, making it efficient yet easy to set up. 
  13. Sun2Solar 30’x50’: This large, rectangular, medium-weight solar cover can be trimmed to fit most pools and is a breeze to set up. 
  14. Blue Wave NS131 36’: This large, circular pool cover is made of durable material that’s lightweight yet effective at raising your pool’s base temperature. 
  15. Intex Solar Cover 15’: This thin yet effective solar cover offers a simple set up, fits snugly, and is easy to carry around with you. 

Solar Pool Cover Reviews

With so many options to choose from, it can be tough to choose the right solar cover for your pool. We’re here to help you decide with our top 15 picks for the best solar pool cover of 2020.

1. Sun2Solar 33’ Round (Best Overall)

Our choice for the best overall solar pool cover is this model from Sun2Solar. It can fit round pools up to 33’ in diameter, and the material is easy to trim to size for smaller pools without voiding the warranty (2).

This solar cover comes in both clear and blue depending on your heating needs, and it’s 16-mil thick for superior insulation. The cover can prevent up to 95% of evaporation.

The Sun2Solar 33’ Round includes a free six-pack of grommets, making it easy to set up and remove the cover without any assistance. The grommets can also help hold the cover in place when it gets windy out.

2. Intex Solar Cover 16’ Oval (Budget Pick)

This solar cover is our top budget pick because it offers an affordable price tag without sacrificing efficiency or durability. It’s an attractive light blue color to keep your pool looking its best, even when covered.

This Intex solar cover is under 8-mil thick, making it easy to move, set up, and store as needed. A single person can easily cover and uncover the pool in just a few minutes.

This cover works best in warmer temperatures. It can block debris and prevent up to 95% of evaporation, all while heating the water underneath to a comfortable degree.

3. Sun2Solar 24’ Round (Best Lightweight Pick)

This SunSolar cover offers an ideal fit for 24; round pools. If you have a smaller or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the cover to fit. It’s light blue in color, both for aesthetics and to ensure you get the right balance of heat gain and heat retention.

Using this solar cover can help to reduce evaporation by up to 95%, saving you money and keeping your pool warmer for longer.

At 8-mil thickness, this cover is our best lightweight pick. It’s easy to put on and take off of your pool by yourself. It’s ideal for warmer temperatures and can help extend swim season into the cooler parts of spring and fall.

4. Leisure 24’ Round (Most Durable)

This 12-mil solar cover is thick enough for most climates, offering plenty of insulation and tight seals around the edges. It’s designed to fit 24’ pools, though when properly weighted, it can protect smaller pools as well.

The Leisure 24’ Space Age cover raises water an average of 15 degrees on a sunny day. It can also stop up to 95% of evaporation when in use.

This pool cover comes with a 7-year limited warranty and a 2-year full warranty. The manufacturer is confident in its ability to hold up against heavy wear and tear, even year after year.

5. Sun2Solar 20’x40’ (Best for In-Ground Pools)

This rectangular solar cover is ideal for in-ground pools or just about any shape. It’s extra-large 20’X40’ size can be trimmed down as needed without affecting the warranty to fit most in-ground pools, as well as above-ground models.

This cover is 16-mil, making it thicker than many other options. It’s a good choice for insulating pools in cooler climates or during winter weather.

The Sun2Solar 20’X40’ blocks up to 95% of evaporation, especially when sealed tightly around the edges of your pool. It also helps to speed up the heating process so that you don’t have to wait as long to take a dip.

6. Blue Wave NS520 16’x32’

This clear solar blanket allows in the maximum amount of light so that your pool can soak up as many solar rays as possible. It can heat pools more quickly than blue or tinted covers.

The cover fits rectangular 16’X32′ pools and measures 14-mil, which is thick enough to insulate against wind and cold weather without being too heavy. The Blue Wave NS520 can raise your pool’s temperature by up to 15 degrees and prevents up to 95% evaporation.

With this solar cover, you get a six-year limited warranty. It’s thick and durable so that it can withstand months or even years of wear and tear.

7. In The Swim 24’ Round

This lightweight, 8-mil thick cover is a dark blue to help retain heat better. It can raise your pool’s temperature up to 10 degrees with just a week of consistent sunlight.

The cover fits up to a 24’ round pool. Thanks to its thin design, however, it’s easy to cut to shape for smaller pools or those that aren’t round.

In the Swim is confident in their products, using durable materials and a sturdy overall design. They offer a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty for this solar pool cover if it fails due to a defect.

8. Sun2Solar 16’x32’

At 12-mil, this cover runs down the middle of the thickness spectrum. It’s light enough to make it easy to carry and set up, yet thick enough to provide plenty of insulation and block up to 95% of evaporation.

This cover from Sun2Solar is designed to fit rectangular pools measuring 16’X32’, though it can easily be cut to work with a different shape. Altering the solar cover won’t affect the manufacturer’s warranty.

This solar cover comes in clear or light blue, depending on how quickly you want to warm up your pool and how much heat you want to retain.

9. Blue Wave NS525 18’x36’

This clear solar pool cover warms pools quickly and efficiently, holding the heat under a 14-mil thick sheet. It can raise temperatures around 15 degrees on a sunny day.

The Blue Wave NS525 can prevent up to 95% of evaporation. It fits best on an 18’X36′ pool, either in-ground or above-ground.

This solar pool cover comes with a six-year manufacturer warranty that covers issues such as manufacturer defects. The material is fairly durable and is resistant to both UV light and chemical wear.

10. Sun2Solar 25’x50’

This rectangular pool cover is ideal for 25’X50’ pools. If you have an irregularly shaped in-ground pool, you can easily cut the cover to size without worrying about going against the warranty.

At 16-mil thickness, this solar pool cover makes an efficient insulator. It’s also durable enough to last for years as long as you take care of it properly.

This pool cover comes with a six-pack of grommets to make it easier to keep your pool cover in place. With the grommets, it’s also easier to set up and take down the Sun2Solar cover as needed.

11. Intex Solar Cover 18’

This lightweight pool cover is 12-mil, making it thick enough to insulate water without being too heavy to handle. It fits 18’ round pools, fitting just inside the edge and floating on the surface.

This Intex 18’ Solar Cover can reduce evaporation as much as 95% while warming the area below.

This pool cover is easy to set up and store. It comes with its own reusable carry bag so that when you’re not using it, you can pack it up into a compact space. It will fit easily in just about any closet or car trunk, making it easily portable.

12. Blue Wave NS500 18’x33’

This solar cover is 12-mil to make it a manageable medium weight. It’s thick enough to insulate your pool and raise the temperature up to 15 degrees.

The Blue Wave NS500 has a unique oval shape that fits snugly over 18’X33’ pools. It’s made of clear, weather-resistant plastic for fast and effective heating.

This solar cover can reduce evaporation by up to 95%. It comes with a five-year warranty that covers most manufacturer defects.

13. Sun2Solar 30’x50’

Fitting 30’X50’ rectangular pools, this solar pool cover from Sun2Solar is 12-mil thick to protect and insulate your pool. If you have a circular or irregularly shaped pool, you can trim the oversize sheet to fit your needs.

The solar cover can prevent 95% of evaporation on sunny days while retaining solar heat. It comes in clear or blue, depending on which look you prefer.

A six-pack of grommets is included with the cover to help with placement. The grommets allow you to hold the solar cover in place, even on windy days, and make it easy to remove as needed.

14. Blue Wave NS131 36’

This sleek blue solar cover from Blue Wave is both attractive and functional. It’s made of durable UV-protected polymer that holds up against chemicals and UV wear.

This solar pool cover is super lightweight and 8-mil thick, making it ideal for small, circular pools under 36’ in diameter and warmer climates. It’s easy to maneuver and lift on and off your pool when in use.

Despite its thin profile, this solar pool cover can raise your pool’s temperature by as much as 15 degrees. It also prevents up to 95% of evaporation when on top of your pool.

The Blue Wave NS131 comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

15. Intex Solar Cover 15’

Made for 15’ round pools, this Intex solar pool cover fits just inside the edge to offer a seal against both debris and heat loss. It floats in place, making it easy to set up and remove.

The Intex 15′ Cover can block up to 95% of evaporation while also insulating your pool. It’s 8-mil, making it thin and lightweight yet efficient.

A small storage tote comes free with the solar cover so that you can pack it away when not in use. The bag is compact enough to fit in your closet, attic, or car and is easy for a single person to carry.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Pool Cover for You)

1. Pay attention to your solar pool cover’s “thickness”

You can find solar pool covers available in a wide variety of thickness options. Thickness is typically measured in mil, which is one-thousandth of an inch.

8-mil

In general, the thinnest solar pool covers you can find are around 8-mil thick. These solar covers tend to be more cost-effective than thicker options, but they don’t retain heat as well. They’re best reserved for warmer climates and smaller pools.

12-mil

If you’re looking for something slightly more durable, a 12-mil solar pool cover will generally hold up better than an 8-mil model. These solar covers also insulate better, and they don’t usually cost much more than thinner options.

14-mil

Solar pool covers around 14-mil thick are popular amongst pool owners just about everywhere. They’re thick enough to insulate your average pool in most climates, and they’re fairly affordable considering their effectiveness and longevity.

18-mil

Though you can find thicker specialty solar covers, most standard options top out at 18-mil thick. These solar covers are often pricier than others, but they also offer superior insulation and performance.

2. Look for bonus features that excite you

Many of the best solar pool cover options include bonus features that can improve ease of use or efficiency. There are several things to look for that your solar cover might include:

Storage Bag:

Some solar pool covers come with a storage bag that makes it easy to carry and store them in a single compact location.

Carrying Strap:

If your solar pool cover has a bag, it might also come with a dedicated carrying strap for easy transport.
Weights or Grommets: Included weights or grommets can help keep a pool cover in place by allowing water to flow over the surface.

Clamps or Fasteners:

If you don’t use weights, clamps or fasteners can help to keep a solar cover snugly situated along the edge of a pool.

Side Hangers:

When your solar pool cover isn’t in use, side hangers give you a convenient place to store the cover along the edge of your pool frame.

Cleaner:

It’s important to clean and maintain your solar pool cover to keep it free of algae, mineral deposits, and debris that can impact its effectiveness.

3. Find the top deal for you

One of the most important considerations for many pool owners when shopping for a solar cover is their budget. A model’s cost can tell you more about the product than you might think.

Warranty

If a brand gives their product a long warranty, it’s usually because they have confidence in their wares’ quality. It’s a good idea to look for solar pool covers that offer an extended warranty, as they tend to be of high quality. An extended warranty also allows you to purchase relatively risk-free.

Limited Time Deals

If you’re diligent about checking prices, you’ll find that many big solar pool cover brands have regular sales. If you shop at the right time, you can find popular pool cover models at a fraction of their ticket price. Often, pool covers go on sale when the weather starts to get warm, as they’re in lower demand.

Final Price

The final price of a solar pool cover can give you a fairly good indication of its quality. In general, high-end solar pool covers and well-known brand names will cost more, but they will also perform better and last longer. If possible, it’s best to avoid cheaper solar covers if your area experiences harsher weather, and instead opt for higher-quality options that will be more durable.

FAQ

Do solar pool covers really work?

Yes, definitely! Here’s how: Pool water absorbs around 75% to 85% of solar energy that hits the water, keeping it warm on sunny days without using an electric or gas heater (3). While adding a solar cover can help insulate the pool, an opaque model can block the natural heat from solar rays.

A solar pool cover solves this problem by allowing more energy to reach the water beneath. In addition to trapping heat and preventing evaporation, a solar pool cover will actively heat the water as well, making it a more effective and efficient choice than traditional options (4).

For those with a inground pool looking for a more powerful heating solution than a cover, you check out our solar pool heaters for inground pools reviews for top-rated options with solar panels.

What is the best thickness for a solar pool cover?

The thickness of the solar pool cover that you choose will largely depend on the climate where you live as well as the size of your pool. In general, a thicker 14 to 18 mil solar cover is better, as it provides superior insulation.

What color solar pool cover heats the best?

Believe it or not, the color of your solar cover can have a significant impact on heating (5). If you’re looking for a solar pool cover to heat the water underneath, a transparent cover will allow in the most sunlight. However, it will also allow more heat to escape, unlike a darker color. In general, most people choose light blue to gain a balance between heat gain and heat retention (6).

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Pool Cover to Buy Today?

Now that you’ve seen all of our favorite picks here at Your Energy Blog for the best solar pool cover of 2020, you’re well equipped to decide which one is best for your home. If you’re still on the fence, we highly-recommend our #1 rated option, the Sun2Solar 33’ Round. It’s a versatile choice that can efficiently heat most sized pools while preventing up to 95% of evaporation. For those looking to buy the best solar pool cover of the year today, it’s tough to go wrong with this one.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/swimming-pool-covers
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3BRptuQfzI
  3. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph240/davis2/docs/28038.pdf
  4. https://www.wapa.gov/EnergyServices/Documents/ResDSMguide07.pdf
  5. http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=4010
  6. http://www.csun.edu/~psk17793/S9CP/S9%20color_of_light.htm

The post Best Solar Pool Cover of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best Solar Flagpole Light of 2020

Best solar-powered flagpole light: top-rated reviews

While most homes, buildings, and businesses only display the American flag from sunrise to sunset, the U.S. Flag Code does state that you can keep your flag up through the night if it’s illuminated properly. (1)

Of course, running an electric light through the night can cause energy costs to soar. However, solar power can be an efficient solution. (2) Today, we’re going to take a look at the best solar flagpole lights that let you add some brightness to your yard in a convenient and cost-effective way.

Quick Comparison of Our Top 13 Picks (For Those in a Hurry)

Not everyone has the time to sit and read our entire article: we get that. For those of you who are in a hurry, here’s a quick glance at our top 13 picks for the best solar flagpole lights.

  1. Sunnytech 3rd Gen Black (Best Overall): Our best pick overall, this Sunnytech model delivers the brightest light, excellent solar power absorption, and upgraded electric circuits for longer use.
  2. Sunnytech 3rd Gen White (Budget Pick): The Sunnytech 3rd Gen White model is our budget pick, due to its affordable price coupled with enhanced solar batteries and improved waterproof protection.
  3. Flag Poles and More Flag Pole Kit: A comprehensive package that includes super-bright, LED, solar-powered bulbs, a pro-grade aluminum, and stainless steel mounts, and a nylon American flag, this is our choice for the best clamping flagpole kit.
  4. Solar Light Mart Store Mini 120X: With 160-240 lumens, a high-power, 3,000K warm white bulb, and a specialized magnifier lens, the Solar Light Mart Store Mini is our choice for best light coverage.
  5. Solar Light Mart Store Alpha 180X: Coming in as our choice for best multipurpose lighting, we love that you can choose from high, normal, or low power, along with longer battery life and optimal area coverage for various outdoor lighting needs.
  6. Hoont 20 LED: This Hoont model comes fully equipped with a night sensor, auto on and off settings, and a set of 20 bright LED bulbs.
  7. Solar Illumination FL06: Along with this light being heavy-duty, waterproof, and adjustable, it also comes with a one year warranty and a lifetime of unlimited technical support.
  8. Deneve Store Deluxe: The Deneve Store Deluxe flagpole light offers beautiful illumination, an intense, white color, and a wide range of light coverage.
  9. Totobay 76 LED: This powerful flagpole light comes well-equipped with 11 effective solar panels, a 2,200 mAh capacity rechargeable battery, and a waterproof design for 8 to 10 hours of illumination.
  10. Deneve Store Standard: This elegant ring of lights comes with the choice of a gold or silver ornament spindle, it’s easy to install, and it features an intuitive sensor to turn on automatically when it gets dark.
  11. ZIOTI 128 LED: With a strong set of 128 LED lights, this ZIOTI model is well-suited for most 15 to 25-foot flagpoles, offers 100% coverages, and features 2 brightness modes.
  12. LBell 30 LED: Thanks to a powerful battery, upgraded solar panels, and automatic on/off options, the LBell flagpole light ensures your flag stays lit and highlighted all night long.
  13. LAFEINA 26 LED: 26 LED lights illuminate your flags on 15 to 25-foot flagpoles for nighttime lighting, with waterproof and heatproof specifications.

Solar Flagpole Light Reviews

Now that we’ve highlighted each of our top recommendations, we can move onto our full-fledged best flagpole light reviews. Let’s take a closer look at each of these products so you can make a fully-informed buying decision.

1. Sunnytech 3rd Gen Black (Best Overall)

The Sunnytech 3rd Gen Black flagpole light is our number one choice for best overall. Not only is it easy to use, but it is the brightest flagpole light and the best commercial flagpole light we could find in our research.

Sunnytech has reached new heights with its 3rd generation upgrades. From their solar batteries to their electric circuits and finally, to their bigger and brighter bulbs, seemingly everything about this product has received notable and effective improvements from previous models.

Plus, this flagpole light also redesigned its saucer shape so that it not only delivers better light coverage, but it simply looks nicer on your flag’s pole.

The system is completely waterproof, giving you the confidence that you need to ensure it’ll last a long time. Its longer lifespan will guarantee that you get your money’s worth, while the 1,300-lumen lights surpass dimmer models.

The 4,500mA rechargeable battery offers up to 18 hours of power, depending on light absorption, and it’s suitable for most standard flagpoles.

2. Sunnytech 3rd Gen White (Budget Pick)

In the technology sector, budget is often synonymous with low-quality. That couldn’t be farther from the truth with the Sunnytech 3rd Gen White solar powered flagpole light. This budget pick offers all of the upgrades that the 3rd Gen Black model delivers for a price that doesn’t drain your wallet.

Like its black counterpart, the white model features upgraded saucer design, better light coverage, improved solar batteries and panels, and longer-lasting electrical life. Even the waterproof system provides the same trustworthy care as more expensive models.

With this Sunnytech product, you get 1,300 lumens of light, 20% more light coverage area, and up to 18 hours of power. The elegant shape doesn’t disturb the majestic display of your flag, and the flame-retardant plastic holds up well in the heat.

Thousands of reviewers agree: this light holds up for a long time and is completely user-friendly. We’ve also found that the consensus is that the light isn’t so bright that it disturbs a peaceful night, but it offers a beautiful accent to a yard.

3. Flag Poles and More Flag Pole Light Kit

From Flag Poles and More, we have our choice for the best clamping kit—meaning the kit uses a series of clamps to install the lights and solar panels on the flagpole. This comprehensive setup includes 12 LED bulbs, which offer 72 lumens each for full light coverage.

The rechargeable lithium battery includes 2,000 mAs and offers, on average, 6 to 12 hours of light on a full charge.

This kit is completely adjustable and works for most flagpoles, providing flexibility from 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The stainless steel mounting rings safety and effectively hold the solar lights, while the hose clamps adjust to keep the solar panel in position.

In addition to this well-made, pro-grade cast aluminum light, buyers also receive a 3’x5’ U.S. flag to hang with their system. The manufacturers promise a 25’x6’ cone light projection, giving you ample illumination for flagpoles large or small.

Although this will certainly brighten up any flagpole, we do recommend mounting the system closer to your flag, as the tail-end of the lights won’t have as strong an illumination as the first several feet.

4. Solar Light Mart Store Mini 120X

Perhaps the greatest thing about the Solar Light Mart Store Mini 120X is its light coverage. We ranked this as our favorite for its lighting range because it offers a 45-degree wide angle, a spotlight-type fixture, and a specialized magnifier lens for improved output.

Buyers receive 160 to 240 lumens per light fixture, and with this product, you can purchase multiple light fixtures to suit your specific needs.

The setup includes a black-finished aluminum-framed solar panel that not only looks nice and sleek, but protects your system from damage. The 4-way solar panel rotation allows for movement and adjustments, ensuring your panel is exposed to the most sunlight possible for maximum power absorption.

For those who are not keen on the bright, white light that LED lights typically produce, this product is an excellent alternative. It boasts warm white instead, giving your flag a toned-down display for a softer touch.

You also have access to three brightness levels and a charge that runs from 5 to as long as 15 hours, depending on the seasons and weather. It’s also suitable for flagpoles as narrow as 2 inches and as wide as 5.5 inches with easy adjustments.

5. Solar Light Mart Store Alpha 180X

Although this next option comes from the same manufacturers as the previous choice, we like it for a completely different reason. The Solar Light Mart Store Alpha 180X is an excellent multipurpose light. While many of the options on this list are well-suited only for flagpoles, this one can also be used on your yard, for uplight, and for downlighting.

The rectangular LED lightbox holds 35 bulbs with adjustable settings ranging from 60 to 230 lumens. With a long-lasting lithium battery, it can hold 6 to 12 hours of energy for overnight use.

The 60-degree beam helps this light be so effective and multifunctional, delivering a wide coverage area to effectively light a flag and other outdoor fixtures such as ornamental trees, plants, and pathways.

The product is made using tempered glass and cast iron, making it resistant to water, weather, and extreme temperatures. It truly is robust and long-lasting, making it a worthwhile purchase.

Installation is simple, as it comes with all of the materials you need to fit various pole materials, shapes, and sizes. High-tech yet simple, enjoy the automatic on/off lighting. It does work best when it’s as close as possible to the item it’s illuminating, though.

6. Hoont 20 LED

The Hoont 20 LED flagpole light supports standup flagpoles reaching heights of 25 feet, allowing you to proudly display your flags both day and night. The solar power panel features six slots to absorb energy that delivers up to 8 hours of light.

The Hoont model is great because it’s super easy to install and use. It fits on standard size flagpole spindles, and can be topped off with an ornamental ball of your choosing—note, it does not include the ornament.

We love that you don’t need special tools—or any tools, for that matter—to install this. What we love even more is that it is so durable and can withstand all kinds of temperamental weather. Its small size won’t disrupt your display, but it will in fact highlight it!

7. Solar Illuminations FL06

45 solar LED lights come together to make the Solar Illuminations FL06 flagpole light effective and beautiful. The nature of the two main components—i.e., the light and the solar panel—make this product highly versatile. You can mount them together on a flagpole, or you can set them up side by side on the ground. You can even mount them one over the other on a wall of your choosing.

This set is also super heavy duty, with innovative and reliable weatherproofing and aluminum, metal, and glass materials. The tilt of both the light and the panel is completely adjustable, so you can soak up all the sunlight and get the exact lighting you want and need.

All 45 of these lights illuminate up to 60 to 75 watts (270 lumens) with about 100,000 hours of lifetime use. This is an excellent choice for both permanent and temporary lighting solutions, and it certainly helps that the light’s on and off actions are automatic with the sun’s rising and setting.

8. Deneve Store Deluxe

The Deneve Store Deluxe flagpole light offers a simple solution to an ethical problem. It’s well-suited for your average flagpole, ranging from 15 to 25 feet in height. It also fits poles as narrow as half an inch, broadening its inclusivity.

The long-lasting design is, of course, rechargeable. Or, you can also replace the batteries using AA if you so choose. It’s completely easy to install without the use of any tools or complicated instructions. In fact, all you have to do is thread the light’s hole over your pole’s shaft and tighten using your hands.

This Deneve model also delivers excellent light coverage—up to 20% more than your average flagpole light. The LEDs are considered extra-strength, and reviewers agree it adds a beautiful touch to their flags.

While the set does not include an ornamental ball or a flag, it does boast automatic on/off functionality. So, one convenience makes up for the loss of another. And research on its durability shows that it holds up well in bad weather—even hailstorms.

9. Totobay 76 LED

The 76 LED is the latest, upgraded version of the Totobay model, boasting super bright lights measuring in at a whopping 800 lumens. Even if this brightness seems like overkill to you, you have to option to change between its three different settings to suit your preferences.

The double-sided design offers a top set of 12 LED lights and a bottom set of 64 LED lights for excellent visibility. It also holds 11 solar panels with 2,200 mAh, meaning the rechargeable battery is super powerful and can shine light for as long as 8 to 10 hours.

The outer shell of this light features a waterproof design, so no need to worry about storms and rough weather. The light simply fits over standard flagpoles and even includes a hanging buckle for multipurpose use.

10. Deneve Store Standard

Our second Deneve Store product on our list is their Standard Solar Flagpole Light. This downward facing light sits atop 15 to 25 foot flagpoles to shine down powerful light from above your flag, illuminating it for all to see.

The wide-angled light comes with your choice of a silver or gold ornamental ball. Not only is this nice for design purposes, but it’s a good feature considering most kits don’t come with an ornament.

Although it’s super easy to install this light, the product does come with its own YouTube tutorial that you can use for a little bit of extra help. (3)

The standard model does come with automatic on/off settings, as long as you turn it on initially. From there, it will automatically detect when it’s time to turn on and back off, saving you the hassle of doing it manually.

11. ZIOTI 128 LED

With 128 LED lights and a 2500mAh solar panel, the ZIOTI flagpole light is no joke. This product delivers super bright lights for up to 10 hours at night, completely illuminating your flag for an excellent display.

It’s durable, and it certainly shows. With rave reviews and a promise of 150,000 hours of use, it’s no wonder this is a go-to product. The 12 panels collect energy, and the automatic on/off sensors control your light for you—no need to remember.

Installation is a breeze, and this light works with most standard flagpoles. Even if you run into some trouble, ZIOTI offers 24/7 customer service to fix any issues you might run into.

This light is also multipurpose, meaning you can use it on your flagpole and get a second one for elsewhere in your yard when you decide you love it—and we think you will.

12. LBell 30 LED

The LBell 30 LED solar flagpole light offers a clean and attractive look that pairs nicely with its high-functioning 30 LED lights. The on/off button allows for automatic lighting due to innovative sensors, and the button blends in for a discrete look.

The solar panel is a newer and more effective design, featuring bigger panels and more of them—11, to be exact. This allows the battery to accumulate an effective charge, storing enough energy to last throughout the night.

The pulley assembly system makes it easy to install, including a carabiner to hook your flag right into the top. It’s perfect for a half-inch rod and works well with your choice of ornament.

13. LAFEINA 26 LED

The powerful 26 lights of this LAFEINA model serve their purpose well to illuminate your standup flagpole. It’s incredibly easy to use and install, with no need for complicated tools or directions.

The on/off button can be used manually, but with one touch you can set it to automatically sense the natural outdoor lighting and turn on with the sunset and off with sunrise. Then, it’s energy-efficient LED bulbs shine bright light without affecting your energy bill.

These bright solar lights boast 1,300 lumens, which is five times better than your average solar powered flagpole lights. This provides you with plenty of brightness, and you’ll likely be very satisfied with the final result.

This solar light is made for most standard flagpoles from 15 to 25 feet high, and it fits onto a half-inch thick rod. The wider circumference gives you excellent light coverage, and the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee to top it off.

Buyers’ Guide—Top 7 Tips: How to Choose the Best Solar Flagpole Light for You

If you’ve never bought a flagpole light before, choosing the best one can be a little tricky. After all, every company wants you to buy their product, so they’re going to push the features hard.

A little bit of research goes a long way, but we’ve made it easy on you by gathering all of the things you need to know right in one place. Read on to learn more about solar flagpole lights and what to look for in a high-quality product.

1. The more lumens, the better

When you think about the brightness of a lightbulb, your mind probably jumps straight to watts first. Don’t worry—you’re not alone.

We’re here to tell you that when you’re looking for a high-quality bulb that will provide sufficient lighting for your flag, you should focus on lumens rather than watts.

Watts measure energy, while lumens measure actual light output. So, at its basic definition, lumens measure the brightness of a bulb. (4) And, when it comes to lighting up your flagpole, brighter is better.

Your average household light bulb is probably somewhere around 40 watts. That’s equivalent to about 9 watts in terms of LED bulbs. And, both of these numbers equal 450 lumens.

Many of the solar lights on our list above feature lumen measurements far greater than 450 lumens, which is partly why we’ve recommended them. The more lumens, the better!

2. Look for wide-angle LEDs, for blanket-like flag coverage

First and foremost, you should be looking for a solar flagpole light that uses LED bulbs. LED bulbs are super energy efficient. They use a lower amount of electricity as other bulbs, yet they deliver the same light output. (5)

Take our example from the first guide point above. A typical fluorescent bulb at 40 watts and an LED bulb at 9 watts both top out the same number of lumens: 450. With an LED bulb, you get the same level of brightness with much less electricity and energy.

Beyond choosing an LED bulb, you should also aim for a bulb that delivers a wide-angle, as that will better disperse the light and fully illuminate your flag for blanket-like coverage. Narrow LED lights are better for things like car headlights, which need a longer range. Wide-angle LEDs offer more dispersed light. (6)

3. Look for a larger battery capacity

Solar power in and of itself is great, but you have to have good battery capacity in order to effectively store and use this power over time. Many of the solar lights on our product list today feature batteries that last as long as 8 to 10 hours, which is important for keeping your flagpole illuminated from sundown to sunup.

The most common type of battery you will find in your solar flagpole lights are lead-acid and lithium. Lead-acid is the most cost-effective, while lithium has a longer lifespan for a higher price. (7)

On average, a quality solar battery has a capacity of about 10 kilowatt-hours per day. Considering it would take only three of these batteries to power a U.S. household, we’d say that’s a solid bet for your flagpole.

4. Look for weatherproof models

When you’re buying solar equipment, it’s always great to double-check for weatherproof guarantees. Depending on where you live your solar flagpole light might have to withstand—rain, snow, ice, or extreme heat so it’s crucial to keep this in mind before you buy one.

5. Consider the height of your flagpole

The height of your flagpole plays right into the power of your light. A lot of flagpole lights promise to light up poles that are 15 to 25 feet tall. If your flagpole surpasses that height range, you may need to consider more powerful solar lights or an alternative method.

Make sure to double-check the lumens and range of the light you are considering. If the solar light isn’t strong enough, you will end up with a poorly, half-lit flag rather than a fully illuminated display.

6. Consider the angle of your flagpole

Your flagpole likely sits in one of two ways — either it is posted straight up and down into the ground, or it is fixated to the side of your house using a flagpole holder.

When your flagpole is standing straight up and down, it’s typically easier to illuminate it using both a clamping system and an ornament ball at the top. However, you may run into a little more difficulty with a flag that is attached on an angle to your home or building.

Luckily, many of the best solar flagpole lights are highly adjustable, allowing you to place and move them so that they best capture your flag in all of its glory. We recommend selecting a light that lets you do this so you don’t have to worry about it not looking or functioning well.

7. Find the best deal for you

Budget is something that always comes into play when you are considering any type of purchase. Some solar flagpole lights certainly boast affordable prices, while others may be a little steeper.

When you’re setting your budget, you need to first take into consideration your flagpole’s needs. Paying a little more for quality specifications upfront can save you money down the line while paying for cheap manufacturing can lead to additional purchases and repairs later on.

Of course, we never recommend spending beyond your means. Think about what is truly necessary and what you can afford before you invest in a new solar flagpole light.

FAQs

We understand that buying a new solar flagpole light can naturally bring up a few questions. Take heart in knowing that you’re not alone; many savvy-shoppers ask similar questions when looking for a solar flagpole light, so we’ve put together a few of the most common ones below.

How many lumens do I need for a flagpole?

In order to properly light up your flagpole and respectfully highlight your flag, you should aim for a solar light that boasts at least 7 watts or 300 lumens of power. It’s more important that you pay attention to the lumens over the watts, as lumens will tell you how bright the light is. (8) The more lumens a bulb has, the brighter the solar light will be.

Of course, 300 lumens is simply a minimum; many of the products we’ve talked about today offer much more than 300 lumens in brightness.

How do you install a solar flagpole light?

Your solar flagpole light likely comes in two installation styles — a clamping system or an ornament ball. Thus, your installation process will look different for each of these styles.

A clamp system works by using the included kit pieces to clamp the light and the solar panel to the bottom half of your flagpole. You can usually easily adjust this as needed to achieve the light range and coverage you prefer.

An ornament ball light goes at the very top of your flagpole, rather than towards the bottom. Basically, you simply need to place the solar light on top of your pole and screw the disk into place. Some kits come with the ornament ball, which screws into place on top of the light, while others do not.

What is the best solar flagpole light?

The best solar flagpole light will include most, if not all, of the features we discussed above in our Buyers’ Guide. Those seven specifications are the most critical components to a solar flagpole light, including things like lumens, wide angles, and battery capacities.

As you’ve already seen through our quick comparison and our fleshed-out reviews, we certainly think the Sunnytech 3rd Gen Black is the best overall choice. We’ll conclude with more specifics on why we think you should choose this option.

The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Flagpole Light of 2020 to Buy Today?

Now that you’ve seen our top solar flagpole lights of 2020 out of thousands of models fighting for your attention, all that’s left is to find the right model for you, your budget, and your unique needs.

If you’re not quite sure which one to go with, we highly-recommend our top overall choice, the Sunnytech 3rd Gen Black Flagpole Light.

There are tons of reasons why this Sunnytech model was our best overall choice. It is by far the brightest solar flagpole light on the commercial market that we got to research.

Plus, everything about this unit has been improved, from its bulbs and electric circuits to its visual design and solar batteries. It’s simple yet reliable, and it gets the job done. If you’re looking to buy a top-rated solar flagpole light today, it’s hard to go wrong with the Sunnytech 3rd Gen.

Want more highly-reviewed solar lights to help illuminate your home, neighborhood, church, or anywhere that could use more sustainable light sources? If so, check out our top-rated solar-powered gutter lights, or our homepage with our full list of can’t-miss solar products the year has to offer.

  1. https://www.legion.org/flag/faq
  2. https://www.nrel.gov/research/re-solar.html
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5zZeDPIMkI
  4. https://www.lumens.com/how-tos-and-advice/light-bulb-facts.html
  5. https://integral-led.com/education/why-led
  6. https://www.signal-tech.com/information-center/news-and-articles/83-Narrow-vs-Wide-Angle-LEDs-Whats-the-difference
  7. https://www.energysage.com/solar/solar-energy-storage/what-are-the-best-batteries-for-solar-panels/
  8. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/lumens-and-lighting-facts

The post Best Solar Flagpole Light of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

Let your friends know too:
Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

Latest posts by Mohammadreza Golzari (see all)

Best Solar Shower of 2020

Best solar showers of 2020: top-rated reviews

After spending the day out in the great outdoors, taking a refreshing shower sounds like a dream come true. But it doesn’t have to remain only a dream. We’ve reviewed the best solar showers on the market and ranked them in order of our favorites to help you find the best one for you. Impressively, using a solar shower won’t add a single pound of emissions to your carbon footprint, either. (1)

Quick Comparison of our Top 13 Best Solar Showers

  1. Tidyard Solar Shower with Faucet (Best Overall): With its sleek, modern styling, superior heating ability, and affordable price point, this solar shower from Tidyard is our best overall pick.
  2. Gorge-buy 5 Gallons (Budget Pick): Portable, easy to use, and extremely affordable, Gorge-buy’s 5-gallon solar shower is our pick for the best budget option.
  3. Gereton 5 Gallons (Best Versatility): This portable solar shower from Gereton holds enough water for three people to shower, and it can even be used as an emergency flotation device, making this our best for versatility.
  4. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallons (Best For Storage): If you want a solar shower that comes with side pockets to store your soap and shampoo, ADVANCED ELEMENTS gets our vote for best for storage.
  5. Swimline Store 5 Gallons (Best Convenience Pick): This affordable, two-for-one option from Swimline Store is the best convenience option. It uses a hanging bar and rope system to provide all the comforts of a warm shower in the great outdoors.
  6. Intex 5 Gallons: Intex’s five-gallon solar shower offers an on-off valve to control water flow, and it’s easy to carry and hang thanks to its solid handle.
  7. None Brand 5 Gallons: Stylish, durable, and easy to fill, this solar shower from None Brand is a great option for camping trips.
  8. Owlike 10.5 Gallons: If you want a solar shower with a massive water capacity but durable enough for outdoor use, Owlike’s 10.5 gallon option is a great choice.
  9. FeChiX 5 Gallons: Capable of heating up in only three hours, this portable solar shower from FeChiX has an easy to read temperature gauge to let you know when the water is hot.
  10. LMing 5 Gallons: This solar shower bag from LMing is made from environmentally friendly materials, and it also has excellent storage for your toiletries.
  11. KIPIDA 5 Gallons: KIPIDA’s solar shower is a great, leak-proof option for hiking, hunting, camping, and fishing.
  12. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 2.5 Gallons: With velcro straps to hold your shampoo and soap, this four-layered solar shower bag from ADVANCED ELEMENTS is as functional as it is durable.
  13. Andmax 5 Gallons: Offering a detachable showerhead, a temperature gauge, and storage pockets, Andmax’s solar shower is a handy, portable way to shower outdoors.

Solar Shower Reviews

There’s nothing better than taking a hot, steamy shower outdoors, and solar showers make it effortless. Sunlight heats the water stored inside in just a few hours, allowing you to let your shower warm up while you have fun in the sun. Let’s delve into our solar shower reviews and take a closer look at our top products.

1. Tidyard Solar Shower with Faucet (Best Overall)

Chlorine buildup can ravage your hair and dry out your skin, so installing a solar shower near your pool is a great way to enjoy your daily dip without causing any issues. This sleek, stylish solar shower from Tidyard comes with a showerhead and a faucet that controls water pressure and temperature. With its 9.25 gallon capacity, you won’t need to refill it very often to take a refreshing shower right out of the pool.

This solar shower connects effortlessly to your garden hose, making the refilling process quick and easy. It attaches to any flat, solid surface with four included mounting screws, making it a sturdy, hands-off option for use in any garden or outside your pool.

Made from UV-resistant PVC, this solar shower won’t tarnish or discolor in the sun. Sunlight heats the water to a steamy 140 degrees Fahrenheit, just one more reason this energy-efficient and eco-friendly option is our pick for the best overall solar shower.

2. Gorge-buy 5 Gallons (Budget Pick)

If you want a solar shower that can travel with you, look no further than our budget pick from Gorge-buy. Affordable and portable, this solar shower bag is made from food-grade, waterproof material.

It holds up to five gallons of water, which is more than enough for three people to shower outdoors. Best of all, it heats up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit in only three hours. And there’s a temperature gauge, so you’ll know when your water is warm enough.

You can carry this solar shower as a backpack while traveling, so it’s easy to transport. When you’re ready for a shower, you can easily hang it from your tent or a tree branch. You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy an outdoor shower thanks to Gorge-buy’s solar shower, which is why it’s our top pick for a budget-friendly option.

3. Gereton 5 Gallons — (Best Versatility)

Let’s face it — we only take quick showers to save time and conserve water. With Gereton’s five-gallon unit, you can bask under the spray for eight minutes continually once the bag’s had time to charge.

Made from environmentally-friendly PVC and powered by the sun, you won’t have to feel guilty about taking a leisurely shower with this solar shower bag. It comes with two detachable straps, so you can carry it slung over one shoulder or use it as a backpack.

Great for fishing, hiking, and camping trips — or spending a day at the beach — this solar shower comes with a detachable nozzle. If you aren’t the type to linger in the shower, you can rinse off quickly without getting drenched.
Thanks to the included air pump, you can also fill the solar shower bag with air and use it as a flotation device, so it serves double duty, making this our best solar shower for versatility.

4. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallons (Best for Storage)

If you’re carrying five gallons of water over a long distance, the last thing you want is for the solar shower itself to add extra weight to your load. Weighing in at a meager 1.4 pounds, this solar shower from ADVANCED ELEMENTS won’t drag you down.

Featuring a four-ply construction, a reflector panel, and an insulator panel, this solar shower keeps your water piping hot.

You’ll find storage for your shampoo and soap — and even velcro panels to hold your washcloths — so you won’t have to carry an extra bag to bring your toiletries along. The on-off switch is easy to use even with soapy hands, and the sizable filling value makes it easy to fill your solar shower without wasting any water.

5. Swimline Store 5 Gallons (Best Convenience Pick)

A fantastic option if you’re traveling with a large group, this 2-pack from Swimline Store offers two solar shower bags. Each bag has a five-gallon capacity, so up to six people can shower without having to refill them. Swimline Store’s solar shower bag uses a hanging bar and rope system that makes it simple to set your shower up on a tree branch or tent for ease of use.

Each solar shower bag has a flexible hose with an attached showerhead, making it easy to direct the spray exactly where you want it. These bags are incredibly lightweight, too, so they won’t add any extra heft to your load, making this shower our best convenience pick.

6. Intex 5 Gallons

This inexpensive solar shower bag from Intex can heat up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, providing you with a nice, hot shower after a long day outdoors. Its five-gallon capacity means it’s suitable for use by a small group. Its lightweight, flexible construction means you can roll up the bag and store it once it’s empty.

While there are no bells and whistles on this model, it features a solid handle to make carrying and hanging your solar shower bag easy and comfortable. The attached showerhead comes with an easily accessible on-off valve, so you can control the water flow no matter how slippery your hands are.

7. None Brand 5 Gallons

If you want a stylish option that doesn’t look like a solar shower bag at first glance, None Brand’s five-gallon offering is a fantastic choice. The camouflage pattern adds a nice touch of personality to a functional solar shower bag.

It’s capable of heating up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit in three hours. And None Brand’s solar shower has a temperature indicator, so you can keep an eye on the temperature of the water.

The thick, heavy-duty carrying strap is strong enough that you can loop it over a tree — or even your car door — so the water heats up while you enjoy your fun in the sun. Thanks to None Brand, you can shower anywhere, even right outside your car.

8. Owlike 10.5 Gallons

With its massive water capacity and durable design, this solar shower bag from Owlike is a great option for campers, hikers, and more. It can heat up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, so your shower will be nice and hot. The detachable hose and shower attachment makes it easy to carry and store when it’s not in use.

The bag itself is lightweight and made with reinforced seams, so you won’t have to worry about any leaks. Greatest of all, it holds enough water for your entire family to shower without having to refill it and letting the water heat up. In fact, its main selling point is the only real downside, as 10.5 gallons is roughly equivalent to 90 pounds, so it could be difficult to carry.

9. FeChiX 5 Gallons

No one likes to wait to take a shower. With this solar shower bag from FeChiX, you can leave it out to heat up, and you’ll have a piping hot shower waiting for you in only three hours. Capable of heating up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, this solar shower bag has an on-off lever, and you can even adjust the water pressure to achieve the perfect spray.

This bag is made from durable, eco-friendly materials and features a heavy-duty carrying handle. Even more impressive for such an affordable option is the temperature indicator, which tells you exactly how hot your water is using easy-to-read numbers and a color-changing temperature bar.

10. LMing 5 Gallons

If you want a solar shower that’s made from environmentally-friendly materials, LMing’s five-gallon option might be a good choice for you. Featuring a shower head with adjustable water pressure, an easily accessible on-off switch, and the ability to heat up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, LMing’s five-gallon unit offers great value for your dollar.

Greatest of all, you can store your soap and shampoo in the front pocket of this bag, eliminating the need for an additional toiletry bag. You can carry this portable shower draped over your shoulder without worrying about it sliding down thanks to its thick, no-slip shoulder strap.

11. KIPIDA 5 Gallons

The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a leaking unit. Thanks to KIPIDA’s solid, durable construction, you can leave your worries in the past and concentrate on having fun. This portable shower heats up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit in around three hours, so you can set it out to warm up while you enjoy your day.

You’ll find an on-off lever, a shower head with adjustable water pressure, and mesh pockets to store your toiletries with this model. The large filling valve with a twist-off cap makes filling your bag quick and easy. Carrying this one is a breeze, too. The strap is thick, solid, and features a no-slip design.

12. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 2.5 Gallons

A fantastic option for individual use, this 2.5-gallon bag from ADVANCED ELEMENTS has all the features you need without the extra weight you don’t want. It offers a wide filling valve, velcro straps for your soap and shampoo, and a shower head with an on-off switch.

You can even roll it up and tuck it into another bag without causing any damage once you’ve showered. Small but durable, this bag has four-layer construction for maximum leak protection and heat retention. If you want to shower outdoors, but you don’t want to lug around a five-gallon model, this might be a great option for you.

13. Andmax 5 Gallons

This bright and cheerful five-gallon unit from Andmax heats up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in three hours, which doesn’t sound all that impressive compared to other options. However, most people’s preferred shower temperature is 105 degrees, so it’s right on target for the majority. (2) Andmax’s solar shower is made from eco-friendly, 3-layer PVC, making it both a durable and environmentally conscious option.

Offering a flexible water hose and adjustable water flow, Andmax’s option is a great choice for those who want to take a full shower or simply hose the sand from their legs and feet after a day at the beach. It also has a mesh pouch to hold all of your toiletries, saving you from having to carry an extra bag. And, greatest of all, it’s an affordable way of showering outdoors, no standing shower — or running water — required.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips – To Know Before You Buy)

Hang on a few minutes before you click that ‘add to cart’ button. There are a few things you should know before you buy a solar shower. We’ll go over them in detail to make your selection process as easy as possible.

1. Know what type of solar shower you need

Before you make your purchase, the first thing you should know is what type of solar shower you need. You have a couple of different options when it comes to solar showers. Let’s review them in a bit more detail.

Solar Bag Shower

Many of the options featured on our list of the top solar showers are solar bag showers. Made from a lightweight, flexible material, solar bag showers heat water using sunlight. Because solar bag showers require gravity to achieve adequate water pressure, they should be placed at least head-height before you shower. (3)

One of the top benefits of using a solar bag shower is the relatively low price point. Many cost a fraction of the price you would pay for a more advanced unit. They’re also much less cumbersome, making them a better option for backpackers and day-trippers who still want a shower but don’t have access to running water.

Combo Solar Shower

A couple of the options on our list classify as combo solar showers because they’re able to serve more than one purpose. Both the Gereton and Gorge-Buy models can be filled with air and used as flotation devices.

This makes them a fantastic option for fishing enthusiasts, especially those who intend to bring their children along, as they can be used as an added safety measure in an emergency situation.

2. Consider what size solar shower you want

The next important decision you need to make is what size you want. This will be determined by the size of your group, available storage space, and individual carrying capacity.

For example, if a group of young teenagers wants to take a solar shower to the beach, they may not be able to carry 10 gallons. Fortunately, a variety of sizes is available. No matter how much weight you can carry, there’s a unit out there for you.

2.5 Gallons

Weighing in at less than 21 pounds when completely full, a 2.5-gallon solar shower provides enough water for one person to shower or for a few people to wash their hands. (4) A 2.5 gallon solar shower is light enough for one person to carry it without difficulty, so it’s a great option if you’re traveling alone, especially if you have a hard time lifting anything heavier.

One recommendation to make showering easier is to ask your fellow campers to bring their own 2.5-gallon solar shower along for the trip. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and won’t take up much space. Most importantly, it means there’s no need to bicker over who gets to go first and who has to wait. Everyone can shower at the same time.

5 Gallons

Five gallons clocks in at over 40 pounds, so you need to be in great shape or have a carrying buddy to lug this around over long distances. We recommend placing your unit in a backpack for even weight distribution if you’re going to carry it for longer than a few feet from your vehicle or campsite to set it up. (5)

The good news is that a five-gallon model is possible for one person to carry. This means if you would rather fill up your water reservoir once and forget about it, it’s a great option for solo travelers as well as groups.

Over 5 Gallons

If you’re traveling with a large group, it might be tempting to go out and buy a portable shower with the largest water capacity available. But you should probably think it through before you do so. Converting the capacity from water to pounds will give you a better idea of whether or not you’ll be able to carry the unit once it’s full.

For example, Owlike’s 10.5-gallon model weighs a hefty 87.6 pounds, which is difficult for one person to carry and unwieldy when carried between two people. Consider whether it’s worth carrying something so cumbersome before you spend your money on a large option like this one.

3. Find the top deal for you

While these portable showers tend to be highly affordable, every last dollar counts when you’re on a tight budget. Besides, making sure you find the top deal is a smart move no matter what your budget looks like. There are a few ways to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. We like to keep all of them in mind when we’re shopping for any new item.

Limited Time Deals

Most stores have major sales, especially during summer and the holiday season, but did you know certain items tend to go on sale during different times of the year? June and August are popular months to buy outdoor equipment and camping gear like solar showers, so if you want to get the top value for your dollar, keep an eye out for low prices during those months. (6)

Another great way to save money during a limited time deal is by using a price drop app like Paribus, which monitors prices and issues refunds if the price drops after you’ve already purchased an item. (7) You simply set up your account, allow Paribus access to your receipts, and they’ll credit you back the difference between the sale price and your purchase price.

Want to save money in advance instead of waiting for a refund? Check out price monitoring apps, which let you know the lowest prices on items you want to buy based on saved information (i.e. “liking” an item in the app) and geo-location services. (8) You can also do things the old-fashioned, low-tech way and keep an eye out for retailer or brand-specific coupons.

Shipping

Something else to keep in mind is the cost of shipping. Shipping prices vary by the weight and size of an item as well as the shipping distance, but some retailers offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money.

Our favorite retailers tend to offer free shipping regardless of how much you spend, but you should always factor in potential shipping costs so you can stay within your budget. Fortunately, many of these showers don’t weigh very much at all, so if there is a shipping cost it won’t be that much.

A great tip not everyone knows is to check your retailer’s website for search parameters. Many websites allow you to narrow down your search for items that offer free shipping, and some even let you look for items that are on sale, too.

Final Price

Lastly, you need to account for the final price of your solar shower. If you’re purchasing a shower in addition to camping or fishing gear, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck so you can afford everything on your wishlist.

Whether you use coupons, wait for a limited time offer, or purchase your unit full price, you should always factor in things like sales taxes and shipping costs when you set your budget. Buying a solar shower full price won’t break the bank, but who doesn’t want to save money when they have the option to do so?

FAQ

We’ve put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about solar showers and answered them for you to save you from having to research them.

How well do solar showers work?

If your solar shower is in working order — meaning it doesn’t have any holes or damaged parts — it should work quite well. Solar showers depend on water capacity, the duration of sun exposure, and the quality of sun exposure. (9)

For example, your solar shower probably won’t reach the maximum possible temperature on partially cloudy days. Many solar showers take three hours to heat up fully, but if you can’t wait a full three hours, your water won’t be as warm as it could be. Smaller capacity showers heat up faster, but they also cool off faster, too.

Something else to keep in mind is ambient temperature. If you’re absolutely filthy, a cool shower might be better than no shower at all. But you should use an alternative like wipes — or tough out being dirty — if the ambient temperature outdoors is uncomfortably cool. Showering in hot water might sound like a great idea in cold weather, but it isn’t worth risking hypothermia.

What is the best camp shower?

Determining the best camp shower for you depends on a few different factors. If you’re camping alone, bringing a small, 2.5-gallon solar shower is a great option. You can refill it as you need it, let it soak up the sun for a few hours, and crawl into your sleeping bag nice and clean. On the other hand, if you’re camping with a group, you’ll probably want a solar shower with more water capacity.

Another thing to keep in mind is how long you plan on camping. A smaller solar shower is a good choice for a weekend getaway, but if you’re planning on spending a week or two in the great outdoors, you might want to consider other options.

You can buy a portable shower tent to protect you from the wind and give you more privacy, but you can also make one yourself using plastic sheeting. Hooking the straps of a solar shower bag over a tree branch and surrounding it with a tarp makes for a great, affordable camp shower.

What is the best solar shower?

The bad news is that there’s no single answer that will satisfy every single reader. The good news is that’s the only bad news. What makes one solar shower ideal for one person could be a pain point for another.

A good example is a solar shower with immense water capacity. While a group of campers might think having a 10.5-gallon solar shower is great because they can all shower at once, an individual might wonder how they’re supposed to carry it on their own.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you purchase a solar shower: what type of solar shower do you need? What size solar shower will work best for you? Last, but certainly not least, you need to ask yourself, “What does my budget look like?” That will vary from person to person, too.

If you already have everything else you need, then you won’t have to worry as much about the cost of a solar shower. On the other hand, if you need to buy a tent, four sleeping bags, and a solar shower, then you might need to pinch pennies where you can.

As with most other purchasing decisions in life, only you can decide what makes any given product right for you. That being said, we think each solar shower featured on our list is a great option for any shopper.

The Bottom Line: Should You Buy the Best Solar Shower of 2020 Today?

There are a lot of truly fantastic solar showers featured on our list here at YourEnergyBlog.com, but if you want the best of the best, our top pick is Tidyard’s Solar Shower. Thanks to its 9.25-gallon water capacity and it’s ability to heat up quickly, you can take a piping hot shower after working in the garden, swimming laps in your pool, or if you’re out camping.

Ultimately, it’s pretty tough to beat if you’re looking for the top solar shower to buy today!

Want more highly-reviewed solar gear for your next camping trip like the Tidyard Solar Shower? If so, check out our top-rated solar oven and solar refrigerator of the year, and get ready to unplug, unwind, and recharge your batteries with good ole mother nature.

  1. https://www.permaculturenews.org/2017/08/30/benefits-solar-shower/
  2. https://www.snapfitness.com/us/blog/showers-what-temp-is-best/
  3. http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/pdf/FSEC-PF-383-04.pdf
  4. https://mainfacts.com/convert-pounds-to-us-gallons
  5. https://explorationsolo.com/how-much-weight-should-you-carry-backpacking/
  6. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/06/best-months-to-find-sales-on-camping-gear.html
  7. https://paribus.co
  8. https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/mobile-apps-track-compare-prices/
  9. https://sciencing.com/solar-showers-really-work-2240.html

The post Best Solar Shower of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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Mohammadreza Golzari

Mohammadreza Golzari

Electrical Engineering PHD student at Tehran University
Mohammadreza is a real computer geek and also energy efficiency lover. His favorite hobby is coding on MATLAB. :)
Mohammadreza Golzari

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Best Solar Oven of 2020

Best solar ovens: top-rated reviews

Solar ovens are more than a science project. The best solar ovens can consistently reach between 200 and 300 degrees (1) or more, making them hot enough to cook most foods. To help you find the best solar oven for you, on this page, you’ll find our in-depth reviews, expert buyers’ guide, and our bottom line to know before buying. If you’re ready to cook delicious and super-convenient meals without the need for a power cord or outlet – hop right in with our quick comparison to aid your search.

Quick Comparison of our Top 11 Picks (For Those In A Rush)

If you’re in a hurry, here’s what you should know about each of our top 11 solar ovens to buy.

  1. GOSHENG Oven for 3-5 People (Best Overall): With fast heating, room to heat food for five people, and no fuel input, this is our top choice overall.
  2. SUN OVENS International Sun Oven Package (Best Budget Choice): With a lightweight oven, several racks and pots, and a comprehensive cookbook that teaches you how to cook with solar power, this is a great budget pick.
  3. ETE ETMATE Solar Oven (Best Portable Oven): Between a maximum temperature of 550 degrees, an incredibly fast heating time, and a lightweight design, this is easily one of the best portable options.
  4. LiFuJunDong Focal Spot Sun Oven (Best High-Temperature): This parabolic solar oven is affordable, durable, and cooks much faster than a charcoal grill. Together, these make it the best high-temperature option.
  5. SUN OVENS International Sun Oven (Top Backup Choice): This unit is fundamentally similar to our #2 pick, but is slightly more affordable, comes with a sun-track indicator, and reaches temperatures of up to 400 degrees to earn its place as a top backup choice.
  6. GOSUN Solar Oven: This oven has an easy-grip wooden handle, a submersible design, and a low-maintenance setup for long-term use.
  7. KECOP Sun Cooker: This solar oven is easy to adjust, boils water well, and holds up to 1.4 kilograms of food.
  8. GOSUN Solar Oven Portable: GOSUN’s portable choice is one of the most compact, affordable, and lightweight options currently available.
  9. Haines 2.0 SunUp: This option is closer to a dutch oven than a solar oven, giving it added versatility, capacity, and portability compared to other products.
  10. Sunflair Mini Portable Oven: This oven is impressively high-capacity despite the name, comfortably lightweight, and folds down for easier transport as needed.
  11. SolCook Solar Cooker: Our last suggestion is particularly affordable, lightweight, and has an impressively high capacity.

Solar Oven Reviews

Here are our detailed reviews of the best solar oven options available in 2020. After putting each model to the test, these units perform consistently better than others on the market, all supported by smart solar systems that allow you to use them in different situations. Starting with our #1 choice, the GOSHENG Oven For 3-5 People, our best overall unit of the year, let’s get cookin’ – shall we?

1. GOSHENG Oven for 3-5 People (Best Overall)

GOSHENG’s family-size solar oven is our best overall choice. Using it is as easy as facing the grill towards the sun, and it can reach over 570 degrees in just 45 minutes of exposure to sunlight. That’s warmer than most of its competitors can get and allows you to cook many foods faster.

With an internal capacity of 5.8L, this solar oven is also good enough to cook food for up to five people at a time. Volume is vital for many buyers, and this is just about the right size for a family. This product uses a vacuum tube for the cooking area, which keeps the exterior of the oven cool regardless of how hot the tube is. Overall, there’s a lot to love here.

2. SUN OVENS International Sun Oven Package (Budget Pick)

Visually distinct from our #1 option, this budget pick includes several pots and pans, as well as a foldable solar oven that can reach up to 400 degrees. That’s enough to cook most products safely. Unlike some other ovens, this unit is also suitable for dehydrating food, which is excellent for creating food that you can store long-term.

Both of those are good, but what cements this as our budget pick is the extra cookbook that comes with it. Cooking with solar ovens is different from cooking with almost any other type of product. Creating a solar oven is easy (2), but cooking well requires guidance until you have more experience.

Between its affordability and friendliness towards beginners, this solar oven more than deserves the #2 spot on our list.

3. ETE ETMATE Solar Cooker (Best Portable)

A strong contender for our top overall choice, ETE ETMATE’s solar oven is easily the best portable solar oven we looked at. Weighing about 11.24 pounds unloaded, it offers a solid 4.5L of cooking space in its tube. This is enough to feed 2-4 people well. However, it’s the other features that really set it apart.

This oven can reach an interior temperature of up to 550 degrees, which is much higher than most of the competition. It can also cook a meal in just 15 minutes and heats up quickly, making it ideal for cooking while you’re on the go. This unit also uses self-healing polymers, which help ensure its durability and effectiveness over time.

Finally, this unit is more affordable than many other solar ovens, which cements its status as an outstanding choice for almost any buyer. It’s not quite the best overall, but this is a strong contender for virtually any buyer.

4. LiFuJungDong Focal Spot Sun Oven (Best High Temperature)

This solar oven is much larger and heavier than our first three options, though it’s more affordable, too. Unlike sealed interior cookers, this oven is mainly a parabolic reflector and a stand where you can place trays and whatever food you want to cook. At maximum effectiveness, this reflector can reach temperatures as high as 1000°C.

Further, this oven allows you to adjust each of the reflectors to change and control the heat. Since it’s solar-powered, it gets up to cooking temperatures far faster than any charcoal grill. However, the weight and size are a small issue. At 37 pounds, and with a large frame, this unit isn’t nearly as portable as most other options.

It’s undoubtedly effective, especially if you need to cook at higher temperatures, but this unit is much harder to bring camping. This cooker works better if you use it at home for parties and can cover it when you don’t need to use it.

5. SUN OVENS International Sun Oven (Top Backup)

This is nearly the same product as our #2 choice. In fact, the solar oven itself is practically identical, being from the same manufacturer and designed to reach interior temperatures of up to 400 degrees. The main thing that sets this product apart is that it’s a little cheaper and doesn’t have the same number of accessories and add-ons.

One big reason to consider these ovens, versus tubes, is that SUN OVENS’ products have a large, rectangular cooking space. They don’t get quite as hot inside as the tubes can, but they’re better for cooking steaks and other large items. Tubes work better for chopped and mixed foods. Together, these details make this our top backup solar oven.

6. GOSUN Solar Oven

GOSUN is one of the most well-known brands in this industry, and that experience shows in this great choice. This option reaches temperatures of up to 550 degrees inside its tube, cooking most meals in 20-30 minutes while keeping the outside cool. The large wooden grip supports easier carrying and setup, too, which is a feature we love.

This solar oven’s main drawback is that it’s somewhat smaller than many other options, especially for its price. Designed to cook food for two, this is a good option if you’re camping alone or traveling as a couple, but it’s not large enough for families or parties. Capacity is a key buying factor, so that alone may help you decide if you want this product.

7. KECOP Sun Cooker

KECOP’s Sun Cooker is fundamentally similar to our #6 entry; you might not notice the differences unless you look closely. The main thing that separates the two products is the capacity. This sun cooker feeds about three people well, making it a bit larger than our previous entry. It’s still comparatively small, but sometimes all you need is that little extra space.

While this isn’t a family-size solar oven, it reaches up to 550 degrees in full sunlight and can cook most meals in half an hour or less. Every component is water-washable, which makes it easy to clean things up, too. Like our previous entry, this unit has a large wooden handle for transportation, which comes in handy when you need to pack things up and go.

8. GOSUN Solar Oven Portable

GOSUN’s Solar Oven Portable is a miniature version of their regular cooker described above. It reaches the same high temperatures with sufficient sunlight, but it weighs just 2 pounds and fits in most bags or backpacks without any trouble. It also comes in a durable case for added protection, which is a nice feature.

The virtues of this product are also its vices. As the name suggests, this is a comparatively small solar oven that’s only suitable for feeding one or two people at a time. That’s fine if you’re camping alone, and the low price makes it appealing, but don’t expect to feed anywhere close to a family with this particular oven.

That said, this solar oven also boils water quickly and efficiently, which can make it a great supplement for using dried and prepared foods when you’re off the grid. If you just want to boil water without fuel, this solar oven is a great option.

9. Haines 2.0 SunUp

This is a two-part solar oven set, and it works somewhat differently from many of the other products on this list. The cooking component is a four-quart Dutch oven with a tempered glass lid. This pot absorbs heat quickly and efficiently, allowing it to heat up faster than many other box-style cookers.

The solar aspect involves a set of lightweight, foldable panels that reflect sunlight into the pot itself. The comparatively large capacity here makes this a great tool for family gatherings, while the low price makes this more attractive for budget-conscious buyers.

However, the reflectors aren’t quite as durable as other products, which can be a problem if you want to use solar ovens regularly. It’s usually better to get a single long-lasting product than several products that will break faster.

10. Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair’s miniature portable solar oven is another standout in this field. The oven itself is a collapsible silicone pot, which makes enough food for 1-2 people at a time. The oven part is a foldable reflector that goes around the pot to catch and redirect sunlight. Unusually, Sunflair also includes a thermometer in this set to help you ensure your food is cooking properly.

Like other small units, the compact nature of this solar oven is its biggest drawback. You can’t cook a lot of food with this oven, although it easily gets the job done as long as stuff can fit inside the pot. On the positive side, it’s easy to clean. We recommend this mainly as a personal solar oven for hiking and camping trips, rather than a heavy-duty option like our top choices.

11. SolCook Solar Cooker

SolCook’s Solar Cooker is another panel-based solar cooker with impressive coverage. What makes it stand out from many of the other panel cookers is its size. With a large interior tray, this solar cooker can heat much more food than many of the other options on this list. It also works well for dehydrating food for later.

However, unlike many other solar cookers, this one requires assembly before you can use it. It’s fundamentally not quite as user-friendly or as durable as our top options. That’s not an insurmountable issue, especially if you’re looking to get the most affordable solar cooker you can find, but it’s worth keeping in mind when comparing your options.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 3 Tips To Know Before You Buy)

Buying a solar cooker involves more than comparing prices and capacities. These products function in many ways, so figuring out which of them is the best choice for your needs is essential to making the right choice. Here are the top three things to know before you buy.

1. Know What Type Of Solar Oven/Solar Cooker You Need

Picking between the many styles of solar cookers is one of the most important parts of your final buying decision. Here are the four main types of solar ovens currently on the market. Other types of solar ovens exist, but they’re usually not as effective as these choices.

Panel Cookers

Panel cookers are the cheapest solar ovens available, with some models running less than $100. These help redirect light into the middle of the box area, where you put your cooking container. Most cooking containers need to be dark for the heat trap area to work correctly, and people often add glass bowls or similar items to hold the heat better.

The biggest advantage of panel cookers is their low weight. These cookers can be as little as a few pounds, which makes them ideal for carrying on longer trips. However, there are a few downsides to keep in mind.

First, they have relatively small openings for light, so you’ll need to keep a closer eye on them and make sure they’re warm enough to cook your food. Second, they’re not as durable as any of the other options here.

Third, panel cookers can get extremely hot inside, requiring an oven mitt or similar tool to get the food out. Finally, panel cookers tend to have low capacities, which makes them a poor choice for feeding families.

Together, these qualities mean that panel cookers are best for single trips or individual excursions. They’ll certainly get the job done, but they fundamentally aren’t as good as the other three varieties described below.

Box Cookers

Box cookers are like a premium version of the basic panel cooker (3). They have hard exteriors that noticeably increase their weight, but that also provides added durability and makes them better for long-term use. In many ways, box cookers are the most popular type.

Most box cookers follow the same fundamental design. Five sides of the box itself are opaque and serve to help keep the heat trapped inside. The lid of the box is glass, which allows light to pass in and heat the food inside. The reflectors are placed on all four sides of the lid to capture as much light as possible and reflect it inside.

Box cookers typically have higher capacities than regular panel cookers, which makes them a good choice for steaks and many other large items. Like panel cookers, they usually require a dark pot or container to trap even more of the heat, but that’s fairly standard for this industry.

If you’re not sure which type of solar oven to buy, a box cooker is a tested and reliable choice. They’re more expensive than panel cookers, but the added durability is worth the price difference.

Parabolic Cookers

Parabolic cookers are the odd choice out for solar ovens (4). However, they also have a few properties that can make them better choices in certain situations.

The most significant factor that makes parabolic cookers stand out is their efficiency. Unlike regular solar cookers, which only reflect some sunlight into the cooking area, parabolic cookers reflect basically all of the light they receive into one area. This makes them faster and more efficient than other solar cooking options.

Parabolic reflectors can also reach much higher temperatures than other solar ovens, with many models holding the potential to go over one thousand degrees Celsius. This is higher than most food needs, so parabolic cookers usually let you hide certain panels to reduce their efficiency and temperature.

Despite their efficiency, there are a few qualities that make parabolic solar ovens harder to use. First, they tend to be larger and heavier than other solar ovens, which makes them a poor choice for camping or hiking. Second, they rarely come with a cooking container. You’ll need to get something that can withstand the high temperatures.

Finally, parabolic reflectors can damage certain tools and containers if you leave them exposed to the concentrated energy. In short, these solar ovens are extremely powerful and efficient, but also harder to use. They’re a good choice for making food in bulk or cooking things that require especially high temperatures.

Tube Cookers

Tube cookers (also known as vacuum tube cookers) are the premium option among solar ovens (5). These are functionally a hybrid between parabolic cookers and box cookers, drawing on the principles of both to create a more effective design. The way they function is simple.

Curved panels collect sunlight and reflect it onto the cooking container, which is normally a vacuum-sealed glass tube with a dark energy-absorbing layer to collect the energy. The food, placed inside the tube, cooks relatively evenly. Several features help set this design apart from other solar ovens.

First, by creating a vacuum between the interior and exterior, all the heat stays on the inside. This means the outside of the tube stays cool to the touch even while the good is hot, improving efficiency and making the food much easier to handle safely.

Second, the tube itself can hold an impressively large amount of food. Better models are capable of feeding entire families, while 1-2 person units are lightweight and ideal for camping.

Tube cookers are more expensive than other solar ovens because they take more work to make. They’re also inconvenient for certain types of foods. For example, hot dogs easily fit in these tubes and cook well, but flat hamburger patties won’t fit.

Essentially, tube solar cookers are only good if you can accept the shape limitations on the food. If you want to cook things with different shapes, consider getting a box solar cooker instead. Most tube cookers get up to 500 or 550 degrees when cooking.

2. Look For Bonus Features That Excite You

Solar ovens in each category share most of their fundamental design choices, but companies sometimes include extra bonus features to make the products more appealing. Here are some of the most common bonuses.

Cookbooks

These aren’t part of the solar cooker itself. However, solar oven recipes frequently vary from traditional recipes, especially if you’re using a tube cooker. Starting with some basic recipes (6) for your cooker can help you understand how a solar oven differs from conventional cooking options. Once you know that, you can start adjusting other recipes.

Experimentation is key to mastery in this field, so the more time you spend practicing with a solar oven, the better off you’re going to be.

Storage

The best solar ovens have some type of storage to protect them from damage. Tube solar oven models tend to have the best storage because their glass components are more fragile and need the cushioning when not in use. However, even panel solar oven models can benefit from a bag or something to keep all of the parts together.

Box solar oven models rarely have separate storage because they’re sturdy enough as they are. However, their reflector panels may remain exposed, so be careful with them.

Cooking Temperature

Cooking temperatures can vary by product, with many solar ovens reaching over five hundred degrees. Keep in mind that cooking temperatures depend mainly on the amount of sunlight the solar cooker gets, not how warm it is outside. Most solar ovens are all-season products (7), which means they can function well even in the middle of winter.

However, higher temperatures aren’t always better. Some foods should cook at a lower temperature for longer periods. That said, sealed cooking containers trap moisture in with the food, so cooking at a higher temperature there isn’t the same as cooking in a regular oven where moisture evaporates.

In short: Cooking temperatures matter, but you should adjust recipes as needed to account for the type of solar cooker you’re using.

Containers

Many solar cookers come with special cooking containers and these make a huge difference in how well you can cook your food. Tube solar oven models include the cooking container in their design, while other types of ovens often come with metal or silicone pots for heating your food.

Parabolic solar oven models are, as usual, the odd choice out. Most of them don’t come with a suitable cooking container, so you’re in luck if they do. Containers from the solar oven’s manufacturer are always designed to work well with the oven itself, which means you can get much better efficiency than trying to use another product.

Heat Retention

Heat retention is an extremely useful feature for solar ovens, especially if you’re trying to use them in areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight (8) or during winter. Tube solar ovens are the best option here because they have a vacuum seal that minimizes heat loss while food is cooking. However, heat retention with other products can make them just as viable in some situations.

Note that panel cookers tend to be the least-effective in cold environments because outside air will leak in and cool things down a little. If you plan to use a solar oven in chilly environments, consider getting a different solar oven type instead.

Parabolic cookers are, again, the odd choice out here. In most cases, the cooking container is directly exposed to cold air, which means it will lose a lot of heat over time. However, parabolic solar ovens are so powerful that they can reach higher temperatures than other options, which can compensate for the cooling effect.

Using the right cooking container makes all the difference when cooking with a solar oven. When in doubt, look for something that holds the heat better.

3. Find The Top Deal For You

Finally, buying a solar oven involves figuring out the best deal. In this context, the best deal is getting a solar oven that meets your needs or preferences at the best price. Here are the main factors to consider.

Limited Time Deals

Limited-time deals are a great way to save money, though they often mean waiting until a deal becomes available. Some manufacturers run a lot of promotions during their less-popular seasons, so planning ahead can mean a lot of savings, too.

While deals vary, most solar ovens don’t drop too much in price. A 10% discount is relatively large in this industry, so don’t worry about waiting for a limited time deal unless you’re on a budget and need to save as much as possible.

Shipping

Shipping can be a real cost when you’re buying a solar oven. These products tend to be large and can be surprisingly heavy, especially if you’re buying a parabolic solar oven. Companies may demand higher average orders before they’re willing to offer free shipping, which can erase the gains of finding a limited time deal.

That said, shipping is expensive enough for many of these products that getting free shipping will often help you save more than finding a limited time deal. That means that it’s better to prioritize free or low-cost shipping over waiting for a bargain.

Final Price

Finally, what’s the real price of the product, accounting for taxes, shipping, discounts, and any accessories you need to get? Most solar ovens range from a little under $100 to somewhere in the mid-hundreds. Any solar oven above five hundred dollars or so is probably overpriced unless it’s particularly large or comes with a lot of extra features.

Also, consider the durability of the product when evaluating the final prices. A single solar oven you can use for many years is a better investment than a cheap solar oven you need to replace every season. Investing more now can ultimately end up saving you a lot of money if you want to use it frequently.

FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions that people ask about solar ovens.

Do Solar Ovens Really Work?

Yes! Most people don’t realize that modern solar ovens are considerably more advanced than the basic pizza box oven (9) that serves as a simple science project. However, while they fundamentally work, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, environments affect how well solar ovens work. They rely primarily on the amount of sunlight they receive, so areas with less light won’t see solar ovens get anywhere near as hot. Second, the design heavily impacts how efficient they are.

Panel and box solar oven models are the least-efficient choices. These are more exposed to the air, which means heat transfers out more. Issues with using these are why many people suspect that solar cookers don’t work as advertised. When used correctly, however, these products work fine.

Parabolic and tube solar ovens are noticeably more efficient. Parabolic solar ovens have raw power, which means they can compensate for environmental heat loss by being better at their job. Tube solar ovens have vacuum-sealed containers that minimize heat loss, making them functionally superior to parabolas.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most solar cookers aren’t meant to cook a huge amount of food at once. Many of them can only make enough for two or three people at a time, which makes them harder to use at parties or with families. If this is the case, you may need to get several solar cookers, rather than buying one large one.

How Hot Can A Solar Oven Get?

That depends on the type of solar oven you’re using. Parabolic solar ovens can get up to 1,000 degrees Celsius (about 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), but most people don’t need or want that kind of temperature while cooking.

Most solar cookers get somewhere between 300 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit under optimal conditions. Keep in mind that solar cookers don’t have to reach their maximum temperature to work. If they don’t get as hot, you can usually compensate by cooking for longer instead.

This may be better than cooking food at full efficiency, especially if you have sealed containers that trap moisture in. A long, slow cook can help create a juicier and more flavorful meal.

What Makes A Good Solar Oven?

Several factors help determine what makes a good solar oven and what you should avoid. Here are the main things to keep in mind.

  • Efficiency: Efficient solar cookers heat up faster and work better in colder temperatures. Parabolic designs are ultimately the most efficient, with tube solar oven models copying some of the principles. Box and panel solar cookers are not quite as efficient, but they’re light and portable, which can be more important for certain buyers.
  • Durability: Most people don’t use these solar ovens for home cooking, although this is viable in some climates. Since solar cookers are mainly for trips and off-grid excursions, their ability to withstand the bumps of traveling is a key consideration. Cases are the best option, but a sturdy design is also helpful.
  • Capacity: Capacity determines how much food a solar oven can heat. While any solar oven can feed at least one person, better models should feed at least three to five people in a reasonable timespan. Capacity also affects the shape of the food you can cook with it.
  • Ease Of Use: Most solar oven models are easy to use. They may require little more than unfolding them, putting your food inside, and turning it toward the sun. Ovens that require more care and assembly tend to be lower-quality overall.
  • Ease Of Cleaning: How well can you clean your oven’s components? Tube ovens can be harder to clean despite their overall quality, particularly when you want to avoid scratching or damaging them. Box and panel ovens tend to have food containers that are separate from their heat source, which makes them easier to clean.
  • Weight: How heavy is the solar oven? Most solar oven models weigh less than fifteen pounds, with a few models going as low as two pounds. Parabolas are heavier than other options, often weighing thirty pounds or more.
  • Warranty: Good warranty policies can protect you from manufacturing defects and other problems. Solar cookers often cost several hundred dollars, especially if you want a good model, so proper warranties are essential for ensuring you can get the most out of your investment. Try to get coverage for at least one year, rather than just 30 days.

The Bottom Line: Should You Buy One Of The Best Solar Ovens Today?

Solar ovens aren’t for everyone, but if you want to cook without relying on electricity, the GOSHENG Oven For 3-5 People is an outstanding choice. Between its durable construction, high capacity, and general efficiency, this is easily our best solar oven that you can buy today.

Want more top-rated solar gear like the Gosheng Oven? Check out our best off grid refrigerator of the year and make sure your oven’s delicious creations stay nice and tasty all week, with minimal energy demands. Or, feel free to check out our homepage for our full list of highly-reviewed solar equipment.

  1. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/archive/hot_topics/sustainable_living/solar_cooking.shtml
  2. https://wpsu.psu.edu/digital/scienceu/how-to-make-a-solar-oven/
  3. https://solarcooking.fandom.com/wiki/How_solar_cookers_work
  4. https://www.oneearthdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/The_Science_Behind_Solar_Cookers.pdf
  5. http://solar.ucsd.edu/education/TX/TX_lesson_12_SolarCooking_worksheet.pdf
  6. https://earth911.com/food/solar-oven-recipes/
  7. https://gosun.co/blogs/news/all-season-solar-cooker
  8. http://www.solaripedia.com/files/881.pdf
  9. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sunny-science-build-a-pizza-box-solar-oven/

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John Bays

John Bays

29 years old from NY, a Green tech lover!
John Bays

Best Solar Heaters For Inground Pools of 2020

Solar heating for inground pools: top-rated reviews

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, pools typically range from 78° to 82°F, and it costs 10% to 30% more energy to raise the temperature just one degree. (1) Since children and senior citizens usually need water at least 80°, the cost to heat the pool can add up – unless you use the best solar heater for inground pools.

Quick Comparison of Our Top 11 Picks (for Those in a Hurry)

Before we look at the details of the top solar heaters available, here’s a short breakdown of all the options.

  1. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade (6) 4’ x 10.5’ (Best Overall): This is our best overall choice thanks to its high efficiency and compatibility with your roof.
  2. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade (4) 4’ x 10.5’ (Budget Pick): As our budget pick, this option includes four high-quality panels with an innovative design, easy assembly, and an affordable price.
  3. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY (4) 4’ x 12’ (Best For Beginners): This is our pick for beginners thanks to the easy installation, innovative tube-and-web design, and superior efficiency.
  4. SunQuest 2’ x 10’ with Roof Kits: These four panels come with an innovative tubing design, Max-Flow headers, and a complete kit for roof installation.
  5. SunQuest 2’ x 10’ with Diverter Kit: Accompanied by a diverter kit to control water flow, these panels are easy to install and can increase the water temperature up to 10 degrees.
  6. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY (1) 4’ x 12’: This package of a single solar panel is ideal for replacements, expanding your solar heating system, or warming a small pool.
  7. SunQuest (2) 2’ x 20’: These two long, narrow panels from SunQuest have excellent quality, are easy to install, and can adapt to your pool pump.
  8. Smartpool S601P: This one large solar polypropylene panel has innovative tubing, headers, and mounting system for efficient heating.
  9. Blue Wave NS520: This 16 feet by 32 feet solar blanket has air bubbles to trap the sun’s heat and is resistant to chemical and UV damage.
  10. Sun2Solar 1200 Series: Even if this cover is more extensive than you need, you can trim it to the desired size without changing the bubbles’ effectiveness at absorbing and retaining heat.
  11. Sun2Solar 1600 Series: The solar blanket comes with grommets to help keep it in place and make removal simple.

Solar Pool Heaters for Inground Pools Reviews

With so many solar pool heaters to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the best option for your pool. We want to make the process easy for you, so here you’ll find our top 11 solar pool heaters for inground pools of the year, and our comprehensive reviews to aid your search.

No matter your pool size or budget, you’re sure to find a quality solar heater on our list that fits your unique needs.

1. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade (6) 4’ x 10.5’ (Best Overall)

These six Swim Joy solar panels from Solar Pool Supply are our best overall pick because of their incredible design, effectiveness, and easy installation.

Because of their design, solar panels can be very fragile and wear out within a few months. Solar Pool Supply identified the panels’ potential weak spots and created an innovative design that prevents cracks and damage for over a decade.

They mold the headers and risers together to remove any seams that can easily crack. Plus, the panels have a tube system that permits the material to expand and contract with the temperature changes. Solar Pool Supply offers a 12-year warranty for the boards and a lifetime warranty for freeze protection with all of this technology.

This extended warranty is an impressive feature that not all companies offer. I know I would have loved to have it after my panels started to crack after some intense weather!

Not only does their design protect it against the elements, but the flow system helps improve the panels’ efficiency. According to the company, the solar heater floats just above your roof on mounting sleds, so they don’t get dirty or clogged.

With all of these features, the panels must be hard to install, right?

Not quite, my friend! The panels require no strapping, limited roof penetration, and no hoses. You can connect the panels to each other, eliminating the need for unsightly metal clamps.

All of these features give the panels a sleek, attractive look on your roof and heat your pool in no time.

2. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade (4) 4’ x 10.5’ (Budget Pick)

If you want that same Solar Pool Supply quality but want a cheaper option, the company also provides numerous different package sizes with as many panels as you need.

This set is our budget pick since it includes four panels measuring four feet by ten and a half feet. They are the exact same size as our previous model, but you get four instead of six panels.

Four panels are still enough to heat a reasonably large pool if you receive plenty of sunlight, and the price is much lower than the 6-panel option.

These panels are under the same full 12-year warranty with a lifetime guarantee that they will not suffer any damage from freezing weather. The company also promises that its panels are storm and hurricane resistant.

The individual riser tubes help lower the pressure and let the panel breath in changing temperatures. They also have an open flow design, limiting the backpressure and reducing the energy needed to pump the water.

Either on your roof or a raised platform, solar panels can often take away from your outdoor aesthetic. Honestly, that’s why I put off trying them for so long. However, these Swim Joy panels provide a beautiful design for your home with their close placement and smooth surface. You’ll hardly even notice they’re there!

3. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY (4) 4’ x 12’ (Best For Beginners)

So far, we’ve looked at two Solar Pool Supply options that measure four feet by 10.5 feet. This next option from the same company offers four slightly larger panels, coming in at four feet by 12 feet.

These panels are our pick for beginners thanks to the larger size, innovative design, and easy installation.

This solar pool heating system will deliver an impressive amount of heat to your pool for people just getting into the solar panel game. The other Solar Pool Supply panels had an over-molding build, while these have the highest performance design.

Instead of connected strips of material, these panels have a series of long tubes. The tube-and-web design offers optimal movement in the material as it expands and contracts in the changing weather. The ability to breathe helps lengthen the panel’s service life, giving you impressive pool heating for years to come.

Each panel also has a metered manifold to avoid any hot-spots in the material. While the design ensures that the water will flow evenly through the collector, it is still best to install the panels vertically for maximum performance.

Just like our other SolarPoolSupply panels, installation is a breeze. The kit comes with multiple pieces for quick installation on your roof or rack. You can secure the panels with trapping and connect them yourself without calling anyone to help you install them.

4. SunQuest (4) 2’ x 10’ with Roof Kits

These SunQuest panels can work with either inground or above-ground pools. However, this particular package is ideal for inground pools because it comes with a roof installation kit. Since many inground pools don’t allow space to put the panels on the ground, installing them on the roof is necessary.

The complete solar heating package has four panels, measuring two feet by ten feet. It also comes with over 30 other pieces to aid in the roof installation, including two types of connectors, screws, and a valve switch. However, if you don’t already have the piping that connects the solar panels to the pool, you will have to invest in that.

This solar pool heater is highly efficient with the innovating tubing and headers with a Max-Flow design. Thin headers can cause a lot of back pressure on your pump, reducing the system’s efficiency and causing it to use more energy. The 2-inch headers lessen the pressure and ensure maximum efficiency.

5. SunQuest (4) 2’ x 10’ with Diverter Kit

This solar pool heating system is also from the company SunQuest and comes with the same number and size of panels. The main difference is that this solar heating package has a diverter kit instead of the roof installation kit.

A diverter valve kit helps control the water flow to the solar panels. You can turn it on or off and maintain the circulation to reduce backpressure. The kit has over twenty pieces, including the crucial valve.

Like our last option, the panels have a wide header design for less backpressure. With the combination of the Max-Flow design and the valve to control pressure, your solar heating system can be incredibly efficient.

While this package doesn’t come with the complete installation kit, you still get connectors for easy installation. The company states that you can easily place the panels yourself by just following the user manual.

Plus, SunQuest promises that the solar heating system will be able to raise your pool temperature up to ten degrees.

6. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY (1) 4’ x 12’

Here we have another quality solar pool heater from Solar Pool Supply. This package comes with just one solar panel measuring four feet by twelve feet, just like our ideal panel for beginners mentioned above.

Since this package offers a single panel, it is an excellent option for people looking to replace just one panel or expand the solar heating system they currently have. With Solar Pool Supply’s extended warranty, you may not need a replacement quickly.

However, if you are looking to buy more panels to increase the power of heating your pool but don’t want a full package of four, this is an excellent choice. You can buy a single panel to fill in the extra space on your roof or help increase the pool temperature a few more degrees.

Additionally, if you have a small inground pool, you may only need to buy a single panel like this one to heat the area.

As with other Solar Pool Supply products, this solar panel has superior materials and undergoes an intense manufacturing process to assure the quality.

7. SunQuest (2) 2’ x 20’

These SunQuest panels look slightly different from our other two options from the company, but they still provide the same product quality.

Instead of multiple wide panels, this solar heating system includes two long, skinny pieces. They each measure two feet in width and 20 feet in length and come with twelve connecting elements to aid in installation. This size of panels could work well for thin but long roofs.

SunQuest promises that each panel is professional-grade and has superior technology. With the Max-flow header design and flexible tubing, they offer an efficient method of heating your pool.

Plus, in our testing we found that you can install the system in just thirty minutes, so you can start enjoying a warmer pool in no time.

8. Smartpool S601P

Our last heating option for solar panels comes from Smartpool. This solar heating system includes 80 square feet of the paneling in one area measuring four feet by 20 feet.

The Sun Heater polypropylene panels from Smartpool use innovative technology to improve efficiency and increase your pool temperature by six to ten degrees. The tube-on-web panel design exposes more surface area of the tube, allowing it to absorb more of the sun’s energy.

Another great feature is the construction of the headers. SmartPool reinforces each one with fiberglass to ensure extended durability. There are also internal baffles that send the water to both sides of the collector. Like the tube design, this increases the panels’ heating potential.

The tubing itself is flexible, and there are even wind vents periodically placed to strengthen the panels. This extra spacing allows wind to pass through during storms, limiting the probability of damage.

The threaded headers and the mounting channel also allow for easy installation. You can put these panels on your roof, a platform on the ground, or even on a fence.

9. Blue Wave NS520

Solar panels aren’t the only way to heat your pool with the natural power from the sun! Another method is using a simple pool cover like this Blue Wave solar blanket.

Measuring 16 feet by 32 feet, the cover is ideal for your inground rectangular pool. It is relatively thin, measuring 14 mils, or 0.014 inches, but the bubble design helps trap the sun’s rays.

The clear bubble pockets face down into the water and trap the sun’s rays, directing them down into the water. You can use the cover during the day to heat up the pool and at night to help protect the water from cooler temperatures. Another option is to use the blanket on cloudy days to prevent the temperature from dropping too low.

Blue Wave offers a 6-year limited warranty, thanks to its cover design. Despite the thinness, the company claims that the solar blanket resists any damage from UV rays and chemicals within the pool.

10. Sun2Solar 1200 Series

Sun2Solar also offers quality solar covers. This first option from the company measures 16 feet by 32 feet, but you can trim the blanket to fit your inground pool.

If your pool is a unique shape, oval, or a slightly smaller rectangle, you can lay the cover out over the pool and draw the outline on the material with a marker. Then, cut along the line with scissors, and you have a solar blanket that perfectly fits your pool. Another great feature is that by cutting the cover, you won’t in any way affect the warranty.

Like the Blue Wave option, the Sun2Solar cover transmits the sun’s heat to your pool’s water. The bubbles help maintain the heat inside the pool without letting any escape.

These solar blankets are great at heating my inground pool since they are cost-effective and have a simple design. Now that I use solar panels, I actually use a cover with the boards to help retain the panels’ heat.

You can use these blankets by themselves, or you can also combine them with another heating method to limit the cost and energy expended to heat the pool.

11. Sun2Solar 1600 Series

Our final option is another pool cover from Sun2Solar. This one has a surface area of 800 square feet, measuring 20 feet by 40 feet.

Just like the smaller size, the air bubbles trap and keep the sun’s heat to warm the pool significantly. Since most of the pool’s heat escapes through evaporation, these pool covers also prevent any heat loss through water evaporating into the air. (2) According to the company, the cover prevents up to 95% of evaporation.

The 1600 series covers come with a pack of six special grommets. These plastic pieces let the water go through the solar blanket when you want to remove it. Without them, the cover can be heavy and hard to maneuver.

While the grommets help remove water when handling the cover, they also work to keep some water on top of the sheet when you are using it. These tools anchor the blanket so the wind will not blow the cover away.

Each grommet has a top and bottom piece. Decide where you want each grommet, put one piece under the sheet, and then the other on top. Finally, softly hammer the two pieces together.

Buyers’ Guide (Top 5 Tips to Know Before You Buy)

Buying a solar heater for your pool is a large investment. Before you settle on one particular heater, make sure to consider the following tips.

1. Measure Your Inground Pool’s Dimensions

Whether you are considering a solar panel or pool cover, you need to have the dimensions handy.

According to the North Carolina Solar Center, if you opt for solar panels, you need them to cover the equivalent of at least half the pool’s surface area. (3) Measure the length and width of your rectangular pool or the diameter of your circular pool.

Find the area of your rectangular pool by multiplying the length times the width. For a circular swimming pool, you can use a tool like this online area calculator. (4)

Once you have your pool’s surface area, make sure you get enough solar panels to equal at least half of your pool’s size.

2. Measure the Amount of Space You Have for Your Solar Pool Heaters

Once you know your pool’s surface area and how many square feet of paneling you need, check how much space you have.

Find the area of your roof or a nearby open area on the ground where you can place the panels on a platform. You want to ensure you have enough space for all the boards you need.

Another thing to keep in mind is the type of space you have available. If your roof is long but narrow, the 2 feet by 10 feet panels may fit better than the wider 4 feet by 12 feet. You can even draw a scaled image and mark how much space each panel will occupy on your roof.

You don’t want to invest in several panels only to find out that they don’t actually fit on your roof.

3. Know What Type of Solar Pool Heater You Want for Your Inground Pool

We included two primary types of solar pool heaters on our list above: solar panels and pool blankets. While these solar pool heaters are very different, they are both highly effective ways to heat your pool naturally.

Solar Blanket

There are many perks to using a solar blanket to heat your inground pool. Compared to solar panels, they are incredibly cost-effective and require little to no installation.

Instead of passing the water through tubes in solar panels, the cover keeps the sun’s natural heat from escaping through evaporation. Even with this simple heat preservation method, you can heat your pool five degrees or more throughout the day. (5)

However, do keep in mind that you need to leave the pool cover on the water’s surface whenever you’re not using it to ensure maximum results. If your pool has lots of shade, the blanket may not heat the pool as much but instead act more as a protective layer to keep any heat inside the water.

Another possible downside is the wear and tear of the material. Pool covers do not last quite as long as solar panels, especially if they are under the sun all day.

Roof Kit

You probably don’t have much space on the ground with inground pools to set out solar panels, so you need panels that come with a roof kit.

Compared to the solar blankets, these panels are a bit more challenging to install. However, most companies try to make it easy for you by including easy-to-use installation kits.

In terms of effectiveness, most solar panel companies claim that their solar pool heaters can heat up your pool at least 10 degrees, which is more than the blanket option.

Roof solar panels will heat your pool faster, but they often come at a higher cost. Still, you won’t need to worry about covering your pool as soon as people stop swimming to conserve the heat.

As you compare solar panels and blankets, think about how much you will be using the pool, whether it receives direct sunlight throughout the day, and what type of budget you have. You can even use a combination of solar panels on the roof and a solar blanket on the pool for maximum heating.

4. Consider Professional Installation

If you are interested in the high efficiency of solar panels on your roof but are unsure if you will be able to install them correctly, consider professional installation.

Many of your local home improvement stores offer solar panel installation for an added cost. You can either buy the panels online and request their services or purchase the panels at the store with the added price of installation.

5. Find the Best Deal for You

With so many options for solar pool heaters that range in size, price, and style, it can be challenging to find the best deal for your pool.

Once you’ve picked out the right size and style, consider what each package includes.

Warranty

Buying solar panels is a large investment, sometimes totaling thousands of dollars. Since this type of equipment is quite expensive, make sure you opt for panels that come with a warranty.

Each company has a different type and length of warranty. For example, the Solar Pool Supply brand has a 12-year warranty on some of its products, assuring that you will have a quality pool heater for well over a decade.

Even some of the solar blankets come with warranties, like the Blue Wave cover, which includes a six-year guarantee.

While not everyone needs an extended year warranty, it’s always important to consider when you choose which solar polar heat to buy.

Support

Solar heating technology can be tricky. When buying a pool heater – whether it be a blanket or panels – make sure the company offers decent customer support.

If you have any questions about installation, continued performance, or maintenance, having access to supportive customer service is critical.

You don’t want to wait for weeks to hear back from the manufacturer and not be able to enjoy a heated pool. Plus, if you buy a solar heater with a warranty, ensure the company upholds its guarantee and offers support to its customers.

Shipping

As you’re considering all the various aspects of your solar pool heater, don’t forget about the added cost of shipping.

Solar panels can be large and heavy, and even pool covers take up more space than your standard package. Make sure you consider the shipping price when choosing your best solar pool heater.

Final Price

Once you calculate the additional price of a warranty and shipping, check the final price. Is it still within your budget?

If not, consider similar options that offer the same perks at a more reasonable price.

FAQ

There are so many questions that may come up when choosing a solar pool heater. We have answered some of people’s most frequently asked questions to help you in your search.

What Size Heater Do I Need for My Inground Pool?

The size of your heater depends mainly on the size of your pool and your local weather. You can calculate the amount of water in your pool to better understand what size heater you need.

In addition to the length and width of your pool, measure the average water depth. Multiply those three values together, then multiply the number by 7.5 to find out how many gallons your pool holds.

Pool heaters use the British Thermal Unit (BTU) to describe how many pounds of water they can heat. For every one BTU, the heater can warm one pound of water one degree.

Now that you know how many gallons of water your pool holds, you can multiply that number by 8.3 to find how many pounds of water you need to heat. That total number will show you how many BTUs you need in a pool heater. (6)

Many solar panels will advertise how many BTUs of energy they can produce per square foot per hour. Add up how many square feet of paneling you are considering buying and make sure they can heat your entire pool throughout the day.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Heat a Pool?

There is no straight answer to this question. The number of solar panels needed to heat your pool depends on various factors.

First, calculate your pool size. Use the tips above to calculate the pool surface area. If you have an oblong pool, estimate the pool’s length and width to find the area. The more surface area your pool has, the more solar panels you will need. You cover anywhere from 50% to 100% of the pool’s surface area, but the exact number of panels depends on additional factors.

If your pool lies partially or entirely in the shad, you will need additional panels to compensate for the lack of natural heating directly from the sun to the water.

For inground pools, you will most likely need to put the solar panels on the roof if you don’t have the yard space. However, if your roof faces the east, the panels will only receive direct sunlight during the morning, limiting how much solar energy the panels will be able to capture.

Another critical factor in determining the number of solar panels is your location. The further north you live, the fewer viable swimming months you have. In southern Florida, you can get up to 12 months of swimming with a solar heater, while in northern Washington, you may only get four months of swimming with the heater. (7)

The final factor is how big your solar panels are. If you have extra-large panels, like the ones measuring 4 feet by 12 feet by Solar Pool Supply, you will need fewer panels.

Once you have all of this information, you can use an online calculator that considers all of these factors and gives you an accurate estimate of how many solar panels you will need. (8)

Is Solar Pool Heating Worth It?

In our books, yes. Solar pool heating is definitely worth it because it allows homeowners to enjoy their pool more, cut energy costs, and save money in the long run. Even though the initial cost may be on the high end, solar heaters reduce your annual energy expenditures significantly.

Plus, with warranties that last for years, the amount of money you save significantly outweighs the equipment’s price.

For our full list of both top-rated inground and above-ground models, you can check out our guide by clicking here.

The Bottom Line: What Is the Best Solar Heater for Inground Pools of 2020?

Now that we’ve gone over all the top options here at Your Energy Blog, and how to figure out how many solar panels you need, all that’s left is to choose the perfect model for you, your pool, and your budget.

If you’re still unsure of which heater to choose, we highly-recommend our top-rated pick, the Solar Pool Supply Industrial Grade 6-Pack. In short, it’s tough to go wrong with its high heating efficiency, innovative technology, and easy installation.

  1. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/managing-swimming-pool-temperature-energy-efficiency
  2. https://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1215
  3. https://p2infohouse.org/ref/32/31355.pdf
  4. https://www.sensorsone.com/circle-diameter-to-area-calculator/?dval=22&dunit=feet+%28ft%29&dfctr=ft&aunit=&afctr=
  5. https://allaboutpools.org/how-fast-does-a-solar-cover-heat-a-pool/
  6. https://acleanhome.net/what-size-pool-heater-do-i-need/
  7. https://weheatcoldpools.com/heat-pump-pool-heater-performance/
  8. https://www.cmiwebsite.com/solar-pool-heating/how-many-solar-panels-do-i-need/

The post Best Solar Heaters For Inground Pools of 2020 first appeared on Your Energy Blog.

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