Summer is full of fun adventures like swimming, hiking, jet skiing, and boating. The only downside to these adventures is that they usually take us far away from traditional power sources and a lack of electricity can result in some serious problems. Thankfully, there is an easy solution. All you need is a marine solar panel. Marine solar panels help you to keep all your batteries and electronics charged, no matter where you are. All you need is the power of the sun and you’re good to go!

Solar power has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and as a result, many companies are starting to produce solar panels. But, like most products, not all solar panels are created equal, especially when it comes to models that are safe to take on all your marine adventures. To help save you some time and trouble, we have done some research and compiled a list of the top five best marine solar panels of 2020. Take a look at our picks, then keep reading for some tips about how to choose the best marine solar panels for you.

Top 5 Best Marine Solar Panels of 2020


Reviews of the Best Marine Solar Panels

ACOPOWER 120W Foldable Solar Panel

ACOPOWER 120W Foldable Solar Panel

Quick Look: Portable 120W solar panel with carrying case. Attached stand for easy set-up. Comes with a built-in charge controller. Compatible with 8 types of batteries. Waterproof and weather-resistant.Check Price at Amazon

If you’re looking for a multipurpose solar panel that can keep all your batteries well-charged, then look no further than this model from ACOPOWER. This 120W solar panel is compatible with 8 different types of battery including lithium-ion, gel, crystal, AGM, and more. It also comes with a built-in 5-stage controller so you never have to worry about your batteries overcharging.

Although this is a larger panel than some of our other picks, measuring 24.21” x 40.54” when open, it does fold in half for better portability. It also comes with a tough protective carrying case that is great for both traveling and safe storage.

This solar panel is waterproof and weather-resistant, making it the perfect choice for your boating adventures. It comes with three charging adapters: alligator clips, an MC-4 connector, and an Anderson connector, so you can use this unit for your solar power bank, your RV, and any of your other battery charging needs.

Learn More and Buy Now at Amazon
TP-Solar 20W Solar Panel Kit

TP-Solar 20W Solar Panel Kit

Quick Look: Compact and lightweight solar panel with controller and adaptors. Works with 12V batteries. Waterproof and dust-proof, sturdy design.Check Price at Amazon

For those of you looking for something a little more compact and budget-friendly, check out this unit from TP-Solar. This compact solar panel weighs on 4.4lb and is only 18.9” x 13.4”, making it the perfect choice for those with limited space.

Do not let its size fool you though, this unit is tough and powerful. It has tempered glass over the solar panel to help protect the panel as well as catch more light. The frame is made of aluminum, so it is rust and wear-resistant. This panel is designed to charge all your 12V batteries, so you can keep all your recreational vehicles up and running.

The sturdy design also makes this model waterproof and dust-proof. This unit is a good choice for anyone who likes to go on serious adventures. This kit is easy to set up and comes with a built-in controller and two adaptors, ring connectors and alligator clips, making it the perfect addition to any boating or camping trip.

Learn More and Buy Now at Amazon
Glosolar Large Solar Panels

Glosolar Large Solar Panels

Quick Look: Two 120W flexible monocrystalline solar panels. Lightweight with easy set-up. Comes with LED charge controller and connector cables. Comes with a 25-year output warranty.Check Price at Amazon

Sometimes installing solar panels can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re trying to mount them on a surface that isn’t quite flat such as the top of your RV or boat. Well, thanks to Glosolar, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. With these high wattage flexible solar panels, you can mount them wherever it is most convenient for you.

This kit comes with two 120W solar panels and a LED charge controller, so you can charge all your batteries without worrying about overcharging or short-circuiting. Need even more power? Not to worry, these panels are designed to be connected to additional panels so you can take advantage of solar power for all your electricity needs.

These panels are waterproof and weather-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about having them out year-around. They are also lightweight and easy to install, making them a great choice for your more permanent solar power needs.

Learn More and Buy Now at Amazon
Suner Power Solar-Powered Battery Maintainer

Suner Power Solar-Powered Battery Maintainer

Quick Look: Solar-powered 12V battery maintainer. High-efficiency poly-crystalline solar panel. Waterproof and weather-resistant durable designs. Comes with a 12-month warranty.Check Price at Amazon

We know that not everyone is looking for extra-large solar panels. Sometimes you just need to keep one battery going and that is where this unit from Suner Power comes into the picture. This solar-powered battery maintainer is perfect for keeping your boat’s battery well-charged throughout the off-season.

This model comes with an easy to install adjustable mount, so you can attach it in a convenient place and then simply adjust it as the light changes. It also has a built-in MPPT charge controller so you can leave it attached to your battery all the time and never worry about overcharging, short-circuiting, or back charging.

This solar panel is protected by tempered glass and has a sturdy aluminum frame, making it waterproof and weather-resistant. It also comes with three easy to connect adaptors for simple hook-up.

Learn More and Buy Now at Amazon
TP-Solar Foldable Solar Panel

TP-Solar Foldable Solar Panel

Quick Look: 100W high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panel. Foldable and compact. Chargers 12V batteries and USB electronic devices. Waterproof, weatherproof, and heat-resistant. Highly portable and comes with multiple charging adaptors.Check Price at Amazon

For our solar enthusiasts who are always on the go, this one is for you. This TP foldable lightweight solar panel is the perfect companion for all your adventures, especially your marine adventures. It is highly durable, waterproof, weatherproof, and heat-resistant. It’s even washable, so you can feel comfortable taking it on even your most outrageous adventures.

You can use this solar panel to charge all your 12V batteries, perfect for your recreational marine vehicles. You can also use the included adaptors to charge your electronics, such as your phone and laptop, making it a must-have tool for all your camping, boating, and RV trips.

This high-efficiency solar panel folds into a convenient 11” x 7.8” rectangle that weighs only 5.5lb. It comes with two carabiner hooks for easy mounting and five different charging cables, including alligator hooks and a cigarette lighter charger, to meet all your charging needs.

Learn More and Buy Now at Amazon

How We Chose The Best Marine Solar Panels

As you can probably guess, there are hundreds of great marine solar panels out there to choose from. To help narrow our search, we focused on a few simple but very important features that every quality marine solar panel should have.

Controlled Power

Although there are many waterproof solar panels on the market today, we focused on models that were capable of generating enough electricity to charge the most common batteries that you would use in your marine adventures. We also looked for models that came with charge controllers.

Charge controllers are exactly what they sound like, they are used to control the electrical charge being generated by your solar panel. Controllers are very important because they protect your batteries from overcharging, short-circuiting, and back charging. With a controller, you do not have to worry about leaving your battery attached to the solar panel for long periods because it will charge safely.

Versatility

We also looked for solar panels that would work for multiple applications. There is no sense in purchasing a single-use tool or appliance when you can choose one that is multi-purpose! With that in mind, we chose solar panels that would be compatible with all your solar charging needs, both on and off the water.

Ease of Use

This is an element that we focus on with all our product picks because we know that no one wants to waste money on products that they aren’t going to use. We chose solar panels that are easy to set up and even easier to use so that you will be sure to get the most out of your purchase. Things like plug-and-play adaptors, sturdy carrying cases, built-in controllers, and built-in stands are just some of the features that set these models apart.

What You Need To Know About Marine Solar Panels

With all the improvements that have been made to solar technology over the last decade, choosing quality solar panels is a lot easier now than it has ever been. When choosing solar panels you should focus first on the amount of power you need to generate. When it comes to marine solar panels, there are a few additional elements to consider.

Waterproofing

It may be tempting to assume that all solar panels are weatherproof; they are meant to be outside in the sun right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Some models are only water-resistant and some are not meant to be exposed to moisture at all. If you’re looking for a solar panel specifically for marine use, you will want to make sure that the panel is waterproof, not just water-resistant. Be sure to read the fine print! Some models will come with a waterproof charge controller but only water-resistant panels and vise versa.

If you plan on using your solar charger all year, make sure you choose a model that is weather-proof and capable of functioning in extreme temperatures.

Mounting Options

This could apply to all solar panels, but it is especially important in marine use. If you want to permanently mount your solar panel on your boat, you will want to choose one with especially tough rust-resistant mounting attachments. Mounting brackets attached to the aluminum frame or metal rings in a heavy-duty canvas are good indicators that you will be able to attach the panel securely. Remember that the panel will have to be mounted out in the sun in a location that may not be protected from the wind and the waves, so it has to be tightly secured.

Portable models usually come with a stand or hooks that can be used to attach the panel to a wall or a similar area. If you are using this style of solar panel on a moving marine vehicle, make sure you have a way to fasten it down before you start moving! You do not want your new solar panel to end up lost in the lake.

How to Choose The Best Marine Solar Panel For You

Thankfully, once you know what to look for in a quality marine solar panel, choosing the best model for you is a pretty straightforward process. You simply need to determine how and when you want to use it and the right choice will become clear.

Purpose

As you can see from our picks, these solar panels come in many different sizes and wattages, so knowing what you want to power will help you choose the best one for your situation.

For example, if you just need a little extra power to maintain your boat’s battery through the off-season, you may want to choose a smaller model like our pick from Suner Power. If you want to use your solar panel to charge all your marine batteries, you should choose one of the larger panels such as our overall favorite from ACOPOWER. Be sure to consider all the ways and situations in which you will want to use your solar panel so that you can be sure to choose one that will be powerful enough from the get-go. You do not want to buy a smaller model only to find that you will have to buy another one soon after.

You will also want to consider the type of charging your will be doing. For example, do you only want to charge 12V batteries or would you like to use your solar panel to charge your smaller electronics as well? Many of the portable solar panels come with multiple charging cables. You may want to choose a model like this if you want to get even more use out of your solar panel.

Style

Last, but not least, you have to decide what style will best fit your needs. Decide if you want a portable model or a more permanent version. The amount of power you need will limit your options to some extent. More power means bigger panels. If you’re powering multiple batteries, you may even have to purchase multiple panels, which can limit your portability.

If portability is a priority, look for a foldable model. Panels like our 100W pick from TP-Solar make it easy for you to harness lots of solar power without having to cart around a large solid solar panel.

Bottom Line

Solar power is the perfect way to power all your summer adventures. With a quality marine solar panel, you never have to worry about your batteries running out of juice and ruining your day at the beach. Any of our top 5 options are great choices, but we would recommend the ACOPOWER 120W Foldable Solar Panel for its ease of use and controlled power.

Top 5 Best Marine Solar Panels of 2020


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