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The best solar car battery charger 2023

  • The best solar chargers to keep your battery topped up
  • What solar panel features to look for
  • How to install a solar battery charger

Written by Ryan Gilmore Published: 20 January 2023 Updated: 25 September 2023

The sun is a near-unlimited source of free electricity, which makes the idea of a using a solar battery charger so tempting. If you’re needing to charge your car’s battery one of these clever solar panels on your dashboard can supplement battery life, preventing a flat battery. This idea used to be reserved for particularly eco-minded cars, but now there are a raft of aftermarket examples available.

These inexpensive slabs of cells will happily sit on a car’s dashboard or rest on the bonnet collecting energy from the sun to provide some extra electricity for a car’s battery. They work similarly to a trickle charger, albeit without needing a socket to plug the device into. They’re great for driveway-parked cars that aren’t driven often and are at risk of a flat battery without some extra support.

The best solar battery charger at a glance:

Best solar battery charger: AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger 4.8W View offer on Amazon UK
• Best solar battery charger on a budget: 12V Portable 10W Solar Battery Maintainer – View offer on Amazon UK
Best solar battery charger for dead car batteries: CTEK CS FREE View offer on Amazon UK

While a solar-powered car may be a good few years away for the vast majority of us, this is the next best thing and should at the very least prevent a flat car battery. We’ve found the best for you and listed them below, whether the sun plays ball is a whole other can of worms.

The best solar car battery chargers

Editor's Choice

Price: £41.74
Amazon Amazon Prime
The AA's solar battery charger is our favourite because it works so effectively. Attached either to an EOBD port or directly to the battery terminals, this battery charger is capable of keeping a healthy battery charged up and ready to fire up the first time, so long as the device is facing the sun.

Both connections will ensure that the car is being charged whenever there's sunlight as both connections bypass the ignition, a required source for other solar battery chargers (like a 12v socket). Beyond this, the large area of the charger will ensure a healthy battery remains topped up, although the AA don't recommend using this on a dead battery.


  • Works without an ignition source
  • Includes several connection ports


  • No weather resistance
Dimensions 34.5 x 44 x 6.2cm
Weight 2.2kg
Watts 4.8W
Connects to EOBD port, battery clamps

The best solar battery charger on a budget

Rrp: £35.99

Price: £29.99
Amazon Amazon Prime
Boasting a very impressive 10 watts and an enviable price tag, this solar car battery charger is a good way of keeping a car battery topped up. While it can only connect via a 12V socket or battery cables, it will keep a battery from losing charge.

The blocking diode included ensures that there's no chance of the solar panel discharging the battery and the solar panel is very versatile, affixing to a car in a number of ways. There's a soft, padded rear perfect for use on your dashboard without the fear of leaving scratches, suction cups for mounting to glass and a strip that can attach it to the back of a sun visor.


  • Good power for the price
  • Easy to mount on a car


  • No OBD connector
Dimensions 28 x 26 x 0.25cm
Weight 320g
Watts 10
Connects to 12V socket, battery clamps

The best solar battery charger for classic cars

Designed to be used over a long period of time, this battery charger is ideal if you have a car you rarely use (like a delicate classic car) but don't want the hassle of having to jump-start it on the occasion you do use it. With 6W, its power output is ideal for trickle charging. It connects either via a 12V socket or battery clamp and while it's not the most technologically impressive option, it does work very effectively over a long period.


  • Keep your battery topped up with ease
  • Good quality product


  • Not very powerful
Dimensions 29.5 x 29.5 x 3cm
Weight 1.1kg
Watts 6W
Connects to 12V socket, battery clamps

Best compact solar car battery charger

The smallest solar car battery charger here may be the weakest, but it is still an effective and good value option for keeping a really healthy battery topped up. Like the other here, it can plug into a 12V socket or directly into the battery and while the 1.5W won't restart a dead battery, it should fight off the battery-draining power of a dash cam or onboard computer.


  • Small size
  • Good value and quality


  • Low power
Dimensions 35x 12.5 x N/Acm
Weight 0.5kg
Watts 1.5W
Connects to 12V socket, battery clamps

The best solar battery charger for dead car batteries

Rrp: £319.99

Price: £193.46
Amazon Amazon Prime
This hefty battery charger may not be a solar-powered battery charger from the box, but CTEK sell an optional solar panel that means the CS FREE can work entirely off grid. Designed primarily to work as an intelligent battery charger and maintainer, the CTEK CS FREE is also capable of restarting a dead battery thanks to CTEK's Adaptive Boost technology. This technology works by working out the safest way to revive a dead battery, within 15 minutes of being connected. This is a pretty extreme example of a solar battery charger, but it is well worth considering.


  • Can restart totally dead batteries
  • Intelligent charging to maximise charging efficiency


  • Requires two separate pieces to become solar-powered
Dimensions 24.9 x 9.9 x 7.9 cm
Weight ‎1.36 kg
Watts N/A
Connects to Battery clamps

What you need to know about solar car battery chargers:

What features should I look for in a solar battery charger?

Think about what needs you have for your car. If you just want to keep it topped up then a simple trickle charger with a low wattage should be fine. If you have a car with a very large engine or one that drains the battery very quickly then it may be an idea to invest in a portable jump starter to get your engine revving once more.

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

How do I install a solar battery charger?

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

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

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

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for Parkers, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. A veteran car cleaner; if it details, waxes or washes he’ll be on hand to make sure it’s worth your money.

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