To help you find the best solar panels for your home or your outdoor vehicles and RVs, we spent more than 15 hours of research and testing on 20 different products. During our testing, we focused on features like efficiency, power output, ease of installation and overall durability of the individual panels. We also considered the solar panels’ warranties, looking for products that offer 5-10 years or more, and how much protection the warranties offered.
After our testing, we chose the Renogy 100 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Panel Starter Kit for our top pick spot. It powers RVs, boats, and homes with a low-iron tempered glass construction, 100W rating (105W or more in peak conditions), and monocrystalline panels, which offer up to 30% greater efficiency. Keep reading to learn more about the Renogy solar panel starter kit and the other solar panels on our list.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Renogy is one of the most popular solar manufacturers today, and the reason why is apparent in their 100 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Panel Starter Kit. With extra-durable construction, efficient performance and solid warranty, this kit is perfect for homes, RVs and boats.
Read Full Review: Renogy 100 Watts Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
The first thing that stands out about the Renogy solar panels out of the box is their high-quality construction. The panels feature lightweight aluminum frames and shatter-resistant glass, making them perfect for RV applications. The frames are also already installation ready with pre-drilled mounting holes and the starter kit includes mounting Z brackets so you don’t have to go hunting for hardware. Because of this, overall installation is very easy, even in spite of relatively unclear instructions.
Overall performance is also something to be applauded here. In ideal conditions, the Renogy solar panels can output anywhere from around 63 watts, with the included PWM charge controller, up to the full 100 watts with a high-end MPPT controller. The panels also provide a low temperature coefficient at -0.23%/°C, meaning they’ll still perform relatively well even in hot temperatures. The Renogy solar panels are also backed by an impressive 25 year power output warranty and 5 year material and workmanship warranty. As such, you can rest assured that these panels will be covered for a long time. If you also want solar power on the road, take a look at some of the best RV solar panels.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Ring Solar Panel is made specifically for the Ring Spotlight Cam and Ring Stick Up Cam. With easy installation and high performance, the Ring Solar Panel assures you’ll never need to change a battery in your smart home security cameras again.
Read Full Review: Ring Solar Panel Review
The Ring Solar Panel is made with one purpose in mind: charging the batteries in either your Ring Spotlight Cam or Ring Stick Up Cam. Since these are security cameras meant for the outside of your home, constantly changing batteries can be a hassle, but the Ring Solar Panel has fixed that problem. Measuring in at just 7.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches, this solar panel is compact and versatile. Its small size means you can install it nearly anywhere on your home without problem. Installation is also really easy, and all of the installation hardware is included in the package. Don’t worry if your camera is in a place where the solar panel won’t fit. You also get a 13 foot power cable so can install the panel away from the camera in order to get the best sunlight.
While the Ring Solar Panel’s performance isn’t much to talk about on paper with only 6V/2.2 watts of power output, it’s perfect for the Ring cameras. Of course, total output is dependent on sunlight exposure, but you should expect your batteries to stay charged throughout the day while using the solar panel, even on overcast days. Unfortunately, you might experience less-than-average performance in winter weather with the Ring Solar Panel, especially in temperatures below -5° Celsius. However, the Ring Solar Panels are built with durability in mind, and they can withstand tough weather, including snow and rain. The only disappointment in that area is the short, 1 year warranty you’ll get with your purchase. With your solar panels doing the work at home, you’re free to grab your best two person tent for a weekend camping trip.
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Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: The RAVPower Foldable Solar Panel is portable, durable and lightweight, making it the perfect addition to your camping gear. It produces enough power output to charge all your portable devices via USB, whether on cloudy or clear days.
Read Full Review: RAVPower Foldable Solar Panel Review
Extra batteries do nothing but add weight and take up extra space in your camping gear, making them inconvenient for serious camping trips. The RAVPower Foldable Solar Panel solves that problem completely. This solar panel can be folded into a compact and lightweight package that fits easily into a pack. When you’re ready to use it, simply unfold it and plug in your devices to charge. The RAVPower can charge up to three separate devices simultaneously via USB. It outputs up to 16 watts of power with an efficiency between 21.5% and 23.5%.
The RAVPower also uses “iSmart” technology to automatically adjust power output based on the specific device you have connected to the unit. If your camera needs more juice than your phone, for example, the solar panel will dole out the appropriate amount of power to both devices without overcharging and ruining their batteries. While it isn’t the fastest charge of all time, the convenience of charging while away from an outlet is well worth it. If you need a durable and reliable power source while camping, the RAVPower Foldable Solar Panel is the choice for you. While you’re at it, pick up the best flying insect spray to keep your camp bug free.
Award: BEST FOR ARLO CAMERAS
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you have Arlo security cameras installed at your house, then you absolutely need the accompanying Arlo Solar Panel. This handy little solar panel keeps your Arlo cameras charged at all times without succumbing to weather conditions or difficult installations.
Read Full Review: Arlo Solar Panel Review
Like the Ring Solar Panel above, the Arlo Solar Panel is made specifically for Arlo-brand security cameras. More specifically, this solar panel is compatible with both Arlo Pro and Arlo Go cameras. When connected, this model will provide a continuous charge to your camera’s battery so you don’t have to swap the battery out to charge every so often. Instead, the solar panel draws energy from the sun and uses it to charge the battery. Since these are small batteries, the solar panel is really only good for this single application, which limits its overall versatility. However, it does this one thing extremely well.
Even on cloudy days, the Arlo Solar Panel’s performance was impressive. During our testing, we never once noticed our batteries falling too low. Installation was also super easy. You get all the mounting brackets and hardware with your purchase, and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The only downside to installation that we noticed was the length of the included power cable. At only 6 feet, you won’t get much flexibility in placement. Keep this in mind as you plan your installation. Some might consider the connector between the power cable and the camera to be too snug, but we found it to be good for weather resistance. If you also want a match to brave the elements, take a look at the best all weather matches on the market.
Award: BEST PORTABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you need a portable power source, look no further than the Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panel. With a unique foldable design, integrated kickstand and TPE rubber handle, this solar charger can easily go everywhere with you.
Read Full Review: Jackery SolarSaga 60W Solar Panel Review
The Jackery SolarSaga 60 watt solar panel is the best portable solar panel on our list that your money can buy – they’re also the best for high temperatures. Everything in this unit’s design is made for portability and versatility. For starters, it features a foldable design that folds down into a more portable package. It even includes a handy storage pouch for protection when stored. The solar panel also includes a helpful integrated kickstand that props up the unit so you can get the maximum sunlight exposure. All these things, combined with the TPE rubber handle, make the Jackery SolarSaga perfect for anyone on the go.
There’s also a lot to be said about the SolarSaga’s performance. This is a 60 watt solar panel that boasts an impressive 23% output efficiency, which is enough to power portable devices via the unit’s included USB ports or to charge Jackery Explorer portable power stations. While this will only work with other Jackery products, it does so seamlessly for the best user experience. Even more impressive is the fact that this portable solar panel can operate in temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it the best solar panel for high temperatures on our list. Unfortunately, the SolarSaga’s performance dips a bit in cloudy weather, but not enough to keep it off our list of top picks. Now all you’ll need is one of the best rooftop tents for the perfect camping trip.
Award: BEST FOLDABLE
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel charger is the best solar panel for USB devices and is completely foldable for easier transport. It’s also incredibly durable and includes three quick charge USB ports to charge your smartphones, cameras and other portable devices.
Read Full Review: Rockpals 100W Foldable Solar Panel Charger Review
The Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel is the best foldable option on our list. It’s easy to unfold when you’re setting up and fold up when you’re packing your things. Once folded, it measures in at 20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 inches, making it one of the most compact options on our list. Unfortunately, it’s a little heavier than other options, weighing in at 5.4 pounds, but it’s by no means too heavy to pack around.
One of the best things about the Rockpals foldability is that it doesn’t sacrifice performance and functionality. It’s compatible with most solar generators, but it also includes three Quick Charge USB ports so you can power all of your portable devices with ease. And with smart charging technology, you don’t have to worry about overcharging the batteries of your devices. You also get a high amount of conversion efficiency with the Rockpals solar charger, up to 23.5%. If you want a foldable solar panel that can charge both your solar generator and your portable devices, look no further than the Rockpals 100W foldable solar panel.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline solar panel is lightweight, compact and ready for RV and marine usage. With a pre-attached MC4 cable and extra-durable build, this solar panel is easy to install and easy to maintain overall.
Read Full Review: Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Review
If you’re looking for a solid solar panel to use on your boats or in other marine applications, look no further than the Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline solar panel. This solar panel is more compact and lightweight than previous NewPowa iterations, which makes it even better for boats, where space for solar units is increasingly limited. They’re also rated to withstand high winds and wet weather conditions, making them even better for marine applications.
The Newpowa solar panels offer a high level of efficiency at around 21%, even during cloudy weather or partial shade. The solar panel is easy to install overall with pre-drilled mounting holes, but the package doesn’t include any kind of mounting hardware, which was a bit of a disappointment. Finally, the Newpowa solar panels include an impressive 25 year power output warranty, which is even transferable, but a disappointing 2 year materials warranty.
During our testing, we wanted to guarantee our Top Picks solved your RV, boat, or home solar power dilemma, so we focused on solar panels that could provide the most energy in the most efficient manner possible. In order to make the cost of solar energy efficient, you need to be able to produce energy cheaper than what traditional power sources would cost. This efficiency is measured in a variety of different ways, ranging from how much sunlight exposure they can convert to consumable power, along with the temperature coefficient of the unit.
When you combine that efficiency with the price of purchasing the solar panel itself, you get a better picture of the overall value of the product. Try to find something that makes sense for you and your home, RV or other application.
We also considered the difference between solar panels for your exterior smart home devices like security cameras vs. larger solar panels meant to power your home, RV or boat. We didn’t weigh one heavier than the other. Instead, we focused more on each specific panel’s ability to power whatever application they’re connected to.
We also measured each option on our list based on its ease of installation. The best solar panels should be easy to install and include all the necessary mounting hardware. They should also include clear instructions so you know exactly what you’re doing during the installation process, including how to appropriately connect all of the electrical components.
Finally, we also took into account the solar panels’ warranty. Large solar panel applications often carry two separate warranties: a materials warranty and a performance warranty. Materials warranties should be 5-10 years while performance materials should be around 25 years. Solar panels for smaller applications like smart home devices and solar generators often carry a standard 1 year warranty.
The best solar panel on our list is the Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Starter Kit. With a durable construction, high energy efficiency and low temperature coefficient, these solar panels are perfect for a wide variety of applications, including both homes and RVs.
The most powerful solar panels offer up to 400 watts of power, but these are a little out of scope on our list. The most powerful solar panel on our list is the Renogy 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Starter Kit. You can link multiple panels together for even great power output for larger applications.
The two of the main disadvantages to solar energy that those opposed to solar bring up most often are the need for constant sunlight exposure and the need for oftentimes large installation areas. These “downsides” are mostly myths, though. You can still use solar in areas that don’t get sun 100% of the time and you can even work with smaller installation spaces. While cloudy days and smaller installation spaces may not give you the maximum efficiency that solar panels can provide, it doesn’t mean you should avoid solar outright.
Our expert solar panel reviews reveal this technology as economical alternative source of energy, and we help you confidently select the best solar panels for your home or office. There are different types of solar panels available in the market: these include solar thermal panels used exclusively for heating water and for air conditioning; single silicon solar power systems that are currently the most efficient ones in the market; and multi-silicon solar panels that are affordable and a good choice if you have space on roofs.
Read our solar panel reviews to stay abreast of the latest technological developments with solar panels so that you can recover the cost of your investment as quickly as possible. The best solar panels by brands such as Renogy, Solartec, Grape Solar, and Goliath now use solar PV panels that use nanotechnology. Combined with newer technologies to store the energy produced by solar panels, the latest designs are an attractive cost-effective option that may actually let you sell energy to the grid. And, if you’re a fan of DIY projects, then you’ll find exhaustive reviews of do-it-yourself solar panel kits on Gadget Review.
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