I spent hundreds of hours learning about the solar charge controller a few years ago when I was building my solar PV system. I read many blog posts, customer’s reviews and asked my friends to know what type of charge controller fits my kit? What brand should I choose? But there weren’t any helpful instructions, so I bought a solar kit that PWM charge controller was included. After a year of using PWM charge controller, I decided to replace a cheap PWM with an MPPT charge controller. Now I am very happy with my choice, my system has been getting much more solar power than before and I think buying MPPT was a wise decision. In this post, I want to share you my experiences in choosing the best MPPT solar charge controllers for PV system and bring you top rated options. After you review my list, be sure to read my buying guide.
Top Rated MPPT Charge Controller Reviewed
|Charge Controller||Rated Charge Current||Price||Our Rating (/10)|
|ECO-WORTHY 20A 12V/24V||20A||Check Price||8.2|
|MPPT Tracer 1210RN||10A||Check Price||8.4|
|Victron BlueSolar 75/15||15A||Check Price||9.5|
|Renogy Tracer 4210||40A||Check Price||8|
|SolarEpic Tracer MPPT 40A||40A||Check Price||9|
|EPEVER Tracer A 4210||40A||Check Price||9.2|
|Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60||60A||Check Price||9.5|
|Outback FM80||60A||Check Price||8.4|
Best Small-Size MPPT charge controller (10A-20A)
ECO-WORTHY 20A 12V/24V MPPT Solar Charge Controller Reviews
The realm of budget MPPT controllers is filled with dozens upon dozens of names that you’ve never heard of and probably won’t hear again. There are tons of fly-by-night Chinese companies that copy other’s designs and put them in a different housing to call their own. There are really only three different reputable players who have been offering budget grade MPPT controllers for long enough to establish a track record: Tracer, Renogy, and Eco-Worthy. I did a bunch of research into each option before finally deciding on the Eco-Worthy 20A MPPT charge controller.
This product has received so many positive reviews among users and if you are looking for a high-quality product, consider to try this one.
- This controller is that it will work with either a 12V or a 24V system.
- More selections for your need: Five output modes: Manual, Standard, Timer, Light sensor, Light sensor on + Timer off.
- One other feature worth mentioning is the ‘MPPT Demo’ mode. This activates an algorithm that calculates how the charger compares to a typical PWM controller at that given point in time.
What we like
- Cheap price but good quality
- Ease of Installation and Build Quality
- The Eco-Worthy 20A charge controller is set to factory defaults that let it start happily charging your batteries without you doing a single thing to configure them.
- Making changes through the system’s menu is pretty straight forward, and I found navigating the menu system to be intuitive and easy to master.
- The ability to set the bulk, absorb, and float charging points for your particular batteries.
- It has LCD display that helps us determine what we can and cannot turn on at any given point in the day. In normal operation, the status display tells you the current voltage of your battery bank, the current charging state of the controller, how many amps are currently being generated by the connected panels, among other information. It also keeps a rolling record of the total number of Watt Hours (WH) that the controller has processed.
What we don’t like
- The chargers do get fairly warm when the sun is high in a clear sky.
I think you couldn’t find any MPPT charge controller on the market that is better than this one and has the price under 100. This is the most effective one you can find from Chinese manufacturers. I can’t claim that you must buy this one, but if you want a budget level MPPT controller that is easy to use and performs the way it is supposed to, then this is the best choice. They are getting more popular all the time, and if you get one from Amazon.com, get free shipping with Amazon Prime.
MPPT Tracer 1210RN – 10A Solar Charge Controller Reviews
The Tracer1210RN charge controller utilizes Maximum Power Point Tracking technology to extract maximum power from the solar module (s). The tracking algorithm is fully automatic and does not require user adjustment.
It is designed for off-grid solar PV system and control the charging and discharging of the battery, especially suitable for the street light system. The controller features a smart tracking algorithm inside that maximizes the energy from the solar PV module(s) and charge the battery. At the same time, the low voltage disconnects function (LVD) will prevent the battery from over discharging.
The Tracer 1210RN charge controller charging process has been optimized for long battery life and improved system performance. The comprehensive self-diagnostics and electronic protection functions can prevent damage from installation mistakes or system faults. In addition, the Tracer controller has an RJ45 interface to allow communication with a meter for remote monitoring.
- Works with 12/24V battery system.
- Perfect for small systems
- 4-Stage charge with PWM output
- Widely used, automatically recognize day/night
- Diversified load control
- RJ45 interface &optional meter
What we like
- Cheap price
- easy to use and configure
- Well made, highly efficient, maximizes the power draw the panels are pulling into your batteries
- RJ45 port on it to wire with a digital remote meter that displays system operating information, error indications, and self-diagnostics read-out. Information is displayed on a backlit LCD display. The large numerical display and icons are easy to read and large buttons make navigating the meter menus easy. The meter can be flush mounted to a wall or surface mounted using the mounting frame (included)
- It has a temperature sensor to measure ambient temperature and make temperature compensation for charging and discharging.
- It has an LED indicator that shows charging status and overvoltage of battery
- LED Digital Display displays the load work mode and status.
What we don’t like
- The unit is heavily heat-sinked.
- There are 17 presets that turn timers on and off, and all are controlled by one button.
- You cannot modify the drop-out voltage for loads controlled via the load port but it seems most controllers lack this ability.
- This is NOT the solar controller for you if running delicate electronic radio or sound devices nearby
- Only 2 years in warranty
This MPPT charge controller is a great buy for the money. With a cheap price and high efficiency, this is a good choice either you want to replace from your old and inefficiency PWM to MPPT or first time discover solar energy.
A Tracer series from Tracer also includes a 30A version called MPPT TRACER 3215RN Solar Charge Controller. It is a good MPPT controller. I don’t want to review about it because the only difference is “30A > 10A”.
Victron BlueSolar 75/15 MPPT Charge Controller
Tired of replacing no-name controllers after they start to smoke? Victron has been building power systems for over 38 years, they have a worldwide reputation for innovation, reliability, and quality. They serve the marine, vehicle, and off-grid markets, and are based in the Netherlands. We’re hard-pressed to find anyone that matches Victron for quality.
- Ultra-fast Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
- The Victron Blue Solar MMPT 75/15 is a great choice for controlling up to 200 watts of solar panels at 12 volts, or 400 watts of panels at 24 volts, with maximum open circuit voltage of 75 volts. It automatically selects between 12 and 24 volts on the output.
- All Victron MPPT charge controllers can be monitored and controlled with the MPPT Control remote, or with the Color Control GX Panel, which can connect with almost all Victron battery chargers, inverters, and battery monitors. The Victron Bluetooth Dongle can be used for graphical presentation of real-time and historical data. Setup can also be done on your smartphone, tablet, or Mac through the free downloadable app. The BlueSolar MPPT 75/15 can be configured and can operate at full potential without a display, so the panel is strictly optional.
- A unique feature of this controller is a load output terminal. Any loads connected there will operate as though connected to the battery, but will be disconnected if the battery discharges to a preset voltage. This can be handy in an un-tended environment, where for example lights can be left on but will shut off if the battery goes low due to cloudy weather, saving the battery from a deep discharge. Victron inverters can also be triggered by this terminal. The load output is protected.
What we like
- Cheap price
- Very high efficiency (98% peak efficiency)
- It is small and easy to install so you should buy it for camping or for your RV
- 5 years of warranty with a good customer service
- Paired with the Bluetooth dongle it is really easy to update the firmware and make adjustments via the VictronConnect app. The app shows the daily Wh into the battery and also show real-time observation of the solar, battery and load data and also allows the remote control of loads
What we don’t like
- Can’t use in areas that would get spray or rain, no waterproof
- You can’t see overall state of charge of the battery in amp-hours or percent.
We all research before a purchase. A lot of people found out this solar charge controller by reading an article on the solar forum or watching video on youtube. There aren’t many reviews unfortunately which is a shame because this thing is awesome. It has a simple but nice design, small size but the performance is great. It’s hard to find any MPPT charge controller that is good but cheaper than this one.
Best Medium-Size MPPT charge controllers
Renogy Tracer 4210 40 Amp MPPT Charge Controller Reviews
If you read our post about top 10 best 100W solar panels, you would know that Renogy’s solar panels are always the first choice. In facts, Renogy has built their reputation that based on quality, durable and affordable products. You can’t go wrong purchasing this solar charge controller from them.
40A charge controller will provide your system plenty of room to grow, best for 500W with 12V system and 1000W with 24V system, but the manufacturer recommends 400W (12V) and 800W (24V).
On Amazon.com, this charge controller has got a lot of positive reviews, most buyers are satisfied with their choice, it is working great for their system. And don’t ask me about Renogy’s customer services, they will answer any your question.
- The Renogy Tracer 40A MPPT is suitable for off-grid solar applications. It protects the battery from being over-charged by the solar modules and over-discharged by the loads. It uses MPPT technology to optimize the use of PV system
- It controls up to 400 watts of solar panels at 12 volts, or 800 watts of panels at 24 volts – auto recognition
- Compatible with Deep Cycle Sealed, Gel and Flooded battery
- Adopting temperature compensation and correcting the charging and discharging parameters automatically, improving battery lifetime.
What we like
- It was pretty easy to install, despite a lack of instructions in a few places, so inexperienced users should have few complaints.
- They made the surface area for cooling looks good, I think everything is built in a good quality, I didn’t see any cracked point on surface.
- It also can be remoted from away by M-T5 screen. It is great to see what is going on, a lot of useful information
- The MPPT is super fast and accurate
What we don’t like
- Renogy provides only 1-year warranty
- The unit is heavily heatsinked.
- It has many battery settings – Sealed, Flooded and Gel – but this is not quite enough for some users. There are also calls for a little more quality and attention to detail in the terminals, particularly the use of a grounding screw and plates between the cables.
- Another oversight that has been pointed out relates to the timer. The purpose this function is to automatically switch electrical items on or off at night when the owner is not around to do so and while this is great for night lights and security features, the product’s ability to differentiate between night and day means that the charger does not allow users to program items used during the day.
Renogy Tracer 40A MPPT Charge Controller is a good choice for your solar system. Some buyers on Amazon complained about this product, but it was all about the installation. MPPT is sophisticated and you need time to learn how to use it, but it’s worth it.
If you have been using Renogy solar panel kits, using this one would be a perfectly match.
SolarEpic Tracer MPPT 40A Solar Charge Controller Reviews
If you have been joining a solar forum, you probably heard about SolarEpic MPPT 40A. A lot of peoples made a huge difference in a kWh when upgraded from a PWM charge controller to this.
This is a small device, powerful but affordable. It can easily handle your 500W system (12V) and you would never be concerned about the failure. It is great for your off-grid solar system.
SolarEpic provides a great customer service, the product was shipped so fast and the package has full documentation with comprehensive instructions, easy to connect and use.
- It has excellent heat dissipation. Using integration of cast aluminum radiator shell, the controller can be natural cooling.
- It supports 4 stages charging options: sealed, gel, flooded and user-defined
- Supporting PC monitoring software and remote meter MT50
- Ultra-fast tracking speed and guaranteed tracking efficiency.
- 12/24VDC automatically identifying system voltage or user-defined working voltage.
- Battery temperature compensation function.
What we like
- This MPPT solar charge controller is pretty small, easy to install so it is perfect for camping, hiking or for RVs.
- MT50 remote meter is useful to provide system information, along with the temperature sensor
- It can handle 500W of solar for 12V and 1000W of solar for 24V
- The product was shipped fast, their customer services were great
- I love its cooling system, runs very cool
What we don’t like
- Hard to find out how to download and install the firmware and how to check the firmware version of the device.
- You have to buy MT50 remote meter, it is a must-have item.
It seems there are few small disadvantages along with many advantages. I think it is fair enough to make your buying decision. SolarEpic Tracer MPPT 40A is a good choice for camping, RVs…A lot of choices, a lot of suggestions, let’s make a wise decision.
EPEVER Tracer A 4210 – 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller + Remote Meter
If you are looking for a low price and quality MPPT 40A charge controller, EPEVER is right for you. This is one of the cheapest MPPT controller on the market today. I’m very excited to talk about it.
This is a fairly new MPPT charge controller on the market. A new version in the tracer range from EPSolar who have branded it under the name EPEver. It comes in 10 amp (1210A), 20 amp (2210A), 30 amp (3210A) and 40 amp (4210A) versions. All of them are slightly different physical sizes as well as being designed for larger currents.
With these charge controllers above, MT50 remote meter is optional. It means after bought a charge controller, you would have to spend a few bucks to buy a new MT50. But if you bought this one from Amazon.com (click a link above), you would get MT50 remote meter without additional cost. It’s awesome!
Why did some people talk about Epever Tracer A4210 so much? Because they really impressed with this charge controller. They installed it for their off-grid PV system, and it is working great.
- High tracking efficiency no less than 99.5%
- Peak conversion efficiency of 98%
- Common positive grounding design
- RS485 port with industrial standard MODBUS open architecture
- Automatic System Voltage Recognition (12/24 V)
- Fully programmable function via PC software or remote meter
What we like
- Low price and good quality
- Multi-function LCD displays system information.
- Comes with MT50 remote meter shows so much more and allows control more features. The remote meter is easy to use and controls everything I need.
- Easy to set up and use
What we don’t like
- It does not come with a temperature sensor, you need to buy it separately
- Size of heat sink makes me a little uncomfortable.
If you walk around the internet, you will see a lot of peoples who reviewed this controller. It is getting more popular than ever, because it is good and cheap, customers satisfied with it. By buying it, you receive more bang for your buck!
Best Large-Size MPPT charge controller
Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60 Reviews
Let’s talk about the “big brother” of solar charge controller.
Morningstar Corporation is a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of solar charge controllers and inverters. Since their inception in 1993, over 2.5 million Morningstar units have been installed in over 112 countries around the world. Morningstar controllers and inverters have set new standards in performance, quality, reliability and innovative features, and global solar markets have consistently recognized Morningstar’s products as the industry’s best overall customer value.
If you don’t care about the price, you only care about a product which is durable, very good quality, nice design, very high efficiency and large scale, don’t forget to consider Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60.
- You can charge 12, 24,36, 48 volt battery banks with this charge controller.
- Morningstar’s TriStar MPPT TS-60 solar controller features TrakStar Technology™, an advanced maximum power point tracking (MPPT) battery charger for off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 3kW. The controller provides the industry’s highest peak efficiency of 99% and loses significantly less power compared to other MPPT controllers. This particular model includes a Remote Temp Sensor.
- The TriStar MPPT features “smart tracking” that maximizes the energy harvest from the PV by rapidly finding the solar array peak power point with extremely fast sweeping of the entire I-V curve. Unlike the MPPT TS-45, the MPPT TS-60 has an ethernet port for a fully web-enabled interface. Both products allow you to log up to 200 days of data.
- There are two ‘processors’ in the unit: one for the charge control system and the other to serve web pages (via the built-in Ethernet port). Both firmwares are upgradeable (via the RS232 port), and if the web server crashes, it won’t affect the charge control processor – making the TriStar a robust unit.
What we like
- It works with 48V battery.
- Its weight surprised me. Picking up the Tristar, I could tell by the weight that it was a highly-engineered piece of equipment. The oversized heat sink negates the need for a fan. No moving parts is a plus
- The oversized cast aluminum heatsink makes it top heavy. A white enamel gloss painted steel enclosure rounds out the rest of the lower body, keeping the connection terminals hidden from view. It has the quality of an expensive white-good appliance.
- Unlike other charge controllers, there are no additional features such as load control and auxiliary outputs. It does only one thing, and it does it well – MPPT battery charging. If you’re upgrading from a traditional PWM charger with load control, you may want to keep it to retain features such as Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD). Having said that, without any other features, the TS-MPPT-60 can seem very pricey, but the premium is well worth it due to the exceptionally good build quality and precision engineering.
- The Ethernet interface allows reading the daily amp-hours without the need to be physically in front of the controller to read the value. This lets you quickly enter the values into my energy log. It also has up to 200 days of logging
- Morningstar provides many documentaries that are necessary for installation and maintenance.
- Morningstar’s customer service is awesome
What we don’t like
- The price – it is expensive (but I think it’s worth it)
I want to tell you that this controller is a beast. If you found out any other 60A charge controller that can beat this one, please tell me the name. My friend has been installed 2 ones for his home solar PV system 3 years ago, now it seems to be working very well.
This Morningstar unit received high ratings from numerous forums and was actually recommended by some solar energy experts. Buy it from Amazon.com, get free shipping and then it will blow your mind.
Outback FM80 MPPT Charge Controller Reviews
OutBack Power is the trusted name in the renewable energy field, with a solid foundation in engineering. Their product FM80 MPPT charge controller is the latest innovation in Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controllers from OutBack Power.
FlexMax80 Charge Controller is the only choice when you demand a high performance, efficient and versatile charge controller for your advanced power system. With 80A of maximum output current, it can handle 1000w of solar for the 12V system, 2000W/24V, 4000W/48V, 5000W/60V. These numbers are enough to power entire home PV system, any heavy-duty application.
- Support for a wide range of nominal battery voltages (from 12V to 60V) and the ability to step-down a higher voltage solar array to recharge a lower voltage battery bank. Automatically detects the system battery voltage
- The innovative FLEXmax MPPT software algorithm is both continuous and active, increasing your photovoltaic array power yield up to 30% compared to non-MPPT controllers.
- Greater than 98% peak efficiency; less than 1W self-consumption
- Built-in 128 days of data logging
- Fully OutBack network integrated and programmable
What we like
- 5-year warranty
- Easy to install, monitor and control
- Good customer support
- Quality product, nice design, and heavy duty
What we don’t like
- I don’t like the Chinese English style in the manual, worse set of instructions I have ever read
- They need to upgrade user-interface, the organization of the information does not seem logical
If you want to build a large solar PV system, consider buying this one. There is no better charge controller and you don’t have to worry about how much solar your charge controller can handle.
Why we recommend buy MPPT Charge Controller?
This is a simple explanation on how MPPT works and why we recommend using it for your off grid or RV solar power system.
The MPPT Charge Controller utilizes Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technology to extract maximum power from the solar module(s). The tracking algorithm is fully automatic and does not require user adjustment. MPPT technology will track the array’s maximum power point voltage (Vmp) as it varies with weather conditions, ensuring that the maximum power is harvested from the array throughout the course of the day. Most modern MPPT’s are around 93-97% efficient in the conversion. You typically get a 20 to 45% power gain in winter and 10-15% in summer.
Four Charging Stages
The MPPT charge controllers have a 4-stage battery charging algorithm for a rapid, efficient, and safe battery charging. They include Bulk Charge, Boost Charge, Float Charge, and Equalization.
Bulk Charge: This algorithm is used for day to day charging. It uses 100% of available solar power to recharge the battery and is equivalent to the constant current.
Boost Charge: When the battery has charged to the Boost voltage set-point, it undergoes an absorption stage which is equivalent to constant voltage regulation to prevent heating and excessive gassing in the battery. The default time for this is 120 minutes in the MPPT controllers but it can be customizable as needed.
Float Charge: After Boost Charge, the controller will reduce the battery voltage to a float voltage set point. Once the battery is fully charged, there will be no more chemical reactions and all the charge current would turn into heat or gas. Because of this, the charge controller will reduce the voltage charge to a smaller quantity, while lightly charging the battery. The purpose for this is to offset the power consumption while maintaining a full battery storage capacity. In the event that a load drawn from the battery exceeds the charge current, the controller will no longer be able to maintain the battery to a Float set point and the controller will end the float charge stage and refer back to bulk charging.
Equalization: Is carried out every 28 days of the month. It is intentional overcharging of the battery for a controlled period of time. Certain types of batteries benefit from periodic equalizing charge, which can stir the electrolyte, balance battery voltage and complete chemical reaction. Equalizing charge increases the battery voltage, higher than the standard complement voltage, which gasifies the battery electrolyte.
MPPT’s are most effective under these conditions:
- Cold weather – solar panels work better at cold temperatures, but without an MPPT you are losing most of that. Cold weather is most likely in winter – the time when sun hours are low and you need the power to recharge batteries the most.
- Low battery charge – the lower the state of charge in your battery, the more current an MPPT puts into them – another time when the extra power is needed the most. You can have both of these conditions at the same time.
- Long wire runs – If you are charging a 12-volt battery, and your panels are 100 feet away, the voltage drop and power loss can be considered unless you use very large wire. That can be very expensive. But if you have four 12 volt panels wired in series for 48 volts, the power loss is much less, and the controller will convert that high voltage to 12 volts at the battery. That also means that if you have a high voltage panel setup feeding the controller, you can use much smaller wire.
Came to realize that your charge controllers are as important as your solar array. You can harvest twice as much solar juice as before when you had the old PWM charger.
Before buying read about how different between PWM and MPPT solar charge controller.
Sizing MPPT charge controller
Below is a list of maximum array wattages for the charge controller for various nominal voltage batteries. This should be used for sizing an array. The number also depends on what battery system your charge controllers support (12V/24V/36V). Example, Outback FM60 (60A) supports 60V battery system but Morningstar Tristar TS-MPPT-60 (60A) doesn’t.
|Rated Charge Current||12V||24V||36V||48V||60V|
|10A MPPT||130 W||260 W||-||-||-|
|20A MPPT||260 W||520 W||-||-||-|
|30A MPPT||400 W||800 W||-||1600 W||-|
|45A MPPT||600 W||1200 W||-||2400 W||-|
|60A MPPT||800 W||1600 W||2400 W||3200 W||4000 W (FlexMax60)|
|80A MPPT (based on FlexMax 80)||1250 W||2500 W||3750 W||5000 W||6250 W|